Iron Man

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See Marvel Comics * List of Marvel Comics characters *List of Iron Man enemies *Alternate versions of Iron Man *Iron Man in other media

See also *Iron Man Gallery *Iron Man Store

Iron Man Movie poster For more Comic Book Movie Posters
Iron Man Movie poster For more Comic Book Movie Posters

Contents

Fast Facts

  • Alter ego Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark
  • Team affiliations: Avengers, Mighty Avengers, New Avengers, West Coast Avengers, Illuminati, S.H.I.E.L.D., Force Works, Department of Defense
  • Notable aliases Cobalt Man, Iron Knight
  • Abilities Genius-level intelligence, Cyberpathic link with powered armor, Possesses the Reality Gem, Skilled hand-to-hand combatant,
  • Powers armor grants:
  • Super-strength
  • Flight
  • Energy blasts
  • Known Relatives: Howard (father, deceased), Maria (mother, deceased), Morgan (cousin)
  • Place of birth: Long Island, New York
  • Height: 6' 1" (185 cm)
  • Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Hair: Black

Strength level: Without his armor Tony Stark possesses the normal strength of a normal human man his age, height, and build who engages in moderate regular exercise. His armor magnifies Stark strength to superhuman levels, enabling him to lift (press) roughly 85 times.

Publication History

Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963): Iron Man debuts. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck.
Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963): Iron Man debuts. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck.

Iron Man (Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark) is a comic book superhero in the Marvel Comics universe. Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963).

Iron Man's premiere was a collaboration among editor and story-plotter Lee, scripter Lieber, story-artist Heck, who would illustrate most of the early Iron Man tales, and Kirby, who provided the cover pencils and designed the first Iron Man armor. Heck created the look of characters including protagonist Tony Stark and his secretary, Pepper Potts. Lee based Stark's personality on Howard Hughes, explaining, "Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-millionaire, a ladies man and finally a nutcase."

Iron Man was originally an anti-communist hero. Throughout the character’s comic book series, technological advancement and national defense were constant themes for Iron Man, but later issues developed Stark into a more complex and vulnerable character as they depicted his battle with alcoholism and other personal difficulties.

Iron Man #128 cover featuring Tony Stark as he deals with alcoholism.
Iron Man #128 cover featuring Tony Stark as he deals with alcoholism.

Iron Man first appeared in 13 to 18 page stories in Tales of Suspense, with other stories featuring anthology science fiction and supernatural stories. Iron Man's costume was originally a bulky grey armor, but was redesigned as golden armor in his second story (issue #40, April 1963), and then redesigned again as a sleek red-and-golden armor starting in issue #48 (Dec. 1963), drawn by Steve Ditko (though whether he or Kirby, singly or in collaboration, designed it, is uncertain).

From issue #59 (Nov. 1964) to its final issue #99 (March 1968), Tales of Suspense replaced the second anthology story with the continuing stories of Captain America. After issue #99 (March 1968), the book's title was changed to Captain America. Iron Man stories were moved to the title Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1 (April 1968), and then debuted in his own title with The Invincible Iron Man #1 (May 1968).

Writers often portrayed Iron Man as a symbol of humanity's creativity as well as its frailties. He was often placed in contrast with his close friends Captain America and Thor, the former as a contrast between interventionist and cooperative attitudes, and the latter contrasting science and the supernatural. Throughout most of his career, Iron Man has been a member of the superhero team the Avengers, and has been featured in several incarnations of his own various comic-book series.

Character Biography

Anthony Stark was born in Long Island, New York. A boy genius, he entered the undergraduate electrical engineering program at MIT at the age of 15 and graduated at the top of his class. At 21, he inherited his father's company, Stark Industries, after his parents were killed in a car accident. One of the first projects was to buy the company that made the faulty brakes on his parents' car and correct the mechanical problem.

