The Summer Movie season of 2008 has exploded with the release of Marvel Studios' Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr and directed by Jon Favreau. Audiences are set to be blown away by the realism of the film and how close it is to the comic book series.
In the context of the film, Favreau focuses on Tony Stark's Iron Man armor evolution, with the Mark 1, Mark 2, and the final Mark 3 suit.
Yet, as comic fans would know, these three armors are far from being the only Iron Man designs ever created by Stark. In fact, there are many more, and while a majority of them stay in the red-and-gold theme, there are a few that are quite different from the ones you will see in the Iron Man movie.
Here are ten of them...
While Stark faces the Iron Monger in the movie wearing the classic Mark III armor, in the comic book series, it is the Silver Centurion Armor (technically referred to as Model XII or Mark XII) he dons while fighting Stane. This costume design is perhaps one of the more well-known alternates in the Iron Man series, and was first introduced in the 1980's.
In the comic series, James Rhodes becomes the second Iron Man; but much later on he takes on the superhero identity of War Machine wearing the armor of the same name. It is almost certain we will see Rhody become the second Iron Man in the sequels, and it is also possible he may wear this armor, designed specifically for concentrated warfare.
As the name implies, this armor is designed completely for stealth. You won't see this in the movie, though it is possible it might make an appearance in sequels. Artistically, it is often depicted in a dark blue shade, though it is supposed to be jet black. There have been some variations of this armor over the years but the concept has always remained the same.
Outer Atmospheric Armor
In the comics, throughout his career as Iron Man, Tony Stark has designed and used several variations of space armor concepts. The Outer Atmospheric Armor is one of these designs, first seen in the Iron Man: Bad Blood mini-series. Fans would no doubt see a variety of influences in the design from other armors, including the Heroes Return design, and the Silver Centurion highlighted above.
The name on this one pretty much says it all, and as to why it is not in the movie. Obviously, Stark had this one designed in mind for defense (or attack) against the green behemoth known as the Hulk. While it is unlikely that we'll ever see this armor on the big screen, the chances of an appearance do increase as development on the Avengers movie continues...
Designed for the harsh weather conditions of the Arctic, this version of the Iron Man armor has only made one appearance in the comics to date; though its cameo had an impact on fans that made it memorable. Loosely based on the Silver Centurion and Modular armor designs, the Iron Man Arctic Armor allows Stark to stay warm while located in sub zero temperatures.
As far as Iron Man history goes, it was the Modular Armor design that was probably the first to add more specific and finer detail to the classic "red-and-gold". Storywise, it also was a revolutionary idea for Stark - instead of being one integrated suit, it was literally "back to the drawing board" in which this new armor became made up of individual modular components - each specifically design for particular tasks. What does that mean? It means that Stark could use additional modules onto the suit based upon the objective he had ahead of him.
The Ghost Armor was only ever seen in Black Panther comics - in which the two heroes would face each other. Often considered to be the third generation of the Stealth armor above, this baby had numerous technological advances over the original Stealth design. The best part? The inclusion of hologram generators that allow Stark to literally become invisible.
Okay, so Stark had stealth, arctic, and space designs... obviously he needs an underwater suit as well, right? The Hydro Armor is specifically designed for that purpose. It looks somewhat campy and bulky, but there's reason for that. This is actually two suits in one. The larger bulky armor you see is the external shell, while inside, Stark wears a specialized smaller version in case of damage to the larger shell.
You most likely won't see this armor in any film, but it looks pretty bad-ass. The O.N.E. Armor, also known as the Sentinel Armor, was designed by Stark for use by James Rhodes in his role as trainer of the pilots of the 21st Century Sentinels. Rhody became leader of the Sentinel Squad, and had been selected by Tony Stark himself.