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"I'm not Iron Man, he is!"

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator


Iron Man (Tony Stark) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as well as its associated media. The character was created by writer and editor Stan Lee, developed by scripter Larry Lieber, and designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. He made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense #39 (cover dated March 1963).

An American billionaire playboy, business magnate, and ingenious engineer, Tony Stark suffers a severe chest injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a weapon of mass destruction. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity.

Later, Stark augments his suit with weapons and other technological devices he designed through his company, Stark Industries. He uses the suit and successive versions to protect the world as Iron Man, while at first concealing his true identity.

Initially, Iron Man was a vehicle for Stan Lee to explore Cold War themes, particularly the role of American technology and business in the fight against communism. Subsequent re-imaginings of Iron Man have transitioned from Cold War themes to contemporary concerns, such as corporate crime and terrorism.

Throughout most of the character's publication history, Iron Man has been a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers and has been featured in several incarnations of his own various comic book series. Iron Man has been adapted for several animated TV shows and films. The character is portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. in the live action film Iron Man (2008), which was a critical and box office success. Downey would reprise the role in a number of Marvel Studio films.

In 1963, Stan Lee had been toying with the idea of a businessman superhero. He wanted to create the "quintessential capitalist", a character that would go against the spirit of the times and Marvel's readership.

I think I gave myself a dare. It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was the military.... So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist... I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him... And he became very popular.

- Stan Lee

Lee also said that, "of all the comic books we published at Marvel, we got more fan mail for Iron Man from women, from females, than any other title... We didn't get much fan mail from girls, but whenever we did, the letter was usually addressed to Iron Man."

Lee set out to make the new character a wealthy, glamorous ladies' man, but one with a secret that would plague and torment him as well. Writer Gerry Conway said, "Here you have this character, who on the outside is invulnerable, I mean, just can't be touched, but inside is a wounded figure. Stan made it very much an in-your-face wound, you know, his heart was broken, you know, literally broken. But there's a metaphor going on there. And that's, I think, what made that character interesting." Lee based this playboy's looks and personality on Howard Hughes (above left), explaining, "Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billionaire, a ladies' man and finally a nutcase." "Without being crazy, he was Howard Hughes," Lee said. Iron Man movie fans may see more of a resemblance to Howard Hughes in the portrayal of Howard Stark, Tony's father.

While Lee intended to write the story himself, a minor deadline emergency eventually forced him to hand over the premiere issue to Lieber, who fleshed out the story. The art was split between Kirby and Heck. "He designed the costume," Heck said of Kirby, "because he was doing the cover. The covers were always done first. But I created the look of the characters, like Tony Stark (an Errol Flynn type) and his secretary Pepper Potts. Iron Man first appeared in 13 to 18 page stories in Tales of Suspense, which featured anthology science fiction and supernatural stories. The character's original costume was a bulky gray armored suit, replaced by a golden version in the second story (issue #40, April 1963). It was redesigned as sleeker, red-and-golden armor in issue #48 (Dec. 1963) by that issue's interior artist, Steve Ditko, although Kirby drew it on the cover. As Heck recalled in 1985, "The second costume, the red and yellow one, was designed by Steve Ditko. I found it easier than drawing that bulky old thing. The earlier design, the robot-looking one, was more Kirbyish."

In his premiere, Iron Man was an anti-communist hero, defeating various Vietnamese agents. Lee later regretted this early focus. Throughout the character’s comic book series, technological advancement and national defense were constant themes for Iron Man, but later issues developed Stark into a more complex and vulnerable character as they depicted his battle with alcoholism (as in the "Demon in a Bottle" storyline) and other personal difficulties. In 1963 Lee and Kirby included Iron Man in The Avengers #1 as a founding member of the superhero team.

Writers have updated the war and locale in which Stark is injured. In the original 1963 story, it was the Vietnam War. In the 1990s, it was updated to be the first Gulf War, and later updated again to be the war in Afghanistan. Stark's time with the Asian Nobel Prize-winning scientist Ho Yinsen is consistent through nearly all incarnations of the Iron Man origin, depicting Stark and Yinsen building the original armor together. One exception is the direct-to-DVD animated feature film The Invincible Iron Man, in which the armor Stark uses to escape his captors is not the first Iron Man suit.

From issue #59 (Nov. 1964) to its final issue #99 (March 1968), the anthological science-fiction backup stories in Tales of Suspense were replaced by a feature starring the superhero Captain America. Lee and Heck introduced several adversaries for the character including the Mandarin in issue #50 (Feb. 1964), the Black Widow in #52 (April 1964) and Hawkeye five issues later. After issue #99 (March 1968), the Tales of Suspense series was renamed Captain America. An Iron Man story appeared in the one-shot comic Iron Man and Sub-Mariner (April 1968), before making his solo debut with The Invincible Iron Man #1 (May 1968).

Writer David Michelinie, co-plotter/inker Bob Layton, and penciler John Romita Jr. became the creative team on the series with Iron Man #116 (Nov. 1978). Micheline and Layton established Tony Stark's alcoholism with the story "Demon in a Bottle", and introduced several supporting characters, including Stark's bodyguard girlfriend Bethany Cabe; Stark's personal pilot and confidant James Rhodes, who later became the superhero War Machine; and rival industrialist Justin Hammer.

