This week sees the release of Invincible Iron Man #500. Tony Stark will be celebrating his milestone anniversary as some of his worst enemies team-up to bring down the world-saving billionaire. With that in mind we thought it would be topical to pick out and shine the spotlight on some of Iron Man’s greatest villains. Because while Ol’ Shell Head is one of the linchpin characters in the Marvel Universe, a lot of his enemies are pretty lame. So we’re going to fill you in on the bad guys that actually matter in Tony Stark’s life.
Fin Fang Foom was originally the lapdog of The Mandarin, helping him take over a third of China. But when Foom’s true identity as an alien was revealed, with his alien brothers-in-arms rallying behind him, it was Mandarin that crawled back to Iron Man for help in defeating Foom. Fing Fang Foom is one of the only characters to make The Mandarin cower in fear. That’s why he deserves a spot on this list.
Hammer Family LegacyJustin Hammer is the reason why a lot of Iron Man’s villains exist in the first place. He’s responsible for the influx of high-tech Iron Man ripoffs, as he constantly strived to sabotage his competitor Tony Stark. Hammer was, of course, never successful in bringing down the Stark empire and replacing Tony as the zenith of future weapons developers, but he sure gave it a good run. Even his daughter, Justine, and her daughter, Sasha, have joined in on the fun of trying to cripple Tony Stark and Stark Industries. These two characters also have deep ties to two of the other members of this list. The entire Hammer family legacy has yet to be written, but odds are it won’t be punctuated until the day Tony Stark is dead.
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Stane Family LegacyObadiah Stane is unique amongst this list because he was actually a business partner of Tony Stark that had incredibly close ties to the hero and his late father. But as the story goes, Obadiah Stane’s power hunger nature lead to the creation of the Iron Monger suit, which Stane donned in one last attempt to end Tony and seize control of Stark Industries. The mission was a failure, with Obadiah taking his own life, but the history of Stanes versus Starks was far from over.
Eventually Obadiah’s son, Ezekiel Stane, rose to carry on his father’s legacy of destroying Tony Stark. Ezekiel is a younger, smarter, sharper, more evolved version of Tony, as comic scribe Matt Fraction puts it. What’s special about Ezekiel Stane is that he’s Tony Stark in the wrong hands. Short of a villain that’s further down this list, Ezekiel Stane is Tony Stark’s biggest contemporary threat.
Fantastic Four. But in all honesty, Victor Von Doom makes for the perfect foil to Tony Stark because of their matching intellect, influence and power. The two have even crossed paths in one of the better Iron Man stories out there, “Doomquest.” Iron Man would be lucky to have Doctor Doom as a full-time nemesis.