Iron Man Universe Guide

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There is lots to learn about this high-flying playboy/weapons mogul in this Iron Man universe guide.

Tony Stark first burst onto the comic book scene in 1963. He was first seen in Tales of Suspense issue number thirty-nine.

At the beginning of his Iron Man run, he kept his identity secret—for obvious reasons. However, being the showboating guy he is, he decided to let the world know who their fearless protector in the iron suit is. This worked out for him to some extent, but sometimes it can get in the way of doing what he needs to do.

So, are you ready to get into it? There are plenty of fun suits and adventures to look into, so let’s take the plunge.

Iron Man Origin

How did our beloved Iron Man get his start? You don’t just wake up one day and decide you want to be a metal superhero now, do you? Let’s see.

Iron Man’s Childhood

Tony Stark was a smart kid born to billionaire parents Howard Stark and Maria Stark. He didn’t have to do much to get everything he wanted and found himself in some pretty privileged situations.

Despite the silver spoon in Tony’s mouth, he wasn’t a very happy person. And he didn’t really appreciate all the good things he had in his life.

Even though he went to the prestigious MIT, aka Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for engineering at the young age of 15, he didn’t really care to make much of himself.

He received a master’s degree in both engineering and physics but instead of doing good in the world, he decided he’d just do whatever he wanted, and he indulged in the party lifestyle.

Iron Man Before His Suit

Tony Stark doesn’t have any superpowers. His suit of armor is the only thing that makes him able to hang with the likes of the Avengers, but he didn’t have that back then.

Despite the lack of superpowers, Tony’s intellect seems like a superpower. He can create anything he imagines with his engineering expertise—and he does.

At the age of 21, Tony had to take over his dad’s company. His parents were killed in a car accident. There isn’t any concrete evidence in the comics about who really did this. There are multiple theories, which consist of HYDRA, V-Battalion, and rival Republic OIl and Natural Gas putting a hit out on the famous couple.

In the cinematic universe, the Winter Soldier killed them when he was brainwashed but that’s where it differs from the comics—as of right now. Who knows. Maybe this will get retconned.

After Tony took over for his dad, the company succeeded greatly. When things were going well, he went to Vietnam to test some new technology, but things went downhill when Tony experienced a hit from a piece of shrapnel. The shrapnel was no accident—it was a booby trap.

The shrapnel was on the way to Tony’s heart, and he was about to die because of it.

See also: Batman Universe Guide: Welcome to Gotham City

Tony Stark Creates His First Iron Man Suit

Tony Stark

While in Vietnam, communists captured and imprisoned him. They forced him to make new weapons for their overlord.

He wasn’t in prison alone, however. Renowned physicist Professor Ho Yinsen was in prison with Tony.

It’s a stroke of luck for Tony to be stuck in the communist prison.


Because Professor Ho Yinsen helped him make his first suit of armor that would then become Iron Man. The professor was the one that made the device that protected Tony’s heart and kept it beating.

Could Tony have made it himself?

Potentially. But we’ll never know now, will we?

The professor didn’t make it because he sacrificed his life to give Tony time to charge his weaponized armor to its full capacity.

Tony’s now-buddy James Rhodes escaped with him, and they both went back to America.

Iron Man Suits You Can’t Miss

Iron Man hasn’t held back on his suit-making. He loves to create, and it would take us forever to go through all of his suits, but I am going to take you through some of the most important ones that you simply can’t miss.

We already talked about the original suit that he built in the cave, so we won’t go over that again here.

Model II from 1963

Iron Man Model II from 1963

Iron Man’s Model II suit first appeared in Tales of Suspense #48.

Tony had to make this suit because Mister Doll almost killed him during their fight. This design and layout is the one that made him famous.

The design is sleek and lightweight, unlike the model I and model I gold.

Space Armor from 1981

Iron Man Space Armor

Iron Man’s Space Armor suit first showed up in Iron Man #142.

Tony had to investigate the microwaves source that was coming from space. It almost looked the same as normal Iron Man armor but it was clunkier and heavier.

You’d only see it a few times in the comics since Iron Man didn’t make it a practice to hang out in space all of the time.

Stealth Armor from 1981

Stealth Armor from 1981

Tony was busy making suits in 1981, so why not make a—what some people might call—totally lame suit?

The Stealth Armor showed up in Iron Man #152 and had no weapons. It was purely to be able to hide from his assailants.

Iron Man had to go to East Germany and spy on a facility, so, in this case, I guess it worked out okay.

Iron Man 2020 from 1984

Iron Man 2020

I have to laugh at this because we all know what 2020 did to us. They had no idea how badly they’d need this Iron Man armor in the year 2020.

The first appearance of this armor was in Machine Man Volume 2 #2.

This armor didn’t really belong to Tony Stark, but instead, it belonged to his nephew in the far—lol—future of 2020.

Arno Stark had bought Stark Industries and was a mercenary in armor. His dead Uncle’s armor inspired him, but his morals apparently didn’t make it over to young Arno.

The armor had similar weapons, but it could also do some other cool things. It could go underground, in space, and underwater.

Silver Centurion from 1985

Iron Man Silver Centurion

Now, the Silver Centurion is a pretty big change for Iron Man. First appearing in Iron Man #200, it ditched the red and gold color pattern and went to red and silver.

Despite upsetting some fans due to the color change, it did bring something new to the table. The Silver Centurion suit had the “Chameleon Effect” and could blend into the environment around it.

Undersea Armor from 1987

Iron Man Undersea Armor

It seems Tony decided not to wait until 2020 to get an underwater suit. While his other Iron Man suits can work in the water, this Hydro Armor could go as deep as three miles underwater.