Following Michelinie and Layton's departures (they would return as the creative team in 1987), Dennis O'Neil became the new writer of the series and had Stark relapse into alcoholism. Jim Rhodes replaced Stark as Iron Man in issue #169 (April 1983) and wore the armor for the next two years of stories. O'Neil returned Tony Stark to the Iron Man role in issue #200 (Nov. 1985).

Anthony Edward Stark, is the son of wealthy industrialist and head of Stark Industries, Howard Stark, and Maria Stark, was born on Long Island. A boy genius, he enters MIT at the age of 15 to study electrical engineering and later receives master's degrees in electrical engineering and physics. After his parents are killed in a car accident, he inherits his father's company.

Tony Stark is injured by a booby trap and captured by enemy forces led by Wong-Chu. Wong-Chu orders Stark to build weapons, but Stark's injuries are dire and shrapnel is moving towards his heart. His fellow prisoner, Ho Yinsen, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose work Stark had greatly admired during college, constructs a magnetic chest plate to keep the shrapnel from reaching Stark's heart, keeping him alive. In secret, Stark and Yinsen use the workshop to design and construct a suit of powered armor, which Stark uses to escape. But during the escape attempt, Yinsen sacrifices his life to save Stark's by distracting the enemy as Stark recharges. Stark takes revenge on his kidnappers and heads back to rejoin the American forces, on his way meeting a wounded American Marine fighter pilot, James "Rhodey" Rhodes.

Back home, Stark discovers that the shrapnel fragment lodged in his chest cannot be removed without killing him, and he is forced to wear the armor's chestplate beneath his clothes to act as a regulator for his heart. He must recharge the chestplate every day or else risk the shrapnel killing him. The cover story that Stark tells the news media and general public is that Iron Man is his (presumably robotic) personal bodyguard, and corporate mascot. To that end, Iron Man fights threats to his company (e.g., Communist opponents Black Widow, the Crimson Dynamo, and the Titanium Man), as well as independent villains like the Mandarin (who eventually becomes his greatest enemy).

No one suspects Stark of being Iron Man, as he cultivates a strong public image of being merely a rich playboy and industrialist. Two notable members of the series' supporting cast, at this point, are his personal chauffeur Harold "Happy" Hogan, and secretary Virginia "Pepper" Potts, to both of whom he eventually reveals his dual identity. Meanwhile, James Rhodes finds his own niche as Stark's personal pilot, ultimately revealing himself to be a man of extraordinary skill and daring, in his own right.

The series took an anti-Communist stance in its early years, which was softened as public (and therefore, presumably, reader) opposition rose to the Vietnam War. This change evolved in a series of storylines featuring Stark profoundly reconsidering his political opinions, and the morality of manufacturing weapons for the U.S. military. Stark shows himself to be occasionally arrogant, and willing to act unethically in order to 'let the ends justify the means'. This leads to personal conflicts with the people around him, both in his civilian and superhero identities. Stark uses his vast personal fortune not only to outfit his own armor, but also to develop weapons for S.H.I.E.L.D.; other technologies (e.g., Quinjets used by the Avengers); and, the image inducers used by the X-Men. Eventually, Stark's heart condition is discovered by the public and resolved with an artificial heart transplant. Later on, Stark expands on his armor designs and begins to build his arsenal of specialized armors for particular situations such as for space travel and stealth.

Armor, Power and Skills

Iron Man possesses powered armor that gives him superhuman strength and durability, flight, and an array of weapons. The armor is invented and worn by Stark, with occasional short-term exceptions. Other people who have assumed the Iron Man identity include Stark's long-time partner and best friend James Rhodes; close associates Harold "Happy" Hogan; Eddie March; and (briefly) Michael O'Brien.

The weapons systems of the suit have changed over the years, but Iron Man's standard offensive weapons have always been the repulsor rays that are fired from the palms of his gauntlets. Other weapons built into various incarnations of the armor include: the uni-beam projector in its chest; pulse bolts (that pick up kinetic energy along the way; so the farther they travel, the harder they hit); an electromagnetic pulse generator; and a defensive energy shield that can be extended up to 360 degrees. Other capabilities include: generating ultra-freon (i.e., a freeze-beam); creating and manipulating magnetic fields; emitting sonic blasts; and projecting 3-dimensional holograms (to create decoys).

In addition to the general-purpose model he wears, Stark has developed several specialized suits for space travel, deep-sea diving, stealth, and other special purposes. Stark has also modified suits, like the Hulkbuster heavy armor. The Hulkbuster armor is composed of add-ons to his so-called modular armor, designed to enhance its strength and durability enough to engage the Incredible Hulk in a fight. A later model, designed for use against Thor, is modeled on the Destroyer and uses a mystical power source. Stark develops an electronics pack during the Armor Wars that, when attached to armors that use Stark technologies, will burn out those components, rendering the suit useless. This pack is ineffective on later models. While it is typically associated with James Rhodes, the War-Machine armor began as one of Stark's specialty armors.

The most recent models of Stark's armor, beginning with the Extremis Armor, are now stored in the hollow portions of Stark's bones, and the personal area networking implement used to control it is implanted in his forearm, and connected directly to his central nervous system.

