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Series: Ironman 2 Comic Series
Year: 2010

History: For all those who only know Ironman from the two live-action movies and are more or less ignorant of his long comic-book history, here’s the high points. Ironman first appeared in 1963 in the comic series “Tales of Suspense” and his origin story is pretty much identical to the one you saw in the first movie, only it featured him getting captured somewhere ein southeast Asia (Good Morning, Vietnam!) instead of the Middle East. Apart from that, though, the same story: Tony builds his armor with the help of fellow captive Dr. Yinsen in order to escape. That’s the grey armor, the very first and original Ironman.

Back in the States Tony builds new versions of the armor, including a golden version of the original one, which he wears when he becomes a founding member of the Avengers. Only a short time later, the year is 1965, and Tony first unveils the armor that, for most of the longer-serving fans, will always be the one true classic Ironman armor, the red and gold variant. For twenty years this armor served him well until it was finally retired in 1985. To this day, though, it’s often featured in flashback scenes and Tony does take it out of the storage closet every now and then when one of his current armors flunks out for some reason (last seen in the 2010 miniseries “The Siege”). That makes this armor the most enduring and popular version of the Golden Avenger.

Original Ironman: This ist he armor that came marching out of the southeast Asian jungle in 1963 and allowed Tony Stark to get back home. Much like the Mark I version of the Movie Armor this figure looks exactly like what it’s supposed to be: A mismatched collection of parts that happened to be at hand, assembled and hammered into shape by hand. It doesn’t feature as many details as the Movie version, but that’s okay seeing as the original comic books from 1963 were drawn a lot simpler than most comics are today, too. So it’s a very good likeness.

The figure’s posability is good, though the joints between hip and legs take some getting used to. It’s probably more posable than a “real” Ironman would be, seeing as the figure can do a Kung-Fu kick without any problems. I’d love to see an actual human in this kind of iron suit try that.

The only gimmick of the figure is a snap-on fireblast, intended to simulate a shot from the armor’s repulsor blaster. The fireblast can be snapped onto either hand. Simple, but very effective in my opinion. The figure also comes with a stand (which it doesn’t really need, as it doesn’t have balance problems) and a card, which consists of three layers stacked on top of each other.

All in all a simple, but very nicely designed toy version of the original comic book Ironman armor. I don’t know what this guy went through, btw, to get his armor all scratched-up like that, but it looks great. I usually only see this kind of finish in custom figures, so kudos for the extra effort here.

Classic Ironman: This figure here is a pretty perfect toy version of the armor that was, for twenty years, the one and only Ironman. According to Marvel’s Handbook it’s the Mark V version, but to most fans it’s simply “Classic Ironman”. Unlike the original Ironman armor this figure here looks more like a guy in spandex with some extra modules added. This not only enhances the comic book look, it’s also got a background in-story. This armor here was the first one that consisted of thousands of very small, interlocking plates instead of large, stiff parts, making it almost like chainmail and very flexible. This made it the first armor that could be fit into a suitcase, so in a way this is the inspiration for the second movie’s “Suitcase Armor”.

This figure is a lot slimmer than the original, bulky armor, so despite having the same joints it does appear a lot more flexible. I especially like the detail work here, i.e. the sculpted repulsor muzzles in his palms or the superb detailing on his boots. A perfect translation of the classic comic book look into a toy, nothing to complain about at all.

Classic Ironman comes with two extra parts. First there is a fireblast similar to the one included with the Original Ironman. Works the same way, just as good as above. The second is a sort of pillar of fire that goes under Ironman’s feet, intended to display the exhaust flame from his boot jets when he’s taking off or landing. This is meant to mirror the fact that, according the packaging text, this was the first Ironman armor capable of flight. Which is a mistake (the second Ironman armor could fly already and this here’s the fifth), but still, very nicely done, so thumbs up for that, too. And finally this Ironman, too, comes with a stand and a three-part card.

Bottom line for this figure: I can’t think of a way to make it any better than it is. Very nice.

Remarks: I can’t help but be glad that the Ironman 2 Toyline includes this special Comic Series, featuring Ironman armors and various villains from the Golden Avenger’s long comic book history. Not to put down the armors and villains shown in the movies, but for an old-school comic fan like myself, there is a lot of nostalgia involved here, especially in the Classic version. This is the Ironman I grew up with. In Germany we had paperback versions of the Marvel Comics available from Condor Publishings and he also appeared in cartoons such as Spider-Man & his Amazing Friends. Just like Generation 1 will always be the one true Transformers to me, so this will always be my one true Ironman. And we can’t forget the original Ironman, either, despite his rather short-lived existence. He was the first, everything started with him.

So the bottom line is: For everyone whose Ironmania isn’t restricted to the two movies, these figures are pretty much a must-have. The Classic version even more than the original one.

Rating: A- (Original) and A (Classic)

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