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Comic Book: I Ron Man
"So in the movie, Tony Stark, head of Stark Industries, is a powerful genius billionaire industrialist sex-magnet. Apparently that's not enough for him, so he decides to add 'superhero' to the list as well."
Green Goblin, Goblin Bloggin

Go ahead, hum that Black Sabbath song. You know you want to.

Tony Stark was a genius playboy billionaire industrialist until a battlefield explosion left him with a damaged heart that threatened to kill him. Captured by the enemy forces, he is forced into manufacturing weaponry to aid them. Instead he secretly designed and built a suit of armor in a cave, with a box of scraps to keep his heart beating and to escape from his captors, and in the process became the superhero known as Iron Man. The character first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March, 1963), created by writers Stan Lee, and Larry Lieber, along with artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He has served as the protagonist of several series since that time.

Until recently, Iron Man was featured in Invincible Iron Man — a rather character-driven title that deals with the troubles of Tony Stark, as well as the politics of Iron Man. The writer Matt Fraction has modeled the plot after the movies to some extent to make it a feasible jumping on point for new fans. In 2012, Fraction and Salvador Larocca's five year run ended so that Volume 4 could launch as part of "Marvel NOW", with Kieron Gillen and Greg Land switching from Uncanny X-Men.

Iron Man, during the controversial Civil War story-line, chose to champion the Superhero Registration Act, which put him at odds with his long time friend and ally Captain America/Steve Rogers and resulted in a war between Stark's pro-registration heroes and Cap's anti-registration heroes. Although Stark championed Registration with good intentions (he insists it was to protect his fellow heroes from possibly being eradicated by the government following a superhero/villain related tragedy that resulted in countless civilian deaths), he did a number of questionable and downright unpleasant things to get it in place (see below). Stark's support of Superhero Registration would ultimately come back to bite him in the ass in Secret Invasion.

Until the end of Secret Invasion, there was a second title, Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D — a politics and espionage-based book, dealing with Stark's role as head of the international security organization. The last few issues were handed to Iron Man's ally War Machine, who has now been granted his own solo series, called "Iron Man 2.0", which is his third (after the 1994 and 2009 ongoing series).

As of the dawn of the Heroic Age, Stark is rebuilding his financial empire from scratch. His vehicle to make this happen? Using technology provided by Danny Rand combined with his own repulsor technology has formed one of the most astounding sources of clean energy ever seen. He's offering for investors to get in on the ground floor or be flattened by him in five to ten years. And the best part? His new company won't be financed by manufacture of a single weapon. After Avengers vs. X-Men, Brian Michael Bendis has confirmed that Iron Man will join the Guardians of the Galaxy in the Marvel NOW series in early 2013.

In non-comic media, a movie based on the character, Iron Man, was released in May 2008 with Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. It did well at the box office, and as of June 2008 had a 94% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, making it the best-received movie of the year, tying with The Dark Knight. This movie was followed by two sequels and other appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Prior to the movies, Iron Man had animated TV series in 1966 and 1994; for information on those, see here and here. In the wake of the movies, Iron Man: Armored Adventures is a cartoon that takes another approach to the mythos by having Tony and his friends be teenagers. Additionally, there is a 2011 anime by Madhouse, well-received by fans in concept partly on the basis that 1) the Japanese know Mecha, and Iron Man has a Mecha Suit, and 2) it wouldn't be that far off the mark for the character to have adventures in Japan, since he's a businessman with corporate branches and rivals all over the world.note  The series led to Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, an Anime film made to promote the release of Iron Man 3. The character has also appeared in both Ultimate Avengers films as well as the prequel, The Invincible Iron Man. Iron Man will feature in yet another animated feature in 2013, this time a team-up with The Incredible Hulk called Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United.

Not to be confused with The Iron Giant, which was based on a Ted Hughes novel entitled The Iron Man. And please for the love of God, don't confuse this with Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Much pain will be spared from you.


This Marvel Universe comic book provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Love interest Bethany Cabe is a professional bodyguard and troubleshooter.
    • His assistant Maria Hill fits too, and Pepper is on her way, having just found an armor made for her.
    • Madame Masque, one of his villains, is a Dark Action Girl.
      • As is Justin Hammer's granddaughter (and the Mandarin's daughter) Sasha, when she's piloting Detroit Steel - or, indeed, when she is in an expensive dress, or her underwear. Unsurprising, since her boyfriend Ezekiel Stane turned her into a cyborg WMD.
  • The Adjectival Superhero: Most instances of the comic follows the tradition, viz. The Invincible Iron Man.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Whenever Tony makes AI for the suit, it either falls obsessively in love with him and/or goes crazy.
    • And then there is the LMD (an android designed to imitate a specific person to perfection) that became convinced it was a better Tony Stark than the real thing and proceeded to take his place for several weeks.
    • An exception is the AI in the Hypervelocity miniseries, which saved his life and later sacrificed itself so a nuclear bomb wouldn't be detonated.
    • Played straight with the 'Jarvis' AI in the Rescue armor he created for Pepper Potts — which worked just fine for a while, and then fell in love with her obsessively, holding her hostage until he was destroyed by Jim Rhodes.
    • Played completely straight with late-volume-1 villain VOR/TEX, a disembodied artificial intelligence which used Tony's artificial (at the time) nervous system to steal his body and take his place. While occupying Tony's body, he... misbehaves.
  • Amoral Attorney: As the head of Stark Enterprises' legal department, Bert Hindel was assigned by Tony to protect his technology by legal means after it was stolen by Spymaster and then resold by Justin Hammer during the Armor Wars arc. Unfortunately, Hindel completely fumbled the ball, forcing Tony to resort to attacking everyone who was using his stolen tech and forcibly deactivating it. Tony fired Hindel for his poor performance... and then when he was shot and nearly killed by Kathy Dare, Hindel reappeared as her defense attorney. He tried to portray her as an innocent victim reacting to Tony's drunken abuse, with the hope of parlaying the trial into a lucrative book deal. Unfortunately, he screwed up once again when Tony's new lawyer introduced testimony from Dare's psychiatrist, and Dare ended up being confined in a mental institution.