In the first version of his origin, Stark was visiting Vietnam (later updated to the Gulf War, and then later updated again to Afghanistan) to observe his new mini-transistors assisting the American war effort. Stark was injured by a booby trap and captured by a Vietnamese warlord named Wong Chu. Dying from a piece of shrapnel lodged in his heart, Stark was ordered to build weapons for Wong Chu, along with a fellow prisoner, the famed physicist Yin Sen (later called Ho Yinsen). However, Stark and Yin Sen used the workshop to secretly design and construct a suit of powered armor — an iron exoskeleton that saved Stark's life by keeping his heart beating. It also gave him tremendous strength which facilitated his escape. Yin Sen sacrificed himself to buy Stark time to charge the bulky suit of armor, and as Iron Man, Stark killed Wong Chu and his men. On the way back, Iron Man encountered a wounded American Air Force helicopter pilot, Jim Rhodes. Iron Man Introduced himself as Stark's bodyguard, and he and Rhodes defended themselves against the pursuing North Vietnamese before returning to American lines. On his return to the U.S., Stark continued to improve the armor, establishing a dual identity as the adventurer and superhero, Iron Man. He also greatly expanded his father's company, Stark Industries, eventually renaming it Stark International.

The cover for Iron Man is that he is Stark's bodyguard and corporate mascot. To that end, Iron Man fights threats to his company, Communist opponents such as the Black Widow, the Crimson Dynamo and the Titanium Man as well as independent villains like the Mandarin. Both the Widow and the Dynamo eventually defect to the United States, and even erstwhile villain Hawkeye, originally a pawn of the Widow, reforms and joins the Avengers. No one suspects Stark of being Iron Man as he cultivates an image as a rich playboy and industrialist. Two notable members of Stark's supporting cast at this point are his personal chauffeur Harold "Happy" Hogan and secretary Virginia "Pepper" Potts, to both of whom he eventually reveals his dual identity. Meanwhile, Jim Rhodes would find his own niche as Stark's personal pilot of extraordinary skill and daring.

The comic took an anti-Communist stance in its early years, which was softened as opposition rose to the Vietnam War. This change evolved in a series of stories with Stark profoundly reconsidering his political opinions and the morality of manufacturing weapons for the military. Stark, however, often shows himself to be occasionally arrogant and willing to let the ends justify the means. This leads to personal conflicts with the people around him, both in his civilian and superhero identities.

Stark has a vast personal fortune, and is also known as a philanthropist. He donates the use of his boyhood manor as Avengers Mansion, and funds the Avengers' operations through the Maria Stark Foundation, a non-profit organization named after his late mother. The Foundation is not linked to any of Stark's businesses, and has continued to operate even when those businesses have failed. Stark also provides technology to other superheroes, including designing various replacement shields for Captain America, the Quinjets used by the Avengers, the image inducers used by the X-Men and Spider-Man's second armored costume.

Eventually, Stark's heart condition was discovered by the public and cured with an artificial heart transplant. However, Stark also developed a serious dependency on alcohol. The first time it became a problem was when Stark discovered that the national security agency S.H.I.E.L.D. had been buying a controlling interest in his company in order to ensure Stark's continued weapons development for them. At the same time, Stark's business rival Justin Hammer hired several supervillains to attack Stark. At one point, the Iron Man armor was even taken over and used to murder a diplomat. Although Iron Man was not immediately under suspicion, Stark was forced to hand the armor over to the authorities. Eventually Stark and Rhodes, who was now his personal pilot and confidant, tracked down and defeated those responsible, although Hammer would return to bedevil Stark again. With the support of his then-girlfriend, Bethany Cabe, his friends and his employees, Stark pulled through these crises and overcame his dependency on alcohol.

Fortune Lost

Some time later, a ruthless rival, Obadiah Stane, manipulates him emotionally into a serious relapse. As a result, Stark loses control of Stark International, becomes a homeless vagrant and gives up his armored identity to Rhodes, who becomes the new Iron Man for a lengthy period of time. Eventually, Stark recovers and starts a new company, Circuits Maximus. While Stark concentrates on new technological designs, Rhodes continues to act as Iron Man but steadily grows more aggressive and paranoid. Rhodes's problems are initially thought to be the result of his using armors whose cerebral interfaces are calibrated for Stark's brain, but are later revealed to be purely psychological in nature. Rhodes goes on a rampage, and Stark has to don a prototype suit to stop him. When Circuits Maximus comes under assault from Stane, Stark uses the completed next-generation armor to confront Stane in personal combat. Stark's skill proves superior over Stane's unpracticed use of his own variant suit (known as the Iron Monger) and Stark regains his company when Stane commits suicide rather than be captured.


