Tony Stark’s suits saw a modestly amusing evolution since 2008’s Iron Man kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe, from the impromptu armor he built in a cave to the nano technology housed in a device on his chest. However, the suits we saw in the movies are nothing compared to their depictions in the comics.
Sure, Avengers: Age of Ultron saw Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) donning the iconic Hulkbuster suit and Rhodey’s War Machine armor is undeniably badass, but there are several Iron Man suits from the comics we wish could have made it into the movies somehow. The following are our top choices in the matter.
Iron Man Endo-Sym Armor Suit
Tony Stark’s nanotech-based Iron Man suit, as introduced in the early moments of Avengers: Infinity War, certainly comes in handy for portability and quick changes between battles. Yet, it would have been especially intriguing to see him try out the same concept using a kind of tech that is foreign to his typically Earthbound materials.
First mentioned in 2014 and making a proper introduction in the first issue of the Superior Iron Man comics a year later, Tony Stark developed a suit based in part on symbiotic biology (yes, by “symbiotic,” that refers to the same Symbiote that gave Peter Parker his black Spider-Man suit and turned rival photographer Eddie Brock into Venom) which allows it to contour perfectly to the figure of any wearer. Being made of liquid metal, this armor would have also made for a great reference to Robert Patrick’s antagonist in Terminator 2: Judgment Day somewhere in the MCU movies.
Iron Man Stealth Armor Suit
Speaking of black suits, Tony Stark has donned a black Iron Man suit as well in the comics. First appearing in Marvel’s Iron Man #152 in 1981, his Stealth Armor model has the ability to maximize concealment by absorbing radar detection and even changing color in later models, allowing him to infiltrate enemy territory without ever being spotted. The catch is that the suit is built purely for blending in and its fragility renders it unreliable in the event of combat.
While the armor is not as strong as Tony Stark’s more defense-based Iron Man suit models, its sleek appearance would have fit right in the movies, giving Robert Downey Jr.’s aesthetically minded Stark yet another thing to gloat about. Furthermore, just imagine how cool an espionage thriller with the normally outlandishly confrontational Iron Man would be. He would be both James Bond and Q.
Iron Man Hydro Armor Suit
We have seen Iron Man’s suit lend its services underwater before in a scene from The Avengers that saw Tony Stark equipping the future Avengers tower with a self-sustaining energy power source into an underwater pipeline. But that did not require a very deep dive and the comics have known his armor to never be fully reliable when submerged.
That is why Tony Stark built his Hydro Armor Iron Man suit, which first graced the pages of Marvel Comics in 1987, to allow him to work underwater at depths of up to 3 miles. Admit it: Iron Man taking on a ferocious sea beast deep in the ocean trenches sounds a lot more interesting than Aquaman doing the same thing in his own place of origin, does it not?
Iron Man Space Armor Suit
We have also seen Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark use his Iron Man suit in space, a feat that nearly killed him near the end of The Avengers. Of course, that stunt was a thankfully successful spur-of-the-moment move in order to use a missile aimed for New York City to destroy the Chitauri, but it kind of makes you wonder why he didn’t think to create armor more suitable for space travel in future movies.
I mean, that’s what Tony Stark did in the comics. First developed in 1981, the Model 5 Iron Man suit’s fusion-powered armor is specially designed for extended use in outer space. It is also among the heaviest of Stark’s armor models when not in zero gravity, which could have led to some off-beat comic relief involving Iron Man forced to check his ego at the door and require a fellow Avenger’s assistance to get himself out of the suit in the movies.
Iron Man Model 52 Armor Suit
This Iron Man suit does not have a cool nickname, but it has an undeniably cool feature. Making its first appearance on the pages of Marvel in 2016, the Model 52 armor doubles as a fully functional flying car, which Tony Stark uses to pick up Captain America from an accident at the Queensboro Bridge in the comics.
I do not believe that I have to explain why a flying car in the Marvel movies would be cool. Tony Stark’s reputation for owning the coolest Earthly vehicles of any MCU hero would be increased hundredfold by possessing a car that does not need roads. That actually perfectly transitions into my next point: it would spark a priceless opportunity for another shameless Back to the Future reference.
Iron Man Cold Iron Armor Suit
In contrast to the previous entry on this list, this suit does, indeed, have a pretty cool name, but that is not the only reason it would have deserved a transition from Marvel comics to the movies. Even the bayonets emerging from the suit’s gauntlets making it look like an epic crossover between Iron Man and Wolverine is not the best thing about it.
First appearing in the comics in 2014, this is one of the few Iron Man suits that actually lives up to the name of Tony Stark’s heroic alter ego. The Cold Iron Armor model is actually made entirely of iron, a substance proven lethal to Dark Elves, which makes it impervious to their magic. Therefore, Robert Downey Jr.’s Stark probably could have been a great help to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor when he faced off with Malekith in Thor: The Dark World which, if you ask me, would have made for a far more exciting conclusion.
Nano Iron Man Suit
It is no secret that Tony Stark is a fan of nanotechnology, considering his aforementioned Iron Man suit conveniently housed in a device stuck to his chest as seen in Avengers: Infinity War. His comic book counterpart has taken the use of nanotech to the next level.
Tony Stark has also developed nanobots designed to resemble the Iron Man suit that can be remotely piloted to achieve multiple tasks, such as in 2018 when he injected a swarm of the bots into the bloodstream of the ancient monster Fin Fang Foom to investigate his odd behavior. Like I said, these things could be very helpful in sticky situations the Avengers have been bound to face in the movies, such as a deeper exploration of Stark’s illness in Iron Man 2, fixing damages in hard-to-reach places, or given Ant-Man another reason to feel not so small for once.
Iron Man Fin Fang Foombuster Armor Suit
Of course, nanobots are not the only method that Iron Man has adopted to take on Fin Fang Foom in the comics. As what could be considered an enhancement to Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster model, this suit measuring about 20 stories high was specifically created for physical confrontations with the once villainous gargantuan creature.
While it was a treat to see Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark don the Hulkbuster suit in a duel against a hulked-out Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Fin Fang Foombuster is bigger, badder, and equipped with reinforced versions of Iron Man’s traditional repulsor cannons to ensure twice the damage. Additionally, I just really want to see Fin Fang Foom in the movies, which is not out of the question, but even then, it won’t be anything like seeing Iron Man take the monster on.
Iron Man Godbuster Armor Suit
I promise that I am not choosing these Iron Man suits based on what they are nicknamed in the comics. But, as far as nicknames go, is there anything that could possibly sound as cool as Godbuster?
First appearing in Marvel comics in the summer of 2019 and referred to as Tony Stark’s “masterpiece” by his brother, Arno Stark, the Godbuster Iron Man suit is so powerful that no one is certain of the full extent of its capabilities, which is part of why Tony chose to destroy it as he deemed it too powerful for Earth. However, if the armor’s enhanced strength and arsenal of weaponry that outmatches War Machine could have been used on Titan, Thanos (Josh Brolin) would have never stood a chance in Avengers: Infinity War.
Robert Downey Jr.’s time as the MCU’s Tony Stark may have expired given the events of Avengers: Endgame. That is not to say that Iron Man’s legacy will cease to live on in future movies.
The comics are rich in varying iterations of the Iron Man mantle, meaning it could be likely that we have not seen the last of his suits in the MCU. All they need is someone to build them and wield them so that one day we may see a battle against Fin Fang Foom finally be put to celluloid.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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