    • Dare's lawyers over the years had, in fact, kept her from being institutionalized previously, and it was apparently her lawyers who got her on a prescription drug she shouldn't have been allowed near, that resulted in her committing suicide.
  • Archenemy: The Mandarin.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: The Mandarin.
    • Also the Masters of Silence.
  • The Artifact: The Tony Stark on Earth-616 isn't the original. He's actually a combination of the original Tony, brainwashed, killed, then brought back to life, and a teenage Tony from another dimension. This resulted from Heroes Reborn, and Marvel never mentioned it again, hoping for everyone to just forget about it.
  • Back from the Dead: If the Iron Man suit is destroyed, Tony Stark can just make a new one as long as he himself escapes harm. Even if he is harmed, Stark has an incredible resilience. He's been shot and paralyzed by a crazy girlfriend, he died, was cryogenically frozen and finally resuscitated after his nervous system started shutting down, he was rebooted entirely after Heroes Reborn (which technically speaking involved three different versions of him dying) and he deleted and re-uploaded his brain in 'World's most wanted' and 'Stark Disassembled'. Plus, several "future Marvel Universe" stories have Tony saving his brain patterns in his armor or in a computer after his death. And his origin story was a 'death and rebirth' writ large.
  • Badass Bookworm: Tony Stark is the exemplar of this.
  • Badass Family: Thanks to the revelation of his brother, Arno Stark. He tells Tony he doesn't want an armor... then he makes his own, the Mark MMXX (or 2020) armor.
  • Badass Mustache: Tony is notably one of the few mainstream heroes in comics that regularly sports a mustache.
  • Badass Normal: Out of their armor, both Stark and Rhodes can handle almost any threat until they can suit up.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow
  • Beard of Sorrow: Tony grew this when he was a alcoholic bum living on the streets of New York.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Tony Stark during his Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. period had some serious aspects of this. Especially during Knauf's run.
  • Black Best Friend: James "Rhodey" Rhodes, aka War Machine (and occasionally Iron Man).
  • The Blacksmith: Tony Stark is one. Some of his more iconic moments in visual media show him doing some literal blacksmithing; pounding out molten iron with hammers and pouring it into molds. Shirtless.
  • Blessed with Suck: Tony's incarnation in the in-universe cartoon for Ultimate Marvel universe may potentially be even smarter than mainstream Tony, and has a regenerative ability, because he has "undifferentiated neural tissue" (in laymen's terms, on the cellular level, his body is a brain) scattered throughout his body as a result of prenatal exposure to a retrovirus his mother was working on. The downside of this? Even when wearing his protective biosuit and plastered on booze, Ultimate!Tony lives in incessant, perpetual, inescapable pain. As in "being skinned alive" levels of pain. When his blood alcohol level drops, or if he takes the suit off, it gets even worse. He's also got a brain tumour that's due to kill him soon (from unrelated causes); one almost gets the impression he's relieved at the prospect.
  • Body Horror: From time to time. There have been periods where he was literally trapped inside the armor, once when he was paralyzed he needed the suit to walk. Another time while fighting to keep his technology out of the wrong hands he had a rather vivid nightmare of being consumed by his own technology as a reflection of how much he depends on it to keep him alive. And then, ironically enough, at one point the armor was in fact killing him.
    • In the first arc of Mighty Avengers (vol.1), his Extremis-altered biology is used as an entrance point by an artificial intelligence... specifically, Ultron. Not satisfied with that, Ultron immediately used Tony's posthuman abilities to transform his body... into an identical copy of Janet Pym (aka the Wasp, whom Ultron has had a serious hangup with for decades...).
  • Body Surf: In the third annual issue back in the 70s, anyone who held the wand of the (then-deceased) villain Molecule Man was eventually possessed by his essence. He is defeated when Man-Thing grabs the wand, and since he doesn't have a mind to possess, Molecule Man's essence disappears completely.
    • Also, aformentioned occasion of Ultron taking over his mind... a later story where his mind was taken over by the son of Ho Yinsen who is looking for revenge on the people who murdered his father... and much earlier, when his body was hijacked by emergent artificial intelligence Vor/Tex.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Iron Man was slated to appear in both Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes, but licensing issues due to a film project (that ultimately languished in Development Hell and died) prevented his inclusion. Thus, his friend War Machine (who was a Palette Swap of Iron Man) took his place in MvC1. Come MvC3 and the return of character themes, Iron Man received a remix of War Machine's theme, which was an expansive rearrangement of Iron Man's theme from Marvel Super Heroes. Consider this to be the musical equivalent of the Demon in a Bottle storyline.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: On various occasions, Stark has had to don his older armor despite the fact that all of Tony's old armors were destroyed. Several times. (Apparently Tony likes to rebuild them?)
    • The Iron Legion in issues 299-300.
  • Breakout Character: He was originally considered a B-list hero compared to the likes of Spider-Man and Wolverine. But after the success of his first film and subsequent sequels, he has now eclipsed both of them in popularity and became Marvel's new mascot.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Somewhat. He can create multiple, formidable armors and a life support system ahead of the current time, which he made with extremely limited resources. While he actually does things with this, he can't be asked to sit through a ceremony made for a friend and ally without falling asleep during the history recap.
  • Broken Ace: Even billionaire scientific geniuses can have serious personal problems.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The recent storyline World's Most Wanted has Tony feeling this way as he deletes his brain and loses his intellect, though his abilities decrease well below average (Tony doesn't really see the difference). In the current story "Stark Disassembled", Pepper feels this way as her heart-mounted repulsor generator and armored suit are dismantled to reboot the brain-dead Tony Stark. She's not going to sit down and take it, though.
