Iron Man-Iron Man. Does whatever his armor lets him do! Can he swing, from a web? No.
May 9, 2010
Growing up, I never read a lot of comics but I knew of comic heroes from trading cards and cartoon TV series. When video games rolled around with the familiar characters, I latched on then too when I realized that oh yeah, these comic characters have, you know comics based on them.
The one hero I have enjoyed is Iron Man and the reason being is that I would look at the costume and the powers they had and if I would want to be them in real life. Some characters were ugly, some had lame costumes or powers I weren't as interested in say for a couple. Iron Man was a normal man of a hi IQ, rich and could seperate himself from his powers anytime he wanted to since his powers came from a suit of powered armor that shot lasers, missiles, allowed him to fly and protected him from harm. Who wouldn't want to be this guy?
Starting in the Silver Age of comics in 1963 from the anthology series Tales of Suspense-told the story of Tony Stark a rich playboy inventor whos breakthrough work in transistors "which can be built to any size and any function!" is in Southeast Asia demonstrating his wares to the Army. While on assignment in the jungle, a landmine injures him and puts shrapnel close to his heart and the villianous Wong Chu, his captor agrees to have surgery done to save Tony if he builds him weapons. Tony theorizes correctly that if they COULD save him they would do it so he can work for them. Tony agrees but instead uses his knowledge of transistors to creat a powerful magnetic field from inside a metal body he will use to keep his heart beating and escape his captors. With the aid of a kind old scientist, Yin Sen- Tony is able to finish his work and overpower his captors using the wonders of his metal suit being immune to small arms fire, having magnetic fields to deflect incoming energy weapons and having immense strength, among many other hidden (revealed when plot requires) equipment. It was nice to see such ideas be used to battle his foes showing a sign of creativity, even if the science involved was assinine at times. (Transistors being new at the time, it was easy to exploit them to doing whatever Tony wanted to do, including powering ROLLERSKATES for the ARMY!! But thats the least of the books problems, being the Silver Age, things are forgivable.) Many of those early villians and even later one's were largly aligned with communist countires and Iron Man being the pro capitalist business man would often be the one to deal with those threats. Take of that what you will.
The Silver Age stories were a product of the time. See Iron Man travel to the center of the Earth and meet the Queen of the Netherworld! Have Iron Man battle the wicked Dr. Strange (not THAT Doctor Strange) whoes shielded hideout can deflect Atom Bombs! See Iron Man discover UFOs! Yes, the stories were corny and serial like in that you had to "tune in next time to see what wonders Iron Man would face!" The Silver Age stories had a charm to them where imagination was in high gear with sci fi in mind and to hell with reality. The Silver Age Iron Man also differs from the modern age version in that Iron Man would make personal appearances to schools or hospitals and seen by many as a savior to everyone, kinda like Superman and it was really cool to read.
Skipping ahead to the modern age, or "dark age" of comics had Iron Man starting his own series and out of Tales Of Suspense and fleshing out more of Tony's life, his friends like Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, Jim Rhodes,Clytemnstra Erwin and her brother Morley, Bambi Arbogast among many others including a large rogues gallery like Obidiah Stane, The Mandarin, Controller, Gray Gargoyle, The Masters of Silence, Sunset Bain, Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man...Thats a big rogues gallery for ONE hero to fight. Some battles aren't in the battle field but in the boardroom where corporate heads fight Tony there too. An uglier battle is Tony's own attitude in that he is self centered at times and even turned to alcohol when things were bleak and he was in the gutter, down and out.
Thankfully Tony was always ready to fight back with his armor. The regular suit had it's repulsor beams and flight, but when that wasn't enough there were suits for going underwater, space, stealth missions and even as time went on the standard armor was upgraded as well with the Silver Centurion suit with it's holograms, invisiblity screens and pulse beams. The modular armor (and most recognizeable from 90's video games and animated series) with snap on equipment pods and as the volumes changed-other suits would come into play. For battling other Marvel heroes, he built the Thor Buster and Hulk Buster. I'll let you guess which suit was meant for who. Tony always had a way for building a suit to combat his foes and solve his problems.
Iron Man has been through many volumes and the character has been apart of many other comics, most notably The Avengers as a founding member. Later volumes of the Iron Man book have seen more adventures, new suits and more stories coming up. Some like Extremis people love and is seen as one of the best books in the run in recent years, but sadly the Iron Man character has been tarnished by turning him into a polical strawman in the Marvel Civil War series (namely a character who would trounce on civil liberties to apprehend other heros. Don't you love it when writers get "clever" by taking an established and loved characters and use them to espouse your tract?) The authors have defended this by saying that younger readers will love the superhero battles against each other and the older readers will pick up on the subtext. UNLESS the younger readers are sharp enough to put what they hear on the news and what they're reading together. Young fresh and impressionable minds.
Iron Man is fun like any comic and no, it may not have set the industry on fire or changed the way we look at the industry but it is FUN and thats what comics are supposed to be. What is more fun then a guy who wears armor that can act like a fighter jet and shoot lasers? That same suit that can be taken off and allow you to put on a new one that let you have new powers like invisability or space travel? Sounds like fun to me.
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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