From Top to Bottom: The Armors of Iron Man

by Matt

Welcome to the 1st weekly "From Top to Bottom" column! Every week I will look at something within the comics industry and give you my opinion on what I think is the best and what I think ranks amongst the bottom-feeders.

To celebrate the new Iron Man movie coming out this Friday, I will be giving my opinions on what makes Iron Man cool. Forget about the man inside the suit; I will be listing my favorite suits and the suits that were just fugly. Does your favorite armor make one of the lists?

Let me preface this by saying that I was never a huge Iron Man fan. I mainly followed him when he was in the Avengers title, and I only have a few issues from any his solo series and one or two trades. Iron Man's time in the Avengers and the armors he wore heavily influenced this list. And now, my Top 3!

My Top 3 Iron Man Armors:

3) Heroes Return Armor
After Teen Tony and Heroes Reborn armors, it was great to see Iron Man return to an armor that was sleek and new but still retained the nostalgic feel and look of the older and more classic armors. And I really like how the boots, gloves and helmet have the glowing stripes. If only this one had hip power pads, this one would be rated higher.

2) The Silver Centurion!
Blame this on my youth. I started collecting Marvel comics when most of the major characters were in a different costumes. The Hulk was gray, Captain America was the Captain, Spider-Man was in black, Thor had his armor and Mr. Stark was in the red and silver armor. I rank it #2 because it was so different than any of the other armors and because of the fond memories of this being the first Iron Man I was introduced to in Secret Wars II #5. Yes, I read Secret Wars II.

1) The Original Shell-Head!
You remember way back when it was a major event when a character got a new costume? Now it seems like every creator that gets on a new book must make a costume change. This became THE Iron Man armor and was the armor for most of the original series with small variations. The classic hip power pads, the cool matching boots and gloves, this was Iron Man.

Not all Iron Man Armors were great. Here are the 3 Worst Iron Man Armors to grace comics.

3) Operation Galactic Storm Iron Man
Lucky for all of us, this armor only lasted during the Shi'ar/Kree War. It was too alien and cold. It didn't have the familiar slit for the mouth and the helmet looked like Twiki, that dorky robot from Buck Rogers.

2)Teen Tony/The Crossing Iron Man Armor
The armor looked like it was designed by a kid. The blocky boots and matching gloves were horrid. It didn't help that these had to be the worst Iron Man/Avengers stories in history. So glad that this was swept under the rug when Heroes Return came about. At least it had the cool hip pads but this suit didn't show any creativity at all.

1) Heroes Reborn Iron Man
Tony looked like a weight lifter in this armor. The mouth looked like it was open and saying "Duh" all the time. And what was up with those two exhausts on his back? Ugh, just a horrible armor all around. I would take ANY other armor over that one!

What are your favorites?


The General said...

Personally, I think they should have just kept the bulky original armor from when the character was first created. It's my favorite.

Vocal Minority said...

For me, the most satisfying Iron Man Armour is Brian Hitch's effort from The Ultimates.

Bulky enough to look plausible, but still cool. I was sold the second I saw it.

Brandon said...

To me, Iron Man was a very lame character until Millar/Hitch's Ultimates run. After that, he became one of my favorite Ultimate characters. The MU version has never interested me too much.

Dan said...

I always liked the cover to the Heroes Reborn Iron Man #1, but you're right, that faceplate is terrible.

I'm not sure which is my favorite though. I like the sleeker looking suits the best.

Dan said...

And to be contrary, I think the Ultimate Iron Man armor is really dumb and bulky looking.

Brandon said...

Dan hates America.

Patrick Gaffney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick Gaffney said...

How could you leave the 1970's nose off. He added it to "look a little more human, and maybe a little more fierce." All he did was look lame.

Matt said...

I would rather have the "nose" armor than the other ones listed.

The General said...

Wrong, Matt.

This armor is awesome.

That is all.

Brandon said...

That armor looks like an old school vibrator, which is totally awesome.

Matt said...

I do like the original grey armor. Better than the yellow one that came next. But still not this geek's favorite.

Doug Smith said...

The classic Shell-Head is definitely my favorite. I love that it keeps coming back for brief reappearances every few years, kinda like the Rolling Stones. It was just in the most recent IRON MAN arc.

Jon Quixote said...

Classic shell-head is my favorite too! You are wise, Matthew Argent.

Chris Ware said...

I like the Heroes Reborn armor. Of course, that could be affected by my love of the Portacio art in that series.

The General said...

Matt, I thought you'd appreciate this cartoon.