Iron Man's armor

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Iron Man's armor
Iron Man's armors.jpg
Variations of Iron Man's armors. Art by Bob Layton.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceTales of Suspense #39 (March 1963)
Created byDon Heck
Jack Kirby
In story information
Element of stories featuringIron Man, The Avengers

Iron Man's armor is a fictional powered exoskeleton appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. It is built and worn by billionaire superhero Tony Stark when he assumes the identity of Iron Man. The first armor (which in the story, was created by Stark and Ho Yinsen), was designed by artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, and first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963).

In the fictional multiverse, the appearance of Stark's armor has radically changed over the years, either as a result of modifications made by Stark or specialized armors created for specific situations. In real life, it changed as different artists took over the series and decided to change it to what they wanted.[1][episode needed]


Stark's suits are each unique in design and purpose. They are made of incredibly strong, fictional materials bolstered by a force field. Every suit has a self-contained environment, assorted onboard weapons systems, enhanced strength, flight, and various communications arrays and sensors, such as radar and radio.[2] Furthermore, they typically have multiple power sources including a secondary solar energy collection function in the event that conventional recharging methods are unavailable. Earlier versions of the armor could also fold virtually flat, allowing Stark to store them in his bullet-proof briefcase.[citation needed]

The defining abilities of Stark's armor are the jets situated in the boots and the repulsors situated in the gauntlets.[3] The repulsors originated as a hand attachment, but have since become the armor's most important standard armament.[citation needed] They have been referred to as a force beam.[4] In the 2008 film, the repulsors are a form of propulsion as well as steering and braking jets.

Another defining trait is the chest-mounted "uni-beam", also known as the variobeam, pentabeam, tri-beam, and chest repulsor transmitter.[citation needed] Originally a spotlight and "proton beam", it has grown to accommodate a number of other weapons, primarily light and force-based.[citation needed]

20th century incarnations[edit]

Iron Man debuts his new golden armor as he battles the caveman-like villain Gargantus. From Tales of Suspense #40 (1963). Cover art by Jack Kirby

Iron Man Armor MK II (Golden Avenger)[edit]

First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #40 (April 1963)

In order to make this armor less frightening to the general public, Stark created a gold-colored version with a wide array of improvements over the original.[5]

Iron Man Armor MK III[edit]

The MK III armor. Art by Steve Ditko.

This was the first armor to use the now standard red-and-gold color scheme.[citation needed] The 2007 retcon miniseries Iron Man: Hypervelocity hinted that Stark based the new cosmetic improvement on a childhood fantasy, as the red and gold color scheme came from his elementary school's colors, and the whole "Iron Man" motif from the eponymous song by Black Sabbath.[6]

Iron Man Armor MK VII (Silver Centurion)[edit]

Though this armor debuted before the return to the title by the creative team of David Michelinie and Bob Layton, the latter revealed in 1996 that he designed the Silver Centurion.[7] He wrote that "Mark Gruenwald and associates came to me and asked me to come up with a 'Samurai-type armor' for the series. Gruenie was a big believer in overhauling the Armored Avenger on a regular basis." Layton also revealed that the original color scheme for the armor was red and black. He does not know who changed the original black color to silver.[citation needed]

Modular Armor[edit]

First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 1) #300 (January 1994)
Silver Centurion armor

The Modular Armor is the main armor in the Iron Man animated TV series and Capcom's Marvel vs. Capcom video game series.[citation needed]

Prometheum Armor ("Heroes Reborn")[edit]

First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 2) #1 (November 1996)

The paradigm of this armor was quite different from the one Iron Man had worn for years in the baseline universe,[clarification needed] but the arrangement of weapons as well as the color scheme remained similar. Writer Scott Lobdell confirmed in an online discussion that the secret of the Prometheum Armor was nanotechnology.[8]

Renaissance Armor ("Heroes Return")/Sentient armor[edit]

First Appearance: Iron Man (vol. 3) #1 (February 1998)

This armor possessed a "horned" faceplate reminiscent of the first red-and-gold armor, as writer Kurt Busiek said that he liked Iron Man's helmet from early Avengers issues,[9] and a pentagonal chest beam.[citation needed]

21st century incarnations[edit]

Cobalt Man impostor[edit]

First Appearance: Avengers/Thunderbolts #1 (May 2004)

This armor was used to impersonate the Cobalt Man.[citation needed]

The Extremis Armor from Iron Man (volume 5) #1 (July 2008). Art by Salvador Larocca.

