This weekend, we celebrate the awesome majesty of superpowered suits of armor, with Iron Man 3. But the "power armor" genre has a long and kick-ass history, spanning decades of battles and adventures. Here are the 10 most essential power-armor stories of all time!
Because we wanted to be covered with the armor of democracy, we didn't just make up this list ourselves — instead, we asked people on the io9 Facebook page, and got over 250 responses. Here's what you chose as the greatest armored tales of all.
10. Appleseed — this Masamune Shirow manga spawned a TV series, two films, and two games, about a post-apocalyptic world of cyborgs, "bioroids"... and the regular humans who keep the peace in exoskeleton-type armor.
9. Gundam/Gundam Wing — the super-popular anime series, running since 1979, includes tons of spin-offs about the human pilots who operate giant mecha "mobile suits" fighting in a massive war.
8. The Guyver — like Gundam, this is sort of an edge case, since these suits are actually symbiotic organisms that bond with their hosts. But this is also an all-time classic "super-armor fighting" story, going back to the mid-1980s. Ignore the live-action movies. And the "biobooster armor" rules.
7. Warhammer 40K — this tabletop gaming system includes power-armored Space Marines, the Emperor's chosen soldiers, and the books do a great job of expanding on their glorious stories.
6. Super Metroid — Samus Aran isn't just a great video game hero, she's also got the coolest armor with her PowerSuit — Jennifer praises her "gorgeous add-ons," including varia suit, gravity suit, plasma suit, morph ball and tons more. Image by thiago-almeida
5. Armor by John Steakley — the story of a grunt in the invasion of an alien world, this military science fiction classic includes the most awesome powered armor in the universe.
4. Halo - this xBox game gets praise for its focus on pure science fiction. As well as for the Master Chief, and his amazing, shiny armor. But some argue the Marathon trilogy is actually better.
3. Iron Man — Can't leave out the story of Tony Stark, James Rhodes and the various others who've sported super-armor in the comics and other media. Including the Armor Wars storyline, the Technovore armor from the anime, and tons more.
2. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman — the story of humans stuck in an interstellar war doesn't just include realistic use of time dilation, it also includes some really great depictions of power armor, which we're still dying to see Ridley Scott film.
1. Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein — and finally, there's the all-time classic, Heinlein's original military SF novel, which helped popularize the idea of artificially powered cyborg armor with its thrilling descriptions. Image: Death Metal Dan.
Further reading: When Power Armor Makes You a Cyborg