Iron Man is the alter ego of billionaire Tony Stark. A genius inventor and industrialist playboy, Tony Stark uses his brilliant mind and engineering skills to create a suit of armor that enables him to fight crime as the invincible Iron Man.
Tony Stark is the heir to Howard Stark's industrial legacy. After graduating from MIT, Tony inherited Stark Industries when his parents died in a car accident.
While checking in on one of his East Asian plants that had been subject to sabotage, Tony was attacked and injured by a warlord named Wong Chu. Forced to create weapons for Wong Chu, Tony instead created an iron suit that would not only help him escape but keep him alive as a tiny piece of shrapnel edged ever closer to his heart. On his way home, Tony met helicopter pilot James Rhodes and the two became fast friends. Tony returned to America and focused on improving the Iron Man armor, becoming a hero.
Over the years, Tony has refined and redesigned his armor, replacing the original bulky gray armor with a golden version and eventually a much sleeker, red and gold design. He is a founding member of the Avengers and has served with the team during nearly everyone of its lineup changes.
But life isn't all peaches and cream for the billionaire playboy. Though he eventually underwent a heart transplant, Tony Stark was plagued with health troubles throughout the years, including a decline of his nervous system brought on by constant use of his armor's cybernetic interface. In addition, he has been a lifelong alcoholic, a problem that eventually cost him his company and even his armored identity as Iron Man. James Rhodes took over as Iron Man during the period that Tony was dealing with his alcohol addiction. Despite the problems he has had with his actual human heart, it is Tony's determination that has made him the hero he is. Overcoming his dependency on liquor, he reclaimed his armor and his identity as a hero.
When the supervillian known as Nitro set off an explosion that destroyed a city and killed hundreds of people, the United States government enacted the Superhuman Registration Act. Tony came out as one of the key supporters of the legislation and spearheaded the Fifty State Initiative, which set up teams of registered heroes in every state. Tony also accepted a position as the director of SHIELD and ended up at odds with his old friend Captain America, who opposed the SRA.
Following the invasion of Earth by the alien Skrulls, Stark was disgraced and replaced as SHIELD director by Norman Osborn, the former Green Goblin.
Tony Stark possesses no superhuman abilities but has a genius-level intellect that has enabled him to create an array of technologically sophisticated armors and weaponry. He also possesses a keen business mind.
The armor Tony Stark wears as Iron Man gives him superhuman strength and the ability to fly via jetboots. The armor contains a variety of weapons, including missile launchers, repulsor rays, lasers and flamethrowers. The armor's chestplate can emit various types of energy, and the helmet contains communication devices as well as scanning and detection equipment.
Comic and Film Appearances
Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Iron Man made his comic book debut in Tales of Suspense #39 (1963). Iron Man would go on to star in his own series.
Iron Man has been featured in several cartoons over the years and made his big-screen debut in a 2008 movie starring Robert Downey Jr. as well as a brief cameo in the Incredible Hulk movie that same year.
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