Tony Stark is a tough guy to love. Even though he’s saved the world countless times, the billionaire playboy still has an ego the size of The Incredible Hulk and, before he left his partying days behind him, he was known to frequently fly off the handle.
Even his best friend Rhodey got a beating when Stark was stuck in the deep end in Iron Man 2.
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, Stark’s committal to the divisive Sokovia Accords left him with very few reliable friends.
He’s even made enemies with heroes whom he used to work alongside, and we won’t see him reconcile with Steve Rogers until they reunite next year for Avengers 4.
Even when the fate of the universe (or, at least, half of it) is at stake, Tony Stark can’t help but ruffle some feathers.
He immediately harbored a dislike for the equally arrogant Doctor Strange, and let’s just say his relationship to the Guardians of the Galaxy needs a little work.
Outside of the MCU, Stark’s attitude is just as abrasive, but he has managed to make some friends worth keeping when he’s not busy working on his latest armor.
Here’s our rundown of the 11 Heroes Tony Stark Is Close To (And 13 He Can’t Stand).
24 Close To: Nick Fury
Nick Fury is the man who started it all, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Though Fury and Stark had a minor disagreement in Iron Man 2, Stark eventually stopped sitting around eating donuts and decided to sign up to Fury’s Avengers Initiative and start doing some good.
Now, Fury has been in hiding for some time, but the two seemed to be on good terms during their brief reunion in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Fury is on the long list of allies who disappeared with a snap of the Infinity Gauntlet, and Stark will no doubt be seeking revenge for the man who convinced him to polish his helmet and start saving lives.
23 Can’t Stand: Ant-Man
Stark and Scott Lang have never formally met, as the first time they were introduced Ant-Man was posing as Stark’s conscience, attempting to disassemble his suit from the inside.
Following this, Lang grew to over 60 feet high and started tossing Stark’s best friend Rhodey around.
Oh, and he’s an ex-criminal who, until recently, had been under house arrest.
It’s safe to say they’re not on the best terms.
They’ll have to put their violent history behind them, though, as the sequel to Infinity War will see Scott Lang finally joining the Avengers to take revenge on Thanos.
22 Close To: Professor X
It may be some time until we see these two characters share the big screen, if at all, but, despite residing in separate movie universes, Tony Stark and Charles Xavier have a rather interesting history between the pages of the comics.
In Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers (2005) run, it was revealed that special representatives of the Marvel Universe had formed a secret coalition aptly named the Illuminati.
This included Tony Stark, representing the Avengers, and Charles Xavier, leader of the X-Men.
The council of heroes work behind the scenes to determine the fate of the planet.
21 Can’t Stand: Scarlet Witch
Wanda Maximoff never intended to be a menace, but her unruly powers have been a burden on Tony Stark ever since she snuck her way into his brain and gave him a horrifying vision of a potential dark future.
He’s been known in the past to call her a “little witch.”
Since then, Scarlet Witch has sent the Hulk into an enraged frenzy, forcing Stark to take down his close friend Bruce Banner with the Hulkbuster.
Her mistakes were also paramount for the creation of the Sokovia Accords, causing a huge rift between Tony and several fellow Avengers.
20 Close To: Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic is yet another member of the Illuminati from the comics, and now that Disney has finalized their control of the Fox-owned Marvel properties, we could see Tony Stark share the screen with the mastermind leader of the Fantastic Four.
As Infinity War has shown, Stark has no time for idiots, and in Reed Richards, he finally found an intellectual match.
Though Richards has admitted that, in the field of engineering Stark leaves him far behind, he’s still the smartest man alive.
They get together every now and then for stimulating conversations and, of course, to play multiple games of chess at the same time (Invincible Iron Man #4).
19 Can’t Stand: Wolverine
It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see what Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark makes of Hugh Jackman’s iconic Wolverine.
However, there’s no doubt that there’d be a little bit of friction between the key member of the Avengers and one of the Marvel Universe’s biggest loners.
On the rare occasion Wolverine has joined forces with the Avengers, he’s usually done so with a bribing of beer (Avengers Vol. 5 #2).
They’ve also had a number of skirmishes in the past, with Wolverine’s healing factor proving a surprisingly tricky adversary for Iron Man’s pulsar beams.
18 Close To: Bruce Banner
The last time Tony and Bruce worked on a science project together, it didn’t go so well. In fact, it almost ended in worldwide destruction.
However, they can’t deny they had fun doing it.
Surrounded by spies, soldiers, and gods, the MCU's Tony Stark doesn’t have much familiar ground with most of his Avengers team mates.
With Bruce, he’s finally found an intellectual match, and someone he can talk to at an equal scientific level.
The end result might be life-threatening, but at least it keeps Stark from shutting himself away.
17 Can’t Stand: The Hulk
Unfortunately, being friends with Bruce Banner has a dangerous side effect, one that has been known to produce dangerous results in the past.