The Extremis has since been removed, and he now uses more conventional armors. Some armors still take a liquid form, but are not stored within his body. His Endo-Sym Armor incorporates a combination of the liquid smart-metal with the alien Venom symbiote, psionically controlled by Stark.

Post-Secret Wars, Stark uses a more streamlined suit of armor that can practically 'morph' into other armors or weapons.

After being critically injured during a battle with the Extremis-enhanced Mallen, Stark injects his nervous system with modified techno-organic virus-like body restructuring machines (the Extremis process). By rewriting his own biology, Stark is able to save his life, gain an enhanced healing factor, and partially merge with the Iron Man armor, superseding the need for bulky, AI-controlled armors in favor of lighter designs, technopathically controlled by his own brain. His enhanced technopathy extends to every piece of technology, limitless and effortlessly due to his ability to interface with communication satellites and wireless connections to increase his "range". Some components of the armor-sheath are now stored in Tony's body, able to be recalled, and extruded from his own skin, at will.

During the "Secret Invasion" storyline the Extremis package is catastrophically shut down by a virus, forcing him again to rely on the previous iteration of his armor, and restoring his previous limitations. Furthermore, Osborn's takeover of most of the few remaining Starktech factories, with Ezekiel Stane systematically crippling the others, limits Tony to the use of lesser, older and weaker armors.

After being forced to "wipe out" his brain to prevent Norman Osborn from gaining his information, Tony Stark is forced to have a new arc reactor, of Rand design installed in his chest. The process greatly improves his strength, stamina and intellect. The procedure left him with virtually no autonomic functions: as his brain was stripped of every biological function, Tony is forced to rely on a digital backup of his memories (leaving him with severe gaps and lapses in his long-term memory) and on software routine in the arc reactor for basic stimuli reaction, such as blinking and breathing. The Bleeding Edge package of armor and physical enhancement is now equal in power, if not a more advanced, version of the old Extremis tech.

Tony Stark

Tony Stark is an inventive genius whose expertise in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer science rivals that of Reed Richards, Hank Pym, and Bruce Banner, and his expertise in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering surpasses even theirs. He is regarded as one of the most intelligent characters in the Marvel Universe. He graduated with advanced degrees in physics and engineering at the age of 17 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and further developed his knowledge ranging from artificial intelligence to quantum mechanics as time progressed. His expertise extends to his ingenuity in dealing with difficult situations, such as difficult foes and deathtraps, in which he is capable of using available tools, including his suit, in unorthodox but effective ways. He is well respected in the business world, able to command people's attention when he speaks on economic matters, having over the years built up several multimillion-dollar companies from virtually nothing. He is noted for the loyalty he commands from and returns to those who work for him, as well as for his business ethics. Thus he immediately fired an employee who made profitable, but illegal, sales to Doctor Doom. He strives to be environmentally responsible in his businesses.

At a time when Stark was unable to use his armor for a period, he received some combat training from Captain America and has become physically formidable on his own when the situation demands it. In addition, Stark possesses great business and political acumen. On multiple occasions he reacquired control of his companies after losing them amid corporate takeovers.

Due to his membership in the Illuminati, Iron Man was given the Space Infinity Gem to safeguard. It allows the user to exist in any location (or all locations), move any object anywhere throughout the universe and warp or rearrange space.

In 1966, Iron Man was featured in a series of cartoons and in 1981, Iron Man guest appeared in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, but only as Tony Stark. He went on to feature again in his own series in the 1990s as part of the Marvel Action Hour with the Fantastic Four; Robert Hays provided his voice in these animated cartoons. Iron Man makes an appearance in the episode "Shell Games" of Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes as well as a number of video games.

In the 2009 animated series, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, most of the characters, including Tony Stark, are teenagers. An anime adaptation began airing in Japan in October 2010 as part of a collaboration between Marvel Animation and Madhouse, in which Stark, voiced by Keiji Fujiwara, travels to Japan where he ends up facing off against the Zodiac.

In 2008, a film adaptation titled Iron Man was released, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and directed by Jon Favreau. Iron Man received very positive reviews from film critics. The character of Tony Stark, again played by Robert Downey Jr., appeared at the end of the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk. Downey reprised his role in Iron Man 2 (2010), Marvel's The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and Captain America: Civil War (2016), and will appear in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) as well as Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and its currently untitled sequel (2019).

Tony Stark is an eccentric genius, multi-billionaire, philanthropist and playboy. He is also the armored superhero known as Iron Man. Fresh off from defeating enemies all over the world, Stark reluctantly agreed to serve as a consultant to Nick Fury's peacekeeping intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Stark joined the Avengers and helped defeat the Chitauri and Loki during the Battle of New York. Due to the battle, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, leading him to create the Iron Legion. After the Battle on the Norco, the final event of Aldrich Killian's War, he destroyed all of his armors with the Clean Slate Protocol.

However, when the Avengers were officially reassembled, Stark created new armors to fight the remnants of HYDRA. Once the threat had been ended, Stark, with the help of Bruce Banner, built Ultron as a peace-keeping A.I. to protect the world, but it defected and chose to destroy humanity instead. Through the work of the Avengers, Ultron was defeated. After the war, however, Stark retired from the team, still haunted by his role in the chaos the A.I. created.

