Iron Man

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"I am Iron Man. The suit and I are one."
"So in the movie, Tony Stark, head of Stark Industries, is a powerful genius billionaire industrialist sex-magnet. Apparently that's not enough for him, so he decides to add 'superhero' to the list as well."
Green Goblin, Goblin Bloggin

Go ahead, hum that Black Sabbath song. You know you want to.

Tony Stark was a playboy billionaire industrialist until a battlefield explosion left him with a damaged heart that threatened to kill him. Captured by the enemy forces, he is forced into manufacturing weaponry to aid them. Instead he secretly designed and built a suit of armor in a cave, with a box of scraps to keep his heart beating and to escape from his captors, and in the process became the superhero known as Iron Man. The character first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March, 1963), created by writers Stan Lee, and Larry Lieber, along with artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He has served as the protagonist of several series since that time.

Currently, he can be found in Invincible Iron Man -- a rather character-driven title that deals with the troubles of Tony Stark, as well as the politics of Iron Man. The writer Matt Fraction has modeled the plot after the movies to some extent to make it a feasible jumping on point for new fans.

Until the end of Secret Invasion, there was a second title, Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D -- a politics and espionage-based book, dealing with Stark's role as head of the international security organization. The last few issues were handed to Iron Man's ally War Machine, who has now been granted his own solo series, called "Iron Man 2.0", which is his third (after the 1994 and 2009 ongoing series).

As of the dawn of the Heroic Age, Stark is rebuilding his financial empire from scratch. His vehicle to make this happen? Using technology provided by Danny Rand combined with his own repulsor technology has formed one of the most astounding sources of clean energy ever seen. He's offering for investors to get in on the ground floor or be flattened by him in five to ten years. And the best part? His new company won't be financed by manufacture of a single weapon.

In non-comic media, a movie based on the character, Iron Man, was released in May 2008 with Robert Downey, Jr. in the title role. It did well at the box office, and as of June 2008 had a 94% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, making it the best-received movie of the year, tying with The Dark Knight. This movie was followed by a sequel and other works in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Prior to the movies, Iron Man had animated TV series in 1966 and 1994; for information on those, see here and here. In the wake of the movies, Iron Man: Armored Adventures is a cartoon that takes another approach to the mythos by having Tony and his friends be teenagers. Additionally, there is a 2011 anime by Madhouse, well-received by fans in concept partly on the basis that 1) the Japanese know Mecha, and Iron Man has a Mecha Suit, and 2) it wouldn't be that far off the mark for the character to have adventures in Japan, since he's a businessman with corporate branches and rivals all over the world.[1]

Not to be confused with The Iron Giant, which was based on a Ted Hughes novel entitled The Iron Man. And please for the love of God, don't confuse this with Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Much pain will be spared from you.


This Marvel Universe comic book provides examples of:
  • Action Girl: Love interest Bethany Cabe is a professional bodyguard and troubleshooter.
    • His assistant Maria Hill fits too, and Pepper is on her way, having just found an armor made for her.
    • Madame Masque, one of his villains, is a Dark Action Girl.
  • The Adjectival Superhero: Most instances of the comic follows the tradition, viz. The Invincible Iron Man.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Whenever Tony makes AI for the suit, it either falls obsessively in love with him and/or goes crazy.
    • An exception is the AI in the Hypervelocity miniseries, which saved his life and later sacrificed itself so a nuclear bomb wouldn't be detonated.
    • The film subverted this in a passing moment where Stark was testing out a suit prototype just prior to the model Stark used as the actual Iron Man suit. Jarvis, now a sophisticated AI that usually minds Tony's mansion and is uploaded into whatever suit Tony uses to help control it, exhibits more common sense than Stark in the safety of testing the suit in its current condition. Ultimately Stark flew it even whilst "terabytes of calculations" still went undone that would certainly make the prototype more reliable. The suit prototype failed and Stark ultimately punched a hole through his mansion in a crash landing (as one of the trailers actually showed). For the rest of the film, however, Jarvis performed flawlessly as Tony's aid in the suit.
    • The second season of the '90s animated series also subverted it with HOMER, who not only controlled the Stark Industries computer system and Tony's personal mainframe, but was also connected to the Iron Man suit and could operate it for him if he needed it.
