Berserk Button: He has no mother, has lost his father, and as such is extremely protective of his friends, who he considers his adoptive family. Trying to hurt them has resulted in the normally calm genius outright trying to KILL the people responsible, and you'd better believe he can do it.
People stealing his tech and in general using tech for evil also pisses him off. And don't even think about making any wisecracks about his father.
Not So Different: He and Gene both have missing murdered parents, a lot of responsibilities, the same tendency to walk the line between hero and villain, and have a secret identity.
He also has this with Black Panther for pretty much the same reasons, Rhodey even says that T'Challa isTony. Rhodey also points out the similarity between Tony and Dr. Doom (he seems to like doing this) so Gene and Doom are like each other and Tony/T'Challa... they should start a support group.
Disappeared Dad: States in one episode that his dad is in the Navy, and he's stationed oversees. Turns out they're extending his tour of duty, so we probably won't see him for a little while longer, if at all.
Beware the Nice Ones: She mentions offhand to Gene that she got a guy deported for espionage. When the armor designs are stolen and sold to Stane and Hammer, Pepper suggests Tony steal them back or trash their companies trying amidst various angry growls.
Distress Ball: She holds this most of the time. Occasionally she'll pass it to Rhodey and be competent for an episode, but the next episode we're right back to her being too dense to do anything but sit dumbly in the middle of a room where two factions of the Chinese mafia are duking it out.
Faux Action Girl: As much as she wants to be a member of SHIELD, she has a long way to go, especially compared to Whitney.
In the ultimate irony of ironies, Pepper ends up with armor of her own, finally allowing her to be a legitimate fighter...yet Whitney, in a twisted way, is the one who ends up as "a member of SHIELD".
The Load: She gets captured and rescued by Tony with surprising regularity, except for those occasions where Gene rescues her. She has an incredible knack for making bad situations worse and does very little to help Tony out, though to her credit she does try. Her efforts usually result in Tony yelling at her. However she is fully aware that she is The Load, which is why she wants a Power Armor of her own so she can be a more proactive member of the team. So when she finally does get her power armor, she shows full well she is no longer The Load.
Face-Heel Turn: As of "Iron Monger Lives", she's back as Madame Masque and is now completely obsessed with ruining Tony's life, though only because the insanity-causing mask she's wearing is very selective about which memories it returned to her.
"I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Tony vs. Madame Masque, especially in "Iron Monger Lives", where Tony says that "the real Whitney" is still there and fighting against Madame Masque in her own subconcious.
Karma Houdini: Does villainous stuff in her last appearance and escapes prison in the end by disgusing herself as a SHIELD agent, presumably staying in SHIELD undercover! Though to be fair, she's the victim of a mask that makes you crazy and Tony even points out "the real Whitney" is subconsciously fighting against it, making it questionable if she really deserves karma.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Though her memory does eventually come back, and she somehow gets her hands on the mask again.
Lonely Rich Kid: Stane is predictably not the world's best father, so this is the natural result. The other kids prejudge and shun her due to who her dad is, and she's blamed for acting too good for them in actions like eating lunch alone on the roof, but it's really because she has no friends. She finally gets a real friend in Tony though, who had often brushed her aside until he learned how troubled her home-life was.
Establishing Character Moment: Wants to use Tony's inventions to save lives, speaks in a gentle voice and, in a flashback at the end of season one, pleaded for Tony's life even in the face of his own imminent death.
Honor Before Reason: Related to the screwing of money below. Weapons are profitable, but Howard's morals don't allow him to sell them knowing what they'll do to people.
Millionaire Playboy: Averted. Unlike his son, or more accurately how his son is in other universes, Howard has no romantic interests after the death of his wife.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Wanted to study the Rings and how they produce energy, thinking of the good it could do. It got him killednote actually kidnapped. Left the company to his best friend in an effort to make sure Stane wasn't out of a job upon his death. Stane immediately went out and began selling weapons, which is horrifically wrong for a large number of reasons and deeply disrespects Howard's memory. Basically, Being Good Sucks in this universe.
Secret Secret Keeper: Howard's comments imply that he knows his son's secret, but it isn't stated directly. He comes out and says it in the finale, having figured out at a glance that no one but Tony could have invented the armor.
Clothes Make the Superman: Played With. His suit allows him to tank machine gun fire with absolutely zero damage and other things that'd kill anyone not wearing it. However, his incredible fighting ability, bullet timing and laser dodging are apparently all natural.
Secret Public Identity: It's public knowledge that the Black Panther is the king of Wakanda, so T'Challa doesn't bother trying to hide it. He actually wears the suit (sans mask) in public during a press conference.