The guilt of creating Ultron and causing so much destruction and loss of life eventually convinced Stark to sign with Thaddeus Ross and create the Sokovia Accords. However, Stark's strong support of the accords lead to a disagreement with Captain America, who very much opposed the plans. When Rogers proceeded further to disobey orders by protecting Winter Soldier, Stark led the man-hunt for his old ally, igniting the Avengers Civil War.

Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark was born on Friday, May 29th, 1970 to Howard and Maria Stark. Howard hired a butler named Edwin Jarvis before Tony was born. Jarvis became a good friend to Tony as he grew older. He watched over Tony throughout all of his childhood.

Tony's early life was often dominated by the absence of his father who he would later describe as 'cold' and 'calculating'. Growing up Tony had issues with his father, who Tony has said never told his son that he loved him, or even that he liked him. Since Tony was so young, Howard never was able to tell him his plans for him.

Tony's father would constantly talk about his friend Captain America, so that he could inspire Tony to do great things in life, which highly annoyed young Tony Stark. When he was four years old, he made his first circuit board. When he was almost seven he built a V8 motorbike engine. At sixteen, he won the 4th Annual M.I.T. Robot Design Award. When Tony was seventeen he graduated MIT at the top of his class. He also met James "Rhodey" Rhodes, and they became best friends. While he was in high school, Stark hacked into the Pentagon on a dare by some friends.

At the age of twenty-one, Tony Stark's parents, Howard and Maria, died in a car crash secretly orchestrated by HYDRA.

For a few months Obadiah Stane, a family friend, took over the company since Tony was too young to be CEO of the family's company, Stark Industries. Around this time, Tony's family butler, Edwin Jarvis, also died. A few months later, he inherited Stark Industries, becoming the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 Company in history. After building a custom mansion, Tony made an A.I. system that helped out in the house. He named the system "Just a Rather Very Intelligent System", shortened J.A.R.V.I.S., after his butler.

Tony made Stark Industries thrive into becoming one of the most advanced companies in the world, making technology that seemed futuristic to most while his best friend James Rhodes joined the United States Air Force and became the liaison between Stark Industries and the United States Armed Forces.

During his business trip to Afghanistan to demonstrate Stark Industries' newest weapon, the Jericho missile, Stark's convoy was attacked by insurgents. While soldiers were dying around him, he attempted to find cover and call for help when one of his own company's bombs landed near him and exploded. The blast caused him to lose consciousness and embedded several pieces of shrapnel in his chest, several fragments dangerously close to his heart.

He woke up some time later with an electromagnet attached to his chest. Hooked up to a car battery, the electromagnet kept the shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him. Stark had been captured by the terrorist group, the Ten Rings, which offered his release if he built a Jericho missile for them.

Knowing they would never keep up their end, Stark and fellow captive Ho Yinsen instead made a plan to escape. In order to improve Stark's condition, he and Yinsen created a miniature Arc Reactor, a smaller version of the power source previously invented by his father, Howard Stark, and Anton Vanko, which they embedded into his chest to supply energy to the electromagnet protecting his heart. Together, they secretly began building an armored suit to help them escape.

Soon the pair enacted their escape plan; however, Yinsen was mortally wounded. With his last words, Yinsen reassured Stark and urged him not to waste his life. Stark used the suit to protected him from the onslaught of bullets from the terrorists and escaped.

The experience changed Tomy Stark and upon returning home called a press conferenceannouncing that his company would, for the foreseeable future, no longer manufacture weapons. This move shocked the press, many declaring that he must be suffering from PTSD and angered is father's friend and business partner, Obadiah Stane, who would try to block the move and take over the company.

In the months that followed, Stark retreated from public view, focusing on improving the design of his new armored suit, refining its size, movement, and flight capability. He eventually perfected the flight power after much trial and error, taking the silver Mark II suit for its first test flight, despite J.A.R.V.I.S.' warnings that there had not been enough tests.

During this time Stark's assitant, Pepper Potts, discovers that it was Obadiah Stane who hired the Ten Rings to kill Tony in Afghanistan and that Stane had recovered Stark's original armor prototype and had reverse-engineered his own version. This led to a showdown between Stark and his once trusted family friend, Tony in his latest Iron Man suit and Stane in his Iron Monger suit.

The next morning, news had spread of Tony Stark's alter ego, which was dubbed "Iron Man" by the press. Stark held a press conference where S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Phil Coulson gave him a fabricated cover story and advised him to state that Iron Man was his bodyguard. However, during the course of the conference, in a moment of self clarity, Stark instead announced to the public...

"I'm just not the hero type. Clearly. With this laundry list of character defects, all the mistakes I've made, largely public.
Yeah, okay. The truth is... I am Iron Man."

- Tony Stark

Pepper Potts

Virginia "Pepper" Potts first appeared in Tales of Suspense #45 (September 1963), which was written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Don Heck. Though she was named Pepper Potts from the start, Stark addresses her as "Kitty" in one panel, which is thought to be a typo. Heck modeled Potts as Ann B. Davis’ character of Schultzy from The Bob Cummings Show, and is rendered with brown hair done up in a hairdo similar to that of Schultzy's. Someone on the creative team or in editorial came to feel that the resemblance was too great, and in Tales of Suspense #50, Potts' look was altered to give her red hair and a different hairdo.

