Why Iron Man Created The Hulkbuster Armor In The Comics
Today, we take a look at the circumstances of Iron Man’s “Hulkbuster” armor introduction in the comics, years before it made its debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This is a feature called “Written in the Book”. It’s basically the reverse of another feature of mine called “Follow the Path”, where I highlight edits to comic book characters based on outside media, as well as characters entirely from outside media. There are so many comic book movies and TV shows these days that we can highlight examples of TV and movies adapting specific, less famous comic book stories into other media (so no ” Spider-Man kicking up debris” or stuff like that).
WHAT WAS THE HULKBUSTER ARMOR LIKE IN THE MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE?
One of the major themes of Avengers: Age of Ultron is the idea that Tony Stark is so obsessed with protecting the planet that he sometimes loses sight of whether he’s somehow become leaned on the fascist side of things. This is especially evident when the protection system he designs for the planet gains sensitivity and decides that the greatest threat to the planet is, well, you know, HUMANITY. So Iron Man accidentally created the mortal villain, Ultron, which was a really bad thing, but even before that point we see that Iron Man’s worldview is very cynical (perhaps not unreasonably, of course, because the world MAY be a cynical place, but that still speaks for how he sees things) by virtue of the fact that he had secretly been working on armor that could take down his own Avengers teammate, Hulk.
This was put into practice when the mysterious Wanda Maximoff showed up and used her ability to “bewitch” people (disrupt their minds) to turn the Hulk into a rampaging beast. Iron Man showed up in his “Hulkbuster” armor and took on his own teammate in a brutally awesome fight…
Isn’t it particularly unfair to think that there could be a time when the Hulk would go rogue and need to be stopped? Of course not, but at the same time, it’s kind of hard to trust a teammate who’s constantly looking for ways to bring you down (see Batman and the “Tower of Babel” story in JLA for another example of this sort of thing).
In any event, that’s how the “Hulkbuster” armor got its start in the MCU. How did this happen in the comics?
WHAT WAS THE HULKBUSTER ARMOR LIKE IN THE MARVEL COMICS UNIVERSE?
Recently I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed about a legend involving the Iron Man “Crash and Burn” scenario. So let’s recap what “Crash and Burn” was about, via this CBLR…
“Crash and Burn” was the storyline that followed the 300th anniversary issue of Iron Man (the final storyline pairing Kaminski with Kev Hopgood, who was his main creative partner in his run so far)….
(Hopgood, by the way, also drew the cover for my second book, just throwing that in there).
You see, during Denny O’Neil’s run on Iron Man in the 1980s, Tony Stark lost his business to the villainous Obadiah Stane as Tony fell into a downward spiral of alcoholism. Eventually Tony got his business back, but in “Crash and Burn” he learned that during the time Tony was gone Stane had done some nasty things with the business which is now sort of Toy’s responsibility since this was technically done by HIS. business. In an interview with Patrick Daniel O’Neill in Wizard Magazine #30, he noted, “One of the things that has always made me uncomfortable about Iron Man is that he’s the multi-billionaire head of a giant corporation – and that’s a good one. Usually, in the real world, these guys aren’t the good guys – although I’ll admit that portraying them as bad guys is also a cliche in comics these days. “
The idea of the story was also to work smart in the appearances of other Marvel characters and hey if that could increase Iron Mansales of via these guest stars appearing, so nevermind (as I noted in an article recently, the 1990s were ALL about guest star sales, even if some of them were of questionable value, like Thunderstrike ).
When Peter David started writing The Incredible Hulk, the set-up for the series was that Hulk/Bruce Banner, Rick Jones, and rogue SHIELD agent Clay Quartermain went on a journey, of sorts, to collect a shocking hidden collection gamma bombs. around the country. Tragically, before they could find them all, the leader used one of the bombs on a small town as an experiment to see what would happen to the survivors of the explosion (to see what interesting Range-based powers they could develop ).
Well, in Iron Man #304 (by Len Kaminski, Kev Hogood, and Steve Mitchell) it turns out that Stane International was behind the production of these bombs and while they were SUPPOSED to destroy the factories that made them, they instead decided to just put the pending production. When people found out about this, environmental groups were furious, but Iron Man was more concerned about something else…
Later that night Hulk (who at the time was in a situation where Banner had merged with Hulk so he had Banner’s brains, Hulk’s power but also a bit of Hulk’s advantage to him too) appears, wanting to dismantle the factory…
and Tony is ready for him, complete with his Hulkbuster armor!
After starting to fight in the next issue, amid punches and explosions, Iron Man asks Hulk why they can’t reasonably agree on a timeline to take the planet down and Hulk shocks him saying “D ‘OK”. ..
Turns out the Hulk wasn’t there to fight (unless Iron Man wanted to fight). He just wanted to make sure the factory was dismantled. He and Iron Man then did (no time like the present, right?)…
And before he left, Iron Man apologized for the fight, but Hulk made Tony feel even worse by telling him he really should apologize for building a weapon and then planning to use it BECAUSE THAT he built it…
RUDE. I wonder if this applies to the MCU version of Tony as well. Good stuff from Kamniski.
If you have any suggestions for future episodes of Written in the Book, message me at [email protected]!
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