Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Untold Truth Of Superior Iron Man

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), one single character serves as the starting point for more than a decade's worth of storytelling. From 2008'S "Iron Man" to 2021's "Spider-Man: No Way Home," the actions of one Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) (Robert Downey Jr.) continually reverberate throughout the galaxy (and beyond), impacting the lives of every inhabitant of the MCU. Though the character ultimately meets his end in "Avengers: Endgame," few would ever contend that Tony's contributions to the cinematic story end there.

After the introduction of variant timelines in the first season of "Loki" and the introduction of the multiverse in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," plenty of MCU fans have begun speculating about the possibility of meeting other versions of the famous character. Of course, variants are called variants for a reason... Different versions of one character can often "vary" in a rather dramatic fashion.

In Marvel comics, one decidedly different version of Tony Stark is called Superior Iron Man. Notably, some MCU fans think they've spotted Superior Iron Man in the latest trailer for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." Though it remains unclear if he is on his way to his MCU debut, Superior Iron Man already has a long-established history in the comics (via Villains Fandom). 

Let's take a look at the untold truth of Superior Iron Man.

Superior Iron Man was created after an inversion spell

During a battle with Red Skull in "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" (via Marvel), Doctor Doom and Scarlet Witch cast an inversion spell in an attempt to convert their evil-doer opponent's motives into good. Unfortunately, their attempt to reverse Red Skull's moral compass does not work quite as planned. In addition to turning Red Skull into a proper human being (well, a proper being, anyway), the inversion spell does something most unexpected. 

Because the spell is also applied to everyone else, the worst Marvel villains turn into paragons of virtue and peace, while Earth's mightiest heroes suffer the exact opposite fate. While the effects of this spell are quickly reversed by Doctor Doom and Scarlet Witch, not everything is returned to how it once was. Of course, a morally compromised Tony Stark still proves to be one of the smartest men in the galaxy. While under the influence of the inversion, Superior Iron Man devises a method to shield himself from re-inversion, resulting in the perpetuation of an evil version of the character.

This set of events lead directly to the character's introduction in his own 2014 comic series (via Marvel).

Superior Iron Man's suit differs in one important way

As any Marvel fan knows, the only thing Tony Stark seems to go through faster than women is his armor. While few would likely have preferred him to stick with the original armor from "Tales of Suspense" #39 (via Marvel), it's also somewhat surprising to see just how quick the billionaire often decides to alter his signature features. As it turns out, Superior Iron Man isn't really any different in this respect.

In "Superior Iron Man" #1 (via Marvel), Superior Iron Man designs an entirely new suit of armor in less than an hour. However, rather that construct it out of the more classic materials, Superior Iron Man opts for what he calls "endo-sym" armor. His new suit is composed entirely of symbiote-infused metal that instantly adheres to his body and hardens on connection. 

Additionally, instead of the typical gold, Iron Man Armor Model 50 comes infused with a bright chrome finish, something Superior Iron Man deems "sexy as hell." While Pepper is skeptical of the new suit, it's easily the least of her fears by the time she realizes what else has changed in her boss.

Superior Iron Man's ego makes Iron Man's ego look tame

Throughout his history in the comics and the MCU, Tony Stark is often forced to confront decisions between making the selfish choice or accepting the morally upright one. Though most iterations of Tony struggle with a variety of vices (anything from alcohol to tendencies toward a "superiority" complex), Tony almost always chooses good (especially when it matters most). Superior Iron Man poses the question: What if a man with such ultimate power didn't always make the right choice?

Superior Iron Man is the result of a Tony Stark whose genuine care for the lives of others has been completely removed. Instead, Superior Iron Man is motivated by pure hubris. With the same level of his genius intellect at hand, an unrestrained Tony Stark quickly becomes a very dangerous thing. In "Superior Iron Man" #1 (via Marvel), the eponymous character charts out a path for perfection that ultimately leads to his own destruction. Equipped with a scary new level of devil-may-care attitude, Superior Iron Man relocates to San Francisco with a very specific set of devious plans in mind.

Superior Iron Man's ego leads him to make bold moves

Upon Superior Iron Man's arrival in the city of San Francisco, he installs a new app on the cell phone of every individual in the city. The app infects each user with "Extremis 3.0," an addictive techno-virus designed to transform its hosts into what Superior Iron Man calls "the very best" versions of themselves. With Superior Iron Man's invention, people are able to alter their bodies with the simple click of a touch screen. As he lands in the city, Superior Iron Man arrogantly proclaims, "Okay, San Francisco. It's time to look pretty for me."

However, what initially appears to be Iron Man's latest gift to humanity actually turns out to be Superior Iron Man's plan to enrich himself. Following a free trial of "perfection," each person in the city is prompted to pay Stark Industries a total of $99.99 a day, surely an impossibility for most people. It doesn't take long for Pepper Potts to figure out that Superior Iron Man's plan for his latest invention is a disaster in the making. Within a few weeks, however, Superior Iron Man ups the ante considerably.

In "Superior Iron Man" #2, Daredevil confronts the so-called "genius playboy billionaire philanthropist" over the abusive tech scheme and the two briefly tussle. Though Superior Iron Man easily defeats Daredevil and then brags about it at a party, he saves his biggest surprise for the end of the issue. After another brief fight, Superior Iron Man uses a dose of Extremis to only temporarily restore Daredevil's sight, a cold reminder of Stark's abilities.

Notably, these are only two of many examples of extreme hubris displayed by Superior Iron Man throughout the nine-part volume.

Superior Iron Man's end came in a battle with Captain American, but not how you might expect

Eventually, Superior Iron Man's extreme levels of arrogance get him into plenty of trouble. By the end of "Superior Iron Man" #9 (via Marvel), the titular character has battled a digital version of himself, a variety of other autonomous Iron Man models, and Pepper Potts herself (in her own Iron Woman suit). While he succeeds in defeating (and/or demoralizing) all of these opponents, nothing prepares him for the fight he faces in "Avengers" (Volume 5) #44 (via Marvel Fandom).

In the midst of a giant fight between Superior Iron Man and Captain America, a multiversal battle (known as incursions) occurs around the two feuding former colleagues. Thought Captain America is successful in defeating Superior Iron Man, the success is short-lived. They are both ultimately crushed by a helicarrier just before Earth-1610 collides with Earth-616, destroying both universes in an instant.

Though it remains to be seen if some version of Superior Iron Man will appear in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," he clearly seems like the type of character that would pose a dangerous threat.