In his 40-odd years of heroing, Iron Man has faced off with hundreds of opponents -- from Commies to capitalists to corporate spies. But just as Spider-Man has fought an inordinately large number of villains dressed as animals, the high-tech hero has fought dozens upon dozens of science-based foes, many of which can go toe-to-toe, and circuit-to-circuit with ol' Shellhead.
Please note: this list is not
counting the heroes he's clashed with (Hulk, War Machine) and definitely
not counting his occasional sparring partner Doctor Doom (because he's everybody
's greatest foe). With that caveat, these are the 10 standout technology-based bad guys of Iron Man's career. Warning:
List does not contain The Unicorn, so I don't want to get any letters.10) Crimson Dynamo
First order of business when creating a comic book hero in the 1960s? Create a Soviet counterpart. Not only does he have one of the awesomest names in comic books, he's a card-carrying member of the Communist party, which may have made him evil back in the day, but is now awesomely old-school. A tool of the Soviet state, his armor later incorporated stolen Stark technology, forcing Iron Man to hunt him down and deactivate him, but since he was a tool of the state there was a line of replacement Soviet pilots wrapped around the block. Maybe they thought it was the line for bread?
9) Titanium Man
The other Soviet in shining armor, the Titanium Man was more than just a green Crimson Dynamo -- he was a big
, green Crimson Dynamo. He was so big that the original pilot, Boris Bullski, was injected with growth hormones so he would be big enough to control it. Improvements were made, of course, including a coating that repelled Iron Man's repulsor rays, and the armor was later modified so it could be piloted by the insane dwarf genius called the Gremlin. Unfortunately, it was not also modified to be not made of titanium, which, once ignited, cannot be extinguished, leading to a crispy end for the Gremlin.
He's the master. Of spies. That's one hell of a claim, and probably not one a lot of spies would make, given that they'd probably be concerned about blowing their cover. But if James Bond can introduce himself to every bad guy under the sun, then I guess Spymaster can infiltrate a facility in a yellow-and-blue jumpsuit with a picture of a knife on his chest. (Sure, more recent incarnations have worn more stealthy outfits, but none that cool.) Ironically, the original Spymaster didn't even carry a knife, but he did have razor discs, boot jets, incendiary missiles and a remote-control hovercraft. Hey, Bond -- suck it.
7) The Ghost
Spymaster may have flaunted his flashy "spy" costume, but his fellow techno-thief The
Ghost preferred to avoid detection by becoming invisible and intangible through the use of various technologies in his suit. But he was far from immaterial (see what I did there?), as his brilliant intellect and hatred of corporations led him to wage freelance wars on various tech companies, and to pull no punches with Iron Man whenever he got in his way. Now one of the dubiously heroic Thunderbolts, and having shifted his hatred from Tony Stark to Norman Osborne, the Ghost is still a pretty scary dude.
6) Justin Hammer
While illegitimate businessman Hammer preferred a nice fur-trimmed robe to a suit of armor, it was his technicians who developed the hypersonic scan technique that allowed him to bypass the refractory coating on Iron Man's armor, causing it to malfunction at inopportune times including that time Iron Man blew a hole in the chest of the Carnelian ambassador to the U.N. He also provided tech support and financial backing to a number of armored criminals in exchange for a cut of their profits, and later outfitted a number of them with stolen Iron Man technology, triggering the first Armor Wars. Sadly, his final scheme was to make Tony Stark moody, after which he was frozen and set adrift in space. Please, Hammer -- don't burn up on re-entry.