10 Biggest Iron Man Plot Twists

The following list may contain major spoilers from over 57 years of comics.

Iron Man
Marvel Comics

Fans of Iron Man have a strange relationship with plot twists. If, like a lot of fans, you have followed Tony Stark through his big screen adventures in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you'll no doubt understand what we're talking about.

Just look at the ending twist of that first Iron Man film, way back in 2008, when Tony decided that secret identities were for losers. One of the oldest tropes in comic books was thrown out the window, paving the way for an exciting new breed of superhero and redefining how comic book movies could work.

A few movies later, in Iron Man 3, another controversial plot twist came along. It was revealed that the man we believed to be the Mandarin, Iron Man's nemesis, was actually an undercover actor working for a larger, shadier organisation. This twist was honestly unexpected and well earned, and it was revealed in a hilariously entertaining way. However, some Iron Fans felt that they had been robbed of an iconic villain, and the twist is still a hot topic for argument today.

The thing is, this kind of carry-on is nothing new for Iron Man. It has been going on within the comics for decades! If you think the twists and turns of the film series are crazy, ridiculous, or maybe even thrilling, just wait until you see the madness going on in the pages of Iron Man.

10. Iron Man Has Always Been Working With Kang

Iron Man
Marvel Comics

Back in a pre-MCU world, Iron Man was not exactly a top tier Marvel superhero. The truth is, before the world fell in love with Robert Downey Jr.'s charismatic portrayal of Tony Stark, he was not particularly well known outside of the comics. So, in 1995, the powers that be at Marvel decided Iron Man was in need of a major upgrade.

In what was probably an attempt to make him more similar to Spider-Man, their most popular hero by far, they decided to reinvent Tony as a teenage character. How did they achieve this? Through complete and utter character assassination, of course!

The infamously pointless and nigh-on unreadable Avengers event, The Crossing, kicked off when it was revealed that, almost the entire time he had been working with the team, Iron Man had secretly been in league with Kang, the Conqueror of Time. While Kang may have employed brainwashing techniques to get Tony on side, it is quite heavily implied that these were not entirely necessary, as Tony seemed to be pretty aware of the shenanigans he was getting up to.

And what kind of shenanigans were these? Oh, mostly just murdering his friends.

The Avengers then traveled back in time to recruit a nineteen year-old Tony Stark to help them defeat his future self. By the end of the event, Old Tony is dead. Long live Teen Tony.

All of this was retconned fairly sharpish, and Iron Man became the fully grown adult we all know and love once again.


Jimmy Kavanagh is an Irish writer and co-founder of Club Valentine Comedy, a Dublin-based comedy collective. You can hear him talk to his favourite comedians about their favourite comics on his podcast, Comics Swapping Comics.