Take 10

Take 10: Armored Allies & Adversaries

The men who would give Iron Man a run for his money get the spotlight



Every week, a secret cabal of Marvel staffers gathers to discuss the best of the best when it comes to the House of Ideas.

Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, sits atop the heap of Marvel's armored heroes and villains, but he's had to fight to maintain that spot, something his Ultimate counterpart will have to do as well beginning this week in ULTIMATE ARMOR WARS #1.

The Secret Cabal wracked their collective noggin and came up with this list of Iron Man's top ten armored friends, foes and folks he barely knows.

For each character you get the quick rundown as well as a special spotlight comic courtesy of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

As always, these picks reflect the personal choices of the Secret Cabal, not the official opinion of Marvel or Marvel.com, and can be considered subjective at best. Enjoy!


First Appearance: DARKHAWK #1 (1991)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: While Iron Man and Darkhawk may have rubbed armored shoulders during a major Marvel Universe event, their relationship has not been extensively documented.
Why He Makes the List: Few characters embody the gloomy and brooding side of the 90's quite like Darkhawk. The man inside the suit, Chris Powell, has always been the temperamental loose cannon type, but his dope-looking armor is a big part of what has kept him in fans' favor all these years. From the razor glider wings to the spiky brim and the glowing amulet to the grappling hook claw, Darkhawk's look has a high neat quotient for the young and the young-at-heart.
Spotlight Comic: NOVA #17 (2008)-It's a battle of former New Warriors when Nova goes up against Darkhawk!

First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118 (1965)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: Tony Stark has co-opted Destroyer technology for his "Thorbuster" armor, but has not actually battled the construct.
Why He Makes the List: There's not a lot to the design of the Destroyer from a visual standpoint, and that works just fine, because there's not a lot to the Destroyer generally. It's an ancient and scary-as-heck Asgardian weapon that Odin-or whoever's in charge-will pull out and bond to the life force of another when need be, creating a relentless engine of destruction that gets the job done. No muss, no fuss, but lots of property damage and generally some excellent splash pages.
Spotlight Comic: THOR #151 (1968)-Only Thor stands a chance against the Destroyer unleashed!

First Appearance: TALES OF SUSPENSE #46 (1963)
Relationship with Iron Man: Every Crimson Dynamo has been a rival to Iron Man at one time or another, but both Anton Vanko and Dmitri Bukharin have ended up later allying with Tony Stark.
Why They Make the List: The Crimson Dynamo, Russia's answer to Iron Man, has had nearly a dozen pilots over the years and even more different models. It started out looking kind of like a red stove with lots of tubing, evolved into a sort of storm trooper look, and gained some streamlined variants as the centuries shifted. Basically, just as variety is the spice of life for Iron Man's armors, so too does his Soviet counterpart know how to change with the times.
Spotlight Comic: IRON MAN #229 (1988)-Titanium Man and the Crimson Dynamo double team Iron Man!

First Appearance: THOR #411 (1989)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: The original Night Thrasher, Dwayne Taylor, interned under Tony Stark for a time, but his brother and successor, Donyell, views Iron Man as a fascist dictator.
Why He Makes the List: The Night Thrasher armor has a very rough and unfinished feel to it, which works since Dwayne Taylor originally designed it to be an urban vigilante and was much more concerned with function over form. Still, the marriage of red with jet black provides a menacing and impressive sense of style. Once Dwayne's brother Donyell took up the identity and made Tony Stark his primary target, the anti-Iron Man feel of the suit became more appropriate than ever.
Spotlight Comic: NEW WARRIORS #2 (2007)-A mysterious new Night Thrasher hits the streets!

6. BOX
First Appearance: ALPHA FLIGHT #1 (1983)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: They may have met once or twice when Alpha Flight helped out the Avengers or vice versa, and probably compared notes.
Why He Makes the List: The Box armor looks just like the name implies: it's bulky, a bit unwieldy, and skews closer to a tank than a Cadillac, but just like with the original Iron Man armor, there's a rustic appeal to it. The original Box, the appropriately named Roger Bochs, came up with some neat looks for his robots and armors as a fledgling member of Alpha Flight, but it was his protégé and eventual replacement Madison Jeffries who really refined the identity with his mutant ability to shape metal.
Spotlight Comic: ALPHA FLIGHT #1 (1983)-Box lingers in the background as big changes come to Alpha Flight!