His alter-ego, the Hulk, is one of the MCU’s strongest and most unpredictable heroes.
Although the green giant is usually under control, he’s been manipulated to cause insurmountable destruction by both Loki and Scarlet Witch in the past, forcing Stark to shut him down on the latter occasion.
Bruce Banner is a valuable asset to the team, but Stark really doesn’t like him when he’s angry.
16 Close To: Black Panther
Their relationship in the MCU hasn’t really been explored beyond their alliance in Captain America: Civil War, but they still share a powerful connection.
Believing that Steve Rogers’ old partner turned HYDRA assassin took down both Stark’s parents and T’Challa’s father, they combine forces to seek revenge, and oppose Rogers’ team of rebels.
In the comics, Black Panther represents Wakanda for the mysterious Illuminati organization, and the two have bonded over their love for technological advancements, becoming fast and loyal friends.
With Tony Stark’s post-Avengers 4 fate unclear, it’s not yet known whether their MCU counterparts will have the same chance to make friends.
15 Can’t Stand: Hawkeye
Conspicuously absent from Avengers: Infinity War, Tony Stark and Hawkeye haven’t had a chance to make up since the events of Civil War tore the Avengers apart.
Fighting on Cap’s side for superhero rights, Clint Barton tried to take down a number of Stark’s allies and gave Ant-Man an arrow ride directly into his suit.
Now that half of the population of the universe has been wiped out, we’re sure that Stark and Barton can forget their differences soon.
In comic book history, Stark likely holds a little bit of resentment towards Hawkeye, as he started off as an adversary to Iron Man (Tales of Suspense #57).
14 Close To: Black Widow
She may have double crossed him to run off with Steve Rogers at the end of Civil War, but Stark has known Black Widow longer than any other Avenger.
She helped him out with a scrap in Iron Man 2, and Stark initially underestimated Natasha Romanoff's many talents.
However, he soon realized that she could easily kick his butt if given half the chance.
In the comics, her role as a double agent is more apparent, as she becomes intimately involved with Stark, only to double cross him, on a number of occasions.
From her first appearance in Tales of Suspense #52, Stark and Romanoff have always had a Batman/Catwoman relationship.
13 Can’t Stand: Thor
Stark’s bickering relationship with the God of Thunder is based more on harmless banter than a true hatred, but there’s always going to be some tension when two of the biggest egos in the universe join forces.
Stark always appreciates Thor’s helping hand, but constantly knocks the Asgardian down a peg with movie references like Point Break and Reindeer Games that go right over the Norse god’s head.
It also doesn’t help things that Thor’s adoptive brother, Loki, has threatened Stark's life on more than a few occasions.
Since then, he’s learned to always be a little wary around Asgardians.
12 Close To: Vision
Tony Stark’s close relationship to the Soul Stone-powered synthetic android, Vision, should come as no surprise.
Before Paul Bettany painted his face red and donned the grey leotard, he was living inside Stark’s house as the AI known as JARVIS.
Although his intelligence was only artificial, he knew Tony better than practically anyone, spending long hours with him and assisting his late night strokes of genius in the workshop.
He’s since moved on to another AI, FRIDAY, but no one can truly replace the original and best software/butler, JARVIS.
11 Can’t Stand: Deadpool
You’d be hard-pressed to find any Marvel hero who enjoys the eternally irritating company of the Merc with the Mouth himself, Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool.
As a superhero fanboy at heart, comic book Deadpool is frequently trying to find a team that will have him fight by their side, but both the X-Men and the Avengers have deemed him too unpredictable (and annoying) to trust.
Recently, Ryan Reynolds revealed a personal letter from Stark himself, regarding his application to join Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Stark's answer of “absolutely not” sounds pretty definite, but we’re sure Deadpool will find another way to bother him very soon.
10 Close To: Wasp
As things stand in the MCU, Tony Stark is engaged to his personal assistant turned romantic partner, Pepper Potts.
However, an upcoming Marvel comic run will take a different turn, pairing Stark with Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp (Tony Stark: Iron Man #4).
It makes a lot of sense, given that, in the original run of the Avengers, Wasp was a founding member of the team, along with Iron Man.
Sadly, we’ll probably never see Robert Downey Jr. pair up with Michelle Pfeiffer, but, in another universe, they would have made for an iconic couple.
9 Can’t Stand: Falcon
This could be the most unfair entry on the list, as Sam Wilson has yet to do anything that has directly hurt Tony Stark, and they even share a near-equal hatred of Steve Rogers’ best friend, Bucky.
However, Wilson’s close friendship with Rogers meant that they were pit against each other during the infamous airport battle following the Avengers’ disagreement over the Sokovia Accords.
Reasonably or not, Stark blames Wilson for crippling his own best friend, James Rhodes, by dodging one of Vision’s laser attack.
