Long before 2016, superheroes have been duking it out against one another in the pages of Marvel and DC Comics. Given the brash personality of Tony Stark (not to mention his massive ego), it likely won’t surprise you that Iron Man has come to blows with his fellow heroes on many occasions. Just like with Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s often just a simple misunderstanding or based on a deeper moral issue. Other times, it’s mind control, alien impostors, or a number of other gimmicks publishers use to make friends fight.
Much like Batman has beaten many superheroes more powerful than he thanks to his vast array of contingencies, Tony employs his brains and technology to outmaneuver and outsmart his opponents. When you mix his sizable intellect with the ever-expanding powers of his various suits, he becomes one of the most invincible heroes Marvel has. Here are 15 Times Iron Man Defeated Other Superheroes.
15. The Incredible Hulk (Iron Man #132, 1980)
Given Bruce Banner’s anger issues, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Hulk has gotten in tons of fights with his fellow heroes. But you may be shocked to learn that, despite his immense power, he’s actually lost a number of battles. One such defeat came at the hands of Tony Stark, during one of Hulk’s ragers. While he’d likely tell you he was just trying to enjoy some free road apples, Hulk nevertheless made it pretty clear that he came to smash. In a scenario that will likely play out for all eternity, it was up to the Avengers to stop the Hulk.
In this instance, Iron Man answered the call, trading powerful blows with the big guy. Hulk punched Tony into a semi truck, tried ripping his suit open underwater (Iron Man was trying to drown him at the time), and even ripped off a chunk of the St. Louis arch to use as a projectile. In the end, it took Tony loading an insane amount of energy into his armor to deliver the final blow that took the Green Goliath down. After that, Hulk reverted to Banner, and Tony’s armor gave out on him.
The issue also gives us a moment that seems to have been missed by those chronicling Civil War Easter eggs, as Ant-Man heads into Iron Man’s armor (this time with permission and to repair it), but gets flushed out by the suit’s fire suppression system. We won’t count that as a real defeat, though.
14. Magneto (Avengers versus X-Men #2, 2012)
If you haven’t been reading comics in the past few years, you may be wondering why Magneto is on a list about superheroes. Do yourself a favor and catch up, though, because the Master of Magnetism’s redemption arc has been a fascinating one. As the title of the 2012 series implies, however, even good mutants can battle it out with the Avengers. During issue #2 of AvX, the Avengers engage the X-Men on their island home of Utopia to get their hands on Hope and stop the coming threat of the Phoenix. The issue (and a bunch of interstitial ones), show various Avengers facing off against mutants like Cyclops and Emma Frost, and Magneto and Iron Man end up going toe to toe.
Given Magneto’s powers and Iron Man’s suit, this may seem like an easy victory for the mutant, but Tony Stark is always ten steps ahead. Not only does he have a suit composed of carbon fiber tubes, but he’s been studying magnetism in his free time. He’s actually able to summon the magnetic energy of Jupiter at one point, but when Magneto attempts a similar feat, he senses the raw power of the coming Phoenix and caves. Iron Man lands the final blow, securing the victory thanks to Magneto’s mental lapse.
13. Hawkeye (Tales of Suspense #57 & #60, 1964)
Both Clint Barton as Hawkeye and Tony Stark as Iron Man use a combination of tech and their personal skills to make up for a lack of superpowers. As much as we love Hawkeye, though, he’s just no match for Iron Man when the two go head to head. Given that both are pretty hot-headed (and Clint used to be a criminal), they’ve naturally gotten in a few tussles in their day. The two most notable instances are actually Hawkeye’s first appearances in Marvel Comics.
Ironically, it’s Iron Man who inspires Hawkeye to become a costumed hero. From there, the archer makes one mistake after another when he lets Black Widow (then a criminal as well) trick him into robbing Iron Man. In both Tales of Suspense #57 and #60, Hawkeye and Widow try to steal Stark’s tech, only to get thwarted at each attempt. Hawkeye puts up a pretty good fight, though, using a whole heap of trick arrows to ensnare Iron Man in metal cables, corrode his suit, and trap him under a heavy rocket at one point.
Iron Man triumphs each time, however, as his intelligence and armor outplay Hawkeye’s marksmanship. No hard feelings though, as it’s Iron Man who shortly thereafter sponsors Hawkeye’s admission into the Avengers.
