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Drawing Crazy Patterns – Iron Man Has to Go Back to Using an Old Armor!

by  in Comic News Comment
Drawing Crazy Patterns – Iron Man Has to Go Back to Using an Old Armor!

In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics). Here is an archive of all the patterns we’ve spotlighted so far.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Greg P., we take a look at instances where Iron Man was forced to use one of his older armors in an emergency.


NOTE: As always, I am not listing EVERY instance of this particular plot device. It has happened a lot of times over the years. So if I don’t list an example, it is not because I “missed it” or “forgot about it,” I am just listing five or six examples, that’s all. And these just happen to be the ones I chose to list.

One of the first examples of this theme was the brilliantly silly “When Titans Clash!” from Tales of Suspense #65 in 1965 (written by Stan Lee, drawn by Don Heck and Mike Esposito). A crook steals Tony Stark’s attache case and, of course, becomes Iron Man…

So what is the REAL Iron Man to do?

Tony ends up beating Weasel so bad that Weasel basically snaps and believes that HE himself invented the armor. He gets sent to a mental institution and Iron Man’s secret identity is saved.

Next up is “The Golden Ghost” in Tales of Suspense #90 by Stan Lee, Gene Colan and Frank Giacoia. At the end of the previous issue, Tony was about to turn into Iron Man when the Melter burst into his office to try to get him to build him an upgrade on his Melting Gun. Tony had to hide the attache case with his regular armor in it. He then began work on the Melter’s gun, but eventually tried to cause a disturbance to get away…

Anyhow, Tony’s plan is that the Melter wouldn’t figure that he was wearing a metal breastplate, so that protected him from being killed. Rather than going for the attache case, though, the better answer was to go get his old armor (which the Melter had mocked earlier in the issue and melted a little bit)…

Next, we see Iron Man #18, an early part of the classic Archie Goodwin/George Tuska/Johnny Craig Iron Man storyline “The Beginning of the End” (it was ranked #10 on our recent Greatest Iron Man Stories Ever Told list!), where Tony is fighting against a Life-Model Decoy of himself that has taken over his identity as both Tony Stark AND as Iron Man!

Next we have another Iron Man classic tale, Iron Man #98, a middle part of “10 Rings to Rule the World,” #20 on the aforementioned Greatest Iron Man Stories Ever Told list). In the issue (by Bill Mantlo, George Tuska and Don Perlin), Iron Man has just recently fought the armored Guardian, who thinks Tony Stark and Iron Man are bad guys. Tony is working on a new Iron Man armor but it is not finished yet, so when Sunfire shows up and is causing all sorts of mayhem, Tony is forced to use the Guardsman armor…

When the Guardsman sees Tony be so heroic, he re-thinks his position and then climbs into the unfinished new Iron Man armor to fight Sunfire himself…

Tony is having trouble with his heart and needs an Iron Man armor quick, ANY armor, so he goes back and finds an old model…

Finally, much more recently, during the epic World’s Most Wanted storyline (#6 on the Greatest Iron Man Stories Ever Told list!), Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca put Tony and Iron Man through the paces.

First things first, in Invincible Iron Man #9, Tony began to, in effect, purge his own mind. During the Extremis storyline, Tony had merged with the Extremis technology to essentially become an Iron Man himself. Now after Secret Invasion, the Extremis technology had failed and Tony could barely operate his current armor (as it was based on Extremis). In addition, Tony knew that the database within his mind had all sorts of secrets that he did not want Norman Osborn (the new head of SHIELD) to get his hands on, so Tony began to slowly purge his own brain. As a result, as the storyline went along, Tony had to slowly but surely begin to step down his Iron Man armors. First because they were getting destroyed and later because his depleted brain could no longer operate the machinery.

During the storyline, he went from the most modern one in the first issue…

to what looks like the one he used during Kurt Busiek’s run in Invincible Iron Man #10…

to the classic 1970s armor in Invincible Iron Man #14…

to finally the very first Iron Man armor in Invincible Iron Man #18…

That’s it for this time! Thanks again to Dave for the suggestion! If YOU have a suggestion for a future installment of Drawing Crazy Patterns, drop me a line at!

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