It’s pretty fun speculating which of our favorite superheroes would win in a fight, especially when they share so much in common. Take Batman and Iron Man for example. They both tragically lost their parents at a young age and left unreasonably wealthy, which pushed them both to spend their time fighting crime with outrageously expensive gadgets and weapons. But it isn’t just about the money. They’re both incredibly intelligent, trained in hand-to-hand combat (one decidedly more than the other) and are leaders and huge figures in their respective universes. That being said, in several ways, they are not equals.
Right about here is where a lot of you are probably thinking “well yeah, Batman would beat Stark’s armored butt black and blue” and yes, Batman would definitely crush Stark in unarmed combat. In certain situations, Batman might even be able to beat Iron Man in regular battle and no, not just “because he’s Batman.” As an armored superhero, however, Stark is unmatched at being the good guy. Make no mistake, they’re both equally dedicated to fighting the forces of evil but Stark is just better at the execution. Keep reading and we’ll prove it to you. We’ll be taking a very general look at both characters, meaning pretty much all depictions and portrayals count. With that in mind, here are 15 reasons why the invincible Iron Man is WAY more awesome than the dark knight detective.
15. BETTER SUITED
Let’s get the most obvious reason out of the way first: Batman’s suit (including the utility belt) has nothing on Stark’s constantly evolving set of armored suits. Ignoring the fact that Batman’s utility belt is written to be ridiculous large as regards capacity, Stark’s suits can realistically carry much more. He’s got more of an arsenal in one arm than Batman does on his entire body at any given time.
Let’s be fair. Over the years, Batman’s suit has developed a lot as well. The Batsuit can often be seen with a tough exoskeleton and his cowl possesses augmented-reality features. Still, Iron Man’s suit is all-but-indestructable, provides Tony with super strength and repulsor beams, and allows him to fly and carry a lot more ammo than the Batsuit. In addition, the iconic gold and red Iron Man suit can still scare the hell out of criminals without necessarily frightening innocent civilians, like a the caped crusader clad in the black of night itself.
14. HAS NO NEED FOR SIDEKICKS
Something Batman is known for is recruiting children into his crusade against crime in Gotham. He trains them well and for Dick Grayson, it worked out quite well. The other kids however, prove that Bruce makes a horrible decision every single time he takes another kid under his wing. Just look at how Jason Todd turned out or even Damian Wayne, Bruce’s own son by blood.
Despite the necessary evil of training Spider-Man in Homecoming, Stark does not make it a habit to recruit child soldiers something Pepper Potts reflected when trying to warn Riri Williams, Ironheart, of the dangers of being a superhero. Tony has only ever had crimefighting partners like his close friend, Rhodey, who fought beside him as War Machine on numerous occasions. Rhodey was lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, which is more experience than any of Batman’s sidekicks ever had prior to their enlistment.
13. TONY IS MORE PUT TOGETHER
You can’t fight crime while dressed as a bat and still be able to truthfully claim that you’re alright in the head. In Batman #404 (written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Dave Mazzucchelli), which began the “Year One” storyline, we see that Bruce chose to become the Batman because a bat crashed through his window and that image struck him. It’s understandable since he was at a particularly vulnerable state at the time. It’s still not something any sane person would essentially build their lives around, forcing them to close themselves off from everything and everyone.
In comparison, Stark became Iron Man because there is evil in the world and he needed a way to beat it, because he saw the damage he was doing and he needed redemption. He had a company that produced weapons and decided to put his skill, resources and expertise to good use using an armored suit so he’d have more control over it. Was it just as reckless? You could probably argue that it was. It’s still far less crazy than dressing up like a bat with massive trust issues. Speaking of which…
12. STARK DOESN’T HAVE UNRESOLVED TRUST ISSUES
Tony Stark is host to a plethora of personality issues and shades of mental anguish but trust isn’t really one of them. Does he have trouble trusting people? As much as anyone else. Does that distrust ever reach levels of paranoia causing him to execute preventative measures like infect a mechanical friend with a virus before getting to know them? No. Cyborg discovered that Batman was capable of that kind of paranoia in Injustice: Gods Among Us #15 (written by Tom Taylor, art by Tom Derenick and more).
Even in DC’s current line, Batman is still the guy who keeps too close an eye on his friends and allies. There’s a line between having a thought out contingency plan and just being a paranoid a-hole. In comparison, Stark is skeptical of others, even his allies, but even during the cloud that was Civil War, he wanted to give his friends a chance to do things by the law (yet another thing Batman refuses to do by operating outside of it) as sanctioned superheroes. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is what normal people do.
