Marvel Studios and Netflix once had a very close relationship, though the advent of Disney+ saw the Defenders superhero series cancelled and the companies drifting apart. That’s why it’s interesting that today sees the addition of a cool Marvel cartoon to the Netflix library that many viewers may not have seen. I’m talking about Iron Man: Armored Adventures, a 3D animated show that aired for two, 26-episode seasons in 2009 and 2011.
It was inspired by the then-recent success of Iron Man and has roughly the same tone of the early MCU movie. But there’s a twist: this version of Tony Stark becomes Iron Man at just 16-years-old. He ends up in the armor earlier than usual after Howard Stark disappears in a plane crash, with the young Stark suiting up to investigate whether his dad’s partner Obadiah Stane had anything to do with it (spoiler: he did).
In subsequent episodes, he teamed up with Pepper Potts and James Rhodes, with Black Panther, the Hulk, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Happy Hogan all making appearances, too. On the more villainous side, we got to see classic Iron Man bad guys like Mandarin, Crimson Dynamo, Justin Hammer, Whiplash and M.O.D.O.K., as well as Doctor Doom and Magneto. The overarching plot of the first season centered on the Mandarin’s five rings, while the second one roughly adapted the Armor Wars arc (and saw Potts suiting up as Rescue).
Armored Adventures went on to break Nicktoon viewing records, being praised for its smart writing, cel-shaded visuals and cool action sequences, winning several awards and in 2013 being named as one of TV Guide’s greatest cartoons of all time.
Still, Iron Man has moved on from his portrayal a decade ago and Iron Man: Armored Adventures has largely been forgotten. Let’s hope its reappearance on Netflix today reminds audiences why it was so highly regarded.