Tony Stark is one of the smartest minds in the Marvel Universe. A boy genius from the very beginning, Stark is a prodigy among prodigies. A genius, billionaire playboy, philanthropist and former weapon-smith, Stark is still best known as the invincible Iron Man. As days have gone by, Tony has had to change his costume quite a bit, upgrading them and adding never before seen features to combat new and more powerful enemies. Here we provide you with a list of the fifteen most iconic Iron Man armors from the comics. Buckle up.
15. Heroes Reborn –Model CE1
Making its debut in Iron Man Vol. 2 #1, the armor was designed to project Tony Stark as a new age hero to a younger generation of readers. An attack by Hydra led Tony into a near-death scenario and he was forced to wear his newest Prometheum armor to stay alive.
The Heroes Reborn was as powerful as it was ugly. It allowed Tony to trade blows with the Hulk with next to no experience. As powerful as it was, the Heroes Reborn arc was a flop and the armor never quite made a noticeable appearance to leave a mark.
14. Proto-Classic Armor – Model 3
The suit was sort of a cross between the bulky and primitive gray armor in Tony’s yesteryears as a superhero and the better, more visually stunning red and gold armor that defined Iron Man later on. Its original debut was in Tales of Suspense #48.
After Mister Doll destroys his original gold painted suit, Tony decides to make a more portable and stronger suit that he could wear around anywhere. The armor was smaller, lightweight and less cumbersome. Another short-lived appearance for an armor before Tony made his way to the superior Model 3.
13. Hulkbuster Armor – Model 14
Iron Man vol. 1 #304 was the armor’s first debut into Marvel Comics. The Hulkbuster was designed for just what it sounds like – to stop the unstoppable green behemoth. When realizing the several encounters with Hulk always left his armors too damaged for repairs, Tony decides to make an exo-suit for his exo-suit. The result is the Hulkbuster which he wears over his Original suit.
The armor made its MCU debut in Age of Ultron. The real trouble with the armor is that it never did quite the job of stopping the Hulk. It only managed to stall what’s inevitably coming. No small feat within itself.
12. Stealth Armor – Model 7
The suit made its initial appearance in Iron Man vol. 1 #152. It was one of Tony’s very first specialty armors – exo-suits designed with a specific function in mind. In this case, it was stealth and infiltration. When Bethany Cabe ( Tony’s erstwhile lover/bodyguard) is abducted, Tony dons this suit to avoid causing an international incident and goes to East Germany to save her.
The first prototype was devoid of all forms of weaponry, even the signature repulsor rays. Future models would possess some form of weaponry as the writers realized wearing an Iron Man armor without weapons is just plain stupid.
11. Superior Iron Man – Model 50
The end of the “Axis” storyline led fans to believe all the heroes have treaded back to normal. Enter the evil genius Tony Stark. Stark managed to protect his demented state by creating a symbiotic suit of armor that stripped him of his moral compass.
Making its debut in Superior Iron Man #1, the suit granted Tony psionic control over itself, extremely powerful repulsor beam arrays and tendril-like protrusions that allow him to hack any piece of technology he can find. But before we could see more of the evil Tony, Marvel reset the storyline back to normal.
10. Guardians of the Galaxy Armor – Model 45
One of the coolest looking Iron Man armors ever, this version of the suit is seen when Tony joins the Guardian of the Galaxy. Making extensive modifications on his Outer Space Armor gave birth to this beauty. The armor carried with it a small repair suite to fix damaged parts and upgrade it with new ones if need be. This period donned on us one of the most creative versions of the weaponsmith.
Moreover, Tony updates the telecommunication module on the armor to remotely control another Iron man armor on Earth. A Guardian and an Avenger, can a man ask for anything more.
9. Thorbuster – Model 22
What’s better than a Hulkbuster? A Thorbuster!! When Odin supposedly dies and Thor is imbued with the Odinforce to become the king of Asgard, Tony and Thor get into a fight in the early 2000’s storyline Avengers: Standoff.