The first appearance of this armor was in Iron Man #218. He used the armor to help the government stop terrorist forces from opening a toxic gas tank at the Titanic’s wreckage. Yeah. Weird, but the suit is shiny.

Neo-Classic from 1988

Iron Man Neo-Classic

Let the Armor Wars begin because that’s when Tony had to wear this new version of his armor. The Neo-Classic first appeared in Iron Man #231.

He’d been working on this new piece of armor in his spare time, and he had to use it to fight a villain named Firepower.

War Machine from 1992

Iron Man War Machine

War Machine is the only armor that is as famous as the traditional Iron Man armor.

This armor first appeared in Iron Man #281. This heavily-armed suit was used by James Rhodes, who truly made the name War Machine rise to fame.

The suit has an impressive arsenal:

  • Unibeam
  • Twin chain guns
  • Repulsors
  • Box rocket launcher
  • Wrist-mounted flamethrower
  • Laser blade
  • Tear gas
  • Tracers
  • Smoke grenades
  • Flares
  • Anti-tank rounds
  • Chainsaws (sometimes)

Let’s just say that you don’t want this guy coming at you. It won’t be a happy day for you.

Telepresence Armor from 1993

Iron Man Telepresence Armor

At one point, Tony Stark’s nervous system was damaged. That didn’t mean that he would stop his Iron Man duties.

First seen in Iron Man #290, he found a way around not being able to get out in his suit by creating a telepresence system. Tony could control the armor from a remote location, and with no human housing necessary—he really stocked up on the weapons.

Iron Lantern from 1997

Iron Lantern from 1997

Marvel fans, I had to show you this. If you didn’t know about it before, I’m sorry. You shouldn’t have to see this.

Yes, this is when Marvel thought it would be a good idea to mix our precious Iron Man with… The Green Lantern from D.C. comics.

Well, it was the 90’s. What would you expect from this decade?

Tony Stark was now Hal Stark, the Iron Lantern during this mish-mash mess.

Ultimate Iron Man from 2002

Ultimate Iron Man

The Ultimate universe’s Iron Man is almost like the other designs when it comes to color and weapons. However, here, the whole team has to suit up in armor.

First seen in Marvel comic Ultimates #2, the suit features more defensive weapons than most of the suits from the Marvel universe 616. However, there were a lot of versions of the armor just like the main universe Tony had.

See also: Watchmen Universe Guide

Tin Man Armor from 2002

Tin Man Armor from 2002

When Tony realized Ultron got control of his armor, he created this Tin Man Armor. It was first seen in Iron Man Volume 3 #50.

Interestingly enough, it turned out to be one of the most powerful suits of armor he ever made. Even direct missile impact didn’t hurt the suit. Now when it came to matching up against adamantium claws from Wolverine—that didn’t work so well.

The big bulky shoulders make their suit stand out, as well as the coiled design around Iron Man’s legs and stomach area.

Iron Maidan from 2002

Iron Maidan from 2002

Marvel didn’t want to miss out on the Manga love in the early 2000s. That’s why they put out the Iron Maidan suit.

First appearing in the Marvel Mangaverse: New Dawn #1, Iron Maidan isn’t actually Tony Stark. In fact, it’s his sister Antoinette Stark that is Iron Man. Tony still exists in that world but is not the metal high-flyer.

Thor Buster from 2003

Thor Buster from 2003

After a religion formed around Thor in Slovakia and all the members of the religion were executed. Thor heard them calling out for help and went to slay the armies that killed them.

The Thorbuster’s first appearance was in Iron Man Volume 3 #64

The United States sent Iron Man to stop Thor. Doctor Doom got involved and brainwashed Tony, and he ended up creating armor powered by the Asgardian crystal that Thor gave him. Thor made sure to destroy it, though.

Extremis Armor from 2006

Extremis Armor from 2006

This armor set is probably the most well-known from the modern Iron Man armor. First seen in Iron Man Volume 4 #5, it featured some of the biggest upgrades you’ll see.

Not only did it get upgrades to the weapons, but its ability to connect to other machines was its ease to assemble is awesome.

Any time Tony wants the armor to form around him, all he has to do is use the summoning technology, and it is on its way.

Its self-healing tech isn’t anything to turn your nose up at either.

Honorable Mentions

  • Iron Mandrill from 2008
  • Iron Patriot from 2009
  • Iron Man Noir from 2010
  • Bleeding Edge Armor from 2010
  • Phoenix Killer Armor from 2012
  • Model 40 from 2012
  • Model 42 from 2013
  • Heavy Duty Armor from 2013
  • Iron Man 2099 from 2015
  • Model 52 from 2016
  • Marvel Buster from 2017
  • Model 55 from 2018
  • Fin Fang Foombuster from 2018
  • Nano Iron Man from 2018

See also: The Flash Universe Ultimate Guide: The Fastest Man Alive


Question: Has Anyone Else Ever Been Iron Man?

Answer: Tony Stark’s friend James Rhodes took over for him as Iron Man for a short time. And there was that one time when Deadpool stole the Iron Man suit and got drunk in it to make Iron Man look like a drunkard.

Question: What is Iron Man’s Weakest Armor?

Answer: Iron Man’s weakest armor is his Stealth Suit. It keeps him hidden during missions but doesn’t have any firepower.

Question: What is Iron Man’s Slowest Suit?

Answer: Iron Man’s slowest suit is the one made in the cave known as the Mark I.

Conclusion – Iron Man Universe Guide

Well, my fellow Marvel lovers, you now have a good idea about Iron Man and you can love him even more. Maybe you didn’t realize how many suits he had but I think he might have a problem. How about you?

Whatever the case, you’ve got all the details on Iron Man and we’ve looked through a ton of his suits. I hope you enjoyed it and if I missed something you love about Iron Man, go ahead and drop it in the comments.

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