Iron Man is one of the most intelligent and high-powered superheroes in the Marvel Universe due to the ever adapting Iron Man suit. Though not always well liked amongst his peers or the world due to his prickly personality and somewhat lax ethical views in the pursuit of knowledge, no one can deny his genius.
Tony applies that genius by continuing to alter his Iron Man suits and adapt them to combat the abilities of others in the event that he may fight them. Due to Tony’s involvement in different teams and world events, it is unsurprising that he has fought against his fellow teammates and friends. These superheroes who have fought Tony, whether it was due to a moral debate or simply not liking him at the time, were able to outmaneuver and outsmart one of the geniuses in the Marvel Universe. Collected below are 15 Times Iron Man Was Defeated By Other Superheroes.
15. Captain Marvel
Civil War II began as another moral quandary, one that came in the form of an Inhuman with the supposed ability to tell the future. Once again Tony found himself involved in a moral debate, this time against longtime friend and former teammate Captain Marvel. In this Civil War, Tony made a lot of sense as he argued for the rights of people and felt that they should not be punished for crimes they’d only thought about committing, whereas Carol felt that she was protecting the world by imprisoning potential criminals.
Miles Morales winds up being the catalyst that causes Captain Marvel and Iron Man to clash. As Iron Man protects Miles Morales (Spider-Man) from being hurt, Captain Marvel and Iron Man finally have their epic fight on the Capitol steps. Captain Marvel strikes Iron Man with an electric punch that knocks him down and continues to pummel him. Iron Man gives as good as he gets and launches missiles and his repulsor beams at Captain Marvel and almost succeeds in being the victor in the Civil War.
However, Captain Marvel is filled with righteous rage. She ultimately defeats Iron Man by repeatedly punching and kicking him mid-air and removing his mask from his face. The final nail in Tony’s coffin happens when she hits him in the chest with her energy blast. Tony’s armor disintegrates, and he falls from the air to steps of the Capitol, presumably dead.
14. Scarlet Witch
Though Tony is a certifiable genius and has made many modifications and upgrades to his armor over the years to account for the various superheroes and villains who have attacked him, he has yet to develop armor impenetrable to magic. Despite the continual tinkering he has done to his suit, he is no match for the Scarlet Witch.
In What If: Avengers Disassembled, the remainder of the Avengers fly to Genosha to stop the Scarlet Witch and Captain America from continuing their plan to destroy the world. Scarlet Witch ends the fight before it even gets started by removing Iron Man’s armor and then using her magic to dangle him from the sky.
The Scarlet Witch, as Famine, also defeats Iron Man again in the Avengers, Issue #3, when she blasts him with her chaos magic and strips him of his armor again. Tony falls out of the sky mid-air and has to be saved by Spider-Man. Even when he has his armor back on once on the ground again, her magic still causes it to misbehave, rendering Tony useless for the remainder of the battle.
In the Original Sin: Hulk vs. Iron Man, Bruce Banner looks into the eye of Uatu. He and Tony see the memory of Bruce being exposed to the gamma radiation and becoming the Hulk. Tony is shown to be sabotaging the gamma bomb, and Bruce realizes that Tony not only played a part in him becoming the Hulk, but was the person actually responsible for him becoming the mean green machine.
Angered by this new knowledge, Bruce uses a modified version of Extremis so he can become the Hulk and retain his intelligence. He attacks Tony, forcing him to engage in a fight, even though Tony has no memory of actually sabotaging the gamma radiation. The Hulk gets the upper hand and destroys Tony’s Hulk-proof armor, the HulkBuster, with one swift punch. The only way Iron Man survives this fight is to run away from the Hulk to attain new armor.
12. Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde is well known for her genius with computer technology and her ability to phase through organic objects and technology alike. During the battle between the Avengers and the X-Men, Kitty stayed behind at the Institute to care for the student body who remained there. Iron Man arrived at the Institute in an attempt to find Hope and attacked the students. Kitty phases through Iron Man, which disrupts his functioning for a moment, despite countermeasures he had taken to prevent this from happening.
A+ X is a quirky comic book that pairs Kitty and Tony together to fight a villain, which in this case is the Brood. Tony is attempting to woo her into working for him and gives her a tour of the facility when Kitty sneezes out a Brood, which have her same powers. Kitty leads them to the room where Tony’s armor is located and proceeds to phase through all of them, short-circuiting all the suits at once, leaving Tony without anything armor.
Though Thor and Tony had been teammates and friends for years, after the events of Civil War Thor is less than pleased with Tony. Highly offended that Tony had used his genetic makeup to make a clone of him and then used it to lie to the world and say that Thor sided with him, Thor lands Asgard on top of the White House to make a statement.
Thor asks Iron Man how he defines friendship and then brings down an electric storm of rage, hitting Iron Man with it. Tony, being cocky, attempts to blast Thor with his repulsor beams, but Thor just stands there angry and stoic, before giving Iron Man the most epic post-Civil War beatdown that he sorely needed. Thor strikes Iron Man from the sky and then continues to strike him with lightning. He completely fries the Iron Man suit, leaving Tony defenseless.
