When you think of memorable suits of armor to come out of the Marvel Universe, Iron Man is probably one of the first characters to come to mind. He has one of the most classic suits in all of comics and he has become an icon for the Marvel brand. Even if you only watched the movies, you’ve probably gotten the gist of how these suits have not only saved Tony’s life, but also allowed him to become the hero we know and love. Made out of nickel-titanium alloy, the original suits, depending on which comics you’re reading, have always been one of the most powerful out there. It also doesn’t hurt that Tony is a super genius who can come up with a number of upgrades and plans that makes his suit better each version we see of it. Throughout countless enemies, we’ve seen Tony prevail and kick some serious villain butt all while being a regular human being that just so happens to be very good at building things -- not to mention super rich.
The Marvel Universe is pretty big though and Tony certainly isn’t the only character who’s suiting up in some studded armor in order to battle evil. There are plenty of other heroes, and villains, who have armor that is vastly stronger or just overall better than the classic Iron Man suit. And just as there are great pieces of armor, there’s also some iconic pieces that will probably never even come close to beating Tony. Here are ten armor sets that are definitely stronger and ten that are weaker than Iron Man in the Marvel Universe!
20 STRONGER: ANT MAN
Ant-Man has had a multitude of looks over the years, some of them more suit-like and others leaning towards the armor category, unless we're talking about Eric O'Grady. The armor Ant-Man wears is definitely one of the many hero getups that could easily defeat Iron Man. For starters, no matter what he’s wearing, his armor will always have the technology that makes Ant-Man’s powers.
If you need a visual, you can see how being small was a huge help in the movies when he was paired against some of Tony’s greatest pieces. However, in the comic books, it still stands to reason that he’d be able to do even more with his abilities in his armor -- Tony’s work just isn’t as flexible.
19 WEAKER: WAR MACHINE
We absolutely love the War Machine armor -- it’s a great work of art that Tony made and Rhodey kicked butt in. However, we’re not entirely sure that this armor would defeat even a classic Iron Man piece. You can argue that having Rhodes behind the wheel makes this armor that much more deadly, but on it’s own it probably wouldn’t be very effective against Tony.
The other big weakness is that Tony knows how to use it. Should anyone else try to pilot the War Machine rig, we’re pretty sure they’d go down after a few rounds because the equipment is technically Tony’s to begin with.
18 STRONGER: THOR
This classic piece of armor should really go without saying. Tony may be a genius and may have built some astounding armor, but nothing can really compare to the strength of a god. Thor’s armor is a classic Marvel piece that can withstand a lot, and while we often focus on his ever-popular hammer, he has to keep the rest of his body protected somehow.
Thor’s armor is technically Uru Armor, meaning it’s protected with Asgardian magic. Thor has even stated at one point that this kind of armor is even more powerful than adamantium,which we know is exceptionally powerful.
17 WEAKER: IRONHEART
Ironheart was certainly a cool suit of armor, and concept for a character, but she didn’t really do so hot with the fans. Of course, this isn’t why she’s less powerful than a classic Iron Man suit. For starters, her suit doesn’t really have the same capabilities that Tony’s does.
One example of this is the auto-lock on the knees. This seems trivial, but this is actually how Spider-Man once took her out -- he was able to cause her to crash by stringing webbing around her knees and making them bend, sending her off course. There are plenty of small things in the armor like this that make a huge difference when it comes to which suit is stronger.
16 STRONGER: DR. DOOM
Dr. Doom is a classic villain that no one can forget -- partially because the name is so foreboding. When it comes to who’s armor is better, however, we’d have to side with Doom. Unfortunately for Tony, Doom simply has a more unique suit with capabilities we’re not entirely sure a traditional Iron Man suit would be able to handle.
Doom’s armor is nuclear powered and built out of titanium and it’s also computer-assisted which doesn’t hurt, considering Tony’s has something similar. Doom also has some traditional weaponry stored in the suit, like blasters and electricity-producing limbs, but he also has abilities like recycling systems that host supplies and energy absorption -- it’s incredibly self-sustaining.
15 WEAKER: FALCON
Falcon is an incredible superhero and he’s widely beloved by fans and has a multitude of capabilities that makes him a worthy opponent to any character. He’s at peak human strength and endurance, a master combatant and acrobat, and he’s skilled in flight, obviously. But as talented as Falcon is on his own, we’re not so sure his armor can keep up with Iron Man's.
