Zeke Stane
Zeke Stane torturing Iron Man. Cover art for Invincible Iron Man (vol. 5) #4. Art by Salvador Larroca.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Order #8 (April 2008)
Created byMatt Fraction (writer)
Barry Kitson (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoEzekiel "Zeke" Stane
SpeciesHuman cyborg
Team affiliationsHellfire Club
Notable aliasesIron Monger, Iron Man 2.0
AbilitiesGenius-level intellect
Superhuman abilities derived from bio-upgrades
Accelerated metabolism

Ezekiel "Zeke" Stane is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character is usually depicted as the son of Obadiah Stane and an enemy of Iron Man. Created by writer Matt Fraction and artist Barry Kitson, he first appeared in The Order #10 (April 2008).[1]


Zeke Stane is the son of Obadiah Stane, and has been building bioweaponry and manufacturing next-generation weapons for terrorists and supervillains since he was nine. Though he is the son of Obadiah, as well as a supervillain rather than a hero, Ezekiel Stane's creator, Matt Fraction, considers Zeke to be the next generation of Tony Stark/Iron Man rather than of Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger: often referring to the character as "Tony Stark/Iron Man 2.0".[2]

Fraction states the similarities between the pair's characteristics with Ezekiel being evolution of Tony Stark's character: a younger, smarter, sharper futurist of a post-national supercorporate world moving into a future that Stark has no control over.[2] Overtaking Stark and his Iron Man technology by not taking the route of armored suits but upgrading the human body itself.

No matter how high tech or evolved, even with Extremis, the Iron Man armor is still a guy in a suit, if you get between the man and the suit you can undo it. So Stane doesn't need a suit. That's the difference. That's what we start to see, the future of Iron Man is that there's no gap between Iron and Man. It's one being and Stane is quite literally evolving himself and people who pay him as we see in the book's opening.

— Matt Fraction[3]

Fraction often describes the contrast between the two characters using software terms, due to the character's technological basis.

Zeke is a post-national business man and kind of an open source ideological terrorist, he has absolutely no loyalty to any sort of law, creed, or credo. He doesn't want to beat Tony Stark, he wants to make him obsolete. Windows wants to be on every computer desktop in the world, but Linux and Stane want to destroy the desktop. He's the open source to Stark's closed source oppressiveness. He has no headquarters, no base, and no bank account. He's a true ghost in the machine; completely off the grid, flexible, and mobile. That absolutely flies in the face of Tony's received business wisdom and in the way business is done. There are banks and lawyers and you have facilities and testing. Stane is a much more different animal. He's a much smarter, more mobile, and much quicker to respond and evolved futurist.

— Matt Fraction[3]

Publication history

Ezekiel "Zeke" Stane first appeared in Matt Fraction's critically acclaimed book The Order #8 (April 2008) where he was drawn by Barry Kitson.[4]

Fictional character biography

Zeke Stane is the son of Obadiah Stane who was revealed to be the behind-the-scenes manipulator pulling the strings of other villains,[5] including Black Dahlias, Maul and M.A.N. from S.H.A.D.O.W. Androids, who have set out to destroy The Order. The Order being Tony Stark's showcase Initiative team of California, Zeke targets them as the first part of his revenge on Tony Stark for the death of his father Obadiah.[6]

In the final issue of The Order, #10, Stane meets Iron Man face-to-face for the first time ever. Due to Stane's life off the grid, Iron Man fails to realize who he actually is, even with Stark's resources as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Stane subsequently leaves California and prepares for the next stage in his vendetta against Stark.[7]

Fraction would follow The Order with a new monthly on-going Invincible Iron Man title, with Zeke Stane appearing in its first story arc "The Five Nightmares" to further his vendetta against Tony Stark.[8] Zeke is first seen attending a meeting with the Board of Directors of a big tobacco company who had hired him to tweak their tobacco to produce a higher basal metabolic rate in the people who smoked it: in layman's terms, they wanted him to invent a cigarette that would make users lose weight. Stane reveals he did succeed in doing it, but that he only took the job to use the company's money to make upgrades for the biotechnology he put in himself, upgrading his own hypothalamus to utilize energy within the body, that Stane swiftly uses to execute the board of directors with energy blasts from his finger tips. Stane is then updated by his girlfriend/assistant Sasha on his upgraded African suicide bombers who were test subjects of Stane's biotechnology.[9] The attacks of his suicide bombers were something that neither Iron Man nor War Machine could have predicted. Stane meets with Stark a second time (with Stane saying his name to Stark) during a party moments before suicide bombers appeared and self-destructed. Stark was able to summon his Iron Man armor while Stane just stood there with a disturbing smile. The explosion also severely injured Pepper Potts in the process.[10]

Stane ultimately confronts Stark with his own unique armor, while also using terrorists armed with his technology to attack Stark Industries facilities around the world. However, Stark defeats Stane's plan with his control of all of his various Iron Man armors, allowing him to be in multiple locations and neutralize all of Stane's bombs at once. Stark then disables all of Stane's tech and both of their armors with electromagnetic pulses and defeats the younger man in hand-to-hand combat. Stark delivers the final emotional blow to the defeated Stane by telling him that "your father [Obadiah] was smarter than you. And harder to beat." However, Stark is left disturbed by Stane's attack, particularly with the notion of what he may have to become to face the future Stane represents.[11]

