Comics 101 – The MCU: Iron Man

This week, I wanted to start a new inclusion into my blog as a whole, comics 101. This inclusion comes at the request of Marlee who just finished her marathon of the entire MCU with my good friend, Ryan. They finished Endgame last night and then at about 11:45 last night I was blasted with a bunch of questions about the MCU and certain character choices. So I’m going to be giving some basic information for non comic fans to really get the story so they can enjoy the MCU as much as hardcore fans. I say fans and not fanboys because there is a BIG difference. Fanboys get mad when a characters costume is different then their comic suit because “How could they destroy the character like that?!”

I will be the first to admit, I toe that line frequently. I know the difference and if it’s a character I am very passionate about (Batman, Moon Knight, Taskmaster, etc.) I will be very critical; but for the most part, I’m just happy these movies are being made.

So without further ado, let’s get some basic comic knowledge.

This is going to be a primer series for the main heroes in the MCU.


Tony Stark is the heart and soul of the MCU. The entire thing began with the first Iron Man movie in 2008 and his run continued up until the release of Endgame where he made the sacrifice play.

Jericho test in Iron Man

He was born to Howard Stark (one of the founders of SHIELD) and Maria on May 29, 1970 in Manhattan New York. His childhood was a little troubled as his father was very distant. He was a gifted engineer and inventor from an early age and proceeded through the top schools graduating top of his class. In his late teens, his parents were murdered by the Winter Soldier while they were transporting a derivation of the Infinity Formula before heading out for a vacation. Howard was killed on impact, but his mother managed to survive the crash. The Winter Soldier was instructed not to leave any witnesses and strangled her to death while she was still dazed by the accident.

Tony took over ownership of his father’s company, Stark Industries, which was the leading weapons manufacturer in the world. He built himself an empire that awarded him trillions of dollars to fund his lavish lifestyle. He used his wealth to fund his narcissistic lifestyle drinking and sleeping his way the world over several times. When he was in the Middle East for a weapons demonstration for the military, his convoy was attacked and he was abducted by The 10 Rings. During the abduction he was hit by one of his own weapons that the attackers were using and suffered a near fatal injury. He was brought to the terrorists hideout and had his life saved by Ho Yinsen, another captive who managed to hook up an electromagnet he implanted in Tony’s chest to a car battery to keep the shrapnel away from his heart. Tony was forced to construct an, at the time, theoretical miniaturized arc reactor to replace the car battery and keep the shrapnel out of his heart. His captors demanded that he use his knowledge and skills to craft them a Jericho missile (the weapon he was testing) or they would kill Yinsen and then him. Tony resolved to design a suit that he could use to clear a path out of the tunnel complex and then he and Yinsen could escape.

Iron Man Mark I

As they continued the forging of this exo-suit that Tony could use to get them out, the leader of the terrorist cell paid them a visit saying they had 24 hours to assemble his missile or he would kill them. Tony and Yinsen made the final preparations and the next day, they enacted their escape plan. The plan didn’t go the way it was supposed to and Yinsen sacrificed himself to give Tony the time he needed to escape and make amends for his actions. Tony managed to escape the cell’s hideout and torch all the weapons from his company they were using. He was found by his long time friend Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes of the USAF.

Tony returned to the USA and immediately shut down the weapons production of his company so that he could find out how the terrorists were getting his weapons. It also helped him to keep his promise to Yinsen to not waste his life and make amends for all the death and destruction that Tony brought into the world with his weapons. He began construction of what he dubbed “the Mark II” immediately upon his return and made a much more streamlined suit to allow for movement and maneuverability. After many fails and a couple near death experiences, he managed to create a functioning suit for his own use.

Watching news of Gulmira attack

Following the completion of his suit he was tuning one of the hand repulsors while watching the news where he saw footage of the 10 Rings attacking a town with more of his weapons, including a Jericho missile. He donned his suit and took off to the Middle East to put a end to their attack. He landed in the City they were attacking, Gulmira, and completely destroyed the attacking force, leaving the commander for the villagers to deal with.

Tony’s oldest and most trusted friend, Obediah Stane, was the one working with the 10 Rings to maximize the profits for Stark Industries, which he had been running for Tony during the latter’s many absences. Obediah didn’t want Tony to mess up his income and believed that Tony didn’t appreciate the things he could make and the world they could create with their technology. He attacked Tony in his home and used a special device he constructed himself to forcibly remove the arc reactor from Tony’s chest.

Tony had constructed a replacement for his old arc reactor prior to his construction of the Mark II suit due to the old reactor having insufficient power output for his needs. Pepper Potts (his secretary/assistant) had taken the old reactor and made a small display case for it which she gave to him with the epitaph “Proof that Tony Stark has a heart”. Tony managed to get to this old reactor and put it in his chest before the shrapnel killed him and Obediah got away with his actions. He then used the Mark II armour to do battle with Obediah in his Iron Monger suit and kill him at the Stark Industries arc reactor.

Destroying tank in Gulmira attack

The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division or SHIELD as it becomes known, fabricates a story for Tony to stick to stating that he was on a yacht during the incident and to say it was an autonomous guardian he had created. As Tony steps in front of the cameras, he realizes the good he can do with his suit and his technology and decides to honour Yensen while still taking the credit for himself and declaring to the world that “… I am Iron Man”.

That takes us to the end of the first Iron Man movie and brings us to the start of Iron Man 2 which will be covered in a future post. This is basically just a quick summary of the film with a few little tidbits added in for effect, which will be expanded on in future installments.

If you didn’t feel like reading the whole thing for a movie you’ve probably seen a fair few times, the thing to take away is this:

Tony lived a life of luxury and decadence that most people can only dream of. He didn’t care for other people and only worried about how to keep his company making the most money possible to make sure he was the top story the world over. His abduction and subsequent imprisonment was an eye opening experience that caused him to re-think his life and the impact he would have once he’s gone. Yinsen helped him to see that the legacy he currently has is nothing but death and destruction and showed Tony that he wanted to be known for something more than just making the next big bomb. Tony managed to find inside himself the hero he needed to be in order to help the world in his own way. His creation of the Iron Man suit and the subsequent shuttering of his weapons manufacturing shows us that he is trying to turn over a new leaf and have the world see him as more then just a “Merchant of Death”.

Suit up

There you have it, a very basic primer of Iron Man from the beginning of the MCU. As I said, I’ll continue to publish content under this slogan so that everyone can appreciate the MCU for the greatness it is.

See you next time!


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