WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers #31, by Jason Aaron, Gerardo Zaffino, Geraldo Borges, Szymon Kudranski, Bazaldua, Robert Gill, Mattia DeIulis, VC’s Joe Caramagna and Rachelle Rosenberg, on sale now.
From the outside, Tony Stark doesn’t seem half as important as his armored alter ego, Iron Man. But it’s not the suit that makes him a superhero, it’s his genius. No matter what tools he has at his disposal, Tony can invent his way out of almost anything. As Obediah Stane eloquently put it in 2008’s Iron Man, Stark built his first Iron Man armor in a cave with some scraps. Since then, Tony has only perfected his craft, designing suits that are better, stronger and tailored for every scenario he can imagine.
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And now, Stark has to do it all over again. Recently, in the pages of the Avengers, Tony found himself mysteriously transported back through time to the very beginnings of humanity. Finding himself millions of years in the past, Tony still comes under attack from all manner of enemies. And, in answer, he does the thing he does best: he creates a new suit of armor.
When Tony was transported from the present to the prehistoric past, he was partially lucky: he was still wearing his armor. However, with no lab and no spare parts, his armor sustains a lot of damage in the hostile environment, and it’s quickly running out of power. Thankfully, he holes up in a cave where he finds enough trace amounts of Vibranium to power his suit for a little while. But a visit from the Avengers 1,000,000 B.C., hostile cavemen, as well as a Power Stone-wielding gorilla reduces his armor to almost nothing but bits and pieces.
No matter where Tony is, trouble finds him. Soon, he discovers that the relentless waves of attacks are coming from Mephisto, who wants to collect his soul. Knowing that the demon will soon return, Tony realizes he needs to build himself a new armor if he has any hope of facing the demon or whatever else he might conjure up to attack him next. Therefore, with no iron or any sort of metal around, Tony uses the only thing that is currently in abundance to create the shell of his new armor: ice.
Lost in time in the Ice Age, Tony dubs himself the Ice Age Man, and debuts his new prehistoric armor. Powered by his arc reactor and connected by remnant wiring of his old armor, the latest Iron Man suit is made almost entirely of ice. It’s even armed with ice spikes, which Tony has weaponized to be fired from his gauntlets. And to make sure the armor fits in with the times, it even has a fur collar.
The creation of this new armor is clearly meant to reflect the Mark 1 suit. Both were created in a cave with whatever material Tony could get his hands on. This is undoubtedly why the armor’s debut casts Tony in a classic Iron Man pose meant to evocate the character’s debut cover in Tales of Suspense #39.’
While Mephisto’s firey attacks ultimately smash and melt this armor into smithereens, this improbable armor captures the innovative spirit of Tony Stark as much as any of his more high-tech Iron Man armors.
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