Armor Wars

In an attempt to stop other people from misusing his designs, Stark goes about disabling other armored heroes and villains who are using suits based on the Iron Man technology, the designs of which were stolen by his enemy Spymaster. However, these "Armor Wars" have tragic consequences, when he inadvertently causes the death of the Soviet Titanium Man. He also severely hurts his reputation as Iron Man by disabling the armor of the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives known as the Mandroids, disabling the armor of the Guardsmen (the Guardsmen were the guards of the supervillain detention center known as the Vault, and Iron Man's actions lead to a small prison breakout), and defeating the government operative known as Stingray in battle. The situation is worsened when Stark realizes that Stingray's armor does not incorporate any of his designs.

This also leads to a falling out between Stark and Steve Rogers (who at the time has given up his Captain America identity). Rogers, while agreeing with Stark's motives, disapproves of his heavy-handed methods, considering them reckless and dangerous. The United States government declares Iron Man a danger when he goes after their Stark-derived Guardsmen suits and Iron Man is hunted down. Stark eventually fakes Iron Man's demise and claims that a new person is in the armor. Tony also patches up his friendship with Steve Rogers.

However, Stark's health continues to deteriorate, and it is discovered that the armor's cybernetic interface is causing irreversible damage to his nervous system. His condition is aggravated by a failed attempt on his life by a mentally unbalanced former lover which injures his spine, paralyzing him. Stark has a nerve chip implanted into his spine to regain his mobility, but this makes his body vulnerable to outside control, even though his mind is unaffected. With Rhodes's help, and using the cybernetically controlled Iron Man armor to move his remotely controlled body, he eventually defeats the villain responsible.

Still, Stark's nervous system continues its slide towards failure, and he constructs a "skin" made up of artificial nerve circuitry to assist it. Stark also begins to pilot a remote-controlled Iron Man armor, but when faced with the Masters of Silence, the telepresence suit proves inadequate. Stark then designs a more heavily armed version of the suit to wear, the "Variable Threat Response Battle Suit", which becomes known as the War Machine armor.

Ultimately, the damage to his nervous system becomes too extensive. Faking his death, Stark places himself in suspended animation to heal as Rhodes takes over the running of Stark Enterprises and the mantle of Iron Man using the War Machine armor. Stark ultimately makes a full recovery by using a chip to reprogram himself and reassumes the Iron Man identity. When Rhodes learns that Stark has manipulated his friends by faking his own death, he becomes enraged and the two friends part ways, Rhodes continuing as War Machine in a solo career.

A schism within the Avengers following the events of the Kree-Shi'ar War (Operation: Galactic Storm) and the later Bloodties storyline leads to a difference of opinion regarding the future of the Avengers' west coast branch. Iron Man leaves the team and forms a new superhero group, Force Works, funded by Tony Stark and composed of ex-Avengers. However, tensions within that team soon lead to his resignation from it, and Iron Man attempts a reconciliation with the Avengers.

The Crossing and Heroes Reborn

The story arc "The Crossing" reveals Iron Man as a traitor among the Avengers' ranks, due to his having been manipulated for years and used as a sleeper agent by the time-traveling dictator Kang the Conqueror. Stark, in Kang's thrall, kills Marilla, the nanny of Crystal and Quicksilver's daughter Luna, as well as Rita DeMara, the female Yellowjacket, then an ally of the Avengers. (The miniseries Avengers Forever later retcons these events as having been due to the machinations of a disguised Immortus, not Kang, and that the mental control had gone back only a few months).

