Iron Man: Armored Adventures
Things are bad: Tony Stark's father was just murdered. Tony didn't even get to show Dad his fancy new suit, but luckily it's what allowed Tony to survive the attack on his plane. However, it left his heart permanently damaged. Obadiah Stane took over his father's company and has completely shut Tony out of his family's business. Things only get worse when Tony suspects Stane of being the one behind his father's death, but cannot find any proof to implicate him. Rhodey's running out of excuses for Tony's absences from school, and if all that isn't bad enough, now Tony has to take care of his dad's unfinished business of collecting the five Makluan Rings before the Mandarin obtains their power. Oh, he also has to graduate high school or he loses the rights to inheriting his family's company when he turns eighteen due to a legal loophole. It's almost too much pressure for one person to take.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures is Marvel's current animated adaptation of the iconic shellhead. Blending together the original comic continuity, the Ultimate continuity, and even the movie continuity, the series manages to distill various aspects from all the previous Iron Man adaptions while still injecting plenty of its own creativity into this fresh and new continuity. There is a great emphasis on story this time around, with Tony Stark traveling across the globe hunting down a group of ancient artifacts, called the Makluan Rings, that his late father was also researching. On his quest, he's aided by various allies and attacked by various enemies, many of whom have past ties to his late father, as he searches for a way to finish the work that his father started and save his family's company before it's too late.
The show was launched in April, 2009 and currently airs on Nicktoons Network, where it is one of the channel's most popular series. It has been praised by many critics and fans alike for its fresh writing and unique celshaded animation style. Season two, produced by Method Animation in France, began airing in July 2011.
Has a Recap page.
- Abusive Parents: Living Laser's mother, Gene's stepfather Zhang, and Obadiah Stane.
- Adaptation Distillation: The Mandarin (and pretty much all of Iron Man's rogues) were shallow, one dimensional characters with terrible powers and costumes and have been pretty much abandoned by the comic-book writers for the past decade or two. The show re-invents many of the characters from the ground up to make them relevant, threatening, and focus on the character development side of them. Gene Khan's relationship with Tony and his friends and how it changes over the course of the show being a good example. The show manages to weed out all the terrible clutter and RetCons Iron Man comics are still having problems with to this day.
- A Day in the Limelight: Happy Hogan is the star of the episode "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Gene Khan also gets his focus in "World on Fire" and Pepper Potts gets a few about her.
- Adults Are Useless: SHIELD tells Iron Man they have the threat of an orbital laser cannon under control...then their entire squadron is immediately wiped out.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Tony's attempt to upgrade the armor leads to this, and the Technovore virus upgrades/evolves itself.
- All CGI Cartoon
- All Women Love Shoes: Pepper invokes this trope when she goes giddy over all of the shoes in the stores. Even claiming it is an addiction.
- Tony suggests Whitney is the same way when he accuses Pepper of becoming her during her shoe run.
- And Then What?: When the Living Laser takes over a Kill Sat, he initially has no idea what to do with it. The SHIELD operatives on board have to lead him into making some actual demands.
- Animated Adaptation: Partly based on the 2008 movie and the original comic series.
- Anti-Villain: Gene Khan. Before he reveals he was the original Mandarin the entire time.
- Andros Stark/Iron Man 2099 is another example: he attempted to kill Tony under the belief that would prevent a cataclysm who eradicate most of humanity in the future. The fact he was well-aware that it would also prevent him from existing but was willing to make the sacrifice, and that he was unwilling to harm innocent bystanders, makes it even more difficult to see him as a villain; actually, it went so far that Tony even wondered if Andros wasn't right.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Tony dismissing the Hulk as an "urban legend". That from a guy who saves people using a Powered Armor, lives in a world where mutants exist and made quests in order to find magic-like rings. Yeah, sure...
- Pepper and Whitney both disbelieve the idea of a working shrink ray. Justified as the person who's wielding it is Ax Crazy.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Justin Hammer would rather be base jumping, swimming with sharks, or chasing beautiful women. You know, dangerous things.
- When overhearing Whitney talking about having her own armor, Pepper warns Tony that if he built Whitney a suit before giving her one, she'd rip out his spleen then delete him from her Myface friends... forever.
- In "Titanium vs Iron", Pepper states Hammer gets away with "banking schemes, retail scams, and those annoying pop-up ads".
- Artificial Limbs: Whiplash gets one after Iron Man rips his old arm off.
- Artificial Human: MODOC (if you can call him human)
- Andy Erwin, the Awesome Android
- Ascended Extra: Rhona and Andy. In every episode you can see them in the background with other students before they were given their own speaking roles.
- Awesome but Impractical: When Stane tries to sell the Iron Monger to the board as a good investment, they dismiss it as an "tank with legs" that costs 80 million to build, then demand he build something cost-effective. Stane just kept pushing, though, landing a nice military contract that got the board to accept it.
- Ax Crazy: Several characters. Living Lazer before his reform, as well as the Mad Thinker come to mind as especially strong examples.
- Sasha, Hammer's secretary, gets an disturbing amount of enjoyment out of causing wanton destruction and the "fun" involved in harming innocent people (in contrast to Hammer, who mostly gets enjoyment out of the power he gains over others), which is all the more unsettling given our previous looks at her personality were mostly monotone and snarky.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Iron Man and War Machine fighting Ghost's "Solograms" in "Ghost in the Machine".
- Badass Longcoat: Ghost
- Bear Hug: Tony gives one to Rhodey and Pepper in "Extremis". That he can manage to lift both at once helps show off his enhanced strength from the Extremis serum.
- Beast and Beauty: Pepper and the Hulk bond in the episode "Uncontrollable" and the reason for Hulk helping save Tony is because of her.
