- From the old days Iron Man vs. Titantium Man. The battle starts at the end of one issue with Tony clearly facing a tough enemy, second issue of the fat has Tony struggling to survive against Titanium Man and it doesn't help his suit is missing a critical component. Happy Hogan gets a moment where he retrieves the piece and dashes for Iron Man only to be wounded. Then a furious Tony Stark vows to make sure Happy's avenged and spends the next issue curb stomping the Titanium Man.
- Pretty much Demon In The Bottle on a meta level for tackling alcoholism realistically.
- Not so meta is Iron Man taking on a dozen villains, most B and C listers, but still that's some tough odds.
- Iron Man Vol. 1, #200. Stark is finally taking the fight to Obadiah Stane after so long being his drunken Butt-Monkey. In the ensuing battle in the very corporate building that Stane stole from him, Iron Man is trapped in a room with Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan held unconscious. Stane comes on a comm screen and tells him that if he moves, motion sensors would detect it and send a killer surge of electricity to kill his hostages, which means Iron Man will be forced to starve to death rather than kill his friends. After an arrogant rant, Stane signs off with a smug farewell, certain of the horrible, lingering and inescapable death he has just condemned Stark to. Against this, Stark has only one thought, "Don't count me out, Stane," as he calmly uses his greatest advantage against Stane, his incredible inventive intelligence, as he calmly scans the room and finds a critical power conduit point within the firing arc of his chest piece's unibeam weapon, which is fired strictly by a neura-link and defeats the deathtrap and rescues the hostages in seconds.
- Iron Man vol. 1, #259. The Living Laser - disguised as the ghost of the Titanium Man - has critically damaged a nuclear power plant... and Tony has about 70 seconds before it blows. So, he digs it out of the ground, lifts the entire structure, flies it out to sea, dumps it in the drink, digs it a half mile into the silt at the bottom and manages to get out of there seven seconds before it blows. As a feat of strength, it's not been matched by him yet. Throughout, he remains cool, calm and collected, as if it were no more than trying to get a leaky garbage bag out of an appartment without dripping on the carpet.
- Iron Man vol. 1 #300. Not only does the Modular Armor debut, but so does the Iron Legion. Rhodey (War Machine), Michael O'Brien (the Guardsman), Bethany Cabe, Happy Hogan, Carl Walker (Force) and Eddie March (who was Iron Man briefly when Tony retired) take to the sky in armor to fight Ultimo.
- During the "World's Most Wanted" arc, Tony manages to protect the identities of his fellow heroes and humiliate Norman Osborn, all while his brain is slowly destroyed and he goes backwards through his armors until he fights Osborn in his original. Let me repeat that: Tony Stark, near brain-death and in the armor which he admits was built in a cave (WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!), takes on Norman Osborn, at the time the de facto head of the United States and wielding the most up-to-date repainted Iron Man suit. Naturally, Tony's terrible, but that's how he wins: by shaming Osborn in front of the media through his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Tony. Then he royally screws over Osborn while comatose by having Don Blake, a.k.a. The Mighty Thor appointed his doctor so that he won't have his life support terminated.
- During the Dark Reign story arc, when Norman Osborn (dressed in Iron Man derivative 'Iron Patriot' armor) finally catches up with the near braindead Tony Stark, and proceeds to pummel him into the ground. And after deleting his brain, evading every government on the planet, reassembling every Iron Man suit he'd ever owned, and finally getting the snot knocked out of him, what does Tony have to say? "I win." Norman, you have just been pwn'd in the hardest of cores.
- Another one from Dark Reign, Invincible Iron Man 17-18. Pepper Potts successfully infiltrates the H.A.M.M.E.R Helicarrier and frees Maria Hill and Black Widow by impersonating Madame Masque(wich tried to kill her and Tony and failed), I'm not usually fooled by gambits like this but this one got me by surprise, and it was AWESOME.
- The flashback to how Tony and James Rhodes met: Rhodes is serving in 'Nam, and his helicopter's been shot down by concealed VC. As he tries to radio the base, to no luck, Tony in his original Iron Man armour lumbers out of the jungle. Does Rhodey freak out? No. Without even blinking, he grabs a rifle and fires it at Tony. It doesn't do much (besides shredding the coat Tony somehow managed to acquire, and place over the suit), but it definitely cemented Rhodes as a badass.
- In Iron Man (vol. 1) #293-294, as part of The Infinity Crusade story arc, Tony's confronted with the Goddess, a female cosmic being who wants to "purify" the universe of evil; she wields several Cosmic Containment Units, basically omnipotent plot devices which make her all-powerful. She's trying to bring over superheroes to her cause and one of them is Iron Man. Twice, both times completely at her mercy with his naked spiritual form like a shrimp in her fist, he tells her she is a presumptuous hypocrite and no thanks, he won't join her.
- Iron Man's victory over the Mandarin in Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #28. Forced to wear an irremovable power-dampener to shut off his Extremis abilities, and racing against time to prevent the Mandarin from releasing an airborne form of Extremis (which will kill 97.5% of the world's population), Tony dons an outmoded armor, tracks down his old nemesis, and engages him in a particularly brutal slugfest, during which he yanks half of the Mandarin's power rings (which were fused into his spine) right out of his body, whilst sustaining a broken arm and a dent kicked in his helmet. He then downs the Mandarin temporarily with his own weapons and the Mandarin's own rings, then deliberately severs part of his own foot to get the power dampener off, fights through the pain and shock and the sensory overload of his Extremis abilities returning, then averts the Extremis outbreak. The Mandarin then gets up again and punctures a container of Extremis, prompting Tony to freeze him AND the Extremis with freon spray. Only then does he pass out. Damn...
Awesome / Iron Man