Needing help to defeat both Stark and the ostensible Kang, the team travels back in time to recruit a teenaged Tony Stark from an alternate timeline to assist them. The young Stark steals an Iron Man suit in order to aid the Avengers against his older self. The sight of his younger self shocks the older Stark enough for him to regain momentary control of his actions, and he sacrifices his life to stop Kang. The young Stark later builds his own suit to become the new Iron Man, and, remaining in the present day, gains legal control of "his" company.

During the battle with the creature called Onslaught, the teenaged Stark dies, along with many other superheroes. However, Franklin Richards preserves these "dead" heroes in the "Heroes Reborn" pocket universe, in which Tony Stark is once again an adult hero; Franklin recreates the heroes in the pocket universe in the forms he is most familiar with rather than what they are at the present. The reborn adult Stark, upon returning to the normal Marvel Universe, merges with the original Stark, who had died during "The Crossing," but was resurrected by Franklin Richards. This new Tony Stark possesses the memories of both the original and teenage Tony Starks, and thus considers himself to be essentially both of them. With the aid of the law firm Nelson & Murdock, he successfully regains his fortune and- what with Stark Enterprises having been sold to the Fujikawa Corporation following Stark's death- sets up a new company, Stark Solutions. He also returns from the pocket universe with a restored and healthy heart. After the Avengers reform, Stark demands a hearing be convened to look into his actions just prior to the Onslaught incident. Cleared of wrongdoing, he rejoins the Avengers.


2000s

At one point, Stark's armor itself becomes sentient, despite fail-safes to prevent its increasingly sophisticated computer systems from doing so. Stark's safeguards are corrupted accidentally when he uses the armor to download the mind of the android Jocasta to save her, resulting in her becoming his holographic personal physician/psychologist due to Stark programming her with various medical and surgical techniques. Jocasta is the creation of the rogue android Ultron, and unknown even to her, embedded in all of Ultron's creations is the Ultron Imperative, a command that would compel them to rebuild Ultron whenever he is destroyed. The Ultron Imperative acts like a Trojan horse, infecting the armor's on-board systems. Combined with an electrical attack by the villain Whiplash that sends Stark into cardiac arrest, it causes the armor's computer to become self-aware. Initially, Stark welcomes this "living" armor, as it has improved tactical abilities, but soon the armor's behavior begins to grow more aggressive, and it even commits murder. Eventually, the armor reaches the point where it wants to join with Stark and eventually replace him, like Ultron wishes to do with his creator Henry Pym.

Stark finds he cannot defeat the armor, but in the final confrontation on a desert island, Stark suffers another heart attack. To save its creator's life, the armor gives up part of its components to give Stark a new, artificial heart, sacrificing its own existence. The new heart solves Stark's health problems, but it does not have an internal power supply, so Stark becomes once again dependent on periodic recharging.

The sentient armor incident so disturbs Stark that he goes back to using an early model version of his armor for a while, lacking the sophistication of the sentient version and thus unlikely to result in a repeat of the same problem. He also dabbles with using liquid metal circuitry known as S.K.I.N. that will form itself into a protective shell around his body, but eventually returns to more conventional hard metal armors.

During this time, Stark engages in a romance with Rumiko Fujikawa, (first appearance in Iron Man vol. 3, #4), a wealthy heiress and daughter of the man who had taken over his company during the "Heroes Reborn" period. An intelligent and resourceful woman, she nonetheless begins the relationship in part to rebel against her stern father, who disapproves of Stark. Her relationship with Stark endures many highs and lows, including an infidelity with Stark's rival, Tiberius Stone, in part because the fun-loving Rumiko believes that Stark is too serious and dull. Their relationship ends with Rumiko's death at the hands of an Iron Man impostor in Vol. 3, #87.

In Iron Man vol. 3, #55 (July 2002), Stark publicly reveals his dual identity as Iron Man, not realizing that by doing so, he has invalidated the agreements protecting his armor from government duplication (since those contracts state that the Iron Man armor would be used by an employee of Tony Stark, not by Stark himself). When he discovers that the United States military is again using his technology, Stark, rather than confront them as before, accepts a Presidential appointment as Secretary of Defense. (His predecessor, Dell Rusk, was the Red Skull in disguise). In this way, he hopes to monitor and direct how his designs are used.

