I can’t say I have ever been a fan of Iron Man outside of his movie appearances. He isn’t too bad when he’s with the Avengers, but on his own? He’s kinda boring.
Then I remembered a time period when he was a teenager. And, you know what, a Google Images search for “teenage Iron Man” mostly pulled up pictures of the more recent Riri “Ironheart” Williams.
I’m not referring to her.
No, this time around, I’m referring to a teenage version of Tony Stark. There have been a couple of them, but not the one I’m talking about. Orson Scott Card wrote a few miniseries set in the Ultimate Universe called Ultimate Iron Man. That Tony was a kid who built armor from a young age for long and complicated reasons I don’t really care about. There was also an animated anime version of Iron Man that featured a much younger Tony Stark.
No, this is a far different Teenage Tony, and this one really got the fans mad.
It was the 90s, and the Avengers had a storyline going called “The Crossing” that involved Kang the Conqueror. The big thing was there was a traitor on the Avengers team. And…Iron Man turned out to be the traitor. He revealed this fact by killing three people: Crystal and Quicksilver’s nanny, a female Yellowjacket, and a woman named Amanda Cheney.
So, he killed three women, and only one of them theoretically had the power to fight back.
But wait, you say, how can Tony Stark be a traitor? He was a team founder and everything! Well, it turned out that Kang had corrupted Tony years earlier because time travel!
Oh, the fans hated that.
But the Avengers had a solution: use some sort of time travel, go to an alternate time line, and bring back another Tony Stark!
They grabbed a teenager, and he took to the Iron Man suit immediately.
Now with a new Iron Man to back them up, the Avengers took on Kang and the original Stark. During the fight, Older Tony realized what he’d done and become, so he saved the day by dying in the process.
So, needing an Iron Man, Teenage Tony stayed in the present day and did the Iron Man thing.
That lasted until the “Heroes Reborn” era when Teenage Tony, along with a number of other heroes, ended up on an alternate Earth created by Franklin Richards. The Iron Man there was an adult, and when the missing heroes returned, Tony Stark was a combination of both the original Tony Stark and the teenage replacement.
And since this is a superhero universe, Tony easily fixed any problems he might have had with a couple of court cases both in and out of the Avengers.
So, that was “Iron Teen,” a Tony Stark the fans would prefer to forget. Not because he was a bad character. He just had a bad origin story.