Within the Marvel Universe, comic fans have to witness a plethora of strange and unique gadgets invented by Tony Stark, aka Iron Man. While some have proven incredibly useful to the Armored Avenger, others rapidly get tossed to the wayside and forgotten. In Iron Man #20 (by Christopher Cantwell, Angel Unzueta, and Frank D’Armata), Iron Man finds himself using one of these ‘forgotten’ contraptions while combating the new villain Chet the Gorilla.
Tony Stark has invited the Empire States University’s Advanced Zoological experiment, Chet the Gorilla, to test the capabilities of the 5150 Holographic AI by having it challenge the obscenely intelligent gorilla to a chess game. Unfortunately, when Chet loses the match after being caught cheating, he goes into a crazed frenzy, attacking the scientists and scientists. Tony dons his new ‘Model 70’ Iron Man suit in response. However, the suit begins failing, leaving the hero with only roller skates to evade Chet through the streets of New York City. This particular Iron Man gadget hasn’t seen the light of day in current continuity in decades. With the return of such an outlandish part of Iron Man’s arsenal of trinkets, it begs the question of what other strange or forgotten Iron Man gadgets should make a return to comic book pages?
Model 60 (Vespa Suit)
One such forgotten Iron Man contraption that could find a return is the bizarre ‘Model 60’ suit, made unique for its ability to transform into a hot red Vespa as if it were a Transformer. It makes sense why this suit has found itself left to the wayside. Aside from its ability to turn into a standard Vespa, this armor had no benefits that could not be filled by essentially any other Iron Man armor. Its seeming only payoff was impressing the superheroine Wasp while dating her in Tony Stark: Iron Man #4 (by Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti, and Edgar Delgado). What makes the existence of the Vespa Suit more perplexing is that Iron Man already has a more practical variant of this suit in the form of the ‘Model 55’ suit from Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends #1, which transformed into a high-speed motorcycle.
Despite that, this strange suit is certainly one of Tony Stark’s classier creations. Seeing it return like the roller-skate suit attachments would make for an equally fun reference. Although not the most versatile Iron Man suit, the Vespa would be great if Iron Man found himself needing to conceal his armor while cruising the coasts of Monaco as he did in Iron Man 2.
Another weird — but arguably more useful — suit came from 2008’s Marvel Adventures Iron Man #8. After the supervillain Jolt destroys his armor, Stark seeks shelter in an Amish village. Needing to defend the community when the villain continues her assault, Iron Man crafted a hulking suit fueled by steam power and armed with high-pressure water cannons instead of his iconic repulsor blasters. Despite not being a very durable suit of armor, the lack of circuitry and computer systems made it completely untraceable, and the water cannons made for an excellent fire deterrent. The Steam-Powered armor also had great electrical conductors that could not only weather the intense electrical voltage of the villain Jolt but send the volts back to the villain by an archaic form of reverse polarity.
This rustic Iron Man contraption is a testament to the ingenuity of the multi-billionaire superhero and just goes to show Tony Stark doesn’t need 21st-century technology to create something amazing. Although this suit only exists in the alternate universe designated Earth-20051, it could easily find use in the main Marvel Comic continuity of Earth-616 if the right circumstances came about.
Despite its origins within the Marvel Cinematic Universe instead of the comics, the briefly used Sonic Taser from the 2008 Iron Man film is an example that sometimes Tony Stark’s most dangerous inventions are the more unassuming ones. This small device used high-sonic frequencies to incapacitate, or, in some cases, kill, groups of individuals at a time. This invention of Tony Stark became a favorite of the film’s lead antagonist, Obadiah Stan, who used the device to immobilize members of the Ten Rings and Iron Man himself. Oddly enough, one could almost argue that Obadiah Stane downgraded his arsenal when he traded the Stark Tech Sonic Taser for the bulky and slow-moving Iron Monger suit.
The HYDRA Agent Clairvoyant took this weapon to its ultimate conclusion in Marvel Televisions’ Agents of SHIELD He began using the Sonic Taser as an untraceable assassination weapon that was transmitted through phone lines. If presented correctly, the Stark Tech Sonic Taser would be a chilling sight if the device appeared in the Marvel comic books and would be a well-appreciated cameo for MCU fans.
These inventions are only a small fraction of the vast array of gadgets created by Iron Man that have either fallen under disuse by the Armored Avenger or have had their potential unrealized. Even though Iron Man has mostly abandoned these devices, they show that he is an ever-dynamic superhero continually changing. Tony Stark ultimately has an inventors mentality and thus will always move on to the next big inventions. Still, maybe every so often, the Golden Avenger will find himself returning to his older trinkets to surprise, delight, and amuse fans.