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Western Animation / Iron Man: Armored Adventures

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He is a man on a mission
In armor of high tech ammunition
Trapped on the edge of an endless game
His teenage life will never be the same
In a dangerous world he does all he can,
— The show's Expository Theme Tune

Things are bad: Tony Stark's father was just murdered. Tony didn't even get to show Dad his fancy new suit, but luckily it's what allowed Tony to survive the attack on his plane. However, it left his heart permanently damaged. Obadiah Stane took over his father's company and has completely shut Tony out of his family's business. Things only get worse when Tony suspects Stane of being the one behind his father's death, but cannot find any proof to implicate him. Rhodey's running out of excuses for Tony's absences from school, and if all that isn't bad enough, now Tony has to take care of his dad's unfinished business of collecting the five Makluan Rings before the Mandarin obtains their power. Oh, he also has to graduate high school or he loses the rights to inheriting his family's company when he turns eighteen due to a legal loophole. It's almost too much pressure for one person to take.

Iron Man: Armored Adventures blended together the original comic continuity, the Ultimate continuity, and even the movie continuity, and managed to distill various aspects from all the previous Iron Man adaptions while still injecting plenty of its own creativity into this fresh and new continuity. There is a great emphasis on story this time around, with Tony Stark traveling across the globe hunting down a group of ancient artifacts, called the Makluan Rings, that his late father was also researching. On his quest, he's aided by various allies and attacked by various enemies, many of whom have past ties to his late father, as he searches for a way to finish the work that his father started and save his family's company before it's too late.

The show aired two seasons from April, 2009 to July 25, 2012 on Nicktoons Network. It also aired on Vortexx on The CW in 2012 as one of the block's initial shows. If you're in the UK, you can catch it on Kix!

Has a Recap page.

Iron Man Armored Adventures provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Living Laser's mother, Gene's stepfather Zhang, and Whitney's father Obadiah Stane are all pretty mean parents to their children. Not to mention the Makluan Overlord.
  • Actor Allusion: Mackenzie Gray plays Obidiah Stane, a character who could be considered an Expy of Lex Luthor. He also previously played LX-3, a literal clone of Luthor, in Smallville.
  • Actually a Doombot: Where Doctor Doom is involved, expect to encounter this trope.
    Tony: This isn't Doom! It's some sort of Doombot!
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Mandarin (and pretty much all of Iron Man's rogues) were shallow, one dimensional characters with terrible powers and costumes and have been pretty much abandoned by the comic-book writers for the past decade or two. The show re-invents many of the characters from the ground up to make them relevant, threatening, and focus on the character development side of them. Gene Khan's relationship with Tony and his friends and how it changes over the course of the show being a good example. The show manages to weed out all the terrible clutter and Retcons Iron Man comics are still having problems with to this day.
    • The series in and of itself is a distillation of the infamous "Teen Tony" concept.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Happy Hogan is the star of the episode "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Gene Khan also gets his focus in "World on Fire" and Pepper Potts gets a few about her.
  • Adults Are Useless: SHIELD tells Iron Man they have the threat of an orbital laser cannon under control...then their entire squadron is immediately wiped out. Fortunately, there are moments in later episodes where this trope is averted.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Tony's attempt to upgrade the armor leads to this in a Mythology Gag to the comics' Safe Armor arc, and the Technovore virus upgrades/evolves itself.
  • Air Quotes: Pepper uses air quotes when talking about her father's suspicions that Obadiah Stane caused the "accident" that killed Tony's dad.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: The first Iron Man cartoon series to be made completely using computer animation.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Pepper invokes this trope when she goes giddy over all of the shoes in the stores. Even claiming it is an addiction. Despite this however she is always seen wearing the same pair of sneakers.
    • Tony suggests Whitney is the same way when he accuses Pepper of becoming her during her shoe run.
  • And the Adventure Continues: This is how the show ends. Tony, Pepper and Rhodey are all alive. The status quo has changed dramatically now that the world knows who they all are. Gene seeks to become The Atoner and use the Makluan rings for good. And the events of the episode may well have led to the creation of The Avengers. And that's all we'll get.
  • And Then What?:
    • When the Living Laser takes over a Kill Sat, he initially has no idea what to do with it. The SHIELD operatives on board have to lead him into making some actual demands.
    • Gene also gets this from Tony and several others over the course of the series.
  • Animated Adaptation: Partly based on the 2008 movie and the original comic series.
    • Also later took on storylines like the Extremis and a version of the Ultimate Fantastic Four's Mad Thinker, Rhona.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Tony dismissing the Hulk as an "urban legend." That from a guy who saves people using a Powered Armor, lives in a world where mutants exist and goes on quests to find magic-like rings. Yeah, sure...
    • Pepper and Whitney both disbelieve the idea of a working shrink ray. Justified as the person who's wielding it is Ax-Crazy. We never do get to see if it was real or not.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Justin Hammer would rather be base jumping, swimming with sharks, or chasing beautiful women. You know, dangerous things.
    • When overhearing Whitney talking about having her own armor, Pepper warns Tony that if he built Whitney a suit before giving her one, she'd rip out his spleen then delete him from her Myface friends... forever.
    • In "Titanium vs Iron," Pepper states Hammer gets away with "banking schemes, retail scams, and those annoying pop-up ads."
  • Artificial Limbs: Whiplash gets one after Iron Man rips his old arm off.
  • Artificial Human: MODOC, if you can call him human.
    • Andy Erwin, the Awesome Android. Rhona created and programmed Andy to be her brother. Interestingly, when Rhona ordered Andy to get rid of the main teens, he told Pepper that he hated having to hurt her because he always liked her. It is unclear if Andy somehow developed those emotions on his own, or if Rhona programmed them (which is unlikely, seeing as she tried to kill Pepper).
  • Ascended Extra: Rhona and Andy. In every episode you can see them in the background with other students before they were given their own speaking roles. They don't become more than crowd filler until season two, and the real punchline doesn't come until the middle of the season. Can count as a Mythology Gag to anyone who read Ultimate Fantastic Four.
  • As You Know: Pepper's father pulls a pretty ridiculous version of this to his bosses in Episode 15... or at least, that's what it looks like at first. Then we see that Pepper was narrating the story. She plays it straight once again later in that same episode.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: When Stane tries to sell the Iron Monger to the board as a good investment, they dismiss it as a "tank with legs" that costs $80 million to build, then demand he build something cost-effective. Stane just kept pushing, though, landing a nice military contract that got the board to accept it.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Several characters. Living Laser before his reform, as well as the Mad Thinker (aka Rhona) come to mind as especially strong examples.
    • Sasha, Hammer's secretary, gets an disturbing amount of enjoyment out of causing wanton destruction and the "fun" involved in harming innocent people (in contrast to Hammer, who mostly gets enjoyment out of the power he gains over others), which is all the more unsettling given our previous looks at her personality were mostly monotone and snarky.
    • Hammer himself was fully willing to crush Iron Man to death, pilot and all.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Iron Man and War Machine fighting Ghost's "Solograms" in "Ghost in the Machine."
  • Badass Boast: When Iron Man says SHIELD doesn't have any chance against the Living Laser given he himself barely survived fighting him, Nick Fury's reply is to say "You're not SHIELD".
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    • Pepper says when they're kidnapped by the Maggia that it's not what she imagined when she said she wanted to hang out with Tony. Tony guesses she's thinks it's actually an improvement.
    Pepper: All those times I wanted us to hang out? This isn't exactly what I meant.
    Tony: Let me guess: You think this is better.
    Pepper: Yeah! Way better!
    • The Makluan Overlord tells Gene it's unfortunate that he murdered the Makluan who stole the ten rings, for he was his son, and he longed for the day they would meet again... so he could murder him for his treachery.
  • Bear Hug: Tony gives one to Rhodey and Pepper in "Extremis." That he can manage to lift both at once helps show off his enhanced strength from the Extremis serum.
  • Beast and Beauty: Pepper and the Hulk bond in the episode "Uncontrollable" and the reason for Hulk helping save Tony is because of her.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Justin Hammer's assistant is exasperated at his Bunny-Ears Lawyer tendencies.
  • Benevolent Precursors: Surprisingly, the original Mandarin. Despite his reputation, he appears to have been an honorable and benevolent leader who was disgusted by the greed, ambition and cruelty of his progeny - in stark contrast to both Gene and Zhang. The Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize he was based off of Genghis Khan, who had a reputation for being a ruthless conqueror, but was also known as a wise and benevolent ruler to those already under his power.
  • Best X Ever: Hammer says "Best. Week. Ever!" in "Hostile Takeover".
  • Big Bad: The Mandarin is the main villain of the series.
    • Big Bad Ensemble: The show has numerous ongoing arcs, and most have their own central villain. The three most prominent are Obadiah Stane, Gene Khan/Mandarin, and in the second season, Justin Hammer.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Mr. Fix in "Titanium vs. Iron."
    • Tony lets loose quite a few of them over the course of the series as well.
  • Big "YES!": Tony does this when he manages to find a way out of Doom's illusion.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season one. Fin Fang Foom is stopped, the fifth ring is found, and Zhang is dead. But the armory is destroyed, and Gene reveals himself as true Mandarin and cops to causing the plane crash that killed Tony's father (who is revealed to be Not Quite Dead). Worse, he now knows that there are not five, but TEN Makluan Rings, and he has the first five, making him the only one who knows the location of the rest.
