Published August 2, 2019

Stark Week: A Legacy of Iron – 9 Heroes Tony Stark Helped to Soar

Over the years, Iron Man influenced a number of Marvel characters to become the heroes they were destined to be.

Over the course of his nearly six-decade run as one of the world's premiere Super Heroes, Iron Man has inspired untold numbers of people. He's saved just about everyone on the planet, some of whom decide to live better lives while others try to become heroes in their own right.

Tony Stark himself has provided armor for some of these individuals, helped others build their own, and even vouched for former criminals to get another chance. Here's a look at some of the more prominent members of the Iron Man Admiration Society!


Tony vouches for Hawkeye
AVENGERS (1963) #16

Clint Barton intended to be a costumed hero when he debuted in TALES OF SUSPENSE #57, but a misunderstanding labeled him a villain. He then got wrapped up with the Black Widow, who did not help his reputation. However when Hawkeye broke into Avengers Mansion, tied up Jarvis and set off a smoke arrow, Iron Man instantly recognized the archer and vouched for him as a potential member in AVENGERS #16. Iron Man personally got Clint a manual and announced his membership at the ensuing press conference, ushering in one of the most stalwart Avengers of all time.

Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver

Tony invites Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver into the Avengers
AVENGERS (1963) #16

Two more former villains joined the greatest team in the world in AVENGERS #16. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver heard about Hawkeye's probationary membership and decided to forego their old ways working with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Tony Stark met them when their ship came in and witnessed their incredible powers. In his secret identity as Iron Man, he put them both up for membership in the team and they were accepted. This gave Stark the time to take a much-needed leave of absence. 

War Machine

War Machine
WAR MACHINE (2008) #1

Debuting in IRON MAN #118, James Rhodes went from being Tony Stark's helicopter to not only his best friend but his replacement as Iron Man on more than one occasion. Already a heroic Marine when they first met, Rhodey took that to another level inside the Armored Avenger's suit and even further as War Machine. Thanks to Stark's efforts at bringing Rhodes back to life, the pair are currently in a good place with James working as the official liaison to the Armed Forces for Tony's new company, Stark Unlimited.


Ant-Man and Tony
ANT-MAN (2015) #1

Sure, Scott Lang has a more direct and obvious connection to Iron Man's Avengers teammate Hank Pym, but he also owes Tony Stark! As an ex-con, Lang struggled to get a job, but eventually wound up at Stark International. He proved adept enough at security systems to help update the one at Avengers Mansion. After stealing the Ant-Man gear to save his daughter, Pym gave him the okay to carry on his legacy, but he continued working with Stark and frequently teamed up with Iron Man while working there.


Iron Spider

For a brief time, Peter Parker and his wife Mary Jane Watson lived in Stark's Avengers Tower while serving with the team. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #529, Stark gave Parker a new suit dubbed the Iron Spider. This piece of Stark tech allowed Spidey to sprout extra robotic arms, camouflage with his surroundings, and stay in constant contact. The Wall-Crawler wore these new, technologically enhanced duds up until CIVIL WAR when he decided to switch from Iron Man's side to Captain America's and nearly lost his life in the process. New versions of these suits were also used by the Initiative's Red Team, otherwise known as the Scarlet Spiders.


Pepper Potts as Rescue

In the wake of SECRET INVASION, Tony Stark was ousted as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and considered a failure when all of his tech failed thanks to a Skrull virus. He left Pepper Potts behind as the head of Stark International, but also gave her an armor designed specifically for her, giving her a new heroic identity as Rescue. That armor allowed Pepper to help plant a virus in H.A.M.M.E.R., wake Tony up from his self-induced coma, and fight alongside the other Underground heroes in SECRET EMPIRE.

Doctor Doom

Iron Doom

After gaining full control of everything during SECRET WARS and getting defeated, Doctor Doom returned to Earth and tried convincing Iron Man that he had turned over a new leaf. Stark didn't quite believe Doom, but when Captain Marvel put Tony in a coma, Doom honored Iron Man's legacy by playing hero as seen in INFAMOUS IRON MAN. When Tony returned in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #600, Doom was stunned and sacrificed his healed face in a fight with the Hood. Now he's back in Latveria behind his mask, trying to get his country back in order.


IRONHEART (2018) #1

One of the most recent heroes to be directly influenced by Tony Stark is young genius Riri Williams. She was already building her own armor when she debuted in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7. Not long after, Stark heard about her and paid Riri a visit, offering to back her in her technological and Super Heroic pursuits. After Tony fell at the end of CIVIL WAR II, Williams starred in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN as Ironheart. She's gone on to become a member of the Champions and lead her own series, IRONHEART, after Stark came back.

While many of these characters were already heroic before Tony Stark gave them a push, that push helped them reach a new potential and new heights – sometimes literally! Stark’s technology may make him the money, but the heroes he’s encouraged have had an even more important legacy.

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