- Benevolent Precursors: Surprisingly, the original Mandarin. Despite his reputation, he appears to have been an honorable and benevolent leader who was disgusted by the greed, ambition and cruelty of his progeny - in stark contrast to both Gene and Zhang. The Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize he was based off of Genghis Khan, who had a reputation for being a ruthless conqueror, but was also known as a wise and benevolent ruler to those already under his power.
- Big Bad: The Mandarin.
- Big Bad Ensemble: The show has numerous ongoing arcs, and most have their own central villain. The three most prominent are Obadiah Stane, Gene Khan/Mandarin, and in the second season, Justin Hammer.
- Big No: Mr. Fix in "Titanium vs. Iron".
- Tony lets loose quite a few of them over the course of the series as well.
- Bittersweet Ending: Season one. Fin Fang Foom is stopped, the fifth ring is found, and Zhang is dead. But the armory is destroyed, and Gene reveals himself as true Mandarin and cops to causing the plane crash that killed Tony's father (who is revealed to be Not Quite Dead). Worse, he now knows that there are not five, but TEN Makluan Rings, and he has the first five, making him the only one who knows the location of the rest.
- "Heavy Mettle:" Stane is finally outed as a Corrupt Corporate Executive and ousted from his CEO position by the Reasonable Authority Figures on the Stark International Board of Directors. However, as a result Stane goes temporarily nuts, figures out Tony is Iron Man, steals the Iron Monger suit and tries to call him out to a final battle by kidnapping Pepper. It gets worse, for just when Stane has had a change of heart thanks to the love of his daughter, Hammer shows up, hacks Iron Monger's systems and causes it to go on a rampage, which Stane is blamed for. In the effort to stop the Monger suit from the inside, Stane causes the suit to plummet off a building, while Tony and Rhodey are unable to save him. End result, Stane is in a coma, Whitney blames Tony for everything and swears revenge, and Hammer, though momentarily disabled, avoids all blame and is poised to become even more powerful than he already is.
- Bloodless Carnage: Though the Powered Armor avoids the trope most of the time, there are several notable instances. A battle between the Tong and Maggia mooks just results in everyone hitting the ground without so much as a mark. Tony's heart injury in the pilot looks somewhat odd since, aside from some clothing burns, his chest isn't even bruised (what little of it is visible looks perfectly healthy).
- Boxing Lessons For Iron Man: Discussed but not used. When Tony has trouble with an agile villain, Rhodey suggests he might need to learn kung fu. Tony complains that he already has a highly-expensive suit of Powered Armor.
- Strangely, the one time Tony actually fights Ghost without his armor he does pretty well in hand-to-hand combat, though it probably helped that Ghost was trying to escape.
- Brain Uploading: It turns out that the explosive nanites meant to kill Mr. Fix had the secondary affect of transferring his mind to an external disk, which Hammer then uploads into his mainframe so Fix can continue his work. Needless to say, Fix is not pleased.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Before Andy is revealed to be an android, Rhona and Andy definitely come off as this, such as flirting and an instance where she kisses him on the cheek.
- Bruce Wayne Held Hostage: Happens to both the hero and the villain in the third episode "Secrets and Lies". Maggia enforcers Killer Shrike and Unicorn kidnap Tony Stark, Pepper Potts, and Gene Khan in an attempt to ransom Gene's father The Mandarin. What they don't realize is Gene is actually the current Mandarin they're trying to blackmail and they obviously get no response when trying to contact him. Tony Stark also can't save the day as Iron Man as he is also being held captive, leaving it up to Rhodey to save them.
- Bullying a Dragon: A new mutant student who turns out to be Jean Grey gets bullied for being a mutant as par for the course in the Marvel universe. The bully seems to be more afraid of Tony (who as far as he knows is just a scrawny little punk with a heart condition) than he is of the girl who can throw him across the room with her mind.
- The Caper: A heroic example. In the episode "Field Trip", Pepper comes up with a plan to retrieve Tony's invisibility armor from from Stark International. And for a while, it goes well, until numerous spanners knock it right off the rails. And she didn't bother coming up with a Plan B, because "Plan A was so awesome".
- Catch and Return: How Iron Man defeats the Black Knight.
- Ceiling Cling: Pepper does this while spying on her father. At least, that's what she tells Tony and Rhodey.
- Cell Phone: Tony's is a PDA and the remote for the armor. Its ringtone is the Iron Man Leitmotif. And he is clever enough to use its screen display as a flashlight in dark areas. And, of course, the unlimited texting plan so he can stay in touch with his Sidekick duo (one of whom is a Motor Mouth).
- Cel Shading
- Chainsaw Good: Titanium Man has a pair of wrist-mounted energy chainsaws.
- Chekhov's Gun: Tony has various blueprints for different types of armor scattered around his lab, all of which are eventually made.
- Clarke's Third Law: Brought up when discussing Dr. Doom's "magic", which is actually technology similar to the Makluan rings.
- Clear My Name: "Masquerade" and "Fugitive of S.H.I.E.L.D." as Iron Man, and "Chasing Ghosts" as Tony Stark.
- Clothes Make the Maniac: Howard Stark's unfinished gadgetry causes these problems for the Living Laser and Whitney Stane. Though, in the latter's case, how much of it is the clothes and how much of it is his home life is up for debate.
- Clothes Make the Superman: Almost every hero and villain.
- Composite Character: Titanium Man, which is basically a combination of the original character and Hammer's Hammeroids from the film, piloted by Justin Hammer himself.
- Continuity Nod: Pepper to Tony in the season two premiere, after finding that he's been in his lab for two days:
Pepper: And what's with the stub? It looks like you're growing a goatee. Ew, gross! Facial hair so does not look good on you, Tony!
- Create Your Own Villain: In the span of two episodes, Tony manages to make enemies of his genius classmate Rhona and her android servants (though that was a long time coming ever since he got to the school), Stane by getting him fired, and Whitney by putting Stane in a coma (by proxy from causing the above).
