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Comics for Noobs: Iron Man

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The full listing of Comics for Noobs posts can be found here.

Tony Stark, aka Iron Man is one of my favorite comic characters. He has no superpowers of his own. All of his power is a direct result of his own intelligence.

Iron Man is a great character for Comic Noobs. If you've seen 2008's Iron Man movie, you know Iron Man. The movie nailed the character and backstory perfectly.

Early Years

First introduced in Tales of Suspense #39 in 1963, Iron Man was given his own ongoing title in 1968.

Very little of his origin has been changed over the years, short of being retconned to a more modern setting. One of the world's foremost weapons designers, Tony Stark is kidnapped by warlords and pressed into service. Seriously injured in the attack, Stark creates the first Iron Man armor to both save his life and help him escape. In contrast to the movie's plot, Tony Stark would not reveal his identity as Iron Man for many years. Early on, Iron Man was seen as Stark's personal security force, battling enemies of Stark Enterprises. In time, he moved on to larger threats.

Every great hero has their own personal demons to overcome. The Hulk has his anger. Spider-Man has the guilt of letting his uncle die. Iron Man has spent most of his life battling alcoholism. The man in possession of the world's most powerful weapon was often unable to pilot it. During the years he was battling his illness, the Iron Man armor was worn by Stark's good friend James Rhodes. Once Stark was ready to be Iron Man once more, Rhodey was given his own suit of armor and became known as War Machine.

Modern Day

No hero has been more integral to the current Marvel Universe than Iron Man. Following the New Warriors disastrous attempt at apprehending several supervillains, Stark (now publicly recognized as Iron Man) was the leading voice of the Superhuman Registration Act. This led to the Civil War. Stark's Pro-Registration side was victorious and Tony was selected by the President as the new director of SHIELD.

Tony Stark is one of the smartest men on Earth. Unfortunately, political maneuvering is not one of his talents. Every crisis was a problem to solve. Sadly, every solution caused more problems to pop up. He had a plan, but completely ignored the human element involved. He was more interested in what "had to be done" instead of what "should be done." The Secret Invasion hit Stark particularly hard. SHIELD was disbanded and the most powerful man in the world lost everything, including his entire armory. He has spent the last year on the run from his successor, Norman Osborn, who has even gone so far as to use a version of the Iron Man armor, calling himself the Iron Patriot.

There is one title I recommend to Comic Noobs. Invincible Iron Man. Launched in 2008, Invincible Iron Man was intended as a perfect starting point for new readers. It took the Iron Man character, complete with his current role in the Marvel Universe, and inserted him into the setting more familiar to movie viewers. The movie characters, who also exist in the comics, became his supporting cast. It is a great way for readers who no nothing about the character outside of the film to learn about the Iron Man comic readers have loved for years. Additionally, Matt Fraction is one of Marvel's best new writers and Salvador Larroca has been one of my favorite artists of the last several years.

Questions? Comics can be very confusing to new readers. Feel free to email me at samodeanhc(at)gmail(dot)com. If I can collect enough questions, I would love to publish them in a Q&A Session post! Please specify if you would like the question answered publicly or privately.


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