The Invincible Iron Man's Greatest Villains

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Posted by erik_norris (191 posts) - - Show Bio

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.

Crimson Dynamo

The Crimson Dynamo armor was originally created by Anton Vanko as the Russian counterpart to America’s Iron Man suit. However, after Vanko failed to kill Iron Man as the Crimson Dynamo, per Russian government orders, he deflected to the United States to save his own life. Vanko eventually became friends and co-workers with Tony Stark, acting as his chief scientist. Since the original Crimson Dynamo there have been 12 other versions of the character. The Crimson Dynamo is also one of the oldest Iron Man villains in comics.

Fin Fang Foom

This character I never quite understood. How could a monster that looks like the Asian version of Puff the Magic Dragon really be one of Iron Man’s most well-known foes? Well, after some research I learned that 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 Legacy

Justin 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.
== TEASER ==

Stane Family Legacy

Obadiah 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.

Doctor Doom

Technically, Doctor Doom isn’t an Iron Man villain. He’s best known for being the arch-nemesis of the 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. 

   

The Mandarin

The Mandarin is one evil dude. Wielding the power of the Ten Rings of Power, Mandarin is what Tony Stark would be if he was concerned solely with selfish power-lusting. As far as physical adversaries go, The Mandarin is the quintessential Iron Man villain and that's why he’s the focal adversary in Iron Man’s 500th issue.

 

Alcoholism

What else could rank as Tony Stark's greatest villain? Tony’s struggle with alcoholism is one of the character’s most defining moments. Alcoholism is also a “villain” that Iron Man couldn’t just punch into submission. Tony’s fought aliens, robots and pretty much every other type of villain the Marvel Universe can throw at him, but none were tougher than a single bottle of JD. So a toast to alcohol is in order; you’re one hell of a crutch! 
Staff
#1 Posted by Theodore (3445 posts) - - Show Bio

Alcoholism is his worst enemy

#2 Edited by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio

Mandarin is the quintessential Iron Man villain. In his inception Iron Man was very much the hero of the Cold War, a cocky capitalist using American ingenuity and technology to take down the Red Menace and few foes were as Red Menacing or more Yellow Perilous than the Mandarin. He even set up another great contrast with Tony as well, originally his rings were supposed to be magic in origin setting up a nice little science vs. magic dichotomy.

#3 Posted by Theodore (3445 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" Mandarin is the quintessential Iron Man villain "
for sure.
#4 Posted by Jake Fury (18157 posts) - - Show Bio

I LOVED Spymaster as a young comic fan.
#5 Edited by longbowhunter (6795 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree, I've always thought of Dr. Doom as the perfect Iron Man villian. 
 
By the way, is that Fin Fang Foom picture from NextWave?
Online
#6 Posted by tbpinkfloyd (126 posts) - - Show Bio

I think a bigger enemy to Tony is himself. Look at some of the decisions he's made over the past years and the regret he is experiencing now; he became someone he never wanted to be.

#7 Posted by wokattack (31 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir: 
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" Mandarin is the quintessential Iron Man villain. In his inception Iron Man was very much the hero of the Cold War, a cocky capitalist using American ingenuity and technology to take down the Red Menace and few foes were as Red Menacing or more Yellow Perilous than the Mandarin. He even set up another great contrast with Tony as well, originally his rings were supposed to be magic in origin setting up a nice little science vs. magic dichotomy. "

I agree with this one - though it would be nice to see more of Dr. Doom matching wits with Tony Stark.
#8 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio

I do really want to see the Stane-Hammer lovechild.

#9 Posted by They Killed Cap! (2243 posts) - - Show Bio

Haha alcholisum that made me laugh.
#10 Posted by Soldier zero (250 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" Mandarin is the quintessential Iron Man villain. In his inception Iron Man was very much the hero of the Cold War, a cocky capitalist using American ingenuity and technology to take down the Red Menace and few foes were as Red Menacing or more Yellow Perilous than the Mandarin. He even set up another great contrast with Tony as well, originally his rings were supposed to be magic in origin setting up a nice little science vs. magic dichotomy. "
Actually the ring were supposed to be alien technology, Mandy started working with magic a lot later, but I see your point.
 
@tbpinkfloyd said:
" I think a bigger enemy to Tony is himself. Look at some of the decisions he's made over the past years and the regret he is experiencing now; he became someone he never wanted to be. "

This is I think the key to character. Tony has the curse of being too intelligent for his own good, he always think that he knows better than anyone else. Plus, he's an adrenaline junkie, he need a constant challenge to keep himself interested in the world. Those are what ultimatly caused his many downfalls.
#11 Posted by dondasch (926 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the alcoholism was addressed within Demon In a Bottle ?  I'm not sure of the exact title, but I recall it being a very good read.

