Tony Stark has lots of enemies — not only because he’s a wealthy, international industrialist, but also because he’s the armored Avenger known as Iron Man. He’s clashed with amoral businessman Justin Hammer, espionage experts like The Ghost and Spymaster, and even the warlord known as The Mandarin.
But not every villain that’s attacked ol’ Shellhead has been all that threatening. With that in mind, the arrival of "Iron Man 2" in theaters this week had us thinking about some of Iron Man’s lamest enemies.
Here are five enemies we're pretty sure won't be facing off against Tony Stark's armored alter ego on the big screen any time soon.
THE CHESSMEN: Obadiah Stane was a sinister, manipulative villain who stole Tony Stark’s company and later attempted to steal the secrets of Iron Man by creating his own “Iron Monger” armor (as seen in the first film). Stane’s obsessive love of chess led him to recruiting a group of henchmen who were dressed like they were game pieces.
You’re cool, Stane, but here's a tip: Evil chess pieces don't work outside of Wonderland.
THE UNICORN: It’s a simple rule: If you get a helmet that can deliver a vast array of energy blasts, are genetically engineered to have superhuman strength and invulnerability, and market yourself off as a dangerous mercenary, maybe you shouldn’t name yourself after a magical creature most often associated with little girls and rainbows.
Yes, we all know the mythical unicorn was quite deadly, but let’s face it — in today’s society, we imagine something more akin to “My Little Pony” when we think of unicorns. It only became worse when a different criminal eventually decided to use the Unicorn helmet and added a golden mane to it. Seriously.
MR. DOLL: Originally, this villain was going to be named “Mr. Death,” but the censorship boys decided such a name was too scary for younger readers. So, this villain who used voodoo dolls and was basically a B-list version of the Puppet Master was instead named “Mr. Doll.”
Because who can’t respect a villain with that handle, right?
GARGANTUS: So, get this: a bunch of aliens decide to send a robot to Earth to prepare the planet for an invasion force. Is the android sent to New York? London? Tokyo? Nope. He lands in a lame town called Granville.
Oh, but wait — it gets better. The aliens also made this android look like a big caveman with a club, so that it wouldn’t seem out of place among humans. No joke.
Fortunately, Iron Man literally pulled Gargantus apart limb from limb, so it’s not likely we’ll see it again.
FIN FANG FOOM: Okay, some villains are just so lame and weirdly conceived that you actually end up loving them. Fin Fang Foom (whose name was apparently inspired by the musical comedy “Chu Chin Chow”) first appeared in "Strange Tales" #89, two years before Iron Man would debut. An ancient dragon with the ability to speak, he was awakened in the modern day and wreaked havoc throughout China.
Years later, he was integrated into the main Marvel Universe and it was revealed that he was actually a shape-shifting alien who had crashed to Earth centuries before. It was also revealed that the technology from his spaceship gave the villainous Mandarin his powerful, magic-like rings.
Iron Man and Fin Fang Foom have fought on a few occasions and to this day, the dragon still attracts new fans due to his ridiculous name and purple boxer shorts.
Alan Kistler is a recognized comic book historian and the host/creator of the web-series “Crazy Sexy Geeks.”
Who are your favorite lame Iron Man villains? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!