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Wednesday, May 1, 2013




Created by: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Don Heck and Larry Lieber  First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 (1963)

Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark is a technological futuristic genius who is easily considered one of the smartest men on the planet. He first created his armor to give him the power to fight off terrorists and to keep his damaged heart beating. Soon, he would constantly change or upgrade his armor to keep ahead of the times and to defeat his ever-growing list of enemies. Today, Iron Man has become one of the most respected and trusted superheroes of the world that all the heroes and government officials (including Nick Fury and Captain America) have come to admire and value his intelligence. So much in fact that he even became the leader of the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. for a while.
Exactly who Tony Stark might be without his armor is difficult to say. While he is extremely charismatic, charming, upbeat and kind-hearted, Stark is also a suave playboy that boarders on the narcissistic. And unlike most of his heroic peers who keep a low-profile out of costume, Stark is an "A-list" celebrity who manufactures and sells weapons and revels in the constant attention. This high-profile (but slightly sinister) occupation from someone who wants to bring peace to world can sometimes contradict one another. And unfortunately, Stark is sometimes ambivalent about this role.

So beneath his polished veneer, Tony Stark may be the most complex and troubled of all the Marvel Heroes. Yet, he is a man who is forever fighting to prove that his armor and heart are not hollow and everything he does is for the benefit of mankind. It's always a long battle of attrition within himself and this is the source of his inspiration throughout these great battles. Sure, some of these fights can be argued against (and will be). But for me, Iron Man's most defining moments are when he has to put aside his ego and attitude and find it within himself to press on and do what's right no matter the consequences.

Today, the character of Iron Man is one of the most popular superheroes in the world to the mass-media. With blockbuster movies and a cool look and attitude, there can be no doubt he has come into his own and now walks side by side with the greatest of heroes. His interest and adventures are in high demand and his role is now at the center of the Marvel Universe. So, let's just say, he's a very big deal and that's how Tony Stark likes it. 

See for yourself that despite all his flaws, Tony Stark is a man who will never stop fighting for what he believes in because when he dons the golden armor and becomes Iron Man, he will always be considered... INVINCIBLE... no matter what obstacles he must overcome!

5.) THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #270 - 275 (1991)

