Tony Stark lies about why he built Iron Man

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Tony Stark will never change until he admits the truth: Iron Man’s armor was never meant to save others – it was meant to save himself.


This article contains spoilers for Iron Man #23

marvel’s Iron Man lies to himself about why he built his iconic armor, and he will never change until he admits his selfish actions. Tony Stark is one of the most flawed characters in the Marvel Universe, possessing the classic traits of a narcissist, a hedonist, and those with substance abuse disorders. Iron Man #23 admits this and more, essentially telling readers that Tony Stark has forgotten his own origin story.


In current comic book continuity, Iron Man and his friend War Machine fight a desperate underground battle against arms dealer Source Control. Their weapons could decimate and completely destroy entire countries, and Tony is interested in the proverbial jewel in the crown: the Ten Rings of the Mandarin. Tony thus spends more than 60 billion of his own money to please himself with Source Control, posing as an anonymous buyer of exotic weapons. His ultimate plan is to buy the Ten Rings and leave without complications – but dealing with source control carries incredible risks.

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In Iron Man #23, written by Christopher Cantwell with art by Angel Unzueta, the latest scheme to buy weapons from Source Control gone horribly wrong; one of the men inside Tony was sent back in time via a time-displacement handgun, and he lost another piece on the board. Tony reminisces about his origins and the purpose of the Iron Man armor. “Iron Man was designed to disarm those who would seek to arm themselves against others for power,” he thought to himself as he tracked down his last lead on the Ten Rings. “I built myself to stop them.” Unfortunately, Iron Man lies to himself and to the reader; he was hardly altruistic when he made his first costume.

Stark’s origin is well known to both Iron Man readers and characters in the comic world: he made a makeshift costume to escape captivity in the fictional nation of Sin-Cong (Afghanistan in the MCU and sometimes in the story comics stories). Additionally, the armored chest plate powered the electromagnet (the famous arc reactor in the movies) that prevented deadly shrapnel from reaching his heart; thus, the suit and the electromagnet were designed for the sole purpose of keeping Stark alive. Iron Man’s armor was never designed or built to save the world; it was reusedand that makes all the difference.

In Tony Stark’s mind, he’s always been the Avenger and the hero, but that’s quite different from reality. Tony Stark forgets his selfish roots, and while it takes change to move forward in life, one shouldn’t forget where he came from (or his days of moral bankruptcy from the arms trade). Iron Man can’t change without remembering who he was – but at the same time he can’t feel sorry for himself at the expense of his future.

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