SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 by Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti, Edgar Delgado and Joe Caramagna, on sale now.
When it comes to underrated rogues galleries, Iron Man’s list of enemies is one of the most overlooked. Everyone knows The Mandarin, and maybe Whiplash and Iron Monger too, but he has massive roster of great villains with untapped potential just waiting to be A-listers. Sure, there’s probably a few too many Titanium Men and Crimson Dynamos, but there’s also The Ghost, Spymaster and Madame Masque.
This week’s fresh start for Iron Man not only pits the hero against one of his biggest and baddest villains, but in a "post-credits" sequence, the debut issue also hints at a much more malevolent force working behind the scenes to bring down Tony Stark and everything he’s built.
If Tony had gotten his way, this issue would have been a nice, relaxing initiation to Stark Unlimited for his newest employee, but when a 3F alert is sounded, he races into action, because 3F can only mean one thing: Fin Fang Foom.
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and predating their collaboration on Fantastic Four by a number of years, Fin Fang Foom debuted during Marvel’s “giant monster” years which gave us the likes of Orrgo, Gorgilla and even Groot of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Originally, Fin Fang Foom was ancient dragon awoken from his slumber in communist China, but when the age of heroes dawned on Marvel Comics, he was folded into the Marvel Universe and given a more science-fiction background. Now a shape-shifting alien dragon from the planet Kakaranthara, his crew infiltrated human civilization while he was placed into a stasis as back-up. Thousands of years later, his tomb was ransacked by The Mandarin who looted the ten rings of power and unleashed him on China, which triggered the full Malukan invasion of Earth, which was only stopped when Iron Man and Mandarin were forced to work together.
Fin Fang Foom has had a tumultuous history in the Marvel Universe since then, serving as a hero, a villain and more of a natural disaster/force of nature, which how he appears in Tony Stark: Iron Man #1. When a Pacific Rim fist-fight doesn’t go the way Tony wants it to, he’s able to use his new nanobots to enter Fin Fang Foom’s body, where he discovers a Control Disk making the alien monarch attack. The thing about Fin Fang Foom is that he’s usually quite chatty, but his appearance in Tony Stark: Iron Man is as much of a rampaging beast. As soon as Iron Man destroys the Control Disk, the monster snaps out of whatever was controlling him and heads back into hiding, unwilling to be someone else’s pawn.