5. THOR (Battle Armor)
First Appearance: JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #83 (1962)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: For years, Thor and Iron Man were Avengers teammates and the best of friends despite their dissimilar backgrounds, but since returning to the Marvel Universe post-Civil War, the Thunder God has had a major mad-on for Tony Stark, who created a destructive clone of him in his absence.
Why He Makes the List: Typically, Thor doesn't need or want much more than his chainmail and winged helmet when heading into battle, but after Hela cursed him with scars and brittle bones once upon a time, the God of Thunder was forced to grow a beard and don battle armor in order to keep his edge. Fortunately for Goldilocks-and fans of his style-he got a sweet suit designed by honorary Asgardian Walter Simonson that paid homage to both Norse tradition and super heroic goodness.
Spotlight Comic: THOR #375 (1987)-The Mighty Thor clashes with the Absorbing Man en route to armoring up!

First Appearance: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14 (1964)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: Norman Osborn built his Dark Reign on the ruins of Tony Stark's life and has since made Iron Man a fugitive who he has forced into hiding.
Why He Makes the List: Functionally, Norman Osborn's Iron Patriot armor probably can't hold a candle to Tony Stark's nicer Iron Man suits, but from a design standpoint, it pushes all the right buttons. The man who spent years in a green rubber suit tossing pumpkin bombs no doubt appreciates his current sleeker look, but he also appreciates how much sporting a Captain America/Iron Man mash-up pisses off heroes like Ronin and Luke Cage, something he loves to do; and we have to say, he does look great doing it.
Spotlight Comic: DARK AVENGERS #1-Norman Osborn debuts his new team and his new armor!

First Appearance: GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1 (1975)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: They've crossed paths a couple times during Avengers/X-Men team-ups and battles, but not in any particularly significant way.
Why He Makes the List: Colossus is the only guy on this list who doesn't wear armor, he is armor. Peter Rasputin's nigh-impenetrable organic metal skin not only grants him a unique look, it also makes him a total badass, enhancing his strength and durability to the point where he can hang against the Hulk. The fact that Colossus' armored form isn't removable gives him a tactical advantage and that transformation sequence makes for a neat effect be it in movies, cartoons or video games.
Spotlight Comic: UNCANNY X-MEN #183-Colossus and Juggernaut engage in a good ol' fashioned barroom brawl!

First Appearance: IRON MAN #144 (1981)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: For years, James Rhodes served as Tony Stark's personal pilot and even subbed for him as Iron Man on occasion. Though they've had their rough patches, more often than not Rhodey and Tony have been stalwart best friends.
Why He Makes the List: Tony Stark designed the War Machine armor as the most offensive-minded Iron Man armor ever, so it's no surprise an old military man like James Rhodes proved the perfect pilot. War Machine's iconic shoulder-mounted cannons garner child-like squeals from fans of all ages based on their coolness and make for perfect action figure accessories. The recent innovations in the WAR MACHINE series that allow Rhodey to integrate any and all tech into his suit like a mobile junkyard only amp the awesome factor.
Spotlight Comic: IRON MAN: DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D. #33-War Machine takes over for an incapacitated Iron Man during Secret Invasion!

First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #5 (1962)
Learn More About Him...here
Relationship with Iron Man: They do not like each other at all; though circumstances have forced Stark and Doom to team on occasion, Iron Man most recently led his Mighty Avengers to jail the Latverian dictator.
Why He Makes the List: While both men possess genius-level intellects and mastery of technology, that's where the similarities between Tony Stark and Victor Von Doom generally end. Doom's armor, though spiffy and equipped with all sorts of gadgets, has a certain old world feel, resembling something more befitting a knight of Arthurian times than a 21st century warrior. The cold metal shell Doom resides within feels as harshly regal as the man himself, as much a prison as a weapon.
Spotlight Comic: IRON MAN #149 (1981)-Doctor Doom and Iron Man clash in Camelot!


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he is a great hero ironman is awesome :spiderwoman:


Doom and War Machine are where they should be at, so are Iron Patriot and Colossus. The rest of the characters are rather foggy to me. Never really saw them or read about them before. I was thinking that the Iron Spiders should be in here, I actually quite like the Iron-Spider suit (minus the 3 mechanical arms behind).