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Comic Book / Iron Man

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Above: Model 51, one of many Iron Man armors. Below: Tony Stark, the inventor who also wears them.
I went from being a man trapped in an iron suit to being a man freed by it.
Tony Stark, Iron Man vol. 4 #1

The Iron Knight. The Armored (or Golden) Avenger. The Red and Gold Gladiator. The Man In a Can. Ol' Shellhead. Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.

The Powered Armor Superhero.

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

Tony Stark was a Millionaire Playboy and 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. Notable classic storylines include "Demon in a Bottle", which deals with his alcoholism, and "Armor Wars", where he goes on a vendetta after his technology is stolen and reproduced.


In recent years, Iron Man has 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 modelled 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.

As of the dawn of the Heroic Age, Stark was rebuilding his financial empire from scratch. His vehicle to make this happen? Using technology provided by Danny Rand combined with his own repulsor technology to form one of the most astounding sources of clean energy ever seen. He was 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 wouldn't be financed by manufacture of a single weapon. After Avengers vs. X-Men, Brian Michael Bendis confirmed that Iron Man would join the Guardians of the Galaxy in the Marvel NOW! series in early 2013.

Tony returned back to Earth just in time to have his morality inverted during AXIS, setting up the nine-issue maxi series Superior Iron Man which took him to San Francisco in a silver Symbiote suit, acting all kinds of jerk-ish. He also served as a prominent figure in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers, serving simultaneously as a member of the Avengers and Illuminati to save the world from colliding into another universe — and failed. This brings us to Secret Wars, which sees the "Armor Wars" story revisited — set in the Technopolis domain — depicting a reality in which wearing an armored suit became mandatory for all citizens.

After Secret Wars, Tony returned for a second Invincible Iron Man volume (written by Brian Michael Bendis), with a brand new suit of armor (of course), with Mary Jane Watson taking over Pepper Potts' job, Tony constantly running into Doctor Doom (who looks perfectly normal now), and having a gang of cyber ninjas after him. A second title, International Iron Man, had Tony running into an old girlfriend who is now a crime boss who wants to kill him, all while he was trying to find out who his biological parents were.

Following the event Civil War II, Tony put away his suit in order for a new hero to take over—15-year old Riri Williams, an African-American girl who built her own suit of armor in her dorm room at MIT. Another title, Infamous Iron Man, sees Doctor Doom also putting on the Iron Man armor. Tony would later return to being Iron Man and reestablishing another company, again. In January of 2020, Marvel released the title Iron Man 2020 (Event), which stars Tony’s brother Arno Stark.

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 kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, being followed by two sequels and other appearances therein until Avengers: Endgame - although, being in-universe the first high-profile superhero of the modern eranote , his impact is felt throughout the MCU, even in films where he does not directly appear. 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 featured in yet another animated feature in 2013, this time a team-up with The Incredible Hulk called Iron Man & Hulk: Heroes United.

Alongside Black Widow, Iron Man is also one of the very first playable heroes to be recruited for free in Marvel: Avengers Alliance (although technically, Hawkeye is also free because recruiting him is a part of the game's Forced Tutorial). Aside from being playable as Iron Man, Tony Stark himself also appears as a part of Mission Control and the consultant for S.H.I.E.L.D..

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:

