- "You come from a family of thieves and butchers, and like all guilty men, you try to rewrite your history, to forget all the lives the Stark family has destroyed..."
- ―Ivan Vanko to Tony Stark[src]
After the death of his father, Ivan used the arc reactor technology, thought up by Howard Stark and Anton Vanko, to enable himself in taking revenge on Stark Industries.
After Anton Vanko defected, effectively betraying the United States, as well as his friend and business partner Howard Stark, he was deported back to the Soviet Union. Anton, however, was not able to provide the technology the Soviets expected from him, and was soon banished to Siberia, where he raised Ivan.
Due to Anton's immense jealousy regarding Howard, he trained his son in engineering, passing all his knowledge on to Ivan.
- "If you could make God bleed, people would cease to believe in him, there will be blood in the water, the sharks will come. All I have to do is sit back and watch as the world consumes you."
- ―Vanko to Stark after their incident[src]
As Anton died, he told his son that he should have been in the position were Tony Stark (Iron Man) was now in. Immediately after his father's passing, Ivan studied the blueprints for the arc reactor and created a working replica.
Having completed his arc reactor, Ivan used the services of a Ten Rings agent to acquire a fake ID, as well as a ticket to Monaco, where he hoped to find Tony Stark.
In Monaco, Ivan learned that Tony would be participating in the Grand Prix race of that day, which led him to disguise himself as a member of the intervention team. Shortly after the start of the race, he walked onto the track and activated his arc reactor, the heat of which incinerated the clothes that hid his whips.
He then started to attack random cars as they passed him, waiting for Tony's vehicle to arrive. When he did, Ivan managed to slice his vehicle in half with the use of his whip, causing Tony's car to crash and land upside down. Tony was then forced to dodge the whips until Harold Hogan and Pepper Potts arrived, crashing their car into Ivan.
Ivan, however, regained conciousness quickly and started attacking Hogan's car. Potts managed to throw the portable Iron Man suit to Stark, who immediately activated it and confronted Ivan as Iron Man. After a short skirmish, Stark over powered Vanko and removed his arc reactor, crushing it in his hands as Vanko was being detained.
After the incident, Stark went to talk to Ivan, but the latter only told Stark that all he had to do was create a doubt about Iron Man, and that the world would do the rest. Ivan was then send to prison.
Working with Hammer IndustriesEdit
- "People make problem. Trust me, drone better."
- ―Ivan to Justin Hammer[src]
Shortly after his arrival in prison, Vanko was confronted by a prisoner with the same registry number as he had himself, an explosive disguised as a potato and a key. After having used the explosion to escape his cell, Ten rings agents took Vanko out of the prison and brought him to Justin Hammer.
Hammer explained that he had seen Ivan in action in Monaco, and that he believed he and Vanko had the same goals. Ivan was then recruited to work for Hammer Industries, using his knowledge to build a copy of the Iron Man suit for Hammer.
Vanko, however, decided to create drones, instead of suits, explaining that drones are better, because humans make mistakes. Hammer was not pleased by this, as well as Vanko's general lack of work. Hammer then placed two guards on Vanko, while he himself went to the Stark Exposition to show of his drones, as well as the pimped out Iron Man suit that Rhodes took from Tony.
During the expo, Vanko disabled his guards and hacked into Hammer Industries' system to take control of the suit and all the drones. He then used them to attack Tony, who had to fend off a multitude of assailants. With the help of Natasha Romanoff, Rhodes managed to gain control of his suit again, allowing him to help Stark.
Once all the drones had been destroyed, Vanko himself arrived in an improved version of his Whiplash technology. Stark and Rhodes did their best to destroy him, but found no other way then to fire at each other, causing an explosion that disabled the Whiplash suit. Vanko died laughing as the self-destruction system in all the drones, as well as his own suit, activated, allowing Vanko to destroy the entire exposition.