12. Medusa, Crystal, and Karnak (Civil War II #2, 2016)
One of Iron Man’s most recent takedowns of fellow superheroes was a triple threat. Without giving too much away about the plot of Marvel’s most recent event, suffice it to say that Tony has good reason to be pissed. In his mind, the only way he can solve the issue facing Earth is to kidnap NuHuman Ulysses, whose precognitive powers are being used to engage threats before they occur. To get to Ulysses, Tony’s got to take out the defenses of New Attilan, including three members of the Inhuman Royal Family.
First up, Medusa gets under his armor with her prehensile hair, but is swiftly taken down thanks to a surge of electricity from Iron Man’s suit. Karnak and Crystal then step up, but are just as swiftly dispatched as their queen. Much like the first Civil War in the comics, the battle begins over a philosophical debate that quickly escalates into heroes fighting each other over their beliefs. For once, it’s nice to see Tony with the moral high ground, even if it does mean seeing some Inhumans get walloped.
11. Falcon (Civil War, 2016)
We don’t believe for a second that it was a coincidence that Marvel introduced a second Civil War in the comics, coinciding with the release of a movie inspired by the original event. Not that we’re complaining. Like both comic events, the cinematic Civil War was able to mine action and pathos from pitting heroes old and new against one another. The results were even more intense given that we’ve been following a number of these characters for almost a decade. After a few small skirmishes, the Leipzig airport becomes the battleground for Team Cap v. Team Iron Man.
Just about everyone mixes it up in the splash page showdown, with each side suffering a few defeats. Falcon, as one of two flyers on Team Cap, spends a lot of time bobbing and weaving to avoid Iron Man and War Machine’s projectiles. He gets away from Tony at one point thanks to the amazing Hawkeye/Ant-Man team-up. Once Cap and Bucky start to make their escape, however, it’s up to him to stop the two Armored Avengers. Unfortunately, Falcon’s a little too good at evasive maneuvers, avoiding Vision’s blast which hits Rhodey instead.
10. The Captain (Iron Man #228 & Captain America #341, 1988)
Tony and Steve are no strangers to fighting each other. Despite what you may think, though, Cap usually winds up victorious in their various brawls. Even when he “technically” loses, it’s only because he concedes and takes the high ground. This occurred in both the comic and film versions of Civil War, where Cap was the moral and physical victor, only to surrender and walk away, respectively.
A couple decades before that, Iron Man did manage a pair of victories against the Sentinel of Liberty. During the “Armor Wars” saga of the late ‘80s, Tony was on a tear to get all of his tech back from the government and the various characters they’d lent it out to. This saw him square off against Steve (then fashioning himself as The Captain), who was vowing to protect the American assets. In both Iron Man #228 and Captain America #341, this went badly for him, as Iron Man was able to take out Steve during each encounter. All he did it all while rocking the nicest mullet this side of Hall & Oates.
9. The Guardsmen and Mandroids (Iron Man #228, 1988)
Iron Man #228 sees Tony getting very busy against the forces of good. Before he took down The Captain for the first time, he took the fight to the Mandroids, who were being commanded by Nick Fury. Little did Nick know that he was seeking advice from Tony Stark during the battle, as he used Fury’s ear to position the Mandroids where he wanted them so his alter ego Iron Man could take them out with some negator packs.
After raining repulsor fire down on the golden goons, the excellently titled story “Who Guards the Guardsmen?” begins and brings Cap into the action. Once again, Tony takes on a legion of armored foes that he’s easily able to defeat with his energy blasts and negator tech. That’s when Steve steps in, trying to protect the Guardsmen (and their armor) from Tony. Cap proves too trusting, however, and is knocked out by Iron Man when he turns his back. Nobody lays an arm on Stark’s armor.
8. Psylocke (Contest of Champions II #1, 1999)
Chris Claremont’s follow up to the original Contest of Champions saw the heroes of Earth tricked into battling each other. Admittedly, the ruse was a pretty weak one, as a group of seemingly peaceful aliens invited the heroes to test their skills in a friendly contest in exchange for new technology that could benefit the Earth. Even Avengers can be suckers, apparently. In reality, this was all a plan by the Brood to drain the powers of Earth’s greatest champions and pump them into Rogue, who was carrying the Brood Queen’s consciousness.