- Curb Stomp Battle: If the villain of the week is a guest villain and not part of Iron Man's regular Rogues Gallery you can bet that Tony's gonna get his ass kicked. Dr. Doom and Magneto for example.
- Curse Cut Short:
- In "Cold War":
Rhodey: Dude, it's really early for this sh--*jet boot noise*
- In "Armor Wars":
Tony: Their armor was cheap, knockoff junk. Low rent pieces of--
Pepper: You can't listen to these stupid celebrity gossip show programs.
- In "Titanium vs Iron", to Justin Hammer:
Tony: I'll give you Stark International if you take these snails and--
Pepper: Wow, I'm surprised he didn't. Would have been a lot cheaper than paying all that money.
- In "The Might of Doom":
Tony: Kiss my Iron--*argh*
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Whitney ultimately deals with the assassin in "Chasing Ghosts" by paying him off.
- Cutting the Knot: In one episode Happy gets to wear the Iron Man armor. In the end he's faced with the threat of a series of high-tech bombs with enough juice to level NYC. Tony's stumped on how to defuse them, and Happy figures out they don't go off if you break them in half.
- Damsel in Distress: Pepper lampshades it, wanting Tony to build her armor so she will stop being one.
- Dead Man Writing: "Meltdown" reveals Tony's dad recorded a holographic will.
- Deadpan Snarker: Gene.
- Tony and Rhodey have their moments as well.
- Deconstruction: The show does a fair amount of deconstructing the teenage superhero genre and some of the tropes found in it.
- While most teenage heroes struggle to fit in at school, Tony tries his hardest to do the opposite. He really couldn't care less about school or the people there, instead choosing to focus entirely on his work and calling school a waste of his time. He cheats on tests and has his friends do his homework for him because he's too busy doing more important things, with any an aesop to be found.
- The popular kids at his school are popular because of how friendly and nice they are to everyone.
- Defiant to the End: Pepper has her moments, giving a tongue lashing to any villain that has the displeasure of holding her hostage.
- Designated Girl Fight: Rhona versus Whitney and Pepper in "All The Best People Are Mad." Rhodey and Happy wisely stay out of it.
- Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: When Justin Hammer asks to speak with Tony alone, Pepper blurts out that she's been quietly admiring him, then realizes that she meant to think it.
- Diplomatic Impunity: T'Challa and Dr. Doom both use this. SHIELD actually protects Doom from Iron Man for this reason.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Somehow, being knocked out of the top spot as the smartest person in the school hardly seems like a valid reason to threaten the lives of everyone in school just to show up the guy who did it.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Blood vibranium" (or "conflict metal") a terribly unsubtle allegory of blood diamonds.
- Doing In the Wizard: Just about anything with a mystic origin in the comic is technological instead.
- Downer Ending: HUGE one comes in "Ghost in the Machine". Ghost steals the specs to the Iron Man armor AND finds out that Tony is Iron Man. He sells the specs to Stane AND Hammer. To top it all off Ghost plans on blackmailing Tony when he gains control of the company and Tony can't do anything because Ghost arranged for his information to be sent out on the internet if Tony tries to take it back. Also, Tony didn't patent his armor. Big downers all around.
- Doomed by Canon: The story is the setup for the show's version of one of the more famous comic story arcs. Failure was inevitable.
- Drugs Are Bad: Parodied by one of the Guardsmen in "Armor Wars". "Don't do drugs!" is among several stock phrases he uses after rescuing a Bus Full of Innocents.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Andy and Rhona can be seen in every episode as background characters.
- Enfante Terrible: Though by the time she appears on the show she is much older, Rhona is revealed to have been one of these in her youth, having blown up her middle school and subsequently thrown into an insane asylum years before the series began.
- Embarrassing Cover Up: Tony's absences are frequently explained by saying he spends a lot of time in the bathroom.
- Enemy Mine: Titanium Man tries to use this with Iron Man to take down Iron Monger. It doesn't work.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Obadiah Stane may be a Corrupt Corporate Executive and a Jerkass, but he does genuinely love his daughter Whitney, despite appearances. This eventually leads to a Heroic Sacrifice of sorts.
- Rhona is undeniably an insane Ax Crazy sociopath. And to play this trope straight, she has an android twin brother she created, and was absolutely devastated when he was destroyed.
- Evil Counterpart: Justin Hammer is an evil reflection of Tony -- similar origins (though with a lot more ambiguity on Justin's part), similar roles in lives, both young men who are (or will in Tony's case), heading incredibly huge companies. Thanks to these, Justin sees himself and Tony as almost kindred spirits. Tony does not agree. Hammer intentionally invokes this with Titanium Man, which he had built specifically to be superior to Iron Man.
- Evil Gloating: Rhona does this when threatening Pepper and Whitney with a shrink ray. This gives Pepper ample time to disarm her. Pepper, of all people, then calls her out on doing the villain cliche of gloating excessively.
- Evil Knockoff: Once the armor schematics end up in Stane's hands, he rolls out inferior copies of the Space, Stealth, and Hulkbuster armors. However, they're just trial runs to iron out the bugs for his Iron Monger project.
- Evil Orphan: Rhona
- Explosive Leash: Attempted in "Best Served Cold". The bomb stays on just until the bad guy can boast how futile it is.
- Justin Hammer injects Mr. Fix with explosive nano machines after he fails and is not shy about reminding him of it. Or finally using it, but saving Fix's mind through Brain Uploading.
- Also attempted by Black Widow to Iron Man in "The Hawk In The Spider." It doesn't work at all, but Tony pretends it does until they leave so he can follow them with impunity while they think he's trapped.
- Expository Theme Tune:
Trapped on the edge of an endless game
his teenage life will never be the same
in a dangerous world, he does all he can
He's IIRRRROOOONNNNNN MAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN!
