ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning - large SPOILERS for Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a whole bunch of Iron Man comics, including Civil War, lie below - proceed with whatever level of caution best suits you...)

Now, when it comes to rogueish snarky multi-billionaires, they don't come much more charming or beloved than Tony Stark. Not only does he have a snappy response for more-or-less any circumstance, but since he's played by the fan-favorite Robert Downey Jr., there's arguably very little Tony can do wrong.

I mean, even if you take his Iron Man suit away from him, he's still basically James Bond meets Bill Gates - right Tony?

The only problem?

Behind all of the awesomeness and snappy comebacks, Tony Stark isn't actually quite as good a dude as he sometimes seems. Y'see, as it turns out:

Iron Man is Actually Quite Often Kind of an Asshole

Now, to be clear, I don't mean that Tony Stark isn't awesome - because he very clearly is. Instead, it's worth remembering that a whole lot of the time, Tony is actually using the same charisma and bad-assery that make us feel that way about him to secretly be kind of a tool.

Which, in the comics, often steps over the line from 'being a little mis-guided, but meaning well', to 'basically being a villain who's still in the Avengers'.

Here, then, are ten of Tony's greatest (or should it be worst) moments...

First up:

1. Tony is (Routinely) a Dick to His Friends

Think back to the Iron Man and Avengers movies for a second. How many times can you remember Tony actually saying something pleasant to one of his friends and co-workers? I'm guessing somewhere in the region of a handful.

Now, how many times can you remember him being a (hilariously entertaining) asshole to them?

No. 1 of 10,000.
No. 1 of 10,000.

Yup, that's's pretty much every line he has in both Avengers movies.

Which would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that:

2. Tony Makes Enemies the Way Most of Us Make Lunch

In other words - frequently, and with as much cheese as possible.

After all, pretty much every major Iron Man movie villain is only fighting Tony because he was, at one point in the past, kind of an asshole to them. With Iron Man 3's Aldrich Killian, we literally see a flashback to the moment where Tony Stark treating him like crap turned him into a super-villain:

If only he had looked like a super-model...
If only he had looked like a super-model...

Even in Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver only join up with Ultron because their parents were killed by weapons Tony designed...

Which essentially means that every bit of destruction that all of those villains caused? It could have been avoided had Tony not routinely treated everyone around him like a sack of horse manure since the day he learned to speak.

In fairness though, a lot of that could be written off as just him being misunderstood - especially since he is, at least, consistently hilarious. That being said:

3. Tony Totally Invented an Insane Murder Robot That Almost Destroyed the World

Don't forget, that whole 'Age of Ultron' that almost destroyed the world, and got Quicksilver killed? That was very much all Tony's fault.

"Wait, what?"
"Wait, what?"

After all, it was his decision to, y'know, try to design a super-intelligent sentient A.I. that no-one had asked him to make, and then leave it unattended in order to hang out with his friends.

Though, on the plus side, at least it still beats that time in the comics when:

4. He Also Totally Started a Civil War...

That's right - the comic-book Civil War basically starts because Iron Man is more than willing to hunt down some of his oldest friends - including Captain freaking America - without pausing to think about whether that puts him on the wrong side of history by default.

5. ...During Which He Spied on His Closest Allies...

See, during Civil War, not only did Tony persuade Spider-Man to reveal his secret identity, but he he also gave him a new suit...

...which Peter Parker soon discovered was being used to spy on him.

Or, on other words, Tony decided it would be a good idea to spy on Spider-Man, arguably the second most trustworthy superhero out there, just after...the guy he was fighting a war against. Meanwhile, Tony also:

6. ...Totally Cloned Thor...

Yup, that's right, the Thor we saw in Civil War wasn't actually the God of Thunder. Instead, it was a murderlicious cyborg clone of Thor named Ragnarok, which had virtually none of the positive traits that made the original a hero...

7. ...Which Ended Up With That Thor Clone Killing A Super-Hero...

Specifically, Bill 'Goliath' Foster, seen here being shot throw the chest by cyborg/clone Thor.

Which, seeing as Tony invented the damn thing, was very much his fault...

Oh, also:

8. ...He Used Super-Villains to Hunt Down His Friends

And not the good kind of super-villains, like Magneto, who sometimes end up being good-guys.

We're talking people like Bullseye. Y'know, this guy:

And that was all in like six months.

Of course, he had worse moments earlier in his career. For instance:

9. There Was That Time He Betrayed All of the Avengers

Now, admittedly, he'd been manipulated over the course of several years by a time-travelling supervillain, Immortus, and wasn't in control of his actions, but he still killed a bunch of heroes, and was only foiled when the Avengers brought a teenaged Tony Stark to the present to stop him. Which worked out so badly, Marvel ended up (temporarily) killing off most of the main heroes in the Marvel Universe for like a year.

And, of course:

10. That Time He Basically Made Himself Evil

Which was...actually just a few months ago. Y'see, at the end of the recent AXIS crossover event (which saw all of Marvel's heroes and villains' moral compasses inverted), a now villainous Tony found a way to avoid returning to his 'weaker' normal self, and ended up being one of the only heroes to stay 'evil'.

Which didn't work out too well for those around him, since he soon embarked on a scheme to get the entire population of San Francisco hooked on his power-granting techno-virus Extremis, before charging people $99.99 a day to keep using it. Also, he essentially gave Daredevil brain damage to protect his secret, and that's never OK.

And Yet...

Despite it all, we still love Tony Stark.

Because, sure, he's an egotistical, smart-mouthed elitist asshole - but he's our egotistical, smart-mouthed elitist asshole, and we love him.

Until half an hour into Captain America: Civil War, anyway...

What do you reckon, though?


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