Iron Man may have been hand-picked by Nick Fury to kickstart his Avengers project, but he certainly didn’t pick him for his people skills. Though charismatic, Tony’s ego can often come off as abrasive. Very vocal in his abilities and achievements, Tony also expresses his opinions freely, sometimes to his detriment. He has managed to raise the blood pressure of a fair few of his fellow heroes, sometimes intentionally. In both superhuman civil wars, Stark has been at the front of one faction in the conflict. His stubbornness has earned him the contempt of some of his allies at times and in turn he’s formed his own bias on them. Whether he’s trying to start a war with Namor to get out of a war with Captain America, it’s fair to say Tony isn’t the prototypical people person.
It isn’t all negativity in Tony’s sphere of influence, as when he puts his advanced mind to it he can be an excellent friend. Stark has managed to form meaningful bonds with several of the Marvel heroes, most famously his best friend James Rhodes. While he’s prone to falling out with fellow Avengers, he’s not incapable of burying the hatchet. Some of his closest friends began as enemies, as at his core Tony is a very charming presence. The inventor has been across the world and even ventured into space on his adventures. No matter where Iron Man goes, he can polarize opinions with his personality. We’ll take a look into who the man himself considers a friend and those he has reservations about.
20. CAN’T STAND: HULK
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Tony and Bruce get on quite well, bonded by their love of science. In the comics, however, things are a great deal more tumultuous. Stark was one of the Illuminati members who voted to exile Banner, sewing the seeds for World War Hulk.
Additionally, though Bruce is one of the keenest minds in the Marvel Universe, he was omitted from the Illuminati for a long while. It wasn’t until he threatened Tony following Original Sin that he was inducted into the group. Even then, it was a last resort by Stark, given that the multiverse was collapsing. On top of all that, Tony masterminded the Hulkbuster armor!
19. ACTUALLY LIKES: WAR MACHINE
Colonel James Rhodes is Iron Man’s best friend, this is well known. The two compliment each other well, as while Tony’s head is in the clouds in terms of his inventions, James keeps him grounded. Both men are practical but Stark is more practical in a scientific sense, Rhodey is the one with all the common sense.
Through Tony’s ups and downs James has remained a stalwart friend and ally. He’s received the War Machine armor for his troubles, which is an impressive piece of engineering. When Rhodey lost his life battling Thanos under the command of Carol Danvers, Tony waged a second Civil War to get justice for his friend.
18. CAN’T STAND: SPIDER-MAN
In both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Ultimate Universe comics, Tony Stark believes in Peter Parker. In the 616 universe, things aren’t as rosy between the two scientists. Steve Rogers is the one who gives young Peter the nod, with Stark being aligned with the likes of Swordsman, who don’t believe Spider-Man is ready for Avengers membership.
Additionally, during the events of Civil War, Tony Stark manipulated Peter into revealing his identity to the world. A ploy to promote the Superhuman Registration Act, Peter eventually wises up and fights Tony, eventually escaping. To add insult to injury, Spider-Man almost loses his life when Stark sends two government-controlled villains to stop him defecting.
17. ACTUALLY LIKES: HANK PYM
Most of the time, Tony gravitates to other scientists. Another fellow Avenger and science enthusiast that Tony is fond of is Hank Pym. The two men don’t exactly have the best individual histories, but this allows them to relate to one another better. Their similarities even allowed Tony to replace Hank in the MCU narrative as the creator of Ultron, rather than Hank.
Fully believing in each other’s convictions and methodologies, the two men spearheaded the Pro-Registration Act faction of the Civil War. Hank brought his robotics expertise to the fore when helping Tony create Ragnarok. Though things went horribly wrong with the Thor clone, the two men still worked on resolving its issues after its catastrophic debut.
16. CAN’T STAND: ROCKET RACCOON
For a brief period, the Guardians of the Galaxy allowed Iron Man to join them on their adventures. The intrepid inventor found himself in a world of brand new technologies to play with. One fellow hero with a wealth of experience in creating toys in space is Rocket Raccoon.
Rocket looked down on Stark, believing himself to be far better at tinkering than the Avenger. Though Tony proved himself useful to the team, he never really earned Rocket’s respect. During a follow-up communication with the Guardians after he left, Rocket cut the holographic phone call short, showing a blatant disregard for Tony.
15. ACTUALLY LIKES: SHE-HULK
Jennifer Walters has a better relationship with Iron Man than her cousin Bruce. Despite shooting Hulk into space prior to the events of Planet Hulk, Jennifer still supported Stark’s stance during the superhuman Civil War.
Historically, Iron Man has funded a lot of the ventures of the Avengers, footing the bill for a lot of their services. As you can imagine, legal representation is included in this. Jennifer being a lawyer herself, she’s represented a number of Avengers over the years and it’s likely Tony paid their fees. It’s not as glamorous as fighting crime, but these two are a powerful administrative duo.
14. CAN’T STAND: THOR
The relationship between Thor and Iron Man didn’t really devolve until after Civil War. Tony made a lot of enemies from former friends in his support of the Superhuman Registration Act. Though Thor was not present, Tony combed his furniture for one of Thor’s hairs with designs on cloning the Asgardian.
He worked with Hank Pym and Reed Richards to create Ragnarok, who malfunctioned and took the life of Bill Foster. Upon Thor’s return in Secret Invasion, he made it very clear he knew about the clone. Disgusted at what his teammate had done in his name, he couldn’t trust Stark from that point.
13. ACTUALLY LIKES: AGENT VENOM
Despite his beginnings and a bully to Peter Parker way back in high school, Flash Thompson has a knack for getting people to like him. The veteran has shown a lot of growth and maturity of character as time has progressed. When he was selected to be Agent Venom, he found himself working alongside a lot of heroes he admires.
Flash helped out the Avengers and Spider-Man in events like Spider-Island, putting in shifts worthy of a full-blown Avenger. Tony took note and when he could no longer assist the Guardians of the Galaxy, he recommended Flash take his place. His appointment to the Guardians was a success, with Tony giving his friend a new, outstanding experience in the cosmos.
12. CAN’T STAND: CAPTAIN AMERICA
The fractured friendship between these two heroes is well documented. The man out of time and the man in the iron armor often find themselves on opposite ends of arguments. The Superhuman Registration Act, Spider-Man’s membership on the Avengers and several other disputes have driven wedges between the two.
In the events of “Time Runs Out” leading into Secret Wars, the Multiverse collapses. In the dying embers of the universe, Tony and Steve spend their final moments beating the tar out of one another. Even in the pages of 2018’s Avengers, Tony expresses that he does not want to join Steve or Thor on a new Avengers team.
11. ACTUALLY LIKES: REED RICHARDS
Another of Stark’s super science friends and fellow Illuminati member, Mr. Fantastic has collaborated with Iron Man to do both great services and great harm to the Marvel Universe. Reed was one of the main advocates for Hulk being exiled alongside Tony. Though he wanted to mitigate damage during Civil War, Reed also had a hand in Ragnarok’s creation.
A firm supporter of Stark’s agenda in Civil War, Reed was a valued adviser to Tony. Iron Man entrusted Reed Richards with creating Prison 42, an incarceration complex in the Negative Zone. This complex would hold all superhumans who would not comply with the Registration Act.
10. CAN’T STAND: CAPTAIN MARVEL
Carol and Tony’s relationship has become quite strained in recent years. During Civil War II, Captain Marvel attempted to use the precognitive abilities of the Inhuman Ulysses to preempt threats and prevent them. Iron Man had an issue with this, as Ulysses’ powers had not been fully tested.
In one of Carol’s missions using the Inhuman’s visions, War Machine’s life was ended at the hands of Thanos. It was then revealed that Ulysses’ power only shows potential futures, rather than actual ones. The two fought, with Tony being spurred on by the loss of his best friend. The final confrontation saw Captain Marvel put Tony in a coma.
9. ACTUALLY LIKES: IRONHEART
Tony Stark, being an inventor himself, is a big advocate of ingenuity. We’ve seen him help fund college programs to cultivate the minds of the future during his work as a philanthropist. One student that Tony Stark was especially impressed by was RiRi Williams.
The young prodigy managed to reverse-engineer a version of the Iron Man armor. Her aptitude for science caught the attention of Stark and she took up the mantle of Ironheart. Though in recent issues of Champions she has departed the color scheme of her armor from her mentor’s, the inventive spirit of his influence is still ever present.
8. CAN’T STAND: DAREDEVIL
Daredevil is very much a hero of the people, both in spandex and out of it as Matt Murdock. Tony, however, is often far removed and a little out of touch with the common man. After the events of AXIS, Tony would make a sinister attempt to connect with the general public. AXIS saw the alignment of heroes and villains turned on their heads, though they were restored, Tony found a way to avoid the fixing spell and remained a villain.