11. STARK IS SMARTER
Tony Stark is a genius. If you need proof of that, just take a look at a few of the things he’s done: he graduated from MIT at 17, he constructed his first Iron Man suit while captive and he beat Reed Richards at chess in five simultaneous games. He doesn’t need to assistance of others to design or really even construct his technologically advanced suits, he does it all on his own.
Bruce is incredibly intelligent. He speaks numerous languages, is accomplished in the academic world with degrees in several fields and he’s been able to outwit every single member of his rogues gallery…well, except for the Joker, but that’s impossible for anyone. However admirable these accomplishments are, nothing Wayne has accomplished with his intellect can compare to Tony Stark’s own. That might not be fair since Stark becomes more machine every day but our point stands. Stark’s mind is just better.
10. BETTER FILM ADAPTATIONS
The Dark Knight Trilogy (directed by Christopher Nolan) was a great set of films. There was emotional depth, fantastically written characters and dialogue, all shown to us through beautiful cinematography. Unfortunately for Batman so far, those have been the only decent film depictions of the character. His most recent adaptations in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (directed by Zack Snyder) in which he was played by Ben Affleck, was different and a pleasant surprise but nowhere near as powerful or memorable as it could have been.
Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Iron Man is nothing short of iconic, much like Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine or Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier (or Captain Picard for you Trekkies out there). His performance as Tony Stark has been consistently praised and each film he appears in has succeeded in no small part thanks to him, which is a lot more than can be said for Batman or his films. Let’s just face it: Iron Man is way more awesome than Batman.
9. HE ACTUALLY DEVELOPS AS A CHARACTER
Batman and Iron Man are two wildly complex characters struggling with dark pasts and inner demons. The difference is, one of them isn’t really getting anywhere with that. The greatest comic book heroes recognize their demons and fight them. Batman has known exactly what his issues are but over the last 40 years, has shown no sign of real change. He’s still distrusting, dark and brooding; that stuff is great for his stories, but it gets dull after so long. He has his Bat Family now, so why so glum Bats?
Tony has changed over the years. Just look at the drinking problem he once had. The “Demon in a Bottle” storyline (written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, art by John Romita Jr. and others) shows us how he overcame his alcohol problem. It’s a change that continues to affect his character even today. Even the films have been able to adapt his changes. Batman’s film adaptations, however, feature no real development.
8. NO IMPOSSIBLE LIMITS
Tony also doesn’t limit himself with any one rule, especially ones about killing enemies. That doesn’t mean he goes around incinerating the people he doesn’t like, but he’s not going to hesitate to kill if it’s absolutely necessary. Every Batman fan is familiar with the argument that Batman is indirectly, but knowingly, responsible for hundreds, possibly thousands of deaths due to his unwillingness to permanently put an end to monsters like the Joker.
Batman has his reasons and they’re admirable, but when you think about whether or not these heroes are actually making things better, Iron Man is ahead of our dear dark knight. Knowing that there was no other way to stop the Extremis-fuelled Mallen’s rampage in Iron Man Vol 4 #6 (written by Warren Ellis, artwork by Adi Granov), Tony killed him. For a moment, he is overwhelmed with rage over what he was forced to do, but it ultimately didn’t turn him into a monster, which is what Batman fears.
7. HE’S A BETTER TEACHER
None of the previous netry means he’ll refuse to offer guidance to young superheroes. Through his AI, for instance, Tony is guiding young Riri Williams through her crime-fighting career as Ironheart. Before that, he acted as somewhat of a father figure for Peter Parker, prior to the “Civil War” storyline of 2006, helping to take care of Peter and his family and helping Spidey through the aftermath of Morlun’s attack and “The Other” storyline.
In comparison, Batman has managed to lead almost all his underlings into traumatic situations that destroyed them. We’ve mentioned Jason Todd but do you also remember Stephanie Brown? We are aware that the writers have said she was never really Robin, but she still fought for Batman so it counts. She “died” because of him (it ended up being a hoax, but that doesn’t clear him of blame). Aside from that, he’s more of a commander than a mentor. Just look at his relationship with Dick Grayson and the reason Dick quit being Bruce’s sidekick. Bruce is a horrible mentor, one that’s too closed off and dark and has directly led to the death of children.
6. TONY IS BETTER AT ROMANCE
Another thing Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne have in common (along with most really rich guys) is that they’ve got long lists of past relationships. We’ll be just be looking at the ones that meant the most to them. For Bruce Wayne, it’s Silver St. Cloud, Talia Al Ghul and of course, Catwoman. For Tony Stark, it’s Pepper Potts, Maria Hill and Joanna Nivena, his first engagement.