  • Butt Monkey: Tony during the mid-1980s, when he spiraled downward into a status of a homeless drunk. He got better, but not before a long parade of indignities.
    • And again in the Civil War-Dark Reign Marvel Universe, where Tony Stark became the Designated Villain. Norman Osborn putting a bounty on his head is just the icing on the cake.
  • Canon Immigrant: A lot of the movie stuff has transferred over into the comics, including arc reactors, Raza, and the phrase in a cave with a box of scraps.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: While Tony has concocted defenses against the Mandarin's rings, he's got nothing against his Kung Fu.
  • Chest Blaster: See Power Crystal below.
  • Chivalrous Pervert/Handsome Lech: Tony is a well-known playboy.
  • Clark Kenting: For most of the character's history, Iron Man had a secret identity. The cover story was that Iron Man was Tony's bodyguard...despite the fact that he hardly ever was seen in the same place as Tony, which would make him one of the worst bodyguards ever. Plus, when trouble struck, Tony would run off, and then Iron Man would show up a second later, without the guy he was supposed to be protecting! Despite Tony being a global celebrity, no one put two and two together for several decades.
    • In fairness, Tony Stark managed to appear together with Iron Man many times, thanks to allies wearing the armor and the judicious use of androids which either looked exactly like him or wore the armor.
  • Clingy Costume: Originally, Tony Stark had to constantly wear his chestplate to keep himself alive.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: His red and yellow armor, though far from the only set he uses, is emblematic of the character.
  • Comic Book Time: Stark was injured during a walk in the jungles of Vietnamnote , when he was already a millionaire industrialist and genius inventor. In the modern day, he's still in his 30s, 40s at most.
  • Contagious Powers: Rhodey and now Pepper have gotten their own armored alter-egos. Justified in that building high-tech armor is what Stark does.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Tony Stark's cover for Iron Man was that he is Tony's bodyguard, sponsored by Stark Industries.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Stark himself is a generally honest businessman, but some of his competitors are not so ethical. As Iron Man, Stark often ends up defending his own holdings against the attacks of his business rivals.
    • The "Crash and Burn" arc dealt with Stark having to deal with being accused as this, as the result of Stark Enterprises buying out Stane International (the company originally founded by Howard Stark, before Obidiah Stane took it from Tony). Stark had to deal with the ramifications of Stane International's shady dealings.
  • Costume Copycat: Tony's downward spiral left him in no shape to pilot the Iron Man armor. Fortunately, Rhodey proved a capable replacement until Stark pulled himself together. In thanks, Tony would eventually make Rhodey an armored suit of his own called War Machine.
  • Crimefighting with Cash
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: If Tony's on the receiving end of one, chances are good that in the next issue he'll deliver one right back with an upgraded armor. The battles with Firepower at the end of the Armor Wars arc, and with Mallen in the Extremis arc are textbook examples.
  • Cutting the Knot: The Ghost has attached a device to Tony's armor that makes him intangible and will make Tony die of hunger and thirst unless he can find a way to get the thing off. Tony manages to regain his solid form, but he still needs to think of a way to remove the device from his armor. Rhodey simply blows it to pieces with his gun.
  • Dating Catwoman: Madame Masque
  • Distaff Counterpart: Pepper Potts briefly, when she wore the Rescue armor in Fraction's run.
  • Driven to Suicide/Suicide Is Painless: In the World's Most Wanted storyline, Tony decides to shut down his own brain to erase all the data in it and thereby foil Norman Osborn, doing so with a big grin, a lot of gallows humor, and a calm explanation to Maria Hill (when she attempts Reverse Psychology) that shooting himself in the head just wouldn't be reliable. Sure, he's fighting evil in a very tight corner, but them's not the actions of a sane and happy man.
    • Suicide is relatively rare in Iron Man comics; however, two examples, one of either trope here, stand out: When Obadiah Stane has made his final move and is facing checkmate, he chooses to cheat Tony out of his victory and calmly repulsors his own head off. Adversely, when Kathy Dare - crazy stalker lady who shot Tony - attended his 'funeral', she ended up taking a gun to herself, weeping for herself and for Tony.
  • Easily Forgiven: Tony and Reed Richards cloned Thor during Civil War, and the clone then went on to murder Bill Foster/Black Goliath. Thor was pissed off for a while but forgave him quickly after Siege. He also hunted his friends like animals during Civil War, particularly Steve, who forgave him as soon as Steve himself came back from the not-really-dead. He's also been part of the Illuminati, which contributed to the Skrulls being able to infiltrate so easily, who shot the Hulk into space, while Tony himself later injected She-Hulk with a serum which stopped her from being able to turn into She-Hulk because he was worried that she would (rightfully) tear him apart for what he'd done to her cousin. Let's see if he's forgiven so easily when it's discovered that the Illuminati wiped Steve's memory when he didn't agree with them.
    • A perfect example of the differences of opinion about his actions: He never does these things for sh*ts and giggles, but always to protect people.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Anthony Edward Stark. Not much embarrassing, but he prefers not to make it well-known.
    • Which doubles, probably unintentional as a Prophetic Name - Edward is translated in Old English as 'Rich Lord' or 'Rich Protector'.
  • Enemy Mine: Every once in a while, Iron Man will need to team up with a villain or rival in order to overcome a greater situation.
  • Epic Fail: Bert Hindel's attempts to legally protect Tony's technology during the Armor Wars arc...and his later attempt to get revenge on Tony after he was fired by portraying Kathy Dare as an innocent victim of Tony's drunken abuse.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Apparently, there was a time when the only reason Marvel got letters from females was Tony Stark's existence.
  • Everything Sensor: Tony's various armors have various sensor functions installed.
