Anthony "Tony" Stark
The non-formation of the Avengers has two main affects on Tony. The lack of peers has caused Tony to slide into a profound isolation. He doesn’t trust people. He doesn’t relate well to people outside of his Social and Scientific class. Isolation has bred paranoia, except that with Tony people are actually out to get him. On those occasions where he can get together with his social or scientific peers Tony is quite gregarious.
The other effect of Tony’s isolation is that he doesn’t have much to distract him from his company or acting as unofficial watchdog of the world. He is the CEO and Chief Technological Officer of Stark International. By making better products and controlling all aspects of the production pipeline Tony controls a huge portion of the consumer market. Controlling the markets also allows him to monitor world communications traffic, which in turn allows him (or Iron Man) to apply financial or repulsor pressure where it is needed to keep the word humming along.
Tony knows about all of the truly horrible things out there in the universe. He knows all of the security officials of all of the world’s nations, monitors all of the worlds terrorists and scientific advances, and has extensive logs on encounters with extra terrestrials. The Fantastic Four, and the X-Men have, thus far managed to keep the world in one piece, but Stark knows how thin the margins of survival have been. On several occasions he has kept the world safe himself and on several occasions he only survived by luck and his own superior technology.
Tony thinks nothing of violating anyone’s privacy for the greater good. His rational is that it is better for he and Maria to know everyone’s secrets because they will only use them to the greater good.
Alternate History from here on down:
Young weapons engineer and CEO of Stark Strategic Systems Anthony Stark is wounded in a Taliban attack while installing a missile installation during the invasion of Afghanistan after [[9/11]]. He is taken captive and under the guise of devising a super bomb for Al Qaeda instead builds himself an device to keep a piece of shrapnel from traveling into his heart and a primitive suit of powered armor.
Stark escapes from the Taliban, travels back to the States and gets back to work designing weapons systems.
Except that he finds out that he was set up by a corrupt U.S. military officer, and upon investigation finds that corruption is everywhere and no organization can be trusted. Stark renames his company Stark Incorporated and turns his genius to consumer electronics. Within the year Stark Phones have 85% market share. The year after 95%. In 2004 the Maria OS is launched along with the the Stark 1 computer. Two years later 65% of all professional computing is done on Stark computers.
Stark continues to build weapons systems, but he keeps them under lock and key in his private labs under Stark Inc. headquarters. Stark rebuilds his powered armor around the miniaturized power core developed in Afganistan dubbing it Iron Man. He has his first run in with super powered thugs as the headquarters of Stark Inc. is taken over by a cell of AIM agents. Iran Man makes short work of the agents and upon investigation Stark finds that one of his own board members sold him out. Iron Man is an immediate media sensation, and stark claims Iron man is his body guard.
Tony’s paranoia begins to spiral out of control. He fires the board of directors of Stark Inc., buys factories and office space in China, Japan, Brazil, India, and Russia, and renames his company Stark International. Stark agrees to outfit a small SHIELD special ops team in return for building rights off the coast of Manhattan. Stark meets James Rhodes and Nick Fury, the only two men on the planet that he trusts. Almost.
Stark Tower is built 1 mile off the coast of Manhattan. Between tidal, geothermal, and fusion plants Stark tower is a net contributor to the Manhattan power grid. Tony claims the top 10 floors of Stark Tower as his own. Stark Tower is relatively inexpensive to rent space in and has no outside power, sewage, or water needs. Stark International re-enters the arms market. Stark armaments are inexpensive and extremely effective. Most of them are also non lethal. Lethal weapons systems are sold on a conditional lease basis. The condition is that Stark can pull the plug on his systems whenever he wants to.
Iron Man is called on by SHIELD to assist in post-human and technology threats. Sometimes he answers the call. Tony Stark is an isolated man. He spends weeks at a time in his workshop (the garage) and has several floors worth of munitions and special purpose hard suits warehoused in his hanger. Maria, the AI that Stark modeled on brain scans of his deceased mother, monitors every byte of computer data that the Stark data centers can siphon from data transmissions.