    • "Heavy Mettle:" Stane is finally outed as a Corrupt Corporate Executive and ousted from his CEO position by the Reasonable Authority Figures on the Stark International Board of Directors. However, as a result Stane goes temporarily nuts, figures out Tony is Iron Man, steals the Iron Monger suit and tries to call him out to a final battle by kidnapping Pepper. It gets worse, for just when Stane has had a change of heart thanks to the love of his daughter, Hammer shows up, hacks Iron Monger's systems and causes it to go on a rampage, which Stane is blamed for. In the effort to stop the Monger suit from the inside, Stane causes the suit to plummet off a building, while Tony and Rhodey are unable to save him. End result, Stane is in a coma, Whitney blames Tony for everything and swears revenge, and Hammer, though momentarily disabled, avoids all blame and is poised to become even more powerful than he already is.
  • Blackmail Backfire:
    • In "Iron Monger Lives," Whitney Stane threatens to reveal Iron Man's identity to S.H.I.E.L.D. if he doesn't let her escape. Iron Man doesn't have to worry because they already know.
    • In the Series Finale, Ghost's plan to use Iron Man's identity as leverage once Tony Stark inherits Stark International is ruined once the identity is exposed to the whole world.
  • Blatant Lies: Happy's response to Tony explaining the nature of Killer Shrike and Unicorn's quantum bombs is "Well, I could have told you that!
  • Bloodless Carnage: Though the Powered Armor avoids the trope most of the time, there are several notable instances. A battle between the Tong and Maggia mooks just results in everyone hitting the ground without so much as a mark. Tony's heart injury in the pilot looks somewhat odd since, aside from some clothing burns, his chest isn't even bruised (what little of it is visible looks perfectly healthy).
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: Discussed but not used. When Tony has trouble with an agile villain, Rhodey suggests he might need to learn kung fu. Tony complains that he already has a highly-expensive suit of Powered Armor.
    • Strangely, the one time Tony actually fights Ghost without his armor he does pretty well in hand-to-hand combat, though it probably helped that Ghost was trying to escape.
  • Brain Uploading: It turns out that the explosive nanites meant to kill Mr. Fix had the secondary affect of transferring his mind to an external disk, which Hammer then uploads into his mainframe so Fix can continue his work. Needless to say, Fix is not pleased.
  • Breather Episode: Immediately after the quite emotionally taxing episode, "Designed Only For Chaos" wherein The Living Laser dies, we get "Don't Worry, Be Happy" where Happy ends up inside the Iron Man suit and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Brick Joke: When talking about why he doesn't want to wear the armor, Rhodey first says "birds". Much later, what distracts Happy in the middle of showing off in the armor and makes him plummet to the ground? A bird.
  • Broken Masquerade: Tony, Rhodey, and Pepper all get outed to the public as superheroes in the season two finale.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Before Andy is revealed to be an android, Rhona and Andy definitely come off as this, such as flirting and an instance where she kisses him on the cheek.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: Happens to both the hero and the villain in the third episode "Secrets and Lies." Maggia enforcers Killer Shrike and Unicorn kidnap Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, and Gene Khan in an attempt to ransom Gene's father The Mandarin. What they don't realize is Gene is actually the current Mandarin they're trying to blackmail and they obviously get no response when trying to contact him. Tony Stark also can't save the day as Iron Man as he is also being held captive, leaving it up to Rhodey to save them.
  • Buffy Speak: Has plenty, largely from Pepper. For instance, in the final episode alone she uses terms like "robo-dragon whatzits" and "holographic projector thingy".
  • Bullying a Dragon: A new mutant student who turns out to be Jean Grey gets bullied for being a mutant as par for the course in the Marvel universe. The bully seems to be more afraid of Tony (who as far as he knows is just a scrawny little punk with a heart condition) than he is of the girl who can throw him across the room with her mind.
    • Doom has the nerve to make demands of a demon which could have brought his family back to life, after his "three pure souls" turned out to be only two-thirds pure. Said demon eats him later.
  • The Cameo: In "Ghost in the Machine", Captain America can be seen on the class' digital blackboard as the teacher asks questions about World War II.
  • Canon Character All Along:
    • Rhona and Andy are the Mad Thinker and the Awesome Android.
    • Annie is Jean Grey.
    • The viewer quickly discovers that Gene is this universe's version of the Mandarin, and not the more traditional-looking Xin Zhang.
  • The Caper: A heroic example. In the episode "Field Trip," Pepper comes up with a plan to retrieve Tony's invisibility armor from from Stark International. And for a while, it goes well, until numerous spanners knock it right off the rails. And she didn't bother coming up with a Plan B, because "Plan A was so awesome."
  • Captain Obvious: Tony pretends to go to the bathroom so he can suit up. When Rhodey realizes it, he immediately goes to find his headset to contact Tony. Tony then tells him "I won't lie to you, I did not go to the bathroom".
  • Catch and Return: How Iron Man defeats the Black Knight.
  • Ceiling Cling: Pepper does this while spying on her father. At least, that's what she tells Tony and Rhodey.
  • Cel Shading: The series is animated using cel shading to give it a comic book-like look.
  • Chainsaw Good: Titanium Man has a pair of wrist-mounted energy chainsaws.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tony has various blueprints for different types of armor scattered around his lab, all of which are eventually made.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Lampshaded when Tony remembers Churchill's retreat in World War II that showed you can retreat and still win the war.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Brought up when discussing Dr. Doom's "magic," which is actually technology similar to the Makluan rings.
  • Clear My Name: "Masquerade" and "Fugitive of S.H.I.E.L.D." as Iron Man, and "Chasing Ghosts" as Tony Stark.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: Howard Stark's unfinished gadgetry causes these problems for the Living Laser and Whitney Stane. Though, in the latter's case, how much of it is the clothes and how much of it is her home life is up for debate.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Pepper has shades of this, like when she suggests Tony should come to school in two limos to upstage Gene. Or how she thinks Gene's dad being connected to the underworld is "awesome".
    Pepper: (earnestly) So how long has your father been a crime lord?
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Almost every hero and villain.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Pepper complains Tony gets to do all the fun stuff:
    Rhodey: He almost got killed last week.
    'Pepper: See?''
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Episode 13 features a robot that is clearly meant to be Ultimo, a creation of the Mandarin in the comics, but it's not called that. Averted in future episodes, however.
  • Composite Character:
    • Titanium Man, which is basically a combination of the original character and Hammer's Hammeroids from the film, piloted by Justin Hammer himself.
    • Blizzard is the modern day Donnie Gill version, but sports the origin story and engineering skill of Gregor Shapanka, the Silver Age Blizzard.
    • The Black Knight is the villainous Nathan Garrett version, but sports the costume and physical appearance of Dane Whitman, the heroic Black Knight (as well as Garrett's nephew).
    • Whitney Stane is a combination of Whitney Frost (Madame Masque) and Ezekiel Stane (Obadiah Stane's child and the one who replaces him as Iron Monger)
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • Contrived Coincidence: The field trip of the eponymous episode could have ended very badly for our heroes if not for a lot of things happening at exactly the right times.
    Pepper: Well! that went perfectly. except for every single detail. Well, it was a good plan, though!
    Rhodey: Yeah. I'm sure you meant for Gene, Happy and Stane's own daughter to help us.
    • Lampshaded when Tony has to play Hamlet at school, and Pepper explains that it's about a prince who's trying to avenge his father's death.
      Tony: No, seriously. What's it about?
      (Pepper hands over the book to him without saying another word)
      Tony: Ah, haha... Are you kidding me?
    • This continues when the teacher asks Tony what Method Acting is.
  • Create Your Own Villain: As expected of a Iron Man series; Stane worked at Stark International for years before taking control in the wake of Howard Stark's death, and the first thing he did was weaponize every piece of Starktech - both Howard's and Tony's - he found laying around. All but a handful of the villains Iron Man fights got their hardware from Stark International. Even the Mandarin was just a two-bit crime boss before claiming the second ring from Stane after Howard's death. Capped off when in the span of two episodes, Tony manages to make enemies of his genius classmate Rhona and her android servants (though that was a long time coming ever since he got to the school), Stane by getting him fired, and Whitney by putting Stane in a coma (by proxy from causing the above).
  • Crimefighting with Cash: Tony finances his research and armor repairs to the armor with his Stark International allowance. When he loses the company to Justin Hammer, he sells some of his own inventions to other companies and uses the royalties to both build his own company and pay for armor repairs.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: If the villain of the week is a guest villain and not part of Iron Man's regular Rogues Gallery you can bet that Tony's gonna get his ass kicked. Doctor Doom and Magneto for example.
    • Titanium man used to give Tony a run for his money, but once Tony gained Extremis, Tony could easily shut down his armor and take him down.
      • The reason Tony took the Extremis in the first place was getting one of these from Mallen.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • In "Cold War":
      Rhodey: Dude, it's really early for this sh—*jet boot noise*
    • In "Armor Wars":
      Tony: Their armor was cheap, knockoff junk. Low rent pieces of—
      Pepper: You can't listen to these stupid celebrity gossip show programs.
    • In "Titanium vs Iron," to Justin Hammer:
      Tony: I'll give you Stark International if you take these snails and—
      * Smash Cut*
      Pepper: Wow, I'm surprised he didn't. Would have been a lot cheaper than paying all that money.