- Fake Ultimate Hero: Force and Shockwave show signs of this during the fight with Count Nefaria, taking all the credit even though they couldn't actually beat Nefaria themselves (Iron Man did).
- Hammer tried to do this as well, as he had his assistant take control of the Iron Monger simply so he could swoop in and "save the day".
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Averted with common criminals and the police, who use realistic firearms. The well-funded and high-tech groups (S.H.I.E.L.D., A.I.M., Stark International, etc.) have access to laser weapons.
- Fantastic Racism: Despite this show not focusing on the X-Men, Senator Robert Kelly is in fine form preaching anti-mutant propaganda to New York City. Luckily, it seems not many people are listening.
- Even Pepper feels a little of this due to an understandable fear of mutants. Naturally she's over it by the episode's end.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Justin Hammer's explosive nanites not only kill Mr. Fix's body, but download his brain so Hammer can put it inside his mainframe, forcing Mr. Fix into unending servitude.
- Feet First Introduction: Pepper when she introduces herself. Though justified as her feet were at his eye level when she got his attention.
- Fiery Redhead: Pepper
- Forced to Watch: The Living Laser threatens to make Iron Man watch as he burns down New York.
- Hammer's assistant forced Stane to watch as she controlled the Iron Monger to kill his daughter with him stuck inside.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Choleric: Tony
- Melancholic: Rhodey
- Sanguine: Pepper
- Phlegmatic: Gene
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you look at the crowd gathered around Sen. Kelly's speech, you can see Rhona and Andy among them.
- This is a nod to season 1 as the models of Andy and Rhona were seen often before their first speaking roles in season 2.
- Fun Personified: Pepper Potts treats every aspect of Tony's hero life this way.
- Fun with Acronyms: Mental Organism Designed Only for Conquest
- Advanced Idea Mechanics, the people who built MODOC!
- S.H.I.E.L.D., of course.
- Full Set Bonus: The Makluan rings.
- Gotta Catch Them All: The Mandarin is obsessed with collecting the ancient Makluan Rings.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Pepper is jealous of Tony's friendship with Whitney. Tony grows jealous of Pepper's friendship with Gene. Kicked up a notch when Tony starts dating Whitney and Pepper hooks up with Happy to make him jealous.
- Guns Are Worthless: One wonders why mooks bother when their opponents are usually walking around in suits of Powered Armor that can withstand direct missile impacts. Averted in one episode where the Tong and Maggia go at it. The gun-toting Maggia mooks manage to take down their fair share of Tong, even though they were horribly outmatched by the Mandarin.
- One case it was justified in that the target had no physical body at all. Although the rest does a lot of Hand Waving.
- Hard Cut: Played with in-story in a very Inception-esque way during "Control-Alt-Delete." While stuck in The Controller's Lotus Eater Machine, Tony sits on a rooftop and decides to question Hammer about what is going on. The scene naturally cuts across town directly to Hammer International, where Tony is walking into Hammer's office and meets The Controller, who gives a clue that the world Tony's in isn't real by pointing out that, as per the Hard Cut, Tony never actually travelled to or entered the building, but merely snapped to the outside of Hammer's office from the rooftop. Tony refuses to believe it, even though he doesn't actually remembers traveling across town.
- Harmless Freezing: Applies to half the people who appeared in episode 4.
- Subverted with Blizzard himself; over-exposure to the cold has left a good portion of his face covered in severe frostbite.
- Subverted and played straight by Captain America. As is common in most continuities, he survived being frozen. Problem is, SHIELD isn't sure how to thaw him without killing him.
- Heroic BSOD: Tony comes dangerously close a few times over the course of the series. His struggle to keep up his father's legacy and prevent Stane from ruining his family's company, combined with his school life and Iron Man life, often leave him with zero downtime to relax and unwind his stress.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Living Laser sacrifices himself to save Tony in "Designed Only for Chaos".
- Attempted in the season one finale when Gene pushes Pepper out of the way of Fin Fang Foom and is apparently killed. Ironically, his heroic sacrifice is what allowed him to acquire the fifth Makluan Ring and then betray the very friends he was helping.
- It's not clear whether he actually knew what he was doing or just acting out of desperation, but Stane breaks the out-of-control Iron Monger armor from the inside to stop it from killing Whitney, which causes it to shut down and fall off a building with him inside, putting him into a coma.
- High Altitude Interrogation: In the season one finale, Rhodey catches up with Zhang's helicopter, and when Zhang refuses to tell him where Tony and the others are, he casually tosses him out of the helicopter in order to intimidate him. It took a second drop to do the job, but he talked.
- Hollywood Acid: One of the Mandarin's rings can shoot an acidic gas which eats through any material.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Pepper, who has had crushes and fangirl spasms over both Gene Khan and Justin Hammer, who both turn out to be villains.
- Hostage for Macguffin: Lampshaded and later justified in the season one finale when Zhang holds Pepper hostage and forces Tony and Gene to retrieve the fifth Makluan Ring for him or else he will kill Pepper. Pepper responds to this with a sarcastic "Gee, THAT'S original." However, this allows Pepper to get close enough to Zhang to wrestle the four other Makluan Rings from him later and take them back by getting him to jam his arm in a closing door.
- Human Popsicle: Captain America is still on ice. SHIELD hasn't quite figured out how to thaw him.
- Humongous Mecha: The Iron Monger Armor.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- From "Armor Wars":
Pepper: You can't listen to these stupid celebrity gossip show programs. [whispering to Rhodey] Rhodey, are we recording this?
- Pepper criticizing Rhona for talking too much.
