The Evolution of Iron Man's Armour

The Evolution of Iron Man's Armour

March 30, 2017

Mark I - Mark 46

Currently, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the armour that continues to impress us ranges from Mark I to Mark XLVI (46). Mark I debuted in the 2008 hit Iron Man movie, while Mark XLVI debuted in the 2016 movie, Captain America: Civil War.

 Mark 1 Armour

Tales of Suspense 1963 #39In this day and age, to bring a character to life we have spectacular CGI that creates immersive detail in order to intensify the awesomeness of the character. However, these epic designs were actually conceived many years’ prior in the comic series.The classic grey armour that Mark I is based on, first appeared in the character’s debut in 1963 Tales of Suspense #39. Mark I was armed with electromagnetic gloves, a flamethrower and a manually deployed rocket, that made this armour quite the force to be reckoned with. Although it’s aero capabilities were not polished yet, leading to the armour's destruction in the first Iron Man movie, it is hard to forget the roots of Iron Man. After all what more could you ask for from a man held prisoner in the middle of a desert?







The red and gold design of Iron Man’s armour first appeared in the #48 of Tales of Suspense in 1963. The armour was a clean and sleek improved version of the bulky grey armour and came with every whistle and bell, including Iron Man’s primary weapon Repulsor Rays. It was only much later however in Iron Man #85 (1976) that the classic red and gold armour was debuted. This armour compares more closely to Mark III in the 2008 Iron Man movie and thus formed the bases of every Iron Man suit to come.


Tales of Suspense #48 1963Mark 3    Iron Man #85 (1976)

Iron Man #300 (1994)Mark 42

In 1994 Iron Man #300, Modular Armour was debuted which saw each part of the armour becoming an independent component that allowed Tony to swap the pieces as needed depending on what his upcoming battle will need. Although we have not quite seen this concept applied to Iron Man that forms part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe today, we do see modularity applied to Mark 42. The first armour suit where each part was treated as an independent component and was controlled by microchips inside Tony’s body.



Iron Man #281 (1992)War Machine Mark II

So we can see that many of the armour versions today in the marvel cinematic universe are based on the original comic series and have been brought to life by the incredible technology of today. Other notable armour depictions were the War Machine armour debuting in Iron Man #281 (1992). Used in the comic series by Tony initially to do battle with the Masters of Silence, where he is heavily outgunned and required a suit capable of destruction on a large scale. This differs from the Marvel Cinematic Universe where the War Machine armour was created by Tony but then modified by the U.S. military.



Iron Man #304 (1994)

Mark 44


Hulkbuster Armour made its first appearance in Iron Man #304 (1994) an armour of immense strength that was needed in case there was a battle with the angry green giant himself, Hulk.





Iron Man #142 (1981)

Now considering the armour concepts were conceived over a decade ago, there are a number of armour concepts that still have to debut on the big screen. This may be because the ideas are a little too far out there or maybe because we are just not there yet as in the cinematic story of Iron Man. Possible future concepts are Space Armour used when Iron Man joined the Guardians of the Galaxy, a concept, if applied to the Cinematic Universe, will create an interesting addition to the Guardians of the Galaxy team.




Invincible Iron Man #5 (2006)

Extremis armour was created when Tony Stark injected the extremis super soldier virus into his body which changed his body chemistry allowing him to be physically linked to his armour and computer system. Therefore, he was able to control the suit with a single thought. An impressive upgrade that we may see in the future.



Invincible Iron Man #25 (2010)

Bleeding Edge Armour was designed so the armour itself was able to be stored inside Tony’s bone marrow. This made it possible to have his armour with him at all times. The design effectively turned Tony into a cyborg of a sort. A far reaching concept that we doubt will ever make it to big screen but definitely one of the more intriguing armour versions the comic series has produced.




Lastly, we have the Marvel NOW! initiative, which falls into thIron Man #1 (2013)e more recent comics where we see Iron Man given a completely new colour scheme which is black and gold. The Marvel NOW! Armour has an interesting spin on it as its able to turn into a liquid that can be controlled by Tony’s mind in order to suit him up. Maybe not such a far out concept for the big screen.

Iron Man is an epic hero that is one of the superstars of the avengers and was an instant big screen hit. There is clearly a lot of concepts out there and we may see many new things to come in the upcoming additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.



Author: Nikhil Makan
Aspiring Stormtrooper




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