  • Evil Counterpart/Rival Turned Evil: Tiberius Stone
  • Face-Heel Turn: for his crimes during Marvel's Civil War — made worse by trying to force an unbelievable Karma Houdini stunt (including Executive Meddling that almost begs readers to treat his Civil War activities as a Dork Age to be forgotten) instead of admitting how wrong he was.
    • That might be because he doesn't think he was wrong. And many people agree, thus maintaining the division created by the Civil War.
    • The Crossing. The less said about it, the better.
  • Faking the Dead: While he was clinically dead for a bit, Stark was immediately put into a cryogenic state so that Dr. Sondheim and Abe Zimmer could get to work literally rebuilding his nervous system. In an attempt to protect everyone else, and to keep his opponents from coming for him while he was in this state, Tony let everyone believed he was dead. Trying to explain it to his best friend, though, doesn't go so well.
  • Fanservice: For very bizarre and silly reasons, there was a scene in one comic book involving Tony having to fight another superhero. Only the two men were only allowed to do so naked, and wrestling.
    • That was X-Statix...
    • Also numerous instances where Tony wears nothing and a little black shadow.
  • Fiction 500: He runs a Mega Corp. and can still redirect some money into an advanced lab and a collection of truly expensive armor.
  • Flanderization: Matt Fraction has quite openly done this by very simply stating outright that all of Iron Man's problems boil down to his alcoholism. This was all the more painful for the fact that Fraction himself is a recovering alcoholic, pulling it into Author Tract territory.
    • He did something similar with the "Repulsor generator". Repulsors are Iron Man's signature weapons - palm-mounted energy beams which push really hard against things. Possibly in a reaction to the movie's arc reactor, Fraction promoted the repulsor to an energy source instead. And not just an energy source for technology - it also turns people into super-people when you implant one in them. Ultimately, the repulsor tech was the root and spine of Iron Man - when it had started out as simply one weapon of many.
  • Flying Brick/Lightning Bruiser
  • Flying Firepower: when he's not brawling, he hangs back and uses energy blasts to drop his targets.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Averted in Iron Man (vol. 3) #33 - Tony went to a costume party dressed as Captain America.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In Iron Man (vol. 1) #255, a bizarre mutant with the ability to manipulate radio signals (who settles on going by "Freak Quincy") inadvertently links up with the Russian microwave satellite that was empowering Devastator during a training exercise against the Crimson Dynamo, somehow switching the minds of Tony Stark (who was trying to stop Quincy as Iron Man) and Valentin Shalatov (the Dynamo). Shalatov's lack of familiarity with the Iron Man armor resulted in a rather... unfortunate accident for Quincy, but Stark and Shalatov were able to find a way to reverse the process.

    The incident, although a "filler" issue as the comic was transitioning to the team of John Byrne and John Romita, Jr. at the time, was referenced much later on, when Shalatov needed Stark's help to stop the rampaging Titanium Man (the original, Boris Bullski).
    • Before that, Obidiah Stane had used the mad scientist Dr. Atlanta to switch the minds of Bethany Cabe and Madame Masque. The gambit came into play after Stane's death, but the two were eventually switched back.
  • Friendship Moment: In Iron Man (vol. 1) #184, James Rhodes and two other guys were working on creating their own tech company, they were getting ready to leave for California. Tony Stark came up asking for a job. In the past few months he had lost his company, lost access to his money, gave up being Iron Man and is homeless. Not only that but he had only spent a week being sober. Tony was afraid that he would be rejected for what happened. But Rhodey and the others promptly accepted him.
    • Tony and Rhodey would fight soon afterward, though, because Rhodey was suffering from migranes that caused him to believe Tony was going to take the armor back from him. Rhodey went on a rampage that forced Tony to don his new prototype suit to stop him; at the end of the fight, Tony was able to convince Rhodey that he wasn't out to take the armor back, and the two shook hands again. (Rhodey would later discover his headaches were caused by his own guilt, and when Tony ultimately did become Iron Man again, he accepted the change.)
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tony Stark, obviously, but also Ivan Vanko. Especially in the case of the latter, as he's working from a dingy little workshop in St. Petersburg, with resources nowhere the quality or quantity of Stark's. And he still manages to make a weapon that beats the crap out of Iron Man.
  • Gender Bender: The problem with having a techno-organic supercomputer inside you is that someone might find a way to hijack it. Namely, a psycho Killer Robot with a severe complex that centers on one of your teammates. Tony was not amused when he woke up after being changed back to normal.
  • George Jetson Job Security / Ultimate Job Security: Both tropes are very much averted. Tony won't fire anyone without good cause, but he will let the axe fall if he feels a major employee's performance isn't up to snuff. After the Armor Wars storyline, he fired the head of his legal department for repeatedly screwing up Tony's legal attempts to protect his technology. Another time, he immediately drop kicks an executive for making a very profitable technology sale to Doctor Doom, a big time international crime no-no.
  • Gold Colored Superiority: Iron Man is often called "The Golden Avenger" even though he's mostly red nowadays (although he once had a fully golden armor).
  • Got the Call on Speed Dial: Every time Stark gets his armor wrecked, he just goes and builds a new one.
    • Pepper's doing this, too. She briefly had her own set of armor that she had to give up to help save Tony. As soon as he's recovered, she's on his case to rebuild it.
  • Guile Hero: Depending on the Writer, Iron Man can be shrewd and manipulative. Len Kaminski particularly wrote him this way.
  • Hand Blast: Iron Man's stock weapon are his palm-fired repulsor beams.
  • Healing Shiv: The Ghost slaps a device onto Tony's armor that makes him just as intangible as the Ghost. Tony can't remove it and can't touch anything at all, not even food or water. Tony's afraid that he'll die of hunger or thirst if he doesn't find a way to get the device off. He eventually uses an electromagnetic pulse to short the device out and become solid again, but it's still stuck to his armor. Unless they can find a way to remove it in six minutes, they're back to square one. That's when Rhodey pulls out his gun and tells Tony to brace himself. Putting the gun right over the device, Rhodey shoots Tony at point-blank range and shatters the device:
    Iron Man: I never thought I'd say 'thanks for shooting me,' but that seems to have done the trick!