  • Amoral Attorney: As the head of Stark Enterprises' legal department, Bert Hindel was assigned by Tony to protect his technology by legal means after it was stolen by Spymaster and then resold by Justin Hammer during the Armor Wars arc. Unfortunately, Hindel completely fumbled the ball, forcing Tony to resort to attacking everyone who was using his stolen tech and forcibly deactivating it. Tony fired Hindel for his poor performance... and then when he was shot and nearly killed by Kathy Dare, Hindel reappeared as her defense attorney. He tried to portray her as an innocent victim reacting to Tony's drunken abuse, with the hope of parlaying the trial into a lucrative book deal. Unfortunately, he screwed up once again when Tony's new lawyer introduced testimony from Dare's psychiatrist, and Dare ended up being confined in a mental institution.
  • Animated Adaptation: Cartoon series in the 1960s and 1990s and a straight-to-DVD animated movie in the 2000s. Another one for Nickelodeon premiered in 2009, focusing on a younger Iron Man (to the dismay of fans who remember Teen Tony), though the show itself has turned out okay. An anime version has just started airing in Japan.
    • The anime version has concluded and managed to pick up every. single. cliché of the genre.
  • Anime Theme Song: Averted in the Japanese animé adaptation.
  • Anti-Hero: Usually Type II, including going by the manner Matt Fraction is currently writing him, as he is is here portrayed as a very idealistic philanthropist who, unlike the other Marvel supergeniuses, is actually attempting to let the world population benefit from his revolutionary inventions; and Warren Ellis gave him an The Atoner angle regarding the previous (inherited from his father) weaponry-dealing phase (during which he could easily be argued to have been a villain). However, many others think that he has slipped to type IV or V at times (such as during the Armor Wars, or more controversially in Civil War), and to some even a Villain Protagonist. It should be noted that he actively tried to legally fight the superpower registration legislation before congress, and everything he did during the infighting was due to the government having much more extreme plans otherwise (massive Sentinel-manufacturing among other things). The part that actually pushed him into in Villain Protagonist territory was Paul Jenkins going off-track by establishing that Stark planned to start a war with Atlantis as a necessary evil outside distraction/"threat" to unite both factions against, which could potentially kill millions of civilians. Nobody has referred to it since, which may be just as well.
    • Jim Rhodes was traditionally a Type III idealistic soldier, but was a Type IV, during his "Sometimes the world needs a war machine" phase.
  • Arch Enemy: The Mandarin
  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: The Mandarin
  • Back from the Dead: If the Iron Man suit is destroyed, Tony Stark can just make a new one as long as he himself escapes harm. Even if he is harmed, Stark has an incredible resilience. He's been shot and paralyzed by a crazy girlfriend, he faked his death after his nervous system starting shutting down, and he was rebooted entirely after Heroes Reborn. Plus, most "future Marvel Universe" stories have Tony saving his brain patterns in his armor or in a computer after his death.
  • Badass Bookworm: Tony Stark is the exemplar of this.
  • Badass Mustache: Tony is notably one of the few mainstream heroes in comics that regularly sports a mustache.
  • Badass Normal: Out of their armor, both Stark and Rhodes can handle almost any threat until they can suit up.
    • Happy in the second movie. The guy has no special training (Agent Romanov), no special suit (Stark, Rhodes, Ivan) and can only box and he is still capable of taking out a trained security guard. Also, at the beginning, he decided to run Ivan over in a car while Ivan was wearing his prototype suit which was fully capable of slicing clean through metal.
  • Barrier-Busting Blow
  • Beard of Sorrow: Tony grew this when he was a alcoholic bum living on the streets of New York.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Tony Stark during his Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. period had some serious aspects of this. Especially during Knauf's run.
  • Black Best Friend: James "Rhodey" Rhodes, aka War Machine (and occasionally Iron Man).
  • The Blacksmith: Tony Stark is one. Some of his more iconic moments in visual media (such as the movie, or the awesome second season intro for the 90's cartoon) show him doing some literal blacksmithing; pounding out molten iron with hammers and pouring it into molds. Shirtless, of course.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: Iron Man was slated to appear in both Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter and Marvel vs. Capcom Clash of the Superheroes, but licensing issues due to a film project (that ultimately languished in Development Hell and died) prevented his inclusion. Thus, his friend War Machine (who was pretty much a Palette Swap of Iron Man) took his place in MvC1. Come MvC3 and the return of character themes, Iron Man received a remix of War Machine's theme, which was an expansive rearrangement of Iron Man's theme from Marvel Super Heroes. Consider this to be the musical equivalent of the Demon in a Bottle storyline.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: On various occasions, Stark has had to don his older armor despite the fact that all of Tony's old armors were destroyed. Several times.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Somewhat. He can create multiple, formidable armors and a life support system ahead of the current time, which he made with extremely limited resources. While he actually does things with this, he can't be asked to sit through a ceremony made for a friend and ally without falling asleep during the history recap.
