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Ironheart Rescue
Ironheart Rescue.png
Origin Tales of Suspense #45 (September 1963(as Pepper))
The Invincible Iron Man #10 (May 2009(as Rescue))
Iron Man (2008(as Pepper))
Avengers Endgame (2019(as Rescue))
Alias Virginia Potts
Pepper Potts
Rescue
Type Human
Role Heroine, sometimes anti-heroic
Gender Female
Alignment Stark Industries (formerly)
Shin Avengers (currently(MvSS timeline))
Home World Earth
Family Tony Stark (former husband)
Morgan Stark (daughter)
Weapon Iron Man MK 49 suit
Status Alive (Prime timeline)
Deceased (MvSS timeline)
English Voice Gwyneth Paltrow
Japanese Voice Sayaka Kobayashi

Virginia "Pepper" Potts was once Tony Stark's secretary, and is now Ironheart Rescue of the Shin Avengers.

Story

In the five year gap between Iron Majin's birth and the beginning of Shin's rebellion, Pepper had resigned herself to living under the Tyrant of Steel's dictatorship as self-imposed punishment for failing to curb Tony Stark's descent into madness. But when Shin Seigi rescues her and the other Avengers, she takes the chance to make things right and hopefully save her husband from himself.

Despite all the complications the Shin Avengers faced, including Pepper's temporary desertion, they all made it back from the Tokuverse with the Super Sentai, along with the Kamen Riders and Metal Heroes to carry out the destruction of the Administration. In her last moments with her daughter Morgan, Pepper could not make any promises regarding her father's fate, but promised that he'll never be allowed to hurt anyone again. She fought valiantly with her comrades through the Iron Babel to destroy Iron Maiden, the other Stark Administration generals, and decommission the Iron Legion forever before finally making it to the throne room.

Pepper tries once more to get through to Tony, enduring his attacks which severely damage her suit until an arm and the legs are left, but still keeps fighting despite her disadvantage. When the Avengers Sentai Army finally have Iron Majin and Lord Drakkon on the ropes, however, Tony refuses to turn himself in and kills Drakkon. causing Shin to unleash all his pent-up anger on him. Pepper pleaded in vain for Shin to spare him even as the Rangers had to hold her back, as to prevent Shin from harming or killing her by mistake, explaining that Tony, from Shin's point of view, had finally lost the right to live.

When Shin was done killing Stark, Pepper concludes that she has lost everything and prepares to take her life. Shin orders the other Avengers to stop her, but she wouldn't stop being angry at him until he apologizes for what had to be done. But just when Pepper is finally ready to move on, the True Iron Majin takes full hold over Tony's corpse and blasts her in the chest, killing her to the Avengers Sentai Army's complete shock and horror.

After Iron Majin was finally destroyed for good, Pepper is eulogized as a hero by Shin and posthumously pardoned along with the similarly deceased Wayne Shin, with their names being engraved on a memorial wall and the MK. 49's remains being respectfully decommissioned and scrapped(marking the end of the Iron Man suits).

Relationships

Tony Stark

Pepper is understandably heartbroken that Tony Stark became such a heartless dictator, and wants to believe she can get through to him, despite Shin's warnings that if Iron Majin goes too far, Pepper's desire to save him may complicate the Super Sentai and Avengers' efforts to keep the Stark Administration from destroying the universe as they know it.

Her greatest struggle was not out in the open during the Battle of Starktopia 01; it was raging within her since the day her husband turned into the universe's greatest enemy. It was far from easy for her to let go of Tony and care more for how others feel about him, but Pepper finally conquered the clinginess within her that could have potentially made her just as dangerous to her loved ones as Iron Man. But she did so too late as Iron Majin blasted at her fatally, signifying that the man she loved despite his faults was finally truly gone.

Shin Seigi

Shin tries his best to sympathize with her grief over Iron Man's betrayal and assuage her guilt over her role in Tony Stark's crimes against the common man, but the more heinous and brazen Iron Majin's crimes become, the more Shin starts to doubt in her hopes for her husband to redeem himself. He also has to teach Pepper that she cannot simply command the obedience of their teammates simply because she's an adult; she must earn their respect by trusting in their own strengths and taking their own advice when necessary.