Potts is originally a member of a secretarial pool, and gets her job by fixing an accounting error made by Stark. She is depicted initially as being infatuated with Stark, and rejects the advances of Stark's chauffeur and assistant Happy Hogan, who debuted in the same issue, with acerbic remarks. As Stark's affection for her grows in the ensuing issues, she becomes part of a love triangle between the two men, and eventually falls in love with and marries Hogan, eloping with him in Tales of Suspense #91.

Pepper and Happy eventually leave Stark Industries and disappear from the main Iron Man storyline until Pepper is kidnapped by Stark's rival Obadiah Stane. Pepper and Happy eventually divorce but cross paths again when they join Tony at his new company, Stark Solutions, once again becoming core characters. After some time, Happy and Pepper remarry. After Happy sustains massive injuries in a fight with Spymaster during the 2006-2007 "Civil War" storyline, Pepper requests that Tony turn off Happy's life support (using his Extremis abilities). The final pages of Invincible Iron Man (vol. 4) #14 shows the death of Happy; it is implied Tony complied with Pepper's request.

After the events of the "Civil War" story line, Pepper joins the Fifty State Initiative as a member of The Order, a government sanctioned superhero team operating within California. She assumes the moniker of the Greek goddess Hera, and uses advanced computer-hardware and prosthetics to monitor and coordinate the team's missions. Later Tony Stark offers her a job on the special-projects team at Stark Enterprises, which she accepts and soon Pepper resumes her activities as personal secretary of Tony Stark.

When Pepper is caught in a terrorist explosion caused by Ezekiel "Zeke" Stane, she sustains multiple internal injuries, including shrapnel wounds, and rendered unable to withstand a prolonged surgery. In response, Tony embeds a strong magnet (similar in appearance to the arc reactor of the movie) in her chest, essentially turning Pepper into a cyborg dependent on keeping her chest magnet engaged to stay alive, as he was once. Pepper's body is further enhanced with new cybernetics and upgrades to the magnet, which are based on Danny Rand's battery designs, and which afford Pepper new super abilities.

In The Invincible Iron Man #500, in a flashforward to an apocalyptic future 41 years ahead where the Mandarin has conquered the world, an aged version of Tony defeats his long-time foe with the help of his son Howard Anthony Stark and his granddaughter Ginny Stark, but Howard and Tony sacrifice themselves in the process. At the close of the story, Ginny buries the two next to a gravestone with the name Virginia Potts Stark. Howard is also said to be 41 years old, suggesting that he will be born within the following year.

Gwyneth Paltrow portrays Pepper Potts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: In Iron Man, Stark notes that Potts, his secretary/personal aide, is virtually the only real friend he has at the company. In Iron Man 2, Pepper is promoted to CEO of Stark Industries, and by the end of the film, Pepper becomes Tony's girlfriend and partner.

In The Avengers, Potts is instrumental in helping with the development of Stark Tower, the new upgraded arc reactor, and Tony's assistance to S.H.I.E.L.D. She apparently got along with Agent Coulson, even knowing his first name.

In Iron Man 3, Pepper is still the CEO of Stark Industries; and has now officially moved in with Tony. During an attack on Stark's mansion, Tony wills his Mark 42 armor to encase her instead of himself thus saving her and Maya Hansen who Potts rescues using the armor. After being captured, Aldrich Killian uses her as a test subject for the Extremis process and thus as leverage to force Tony to complete the work to make Extremis stable. However, she turns the tables on Killian by using her Extremis powers and parts of an Iron Man suit to kill him. Tony is able to modify Extremis so that it is no longer a danger to herself or others.

Pepper Potts does not appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but is mentioned along with Jane Foster during a conversation involving Maria Hill (asking why they're not in the party), Thor and Tony Stark. Pepper is mentioned to still being the CEO of Stark Industries, by Tony saying "She runs the biggest tech conglomerate on Earth", which helps around the world. Any doubts about her romance with Tony are put to rest at the end of the film, after he mentions wanting to settle down in a peaceful, quiet place with her.

Pepper is mentioned again in Captain America: Civil War (2016). It is revealed that she and Tony are "taking a break." Pepper even cancelled an appearance at a university event that Tony Stark was speaking at. Tony later explains that the strain of being Iron Man finally took its toll on their relationship. It's strongly implied Pepper would consider Tony more responsible if he were acting in less of a vigilante role.

In 2013, Paltrow told Empire (via ComicBookMovie.com) that her Marvel duties had been fulfilled with her work in Iron Man 3, and confirmed that Pepper's cameo in The Avengers was a last-minute addition. "It was Robert [Downey Jr.] who said that Pepper has to be in this movie or it's just giant snakes coming out of the sky," Paltrow explained. Paltrow isn't ruling out re-signing with Marvel for more features. "I'd be open to more Pepper because I love working with Robert and it's a great franchise."

Harold "Happy" Hogan

"Happy" Hogan is a supporting character in stories featuring Iron Man. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Don Heck, the character first appeared in Tales of Suspense #45 (September 1963). A former boxer with a history of losing his fights, Hogan is hired by Tony Stark as his chauffeur and personal assistant after Happy saves Tony's life in Tales of Suspense #45 (September 1963) and later learns that Tony is Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #70 (October 1965).

