Cyborg is thoroughly underrated compared to Iron Man. Except for the people who grew up watching Teen Titans, like me, or the ones who caught George Perez’s iconic run in the 80s, Cyborg doesn’t have a lot of fans. Even if you argue Iron Man was never a frontrunner for Marvel in comic history, Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal in the MCU turned that around.
All the while, Cyborg’s cinematic debut in 2017’s Justice League came riddled with intrigue as many of his scenes were cut off. The movie was a mess, and Cyborg was forgotten. Even if the spectacular Snyder’s cut fixed everything with a version of the story that put the character front and center, it was too late.
The damage was done. Currently, there are no plans for Cyborg on the Big Screen. Hell, even the comics don’t give him that much credit. Even though in the 2011’s Justice League comic reboot, he became one of the team’s founding members, it wasn’t until 2015 that he got his first comic solo series. That’s right. Cyborg’s been around since the 80s, and that’s the sooner they could put him in the spotlight.
So, making a Cyborg vs. Iron Man guide is tough. Even for me, a bigger fan of Teen Titans than the Avengers. The difference between content from these characters is gigantic. So much so that I probably have read far more stuff with Iron Man on it than with Cyborg. Despite, once again, my childhood obsession with Teen Titans.
Still, the few instances where Cyborg is front and center show how mighty he can be. We already know how powerful Tony Stark is. My aim here is to reinforce that, but above all else, show that people aren’t giving enough credit for Cyborg.
So, let’s get on with it. Booyah!
My Bottom Line Up Front
A Cyborg vs. Iron Man debate is fun because they are very similar in some aspects but utterly different in others. Both rely heavily on technology to save the day, using heavy machinery and control over technological devices to their advantage. Still, the differences create a lot of question marks about who is most likely to win. Tony Stark is more experienced and has a higher IQ… but Cyborg relies on alien tech. Could technology made by a human, no matter how smart, beat that? Those little points are what make this debate engaging.
Key Differences Between Cyborg vs Iron Man
- Iron Man’s armor is a suit, whereas Cyborg’s armor is part of his body
- Iron Man’s technological advancements are made by himself and his company, whereas Cyborg’s are of alien origin
- Iron Man has been a part of the Avengers since its foundation, whereas Cyborg’s spent most of his time as a member of the Teen Titans before moving to the Justice League
- Iron Man has had a solo title since 1968, whereas Cyborg had his first series in 2015
- Iron Man is human, whereas Cyborg is half-human, half-machine
- Iron Man started his superhero career as an adult, whereas Cyborg began as a teenager
- Iron Man heals at an average human pace, whereas Cyborg has increased regenerative powers and can even reboot himself
- Iron Man’s primary means of transportation is flight, whereas Cyborg can open portals to any place
Laying the Ground
Iron Man and Cyborg are from entirely different Universes; thus, they never fought. So, I had to get a bit creative to determine the outcome of this fight. I will analyze their powers along with their most significant battles and feats to understand how these two heroes would clash.
The material with Iron Man’s presence is vast. The Marvel hero has defeated far more formidable adversaries. He has even been the center of two superhuman Civil Wars. When it comes to conflict, no one surpasses Tony Stark.
Still, I didn’t take quantity as a factor since this reflects more character popularity than their real power. Instead, I have chosen to analyze the same amount of occurrences where each hero defeated a character arguably stronger than they are or did something unimaginable.
- Alter ego: Victor Stone
- Most Impressive Victory: against the Technosapiens in Cyborg Vol. 1 #6.
- Most Brutal Defeat: Alternate Batman from the Dark Multiverse in Batman: The Murder Machine #1.
- Characteristics: Half-human, half-machine, Cyborg is great at hand-to-hand combat and technical manipulations. If there is a system to be hacked, he is the guy.
- Main Advantage: He can create deadly sonic frequencies that scramble people’s brains.
- Weaknesses: To interface with unknown computers, he needs to be near them. Thus, hacking his opponent’s gadgets or armor in a battle might be challenging.
