Iron Man’s armor is a technological miracle. It flies, affords its user super-strength, carries an array of scanners, on-board AI, and even has roller skates... Seriously!
However, across the broad spectrum of various fictional universes there are plenty of high-flying, city-destroying, super suits that carry even more power. They’re bigger, faster, meaner in a variety of different ways. Some carry on-board nuclear weapons and some are as big as a skyscraper. Others are of alien origin and carry such advanced tech that even Tony Stark would have trouble figuring out where the “On” button is.
Needless to say, these high-tech pieces of pure bad-assery have been ranked in order of sheer destructive force as well as for the level of power they afford the user. There’s even the cool factor thrown in for good measure too.
Here are 15 Super Suits That Could Beat Iron Man's Armor.
15 Master Chief's Mjolnir Armor
While it lacks the capability to fly, and doesn’t have on-board weaponry akin to the repulsor blasts on the Iron Man suit, the Mjolnir suit worn by the Master Chief (John-117) and the rest of the Spartan super-soldiers from Halo is so powerful that an ordinary man cannot wear it. The original Spartan super-soldiers had to be cybernetically enhanced to be bigger and stronger than any human in order to even wear the armor, as the first test-pilots were torn to pieces by the slightest movements in the suits.
When John and the rest of the Spartans first tested the armor, they had to rush into combat so their learning curve was incredibly steep. They succeeded in their mission and dealt the alien Covenant a devastating blow. The armor, and the Spartans themselves, became a symbol of hope for humanity during the bloody interstellar conflict.
Over the years, the Mjolnir armor has undergone a variety of refinements and now possesses energy shields (reverse-engineered from Covenant technology) as well as the ability to interface with larger mecha such as the Mantis weapon system. Given that the Master Chief survived a fall from orbit and was back in the fight pretty quickly (in Halo 3), it’s safe to say it can take one heck of a beating too.
14 14. APU from The Matrix
While there’s a lot to be said about The Matrix sequels, most of it bad, one stand-out moment of supreme coolness was the introduction of the APU weapons platforms. The walking tanks borrowed a little from the power-loader from Aliens, but they had the added capabilities of twin cannons in each hand, capable of rapid-firing hundreds of rounds.
By the end of the battle of Zion, only one APU remained. The rest had attempted to hold back the swarm of machines sent to destroy the last refuge of humanity, but fell one-by-one in a valiant last stand. While the war would be won in the artificial reality of The Matrix by Neo, the human soldiers using the APUs held back the machines long enough to keep humanity in the fight.
While Iron Man has the advantage in terms of manoeuvrability and flight, the APU’s firepower mean they only need one good shot to put him down.
13 Nanosuits from Crysis
The Nanosuits worn by the protagonists of Crysis are the pinnacle of technology in the year 2020. Reverse-engineered from Ceph technology, the CryFibril fibres that make up the suit are programmable matter that can be put to multiple uses. They can absorb any form of energy, either directly aimed at them, such as kinetic energy, or passive forms of energy, such as solar. This energy gives the user either enhanced resistance to injury, super-strength, super-speed, or the ability to bend light and cloak themselves from detection.
The armor is self-regenerating, so any damage done is rapidly repaired once it is inflicted. While some Iron Man suits have had this capability-- the S.K.I.N armor, and the Bleeding Edge-- it isn’t standard, as the majority of armors tend to use either dense alloys of carbon nanotubes in their design, both of which are inert.
The Nanosuit 2.0 is so advanced that it fully integrates with the user’s physiology, removing the need for food or drink as the suit uses the energy it absorbs to cater to the biological needs of the wearer. It can also detect and repair damage to the user’s cells, functioning like an artificial healing factor.
12 The Centurions
The Centurion hard-suits worn by the protagonists of the ‘80s cartoon series The Centurions are relatively weak in their basic configuration, giving only moderate protection and lacking any offensive capabilities whatsoever. However, when they interact with their orbiting space station, Skyvault, they are able to teleport external components onto their suits, giving them a vast array of versatile weapons systems.
