Demon-in-a-Bottle-1

Iron Man: Every Time Tony Stark Fell Off the Wagon | CBR

One of the major areas where the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Iron Man differs from the Iron Man from Marvel’s comic book universe is that the MCU Tony Stark never developed a drinking problem. Meanwhile, in the Marvel Universe, Tony’s alcoholism has been one of his most defining character traits for nearly forty years now.

Once his issues with alcohol were introduced, it was only a matter of time before Tony had a dramatic relapse, but few readers would have expected just how quickly Tony would fall victim to his addiction. Almost as surprising as to how quickly Tony’s first relapse was how long it took before Tony had another drink. Here are all of the times that Tony Stark has fallen off of the wagon over the years.

RELATED: Iron Man: What’s Inside Tony Stark’s Bleeding Edge Armor

It took a whole five issues after we first met Tony Stark in Tales of Suspense #39 for us to actually see him drink. He has trouble handling his champagne in Tales of Suspense #44 (by Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein and Don Heck), as his chest plate is almost running out of power and he has to plug it back in before he dies…

One of the most amusing aspects of Tony’s original chest plate set-up, where he would have to plug it into an electrical socket and charge it up, is that Tony would often smoke cigarettes while waiting for it to charge. So Tony was certainly not a fan of clean living back in the 1960s.

As the ongoing Iron Man series began, Tony’s drinking continued as a casual thing he would do at parties and on dates, like on this night on the town with Janice Cord in Iron Man #10 (by Archie Goodwin, George Tuska and Johnny Craig)…

Things took a turn over a decade later when Bethany Cabe and Tony Stark were sharing an intimate moment together in Iron Man #123 (by Bob Layton, David Michelinie and John Romita Jr.) and Tony looked to have more alcohol before Bethany convinced him that they had better things to do with their time…

However, the next few issues showed Tony slowly having more and more trouble with alcohol…

With him even going on a total bender in Iron Man #125…

Those events, while dramatic, were still in the background of issues. For instance, while Tony got wasted in Iron Man #125, he then comes back and gets trained in hand-to-hand combat by Captain America a page or two later.

It was not until Iron Man #127 that things were clearly getting well out of control when Tony berated his longtime butler, Edwin Jarvis, who had continued on as Tony’s butler even while also splitting his time with serving the Avengers…

That was no longer the case after he tendered his resignation, forcing Tony to take a long, hard look at himself…

However, the spiral just continued in the following issue, leading to one of the most shocking moments of Tony’s Iron Man career, when he actually flew in his armor while drunk!

Bethany Cabe confronts Tony in the issue and he admitted that he needed help…

Bethany helps Tony get sober and Tony makes amends with Jarvis, but discovers that Jarvis sold his Stark Industries stock and that it was purchased by S.H.I.E.L.D. in an attempt by the spy organization to take control of Tony’s company to make sure that Tony reversed his plans to eliminate munitions production from his company.

The fact that his friend, Nick Fury, who Tony arranged to be named Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., was turning on him and trying to steal his company was a lot for Tony to take, but he impressed Bethany and Jarvis by showing that he was able to deny the impulse…

As far as Layton and Michelinie were concerned, the problem was resolved. However, when Denny O’Neil took over the series a couple of years later, he took issue with how he felt that Stark’s recovery was handled too quickly.

RELATED: ‘Imagine Iron Man, But Bigger!’ Iron Man’s Foes With Larger Armors Than His

So O’Neil slowly had a new villain, Obadiah Stane, work against Stark and try to take control of his company. Part of Stane’s plan was to attack Tony at various angles all at once, so that Tony would be in such a bad state of mind that he would turn to alcohol again. One of the most devious aspects of his plan was to arrange for Tony to meet Indries Moomji and have Moomji seduce Stark and then, when Tony was at his lowest point, to have her turn on him and berate him and sure enough, in Iron Man #167 (by O’Neil, Luke McDonnell and Steve Mitchell) her actions drive Tony to fall off of the wagon…

Tony went on a monstrous bender and lost his company to Stane. He also gave up being Iron Man, as he was no longer in a state to be a superhero, so his friend, James Rhodes, had to take over. After over a year of drinking himself into the gutter, Tony finally hit rock bottom in Iron Man #182, when he was caught in a blizzard on the streets with one of his drinking buddies, a woman who gave birth while on the street with Tony. The woman died, but Tony somehow found a way to survive and protect the baby…

He sobered up and eventually reclaimed the Iron Man identity a year later. This recovery lasted a good deal longer.

His next relapse was not really his fault. In Iron Man #308 (by Len Kaminski and Tom Morgan), Tony was tricked into plugging himself into a virtual reality scenario where an artificial intelligence named VOR/TEX used the opportunity to take control of Tony’s body. VOR/TEX, finally having a flesh and blood body, decided to indulge itself…

Five issues later, Tony attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting..

And we learned that his drinking started at a young age when his alcoholic father forced him to drink to be more of a man.

Tony’s next relapse wouldn’t be for nearly two hundred issues. In Fear Itself #4 (by Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger), the Earth was in shambles when the villainous Serpent transforms a number of Marvel villains (and some heroes) into the ancient destructive children of the Serpent (dubbed “The Worthy”). These transformed heroes and villains cut a path of destruction through the Earth. Tony is so despondent about the carnage he saw committed by a transformed Grey Gargoyle that Tony decides to ask Odin to allow him to access Asgardian workshops so that he could make magical weapons that could fight The Worthy.

The only way Tony could think of to get Odin’s attention was to make a bold sacrifice – his own sobriety. So he started drinking alcohol as his tribute.

It worked and Tony helps save the day with the magical weapons he created. He slowly but surely regains his sobriety, but it was a tough task.

Tony’s most recent relapses happened very recently. In Tony Stark: Iron Man #8 (by Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti and Edgar Delgado), Tony was trapped in another virtual reality world. Unlike the instance where VOR/TEX caused trouble in Tony’s body, here, the issue was that Tony drank in the virtual reality world…

While it was a virtual drink, Tony had the repercussions as if he had actually fallen off of the wagon in real life. He felt it was just as if he had fallen off for real.

In the final issue of the series (to date), Tony Stark: Iron Man #19 (by Slott, Christos Gage, Francesco Manna and Delgado), Tony is rocked by the revelation that he is technically a bio-duplicate of the real Tony Stark, created after the original Tony passed away and technically the property of Tony’s brother, Arno Stark, who took control of Stark’s company when this news was made public. Tony goes for a drink, noting that this is technically the first time that he has ever had alcohol…

Tony eventually recovered from his relapse in time to try to fight back against Arno in the pages of Iron Man 2020.

KEEP READING: Avengers Anatomy: 5 Weird Facts About Iron Man’s Body, Explained

One of the most defining traits that Tony Stark has in the comics is his struggle with alcoholism. Here are all the times Iron Man fell off the wagon.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *