Suit Up: IRON MAN's 10 Best Armors Through the Years

One of <b>Iron Man 3</b>'s most-anticipated scene comes at the climax, with Tony Stark's entire armory of Iron Man armors joining him in battle with his enemies, and Tony rapidly commanding and utilizing many of the suits to adapt to the chaotic and fateful battle. <p>Among those suits are several Easter eggs that fans may recognize, and some suits that are obviously based on some of Tony's most classic upgrades and inventions. With that in mind, here is your guide to 10 of Tony's most recognizable, powerful, and all-around coolest Iron Man armors.

HYDRO ARMOR

Tony's Hydro Armor first appeared in <b>Iron Man #218</b> as part of a deep-sea salvage mission. While the standard Iron Man armor has traditionally functioned underwater, the Hydro Armor was built with special modifications to compensate for the pressure deep below the ocean's surface, and to allow for easier maneuverability and to travel underwater.

SPACE ARMOR

With his recent adventures taking him away from Earth and into the far reaches of space, a new version of Iron Man's Space Armor is now front and center in his ongoing series — but the original debuted all the way back in <b>Iron Man #142</b>. <p>Built for missions in deep space, natch, the Space Armor is equipped with life support, a food supply and even, ahem, "waste removal systems."

MODULAR ARMOR

After numerous versions of his traditional red-and-yellow armor had come and gone, Iron Man got one of his first major upgrades in decades when he began using this adaptable armor in <b>Iron Man #300</b>. <p>With the capability to adapt multiple weapons and situation-specific tools, this armor remained the standard version for some time. In his most recent upgrade, Tony went back to this concept, building a new suit that allows him to adapt technology from many of his various specialty suits to prepare for any situation.

MK.I/MK.II

The MK.I armor may not look like much, but considering it was built in a cave using scraps of technology by a mortally wounded Tony Stark, it's pretty impressive. <p>Debuting — along with Tony himself — in <i>Tales of Suspense #39</i>, this bulky, grey behemoth started it all. After only a few missions, Tony realized how startling the armor was, and upgraded to a friendlier, gold version with some upgraded tech. Though he quickly shed that too, Tony has returned to these early models, usually in instances that necessitate a low-tech model, or just out of desperation.

STEALTH ARMOR

Though the Stealth Armor, which debuted in <b>Iron Man #152</b>, lacked some of Iron Man's heavier ordinance, it made up for its relative weakness with its invisibility powers. <p>Using technology that made him hard to spot and harder to track, Tony relied on the Stealth Armor in times of subterfuge for years before folding the technology into an adaptation for his latest armor, itself based on his previous modular design.

WAR MACHINE

War Machine is less of an Iron Man platform and more of a separate entity all together, but Tony Stark built it as a specialty suit for his ally James "Rhodey" Rhodes (played on screen in the original film by Terrence Howard, and the two sequels by Don Cheadle). <p>War Machine debuted under Rhodey's control in <b>Iron Man #281</b> when Tony faked his death to retire from fighting crime. Built for heavy warfare and carrying heavy artillery, the War Machine armor remained in Rhodey's possession even after Tony's return, seeing numerous upgrades and versions in the ensuing years, and going into the closet at times when Rhodes has taken on the mantle of Iron Man proper in Tony's stead.

HULKBUSTER

One of Iron Man's most popular — and coolest — specialty armors, the Hulkbuster is designed for exactly what it implies; fighting the Hulk. <p>Built with much heavier defenses in a much larger, more durable chassis, the Hulkbuster Armor is closer to a mech suit than to Tony's usual, more maneuverable armors. Originally built on top of the Modular Armor in <b>Iron Man #304</b>, the Hulkbuster has since been seen as its own platform, and was prominently used in 2007's <i>World War Hulk</i>.

SILVER CENTURION

Built by Tony Stark after his friend James Rhodes began suffering headaches that lead him to go crazy while filling in for Tony as Iron Man in <b>Iron Man #200</b>, the Silver Centurion armor was originally intended for Rhodes. <p>But Tony donned it himself when Rhodey's ailment caused him to go on a rampage, forcing Tony to become Iron Man again to stop his friend and get him help. The Silver Centurion marked not only Tony's return as Iron Man, but one of his first major cosmetic changes since the introduction of his classic, Steve Ditko-designed armor. Though it has rarely been seen since Tony returned to his roots, the Silver Centurion is still a fan favorite, and a version of it appeared in Iron Man 3</b>.

EXTREMIS

The Extremis platform marks one of the biggest fundamental changes to Iron Man's armor ever. When a bio-weapon called Extremis threatened the world during Warren Ellis and Adi Granov's stint on a relaunched <b>Iron Man</b> series, Tony had to find a way to fight it with new and dangerous technology. <p>Finally forced to use the Extremis technology on himself, the suit became a part of Tony — literally. The gold undersuit was made of nanites that were stored inside Tony's bones when not in use. It seeped out through his pores, bonding with his skin and allowing him to interface with the red external pieces when in use. This version was eventually upgraded to a suit that was wholly formed of nanites that could be summoned at will, until the US government, manipulated by Justine Hammer, forced him to relinquish the technology, wholly removing it from his body.

CLASSIC ARMOR

Many suits may come and go, and many have been based on this platform, but when the Steve Ditko designed classic armor debuted in <i>Tales of Suspense #48</i>, it changed everything. <p>Overnight, Iron Man went from being a bulky man in an iron cage to a cross between a hot rod and a knight in shining armor. While the initial version had some silly upgrades such as rollerskates in the feet, it was soon the high-flying, lithe, powerful armor that paved the way for the more streamlined version that remained the basic platform for Iron Man for decades, and still informs almost every new look and upgrade he's taken since.

Suit Up: IRON MAN's 10 Best Armors Through the Years

Date: 03 May 2013 Time: 06:47 PM ET