Stark continues to act as Iron Man while carrying out his government duties, until being forced to resign after a seemingly drunken tirade against the Latverian Ambassador at the United Nations. The tirade is actually induced by the Scarlet Witch, who has gone insane (see Avengers Disassembled). This incident is part of a series of events culminating in the deaths of three Avengers, the destruction of Avengers Mansion, and the disbanding of the Avengers themselves. In the aftermath, Stark claims publicly he will stand down as Iron Man, although adding, there will "always be an Iron Man".

The "new" Iron Man remains Stark; however, the catastrophic events that preceded this, combined with Stark's assertion, convinces the public that Iron Man and Stark are now different people. Stark leaves the wreckage of Avengers Mansion as it is, and unveils Stark Tower, a state-of-the-art office building that becomes headquarters for the New Avengers team, of which he is a member.

In the "Extremis" story arc by writer Warren Ellis (Iron Man Vol. 4, #1-6), Stark is working on a way to improve the armor's response speed when he is called upon to track Mallen, a terrorist who has ingested the powerful "Extremis" techno-organic virus. This "virus" (actually a neurological information package which alters part of the brain, rather than a tangible virus) turns Mallen into an almost indestructible living weapon, and he subsequently goes on a deadly rampage. After being beaten nearly to death trying to stop him, Stark himself ingests a modified version of Extremis in an effort to save his own life, merging with and directly integrating the armor into his biological systems (see below). In Mighty Avengers #1 Ultron has made use of the Extremis in Tony's body by using it to take over and redesign Tony as a female Ultron.

The miniseries Iron Man: The Inevitable openly addresses the fact that since the new millennium began, Iron Man has not clashed with any of his classic "supervillain" enemies, and reintroduces the Ghost, the Living Laser and Spymaster. Presenting the change in status quo — the focus of Iron Man stories shifting from superhero-ism to political and industrial tales — as Iron Man having elevated himself to a new place in his life where he is "beyond" apprehending supervillains, the miniseries sees a resentful Spymaster conspire to drag Iron Man back to that plebeian level.

Later, after the events of the Civil War, the Mandarin returns as the CEO of Prometheus Tech to unleash Extremis upon the world in aerosol form, most likely killing 97.5% of the world's population yet leaving the surviving 2.5% of the world as invincible immortals.

Civil War

New Avengers: Illuminati #1 (June 2006) reveals that years before, in the wake of the Kree-Skrull War, Stark initiates a meeting at the palace of the Black Panther in Wakanda with Professor X, Mister Fantastic, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Namor to form a clandestine, unnamed group (dubbed the "Illuminati" by Marvel) to devise strategy and policy regarding overarching menaces (Black Panther rejects membership and derides the other heroes for joining). Stark's original goal is to create a governing body for all superheroes in the world to answer to. However, the different beliefs and philosophies, besides the fact that many heroes choose to conceal their real identities, makes Stark's plan impractical. Despite this, the group agrees to share vital information.

Learning of the government's plans to instigate a Superhuman Registration Act that would force costumed, super-powered individuals to reveal their identities to the government and sign on as licensed agents, Iron Man at first seeks to defeat the proposal, even going to such lengths as to hire the Titanium Man to attack the hearing on the act as he testifies in order to manipulate opinion in his favor. However, at some point, Tony Stark's opinion of the Act changes, seeing it as a new means to achieve the goal that he had sought in forming the "Illuminati", and to tie the knots of friendship between ordinary humans and superheroes. He attempts to convince the other members of the clandestine group to support the new Act, stating that their input could prevent the Act from becoming too restrictive of superhuman activities, but all except Mr. Fantastic and Namor reject the idea of registration.

