The Many Armors of Marvel's Tony Stark: Iron Man Variant Covers, Explained

Black and Gold Armor (Model 42)

Model 42 was the suit introduced by Kieron Gillen and Greg Land for the 2013 relaunch of the Iron Man title. It is made of smart-metals that align to a subdermal ghost of an exoskeleton. Tony described it as “a test bed for a new suit” and added “it’s for trying things out.” It apparently isn’t even meant for field use. This one debuted in Iron Man #1 (2013).

Deep-Space Armor: Modern (Model 45)

In 2103 Marvel relaunched Guardians of the Galaxy with Brian Michael Bendis on writing duties. The popular writer promptly added Iron Man to the ragtag crew. So, of course, Tony had to develop new gear for deep-space. This is the suit that his P.E.P.P.E.R. AI debuted in. It is also capable of remote controlling his other armors from up to 100 hundred lights years away. Steve McNiven is the artist responsible for the suit’s design and it first appeared in Iron Man #5 (2013).

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Endo-Sym Armor (Model 50)

Tony brought out this suit during the events of Axis in 2015. In the middle of the crossover the Scarlet Witch cast an inversion spell that stopped Red Onslaught but also flipped the moral compasses of all the heroes and villains present. The Avengers' futurist gave into his famous ego and became even more condescending for a short time. This armor didn’t simply let Stark's hair blow in the wind, it was made of liquid smart-metal that was partially based on symbiote biology. Model 50 made a cameo in Avengers #32 (2014) but Tony unveiled it officially in Superior Iron Man #1 (2015) and wore it until the end of that 9-issue series.

Model-Prime Armor (Model 51)

Much like the Bleeding Edge Armor, this model can take almost any shape and construct almost any weapon. The big difference is that this one is not stored in Tony’s body but instead fits into a bracelet. This is the same armor Doctor Doom uses when Tony disappears and Victor becomes Infamous Iron Man. The full version of this model was introduced in Invincible Iron Man #1 (2015), which was written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by David Marquez.

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Prometheum Armor (Model C1E1)

This armor has been referred to up until this point as CE1 (the “CE” stands for Counter-Earth). We’re not sure why Marvel have added the extra 1, but it may be the same reason they have renumbered many of these models. Nonetheless, this is the battle-suit Tony wore when he and other heroes were transferred to Counter-Earth, a pocket dimension created by powerful mutant Franklin Richards. Industry vets Scott Lobdell, Jim Lee, and Whilce Portacio are behind this super stylized design that was introduced in Iron Man #1 (1996).

Iron Man 2020 Armor (Model XX)

In a alternate timeline Tony’s cousin Morgan Stark has a son named Arno. When the Golden Avenger is believed dead, this relative takes over Stark Industries and becomes the new Iron Man in the year 2020. Features of this suit from the future include fingers lasers, a throwing blade, and an electro-magnetic force-field generator. Arno and his armor made their dramatic debut in Machine Man #2 (1984), which was penned by Tom DeFalco and illustrated by Herb Trimpe.

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