  • Broken Ace: Even billionaire scientific geniuses can have serious personal problems.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The recent storyline World's Most Wanted has Tony feeling this way as he deletes his brain and loses his intellect, though his abilities decrease well below average (Tony doesn't really see the difference). In the current story "Stark Disassembled", Pepper feels this way as her heart-mounted repulsor generator and armored suit are dismantled to reboot the brain-dead Tony Stark. She's not going to sit down and take it, though.
  • Butt Monkey: Tony during the mid-1980s, when he spiraled downward into a status of a homeless drunk. He got better, but not before a long parade of indignities.
    • And again in the Post-Civil War Marvel Universe, where Tony Stark became the Designated Villain.
  • Canon Immigrant: A lot of the movie stuff has transferred over into the comics, including arc reactors, Raza, and even the phrase in a cave with a box of scraps.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: While Tony has concocted defenses against the Mandarin's rings, he's got nothing against his Kung Fu.
  • Chest Blaster: See Power Crystal below.
  • Chivalrous Pervert/Handsome Lech: Tony is a well-known playboy.
  • Clark Kenting: For most of the character's history, Iron Man had a secret identity. The cover story was that Iron Man was Tony's bodyguard...despite the fact that he hardly ever was seen in the same place as Tony, which would make him one of the worst bodyguards ever. Plus, when trouble struck, Tony would run off, and then Iron Man would show up a second later, without the guy he was supposed to be protecting! Despite Tony being a global celebrity, no one put two and two together for several decades.
    • This is lampshaded in the movie, where Tony tries to pull the same scam, and no one believes it. Tony's secret identity lasts about three seconds before he admits he's Iron Man.
  • Clingy Costume: Originally, Tony Stark had to constantly wear his chestplate to keep himself alive.
  • Clothes Make the Legend: His red and yellow armor, though far from the only set he uses, is emblematic of the character.
  • Comic Book Time: Stark was injured during a walk in the jungles of Vietnam [2], when he was already a millionaire industrialist and genius inventor. In the modern day, he's still in his 30s, 40s at most.
  • Contagious Powers: Rhodey and now Pepper have gotten their own armored alter-egos. Justified in that building high-tech armor is what Stark does.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Tony Stark's cover for Iron Man was that he is Tony's bodyguard, sponsored by Stark Industries.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Stark himself is a generally honest businessman, but some of his competitors are not so ethical. As Iron Man, Stark often ends up defending his own holdings against the attacks of his business rivals.
  • Costume Copycat: Tony's downward spiral left him in no shape to pilot the Iron Man armor. Fortunately, Rhodey proved a capable replacement until Stark pulled himself together. In thanks, Tony would eventually make Rhodey an armored suit of his own called War Machine.
  • Crimefighting with Cash
  • Curb Stomp Battle: If Tony's on the receiving end of one, chances are good that in the next issue he'll deliver one right back with an upgraded armor. The battles with Firepower at the end of the Armor Wars arc, and with Mallen in the Extremis arc are textbook examples.
  • Cutting the Knot: The Ghost has attached a device to Tony's armor that makes him intangible and will make Tony die of hunger and thirst unless he can find a way to get the thing off. Tony manages to regain his solid form, but he still needs to think of a way to remove the device from his armor. Rhodey simply blows it to pieces with his gun.
  • Dating Catwoman: Madame Masque
  • Did Not Do the Research: Iron Man came out when transistors were the hot new thing, so the writers attributed every single thing his suit could do (including rollerskates) to the "Power of Transistors!"
  • Driven to Suicide/Suicide Is Painless: In the World's Most Wanted storyline, Tony decides to shut down his own brain to erase all the data in it and thereby foil Norman Osborn, doing so with a big grin, a lot of gallows humor, and a calm explanation to Maria Hill (when she attempts Reverse Psychology) that shooting himself in the head just wouldn't be reliable. Sure, he's fighting evil in a very tight corner, but them's not the actions of a sane and happy man.
    • Suicide is relatively rare in Iron Man comics; however, two examples, one of either trope here, stand out: When Obadiah Stane has made his final move and is facing checkmate, he chooses to cheat Tony out of his victory and calmly repulsors his own head off. Adversely, when Kathy Dare - crazy stalker lady who shot Tony - attended his 'funeral', she ended up taking a gun to herself, weeping for herself and for Tony.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Anthony Edward Stark. Not much embarrassing, but he prefers not to make it well-known.