    • In "The Might of Doom":
      Tony: Kiss my Iron—*argh*
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check:
    • Whitney ultimately deals with the assassin in "Chasing Ghosts" by paying him off.
    • Tony states this to Rhona how much good their combined genius could have done for the world, but she instead threw it all away for petty reasons.
  • Cutting the Knot: In one episode Happy gets to wear the Iron Man armor. In the end he's faced with the threat of a series of high-tech bombs with enough juice to level NYC. Tony's stumped on how to defuse them, and Happy figures out they don't go off if you break them in half.
  • Damsel in Distress: Pepper lampshades it, wanting Tony to build her armor so she will stop being one.
  • Dead Man Writing: "Meltdown" reveals Tony's dad recorded a holographic will; in which he detailed that he didn't want Tony to grow up as isolated as he himself was, so if Tony can't keep his grades up, his Stark International voting stock will go to the board. Also a case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, as when he recorded it, he failed to account for the possibility that the board - in the form of Obadiah Stane - would be the prime suspect in his death. Of course, him not being dead but kidnapped by Gene renders the whole thing moot.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tony has his moments. So do Pepper and Rhodey and Gene. Pretty much everyone, really.
    Black Widow, who has just planted a bomb on Iron Man: "Don't follow us, understood?"
    Tony: "Well I was planning to, so you could blow me up."
  • Death Glare: Several characters are very good at this, especially Tony and Rhodey.
  • Deconstruction: The show does a fair amount of deconstructing the teenage superhero genre and some of the tropes found in it.
    • While most teenage heroes struggle to fit in at school, Tony tries his hardest to do the opposite. He really couldn't care less about school or the people there, instead choosing to focus entirely on his work and calling school a waste of his time. He cheats on tests and has his friends do his homework for him because he's too busy doing more important things, with nary an aesop to be found.
    • The popular kids at his school are popular because of how friendly and nice they are to everyone.
  • Deal with the Devil: Doom makes a deal with a demon, exchanging three pure souls for those of his family. It doesn't seem to occur to him that Mandarin, a villain, isn't as pure as father and son Starks. The demon considers the deal void and doesn't deliver on his end, while Mandarin teleports all three to safety. Doom ends up being the sacrifice when Tony uses his own dimensional tech against him.
  • Death Is Cheap: Mr. Fix restores The Living Laser to life in Season 2.
  • Defiant to the End: Pepper has her moments, giving a tongue lashing to any villain that has the displeasure of holding her hostage.
  • Delayed Reaction: It takes Rhodey a little bit to realize Tony just said he was "racing helicopters before breakfast" in the second episode. Complete with sound cue.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Rhona versus Whitney and Pepper in "All The Best People Are Mad." Rhodey and Happy wisely stay out of it, the latter because it's too dangerous.
  • Determinator: Tony, of course.
    Tony (after being slammed into the ground by Doctor Doom): I won't... stay down, Doom. I won't... give... up!
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Hammer sure likes to think of himself as one.
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: When Justin Hammer asks to speak with Tony alone, Pepper blurts out that she's been quietly admiring him, then realizes that she meant to think it.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: T'Challa and Dr. Doom both use this. SHIELD actually protects Doom from Iron Man for this reason.
  • Disappeared Dad: Rhodey's father is in the military and currently stationed overseas. Gene's mother remarried, so his biological father is either dead or left.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Somehow, being knocked out of the top spot as the smartest person in the school hardly seems like a valid reason to threaten the lives of everyone in school just to show up the guy who did it.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Blood vibranium" (or "conflict metal") a terribly unsubtle allegory of blood diamonds.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Hammer treats Mr. Fix like crap while forcing him to work with him, up to killing his body and turning him into a computer program. So he, unable to retaliate directly, finally realizes that he can ruin Hammer's reputation instead, concocting an elaborate scheme to have Hammer eliminate his own enforcers, believing them to be traitors, then exposing him with Iron Man's help. Then he doses Hammer with his own zombie gas.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Just about anything with a mystic origin in the comic is technological instead.
  • Don't Create a Martyr: When Magneto tries to kill Senator Kelly, he won't do it in a way that makes it clear to everyone that Kelly was killed by a mutant because it'd turn Kelly into a martyr for other mutant haters to rally around.
  • Double Meaning: After finding out Hammer bought the company and cancelled his trust fund, we cut to Tony losing at his video game and hearing the words "game over".
  • Downer Ending: HUGE one comes in "Ghost in the Machine." Ghost steals the specs to the Iron Man armor AND finds out that Tony is Iron Man. He sells the specs to Stane AND Hammer. To top it all off Ghost plans on blackmailing Tony when he gains control of the company and Tony can't do anything because Ghost arranged for this information to be sent out on the internet if Tony tries to take it back. Also, Tony didn't patent his armor, allowing Stane to make use of the tech legally. Big downers all around.
  • Do Wrong, Right: The SHIELD Agents held "hostage" by the Living Laser are the ones to point out to him that he needs to make some demands or else what he's doing is pointless.
  • Dramatic Irony: In an ironic role-reversal, Iron Man does not know that Titanium Man is Justin Hammer, thinking he's just another underling. This saves Justin's butt at one point when Rhodey talks down Tony from finishing him off because Hammer's more important.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Parodied by one of the Guardsmen in "Armor Wars." "Don't do drugs!" is among several stock phrases he uses after rescuing a Bus Full of Innocents.
  • Dude out of Distress: Stane tries to do this in Season 2 Episode 2, but he's stopped by Blizzard.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Andy and Rhona can be seen in every episode as background characters.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Yogthulu, a giant centipede demon that can bring the dead back to life.
  • Enfante Terrible: Though by the time she appears on the show she is much older, Rhona is revealed to have been one of these in her youth, having blown up her middle school and subsequently thrown into an insane asylum years before the series began.
  • Embarrassing Cover Up: Tony's absences are frequently explained by saying he spends a lot of time in the bathroom.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Stane and Tony team up to save Whitney in Episode 24. Stane also tries to do this with Blizzard, but it doesn't work.
    • Titanium Man tries to use this with Iron Man to take down Iron Monger. It doesn't work.
    • Iron Man and the Mandarin do this successfully in "Doomsday."
  • Engineered Heroics: Force and Shockwave cause accidents so they can save people and look good for the camera.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: "Control+Alt+Delete" has one: In the last moments of the episode, Tony considers that he would not be able to tell if his world is truly real or not after what he's just experienced. As he walks out of the room, it glitches out. What the viewer is meant to take away from that is this: Like Tony, we must suspend our disbelief in order to enjoy the show, and the fact that it's a fictional story doesn't invalidate it or any of the emotions it might give you in any way, which is true for all works of fiction. It's still pretty worrying in-universe, though.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Obadiah Stane may be a Corrupt Corporate Executive and a Jerkass, but he does genuinely love his daughter Whitney, despite appearances. This eventually leads to a Heroic Sacrifice of sorts.
    • Rhona is undeniably an insane Ax-Crazy sociopath. And to play this trope straight, she has an android twin brother she created, and was absolutely devastated when he was destroyed.
    • Sasha appears to genuinely care about Justin Hammer, or is at least very devoted to him, and he seems to care about her as well - at least, to the extent that someone like him can. What makes this interesting is that in the comics (though clearly not here), she's Hammer's granddaughter.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Stane occasionally shows this sentiment, though Tony refuses to believe it. He claims to not be a killer, but he certainly proves that he's willing to do almost anything else for the sake of greed.
    Stane: "I may sell weapons, but I'm no murderer."
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Justin Hammer is an evil reflection of Tony — similar origins (though with a lot more ambiguity on Justin's part), similar roles in lives, both young men who are (or will in Tony's case), heading incredibly huge companies. Thanks to these, Justin sees himself and Tony as almost kindred spirits. Tony does not agree. Hammer intentionally invokes this with Titanium Man, which he had built specifically to be superior to Iron Man.
    • They're even visually opposite each other, Tony's dark hair and coloration contrasting with Justin's blond hair and light clothing.
    • Done even further with his secretary Sasha, who is basically an older Platinum-blonde version of Pepper.
    • The Living Laser has his good and evil sides split after he's brought back to life, resulting in the good one needing Tony's help to rejoin with the bad one.
  • Eviler than Thou: Doom to Mandarin, though Mandarin gets lucky when Tony zaps Doom off to be unceremoniously devoured by a demon.
  • Evil Gloating: Rhona does this when threatening Pepper and Whitney with a shrink ray. This gives Pepper ample time to disarm her. Pepper, of all people, then calls her out on doing the villain cliche of gloating excessively.
  • Evil Knockoff: Once the armor schematics end up in his hands, Stane rolls out inferior copies of the Space, Stealth, and Hulkbuster armors. However, they're just trial runs to iron out the bugs for his Iron Monger project.
  • Evil Orphan: Rhona, who is a Self-Made Orphan.
  • Explosive Leash:
    • Attempted in "Best Served Cold." The bomb stays on just until the bad guy can boast how futile it is.
    • Justin Hammer injects Mr. Fix with explosive nano machines after he fails and is not shy about reminding him of it. Or finally using it, but saving Fix's mind through Brain Uploading.
    • Also attempted by Black Widow to Iron Man in "The Hawk And The Spider." It doesn't work at all, but Tony pretends it does until they leave so he can follow them with impunity while they think he's trapped.
