Tony Stark can’t stop tinkering — a habit that has given him nothing but grief his entire superhero career. Usually, it ends up with him obsessively fixating on an idea to the point he starts some kind of superheroic civil war or accidentally helps develop technology that will destroy the world. It also means that he just won’t stop designing armour suits. Here are some of the weirdest.
The Original, But Gold
OK, so, yes, this armour is a classic and is not necessarily bad looking. It’s the original! It’s iconic! It’s influenced decades of Tony’s design work. But the reason he upgraded to this gold version from the iron-clad aesthetic of the original? Tony Stark, Rich Idiot, thought that the gold would make him more approachable as a hero. What a goof.
Iron Man Armour Model YT1
That time Tony Stark was revealed to have been manipulated by years of Kang the Conqueror’s temporal machinations — so the Avengers decided to do some time-fiddling of their own and go back to recruit a teen Tony — was already a pretty dumb chapter of Iron Man’s comics history. The fact that said Teen Tony promptly designed this suit only compounds that further.
Look, I’m sorry: All of Tony’s armours work underwater. Why did he do this? Why did he need it? Why?
Not to be content with making armours that can transform from cars, briefcases, and more, Tony recently made this kitsch little setup that starts off as a scooter and then turns into a terrible suit of armour that looks like, well, it started off as a scooter. Back to the drawing board, Tony, just don’t make that transform too.
Galactus Buster Armour
Tony’s made some very silly and specific “Buster” armours in the past, but the fact that he made one for fighting Galactus that was literally just “What if it was incredibly large and just looked like Galactus?” is probably up there on his list of dumbest ideas.
High Gravity Armour
Damn he a robot, and he got feet?
Tony Stark, it seems, is really big into “metal-but-weird” as a concept when it comes to his armours. An early experimentation with that was SKIN, an adaptive liquid alloy that could simultaneously become as hard as adamantium and yet flexible enough to bounce and bend comfortably. Cool idea, sure, but how the suit “formed” is what made it goofy: the gold SKIN pieces would only form around the red parts on command, so Tony would be running around looking half-dressed.
Phoenix Killer Armour
Designed to, well, kill the Phoenix Force, the Phoenix Killer was a collabo between Tony and Hank Pym, and essentially a chunky-looking Mecha-armour for Iron Man to pilot. Not only did it look bad, it was terrible at the one thing it was designed to do: in Avengers vs. X-Men the Phoenix Killer didn’t defeat the cosmic force but instead split it into five fragments of itself, creating an infinitely worse problem. Good job, fellas.
Once again, the idea behind this armour isn’t bad: in an attempt to better defend Tony, the Ablative armour’s tiled pieces could be manipulated by a forcefield to dynamically protect him from projectile attacks while also being used as ranged weapons of their own. The execution of it is ugly as hell though. That mask is nightmare-inducing.
Once again, good idea, bad design. When Tony was briefly a Guardian of the Galaxy, he needed to update his space armour to better withstand extended periods of stress and activity in outer space. Most of the suit is fine (the almost Nova-esque star around the reactor is a nice touch!), but my god, the helmet? That permanent uber-pout of the mouth section? Goofy as all heck.
The Hulkbuster Car
This is silly from multiple standpoints. First, it’s the first time Marvel Comics just straight up used a design from the movies: the Model 52 is in fact the Mark 44 Hulkbuster from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But, unlike the MCU’s take on the comics’ Hulkbuster, this suit was also… a car? I don’t know why Tony decided he needed another Hulkbuster but also another car, simultaneously. He’d just sold Stark Tower at this point in the comics, it’s not like he couldn’t budget these as two separate things!
Bonus: That Time Tony’s Mask Had a Nose
This technically isn’t a new armour, as it was (as the legends go) allegedly an editorial decision born out of Stan Lee complaining about Iron Man not having space in his mask for Tony’s nose, only to then later complain that giving the mask an actual nose indent just looked silly as hell. But Invincible Iron Man #68 has Tony explain in-continuity why he suddenly gave his faceplate a nose: it was apparently to make him more expressive, and above all, more intimidating.
I don’t think intimidating is the right word choice here. The plate vanished a little while later, but its haunting image remains.