Do you remember the beginning of the Iron Man movie when Tony Stark was a total jerk? Now imagine what would happen if he was 10 times worse than that. To top it all, combine that with more experience and technological advancement. Of course, I mustn’t forget a rocking chrome new suit that’s all kinds of flashy. Throw all these things in a cauldron, and you would get Superior Iron Man. If this introduction sounds like the craziest mix of bad and good stuff, that’s because it is. I hate Superior Iron Man, but I also love him. This made me want to examine the character in this Superior Iron Man guide. I don’t remember being this compelled by Tony Stark since Civil War. So I thought it was only fair if I tried to show you guys why.
My Bottom Line Up Front
Superior Iron Man is the most interesting Tony Stark has been in years. The billionaire executes feat after feat to get what he wants, and you never know what he will do. A highlight was when he gave Daredevil back his sight to get him on his side. It didn’t work in Tony’s favor, but it sure gave us some beautiful and well-crafted storytelling.
Comic history is convoluted. No matter where you start, it always feels like something important came before. This is true, but I’ll do my best to explain things. After the events of Avengers vs. Xmen, Cyclops killed Professor Xavier. Don’t ask me why; that’s a subject for another article. Because of this, the Red Skull took control of Charles’s brain and gained telepathic powers. Now known as Red Onslaught, the formed Red Skull is menacing enough to bring together both Avengers and Xmen. Even after the sour result of the previous saga. Desperate to bring back order, Scarlet Witch and Doctor Doom cast a powerful inversion spell that causes an unintentional effect. The morality of heroes and villains is inverted. That way, we get Superior Iron Man. A villainous version of Tony Stark, who, as the name states, thinks himself to be superior to those around him. Evil Tony has plans for tremendous profit, and the base for his story is set up in the middle of the Axis event.
Stark launches a free app in San Francisco which can make people’s bodies perfect. Whoever downloads the app gets a beauty upgrade with the perk of never aging again. You may be now wondering what’s up with that. Don’t worry; we’ll get into it later. The critical fact regarding Axis right now is that at the end of the day, some of the unaffected heroes got almost everyone back to normal. With the help of some of the villains turned heroes nonetheless. Wait, did I say almost everyone? That’s right! Some people were able to escape, Iron Man Included. That’s how we get the 9 issue mini-series of pure awesomeness Superior Iron Man. But before we go on with that matter, I want to leave a side note about Axis.
I really like the premise of inverting people’s moralities. It is curious to see the villains acting as good guys. The inversion’s highlight is undoubtedly Carnage, who makes one of the most ridiculous and funny dying wishes to Peter after sacrificing himself. Try to guess what he asked. Think of the most absurd thing you can think of. Done? Okay, I’ll tell you. Carnage asks Spider-Man to build a massive statue of himself made of gold and put it in the middle of New York City. Wait, it’s not over. The former villain also wants the statue to play Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” around the clock. That’s it. However, not even this moment made me think this series was good. It is mediocre at best. While the premise sets up exciting situations, the plot is too convoluted. Besides, it doesn’t have well-crafted character arcs that make you emotional. If you want something like that, you’re better off with one of the subsequent events, such as Secret Wars.
Genius, billionaire, profit-hungry? That is a precise sum-up of this version of Tony Stark. I would also add selfish, unpredictable, and liar, just to start. Superior Iron Man is a lot of bad things. But I must say he is fun to read. Tony is always one step ahead of his enemies and will stop at nothing to achieve his desires. Furthermore, he likes to have a lot of fun and displays it in the most eye-catching way possible. An island all to himself, an impressive building, beautiful people, and lots of drinks. It is all a part of Stark’s show.
In terms of physical appearance, Tony stays the same with his classical goatee and dark hair. Iron Man, on the other hand, changes. A lot. Superior Iron Man throws away the characteristic red and gold finishing in favor of a chrome one that is as flashy as one can get. Did you think you would hear me complaining? Because I won’t. I’m all in for the change. This is my favorite Iron Man suit, not just because of the color but because of the helmet design. The way they show Tony’s face while also adorning it is beautiful.