- Idiot Ball: Stane in "Armor Wars". He hires wanted criminals to pilot his three armors. Sure, he did need their help to stage a fight with the Maggia, but he could have simply paid off said criminals while having a couple of his legitimate employees do the actual fighting. Or at the very least provide voice modulators so Pepper couldn't uncover them with a simple pattern match. Worse still, he didn't even need to have a criminal run the third. He had his publicity by the point.
- Stane started the series off bouncing an Idiot Ball when he tried to weaponize the Starks' laser-drilling Humongous Mecha, forgetting that only Tony and Howard knew how the things actually worked, nearly wiping out half of the state of New York when they inevitably misfired. His track record for the rest of season one isn't much better. His only real victory is hiring Ghost to steal the plans for the Iron Man armors, and even that backfired on him when Ghost sold a copy of the plans to Justin Hammer.
- If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him: In a moment of anger after nearly getting his identity exposed (and assorted other problems), Tony comes within a few seconds of killing Titanium Man. War Machine stops him, ignorantly dismissing Titanium Man as a hired thug and telling Tony that they'll bring Hammer down legally.
- Impairment Shot: Whitney Stane, as she succumbs to poisoning from wearing the Madame Masque mask.
- Incendiary Exponent: The prototype Titanium Man armor is defeated by heating it up, causing the titanium shell to catch fire. Since titanium can't be extinguished by normal means, it's melted into slag by the time Hammer flies it back to base.
- Insane Troll Logic: Senator Kelly actually calls mutants an "unnatural mistake of nature".
- Instant AI, Just Add Water: Tony accidentally ends up giving his armor sentient AI when he tries to upgrade it by using technology he took from enemies such as Whiplash, Blizzard, Killer Shrike, and Unicorn, which causes it to become obsessed with protecting Tony at all costs. It seemingly murders Mr. Fix and Whiplash in its crusade and almost kills Rhodey before it's deactivated.
- Instant Expert: Happy is surprisingly capable with the armor considering he has literally no experience with anything remotely similar. By comparison, Rhodey could barely fly it for two minutes before crashing horribly and refusing to fly again (which is how Happy got his hands on it). Tony even comments on it.
- It Only Works Once: Happens quite a few times.
- Tony beats the Living Laser the first time by matching his repulsors to the same frequency as the Living Laser's body. In their second meeting, the Living Laser learns how to change his own frequency and effectively shut out Iron Man's strategy.
- Tony adapts to Ghost's invisibility and hard-light holograms after first encountering them, though Ghost still manages to stay one step ahead.
- When Tony uses negator packs to neutralize Stane's Iron Man knockoffs, the replacements are immune.
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time: When Pepper throws the Mandarin's gauntlet (with the rings attached) into Fin Fang Foom's mouth instead of throwing it to Gene, she responds with this. Tony also says this about upgrading the suit before it tried to kill everyone.
- Jerkass: Andy, Rhoda's brother, insinuates that Tony killed his father out of jealously. Rhoda herself qualifies, since she programmed Andy to act like this.
- Juggling Loaded Guns: While throwing a fit about Stane getting a lucrative contract, Hammer uses a machine gun to shoot a TV. He then nearly shoots his secretary while waving the gun around. She's lucky it came in a bulletproof briefcase.
- Just Friends: Tony and Whitney ultimately decide to break up from their short-lived coupling due to Tony always missing their dates. Probably this being one the few times in this trope's existence where they both agreed to be just friends with no hard feelings.
- Just in Time: Tony manages to get Stane fired less than a minute after the board had ruled to block Tony's eventual takeover of the company. If he had come any later, they might have started on the paperwork and really screwed him over.
- Killer Game Master: Rhona becomes this near the end of "All the Best People Are Mad". While her tests were already dangerous, they were at least doable. Her last test has her posing an impossible question so Tony can't win. Tony just disarms the bomb tied to said question instead. Then she just resorts to outright murder.
- Even Heroes Have Heroes: Pepper. She consistently fangirls over Tony's armor. And at times just Tony in general. And then later on, over Gene. Taken Up to Eleven when she gets anywhere near anyone working for SHIELD.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: In "Best Served Cold", it is revealed that the mask Whitney Stane uses to become Madame Masque is powered by a hazardous mineral, driving her insane. Tony Stark cures her, but removing the residue from her brain also removed her memories of her life from the first time she used the mask.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After escaping the Controller's Lotus Eater Machine, Tony briefly muses on what is supposedly the real world being a projection.
- Leitmotif: The Iron Man sequence begins with a suit up sequence that plays his leitmotif -- a separate heroic theme from the theme song.
- Logical Weakness: Iron Man vs. Magneto is exactly as much of a Curb Stomp Battle as one would expect, even after Tony finds a way to shield himself from Magneto's power.
- Lotus Eater Machine:
- The guardian of the eighth ring puts whoever he slashes with his scythe into one of these as a test.
- The Controller traps Iron Man in one to learn the secrets of Extremis, as a precursor to trapping the entire world. It predictably backfires once Tony remembers that Extremis has made him a technopath and he's linked to a computer.
- MacGyvering: Tony disarmed a bomb with what Rhodey, Pepper and Whitney have in their pockets.
- Magic From Technology: Doom's armor and the Makulan rings are stated to be this by several characters. See Clarke's Third Law.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: Magento tries to get the future Jean Gray to give Senator Kelly a heart attack, since openly murdering him would just make him a martyr to his cause.
- Male Gaze: Pepper and Whitney each get a few of these throughout the show. Pepper gets one in the first episode when she's introduced and the camera pans up her body as she crosses her legs, and Whitney gets a similar one when she's introduced.
- Mama Bear: Roberta Rhodes. Executor of Howard Stark's will, and she takes her job of watching over Tony very seriously.
Roberta: Not only does he have an alibi, but he's a minor. If you so much as look at him again without my permission, I will have you fired, rehired, and fired again just because I can.
Feds: *gulp* Yes, ma'am.