    • Which doubles, probably unintentional as a Prophetic Name - Edward is translated in Old English as 'Rich Lord' or 'Rich Protector'.
  • Enemy Mine: Every once in a while, Iron Man will need to team up with a villain or rival in order to overcome a greater situation.
    • Dr. Doom in the time-travel episodes.
    • When the Mandarin found himself opposing the Makulan dragons he'd helped unleash, he was forced to team up with Iron Man to stop them.
    • The What If issue "What If Iron Man Lost the Armor Wars?" had an outlaw Tony Stark teaming up with some of his armored foes to get back at Justin Hammer, who'd caused his downfall because Ant-Man couldn't stop the "pest control" in the TransCorp computers.
  • Epic Fail: Bert Hindel's attempts to legally protect Tony's technology during the Armor Wars arc...and his later attempt to get revenge on Tony after he was fired by portraying Kathy Dare as an innocent victim of Tony's drunken abuse.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Apparently, there was a time when the only reason Marvel got letters from females was Tony Stark's existence.
  • Everything Sensor: Tony's various armors have various sensor functions installed.
  • Evil Counterpart/Rival Turned Evil: Tiberius Stone
  • Face Heel Turn: for his crimes during Marvel's Civil War -- made worse by trying to force an unbelievable Karma Houdini stunt (including Executive Meddling that almost begs readers to treat his Civil War activities as a Dork Age to be forgotten) instead of admitting how wrong he was.
    • That might be because he doesn't think he was wrong. And many people agree, thus maintaining the division created by the Civil War.
  • Fan Service: For very bizarre and silly reasons, there was a scene in one comic book involving Tony having to fight another superhero. Only the two men were only allowed to do so naked, and wrestling.
    • Of course, that was X-Statix...
    • Also numerous instances where Tony wears nothing and a little black shadow.
  • Fiction 500: He runs a Mega Corp and can still redirect some money into an advanced lab and a collection of truly expensive armor.
  • Flying Brick/Lightning Bruiser
  • Flying Firepower: when he's not brawling, he hangs back and uses energy blasts to drop his targets.
  • Forging Scene: In the Iron Man film, there is the scene of Robert Downey, Jr., hammering away on a metal sheet, sweating in the forge-light... which makes the women (and some of the men) in the audience go weak at the knees. Also, The second intro to the Iron Man animated series features one of these. Most other versions have a slightly different kind of montage, but that one has the scene complete with hammering.
  • For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: Averted in Iron Man (vol. 3) #33 - Tony went to a costume party dressed as Captain America.
  • Freaky Friday Flip: In Iron Man (vol. 1) #255, a bizarre mutant with the ability to manipulate radio signals (who settles on going by "Freak Quincy") inadvertently links up with the Russian microwave satellite that was empowering Devastator during a training exercise against the Crimson Dynamo, somehow switching the minds of Tony Stark (who was trying to stop Quincy as Iron Man) and Valentin Shalatov (the Dynamo). Shalatov's lack of familiarity with the Iron Man armor resulted in a rather... unfortunate accident for Quincy, but Stark and Shalatov were able to find a way to reverse the process.
The incident, although a "filler" issue as the comic was transitioning to the team of John Byrne and John Romita, Jr. at the time, was referenced much later on, when Shalatov needed Stark's help to stop the rampaging Titanium Man (the original, Boris Bullski).
  • Friendship Moment: In Iron Man (vol. 1) #184, James Rhodes and two other guys were working on creating their own tech company, they were getting ready to leave for California. Tony Stark came up asking for a job. In the past few months he had lost his company, lost access to his money, gave up being Iron Man and is homeless. Not only that but he had only spent a week being sober. Tony was afraid that he would be rejected for what happened. But Rhodey and the others promptly accepted him.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Tony Stark, obviously, but also Ivan Vanko. Especially in the case of the latter, as he's working from a dingy little workshop in St. Petersburg, with resources nowhere the quality or quantity of Stark's. And he still manages to make a weapon that beats the crap out of Iron Man.
  • Gender Bender: The problem with having a techno-organic supercomputer inside you is that someone might find a way to hijack it. Namely, a psycho Killer Robot with a severe complex that centers on one of your teammates. Tony was not amused when he woke up after being changed back to normal.
