This page is copyright 2009 by Tim Rassbach.

Iron Man and all associated characters are the property of Marvel Comics.

Pentagon Armor

Dress for the Job You Want

With his TinMan Armor ganked by some alien goo in Iron Man #70 (Vol. 3) and auto-destructed in #71, Stark knew his experimental Ablative Armor wasn’t up to the day-to-day task of being Iron Man.  At the same time, he was making a career change from billionaire-industrialist to civil servant.  He was going to have to dress for the part.  Enter Model 30, Mark I-A, the Pentagon Armor.

Similar in design to the TinMan Armor, the Pentagon Armor is an evolutionary next step rather than a radical redesign. In fact, the overall design scheme as well as the underpinning technological advancements,might be though of as micro-evolutionary.

The “look” continues the aggressive posture of the TinMan while adding a bit more simplicity to the design.  The Model 30 still had obvious plates and segments, but they are fewer in number, resulting in cleaner lines.

Back-mounted flying-wing-evoking heat sinks, broad shoulders, and pronounced gauntlet cuffs cut an ominous figure, while the helmet makes for an almost sinister Iron Man with its mask sporting sunken, scowling eyes and a grimacing mechanical mouth.  This almost skull-like faceplate.  The mask can flip up and is also detachable.

The chest segment includes a triangular chestbeam.  The chest panel also sports two “nipple” ports and also featuring hip pods, both reminiscent of classic armors.

Stark expanded and refined the thigh-high boot leg segments.  The boots themselves (containing upgraded boot jets), have a more aggressive design with thicker soles, more combat boot than super hero booty.

While he’s often had compartments to store gizmos, Stark added an actual utility belt to this suit.  (I guess every billionaire super hero needs a utility belt.)

Why Would Stark Take a Pay Cut?

Tony became Secretary of Defense when the unscrupulous civilian leadership at the Pentagon began unsealing his patents and giving them to defense contractors to build.  Corners were cut, and in many cases the contractors didn’t understand the technology.  The result was unnecessary deaths.  When he uncovered the secret program, Stark thought taking the job was the only way to regain control of his tech.  He also thought he might be able to transform the military and war itself--war without killing.

In #76, Sonny Burch, a corrupt Pentagon official, revealed that the program to mine Stark’s classified patents was well beyond simple design theft.  Burch had his Alpha Team working on the crown jewel of Operation Reforge: an army of Iron Man.  Utilizing the remains of the spare armors Midas once used to trash Stark (SHIELD had ended up with the scrapped armors after Tony thought they were slag), and working from the pilfered patents of Stark, they were able to make all kinds of repairs.  But none of the helmets were capable of driving the armors.  Burch’s “college boys” finally designed a new helmet.  And since they had reverse-engineered or had access to patents for the hardware in the IM armor, Burch finagled a way to legally manufacture new suits.  There were at least twenty-two suits working when Tony discovered what was going on. (Iron Man used the suits to rescue that many technicians from a plane that was going down).  The suits were collected and incinerated with Stark supervising a 21,000 degree bonfire at a government facility in Alabama. Burch later killed himself to escape arrest, trial, and what was sure to be a lengthy prison sentence.

The overall Pentagon Armor aesthetic has become the defining look for Iron Man at the start of the twenty-first century, while its still too early to say its iconic, Stark apparently like the design so much he made it the basis for his Extremis Armor.

Model 30, Mark I-B

Iron Man #84 brought an all-new replacement suit, Model 30, Mark I-B (a replacement).  As is his habit, Stark had stashed other suits around.  A former business rival, Clarence Ward, working for the Mandarin’s son, Temugin, somehow stole one of these.  Acting as a rogue Iron Man, Ward donned the Model XXIX, Mark I-C, and went on a killing spree, taking out the Stark board of directors and later, Rumiko.  He later tried to kill Tony.  But like many men, he was unsuccessful.

Armaments: repulsors; pentoid chestbeam (with weapons, spotlight, and ultraviolet emitter); laser cutting beam (on left gauntlet); exploding disks (Frisbee-like munitions stored in right shoulder).

Special feature on this suit: Model 30 has an integrated Remote Command System.  Building on his previous command and control security platforms, Tony created a very robust interlocking remote control system.  With it, he could control at least 22 other IM suits at once (note: this was pre-Extremis).

The armor plating, as in previous models, was made up of miles of tiny tiles that think and move together.  This construction boosts the strength of the suit and also helped Tony get in and out of the suit quickly.  (Model 30 continued the tradition of suits that come together around Tony.  As magnetic fields are activated, the suit “leaps” out of his briefcase, floats around and self assembles over his clothing, encasing him.)  Movement was made possible by articulated servo armatures at the main joints: shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and so on.

Model 30 is underwater capable, allowing IM to fight in the air, on land, or in the water. And it came with the full array of communication systems (including radio communications and satellite TV).  The armor also featured the standard ingenious Stark computer systems (including a special remote encryption software).  This suit had a force field; a magnetic compensator; and an electron microscope.

More below the ad . . .

The Model 30, Mark I-A, suffered a great deal of damage at the end of #78, when Iron Man rode a Galaxy transport plane into the ground to keep it from pancaking in the densely populated Washington DC metro area.  Stark was able to repair the suit, but two issues later, an engineered bio-acid (a WMD) did a number on it.  By the end of #81, after battling the living, walking WMD Ishtar, the I-A was toast.  Her acid blasts ate into the suit causing motor tessellation failure.  Then the bacterial nature of the acid damaged the suit’s magnetic interlocks.  This damage took away IM’s physical strength (his ability to move and fight) while also robbing the armor of its tensile strength.  The soldier with Tony at the time had to peel what was left of the disintegrating armor off of him.  All that was left was a mess of goo.