  • Accidental Hero: A French sculptor becomes a hit for the statues he apparently carves of terrified women. Fellow business tycoon Rae LaCoste gets Tony one as a gift. Tony accidentally chips it while finding somewhere to put it, and worries about getting hell from Rae. The statue suddenly turns into a living woman, who reveals to Tony that the French sculptor is actually the supervillain Grey Gargoyle. The Gargoyle was turning real women into statues and selling them as sculptures. The Gargoyle's power usually wears off after an hour, but he coated the women with a special chemical polish that kept them from turning back to flesh and blood. When Tony chipped the "statue", he unwittingly disrupted the polish and freed the woman from the Gargoyle's power. Needless to say, Tony went after the Gargoyle as Iron Man.
  • Action Girl:
    • Tony's love interest Bethany Cabe is a professional bodyguard and troubleshooter.
    • His former assistant Maria Hill fits too, and Pepper was one for a time when she wore the Rescue armor.
    • Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart is the newest in that line.
  • Adaptational Badass: Many villains who have gotten a Jobber reputation fighting the Avengers have proven to be dangerous individual opponents for the Armored Avenger.
  • The Adjectival Superhero: Most instances of the comic follows the tradition, viz. The Invincible Iron Man.
  • Affirmative Action Legacy: Following Civil War II, with Tony in a regenerative coma, a new hero had to take over—15-year old Riri Williams, an African-American girl who builds her own suit in her dorm room at MIT.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot:
    • Whenever Tony makes AI for the suit, it either falls obsessively in love with him and/or goes crazy.
    • 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.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: An in-universe example by Obadiah Stane in regards to his father. The original story was that when Obadiah was eight, he and his father (a drunk who could never hold a steady career) stayed at a hotel, where his father won a large sum of money gambling. The elder Stane was delirious with joy, and told his son his perpetually bad luck had finally changed, and to prove it, he played Russian Roulette with himself, with a six-shot revolver holding a single bullet. Guess how that turned out. However, Obadiah later decided that his father had at that moment intentionally chose to commit suicide, believing that life was a game, the world was his opponent, and despite his winning at gambling, the world would inevitably defeat him again.
  • Ambiguously Bi: He's The Casanova and all of his canonical love interests have been women, but he also seems to have a thing for teasing/making Double Entendre remarks towards male characters.
    • Not to mention the fact that he publicly apologizes to both men and women when his dating profile is taken down in the comics....and when it’s put back up, it noticeably allows both men and women to send requests. There’s also a party scene from the Superior Iron Man issue that displays a half-naked Tony surrounded by both men and women who are also in various states of undress — while in his bedroom.
    • It’s taken Up to Eleven by the Avengers Academy game, in which Tony does things like refer to Thor as sexy, call T’Challa handsome to his face, tease Loki for hitting on him and compliment his hair, openly check out Captain Britain’s biceps, and seems to have no problem with the concept of himself and Steve as a couple, all while still flirting incessantly with female characters like Pepper, Nadia Pym, and Natasha Romanoff.
  • 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.
      • Jennifer Walters, in her own comic, encountered a completely amoral lawyer, the head of Tony's legal department who chose to be known simply as 'Legal' and displayed absolutely not a shred of morality either way. He would later show up in Daredevil.
  • Anthology Comic: Started out in Tales of Suspense.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Doctor Doom stepped up for a time when Tony was in a coma and he himself was in his heroic phase, under the unofficial moniker of the 'Infamous Iron Man'. Stark was one for himself during Superior Iron Man.
  • Archenemy: In his earlier years, this role was held by either The Mandarin, Justin Hammer, or Obadiah Stane, depending on who you asked.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy:
    • The Mandarin is a proud and arrogant man whose martial arts skills let him tear through Tony's Iron Man suits with his bare hands.
    • 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.
    • And then they did practically the exact same thing for the 2015 Secret Wars... down to Franklin Richards being the one who re-creates him.
  • Artifact Name: The Iron Man armor isn't mainly iron after a few models.
  • Artifact Title: Due to Iron Man being an Artifact Name from the armor not being iron after a while.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: In Tales of Suspense #49, guest starring Angel of the Uncanny X-Men, Angel is accidentally caught in Tony Stark's nuclear weapons test. His immediate first thought afterwards? He can feel his personality getting eviler. And no, it's not just implied by his actions, he literally states the radiation made him evil. At no point does he mention feeling anything, like crippling radiation sickness.
  • 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.
    • When Riri Williams once again bemoans her lack of a functioning A.I. to help efficiently run her suit, what is delivered to her garage? The A.I. brain scan of the late Tony Stark.
    • By the events of the Tony Stark: Iron Man, Tony has come back from the dead through Brain Uploading a digitized copy of his consciousness into a bio-engineered clone-body. He's actually shown to be insecure about it, confessing to Rhodes that he's worried he might have Came Back Wrong, and holding a long discussion with Fem Bot Jocasta about whether he still has a soul.
  • Badass Bookworm: Tony Stark is the man who builds high tech suits of armor for his heroing.
  • Badass Family: Thanks to the revelation of his brother, Arno Stark. He tells Tony he doesn't want him to build him an armor... then he makes his own, the Mark MMXX (or 2020) armor.
  • Badass Mustache: Tony is one of the few mainstream heroes in comics that regularly sports a mustache. It has also been modernized to a Goatee.
  • Badass Normal: Out of their armor, both Stark and Rhodes can handle almost any threat until they can suit up.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: Dramatically smashing through barriers in a single blow is practically a character trademark.
  • 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, being portrayed as constantly struggling to keep up with the bureaucratic demands of running America's most powerful secret governmental agency singlehandedly. Especially during Knauf's run.