Writer: John Bryne  Art: Paul Ryan, Mark Bright and Bob Wiacek

Tony Stark arrives in China accompanied by James Rhodes as Iron Man. The two attend a dinner with Chinese military officials. When a problem arises, Tony tells Rhodes he believes he has no choice but to help out, and tells Rhodes that he will don the armor again convinced whatever problem the Chinese face requires his greater experience with the armor. Unwillingly to let his ailing friend take that risk, Rhodes knocks Tony out and approaches the President who says the problem is Fin Fan Foom and the Mandarin. While Rhodes flies off to battle them, Stark recovers in his hotel room. As Rhodes fights Foom, he is unable to match the dragons great power and gets defeated. Chen Hsu then telepathically speaks to Foom, identifying himself as Foom's captain, and stops him from killing Rhodes. Back in his hotel room, Tony uses a miniature encepalo-link to remotely call and control a spare suit of armor to attack Foom and help Rhodes out. Hsu then sends out a telepathic message to many other dragons, across China, who cast off their human forms and become dragons. At last, after millennia of waiting, they are being called home.
Using his fire-breath and muscular tail, Foom defeats the Iron Man armor, while Rhodes, struggles to get up and help. Mandarin, standing over him, realizes that neither he nor the suit of armor fighting Foom is the real Iron Man. Stark makes his armor connect to a nearby downed power cable in order to crank up his repulsor rays enough to really hurt the dragon. The Mandarin then steps in and brings a mountain down on top of the armor. Twenty minutes later, the suit digs its way back to the surface, to find the situation unchanged. The armor, now takes a beating from Foom and Mandarin, and flies back to Tony Stark. Mandarin, frustrated, is about to kill Rhodes, when dozens of other dragons arrive, to the shock of both of them.
Chen Hsu and the other dragons take human form and try to summon the Mandarin’s rings to them. Summoning all of his strength and control, the Mandarin keeps the rings from sliding off his hands and into the grip of the dragons and battles with them. Finally, Tony Stark as Iron Man flies in and dives into the middle of the dragon hordes and begins tearing things up. The Mandarin eases back and takes the seat near his palace to watch the fight. Rhodes however, is tired of seeing his pal handling the dragons alone. Although his armor is nearly completely disabled after his fight with Fin Fang Foom, he flies forward to offer Tony some assistance. Foom snatches him out of the air and throws him away as if he were a rag doll. Rhodes lands near where the Mandarin has been sitting. He tries to enlist the Mandarin’s aid, but the Mandarin emits a blast of energy that sends Rhodes sailing far across the valley.
The Mandarin still enraged at being betrayed by Chen Hsu, floats back down into the thick of the fray and begins firing off bolts of energy at the dragons. Even Tony is shocked to see himself fighting side by side with his arch-nemesis. Hsu taunts the Mandarin for not having enough power to harness the full potential of the rings. This comment gives Tony an idea as he grabs a hold of the Mandarin’s hands and absorbs the energy of the rings into his gauntlets. This allows him to wield their power more greatly than the Mandarin has ever been able to. Coupling the ring energy with that of his own armor, Tony and the Mandarin emit a column of energy that literally tears loose the fabric of creation. A violent storm erupts that rages for over sixteen hours – concentrated within the crater left behind at the Valley of the Dragons. When all is said and done, the dragons are gone – presumably dead. Rhodes manages to fly back into the valley and finds Tony clinging to a piece of glazed rock with the Mandarin missing. The two heroes, using the last ergs of power in their respective armors return home.

4.) THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #131, 132, and 133 (1979)

Writer: David Michelinie and Bob Layton  Art: Jerry Bingham and Bob Layton

Iron Man has always been considered a Heavyweight within the Marvel hierarchy of power, he isn't quite at the level of a Super-Heavyweight. Yes, he is more than able to go toe-to-toe with the Super-Heavyweights of the world with his technology, but to maintain that level of power output the circumstances have to be absolutely precise. And to stay at that power-level it can be life-threatening as it puts a tremendous strain on his armor and his heart.

Now, when you talk about the preeminent Super-Heavyweights of the comic book world, the Incredible Hulk ranks at the top of the list. This man-monster is considered the most powerful being on Earth and his reputation all over the Marvel Universe is unparalleled. So let's make no mistake about it, Iron Man is fully aware of what the Hulk is capable of. He has known the brute for many years as a friend and teammate who both hold the distinct honor of being founding members of the Avengers. But unfortunately, Iron Man has also known the Hulk as a foe more times than he would like to remember. It should be noted that "Hulk vs Iron Man" is the most frequent encounter between heroes in the Marvel Universe. This match up has occurred more often than even "Hulk vs Thing" has, so nobody should ever question Mr. Stark's dedication to protecting the world. But usually when Iron Man faced off against the Hulk he had a ton of back up with his fellow Avengers at his side... and why not, Tony has always been a cerebral tactician who rarely makes mistakes, especially in combat. But during this memorable encounter with ol' Jade Jaws, Iron Man was all alone and had to dig down deep within himself to stop the brutes rampage, even if it meant his very life...

While out for a drive, Tony Stark and Bethany Cabe find themselves in a traffic jam caused by the Hulk. Tony reluctantly becomes Iron Man to aid the police and National Guard. They are all ineffective against the brute until a child begins to play toys with him, which calms the Hulk down and transforms him back into Bruce Banner. Iron Man then spirits Banner back to his penthouse where Bruce draws up plans for a nuclear-powered regulator that would allow him to control his heart beat preventing transformations into the Hulk. Scott Lang and Erica Sondheim successfully implant the device in Banner's chest. After exposing Banner to the emotional overlord inducement generator, they are convinced that the regulator will keep the Hulk reigned in from now on. However, police arrive at Stark International and threaten to take Banner into custody. Banner tries to flee, but when an officer throws a grenade, the blast causes Banner to transform but instead of turning into the Hulk completely, it's Banner form that adopts the Hulk's persona. 