Working for Tony Stark has it drawbacks, in Tales of Suspense #74 (February 1966), a desperately ill Happy is mutated into a giant, savage, nearly mindless, superhumanly strong humanoid known as Freak when doctors try to cure him using a cobalt ray machine powered by Stark's experimental "Enervator" device. Freak breaks loose and goes on a rampage, escaping before Iron Man can arrive to stop him. He is restored to his normal self in Tales of Suspense #76 (April 1966) when Iron Man exposes him to the Enervator once again. It won't be the last time he transformed into the Freak.

Dispite his "Freak" problems Happy marries Pepper Potts in Tales of Suspense #91 (July 1967), but they later divorce only to remarry again later. With the events of the 2006 "Civil War" storyline causing Tony Stark considerable moral, political and emotional problems, Happy Hogan continues to give Tony much needed advice. In an important moment of crisis, he says to Tony: "You, my friend, are the only cape in the bunch [of superheroes] that's both one of us [that is, human] and one of them. Who else can see both sides the way you do?" On the night of his anniversary with Pepper, Hogan is attacked by the Spymaster, who is seeking to use Hogan as bait to draw out Iron Man. Spymaster threatens to kill Hogan first, then Pepper. Angered, Hogan grabs him by the neck and they fall several stories, leaving Hogan in a vegetative coma. While he is in the coma, Pepper tells Tony of Cobra McCoyle, a former boxing friend who took too many hits to the head. Cobra is unable to even feed himself and must be taken care of. Pepper tells Tony that Hogan has declared he never wants to end up like McCoyle. At the end of Iron Man vol. 4 #14, Hogan apparently dies.

Happy Hogan appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, played by Jon Favreau (who was also the director of the first two Iron Man films). In Iron Man, he is shown to be Tony Stark's bodyguard, friend and chauffeur and later head of security for Stark Industries, having been promoted as he complained about feeling ridiculous announcing himself as Iron Man's bodyguard.

At the beginning of Iron Man 3, he witnesses the side-effects of an Extremis enhanced Jack Taggart and gets into conflict with Eric Savin. He is rendered comatose when Taggart explodes, prompting Stark to go after the Mandarin, and setting up the main plot of the film. He regains consciousness after the main threat has been dealt with.

Obadiah Stane

One of Tony Stark's rivals is the ruthless Obadiah Stane. Stane is a munitions dealer and President and CEO of Stane International who at one time goes into business with Howard Stark. After the elder Stark died in a car accident, Stane turns his sights on acquiring control of Stark International, now owned by Tony Stark. Stane discovers Stark's notes on the Iron Man armor. The notes are incomplete so Stane assigns a team of scientists to decipher them; they eventually create the Iron Monger armor which, according to Stane, is "far superior to Stark's Iron Man armor". He even considers selling the suit to the highest bidder or creating an army of Iron Mongers, using them to "take over any country he wanted".

Jeff Bridges portrays Obadiah Stane in Iron Man, the first installment in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe film series. The film presents Stane as both a friend and business partner to Howard Stark, having become Tony Stark's mentor after his father's death. Motivated to make a profit in the arms market, selling weapons to America's enemies, Stane arranged for Stark to be kidnapped and killed by the Ten Rings terrorist group to take full control of Stark Industries.

But when Stane learns the full story of Stark's escape from the terrorist group who initially reneged on their deal with Stane over learning that it was Stark they were kidnapping, Stane obtains the remains of Stark's Mark I armor from the Ten Rings as a peace offering, before he eliminates the terrorist group. From there, Stane secretly engineered his own armor with the arc reactor he stole from Stark powering it after his scientists are unable to replicate it. Stane believed that Tony's recent actions, such as discontinuing the manufacturing of his weapons, were leading Stark Industries to ruin and destroying his father's legacy, giving Stane all the more reason to eliminate Stark. With his criminal activities revealed, Stane dons the armor to attack Pepper Potts and several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents before he fights Iron Man and dies after falling into the overloaded reactor at Stark Industries. According to S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson, Stane's death is passed off as being a passenger on an airplane with questionable engineering.

To tie into the 2008 Iron Man feature film, Marvel launched a new Iron Man ongoing series, The Invincible Iron Man, with writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larocca. The series inaugural six-part storyline was "The Five Nightmares", which saw Stark targeted by Ezekiel Stane, the son of Stark's former nemesis, Obadiah Stane.

The Mandarin

The Mandarin is a supervillain appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He is the archenemy of Iron Man.

The character was created by Stan Lee and designed by Don Heck, first appearing in Tales of Suspense #50 (February 1964) and is described as being born in China before the Communist revolution, to a wealthy Chinese father and an English aristocratic mother, both of whom died when he was very young. He is characterised as a megalomaniac, attempting to conquer the world on several occasions, yet also possessing a strong sense of honor.

The Mandarin is portrayed as a genius scientist and a superhumanly skilled martial artist. However, his primary sources of power are ten power rings that he adapted from the alien technology of a crashed space ship. Each ring has a different power and is worn on a specific finger.