- Marvel Universe: Earth 18673, according to the Marvel Wiki.
- The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: As noted above, Tony's relationship with Whitney didn't last very long thanks to this trope.
- Meaningful Name: Andy, who's an android.
- Mega Manning: Tony tries to integrate various enemies' technologies into his armor. This, of course, leads to predictable results.
- The Crimson Dynamo-inspired armor, however, was a wonderful success, all things considered.
- Mind Control Device: The Controller uses discs that turn a person into his brainwashed slave when attached. He also made a special model that worked through Tony's armor.
- Mind Rape: What MODOC does to Tony in "Designed Only For Chaos".
- Happens once again, in "The Might of Doom".
- Mission Control: Rhodey and Pepper.
- When Happy wore the armor Tony had to be Mission Control for him--by pretending to be the Iron Man robot Happy was "wearing."
- Hammer's secretary is this for him.
- Morality Pet: Whitney for Stane. The series often poses the question of whether he loves his greed more than his own daughter, but eventually shows us occasionally that there is nothing Stane loves more than her, even if he is absolutely terrible at showing it. In the end, she is able to stop him from going on a rampage with the Iron Monger armor after being ruined, and in return he takes a coma-inducing several dozen story drop to save her life.
- Mundane Utility: Exaggerated in Tony's vision induced by one of the ring guardians. A nightmare scenario has Stane mass-producing his armors, marketing them for ridiculously trivial things like window cleaning and garbage pickup.
- Myth Arc: Tony picking up where his father left off and searching for all the Makulan Rings, as well as stopping Stane from ruining his family's company.
- Story Arc: In addition to the main story, there's various side arcs throughout the show.
- The Living Laser's rise and fall to power.
- A.I.M. building the super-weapon M.O.D.O.C., and the Controller's planned betrayal of A.I.M.
- The war between The Mandarin's Tong and Count Nefaria's Maggia.
- Whitney's rise and fall as Madame Masque.
- Project Pegasus' questionable research projects.
- Story Arc: In addition to the main story, there's various side arcs throughout the show.
- Neck Snap: Black Widow does this to Mallon, a former SHIELD agent. Since he's been enhanced by Extremis nanomachines, it doesn't take.
- Never Say "Die": Averted big time. They use practically every possible variation on the word.
- A notable exception is MODOK, the 'K' previously having stood for "Killing" rather than the 'C' for "Conquest". It works out for the best, though, since the name change is more consistent with his methods.
- Hammer actually murders Mr. Fix in cold blood. Blizzard even says as much. Turns out he wasn't actually dead, but at that moment you wouldn't know better.
- Noodle Incident:
Pepper: And that's why I wasn't very popular during the eighth grade. But, no charges were filed, so everything turned out okay!
- And again when she was called into the Principal's office:
Tony: (To Rhodey) Do you think she tried to arrest someone again?
- In another incident she actually got someone deported.
- Not a Date: in Iron Man 2099 Pepper claims that she and Tony are on a date. Tony denies this where she merely waves it off as them out together, going shopping, and it has nothing to do with armor.
- Not a Game: The actions of vigilante superheroes vs. police intervention is discussed with this trope in "Iron Man vs. the Crimson Dynamo":
Rhodey: You saw what that thing did to him, he could get killed! This isn't a game!
Pepper: And you think it's a game for the police, or the military?
- Given that Rhodey's dad is actively serving overseas at the time, you'd think that would have occurred to Rhodey already.
- Oh Crap: "Iron Man Vs The Crimson Dynamo", just as Iron Man is trapped under a fuel tanker and the Dynamo shows it has a flame thrower.
Iron Man: Oh nuts!
- One Size Fits All: Tony designed the armor to fit almost anyone.
- Operation: Jealousy: Pepper attempts this with Tony by dating Happy in "Line of Fire". Though it annoys Tony, it doesn't work... or, at least, hasn't yet. She seems to be willing to keep going with it. Strangely enough, Tony seems to see right through what she's doing, yet he still lets it get to him.
- Parental Abandonment: Both of Tony's parents are missing/dead. Howard Stark was lost in a plane crash in the pilot, though he was actually kidnapped by Gene to help find the rings, and Howard's Video Will seems to suggest his mother died.
- Disappeared Dad: Rhodey's father is in the military and currently stationed overseas. Gene's mother remarried, so his biological father is either dead or left.
- Missing Mom: Pepper's mom never shows up, though there is offhand mention of her. Whitney's mom is also never heard from. Gene's mother is all but said outright to be dead.
- Pet the Dog: "Best Served Cold" shows that Obadiah really does care about Whitney on some level, even if he is an asshat, when he hires Blizzard to go to the Arctic to obtain a sample of vibranium, which Tony can use to heal Whitney. Of course, he doesn't go out of his way to show it and treats her to his usual level of douchebaggery in the meantime, but it's the thought that counts.
- Phrase Catcher: "Pepper! Stop helping!"
- Psycho Serum: The Extremis Serum if the dose is too high. Then again, the guy who used it was psychologically unstable in the first place, so it's debatable how much of that was the serum's fault.
- Psychotic Man Child: Justin Hammer, who throws a fit whenever things don't go his way. He nearly shot his secretary at one point! (It wasn't intentional, but that just makes it worse.)
- Powered Armor: Duh.
- Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: The fight against Doctor Doom is essentially one long series of these, up to and including him standing unfazed from an enormous missile explosion.
- Redemption Equals Death: The Living Laser, a mook who gained superpowers accidentally, first used them to strike it big on his own and find his calling in life. In the end, he found his calling was being a hero and sacrificed himself to take down A.I.M.'s super-weapon MODOC and save Iron Man's life.
- And narrowly averted with Whitney Stane/Madame Masque, who saved Tony/Iron Man's life more than once, and would have died if Tony had not helped her and proved that Obadiah is not a Complete Monster. He actually loves his child, even if he is a complete Jerkass to her.