  • Expository Theme Tune:
    Trapped on the edge of an endless game
    his teenage life will never be the same
    in a dangerous world, he does all he can
  • Fake Ultimate Hero:
    • Force and Shockwave show signs of this during the fight with Count Nefaria, taking all the credit even though they couldn't actually beat Nefaria themselves (Iron Man did).
    • Hammer tried to do this as well, as he had his assistant take control of the Iron Monger simply so he could swoop in and "save the day."
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Averted with common criminals and the police, who use realistic firearms. The well-funded and high-tech groups (S.H.I.E.L.D., A.I.M., Stark International, etc.) have access to laser weapons.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Despite this show not focusing on the X-Men, Senator Robert Kelly is in fine form preaching anti-mutant propaganda to New York City. Luckily, it seems not many people are listening.
    • Even Pepper feels a little of this due to an understandable fear of mutants. Naturally she's over it by the episode's end. To drive the racism parallels home, Rhodey is the one to shout down Pepper for being ignorant after she expresses some questionable views on Mutant rights.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Ivan Vanko studies one before his Crimson Dynamo armor is pulled into a radioactive flare on the sun's surface. He comes back.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Justin Hammer's explosive nanites not only kill Mr. Fix's body, but download his brain so Hammer can put it inside his mainframe, forcing Mr. Fix into unending servitude.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Pepper when she introduces herself. Though justified as her feet were at his eye level when she got his attention.
  • Fiery Redhead: Pepper.
  • Finagle's Law: The entirety of Episode 22 is essentially a very long confluence of unfortunate coincidences after the other, and by the end there's precious little that could make it worse for everyone involved.
  • Forced to Watch:
    • The Living Laser threatens to make Iron Man watch as he burns down New York.
    • Hammer's assistant forced Stane to watch as she controlled the Iron Monger to kill his daughter with him stuck inside.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Armor Wars", Rhodey defends Force and Shockwave by saying they could do some real good with their armors, "Just like you and me! And maybe someday even-" (Pepper butts in)
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look at the crowd gathered around Sen. Kelly's speech, you can see Rhona and Andy among them.
    • This is a nod to season 1 as the models of Andy and Rhona were seen often before their first speaking roles in season 2.
  • Fun Personified: Pepper Potts treats every aspect of Tony's hero life this way.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Mental Organism Designed Only for Conquest
    • Advanced Idea Mechanics, the people who built MODOC!
    • S.H.I.E.L.D., of course.
    • The Z-Gas compound created by Mister Fix - Z0M31E.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Mr Fix's hit squad wear black armour with helmets and full face masks including respirators.
  • General Ripper: Thunderbolt Ross in his pursuit of the Hulk, naturally, with the added bonus of being rather incompetent to boot.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    • Happy overhears Pepper talking about how Tony's "studying off-campus" again, and says if he cut class, he'd at least do something cool with it. Cut to Tony being Iron Man.
    • Inverted in "Technovore". As Rhodey flees from the titular technovirus-turned-monster, we cut to Tony saying "Technology is awesome!"
    • Tony assumes in Season 2 episode 2 that Gene is "probably in some cushy penthouse in Hong Kong, living it up". Cut to Gene climbing up a mountain.
  • Glad I Thought of It: Justin Hammer does this to Sasha in "Heavy Mettle".
  • Glad She's on Our Side: Pepper's field trip scheme elicits this from Tony.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: In "Control-Alt-Delete," Tony figures out he's in a computer simulation when he causes an explosion and several cars disappear as a result. The simulation can't render the explosions fast enough so it removes the cars to compensate.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The Mandarin is obsessed with collecting the ancient Makluan Rings.
  • Grand Finale: The series ends with the two-part episode "The Makluan Invasion", where Tony, Rhodey, and Pepper stop an alien invasion with help from Gene, Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Black Panther, and the Hulk and decide to continue defending the city after their secret identities become public knowledge.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Pepper is jealous of Tony's friendship with Whitney. Tony grows jealous of Pepper's friendship with Gene. Kicked up a notch when Tony starts dating Whitney and Pepper hooks up with Happy to make him jealous.
  • Guns Are Worthless: One wonders why mooks bother when their opponents are usually walking around in suits of Powered Armor that can withstand direct missile impacts. Averted in one episode where the Tong and Maggia go at it. The gun-toting Maggia mooks manage to take down their fair share of Tong, even though they were horribly outmatched by the Mandarin.
    • One case it was justified in that the target had no physical body at all. Although the rest does a lot of Hand-Waving.
  • Handshake Refusal: Used by Black Panther.
    Don't get excited, Stark. I said "perhaps".
  • Happy Ending Override: Inverted by the Living Laser, who gets a Downer Ending Override when he returns in Season 2.
  • Hard Cut: Played with in-story in a very Inception-esque way during "Control-Alt-Delete." While stuck in The Controller's Lotus-Eater Machine, Tony sits on a rooftop and decides to question Hammer about what is going on. The scene naturally cuts across town directly to Hammer International, where Tony is walking into Hammer's office and meets The Controller, who gives a clue that the world Tony's in isn't real by pointing out that, as per the Hard Cut, Tony never actually travelled to or entered the building, but merely snapped to the outside of Hammer's office from the rooftop. Tony refuses to believe it, even though he doesn't actually remembers traveling across town.
  • Harmless Freezing:
    • Applies to half the people who appeared in episode 4.
    • Subverted with Blizzard himself; over-exposure to the cold has left a good portion of his face covered in severe frostbite.
    • Zig-zagged with Captain America. As is common in most continuities, he survived being frozen. Problem is, SHIELD isn't sure how to thaw him without killing him.
  • Heel Realization: The Living Laser has one just as he dies.
    Laser: All my life, I was a nobody. Then I get this power, and I use it to try and hurt you. The one guy who was trying to help me.
  • Hero for a Day: Episode 22 begins with Rhodey wearing the armor, which is bad, but then Happy takes it, which is even worse.
  • Heroic BSoD: Tony comes dangerously close a few times over the course of the series. His struggle to keep up his father's legacy and prevent Stane from ruining his family's company, combined with his school life and Iron Man life, often leave him with zero downtime to relax and unwind his stress.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Living Laser sacrifices himself to save Tony in "Designed Only for Chaos."
    • Attempted in the season one finale when Gene pushes Pepper out of the way of Fin Fang Foom and is apparently killed. Ironically, his heroic sacrifice is what allowed him to acquire the fifth Makluan Ring and then betray the very friends he was helping.
    • It's not clear whether he actually knew what he was doing or just acting out of desperation, but Stane breaks the out-of-control Iron Monger armor from the inside to stop it from killing Whitney, which causes it to shut down and fall off a building with him inside, putting him into a coma.
  • Hidden Depths: Happy's mother is a concert cellist, and he apparently knows quite a lot about classical music as a result.
  • High-Altitude Interrogation: In the season one finale, Rhodey catches up with Zhang's helicopter, and when Zhang refuses to tell him where Tony and the others are, he casually tosses him out of the helicopter in order to intimidate him. It took a second drop to do the job, but he talked.
  • High School AU : Originally thought as simply Spinoff Babies to the 2008 film, due to the more lighter family friendly aspects and everyone being younger. It later proved itself to be more by tackling rather mature situations and concepts.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • AIM tried to turn Black Panther into a living bomb by pumping his vibranium uniform full of kinetic energy. Unfortunately for them, this process takes time, and meanwhile T'Challa can siphon off the excess kinetic energy by kicking their asses.
    • Justin Hammer gets mutated by his own Zombie gas.
    • Doom is swallowed up by the Eldritch Abomination he summoned.
  • Hollywood Acid: One of the Mandarin's rings can shoot an acidic gas which eats through any material.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Pepper, who has had crushes and fangirl spasms over both Gene Khan and Justin Hammer, who both turn out to be villains.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Lampshaded and later exploited in the season one finale when Zhang holds Pepper hostage and forces Tony and Gene to retrieve the fifth Makluan Ring for him or else he will kill Pepper. Pepper responds to this with a sarcastic "Gee, THAT'S original." However, this allows Pepper to get close enough to Zhang to wrestle the four other Makluan Rings from him later and take them back by getting him to jam his arm in a closing door.
  • Human Popsicle: Captain America is still on ice. SHIELD hasn't quite figured out how to thaw him.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Iron Monger Armor.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • From "Armor Wars":
      Pepper: You can't listen to these stupid celebrity gossip show programs. [whispering to Rhodey] Rhodey, are we recording this?
    • Pepper criticizing Rhona for talking too much.
    • Pepper tells Tony to calm down when he's yelling at Gene. Once Tony does, Pepper immediately spins around and continues from where Tony left off.
  • Idiot Ball: Stane in "Armor Wars." He hires wanted criminals to pilot his three armors. Sure, he did need their help to stage a fight with the Maggia, but he could have simply paid off said criminals while having a couple of his legitimate employees do the actual fighting. Or at the very least provide voice modulators so Pepper couldn't uncover them with a simple pattern match. Worse still, he didn't even need to have a criminal run the third. He had his publicity by the point.