In Civil War, a battle in Stamford, Connecticut between the New Warriors and several supervillains kills several hundred bystanders, including 60 children, and most of the participants. This disaster turns public opinion against superhumans and fast-tracks the Act into law. Stark comes out publicly in support of the Act, but the new law splits the hero community in two. Stark becomes the leader and public face of the pro-registration side. In his first major public action as a supporter of registration, he again unmasks as Iron Man (Civil War: Front Line #1), and convinces Spider-Man to ally with him and do the same. Spider-Man, after growing uneasy with the overzealous righteousness of Stark's cause, later defects to the Anti-Registration forces after learning about a prison in the Negative Zone that has been designed to hold Anti-Registration heroes. These heroes and Iron Man's forces eventually meet in a climactic battle that ends when Captain America, dismayed with the collateral damage and realizing his actions weren't bringing the end to the act any closer, stands down.

In Civil War #7, Stark is appointed the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D.[5] and his book has the subtitle "Director of S.H.I.E.L.D." to reflect this. He has, as of Mighty Avengers #1, built for him a version of the Helicarrier, designed to look more like the Iron Man Armor with the familiar red and gold design. He also revives the Avengers.

Shortly after the events of Civil War, Captain America is killed on the steps of the courthouse for his trial. Despite his fervent belief in the registration act, Tony Stark looks down on the body of Captain America stating that most of what he had done in the name of the law "wasn't worth it" stating later at Captain America's funeral that "it wasn't supposed to be this way".


World War Hulk

Before the Civil War, Iron Man and several other members of the secret group known as the Illuminati deemed the Hulk a threat to the Earth due to the destruction which accompanies his rampages. The Illuminati lured the Hulk into a space vessel and launched him into space in order to provide him a location where his power would not destroy innocent lives. World War Hulk follows his return, and revenge upon Iron Man and the Illuminati.

Iron Man #9 featuring the Hulk vs Iron Man. Iron Man has a long history battling the Hulk over the years.
Iron Man #9 featuring the Hulk vs Iron Man. Iron Man has a long history battling the Hulk over the years.

Iron Man is the first hero on Earth to confront the Hulk upon his return. Using a modified Hulkbuster armor, he engages the Hulk in combat in Manhattan (which Stark had SHIELD evacuate). Iron Man attempts to use specially designed nanobots to deactivate the Hulk's powers, but is unsuccessful due to the nanobots being sabotaged beforehand by a member of the Initiative. Both his new Hulkbuster armor and Stark Tower are destroyed in the ensuing battle. As of World War Hulk #3, he is being held in Madison Square Garden arena. He manages to contact Dugan via Extremis and tell him of a last resort plan to prevent the Hulk from attacking the rest of the world by sending the whole of Manhattan into the Negative Zone that would kill himself, the Hulk, the Warbound, and all heroes and agents within. He trusts Dugan to know if and when to execute the plan. He is later seen without his armor fighting alongside his fellow Illuminati members in the arena, taking down a gigantic tentacle monster. After that battle, the Hulk forces Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic to battle via the obedience disks implanted into them. Mr. Fantastic defeats Iron Man, and the Hulk orders him to kill Stark, but reneges at the last second to prove his moral superiority over the Iluminati's supposedly murderous tactics. However, the explosion that destroyed Sakaar and the reason Hulk came to Earth turned out to be the fault of the Red King and Miek, clearing the Illuminati.

Secret Invasion

Main article: Secret Invasion

After Tony Stark survives an encounter with Ultron taking over his body, he is confronted in the hospital by Spider-Woman, holding the corpse of a Skrull posing as Elektra. Becoming keenly aware of the upcoming invasion of the Skrulls, Tony has Spider-Woman join his Avengers, hoping that the move will throw the Skrulls off balance, exposing themselves.

Later, Tony gathers the Illuminati and reveals the corpse to them, declaring they're at war. After Black Bolt reveals himself as a Skrull and is killed by Namor, a squadron of Skrulls attack, forcing Tony to evacuate the area of the other Illuminati members and destroys the area, killing all the Skrulls. Realizing they're incapable of trusting each other, the members all separate to form individual plans for the oncoming war.