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: Averted by Iron Man, whose heart-sustaining arc reactor is located in the center of his chest.
  • Heart Light: Iron Man's power source resembles one of these.
  • Heart Trauma: Also part of his origin story.
  • Hero Insurance: Tony tries to cause as little collateral damage as possible. This is because Stark Enterprises' facilities are frequently the sites of his battles, and when they're not Tony will compensate whoever's property he wrecks.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Pepper Potts, Black Widow, Bethany Cabe. If it's a significant Iron Man love interest, chances are it's a redhead.
    • There's also the animated series that has Julia Carpenter as a love interest and yes, she's a redhead.
    • Averted: The woman who came closest to him, ever, to the point of almost getting married to him, was Rumiko Fujikawa - who was, needless to say, Japanese.
  • He's Back: A few times, most notably involving overcoming his alcoholism.
    • First, there was the highly-acclaimed "Demon In A Bottle" storyline. Justin Hammer had remote-hacked Iron Man's armor, resulting in the death of a foreign ambassador. Although Iron Man was ultimately absolved of wrongdoing, Tony nearly crawled into the bottle to stay because of this, until his friends snapped him out of it (just in time, too, since SHIELD was in the process of assuming control of Stark International).
    • A few years later, Obidiah Stane came along, and manipulated Stark in many ways to force him back into the bottle. Stark was forced to relinquish the armor to Jim Rhodes, and then lost Stark International to Stane. With his personal fortune frozen, Stark hit Skid Row hard, and would've died in a blizzard, if not for his need to protect a newborn baby. With a newfound respect for life, Stark cleaned himself up, and joined Rhodey and the Irwin twins in moving to California to start anew. He'd have been happy enough, doing jobs for Cly and Morley, but after Tony had to go back in action in a prototype suit, Stane decided Stark was a threat again, and decided to target Stark's friends. Cue Stark donning the brand-new Silver Centurion armor and flying to Long Island to kick Stane's ass six ways from Sunday, driving Stane (despite his Iron Monger suit) to kill himself.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: He's become more and more this over the decades. Early on, he relied in his chestpiece for survival. Then came the Extremis which was bound with his nervous system. Then the entire suit became part of his body. But then the writers reverted him to only relying on a chestpiece for survival.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: In his more sympathetic portrayals.
  • Humongous Mecha: Some of the non-canon stories have Tony piloting these, while the Hulkbuster armors (especially the most recent ones) verge on this trope.
    • Rhodey does have the War Machine Satellite, which can turn into a giant mecha.
    • Although Tony didn't design it, his company built Red Ronin, the piloted giant robot built to fight Godzilla in Godzilla: King of the Monsters. Marvel no longer has the license for Godzilla, but Red Ronin still shows up from time to time.
  • IKEA Weaponry: For years, Tony has made Iron Man armors that collapse and store inside his briefcase.
    • Then Extremis let him store most of the undersheath in the hollow parts of his bone where the marrow is normally found. Calling on the rest of the suit when in need.
      • AND NOW STORES THE WHOLE THING IN HIS BODY! THE WHOLE #@#* $* $* SUIT! Justified by now having a new power source that makes even Extremis look obsolete, in fact, the newness is heavily modified from dormant Extremis tech that survived the Disassembly purge.
  • Impossibly Cool Wealth - Especially the Ultimate version of Tony, who very much is a 'you can't take it with you' capitalist. Examples: an island village/research facility floating high up in the air; an airplane which has a luxury suite inside it, suspended in liquid teflon so you never notice any turbulence; an Iron Man 'suit' the size of two football stadiums.
  • Insufferable Genius: Especially in recent years.
  • It's All About Me: Tony can fall into this a lot, particularly in recent years. At one point, he's attending a funeral for a group of heroes in Invincible Iron Man and his internal monologue is complaining about Thor ignoring him — he'd recently cloned Thor and sent the clone after his friends, but all Tony cared about were his own hurt feelings.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tony Stark is this trope. Even early on, he refused to trust his closest friends with his secrets until his back was against the wall, not because they would be endangered, but because he believed no one else was equal to the responsibility.
  • Jet Pack: The thrusters and repulsors of the armor allow Iron Man to fly really long distances.
    • More like Jet Boots. The main verniers are on his feet. His back generally carries flaps for air stability and braking.
  • Karma Houdini: over his Civil War crimes — repeatedly failed.
    • Although some people might argue that, since he did not commit any crimes, the entire issue is moot.
    • And it's not as though he didn't suffer repercussions. He lost his friendship with all of the anti-reg heroes, and about half of the pro-reg, eventually lost his top-spot to Norman freakin' Osborn, and has in universe been treated as the direct cause of a lot of the big problems in Marvel. He's bounced back during the Heroic Age, but still had to start from scratch all around.
  • King Incognito: For a few issues, Tony Stark decided he didn't want to be Iron Man any more, so he gave away his fortune and went to Silicon Valley under the alias of Hogan Potts. He worked as a normal grunt at a company. He really didn't last that long.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: The Mandarin frequently practices against multiple martial artists, sometimes brutally murdering them with his bare hands.
  • Knight Templar: When Tony's technology was stolen by Spymaster and then resold by Justin Hammer, Tony became determined to get it back and prevent it from hurting anyone... no matter what the cost. This led to the Armor Wars story arc, and Tony eventually even Lampshaded the fact that he was verging on this trope.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Subverted in an issue where a rogue Tony ends up fighting War Machine (they've done this a couple times). It's staged to look realistic so Rhodey's superiors are happy.
