Heavy Metal: Tony Stark’s Top 10 Armors
No one pulls off armor quite like Tony Stark. The man has a knack for putting together wearable weapons not just packed with ridiculously advanced technology but that also look pretty darn cool.
With so many suits about to take flight in the comic, it seems like the perfect time to look back at some of Stark’s coolest armors from mission-specific to full-on redesigns.
It might have been big and hulking, but what do you expect from a suit built in a cave by a dying guy? Debuting in 1963’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #39, the original armor proved more tank-like to keep the injured industrialist alive, but also made him super strong and bulletproof. Other original features included a buzzsaw hidden in the finger, jet boots, and a blowtorch!
Stealth Armor Mk 1
The 1981-debuting Stealth Armor first appeared in IRON MAN #152 so Stark could investigate a base holding his girlfriend Bethany Cabe. In addition to keeping the wearer cloaked, the suit also featured surveillance equipment. The first version sacrificed weapons for spy tech, but later incarnations added repulsors and camouflage capabilities.
The yellow and red armor will always be classic, but sometimes you need to switch gears. That’s what Stark did in 1985’s IRON MAN #200 as he changed over to the Silver Centurion suit. This one featured updated flight, defense and cloaking capabilities. Tony kept this around for years until a battle with Firepower destroyed the armor and seemingly killed its wearer.
Iron Man debuted his underwater armor back in 1987’s IRON MAN #218 during the original Armor Warsstoryline.The Hydro Armor can withstand dives of up to three miles, and boasts customized repulsors, an ink smokescreen, sonar ,and even an electric eel-inspired blast. Like many of the other highly specialized armors, this one appears from time to time, but only when Tony must venture under the sea.
Can even Tony Stark create an armor that can withstand the Hulk’s haymakers? He tried with the Hulkbuster armor, which made its debut in IRON MAN #304 back in 1994. The fight itself came to a conclusion when Hulk and Iron Man cleared up their disagreement. Shellhead created a brand new version to fight during World War Hulk, but got smashed early on.
Though James Rhodes may be best known as the man inside the silver and black armor, Stark wore it first in IRON MAN #281 from 1992. From the shoulder cannons to the laser sword, upgraded sensors and image projectors, this suit comes ready for a fight. When Stark seemed to die a few issues later, Rhodey took up the mantle of Iron Man again and eventually went on to call himself War Machine.
The Extremis armor might not have looked much different than the norm when it debuted in 2006’s IRON MAN #5, but it marked a massive upgrade in connectivity. A take on the Super Soldier Serum, Extremis allowed Stark to communicate more quickly with his armor. The tech allowed Tony to tap into information networks without the suit and also offered a number of offensive and defensive improvements.
Tony built on his experience with the Extremis armor and eventually developed the Bleeding Edge version first seen in 2010’s INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #25. Completely housed inside Stark’s body, nano machines formed the armor with just a thought. They could also be manipulated into any design from clothing to other suits.
Guardians of the Galaxy
While cruising the cosmos with the Guardians of the Galaxy, Tony tested his latest space-faring armor as well as the newly designed P.E.P.P.E.R. AI starting with IRON MAN #5 from 2013. As an added bonus, Stark built software that allowed him to control armors still on Earth even as he gallivanted with the Guardians!
Superior Iron Man
Also known as the Endo-Sym Armor, Tony based the design on Symbiotes making the suit somewhat alive. The psionic connection allows Stark to keep complete control over the suit. This completely new vision for the armor made its full debut earlier this year in SUPERIOR IRON MAN, a book which finds the Avenger’s personality skewed after the inversion spell used in AXIS to help defeat Red Onslaught.
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