  • Benevolent Boss: During the Tony Star: Iron Man run, Tony's personal think-tank is established as a crazy place full of weird science, whose workers absolutely love it there because Tony listens to them, engages them in honest debate, and is more than happy to fund even crazy-sounding ideas just to see if they can work. The very first issue has Tony recruiting a robotics developer he humiliated at a robotics design expo some 25 years ago, and by the episode's end, the man declares he couldn't be happier to be working with Tony.
  • The Blacksmith: Tony Stark's more iconic moments in visual media show him doing some literal blacksmithing; pounding out molten iron with hammers and pouring it into molds. Shirtless. He was this literally during 'Fear Itself' as he worked with the dwarves of Niffleheim.
  • 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:
    • 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. Then, ironically enough, at one point the armor was in fact passively killing him with its own electromagnetic fields.
    • In 'Extremis', the titular bio-reconstruction process works by causing the whole body to become a giant open wound inside a cocoon of scabs, then heal it in the desired new form. Both the villain and Tony undergo the grotesque procedure; the body horror comes to light again when, during their climactic battle, the villain outright refuses to stop fighting until Iron Man, in mortal danger, vaporizes his head... and then, for a horrific moment, the headless body tries to get up again.
    • 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...).
    • Then, there was 'Haunted', in the course of which SHIELD agents (Tony being their director at this point) bring the body of Karim Mahwash Najeeb - a UN official who had been murdered by henchmen of the Mandarin - aboard the SHIELD helicarrier for autopsy. Unfortunately the Mandarin had boobytrapped it with a synthetic weaponized tumor, which exploded from the corpse, attacked and assimilated anyone it could get to. It basically grew over the entire ship like some monstrous fungus, until Tony managed to stop it - by allowing it to assimilate him, and having his super-boosted immune system kill the entire thing at once. It's a grotesque and hideous scene, not in the last place because the growth has killed one of Stark's oldest friends.
  • 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.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Like the rest of the Marvel superheroes, Tony turned evil thanks to the inversion spell during the AXIS event. Later subverted when Tony took measures to keep the reversal of the spell from affecting him, resulting in his Fallen Hero status in Superior Iron Man and Time Runs Out.
    • Infamously, during 'The Crossing', Tony turned traitor and died due to having been brainwashed by Kang the Conqueror. Later this was retconned as the work of Immortus.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: On -various- endless 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 were all obsolete when they were used.
  • 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 come to equal both of them in popularity and became Marvel's new mascot.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: He sure built that arc reactor pretty quickly once he needed it and was said by Obadiah Stane to be more of an "idea man". He's more hard-working but quite hedonistic. Parodied in a scene in the Avengers, where Tony finds the idea of turning to look around a room exhausting.
  • Broken Ace: Even billionaire scientific geniuses can have serious personal problems.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The 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 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.
  • 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.
    • Again in the Civil War-Dark Reign Marvel Universe, where Tony Stark became "villainous" or at least, less sympathetic than the opposition. 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.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: The comics play with this on some occasions. Stan Lee and Larry Lieber noticed that all the businessmen in the Marvel Universe, and for that matter comics in general, were those of the Corrupt Corporate Executive type, and thus decided to create a superhero who averted this trope in the form of Tony Stark (AKA Iron-Man) to demonstrate that Capitalism was not inherently evil. Some of the villains that he faces, like Obadiah Stane, lack any of Stark's integrity and take advantage of armed conflicts to make a profit. Thus the beneficial and detrimental effects of Capitalism can be played up in certain storylines.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: While Tony has concocted defenses against the Mandarin's rings, he's got nothing against his Kung Fu.
  • Chest Blaster: The Uni-Beam is fired directly from the reactor at his chest. (Although it originally was not a reactor).
  • Chivalrous Pervert: 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! No one put two and two together because for several decades because he appeared 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 originally injured during a walk in the jungles of Vietnam, when he was already a millionaire industrialist and genius inventor. Over the years, this has perpetually been updated to wherever the United States was involved in a conflict 10-ish years ago. Currently, it's Afghanistan. In ten or fifteen years, it might well be Iraq. Yet he's forever 35-ish years of age.
  • Contagious Powers: Rhodey and now Pepper received armored alter-egos in "War Machine" and "Rescue" and this is 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.
    • Played straight in the pages of Superior Iron Man, although Tony himself wouldn't agree: he gave thousands of people access to a version of Extremis - a body-altering technology - that made them physically perfect... but then it turned out it only lasted for 24 hours, and you had to buy new increments for $99 a day. Superior Tony just considers this good business.
  • 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: All those armors are just one of the ways that Tony uses the bounty of Stark Industries as a superhero.
  • 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, Ultimo in Iron Man #299-300 and Mallen in the Extremis arc are textbook examples. The conclusion of his first fight with Titanium Man is one from the comic's early history.
  • Custom Built Host: The Mandarin forces Tony Stark and Ezekiel Stane to build giant many tentacled bodies for the Alien intelligences that exist in the Mandarin's Rings.
    • In a different Iron Man story, cultists use Extremis to genetically modify some women to be strong enough to contain the child of an Eldritch Abomination. It works.
  • 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.
  • Dark Action Girl:
    • Madame Masque, one of his villains, is one.
    • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly subverted; fans of the movies may assume Tony fits this trope, but it's really not a major quality in his comic book depictions. Although some writers have been borrowing more from Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal and incorporating this trope more into Tony's characterization as time goes on.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Although "The Coming of Squirrel Girl" from Marvel Super Heroes #8 was billed as an Iron Man story, and it opens with him testing a new invention, the story is really all about Squirrel Girl, with Iron Man himself getting embroiled into the conflict between her and Doctor Doom.
  • Descent into Addiction: The Demon in a Bottle story arc from 1979 deals with Stark's slow descent into alcoholism. Although he managed to seemingly beat the addiction by the end of the arc, it returned later to further ruin his life, and has been a major defining element for the character ever since.
  • Dirty Commies: In the early stories, Tony Stark was a major defense contractor who supplied the US military with superweapons to fight the evil forces of the world communist conspiracy throughout the world, as per the Truman Doctrine. Most of Iron Man's early villains were Reds trying to sabotage or spy on the Stark factories. Usually, Iron Man would win not only because of his superior American technology, but also because he could cleverly exploit the hypocrisy and innate treachery of the crooked Communists.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Pepper Potts briefly, when she wore the Rescue armor in Fraction's run.
  • The Dreaded: Dark Elves have become terrified of Iron Man, to the point that future generations of Dark Elf children have rhymes about him. In the Jason Aaron run of The Avengers, Mephisto has become this to Tony to the point that Stark completely freaks out when he sees tubes of dead Mephistoes killed by Moon Knight god Khonshu.
  • Driven to Suicide: 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Iron Man's suit is a clunky gray thing in its first appearance, then the same clunky thing painted gold for a couple more issues, before he switches to a slim red-n-gold number that is recognizably related to almost every suit he's worn since.
    • A large chunk of the early stories in Tales of Suspense focus on Red Scare plots and villains. That includes the Black Widow as a villain and later Hawkeye who she has wrapped around her finger.
    • Along those lines when Tony Stark is introduced he's firmly a part of the military industrial complex as a way of attempting to make a sympathetic character that young people at the time wouldn't relate to. After the Vietnam war writers would steer him away from the direction of weapons manufacturer and make it a period of his life that he regrets.
    • The origin of Iron Man's incredible power used to be miniaturized transistors and electromagnets.
    • The period when the Iron Man face plate had a nose that came about because Stan Lee made a joke about Iron Man not having a nose that was taken literally.
    • For a time the entire suit was Tony's life support, meaning he was forced to be Iron Man 24/7.
    • In his first appearance, he is only referred to as "Tony Stark" once in the entire issue, by a female admirer. Throughout the rest of the issue, he is only called "Anthony Stark."
  • Easy Evangelism: It was an easy matter for Iron Man to persuade the Crimson Dynamo to defect from his Soviet masters and come and work for Stark Enterprises by faking an order from Comrade K that he was to be liquidated as soon as he had completed his sabotage mission in America. Dynamo believed it immediately, "because he knew how treacherous all Communists are."
  • Easily Forgiven: 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.
    • 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 tear him apart for what he'd done to her cousin. The strife between him and Captain America as a result of their opposing viewpoints during the time the Incursions were threatening to destroy Earth ended with the fighting literally to the death as the planet was being destroyed by the Final Incursion; there was no forgiveness as the event was cut out of history post-Secret Wars.
  • Either/Or Title: "Alone Against A.I.M." or "What a Way to Start Out in Your Own Mag!!"
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Anthony Edward Stark. Not much embarrassing, but he prefers not to make it well-known.
  • 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.
  • Escaped from Hell: In Legacy of Doom, Doctor Doom betrays Tony and traps him in Mephisto's Realm, where Mephisto declares that Tony will be trapped there FOREVER! Tony's response to this is to fight off both the minions of Hell and a demonic apparition of his father, and then use the power of technology to escape. All in the span of about thirty minutes, which may or may not set some sort of record where Badass Normals are concerned.
    Mephisto: I hate it when that happens. Really.
  • Extradimensional Emergency Exit: One issue has Iron Man grapple with Doctor Doom, and be sent into the past via Doom's Time Cube. Doom allies himself with the sorceress Morgan Le Fey, and leads an army of zombies against King Arthur. Iron Man realizes that Doom hasn't the power to raise the dead, so he confronts Morgan in her castle tower. Morgan cannot leave the castle, which was made into her prison by Merlin's magic. She nonetheless escapes via a dimensional portal.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: The Superior Iron Man armor.
  • Everything Sensor: Tony's various armors have various sensor functions installed, second to none in the Marvel universe, to the point it's almost a bit of a joke. When the Avengers enter an area or land somewhere, one of the first things that happens is invariably Iron Man making a remark like "My sensors are picking up/ not picking up any X".
  • Evil Costume Switch: After AXIS, Tony begins sporting a suit of sleek, silver armor as the Superior Iron Man.
  • Evil Counterpart: Most of the armored villains he fights could be considered Evil Counterparts to some degree, particularly Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger.
    • Titanium Man was a very on-the-nose one; Crimson Dynamo a not-so-evil counterpart.
    • Tony Stark: Iron Man seems to be setting his brother Arno up for this role; whilst as brilliant as Tony is, he's also a moral absolutist, who will give out his science-based assistance when asked, but in ways that are often Be Careful What You Wish For. In his first feature in TS:IM #5, Arno allows the workers on a ranch of bio-engineered "ethical cattle" to be stampeded to death when he figures out they've created a Hive Mind that can feel the pain when its individual members are killed, coldly refuses to help a band of Saharan farmers who ignored his instruction to not plant more of the desert-growing grain he gave them, and mocks the man he transplanted a replacement arm onto after it turns out that something of the arm's original owner's consciousness still survives in the arm.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Whether or not he did this during Marvel's Civil War is a touchy topic that has led to natter on this page.
