An industrialist, genius inventor, and consummate playboy, he is CEO of Stark Industries, a chief weapons manufacturer for the U.S. military. The son of a Manhattan Project engineer, Howard Stark, he is an engineering prodigy, having built a circuit board at four years old and an engine at six, as well as graduating from MIT summa cum laude (with highest honor) at the age of 17. He takes charge of Stark Industries at the age of 21. Later in his career, Stark suffers a severe heart injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a massively destructive weapon. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity. Stark later decides to use the suit to protect the world as Iron Man.