Supervillain Origins: The Crimson Dynamo

Supervillain Origins: The Crimson Dynamo
VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
The Crimson Dynamo is one of Iron Man's oldest foes, having debuted in 1963 when the mighty Avenger was still wearing his old bulky solid gold armor. Making for a deadly foe, the Crimson Dynamo suit gave it's wearer, the brilliant rival Russian scientist Anton Vanko a variety of abilities. These included superhuman strength, heightened durability and most interesting of all was control over electricity and the power to disrupt electric fields. Join as we explore the comic book origin of the Crimson Dynamo.
Special thanks to our user Alex Poggetti for submitting the idea on our WatchMojo.comsuggest page!

Script written by Craig Butler.

Supervillain Origins: The Crimson Dynamo

Iron Man isn't the only guy in the Marvel Universe with a fondness for armor. Welcome to and today we will explore the comic book origin of the Crimson Dynamo.

As with most comic book characters, there are often re-imaginations and different versions to a character’s past. We have chosen primarily to follow the storyline which unfolded in 1963's Tales of Suspense #46and 1964's Tales of Suspense #52 and which was expanded upon in 1970's Iron Man #21, 1976’s Champions #9, 1978's Iron Man #109.

The Crimson Dynamo is one of Iron Man's oldest foes, having debuted in 1963 when Ol' Shellhead was still wearing his bulky gold armor. Whoever dons the Crimson Dynamo suit instantly has superhuman strength, heightened durability and tremendous control over electricity, including the power to disrupt electric fields. With this suit on, a regular Joe becomes a near unstoppable force.

The world met the Crimson Dynamo way back in 1963, only a few months after Iron Man debuted. In Tales of Suspense #46, none other than Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev himself made an appearance. Khrushchev was witnessing a demonstration of the newest creation of the brilliant scientist Anton Vanko: a crimson suit of armor. As the professor demonstrated to the premier, while wearing this armor he could perform incredible feats and control electricity.

He was christened the Crimson Dynamo, a suitable name for the newest weapon of the Red Army. Khrushchev was paranoid about anyone who could pose a threat to him. He planned to dispose of Vanko, but not before the professor completed an important mission. Vanko was charged with destroying the empire of Anthony Stark, America’s number one weapons manufacturer. Vanko readily accepted the challenge, for he knew that to bring Stark to his knees, he would have to defeat Iron Man something that would show the world how powerful his creation was.

Vanko traveled to the United States and began waging a war on Stark’s various plants. He remained out of sight, hoping thereby to draw Iron Man out into the open. At last, after crippling several of Stark’s businesses, the Crimson Dynamo and Iron Man went head to head. Iron Man was able to defeat the Dynamo by encircling him in a trap made of wood, leaving him with no electricity to command. But Iron Man didn’t stop there. He made Vanko realize that Khrushchev intended to do away with him when he returned to his native country. Vanko renounced his ties to the Soviet Union and decided to use his considerable talents on behalf of the United States instead.
Vanko was the first person to assume the mantel of the Crimson Dynamo, but he was hardly the last. A few months later, two Russian spies – a strong brute named Boris and an alluring woman known as the Black Widow – were sent to destroy Vanko and Stark. After capturing Vanko, Boris put on the suit and fought Iron Man as the new Crimson Dynamo. He was eventually defeated when Vanko used a new weapon on him – but at the cost of both their lives.

The Crimson Dynamo wasn’t gone, however. In 1970, Alex Nevsky, a Soviet protégé of Vanko’s, gained access to the armor and became a new Crimson Dynamo. A fourth man, Yuri Petrovich, took on the identity in a vain attempt to assassinate the Black Widow, who was by now working for the United States.

These were short-lived versions of the character, but Dimitri Bukharin, the fifth Dynamo, had considerably more staying power. He was introduced in 1978 and lasted for 12 years.

Even after the fall of Communism, the crimson Dynamo kept popping up in new guises. After all, you can’t keep a good villain down.

One version or another of the Crimson Dynamo has made its way into various media. His armor-based powers make him a natural opponent for Iron Man on the screen. And he’s even infiltrated the world of pop music, being included in Paul McCartney’s 1975 song “Magneto and Titanium Man.” Although Mickey Rourke’s character in Ironman 2 is technically Whiplash, he is meant to be the son of Anton Vanko, who helped Howard Stark create a prototype of the arch reactor in the 1960s and who passes away in the opening scene.

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