  • Locking MacGyver IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!: His origin story. The terrorists/communists think that he will really follow up on his promise to build weapons for him.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: The armor that Tony built to replace his destroyed Silver Centurion suit contained an energy shield in the left gauntlet that Tony could use to protect himself from beam weapons.
  • MacGyvering: An arguable case considering that Tony Stark is a version of Angus MacGyver who happens to wear a complete high tech tool kit with him.
  • Made of Iron: Literal as of the dawn of the Heroic Age. Stark now contains the ENTIRE SUIT INSIDE HIS BODY. No not just the undersheath, not just some systems and such EVERYTHING! Sadly, there are only sweet sweet visuals of the suit itself. No info on what it can REALLY do. Oh and the whole issue reveals that this whole new armor makes Extremis Armor look like Nintendo 64 compared to Playstation 3. It becomes less literal after he has it removed from him, however.
  • Mad Scientist: The Mandarin, the Controller, and the Ghost. Tony has also clashed periodically with Advanced Idea Mechanics, a whole organization of Mad Scientists.
  • Magic Versus Science: Stark is smarter than the average Flat Earth Atheist, acknowledging that Doctor Strange and other magical characters are doing something beyond his understanding, but he finds magic and its defiance of physical laws, even those of a superhero universe, profoundly irritating and uncomfortable. This has had some negative consequences recently, as his taking a sample of Thor's DNA in an attempt to figure out how his "godly" powers work resulted years later in Civil War's Thor clone, who ended up killing one of Tony's friends on the other side of the war.
    • Subverted in What If? v2 #113, where Tony becomes the Sorcerer Supreme instead of Doctor Strange... and combines the Sorcerer Supreme magic with his Iron Man technology.
    • The "Knightmare" storylines with Doctor Doom, involving Time Travel and the Arthurian legends, has Tony having to deal with magic, much to his frustration. When the two are brought to the year 2093 in the second story, Tony admits magic can have its benefits when he wields Excalibur and the sword is able to magically restore his armor.
    • Also, in a Bad Future brought about by the horrible attempts to Set Right What Once Went Wrong in the Age of Ultron storyline, Tony Stark is an enfeebled dictator of the USA, sustained by the life-support his suit grants and commander of the Defenders against the demonic forces of Morgan le Fay, in a literal war between magic and science over New York City. Unfortunately, Tony, and therefore science, is fighting a losing battle, although it is implied were Hank Pym still around, the odds would have been evened. Hell, it's Pym's death that started events leading to the war in the first place. *
  • Magnetic Weapons: The repulsor rays in the gauntlets are pure magnetic force beams. Instead of propelling a projectile, they create a variable push (from "slam a Mook against a wall" to "blow a hole in a mountain").
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tony has often fallen into this for what he judges is the greater good. Not surprisingly, this has lead to... strained relations with his friends and allies over the years. See Civil War and Armor Wars for the most prominent examples.
    • The Mandarin, the Controller, Obadiah Stane, and Justin Hammer
  • Manipulative Bitch: Sunset Bain. Big time. Often opposes Tony Stark in his day-to-day business but also opposed him as Iron Man although she always manages to get other people to dirty their hands in her stead. She even manipulated Stark into working for her several times.
    • When Tony was much younger, Sunset managed to start her company by seducing him into bed and then stealing all his secrets.
    • Justine and Sasha Hammer, too, in grand Hammer tradition of opposing and trying to run Stark into the ground.
      Assistant Pilot: Ms. Hammer, we can't just leave her—
      Sasha Hammer: The hell we can't.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Tony often uses old armors like this. When his body was possessed by Ultron and transformed into a robot version of the Wasp, the Avengers had to face an army of Mecha Mook Iron Man units.
  • Millionaire Playboy
  • Monster Modesty: The villain Fin Fang Foom is a giant space dragon that only wears a pair of purple underwear.
  • More Hero Than Thou
  • Must Make Amends: Tony Stark, after the events of Civil War.
    • Long before that, Justin Hammer (and, before his death, Obidiah Stane) had taken the company Tony's father had founded, and done lots of bad things with it. When Stark found out what Stane International had been up to after he'd reacquired it, he put everything else on hold so he could clean up their messes and make things right.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When the Watcher paid him a visit and showed him two alternate outcomes to Civil War.
    • Also, after being rebooted in "Stark Disassembled", he was then shown a record of the Civil War. He breaks down in tears.
      • Played with, as he then goes on to tell Maria Hill, who was previously his right hand woman, that he would probably do it all again because he thought he was right. She walks away in disgust while he yells that she was on his side.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Tony was based on Howard Hughes.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Stark's external pacemaker chestplate, which he kept hidden for some time, is eventually discovered by the public and he finally received professional medical treatment for his heart condition.
    • And Extremis. This Warren Ellis story changed Iron Man for good, it seems - new repercussions keep popping up and there is no sign of it stopping.
  • Off The Wagon: Tony is a recovering alcoholic and is frequently tempted to go back to the bottle during emotionally charged storylines.
    • But in actual fact, hadn't given in to that temptation for decades (real-time) until Fear Itself.
  • Oh, Crap: If you're a regular mook without superpowers of your own, seeing Iron Man arrive on the scene is often cause for this.
    • Tony has a few of these moments himself, for example when he's on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle (or is about to receive one, if he's just run out of weapons). When this happens, it's usually the Hulk who's involved.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe, the nose armor is one of Tony's biggest regrets in design choices.
  • Only in It for the Money: After Tony lost his company to Obadiah Stane, he moved out to California with some friends to start a brand-new electronics company. Rhodey used the Iron Man armor as a hired mercenary to obtain seed money.
  • Opium Den: Where The Mandarin is born. According to the Invincible Iron Man annual, anyway.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tony took over Stark Enterprises at 21 when his parents were killed in a car crash.
  • Phlebotinum Dependence: The electromagnet.
