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Iron Man's New Villain Might Be His Greatest Threat Ever

Contains spoilers for "Invincible Iron Man" #5

To learn more about Feilong, the villain trying to overtake his life through any means necessary, Iron Man is heading to Krakoa. And after arriving at the home of the X-Men, Tony Stark learns his newest rival is more than one of his usual threats and instead might be one of the most dangerous villains he's ever faced off against.

In the current "Invincible Iron Man" series by Gerry Duggan, Juan Frigeri, Bryan Valenza, and VC's Joe Caramagna, Iron Man's personal and professional life are in shambles. After losing his fortune buying up black-market weapons to make the world safer and watching his girlfriend Hellcat leave the city, Tony has struggled to adjust to his new normal. Iron Man going from being of the wealthiest heroes to having little to no resources, tech, and help has hit the Avenger hard. Complicating matters is the arrival of the new villain, Feilong.

After gaining his own powers in a failed attempt to take down the X-Men and buying up Tony's company, Stark Unlimited, Feilong emerges as a serious threat to everything Tony holds dear. In the first look at "Invincible Iron Man" #5, Stark travels to Krakoa and is reminded just how deadly Feilong is and how stopping him will be challenging, even with Marvel's mutants by his side.

Feilong is not just rich, but he's incredibly powerful

In the preview for "Invincible Iron Man" #5, Tony Stark chats with Emma Frost about Feilong's hatred and attack against the mutants. Frost uses Sunfire to telepathically show him what happened during his fiery encounter with Felong, as Stark sees his failed battle for control of Planet Arrako. When Stark asks how he gained his energy powers, Frost compares his villainous origin to Iron Man's, telling him he might as well have spent time in a cave. Sunfire explains he harvested cosmic rays through ruby quartz lenses to give him an ability compared to Cyclops' energy beams. Tony doesn't like what he sees, as his previous encounter with Feilong earlier in the series already showed him how desperate his newest foe was to be his rival. 

Stark admits to Frost that he's fought many types of villains during his time as a hero. Ones with vast resources like Obadiah Stane, ones with massive smarts like Norman Osborn, and ones with major grudges like Justin Hammer, his main villain from the "Armor Wars" storyline. However, Feilong is described as a triple threat when it comes to money, brains, and vendettas. Once he gets the information he needs from Emma, Tony suits up as Iron Man and begins to plan for his next confrontation with Feilong. But, considering the villain has outmatched him in individual power, wealth, and seemingly, determination, Stark will need all the help he can get.

Is Iron Man fighting a losing battle?

The preview of the upcoming "Free Comic Book Day 2023: Avengers/X-Men" #1 has teased what Feilong will be up to as the story unfolds. After he acquires Stark Industries, Feilong will use his new tech to build Stark Sentinels. Given the Sentinels are specifically designed to take down mutants, Feilong is hitting Iron Man where it hurts by using his former resources to create weapons against some of his closest allies. It's safe to assume Tony will be gutted to see his formerly most prized technology used in a potential massacre. 

With the "Fall of X" set to rock the X-Men and set the stage for upcoming stories for the mutant heroes, the Stark Sentinels will be one of the catalysts in their impending downfall. Six new comics will spin out of the forthcoming fallout of the X-Men, including titles focused on Iceman, Alpha Flight, and Nightcrawler's version of "Spider-Man." But before that happens, Iron Man will do his best to stop the Stark Sentinels from being born — a mission he seems destined to fail. Of course, he won't sit around and watch Feilong destroy Krakoa and its people, but without his usual assets and wealth at his disposal, the villain can prove he's Iron Man's greatest nightmare with his deadly actions and push him to the brink of madness.

Readers can see Feilong's retold origin and Iron Man getting insight on his newest rival in "Invincible Iron Man" #5 by Gerry Duggan, Juan Frigeri, Bryan Valenza, and VC's Joe Caramagna, which arrives in comic book stores on Wednesday.