However, Thor is not done yet, and grips Tony by the throat and rips off his mask. Thor reminds Tony that he is a God and that Tony is nothing more than a mortal in an iron suit pretending to be a god. Needless to say, this Iron Man defeat was one of the most satisfying and humbling post-Civil War scenes. Is it too much to hope for a similar scene in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarock?
In Contest of Champions II, heroes from all over are invited to the home of a seemingly peaceful race of aliens to compete in contests to obtain advanced technology. Of course, this is a sinister ruse to take the powers of the superheroes and make them Brood hosts. All the heroes, except for Iron Man, are drugged with nanites which alter their personalities and make them indifferent to the people around them. P
sylocke and Iron Man are pitted against each other in a gladiator-style contest. In their initial fight, Psylocke uses her powers and portrays herself to be Lady Mandarin, but Tony’s suit detects her, and he defeats her. Tony’s luck runs out when he is wandering through the forest, and an insane Psylocke finds him in the woods and attacks him.
She rushes Tony with a bone shank, but Tony counters her attack and restrains her while he attempts to figure out why everyone is acting the way they are. Still being affected by the nanites, Psylocke strikes him with her powers repeatedly and manages to overwhelm and knock Iron Man out before he even has a chance to respond.
Cyclops and Iron Man find themselves at odds in the Avengers vs. X-Men conflict over the fate of Hope Summers, who is to be the recipient of the Phoenix Force.
The Avengers are understandably concerned that someone filled with an incredibly dangerous force needs to be stopped before they destroy the world. The X-Men, however, decide that they need to keep Hope alive and allow her to be infected with the Phoenix Force in order to help the mutant race and make the world a better place. The X-Men’s plan goes awry and five of the X-Men, including Cyclops, become infected with the Phoenix Force, leading to many fights against the Avengers.
In particular, in issue 10, Cyclops finds Iron Man in his building and is intent on ending the fight then and there. Iron Man rushes Cyclops with everything he has left, but Cyclops uses his optic blast and the power of the Phoenix Force to blast him from the sky. Iron Man lands in a broken heap on the ground, while Cyclops more or less just stands over him vowing to find Hope and finish their plan.
Avengers: X-Sanction is a tie-in to the Avengers vs. X-Men battle, which features Cable coming back to earth and fighting with the Avengers over Hope. Cable reveals that he adopted Hope as his daughter and that he came back to protect her.
Cable confronts Tony during this time and tells Tony to stand down and that he is there to protect his daughter. Tony, of course, doesn’t listen and the two begin to fight. Cable, who is infected with the techno-virus which is slowly killing him, is wearing an Iron Man chest plate. He uses the beam from the chest plate and hits Tony with it. Cable snidely tells him that he is using Stark technology that Tony hasn’t invented yet and uses it to blast Tony through a wall, which leads to an underwater battle where Tony believes that he has won.
As he is dragging Cable from the ocean and into the sky, Cable corrupts Tony’s suit and then punches him out of the air, which allows Cable to capture him and accidentally deliver him to Red Hulk. As far as battles and defeats go, it was fun to see Cable use Tony’s tricks against him for the noble cause of saving his daughter.
Rogue’s mutant ability to absorb other people’s power makes her a wildcard when it comes to fighting as her abilities are never the same. In X-Men Legacy #267 she absorbs the powers of She-Hulk when Iron Man attacks the school in his efforts to find Hope and the Phoenix Force.
Iron Man references their first fight that they had and reminds her that she did not win. Rogue retorts that the fight they had was a long time ago and continues to rally the students to fight with her to protect the school. After the students, Gambit, and Kitty have all fought Iron Man, Rogue attacks him from behind and drags him to the ground. As Remy attacks Iron Man, Iron Man returns fire and nearly kills him.
Angered, Rogue taps into She-Hulk’s power and punches through Iron Man’s suit, which should have knocked him out. When that doesn’t work, she continues to smash Iron Man until he’s nothing more than an electronic heap on the ground.
6. Black Widow
Black Widow and Iron Man first met when the Black Widow was sent on a mission to assassinate Tony Stark and Anton Vanko. Though Iron Man survived her attack the first time, this also led to many different encounters. Eventually, Natasha and Iron Man became teammates and friends, to the point that Natasha sided with him during the events of Civil War, going as far as helping Tony with various tasks with the Civil War Administration.
However, a spy at heart, the Black Widow is known for switching sides when it suits her needs, and in her stand alone series, Black Widow, issue #6, she has a conversation on a payphone and allows Tony to track her. Tony finds her, beaten and bruised, and decides that, based on their friendship and her current state, that he’s going to help her and brings her to a Stark Industry office. Black Widow then uses a spider bite or taser, it’s unclear as to which, and knocks Tony out. She uses this to gain access to Stark Industry information to help her with her mission.