  • George Jetson Job Security / Ultimate Job Security: Both tropes are very much averted. Tony won't fire anyone without good cause, but he will let the axe fall if he feels a major employee's performance isn't up to snuff. After the Armor Wars storyline, he fired the head of his legal department for repeatedly screwing up Tony's legal attempts to protect his technology. Another time, he immediately drop kicks an executive for making a very profitable technology sale to Doctor Doom, a big time international crime no-no.
  • Got the Call on Speed Dial: Every time Stark gets his armor wrecked, he just goes and builds a new one.
    • Pepper's doing this, too. She briefly had her own set of armor that she had to give up to help save Tony. As soon as he's recovered, she's on his case to rebuild it.
  • Guile Hero: Depending on the Writer, Iron Man can be shrewd and manipulative. Len Kaminski particularly wrote him this way.
  • Hand Blast: Iron Man's stock weapon are his palm-fired repulsor beams.
  • Healing Shiv: The Ghost slaps a device onto Tony's armor that makes him just as intangible as the Ghost. Tony can't remove it and can't touch anything at all, not even food or water. Tony's afraid that he'll die of hunger or thirst if he doesn't find a way to get the device off. He eventually uses an electromagnetic pulse to short the device out and become solid again, but it's still stuck to his armor. Unless they can find a way to remove it in six minutes, they're back to square one. That's when Rhodey pulls out his gun and tells Tony to brace himself. Putting the gun right over the device, Rhodey shoots Tony at point-blank range and shatters the device:

Iron Man: I never thought I'd say 'thanks for shooting me,' but that seems to have done the trick!

  • Heart Light: Iron Man's power source resembles one of these.
  • Heart Trauma: Also part of his origin story.
  • Hero Insurance: Tony tries to cause as little collateral damage as possible. This is because Stark Enterprises' facilities are frequently the sites of his battles, and even when they're not Tony will compensate whoever's property he wrecks.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Pepper Potts, Black Widow, Bethany Cabe. If it's a significant Iron Man love interest, chances are it's a redhead.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: He's become more and more this over the decades. Early on, he relied in his chestpiece for survival. Then came the Extremis which was bound with his nervous system. Now the entire suit is part of his body.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: In his more sympathetic portrayals.
  • Humongous Mecha: Some of the non-canon stories have Tony piloting these, while the Hulkbuster armors (especially the most recent ones) verge on this trope.
    • Rhodey does have the War Machine Satellite, which can turn into a giant mecha.
    • Although Tony didn't design it, his company built Red Ronin, the piloted giant robot built to fight Godzilla. Marvel no longer has the license for Godzilla, but Red Ronin still shows up from time to time.
  • IKEA Weaponry: For years, Tony has made Iron Man armors that collapse and store inside his briefcase.
    • Then Extremis let him store most of the undersheath in the hollow parts of his bone where the marrow is normally found. Calling on the rest of the suit when in need.
      • AND NOW STORES THE WHOLE THING IN HIS BODY! THE WHOLE #@#* $* $* SUIT! Justified by now having a new power source that makes even Extremis look obsolete, in fact, the newness is heavily modified from dormant Extremis tech that survived the Disassembly purge.
  • Fiction 500
  • Insufferable Genius: Especially in recent years.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Tony Stark is this trope. Even early on, he refused to trust his closest friends with his secrets until his back was against the wall, not because they would be endangered, but because he believed no one else was equal to the responsibility.
  • Jet Pack: The thrusters and repulsors of the armor allow Iron Man to fly really long distances.
    • More like Jet Boots. The main verniers are on his feet. His back generally carries flaps for air stability and braking.
  • Karma Houdini: over his Civil War crimes -- repeatedly failed.
    • Although some people might argue that, since he did not commit any crimes, the entire issue is moot.
    • And it's not as though he didn't suffer repercussions. He lost his friendship with all of the anti-reg heroes, and about half of the pro-reg, eventually lost his top-spot to Norman freakin' Osborn, and has in universe been treated as the direct cause of a lot of the big problems in Marvel. He's bounced back during the Heroic Age, but still had to basically start from scratch all around.
  • King Incognito: For a few issues, Tony Stark decided he didn't want to be Iron Man any more, so he gave away his fortune and went to Silicon Valley under the alias of Hogan Potts. He worked as a normal grunt at a company. He really didn't last that long.
  • Kingpin in His Gym: The Mandarin frequently practices against multiple martial artists, sometimes brutally murdering them with his bare hands.
