|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic • Source • Setting|
The '90s Animated Adaptation based on the Marvel Universe Superhero and his alter ego, Tony Stark. (An earlier Iron Man animated series was shown as part of the The Marvel Superheroes lineup that ran in 1966.)
This series ran for two seasons from 1994 to 1996 alongside Fantastic Four as part of the syndicated Marvel Action Hour. Like FF, it had a bland first season and a significantly improved second.
The first season dealt with Iron Man and his team of fellow superheroes--War Machine, Spider-Woman, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Century--battling the forces of the evil Mandarin, such as Whirlwind and Grey Gargoyle. The episodes in this season were mostly one-part stories. Common points of contention for many during this season were the shoddy animation, and that other than the "Origin of Iron Man" two-parter, which modernized his origins, there were no attempts to adapt stories from the comic mythos.
The second season featured much better animation (thanks to switching to a different animation studio) and stories more similar to the comic. It was more Arc based, and the Superhero team aspect was downplayed with all the teammates besides Spider-Woman and War Machine resigning after Tony faked his death without letting them in on the plan. Mandarin was also downplayed, having small cameos in some episodes as he reclaims his powerful Ten Rings, which were scattered during a confrontation with Iron Man in the season premiere.
Tropes present in this series:
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese dub uses a different opening theme song.
- Anime Theme Song: When broadcast in Japan.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Tony literally says "What Have I Done" after pointlessly fighting the hero Stingray, War Machine tells him, "Well, let's see: near as I can figure, you've trespassed on federal property, assaulted a naval officer, and taken a dip without waiting an hour after mealtime!"
- Avenging the Villain: Firebrand in "Fire and Rain".
- Back for the Finale: Scarlet Witch, Century and several of the Mandarin's minions
- Be Careful What You Say/Chekhov's Gun: In "Silence My Companion, Death My Destination", Rachel Carpenter wonders when she will ever need classical music and her mother later gives her a tape of a Van Cliburn performance. Apparently, the music can be used to recharge Iron Man.
- Betty and Veronica: Spider-Woman and Scarlet Witch in the first season.
- Big Bad: Mandarin.
- Canon Foreigner: Hypnotia, an Expy of Thor villainess Enchantress, and Dark Aegis, the main villain of the episode, "Distant Boundries".
- Clip Show: Both seasons had one - "The Wedding of Iron Man" and "Empowered," respectively.
- Commuting on a Bus: Hawkeye in Season 2. Unlike Scarlet Witch or Century, he appeared in two episodes in-between the premiere and finale.
- Composite Character: Julia Carpenter (Spider Woman ) has a lot of traits of Pepper Potts. It's most evident in the second season.
- She's also somewhat of an Expy for Bethany Cabe, Stark's other red-haired associate at the time.
- Conspicuous CG: The first season featured a completely CG-rendered suit-up sequence whenever Tony donned his Iron Man armor. It looked very cheap (even for an animated series of its time; The fact that it was done in part with a collage of all places doesn't help its case) and was replaced in season two with a much more fitting and better animated 2D sequence.
- Crossover: Iron Man appears in a few episodes of Spider-Man: The Animated Series and an episode of the then-latest The Incredible Hulk cartoon. The Hulk himself appears in an episode of this show as he teams up with Iron Man to stop The Leader from going back to the past to take Bruce Banner's place in the gamma bomb explosion that created the Hulk.
- He also made a cameo appearance in Fantastic Four as the leader of Avengers.
- Darker and Edgier: The second season had darker colors, a more mature tone, and spent time developing the more sociopathic aspects of Stark as a character.
- Ex-KGB who wants to basically bring back the Cold War and win it decides to launch a nuke at a Russian city and make America look responsible, and when stopped, decides to detonate it there, atomizing himself and anyone else in the immediate area, and causing numerous deaths from radiation poisoning. No, this isn't an episode of 24, it's an episode of a kids' cartoon. Crimson Dynamo's swan-song, setting off the animated version of the Armor Wars storyline... which is also one of those episodes that shows Stark's dark side.
- Enemy Mine: In "The Beast Within," Iron Man and the Mandarin are forced to work together to defeat the dragons.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In "Distant Boundaries," Titanium Man.
