Question of the Week: Can You Do an Iron Man Reading Order?

Iron Man has become remarkably popular since the Robert Downey Juniorfication of the character in 2008’s MCU debut. So naturally, I saved his reading order for last among the founding Avengers (#timelycomics).

Here it is in all it’s glory. The Iron Man reading order!

Iron Man Reading Order

Iron Mans first comicsI) Invincible Iron Man Origins!

Tales of Suspense

Issues: #39 to #57

Iron Man’s first appearance, origins, and original series. There’s also an omnibus for collected editions.


Issues: #1 to #4

Avengers #1 occurs after Tales of Suspense #44. Avengers #4 after Tales of Suspense #51. This is Iron Man’s first run with the Avengers as a founding Avenger. As you very well know, Iron Man will continue with the Avengers in and out throughout the next 50-plus years of Marvel continuity (and may he for 50 more!). Much like the Thor reading order, I will not be detailing every Avengers appearance. If you’re jones-ing for Avengers specific reading, there’s always my Avengers guide for that.

Tales of Suspense

Issues: #58 to #99

From Tales of Suspense #58 to #99 the title features Iron Man and Captain America in a shared book. Like best pals!


Issues: #5 to #16

As noted above, this continues Iron Man’s first run as a founding Avenger.

Iron Man deals with alcoholism

II) Iron Man Enters the 70’s Through Demon in a Bottle

The Invincible Iron Man

Issues: #1 to #115

Iron Man’s first solo title begins in 1968. 70’s conclude with Iron Man “Demon in a Bottle,” issues #120 to #128, which you’ll see included in the David Michilinie run on Iron Man below. Issue #55 of Invincible Iron Man is notable for the first appearance of Thanos!

Iron Man – Demon in a Bottle

Issues: #116 to #157

Marks the first complete run by David Michilinie, Bob Layton, and John Romita Jr. Includes “Demon in a Bottle” (issues #120 to #128) as well as Doomquest (issues #149 to #150).

Armor Wars

III) West Coast Avengers & Armor Wars

Iron Man

Issues: #160 to #200

Denny O’Neil (of Green Arrow / Green Lantern ‘Hard Travellin’ Heroes’, and Batman fame) wrote a sustained Invincible Iron Man. This time period deals with Stark’s alcoholism in much greater detail, giving us both James Rhodes as Iron Man, and Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges’ villain from the first Iron Man movie). Culminates in the Iron Monger storyline. I’d also note that issue #197 is a Secret Wars II tie-in.

West Coast Avengers

Issues: #1 to #4

Iron Man plays a prominent role with the West Coast Avengers, as you’ll see in this initial four issue miniseries (the title would launch again for a more sustained period in 1985). Unfortunately, Marvel Unlimited’s West Coast library is extremely limited.

Iron Man – Armor Wars

Issues: #215 to #234

Iron Man – Armor Wars II

Issues: #258 to #266

Hulkbuster debut

IV) The 90’s Were a Weird Time For All of Us / Hulkbuster

Iron Man – Dragon Seed Saga

Issues: #270 to #275

The Dragon Seed Saga. (See also: the best Mandarin stories)

Iron Man

Issues: #278 to #291

Iron Man issues #278 and #279 are Avengers: Galactic Storm tie-ins, and then James Rhodes, as War Machine is featured during a trying time for Tony Stark.

Iron Man – Hulkbuster

Issues: #305

I’ll be skipping a big chunk of the 90’s Iron Man for a few reasons, namely I’m not as familiar with these comics and they lead to “The Crossing” which is an absolute mess of an Avengers crossover. That said, Iron Man #305 features some sweet Hulkbuster action (technically begins in Iron Man #304).


Mega Marvel event that sets the stage for…

Heroes Reborn: Iron Man

Issues: #1 to #12

Heroes Reborn happened. This is the Iron Man 1996 to 1998 series in Marvel Unlimited.

Iron Man by Sean Chen

V) Iron Man Enters the 2000’s

Iron Man by Busiek & Chen

Issues: #1 to #25

Collected omnibus by Kurt Busiek and Sean Chen.

Iron Man

Issues: #26 to #83

Poorly collected, oft-overlooked Iron Man comics leading up to Avengers Disassembled. In my experience, these aren’t really hidden gems, but there are some interesting concepts at play, such as Tony Stark working as the United States Secretary of Defense (issues #73 to #78).

