Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Iron Monday #5: the original red and gold

Well, a belated Iron Monday, at least! Sorry for not posting one last week, but things can get hectic in real life. So this week I decided to go with the first Iron Man armor to feature the red and gold color scheme.

First appearing in Tales of Suspense #48, this armor was created after Tony nearly died after his first encounter with Mr. Doll, a supervillain who could create voodoo dolls out of clay. His attack on Iron Man caused the golden avenger to fall into the ocean while in excruciating pain and he barely lived to fight another day. In response, Tony decided to ditch the Mark I in favor of a newer and better armor.

As you can see, the biggest difference is the size. The Mark II was much slimmer and lighter looking than its predecessors and that was to solve a major problem that they both had: power consumption. Both of the previous armors were energy hogs that required large amounts of power just to move and function under their own bulky weight. This was a fairly big concern when you factor in the pacemaker that kept Stark's heart going. The more power the armor required to function meant less power for the pacemaker and considering that those requirements increased as the armors were put under greater stresses, it was not an ideal situation. This also put a strain on Stark's already weak heart and it probably would have killed him if he hadn't switched to a new suit.

So how light was the new armor? Well, the chest piece is described as being "wafer-thin", which I'm guessing is pretty damn thin. Similarly, the helmet was thinner and lighter (Tony claiming that he could barely even feel it), and the jets located in the boots were only an inch, much smaller than the ones found in the first two armors. The face plate of the helmet was also designed to allow more of Stark's facial expressions show through, which he believed would have a psychological effect on his enemies. The reduction in weight allowed allowed Stark to add more equipment to the new suit, such as a radio with an antenna attached to the left shoulder. That's actually one of my favorite things about the armor because it gives it even more of a sci-fi feel.

Another thing Tony Stark made sure to add was more power. While the Mark II wasn't an energy hog like his previous armors that didn't mean that he was going to slouch on that particular area. The arm and leg cuffs contained separate power units that he could use if the main power supply went kaput. He would later add power pods on the hips as an additional power sources.

The major feature of the new armor was how fast it took to "suit up". With the prior armors, it took like three minutes for Stark to put on all the component pieces, whereas the new armor took seconds. The aforementioned cuffs contained the gold parts of the armor, which were magnetically drawn to the shoulders and hips, respectively. The jets were separate units that Stark merely had to step hard into (like how a skier steps into those clamps on their skies) and that activated the covering for the boots.
On a minor note, the helmet had three variants. The original's face-plate had a horned look to it, which was later replaced in issue #54 by rivets that outlined the face and removed the horns (making the helmet and face-plate look more integrated). The third version was pretty much just the second version, sans-rivets. I like the riveted version, it gave the armor an "industrial" look about it.

This armor would last until 1965, when it was replaced in Tales of Suspense #66 by the Mark III.

Pictures from Marvel Database.

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