"My hunger is different than that of Dark Aegis. I want power to command; to lead. He wants power to annihilate!"
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: In "The Defection of Hawkeye", the Mandarin sets up evidence that Hawkeye is a traitor, and is completely shocked that Tony and the others trust him regardless.
- Exiled From Continuity: The 616 version of Force Works featured U.S. Agent, who presumably did not appear because of rights issues (as the character is tied to Captain America).
- Likewise, the producers could not use Cap himself in season two's Armor Wars adaptation.
- Fantastic Voyage Plot: "Iron Man, On the Inside," where Tony does this to fix Hawkeye's spinal injury. Sadly, the bloodstream looks like a fucking mess thanks to the awful animation.
- Forging Scene: The second intro sequence has one of these.
- Grand Finale: Season two's "Hands of the Mandarin" two-parter, where Mandarin--having finally collected all of his Ten Rings--launches a scheme to make all of the planet's technology useless, which would make his arch-enemy Iron Man ineffective against him. As Mandarin reforms his team of super villains, Iron Man reforms his superhero team and develops new armor to negate Mandarin's anti-technology, and a final confrontation between the two ends in Mandarin's death.
- It looked more to this troper that Mandarin, with Laser-Guided Amnesia begat by brigands, had his hands chopped off for his rings.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Spider-Woman, Wanda (season one), and Tony's physical therapist.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Titanium Man in "Distant Boundaries," taking Dark Aegis with him.
- Hey, It's That Voice!
- James Avery (The Shredder, Uncle Phil) as Rhodey/War Machine for a few episodes.
- And then Dorian Harewood (Modo) replaced him.
- Jim Cummings as MODOK, among others.
- Jennifer Hale as Julia Carpenter/Spider-Woman for season two.
- Or from around the same as this show, Black Cat.
- Robert Hays (Ted Striker) as the titular character and his alter ego Tony Stark.
- Tom Kane as Stark's computer, H.O.M.E.R..
- The Mandarin was voiced by Ed Gilbert in Season 1 and Robert Ito in Season 2.
- In Season 2, Justin Hammer was voiced by Eferm "Alfred/Doctor Octopus" Zimbalist, Jr.
- The episode "Hulkbuster" saw both Bruce Banner and Hulk being voiced by Ron Perlman.
- James Avery (The Shredder, Uncle Phil) as Rhodey/War Machine for a few episodes.
- Identity Impersonator: Tony pulls this one on the Mandarin in "The Wedding of Iron Man." Tony himself appears at the wedding in disguise (so he can change into Iron Man later), while a robot represents Tony Stark.
- The Igor: MODOK
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Hawkeye
- Iron Man could count, too, given he does jackass things like faking his death and the "Armor Wars" stuff, but he did believe he trying to help people.
- Killed Off for Real: Fing Fang Foom.
- The Lancer: Hawkeye
- Last-Minute Hookup: Tony and Julia
- Legion of Doom: The first season exclusively featured the Mandarin as the Big Bad with the other villains (Blizzard, Blacklash, Grey Gargoyle, Whirlwind, Hypnotia, Living Laser, M.O.D.O.K., and Fin Fang Foom) all working for him and rotating in and out as needed.
- Make Wrong What Once Went Right: In "Hulk Buster," the Leader seeks to eliminate Bruce Banner in the past and claim the Hulk's power for himself.
"Our destiny is about to be uncrossed, Banner."
- Merchandise-Driven: Likely the reason why the first season featured Iron Man and Force Works vs. the Mandarin's Legion of Doom (it was a very similar setup to Transformers, Thundercats, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe), and definitely the reason that season 2 gave Iron Man the ability to switch armors on the fly to adapt to any situation. Marvel had looked at the success of the multi-colored Batman toys in the wake of Batman Returns and were trying to copy its success with Iron Man by giving him an armor for every occasion. It didn't take off as well as Marvel had hoped.
- Also led to Executive Meddling for comics at the time: West Coast Avengers was canceled in favor of the more Iron Man-centric Force Works in preparation for the hoped-for Iron Man fad.
- Ninja Log: Iron Man pulls this of on Blacklash in "Silence My Companion, My Death Destination" when he disguises a high-voltage transformer using his hologram.
- Off-Model: The first season even fails in comparison to both X-Men or Fantastic Four's first season.