    • The Crossing. The less said about it, the better.
    • Played classically straight during AXIS when his alignment was inverted by a spell cast by Doctor Doom and the Scarlet Witch. However, he was the only formerly heroic villain who designed the means to stay a villain in case the spell was reversed - which was exactly what happened. This is how he became the Superior Iron Man. This has since been undone following the post-Secret Wars (2015) multiversal reboot.
  • 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. Which he technically was, of course.Trying to explain it to his best friend, though, doesn't go so well.
  • Fallen Hero: Earns this status after he deliberately avoids the reversal of the inversion spell from the AXIS storyline, from Superior Iron Man to the beginning of the Secret Wars storyline.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • Matt Fraction 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.
  • Flawed Prototype: Several of Tony's armors fit into this category, such as his original armor being too bulky while a later armor proved to be susceptible to control by Ultron. This is a result of his tendency to immediately attempt to use a new suit in the field as soon as he completes it, without bothering to properly test it first.
    • In Tony's defence, this is mainly because most of his new suits are created to immediately stop whatever threat destroyed or damaged their predecessor, focusing more on overcoming whatever weakness led to the destruction of the previous armour before his foe can cause more damage and only learning about other issues later.
  • Flying Brick: The Iron Man armor grants Tony both hypersonic flight and extreme superstrength.
  • 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.
  • Foil: To Steve Rogers, playing the selfish cynic to Steve's old-fashioned idealist.
  • "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).
    • 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 and 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 can give Iron Man a fight.
  • 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.
  • A God Am I: Post-Inversion Tony, in Superior Iron Man: when Daredevil accuses him of playing God, Tony goes on a rant about how he's the most intelligent, capable person on the planet, and that he's not playing God: "all this time... [he's] been playing human."
  • 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).
  • Good Is Not Nice: He's a playboy, a glory hound and an irresponsible narcissist who would rather shift the blame onto someone else.
    • Although some people might argue this is a more recent "development" for the character.
  • 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, for instance his "I hacked you while you were distracted" trick. Len Kaminski particularly wrote him this way.
  • Hand Blast: Iron Man's stock weapon are his palm-fired repulsor beams.
  • Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee: In the 1960s, Stark is faces this situation and it takes so long that the batteries of his hidden chestpiece/external pacemaker run low and he collapses from his heart condition. When an attending doctor opens his shirt, it is finally exposed to the world that Tony Stark is a very sick man.
  • 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 given it's place in his chest.
  • Heart Trauma: Part of his origin story is getting shrapnel stuck near his heart.
  • 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. Though Pepper was a brunette originally.
    • 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, as her name indicates, Japanese, and so raven-haired.
  • 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. And now, his entire body has been rebooted so there is no technology in there at all anymore.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: An integral part of his original character. In stories that focus on or involve his running of Stark Industries, he's shown to have honorable practices like the "no selling weapons to terrorists" thing. (In some, he will not even sell weapons to the US military for fear that they will be misused, though this was not part of his original characterization.) Naturally, this will also depends on the writer, and Civil War in particular didn't show him as this.
  • Howard Hughes Homage: Tony was inspired by Howard Hughes and has many things in common with him, as a wealthy, brilliant businessman/engineer/playboy who was Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee and struggled with a debilitating psychological problem.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • Tony created a modular giant armor, twenty stories tall, which assembles itself out of two submersibles, two gunships, a large and a small aircraft, and which he likes to call the Fin Fang Foom-buster.
    • Some of the non-canon stories have Tony piloting these, while the Hulkbuster armors verge on this trope.
    • Rhodey has 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.
    • Tony once was offered the possibly most powerful and massive mecha in the Marvel universe - the 25,000 feet tall Godkiller, which destroyed armies of Celestials. Humongous might actually be underselling it.
    • And then he built a supercolossal armor himself to use to fight threats like the Celestials; a 2000-foot tall armor, powered by at least seven generators, called 'GK II'; however, it distinctly underperformed compared to its namesake.
  • 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. The next step was an armor based on fibrous 'liquid' armor, inspired by the armor of the time travelling Iron Lad, which stored inside Tony's body entirely but could deploy incredibly rapidly, almost organically growing in the blink of an eye.
  • 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:
    • He loves pointing out just how much smarter he is than everyone else.
    • He's far worse as Superior Iron Man, where he doesn't even try to cover it up anymore: this version literally thinks he is the most capable and intelligent person in the world. Worryingly, this just might be true.
      Tony: I'm not playing god. All this time... I've been playing human.
  • It's All About Me: At one point, Tony'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 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:
    • 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.
    • Superior Iron Man shoves him firmly into Jerkass territory because of the morality inversion of the AXIS event.
  • Jet Pack: The thrusters and repulsors of the armor allow Iron Man to fly really long distances. The main verniers are on his feet. His back generally carries flaps for air stability and braking.
  • 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 didn't last 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.