Powers and Abilities:
- Super strength;
- Superspespeed and agility;
- Super durability and stamina;
- Can connect with any computer and satellite;
- Can control any technological device;
- Superhuman senses;
- Microscopic, X-ray, and night vision;
- Teleportation — he even created a stealth version of boom tubes that not even Superman could detect;
- He can absorb any piece of tech into his body;
- Regenerative ability;
- Auto reboot– this works like a self-defense mechanism. Cyborg has used it to eliminate threats from his system;
- Highly advanced hacking.
- White Sonic Cannon;
- Ice beam;
- Energy canon with a range of 50 meters;
- Force shield;
- He can create any weapon using his body.
Who Is Cyborg?
Victor’s origin may vary slightly depending on the version we’re talking about, but the essence stays the same. In the 80s version, his parents were scientists that experimented on him. After a procedure goes wrong in the scientist’s lab, an interdimensional monster kills Victor’s mom and leaves him on the brink of death. Desperate, his father saves Victor by turning him into a cyborg.
The 2011 version goes about the same, except for two things: Victor’s mom is already dead, and Mother boxes are involved. One of these artifacts is incorporated into Cyborg’s body during the procedure to save his life.
But what are mother boxes?
They are some of the most powerful artifacts in the DC Universe. You can think of them as the Infinity Stones of DC. Mother boxes are living computers created by the New Gods, a race of superpowerful alien beings that live in New Genesis. These boxes are powered by the source, which is, you know… the source of everything in the Universe.
They are ridiculously powered, and not even their creators know everything about them. I love this concept because it keeps these artifacts riddled with mystery. Besides, McGuffins can be pretty boring because they are just inanimate objects that people say are powerful.
However, that’s not the case at all with Mother Boxes: they are sentient beings, constantly evolving and learning. That’s why I prefer them over the Infinity Stones. But going back to Cyborg, you may see what I’m getting at. The dude has the source of everything in the Universe inside his body!
Can anyone top that?
Most Brutal Fights and Feats
Cyborg Defeats Jericho – Teen Titans Vol.3 #12 (2004)
This entry is one of the coolest and weirdest things I’ve seen anyone do in comics. Considering all the mega-events I read, that says a lot. Jericho was a recurring character in Teen Titans comics. But his apparent demise wasn’t the end of his story.
After his death, Jericho’s spirit survived by possessing a host. During this issue, he leaps from body to body when confronting the Titans, causing fights between allies. He proceeds to do this until Cyborg uses his eye to trap Jericho and convert him into a file of “two hundred and ten megs.”
Cyborg then traps the file in a disk. Hey, keep in mind this was the early 2000s, so a disk was the most common tech for this job. Still, when I read that, I thought it was a very original idea. Generally, superheroes defeat heroes only by beating them down. So I always appreciate it when a writer subverts that.
However, even though I find this concept incredible, it brings a lot of questions. How did that work exactly? How can a spirit be trapped in cyberspace? Are the spiritual and technological intertwined?
These questions will haunt me forever since the comic doesn’t provide answers. Maybe I shouldn’t give that much thought to comics. But, hey, that’s a habit, a hobby, and my job. It’s hard to stop!
Cyborg Shuts Down the Techno Sapiens – Cyborg Vol. 1 #6 (2016)
What are the Techno Sapiens? Are they the human beings who live going to Techno festivals and dancing in a trance to electronic sounds?
No! But that would have been a good guess.
The techno sapiens are a race made out of various species from the universe infected by a cyber parasite. In a strange turn of events, they arrive at Cyborg’s universe.
However, before the hero can confront them, the Techno Sapiens spread their infection to a significant part of humanity. Many heroes try to solve the problem, but Cyborg is the one who discovers the right course of action: fighting the threat in cyberspace instead of the physical world.
Thus, Cyborg fights the villains in the Cyberworld and rewrites the race’s operational system. How did he do that? I’ll let him explain.
In Cyborg’s words:
“I hacked into the Techno Sapiens’ primary operating network and used my self-regeneration protocols to heal everyone infected with the cyber parasite.”
That is an impressive move. It shows Cyborg’s extensive hacking abilities– he hacked an entire race of advanced beings. In addition, it also indicates that the hero can extend his regenerative capacities to the rest of humanity when needed. This feat is likely connected to Mother Box technology, as these artifacts have healed humans before.
