How Did Marvel Explain Away Teen Tony Stark?

In Nothing Was Delivered, we look at announced comic book projects that never came about. We'll try to find out WHY they didn't come out. I'm sure you all know tons of examples of comic book projects like these, so feel free to write me at brianc@cbr.com to tell me some for future columns.

Reader Marios A. wanted to know what happened to a "Look Back In Armor" comic book that was promised back in 1999.

As you all may or may not know, during a storyline called "The Crossing," it was revealed that Iron Man had been a double agent working for Kang for years. So the Avengers went back in time to BEFORE Kang began to mess with Tony's head and they brought that teenaged version of Tony back to the future to stop his adult self.


In the end, adult Tony almost kills teen Tony, but then adult Tony sacrifices himself to save the world against Kang's plot. So teen Tony takes over as the new Iron Man in Iron Man's ongoing series. This did not last very long, as then Onslaught took place and the Avengers and the Fantastic Four all "died" and were reborn in a new world for a year (in comics by Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld's respective studios). When they returned in 1998 (with all brand-new ongoing series), Iron Man was now back to being an adult...

Naturally, people kept writing in about "What's the deal with teen Tony?"

In the letter column of Iron Man #23, they explained that Iron Man writer Kurt Busiek would explain everything in a bookshelf series called Look Back in Armor...


It never happened.

The great Iron Man Armory spoke to Busiek about it back in the day, and he explained:

Iron Man Armory: Please tell me a little about the upcoming LOOK BACK IN ARMOR? Maybe a little on the storyline, guest characters, teasing tidbits... The big rumor is that you will deal with the whole Teen Tony storyline, true? Is the book drawn yet? Is there a release date or window yet?

Busiek: Unfortunately, at this point it looks like LOOK BACK IN ARMOR simply isn't going to happen. It would have covered the Teen Tony stuff (which is actually pretty simple -- teen Tony became adult Tony when he went through Onslaught, and just stayed that way on the way back; the real question is why he has dead Tony's memories), but as part of a larger story. Still, we'll get that info in somewhere or other -- I just explained why Hank Pym can grow without health problems, and who Masque and Benedict were, and those were dangling for a heck of a lot longer. We've already talked about places to fit it in, so I hope we'll get it covered soon.


As it turned out, it was not until the 2001 Avengers Annual that Busiek dealt with a bunch of "Hey, what about...." type questions in a back-up by Busiek and Ian Churchill where the Avengers' butler, Edwin Jarvis, addresses some open questions sitting in the Avengers' inbox, including, "What's the deal with teen Tony?"

So we did not look back in armor, but we still got answers! Well, kind of, at least!

Thanks to the Iron Man Armory and the always informative Kurt Busiek for the information!

Thanks to Marios A. for the suggestion! If anyone else wants to know about an announced but never published comic book, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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