The Mandarin is referenced in the Iron Man movies via the name of a terrorist group, "The Ten Rings", who briefly appear again in Iron Man 2 and Ant-Man.

Sir Ben Kingsley appears in promotional material for Iron Man 3 as the Mandarin, implied to be the leader of the Ten Rings terrorist group. The film reveals that the "Mandarin" is only a terrorist persona adopted by Aldrich Killian to mask his illegal activities while the idealized image is actually drunken British character actor Trevor Slattery (played wonderfully by Kingsley). Director Shane Black specified that Killian was his intended Marvel Cinematic Universe version of the Mandarin as signified by the dragon tattoos on Killian's chest, while Slattery is supposed to portray the idealized image of the terrorist persona as Killian's proxy. In interviews, producer Kevin Feige suggested that Killian built his idea of the Mandarin from legends he had heard, and hinted that the audience should believe in the strong possibility that there may be a comic-book-accurate person known as the Mandarin within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the comic books ehe character, Aldrich Killian, was created by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov and first appeared in Iron Man vol. 4, #1 (January 2005). Within the context of the stories, Killian is a scientist who developed the Extremis virus alongside Maya Hansen. After injecting himself the Extremis virus, he has superhuman agility, the ability to re-build parts of his body and turn it hot up to 3000 celsius degrees. He steals a sample of the virus and sells it to domestic terrorists, but, unable to cope with the guilt, he confesses in a note and shoots himself. However, Iron Man later discovered that Maya also had a hand in selling Extremis to the domestic terrorists.

War Machine

War Machine (James "Rhodey" Rhodes) is a fictional character, a superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Jim Rhodes first appeared in Iron Man #118 (January 1979) by David Michelinie, John Byrne, and Bob Layton.

James "Rhodey" Rhodes, from the South Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps who served tours of duty in Southeast Asia. A combat pilot, he was stranded in the jungle behind enemy lines after his helicopter was shot down by Viet Cong rocket fire. He encounters Iron Man, who escaped from Wong-Chu's prison camp in his prototype suit of powered armor and together discover an enemy rocket base and destroy it. Afterwards Stark offers Rhodes a job as his personal pilot. After taking several career paths including mercenary work, Rhodes finally took Stark's offer and became Stark's personal pilot, chief aviation engineer for Stark International, and one of Stark's closest friends.

Initially a supporting character in volume one of Iron Man, Rhodes later assumed the mantle of Iron Man after Tony Stark's relapse into alcoholism in issue #170 (May 1983). The character would continue in a supporting role and later resume the role of Iron Man following Stark's purported death in issue #284 (Sept. 1992). After Stark's return to the role of Iron Man, Rhodes continued as the superhero War Machine and made his solo series debut in an eponymous title after being featured as a supporting character in the superhero-team series Avengers West Coast.

In addition to Iron Man and his own title War Machine, Rhodes has been featured in the ensemble titles West Coast Avengers; Force Works, Sentinel Squad O*N*E; The Crew and Avengers: The Initiative. Rhodes was also featured in the alternate-reality Marvel MAX imprint's U.S. War Machine series, Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers vs. X-Men" amoung others. In the All-New Marvel NOW! series Rhodes was Iron Patriot. The series lasted five issues before cancellation.

James Rhodes was portrayed by Terrence Howard (right top) in Iron Man, the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Air Force and acts as the military's chief liaison to Stark Industries' weapons division, and is initially oblivious to Obadiah Stane's actions. Following a contract dispute between Howard and Marvel Studios, Rhodes is portrayed by Don Cheadle (right bottom) for the rest of his MCU appearances.

In Iron Man 2, Rhodes is under pressure from the United States government to convince Tony Stark to relinquish ownership of the Iron Man armor. When Tony drunkenly endangers civilian lives, Rhodey is forced to don an Iron Man armor to intervene during the confrontation to which Tony says "You wanna be the War Machine, take your shot." Rhodes's borrowed armor is subsequently retrofitted but is briefly taken over by remote control and used to attack Iron Man before Pepper Potts and Black Widow break the connection controlling him. Once freed, Rhodey fights alongside Iron Man to defeat Ivan Vanko.

In Iron Man 3, Rhodes is promoted to full Colonel and his armor is painted red, white, and blue. According to director Shane Black, the patriotic color scheme and name was chosen by the U.S. government in response to the events of The Avengers. Rhodes states that the U.S. government deemed "War Machine" to be too militaristic and that "Iron Patriot" tested well with focus groups. The armor is briefly stolen and used by Eric Savin to abduct President Ellis, but Rhodes is able to recover the armor at the film's conclusion and save the President.

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Rhodes once again operates the black and silver War Machine armor and is directly referred to as "War Machine" for the first time. He aids the Avengers in the final battle against Ultron and joins the team along with Vision, Falcon and Scarlet Witch.

In Captain America: Civil War, When the Avengers are presented with the Sokovia Accords for the government to regulate their actions, Rhodes sides with Stark and is one of the heroes that sign the accords.

Howard Stark

Howard Stark is a comic book character who appears in books published by Marvel Comics, usually as a background character in stories featuring his son Tony Stark. The character was created by writer-editor Archie Goodwin and designed by artist Don Heck. He made his first appearance in Iron Man #28 (August 1, 1970).

