History of Iron Man

The History of Iron Man Pt. 36

A return to form pits our hero against the Mandarin as well as a fellow Avenger!

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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!

Back from the “dead,” in 1998 Tony Stark tried to put his past behind him and be the very best Iron Man he could be or die trying—again.

Rescued from a pocket dimension after a year in a strange reality, Tony returned to his familiar world in IRON MAN #1. His people concocted a story for the press that he’d been kidnapped by terrorists, but after an attack by the Death Squad and the news that his cousin Morgan now ran his old company, the billionaire announced a brand-new firm: Stark Solutions. Both his business and criminal opponents sat up and took notice.

Iron Man then rejoined Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS #1, just in time to be whisked off to a fantasy world created by Morgan le Fay. After that he investigated a secret weapons manufacturing ring in Switzerland in IRON MAN #2 and faced off against not only the new menace of the Siege Engineers, but also his old enemies the Dreadnoughts. The Armored Avenger set enemy against enemy in IRON MAN #3 and laid a trap for the real culprit behind the clandestine operation.

In IRON MAN #4, Tony unveiled Starkware, his new product, and then faced off against Firebrand his Flaming Sword team on far-off Isla Suerte. Trapped on the island and in the path of a volcano set up by Firebrand, Shellhead gained control of the mercenary’s armor and used it to funnel the lava flow away from innocents in IRON MAN #5. Meanwhile, the Black Widow sought out Stark for a trap of her own she planned to spring.

Many things converged in IRON MAN #6, as our hero and the Widow flew off to Australia to run afoul of not only the villain called Tuatara, but also the knowledge that everything seemed connected in the weapons manufacturing mystery. At this time, Iron Man also stood with the Avengers against the Squadron Supreme in AVENGERS #6.

Iron Man risked the wrath of WarbirdCarol Danvers—in IRON MAN #7, when he dared to check in after she’d been ousted from the Avengers for reckless behavior. As Carol’s anger mounted, the two heroes also squared off against alien Kree soldiers and a monstrous Kree Sentry robot. The entire Kree question came to a head in AVENGERS #7, with Iron Man smack dab in the middle of it all.

The villainous Whiplash made trouble for Tony in IRON MAN #8 as he tried to kill Stark to raise money to save his own child. After a severe beating and the theft of his briefcase by Spymaster and the Espionage Elite, Stark needed rescuing by the Black Widow and his heart jumpstarted by her powerful Widow’s Bite. Now conscious again, Iron Man jetted to Russia in IRON MAN #9 to confront the man he guessed to be behind all his recent troubles: the Mandarin. There, our hero requested help from the Russian super team called the Winter Guard, but ended up going solo into the Mandarin’s flying headquarters, the Dragon of Heaven, and getting himself captured.

The Avengers joined forces with the Winter Guard in IRON MAN #10 to attack the Dragon of Heaven, while inside the craft, Stark learned of his old foe’s scheme for a New World Order. Iron Man managed to make his way into the Dragon’s power core, which he then destroyed and with it the flying monstrosity and seemingly its master. Little wonder that for his next trick our hero collapsed in front of his colleagues, the Avengers.

The year ended with bad dreams for Tony Stark in IRON MAN #11 and an un-clean bill of health from his new doctor, Jane Foster-Kincaid. To make things even stickier, Carol Danvers expressed her continued annoyance at Tony, but still aided him in fighting a new War Machine, someone whom former War Machine James Rhodes found very familiar.

Check out IRON MAN (1998) on the Marvel Digital Comics Shop and Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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