#12 Posted by moffattbooks (139 posts) - - Show Bio

Out of all his enemies, I put bets on his Liver kicking his ass for the 10 count

#13 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio
@Soldier zero: I could have sworn they said it was magic originally then retconned it to alien tech from Fin Fang Foom's homeworld.
#14 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29499 posts) - - Show Bio

 


YOU FORGOT THE UNICORN!!!! 
 
#15 Edited by Frobin (96 posts) - - Show Bio

If you add alcoholism you have to add megalomania too - during Civil War in my opinion the whole character of Tony Stark changed irreversible. It's still continuity ... or did Mephisto offer a deal to Tony too? ... and till Dark Reign began he has been a megalomaniac control freak! 
 
In my opinion he should still be some sort of villain ... at least not a hero ... what he did can't be forgotten and isn't returnable ... so imo it's totally cheap and lame how Marvel is putting all together now ... I think there is still no plausible change of character since CW ... he cloned Thor and hunted Cap down like a rabbit, he betrayed all his friends ... and then (in Avengers Prime) he just says: I'm so sorry for what I did! 
 
During CW I've seen Tony Stark as some sort of Lex Luthor of Marvel (but not so evil villain like Luthor, more misguided/ troubled evil). An interesting character. Now he's gentle again?
 Nope! Too easy! 

#16 Posted by Icemizer (181 posts) - - Show Bio

Mordecai Midas was the main man. No really he was awesome. Ok I am lying he was a fat guy in a flying chair who dressed like a Greek guy with a toga. I dont know how Tony didnt laugh himself out of his armor when he fought this guy.
 
For me Obadiah Stane was the best villian Stark ever went up againt. The Titanium Man would be second, and then I would throw in AIM. 
 
Honorable mention to the Living Laser, Spymaster, Grey Gargoyle and Madame Masque.
#17 Posted by MrFantastic (248 posts) - - Show Bio

Jack - Yukon Jack

#18 Posted by GothamRed (2562 posts) - - Show Bio

Alcoholism was his greatest enemy, but unlike the others on the list, he's actually basically defeated it in full

#19 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

Tony's greatest enemy is Tony, always has been and always will be.  
 
As far as his rogues gallery goes it would be Mandarin, Hammer's, Staines...that's why they're being used in this issue. Sadly Iron Man lacks the quintessential villains that other heroes of his stature have. Ultron, Dr. Doom, Osborn all are either villains from other titles or from the Avengers. Iron Man's personal villains are some of the lamest ever, and this' coming from a die hard fan.  
 
@Frobin said:

" If you add alcoholism you have to add megalomania too - during Civil War in my opinion the whole character of Tony Stark changed irreversible. It's still continuity ... or did Mephisto offer a deal to Tony too? ... and till Dark Reign began he has been a megalomaniac control freak!   In my opinion he should still be some sort of villain ... at least not a hero ... what he did can't be forgotten and isn't returnable ... so imo it's totally cheap and lame how Marvel is putting all together now ... I think there is still no plausible change of character since CW ... he cloned Thor and hunted Cap down like a rabbit, he betrayed all his friends ... and then (in Avengers Prime) he just says: I'm so sorry for what I did!   During CW I've seen Tony Stark as some sort of Lex Luthor of Marvel (but not so evil villain like Luthor, more misguided/ troubled evil). An interesting character. Now he's gentle again?  Nope! Too easy!  "
Nearly everybody was written out of character in the debacle known as Civil War, folk. Tony included. Is Stark an egotistical know it all asshole with a god complex? Well of course he is, but what he isn't is frakin' Iron Hitler! I mean really, Tony/Reed (prick that he is) building concentration camps and shoving his friends into them? Steer shite, utterly and totally.   
  
But for what it's worth, there has been true fallout from is actions throughout Fraction's Iron Man. And you see Tony coming to term with his mistakes, looking in his souls mirror and seeing those flaws in himself. There's a great panel when he tells read about wiping his memory and Reed in his trademark "everyone but me's an idiot" tone chides him for not constantly backing up his memory. Tony, exasperated more or less tells him to shut the flush up, then solemnly says that he thought he was above needing a back up, thought he was above making mistakes, he thought that wasn't even a possibility because it was too human. Now I don't know how the other writers are handling it but I think Fraction's doing an excellent job of reintegrating him into the hero community. He made some huge mistakes under Miller's pen but he did what he believed was right, he did some wrong things for the right reasons. He genuinely believed that he was doing the best thing for the most amount of people in the best way possible. I was one of those people that was so through with Iron Man after Civil War, but thanks to Fraction's great writing I found myself compelled to forgive ol' Shell Head, so why not his longtime friends?
#20 Posted by pinchpaker29 (470 posts) - - Show Bio

Aside from Alchohol, I always though the Mandarin was Tony's best villain... On another note, I know he's a Spidey villain but Norman Osborn hurt Tony pretty bad.

