One of Iron Man’s most disgusting armors came from the Age of X Universe miniseries, where the hero turned into a steel corpse.
In the comics, Iron Man is no stranger to getting disgusting spins on his different armors – with his Steel Corpse suit being among the strangest of them all. In Marvel’s Age of X Universe miniseries, Tony Stark’s corpse was trapped inside his armor, turning the longtime Avenger into a monster-like creature that survived thanks to the metal surrounding his disfigured body. Iron Man’s transformation eventually drove him mad.
In Marvel’s Age of X miniseries, a universe was imagined where the mutants were on the brink of extinction and the X-Men never existed. Among the primary villains to the mutants were the Avengers, who were tasked with hunting down the remaining survivors in the apocalypse-like reality. However, the versions of the Avengers in the Age of X universe weren’t the same as their Earth-616 counterparts. The Hulk was created as a part of mutant experiments and blamed them for turning him into a monster as he accidentally killed those closest to him, Spider-Woman is a killer known as Redback, and Captain America leads the team, despite having reservations about their mission. Nobody experienced a worse transformation than Iron Man, however.
In Age of X Universe by Simon Spurrier, Khoi Pham, Tom Palmer, Sonia Oback, and VC’s Joe Sabino, the Avengers attack the mutants at Fortress X. As the mutants stronghold is invaded, the disgusting truth behind the Avengers’ version of Iron Man is revealed. Tony Stark took on the name « Steel Corpse » after being infected by a tech virus that fused him with his armor. Iron Man is slowly digested by the suit, as it’s been decades since he was trapped inside. Unfortunately, when the Avengers realize the mutants are just protecting their own youngsters during a mission, the government overrides Iron Man’s armor. It forces him to start firing at the kids.
Captain America is given no choice but to shoot the Steel Corpse in the head before he kills the young mutants. Before his death, Iron Man’s tragic final words were to « help them, » referring to the mutants he was being forced to kill. The disgusting version of Iron Man goes out a hero.
The Steel Corpse version of Iron Man might be one of the most disgusting takes on Tony Stark ever, as his armor literally fused to his body as he became a monster. However, in the end, his humanity shined through as he tells the Avengers to help the kids he’s forced to take down – which saves their lives and costs his own. Steel Corpse Iron Man’s death turns out to be an incredible, unexpected sacrifice.
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