In the clear blue skies above Long Island, two airplanes collide. Tony Stark watches the scene in horror and wishes he had the technology that is almost within his reach—a new hyperintelligent instant control system that could have given the aircraft advance warning. But Stark, an obsessive, increasingly troubled recluse, doesn’t know that his invention has been compromised.
In fact, the collision was a carefully crafted hit on Madame Hydra, the final stage in Arnim Zola’s plan to seize control of HYDRA and get rid of Iron Man once and for all. The cunning adversary has already infiltrated Stark Industries security to develop a version of the instant control mechanism that will take over the armored suit and turn it against Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. While Tony races to track down the source of the intrusion, Zola unleashes direly ingenious computer viruses and the ultimate secret weapon: a murderous clone army based on Stark’s most trusted friend. A puppet master of self-replicating terror, Zola is plunging a city into a war that threatens to consume all in its wake.