Already, we can see from these that Tony has healthier romantic relationships than Batman, whose major romantic interests put him in harm’s way more often than not, except for Silver who was pretty much abused by the paranoid man in Batman: The Widening Gyre #6 (written by Kevin Smith, art by Walt Flanagan). Stark has never intentionally hurt his love interests like that, no matter what was at stake. The worst that has happened to any of Stark’s major heartbreaks was that he broke up with them because his state of mind would keep them from being happy.
5. USES HIS TECH TO HELP THE WORLD
Both of these ridiculously wealthy men want to make their worlds better. Bruce has Wayne Enterprises and tries to do good with Wayne Foundation, which addresses social issues by providing funding for scientific research and connecting charities. Stark grew his wealth through weapons but has since ceased weapons production and generally focuses on energy and the development of beneficial tech.
The films reflect this, too. During an interview with Christine Everhart in Iron Man (directed by Jon Favreau), Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.) mentions Stark Industries’ Intelli-Crops programme which helped combat world hunger. Of course, there was also The Invincible Iron Man #25 (written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Salvador Larroca) in which he establishes Stark Resilient, which provides repulsor technology to the public as an alternative energy source. That’s more good than we ever see come from Wayne Enterprises.
4. TONY STARK WORKS BETTER WITH THE LAW
Both of these superheroes are vigilantes, which means that they take the law into their own hands. Iron Man, however, is the only major billionaire superhero that still tries to work with the law as much as he can. The best example of this was when he argued against the Superhuman Registration Act but helped enforce it in 2006’s Civil War event. He supports the good heroes generally do by working outside the law but he accepts that the law must be respected and does his best to help change it if the law is wrong. heck, he has even acted as the world’s biggest lawman as the former Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
Batman has become so powerful of a figure in Gotham that he’s become judge and jury. He works with Commissioner Gordon but only to an extent and he often goes around torturing low-level thugs for information, something that is both ineffective (in the real world) and illegal. If law enforcement gets in his way, he has no qualms about treating them similarly to the criminals he puts away.
3. IRON MAN IS MORE RELATABLE
Obviously, no one is going to be able to completely relate to a guy in a billion dollar technologically advanced suit or a highly-trained billionaire fighting crime dressed like a bat, but one of these billionaires is slightly more relatable than the other. Spoiler: it’s not the emotionally dead guy in the batsuit. Most of us have never been so driven by personal tragedy that we’ve trained with a league of ninjas, mastered pretty much every academic field and dived into the night armed with gadgets that cost more than we earn in a year, all without trusting those around us and living in a cave.
It’s safe to say that we’re more understanding of the man who’s trying to redeem himself and fights to make things better in the light, despite being hounded by inner demons and struggling with vices that many of us are unfortunately too familiar with. They’re both admirable but it’s far easier to understand Tony Stark’s very human motivations as opposed to someone who’s essentially written to be a god amongst men.
2. DEDICATED TO A BETTER TOMORROW
Tony Stark consistently fights to provide for the whole world, which forces him to see far ahead into the future. He takes action, like he did in the “Civil War” storyline we mentioned, in which he agrees to enforce the Superhuman Registration Act to avoid harsher consequences. Let’s also not forget that he was the one who first called the Illuminati together after the “Kree-Skrull War” so they could share information and protect the world against future threats, despite their conflicting views and outspokenness.
Batman is dedicated to crime-fighting, which is great, but it doesn’t really benefit anyone when crime rates in Gotham look to be pretty stable (which isn’t good) and the same couple of supervillains escape custody from Arkham Asylum every other week. Batman is so preoccupied with crime-fighting that he can’t really help much in other ways. There is only today’s fight. He prepares for betrayal from allies but he can’t think to the future when he’s still fighting for today.
1. IRON MAN DOESN’T NEED TO HIDE
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Batman’s need to hide in the shadows. He’s Gotham’s protector but he only comes out at night, which is pretty limiting for someone dedicated to protecting the city streets. You could argue that it’s about stealth, striking fear into his enemies and maintaining his image as Bruce Wayne: the genius billionaire playboy phil… no, wait, that’s the other guy.
Stark doesn’t need the cover of the night to scare his foes and he doesn’t need a schedule to keep his alter-ego a secret. As for stealth, if he needs to be stealthy, his suits come prepared with stealth capabilities, as we see in The Invincible Iron Man Vol 2 #1 (written by Brian Michael Bendis, illustrated by David Marquez and others) when he designed a suit combining all special features of past designs. But generally, he doesn’t need to sneak around or mysteriously disappear into the night mid-conversation from police commissioners.
What else makes Tony Stark better than Batman? Do you agree that he is? Let us know in the comments!
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