Tony Stark, wealthy industrialist, was injured in an attack in Vietnam by the same weapons he was selling to the military. With shrapnel in his chest dangerously close to his heart, he was taken captive by the enemy and promised life-saving surgery if he built them weapons.
However, Tony knew they were lying, and with the help of fellow prisoner Ho Yinsen, he constructed a suit of armor and a magnetized chestplate to save his life and to escape and take his revenge on the men who took him prisoner. Sadly, Ho Yinsen sacrificed his life so that Tony could don the armor and escape.
Ever since then, Tony has been the armored hero known as Iron Man. From the original gray metal suit to the golden, and then through many, many iterations, Iron Man has remained the epitome of the Science-based hero, using science-based gadgets to fight crime and take down criminals, much like Batman from the DC Universe.
But despite being a hero, Tony Stark has had his share of ups and downs- battles with alcoholism, losing his company to other companies, and his current troubles over the information in his head that could be used to cause trouble for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
Iron Man is not a static character. Tony Stark keeps upgrading his armor, weapons and repulsors, going from his original gray to gold and then to the iconic "Red and Gold" armor. There is also the black stealth armor, the red and silver armor, the "War Machine" suit, Armor meant for use underwater, in outer space and other harsh and inhospitable conditions, the "Iron Spider" armor he built for Peter Parker and the "Iron Patriot" armor now worn by Norman Osborn.
This book covers everything you ever wanted to know about Iron Man, Tony Stark, and the history of the character. It even has a list of many of the people who work for him, like Pepper Pots, "Happy" Hogan, and so on. The book also covers his foes: Obadiah Stane, Justin Hammer, Mandarin, Whiplash, Fin Fang Foom... and major story arcs like the Dragon Seed Saga and "Demon in a Bottle".
I enjoyed this book a lot. In the run up to the new Iron Man movie, this book answers lots of questions and puts Tony Stark and Iron Man on display. The book, of course, doesn't cover any of the movies, but points out how the origin story has been retconned numerous times into numerous wars, from the original War in Vietnam to Afghanistan. It also covers a few variations from the original Tony Stark, including the Ultimates Iron Man, who was born with Neural Tissue throughout his body and was in constant pain until his father discovered a way to protect him- it seems that the Ultimates Iron Man will not be living up to Tony Stark's reputation with the ladies.
And this book has the names of those, too. In short, this book is filled with information on Iron Man. It's also a Dorling-Kindersley book, which means it is very well researched and has tons of wonderful art of Iron Man in all his iconic armors and poses. This is THE book on Iron Man, and is filled with more information than is in most reference works. It's a coffee-table sized book and sure to attract your interest. Highly Recommended.