- Believe it or not, this happens to Iron Man's armor. It manages to gain sentience and begins to possessively and dangerously fulfill its primary objective: protect Tony Stark. When Tony is almost accidentally killed, it uses itself to jumpstart his heart, draining its power (and thus, its sentience) in the process.
- And another shocker Tony's grandson even does this. When he realizes that the virus that wipes out all mankind was made by Tony to stop him in the first place, he goes back shortly in time to stop the virus from ever infecting his armor which in the process changes the timeline and stops him from ever existing.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Guardsman all have red eyes and orange-red repulsors.
- Rhona's androids.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Andy, who Tony believed just had super powers before his computer scan. Also, the fake social services woman who took Rhona away.
- Ring of Power: The Makluan Rings.
- Robotic Reveal: Andy, Rhona's brother, is actually an android she built out of a desire for family.
- Also the fake social service woman who took Rhona away. Flashing a Traitor Shot at the end.
- Rollerblade Good: Rhodey makes fun of Tony for the idea of putting roller blades on the Iron Man suit. Later in the season, he does just that. Rhodey and Pepper find it highly embarrassing.
- Save the Villain: Ghost exploits this while fighting Black Widow and Iron Man, knowing that Iron Man would risk his life to save her.
- Say My Name: Lampshaded/Invoked by Happy when he meets Gene.
"I'm just going to call you Khan!"
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Stane and Hammer use this most prominently, but even Tony isn't immune. Despite an extended absence from school between seasons, he's able to get back in thanks to a large cash donation for new facilities.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In "Armor Wars", Force and Shockwave immediately bail when War Machine shows up to help Tony. After watching the two heroes beat Firepower, they surrender on the spot.
- Secret Keeper: Rhodey and Pepper for Tony. More unconventionally, Ghost is, too, waiting for Tony to legally claim his father's company so he can blackmail him. Stane also figured it out, but lucky for Tony he ended up in a coma before he could tell anyone else.
- Self-Made Orphan: It is heavily implied by many characters, including Justin Hammer himself, that Justin killed his father to take control of the company.
- Sequel Hook: Maybe not a conventional use of this, but the first season ends with Gene discovering that there are five more Makluan Rings hidden around the world.
- Sexophone: Whitney when she's revealed in "Ready, A.I.M., Fire", complete with a Male Gaze camera pan up her body.
- Sexy Secretary: Tricia of Stark International.
- Ship Tease: Varies by the episode, but usually done between Pepper and Tony... except when the writers opt for this between Gene and Pepper, who actually had a dinner date at one point. Then there's the episode "Pepper, Interrupted", where Rhodey and Whitney seem rather interested in each other.
- Pretty blatant example in "Armor Wars":
Tony: Pepper Potts, Private Eye! I could kiss you!
Pepper: What's stopping y-you?
[[[Beat]], both blush, then Tony changes the subject]
- Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: Rhona Burchill does this. She also quotes several other writers like Edgar Allen Poe.
- Skewed Priorities: Pepper doesn't seem to understand the risks of being a superhero...
Pepper: Tony gets to do all the fun stuff!
Rhodey: He almost got killed last week...
- Slow Doors: When breaking out of Hammer's building, Tony has to fly through a series of circular closing doors. He makes it through quite a few, but gets caught in the last one at the waist.
- Something Only They Would Say: Stane is able to figure out Tony is Iron Man when they both use the phrase "manufactured evil".
- Spider Tank: In the second episode, Tony has to destroy three of these. Designed (in part) by himself, no less.
- Spinoff Babies: Arguably.
- Spit Take: Pepper does this when Tony unveils his backpack-stored armor.
- Split Screen: Used sparingly, often to build tension.
- Stalker with a Crush: Whitney Stane.
- Start My Own: When Hammer uses Loophole Abuse to buy Stark International out from under Tony, mere months before he could claim it, Tony resolves to just make his own company since his tech is the best there is.
- Stop Helping Me!: "Pepper! STOP HELPING!"
- Also the Iron Man computer system, which has an irritating habit of telling the wearer things they already know and not doing much about it.
Computer': "Electrical systems overloading."
'Tony: "I KNOW! I CAN FEEL IT!"
- Sufficiently Advanced Technology: How they explain Dr Doom's magic when he makes a guest appearance.
- Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Andy, despite being designed as Rhona's brother, was built with Eye Beams and Super Strength. Then again, since Rhona had blown up a school previously, maybe she just expected to have a use for those features again.
- Super Sentai Stance: Force and Shockwave do this after their first appearance in "Armor Wars".
- Super Serum: The Extremis Serum is supposed to be one, since it's based on the original super soldier serum that created Captain America. It... doesn't quite work as intended. It works for Tony, though, who only took a drop.
- Swiss Cheese Security: Mostly averted. Whenever there's a break-in, the thieves are usually highly skilled and have to avoid a lot of security. Played straight in "Heavy Mettle", where Stane, recently fired from Stark International, is able to walk in and steal an Iron Monger suit while facing basically no resistance. He only had to take out two guards with a long-range taser, and they made very little effort to stop him.
- Team Mom: Rhodey has been jokingly called "Mom" on several occasions.
- Technological Pacifist: Stark International is this under Howard Stark. When Stane takes over...not so much.
- Technopath: Tony after injecting himself with Extremis.
- Teen Genius: Tony Stark.
- Tempting Fate: "I feel like I'm going to explode!"
- Pepper even lampshades this afterwards. She made the above declaration just before the Titanium Man blew the armor she was remote-controlling to bits.
- Ten-Minute Retirement: Tony tries this in the mid-season finale of the second season. He never got past the planning stage.