The faceplate is not as vulnerable as it may look. Though Tony’s face seems unprotected, it is covered by stealth graphene. Moreover, I like how the change of look wasn’t only for aesthetic reasons. Head Editor Mark Paniccia clarifies the reason behind the new look. According to Mark, this version of Tony is way vainer, so he would want people to see his face. The chrome color is one more way to make people look at him. Therefore, this makes a lot of sense and is reason enough for me to love the new look even more.
A.I Tony Stark
Tony Stark downloaded his conscience and stored it in case a contingency plan was needed. When Pepper sees the actions of the Superior Iron Man, she knows the A. I must enter into action. Of course, the new Tony doesn’t like that there’s a version of himself meddling with his plans. Especially when said version wants to take his place. This is definitely a rocky relationship.
Daredevil AKA Matt Murdock
Daredevil soon realizes something is wrong with Tony’s behavior. The vigilante discovers Stark’s plan and confronts him. They have a tense relationship in the Superior Iron Man comic. Tony respects Matt and tries to bring him to his side. However, the billionaire is unsuccessful in his attempt.
Harold “Happy” Hogan
Tony Stark’s former chauffeur and bodyguard. He is dead at the time of the Superior Iron Man incident. However, the fondness Stark felt toward him remains. This is clear when Tony vows to help Happy’s son, even though the billionaire currently only cares about himself.
For a long time, Pepper Potts was Tony Stark’s personal assistant. They shared a mutual attraction, but the redhead married Happy instead. Still, she’s one of Tony’s closest friends and the greatest threat to Superior Iron Man.
Teen Abomination AKA Jamie Carlson
Jamie Carlson is a teenager who transformed into a giant green monster. He suffered an accident with Gamma radiation when he was 5. But his powers didn’t show up until a horrible event triggered his emotions. Jamie sees Tony as his salvation from the terrible transformation that plagues him.
Superior Iron Man
Of course, such an awesome character like Superior Iron Man couldn’t go without a series of his own. Even if it is only a mini-series. The title ran from 2014 to 2015 and picked up right after the events of the Axis saga. Despite the fans’ eager cries for more in the letter columns, the series wasn’t expanded for a longer run. It’s a shame, but when I think of what came after in the Marvel comic universe, there wouldn’t be space for a longer run of the character anyway.
Tony defeats a monster called Teenage Abomination with the help of She-Hulk. If you’re wondering if he makes fun of the name, the answer is yes. Next, it is revealed that it was only his suit that took part in the battle. Tony was actually in a pool with lots of women. He’s right back to his old partying days. Pepper comes to talk to him, but he’s dismissive. She expresses concern over Tony’s new Endo Sym armor and the app he just released, Extremis. Pepper argues making a suit out of a symbiote is not a good idea. Besides, the app will create a divide between a masterclass of “perfect” people and the others.
Proving this point, a group of people with the app bully a homeless person, and Daredevil arrives to stop them. Tony tells Pepper the city will not stay the same because he intends to profit. Suddenly the effects of the app wear off, and a message pops up with the price of 100 bucks a day to stay pretty. What a sour price! For that much money, I’d instead hit the gym myself and use the rest to travel. As a result of her interaction with Tony, Pepper activates the contingency plan – an AI of her former boss. I like the political undertones this issue brings. The comic paints an essential portrait of beauty standards and the class divide, even if it doesn’t engage with these themes deeply.
Daredevil tries to stop Tony at his headquarters AKA Stark Island but fails. Tony announces he will give 24 hours of free Extremis to everyone attending his event the next day. A man confronts Tony during the event and says his son is addicted to the app and was caught robbing a woman to get the money to pay for it. Next, the man shoots Tony, but the stealth graphene protects his face. Then Tony flies away with the man and blackmails him into using the app and pretending it was all part of the show.
Later that night, Daredevil kidnaps Iron Man and blocks all the suit’s signals that could locate Tony. However, he didn’t know about the symbiote suit, which used different methods to find its owner. Iron Man takes on Daredevil, and when the lawyer wakes up, he can see again. What a twist! I had never expected to read a story where Daredevil gets his sight back, but that is a fascinating idea! Moreover, the implications of this event are beautifully crafted in the next issue.