Tony, Lang, and Sondheim restrain the "Savage" Banner and contact Dr. Maxwell of Gamma Base for help but he has no suggestions. Sondheim finally calms Banner to normal with sound waves and they search for a new cure. However, Banner transforms into the Hulk again and breaks out of his restraints. Iron Man evacuates the area personnel and engages the Hulk in a battle that carries them all over the city. Even though he is frightened, over-matched and unsuccessful in his attempts to stop the brute, The Golden Avenger continues to fight. Eventually, the Hulk slams Tony's favorite Learjet into an incoming vehicle that was thrown at him causing a major explosion which actually momentarily blinds and dazes the brute. Taking advantage of this rare opportunity, Iron Man begins to generate all his power into a single punch which ultimately knocks the Hulk unconscious. However, Iron Man collapses from the effort, completely inert and unable to move. 

With a listener device Tony explains to James Rhodes and others about his plight of being stuck in his armor and running out of oxygen. Lang becomes The Ant-man and travels inside the armor to help out. Although damaged areas of the armor threaten the hero's life, he manages to reattach severed cables which lock the armor down, reviving Tony seconds before he suffocates to death. Ant-Man departs and Iron Man returns to being Tony Stark, but they still have to keep Banner (with his regulator now removed) from the police. Tony cunningly dresses Banner in Hal's janitor jumpsuit, leaving Hal in the Hulk's pants. Rhodes easily smuggles Banner off the site, taking him on a trip back toward the west coast. 

3.) THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #149 and 150 (1981)

Writer: David Michelinie and Bob Layton  Art: John Romita Jr. and Bob Layton

Iron Man saves a Stark International cargo ship from a band of terrorists, then instructs it to turn around and head home without delivering its cargo. Later, Tony holds a meeting with heads of Stark International's plant chiefs and confronts Zurrow about selling electronics to Latveria. Tony soon fires Zurrow. Centuries in the past, Dr. Doom visits Cagliostro to increase his mystical knowledge, then uses his time machine to return to the present. When Doom's servant Hauptman, who secretly hates Doom for slaying his brother, explains that Stark has withdrawn the booster circuits which they need to send Doom back further in time, Doom prepares to deal with Stark. Doom sends a manned attack vehicle to steal the circuits and his agents manage to overcome Iron Man. Tony goes to Latveria to confront Doom and the local military welcome him, being currently led by King Zorba glad to interfere with doom's plans. Iron man heads to the castle and overcomes Doom's robot guard. Iron Man reaches Dr. Doom and battles him, but when they accidentally pause on the time machine platform, Hauptman activates the device and sends them to the past, then smashes the machine stranding them there. 

Iron Man and Doctor Doom find themselves stranded in the past in the kingdom of Camelot. A band of knights of the round table confronts the duo and they skirmish when Dr. Doom refuses to acknowledge their authority, but Iron Man makes Doom agree to go with them to Camelot. The duo present themselves to King Arthur, but Doom's royal pretensions do not impress the king. Doom forces a servant to give him the location of Morgan Le Fay's castle and requests the witch's aid in rescuing his mother from hell. She agrees if Doom will help her kill King Arthur. Using a chip from Excalibur, Le Fay raises an army of undead soldiers with Doom to lead the battle. Iron Man joins King Arthur's forces to combat them and finally drives them away. Doom promises to have revenge on Iron Man someday, but in order to return to their own time they form a temporary truce; with components from their armors they manage to jury-rig a makeshift time machine. After returning home safely they part ways with Doom still vowing for his revenge. 