Listening in on Shin's conversation with DaiZyuJin, however, has caused Pepper to harbor greater insecurity, which led her to temporarily abandon the Shin Avengers and view them as the real villains, even to the point of making the ludicrous accusation that Shin deliberately orchestrated the Superhero Infinity War to justify his boiling hate for her husband. But even after making amends and rejoining the team, her anxiety about Tony had not been truly defeated, only suppressed, just as Tony himself had only temporarily suppressed his own monstrous fear until Wanda reawakened it.

Despite her tremendous heartbreak over the war's penultimate result of her husband's death, Shin was able to talk her out of taking her own life, because Morgan needs her mother more than Pepper ever needed Tony. Shin never wanted to make her feel the same way he does about Iron Man, but to help her conquer her dependency on him to validate her existence and see how the people of Earth need their lives back far more than she wanted her husband back, and he never even tried to make her feel like she was no better than Tony for valuing his life more than the happiness of the people he had been hurting.

After she died, Shin gave her eulogy personally and posthumously pardoned her after her mistakes fueled by her internal war with her conflicting emotions.

Peter Parker

Feeling guilty for letting her husband put the wall-crawler through so much suffering, Pepper has to mentally restrain herself from rebuking Peter Parker, directly; though she has tried at times to insist that Shin must instill some measure of the "tough love" Tony Stark showed his former apprentice, in spite of Shin's firm belief that doing so will put him on the same dangerous path that Tony had taken.

After the Tyrant of Steel had finally been destroyed, Peter helped Shin talk Pepper out of killing herself by reminding her that she proved that she is not worthless without Tony; that the Shin Avengers proved that Earth is far from defenseless without its disgraced former protector. Although he was visibly devastated at her death, Peter refused to agree with Iron Majin that Pepper died because of Shin, and helped make sure the evil devil-god would die for dishonoring her memory.

Morgan Stark

The tyranny of Iron Majin put Pepper in a grossly difficult position to explain her husband's horrific actions to her daughter. She was just as desperate to convince Morgan as she was to convince herself that she is nothing without Tony Stark, even if it meant the world would suffer endlessly under Iron Majin's rule. When Pepper came back from the Tokuverse, Morgan, despite having finally opened her eyes to the damage Tony caused, sounded quite anxious when asking her mom if her dad is going to live, and the only response she could give her daughter was that Tony will finally be held responsible for his actions. It was only when Shin asked Pepper how he would have to explain her death to Morgan if she killed herself out of grief, did she finally find the strength to move on from Tony. Morgan does not blame Shin for the deaths of her parents, as the war was implied to have had the effect of making her grow up too quickly, and goes on to live with his family as the last truly good thing the Starks created despite their ruined legacy.

Iron Maiden

Pepper earned herself Iron Maiden's hatred when she ended her subordination to Iron Majin by becoming a Shin Avenger. When Pepper ended the evil robot's life, Iron Maiden taunts Pepper that Tony will never change, even for her.

Trivia

  • The name Ironheart actually belongs to Riri Williams in the comics.
  • Pepper's arc in Marvel VS Toei Tokuverse embodies the story's theme of ending a toxic relationship because the offender has deliberately violated a traditionally idealistic standard of heroism/friendship/familial ties, often under the excuse of being a victim of circumstance(or committed some other (emotionally) devastating act of betrayal). Shin also had a similar arc with his father, but Pepper's was more of an existential crisis, as she was seemingly putting Tony's survival and her love for him ahead of her teammates, their efforts to achieve justice for his victims, and possibly even the fate of the world. This leads some villains such as Iron Maiden to mock her as being a danger to everyone around her and even herself, like her husband was and still is.
    • The theme of her being hated for being of the Stark family that ultimately caused more harm than good culminates tragically with her death at the hand of the true Iron Majin, somewhat echoing Masato Jin in Go-Busters' finale.
      • But despite GokaiWhite feeling he had to kill off Ironheart Rescue to add credibility to his story and the themes he wishes to portray, he wanted to avoid what is dubbed a "Hollywood death", by making her death happen suddenly and unexpectedly, and looked to notes by Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase on how to "do it right".[1]
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