|First appearance||Iron Man #104 (November 1977)|
|Created by||Bill Mantlo (writer) |
George Tuska (artist)
|Alter ego||Maria Collins Carbonell|
|Place of origin||United States|
Maria Collins Stark (née Carbonell) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She is Howard Stark's wife and Tony Stark's mother.
Maria Stark was born Maria Collins Carbonell into a wealthy family in Southampton, New York. In her adulthood, she became a socialite and philanthropist. She dated Obadiah Stane, known as the Iron Monger, with whom she was not impressed.
While staying in Monaco during a flight scale, Maria escaped from her bodyguards at a casino, where she deliberately lost large sums of money at baccarat and was escorted from the premises. Howard Stark (who owned the casino) noticed her being forcefully escorted by her bodyguards, and followed her back to their hotel room. Maria was charmed by his sudden appearance, and together they overpowered the guards and drove off.
Maria married Howard sometime later, and together they adopted a son Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark. Maria was unsuccessful in preventing Tony from seeing Howard's alcoholism, something Tony would later face on his own. Howard secretly programmed the Mistress AI that controlled the Arsenal robots with Maria's brain patterns.
On the Ides of March, Maria and Howard were killed in a 'planned' car accident arranged by the Roxxon Oil Company. Afterwards, Tony ran his father's company, started a charity in his mother's name (which donated funds to finance various charities and renovation projects as well as the Avengers), and later became Iron Man.
When Iron Man confronted Motherboard and Arsenal on the eScape, Arno Stark went into the eScape and discovered that Tony's opponents have the digital engrams of their parents. When the eScape shut down, Arno salvaged these digital engrams. Arno became acquainted with the digital engrams of Howard and Maria and was able to give them a holographic form. With help from Jocasta, Arno was able to use the bio-restructuring pods Arno created to give the digital engrams their physical bodies.
During the "Iron Man 2020" storyline, Arno has breakfast with the duplicates of Howard Stark and Maria Stark following a nightmare about the Extinction Entity. After knocking out Mark One, the artificial simulation of Tony Stark, Arno brought him to his living quarters. Tony learned that Arno used the same pods he used to create duplicates of their parents. Tony mentioned how Motherboard killed F.R.I.D.A.Y. where Maria stated that she did it out of love for her son. At Port Authority, Iron Man catches up to the duplicates of Howard and Maria who he instructed to not leave the safety of Bain Tower. Their condition gets worse because they left Bain Tower and that Arno had to use his DNA to fill out the missing pieces when creating them. They suddenly stop moving as Arno plans to fix them and Tony. When at his work station, Arno is working on reviving his parents by recreating the Arsenal and Mistress bodies from the eScape. Arno heads to the Stark Space Station with Arsenal and Mistress who now possess the memories of Howard Stark and Maria Stark. The two of them tell Arno that they are proud of him. When Tony Stark uses the Thirteenth Floor to reach the Stark Space Station and confront Arno, Arsenal and Motherboard fight his allies until the arrival of the Extinction Entity. As everyone engages the Extinction Entity, Tony, Arno, Rescue, Machine Man, Jocasta, Motherboard, and Arsenal push the Extinction Entity close to Earth's orbit as the Avengers, Force Works, and the A.I. Army attack it's tentacles. It then turns out that the Extinction Entity was just a simulation and was the result of the disease that Arno thought he cured himself of. He reveals that the holographic armor made from the eScape is now part of Arno's life support as he allows Motherboard and Arsenal to download themselves in order to shape Arno's virtual world.
The Ultimate Marvel version of the character is renamed as Maria Cerrera, the second wife of Howard Stark. Maria was a brilliant scientist who suffered a genetic accident while she was pregnant with her and Howard's child. After Maria died during childbirth, Howard uses a newly invented biological armor to save the life of their son named after Antonio Cerrera (Maria's brother) who died at a young age. Years later, Howard's first wife Loni tells Tony twice that she wishes she could have been Tony's mother under different circumstances, but Tony still prefers his own mother. While what has been depicted is retconned as an in-universe fictional TV show about Iron Man's life, the actual Ultimate version of her character is briefly mentioned by her other son Gregory Stark when he jokingly says how he "came out of [Maria] before [Tony]" but this has since been discounted.