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
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.
Renewed hostilities through the machinations of Temugin, the Mandarin’s son, complicated Tony Stark’s 2003, in a year in which he wrestled with the learning curve of a public identity as Iron Man.
After wrapping up his sojourn into the medieval past in IRON MAN #61, our hero plunged headlong into an undersea mystery in IRON MAN #62. Investigating a United States Navy ship’s sinking by a terrorist’s torpedo, Tony faced the perils of the ocean as he chased a sub into New York harbor in IRON MAN #63.
From there, Stark became embroiled in a situation in far-off Slokovia in THOR #58. The United States asked the Armored Avenger to intervene in a tense stand-off between the Thunder God and the Slokovian military, but that put him in the path of a certain uru hammer. That fight spilled over into IRON MAN #64 where Stark suited up in his Thor-Buster armor and maneuvered around Doctor Doom at the same time. Tony’s friend Captain America tried to force a settlement between Iron Man and Thor in AVENGERS #63, but the first cracks in the friendship between the three heroes already showed.
Stark technology played an important role in IRON MAN #65 as Tony discovered that his “particle beam torpedo” had been used on the Chinese Embassy by more terrorists. Angered over what he saw as a flagrant disregard for his intellectual property by the United States administration, Stark then watched in horror as a bullet meant for him struck his friend Happy Hogan. IRON MAN #66 revealed a new scheme by Temugin and also found Tony being shot in the chest and rushed to the hospital for an operation.
FBI agent Streich connived a means to deactivate the Iron Man armor from Pepper Hogan in IRON MAN #67, while Tony went under the knife for his gunshot wounds. Later, he learned that while he could count on support from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Nick Fury, the real menace seemed to be Temugin. Going undercover into his enemy’s lair in IRON MAN #68, he realized his wounds had begun to worsen.
Iron Man faced off against Temugin in IRON MAN #69, but, as before, the son of the Mandarin got the better of our hero and prepared to deliver a killing strike. Tony wanted to know why Temugin seemed intent on destroying him, and together the two men uncovered the real culprit behind the plot: Temugin’s adviser, Po. After putting down Po’s scheme, Tony flew off, weakened but satisfied with Temugin’s innocence.
The bright lights of Las Vegas called to Tony Stark in IRON MAN #70 and he followed them willingly until a strange creature oozed from his hotel room’s thermostat and manipulated his own armor into attacking him. After destroying the armor via remote control in IRON MAN #71, Stark donned a new suit, which he called his Ablative Armor, to investigate a vast underground alien network and the strange plans of the mysterious Marc Vicus. Vicus took the alien organism into himself in IRON MAN #72, after it possessed Tony for a short time.
The year wrapped with the beginning of a bold new era in IRON MAN #73, when after a United States military mission in Africa failed, the request came through for Stark to act as a technology adviser to the President—or as the new Secretary of Defense.