Crimson Dynamo

Issues: #1 to #4

Extremis for Iron Man

VI) Golden Avenger Shake Up – Disassembled & Extremis

Avengers Disassembled

Iron Man Disassembled

Issues: #84 to #89

Iron Man disassembled during Avengers Disassembled.

New Avengers

Issues: #1 to #6

Breakout story arc following Avengers Disassembled. Iron Man remains a major player in New Avengers throughout the 2000s, you can follow most easily with my Avengers collection guide.

Iron Man: Extremis

Issues: #1 to #6

Warren Ellis and Adi Granov crafted “Extremis” with their opening 6 issues. It’s one of my absolute favorite Iron Man storylines, and the basis of Iron Man in the MCU and the character as we tend to know him today.

House of M: Iron Man

Issues: #1 to #3

For the full House of M reading order.

Iron Man: Inevitable

Issues: #1 to #6

Miniseries that gives full attention to Iron Man’s rogues gallery.

Iron Man Execute Program

Issues: #7 to #12

The Knauff brothers take on post-Extremis Iron Man in their underrated time on the title.

Cap vs Iron Man

VII) Iron Man in Civil War and SHIELD

Civil War

Iron Man is one of the two most important players in Civil War, taking a stand against Captain America and company. In addition to Civil War and the Iron Man tie-ins below, I recommend Civil War: Frontline, Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War, and Amazing Spider-Man for the full look at Tony Stark’s time in Civil War.

Iron Man

Issues: #13 to #14

Civil War tie-in issues. These two issues mark the end of the Iron Man numbering that began in 2004 (ending in 2007).

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD

Issues: #15 to #18

Civil War changes the status quo for Tony Stark, the world’s new Top Cop. Iron Man retitles to Iron Man: Director of SHIELD, although the numbering continues, starting at issue #15.

Mighty Avengers

Issues: #1 to #6

Tony founds the Mighty Avengers in the wake of Civil War as the Initiative is taking full force.

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD

Issues: #19 to #20

World War Hulk tie-ins here as the Hulk returns for Tony and his pals in the Illuminati. Definitely worth reading World War Hulk for the impact on Iron Man as well.

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD

Issues: #21 to #28 + Annual #1, #29 to #32

Iron Man: Hypervelocity

Issues: #1 to #6

Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin

Issues: #1 to #6

Flashback look at the Mandarin’s early years fighting Iron Man.

Iron Man: Legacy of Doom

Issues: #1 to #4

Rounds out the Iron Man vs. Doctor Doom Camelot trilogy.

Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas

Issues: #1 to #4

This feels like a hoax, but a four issue Marvel Knights story from Jon Favreau (director of 2008’s Iron Man) and Adi Granov. First issue cover is basically Marvel U exploitative cheesecake, so if that’s your bag…

Invincible Iron Man

Issues: #1 to #7

Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca begin their four year run on Invincibile Iron Man.

Iron Man: The End

Issues: #1

A “final” Iron Man single issue.

Fraction and Larocca Iron Man

VIII) Iron Man – The Fraction & Larroca Era

Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion is a game-changer for post-Civil War Iron Man.

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD – War Machine Takeover

Issues: #33 to #35

Iron Man: Director of SHIELD wraps up as Secret Invasion hits and War Machine owns the title for the final three issues.

Invincible Iron Man

Issues: #8 to #19

Tony Star is the “World’s Most Wanted” for the duration of Dark Reign!

War Machine

Issues: #1 to #12

Bewildering and strangely compelling War Machine solo series.

Invincible Iron Man

Issues: #20 to #24

Takes you through Siege and up to the Heroic Age.

Indomitable Iron Man Black and White

Issues: #1

Marvel takes a page from DC’s Batman: Black and White, and gives us 48 pages of black and white Iron Man stories.

Invincible Iron Man

Issues: #25 to #33, Annual #1, #500 to #502

Believe it or not, the Invincible Iron Man annual is one of the best Mandarin stories of the decade.

Iron Man Noir

Issues: #1 to #4

Elseworlds noir title, most appealing because it comes from Scott Snyder just before he became one of the biggest comic writers in the world with New 52 Batman.

Iron Man: Titanium

Issues: #1

Iron Man Legacy

Issues: #1 to #11

Iron Man: The Rapture

Issues: #1 to #4

Iron Man 2.0

Issues: #1 to #4

You can’t have two Iron Man movies without War Machine getting his own spinoff series.

