After the success of the movie that launched an interconnected universe for a little movie studio that could, it only made sense to make an animated series based on everyone’s favorite armored avenger, Iron Man! Iron Man Armored Adventures follows a teenage Tony Stark,and his friends fighting to protect New York, and his late father’s company Stark International from various dangerous threats. The show ran for two seasons on Nicktoons from April 24, 2009 to July 25, 2012. Before, we go any further I’d just like to say, I FREAKIN’ LOVE THE THEME SONG! Something occurred to me, I did not talk about any of the theme songs, I didn’t even mention how catchy the theme to Spectacular Spider-Man was. But yeah, this theme is awesome, it’s energetic, it’s snappy, it’s by Rooney. But I digress…
While leaving a demonstration of the new Earthmover drill, Tony Stark wants to show his father Howard, his new armored exo-suit. But just as he was going to to a mysterious light appears that destroys the plane and presumably, kills Howard, Tony thanks to his armor, survives the explosion and moves in with his best friend Jim Rhodes and his mother/Howard’s lawyer Roberta Rhodes. During this time, Howard’s (not-so-subtle) business partner Obadiah Stane takes over Stark International, and begins weaponizing all of Howard and Tony’s inventions. Tony starts attending The Tomorrow Academy with Rhodey, during that time, he meets hyperactive snoop Patricia “Pepper” Potts, who tells Tony that Stane is under investigation by the FBI for possible involvement in Howard’s death. Tony decides to do some investigating himself, using his armored suit. While he’s spying, he prevents a train from crashing into Stark Tower, instantly gaining media coverage, and gaining the name “Iron Man”. Meanwhile, an old man named Xin Zhang (who also goes by “The Mandarin”) plans to obtain a mystical artifact called a Makluan Ring, which happens to be in Stark Tower, locked in the Macguffin Vault. While Tony, flies to Stane’s (weaponized) Earthmover demonstration to destroy said machines, The Mandarin steals the ring from Stane. He and Tony have a brief fight scene, before vanishing. In the end, The Mandarin, was revealed to be Zhang’s stepson, Gene Khan, who imprisoned Zhang and takes over his crime organization, The Tong a rival to another organization The Magia. Later on, Gene enrolls in The Tomorrow Academy, to learn more about the Makluan Rings from Tony, and he slowly become friends with him and the others.
The season The first season focuses on the Makluan Rings saga as Tony, Gene, Rhodey, and Pepper travel around the world to find the five rings. we’re also introduced to Whitney Stane who takes up the name Madame Masque, who uses a mask from the Macguffin vault which can disguise her into anyone she wants but it almost comes at terrible (and near fatal) price in the episode “Best Served Cold”. Tony’s feud with Obadiah Stane comes to a partial conclusion in that episode as well. The season ends with two primary cliffhangers in the episode “Tales of Suspense”. The now-friendless Gene discovers that the original Mandarin had 5 other rings besides the original 5. Tony finds out that his father, Howard, survived the plane crash and is being held prisoner, while the armory is destroyed during Zhang’s attack limiting Tony’s resources to find and rescue his father. We also got appearances by Black Panther, Hulk, and Nick Fury during the series, they’ll be key roles in the finale.
In season 2, shows Rhodey helping Tony out in the field as War Machine, Tony’s suit gets destroyed during a battle with Whiplash that also left his heart/arc reactor severely damaged, after some help from Dr. Yinsen, Tony gets back in action in his new (IM2-inspired) armor. Little does Tony know Whiplash and his handler Mr. Fixx is working for his business rival Justin Hammer (age 21). In the third episode “Ghost In The Machine”, Stane hires hitman Ghost to steal the blueprints to the Iron Man armor to save Stark International, and save his own ass from getting fired after making too many broken promises. Ghost succeeds, and not only gives Stan the blueprints, but also to Hammer, setting up this show’s version of the Armor Wars story.
