Comic book characters certainly love their suits of armor. They’re often a convenient deus ex machina and armor can be a force for good and evil -- practically every hero and villain has donned one at some point. A good suit of armor can be a useful weapon, a strong defense measure, or, ideally, both. In DC, Batman and Lex Luthor are known for their various armors, but in the Marvel Universe, Tony Stark and Dr. Doom, have practically cornered the market. However, plenty of other characters have worn suits of armor. Some of them are quite impressive, while others are feeble attempts to recreate some of Stark’s inventions.
Stark remains one of the best designers in comics, when it comes to armor. Iron Man practically has a new suit tailored for every new threat that comes along and someone like Doom changes armor like he changes clothes. This makes it hard to pick the best armors these two have created, especially when you factor in the countless other super suits. Regardless, we’ve decided to list 15 of the most powerful suits of armor in the Marvel Universe. We spotlighted a few of Stark’s most impressive suits and we gave Doom some recognition, too. We had to leave off plenty of other noteworthy suits, such as the Thorbuster and the Extremis armor, however we wanted to provide a look at the wide range of super suits that extends far beyond the minds of Stark and Doom.
Apocalypse is one of the most power mutants in the Marvel Universe, so it's only fitting that En Sabah Nur’s suit would be impressive too. This armor was built by the Celestials, which makes Apocalypse almost as durable as a member of this ancient, influential race.
Additionally, the suit enhances Nur’s mighty power set and allows him to share his abilities with others. Apocalypse’s armor is nearly indestructible, with only Jarnbjorn, a magical Asgardian blade, being strong enough to destroy it. The suit is mostly associated with Apocalypse. However, his clone, Evan, also wore the armor as a destructive force.
14 THE DESTROYER
Many fans know the Destroyer from Thor but that movie only scratched the surface of this armor’s potency. Unlike most armors, the Destroyer is not a suit, but when the armor is active it is incredibly powerful. The Destroyer has superhuman speed and strength, it can fly and it has the ability to manipulate metal.
The Destroyer, which is imbued with Odin’s magic, is made from material stronger than Uru. The armor’s most famous (and most dangerous) power is its disintegration ray, which was featured in Thor. The Destroyer, like the Apocalypse armor, is linked to the Celestials. However, this armor was forged to fight the ancient race.
13 BLEEDING EDGE
Tony Stark has an array of impressive suits but his Bleeding Edge creation takes the cake. This armor is fueled by an artificial star, and this power source gives Stark a nearly limitless amount of energy. Bleeding Edge, also known as Iron Man Armor Model 37 or Iron Destroyer, lies dormant in Stark’s body because the suit is comprised of Nano-Machines.
Model 37 is, in some ways, like a symbiote. Stark can use the Nano-Machines to create any structure he thinks of. Combined with a mind as brilliant as Stark’s, the Bleeding Edge suit is one of Stark’s most powerful inventions.
12 DOOM'S MYSTICAL ARMOR
Tony Stark isn’t the only genius that is known for his armor. Dr. Doom has made plenty of his own powerful suits. We’ll highlight a few of them, starting with Doom’s mystical armor. Doom, unlike Stark, often uses magic to augment his suits. As a result, Dr. Doom always has endless possibilities at his metal-covered fingertips.
Doom made a deal with the devil (or, more accurately, three demons) in order to make his suit the notorious, magic-infused armor we know today. All he had to sacrifice was the woman he loved. Clearly, Doom is committed to making his armor the most potent it can be.
Darkhawk, or Chris Powell, is one of the more underrated heroes in Marvel’s cosmic section. That being said, Powell’s suit is one of the most compelling armors in Marvel history. This suit is actually an android that’s controlled by the user. Darkhawk can travel through space, fire energy blasts and project an energy shield. Plus, the armor gives its user super strength, flight and a healing factor.
While Darkhawk hasn’t lived up to his billing, the character recently returned to the Marvel Universe. So, using Darkhawk’s awesome suit, Chris Powell could still become a legend when all is said and done.
10 BLACK PANTHER
This list would be incomplete without the Black Panther suit, especially the versions seen in the hero’s recent solo movie. T’Challa’s suit is made of Vibranium, one of the most powerful metals in the Marvel Universe. The suit’s microweave design absorbs kinetic energy, which makes it quite difficult for villains to hurt T’Challa.
T’Challa’s armor also comes equipped with claws, and the suit can also produce blades and fire projectiles. Plus, the Black Panther suit can give T’Challa the power of invisibility. Fans have seen many of these powers on the big screen. Overall, this might be one of the most powerful suits in all of the Marvel Universe.
9 TITANIUM MAN
Plenty of Iron Man villains have tried to rival Tony Stark’s genius by making their own suits. Many of these antagonists have repeatedly failed, but Titanium Man deserves some credit. The suit’s capabilities vary between its two users (Boris Bullski and Gremlin,) but there are some constants.
For example, the user can fly at supersonic speed, produce concussive blasts and force rings. The armor also gives its user super strength and durability. Bullski didn’t bring much to the table but Gremlin had superhuman intelligence and a mastery of engineering. Other characters have worn the suit and failed to capitalize on its potential.
