Iron Man: Armor Wars


By David Michelinie, Mark D. Bright, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor Smith & various (Marvel)
ISBN: 978-0-7851-1250-8

For many years Anthony Stark was the modern Thomas Edison; a glamorous genius-inventor and (largely) self-made billionaire. However, for much of the time he secretly moonlights as a super-hero. Unknown to all but his closest friends and allies, Stark dons a self-created suit of futuristic armour packed with his ingeniously-crafted technological marvels, making him the master of any situation, the Invincible Iron Man.

The innovations he has created to build his armour are so ground-breaking that he has never dared patent them because they have the potential to cause great harm.

In this classic and often-reprinted saga (also available in a digital edition) we see that after years of valiant crusading and the overcoming of great personal hardships, Stark’s life comes crashing down around him when he discovers his secrets have been compromised…

Collaboratively crafted by David Michelinie, Mark D. Bright & Bob Layton and latterly known as The Armor Wars, the epic serial comprises Iron Man #225-232 – spanning December 1987 to July 1988 – and begins with ‘Stark Wars!’ as the inventor examines the battle-suit of defeated foe Force and realises that the murderous weaponry and defensive systems are based on his own top-secret technology…

Researching further he discovers that not only do many tech-enhanced villains use his discoveries but so do government and military units. Plagued with guilt at the untold blood spilled with his inventions, Stark resolves to make amends by reclaiming or destroying all incidences of his stolen secrets, bringing him into conflict with his country, his friends and his comrades in the Avengers. Unwilling to compromise, unable to accept the new status quo, Iron Man’s attempts to salve his conscience can only lead to tragedy and disaster…

Diligent investigation reveals the proprietary gimmicks and systems have leaked far and wide, augmenting the capabilities of numerous criminals, mercenaries and military specialists…

Killers all…

As well as locating the source of the initial leak, Stark and his trusted team must take back or destroy every iota of his stolen ordnance if the man is to sleep with a clear conscience ever again…

With the help of Ant-Man Scott Lang, a virus is uploaded to eat all digital records and instances of Stark-tech, but the job of negating actual armoured users is one only Iron Man can accomplish…

Nobody cares when the hero starts tackling villains such as Stilt-Man, The Maulers or Controller, but real trouble comes knocking when Stark mistakenly attacks federal agent and fellow Avenger Stingray in ‘Glitch’ and goes after SHIELD operatives in ‘The Last Mandroid’ and US military personnel in ‘Who Guards the Guardsmen?’ – a clash that causes a mass escape at super-prison The Vault and brings him into conflict with one of his oldest allies: Steve Rogers, the former Captain America

In ‘Red Snow’ Stark’s West Coast Avengers allies finally demand an explanation and the end of the war but are utterly ignored. Instead Iron Man invades Russia to confront Crimson Dynamo and Titanium Man, resulting in an international incident and the first fatality of the campaign…

Shaken but obsessively undeterred, Iron Man soldiers on with everybody now against him until the unthinkable happens after the US Army bring in a new armoured titan dubbed Firepower.

The tech colossus constructed by Stark’s bitter rival Edwin Cord proves everything the military was hoping for, but as ‘The Day the Hero Died’ ends, the authorities quickly realise that with Iron Man gone nothing can stop Cord and Firepower from doing whatever they want…

Having barely escaped with his life Tony Stark strongly considered quietly retiring, but with the world again imperilled gets back to his drawing board to build something new and better and save the day once more in ‘Reborn Again’

However, even after his triumphant re-emergence, the psychological cost of his actions must be dealt with in the startling ‘Stark Wars: Epilogue – Intimate Enemies’ by Michelinie, Barry Windsor-Smith & Layton

This enthralling yarn is a compelling examination of honour, heroism and sacrifice exposing the dark side of vigilantism and cost of integrity, deeply embedded in Marvel continuity, with lots of guest-stars and plenty of action. A solid example of what super-hero comics are all about, this classic Fights ‘n’ Tights thriller is pure evergreen Marvel escapism.
© 1987, 2011 Marvel Characters, Inc. All rights reserved.