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An Iron Man mask showed up at MIT Monday.
An Iron Man mask showed up at MIT Monday.Luis Edgardo Cotto

It looks like Iron Man returned to his alma mater this week.

Props from the Marvel universe were spotted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s campus Monday, just days after the blockbuster film “Captain America: Civil War” was released in theaters, dividing comic book fans into two camps: Team Iron Man or Team Captain America.

People spotted a large Iron Man mask covering the head of the white “Alchemist” sculpture that sits along Mass. Ave. at MIT’s campus, while others found what appeared to be Captain America’s shield resting on a ledge of the school’s Great Dome.

The items may have been part of an end-of-the-year “hack,” when MIT students quietly place humorous or thought-provoking objects somewhere on school grounds for the rest of the community to ponder.

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It’s been long known that Tony Stark, the fictional character behind the Iron Man suit in the film version of the Marvel universe, is an MIT graduate. Stark, who is played by actor Robert Downey Jr., is billed as a boy genius who attended the school as a teenager and later graduated at the top of his class (MIT doesn’t actually rank its students, according to the school’s admissions blog, so that tidbit is as fictional as the iron suit itself).

Marvel’s official website claims that Iron Man studied electrical engineering at MIT, and graduated with two master’s degrees by the time he was 19.

In 2008, when the first Iron Man film was released, Stark could be seen wearing a “Brass Rat,” the official ring worn by MIT graduates.

Luis Edgardo Cotto, executive director of Egleston Square Main Street, took a photo of the Iron Man mask as he biked from his home in Cambridge toward Boston.

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“I haven’t actually seen [the movie],” he said. “But I’m team Black Panther. And he’s with Iron Man.”

Cotto said the mask’s presence was short-lived. It had been removed from the sculpture by the time he returned to Cambridge late Monday night.

“They did a great job with that,” he said.

In another twist with local ties, Chris Evans, who plays Captain America in the films based on the comic books, is a Massachusetts native.


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.