honestly, my favourite tony trope is him surviving so much bullshit that everyone starts to believe that he's actually immortal. Villains start just giving up on actually killing him, and either incapacitate him or make sure he's unavailable when they start the fight. Some of the more egotistical ones go out of their way to try. There's many conspiracy theories about him, and how it's possible that he's survived. One of his favourite pastimes is reading the more outlandish ones. (Tree)
Listen. It’s common knowledge among the villains of the world. If you’re anywhere close to being a professional Badguy, then you’ve heard the stories. You know the rumours.
Tony Stark Does Not Die. So for God’s sake, do not be stupid enough to try.
Some of the newbies, they ask. They wonder why no-one tries to shoot a fatal hit, why they never even bother to go for Iron Man.
The older, more weary villains just roll their eyes and mutter “don’t wanna waste my firepower. Save your shots for the ones that will actually stay dead, kid,”
“That asshole crawled out of a cave with a hole in his chest and still managed to kick everyone’s ass,” someone pipes up moodily from the corner.
There’s a sudden bang as a hand slaps on the counter, and the newbie turns to see another grim-looking villain.“I once shot straight through him. Laser right through the stomach. You know what that piece of shit did?” The guy gestures to his lack of foot. “He Goddamn turned around and shot my leg off! and then he just sort of looked down and shrugged at his own fatal wound. He told me I had it worse, and that he was ‘sorry’. Who even does that?”
“I crushed him,” says another, “he just buried out the other way and then caught me a day later. It took me years to get out of prison.”
“I planted a virus in his suit while he was thousands of miles above sea, and not only did he defend it, but he traced my source and sent it back. Thousands and thousands of dollar’s worth of tech, gone,” someone shouts miserably from across the room. “He didn’t even have a fucking keyboard! Every line of code was verbal! He spoke and memorised those lines faster than I could type them, and I goddamn invented the thing!”
A bottle of… something, flies across the room. Obviously everyone is very bitter about this.
The newbie, because they’re always like this at the start; over-confident and stiflingly cocky, puffs their chest and looks them all in the eye. “you just haven’t been thinking about it hard enough. I’ll kill him. Just watch.”
Everyone descends into hysterical laughter. Someone is crying. No one in the room is Okay.
“Whatever you say, whatever you think or plan, he’s one step ahead. Don’t, for your sake, please. Take Thor. Or Cap. Or maybe the Widow, if you’re feeling brave? But just… don’t waste your time with him. Try and keep him away, instead. That’s all we can ask for,” says someone next to her, obviously taking pity.
“He might be smart, but he’ll have no idea what’s coming when I step on the scene!” Newbie growls. “Listen-”
A few miles across, Tony Stark listens to the whole conversation via a bug he planted in the known Villain Hiding-Spot, and smiles smugly.
“Damn straight,” he mutters, before calling in the rest of the Avengers to gloat.