    • Stane started the series off bouncing an Idiot Ball when he tried to weaponize the Starks' laser-drilling Humongous Mecha, forgetting that only Tony and Howard knew how the things actually worked, nearly wiping out half of the state of New York when they inevitably misfired. His track record for the rest of season one isn't much better. His only real victory is hiring Ghost to steal the plans for the Iron Man armors, and even that backfired on him when Ghost sold a copy of the plans to Justin Hammer.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: In a moment of anger after nearly getting his identity exposed (and assorted other problems), Tony comes within a few seconds of killing Titanium Man. War Machine stops him, ignorantly dismissing Titanium Man as a hired thug and telling Tony that they'll bring Hammer down legally.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Gene has one in Season 1's ending, but quickly gets distracted by all the shiny new rings he has to find!
  • Impairment Shot: Whitney Stane, as she succumbs to poisoning from wearing the Madame Masque mask.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: The original Mandarin scattered the rings because he felt his sons would misuse their power (evidently, he was a stand-up guy, according to the alien that gave the rings to him). Gene is similarly judged by the Makluan guarding the tenth ring, though said Makluan failed to consider that letting someone get that far would make them too powerful to stop.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The prototype Titanium Man armor is defeated by heating it up, causing the titanium shell to catch fire. Since titanium can't be extinguished by normal means, it's melted into slag by the time Hammer flies it back to base.
  • In Medias Res: Episode 22 starts with the rest of cast's reactions to Iron Man having an odd display of incompetence, then flashes back 20 minutes earlier to show us why.
  • In Name Only: Proof that Tropes Are Not Bad. A lot of the elements featured in comics just could not work for a kid audience note  so the most logical path was taken. What ended up as the result is frequently considered to be one of the best outings of Iron Man, taking well known stories like "Armor Wars" and "Extremis" and adapting them into a consistently good cartoon. note  The concept of the cartoon hails from a very brief period of time in which Marvel Comics had a teenaged Tony Stark as Iron Man. Explaining how this happened would just make your head hurt. They rebooted not just the Iron Man comic, but most of the Marvel universe after this.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Senator Kelly actually calls mutants an "unnatural product of nature."
  • Insistent Terminology: Tony's "electrostatic energy razors", AKA "rollerskates".
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Tony accidentally ends up giving his armor sentient AI when he tries to upgrade it by using technology he took from enemies such as Whiplash, Blizzard, Killer Shrike, and Unicorn, which causes it to become obsessed with protecting Tony at all costs. It seemingly murders Mr. Fix and Whiplash in its crusade and almost kills Rhodey before it's deactivated.
  • Instant Expert: Happy is surprisingly capable with the armor considering he has literally no experience with anything remotely similar. By comparison, Rhodey could barely fly it for two minutes before crashing horribly and refusing to fly again (which is how Happy got his hands on it). Tony even comments on it.
  • Irony: Happy thinks Tony must be jealous of Force and Shockwave because he doesn't have cool Powered Armor like them...
  • It Only Works Once: Happens quite a few times.
    • Tony beats the Living Laser the first time by matching his repulsors to the same frequency as the Living Laser's body. In their second meeting, the Living Laser learns how to change his own frequency and effectively shut out Iron Man's strategy.
    • Tony adapts to Ghost's invisibility and hard-light holograms after first encountering them, though Ghost still manages to stay one step ahead.
    • When Tony uses negator packs to neutralize Stane's Iron Man knockoffs, the replacements are immune.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: When Pepper throws the Mandarin's gauntlet (with the rings attached) into Fin Fang Foom's mouth instead of throwing it to Gene, she responds with this. Tony also says this about upgrading the suit before it tried to kill everyone.
  • Jerkass: Andy, Rhona's brother, insinuates that Tony killed his father out of jealousy. Rhona herself qualifies, since she programmed Andy to act like this.
  • Juggling Loaded Guns: While throwing a fit about Stane getting a lucrative contract, Hammer uses a machine gun to shoot a TV. He then nearly shoots his secretary while waving the gun around. She's lucky it came in a bulletproof briefcase.
  • Just Friends: Tony and Whitney ultimately decide to break up from their short-lived coupling due to Tony always missing their dates. Probably this being one the few times in this trope's existence where they both agreed to be just friends with no hard feelings.
  • Just in Time:
    • Tony manages to get Stane fired less than a minute after the board had ruled to block Tony's eventual takeover of the company. If he had come any later, they might have started on the paperwork and really screwed him over.
    • Every single countdown in "All the Best People are Mad".
  • Jealous Romantic Witness: Tony and Pepper
    • Pepper sees Tony's moments with Whitney while they are dating. When Tony thinks he is going to die on an Iron Man mission, he asks Pepper to say goodbye to Whitney for him. Ouch.
    • Tony sees Pepper with Gene and Happy. He gets jealous when Pepper walks Gene out and when Pepper asks out Happy in front of him (twice). He also gets jealous when Pepper mentions she has a date with Happy in another episode.
  • Killer Game-Master: Rhona becomes this near the end of "All the Best People Are Mad." While her tests were already dangerous, they were at least doable. Her last test has her posing an impossible question so Tony can't win. Tony just disarms the bomb tied to said question instead. Then she just resorts to outright murder.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Done in the episode "Doomsday."
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Pepper. She consistently fangirls over Tony's armor. And at times just Tony in general. And then later on, over Gene. Exaggerated when she gets anywhere near anyone working for SHIELD.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: In "Best Served Cold," it is revealed that the mask Whitney Stane uses to become Madame Masque is powered by a hazardous mineral, driving her insane. Tony Stark cures her, but removing the residue from her brain also removed her memories of her life from the first time she used the mask.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: Pretty much the entire Season 2 final episodes has it to where Pepper wants to talk to Tony alone and tell him something in case they do not come back from their Suicide Mission. It is pretty clear that she is trying to perform a Love Confession but a Moment Killer keeps distracting him. At the end of the last episode, he thanks her by kissing her on the cheek and they hug. Only Season 3 will tell if anything came from it.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Gene says this about some artifacts in Stane's art gallery: "They belong to m-...Museums! They belong in a museum!
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After escaping the Controller's Lotus-Eater Machine, Tony briefly muses on what is supposedly the real world being a projection.
  • Leitmotif: The Iron Man sequence begins with a suit up sequence that plays his leitmotif — a separate heroic theme from the theme song.
  • Logical Weakness: Iron Man vs. Magneto is exactly as much of a Curb-Stomp Battle as one would expect, even after Tony finds a way to shield himself from Magneto's power.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine:
    • The guardian of the eighth ring puts whoever he slashes with his scythe into one of these as a test.
    • The Controller traps Iron Man in one to learn the secrets of Extremis, as a precursor to trapping the entire world. It predictably backfires once Tony remembers that Extremis has made him a technopath and he's linked to a computer.
  • Love Confession: It is pretty clear that Pepper is trying to confess her feelings for Tony during the last two episodes of Season 2, as she constantly wants to get him alone to talk to him in case they do not come back from their Suicide Mission. However a Moment Killer keeps getting in the way.
  • MacGyvering: Tony disarmed a bomb with what Rhodey, Pepper and Whitney have in their pockets.
  • Magic from Technology: Doom's armor and the Makluan rings are stated to be this by several characters. See Clarke's Third Law.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Magento tries to get the future Jean Gray to give Senator Kelly a heart attack, since openly murdering him would just make him a martyr to his cause.
  • Male Gaze: Pepper and Whitney each get a few of these throughout the show. Pepper gets one in the first episode when she's introduced and the camera pans up her body as she crosses her legs, and Whitney gets a similar one when she's introduced.
  • Mama Bear: Roberta Rhodes. Executor of Howard Stark's will, and she takes her job of watching over Tony very seriously.
    Roberta: Not only does he have an alibi, but he's a minor. If you so much as look at him again without my permission, I will have you fired, rehired, and fired again just because I can.
    Feds: *gulp* Yes, ma'am.
  • The 'Verse: Earth 18673, according to the Marvel Wiki.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: As noted above, Tony's relationship with Whitney didn't last very long thanks to this trope.
  • Meaningful Name: Andy, who's an android. We even hear Rhona once say "Awesome, Andy!" not too long before this is revealed, in reference to the Awesome Android, a robot created by the Mad Thinker, whose name in Ultimate Marvel is Rhona Burchill.
  • Mega Manning: Tony tries to integrate various enemies' technologies into his armor. This, of course, leads to predictable results.
    • The Crimson Dynamo-inspired armor, however, was a wonderful success, all things considered.
  • Meta Mecha: In "Rage of the Hulk," Iron Man pilots his Hulkbuster armor while wearing the Mark 2 armor.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Roughly in the middle of the second season, Tony debutes the Mark II armor after submitting himself to an injection of the Extremis formula.
  • Mind-Control Device: The Controller uses discs that turn a person into his brainwashed slave when attached. He also has versions which work through Tony's armors, though Tony's latest designs are immune to outright manipulation.
  • Mind Rape: What MODOC does to Tony in "Designed Only For Chaos."
    • Happens once again, in "The Might of Doom."
  • Misplaced Retribution:
    • The Living Laser blaming Iron Man for his problems. He hangs a lampshade on it, just before he dies.
    • Black Panther points out the hypocrisy of Nakia wanting revenge for him exiling her brother when she was the one who told him to banish him in the first place.
  • Missing Mom: Pepper's mom never shows up, though there is offhand mention of her. Whitney's mom is also never heard from. Gene's mother is all but said outright to be dead.
  • Mission Control: Rhodey and Pepper.
    • When Happy wore the armor Tony had to be Mission Control for him—by pretending to be the Iron Man robot Happy was "wearing."
    • Hammer's secretary is this for him.