To help them be more affable, the Brood injected the heroes with mind-controlling nanites. Only Iron Man was spared the brainwash, thanks to his suit’s tech. It didn’t matter much, though, as he still had to face off against Psylocke for the Contest’s first bout. Luckily, Iron Man had built psychic dampeners into his suit, but that didn’t stop Betsy from casting an illusion to make it seem as if she was once again the villainous Lady Mandarin. Though she momentarily got the upper hand on Tony, he triumphed after just a few pages, beginning his quest to save the rest of the heroes from the Brood.
7. Sentry (Siege #4, 2010)
Iron Man’s fight against Sentry from Siege #4 is one of those aforementioned superhero fights where one side is being controlled by something nefarious. In this case, Robert Reynolds was under the sway of the Void, the dark counterpoint to Sentry. Though the Void is a separate entity of purely negative energy, it often manifests inside Sentry’s body. During the events of Siege, Void served Norman Osborn as part of his Dark Avengers, reigning destruction down on the Earth and Asgard (at the time hovering over Broxton, Oklahoma).
During the end of the battle, with the Avengers and Thor unable to best Sentry, Osborn orders him to finish the fight. He does so by destroying Asgard and further enraging Thor. While the Odinson eventually destroys Sentry with a blow from Mjolnir, it’s only after Iron Man steps in to weaken him. Stark decides to take control of one of Osborn’s H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarriers and use it as the world’s biggest projectile, tossing it directly at Sentry and bringing him to his knees. Though it’s a team-up victory, Tony still deserves credit for the awesome takedown.
6. The Winter Soldier (Civil War, 2016)
Like with Falcon, Tony isn’t able to get the upper hand on the Winter Soldier until he’s sufficiently filled with rage about a personal loss. Though he changes his tune on Bucky once he learns of Zemo’s machinations, that all goes out the window when Tony learns that the Winter Soldier was responsible for his parent’s death. What follows is one of the MCU’s greatest brawls, as Captain America attempts to stop Iron Man from killing Bucky. The fight leaves all parties pretty beat up, but Cap and Bucky look to have the upper hand during the tail-end of the confrontation.
Tossing Cap’s shield back and forth, the two manage to weaken and enrage Tony, which leads to the incredible sequence of Bucky pinning Iron Man to the wall as the music swells. He then rips out Tony’s mechanical heart, but suffers a chest repulsor blast for his efforts. Despite the tease earlier in the film that Bucky’s arm contains vibranium, Iron Man’s blast is able to blow off the Winter Soldier’s cybernetic arm completely. As Bucky gazes at it in horror, Tony delivers the final blast that knocks the Winter Soldier down before he sets his sights on Steve.
5. Spider-Man (Iron Man #14, 2007)
Iron Man and Spider-Man have fought almost as much as they’ve teamed up, with Civil War being one of the multiple times they did both. While Peter and Tony’s connection during the 2005 run of New Avengers initially saw Spidey joining Team Iron Man in the conflict (which famously featured Pete unmasking on live television), the Wall Crawler changes his tune once he learns about Tony’s secret prison in the Negative Zone. The moral implications of imprisoning heroes who disagree with the Superhero Registration Act causes Peter to switch sides, which leads to a battle between the two armored heroes (Spidey was rocking his Iron Spider suit at the time) after Tony alludes to threatening Mary Jane and Aunt May. Spider-Man ends up victorious in the first round, but things don’t go well for him at all when the two heroes next clash.
Over on Iron Man, Captain America leads Spidey, Luke Cage, Ultragirl, and a number of other Secret Avengers in a match against Iron Man at Yankee Stadium. Though the combined heroes rain pain down on Tony, Iron Man is able to brutally beat Spider-Man, leaving him completely defeated for the second time during Civil War. While the movie version of Civil War only saw the two team up, perhaps Spider-Man: Homecoming will feature an homage to the classic fight.
4. War Machine and Spyder-Man (Armor Wars #1 & #4, 2015)
In one of the most clever Secret Wars spinoffs, Marvel took the “Armor Wars” arc from the ‘80s and used it as inspiration for a world in which everyone had to wear Stark-designed suits to stay alive. The two best results were an armored Kingpin and Spyder-Man, one Peter Urich who wore a spider-themed Iron Man suit with technorganic webbing and all. Sadly, Peter wasn’t long for this world as he was brutally murdered in the first issue by an unknown assailant.