Jerk Ass: when first introduced, he tries to prevent Iron Man from stopping the Living Laser so SHIELD do it themselves (and fail miserably), threatens to arrest him and is willing to have the space station explode with his men still inside to prevent the Living Laser from using it. Then, next episode, we learn he keeps a dying Living Laser prisoner under awful conditions.
Took a Level in Kindness: as the story goes on, he becomes slightly more sympathetic; in later episodes, he learns about Iron Man's real identity, but decides to not oppose his carrier, even congratulating him. Then Ross is introduced, and makes him look sympathetic by acting even more of a Jerk Ass than him.
Abusive Parents: Verbally and emotionally to Whitney. He does care for her, but he's really bad at expressing it.
Anti-Villain: Surprisingly, he has shades of Type I. While he is a Corrupt Corporate Executive who's not above using illegal ways to reach his goals, he is still more of a businessman than a straight-up villain, and there are some lines he is unwilling to cross. Plus, he lacks Justin Hammer's psychotic traits.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Though he would claim to just being a regular businessman, Stane breaks many laws in his quest to make Stark International the biggest weapons dealer on the planet. This actually makes it harder for him to turn a profit (Stark International is losing money at the start of the second season and is only turned around by stealing the Iron Man armor designs) and also resulting in Blizzard dedicating his life to making Stane either miserable or dead.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His relationship with his daughter Whitney is.... complicated. But deep inside, he does care about her.
Even Evil Has Standards: Stane objects to the public endangerment involved in capturing Iron Man. Though he sells weapons, he says he is no murderer. Unless the line goes fuzzy at company heads and their sons. Perhaps his demands in the first episode were coincidence.
Turns out to not be his fault as he was in fact warring Stark. In fact the idea of Tony going to School was an Idea of Howards and he was just respecting his friends last wishes. For the most part his comment above is accurate. He may commit a few illegal acts, but draws the line at murder.
Greed: He wants to turn the Stark family's inventions into weapons despite the the tech being so far ahead of the curve that only Tony and Howard know how it works. In the two-part premiere, he nearly blows up half of the state of New York trying to show off said technology to the military.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Claims to follow this. No one believes him, mostly because he's a ruthless businessman who doesn't seem to care about anything but money.
Ungrateful Bastard: Despite Iron Man saving his life many times, he will never thank him nor will he stop trying to get his hands on the armor's design.
Villainous Breakdown: When Tony finally gets him fired by exposing his deal with Ghost and he discovers Tony and Iron Man are the same, Stane steals an Iron Monger suit and goes on a rampage in an attempt to find Tony.
Temugin "Gene" Khan/The Mandarin (True Heir)
Voiced by: Vincent Tong
Descendant of the original Mandarin.
Adaptational Heroism: The Mandarin in the comic is an Evil Overlord motivated by megalomania, as well as an Abusive Parent. This one is on the receiving end of the abuse, has redeeming qualities and genuinely believes he can make the world a better place by ruling it.
Arch-Enemy: To Tony, in theory at least. In practice, it's much more complicated.
Because Destiny Says So: His main reason for going after the rings is that he was convinced by his mother than reuniting them was his destiny. Eventually deconstructed when he actually gets them, as he starts to realize that, other than being motivated by his destiny, he has no clear idea of what he intends to do with them.
Half-Human Hybrid: Albeit several generations removed. The original Mandarin was given alien DNA to make the rings work, and that DNA was passed to Gene. He's functionally human, just with a little bit of alien for compatibility.
Heroic Sacrifice: Attempted this when Gene pushes Pepper out of the way of Fin Fang Foom and is apparently killed. Ironically, his sacrifice is what allowed him to acquire the fifth Makluan Ring and then betray the very friends he was helping.
Hypocrite: After getting the tenth ring, he accuses Tony of pretending to be his friend. The reverse was actually closer to the truth.
Kick the Dog: Gene's treatment of poor Happy can be seen like this.
His treatment of Howard Stark in the second season is worse. It's like the writers want to erase any sympathy the audience might have for him.
It seems Gene himself, however, sincerely believes that he has good motives. He just won't tolerate people trying to keep him from obtaining the rings to act on them.
Of course his justification doesn't prevent the last guardian of the rings Makluan Overlord's son from dying by his hands.
I Did What I Had to Do: The way he attempts to justify everything he does - he thinks getting all the rings will allow him to do great good (with vague goals that even he realizes he doesn't know when he thinks he has them all), and so any manipulation and if he thinks manipulation, lies, kidnap and attempted murder are necessary to accomplish that he will do so with little hesitation.