  • Knight Templar: When Tony's technology was stolen by Spymaster and then resold by Justin Hammer, Tony became determined to get it back and prevent it from hurting anyone... no matter what the cost. This led to the Armor Wars story arc, and Tony eventually even Lampshaded the fact that he was verging on this trope.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Subverted in an issue where a rogue Tony ends up fighting War Machine (they've done this a couple times, mind you). It's staged to look realistic so Rhodey's superiors are happy.
  • Locking MacGyver IN A CAVE! WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!: His origin story. The terrorists/communists think that he will really follow up on his promise to build weapons for him.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The armor that Tony built to replace his destroyed Silver Centurion suit contained an energy shield in the left gauntlet that Tony could use to protect himself from beam weapons.
  • MacGyvering: An arguable case considering that Tony Stark is a version of Angus MacGyver who happens to wear a complete high tech tool kit with him.
  • Made of Iron: Well, duh.
    • Modern stories have his suit made of composite metals and reinforced plastics, and not much iron at all. The lying cad.
    • It's not the armor, man, that makes the Iron Man.
      • Lampshaded in the first film, where the media gives Iron Man his name. Tony comments that it's not accurate because the suit is made of a titanium-gold alloy, but he doesn't object because he likes the name.
        • Literal as of the dawn of the Heroic Age. Stark now contains the ENTIRE SUIT INSIDE HIS BODY. No not just the undersheath, not just some systems and such EVERYTHING! Sadly, there are only sweet sweet visuals of the suit itself. No info on what it can REALLY do. Oh and the whole issue basically reveals that this whole new armor makes Extremis Armor look like Nintendo 64 compared to Playstation 3.
  • Mad Scientist: The Mandarin, the Controller, and the Ghost.
    • Hell, Tony and his father could count as mad scientists, at least in the movies. They're not insane, but exuberant and willing to do risky (and cool) things in the name of science, and Tony's dad even sports a lab coat and goggles at one point in Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Magic Versus Science: Stark is smarter than the average Flat Earth Atheist, acknowledging that Doctor Strange and other magical characters are doing something beyond his understanding, but he finds magic and its defiance of physical laws, even those of a superhero universe, profoundly irritating and uncomfortable. This has had some negative consequences recently, as his taking a sample of Thor's DNA in an attempt to figure out how his "godly" powers work resulted years later in Civil War's Thor clone, who ended up killing one of Tony's friends on the other side of the war.
  • Magnetic Weapons: The repulsor rays in the gauntlets are pure magnetic force beams. Instead of propelling a projectile, they create a variable push (from "slam a Mook against a wall" to "blow a hole in a mountain").
  • Manipulative Bastard: Tony has often fallen into this for what he judges is the greater good. Not surprisingly, this has lead to... strained relations with his friends and allies over the years. See Civil War and Armor Wars for the most prominent examples.
    • The Mandarin, the Controller, Obadiah Stane, and Justin Hammer
  • Manipulative Bitch: Sunset Bain. Big time. Often opposes Tony Stark in his day-to-day business but also opposed him as Iron Man although she always manages to get other people to dirty their hands in her stead. She even manipulated Stark into working for her several times.
    • When Tony was much younger, Sunset managed to start her company by seducing him into bed and then stealing all his secrets.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Tony often uses old armors like this. When his body was possessed by Ultron and transformed into a robot version of the Wasp, the Avengers had to face an army of Mecha Mook Iron Man units.
  • Millionaire Playboy
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: In the Movies. Tony has gone through three suits of armor each film. He pretty much upgrades after every fight he's in.
    • This also applies to the Avenger movie.
  • Monster Modesty: The villain Fin Fang Foom is a giant space dragon that only wears a pair of purple underwear.
  • More Hero Than Thou
  • Must Make Amends: Tony Stark, after the events of Civil War.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When the Watcher paid him a visit and showed him two alternate outcomes to Civil War.
    • Also, after being rebooted in "Stark Disassembled", he was then shown a record of the Civil War. He breaks down in tears.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Tony was based on Howard Hughes.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Stark's external pacemaker chestplate, which he kept hidden for some time, is eventually discovered by the public and he finally received professional medical treatment for his heart condition.
  • Off the Wagon: Tony is a recovering alcoholic and is frequently tempted to go back to the bottle during emotionally charged storylines.
  • Oh Crap: If you're a regular mook without superpowers of your own, seeing Iron Man arrive on the scene is often cause for this.
    • Tony has a few of these moments himself, for example when he's on the receiving end of a Curb Stomp Battle (or is about to receive one, if he's just run out of weapons).
  • Only in It For the Money: After Tony lost his company to Obadiah Stane, he moved out to California with some friends to start a brand-new electronics company. Rhodey used the Iron Man armor as a hired mercenary to obtain seed money.
