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History of Iron Man

The History of Iron Man Pt. 26

Our hero wages the fight of his life as Armor Wars hit the Marvel Universe!

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!

Tony Stark waged a furious war to retrieve his technology and handed in Silver Centurion suit of armor for a brand-new look in 1988.

As the year opened, Armor Wars continued in IRON MAN #226, setting Shellhead against the armored Raiders and shutting them down with his negator packs. Our hero then went after the oceanic Stingray, but in an embarrassing moment discovered that his underwater gear held no Stark technology.

The Beetle fell under Stark’s scrutiny in IRON MAN #227, but when the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. demanded to know what Iron Man meant by his attacks, our hero swiftly created a ruse: “Randall Pierce,” supposedly the real man inside the Iron Man suit. Then, in IRON MAN #228, Tony contended with his old friend Steve Rogers, then called “The Captain,” and pulling the plug on the U.S. government’s Guardsman armor at the prison known as the Vault.

Iron Man got his pink slip as a Stark employee in IRON MAN #229 in a continuing effort to maintain the “Randall Pierce” hoax. Russia fell into Stark’s crosshairs after that, and there he succeeded in negating the Crimson Dynamo, but failed to box up the Titanium Man. The United States hired Edwin Cord’s Firepower armor to go after the Avenger in IRON MAN #230, a dire situation that lead to Stark seemingly killed by a missile…

Tony Stark pondered the possibilities of leaving his alter ego “dead” in IRON MAN #231, but when Cord began to attack Stark interests around the globe a new Iron Man rose up to challenge him. In a stunning suit of the classic red and gold colors, the once more Golden Avenger put Firepower down and brought an end to the Armor Wars.

Or did he? IRON MAN #232 wrapped up the tumultuous times with a horrible nightmare visited upon Stark, wherein he contended with all guilt over his “war” and the things that frightened him most. Cord himself had a few further ideas of revenge in IRON MAN #233, and while Iron Man stopped the fall of a Stane satellite from orbit, Scott Lang used his Ant-Man abilities to put the kibosh on the corporate raider in his friend Tony’s absence.

Remember the Radioactive Man? At a science convention in IRON MAN #234, the Communist villain bagged none other than Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, with an eye on performing a few devilish experiments. Tipped off to the plot by his employee Vic Martinelli, Stark rescued his fellow hero and saved the day.

Femme fatale Kathy Dare tried to become Tony Stark’s new main squeeze in IRON MAN #235, but the Armored Avenger’s attention focused on Paul St. Pierre, a sculptor whose disturbing and realistic work brought about a startling revelation for our hero: the Grey Gargoyle had returned. In IRON MAN #236, the Gargoyle grabbed Stark employee Marcy Pearson, prompting Tony’s friend and partner Jim Rhodes to hunt her down. In the end, Iron Man took on the stony rascal and won, but St. Pierre made a timely escape.

Still, Iron Man’s dubious status with the U.S. government hung over Tony Stark’s head. When U.S. representatives asked our hero to go after a “satellite killer” in IRON MAN #237, Stark discovered not only a genetic mutation created by the government, but also a way to clear his name. At year’s end, Iron Man flew high, lawsuits and charges behind him and a bright future ahead.

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

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Ironman in a new suit of armor while he should have a test suit.