5. The Winter Soldier
Like the Black Widow, the Winter Soldier is another superhero who comes from a seedier and bloodier background than is typically found with traditional superheroes. Through his friendship, Cap was able to ultimately help the Winter Soldier remember who he was before his reprogramming: Bucky Barnes.
Though he was not an active participant in the Civil War conflict, Natasha predicts that the Winter Soldier will make an appearance after Steve’s public assassination. Sure enough, in Captain America #33, The Winter Soldier comes after Iron Man as he blames Tony for Steve’s death. In an epic tussle that involved Iron Man using his suit to combat the Winter Soldier’s electromagnetic pulse, the fight quickly devolved to Iron Man being on the defensive and simply trying to gain the upper hand.
However, The Winter Soldier shoves Tony into wires which sends his suit into power failure. Using this to his advantage, the Winter Soldier then puts Tony in a headlock and rips off his mask. Tony attempts to escape but is unable to do so. The Winter Soldier knows he has Tony where he wants him and points a gun at his face and is seconds away from pulling the trigger. Tony accepts defeat but uses Steve’s letter as leverage to save his life, ultimately leading to the Winter Soldier to become the new Captain America.
Spider-Man What If: Back in Black retells the events of Spider-Man #544 where a sniper hired by Fisk shoots through Aunt May’s apartment and strikes her. In What If, Mary Jane is the one who was shot and killed instantly.
Consumed by anger and grief, Peter finds the sniper and kills him. Peter immediately tells Aunt May what he has done and then dons the black suit and embarks on a personal vendetta against Wilson Fisk. Iron Man and the Avengers attempt to help Peter, but Peter engages in a fight with Iron Man.
Iron Man tries to reason with Peter, but he is too focused on his hurt and anger to listen to Tony. In their fight, Peter shoves Iron Man’s hand over his heart as he is about to use his repulsor ray, causing Tony to strike himself with his weapon. Peter then pulls Tony’s armor off with his webs, leaving Tony helpless to stop Peter from going after Fisk and killing other people.
Tony and Carol Danvers embark on a journey to recreate the Avengers team in The Mighty Avengers. Tony wants Thor to be a part of their team, but he refuses to be involved in the affairs of mortals. Carol tells Tony that she knows a guy who happens to be Ares, the God of War, who is currently working as a construction worker. Ares jumps at the chance to be a part of the Avengers.
In The Mighty Avengers #4, Ultron declares war on earth and the Iron Man suits gain sentience after Tony is taken over by Ultron. The Iron Man suits attack The Mighty Avengers and nearly overwhelm them until Ares comes to the rescue with an enormous machine gun and sword.
Ares takes out most of the Iron Man armor with bullets and a sword to the head. He then uses bits of the Iron Man armor as weapons against the other suits and proceeds to ride one of the suits like a horse as he stabs it with a sword. Though this was not Tony, the suits were an extension of Tony and his abilities, which would indicate that in a battle against Ares, Tony would have some difficulties defeating the God of War.
2. Black Panther
Though Tony has prepared for most attacks against his armor, especially the type of attacks that would render his armor useless and detect when people were about to attack him in stealth mode, he was still unprepared for Black Panther. Tony is a genius and has access to better technology than T’Challa, but T’Challa’s genius and martial arts prowess allow him to be several steps ahead of Tony when it comes to battle.
In Black Panther #45, T’Challa negates Iron Man’s Stealth armor by spraying him with a bottle of Mr. Clean (which has ammonia in it) and then tracks Tony by scent. Black Panther then stops Tony’s heart for several moments by using the Ultron virus, technically killing Iron Man in that instance.
T’Challa’s defeat of Iron Man at this time is both amazing and amusing, as he thinks outside of the box to beat Iron Man’s defenses, despite Tony’s attempts to perfect his armor against Black Panther.
1. Pepper Potts
In Superior Iron Man, Superior Iron Man flies over San Francisco and delivers a mobile device that gives users access to Extremis 3.0, which allows them to change their bodies howecer they wanted. Tony is an evil version of himself at the time, and refuses to listen to Pepper and an “Inferior” Iron Man; an earlier version of himself who no longer has a body and has taken residence in an earlier version of the suit.
Everything finally comes to a head in issue #9, where Superior Iron Man faces “Inferior” Iron Man and Pepper, who is wearing armor made by the “Inferior” Iron Man. After a lengthy battle, Pepper stops Tony and tells him that he needs to stop. Superior Iron Man is more offended that ”Inferior” Iron Man made Pepper a new suit, and becomes possessive of his suit-making abilities. Superior Iron Man becomes angry and starts to beat up Inferior Iron Man.
Pepper, being the badass that she is, uses this distraction to use her electromagnetic pulse to make Superior Iron Man’s armor melt off of him, catching him before he falls to the earth and restraining him before he causes any more problems in their universe.
Did we miss any Iron Man defeats at the hands of other superheroes? Let us know in the comments!