Invincible Iron Man – Fear Itself and Shattered Heroes

Issues: #503 to #511

Iron Man 2.0

Issues: #5 to #7

Fear Itself tie-ins

Iron Age

Issues: Iron Age: Alpha, Iron Age #1 to #3, Iron Age: Omega

From what I can tell, this mini event is not collected in its entirety on Marvel Unlimited.

Iron Man 2.0

Issues: #7.1 to #12

Invincible Iron Man

Issues: #512 to #527

Invincible Iron Man wraps up in dramatic fashion prior to the launch of Marvel NOW!

He’s seen better

IX) Marvel NOW! Iron Man

Marvel Now

The Marvel NOW! guide will give you all Iron Man comics from 2012 to 2015. Be sure to also include Guardians of the Galaxy, as Iron Man plays a central role in the early issues. Likewise, Avengers and New Avengers will find Stark back in his Illuminati mode, and are very essential in leading to Secret Wars.

X) All-New All-Different Iron Man

For the full context of Iron Man’s placement in the Marvel Universe you can check out the All-New All-Different Marvel reading order.

Invincible Iron Man Vol. 1: Reboot (Invincible Iron Man #1 to #5)

International Iron Man Vol. 1 (International Iron Man #1 to #3)

Note that the Bendis & Maleev Iron Man crosses over with Civil War II during issue #4, so you should only read the first three issues prior to the mega crossover event!

Civil War II Reading Order

Civil War 2 is a major event for Iron Man, with Tony Stark once again leading a faction of heroes, this time against Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers).

Invincible Iron Man: Ironheart Vol. 1

Rebooted Iron Man series with Invincible Iron Man #1 to #6.

Infamous Iron Man Vol. 1 (Infamous Iron Man #1 to #6)

7 Replies to “Question of the Week: Can You Do an Iron Man Reading Order?”

  1. I know it was meant tongue-in-cheek, but the 90s were not “a weird time for us all”. A lot of my favorite Marvel comics came out from 1990 to 1994. And the Len Kaminski run on Iron Man (he left just before the regrettable Crossing tie-ins; IIRC, his last issue was 319 or 320) has a lot more going for it than just War Machine or the introduction of the Hulkbuster armor. He brought back Bethany Cabe, for one thing. Iron Man 280-300 in particular are favorites of mine. I know you said you’re not familiar with most of Kaminski’s run, so I hope you will give it a fair chance in the future.

    1. Totally fair, I really do need to give this time period more attention. I actually love a lot of what I’ve read from here, and almost nothing makes me happier than back issue ads for early 90’s NBA Gameboy games.

      The “weird time” bit is much more targeted to the ‘Heroes Return’ issues towards the end of the section. I really like those Hulkbuster issues 🙂

  2. Woohoo! Thanks, Dave!

    And echoing RJA’s sentiments, the Kaminski issues are actually pretty decent. Much better then the concurrent Avengers issues under Harris. But then afterward comes Terry Kavanagh’s run leading up to Heroes Reborn which is just bad.

    It’s funny- after a rough start in the 60s/70s, Iron Man really has one of the better runs of consecutive quality writers of the big Marvel books (Michilinie, O’Neil, Michilinie, Bryne, Mr. Kaminski).

  3. Hey!! First off, I am ecstatic that I have stumbled upon your site. Great work! Thanks for taking the time to construct so many easy-to-follow guides for lost individuals such as myself!

    I’m relatively new to actually reading the comic books, so I just have a curiosity question for you, likely followed by many more in the future! 🙂

    Given the fact that I haven’t read the Marvel Comics Timeline as a whole, is it okay to start with individual characters, such as Iron Man? Or do you recommend starting with the whole Marvel timeline??

    Any input would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!!

  4. Like other old, grouchy Iron Fans here I’ve got to stand up for Len Kaminski’s run. Though a lot of comic fans gloss over it ask any Iron Man fanatic and they’ll probably tell you it was one of their favorite stretches in the comic’s history. You’ve got War Machine and the Hulkbuster on the big screen these days, both created by Kaminski and Kev Hopgood who are nowhere to be found in comics today. Dudes get no respect because they got into the industry in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    For me anyway, it was one of the best comics of that awkward period in the 90’s. If you liked the War Machine and Hulkbuster issues you should read the rest because it’s all great. So few writers handle the technology and business side of the character so well. He really got into Tony Stark’s head.

    But yeah then The Crossing and Heroes Reborn happened to ruin everything for the next several years until Kurt Busiek pulled Tony and the rest of the Avengers out of the ashes.

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