  • Mistaken Identity: Iron Man runs afoul of Black Panther and assumes he must be the guy AIM was meeting with, Moses Magnum.
  • Mood Whiplash: After a somber scene of Stane trying to find a cure for Whitney's affliction, we get a scene of Tony, Rhodey and Pepper rocking out to some sick rock beats.
  • Morality Pet: Whitney for Stane. The series often poses the question of whether he loves his greed more than his own daughter, but eventually shows us occasionally that there is nothing Stane loves more than her, even if he is absolutely terrible at showing it. In the end, she is able to stop him from going on a rampage with the Iron Monger armor after being ruined, and in return he takes a coma-inducing several dozen story drop to save her life.
  • Motor Mouth: Pepper is a fast talker, as shown when she reads lines from Hamlet.
    Pepper: Fortothenoblemindrichgiftswaxpoorwhengiversproveunkind. There, my lord!
  • The Münchausen: Happy's telling of the events of Episode 22 is exaggerated from the truth, though only a little bit.
  • Mutually Unequal Relation: Whitney Stane, the daughter of Tony's enemy Obadiah Stane, appears to think that she's close friends with Tony, while Tony is shown to keep a distance from her because of her father and would often brush her aside. In her first appearance, it was implied that they did know each other, hinting that they were friends, and to Tony's credit in the episode "Masquerade", when he learns of her troubled home life, how isolated she is from the other teens at their school, and the fact that she does consider him her only friend, he makes an effort to be a better friend to her. At the end of episode, when Tony and his friends Pepper and Rhodey notice how sad she is sitting alone, Pepper and Rhodey make jokes about her; Tony defends Whitney, calling her his friend and stating that being rich doesn't mean she has no problems. He leaves Pepper and Rhodes to sit with Whitney, causing her to smile.
  • Mundane Utility: Exaggerated in Tony's vision induced by one of the ring guardians. A nightmare scenario has Stane mass-producing his armors, marketing them for ridiculously trivial things like window cleaning and garbage pickup.
  • Myth Arc: Tony picking up where his father left off and searching for all the Makulan Rings, as well as stopping Stane from ruining his family's company.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Named After Someone Famous: Temugin "Gene" Khan is named after the ancient warlord Genghis Khan - birth name Temugin. This is no coincidence, as he was the first Mandarin.
  • Neck Snap: Black Widow does this to Mallen, a former SHIELD agent. Since he's been enhanced by Extremis nanomachines, it doesn't take.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted big time. They use practically every possible variation on the word. Often it's "take down" or "destroy".
    • A notable exception is MODOK, the 'K' previously having stood for "Killing" rather than the 'C' for "Conquest." It works out for the best, though, since the name change is more consistent with his methods.
    • Hammer actually murders Mr. Fix in cold blood. Blizzard even says as much. Turns out he wasn't actually dead, but at that moment you wouldn't know better.
    • However, after he gives Hammer a Fate Worse than Death, Tony does make Fix actually dead.
    • The Overlord says he would 'disintegrate' his son if he ever saw him again, playing it straight.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Episode 4 is called "Cold War". No, it does not feature Crimson Dynamo.
    • 'Crimson' Dynamo himself is mostly white. Crimson Dynamo is just a codename.
    • The episode "Meltdown" does not feature the Melter, but the Living Laser.
  • Noodle Incident: Pretty much Pepper is full of these.
    Pepper: And that's why I wasn't very popular during the eighth grade. But, no charges were filed, so everything turned out okay!
    • And again when she was called into the Principal's office:
      Tony: (To Rhodey) Do you think she tried to arrest someone again?
    • In another incident she actually got someone deported.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Subverted in the season 2 finale. Howard's anti-Makluan gun is the prototype, which Gene destroys, but he has the plans and is able to build a more powerful version in a few hours.
  • Not a Date: In "Iron Man 2099," Pepper claims that she and Tony are on a date. Tony denies this where she merely waves it off as them out together, going shopping, and it has nothing to do with armor.
  • Not a Game: The actions of vigilante superheroes vs. police intervention is discussed with this trope in "Iron Man vs. the Crimson Dynamo" - specifically, the cops nor the military are equipped to handle giant robots like the Crimson Dynamo rampaging towards the city;
    Rhodey: You saw what that thing did to him, he could get killed! This isn't a game!
    Pepper: And you think it's a game for the police, or the military?
    • Given that Rhodey's dad is actively serving overseas at the time, you'd think that would have occurred to Rhodey already.
  • Not Me This Time: Obadiah insists multiple times he did not cause Howard Stark's death. And he is telling the truth.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Rhodey points out that despite their rivalry, Iron Man and Black Panther are very similar in a lot of ways.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Inverted in that it's the protagonists who use this trope. For much of the series, Tony financed the Armory, repairs and research with the money that comes from his being part of Stark Enterprises. When Justin Hammer steals the company from him and Tony starts a new company of his own, he sells new inventions to other tech companies, and uses the royalties both to build the company and pay Team Iron Man's bills.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "Iron Man Vs The Crimson Dynamo," just as Iron Man is trapped under a fuel tanker and the Dynamo shows it has a flame thrower.
    Iron Man: Oh nuts!
    • Rhodey actually said this in "Technovore," when the virus came to life, making this one of the few times a swear word was used.
  • One Size Fits All: Tony designed the armor to fit almost anyone.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Makluan rings only work for someone descended from the original Mandarin, namely Gene Khan. This is because of donated alien DNA from a Makluan warrior, since the rings only work for those with their DNA. Full-blooded Makluans are even more adept with the rings that Gene is. On top of that, the rings are only initialized once the temple guardian is beaten, otherwise they won't work at all. Dr. Doom is able to get around this restriction thanks to his advanced technology, though it doesn't seem to work as seamlessly for him as it does for Gene.
  • Operation: Jealousy: Pepper attempts this with Tony by dating Happy in "Line of Fire." Though it annoys Tony, it doesn't work... or, at least, hasn't yet. She seems to be willing to keep going with it. Strangely enough, Tony seems to see right through what she's doing, yet he still lets it get to him.
  • Parental Abandonment: Both of Tony's parents are missing/dead. Howard Stark was lost in a plane crash in the pilot, though he was actually kidnapped by Gene to help find the rings, and Howard's Video Will seems to suggest his mother has been dead for years.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Happy's solution to the bomb problem in Episode 22 is to smash it, much to Tony's surprise.
    Happy: Well, that was boring!
  • Pet the Dog: "Best Served Cold" shows that Obadiah really does care about Whitney on some level, even if he is an asshat, when he hires Blizzard to go to the Arctic to obtain a sample of vibranium, which Tony can use to heal Whitney. Of course, he doesn't go out of his way to show it and treats her to his usual level of douchebaggery in the meantime, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Pepper! Stop helping!"
  • Precision F-Strike: Rhodey said "crap" in "Technovore" when he sees the virus out from the computer. Surprisingly, Nick didn't bothered about it!
  • Psycho Serum: The Extremis Serum if the dose is too high. Then again, the guy who used it was psychologically unstable in the first place, so it's debatable how much of that was the serum's fault.
  • Psycho Sidekick: Sasha to Justin Hammer, though he's no less a psycho.
  • Psychopathic Manchild:
    • Justin Hammer, who throws a fit whenever things don't go his way. He nearly shot his secretary at one point! (It wasn't intentional, but that just makes it worse.)
    • His assistant Sasha seems to be more level-headed, but she's just as bad.
  • Powered Armor: Tony's Iron Man armor, Hammer's Titanium Man armor and Stane's Iron Monger armor, to name a few. Even the Mandarin wears a set!
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: The fight against Doctor Doom is essentially one long series of these, up to and including him standing unfazed from an enormous missile explosion.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • Rhodey tells Doctor Doom who is holding a defeated Tony to "Let. Him. Go!"
    • Parodied in "Armor Wars".
      Pepper: What, are you addicted to that thing?
      Tony: It. Helps. Me. Think.
      Pepper: Well, I have something else you need. To. Obsess. Over.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The Living Laser, a mook who gained superpowers accidentally, first used them to strike it big on his own and find his calling in life. In the end, he found his calling was being a hero and sacrificed himself to take down A.I.M.'s super-weapon MODOC and save Iron Man's life.
    • Averted with Whitney Stane/Madame Masque, who saved Tony/Iron Man's life more than once, and would have died if Tony had not helped her and proved that Obadiah is not a monster. He actually loves his child, even if he is a complete Jerkass to her.
    • Obadiah, for his part, gives his life to save Whitney's.
    • Believe it or not, this happens to Iron Man's armor. It manages to gain sentience and begins to possessively and dangerously fulfill its primary objective: protect Tony Stark. When Tony is almost accidentally killed, it uses itself to jumpstart his heart, draining its power (and thus, its sentience) in the process.
    • Tony's grandson even does this. When he realizes that the virus that wipes out all mankind was made by Tony to stop him in the first place, he goes back shortly in time to stop the virus from ever infecting his armor which in the process changes the timeline and stops him from ever existing.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Guardsman all have red eyes and orange-red repulsors.
    • Rhona's androids.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Andy, who Tony believed just had super powers before his computer scan. Also, the fake social services woman who took Rhona away.
  • Ring of Power: The Makluan Rings.
  • Robotic Reveal: Andy, Rhona's brother, is actually an android she built out of a desire for family.
    • Also the fake social service woman who took Rhona away. Flashing a Traitor Shot at the end.