  • Lampshade Hanging: One issue in Matt Fraction's run has an increasingly amnesiac Tony recounting his original origin story. After it ends, he takes a moment to mock some of the more silly aspects of the issue, like his covering the Iron Man armor with a trenchcoat and fedora, along with the implausibility of where he found a trench-coat and fedora in the middle of a Vietnamese jungle, or Wong-Chu's "trial by champion" thing.
  • 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.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Superior Iron Man suit looks like an Apple product, given its white, silvery design. But the man inside is a greedy, extremistic, self-righteous douchebag.
  • Lightning Lash: Two different Whiplashes both use electric whips.
    • Marco Scarlotti was an enforcer for the Maggia who used deadly whips, one of which was electrified.
    • To tie in with Iron Man 2, Marvel created a new power-armored Whiplash named Anton Vanko, who confusingly has no relation to the Anton Vanko who was the first Crimson Dynamo, and despite being released at the same time as Iron Man 2 is also not the same Whiplash as in the movie.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: His origin story. The terrorists/communists think that he will really follow up on his promise to build weapons for him.
  • Loves Only Gold: Supervillain Mordecai Midas is obsessed with gold. This is somewhat understandable in his later stories, since he now literally has to consume it to live.
  • 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: 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. It becomes less literal after he has it removed from him.
  • Mad Scientist: The Mandarin, the Controller, and the Ghost. Tony has also clashed periodically with Advanced Idea Mechanics, a whole organization of Mad Scientists. Also Doctor Strange, one of his first major villains.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Carla Strange, the daughter of Doctor Strange, the Mad Scientist who threatened both America and the USSR with nuclear armageddon. Eventually, she turned against her father's ambitions and helped Iron Man defeat him.
  • 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, 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.
    • Averted 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. note 
  • 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 are skilled in manipulation. Stane once bought out his company.
  • Manipulative Bitch:
    • Sunset Bain 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Tony's middle name, "Edward" is translated in Old English as 'Rich Lord' or 'Rich Protector'.
  • 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: He's extremely wealthy, and luxuriates in the pleasures that his wealth enables him to access. Unlike a certain other iconic comic millionaire playboy, he's not faking the fun-loving hedonist aspect of his personality, it just doesn't prevent him from also wanting to do the heroic thing.
  • Monster Modesty: The villain Fin Fang Foom is a giant space dragon that only wears a pair of purple underwear.
  • More Hero Than Thou: One of Tony's subtler, yet oldest flaws is his near-overwhelming guilt/responsibility complex, which means he is always the first to try and leap into putting his own life on the line, even when it would be smarter to let some other hero take on the responsibility.
  • Must Make Amends:
    • Tony Stark after the events of Civil War.
    • 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?:
  • Nemesis Weapon: Iron Man's enemy the Titanium Man wears a suit of armor like Tony Stark's, but one that's much bulkier and contains nothing but offensive weaponry, as opposed to the more versatile toolset in the Iron Man armors.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Tony was based on Howard Hughes. And Errol Flynn. Who also drank like a fish.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: In Christopher Cantwell's Iron Man #2, Tony breaks his arm saving civilians from a villain. In hospital, he tells his new crimefighting partner Patsy Walker that he can't get health insurance and will have to pay out of his own pocket for his medical treatment.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • Only Iron Man's earlier armos were mostly made of iron. Played with in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 when the title heroine infiltrates Stark Tower and overhears two employees:
    "Look, all I'm saying is, his suits aren't even made out of iron anymore. Boss should be calling himself Ceramically-Enhanced Alloy Man while he's in San Fran."
    • During Magneto: Not A Hero, the titular character is suspected of slaughtering a bunch of anti-mutant extremists (it's actually his clone, Joseph), and is called in to a meeting with Captain America and Tony, the latter of whom has made preparations for Magneto's abilities. Cue Magneto snarking that, "The Invincible Rubber Man" doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
    • When was the last time the Hulkbuster armor managed to bust Hulk?
  • 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.
    • 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.
      • And then it stopped when Tony completely rebooted his biology.
  • Off the Wagon: Tony is a recovering alcoholic and is frequently tempted to go back to the bottle during emotionally charged storylines. He hasn'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.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: No one will forget that Tony led the pro-reg side in Civil War in-universe and that this led to Captain America's death when the man surrendered, as well as many superheroes losing their lives, livelihoods or freedom. He becomes Reformed, but Rejected but comes to agree everyone has the right to hate him when his brain is being rebuilt and he insists on seeing what he did, against Captain America's protests.
  • 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 was born, according to the Invincible Iron Man annual.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tony complains that his father was cold, never around for him, and he seriously doubted that his father even loved him at all. This was eventually shown not to be the case.
  • Pet the Dog: When Tony Stark is proven innocent and the FBI still charges him with resisting arrest, FBI agent Neil Stretch argues about it again with Nick Fury. Neil Stretch is transferred to the Alaska field office as a result. Neil also tells Tony not to be mad at Pepper Potts because she did not break easily: she was in distress and he played her like he was trained to do. "You want to be pissed at anyone, be pissed at me".
  • Phlebotinum Dependence: The electromagnet keeping his heart beating was this for a good portion of his history.
  • 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.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Mallen is rather open about how he thinks the KKK is a force of good.
    • The original depiction of Wong Chu and the Mandarin were very politically incorrect, given the Yellow Peril thing.
  • Power Crystal: On the chest and palms, function as Repulsor Beam emitters.