Last time they saw each other, Stark sent Wilson sprawling with a direct hit from a pulsar beam. It might take him a while to get over that.
8 Close To: Pepper Potts
She may not have biomechanical armor or a spectacular array of superpowers, but Pepper Potts is absolutely a hero in her own right.
Practically running Stark Industries while Tony made toys in his basement, she’s now officially taken over as CEO, and has recently become the love of his life.
Not only that, but Potts has also saved Stark’s life multiple times, including dragging him out of his house in the MK 42 following an attack from the Mandarin and narrowly avoiding her own demise during his battle with Aldrich Killian, saving his life again in the process.
Tony Stark couldn’t be Iron Man without Pepper Potts.
7 Can’t Stand: Doctor Strange
There’s definitely been a recurring theme of clashing egos throughout this list.
Though Stark’s comic book counterpart seems perfectly happy matching wits with the equally arrogant Reed Richards, when it became Stark’s time to stand up against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, there couldn’t have been a worse hero to partner him up with than Doctor Strange.
Locked in a spaceship hurtling through space miles away from Earth, let’s just say things got a little heated between Earth’s metal defender and the Sorcerer Supreme.
Strange giving up his Time Stone was the final straw, though maybe that was all part of the plan…
6 Close To: War Machine
Stark’s friendship with James "Rhodey" Rhodes is so strong that it even survived when Rhodes nearly perished in Captain America: Civil War.
Although they had a brief, but violent disagreement in Iron Man 2, Stark quickly admitted that he was going off the rails and the pair have fought side by side ever since.
The two iron heroes agree on nearly everything, even politics, with Rhodey staunchly taking Stark’s side when it came to signing the Sokovia Accords.
They have deep respect and loyalty to each other. Just don’t give Stark a chance to make fun of Rhodey’s red, white, and blue Iron Patriot outfit.
5 Can’t Stand: Drax
Stark refereed to Drax as "Mr Clean" in Avengers: Infinity War and took an immediate dislike to Drax once the warrior started yawning heavily while Stark was laying down his plan to stop Thanos.
Drax has never been one to follow direct orders, and the only real reason why he didn’t mind teaming up with Stark was because he was already seeking revenge on the Mad Titan for the desecration of his home planet.
Imagining Drax attempting to join the Avengers after all of this mess with the Infinity Stones would be a nightmare that we don’t want to contemplate.
The look of existential dread on Stark’s face when he realized who he was being forced to work with is one we’ll never forget.
4 Can’t Stand: Star-Lord
Tony Stark’s not the biggest fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy in general.
Though he can just about tolerate Mantis (after she proved herself pretty useful in the fight against Thanos), no one makes his blood boil quite as hot as Peter Quill.
Already a roguish, arrogant pain in the thrusters when they first met, Quill made things a lot worse for himself by smacking Thanos, ineffectively, on the nose after discovering the fate of Gamora.
Ironically, Stark has joined forces with the Guardians multiple times in the comics.
However, the MCU's Iron Man probably has a long way to go before this happens.
3 Close To: Spider-Man
Rhodey may be Stark’s closest friend, but there’s something a little more parental about his relationship with Peter Parker.
If there’s anyone who he’s mourning the loss of the most after Infinity War, it’s his surrogate son and heroic ward, Spider-Man.
That is, unless of course he finds out that Pepper Potts has also fallen victim to the snap.
Stepping in to mentor Spidey following his Uncle Ben's passing, Stark teaches Parker all of the things he wished he knew when he first became a hero, namely the enormous amount of responsibility that comes with gaining such great power.
2 Can’t Stand: Captain America
They’ve been at each other’s throats since the beginning.
Maybe because Stark always saw himself as the firstand most important Avenger until the boy scout from WWII thawed off, but their working relationship has only rarely seen them getting along amicably.
Things took a turn for the worst when Steve Rogers refused to cooperate with the Sokovia Accords, as well as when Rogers decided to protect the man who took the lives of Stark’s parents.
The last time they were in a room together, Iron Man realized just how much of a match Captain America really is in battle, as Cap came close to wiping Stark out with a swing of his shield.
1 Can’t Stand: Bucky
Bucky is probably the unluckiest hero in the entire MCU. After falling from a train into a deep canyon, he was resurrected by HYDRA.
They proceeded to replace his severed arm with a powerful, metal prosthetic, and brainwashed him into becoming an incredibly dangerous and super-efficient assassin.
Known as the Winter Soldier, nothing he ever did for HYDRA was under his control, but Stark can’t help but seethe with rage at the very sight of him.
After all, it was the brainwashed Winter Soldier who caused a particularly accident involving Stark's parents in 1991.
Stark knows this but he can’t help but feel a deep twinge of resentment for the person responsible for his parent's passing.
Can you think of any other heroes is close with or can't stand? Let us know in the comments!
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