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10 Best Iron Man villains of all time

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

They might not be as iconic as Spider-Man or Batman's foes, but the best Iron Man villains are just as colorful, just as menacing, and they suit their armored enemy to a tee. The MCU movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp, actually brought with it several antagonists that are primarily associated with Iron Man too, which was an interesting crossover. The addition of Ghost in particular really got us thinking, and now here we have the best Iron Man villains of all time, ranked.

10. Ghost

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The enigmatic corporate spy known as Ghost was originally an engineer who developed intangibility — which he turned into a weapon when the corporation he worked for betrayed him and killed his colleague.

Over the years, Ghost has menaced both Iron Man and Tony Stark time and time again as both a spy and a saboteur, and even as an attempted assassin while Stark lay in a coma after his nanotech-altered brain rebooted. Ghost later partially reformed as part of the Thunderbolts before returning to corporate sabotage to steal from Parker Industries.

9. Fin Fang Foom

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Though he looks like a dragon, towering Fin Fang Foom is actually a shape-shifting Makluan alien, the same race that created the Mandarin's ten power rings. Leading a crew of invading Makluans, Foom lead several attempts to conquer and subvert the Earth.

The threat of Fin Fang Foom and his fellow Makluans is so great that it has even led to Iron Man teaming up with the Mandarin. Though the original Fin Fang Foom has seemingly reformed after converting to Buddhism, several duplicates and impostors have resurfaced over the years, using Foom's legacy of villainy.

The real deal returned in Monsters Unleashed earlier this year, where his role in the larger Marvel Universe became a little more complicated than being a simple monstrous villain.

8. The Controller

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Basil Sandhurst, the Controller, was a sickly child who used his childhood ailments as inspiration into his research of the potential of the human mind. After discovering a way to turn psychic potential into physical strength, he also developed a method of using unsuspecting victims as mental batteries for his power.

Over the years, Controller has battled Iron Man countless times using a variety of mind control techniques beyond simply sapping the strength of his victims. He's also used his victims as armies of mindless slaves, and has even teamed with Thanos to upgrade his powers using technology derived from Stark's own inventions.

7. A.I.M.

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The mad science collective known as Advanced Idea Mechanics have menaced multiple heroes throughout the Marvel Universe, but few so personally or as often as Iron Man. Bound by an obsession with power and super-science, A.I.M. have often tried (and occasionally succeeded) in stealing and copying Stark's dangerous technology.

A.I.M.'s most dastardly schemes have included creating the terrifying being known as M.O.D.O.K. (pictured), constructing the reality-altering Cosmic Cube, and capturing Iron Man to analyze and replicate his armor.

In recent years, A.I.M. has become Avengers Idea Mechanics, a more heroic organization run by Roberto da Costa, though that has changed in the current Secret Empire.

6. Titanium Man

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The initial Titanium Man was a gigantic suit of armor built by Soviet scientists working from the original Crimson Dynamo designs. Piloted by a Russian soldier named Boris Bullski, Titanium Man issued a challenge to Iron Man designed to shame the United States with Iron Man's defeat.

However, Iron Man won the duel, and Bullski himself was shamed. Over the years, he has resurfaced time and time again, often with new, more powerful weapons both in the employ of his government, and as a mercenary.

5. Zeke Stane

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Many villains have tried and occasionally succeeded in stealing or repurposing Tony Stark's technology, but few with such devastating effect as Zeke Stane, the son of Stark's longtime rival Obadiah Stane.

Using stolen repulsor technology, Zeke Stane was able to turn people into living bombs, causing numerous terrorist attacks throughout the world before eventually turning his own body into a living weapon, and decimating Stark's headquarters, nearly costing Pepper Potts her life.

4. Crimson Dynamo

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Numerous men have inhabited the various versions of the Crimson Dynamo armor, and some of them have even gone on to switch sides and join forces with Tony Stark. But as a concept, the Crimson Dynamo is one of Iron Man's most frequently recurring and difficult foes.

Originally conceived as a Soviet counter to Iron Man's armor, the first Crimson Dynamo armor was based around magnetic field technology designed to counteract Stark's repulsor tech. Over the years, the Dynamo armor has evolved to incorporate more varied weapons, and is more like a platform for various technologies and armaments.

3. Madame Masque

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Though there have been a few Iron Mongers over the years, the first and most effective was Obadiah Stane, an enemy of Tony Stark as well as Iron Man. Stane ran Stane International, a corporate rival to Stark International, and used his analytical mind to manipulate Tony, eventually seizing control over Stark International and absorbing it into his own brand.

Now in control of Stark's company and technology, Stane built the Iron Monger armor and attempted to use it as a tool for world domination until Stark, in a newly built Iron Man armor, confronted and defeated him. Refusing to be beaten, Stane committed suicide with the Iron Monger armor's on-board weaponry.

2. Iron Monger

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Though there have been a few Iron Mongers over the years, the first and most effective was Obadiah Stane, an enemy of Tony Stark as well as Iron Man. Stane ran Stane International, a corporate rival to Stark International, and used his analytical mind to manipulate Tony, eventually seizing control over Stark International and absorbing it into his own brand.

Now in control of Stark's company and technology, Stane built the Iron Monger armor and attempted to use it as a tool for world domination until Stark, in a newly built Iron Man armor, confronted and defeated him. Refusing to be beaten, Stane committed suicide with the Iron Monger armor's on-board weaponry.

1. Mandarin

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

The Mandarin is unquestionably the best Iron Man villain of all time - his greatest foe. Armed with 10 rings powered by alien technology and capable of 10 different incredible powers (including disintegration and matter-rearrangement), Mandarin is the embodiment of everything Tony Stark opposes; power for its own sake, the strong feeding on the weak, and the subjugation and domination of the world.

The times that Mandarin has menaced Iron Man are numerous, and each time is devastating, but Mandarin most recently appeared as a central figure in Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca's celebrated run on Invincible Iron Man, manipulating numerous villains and even Stark himself in a plan to destroy the world — before being seemingly killed by Zeke Stane during his final conflict with Iron Man.

The Mandarin's rings later resurfaced, seeking out ten new individual wielders who teamed up to fight Iron Man.