- Oh Crap: Hulk in his crossover episode when he realizes the time travel has brought him to just before the gamma bomb test.
- The Other Darrin: Dorian Harewood took over for James Avery as War Machine, Whirlwind, and Whiplash early into Season 1. Also, Harewood, Robert Hays, John Reilly (the voice of Hawkeye), Jim Cummings and Neil Ross (Fin Fang Foom) were the only cast members to return for Season 2. Virtually everyone else was replaced.
- Century also suffered from this... twice! His original voice actor was among those let go in-between seasons. In "The Beast Within," Jim Cummings takes over voicing the character. But in "The Hands of the Mandarin" two-parter, fellow series regular Tom Kane had the role instead. (This was most likely because H.O.M.E.R. didn't appear in Part 2 and production wanted Kane to have something to do.)
- Power Trio: Iron Man, War Machine, and Spider-Woman in Season 2.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Spider-Woman, almost definitely because she was more Toyetic than any of Tony's canon love interests.
- The Scarlet Witch, too, though obviously unrequited.
- Rated "M" for Manly: The second US opening theme.
- Doubles as Crowning Music of Awesome.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: See Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking above.
- Ring of Power: The Mandarin. Ten of them!
- Say My Name: The season two premiere "The Beast Within" features Rhodey, in response to his best friend Tony supposedly getting blown sky high, belting out a tortured "TONYYYYYYYYYY!"
- Shout-Out: The villain Beetle talks like a member of a certain rock band.
- Screw This, We're Outta Here: Force Works in Season 2 effectively disbands when half the the team (Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and Century) quits, having become disgusted with Tony faking his own death.
- Stock Footage: Season 1 featured the lengthy Conspicuous CG clip of Tony suiting up as Iron Man and dubbing in new dialogue for different episodes.
- "Hulk Buster" reuses the climatic explosion from "The Beast Within" and a Hulk transformation from Fantastic Four.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Walter Stark looks like Tony Stark with gray hair.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: H.O.M.E.R. replaces the female-voiced computer from Season 1.
- Swiss Army Hero: Iron Man in Season 2, with the power to switch to different armors for different challenges.
- Ten-Minute Retirement: Tony has one of these in "The Armor Wars".
- Took a Level In Jerkass: Let's just say in Season 2, some of Tony's less admirable personality traits from the comics made their way onto the show.
- Toyless Toyline Character: For a show meant to shill toys, several:
- On the heroes' side, Scarlet Witch and Stingray.
- Amongst the bad guys, Hypnotia, Justin Hammer, Firebrand, Controller, Stilt-Man, Beetle, and Firepower.
- While not completely toyless, Hawkeye - probably the most prominent hero on the show aside from Iron Man and War Machine - was only released outside the US and was absurdly rare.
- Transformation Sequence: The first season had out-of-place CGI Once an Episode. The second season had a much better one in the opening sequence.
- We Would Have Told You But: Force Works quits after Tony pulls this on them in the second season premiere.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Tony has these issues with his father, as seen in "Not Far from the Tree."
- Wham! Episode: "The Beast Within" - Fing Fang Foom is written out, the Mandarin's rings are scattered across the world, his Legion of Doom gets arrested and Iron Man's Jerkass scheming costs him half his team.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Tony's buddies are rather ticked after learning he faked his death without letting them know it was a ruse to stop Mandarin's scheme in "The Beast Within."
- The "Armor Wars" two-parter is pretty much this non-stop until Tony has a What Have I Done moment after defeating the heroic Stingray only to find that Stingray was not using his technology.
- The first season had an episode where Tony fooled the Mandarin into thinking that Tony Stark and Iron Man were separate people by having Julia (Spider-Woman) marry a robot duplicate with everyone being in on the charade except for Wanda, who was very upset at the deception. And even though she was in on it, Season 2 had Julia rightly point out how she was being jerked around.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Rhodey gains a crippling fear of being submerged in water due to watching his friend drown as a young boy, and then getting stuck at the bottom of the ocean in the War Machine Armor.
- Whole-Episode Flashback: The "Origin of Iron Man" two-parter.
- Wolverine Publicity: Netflix lists its streaming of The Marvel Action Hour under Iron Man's name.
See Iron Man for a list of all the other works with this title.