Is Iron Man a superhero?
Of course he is. Tony Stark might not have any traditional superpowers, but his brilliance and inventiveness could be considered just as important as super-strength or flight. His own mind, in fact, gave him those abilities via the Iron Man armor he invented.
That same mind, though, has also conjured up conceit, hubris, betrayal, and countless other traits that have offset the "hero" part of the armored superhero. Iron Man has saved the day, the world, and the very universe many times over, but in between those applause-worthy accolades, Tony Stark has committed some notably less-than-heroic acts. Some of them were even decidedly villainous.
So, is Tony Stark a superhero? Yes, he is - but not a very good one.
Tony's Saved Lives – Starting with His
Tony's altruism could be questioned as far back to the days just preceding the advent of Iron Man. In Stan Lee and Don Heck's origin story, Tony didn't create the Iron Man armor to foremost fight tyranny and injustice – he created it to save his own life. The do-gooding came shortly thereafter, but make no mistake – he invented the armor to save his own hide first.
There's nothing wrong with that, of course – there are few who wouldn't act to save themselves, given the chance. But Iron Man's origin contrasts those of the superheroes who preceded him. The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Spider-Man, and Thor all got their powers through accidental means, but the only thing the accident that Tony suffered did was nearly kill him. The bomb that exploded near Tony was merely the catalyst that lead to Iron Man's creation, rather than the direct cause.
All the aforementioned heroes went on to save lives – in Tony's case, the first life he saved was his own. Perfectly understandable, but it just doesn't seem quite as heroic, somehow.