Tony Stark is one of the most important characters in Marvel Comics. This is evident by the fact that an entire film franchise was created off of the first Iron Man movie. Stark has been at the center of many major storylines through the years, often playing a pivotal role in saving the day. However, that doesn’t mean that he always makes the best choices. In fact, Tony is responsible for making some of the most questionable decisions in Marvel’s history, some of which resulted in major repercussions for himself and those around him. Here are five instances where Tony messed up big time:
Allowing his Tech to Fall into the Hands of Terrorists
Tony Stark’s first major failure is also his most defining, and he has spent his entire career as Iron Man trying to make up for it. Tony began his career by inventing weapons of war for Stark Industries, as this allowed him to live the lavish lifestyle he preferred. However, his carefree attitude is what led to those weapons ending up in the hands of some really bad people. After being kidnapped by terrorists who wanted him to build weapons of mass destruction, he instead built his first Iron Man armor. Since then, he’s done his best to make up for that first major mistake.
Tony Stark has a well-documented history of alcohol abuse. That addiction has led to some of the darkest times in both his career and personal life. In his first major bout with alcoholism, he became a bitter drunk. He was verbally abusive towards his loyal butler Edwin Jarvis, who in turn sold all of his shares in Stark Industries. This led to Tony losing half of his company to S.H.I.E.L.D. for a while.
During his struggles, Tony also was facing competition from business rival Justin Hammer. Hammer was able to hack into the Iron Man armor and control it. He later used the armor to kill a foreign dignitary. If Tony hadn’t succumbed to alcoholism at the time, he surely would have been capable of stopping the hack.
The Civil War
The decisions he made leading up to the superhero Civil War were the beginning of another downward spiral for Tony Stark. When the Superhuman Registration Act was first introduced; the superhero community was completely divided. Tony led the pro-registration side. In doing so, he led the government to arrest several of his allies and friends. The events of the needless war led to a number of deaths, including the assassination of Steve Rogers. Tony became the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the chaos left Earth vulnerable to new threats…
Leadership During the Skrull Invasion
Following the Civil War, the pro-registration side was victorious and Tony Stark was made the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. The aftermath left Earth vulnerable to the Skrulls, who had slowly infiltrated it through their Secret Invasion. With many heroes on the sideline, Stark was seen as the planet’s de facto leader. Unfortunately, the Skrulls exposed his leadership by infecting S.H.I.E.L.D. with a virus and infiltrating Earth. The public lost all faith in Stark, and once the Skrull threat was repelled, Norman Osborne was left as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In spite of all the mistakes Tony Stark made in his career, he was still selected as a member of the Illuminati, a small group of heroes who took it upon themselves to shape the superhero world in secret. The decisions made by this group, which allegedly consisted of some of the smartest individuals on the planet, led to a host of bad outcomes. Some of their misdeeds include lying to their alleged allies, creating world-ending superweapons, and hiding the Infinity Gems amongst themselves.
One of their biggest mistakes was when they decided to send the Hulk into space. This indirectly led to the genocide of an entire planet, and then to the events of World War Hulk. They also waged a secret war against the Skrull Empire, which resulted in the Skrulls retaliation via the Secret Invasion. The Illuminati simply do not make good decisions, and Tony Stark was a driving force in the group…