He introduced an app using Extremis tech that got users addicted and to get more usage they’d have to pay. Daredevil attempted to stop Tony and was thrown off a building for his troubles. Matt also famously called Tony “Judas” during Civil War.
7. ACTUALLY LIKES: BLACK WIDOW
Natasha and Tony have been friends a long time, though they began as enemies. Despite contention with Iron Man initially, Natasha would defect from life as a Russian spy due to her closeness to Hawkeye, and both would join the Avengers. While on the Avengers, Tony and Nat would bury the hatchet and find working together quite easy.
The two helped stop a spy named Oktober from starting a third world war. It turns out Nat herself was Oktober, operating under the influence of KGB mind control, Tony helped her through this. Nat also supported Tony during Civil War, despite her previous unsavory experiences with world governments, opting to trust her friend’s judgement.
6. CAN’T STAND: LUKE CAGE
Iron Man and Luke Cage have never been the closest of friends. During Civil War, due to his proximity to the streets alongside the likes of Daredevil and Iron Fist, Luke Cage opposed the Registration Act. He also believed Tony’s negligence in Secret Invasion to be one of the reasons his child was put in danger from the Skrulls.
Even after the end of Civil War, Luke Cage helped lead the rogue faction of the unregistered Avengers. Not seeing eye to eye on a lot of things, Luke feels Tony doesn’t understand regular people. In one of their early encounters, Luke punched Tony through a wall and expressed no reservations in going through Iron Man on his mission.
5. ACTUALLY LIKES: SHANG-CHI
Though you wouldn’t expect their paths to cross, never rule anything out when it comes to the Avengers. Tony and Steve worked together to create the Avengers Machine, a team with heroes working in tandem as parts of a greater design. Their hand-to-hand combat element seemed ready made for the inclusion of Shang-Chi.
He garnered respect from Stark from his work under Steve in the Secret Avengers. Tony wanted to help give Shang-Chi an edge as the team took off into space during Infinity. Stark worked with the Master of Kung-Fu to create state of the art martial weaponry. One of Iron Man’s designs included electric Nunchaku.
4. CAN’T STAND: NAMOR
Namor rarely has time for the decadence of land-based empires and Tony Stark is a representative of that decadence. The two men’s egos have clashed during several events, their pride forcing them to impasses. In one particular instance, Namor refused to go along with exiling Hulk prior to Planet Hulk.
His opposition to the treatment of Banner brought him into contention with Stark. The heated exchange of words ended in Namor punching Iron Man into the sea and their fellow Illuminati members trying to prevent the fight from escalating. He remarked that Tony may be a warrior, but he is a king.
3. ACTUALLY LIKES: NOH-VARR
A Young Avengers alumni and the Marvel Boy of Earth-200080, Noh-Varr had a bit of a tricky time acclimating to Earth-616. Though initially motivated by revenge, Stark and some other Avengers helped Noh-Varr work through this and become a hero again. When recruited by Stark to join the Avengers due to his experience with alien tech, he took on the alias of Protector.
With Tony’s blessing following Civil War, Noh-Varr would be allowed to act as warden of the super prison, The Cube. He would later prove a vital component in Secret Invasion, answering the call when the world descended into chaos.
2. CAN’T STAND: GOLIATH II
One of the worst acts committed by Iron Man during Civil War was the creation of Ragnarok. The robotic clone of Thor would go on to claim the life of Bill Foster, also known as Goliath. His nephew, Tom Foster, harbored a hatred for Iron Man ever since his uncle’s passing.
During World War Hulk, when Hulk defeated and captured the Illuminati, Tom would arrive to give an impassioned speech on the irresponsible and dangerous actions of the Illuminati. Following World War Hulk, Tom infiltrated the Avengers Mansion, stealing Pym Particles and attacking Tony Stark. He then used the particles to take up the mantle of Goliath, in honor of Bill Foster.
1. ACTUALLY LIKES: JOCASTA
Ultron shares a few parallels with Frankenstein and in much the same way, Jocasta parallels the Bride of Frankenstein. Initially, Jocasta was created to be Ultron’s bride and her villainous motives but her at loggerheads with the Avengers. Unlike her partner Ultron, however, Jocasta would end up an ally for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
She got closest to Iron Man, having to be uploaded into his armor temporarily and acted as his suit’s internal computer. Later on, she would also be integrated into several of Stark’s computer systems. She assisted Tony for quite a while, helping him improve his suits and organize his resources, both in production and out in the field.
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