So, you’ve seen Iron Man 3, and now you’re all excited to read some of the old shell head’s adventures in comic book form. Well, have I got a list for you!
Here’s a brief selection of some of the stories that inspired the movie, and some that’ll get you caught up with where the character is these days in the Marvel Universe.
Iron Man: Extremis – This is at least part of the basis for the plot of Iron Man 3, but like a lot of the Marvel movies, Iron Man 3 is only loosely based on this story (very loosely). Published in 2005 and 2006, Extremis features Tony Stark taking on a group of terrorists armed with some scary new technology that forces Iron Man to get with the times and upgrade his armor. The series, written by Warren Ellis, features a lot of new ideas for Iron Man. It is very much a Warren Ellis comic, with a bunch of near-futuristic concepts come to life and used to tell an exciting adventure. This is one of the first comics to really push Iron Man to the forefront of the Marvel universe, plus it’s a decent story and works well on its own. This is one of the best Iron Man stories to give to people who’ve never read one before.
Iron Man: Believe – If you’re more interested in what Iron Man is up to these days, this is the hardcover to pick up. It’s fairly recent, so you can read this and then jump straight into the monthly issues if you so choose, especially with the big “Secret Origin of Tony Stark” starting. Now, I haven’t read this yet, so I don’t know much about it. It looks like this is a de facto sequel to the Extremis story, which makes it a good tie-in to the movie, which is good timing on Marvel’s part. The art by Greg Land may not be for everyone, but then again some people might like it. Take a look at it and see if it’s up your alley.
Invincible Iron Man Vol. 9, 10, and 11 – The three volumes feature writer Matt Fraction’s take on The Mandarin, the main villain of Iron Man 3. This version of The Mandarin is quite a bit different than what you will see in the movie, but the story is worth a mention. It’s also worth noting that this batch of issues builds off of what Fraction did earlier in the series, so it may be a bit hard to follow.
Essential Iron Man Vol. 1–5 – And as I always do with these lists, I like to include some classic material from the character’s past, and the best way to do that is with Marvel’s Essential line. Sure, the art may be in black and white, but this is still the best way to check out a whole heap of Silver Age action on the cheap.
This will give you a good base to work from, with plenty of stories to branch into if these strike your fancy. Iron Man has never been more central to the Marvel U than he has been in the last 5 or so years, but there’s a whole host of great stories featuring him, so jump right in and get to reading.