The son of Howard Stark, Sr., Howard Stark was born in Richford, New York. An avid and brilliant inventor from a young age, he was a brilliant scientist throughout his life. He and his father worked on various projects, and later founded Stark Industries. Throughout his young adulthood, Stark worked on various government projects dating back to the World War I and World War II era, like the World War I Captain America project with John Crowe Ransom, which came to completion during World War II; the World War II Manhattan Project; and the "Arsenal" robots, hidden in a subbasement in his mansion. During the 1950s, Stark was an agent of the secret science organization known as The Shield, partnered with Nathaniel Richards.

Stark married Maria Collins Carbonell and together they had a son, Anthony "Tony" Stark. He constantly pushed Tony to be the best, telling him that someone must have "iron in their backbone" to be successful. Behind his heroic facade, however, he was an alcoholic who had a strained relationship with his son. Howard was capable of devotion and respect towards machines, but he appeared to have little to no interest towards his son. Due to his power as a businessman, Howard was offered membership to the exclusive Hellfire Club, but Stark seemed uninterested in anything other than the lavish parties the club threw. It is believed Howard was also a member of the V-Battalion. He was targeted by the Red Skull (Johann Schmidt), and is rumored to have met the Watcher, Uatu. Stark also prevented Obadiah Stane from taking control of Stark Industries at least once.

In Iron Man #17 (released October 23rd, 2013) Tony Stark's origin story was rewriten (how can they do that?) to reveal that Tony Stark isn’t the son of Howard and Maria Stark as he – and comics fans – always thought. Instead he was adopted by the Starks and has a long lost brother, Arno Stark. Arno Stark was also the name of the villainous Iron Man of the year 2020 that subverted the Stark legacy down a more militaristic and selfish bent.

On the Ides of March, Howard and Maria were killed in a car accident. It has been hinted that the incident was not random and possibly arranged by the V-Battalion, but this has never been confirmed; earlier indications were that the accident was caused by Republic Oil, but this is also unconfirmed. Tony ran his father's company, started a charity in his mother's name, and later became Iron Man.

During the Original Sin storyline, a flashback revealed that Howard Stark first met Nick Fury following the death of Woody McCord during the fight against the Tribellians. Howard decided to show Fury the work Woody McCord had been doing as defender of Earth, neutralizing any potential threat for the planet, and offered him Woody's job. Fury accepted and over the next years would secretly fight different superhuman threats from aliens to Subterranean monsters and extra-dimensional beings, and those had been the corpses the different parties had found.

Throughout the character's publication history, Howard Stark has been featured in several incarnations of comic book series. He has also been adapted for several animated TV shows and films.

Howard Stark is shown in the live-action Marvel Cinematic Universe movie series produced by Marvel Studios, portrayed by Dominic Cooper and John Slattery. Gerard Sanders (above) portrayed the character in a brief memorial slideshow presentation in the beginning of the 2008 film Iron Man.

Slattery (right) first portrayed the character in the 2010 film Iron Man 2 where it is revealed that he is one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s co-founders. Having placed a message for Tony Stark in a film reel, Howard gives Tony closure in their strained relationship while providing his son a diorama of the 1974 Stark Expo to perfect the Arc Reactor.

Cooper first portrayed a younger iteration in the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger that aided in the Super Soldier Project and then the Strategic Scientific Reserve. His contributions include providing Steve Rogers with both a costume and shield. After the Hydra battleship that Rogers raided crashed in the ocean, Stark made attempts to find Rogers before his expeditions led to the Tesseract.

The 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier heavily implied that the car crash that killed Stark and his wife was caused by Hydra infiltrators within S.H.I.E.L.D. on December 16th, 1991. A still photograph of Cooper as Stark appears in the film.

Cooper (left) returned as Howard Stark in the 15 minute Marvel One-Shot film Agent Carter. The popularity of the film let to ABC-TV ordering a television series expansion, Marvel's Agent Carter with Cooper reprising his role. In season one, Howard Stark enlists Peggy Carter to help him find out who has been framing him for selling weapons on the black market while he goes incognito. Howard even enlists his butler Edwin Jarvis to help in Peggy's mission; Peggy and Edwin discover that the culprits are the mysterious Leviathan organization. Unbeknownst to Peggy, Jarvis has been secretly keeping Stark posted on the happenings in the mission. In season two, Stark helps Carter when it comes to the Zero Matter threat. It was also revealed that he was an old acquaintance of Joseph Manfredi (AKA Blackwing).

Slattery reprised his role in the 2015 film Ant-Man. In a flashback in the late-1980s, he witnesses Hank Pym's resignation from S.H.I.E.L.D. after the discovery of them trying to replicate the Pym Particles without consent.

Slattery again reprised the role in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War. Towards the climax of the film, the car crash said to be the cause of the deaths of Howard and Maria Stark on December 16th, 1991 is shown to have been caused by Bucky Barnes while under Hydra's control. It is revealed that The Winter Soldier caused the car to crash, and then killed the Starks with his bare hands after they survived the initial impact. This revelation results in Iron Man attempting to exact revenge on the former Winter Soldier, while Captain America tries to stop him from killing his friend.


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