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Iron Man 2020

Marvel Universe
by yo go re

From ABC News around the world and into your home, the stories that touch your life. With Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, this is Iron Man 2020.

(That joke is dedicated to everybody's parents, who are the only ones who would get it.)

Arno Stark isn't quite the hero his cousin Tony was, but he does his best - as long as the best is what pays. The world of 2020 is less about right and wrong, and more about the bottom line, which is why Iron Man always works for the highest bidder. Of course, he's also got to answer to his Board, so he tries to keep his eye on the big picture. If a mission won't enhance Stark Industries' stock price, then he almost always regretfully declines.

That bio right there is the sum total of everything I know about Iron Man 2020, and I didn't even know any of that until opening this toy. In fact, before getting this toy all I knew was "he's got gears on his shoulders" and "he's a villain." Apparently he started out as a foe for Machine Man, which I suppose ultimately makes him a spinoff of 2001: A Space Oddessy.

The core of this figure is the same Marvel Universe Iron Man body that appeared in Series 1 (as figure #021). It's a fairly plain body, which is really why they reused it so much. The arms, legs and torso are smooth, while the boots, gloves and "underwear" have sculpted lines running horizontally on them. Rather than mold an entirely new torso to create IM2020's distinctive features - the shoulder-gears, the reinforced unibeam, and the ornate belt with a gear on one hip and a throwing star on the other - they designed them as separate pieces that slip onto the figure. Clever work!

His head is also new. Like the rest of Arno's suit, it's mostly similar to the Classic Armor, but with a minor change to make it look more fearsome. In this case, the change is to the mouth: rather than being a plain black slit, it's got big square "teeth" to make him look like he could bite you if you get too close to his face.

Iron Man 2020 moves at the ankles, knees, hips, chest, wrists, elbows, biceps, shoulders, and neck. He's painted metallic red and gold, and stands over 4⅛ tall. Of course, he also comes with that same stupid energy blast vortex all the Iron Men used to come with. That thing never looked good. The figure came out long enough ago that he not only includes a display stand with his name and number on it, he even has the "paper accessories" that tell you a little bit more information and link you to the long-defunct Fury Files website.

At this point, "Iron Man 2020" doesn't sound particularly futuristic - that's only two Olympics away from now! But remember, he first appeared in 1984, which was... sweet Jeebus, 30 years ago. So think of him as "Iron Man 2050," and you'll have the same numerical separation intended at his creation. Or to really push him into the future, pretend 2020 isn't suppsed to be a year, but a serial number - the Mk.I, the Mk.II, and now the Mk.MMXX suit. In any case, the toy is a lot of fun, and it's not like IM2020 feels the love very often.

-- 06/02/14

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