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Stark Contrast: 10 Characters Who Wore The Iron Man Armor (That Aren’t Tony), Ranked

The Iron Man suit is Tony Stark's greatest invention. It has withstood the test of time and many other threats both in and out of the Earth. However, some threats can be bigger than just one Iron Man; Stark is just a human, after all, and certain dangerous beings are way above his pay grade as an Avenger. Often he gets help not just from his fellow Avengers, but also from other Iron Men.

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Not just fully automated machine Iron Man armors, but actual people who have donned the Iron Man suit. In fact, there have been many characters both human and...something else, who have taken it upon themselves to stand in Stark's place whenever his hands are full or if he's indisposed. Here are 10 of them who might even give Tony Stark a run for his money (or his suits), both in the comic books and in the MCU.

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10 MARY JANE WATSON

MJ has proven many times that she's more than just Spider-Man's screamy damsel-in-distress. The Spider-man love interest has actually had many brushes with Tony Stark in the comic books. This began when MJ got fed up with New York City's tendency to get leveled every once in a while. So she moved to Chicago, Illinois to start a new business.

Still, trouble followed her and it was Iron Man who caused the destruction of her new nightclub. As compensation, Stark offered MJ a position at his office where she became quite familiar with the Iron Man suits and she even donned Spider-Man's Iron Spider armor. Her first practical use for the Iron Man suit, however, was when she helped Spider-Man defeat Morlun with it.

9 JAMES RHODES

Well, this one's a given and you probably expected him. While Rhodey went on to become his own thing as War Machine thanks to a beefed-up Iron Man suit, he still counts as one of the few people lucky enough to wear the armor. How and why Rhodey put on the Iron Man suit is somewhat the same in both the MCU and comic books: because Stark became irresponsible.

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How he kept the suit was different, though. Stark willingly gave Rhodes the armor in the comic books while he smugly took off with it in Iron Man 2. Regardless, Stark eventually accepted Rhodes having his own armor. He even helped him both in the films and comic books to make the proper adjustments and tailor the armor to Rhodes' liking.

8 HAROLD "HAPPY"  HOGAN

"Happy" is more popularly known as Stark's personal limo driver and sometimes assistant. Unbeknownst to most people who only watched the films, he actually was lucky enough to occasionally wear the Iron Man armor. Since Iron Man is a public figure, he had to maintain public appearances which can sometimes prove tiresome for Stark. Hence, he sometimes asks Happy to wear the armor in his place (essentially duping the fans).

Other than that, Happy also once became a member of the Iron Legion, Stark's own Iron Man army he keeps in reserve for more threatening circumstances. True to his film counterpart, Happy can actually fight; he's a professional boxer and knows a thing or two about superhero scraps. Happy even once fought the Mandarin (one of Iron Man's recurring villains) and won.

7 STEVE ROGERS

This one's technically not canon since it's a "what if" comic book series called Bullet Points. It explores what Steve Rogers would be had he failed to become Captain America due to Dr. Abraham Erskine dying before he could become a super-soldier. Turns out, they had a contingency plan for that called Project Iron Man. It involves grafting the frail Rogers into a giant suit of Iron Man armor.

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He still went on to fight the Nazis but as Iron Man instead of Captain America in the alternate reality of Earth-70105. This stint didn't last for Rogers since he was killed by Peter Parker who became Hulk in this reality. Other than a "what if" story, Tony never really got around to giving Rogers his own armor; they're not exactly pals in the comic books *cough* Civil War *cough.*

6 RIRI WILLIAMS

Also known as Ironheart, Riri Williams is a smarter and younger Tony Stark. She's just a little girl but already had a brain to rival Tony's. She demonstrated her astounding intellect when she reverse-engineered an old Iron Man armor to make her own version. The result was the youngest and smallest Iron Man ever which is still worthy of the Avengers.

Being a girl genius with an M.I.T. scholarship, she naturally caught the attention of Tony Stark. He even gave her guidance in her future suits. Riri even proved to be a worthy substitute for the original Iron Man when Tony fell into a coma after the civil war in the comic books. Eventually, she was invited into the teenager superhero collective, the Champions, Marvel's own version of DC's Teen Titans.

5 NORMAN OSBORN

It seems Spider-Man characters have a habit of "borrowing" Iron Man suits. Norman Osborn (Green Goblin) is up there with MJ and Peter Parker benefiting from Stark's inventions. Osborn didn't exactly use it for good (but he did intend his image to be one of the 'good guys'). This happened after the events of Secret Invasion in the comic books where Osborn, through sheer manipulation and lies, became the Earth's greatest "hero."

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He re-purposed an old Iron Man suit, painted it to look like Captain America's attire, and called himself the Iron Patriot. Osborne went on to apparently do some Avenger work with his Dark Avengers but ultimately, his Green Goblin persona got the better of him. Also, Loki messed with him and made him do bad things. Osborn ended up defeated and imprisoned, marking the end of his Dark Reign arc.

4 BRUCE BANNER

While this doesn't happen in the comic books, Bruce Banner donning the Hulkbuster in the MCU is a fitting consolation to the lack of Hulk in Avengers: Infinity War. After going through a quick defeat and humiliation at the hands of Thanos, the Hulk underwent the equivalent of male performance anxiety for superheroes; he refused to "come out."

Luckily for Banner, the Hulkbuster was just lying around in disuse, and he still somehow managed to make himself useful in the battle against Thanos. He did it again in the opening moments of Avengers: Endgame and proved that Stark's engineering is impeccable. Tony essentially made his own version of a Hulk

3 PEPPER POTTS

Being close friends with Iron Man is often a guarantee that you'll get your own Iron Man armor. The only thing better than that is being his soulmate, Victoria "Pepper" Potts. It only makes sense that Tony would purposely make an Iron Man suit for Pepper-- he made one for Rhodes anyway. Pepper's was a bit more special, however. It was lightweight and features similar weapons and tech to Stark's Iron Man suit.

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The best part is that the MCU included this in Avengers: Endgame and it has become one of the best moments in the film among many. Pepper's armor, called the Mark 1616, means "PP" (Pepper's initials) when translated into letters. Still, its purpose is mainly for defense and rescue, the latter being its primary designated name as well.

2 DEADPOOL

Deadpool (Wade Wilson) knows no boundaries and will break any wall for a joke. As you can imagine, he crashed into Iron Man's pages at one time. He was actually tasked to ruin Stark's life again by making him slide back into overconsuming drinks. So, they had a party together... an drink-fueled party-- but Stark proved to be more resistant to his regular stupor than Deadpool thought.

Refusing to give up, Deadpool knocked him out and stole one of his Iron Man suits then impersonated Iron Man. Despite being impaired as heck, Deadpool still somehow saved the day and even prevented a nuclear explosion, because he's Deadpool. Stark eventually woke up and set things straight with the jerk.

1 DOCTOR DOOM

Victor von Doom is among the top brains in Marvel's Earth and his pride is as big as his evil ambitions. Arrogant as he is, Doom apparently liked Tony Stark and deemed him as his equal. The two had similarities and there is also no way in hell Doom would look up to his arch-enemy Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), so he became Iron Man's secret admirer.

Hence, when Tony Stark fell into a coma after the events of Civil War, Doom took it upon himself to become Iron Man by taking up the mantle (or wearing the suit). He didn't do this merely out of good will, though. Doom was actually unhappy with being selfish after transcending godhood, so he tried out the opposite. Turns out he was pretty good at being an anti-hero for a time.

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