Writers: David Michelinie, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith, Steve Englehart and Mike Gruenwald  Art: Mark Bright, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith, Al Milgrom, Mike Machlan and Kieron Dwyer

Iron Man’s epic "Armor Wars" vendetta begins when his enemy Force becomes an ally and Tony Stark discovers that Force's armor has elements of his very own designs. He learns that they were leaked when Obadiah Stane took over Stark’s company, and they are now in the possession of Justin Hammer, who applies them to the armors of his henchmen. After an unsuccessful court battle, Stark is able to procure files on the whereabouts of his technology. This sends him on a bitter crusade which will hurl him up against many lines as he attempts to secure his creations. More importantly, this is where Stark's paranoia and controlling tendencies come to the forefront as he must battle his own personal demons as he faces resistance from some of his greatest foes like the Controller, the Beetle, Stilt-Man, the Raiders and the Crimson Dynamo among others! He will also target U.S. government operative Stingray, making himself a fugitive in his own home nation and betray his friend Steve Rogers (who is currently known simply as "the Captain") in order to take down the Guardsmen. 

The fighting becomes so fierce that Tony even accidentally causes the death of the Titanium Man during a fight over Russia. In the end, Stark is forced to fake Iron Man's death so that he could assign a "new" bodyguard as well as live with the consequences of his crusade. There can be no doubt, that this saga and battle was not only one of Tony's greatest ever, but also one of his most personal.

1.) CIVIL WAR #1 - 7 (2006/2007)

Writer: Mark Millar  Art: Steven McNiven, Dexter Vines, Mark Morales, John Dell and Tim Townsend

Many Iron Man fanboys might argue about the placing of this battle, but the ramifications of this story line and it's effect on the Marvel Universe was absolutely mind-staggering and continues on today. To be honest, Iron Man's popularity (and personality) has soared to all new heights due to this mega-event (as well as his blockbuster movies) and he remains one of the most popular Marvel Heroes to date. It was such a game changer to the Iron Man-mythos that whether it's liked or not, it's impact alone make it the greatest battle that Iron Man has ever had.

During a televised raid of a house containing select villains that had recently escaped from a facility at Ryker's Island prison during a massive breakout, the escaped villain Nitro let off a massive explosion that killed the majority of the New Warriors, as well as the children at a nearby elementary school. In the wake of the tragedy, the U.S. Government proposed the Superhuman Registration Act, intending to register all super-powered beings as living weapons of mass destruction and requiring all costumed heroes to unmask themselves before the government and subject themselves to federally mandated standards.

Tony Stark unquestionably changed the course of the entire Marvel Universe forever when he chose-both in his civilian identity and as Iron Man-to support the Super-Human Registration Act and aid in the new law's enforcement. Tony understood there would be consequences to his decision, but it's unlikely even a futurist such as he could have predicted the full ramification the rift between himself and his best friend and fellow Avenger, Captain America, would cause. With each man amassing powerful and resourceful allies, the clashes between the warring factions quickly became epic and costly, with both willing to do whatever it took to claim victory for their side. However, the more intimate skirmishes between Cap and Shellhead proved the most emotionally and physically taxing for both men, as the long-time allies utilized every tool at their disposal to bring each other down.

The death of Goliath opened the eyes of many and put things in a different perspective, causing several members to leave both sides for the other. The Pro-Registration side ended up losing more members than anticipated, causing operations to be put in action faster than planned. Iron Man assembled a new group of Thunderbolts in order to hunt down the Secret Avengers, consisting of several very brutal villains.

Eventually, Cap's resistance mounted an attack against Iron Man's pro-registration's holding facility in the Negative Zone, releasing the prisoners. The fighting between many of Earth's heroes led to the middle of Times Square. At the climax of the battle, as Cap was about to deliver a finishing blow to Iron Man, he was tackled by several emergency workers. Realizing the damage the war was doing to the city and its civilian population, Captain America unmasked and surrendered. 

Agree? Disagree? Let's hear it fanboys!!

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   John "The Mego Stretch Hulk" Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John still thinks he's really Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at or follow on twitter at @Elastic_Hulk and have some fun.