Before Tony Stark began carrying a suspiciously heavy briefcase around with him, he was a total jerk. A billionaire womanizer who made his fortune off of selling increasingly dangerous and more powerful weapons. Few people would’ve looked to that guy and called him a great person, but even donning the armor didn’t turn him into a saint.
Since becoming Iron Man, Tony has done a lot of horrible things not only to himself, but also the people around him. For this list, we’re looking at some of the worst things Iron Man has ever done in the comics.
10 LIED ABOUT HIS IDENTITY
Though Iron Man’s identity is public now, this wasn’t always the case. For years he hid behind the idea of Iron Man being his “bodyguard”. While this made for great dramatic tension, it wasn’t exactly a nice thing to do to all his friends, never mind the countless lovers he’s had throughout the years. He spent so much time hiding half of himself, shutting his closest people out of part of his life. Though it made for some great reading, this was a pretty horrible thing to do for almost 40 years of stories.
9 GAVE THE SUIT TO SOMEONE WITH HEAD TRAUMA
For the first half of Iron Man’s career, one of the major concerns Tony Stark had was that he was constantly risking his life every time he went into battle. He was richer, smarter, and generally more powerful than any of his opponents, but the accident that created Iron Man was the same one that gave him a fragile heart. Eventually, he got so strained he tried to pawn the armor off to someone else. That’s when Eddie March came in, a boxer who was physically fit to be Iron Man...but had dealt with too much head trauma. Tony didn’t even bother to check, risking March’s life.
8 CHARGING FOR THE EXTREMIS APP
Tony Stark managed to survive AXIS, but not with his old personality intact. Instead, he found himself inverted, turning into the opposite of everything he’d been. He began selling weapons to the highest bidder again, and even introduced all of Earth to a new version of Extremis, which could rewire a person’s body to look and think like however they wanted.
He gave it to an entire city for free...for a day. Then it would shut off, and to continue using it, they would have to pay $100 a day. Addicted to becoming Human 2.0, people turned to looting and robbing just to pay for something Tony didn’t initially think they were ready to have.
7 KILLED A FOREIGN DIGNITARY
During Tony Stark’s first spiral into alcoholism in “Demon in a Bottle”, Iron Man let his guard down enough for Justin Hammer to gain control over the armor using the “Hypersonic Scan Transmitter”. With this device, Hammer was able to remotely access parts of Iron Man’s armor, overriding control. Eventually, out of frustration because of how Stark Industries was beating out Hammer Industries, he forced Iron Man to kill a foreign dignitary with his unibeam. Though the death itself wasn’t his fault, Stark letting his guard down like this still resulted in the death of another human.
6 WORKED WITH KANG THE CONQUEROR
This is one of the worst things Iron Man’s ever done, but it’s also one of the worst ideas ever put in the comics to begin with. Readers hate when characters they’ve been reading about for decades are suddenly an entirely different person than they believed. So when Iron Man began acting erratic with his fellow Avengers there was reason for concern. But this reasoning became a priority when it was revealed that Iron Man had become a secret agent for Kang the Conqueror. Working alongside him for an untold number of years, he finally decided to turn on his allies. This resulted in Stark losing his life until Heroes Reborn brought him back.
5 LIED TO HIS FRIENDS ABOUT BEING DEAD
After being shot by a jealous ex, his body falling apart because of his constant technology use and desire to be Iron Man, Stark was in more trouble than he’d ever been before. He needed the opportunity to mend, so he explained to the world he was dead. Meanwhile, the doctors helped fix him and allowed him to heal. This made sense...but refusing to tell his friends didn’t. He used the old “what if people guessed I was alive” excuse, but this was straight up nonsense, and only got him more isolated from people that loved him.
4 PRETENDED TO FIRE HIMSELF
This could refer to literally all of the Armor Wars, to be honest. When Tony discovered the designs for his armor had been stolen and distributed to other people, he lost it. Immediately he set out to force anyone using his armor’s design to stop, melting their suits to slag with special tech. Angering the wrong people one too many times got Stark Industries into trouble, so Tony did the only logical thing: fire hims. Hopefully no one thought he would accept responsibilities for his actions. In the end, Stark continued working as Iron Man and being “renegade” to get control over his tech back, and had to fake his death to survive.
3 SUPPORTED THE SUPERHERO REGISTRATION ACT
Of all the bad things Iron Man has ever done, this has to be the worst one. Trusting the government with intimate knowledge of a hero’s loved ones, job, identity, was a terrible idea from start. And it never got better. Tony fought other heroes and threw them in jail without proper procedure.
His actions resulted in Captain America being killed. And then eventually, putting himself in such a prominent spot his technology got hacked during the Skrull’s attempted invasion. Afterwards, Stark lost his position in SHIELD to Norman Osborn, meaning all the heroes’ info was suddenly in the hands of Spider-Man’s oldest foe. Nothing good came out of this, and most of it is Iron Man’s fault.
2 MURDERED A BUNCH OF SENTIENT AI
This was from one of the more recent Iron Man comics. After revealing he might actually be an Artificial Intelligence himself thanks to various experiments over the last ten years of stories, Tony ends up with a bunch of angry AIs outside his headquarters. When the outside of his place becomes the home for a battle of Tony vs. a combination of Vision and Wonder Man, he comes up with a plan to use an EMP to deactivate him and fix things. But using it without thinking, he winds up killing all of the AIs in the area. Great going, hero.
1 SENDING THE HULK INTO SPACE
Ultimately, sending the Hulk into space wasn’t a bad idea. This might be an opinion most people disagree with, but the character is more trouble than he’s worth. Why should everyone else have to deal with some dude who can’t control his temper, causing millions in property damage and lost jobs? No, the actual idea itself wasn’t bad. What was bad is that he wound up on a completely different planet, which made things worse and he wound up coming back angrier than ever. This wound up with the Hulk in a rage, tearing through the entire superhuman community just to collect the Illuminati who decided to send him away. Sometimes even the best laid plans don’t work out.