In times of great crisis, the safety of all that we know and love often falls to those acting outside the law and proper protocol. And the Iron Ring is the latest embodiment of that. A motley group of super-villains, terrorists, thugs for hire and even a few aliens assembled by none other than Joe Colton himself, they stand in the name of Earth sovereignty against Optimus Prime's annexing Earth into the Cybertronian Council of Worlds.
Employing technology from I.R.O.N., M.A.S.K. as well as alien sources with resources provided by Iron Klaw, they stand poised to destroy Cybertron itself and are dedicated and competent enough that they may very well succeed.
The earliest origins of the Iron Ring lie in the early 2000s where Joe Colton and Garrison Kreiger joined Skywatch to experiment with the possibility of using Ore-13 in conjunction the Talisman as a weapon against the increasingly large number of Cybertronians landing on Earth.
In 2016, Optimus Prime annexed the Earth into the Cybertronian Council of Worlds to protect it from Galvatron, Joe Colton was placed in charge of the Earth Defense Command. In his new position, he attempted to authorize deployment of the Talisman against the Cybertronian race only to find the ranks of the EDC infiltrated by Dire Wraiths. The Wraiths attacked Colton with one of their number assuming his shape while the real Colton fled underground. Contacting Kreiger, Colton declared it was time to act against the Cybertronians.
The two men met up in Paris where Kreiger purged Colton of Dire Wraith bio-matter and revealed he had the Talisman. Knowing that G.I. Joe would never approve of his actions, Colton adopted the identity of "Baron Ironblood" and set about recruiting super-villains.
His first recruit was Mercy Gale along with Storm Shadow and the Red Shadows. Thorugh X, Ironblood was able to license usage of the M.A.S.S. Device to speak to Destro to whom he promised cutting edge Cybertronian technology. Ironblood's next recruit was his old friend Miles Mayhem for his pragmatism and general disregard towards life in general, before the two recruited Lady Shazraella of Microspace promising her that she could have whatever was left of Cybertron.
Simulationsly, Ironblood recruited Iron Klaw for usage of the Iron Castle, and began refurbishing Cobra's abandoned Section Sabine moonbase. At Ironblood's command, Kreiger turned over the Talisman to Mercy Gale and Iron Klaw who placed it within a secure bunker beneath Verenya. There it stayed until Garrison Blackrock found it prompting Ironblood to hire the Oktober Guard to retrieve the device.
The Guard managed to bring the Talisman back to Section Sabine only for Action Man Ian Noble to be trasmatted as well. The moonbase was soon broken into by the Revolutionaries who secured both Action Man and the Talisman and forcing the Iron Ring into a retreat. To throw the heroes off the trail, Ironblood, Mercy and Centurion "convinced" Tomax Paoli to retrieve the data of "Project: Ice Man" from I.R.O.N..
The bulk of the Iron Ring retreated to Kalistan to operate with one Kreiger's facsimile Talismans before they were infiltrated by Snake Eyes and Blackrock. With the plan falling apart at the seams, Ironblood decided to cut ties with Tomax and Centurion while sending X to Brasnya to act as a decoy. Kreiger then contacted Tomax to let him know he would have to don the title of "Cobra Commander" once again to lure the Revolutionaries away. Action Man and Mayday fought Tomax while Kup fought Centurion before Blackrock found the truth behind the Eukarian's origins. Blackrock had also found the truth behind Atomic Man and the team set out for Brasnya. When they arrived however, Kreiger's anti-Cybertronian defences incapacitated both Kup and Blackrock before Action Man managed to convince Atomic Man to stand down which allowed the Revolutionaries to finally capture Kreiger.
Though the Revolutionaries were assured of their victory, Centurion was still loyal to Kreiger and hacked the systems of Onyx's Buenos Aires tower so as to allow the Iron Ring to teleport in. They were unprepared however for the time lost Sgt. Savage who revealed to the world at large that "Baron Ironblood" was none other than Joe Colton himself. Though the Iron Ring fought valiantly, the sudden arrival of Optimus Prime and Metrotitan prompted them to cut their losses and retreat via M.A.S.S. Device with the Talisman. Materializing in the Iron Castle, Colton declared it was now time for his alliance to take the fight to Cybertron itself. van Rani then kicked them out of his castle.
Concealing themselves within hollow, "Trojan horse" Cybertronians, the Iron Ring piggybacked the signal of the M.A.S.S. Device off of Metrotitan's Space bridge, and arrived in Iacon during Earth's induction into the Council of Worlds. With Dr. Mindbender donning the Ironblood persona as a decoy, Colton led his command staff down into the bowels of Metroplex and into Cybertron itself to enerchange the Talisman with Cybertron's core. The Iron Ring laid down a variety of traps to stall any pursuers before they found their path to core barred by Optimus Prime and Scarlett's team.
The Iron Ring attempted to fight their way past the heroes with Colton revealing that the group was little more than pawns he intended to sacrifice before Starscream, Elita One and Obsidian arrived to arrest everyone. In the chaos, Kreiger ran for the Talisman and activated it revealing his true identity as Merklynn and transforming a portion of Cybertron's underground into New Prysmos before he teleported everyone back to Iacon. The Iron Ring was then taken into Cybertronian custody.
- Early solicitations for First Strike (or Insurgency as it was then known) suggested Ironblood would be commanding a reborn Cobra. Though Cobra personnel and equipment were part of the Iron Ring, this didn't bear out in the comic itself.
- Iron Ring at the TFWiki