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From Russia With Love: The Crimson Dynamo


Iron Man Villain #8: The Crimson Dynamo

~The Crimson Dynamo. Excerpt from Iron Man #229 (1988).

When Tony Stark first appeared in comics books, it was Tales of Suspense #39 from 1963. There were already super "men" about and costumed crusaders in the comic books, but no one - until him - was armored and calling himself hero or villain. His story was original and believable: an American Inventor-Genius who built a high-tech suit with lots of gadgets, super-strength, and nigh invulnerability. His presence therefore, attributed to "The Greatest Generation" and "American Exceptionalism", where the USA was a powerhouse of ingenuity and had a diehard spirit.

But out of the 50's and into the 60's, specifically in the John F. Kennedy Presidency, we began to witness the rise of another superpower, one symbolized by a government of communism and the soviet red flag. Having a diametrically opposed strength to American Ideals, it was only proper that Iron Man have a fight of equal scale.

Enter: The Crimson Dynamo. His first appearance being Tales of Suspense #46 (1963), a Communist Inventor named Anton Vanko who built his own special armor for the service of Mother Russia. (And if that name sounds familiar, it's because the main villain in the Iron Man 2 movie is Ivan Vanko, the inventor's son bent on revenge. Don't use the movie as a reference, though, there are serious discrepancies between it and the comic books.) Tasked with defeating Iron Man, one-on-one, Anton fought a great battle and was stopped when his Russian Overseer betrayed him. In one quick swoop of American Capitalism, Tony offers him a job at Stark Enterprises and he's now working for us.

Of course, that's not the end, though. Ever since Anton was neutered, the Crimson Dynamo has been alive and well in numerous iterations with countless different forms of technology, facing our Crimson Avenger time and time again. There have been 13 variations and wearers of this armor at this point in research, and much like the metamorphing of the Russian Government, so too is he. Call these versions "upgrades" or just representatives of their era, but the most prominent and noted wearer was Dmitri Bukharin, who had an approximate 12-year run (1978-1990).

One thing is for certain: The Crimson Dynamo will always paint on Iron Man's radar as one of his greatest enemies. This super-villain, in any iteration, is a competing technology that forces Stark to move forward in adaptation or become overwhelmed. And although Russia is a different geo-political beast, it still has the power of The Crimson Dynamo within its grasp.

They may be tough, they may be rough, but boy do they hate Armored Superheroes! This is The Top 10 Villains of Iron Man, a Countdown of Stark's Greatest Foes provided by The Superheroes List, in tribute to the Iron Man 3 movie. Want to see who put him on the map? Read The List!

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