High-flying aerial weapons specialist Ace McCloud has a variety of flight configurations, each with a different speciality. Some are smaller, focusing on manoeuvrability over power, others forego manoeuvrability and go for sheer destructive force, as they carry more missiles and bombs than even the most heavily-armed fighter bombers. One configuration even has space-faring features allowing for outer-space combat, featuring energy weapons instead of conventional missiles.
The true power of the suits comes from the ability of the user to instantaneously refit the offensive weapons to suit their immediate needs. While the Iron Man armor has a variety of cool tricks, it hasn’t, thus far, got an orbiting space-station loaded with optional extras that can be beamed down onto the armor in an instant. The “Veronica” upgrade is close, but the time taken for the upgrade means it lacks the tactical advantage given to these brave heroes of Saturday morning cartoons.
11 AMP from Avatar
Avatar is remembered as the monster-hit that redefined cinema for a whole generation and made 3D cool again (for a while anyway). The fictional world of Pandora was a visual treat that, even several years on, looks as good as anything being shot today. The story may have been criticised for being “Fern Gully in space” but it did offer some seriously cool moments, so we’ll let it off the hook for now.
One of the cooler pieces of tech at the disposal of the humans was the AMP suit worn by various characters through the movie. While they proved to be no match for the natives of Pandora, they did have some seriously bad-ass weaponry on board. Like much of the technology in Avatar, the AMP relied on gesture controls making it a highly responsive weapons platform.
Sheer numbers would give Iron Man a major problem, but even one-on-one a single AMP is as strong as the “Veronica” or “Hulkbuster” armor and its gigantic enhanced pulse-canon is easily enough to match Tony’s firepower.
10 Centurion from Transformers UK
While Michael Bay’s Transformers movies have borrowed heavily from the comic books and cartoons, they haven’t yet gone as far as adopting this beauty. The Centurion armor system isn’t a super suit exactly, but more of a remote-controlled battle platform. The weapon was designed by a government program that wanted to counter the perceived threat from the earth-bound Transformers. The result was a gigantic mechanoid, stronger than a hundred men (hence the name), that carried a wide variety of weapons, such as missiles and energy-based blasters.
In its first operation, the Centurion took on Megatron and fought him to a standstill. The pilot, Professor Morris, chose to rebel against his government employers, as they had coerced his services, and joined the Autobot faction known as Dinobots as they roamed the country. A chance encounter with the time-travelling Galvatron saw Centurion torn apart as his weapons and armor were no match for the insane spawn of Unicron.
While Centurion hasn’t been heard from since the Transformers UK comics ceased publication well over two decades ago, he’d be a cool addition to a Transformers movie.
9 Blue Beetle
While there have been a few different heroes to go by the moniker Blue Beetle, the young hero from the much-missed, fan-favourite TV show Young Justice is easily the most powerful incarnation, and the one with the best fashion sense. While Jaime Reyes has appeared in the comic books as a member of the Teen Titans, his Young Justice counterpart appears to be more powerful, so we’re taking that version as the ultimate extension of the suit. The suit comes from an alien scarab, originally thought to be magic, that fuses with the wearer’s spine and morphs into a battle suit with a wide-range of offensive capabilities.
The scarab, and those like it on numerous worlds, is a tool used by the malevolent alien species known as The Reach. The Reach send them to various worlds as a gift to the greatest warrior of the planet, where the scarab then bonds with them and grants them greater power. This is a ruse, as the scarab actually takes over the mind of the wearer and turns them against their allies as an infiltrator, softening them up in preparation for an invasion.
The suit, in both the comics and on Young Justice, is capable of morphing into a variety of weapons including sonic disruptors and plasma canons. There appears to be no set limit to the armor, but they are stronger when worn by a species that already possesses a high degree of power. The Reach soldier in Young Justice was much larger and more powerful than the Martian or human versions and was capable of matching Mongol in a fist fight.