  • Power Glows: The Repulsor Beam emitters glow when in use.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Powered Armor: The Iron Man armor is the likely Trope Codifier for comic books, and current example image on said page.
  • 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.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • "Every time you kiss Iron Man, you taste Galactus." And that list is woefully incomplete and outdated, too.
    • 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.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: When the FBI still wants to charge Tony Stark with resisting arrest, FBI agent Neil Stretch and Nick Fury argue about it again. Neil Stretch is transferred to the Alaska field office as a result.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Even the tiniest pieces of Tony's 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. Why doesn't he release it? Because releasing it to civilians only doesn't solve the problem of potential misuse.
  • 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.
    • After Avengers Vs. X-Men, Tony has developed armor capable of being remotely operated across intergalactic distances, with no apparent problems with response lags.
  • Retcon:
    • Way back when, Tony was depicted as one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D., being present when Nick Fury was inducted as Director. Due to the nature of Comic-Book Time (where SHIELD was always founded in the sixties), this was gradually phased out. In more recent decades, a new retcon has come in where instead it was Howard Stark who helped found SHIELD.
    • Comic-Book Time has made it necessary to retcon many elements about his armor, from who built it to what kind of Techno Babble it runs off. Originally, Stark built it in the jungles of Viet Nam together with an elderly Chinese professor, and it was powered by transistors, while the most recent comics more or less follow the movies.
    • The very first Iron Man story (which covered his superhero origin) also said he wouldn't be able to take off his armor without dying since it was keeping him alive, so he was stuck wearing it forever. The very next Iron Man story introduced the pacemaker chestplate which was separate from his armor, allowing him to maintain a normal facade, but there was no hint of this in the previous story.
  • 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.
  • Riches to Rags: Happens to Tony more than once.
    • After Secret Invasion, Tony is blamed for the Skrull invasion, and loses his company. After Siege, he manages to get it back, but is apparently much poorer. "Apparently", because during a story in Avengers vol 4, he's shown to still have a lot of expensive things still around, justifying it to Cap with "my poor is not your poor".
    • Post-Secret Wars, Tony's unintentional negligence of his company between going off to space and super heroics causes Stark Industries to fall into hard times to the point where Tony can't fund the Avengers anymore and has to sell the Avengers Tower.
  • 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.
  • Rogues Gallery: Coming up with an Arch-Enemy for a hero who is already His Own Worst Enemy is no easy feat. During his early years as a "commie smasher", many of his villains had fairly obvious ties to the Iron Curtain. The Mandarin and Crimson Dynamo are the only villains from this era to retain their original prominence. The former fit the aesthetic of a "heroic knight vs evil sorcerer" dynamic, but his Fu Manchu-esque origins have been problematic for some writers. And with the Crimson Dynamo suit being state property, it's rarely operated by the same person. This complimented Stark's own fears of SHIELD or the Pentagon forcibly taking his technology away from him, but did not make characterization easy. When the Cold War angle was dropped, writers created arc villains like Edwin Cord, Obadiah Stane, and Justin Hammer, and had some Grade-C Avengers villains take on Shellhead individually to see if any of them would stick (Living Laser is the most prominent of these).
  • Rogues Gallery Transplant: Some villains have gone back and forth between being a foe of IM or being a foe of someone else; Scarecrow, a former circus acrobat originally appeared as a foe of IM back in the 60s, but later tussled a bit with Captain America and the Falcon, and later became a major enemy of Ghost Rider. The Mandarin branched out a bit in the 60s, attempting to control the Hulk, fighting Captain America, the Inhumans, and was the villain of the first Avengers annual (with various other Avengers-related villains- The Enchantress and Skurge, the original Power Man, the Swordsman, and Living Laser- working for him). Speaking of Living Laser, he eventually became a regular villain for IM, despite his original appearances in The Avengers as having been a Stalker with a Crush on The Wasp. Grey Gargoyle had three notable encounters with Shellhead- once in the late '60s, again in the mid '80s, and the Fear Itself storyline in the New '10s- despite being primarily a Thor villain.
  • Science Is Bad:
    • Played with 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 The Infinity Crusade - a religious nutjob with the power of 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 journalist based on real-life Intrepid Reporter John Pilger, 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, creating an enormous mystical ritual to shut down technology world-wide as part of his plan to conquer and "restore" the world.
  • Science Hero: Reed Richards was first, but Tony is the Trope Codifier in comic books because he fights with his inventions.
  • Science Is Useless:
    • Averted 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 v5 #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... He escapes with the rings after eventually giving them a beatdown exploiting their weakness to iron... 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 but it came out eventually. See Clark Kenting above.
  • Self Made Super Powers: During the "Extremis" six-issue arc, Tony Stark modified the titular virus to store his armor inside his body, directly interface with technology, use some of its powers without manifesting it, enhanced reflexes and regeneration of both his body and armor. He later develops Extremis 3.0, which grants him the ability to alter his appearance, Healing Factor, Enhanced Strength, Agility and Reflexes. He also claimed it can make people immortal.
  • 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 was extremely prone to taking morally ugly but pragmatic decisions.
  • Shoulder Cannon: War Machine, as well as the remote controlled armor, the Modular armor when Vor/Tex used it 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 Iron Man vs. Whiplash #3, 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. His powered armor is a space-age metal alloy!
  • 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.
  • Super Intelligence: He is ranked among the smartest persons on earth in the Marvel Universe with Super-Genius class intelligence.