Tony tells Daredevil he created a strain of Extremis to give Matt his sight back, but he will need regular boosters. Matt is outraged that Tony wants to buy his support and make the lawyer addicted to Extremis just like the rest of the city. A genius thing about this issue is that the panels are drawn from Matt’s perspective. I love that because it puts us right into perspective and gives weight to the sensation of being able to see after being blind for so long.
Another side note is that my favorite quote from Superior Iron Man is in this issue. Try to guess which one it is before heading to this section. Pepper and the AI prepare to face Tony, but the AI must adapt to current times and information. Teen abomination returns and attacks Tony. The teenager says Extremis doesn’t work on him and wants Tony’s help to return to his human form. Once again, the issue puts us in Matt’s perspective. When Tony leaves through the window of Matt’s apartment to fight the Teenage Abomination, we see it from Matt’s eyes. You can just feel how he is in awe to see the view. In the last panels, Matt calls his best friend Foggy so he can see him before the effect wears off. It is a beautiful ending to the issue.
Iron Man announces that he has created a network of drone cameras to protect everyone at a TV show. Next, he states that when users downloaded Extremis, their data was uploaded to the Iron Sight Security Database. This base knows everything about people’s habits, movements, location, and interactions. Pretty Dystopian, right? I like the commentary the comic makes about technology and privacy issues. Tony argues that people’s privacy is less important than ending violence. However, he doesn’t have people’s interests at heart. Which shows how dangerous this lack of privacy can be when in the wrong hands.
Maria Hill arrives at Tony’s home demanding for Teen Abomination, but he has trumped her claim over him. Next, Daredevil tells Tony he discovered Extremis is a virus already present in everyone’s bodies. The hero knows Tony chose to release it in San Francisco because the city banned the sale of bottled water, making the spread easier. Furthermore, the app launches an almost inaudible frequency that activates the virus when downloaded that only Matt could hear. To hide the evidence, Tony knocks Matt out and erases his memory. Matt wakes up in a hospital with Tony, saying he will need to rest, but the billionaire is taking care of everything.
In this issue, we learn the origin of Teenage Abomination. Jamie’s mom was a scientist at Stark industries, and there was an accident with Gamma radiation in the lab while the boy was present. At first, there seemed to be no side effects. However, when he was 13, Jamie had an angry outburst and made a building collapse, killing his mom. Tony says the day the accident with Gamma rays happened, he was fighting a villain. That’s why he couldn’t help. Using his network, Tony discovers Jamie was Happy’s son. The billionaire promises to help the boy because Happy was one of the few people he cared about. Tony tries to find records from the day of the accident and discovers someone stole a day from him. He doesn’t remember anything. I like that this issue shows Tony still has vulnerabilities. Besides, I also love that the writer knows we need someone to root for because Iron Man is now evil. That’s why they give us Teenage Abomination.
Tony Stark sells the plans for a powerful weapon to the U.S government. He then tries to buy a media empire to control the public’s perception of him when he takes over the world. However, Pepper’s company has already purchased the enterprise. She takes Jamie and Tony for a talk, and the Iron Man AI attacks both of them after Pepper flees.
Eight years ago, Tony made a contingency plan after the Lama almost took over the billionaire’s mind. He downloaded his full mind into a network, told Happy and Pepper about it, and then erased his memories. The AI dismantles the suit it inhabits and takes Tony with him into space. The symbiote suit follows, but the AI imprisons Tony at a station to put his mind onto the man’s body. Pepper calls because she wants to know how Tony got the money to buy the media company. Stark says he sold a weapon to a government. The AI asks to whom. The billionaire doesn’t answer but argues he and the AI are not so different. Tony urges the AI to see things his way and opens his mind. Tony takes over control and annihilates his foe.