8 IRON SPIDER
The Iron Spider armor is one of Tony Stark’s most famous inventions in recent years, especially in the MCU. This suit reacts almost instantaneously to Peter Parker’s thoughts, which makes it the ultimate armor in battle. The suit also uses nanotechnology, so it’s very convenient. It also comes with Spider-Legs, which were very useful during the "Civil War" in the comics and on-screen in Infinity War.
The suit also saved Parker from the vacuum of space (in the movie), and it has enhanced web-shooters and overall durability. Stark’s first model of the Spider-Man suit was impressive but the Iron Spider is a brilliant demonstration of Stark’s genius. It’s only a matter of time before we see the suit resurface in the MCU and perhaps in the comics.
7 DOOM 2099
Doom has plenty of other notable suits of armor. The Doom 2099 version is particularly remarkable -- Doom used nanotechnology years before (or years after?) Tony Stark even dreamed of it. A surgery bonded the villain to the technology in his body, which heightened Doom’s mastery of his weapons. Doom 2099 lost, but later regained, his knowledge of the mystical arts. At full strength, this version of Doom was unstoppable.
Like most versions of the character, Doom 2099 was a brilliant scientist, which allowed him to create an awe-inspiring suit of armor with the technology at his disposal. Doom 2099’s suit was partially built with adamantium-lanxide, and the armor also gave him the ability to fly, phase and turn invisible.
Depending on the continuity you consider, the Hulkbuster was made with the intention of being able to subdue or stop the Hulk. The MCU version of the suit is a defensive measure; Bruce Banner helps Stark create the armor as an insurance policy.
In the comics, Stark used the suit for a different reason. In "World War Hulk", Stark uses the Hulkbuster armor in an attempt to stop a violent, enraged Hulk. This version of the suit is a sizable exoskeleton, which is equipped with injector needles and rocket-powered gauntlets. The Hulkbuster is capable of sending the Hulk flying from a single punch but it still failed to stop the green monster’s rampage.
Tony Stark makes a new suit for every occasion. You can’t blame him for making armor for the Avengers’ battle with the Phoenix-infected X-Men. In AvX, Stark debuted the Phoenix-Buster, a suit of armor meant to battle the marvelous power of the Phoenix Force. Stark used the armor top stop the Phoenix from reaching Earth.
To do so, he fractured the force into five parts. Stark’s mission can easily be labelled a failure, as the five parts infected five members of the X-Men (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Namor and Magik). The failures of Tony’s occasion-specific suits seem to be a recurring pattern in the Marvel Universe.
4 SORCERER SUPREME ARMOR
Once upon a time, Tony Stark was the Sorcerer Supreme, at least in What If? Vol. 2 #113. In this noncanonical story, Sorcerer Supreme Tony Stark battles Dormammu. Here, Stark’s suit is as impressive as Dr. Doom’s mystical armor (one could argue that Stark’s suit is more impressive because he ethically acquired his magic).
Sorcerer Stark’s armor is provided and enchanted by the Vishanti, a trio of some of Marvel’s most powerful mystics. Stark’s suit even had the iconic Eye of Agamotto on the chest plate. This suit may be a reality one day, as the end of Brian Michael Bendis’ Invincible Iron Man run suggests that Stark will actually be the Sorcerer Supreme someday.
Ultron’s armor is difficult to differentiate from the character itself. However, the suit still deserves a spot on this list. The robot’s outer shell is made of adamantium, the same metal that makes Wolverine one of the deadliest mutants in Marvel history.
As a result, in the comics, Ultron is nearly invulnerable. Ultron’s armor gives the robot super strength, speed and durability. The MCU version of Ultron is quite different -- in that universe, the character is a humanoid robot that eventually builds its own shell out of Vibranium. Regardless, Ultron’s armor is one of the most power suits in the Marvel Universe.
2 THE GUARDIAN
The Guardian’s armor may not seem impressive in comparison to the other suits on this list. But James MacDonald Hudson still deserves recognition. He steals a powered exoskeleton suit from his employer, the An-Cam Corporation, and eventually uses the armor to become a hero.
Like most super suits, Guardian’s armor gives him super strength, super speed and a force field. Guardian’s suit has some impressive tricks, though. The armor gives its user an array of weapons and the suit allows its user to travel through wormholes. Even Guardian’s super speed is notable, as he can fly as fast as Mach-1.
1 DOOMWAR SUIT
But wait, there’s more! Doom, even in the present-day, made the most of the technology available to him. In the "Doomwar" event. Dr. Doom made a suit out of one of the most powerful metals in the Marvel Universe: Vibranium.
Of course, Doom stole most of the metal from Wakanda. Doom’s thievery caused a war between Black Panther’s domain and Doom’s nation, Latveria. Dr. Doom made a suit completely comprised of Vibranium, which made him practically invincible. T’Challa, staring at certain defeat, ruined the Earth’s entire supply of the precious metal. As a result, the conflict between the two nations became futile.