The Best Iron Man Storylines in Comics

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Vote up the Iron Man comic book story arcs every fan must read

Before 2008, Iron Man comic books weren't all that popular, or at least Iron Man was not a stand out. Well, after RDJ got his hands on him that changed in a big way. There are a ton of great Iron Man storylines, some of which have been realized on the big screen, like Extremis and Iron Monger, but some of the best Iron Man story arcs can only be found in the books.

If you find yourself Iron Man-curious, but don't know where to jump in, you're not alone. It can be very overwhelming to try to figure out where to begin with 50+ years of history, and who wants to start at the very beginning? That's a lot of work.

Fortunately for you, what follows is a list of the 20 best Iron Man stories, a number of which are good starting points, as Tony, like all characters has had no shortage of reboots.

You might also enjoy the top War Machine comic books!

  • Demon In A Bottle
    Photo: Marvel Comics / Marvel Comic Store

    Demon in a Bottle is, not surprisingly, a tale of Tony's struggle with alcoholism. When this was written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton in the '70s, it was absolutely groundbreaking for taking on such a monumental issue in the panels of a comic book. Today, it remains quintessential to the character, and much of the storyline was adapted to Iron Man 2, including the introduction of Justin Hammer. It is a seminal work in Tony Stark's canon.

    151 votes
  • 2
    157 VOTES
    The Confession
    Photo: Marvel Comics / Marvel Comic Store

    The Confession is one of the best storylines within Civil War. A repentant Tony laments the actions he took in his pursuit of Superhero Registration that resulted in the death of his friend Steve Rogers. There is even a little redemption for Tony in this, whose actions throughout Civil War were sometimes questionable. Written by comic book superstar Brian Michael Bendis, The Confession is a must read.

    157 votes
  • 3
    166 VOTES
    Photo: Marvel Comics / Marvel Comic Store

    If you've seen Iron Man 3 you're familiar with Extremis (though, the purveyors of it are conflated in the movie). Extremis is a nanotechnology that enhances a subjects physicality and gives Tony Stark the added ability to mentally control his suit. Artist Adi Granov is largely responsible for creating the visual look adapted by the film franchise, and writer Warren Ellis gets credit for injecting new life into an old character in this not-quite-reboot, that inspired Tony's cinematic origin story. It's basically one of the freshest Iron Man stories out there, and it's relatively short, so check it out.

    166 votes
  • 4
    94 VOTES
    Iron Monger
    Photo: Marvel Comics / Marvel Comic Store

    This story, with which you're new doubt familiar from the first Iron Man movie, is rather expansive and is actually made up of numerous arcs, but the core of the tale is the struggle between Tony Stark as Iron Man and Obadiah Stane as the Iron Monger. In it, Stane takes over Stark Industries and Tony turns to the drink as a coping mechanism. James Rhodes actually dons the Iron Man armor to try to take on Iron Monger, but when he fails, Tony has to step up, and he creates the Silver Centurion suit to do so. It's a great story, which is why it was used to launch the MCU.

    94 votes
  • 5
    73 VOTES
    Photo: Marvel Comics / Marvel Comic Store

    Deliverance is a very interesting and unique comic book tale because there's very little comic book-y-ness in it. Tony doesn't put on the Iron Man armor at any point in this story arc as his foe is addiction. (Don't worry, Rhodey dons the suit so there is still action.) In this story, Tony finds himself drinking on the snowy streets of New York with a homeless pregnant woman who dies shortly after he helps her give birth. It's an intense story at the end of which Tony makes the heroic decision to fight his addiction. Deliverance was a courageous piece of work by Denny O'Neil, and it paid off.

    73 votes
  • 6
    88 VOTES
    Armor Wars
    Photo: Marvel Comics / Marvel Comic Store

    Armor Wars doesn't have quite as much substance as other Stark storylines, but there's no better arc as far as action goes. When Spy Master steals Tony's tech and sells it to a bunch of villains, Tony has to take them all down. David Michelinie and Bob Layton make up one of the better known Iron Man writing teams, and their skills are on display here.

    88 votes