#21 Posted by Soldier zero (250 posts) - - Show Bio
@Emperor Gonzo Noir:  if memory serve me well, during the second encounter between Iron Man and Mandarin it was establlished that he found the rings in a aline spaceship which crash-landed in China.
#22 Posted by The Stegman (23160 posts) - - Show Bio

besides Doom, all of Ironman's villains seem kinda...lame

#23 Posted by Kid_Zombie (824 posts) - - Show Bio

Would love to see Dr. Doom be more an iron man villain! Think he is perfect for it. Plus imagine seeing Dr.Doom face off against Tony stark in a movie? EPIC!
 
Ya Mandarin is his Joker so he the main baddie for sure.

#24 Posted by Outside_85 (8152 posts) - - Show Bio

Everyone who refused to sign the SHRA.

#25 Posted by Kid_Zombie (824 posts) - - Show Bio
@Frobin said:
" If you add alcoholism you have to add megalomania too - during Civil War in my opinion the whole character of Tony Stark changed irreversible. It's still continuity ... or did Mephisto offer a deal to Tony too? ... and till Dark Reign began he has been a megalomaniac control freak!   In my opinion he should still be some sort of villain ... at least not a hero ... what he did can't be forgotten and isn't returnable ... so imo it's totally cheap and lame how Marvel is putting all together now ... I think there is still no plausible change of character since CW ... he cloned Thor and hunted Cap down like a rabbit, he betrayed all his friends ... and then (in Avengers Prime) he just says: I'm so sorry for what I did!   During CW I've seen Tony Stark as some sort of Lex Luthor of Marvel (but not so evil villain like Luthor, more misguided/ troubled evil). An interesting character. Now he's gentle again?  Nope! Too easy!  "
I could say the same about Captain America. why would he be against something that is so obviously a good idea? If this was the real world, That shit would have happened in a heart beat, sucks its not like that anymore, because it gave the marvel universe a sence of reality.
#26 Posted by TheBatsoul (42 posts) - - Show Bio

No female enemies? :X

#27 Posted by Grendel (560 posts) - - Show Bio

Ghost belongs on the list since you are listing contemporary villains.
 

Thunderbolts #151
#28 Posted by Video_Martian (5645 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron Man's top 5 greatest enemies are:

The Mandarin
1. The Mandarin
2. Justin Hammer
3. Doctor Doom
4. Obadiah Stane/ Iron Monger
Iron Man - Thor 01
5. Crimson Dynamo
#29 Posted by umbrafeline (5300 posts) - - Show Bio

 
RUST!!! that is all ^_^

#30 Posted by Doctor!!!!! (2055 posts) - - Show Bio

Iron Man needs to go to an Avenger Intervention... 
they know how to break a habit.
#31 Posted by Bestostero (5618 posts) - - Show Bio

Mandarin is the one that comes to mind... I never really paid attention to the character until the animated series and Mandarin was the main villain then..
 
lol Alcoholism

#32 Edited by Emperormeister734 (804 posts) - - Show Bio

There is only one Supervillian I've admire  and that is the 10-fingered  Ringslinger give it up for... 
 
THE MANDARIN
and congrads for being the villian in Iron Man #500
#33 Posted by Emperormeister734 (804 posts) - - Show Bio
@Soldier zero:
i agree with you on that sometimes Tony manages to hurt himself in  the process of helping others
#34 Posted by Decept-O (7274 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate the Mandarin as an Iron Man villain.  I hate Fin Fang Foom.   What need does a dragon/alien--whatever--have for wearing briefs??   
 
Give me.......the Living Laser.    But I want the earlier version of him.  Just my preference and probably one of the few who likes the character. 
#35 Posted by Walker696 (984 posts) - - Show Bio

people forget that part of Tony's problem wasn't just him drinking it was his attitude too. He's gotten into just as many issue because of his personality then anything else. Between being cocky, a man whore, and thinking he was smarter then anybody short of Jesus, Tony has a long list of things you could call his enemies outside of actual villains lol.
 
