History of Iron Man

The History of Iron Man Pt. 12

The Armored Avenger battles in the Far East against foes new and old, plus gains a new feature!

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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!

Over the course of 1974, Iron Man fights for his life in Asia…and gains a nose?

As IRON MAN #66 opened, the mighty Thor squared off against a Golden Avenger possessed by the incredible influence of Doctor Spectrum’s Power Prism. After defeating Iron Man, the God of Thunder ripped off the hero’s helmet to reveal not Tony Stark, but young Eddie March, a Stark employee with a dangerous blood clot heading for his brain. The real Iron Man zoomed in to defeat Spectrum and expose him as the seemingly-kindly Dr. Obatu and Thor’s alter ego of Dr. Don Blake prepared to whisk Eddie to a hospital and attempt to save his life.

The Armored Avenger also aided the Avengers at this time in a long struggle against the Zodiac Crime Cartel that stretched out over AVENGERS #120, #121, #122 and #123.

Roxie Gilbert, Tony Stark’s main squeeze, made up her mind to jet off to Vietnam and look for Eddie’s lost brother in IRON MAN #67, but Stark himself felt the pressure of his young employee’s life hanging in the balance. As Iron Man, he brought his amazing Enervator device to aid Don Blake in Eddie’s resuscitation, but like Happy Hogan before him, the machine transformed the youngster into the furious Freak. Our hero held back his full power in battling The Freak, for fear of harming Eddie further, and managed to deliver him back into the waiting arms of Blake, who operated and saved Eddie’s life at the cost of his ability to walk.

Stark flew off to Vietnam to catch up with Roxie in IRON MAN #68 and look for Marty March in the wilds of the war-torn country. The Japanese hero Sunfire complicated matters by aligning himself with a Vietnamese general against Shellhead, another headache Iron Man didn’t need. In the middle of their battle, though, The Mandarin transported Sunfire to his side to use the mutant’s abilities to power a mind-transference machine and deposit the master villain’s brain back in his rightful body. And Stark, his helmet damaged from the fight, fashioned another one, this time sporting an all-new feature: a nose piece.

AVENGERS #125 and CAPTAIN MARVEL #33 brought Iron Man once again into conflict with the mad god Thanos, while AVENGERS#129 and GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS #2 revealed the mysterious heroine Mantis as the “Celestial Madonna” to Iron Man and the Avengers, a fact that the time-traveling villain Kang found to be of great interest.

IRON MAN #69 set The Mandarin in heated battle with his old foe in an undersea base. When the base fell after the scuffle, Iron Man risked his own life to save Sunfire and for his troubles found himself rocketing uncontrollably into space, thanks to the treachery of his opponent. Meanwhile, in the villain’s fortress in China, The Yellow Claw, another masterful fiend, investigated his rival the Mandarin’s arsenal and then witnessed the return of the villain’s greatest experiment from a volcano: Ultimo!

The Unites States thought the wayward Iron Man looked like an attack from space, so they sent missiles to destroy him in IRON MAN #70. Meanwhile, back on Earth, The Mandarin fought The Yellow Claw, but, seemingly defeated by him, lost his amazing power rings to his rival. Together, Iron Man and Sunfire stopped Ultimo’s rampage and the Japanese hero recanted on his rage against the American. Iron Man faced off against the Claw’s creatures in IRON MAN #71, obliterated the Mandarin’s fortress and then returned to the States. There he found a reunited Happy and Pepper Hogan who informed their former boss that they’d both be working for Tony Stark once again…

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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