Tony calls Pepper and says he’s back to being who he was, but another suit appears with the AI. The AI’s memory is stored in an undisclosed location, so it can always come back. Tony tells Pepper AI was trying to replace him. Pepper says the plan was to bring Tony back to normal, and the AI says the plans have changed. Tony invites civilians to his island so he can shield himself using humans. He leaves a message to the AI: Bio-Mark One. It means Tony will use everyone’s bodies as weapons. Stark says doing that is easy because he already has the power to change people’s bodies due to the Extremis virus. The AI arrives with all Iron Man’s suits and attacks Tony. The symbiote suit transforms into something bigger and fires at the AI.
An all-out fight between Tony and the AI with various suits ensues. Pepper arrives in an iron suit and uses a sound blast to incapacitate the symbiote. At the Resilient headquarters, Tony releases a virus to destroy the AI. Before being turned into a drive, the AI tries to kill Tony, but Pepper stops him. Jamie unwillingly damages the pen drive which stored the A. I. The symbiote suit arrives, and Tony tells Jamie his mom is alive. The boy turns human again. Thank God, a good thing happens in this comic. However, the end of Iron Man is sad. Pepper says she will use the media to destroy Tony, and he flies away alone.
The Last Showdown Against Captain America
Issue 44 at Avenger’s 2013 run is the end of many things, including Superior Iron Man. Until this point, Marvel comics had been building up to the incursions, events where two parallel realities collide. This last issue shows the preparations heroes are making to avoid destruction and one last showdown between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. There’s a lot of history behind the conflict. Steve Rogers is not Captain American since the serum was drained from his veins, which turned him into an older man. But that doesn’t mean he can’t fight. The hero confronts Tony wearing an iron suit.
The clash is an emotional one. Steve is enraged by Tony’s decision to hide the truth about their imminent destruction. It also doesn’t help that he’s been an unreliable jerk as Superior Iron Man. The moment finally arrives. In a dramatic final panel, Steve kills Tony. Superior Iron Man is dead.
Awesome or Lame?
Superior Iron Man is awesome. He looks cool, says what he means, and is a complex character. Plus, he is surprised. Tony has no regard for human life and is willing to make people addicted to his product for a profit. The man even planned to use civilians as an army. However, Stark was eager to help Teenage Abomination when he discovered the boy was Happy’s son. That showed there were still feelings inside him, and he wasn’t just another cardboard villain. Plus, seeing Tony throw insane parties on his private island was very cool to witness.
And The Award For Best Quote Goes To…
Tony: I’m the most intelligent, capable person on the planet. I’m not playing God. I’ve been doing this for you. For all of you. I have wasted so much time. So much energy. To look like you – to sound like you – so that you specks feel comfortable around me. I’ve been holding back. But not anymore. I’ve changed. It’s like I was blind, and now I can see. Superior Iron Man, issue 3. Wow, this quote is so powerful! It shows how much Tony has to hold back to live among people. More importantly, it explains that Tony has nothing to lose without his morality. He is not afraid to do whatever he wants because no compassion is left.
Question: Can Superior Iron Man beat Thanos?
Answer: No. Superior Iron Man is just regular Tony without a moral compass and wearing a brand new suit. The lack of morals may give him an advantage because he is not afraid of doing anything to get what he wants. The Endo- Sym is stronger than its predecessors. But still, he is not nearly strong enough to beat Thanos on his own, a character that needs the whole Marvel Universe combined to defeat him.
Question: Is Superior Iron Man part of the Illuminati?
Answer: Yes. Tony kept his place in the Illuminatti after transforming into Superior Iron Man.
Question: Can Superior Iron Man beat Scarlet Witch?
Answer: I don’t think so. Superior Iron Man’s armor upgrade and lack of morality make him stronger, but not enough to beat one of the most potent heroines from the Marvel Universe.
Question: Is Superior Iron Man in Doctor Strange 2?
Answer: No. Many people speculated Superior Iron Man would be a member of the movie’s version of the Illuminati. However, that was debunked after the film’s release.
A Superior Ride
Though the event that gave rise to Superior Iron Man wasn’t one of the best Marvel had to offer, it still had its ups. One of them is the creation of Superior Iron Man, one of the most exciting versions of Tony Stark. Even when I hated him, it was a joy to read his comic. Undoubtedly, the Superior Iron Man mini-series is a highlight in Marvel history. Be sure to check out!