It is undisputed that Tony Stark is one of the more well-known geniuses in the Marvel World, mostly seeing as Tony himself reminds people of it every chance he has.
Before the inception of Iron Man, Tony Stark was plagued by many vices and cared little about the people and the world around him. However, after being abducted by terrorists and forced to evaluate his values and morals, Tony created the Iron Man suit out of scraps and began to change as a person, vowing to help make the world a better place. Without this drastic life event, Tony would not have created the Iron Man armor, and would not have applied himself to attempting to make the world a safer and better place.
In the last fifty years, Tony Stark and Iron Man have become synonymous, and people have failed to differentiate between man and suit. However, Tony Stark has proven that he is a man of many talents and the Iron Man suit is merely a tool to help him achieve his goal of protecting the world.
Here are 15 Things Tony Stark Can Do Without The Iron Man Suit.
The Iron Man suit wouldn't exist without Tony Stark's intellect or engineering ability. Tony graduated from MIT at age 15 with a dual degree in physics and engineering, and would later attain three advanced degrees in science and engineering.
Inspired by a mentor who taught him to value the principles of science and the world, Tony was able to apply his knowledge to create the pacemaker-like device that saved his life, as well as the scrappy Iron Man suit that gave his life meaning.
Tony continues to modify the suit to adapt it to various threats and technologies that come about and has changed his suit for space travel, stealth, and deep diving. Though the Iron Man suit is Tony's crowning achievement of his engineering genius, other examples of his engineering prowess are shown in Avengers #288, where Tony fixes the break error in the car that killed his parents and further shown when Tony builds a time machine in Iron Man #59 “In Shining Iron.”
Tony followed in his father’s footsteps after his da's death-- he took over his father's business expanding it beyond weapons and munitions. Tony invested in several lucrative interests and converted the company Howard Stark began into a multi-national corporation that covered different aspects of scientific endeavors and eventually became the standard for cutting edge electronics.
Even after losing Stark Industries, undeterred by the loss, Tony created Stark Enterprises, which focused on technological design and manufacturing, eventually making the same amount of revenue that Stark Industries previously made.
In Avengers (1963) #1, established that Tony was also instrumental in creating S.H.I.E.L.D to be the overarching law enforcement agency to monitor potential terrorist or super-powered threats. Using his business skills and charming personality, Tony was able to convince fellow superheroes to come together and form the Avengers.
As a founding member, Tony often provided the financial resources to help the Avengers get off the ground and finance his desire to help improve the world
Tony's tactical genius has been showcased throughout many of his different comic debuts.
In Civil War, Tony feels society's negative attitudes toward the superpowered community and anticipates the public’s reaction to one more superhero misdeed. In an attempt to save face and stave off some of the negativity, he tries to found a governing board of superhero leaders, who ultimately fall apart due to disagreements. After Steve Rogers is killed, Tony predicts that Bucky Barnes will come after him to avenge his friend’s death, and sends Natasha to help distract Barnes long enough for Tony to figure out a plan to deter Barnes from killing him.
Tony further shows that he is an expert tactician during Civil War II, as he provides Miles Morales with a shield to protect him when Carol attempts to arrest him.
In Invincible Iron Man (2008) #4, Tony and Reed Richards are playing chess, and Tony makes an offhand comment on how he casually picked up the game-- and then proceeds to beat Reed Richards at chess without him even realizing. This feat is also something Tony references in Iron Man Legacy, #7, reminding the Marvel-verse that Tony could easily be an evil mastermind if he wanted to be.
In Avengers (2010), The Hood is in search of the hidden Infinity Gems. Meanwhile, the Illuminati, a secret organization of superheroes dedicated to hiding the gems, discover that they have been found by the Hood and go to retrieve them.
The Avengers also are in search of the gems and unaware that Tony is a part of both teams. Upon discovering this, Cap revokes Iron Man's Avengers membership. The Avengers and the Illuminati fight Thanos and the Hood and during the battle Tony acquires the Infinity Gauntlet.
Though Tony is wearing the Iron Man suit while wielding the Gauntlet, he is still the first human to be able to withstand its power and to use it without being killed. Tony does go slightly maniacal as he is wearing the gauntlet and he has all that power at his fingertips. However, he regains his sense and sends The Hood back to jail and wishes the Infinity Gauntlet out of existence.
Except, since it’s Tony, and there is always an ulterior motive, even when he does seemingly great and grand gestures, so instead of destroying the gauntlet, he sends it back to the Illuminati.
In Avengers vs. New Ultimates, Tony Stark has a twin brother named Gregory, who tends to stay out of the lavish lifestyle that Tony is fond of. However, Gregory is killed and, while attending his brother's funeral, Tony is approached by the Kratos Club. The exclusive club is made up of industrial millionaires whose sole goal in life is to use their influence to ensure that “the right things get done” no matter the consequence.