To make matters worse, Thor once gifted Tony with an Asgardian crystal to help harness clean energy for earth. Thanks to Doctor Doom, Tony ends up using the crystal to power a suit that looks eerily similar to the Destroyer and is forced to go toe to toe with the God of Thunder.
8. Black and Gold Armor – Model 42
A blend of the Silver Centurion and the Modular Armor, this armor made its debut in the “Marvel NOW” event. The unusual thing about it was that the red was replaced with a jet black color. The armor allowed Tony to change weapons on the go, reducing the need for various specialty armors barring a few cases.
The interesting take on the Iron Man suit didn’t stick for long, quickly being replaced with something far better.
7. War Machine – Model 13
The Variable Threat response Armor or the War Machine was first seen in Iron Man #282 saving Rhodey and Stark from the Masters of Silence and later on Justin Hammer who had framed Tony to make the Masters go after him in the first place.
Tony’s failing health leads to Rhodey donning the suit and becoming the War Machine later on. It’s somewhat modular design allowed it to swap weaponry and upgrade itself into a walking arsenal need be.
6. Modular Armor – Model 13
The armor made its first imprint debut in Iron Man vol. 1 #300 and got popular enough to be featured in the animated Iron Man: The Animated Series. The first armor ever to sport a modular design, it’s helmets, boots and gloves could be replaced with equipment better suited for the mission.
It allowed Stark to fend off the giant Ultimo robot when an army of his older armors couldn’t thus giving it a legendary status.
5. Heroes Return – Model 17
In 1998, the Hulk, the Avengers, and the Fantastic Four finally return. After the duel with Onslaught ends disastrously, Franklin Richards had used his reality warping powers to send the heroes into a pocket universe.
The “Heroes Return” storyline perfectly ensured the younger audience is hooked up to Marvel’s core superheroes. Tony Stark makes his appearance with the Renaissance armor – a classic suit upgraded to fit the modern era, and takes on a great many supervillains, cementing his status as the world’s finest armored warrior.
4. Asgardian Armor
In “Fear Itself” #7 (by Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, and Wade Von Grawbadger) the earth was under attack by Serpent who was an Asgardian god and also the brother of Odin. The deity called down eight hammers to transform the mightiest beings on Earth in his “worthy” generals.
Iron Man broke his sobriety as a ‘sacrifice’ to Odin to let him use the uru metal (the metal also used in Thor’s Mjolnir) to create weapons that can help him and his fellow Avengers fight against Serpent and his worthy generals. Tony Stark build the Asgardian Armor (aka Uru Armor) using the powerful uru metal. The armor was spike-filled and was awesomely weird.
3. Sorcerer Supreme Armor
The idea of incorporating magic into tech-based stuff really sounds weird but this happened in an alternate universe where Doctor Strange and Tony Stark met with a car accident. It injured Dr. Strange so badly that he became incapable to cast spells. Tony tried to find a cure through science but was eventually drawn towards magical arts. Seeing, that he had to save the world from Dormammu he combined his knowledge of science and magic and created the Sorcerer Supreme Armor.
The suit was powered by the Eye of Agamotto instead of the arc reactor and it came with an onboard CPU which had the encyclopedia of all the spells stored in it. Insanely cool!! Right?
2. Excalibur Armor
This was the most mystical Iron Man armor ever. This was another time when Tony Stark went all magical after his regular armor got fused with the magical energies of Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur which he got from the Lady of the Lake.
The fusion not only gave the armor an all-new look, it also made some major changes in its appearance. The suit is completely invulnerable and gets powered by Tony’s pure will.
1. Bleeding Edge – Model 37
The Extremis armor made its first debut in MCU in Avengers: Infinity War. While its capabilities are somewhat jumbled up in the movies, the comics do it certain justice. After Tony is endowed with Extremis technology, he develops the Bleeding Edge Armor in Invincible Iron Man #25.
The suit was the zenith of nanotechnology, allowing it to exist under Tony’s skin until summoned. The arc reactor making his intellect jump tenfold and the nanotech suit self-healing inside his body made Tony from an ordinary genius to truly superhuman.
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