  • Pillars of Moral Character: Under Matt Fraction, it has been attempted to portray Tony as the true form of hero as applied to the real world; i.e. rather than as a simplified, idyllic vigilante directed at an unrealistic Strawman Political or Omnicidal Maniac. He is a true philanthropist—someone more dedicated to rescue work than warfare, towards building and helping rather than destroying, and towards more constructive, useful, and applicable definitions of true idealism and heroism than Marvel usually tends to use. Previous acclaimed writer David Michelinie once called Iron Man "the world's greatest force for good", and he may actually have a good point.
  • The Power of Hate: Tony's Rogues Gallery is a varied bunch, but the one thing they all have in common? They are primarily motivated by their hatred of Tony Stark. The Mandarin Rings are an extreme example. The rings' sole purpose is to hurt Tony Stark, and they only choose people who either have a pre-existing grudge against Tony or could be easily manipulated into hating Tony.
  • Powered Armor: Likely Trope Codifier, and current example image on said page.
  • Power Crystal: On the chest and palms, function as Repulsor Beam emitters.
  • Power Of The Sun: Most of Stark's Iron Man armors have a solar energy collection function that can keep them working on a basic level in situations where there is no other power source to access for recharging, but it's mainly an emergency backup that cannot seriously provide enough power fast enough for combat.
  • Powers as Programs: Tony is always coming up with new design ideas for his armor. He'll even incorporate his competitors' and enemies' ideas into his armor if he thinks they'll be useful.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Mallen is rather open about how he thinks the KKK is a force of good.
    • In a different way, particularly the original depiction of Wong Chu and the Mandarin were very politically incorrect...
  • Really Gets Around: Just in case you missed it in the Memetic Sex God entry "Every time you kiss Iron Man, you taste Galactus."
    • Within the first episode of the animé adaptation, he's already flirted with two women, both main characters, the first within the first five minutes of the show.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: And so is Tony Stark. Even the tiniest pieces of his powered armor technology could solve any number of problems, from enabling paraplegics to walk, to replacing bulky forklifts with compact wearable lifting gear, to potential solutions for the world's energy supply. While Stark may have moral reasons for not releasing his technology to the military, what excuse does he give for keeping it out of the hands of civilians?
    • An extremely viable excuse. Releasing it to civilians only doesn't solve the problem of potential misuse at all.
  • Remote Body: Iron Man can control his suits at a distance; he even uses remote-controlled armor while he's crippled.
    • The NTU-150 Telepresence Unit is the logical extreme of this trope, as unlike his other suits, it was a full-fledged robot controlled via a subspace link connected directly to Stark's brain. Especially useful considering that, at the time, Stark had just come Back from the Dead, and needed time to gain full use of his own artificial nervous system.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Strongly averted. Stark plays hard, but he is quite publicly a sharp deal maker and a genius engineer with a workaholic streak. He turned a significant fortune into a monumental one, and has lost it and recovered it at least twice. He's also widely considered to be brilliant by both civilians and heroes and is consulted on scientific, engineering and medical matters.
  • Rollerblade Good: When Tony needs to get around fast and he can't fly, such as being indoors, some of his suits have pop out roller skate wheels in his boots to skate around on.
  • Science Is Bad: Subverted in the sense that Tony Stark's scientific advances are meant to benefit mankind, but many of his enemies either try to steal Stark's knowledge for their own personal gain, or use their own scientific talents for evil. Science itself is not evil, but it can be used by evil people. At one point, Stark is compelled to destroy his armor so its secrets won't fall into the wrong hands, but then realizes that he has a responsibility to use his science smarts to defend against those who use their science for evil.
    • Emphatically inverted when he confronted the Goddess (the villain from Infinity Crusade - a religious nutjob with the power of, well, a goddess), who wanted him to forgo the cold truths of science for the (admittedly bogus) spirituality she offered. In response, Tony virtually read her a catechism of science, ending with a jab at her own evil and greed.
    • Also inverted in the Invincible Iron Man series. Stark agrees to an interview with a very Michael Moore-esque documentarian, who wants to understand why Tony does what he does (and actually intends to peg him as a heartless profiteer of war). After being constantly railroaded by the interview, Stark cuts off the documentarian and admits yes, he creates weapons of war for use by the United States government, but goes on to explain that every microchip he manufactured for use in American smart-bombs has since being widely developed for civilian purposes; the technology itself isn't inherently 'good' or 'bad'. In short, he regards the development of weapons as an unfortunate, but necessary evil that finances his humanitarian projects.
    • The Mandarin decides on this in the Hands of The Mandarin arc.
  • Science Hero: Reed Richards was first, but Tony is probably the Trope Codifier in comic books.
  • Science Is Useless: Subverted here in that if you attack him with magic, don't expect much considering Stark is usually able to use his scientific knowledge and technology to beat any spell you throw at him.
    • As demonstrated in 'Iron Man' v6, #23-26, when Tony travels to the realm of the Dark Elves to recover four of the Mandarin's rings, then in the possession of Malekith the Accursed; the vicious hordes of the Dark Elves set out to hunt him in their forests. Well... he escapes... and with the rings... and from then on, Dark Elf children who are misbehaving to their elders are chided with "You better behave, or the Iron Man will come to get you!"
    • In What If? v2 #113, Tony became Sorcerer Supreme — but still used his armor. The issue climaxed with Stark beating and humiliating the Dread Dormammu singlehandedly. This version of Tony is like a heroic version of Doctor Doom, except better.
  • Secret Identity: Averted. Tony used to keep it a secret, though. See Clark Kenting above.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Tony Stark's private flight attendants are so sexy, they double as go-go dancers.
  • Shoot the Dog: Tony as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Shoulder Cannon: War Machine, as well as the remote controlled armor, and the massive combat armor deployed against the Brides of Darkness.