At the time Tony assumes that is in line with his worldview, as he continues to strive to do the right thing to help improve the world. Tony soon discovers that “the right thing” is very loosely defined, as the Kratos Club only does the right thing as long as it serves their needs and purposes.
Later, Tony discovers that the Kratos Club and his brother are responsible for Uruguayan massacre. The Kratos Club, indifferent to the amount of death that occurred in their wake, was pretty much like, “Well, we benefitted from it, so it’s cool.” Tony is understandably upset by this but is ultimately unable to do anything about their machinations.
Beginning in Ultimate Comics: Ultimates Disassembled, Tony returned to his Iron Man identity after taking a sabbatical. Tony finds himself present during a meeting where the Invisible Woman informed S.H.I.E.L.D about the Infinity Gems; that she had stolen from the QuickSilver and the Dark Ultimates.
A fight ensued and the Ultimates barely escape alive. Captain America is killed, and they gete trapped in the Negative Zone while Reed Richards flees from the Negative Zone. Tony retreats to his lab to discover a way to defeat Reed Richards, but Quicksilver attacks him and finds the Power Gem is in Tony's head. Tony is left to die as Reed Richards uploads a copy of Tony’s brainwaves to a compute in an attempt to harness the power of the Gem.
However, Tony’s consciousness is uploaded electronically as his brain was altered by the Power Gem, allowing Tony to hack Reed’s systems. While in Reed’s systems, Tony develops a plan to defeat the Dark Ultimates by freeing the Ultimates from the Negative Zone.
His plan to literally use his brain to save the day is a success. Then he proceeds to remotely access an old Iron Man suit to join the Ultimates in the final battle against Reed Richards and the Dark Ultimates.
Tony’s ability to hack into different computer interfaces is entirely unsurprising, as he often uses his Iron Man suit to aid him in doing so. Tony has often used his skills for good, as he has developed these viruses to ensure the safety of the people.
During the Armor Wars, the Spymaster stole Tony's suit designs and sold them to Justin Hammer, who in turn sold them to criminals for a profit. The criminals, of course, incorporated the technological designs into their super suits, which were used to cause widespread destruction, death, and mayhem.
Utterly outraged by this, Tony developed and implemented a computer virus that would corrupt Justin Hammer’s computer system and wipe out all files and information kept about Stark Suit technology. Then he created “negator packs” for Iron Man to place on the criminal’s armor to fuse the circuits together, rendering them useless and leaving the criminals nothing to fall back on.
Later, after the Civil War story arc was completed and the Avengers were disbanded, Tony uploaded a virus that wiped out the Superhero Registration Act to prevent anyone from accessing the database in an attempt to use or kill the registered heroes.
With the number of times that Iron Man armor has been stolen, destroyed, or hacked, it is amazing that Tony Stark has not been killed more often. However, Tony Stark wouldn’t be a real hero had he not died at least once and been resurrected in a mysterious and mystical way.
In Avengers #395, Immortus controls Tony’s mind and forces him to use Stark Industries to ruin the life of Wasp. This devastates the Wasp and angers her fellow teammates, who are unable to do anything to help her. Immortus goes one step further and influences Tony to go on a murder spree, which he later sets up Hawkeye to take the fall for.
Unable to stop Tony, the Avengers are forced to kill him. However, no one ever truly stays dead in Marvel comic books, so the Avengers go back in time and pluck a teenage version of Tony from a different timeline to help them defeat Immortus. Eventually, everything is righted by Reed Richards and the replacement Tony Stark was able to meld with the original Earth-616 Tony Stark.
In Iron Man #73, the US military attempted to claim an older model of Iron Man armor because they wanted to use it as a weapon. They further claimed that Tony violated the agreement he made after the Armor Wars, which was not to commit any acts of vigilante justice. Tony ignored that claim and decided to outmaneuver the United States military and apply for the open Secretary of Defense position.
Tony receives the Secretary of Defense position and keeps his Iron Man armor. While in office as the Secretary of Defense, Tony is alerted to a threat against the United States and uses the Iron Man technology to prevent the incident from happening, effectively quelling any of the complaints made by the military. Tony maintained his position as the Secretary of Defense for some time, but resigned after the Avengers disassembled and disaster struck.
Due to Tony’s support during the events of Civil War, current Director Maria Hill suggests that Tony should be the next acting head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria felt that Tony would make an excellent director, as he would upset all the right people on purpose. Stark was appointed the director of S.H.I.E.L.D in Civil War #7.
During his reign as the Director, Tony engaged an enraged Hulk with the Hulk-buster armor, which led to an epic battle that left half of New York destroyed. Feeling responsible and guilty, he uses his own money and S.H.I.E.L.D funs to repair the damage. Tony also installed orbiting lasers to ensure further that the Hulk and other villains wouldn't rampage there.
Despite many attempts from various nemeses to take the title of Director away from him, Tony was able to maintain the position until the Skrull invasion. Due to the Skrulls impersonating superheroes and the difficulty of differentiating between Skrull and ally, the Skrulls nearly succeeded in taking over Earth. This led to a very displeased President of the United States who stripping Tony of his Director status and disbanding the entire agency.
Tony is often too smart for his own good. During the Skrull Invasion during Secret Invasion #1, Tony is left to figure out who is behind the invasion after he discovers the body of Skrull Elektra. Skrulls, aliens capable of shapeshifting, had secretly replaced many of earth’s superheroes without anyone realizing it.
Tony realizes that the Skrulls have replaced their friends and goes to the Savage Land after being alerted to a crashed Skrull ship. There he meets Spider-Woman and two sets of Avengers. His suit is infected with an alien cyber virus, flushing the suit of the remaining Extremis virus and causing him to have a seizure.
Eventually, Tony comes to in a laboratory and explains that he is going to use his brain to figure out how to get out of there, because it is the one thing that the Skrull’s would be unable to attack. While in the laboratory, Spider-Woman attempts to convince him that he is a Skrull in disguise. Tony figures out that she is seeking to trick him and, with the aid of Ms. Marvel and Black Widow, he distracts her long enough to finish rebuilding a suit and get back to Earth.
Earth 1610 is a very dark and twisted universe that the Avengers find themselves living in. Though the Tony Stark of this world possesses many of the same characteristics as Earth 616 Tony, the Ultimates are just a grittier and far more ruthless bunch of superheroes.
In this universe, Tony falls in love with Justine Hammer, who has nanofleets in her blood stream that she is attempting to find a cure for. During this time, Tony discovers that his technology has been used in police riot gear. He then becomes irrationally upset and attacks the police. The police defeat and later abduct Tony, and bring him to his delusional grandfather, Howard Stark Sr., who has a fleet of robots, the Ghost, and nanofleets that could cause some serious damage and destroy the world.
Not one to be defeated, Tony pulls out a box that contains Earth-242 Tony Stark's head from an alternate universe. The head in the box shuts down all machinery-- barring the Iron Man suit-- causing the robots to explode and killing Justine in the process. Later in the issue, Tony is seen to be having drink with the head in the box, as if that was the natural conclusion to an utterly terrible day.
Tony Stark’s genius when it comes to technology and machinery never fails to amaze. Coupled with Tony’s narcissism and a deep fear of being killed and forgotten, it is wholly unsurprising that he's managed to keep his most valuable asset, his brain, alive despite impending death.
One of the first instances where Tony uses this trick is in the Dark Reign story arc. Tony has been stripped of his status as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D and leader of the Avengers. Osborn takes over as the Director and makes it his mission to kill Tony Stark. He succeeds in beating Tony and leaving him in a coma.
However, Tony left a message for Pepper and the Avengers explaining how to "reboot" his brain using Extremis and a hard drive. The download was successful, and Tony came back, though there were some gaps in his memory.
In Civil War II, Tony is again beaten up and slips into a coma after fighting with Carol Danvers. He is kept alive in a stasis pod where a digital copy of Stark’s mind is activated and found by Riri Williams, thus bringing him back to “life” as a mentor to Riri, who ultimately takes over the Iron Man duties in the current Invincible Iron Man series.
Although Tony is often accused of being selfish, and at times failing to consider how his actions would affect the people around him, there are other times Tony has been motivated to be entirely altruistic.
One of these times presented itself during Invincible Iron Man, #25, when he decided to pull out of making government weapons due to the fact that he did not want to continue to contribute to the destruction of the world and human life. Tony starts another company, which he calls Stark Resilient-- fitting given that Tony has virtually come back from the dead.
Through Stark Resilient, Tony proposes using the repulsor rays as a renewable energy source, as well as creating the repulsor car, which will help with the fossil fuel shortage in the world. Tony being “rebooted” allowed him to become a better person, even if he continued to make flashy and outlandish promises.
For being so suave, Tony Stark has terrible luck with the women he dates. They've mostly either been arch nemeses of his father’s company, betrayed him, attempted to kill him, or have been killed by villains, or Tony himself in certain timelines.
This is no less true in The Ultimates as Tony begins a romantic relationship with Natasha Romanova (Black Widow) who he eventually becomes engaged to. As an engagement present, he creates her a unique armor. However, in a twist that surprised nobody, Natasha is revealed to be a traitor and kills Jarvis and savagely attacks Tony once she is discovered.
Black Widow nearly succeeds in defeating him, but he quickly utilizes the nanites that comprised her suit and used them against her to control the armor. Tony his former lover by paralyzing her, and downloading her mission and collected information into his own brain. It's all about the brain!
What other awesome things has Tony Stark done without his Iron Man suit? Share them in the comments!