Iron Man: Avenger, Industrialist, Hero

Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man in 'Iron Man.'
Marvel Studios/Paramount Pictures

Real Name: Tony Stark

Location: New York City

First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (1963)

Created By: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber, and Don Heck


Without his suit of armor, Tony Stark has no supernatural powers. He is only limited by his imagination. Tony is a brilliant engineer and has used his talents to create a powerful suit of armor that enables the wearer to fly, shoot beams of energy from his hands and chest, and resist the vacuum of space. The suit also protects the wearer from damage and grants superhuman strength.

The suit is constantly being redesigned to face the new challenges that Tony Stark meets on a daily basis. There are specialty suits that have been made such as the Arctic, Stealth, Space, Hulkbuster, and Thorbuster armors. There have been nearly 40 different variations of the Iron Man armor in the current reality of the Iron Man comics.

Team Affiliations: Mighty Avengers, Ultimates

Currently Seen In:

Iron Man
Ultimate Iron Man
New Avengers
Mighty Avengers

Interesting Fact:

The first suit of armor was gray and had roller skates in the feet instead of jets.

Main Villains:

Crimson Dynamo
Titanium Man
Obadiah Stane

Iron Man's Origin Story

Young Tony Stark was a prodigy of mechanical engineering genius. At 21, he took over his father's company and launched it into a hugely successful corporation. During a testing of new technology in Vietnam, Tony was hit by a piece of shrapnel from a booby trap. The shrapnel was lodged near his heart and without help, Tony would die.

There, he was captured by a communist leader and imprisoned, forced to make new weapons for the overlord. Also imprisoned with him was Professor Ho Yinsen, a renowned physicist. Together they built the first suit of armor that would become Iron Man. Professor Ho even made the chest plate of the armor with a device to help Tony’s heart keep beating.

Tony used the armor to escape, although in the process, Professor Ho sacrificed his life to give Tony the time to charge it to full capacity. Tony escaped with James Rhodes (now War Machine) and returned to America to become a part of the Avengers, taking his fathers teachings of giving back to the world to heart and using his new armor to aid mankind. He wasn’t without his own demons though, as he struggled with alcoholism throughout his life.

In the midst of being a hero and working with the Avengers, Tony also continued to grow his company into a multi-billion corporation. He developed and sold technology that went to S.H.I.E.L.D. and other organizations, such as the Avengers Quinjet. His success continued to grow, and this to let him being targeted by Obadiah Stane, another billionaire with his own weapons design business.

Obadiah sought to ruin Tony, eventually taking over his company. This set things in motion and Tony ended up becoming homeless forced him to return to the bottle and he even gave up being Iron Man, turning it over to his friend Jim Rhodes. Stane even discovered designs of the Iron Man armor and began to create his own version, called the Iron Monger. Stane planned on selling multiple suits to the highest bidder.

Eventually, Tony got his life together and began a new company and resumed being Iron Man again. He even started a new company called Circuits Maximus. This enraged Stane and led to a battle between Iron Man and Iron Monger. When Stane lost, he committed suicide and this led Tony getting back his company and life.

Later, when more and more villains began to surface with armor based on the Iron Man armor, Stark took it upon himself to stop the use of the technology based on his designs and started what is now know as the “Armor Wars.” He went after the supervillains and even the government agencies that were using similarly powered armor and deactivated them, taking back what he thought was rightfully his.

With such global threats on the horizon, Tony helped start the Illuminati, a group of other superpowered beings that worked to control the fate of the world. The group is comprised of Iron Man, Black Bolt, Sub Mariner, Professor X, Reed Richards, and Dr. Strange. They were responsible for recovering the infinity gems, items when combined with the Infinity Gauntlet, would grant the bearer godlike powers. They were also responsible for sending the Hulk into orbit, which in turn started World War Hulk.

Tony Stark was also a major player in the Civil War, where the government wanted heroes to register themselves, making their identities known and essentially becoming S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Many heroes balked at this, not wanting to give up their identities or become pawns of the government and so went underground. The heroes eventually split into two groups. There were those for the registration, led by Tony Stark himself, where he was made the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and those against, led by Captain America. The war split the Marvel universe down the middle and climaxed in a giant battle in New York City, but when Captain America saw the carnage this was causing the American people, he called a cease-fire and turned himself in. He was later assassinated going to the courthouse for trial, a thing that Tony himself feels responsible for.

Lately, Tony Stark is concerned with the fact that there have been Skrulls that have infiltrated agencies and super-powered groups. The main problem is that these Skrulls are undetectable to anyone, and therefore everyone is suspect. He is working against the Skrulls, bringing in the brightest that the world has to offer to find a way to stop this secret invasion.