8 Marauder from Starship Troopers
The Marauder is the basic Power Armor used by the Mobile Infantry in the novel Starship Troopers, and a variant of it appears in the movie Starship Troopers 3: Marauder. It is a large tank-like suit that is customised to fit the individual wearer and affords them massive increases to their strength as well as a high degree of mobility that even the fastest modern tanks cannot match.
In the original novel, the Marauder is maintained by the user as well as worn by them, with each soldier continually servicing them when not in combat, helping the soldiers to bond with their suits, making them more effective in combat.
The suit can be deployed from a low orbit and dropped directly into a combat zone, much like the Titans from the game series Titanfall. Large, but not gigantic, the Marauder has a wide-range of weapons and can level a city block with minimal effort. Compared to the cinematic Iron Man armor, they are at least twice as powerful, though they may lack the critical edge of flight that Iron Man possesses, not to mention: they are anything but stealthy.
7 Sentinels from X-Men
While generally autonomous robots, the Sentinels seen in Marvel’s X-Men comics have also had variants piloted by government operatives. These O*N*E Sentinels were deployed to the X-Mansion after the M-Day incident that stripped 99% of mutants of their powers. Intended to serve as guardians, they also had the dual function of monitoring mutant activity for the remaining mutants who relocated there.
While many O*N*E pilots displayed the typical human bigotry towards mutants, some were happy to interact with the mutants, and even ended up joining them on a few missions, albeit accidentally on at least one occasion.
This Sentinel variant had all the properties of previous models: size, strength, energy weapons, and tracking capabilities, but also had the added properties of having a human interface, giving them the advantage of being less likely to be corrupted by an outside force. Unlike the drones of previous generations, they weren’t so easy to hack.
6 Booster Gold
Booster Gold was a former football star in the 25th century who had lost his fame and fortune after a scandal and was relegated to a menial job. Dreaming of the big-time once more, he stole the time-travelling technology of the Legion of Super Heroes, as well as a force-field generator and various other futuristic weaponry, from a museum. Travelling back in time to the 20th century and using knowledge of the future, he planned to become a superhero and icon akin to Superman.
Despite his selfish intentions, he went on to become a valued member of the Justice League and a hero in his own right. He fought many top-tier villains and was one of the few heroes to be able to stand his ground, albeit briefly, against the monster Doomsday.
Despite his original weaponry being damaged, he has been able to replicate reasonable replacements using conventional technology and retains the abilities to fly, shoot energy blasts, generate force-fields, and, using his A.I SKEETS, is able to function as a time-travelling super hero.
His futuristic technology and athletic skills make him at least equal to Iron Man. It is unlikely that Tony Stark would be able to use his hacking skills to disable the suit, meaning that a toe-to-toe battle would be the only option. Tony may be a futurist, but it’s unlikely that his tech is quite that advanced.
Voltron, like some others on this list, fits the criteria of “Mecha” more than that of “super suit” but its sheer destructive power makes it worthy of its place here. The Voltron super robot is made up of five lion mecha that combine to form a hundred-meter-tall robot warrior.
Each lion mecha is powerful in their own right and piloted by warriors known as Paladins. The original Paladins were alien warriors, but at the crux of the war the Lions were separated, lest they fall into the hands of their enemies, the Galra Empire. When the advancing Galra Empire headed toward Earth on their path to universal domination a group of space pilots discover the blue lion and are caught up in the war, eventually reuniting the rest of the lions, and forming Voltron once more to combat the Galra.
Much like some other mecha, Voltron requires multiple pilots. While Iron Man is assisted by the on-board AIs J.A.R.V.I.S or F.R.I.D.A.Y, he is essentially piloting the suit on his own. The Voltron, besides its sheer size, has the advantage of several highly-trained pilots working in harmony to achieve their aims. Five heads are better than one, even if that one is Tony Stark.