For starters, Falcon’s armor may look cool, but the wings may not help with his ability to fight in the sky, whereas Tony wouldn’t need to worry about movement. In addition, Falcon’s suit doesn’t have nearly as much protection or special abilities as the Iron Man suit does.
14 STRONGER: BLACK PANTHER
Black Panther is another one of the less obvious suits of armor in the Marvel Universe, but it’s certainly one of the most powerful. The obvious difference between Iron Man’s armor and Black Panther’s is that one is made of vibranium, which is exceptionally strong. The fact that it can absorb, store and release kinetic energy already gives it quite a bit more power material wise than Tony’s suits.
Because Iron Man’s armor is traditionally made out of nickel-titanium alloy, it’s still relatively strong, but nothing special when it comes to materials. Black Panther’s iconic suit, on the other hand, is extremely resilient and the material actually helps act as both a protectant and weapon.
13 WEAKER: DESTROYER
We’ve talked a little bit about Thor’s armor, which we know is relatively stronger than Iron Man’s because it’s built out of Uru, however there is another piece of Asgardian armor that is extremely powerful. Destroyer was created out of an unknown metal by Odin, concealing various Gods’ energies in order to battle the Celestials.
We’re sure Tony’s suits are powerful enough to at least survive a fight with opponents from space, but we’re not exactly sure he could take on a Celestial and we surely know that none of his suits were built for that purpose. A magic suit of armor definitely wins this battle.
12 STRONGER: IRON SPIDER
The Iron Spider is one of the coolest Spider-Man suits we’ve ever seen; and thanks to the recent Avengers movie, we finally were able to see it on the big screen. In the comics, this suit was one of Peter’s strongest suits ever worn. While Tony may have been the one to create it, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t stronger than the Iron Man armor.
For starters, you have to keep in mind that the Iron Spider is built not only in a more flexible getup that’s infused with Iron Man’s technology, but it also helps to host someone with special capabilities that Tony simply doesn’t have. That’s mainly the biggest reason why it would easily defeat a classic Iron Man suit.
11 WEAKER: X-23 MURAMASA ARMOR
Everyone loves X-23, but you may not remember the gem of armor she wore in the All-New Wolverine series. At one point, X-23 gets her hands on a special suit of armor called the Muramasa Armor. It’s incredibly cool to look at, but even cooler when you find out what it’s made of. The armor itself is made with soul fragments for Wolverine, Gabby and Daken to help protect her from Muramasa Blade fragments.
As cool as this armor is, and as powerful as it may be against the Muramasa Blade fragments, it probably wouldn’t hold up against Iron Man. The suit simply doesn’t have as many capabilities, which gives Tony a greater advantage.
10 STRONGER: HISAKO ICHIKI
We can’t have a list about armor and not include the character whose name is literally Armor, otherwise known as Hisako Ichiki. The mutant has the ability to produce her own exoskeleton armor that protects her from any opponents. While this isn’t exactly man-made armor, it’s still incredibly tough and worth noting.
The armor itself is psionic and incredibly durable, so it’s pretty tough to get close to her actual body. In addition, she can actually blast solid energy out of her armor as an attack while also utilizing the super strength it gives her. Tony’s creations just wouldn’t be up for a match against her.
9 WEAKER: AGENT VENOM
We don’t really ever see enough of Agent Venom, and it’s a real shame because he’s actually a relatively cool character. More than that, the Agent Venom armor is probably one of the coolest pieces out there because it’s actually created with the Venom symbiote. Because of this, it has all the cool capabilities that the symbiote usually would have but with a few extra things, like missile launchers and technology morphing.
While this all sounds really cool, there’s no way Flash Thompson would be able to take on Tony. Sure, he gains a little bit of experience between being the Scarlet Spider and then going on to be Agent Venom, but Tony has stronger suits and clearly more tricks up his sleeve and especially since he has sonic weapons in his armor that would take down Venom easy.
8 STRONGER: APOCALYPSE
Apocalypse is one of Marvel’s creepiest characters to show up on the scene. Since he’s one of the strongest mutants in the universe, he needs an equally powerful suit of armor to match. The Apocalypse armor was actually created by the Celestials and it enhances Nur’s power set while also giving him the ability to share his powers with others.