  • Shout-Out: The British Iron Man tech in Ultimate Armor Wars is suspiciously reminiscent of a certain Halo protagonist.
    • In part three of "Iron Man vs. Whiplash", Tony hides out at a Swiss hotel, when the receptionist says he looks familiar he claims to be Robert Downey Jr.
    • Going way back, Tony once had a luxury yacht with the nameplate Throatwabbler Mangrove.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: Of a sort. Rhodey got his start replacing Tony in the Iron Man suit. Tony eventually came back, but Rhodey continued being a superhero as War Machine. Eventually, Pepper gets a suit of her own as well.
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather: None, powered armor!
  • The Sponsor: In the story Demon In A Bottle, Tony Stark had a stint where he gave up the suit and wallowed in booze and despair for a while, but his then-girlfriend Bethany Cabe picked his ass up and got him back in the game.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Three. Kathy Dare, who shot him for rebuffing her and then tried to claim he was the abusive one at her trial; Tiberius Stone, who tried to lock his mind in a virtual program after a strategic isolation campaign, and one of his own armors, who was practically an abusive boyfriend when it became sentient.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Obadiah Stane's son, Ezekiel, is in a relationship with Sasha Hammer, the daughter of Justin Hammer's daughter and the Mandarin. That's a union of most of Tony's arch enemies.
    • Now if it turns out his mom's Sunset Bain... 'Stane and Bain', how could they resist?
  • Technical Pacifist: Averted on occasion in the comics... just ask Mallen. Oh, right, you can't. He has no head. But considering Mallen had sworn to kill the President, nothing less than death would stop him and his body was trying to get up after his head had been blasted off, you might argue Tony was spit out of options.
  • Technological Pacifist: Tony eventually becomes one.
  • Technology Porn: Rather inevitable, given the premise.
  • Technopath: Tony after his Extremis and Bleeding Edge upgrades.
  • Temporarily A Villain: During the late nineties, Iron Man went insane and became a villain, only to be replaced briefly by a younger version of himself from a different time.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: In the earliest issues, the function of the "transistors" Tony developed was to provide more power — "My tiny transistors are so powerful that they can increase force of any device a thousandfold!"
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Tony Stark has had to face off occasionally against advanced versions of his armor using older models. Some examples include when he battled his own armor gone Yandere in the Sentient Armor arc, and later facing off against Norman Osborn, who was using his Dark Avengers "Iron Patriot" suit, with a suit (literally) made in a cave, with a box of scraps.
    • This idea was played with in Matt Fraction's "Five Nightmares of Tony Stark" storyline. In that story, a villain got his hands on some of Stark's tech, and used it to create armies of cheap, expendable Iron Men suicide bombers. Though Tony never fought the knock-offs directly, the situation was one of his titular nightmares: not a better version of his suit but a cheaper one, something that could be mass-produced.
  • Virtual Ghost: Occurs several times. Deconstructed in the Hypervelocity miniseries. Also used in the 'Iron Man: Rapture' mini.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: War Machine. In his case, it's "When all you have is an electric minigun, a missile box and a crapload of other guns".
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Not in those exact words so much, but pretty much Hawkeye's reaction to Iron Man's actions in the Armor Wars. Also, the Hulk when Tony tried to pick a fight with him (see Wrong Genre Savvy below).
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Towards the Anti-Reg side in Civil War when he sent villains after them and sent them to a prison in the Negative Zone. He also does it to Steve in New Avengers by asking why he always has to be like this before the Illuminati wipe his memories of his time with the Illuminati.
    • Notably, his words to Mallen's corpse after decapitating him with a repulsor ray: "Damn you. Damn you for making me do that."
  • Wolverine Publicity: He's getting there. He now stars in four different shows on four different networks (Iron Man: Armored Adventures on Nicktoons, The Superhero Squad Show on Cartoon Network, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Avengers Assemble on Disney XD, and Iron Man on G4). And that's without even getting into the movies. Three other characters are on Armored Adventures, Superhero Squad, and The Avengers: Nick Fury, who's been getting pimped out by Marvel himself lately, MODOK, who is also a new character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and the Hulk.
    • He's currently in his solo book, Hickman's Avengers book, Hickman's New Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
      • Although the Got G one should probably be counted as a negative :P
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the Crash and Burn storyline, Tony learns that one of the plants he'd acquired in buying out Stane International had been producing gamma bombs for the Pentagon, and the press had become aware, meaning that the Hulk was going to find out. Expecting the Hulk to come in to smash the place, Tony orders the plant evacuated, and waits for the Hulk to show up wearing Hulkbuster armor. When the big green guy does show, Tony throws the first punch. Hulk (who has Banners' intellect during this period) calls him out on this, stating that he only came by to discuss a timeframe for shutting the plant down, not to smash anything. Having reached an accord, Tony decides there's no time like the present, so they end up leveling the plant themselves.
  • Yandere: Madame Masque as she sees Pepper as a "rival" to Tony's affection that she's willing to torture her while beating and making Tony beg for mercy in order to "win" his love back. She also does this when she threatens Tony with a pistol on his left temple when she would agree to run away with him and live together if he rejects Pepper. Too bad it didn't work though...
    • Oh, and then there was Kathy Dare, Tony's ex-girlfriend who shot him after they broke up. He wasn't even the first guy she got revenge on, as she burnt down the mansion of a previous boyfriend and her psychiatrist had recommended that she be institutionalized.
    • There was also one occasion where one of his suits spontaneously developed sentience. It didn't end well.
  • Yellow Peril: His archnemesis, the Mandarin. Also his original enemy Wong Chu (who is actually colored yellow in Tales of Suspense #39), as well as several frankly embarrassing Asian opponents - especially Samurai Steel.
  • Your Universe or Mine?: When placed opposite of any female character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This ranges from Crimson Viper to Tron Bonne to Hsien-Ko to Morrigan. The only exception? Amaterasu, who is a dog.

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