Zeke Stane had been visited a few times in his prison sentence and was "paroled" by the Mandarin, Sasha's father, to now employ Zeke with Tony Stark being informed after the fact.[12] Later, Zeke used a photo of the Iron Man armor in short cut at the Daily Bugle and make it look like the hero was drunk. Also, Zeke planned along with Mandarin to use classic villains of the Armored Avenger against him, such as Chemistro, Living Laser and Mauler.[13]

Mandarin became increasingly discontent when Stane could not build Dreadnoughts and Titanomechs on impossible schedules and nonexistent budgets. He started affecting Stane with his ring, making him obsessed with the work. Irked by this, Stane managed to remove his bomb implant and face off against Mandarin. However, Mandarin cranked up the ring's effect, making Stane his slave, causing increasing brain damage in the process. After the Mandarin succeeded in bringing Stark under his control, Tony and Zeke worked together to produce the Titanomechs.[14]

After Mandarin used 3 of his rings to power the first Titanomech, Tony started a plan with Zeke where they convinced super villains Whirlwind, Blizzard II and Living Laser to join him in a rebellion with the final purpose of defeating Mandarin, and managed to use the technology in his body to help Resilient to find him, using microbots known as the Swarm, which tracked the repulsor technology of Tony's body. Resilient asked for help to the Triumph Division and the Dynasty to help Tony defeat Mandarin and his Titanomech. After Tim Cababa managed to reactivate the Extremis virus inside Stark's body, Tony created a link with the Swarm, and use them as bombs to destroy Mandarin's weapons, who in the end was killed by Stane.[15]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel, Zeke Stane represented Stane International when he attended a meeting at the Universal Bank with Tiberius Stone of Alchemax, Wilson Fisk of Fisk Industries, Sebastian Shaw of Shaw Industries, Darren Cross of Cross Technological Enterprises, Shingen Harada of the Yashida Corporation, Frr'dox of Shi'ar Solutions Consolidated, and Wilhelmina Kensington of Kilgore Arms where they discussed with Dario Agger about his and Roxxon Energy Corporation's plans to exploit the Ten Realms of Asgard. Zeke Stane also saw the arrival of Exterminatrix of the Midas Foundation who knocked out Dario and declared herself a new member of their assembly.[16]

Recently, he is also revealed to be the financial backer of a rebellion against T'Challa in Wakanda.[17]

Powers and abilities

Zeke testing out his powers.

Zeke Stane's genius-level intellect and considerable fortune has allowed him to cannibalize and reverse engineer Stark Tech from the black-market to upgrade his own biology, most notably his hypothalamus. Stane successfully reduced the caloric energy consumption of his body from 70% to 9% leaving him surplus energy which he uses in repulsor bolts at the end of his fingers. Other upgrades have allowed his body to vastly repair itself from injury. Despite his high intelligence, Reed Richards claims that Stane is imitative rather than innovative, as all his inventions are merely re-purposed Stark tech rather than anything he developed completely on his own. Reed uses the example that the man who invented the sandwich simply put together what already existed to produce something good rather than developing his own idea – a fault which Iron Man exploits to ultimately defeat him. However, the fact his enhancements almost defeated Iron Man makes this seem more like Richards trying to demoralize Stane than an actual, honest assessment of his intellect. Especially considering that, so far, Stane's biomechanical technology seems unique and both Richards and Stark have never shown the ability to reproduce it on any wide scale.

This excessive use of the body's energy has shown that Stane must constantly keep his body's blood sugar level high to make up for its rapid consumption. Stane does this by eating a high (20,000) calorie paste.[9]

In other media



Video games

Ezekiel Stane appears as a boss in Iron Man 3: The Official Game, voiced by Tom Wayland. This version's mother withheld information about his father and did not learn of him until the latter died and Ezekiel received his inheritance. He works with A.I.M., Aldrich Killian / MODOK, and the Living Laser to capture Pepper Potts until Ezekiel is killed by Iron Man.


  1. ^ DeFalco, Tom; Sanderson, Peter; Brevoort, Tom; Teitelbaum, Michael; Wallace, Daniel; Darling, Andrew; Forbeck, Matt; Cowsill, Alan; Bray, Adam (2019). The Marvel Encyclopedia. DK Publishing. p. 352. ISBN 978-1-4654-7890-0.
  2. ^ a b Matt Fraction On Invincible Iron Man – Newsarama
  3. ^ a b Comic Book Resources > CBR News: A Stark Contrast: Fraction talks “Invincible Iron Man”
  4. ^ The Order vol. 2, #8 (April 2008)
  5. ^ Vice, Jeff. "Man of Iron: Writer finds dream job — at Marvel Comics". Deseret News. May 9, 2008
  6. ^ The Order #8
  7. ^ The Order #9-10
  8. ^ Invincible Iron Man #4-7
  9. ^ a b Invincible Iron Man vol. 5, #1 (July 2008)
  10. ^ Invincible Iron Man #20
  11. ^ Invincible Iron Man #25-28
  12. ^ Invincible Iron Man #500
  13. ^ Invincible Iron Man #510-513
  14. ^ Invincible Iron Man #520
  15. ^ Invincible Iron Man #525
  16. ^ Mighty Thor Vol. 2 #8
  17. ^ Black Panther Vol. 6 #4
  18. ^ "Behind The Voice Actors – Marvel Future Avengers". Behind The Voice Actors.
  19. ^ Patches, Matt; Failes, Ian (April 23, 2018). "The Battle of New York: An 'Avengers' Oral History". Thrillist. Archived from the original on April 29, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  20. ^ "Newsarama | GamesRadar+".