Ivan has been seeking revenge against the Stark empire ever since. While sitting in one of his hot rods in his basement, Tony nearly collapses and is discovered by Rhodes who tells him that this isn't a good look for him.
Rhodes also tells him that he's been battling with the Pentagon by stopping them from coming to his Malibu house and taking his suits to be used for weaponized purposes.
Tony is then preparing for what he believes will be his last birthday party. He asks Natalie what she would do if this were her last birthday party. Natalie responds that she'd do whatever she wanted with whoever she wanted to do it with. While at the party, Tony is extremely drunk and wearing the Iron Man suit.
Tony is making a fool of himself and telling the huge crowd at the party what it's really like to be Iron Man and wearing the armor. In the background, Pepper and Rhodes are discussing that he's gone way off the deep end.
Rhodes tells Pepper that he's tired of dealing with the Pentagon and the Senate Armed Forces Committee. Rhodes, finally having enough of Tony's antics, goes and dons one of the in-development Iron Man suits.
He then challenges Tony to a fight, where Tony has the in-house DJ play some good background tunes. The battle ends in a stalemate and Rhodey flies off in the Mark II armor, delivering it to military authorities at Edwards Air Force Base. Justin Hammer is later invited to study the suit himself and provides them with advanced weapons to arm it with.
The next day, he's at the famous Los Angeles landmark doughnut shop Randy's Doughnuts, sitting in the Iron Man suit atop the famous giant plastered doughnut. Disgraced and hungover, Stark is approached by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D who tells Stark that the problems he's having with the government and his drunken Iron Man antics?
That is the least of his worries, he's got bigger problems to deal with in the Southwest region. Tony wonders if Fury and the "Avengers Initiative" is real, and Fury reassures Tony that it's real, and that he knew Howard Stark very well, in fact Howard Stark was one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, And Logistics Division), the agency he works for.
They are joined by agent Phil Coulson and Natalie Rushman, whom Fury reveals is, Natasha Romanoff, an undercover operative of SHIELD, planted to monitor Tony himself.
A hungover Tony is stunned at this revelation and fires Natalie/Natasha, but she then tells Tony that it's none of his business and that he's under investigation from S.H.I.E.L.D., and she and agent Coulson are there to make sure Tony follows orders and doesn't screw up.
She injects Tony with a serum that slows the symptoms of his palladium poisoning significantly, giving him the time to find an alternate element to keep him alive. Fury provides Tony with a chest of his father's old artifacts that can hopefully be used to find a cure for his condition.
Tony resists further attempts from S.H.I.E.L.D. interference, but Agent Coulson reassures Tony that he's not going anywhere until Tony finds the answers that he's seeking about his heart.