Monday, May 3, 2010

5 Iron Man Armors to Love

Karen: With 'Iron Man 2' less than a week away, I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite Iron Man armors. Old Shellhead has gone through nearly as many costume changes as the Wasp! Some of these armors were designed for very specific tasks, and were only worn briefly. But regardless, fans seem to enjoy the variety of suits Mr. Stark has worn over the years. It looks like the new movie will give us at least three different versions. (Although I doubt we'll see a Hulkbuster or Undersea armor). Without further adieu, here are five of my favorites:

1. The original Iron Man armor. It's clunky and has a funky skirt...but it's still cool. It actually looks like a suit of armor, unlike later iterations, which were more in line with the typical 'skin-tight' costume look. It reminds me of a robot from an old sci-fi movie. And it looked pretty awesome in the Iron Man film!

Doug: It's funny how in both the comics and the first film they only kept him in this can for one appearance. I rather like it, and prefer the look to the gold suit that followed. One of the details that was especially cool (since Iron Man was powered by "transistors") is the antenna on the left shoulder. The helmet here evokes Ferro Lad of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

2. Iron Man 'classic'. Ah, the classic red and gold look. Less bulky than the original, more streamlined than the previous pointy-helmet version...this was the look Iron Man sported from the late 60s til the early 80s.

Doug: What did you think of the "pointy-masked" variation? I guess I don't know why they went with that motif, but I didn't dislike it. This is of course the version that most of us grew up with, and as you said -- it remains the classic. When I think of Iron Man, this is what my mind sees.

Karen: Same here. This is "my" Iron Man, although I admit I like the way he looks now too. But this is pure nostalgia for me.

3. The Stealth Armor. Introduced in issue 152, this sleek black armor was used by Tony on missions where he wished to avoid detection. Of course, this issue came out at the time that Stealth technology in aerospace had become known to the public and was the cutting edge of engineering. And it looks really cool too.

Doug: Yep, the Stealth bomber. I remember the first time I saw it on the news. Wow. Only stands to reason that Tony Stark would know all there was to know about that technology, and make it his own.

Karen: Bob Layton and David Micheline really made you feel like Stark could exist in the real world. They brought much more real tech (or nearly real tech) into the title. I think the movies owe them a big debt.

4.Thorbuster armor. From issue 64 of volume 3, when Thor went power-mad and needed to be stopped. Utilizing a mystical Asgardian crystal as its power source, it also looked a heck of a lot like the Destroyer, which gives it instant coolness points.

Doug: Not too much to add here -- I wholeheartedly agree that anything resembling the Destroyer has to be cool!

5. Extremis Armor. Artist Adi Granov's fantastic work has redefined Iron Man and now he really looks like a guy wearing armor, instead of just another hero in a skin-tight suit. I love the metallic appearance of this suit. Obviously, this was a huge inspiration for the Iron Man films.

Doug: To me, the best thing about recent evolutions of the armor is it seems so much more true to movement -- any of the above suits would not allow the dynamism that is human movement. The special effects guys in the films have understood this, and in an effort to bring this great-looking costume to a sometimes-novice public they've crossed the bounds of unbelievability to make the casual observer at least say, "Hmmm....".

Karen: I think that's one of the reasons no one questions the "costume" for the movies - hey, he's just a guy in a suit -it could happen! people are willing to believe in it.

Honorable Mention: The Nose. Ah yes, you gotta love the strange sudden appearance of a nose on Iron Man's helmet in the mid-70s. All because an artist misunderstood a comment from Stan Lee. The nose is so goofy, but such a part of Iron Man history, you can't ignore it.

Doug: Short-lived, but oh so practical! This was the Iron Man that was appearing in the pages of The Avengers when I started collecting comics. And you couldn't have picked a more ridiculous panel to make your point!!

Doug: And if I could be so bold as to add another honorable mention, I'd like to offer the above-mentioned Hulkbuster armor, simply on the grounds of its sheer bulk. How powerful would the "transistors" in this baby have to be just to stand in it??

Karen: This was a close runner-up for me - I just liked the Thorbuster outfit a wee bit more. What has he got on his shoulders? hub caps??


MaGnUs said...

I love the classic one, or "the water boiler" as my friends and I call it, and I love the version of it the first movie did.

BTW, the new movie is good, not as good as the first one, but an enjoyable watch. I would have felt content about spending my money on it if I had paid to see it. :)

Karen said...

I agree Magnus, when I first saw the gray armor in the Iron Man movie, I thought it was about the coolest thing ever. And then I saw the red and gold

I'm anxiously looking forward to seeing Iron Man 2 this weekend. Expectations are certainly much higher for the sequel, but I am trying not to get caught up in that.

MaGnUs said...

I went in with expectations for it to be as good as the first one... but it was slightly lower in quality... yet still satisfying. And if you like armors... WAR MACHINE!!!

Anonymous said...

What about the red & silver model? The one at the end of the Armor Wars, which Wiki lists as "silver centurion.

MaGnUs said...

That's a cool one, and it's in the movie too.

Karen said...

The Silver centurion came very close to making the top five, but was just beaten by the Thorbuster armor.

You know I also liked the 'Outer Space' armor Layton came up with, although it may have only been used once.

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