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- "Anton...what have you done?"
"What any man would do in my position. Don't act so shocked, Howard. You should know better than anyone... It's all about money."
- ―Howard Stark and Anton Vanko
Anton Vanko was a Soviet scientist who used to be partners with Howard Stark at Stark Industries. They created the first Arc Reactor together. Anton Vanko is Ivan Vanko's father. Right after Anton's death, Ivan started creating the first Whiplash armor.
Anton Vanko was born in the Soviet Union and grew up to become a brilliant scientist. In 1946, he was working for Stark Industries in a New York facility. When Peggy Carter discovered that one of Howard Stark's formulas had been weaponized, she and Edwin Jarvis took a difused version of that weapon to Anton Vanko. He concluded that Roxxon Oil Corporation could be one of few candidates capable of producing the weapon. He also added that the Nitramene emitted Vita Radiation. 
Together, Vanko and Howard Stark worked on developing the Arc Reactor technology under the title of 'The Unity Project'. However, they had an ideological disagreement. Anton wanted to use the research to make money, while Howard wanted to help humanity with it. In 1967, it was discovered that Anton Vanko was guilty of espionage. Howard Stark took credit for all the Arc Reactor research and Anton was deported back to the U.S.S.R.. Because Anton couldn't develop the technology on his own for the Soviet Union, he was sent to Siberia for 15 years. He was able to return to Moscow following Premier Gorbachev’s call for democratization in January 1987, where he raised his son Ivan Vanko.
Death and Legacy
Years into his exile and slow downward spiral, Vanko was bitter and claimed before his death that it should be Ivan Vanko in Tony Stark's position being adored by the media, living a luxurious lifestyle, telling Ivan to use what he had been taught. After Anton's death, Ivan began constructing the Whiplash armor and plotting his revenge against Stark.
- Master Engineer: Anton Vanko worked as one of the leading scientists of Stark Industries. Edwin Jarvis and Peggy Carter sought his help to determine the properties of the then recently weaponized Nitramene, and Vanko displayed detailed knowledge of it despite being one of Howard Stark's experimental formulas. Over the years, he worked closely with Stark, co-developing a large-scale Arc Reactor.
- Multilingualism: Vanko speaks fluently in both Russian and English.
- Ivan Vanko † - Son
- In the comics, there are two characters named Anton Vanko, who were both enemies of Iron Man. One's alter ego was the Crimson Dynamo. The other's alter ego was Whiplash. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Whiplash is Anton's son, Ivan. Crimson Dynamo appears in the non-canon video games Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3 - The Official Game. In the former his real name is General Valentin Shatalov, while in the latter he is an unidentified Russian officer. This version of Anton Vanko is more similar to Igor Vanko.
- Vanko defected to the United States in 1963, the year in which Crimson Dynamo first appeared in the comics.