Soon after, a "Venom virus" hits New York, causing New York citizens and superheroes to be covered in symbiotes. After the battle, Iron Man learns the virus came from Latveria and launches a full-scale assault on its monarch, Doctor Doom. During the battle, Doom, Iron Man, and the Sentry are transported through time via Doom's broken time platform. Doom and Stark form an alliance in an attempt to return to the proper time without being seen or causing any actions that could alter their future and try to find a way to get a hold of the time platform at the Fantastic Four's headquarters. Thanks to the Sentry's memory spell, which erased knowledge of his existence from the minds of the public, they are able to return to the present and later on capture Doom and send him to the Negative Zone prison. Soon after, all of Stark's technology is jeopardized by the Skrull empire as a part of their invasion, causing Stark to rebuild his armor from scratch to fight back. Stark must also deal with the murderous yet genius Ezekiel Stane, son of Obadiah Stane.

While in the Savage Land with the Mighty Avengers, Iron Man's armor is compromised and he goes to the Mutate's base to build himself a new set of armor. While he is there, Spider-Woman shows up, praising Stark for his efforts and informing him that he is a Skrull sleeper agent named Kr'Ali. It is later proven that Veranke was lying about Iron Man being a Skrull, when Mr. Fantastic finds a way to reveal Skrulls for who they are. Iron Man then returns to New York and leads both teams of Avengers, The Thunderbolts, the Hood's supervillains,and several other heroes into battle against the Skrulls. However, once the battle has been won by the heroes of Earth, Iron Man is blamed for the catastrophic events and shunned by those who had fought alongside him in previous years. S.H.I.E.L.D. is deconstructed, removing Stark from the title of Director by default.

Powers and abilities

Iron Man possesses powered armor that gives him superhuman strength and durability, flight, and an array of weapons. The armor is invented and, with occasional short-term exceptions, worn by Tony Stark, an American industrialist billionaire and military contractor known not only for his lifestyle, but also for his incredible ingenuity and inventive genius. Other people who have assumed the Iron Man identity include long time partner and best friend James Rhodes, close associates Harold "Happy" Hogan, Eddie March, and (briefly) Michael O'Brien.

Iron Man's appearance and abilities have changed over time, as Stark modified and upgraded his equipment, most notably his powered armor. The Iron Man armor was originally grey, but Stark found that this appearance frightened the public, so he spray-painted it gold (Tales of Suspense #40). This bulky armor was changed in Tales of Suspense #48 into a more form-fitting design, sporting a red and gold color scheme that it has mostly retained since. One notable exception is the "Silver Centurion" armor, with a red and silver color scheme, created for use against Obadiah Stane's Iron Monger suit and retained until the end of the first Armor Wars.

Iron Man's powers and abilities derive from the advanced powered armor that he wears. The armor has evolved from a bulky iron suit to a molecularly aligned matrix of crystallized iron enhanced by magnetic fields over layers of other metals like titanium, creating a shell that is pliable, yet capable of great resilience and protection. The suit grants him superhuman strength and flight capabilities, and is powered by a combination of solar converters, electrical batteries and an on-board generator that uses beta particle absorption as a fuel source. The suit is also able to convert nearby energy sources, such as heat or kinetic energy into electricity, or even drain electrical energy directly into the batteries for recharge. Tony also adds jet skates that are now so powerful Iron Man could skate forward towing an entire train behind him. Miniature panes can protect Iron Man's eyes when needed. In addition, the suit can be completely sealed for operations in vacuum or underwater, providing its own life support, and is shielded against radiation.

The onboard systems of the armor are controlled by Tony Stark's brain patterns, read from a cybernetic interface in his helmet. Sophisticated computers with an artificially intelligent operating system of Stark's own design provide tactical information as well as constant feedback on the suit's status, using internal and external sensors. As noted above, Stark has tried to put safeguards in to make sure that the systems do not actually achieve sentience, although these were once circumvented.

The weapons systems of the suit have evolved over the years, but Iron Man's standard offensive weapons have always been the repulsor rays that are fired from the palms of his gauntlets. Other weapons built into various incarnations of the armor include the uni-beam projector in its chest; pulse bolts that pick up kinetic energy along the way, so that they hit harder the further they have to travel; an electromagnetic pulse generator and an energy shield. Other capabilities include generation of ultra-freon, creating and manipulating of magnetic fields, sonic blasts and a holographic generator to create decoys.

