The History of Iron Man Pt. 24

The History of Iron Man Pt. 24

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!

With a new suit of armor and a new lease on life, Tony Stark seemed ready to take the world on in 1986. But figures from his past threatened to turn Iron Man’s bright future into a dark and deadly disaster.

After putting his armor through rigorous tests in IRON MAN #202, Stark welcomed old acquaintance Lord Kevin Plunder, better known as Ka-Zar of the Savage Land, to the West Coast Avengers’ compound. The reunion broke up when the Fixer, criminal of a thousand gadgets, sought Iron Man’s new suit and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Fortunately, the two heroes handily beat him at his own game.

Stark’s old lover Bethany Cabe returned in IRON MAN #203, but with the mind of Madame Masque and toting a deadly desire to kill the former millionaire. Clytemnestra Erwin told Tony his fortune could be retrieved from the late Obadiah Stane’s computers, but it took Henry Pym to shrink the Armored Avenger down to microscopic size to retrieve the proper codes. After re-securing his fortune, Iron Man found himself in cross-hairs of “Bethany”, only to watch in amazement as Madame Masque broke in to shoot the gorgeous redhead. A scientist to perform a mind-switch became the focus of a hunt in IRON MAN #204, and Stark rose to the occasion, allowing both women to re-inhabit their original forms.

IRON MAN #205 opened with Tony pondering his immediate future, then deciding to start a brand-new business and build an immense space station as his first project. When the evil M.O.D.O.K., a pawn of the criminal scientists of A.I.M., interrupted a shareholder summit, Iron Man quickly knocked the giant flying head down a few pegs. Little did he realize at that moment that a new threat named Yorgon Tykkio had planted a bullseye on his back in his bid to wrest A.I.M. from his brother, the Scientist Supreme.

A.I.M. proceeded to try to sabotage the Stark space station in IRON MAN #206, while Shellhead had his hands full with the gigantic crook called Goliath. With destruction averted, construction on the station continued in IRON MAN #207. A.I.M. then turned their attentions to the small country of Boca Caliente, where years before nuclear missiles had been planted underneath the island. By tricking Iron Man and James Rhodes into releasing an energy weapon of their own design into orbit, they brought shame to Tony when they fired upon Boca Caliente and successfully invaded the tiny nation, seizing the missiles.

Iron Man flew off to take back the country in IRON MAN #208, against the protests of the United States government. There, our hero found slave labor in effect among the island’s citizens, and a former leader hell-bent on firing the missiles and kicking off World War III. Stark managed to stop the deadly weapons, but Yorgon Tykkio made his escape from an A.I.M. holding cell before the dust cleared.

Tony Stark decided a nice change of pace would be in order in IRON MAN #209, but a little side-trip to a medieval fair only turned up Jack Russell—Werewolf By Night—and his suffering sister Lissa, possessed by the greatest sorceress of all time, Morgan Le Fay. To make matters worse for Stark, his former employees Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts returned long enough in IRON MAN #210 to tell him to butt out of their lives.

In the middle of working on a communications satellite high in orbit in IRON MAN #211, our hero accidentally released the villainous Living Laser on an unsuspecting world, a situation which called for Jim Rhodes to once again don Iron Man armor and help squelch the maddened criminal’s rampage.

How to wrap up a year when you’re Tony Stark? Well, meeting and sharing an adventure with the 1930’s adventurer Dominic Fortune in IRON MAN #212-213, will do, even if the deadly Iron Monger armor figured into the proceedings.

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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