Parental Abandonment: His mother was killed by Zhang. We have no clue as to what happened to his biological father. And Zhang is pretty much evil.
Pet the Dog: They may be at odds in the second season, but Gene has gone out of his way to save his former friends even when it would benefit him to let them die. He also saves the world at the end of "Doomsday" trying to deliberately invoke this trope in front of Tony.
Ring of Power: Starts out with one; is trying to collect all five of them. Then all ten of them after learning there are five others.
Smug Snake: He acts a lot like Zhang, though he'd never admit it.
The Unfettered: He will get the rings, no matter how many manipulations, betrayal, tests and opponents he will have to go through.
Utopia Justifies the Means: What Gene is using as an excuse to get all the rings whereas Tony believes that it's all a lie to justify his actions.
Freudian Excuse: His mother's treatment led to an extraordinarily bad inferiority complex, which led him to commit crime in part to get attention and in part, to be successful and prove her wrong. This is what led him to become the Living Laser.
From Nobody to Nightmare: started out as a random Maggia Mook. Then he got his hand on an experimental suit from Stark Industries, and he ended up transformed into a powerful Energy Being who caused massive damages, almost blowing up Manhattan at some point.
Heel-Face Turn: Turns good once he realizes Iron Man only ever tried to help him.
Hidden Depths: when first seen, he apparently is a mere mooks who got a suit too powerful for him. Later episodes flesh out his motivations, revealing he was the Butt Monkey to everyone as a kid (down to his own mother) and always wanted to be recognized as somebody.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: the first time Iron Man meets him, he defeats him relatively quickly despite his powerful suit. Then the suit's side effects turns him into an Energy Being, and he basically almost kills Iron Man when he comes back.
Punch Clock Villain: He has few concerns with his contact's objectives and only cares about being payed. If you are able to give him more money than his original hirer did, he will gladly accept to give up his original mission.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When A.I.M.'s Scientist Supreme told him to fight Iron Man, he phased through the floor instead, mockingly pointing out he wasn't being paid nearly enough. He also consistently avoids direct combat with Iron Man if he can help it.
Secret Keeper: Keeps Iron Man's secret identity to himself in order to blackmail him. Given that Tony is exposed to the public at the end of season two, that plan fell through.
Adaptational Badass: And how. The Whiplash from the comic was basically just a guy with whips and a lame costume. Armored Adventures redesigned him as a very competent and dangerous henchman with energized whips who almost killed Iron Man in his first appearance. Interestingly, Iron Man 2 later makes an Adaptational Badass of the same villain (making himeven morebadass in the process) and used the electro-whips as well.
Manipulative Bastard: Manipulated Tony/Iron Man into helping him attacking Stane in his first appearance. Later, when Stane attempted to force him to find a cure for Whitney, he faked submission only to betray him.
Create Your Own Villain: Literally: Technovore originally was a virus developed by Tony to deal with Project Pegasus after they weaponized the Crimson Dynamo technology for Stane. Then the virus consumed Pegasus' data and became a sentient creature.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Whiplash didn't even have the chance to implement his upgraded whips against it before it trashed him and Mr. Fix.
Killed Off for Real: It sacrifices itself to jumpstart Tony's heart, and he subsequently reprograms his armor to prevent it from resurfacing ever again.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Hacks Pepper's and Tony's phones to send him away and lure her to the Armory to be disposed of. Tony realizes something's wrong and shows up too late to stop it from hurting Rodey.
Mythology Gag: Is an adaptation of the sentient, psychotic Safe Armor from the comics.
Not Quite Dead: The armor's eyes glowing on their own as it's put into storage hints the AI might still exist in some capacity.
Achilles' Heel: Though his psychic powers make him nearly invincible, find a way to immune yourself to them and he is a more or less regular opponent. The two times he was unable to use them on Iron Man, he was defeated with ease.
Turned Against Their Masters: played with: when first brought back to life, his first move was to fire the Controller, than overthrow the A.I.M. leader before taking control of the organization himself. Ironically, they were planning to make him their leader anyway.
Villain Decay: His first battle with Iron Man was a quite one-sided Curb-Stomp Battle, and he was only defeated thanks to the help of a reformed Living Laser. The two other times Iron Man faces him however, he is defeated relatively easily.
Adaptational Badass: While the Justin Hammer in the comics is in no way harmless, he is still an old man and Non-Action Big Bad. This one, on the other hand, possesses his own armor, the Titanium Man, which he uses to fight Iron Man on numerous occasions.