In addition to the general-purpose model he wears, Stark has developed several specialized suits for space travel, deep-sea diving, stealth and other situations. Stark has modified suits like the "Hulkbuster" heavy armor, composed of add-ons to his so-called modular armor, designed to enhance its strength and durability to allow it to take on the Incredible Hulk. A later model designed for use against Thor is modeled on the Destroyer and uses a mystical power source. Stark also develops an electronics pack during the Armor Wars that, when attached to armors that use Stark technology, will burn out those components and render the suit useless. This pack is ineffective on later models, however.

After being critically injured during a battle with the Extremis-enhanced Mallen, Stark injects his nervous system with a modified techno-organic virus (the extremis process) that not only saves his life, but also fuses Stark's armor to his body. This allows him to store the inner layers of the Iron Man armor in the hollows of his bones as well as control it through direct brain impulses. Stark can control the layer of the armor underneath his skin and make it emerge from numerous exit points around his limbs as a gold-colored neural interface under-sheath. While in this form, Stark can control the armor cyberpathically and suit up at any time, even if the armor is 100 miles away. Furthermore, the Extremis process has increased his body's recuperative and healing abilities. He is also able to remotely connect to external communications systems such as satellites, cellular phones, and computers throughout the world. Because the armor's operating system is now directly connected to Stark's nervous system, its response time has been significantly improved. Stark also has a "phera-sense" which he gained by using information he garnered from the analysis of Spider-Man's neurophysiology by the "Spider-Armor" Stark gave him and uses this to not only create his own 'spider-sense' but can also neutralize Spider-Man's and create "false positives" in Spider-Man's spider-sense.


Skills

Apart from the powers granted him by the suit, Stark is an inventive genius while his alcoholism is under control, constantly creating new technology and looking for ways to improve it. This extends to his ingenuity dealing with difficult foes and deathtraps, where he is capable of using his suit in unorthodox and effective ways. He is well-respected in the business world, able to command people's attention when he speaks on economic matters. He is known for the loyalty he commands from and returns to those who work for him, as well as impeccable business ethics. He also strives to be environmentally responsible in his businesses, and in two cases, immediately fired employees who made profitable but illegal sales to Doctor Doom and A.I.M in a safe-guard to prevent lawsuit.

When Stark was unable to use his armor for a period of time, he asked Captain America for combat training and has become physically formidable on his own.


Bibliography

  • Tales of Suspense #39-99 (March 1963 - March 1968)
  • Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner (April 1968)
  • Iron Man Vol. 1, #1-332 (May 1968 - Sept. 1996)
  • Iron Man Annual #1-15 (1970-1994)
  • Iron Man Annual '98-2001
  • Giant-Size Iron Man (1975)
  • Iron Man: Crash (1988)
  • Iron Manual (1993)
  • Iron Man 2020 (Aug. 1994)
  • Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man (Feb. 1996)
  • Iron Man Vol. 2, #1-13 (Nov. 1996 - Nov. 1997)
  • Iron Man Vol. 3, #1-89 (Feb. 1998 - Dec. 2004)
  • Iron Man: The Iron Age #1-2 (Aug.- Sept. 1998)
  • Iron Man: Bad Blood #1-4 (Sept.- Dec. 2000)
  • Iron Man Vol. 4, #1 - (Jan. 2005 - Present)
  • Ultimate Iron Man Vol. 1: #1-5 (Mar. 2005 - Dec. 2005)
  • Ultimate Iron Man Vol. 2: #1-4 (Dec. 2007 - Mar. 2008)
  • Iron Man: The Inevitable #1-6 (Feb. 2006 - July 2006)
  • Iron Man: Hypervelocity #1-6 (March 2007 - Aug. 2007)
  • Marvel Adventures: Iron Man #1- (May 2007- Present)
  • Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1-6 (Sep. 2007 - March 2008)
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