  • Rollerblade Good: Rhodey makes fun of Tony for the idea of putting roller blades on the Iron Man suit. Later in the season, he does just that. Rhodey and Pepper find it highly embarrassing.
  • Running Gag: Justin Hammer goes through a lot of phones.
  • Save the Villain: Ghost exploits this while fighting Black Widow and Iron Man, knowing that Iron Man would risk his life to save her.
  • Say My Name: Lampshaded/Invoked by Happy when he meets Gene.
    "I'm just going to call you Khan!"
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Stane and Hammer use this most prominently, but even Tony isn't immune. Despite an extended absence from school between seasons, he's able to get back in thanks to a large cash donation for new facilities.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In "Armor Wars," Force and Shockwave immediately bail when War Machine shows up to help Tony. After watching the two heroes beat Firepower, they surrender on the spot.
  • Secret-Keeper: Rhodey and Pepper for Tony. More unconventionally, Ghost is, too, waiting for Tony to legally claim his father's company so he can blackmail him. Stane also figured it out, but lucky for Tony he ended up in a coma before he could tell anyone else.
    • By the end of the series, the whole world finds out anyway.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Andros Stark/Iron Man 2099 goes to the present to kill his grandfather was under the belief that Tony would create a program called Vortex that would cause a global catastrophe. In an attempt to stop Andros, Tony invents a virus which should disable his suit. This virus is Vortex, which Andros gets hit with moments after killing Tony. Using the last time jump in his suit, he jumps back a few minutes to warn Tony, who destroys the virus, wiping it and Andros (that version of him, at least) from existence.
  • Self-Made Orphan:
    • Justin Hammer’s father died under mysterious circumstances and Justin waxes poetic about how the Roman Emperor Nero did whatever necessary to gain power. Nick Fury even suspects that Justin killed his father to take control of Hammer International.
    • In one episode a Jerkass classmate implies that Tony did this to his father because of their (actually friendly and good-spirited) competition to one-up each other's inventions. It's completely false and Tony does not take it well at all.
  • Sequel Hook: Maybe not a conventional use of this, but the first season ends with Gene discovering that there are five more Makluan Rings hidden around the world.
  • Sexophone: Whitney when she's revealed in "Ready, A.I.M., Fire," complete with a Male Gaze camera pan up her body.
  • Sexy Secretary:
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Invoked by the ancient Mandarin in one of his tests. The only way to defeat the endless horde guarding the ring being to do the wise thing and surrender.
  • Ship Tease: Varies by the episode, but usually done between Pepper and Tony... except when the writers opt for this between Gene and Pepper, who actually had a dinner date at one point. Then there's the episode "Pepper, Interrupted," where Rhodey and Whitney seem rather interested in each other.
    • Pretty blatant example in "Armor Wars":
      Tony: Pepper Potts, Private Eye! I could kiss you!
      Pepper: What's stopping y-you?
      [Beat, both blush, then Tony changes the subject]
  • Shout-Out: More than a few, including K-9 from Doctor Who on a shelf in Tony's room.
    Yeah, real original. What are you going to do now? Make ape sounds and knock planes out of the sky?
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare:
    • Rhona Burchill does this. She also quotes several other writers like Edgar Allan Poe.
    • The kids have to play Hamlet early in the first season, and Tony doesn't appreciate the similarities to his own life.
  • Skewed Priorities: Pepper doesn't seem to understand the risks of being a superhero...
    Pepper: Tony gets to do all the fun stuff!
    Rhodey: He almost got killed last week...
    Pepper: See?!
  • Slow Doors: When breaking out of Hammer's building, Tony has to fly through a series of circular closing doors. He makes it through quite a few, but gets caught in the last one at the waist.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Stane is able to figure out Tony is Iron Man when they both use the phrase "manufactured evil" against him.
  • Spider Tank: In the second episode, Tony has to destroy three of these. Designed (in part) by himself, no less.
  • Spit Take: Pepper does this when Tony unveils his backpack-stored armor.
  • Split Screen: Used sparingly, often to build tension.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Whitney Stane.
  • Start My Own: When Hammer uses Loophole Abuse to buy Stark International out from under Tony, mere months before he could claim it, Tony resolves to just make his own company since his tech is the best there is.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Tony calls Titanium Man a "Hammeroid" in "Titanium vs. Iron". Just sound it out.
    • Blizzard responds to Hammer's murder of Mr. Fix with "You killed him in cold blood!" He doesn't emphasize the word 'cold', thus making it a Stealth Pun instead of an obvious one.
  • Story Arc: In addition to the main story, there's various side arcs throughout the show.
    • The Living Laser's rise and fall to power.
    • A.I.M. building the super-weapon M.O.D.O.C., and the Controller's planned betrayal of A.I.M.
    • The war between The Mandarin's Tong and Count Nefaria's Maggia.
    • Whitney's rise and fall as Madame Masque.
    • Project Pegasus' questionable research projects.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Extremis gives Tony the ability to remotely hack and control any technology. Naturally, given that most of the supervillains he faces extensively use technology quite a few of Tony's battles from then on boil down to "futilely try to bring the enemy down with conventional means, then remember 'oh! I've got Extremis!' Then just hack the enemy and win instantly."
  • Stupid Sacrifice: Defied when Tony suggests sacrificing himself to destroy the Technovore.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Technology: How they explain Dr Doom's magic when he makes a guest appearance.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Andy, despite being designed as Rhona's brother, was built with Eye Beams and Super Strength. Then again, since Rhona had blown up a school previously, maybe she just expected to have a use for those features again.
  • "Super Sentai" Stance: Force and Shockwave do this after their first appearance in "Armor Wars."
  • Super Serum: The Extremis Serum is supposed to be one, since it's based on the original super soldier serum that created Captain America. It... doesn't quite work as intended. It works for Tony, though, who only took a drop.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • When Tony, Gene, Rhodey, and Pepper go to the temple where the second Makluan ring was found, Tony believes they have to break into it because he expects Obadiah Stane to have the temple guarded with armed guards, high-tech security, and possibly even dogs, since the temple is the property of Stark International. When Tony goes to check, he discovers that the temple isn't being guarded at all, Stane just abandoned it because it didn't make any money for him.
    • Because the Iron Man armors were never patented, as Tony would have had to reveal his secret identity, when Ghost steals the schematics from him, and gives to Stane and Hammer, both men are legally allowed to do whatever they please with the schematics.
      • That said, should it become known that Stane acquired the tech from a known criminal, it would deliver a blow to his credability. Tony and Rhodes' mother were able to gather enough evidence to expose the shady deal, prompting Stark Industries' board to fire Stane and have Tony finally take company ownership back.
      • Unfortunately getting Stane fired has a consequence Tony didn't consider, such as giving Hammer the opportunity to buy Stark International and take control of his inheritance. Removing one enemy from power can allow another enemy to seize it.
    • In "Heavy Mettle", Iron Man and War Machine face off against Titanium Man, whose suit's titanium-vibranium alloy makes it practically indestructible. The two heroes wait until their enemy is in the air, then hit him with their most powerful weapons at the same time. While Titanium Man's suit is structurally undamaged, the sheer force of the explosion sends him flying for miles, with the villain unable to stop himself, due to the suit's inner workings being locked up as a result of the massive explosive force it was hit with. No matter how tough an object is, it is still affected by the laws of physics, and a strong outer shell can only protect the innards so much.
    • At the ending of "The X-Factor", after the final fight with Magneto when Senator Kelly expresses his hatred for Annie, who is really Jean Grey, and blames her for what happened, despite the fact she saved his life, which was filmed by a camera crew, everyone present immediately turns on him and he loses his supporters, which the camera crew also filmed, leaving Kelly with no platform to stand on for his anti-mutant campaign. Acting like an Ungrateful Bastard to someone who saved your life can cause people to turn on you, especially if your a politician.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Mostly averted. Whenever there's a break-in, the thieves are usually highly skilled and have to avoid a lot of security. Played straight in "Heavy Mettle," where Stane, recently fired from Stark International, is able to walk in and steal an Iron Monger suit while facing basically no resistance. He only had to take out two guards with a long-range taser, and they made very little effort to stop him.
  • Take That!: Rhodey calls Dazzler lame.
  • Team Mom: Rhodey has been jokingly called "Mom" on several occasions.
  • Technological Pacifist: Stark International is this under Howard Stark. When Stane takes over...not so much.
  • Technopath: Tony after injecting himself with Extremis.
  • Teen Genius: Tony Stark.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Rhodey does the classic "What's the worst thing that could happen?" in response to having to wear the armor, followed by a Gilligan Cut to him freaking out and messing up the launch.
    • "I feel like I'm going to explode!" Pepper even lampshades this afterwards. She made the above declaration just before the Titanium Man blew the armor she was remote-controlling to bits.
    • Justin Hammer quips that he wouldn't want Iron Man 2099 going after him, only for Andros to immediately teleport into his office.
    • Upon hearing Gene promise to solve all the problems of the world, Pepper suggests that maybe he he really does want to use the rings for good purposes... only for Gene to state he will do so by taking over the world.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Tony tries this in the mid-season finale of the second season. He never got past the planning stage.
  • This Cannot Be!: Obadiah says "This is impossible!" after Iron Man breaks the Iron Monger's antenna.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: From "Line of Fire":
    Tony: Oh not Robo Horse again.