  • Opium Den: Where The Mandarin is born.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tony took over Stark Enterprises at 21 when his parents were killed in a car crash.
  • Phlebotinum Dependence: The electromagnet.
  • Pillars of Moral Character: Under Matt Fraction, Tony has been portrayed as the true form of hero as applied to the real world; i.e. rather than as a simplified, idyllic vigilante directed at an unrealistic Strawman Political or Omnicidal Maniac. He is a true philanthropist--someone more dedicated to rescue work than warfare, towards building and helping rather than destroying, and towards more constructive, useful, and applicable definitions of true idealism and heroism than Marvel usually tends to use. Previous acclaimed writer David Michelinie once called Iron Man "the world's greatest force for good", and he may actually have a good point.
  • Powered Armor: Duh.
  • Power Crystal: On the chest and palms, function as Repulsor Beam emitters.
  • Powers as Programs: Tony is always coming up with new design ideas for his armor. He'll even incorporate his competitors' and enemies' ideas into his armor if he thinks they'll be useful.
  • Really Gets Around: Just in case you missed it in the Memetic Sex God entry "Every time you kiss Iron Man, you taste Galactus."
    • Within the first episode of the animé adaptation, he's already flirted with two women, both main characters, the first within the first five minutes of the show.
  • Remote Body: Iron Man can control his suits at a distance; he even uses remote-controlled armor while he's crippled.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Strongly averted. Stark plays hard, but he is quite publicly a sharp deal maker and a genius engineer with a workaholic streak. He turned a significant fortune into a monumental one, and has lost it and recovered it at least twice. He's also widely considered to be brilliant by both civilians and heroes and is consulted on scientific, engineering and even medical matters.
  • Rollerblade Good: When Tony needs to get around fast and he can't fly, such as being indoors, some of his suits have pop out roller skate wheels in his boots to skate around on.
  • Ryu and Ken: Tony and Rhodey, when they are at "work". This is more obvious in the video games.
  • Science Is Bad: Subverted in the sense that Tony Stark's scientific advances are meant to benefit mankind, but many of his enemies either try to steal Stark's knowledge for their own personal gain, or use their own scientific talents for evil. Science itself is not evil, but it can be used by evil people. At one point, Stark is compelled to destroy his armor so its secrets won't fall into the wrong hands, but then realizes that he has a responsibility to use his science smarts to defend against those who use their science for evil.
    • Emphatically inverted when he confronted the Goddess (the villain from Infinity Crusade - basically, a religious nutjob with the power of, well, a goddess), who wanted him to forgo the cold truths of science for the (admittedly bogus) spirituality she offered. In response, Tony virtually read her a catechism of science, ending with a jab at her own evil and greed.
    • Also inverted in the Invincible Iron Man series. Stark agrees to an interview with a very Michael Moore-esque documentarian, who wants to understand why Tony does what he does (and actually intends to peg him as a heartless profiteer of war). After being constantly railroaded by the interview, Stark cuts off the documentarian and admits yes, he creates weapons of war for use by the United States government, but goes on to explain that every microchip he manufactured for use in American smart-bombs has since being widely developed for civilian purposes; the technology itself isn't inherently 'good' or 'bad'. In short, he regards the development of weapons as an unfortunate, but necessary evil that finances his humanitarian projects.
    • The Mandarin decides on this in the Hands of The Mandarin arc.
  • Science Hero: Reed Richards was first, but Tony is probably the Trope Codifier in comic books.
  • Science Is Useless: Subverted here in that if you attack him with magic, don't expect much considering Stark is usually able to use his scientific knowledge and technology to beat any spell you throw at him.
    • There was an awesome issue of What If wherein Tony became Sorcerer Supreme -- but still used his armor. The whole issue was basically a Crowning Moment of Awesome, climaxing with Stark beating and humiliating the Dread Dormammu singlehandedly. Basically, this version of Tony is like a heroic version of Doctor Doom, except better.
  • Sexy Stewardess: Tony Stark's private flight attendants are so sexy, they double as go-go dancers.
  • Shoot the Dog: Tony as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Shoulder Cannon: War Machine
  • Shout-Out: The British Iron Man tech in Ultimate Armor Wars is suspiciously reminiscent of a certain Halo protagonist.
    • In part three of "Iron Man vs. Whiplash", Tony hides out at a Swiss hotel, when the receptionist says he looks familiar he claims to be Robert Downey Jr.