The Iron Man armor is pretty powerful, technology and material wise, but you can’t really compete against a suit built by an ancient race of aliens. We’d have to say out of all the other armor suits on this list, this is the one Tony really couldn’t touch in a battle.
7 WEAKER: STAR-LORD
If you’re a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies but haven’t ever read the comics or played any of the games they’re featured in, you may not know that Peter actually does have armor sometimes. Sure, the iconic Star-Lord mask made it onto the big screen, but there are versions of Peter where he actually has a full-on suit to survive in space.
It always looks a little different depending on which comic series you’re reading, but the abilities generally look the same. Star-Lord’s armor usually protects him from the absolute zero, Vaccum of space and also has a shield of energy. That being said, it doesn’t really have any weapons in it, which makes it less remarkable than Stark’s iconic suit.
6 STRONGER: THANOS
This armor really shouldn’t even need an argument for why it’s better and even if you only saw the film, you’ll notice that Thanos by himself is stronger than one of Tony’s suit. The truth is, Thanos doesn’t even really need armor. He comes from a pretty remarkable race, known as the Eternals, but also is a mutant, which makes him that much stronger.
His armor is a bit of a different story. His armor is actually so strong that it isn’t even effected by the Silver Surfer or a full-on attack from Galactus. Really, when it comes to an unmerciful character like Thanos, you know that he’ll need an armor just as strong.
5 WEAKER: CAPTAIN AMERICA
Look, we love Captain America as much as the next person, but we also have to admit that Steve has gone through some seriously questionable fashion choices. One of these choices just so happens to be a suit of armor that we couldn’t not include on the list: the Exoskeleton. Granted, Tony did make this armor himself, but between the ridiculous look and the toned-down abilities, it’s just not as good.
After Steve was paralyzed by his own Super-Soldier Serum, Tony created a suit that would still allow him to move and fight crime. The suit comes complete with beams, magnetic gloves and even missiles, but it’s not something that Tony couldn’t take apart easily.
4 STRONGER: DARKHAWK
Darkhawk needs just a little bit more love and we’re definitely here to give it! Even in his regular suit of armor, Darkhawk is pretty powerful compared to Iron Man. The suit has the ability to literally travel through time, which we know that Tony’s couldn’t hope to even attempt. But one of the best Darkhawk pieces of armor was his Infinity Countdown version.
This suit of armor not only looked cooler than the original, and even Tony’s, it actually looks a little more mecha and it has to have the power to take down Gyre’s army of Raptors, which means that it definitely has a little more going on than an Iron Man suit.
3 WEAKER: CRIMSON DYNAMO
The Crimson Dynamo is one of those classic Iron Man villains that we can only hope everyone remembers. While his suit of armor may look more impressive and more durable than Tony’s, the truth is that Iron Man has actually beaten him multiple times using nothing really special. Whereas some other suits we can only theorize as being better, we know for a fact Iron Man’s armor is superior to the Crimson Dynamo’s.
The armor includes a lot of your generic abilities, such as enhanced strength and durability for protection. He’s also electrically fueled, so some of his abilities include electrical blasts or overrides to control nearby devices. While all of this is cool, it’s simply not as advanced.
2 STRONGER: NOVA
Nova is definitely another underrated character that could use some more appreciation because of how cool he is. After the Nova Corps was destroyed, Richard Rider took on a one-man job of battling for justice, which is already a lot. But Nova’s suit is incredibly iconic and has a lot of abilities no Iron Man suit could ever dream of.
The armor itself was originally a Nova Corps uniform, however the Worldmind specifically modified it in order to help with his manipulation of the Nova Force. It can help Rider maintain some of his powers and also helps keep his mental stability. With Tony, we’ve seen his suits cause him anxiety, not cure it.
1 WEAKER: JUGGERNAUT
Everyone loves the Juggernaut; he's just that cool. This insanely powerful mutant is big, scary and covered in an armor that you’d think Tony would shake in his suit at. However, there’s a couple reasons why the Juggernaut’s armor just isn’t as good as Iron Man’s.
For starters, the Juggernaut’s armor isn’t technically armor because the part covering the body is actually a representation of a God’s appearance; however, it does have similar protecting abilities. His helmet is actually made from an unknown metal and is actually resistant to psychic abilities. As cool as this is, and as powerful as the Juggernaut is on his own, Tony still has brains to combat where the Juggernaut is slow and has more weaponry to take out some of the exposed parts on the mutant’s body.