  • Title Drop: Doctor Doom title drops his debut episode with "Feel... Ze might... of DOOM!" And Rhona also title drops "All the best people are mad".
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pepper Potts and Whitney Stane, respectively.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the episode "Whiplash" Tony abandons his armor mid-battle and switches into the Silver Centurion armor. Also in "Seeing Red" when he brings out his Dynamo Buster armor and gets revenge on the Crimson Dynamo by completely demolishing it... after uploading a virus that completely destroys the software for the base he was infiltrating and the Crimson Dynamo armor itself. He was quite angry at them, to say the least.
    • Rhodey getting the War Machine armor.
    • Stane managed to go from an annoying pencil-pusher to an amateur escape artist when kidnapped by Mr. Fix. Too bad his opponents were in Powered Armor, or he may have actually escaped on his own.
    • Pepper gets to remote-pilot the Stealth armor in battle. Then she gets to actually pilot it.
    • Tony also takes one out of the armour. He goes from having no fighting skill at the beginning of the series to taking on the Ghost, a badass assassin, empty-handed.
  • Trainstopping: Tony does this in the pilot. His first attempt, from the front, goes badly; the door on the front gives under his weight, sending him into the cabin. After that, he separates the lead car from the rest and slows it down by pulling it, then lifting it into the air after it flies off the unfinished track.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The Mandarin is the leader of a chinese gang.
  • Trick Arrow: Hawkeye, naturally. They don't get too outrageous, despite Pepper suggesting he might use some of the more ridiculous ones.
  • Tron Lines:
    • The Titanium Man armor has them at every joint.
    • Andros Stark's 2099 armor.
  • Tuckerization:
  • Underestimating Badassery: Tony thinks Madame Masque's Wave-Motion Gun is just a normal gun (justifiably, since that's what it looks like).
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Mr. Fix warns Hammer that the titanium shell of the Titanium Man armor is unstable, but Hammer insists on using it anyway. Tony exploits a design flaw to destroy the armor. Fix points out that, had he been given time to make the proper titanium-vibranum alloy, it wouldn't have happened.
    • It appears Hammer has yet to learn his lesson — when acquiring a complicated neural interface chip from Stane he demands Fix put it in the armor immediately. Fix laughs and says doing so without mapping it to the user's exact brainwaves would be disastrous. Hammer doesn't listen.
  • Unflinching Walk: Black Panther does this in "Line of Fire," blowing up a Hammer cargo yard and strolling off calmly to his next destination.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In the mutant episode, Annie Claremont actually Jean Grey saves Senator Kelly's life, and he still blames her for what happened. Fortunately it causes his supporters to turn on him.
  • Unmoving Plaid: The energy effect on the surface of Iron Man 2099's armor moves independent of the armor. This is most apparent whenever he puts his hand to his chest or does anything other than face forward.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Pepper and Tony by far in the second season, especially after "Armor Wars." She practically tries to flirt with him at least once every episode after.
    Pepper: How does it feel to be saved by your favorite redhead?
  • Unwanted Assistance: "Pepper! STOP HELPING!"invoked
    • Also the Iron Man computer system, which has an irritating habit of telling the wearer things they already know and not doing much about it.
      Computer': "Electrical systems overloading."
      'Tony: "I KNOW! I CAN FEEL IT!"
  • Vibration Manipulation: In "Armor Wars", Obidiah Stane hires three criminals to discredit Iron Man. One of them is Shockwave, whose armor generate shock waves from his gauntlets as blasts or as minor earth quakes.
  • Villain Episode: "World on Fire" covers Gene's backstory.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The aptly titled "The Hammer Falls" shows Justin Hammer going completely insane in the face of Howard Stark's attempts to retake Stark International and the threats of a mysterious blackmailer who knows all about Hammer's illegal activities and threatens to expose him.
  • Villainous Crush:
    • Gene for Pepper, as she's the only person he still cares about after he betrayed team Iron Man. Interesting considering that they didn't even like each other at first.
    • Whitney for Tony while she's Madame Masque.
  • Villainous Incest: Rhona and Andy, though Andy is later revealed to be an android.
  • Visible Invisibility:
    • The stealth armor. It's either transparent or it flickers between full visibility and completely invisible.
    • Subverted with Ghost. When the situation calls for it, he's completely invisible. This is not to be confused with his phasing, where he's visible but not solid.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Tony openly hates school, which he views as a distraction from more important work. But he has to do it, since Howard's will states he'll only inherit the company if he can prove he can manage having a normal life, including doing well at school.
  • Walking Armory: War Machine most certainly lives up to his name, putting Iron Man 2's depiction to shame.
    • Firepower is basically the Dynamo-Buster armor with more guns.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: When Tony shows the Stark International board of directors a holographic video of Stane paying Ghost for the Iron Man armor schematics, Stane protests that Tony just made it using CGI. Roberta immediately quips "CGI my Harvard law degree" and everyone else buys it without even considering the possibility. Given it was a fully-voiced and extremely detailed projection, it's understandable.
  • Wham Episode: The only way to describe the two-part season one finale "Tales of Suspense."
    • "Ghost in the Machine" also qualifies.
    • "Hostile Takeover."
    • "The Hammer Falls": Justin Hammer is finally taken down, a majority of the supervillains have being eliminated and Stark International returns to Howard Stark's hands.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Rhodey does a variation ("What's the worst that could happen?") when he first wears the armor. It doesn't go very well.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Season 1, Xin Zhang, Gene's father and the Mandarin before Gene took the rings, disappears from the series and is almost never mentioned again, with his only Season 2 appearance being a hallucination Gene had.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Tony thinks nothing of destroying Fix 2.0 even though he was a Brain Uploading victim and a real person. What had Fix done? Given Hammer a dose of his own zombie virus.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Done in the episode "Iron Man vs. the Crimson Dynamo." Tony chastises the leader of the Russian expedition to the sun for leaving the Dynamo (Anton Venko) behind when their ship began running low on fuel. Easily hypocritical of him, as they could not conceivably have saved Venko and escaped alive, and all Tony can say when presented with this fact is that he would have found a way.
      • Although when taken into account how deceitful and cowardly the leader is, it's up in the air whether or not he truly didn't have any choice in saving Venko.
    • Tony doesn't seem to like it when people are willing to choose the lesser of two evils. In another episode, he acts like Nick Fury is a jerk for being willing to sacrifice two of his agents and an armored vigilante to prevent the complete annihilation of New York City.
    • Rhodey tends to do this frequently, being the Only Sane Man in the group. In particular, he calls Tony out on his near-homicidal rage in "Seeing Red," pointing out that Tony's willingness to use reverse-engineered and self-built weapons against his enemies, even when those weapons are very assuredly lethal, isn't right. "There's a fine line between you and the people you fight, and right now you're on it, Tony."
  • White-and-Grey Morality: most villains are either Anti Villains with credible reasons to do what they do or Punch Clock Villains who are just doing what they are paid for.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Living Laser goes from a bumbling mook to a straight-up psychopath the minute he gains superpowers. It's later explained to be the result of an inferiority complex stemming from his overbearing and unpleasable mother.
    • The Madame Masque mask causes this through mineral poisoning.
    • Rhona as well, where it seems like all that has come from her vast intelligence is severe paranoia, lack of empathy, and delusions of grandeur.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Guess who was set to appear in season 3?
  • The Worf Effect: Iron Monger is introduced by having it effortlessly demolish a supposedly upgraded A.I. controlled version of the Crimson Dynamo suit during a test of both.
  • Worf Had the Flu:
    • Invoked in "Hostile Takeover" by Pepper. She's remotely controlling the Stealth armor, which is unceremoniously blown to scrap by Titanium Man. She insists that had she actually been in the armor, that wouldn't have happened.
    • Tony finds himself frequently getting into scrapes while in his Stealth armor, which has minimal armaments.
  • World of Snark: The main characters are teenagers, so this is expected.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Tony is initially reluctant to fight Madame Masque; an infuriated Pepper tells him if he doesn't stop hesitating she's going to come down and beat him up. Tony wises up after she tries to use a flamethrower on him.
  • Yandere: Whitney Stane when she's Madame Masque. Iron Man OS 7.4B, as a direct adaptation of the sentient Safe Armor from the comics, is one towards Tony as well.
  • You Have Failed Me: Hammer activates the explosive nanites in Mr. Fix when the prototype Titanium Man armor fails to live up to expectations. Unfortunately for Fix, that's not the end of it.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Tony's reaction after hearing the plot of Theatre/{[Hamlet}}, believing Pepper is pulling his leg to remind him of his own life.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: MODOC says this word for word after getting fed up with Iron Man and the Living Laser resisting him.
  • You Just Told Me: Pepper confirms her theory that Tony is Iron Man this way.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • Basically the drives for a few of the heroes and villains.
    • Subverted Trope for one of Black Panther's aides who blames the superhero for killing her brother via banishment EXCEPT Panther reveals that she's the one who advised that punishment on him in the first place. So, she has no one but herself to blame for that.
  • You're Insane!: Tony tells a variation of this to Rhona in "All the Best People Are Mad." Which results in a Title Drop of the episode.
    Tony: "You're completely mad Rhona!
    Rhona: "Mad? All the best people are mad. Lewis Carol."
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Hammer invents a zombie-creating gas. The rest of the cast is immediately smart enough to know this is an extremely bad idea. He tries to intentionally create one after he's exposed as a criminal, but Iron Man stops him.