Throughout the first half of the season, we see Stane creating his own team of armored soldiers called The Guardsmen, Hammer creates a legion of drones for S.H.I.E.L.D. called Mandroids, and of course both men build and don their own suits, Stane creates the megazord-sized Iron Monger (which costs over $80,000,000 a piece to make), and Hammer builds the human-sized Titanium Man armor, which he uses to try and pass himself as a superhero, like Tony and Rhodey. The Armor Wars and the rivalry between Tony and Stane come to a head in Episode 39 “Heavy Mettle”, Tony and Roberta show the SI board of Directors proof that Stane hired Ghost to get the blueprint, getting him fired, this not only drives Stane mad, but he pieces together that Tony is Iron Man, steals the Monger Gundam. Little does Stane know Hammer sneaks a remote control on the back of the Megadeus. Tony and Rhodey fight Stane, but the Iron EVA malfunctions, causing the Jaeger to fall with Stane going into a coma. This devastates Whitney, who plots her revenge on Tony and his friends, doning the Madame Masque persona once again, only this time, it causes her to lose her sanity.
In the second half of the season, Justin Hammer successfully (and legally) buys control of Stark International. Stark, Rhodey and Potts all agree to fight against Hammer and his weaponization of Stark International’s projects, forming start-up company “Stark Solutions”. But his reign over SI was short lived, as Hammer and Mr. Fixx develop a mysterious gas that turns anyone into a zombie (no, really!), initially he wanted to use the gas on some blackmailers who wanted him to give up his company Hammer Multinational, but Fixx sets him up and infects him with the gas, leaving SI in control of the board.
Later, Tony gets one sweet upgrade in “Extremis” (a better adaptation to the story than IM3!) When renegade S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Mallen uses a technologically advanced version of the Super Soldier Serum, he turns into a powerful maniac, Tony tries to go against him but nearly costs him his life. Tony is taken to the helicarrier for intensive care. While unconscious, the medics removes his armor (with Fury in room), learning the truth about him. When Tony wakes up and realizes he’s not wearing the suit, Nick lets him know that he can no longer be Iron Man anymore due to his injuries. Using inspiration from recently rescued Captain America (who is still frozen) Tony decides to inject himself with the extremis become a human computer, able to interact with any computer, including his armor, which helps him defeat and detain Mallen. After the fight, Fury commends him and tells him about having him join a team he’s forming someday.
The Makluan Saga continues as Gene continues his search to find the remaining five rings with Howard in tow. Tony and Howard are reunited in “Doomsday” when Gene, Tony, Rhodey, and Pepper (wearing the Stealth armor) team up to fight Doctor Doom, who has the ninth ring. The series comes to an end with the penultimate episode “Dragonseed”, Gene finds the last ring, but learns a shocking secret, he was never supposed to find and use the rings, Pepper was (yes, that Pepper). In part one of the “The Makluan Invasion”, the terrible thing was an invasion, aliens lead by the Makluan Overlord come to Earth to reclaim the rings, Tony, Rhodey, and Pepper (now donning her own armor as Rescue) work with Gene to repel the aliens. In part 2 the kid get extra help from Black Panther, Hulk (who became the more intelligent Grey Hulk), Fury, and Hawkeye and Black Widow, succeed in stopping the invasion, but at the cost of their identities. The three kids fly off (with Tony and Pepper becoming a couple) wondering where they go from there, and Gene wanders off deciding to become a protector, rather than a conqueror.
This was a great show, at least after the pilot. The pilot was kind off lacking, and kind of boring, but after that, the show starts to pick up. And like X-Men Evolution I was kind of skeptical with making Tony and most of the main characters into teenagers, but I kind of like it here (speaking of X-Men, Jean Grey, Magneto and, Senator Kelly appear in an episode). This is a true adaptation. It changes the original story a bit, however it sticks to the base of the story. It holds on to the elements that make Tony Stark into Iron man. It incorporates his closest friends and uses them as great reinforcements to the character. And hats off to the writers for giving Pepper some love and getting her Rescue Armor on the show.
All and all, this was a well rounded show. The only real complaint I have is that it didn’t get renewed for another season, cause the door was left open for more stories for Tony and his friends.
Later on we close Marvel Month 2 on a wimper… again, with a show based on toys based on Marvel Super Heroes. (*sigh*) Hero up…
RANK: 5 out of 5