Mark 1616 (Rescue)[edit]

First Appearance: The Invincible Iron Man #10 (April 2009)

A version of the Rescue armor is adapted into the 2019 feature film Avengers: Endgame, in which Potts, who is married to Stark, wears the armor when joining the battle in the film's climax, and fights side by side with Stark against Thanos forces.[10]

Bleeding Edge Armor[edit]

First Appearance: Invincible Iron Man' #25 (June 2010)

In Invincible Iron Man #25 (2010), Stark creates a new armor in the aftermath of the "Stark: Disassembled" storyline.[11] Created by writer Matt Fraction and artist Ryan Meinerding, this new armor is sleeker in appearance, and is featured in the 2010 crossover storyline, the "Heroic Age".[12]

Iron Man in his Bleeding Edge armor. Cover art to Invincible Iron Man vol. 5, #25 (August 2010) by Salvador Larroca.

Black and Gold Armor[edit]

First appearance: Iron Man (vol. 5) #1 (January 2013)

This gun-metal grey[a] armor debuted in the first part of the 2012 "Believe" storyline, which launched the fifth volume of the Iron Man series as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. This version of the armor is a testbed for new suits, and is composed of "smart-metals [that] align to a subdermal ghost of a skeleton".[citation needed]

Heavy Duty armor[edit]

First appearance: Iron Man (vol. 5) #4 (February 2013)

Described as starting "where War Machine leaves off",[13] the Heavy Duty armor is a large, bulky suit that focuses on firepower. In addition to standard repulsor weaponry, the armor possesses a large rotary cannon that is built into the left arm, and a gun turret positioned over the right shoulder.

Endo-Sym Armor[edit]

First appearance: Superior Iron Man #1 (November 2014)

Stark begins using the Endo-Sym armor,[14] which features a chrome finish, in the beginning of the 2014 "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" storyline. When writer Tom Taylor and artist Yildiray Cinar created the armor, they designed it to glow red/orange when Tony was angry.[14]

Model-Prime Armor[edit]

First appearance: Invincible Iron Man (vol. 2) #1 (October 2015)

Beginning with the 2015 All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, Tony Stark designs a more streamlined and less complex suit of armor, once again with the traditional red and gold colors.[citation needed] This armor's primary feature is that it can change shape depending on the wearer's needs.

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Iron Man armor

In other media[edit]



In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony Stark, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., has worn and created multiple armors. He also designed suits for James Rhodes / War Machine, Peter Parker / Spider-Man, and Pepper Potts. Obadiah Stane has developed a suit of his own, "Iron Monger".

In an alternate timeline in What If...?, Stark's father Howard develops a "Hydra Stomper" suit for the non-superpowered Steve Rogers.


In the 2007 direct-to-DVD film The Invincible Iron Man, Stark with James Rhodes' help creates a grey and bulky suit of armor (similar to the original Iron Man armor that Stark and Yinsen created in the comics) in order to escape from caves.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The armor is colored black and gold in the comic, but upon inquiry, Kieron Gillen confirmed it was supposed to be grey.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Interview with Stan Lee, The Dennis Miller Show NBC. 1992.
  2. ^ Bray, Adam; Cink, Lorraine; Scott, Melanie; Wiacek, Stephen (2017). Ultimate Marvel. DK Publishing. pp. 229–230. ISBN 9781465495372. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  3. ^ Alvarado, Sebastian (2019). The Science of Marvel: From Infinity Stones to Iron Man's Armor, the Real Science Behind the MCU Revealed!. Adams Media. pp. 94–99. ISBN 9781507209998. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  4. ^ Ellis, Warren (w), Granov, Adi (a). "Extremis Three of Six" The Invincible Iron Man v4, 3 (March 2005), Marvel Comics
  5. ^ Patton, Brian (2015). "The Iron Clad American: Iron Man in the 1960s". In Darowski, Joseph J. (ed.). The Ages of Iron Man: Essays on the Armored Avenger in Changing Times. McFarland & Co. p. 15. ISBN 9781476620749. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  6. ^ Warren, Adam (w), Denham, Brian; Warren, Adam (p), Denham, Brian (i). "Hypervelocity Part Five" Iron Man: Hypervelocity 5 (July 2007), New York City: Marvel Comics
  7. ^ Advanced Iron (Iron Man fan magazine) #31, "A Slave to the Story," pg. 9. (1996)
  8. ^ Advanced Iron (Iron Man fan magazine) #30, pg. 2. (1996)
  9. ^ Advanced Iron (Iron Man fan magazine) #34, pg. 2. (1997)
  10. ^ Cardona, Ian (April 10, 2020). "The MCU's Strongest Armor Is NOT the Hulkbuster - Or Even an Iron Man Suit". Archived from the original on April 11, 2020. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  11. ^ "Marvel Unleashes Iron Man's New Armor". Marvel Comics. January 8, 2010.
  12. ^ "Marvel: The Heroic Age". Marvel Comics. January 27, 2010.
  13. ^ Morse, Ben (September 18, 2012 ). "Iron Man: New Toys". Marvel Comics
  14. ^ a b Taylor, Tom (February 14, 2022). "untitled". Twitter. Archived from the original on February 14, 2022. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  15. ^ "Ultimate FF #1 (UNLETTERED) (Preview)". April 16, 2014.

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