The mystery continues for a few more issues, with Rhodey serving as a Thor/War Machine hybrid who oversees justice in the land. We eventually learn that Tony killed Peter because the young reporter had discovered the secret behind the virus that forced everyone into mobile iron lungs. Turns out, Tony and his sibling/rival Arno have been in cahoots, and were continuing their father Howard’s legacy, as he was responsible for the virus. Just like he did with Peter, Tony kills War Machine with a repulsor blast right to the chest. Ice cold, Iron Man.
3. Hulk (Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015)
Though Hulk sat out Captain America: Civil War, he was able to get in on the superhero fighting action during his two Avengers appearances. His fights against Black Widow and Thor in the first film are a bit of a draw, but his epic battle with Iron Man in Age of Ultron had a clear victor. Thanks to the versatility of Tony’s suits, and some help from Bruce Banner himself, Iron Man was able to take on the Hulk when Scarlet Witch sent him rampaging across South Africa. Calling down “Veronica” from the sky, Tony hopped inside his legendary Hulkbuster armor, making its live-action debut.
The suit proved to be everything we could have hoped for, as it went blow for blow with Hulk. Hulk doesn’t prove an easy opponent, as Tony whips him with an elevator, ingeniously traps his fist and pummels his face repeatedly, and watches as the Hulk rips off his arm. Luckily, Tony has plenty of spare parts and money, the latter of which he uses to buy a building under construction and collapse the whole thing on top of Hulk. After that, it just takes one final punch to knock the Other Guy out and revert him back to Bruce. Funny how the destructive incident didn’t land a spot on Thunderbolt Ross’ list of Avengers blunders in Civil War.
2. Yellowjacket, Gilgamesh, Marilla, and Tony Stark (Avengers: the Crossing #1, 1995)
The death of the second Yellowjacket, Rita DeMara, is just a small piece of the insanity that is Avengers: the Crossing. After hopping around through time and various alternate Earths, Rita shows up on Earth-616 and rings the doorbell of the Avengers Mansion. Tony answers it and immediately kills Yellowjacket! It’s pretty messed up, and only gets worse as the event sees Tony kill Avenger Gilgamesh and Inhuman nanny Marilla, and reveals that he has been under the influence of Kang the Conqueror for most of his career. The next few issues, including some of Iron Man, follow around a Tony we know has murdered multiple people.
From there, the writers and Avengers decide the best way to solve the problem is to bring a 19 year old version of Tony from the past into the present in order to defeat Iron Man. While this makes virtually no sense, it somehow still works and crazy adult Tony is killed after walking into an energy blast. After that, teen Tony takes over Stark’s company and role as Iron Man, until he dies and Franklin Richards brings back OG Tony in Heroes Reborn. The whole Kang business was later retconned to make it Immortus’ doing and claimed it was just a few months, not years of Tony’s life that he was under the influence. While we’d rather forget this whole incident, it does feature Tony’s biggest heroic body count.
1. Daredevil (Superior Iron Man #2 & #4, 2015)
Daredevil is a highly capable superhero, but he’s not much good against Iron Man. He’s even more outmatched by Superior Iron Man, the slightly sociopathic version of Tony Stark created thanks to Red Onslaught’s inversion wave in Axis. While most of the heroes and villains return to their previous alignment after the event, a number of them remain swapped. This sees Sabretooth become heroic, and Iron Man start using his smarts for even more personal gain. He’s not evil exactly, but he’s certainly not above getting all of San Francisco addicted to his new gene-rewriting Extremis app.
Daredevil, who recently relocated to the city after being barred from practicing law in New York, doesn’t take too kindly to this. When he first confronts Tony at his new island mansion, the Armored Avenger tosses Matt Murdock into the ocean. When they actually fight later on, Tony once again comes out on top.
Two issues later, Tony uses his suit to save Daredevil after Teen Abomination knocks him off a building. But before you start thinking he was being altruistic, he then traps Matt in the armor and wipes his memory of everything nefarious he’d discovered about Tony. We’ll likely never see this play out in the MCU, but we can dream.
Doctor Strange (Invincible Iron Man #3, 2015)
We couldn’t end this list without mentioning Iron Man’s greatest victory of all: getting Doctor Strange to give him an “Awesome facial hair bros” high five. Sure, it may not be a knock-down, drag-out fight, but just look at Strange’s face. He sure looks defeated to us.
Which Iron Man victory is your favorite? Any triumphs against other heroes you wish we’d included? Let us know in the comments.