  • Supernatural Sealing: One issue has him battle Doctor Doom, and both combatants get plunged into the past via Doom's Time Cube into the days of Camelot. Doom had been doing research on the sorceress Morgan la Fey with an eye toward learning more of the mystic arts from her. Morgan la Fey has been sealed inside her castle by Merlin's magic after her last failed attempt to overthrow King Arthur.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In the first issue of the 2015 volume of Invincible Iron Man Tony dates an East Asian scientist who has invented a cure for the X-Gene. No, Tony is not putting the moves on Kavita Rao. Meet Amara Pereira, everyone!
    • Riri Williams is also not very different from Lila Rhodes, Jim's engineering niece, who herself is not very different from Natasha Irons over at the Distinguished Competition.
    • He also recently hired a new personal assistant who, like Pepper Potts before her, is a red-haired firebrand who has dealt with superheroes before; Mary Jane Watson!
  • 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?
  • Technological Pacifist: Tony eventually becomes one by swearing military contracts.
  • Technology Porn: Rather inevitable, given the premise is super high tech armor.
  • Technopath: Tony could interface with machines using his mind after his Extremis and Bleeding Edge upgrades.
  • Temporarily a Villain: During the Crossing, Iron Man went insane and became a villain, only to be replaced briefly by a younger version of himself from a different time.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: 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.
  • Three-Point Landing: The cover of Issue 76 for the 1998-2004 volume of The Invincible Iron Man features Tony punching the ground doing the pose. The rest is history in iconography.
  • 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!"
  • Transhuman: His Extremis and Bleeding Edge upgrades made him essentially into this; one consisted of a body-altering technology letting him store most of his armor in the hollow parts of his bone where the marrow is normally found. The other was Nanomachines kept inside his body until mentally commanded to become his armor or turn into any type of structure upon Stark's skin like clothes, and also augmented his intelligence. Both upgrades were removed.
  • Variant Power Copying: Tony's suits usually have this ability, such as being able to copy Captain America's fighting moves by replicating them and then performing the motions, or copying Magneto's abilities using orbital satellites that can absorb electro-magnetic energy, or copying Venom's symbiote by using nanomachines that approximate the symbiote's biological abilities.
  • 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.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: This is a recurring problem for Iron Man's Rogues Gallery. Tony is continually upgrading his technology, so that villains who were a challenge to his older suits of armor may be completely outclassed by Tony's later gear. In some cases, these villains become Rogues Gallery Transplants, while in others they are replaced by more powerful Legacy Characters.
  • Virtual Ghost: Given Tony's expertise in the artificial intelligence field, the transferral of his consciousness to the digital realm occurs several times. Most notably in the Hypervelocity miniseries and in the 'Iron Man: Rapture' mini.
  • Water Source Tampering: Tony's plan in Superior Iron Man involves infecting people with Extremis via the water supply.
  • 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 Measure Is a Non-Human?: By Tony Stark: Iron Man, Tony has decided his morals command him to be on the "AI are people too" side of the debate. He hires the Ultron-designed Fem Bot Jocasta specifically to be the Stark Unlimited AI interface, to avoid exploiting or denigrating artificial intelligences. At her instruction, he removed his former suit-controlling AI Friday and transplanted her into a gynoid body. Likewise, in issue #6, she calls him out on planning to simply blow away the robot data-thieves that are attacking his company just because it's expedient and they're legally okay to kill. Ironically, Jocasta is revealed to have herself a case of Pinocchio Syndrome, secretly using Tony's new ultra-immersive virtual reality "eScape" to fantasize about being human, after earlier abortive attempts at using an image inducer to pretend to be a human amongst the other employees went embarrassingly wrong. Then she makes an attempt to transfer her consciousness from her gynoid body into a bio-engineered biodroid body.
    • The theme comes to its climax when Arno Stark and Baintronics reveal publicly that Tony is currently a digitally-saved "backup" of the original Tony's mind that was uploaded into a cloned human body (with Baintronic copyright stamps hidden in its blood cells, for added humiliation). The government rules that, no, Tony is not human any more, and thusly Stark Industries defaults to Arno Stark's possession. This causes Tony to get involved in the budding Robot Rebellion to earn human rights for artificial lifeforms.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Not in those exact words so much, but 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.
    • His words to Mallen's corpse after decapitating him with a repulsor ray: "Damn you. Damn you for making me do that" (though to be fair to Tony, he did spend the entire preceding fight trying to talk Mallen into standing down even after Mallen nearly killed him in their first bout).
  • Wolverine Publicity: He starred 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). That's without even getting into the movies, which made him a famous character in an unprecedented level (probably the first film alone being responsible for all this publicity). 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 in his solo book, Hickman's Avengers book, Hickman's New Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the Crash and Burn storylinenote , 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 she sees Pepper as a "rival" to Tony's affection and 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.
    • 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 and acted like an obsessive lover.
  • Yellow Peril: His archnemesis is the Mandarin, who by his name you can tell he is an Asian themed villain. There's also his original enemy Wong Chu (who is colored yellow in Tales of Suspense #39), as well as several frankly embarrassing Asian opponents - especially Samurai Steel. The Mandarin, at least, is a reasonably respectfully portrayed one, who gets a fleshed-out, moderately sympathetic backstory and believable motives for his villainy.
  • 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.
    (before the fight) So, you doing anything after this?
    (after the fight) Told you. A nice candlelight dinner would've been better.


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