4 Megazord from Power Rangers
While the suits worn by the Power Rangers in the original series gave the wearer additional power, it was when they bonded with their Zords and Megazords that they truly became powerful. The upcoming Power Rangers movie looks set to shake things up, with early looks at the super suits indicating a seriously beefed-up and more powerful set of teen heroes.
With details still light, the exact nature of the suits is still in question. Will they be powered by coins, like the original Power Rangers? Will they be linked to larger Mecha? With plenty of spoilers sure to come, we’ll probably know long before the movie hits theatres.
Looking at the original Megazord: it was larger than a skyscraper and could bond with the Green Ranger’s Dragonzord to create an ultimate form that even Iron Man on his best day couldn’t counter. With the clunky and clumsy Zords of the past guaranteed a major upgrade, Iron Man would need to spend some major time in the lab to come up with an Iron Man armor to match them.
3 Mobile Suits from Gundam
While there have been many iterations of Gundam, the original Mobile Suit piloted by Amuro Ray remains the one most associated with the series. In our humble opinion, it’s also the coolest. While not especially popular on its initial release, Gundam became a cult hit, largely due to it revolutionizing the genre of giant Mecha. Where previously they had featured super-star pilots, the Gundam, particularly the RX-78-2 Gundam, piloted by Amuro Ray, showed Mecha being piloted by regular soldiers using weapons of war.
Set in the future of 2079, a century after the initial release of the anime, the plot of Gundam revolves around a civil war between Earth and some of her colonies that have chosen to break away. The colonies, while smaller than Earth, have the initial advantage of the Mobile Suits, which give them an edge in combat.
The mobile suits from Gundam are far smaller than some other Mecha, but are highly manoeuvrable and resistant to damage, giving them an advantage over Iron Man as they negate his usual advantage of speed and manoeuvrability.
2 Fortress Maximus from Transformers
While the Headmasters seen in Transformers are more of a partnership between man and sentient machine, some versions, particularly those in the Marvel Comic series, show the human or Nebulan companion to be more of a pilot, with the original host mind taking a back seat or being subjugated entirely.
In the case of Decepticon leader Scorponok, his identity was utterly suppressed by Lord Zarak to the point where Zarak would wonder what Scorponok would do in a given situation, indicating the machine mind was no longer inhabiting the giant mechanoid’s form.
In the case of Fortress Maximus, the Marvel Comic makes it clear that the mind of Fortress Maximus and first Galen, and then Spike, merge into a symbiotic relationship, but only together can they unlock the full power of the giant robot. Given both the powerful robot acting as a giant super suit and its ability to transform into a heavily-armed battle station, Iron Man wouldn’t even hold his own, let alone win in fight.
1 Jaeger "Gipsy Danger" from Pacific Rim
The Jaeger Mecha from the movie Pacific Rim are gigantic walking death machines designed to combat the Kaiju threat coming from a portal beneath the Pacific Ocean. Initial attempts to have a single pilot failed, as the neural load proved to be far too great for a single mind to cope with. A solution was found in the form of The Drift, where two minds acting in concert with each other proved capable of piloting the giant robot from a cockpit in its head.
Specifically designed to battle giant organic beasts, Gipsy Danger and the other Jaegers are not equipped to battle a small, mobile foe such as Iron Man. But where he would have to find and exploit a weak spot on the giant machines, they only need one lucky shot to permanently disable the armored Avenger. It would only take a small amount of retro-fitting to equip Gipsy Danger with surface-to-air missiles or Gatling guns to give them an edge. Should Tony Stark ever build something akin to Gyisy Danger, a giant red and gold Jaeger would be a thing to behold. Something to consider when thinking about what may come in Pacific Rim 2 when it finally arrives.
While there remain many Mecha and super suits out there, few can compete the awesome power of these killer machines, not even Iron Man's own armor. If you think there are any we missed, let us know in the comments!