Monday, January 25, 2016

Iron Monday: The Mark I, where it all started.

Hello and welcome to the inaugural Iron Mondays! So the idea here is that every Monday, I'll post something about the World's Greatest Self-Absorbed Asshole, Iron Man. It might be a pic spam of one of his armors, panels from one of his comics and whatever else I think is worth posting. I decided to start us off with the original Iron Man armor, the venerable Mark I, first seen in Tales of Suspense #39.

Thanks to the movies, everybody knows the gist of IM's origin story, so we'll skip that for now. The Mk. I is one of my favorite armors because I love that it was constructed out of scrap metal and whatever Tony Stark and Ho Yinsen had on hand. It's the ultimate MacGyver. It was pretty basic, compared to the armors that Tony would build since his debut. It had no repulsors (although a Mark "0" version he built later on did), but did possess a chest-mounted monobeam. I actually love how these two nerds not only built a suit of powered armor, but also somehow built a fricking proton-beam laser weapon. They also managed to scrounge up suction cups (and yes, Tony does use them), and a miniature hacksaw that could be mounted on a finger. Like, where did Wong-Chu, the commie warlord who captured Tony and Yinsen and forced them to make weapons for him, even get this stuff and why?

"May as well buy these big ass suction cups, never know when they'll come in handy."

"Oh, a tiny hacksaw? Sure, why not."

What's actually fascinating to me about the Mk. I is the guts of it. According to the Marvel Comics Wiki:
The suit's shell is made of threads of mono-crystalline iron coated with tetrafluoroethene plastic, knitted together using a 3D mechanical loom. Integrated circuits called "micro-modules" were created from sheets of silicon using an e-beam writer, this circuitry that placed 200 transistors in a square inch with wiring and associated components could be used both as a switch and amplifier. This allowed the creation of tiny power amplifiers that could generate the amounts of electricity needed for the DC motors that provided the suit with mobility. Each small motor generated around a horsepower of power. The use of pure iron protected with tetrafluoroethene allowed a 200-inch per second speed. A gauntlet alone, for example, required a dozen of motors. The circuits of the armor are coordinated with its user's brain waves, which allow for the suit to duplicate every action of the human body, the system is not perfect and it requires some time to get used to it. It also employed a negative feedback body motion sensing.
I really dig the thought that went into that. Granted, this is comic book science, so I have no idea how legit any of that is.

At the same time, one of the problems that nags me about the Mk. I is how neat and trim it is for something made of scrap and junk. I think that's why the movie version of the armor is a favorite as well. It looks likes it's been cobbled together, which adds a good deal of realism to Tony's origin story. It displays both the desperation of Stark and Yinsen to escape captivity as well as their ingenuity at producing a suit of powered armor out of whatever was at hand.

Going back to the original armor, the other thing I dig about it how it projects power. It's not as pretty or elegant as the later Iron Man armors, but it still exudes power and strength, and gives you the impression that it could tear through its successors like Kleenex. There's also an air of mystery since you can't really tell right off the bat that it's powered armor and not a robot. Given the name Iron Man, it wouldn't be surprising if that wasn't the first assumption of the general public in the Marvel Comics Universe when he made his public debut.

The armor he wore once he got back to the states wasn't the same that he wore to escape Wong-Chu and his goons. He built a new version that largely looked the same, but I imagine was made out of top of the line parts and materials. I often wondered about that, because the idea of him still using the original was pretty ludicrous, given his wealth and genius.

So, what do you think of the Iron Man Mk. I armor? Like it? Hate? Let me know in the comments below.

Picture credits: Iron Man Wiki and Marvel Wiki. The last picture came from the Iron Man Wiki, but I cropped it to take up less space in the post.

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