Iron Man's Armory

When Topless Robot posted Iron Man's 10 Most Ridiculous Armors yesterday, a number of people jumped in criticizing. Where was the Santa Suit? Where was the nose? What was the classic look flexi armor doing there? So here are some forgotten gems, both good and bad.

My Personal 5 Most Ridiculous
5. The Santa Suit
I know you like to call it the Silver Sentinel, but too me, it'll always smell like Christmas. Bulky enough to carry presents, Iron Man should never have given up the gold.

4. Egyptian Iron Man
In a world created by the Sphinx in New Warriors #11-12, he defended New Egypt with the power of his flat top and pharaoh beard.

3. Heroes Reborn Iron Man
I know Topless Robot already did this one, but it bears repeating. Giant exhaust pipes. Vulnerable wiring at every articulation point. Look over function. The SUV of Iron Man armors (and I mean that in a bad, rollover risk, way).

2. The nose
Looking less like the Tin Man than the Scarecrow, the Iron Nose was just THE worst idea in all of Iron Man history. (Well, a close second to teenage Tony Stark. Oh yeah, and I gotta factor in Civil War in there. Anyway, ONE of the worst ideas in Iron Man history.) Did Tony really need to smell stuff or what?

1. Golden Oldie

You want to talk ridiculous, then you have to come to What If #34 where Aunt May becomes Iron Man. Or else you're not really trying.

My Personal 5 Favorites
Since "best" is subjective anyway, I'm not making the claim that these are. They're just my favorites.

5. Stealth Armor
Respectfully disagreeing with Topless Robot's claims, a stealth armor with weaker weapons isn't a ridiculous notion. It has to have a weaker energy signature to get under radar. Plus, at the time, the cool black finish gave us a break from the Christmas look.

4. Timeslip Iron Man
Steampunk Iron Man? Guy Davis artwork? I am THERE. (As previously seen on this very blog.)

3. Movie Iron ManHey, they really made it seem like it could exist, so yeah, it belongs on this list. If it wasn't so short, I'd have given love to the Mark I as well (bonus points for being built inside Osama's cave).

2. Classic Red and GoldIt's the one I grew up with, and damn it, it's still Tony Stark's best look. I may like the IDEA that he continually tweaks his armor, but when it comes to iconic superheroes, this is how I prefer him. After this, it gets a little too techie or video gamey for my tastes. But wait, if that's Tony's best armor, what have I kept for #1?

1. Iron Man 2020
It's not one of Tony's armors. His descendant Arno Stark was quite a bad dude, and as soon as I saw his toothy helmet at the end of Machine Man #2 with artwork by Barry Windsor-Smith, I was hooked. That is truly badass.

In Limbo
0. Manga Iron Man
Unable to make my mind up about an Iron Man made of combined Avengers vehicles. Stupid yet awesomely appropriate. Yay or nay? I'm going to have to go with "depends on your personal love of Voltron".

What are your favorites and unfavorites?

And check out Bob Layton's Best and Worst list. Even if he wasn't THE Iron Man artist, he'd still be right.


Matthew Turnage said...

The Silver Sentinel is one of my favorites. Iron Man #200 is one of the issues from my childhood I remember the most. I also really liked the post-Armor Wars red & gold armor(before JR Jr turned it into the coffee can armor) and the first post-Heroes Reborn armor. But the classic red & gold is my favorite.

Siskoid said...

It was the armor he had through Armor Wars which was when I started buying the book regularly, so I don't think it's particularly heinous. It's why I went for "Most Ridiculous" rather than "Worst".

mwb said...

R&G was my first as well and it still rocks.

I do think the original steel knight Grey one deserves honorable mention - but I'm unsure in which category...

CalvinPitt said...

Favorites, in no particular order:

The Silver Centurion armor, points for going in a different direction than most of the other armors. The Stealth Armor, and I think the armor he was sporting during the Busiek/Perez Avengers run (I assume he was wearing it in his title as well, but I wasn't reading it, so Avengers Ultron Unlimited story is my frame of reference), though that might be more George Perez than the armor itself.

I don't really have a least favorite, I suppose, though that Heroes Reborn thing doesn't run to my taste at all.

H said...

The Aunt May armor! Some things need to be rescued from obscurity. Thank you sir.

Siskoid said...

If Aunt May had been Iron Man during Civil War, Peter would never have been unmasked.

Anonymous said...

The only "Santa" armor I know of is from the subscription ads. I'm a fan of the Silver Centurion armor, and I saw some...I think it was an action figure that has the Centurion design but painted in the classic colors. (Might have been a Super Hero Squadron set.) It so could have worked.

You're going to make me do my own armor post, aren't you? Dang it, I wanted to do a Frank Miller rant!

Siskoid said...

Why not do both?

And I like that Santa armor you're talking about!

Baal said...

I followed the link and heard Layton's understanding of how Iron Man got the nose but I've heard a more likely story: When Stan saw art for the current Iron Man book, the faceplate was drawn so it would have been impossible to fit a human face under it. His asking 'where's the nose?' was just to point out IM was being drawn so taht Tony couldn't have had one and had that helmet on. That's what was misinterpreted, not a joke from The Man...

Jayunderscorezero said...

I detested the post-Heroes Reborn/"Heroes Return" armour. It actually made me like the Heroes Reborn Armour a lot more. It was just way too chunky & retro. Too much of a step away from the Reborn Armour.

Strangely though, the Iron Lantern from the Amalgam universe is a fave, if only because it can expand to Godzilla-level size, and that's pretty neat.

Siskoid said...

Iron Lantern almost made the list!

googum said...

Partly because Rhodey's cool, I love the War Machine armor.

There's a fairly recent stretch, where after a lightning strike accidentally gives his armor sentience and it goes bad; Tony goes old school, back to the 70's red-and-gold. It was fun for a bit but goes too far: eventually, Tony's installing a teleporter (!) in it, which is exactly like putting a GPS, DVD, stereo, alarm system in your AMC Gremlin.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved the 'tachyon armor' idea from a random backpage text description (I think it's in "Beneath the Armor"). There's something rediculously appropriate about Tony crafting and stashing a cosmic level, galactic war starting suit while drunk and never being sure if it's real as the plans are smeared onto a cocktail napkin.

Christian Zamora said...

Aunt May in an Iron Man armor? OMFG!

The Egyptian one wasn't that bad. Oh,and that was one of my favorite New Warriors stories.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the Stealth armor's weakness was inspired by the original stealth fighter's underpowered specs: its only armament was two bombs, and it wasn't able to break the sound barrier.

Sleestak said...

Baal related the most familiar story of the "nose armor" and I think, the earliest. Back in the day when Stan said something people scrambled and did it without question, sometimes creating a humorous or even disastrous episode in comics history.

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