Iron Man In Animation - A Retrospective

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four - Part Five - Part Six

The Armour Wars accumulates Iron Manís worst fear Ė someone using his designs for evil intentions. After realising that Crimson Dynamo used his armour designs to create a small atomic explosion, Tony simply snapped and started going after everyone he thought might be using his stolen designs, whether they were good or evil. Nick Fury threatened to shut down Stark Industries and Hawkeye and Iron Man battle each other when Iron Man attacks the vault, the Guardsmen were using his armour upgrades and a short conversation with Clint afterwards, Tony finally twigs that he might just be going nuts.

The next episode sees Tony fighting Stingray and shockingly enough, War Machine, who like Hawkeye, realises that Iron Man must be stopped. Enter Justin Hammer who volunteers his services to take down Iron Man and designs Firepower to withstand the negater packs that Stark had been using to destroy his armour designs. After realising that anyone else could do this, Tony snapped out from his trance, and would you believe it, he faked his own death. Again! After that, he decides that enough is enough Ė he is Iron Man no more.

Justin Hammer once again begins attacking his companies and he builds an ass-kicking armour intended to withstand Firepowerís best forces. He even gets his own back on Justin Hammer by completely wiping out his systems and creating a program that completely deletes any knowledge of the armours designs/specifications (unless of course they wrote it down on pen and paper, then Iron Man would be screwed).

After a clip show (ugh) of seeing what The Mandarin has been up to all season, we get Iron Manís first and only team up as The Incredible Hulk comes to town. Intended as a backdoor pilot for a Hulk cartoon, the episode is all sorts of brilliant as it not only successfully got us a Hulk cartoon next year, but it also set the stage for Marvelís greatest ever team up in the next year, and added a lot to Julia/Tonyís relationship, which soft hearted Marvel Mod Arsenal believes to the best in all of Marvel animation. Seriously, Beast and Carly. Whatís wrong with the lad? Must be his infatuation with read heads plaguing his judgementÖ

After that came the two-part finale, Hands Of The Mandarin, in which The Mandarin finally returned. In all honesty, part one is a little too silly for my liking Ė I was never impressed with the anti-technology fog, nor the way it was powered by superheroes/villains, especially as most of Forceworks donít actually have superpowers. The whole armour without technology was pretty dumb too. Wouldnít it have made more sense to simply create armour that could counteract the fog? The end of part one more than makes up for the silliness when The Mandarin finally proves himself to be a threat by utterly annihilating Iron Man and melting his mask off to reveal Tony Stark underneath, only to dismiss his secret identity as ďobviousĒ. Seriously, it was one of the coolest scenes Iíve ever seen in Marvel animation and made a great stride in redeeming The Mandarin after his abysmal first season appearance.

Part two is a hell of a lot better than part one and stands as one of the seasonís finest. There are numerous impressive scenes here, one of which sees how fragile Tony actually is as he simply collapses in exhaustion as he and Jim are running from mountain bandits and the final fight between Iron Man and The Mandarin which features several great lines from the villain, a lot of digs at Iron Manís character. After The Mandarinís defeat, the aforementioned bandits chop his hands off Ė nasty. Iron Man is finally reunited with Forceworks and settles his relationship with Julia. After spending most of the season alone and miserable, our hero is finally given his happy ending.

The only real disappointment I have with season two is that it only lasted one season, and in all honesty, everything was wrapped up so well I doubt they even really needed to go back. It was simply a brilliant season, one of Marvelís strongest. Itís a shame not too many people have seen it, God willing, the rights to these shows will have cleared up by the time the Iron Man movie is released in 2008 so we can finally see it in all itís DVD glory.