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.
Iron Man had his hands full in 1990 as the decade opened with a fist full of bad guys and ended with a sinister attack on Tony Stark’s very person.
When the top super villains of the Marvel Universe banded together to commit “Acts of Vengeance” on the world’s super heroes, somehow Iron Man found himself saddled with the biggest bigmouth of them all, the Wrecker. Swinging his mystically-charged crowbar with renewed fury in IRON MAN #252, the blunt-headed baddie wound up being beat by the Armored Avenger, who in turn fell under the evil eye of Chemistro.
A struggling comedian touched the heart of Tony Stark in IRON MAN #253, but for his troubles to help find the man’s kidnapped daughter, Iron Man faced off against a new Iron Monger. If that didn’t amount to a worthy enough challenge for our hero, the new Spymaster, appointed by Taskmaster in IRON MAN #254, certainly did. Fortunately, he just wanted Stark’s best Christmas ornament off the industrialist’s tree, a score that gained him his official title.
After a run-in with the
Robotics expert Yoshido Asano—better known as Samurai Steel—fueled his anger over Tony’s father being involved in the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II in IRON MAN #257. But, in the fiery end of his battle with the Golden Avenger, he proved himself a hero by flying a breached reactor core at his factory into orbit and sacrificing himself to save innocent lives. Tony Stark then turned around to perfect an incredible Iron Man suit run by remote control in IRON MAN #258, which suitably impressed Stark’s partner, Jim Rhodes. But without preamble, our hero’s newest problem arose: the ghost of the Titanium Man.
Meanwhile, in China, the Mandarin dealt with an unfaithful lackey at the same time that Iron Man began to experience lost time and blackouts, an untimely scenario to crop up when the late Titanium Man stood revealed as the Living Laser in IRON MAN #259. Tony’s strange physical gaffes turned out to be orchestrated by Phoebe and Desmond Marrs, the siblings at the top of the Marrs Corporation. In IRON MAN #260, their scheme to literally control Tony Stark’s actions put Iron Man in a precarious situation when facing off against the Living Laser. Fortunately, in IRON MAN #261, he managed to summon his remote control armor to help turn the tables on the Laser, while the Desmonds temporarily disabled their device, unsure of Stark’s strange readings on their equipment.
What to do for the businessman? A complete physical check-up in IRON MAN #262, which resulted in a welcome clean bill of health—which didn’t last long as the Marrs’ once again took control of Tony and even set him against Rhodey. Stark reasoned that wearing his remote control suit would help him fight the mysterious power rover him, but the overwhelmingly mental and neurological strain put upon him by doing so began to take its toll.
At the end of the year, in IRON MAN #269, Tony Stark stood at the crossroads. Stuck once again in his armor, he accepted the help of Avengers Wonder Man and Hank Pym to defeat the Living Laser, but could only resign himself to more challenges in the year to come.