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Who, Or What Is Iron Man?

If there ever were a superhero with a heart of gold, it would probably be Iron Man - literally.

In Marvel's Tales of Suspense #39 released in March of 1963, Tony Stark was kidnapped by a group of Vietnamese communists and forced to create a power suit both to remain alive and to escape his captors. In the process, co-prisoner and Nobel Prize winning physicist Ho Yinsen is tragically killed.

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When the wealthy engineer returns home, he uses the cover of Iron Man being his and his company's bodyguard in order to silence questions from the public. Tony Stark begins to fight communism single handedly, all the while battling a personal war within himself over the morality of creating weapons of mass destruction through Starks Industries.

As a result Stark eventually becomes an alcoholic, specifically after the national security agency S.H.I.E.L.D. gains a controlling interest in his company and attempts to force him to make weapons.

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After a number of emotional ups and downs, Starks gives up the armor to his friend and Marine Corps pilot, Jim Rhodes but soon it is revealed that only Tony Stark can use the armor, as Rhodey starts getting power hungry.

After a number of Stark's designs for Iron Man are replicated, he is made to regain his reputation. Iron Man defeats Stingray, a government operative, and thus becomes a marked target.

The American government then creates an enemy called Firepower, and Tony is forced to create a new armor to do battle against it.

Unfortunately, Stark neglects to do extensive calculations on the consequences of wearing the new suit, and is soon faced with a damaged nervous system.

Jim Rhodes again takes over as Iron Man, but after he learns that Stark faked his own death, he severs ties with his former friend and becomes the War Machine.

Eventually, the Iron Man armor becomes so advanced becomes "alive" but after trying to take over its creator's life, the armor has a change of "heart" due to Stark suffering a heart attack and sacrificing its living existence for Tony by giving him an artificial heart.

Stark is once again dependent on a heart that needs daily recharging.

At a press conference, Tony Stark reveals himself to be the true Iron Man, thereby forfeiting all legal patents for the armor. The United States Military then starts to make duplicates, and Stark is forced to accept the position of Secretary of Defense in order to keep a watchful eye on production.

The Iron Man suit has superhuman strength, durability and flight as some of its features.

In addition, a number of weapons are incorporated into the suit, such as repulsor rays that can be fired from his palms and freeze beams.

In the past, Iron Man has also used a defensive shield and hologram projection to create decoys.

Tony Stark has created many specialized suits as well, such as the Hulkbuster, which held strength that rivaled that of the Incredible Hulk.

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