It might be the most famous, but the Hulkbuster - which made its awesome movie début in this week's fabulous Age of Ultron trailer - isn't the only suit Tony Stark has made to combat a specific super-foe. Here's 8 of Iron Man's 'buster'-style suits that are just as good, if not better.
Okay, so this wasn't a specifically specialised suit for Tony, but it was designed for facing off against Magneto - not usually a great idea to go up against the Master of Magnetism with a name like Iron Man, but Tony was prepared when the two went toe-to-toe in the Avengers vs. X-Men event:
In order to avoid being flung around like an action figure by Magneto's anti-metal powers, Tony creates a version of his armor made entirely out of carbon nanotubes - it's kind of a dumb comic-booky thing to use modern science in such a way, but a pretty clever move for Mr. Stark.
Because Comic Book villains rarely have original ideas, last year A.I.M decided to recreate the super-power-granting Extremis Virus, selling it to the highest bidder across the world. Tony was understandably pissed at the virus making a return, and vowed to hunt down every source and destroying it personally. In doing so he finds a Catacomb in France where 13 Extremis-powered Humans were created, and developed this high-arsenal suit to do battle with multiple super-powered foes at once, packed with enough weaponry to make a small country's standing army quiver in their boots, as well as an ultra-powerful forcefield to protect the suit from barrages of attacks.
Tony broke the armor out again during Original Sin, to fight a rampaging Hulk after his latest Hulkbuster was destroyed - unfortunately it didn't last much longer, getting torn to shreds in the process.
The first true armor to inherit the 'Buster' suffix on our list, hooray!
As Tony describes in the speech bubble above, this suit was powered by an Asgardian Gem gifted by Thor to Humanity to develop a source of clean energy - however, as political tension rose between Earth and Asgard over the killing of Asgardian worshippers in Sokovia (the strings pulled by Doctor Doom, of course), Thor turned against his fellow Avengers and stood to defend Asgard, requiring Tony to go up against him in this suit powered by the Asgardian crystal, allowing him to beat up the mighty God of Thunder. It didn't work though - Thor quickly destroyed the suit's core, forcing Tony to eject out of it.
You might notice a running theme with some of these suits - despite being designed for one specific circumstance, they don't always tend to work in said specific circumstance. The 'Phoenix Killer' is no exception, another specialised suit from the Avengers/X-Men dust up event. This one was designed to, you guessed it, destroy the Phoenix Force before it came back to Earth.
Tony succeeded in obliterating the Phoenix Force - into 5 separate parts, which promptly possessed a few nearby X-Men, creating even more of a problem than having to deal with the singular Phoenix Force. GOOD JOB, TONY.
What's better than a Hulkbuster? A new and improved Hulkbuster. The Hulkbuster Plus!
Hulkbuster 2: This time it's Bustier was created to combat an enraged Hulk, who returns to Earth after some forced time away on Sakaar - understandably pissed at Tony and the other members of the Illuminati who exiled him. As ever with Hulkbusters though, despite its suped up armor and strength it was no match for the Hulk, who took it out of action by literally collapsing Avengers Tower on Iron Man.
Marvel and Transformers Crossover? Marvel and Transformers crossover.
When the Tony Stark of Earth-7642 - an alternate Marvel universe where heroes exist alongside characters from DC, Transformers, Witchblade and more because of course there's one of those - hears talk of alien robots (that may or may not be in disguise) heading to Earth, he starts developing a suit to combat them. It would've been really awkward if they came in peace, right? Well, good job it was the Decepticons.
The Transformer-sized armor wasn't finalised when the Decepticons arrived though, and it had several energy consumption problems - it didn't really matter all that much when Megatron lopped its head off though, forcing Tony to carry on fighting in his normal suit.
The recently revealed Summer 2015 of Marvel Event reboots got even wackier with the reveal of the Armor Wars reboot last week, which featured key art including this enormous Iron Man armor made in the style of World-muncher Galactus, and presumably designed to combat the cosmic entity if he ever came to have a nibble on Earth. It's also blasting the face of the Statue of Liberty off, because why not, Comic books?
It's actually not the first time an anti-Galactus armor concept has been thrown around. An alternate, smaller version that still borrows from Galactus' look appears in Iron Man's ending from the fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 3: The Fate of Two Worlds:
Galactus was the final boss of the game's story mode, which saw heroes from both Marvel and Capcom's roster duke it out after Doctor Doom unites a team of villains from both universes - the dimensional wibbliness naturally awakens Galactus for a multi-universe buffet, forcing everyone to unite to stop him.
Another alternate universe armor, but still too crazy to not include.
In this What If story, Tony Stark is in a car accident with Stephen Strange, giving Strange crippling nerve damage in his hands - making him unable to cast spells as the sorcerer supreme. Feeling guilty, Tony tries to look for a cure for Strange's nerve damage, which in a roundabout way leads to him going 'screw it, I'll learn magic instead!', wielding the power of the Sorcerer Supreme for himself instead, and eventually creating this awesome looking suit to do battle with Dormammu. The eye of Agamatto embedded in the place of the usual power core, and with the robotic gauntlet coming with pre-programmed hand motions for spellcasting, this suit was topped off by something all magic users need, even the ones powered by tech like Tony: a sweet cape. Marvellous!
Bonus Round! The Argonauts from The Invicible Iron Man: Execute Program: This squad of suits, drones on a smaller scale than the 'Iron Legion' we saw in Iron Man 3, weren't really designed to fight specific enemies, they were designed to fulfil a variety of roles so Tony could dispatch them as and where needed - there was even a Hulkbuster Argonaut included. Naturally, as it seems to be the case with virtually every remote suit Tony builds, they went out of control and started attacking the likes of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, requiring them to be destroyed. Honestly, Tony, just stop trying to do the drone thing at this point. It rarely ends well!
And although all these suits are great, let's be honest - the original Hulkbuster is still pretty cool.
Aww yeah, that's the good stuff right there.
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