  • Sidekick Graduations Stick: Of a sort. Rhodey got his start replacing Tony in the Iron Man suit. Tony eventually came back, but Rhodey continued being a superhero as War Machine. Eventually, Pepper gets a suit of her own as well.
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather: None, powered armor!
  • The Sponsor: In the story Demon In A Bottle, Tony Stark had a stint where he gave up the suit and wallowed in booze and despair for a while, but his then-girlfriend Bethany Cabe picked his ass up and got him back in the game.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Three. Kathy Dare, who shot him for rebuffing her and then tried to claim he was the abusive one at her trial; Tiberius Stone, who tried to lock his mind in a virtual program after a strategic isolation campaign, and one of his own armors, who was practically an abusive boyfriend when it became sentient.
  • Strawman Political: In the past five years, due to several authors' personal soapboxes regarding the US, Tony Stark has basically been turned into a caricature of every fascist stereotype ever known in a super-powered suit. He forced everyone with superpowers, super-intelligence, or whoever even used superpower gadgetry to conscript with the government into a superhero army in the name of national security. He hired supervillains to "arrest" ones that didn't agree and imprisoned the rest without trial. In a concentration camp located in a dimension which could nearly pass for Hell. And he's got a Nazi scientist for hire performing experiments on the corpses of young boys so he can create his own personal superpowered army. And according to Word of God, he's entirely in the moral right and the greatest hero the universe has ever known. Not surprisingly, there's a lot of Discontinuity surrounding Iron Man.
    • It would seem that the official stance on Iron Man has changed significantly. As a result of "World's Most Wanted" and "Stark Disassembled", he does not remember any of the actions from the time he was modified with Extremis until the current day. He even reacted with horror when he discovered that the Civil War had occurred. He still maintains that he was sure that he was doing the right thing (even if he can't remember doing it), but no one agrees with him in the least.
      • There is at least one person who does agree with him.
  • Technical Pacifist: Tony comes off a bit too pacifist for some of his movie outings. In the animated film The Invincible Iron Man (which predates the live film by a year or so), he's explicitly called a pacifist (to the point that he objected to arming Rhodey at the beginning of the film, when his archaeological expedition was being attacked by cultists), and invented the dozens of Iron Man armors before his injury specifically as environment suits for exploring harsh environments, in the hopes of transitioning Stark Industries away from arms manufacture.
    • Averted on occasion in the comics... just ask Mallen. Oh, right, you can't. He has no head.
      • Considering Mallen had sworn to kill the President, nothing less than death would stop him and his body was trying to get up after his head had been blasted off, you might argue Tony was spit out of options.
  • Technological Pacifist: Tony eventually becomes one.
  • Technology Porn: Rather inevitable, given the premise.
  • Technopath: Tony after his Extremis upgrade.
  • Villain Protagonist: YMMV, in Civil War.
  • Virtual Ghost: Occurs several times. Deconstructed in the Hypervelocity miniseries.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: the new anime, produced by Madhouse.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: War Machine. In his case, it's "When all you have is an electric minigun, a missile box and a crapload of other guns".
  • Wolverine Publicity: He's getting there. He now stars in four different shows on four different networks (Iron Man: Armored Adventures on Nicktoons, The Superhero Squad Show on Cartoon Network, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes on Disney XD, and Iron Man on G4.) Three other characters are on Armored Adventures, Superhero Squad, and The Avengers: Nick Fury, who's been getting pimped out by Marvel himself lately, MODOK, who is also a new character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and the Hulk.
  • Yandere: Madame Masque as she sees Pepper as a "rival" to Tony's affection that she's willing to torture her while beating and making Tony beg for mercy in order to "win" his love back. She also does this when she threatens Tony with a pistol on his left temple when she would agree to run away with him and live together if he rejects Pepper. Too bad it didn't work though...
    • Oh, and then there was Kathy Dare, Tony's ex-girlfriend who shot him after they broke up. He wasn't even the first guy she got revenge on, as she burnt down the mansion of a previous boyfriend and her psychiatrist had recommended that she be institutionalized.
  • Yellow Peril: His archnemesis, the Mandarin.
  • Your Universe or Mine?: When placed opposite of pretty much any female character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. This ranges from Crimson Viper to Tron Bonne to Hsien-Ko to Morrigan. The only exception? Amaterasu, who is a dog.
  1. In fact, his arch enemy is called The Mandarin and is a descendant of Genghis Khan. Not Japanese, but at least geographically close.
  2. This has been updated many many times in the past, most recently to having taken place in Afghanistan