As for physical rivals I'd go with: 
Doom for a intellectual rival
 Madarain for the person who made him think out the box the most(dealing with magic)
Madam Masque as his best female villain
Ghost as his most obsessed 
Hammer for financial
Capt for most emotional
The Stane's as all around

#36 Posted by The Sadhu (853 posts) - - Show Bio

Tony's own pride and arrogance are his worst enemies!
#37 Posted by ChadwickDavis (444 posts) - - Show Bio
@GothamRed:
I dont know he has had a few near relapses, 
 
But outside of alcoholism it has to be Ultron  
(does anyone remember the armor wars?)

When Iron man who loses his armor the man is to eat a lot of humble pie...Gotta give Ultron his props 
#38 Posted by NightFang (9904 posts) - - Show Bio
@Theodore said:
" Alcoholism is his worst enemy "
and the Mandarin.
#39 Posted by Chris207 (118 posts) - - Show Bio

How could Spymaster NOT make this list? It's because of his stealing Stark's tech secrets that Armor Wars happened! 
 
Honorable Mention - The Ghost. 

#40 Posted by Deadcool (6809 posts) - - Show Bio
@TheBatsoul said:
" No female enemies? :X "@
There is a Madame Maske 
 
The Stegman said:

" besides Doom, all of Ironman's villains seem kinda...lame " 

What the hell are you saying?!
Have you ever read an Issue with the Mandarin?
Fing Fang Foom is the Main villain in Iron Man: Viva las Vegas.
#41 Posted by mickoreo_LZ (250 posts) - - Show Bio

Mandarin is definitely tops on the list, but c'mon Marvel. Tony is a pretty big deal in the Marvel Universe, yet his list of baddies is weak sauce.

#42 Posted by thatlad (592 posts) - - Show Bio

You forgot Cap, during civll war he raised an army and would've defeatood ed him if Cap hadn't have stood down

#43 Posted by The Stegman (23160 posts) - - Show Bio
@Deadcool: well i've read a LITTLE bit of things with the Mandarin, but nothing he did ever really impressed me much, not as much as villains such as Doom, Magneto, Osborn, Luthor, etc
#44 Posted by Deadcool (6809 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Stegman said:
" @Deadcool: well i've read a LITTLE bit of things with the Mandarin, but nothing he did ever really impressed me much, not as much as villains such as Doom, Magneto, Osborn, Luthor, etc "
Read This:
http://www.comicvine.com/iron-man-haunted-iron-man-haunted/37-181925/  
IRON MAN #21-28, Here the Mandarin become one of my favourite villains.

@thatlad said:
" You forgot Cap, during civll war he raised an army and would've defeatood ed him if Cap hadn't have stood down "
Atagonist is not the same as Villain, Ironman was Spider-man's Main atagonist during the Civil War.
#45 Posted by jubeiyagyuX (121 posts) - - Show Bio

meh! needs more Dark Aegis :P

#46 Posted by chalkshark (1185 posts) - - Show Bio

This list is sorely lacking in entries for The Titanium Man & The Controller.

#47 Edited by jimmyziogas (88 posts) - - Show Bio

Mandarin obviously, but Blizzard, Ghost and Living Lazer as well as Whiplash all are quintessential villains in his lore.  More so FIN FANG FOOM defines the ulitmate iron man villain in his universe.  I hope that the inheritor of the director seat for IM 3 agrees with Favreau's vision of a Tony vs An Iron Dragon for a Finale for the series.   I also think War Machine also qualifies for this category as a great villain, while he is he has always been Tony's greatest ally, he has been the villainous subject of some of the best Iron Man titles of all time.  I also would like to thank the creator of this thread.  It is long overdue, mainly because The Iron Man has a lack of great villiains in his universe in general.  Most of whom mostly steal and repurpose his tech against him in a fairly boring fashion.  Maybe a studio guy over at Marvel will read it before OK-ing the next iron man screen play that is mediocre (Like IM2, 1 rocked!) By the way, Iron Maniac is great and need more exploration, but doesn't meet my great qualification!

#48 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio
@Theodore: It's nearly everyone's weakness. Allan Alda's character from MASH - Hawkeye Pierce, was one....along with his friends Trapper and BJ Honeycut.....
 
I still think that CRIMSON DYNAMO is a greater foe because he is IRON MAN'S opposite number when it comes to armored characters.
#49 Posted by Spid3r-Man (47 posts) - - Show Bio

Who drew the picture of   Mandarin in this article? 

#50 Posted by RATZGobbler (180 posts) - - Show Bio
@Spid3r-Man said:
" Who drew the picture of   Mandarin in this article?  "
It's a screen shot from Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.

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