The History of Iron Man Pt. 10

The History of Iron Man Pt. 10

By Jim Beard with Ben Morse

50 Years ago, Tony Stark became Iron Man, a historic milestone in the tapestry of the Marvel Universe.

Flash forward half a century, and the Armored Avenger has become a worldwide sensation. Beyond his prominent role across the Marvel Comics line, Shellhead hit the big screen in 2008 as Robert Downey Jr. brought Tony Stark to life in the first “Iron Man” movie. The character’s popularity grew in 2010’s “Iron Man 2” and 2011’s “Marvel’s The Avengers.”

On May 3, 2013, Tony Stark returns to theaters everywhere in “Iron Man 3.” In anticipation of this momentous occasion and to celebrate Iron Man’s 50th anniversary, each week will be bringing you another chapter in the history of this complex and beloved character. Year by year, get an in-depth rundown of the trials, foes and experiences that have made Iron Man the hero he stands as today.

You can start here.

Also, be sure to visit the Marvel Digital Comics Shop and Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited to read 50 years’ worth of Iron Man adventures!

Financial woes, romantic entanglements and dangerous new opponents dominated 1972 for our Golden Avenger.

As the year opened, Iron Man’s amazing armor needed repairs in IRON MAN #44, a situation zipped up tight by Tony Stark’s employee, Kevin O’Brien, wearing the Stark-designed Guardsman suit. Unfortunately, Kevin got an eyeful of Tony’s new squeeze, Marianne Rogers, and fell head over heels. That triangle became even more complicated when Stark proposed to Marianne in IRON MAN #45 and she accepted.

At the same time, Kevin, as The Guardsman, sided with another of Tony’s business associates, Simon Gilbert, who arranged a vote of no confidence in Stark by his board of directors. When Iron Man zoomed in to stop Kevin from attacking some protestors outside of a Stark building, The Guardsman defended Gilbert. Gilbert backed up Kevin in IRON MAN #46 and witnessed the man’s death in battle with the Avenger, a “murder” that Gilbert wanted Iron Man charged with.

Stark related his entire origin in IRON MAN #47, and then confronted his board of directors about their charges against him. The cunning Gilbert brought in the mercenary Firebrand to stir up even more trouble, and when his plan to blow up a Stark munitions plant backfired and he lost his life, Firebrand stood revealed as Gilbert’s equally-hotheaded son.

Beyond dealing with his entire world falling apart around him, Iron Man also aided the Avengers at this time in the incredible finale to the Kree-Skrull War in AVENGERS #95, #96 and #97.

IRON MAN #49 brought a triumphant return for Tony to his company and its employees, but that happiness proved fleeting when the ESP-sensitive Marianne saw a vision of Iron Man’s death at the hands of a mysterious “Cyborg.” The hero discovered the Super-Adaptoid at Avengers Mansion and after a damaging scuffle with the artificial being, Marianne ran out on him in his time of need. To make matters worse, Princess Python and her gigantic snake tussled with Iron Man in IRON MAN #50 and the Super-Adaptoid proved to be controlled by two individuals from the micro-world of Bast, Tyrr and Jarr. In their efforts to bring power to their war-ravaged realm, they changed the Adaptoid into the Cyborg of Marianne’s visions.

Tyrr and Jarr moved their Cyborg in to suck energy from a Stark plant in IRON MAN #51 to divert it to Bast, but when Stark battled the robot the backlash of power killed Jarr. With the Cyborg defeated, the heart-sick and angry millionaire broke off his engagement to Marianne Rogers.

IRON MAN #52 introduced new solar-powered circuitry for the Iron Man armor and a change of scenery for its owner. In California, Stark ran afoul of the raging Raga, whose power over fire and lava meant a hot time in the old forest for our hero.

Raga’s followers began to rebel in IRON MAN #53 and his teacher, The Black Lama, turned his back on his pupil during a battle with Iron Man. The resulting earthquake led to the fire-starter’s death and Tony Stark moved on, searching for peace in his troubled life.

Check out IRON MAN (1968) and AVENGERS (1963) on the Marvel Digital Comics Shop, plus more Iron Man is available to subscribers of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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