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History of Iron Man

The History of Iron Man Pt. 14

Shellhead swaps armors, battles a variety of familiar foes, and finds more problems from supposed friends!

By Jim Beard

50 Years ago, Tony Stark became Iron Man, a historic milestone in the tapestry of the Marvel Universe.

Flash forward half a century, and the Armored Avenger has become a worldwide sensation. Beyond his prominent role across the Marvel Comics line, Shellhead hit the big screen in 2008 as Robert Downey Jr. brought Tony Stark to life in the first “Iron Man” movie. The character’s popularity grew in 2010’s “Iron Man 2” and 2011’s “Marvel’s The Avengers.”

On May 3, 2013, Tony Stark returns to theaters everywhere in “Iron Man 3.” In anticipation of this momentous occasion and to celebrate Iron Man’s 50th anniversary, each week Marvel.com will be bringing you another chapter in the history of this complex and beloved character. Year by year, get an in-depth rundown of the trials, foes and experiences that have made Iron Man the hero he stands as today.

You can start here.

Also, be sure to visit the Marvel Digital Comics Shop and Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited to read 50 years’ worth of Iron Man adventures!

What did 1976 toss our Golden Avenger’s way? How about new armor, new gadgets, new girls and a new pain-in-the-neck with a bone to pick with Tony Stark.

IRON MAN #82 brought the owner of Stark International back to its loving embrace, but also introduced a policeman named Michael O’Brien, brother of the late Kevin O’Brien, who just wanted to “have a few words” with Tony about the mysterious death of his sibling while wearing the millionaire industrialist‘s Guardsman armor.

Meanwhile, Happy Hogan posed once again as Iron Man and took on the Red Ghost’s Super-Apes in Stark’s stead. The story continued into IRON MAN #83 where the Ghost demanded Stark’s Cosmitronic Cannon to stop from fading away completely, but that’s just what happened when the real Iron Man hit the scene and turned the tables on the villain.

Injured from the previous issue’s fantastic fight, Happy hovered near death in the hospital, a situation Stark tried to remedy again with his Enervator device. So, in IRON MAN #84, Happy transformed into The Freak once more and rampaged through the city, this time glowing from deadly dose of explosive cobalt radiation. It took Iron Man’s new armor, which debuted in IRON MAN #85, to bring Stark into the battle and siphon Happy’s radiation away. In the end, the Armored Avenger’s new suit would allow him to depolarize it for more comfortable wearing under his street clothes.

Alas, the very next villain to attack, Blizzard in IRON MAN #86, proved to be the new armor’s downfall as Stark discovered its lightweight properties provided no real protection against his foe’s intense polar powers. After nabbing Stark’s amazing new Climatron invention, Blizzard himself fell prey to Iron Man’s mini-dynamo generator in IRON MAN #87. All remained cheery and bright until Michael O’Brien increased his dogging of Tony’s trail and decided to turn up the heat to avenge his brother.

Iron Man’s Avengers duties at this time put him in the right place to welcome the daring Hellcat to the team in AVENGERS #144 and then a whole new line-up in AVENGERS #150 and #151. After that, the Golden Avenger met up with Spider-Man to confront the mystery of The Wraith in a sprawling saga that stretched over MARVEL TEAM-UP #48-51.

Happy and his wife Pepper finally quit their jobs at Stark International in IRON MAN #88, fed up with the constant brushes with danger that came with the territory. Stark found little time to weep over their departure, forced to deal with the return of the battling Blood Brothers and some industrial espionage at his company. The Man Without Fear, Daredevil, swung by to lend a hand in IRON MAN #89, but the Controller’s return in IRON MAN #90 almost single-handedly spelled doom for our hero as he juggled both that and a spate of sabotage at Stark International.

IRON MAN #91 brought a crashing finale to the Controller’s latest scheme to suck power from those he controlled for his nefarious aims, and The Melter too felt the sting of defeat at Iron Man’s gauntleted hands in IRON MAN #92, despite his initial success at melting his enemy’s amazing armor and forcing him to once again operate out of his original, clunky suit. Oh, and did we mention Krissy Longfellow? Tony Stark’s new personal secretary?

Well, Krissy didn’t just rely on her beauty to make her mark on Iron Man’s life. She and another Stark employee, Abe, stumbled upon a plot by Aero-Space Limited to claim copyrights on all of Tony’s new devices in IRON MAN #92, including the incredible Para-Gravity Deflector, as seen in IRON MAN #93, which figured into the two’s kidnapping and Stark’s year-end duel with the villainous Commander Kraken.

Check out IRON MAN (1968) and AVENGERS (1963) on the Marvel Digital Comics Shop, plus more Iron Man is available to subscribers of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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