- This Is Gonna Suck: From "Line of Fire":
Tony: Oh not Robo Horse again.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Pepper Potts and Whitney Stane, respectively.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the episode "Whiplash" Tony abandons his armor mid-battle and switches into the Silver Centurion armor. Also in "Seeing Red" when he brings out his Dynamo Buster armor and gets revenge on the Crimson Dynamo by completely demolishing it... after uploading a virus that completely destroys the software for the base he was infiltrating and the Crimson Dynamo armor itself. He was quite angry at them, to say the least.
- Rhodey getting the War Machine armor.
- Stane managed to go from an annoying pencil-pusher to an amateur escape artist when kidnapped by Mr. Fix. Too bad his opponents were in Powered Armor, or he may have actually escaped on his own.
- Trainstopping: Tony does this in the pilot. His first attempt, from the front, goes badly; the door on the front gives under his weight, sending him into the cabin. After that, he separates the lead car from the rest and slows it down by pulling it, then lifting it into the air after it flies off the unfinished track.
- The Triads and the Tongs
- Trick Arrow: Hawkeye, naturally. They don't get too outrageous, despite Pepper suggesting he might use some of the more ridiculous ones.
- Tron Lines: The Titanium Man armor has them at every joint.
- Andross Starks 2099 armor
- Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: Mr. Fix warns Hammer that the titanium shell of the Titanium Man armor is unstable, but Hammer insists on using it anyway. Tony exploits a design flaw to destroy the armor. Fix points out that, had he been given time to make the proper titanium-vibranum alloy, it wouldn't have happened.
- It appears Hammer has yet to learn his lesson - when acquiring a complicated neural interface chip from Stane he demands Fix put it in the armor immediately. Fix laughs and says doing so without mapping it to the user's exact brainwaves would be disastrous. Hammer doesn't listen.
- Unflinching Walk: Black Panther does this in "Line of Fire", blowing up a Hammer cargo yard and strolling off calmly to his next destination.
- Ungrateful Bastard In the mutant episode a future Jean Grey saves Senator Kelly's life, and he still blames her for what happened. Fortunately it causes his supporters to turn on him.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Pepper and Tony by far in the second season, especially after "Armor Wars". She practically tries to flirt with him at least once every episode after.
Pepper: How does it feel to be saved by your favorite red head?
- Villain Episode: "World on Fire" covers Gene's backstory.
- Villainous Incest: Rhona and Andy though Andy is later revealed to be an android.
- Visible Invisibility: The stealth armor. It's either transparent or it flickers between full visibility and completely invisible.
- Subverted with Ghost. When the situation calls for it, he's completely invisible. This is not to be confused with his phasing, where he's visible but not solid.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: Tony openly hates school, which he views as a distraction from more important work.
- Walking Armory: War Machine most certainly lives up to his name, putting Iron Man 2's depiction to shame.
- Firepower is basically the Dynamo-Buster armor with more guns.
- We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: When Tony shows the Stark International board of directors a holographic video of Stane paying Ghost for the Iron Man armor schematics, Stane protests that Tony just made it using CGI. Roberta immediately quips "CGI my Harvard law degree" and everyone else buys it without even considering the possibility. Given it was a fully-voiced and extremely detailed projection, it's understandable.
- Wham! Episode: The only way to describe the two-part season one finale "Tales of Suspense".
- "Ghost in the Machine" also qualifies.
- "Hostile Takeover".
- What Could Have Been: Tony states this to Rhona how much good their combined genius could have done for the world, but she instead threw it all away for petty reasons.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Done in the episode "Iron Man vs. the Crimson Dynamo". Tony chastises the leader of the Russian expedition to the sun for leaving the Dynamo (Anton Venko) behind when their ship began running low on fuel. Easily hypocritical of him, as they could not conceivably have saved Venko and escaped alive, and all Tony can say when presented with this fact is that he would have found a way.
- Tony doesn't seem to like it when people are willing to choose the lesser of two evils. In another episode, he acts like Nick Fury is a jerk for being willing to sacrifice two of his agents and an armored vigilante to prevent the complete annihilation of New York City.
- Rhodey tends to do this frequently, being the Only Sane Man in the group. In particular, he calls Tony out on his near-homicidal rage in "Seeing Red", pointing out that Tony's willingness to use reverse-engineered and self-built weapons against his enemies, even when those weapons are very assuredly lethal, isn't right. "There's a fine line between you and the people you fight, and right now you're on it, Tony."
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Living Laser goes from a bumbling mook to a straight-up psychopath the minute he gains superpowers. It's later explained to be the result of an inferiority complex stemming from his overbearing and unpleasable mother.
- The Madame Masque mask causes this through mineral poisoning.
- Rhona as well, where it seems like all that has come from her vast intelligence is severe paranoia, lack of empathy, and delusions of grandeur.
- Worf Had the Flu: Invoked in "Hostile Takeover" by Pepper. She's remotely controlling the Stealth armor, which is unceremoniously blown to scrap by Titanium Man. She insists that had she actually been in the armor, that wouldn't have happened.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Tony is initially reluctant to fight Madame Masque; an infuriated Pepper tells him if he doesn't stop hesitating she's going to come down and beat him up. Tony wises up after she tries to use a flamethrower on him.
- Yandere: Whitney Stane when she's Madame Masque.
- You Have Failed Me...: Hammer activates the explosive nanites in Mr. Fix when the prototype Titanium Man armor fails to live up to expectations. Unfortunately for Fix, that's not the end of it.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: MODOC says this word for word after getting fed up with Iron Man and the Living Laser resisting him.
- You Just Told Me: Pepper confirms her theory that Tony is Iron Man this way.
- You're Insane!: Tony tells a variation of this to Rhona in "All the Best People Are Mad". Which results in a Title Drop of the episode.
Tony: "Your completely mad Rhona!
Rhona: "Mad? All the best people are mad. Lewis Carol."