Evil Counterpart: To Tony; both are young genius with ownership on companies (though Tony is still too young to own Stark Industries at this point while Hammer already own his), both are opposed to Stane, both are involved in secret in the Supervillain / Superhero business, and both have their own armor and superhero / villain aliases. Moreover, Hammer really looks and acts like a younger, evil version of adult Stark in the comic. For this reasons, Justin sees Tony as a kindred spirit at the beginning of the show. Tony begs to disagree.
Jerkass: Big time; he makes Stane look like a nice guy by comparison.
Psychopathic Manchild: Pretty much all the time, especially when things don't go out his way. He gradually loses all common sense as the series goes, becoming more and more Ax-Crazy. By "The Hammer Falls", he goes into full Villainous Breakdown thanks to Fix messing with him, to the point he has no scrupples about unleashing a Zombie Apocalypse on New York.
Nick Fury even lampshades his eccentricities during Justin's presentation, basically asking the other military figures, "Are we seriously buying weapons from this guy?"
Ironically, this is mostly what gets him in the end: he is betrayed by Mr Fix as revenge for digitizing him, loses all the supervilains working for him because he took them down out of paranoia, and he exposes his true colors to the world on live television himself thanks to Iron Man recording him acting crazy. He pretty much destroyed himself with his own crazy behaviour.
Sanity Slippage: He sure didn't have much sanity to begin with, but he gradually becomes more insane as the story goes on.
Self-Made Orphan: His father died under mysterious circumstances and Justin comments about a deity that did whatever necessary to gain power. Nick Fury even suspects that Justin killed his father to take control of Hammer International.
Tron Lines: The Titanium Man armor has glowing green circuit-like markings on it.
Villainous Breakdown: The appropriately titled episode "The Hammer Falls" is pretty much about this; he gradually loses the little bit of sanity he has left, becoming more and more paranoid as a mysterious blackmailer is pressuring him.
Disproportionate Retribution: She attempted to kill Tony and his friends through a school full of traps and death games. Why? Because Tony took her place as the school's smartest student. And because she felt like Tony was mocking her even though he hardly even noticed her presence until she and her brother started getting actually aggressive.
The End... Or Is It?: When she is arrested at the end of her debut episode and taken by a doctor, the doctor's eyes glow red, indicating that this is just one of her robots.
Even Evil Has Loved Ones: She does care about her brother Andy even though he is a mere robot she created in an attempt to replace her dead family.
Gadgeteer Genius: Smart enough to create hightly advanced traps, build very realistic androids, and reproduce Dr. Pym's shrinking ray. The last one was never used so it's anyone's guess if she was bluffing or not about that.
Not So Different: Played with; she apparently likes believing that Tony has the same defect as her, accusing him of befriending Happy because having an idiot for a friend made him feel more intelligent, and having her brother hint that Tony killed Howard because he couldn't stand his father being smarter than him. She's wrong, of course, and Tony didn't take the accusation well.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Stark initially didn't see her as more than a weird and aggressive schoolmate who was no more than a nuisance. Just try imagining his reaction when she turns out to be an Evil Genius with a robot brother who tried to kill him and his friends.
Smug Snake: She won't admit that Tony's smarter than her and will keep acting arrogant as much as she can.
Anti-Villain: Type III, with shades of Type IV; he attempted to kill Tony under the belief that it would prevent a cataclysm which eradicate most of humanity in the future. He was even willing to explain Tony why he needed to kill him before proceeding to do so. (Albeit he said he was protocol-required to do so whenever he needed to kill somebody in the past to prevent a Bad Future from happening) The fact he was unwilling to harm innocent bystanders makes it even more difficult to see him as a villain; actually, it went so far that Tony even wondered if Andros wasn't right.
Hero Killer: Even if he rewrote the timeline to undo his dumb mistake, he is the only villain in the series to successfully kill Iron Man.
Heroic Sacrifice: He is perfectly aware of the fact that killing Tony will erase him from existence, but considers his own life an acceptable price to save humanity. He ends up doing just that to undo his mistake.
It's All My Fault: When he learns that the main reason Tony created Vortex in the first place was to defeat him.
Jerkass: He deliberately sabotages Tony's attempts to cure the Hulk and almost destroys the city twice with his interference, but is completely unrepentant.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted; Not only is he far too heinous toward the Hulk to be this, but he actually wants to dissect him in order to create more like him.
Aliens Are Bastards: Subverted with the Makluan Emperor's son, but played straight with pretty much all the other representants of the species seen. Especiallytheir emperor.
Alien Invasion: The Season 2 finale involves them trying to conquer Earth.
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy:The original Mandarin, strongly hinted to be Ghengis Khan, was given the ability to use the Makluan Rings by the Makluan prince, who alterned his DNA so he would be part Makluan.