The History of Iron Man Pt. 23

The History of Iron Man Pt. 23

By Jim Beard

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!

In 1985, Tony Stark suited up again to reclaim the Iron Man identity from Jim Rhodes and take the fight to one of his nastiest rivals, Obadiah Stane.

The year began with the continuing confrontation between Stark and his replacement in IRON MAN #190. Rhodey’s headaches grew worse as he juggled battling the Termite with his unreasonable hatred for his old boss. The fights spilled over into IRON MAN #191, when Tony realized that the new Iron Man would go to any lengths to stop a jailbreaking Vibro. What to do? Break out an old suit of armor!

IRON MAN #192 saw Iron Man versus Iron Man as Rhodey, insane with anger, went head to head with Tony Stark, winner take all. Then, the West Coast Avengers guest-starred in IRON MAN #193 to witness the coming of Dr. Demonicus and the reconciliation between the two men who called themselves Iron Man.

Stark found himself marooned somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in IRON MAN #194, while Rhodey became lost in another dimension. Good thing, because Scourge, the villain-killing mystery man, skulked around in the shadows while the West Coast Avengers and Tony’s old flame Bethany Cabe wondered where everyone had gotten to. Finally, Rhodey made his way to Alpha Flight’s resident medicine man Shaman in IRON MAN #195 to get the lowdown on his mind-blowing headaches and Obadiah Stane returned to hatch new schemes.

Tony donned another spare set of armor in IRON MAN #196 and a would-be baddie called Thundersword made trouble for Rhodey and Bethany in IRON MAN #197. The origin of Stane’s twisted existence became known in IRON MAN #198, and with the scarred Madame Masque as his ally and Bethany Cabe as his prisoner, he sent his Circuit Breaker against the both Tony and Rhodey, both of who now sported armor.

Then, tragedy. Stane bombed Tony’s company, Circuits Maximus, in IRON MAN #199, resulting in the death of his partner, Morley Erwin, brother of the woman who secretly loved Stark, Cly Erwin. From that moment, the kid gloves came off and the new armor went on.

IRON MAN #200 debuted Tony Stark’s return to glory in what would be known as his “Silver Centurion” armor. With Rhodey wounded, Cly Erwin hating him for the death of her brother, and the West Coast Avengers looking on, the former millionaire industrialist suited up and brought the battle to Stane’s front door. Stane donned his fearsome Iron Monger armor and the two rivals clashed far above the ground in heated battle. When the original Iron Man bested his foe, Stane turned his repulsors on himself and committed suicide in front of Tony.

The year wrapped in IRON MAN #201 as Tony Stark began to deal with the aftermath of all of Stane’s longstanding machinations, the escape of Madame Masque, and the untimely arrival of A.I.M. agents, just to make life a bit more interesting…

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

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