Besides, I think how he handles this whole situation is very badass. He swoops in, does his thing, and calmly explains the outcome. This moment is my favorite from his list.
Cyborg Makes Shazam Bleed – Cyborg #9 (2016)
Knowing how a character fares against the big guns is a must to measure
their powers. Superman is the go-to of DC in that department. But, there is an alternative that comes real close – Shazam.
So a Shazam vs. Cyborg moment is an excellent evaluating opportunity.
The Government wants to pass an act to seize control of every citizen with unregulated cybernetics. In practice, this means the tech will be substituted by one from a company called Cyber Tech, which will install microchips on people to act as a failsafe.
Sensing the danger, Cyborg and the Justice League create a plan which involves a staged fight with Shazam as a distraction. During the confrontation, Cyborg punches Shazam so hard he draws blood from the hero.
I know what you might be thinking – this fight wasn’t real. But it doesn’t matter. Shazam might have let Cyborg beat him for the sake of the show, but the Cyber human wouldn’t have drawn blood if he wasn’t strong enough to do so.
For me, that’s solid evidence Cyborg has the strength to go against the most potent threats. Besides, there is a little moment in the issue that shocked me.
When trying to convince Superman why it would be dangerous if a company got a hold of him, Victor said this:
“I’m many things, including a weapon. I can create a combination of unique sonic frequencies that could scramble your brain, Clark, and kill you in less than five seconds.”
Wow! Pure badass.
Now you can see why I put the creation of sonic frequencies as Cyborg’s most significant advantage. I bet you thought I was crazy. But if someone can do something powerful enough to kill Superman – except for holding a bunch of kryptonite – they are on my top list of most badass people in comic book history.
JLA/Titans #1 – 3: The Technis Imperative (1998)
Before the events of this crossover, Victor progressively lost his humanity until he started calling himself Cyberion. Scared by the changes, even Beast boy left him. Now a technological force started tampering with all electronic devices on Earth and capturing the Titans. Pieces of technology start swallowing the moon, which causes several natural disasters.
Who is strong enough to cause that?
Turns out it is Victor or his technological self running a program to regroup the Titans. Since Cyborg is unaware of what’s happening, the program is fulfilling its duty twistedly. While the Justice League tries to end the threat, the Titans try to bring Cyborg back by reminding him of his humanity.
They transfer Cyborg’s soul to another body, and he regains consciousness. The disasters stop, and everything is back to normal. Happy ending for all!
This entry is vital because it shows how powerful Cyborg can be – he was strong enough to cause natural disasters on Earth and take control over everything. Of course, all that was only possible at the cost of his humanity. But I was impressed nonetheless.
Side note: I had many reasons to like this story: the focus on Cyborg, the appearances of almost everyone from the DC Universe, and an emotional narrative. Still, reading it was tough. The ideas were exciting, but so much was going on that I felt my head would explode.
But don’t let that intimidate you. The Technis Imperative is an excellent experience. Just go easy when you read it!
- Alter ego: Tony Stark
- Most Impressive Victory: Against the Phoenix Force in Avengers vs. X-men #5
- Most Brutal Defeat: Against Terraxia in the Infinity Gauntlet Saga.
- Characteristics: Genius, billionaire, playboy. Tony Stark can create any type of technology. He is responsible for some of the greatest weapons on Earth and knows how to use them. That, with his mastery over hand-to-hand combat, makes him a formidable foe.
- Main Advantage: The ability to create bigger and stronger suits to go toe-to-toe with mighty enemies. Generally, these suits will have buster in their name.
- Weaknesses: He is only human. Get him out of the suit or destroy his arc reactor, and he is done. But to his credit, it is not easy to do that.
Powers and Abilities
- Super strength;
- Superspespeed and agility;
- Super durability;
- Can control and create magnetic fields;
- Can project holograms;
- Can connect to all sorts of communication devices in the world;
- Advanced hacking abilities;
- The suit can auto repair;
- Hand-to-hand combat.
- Repulsor rays;
- Energy Shield;
- Sonic blast;
- Uni-Beam — a powerful beam coming from his arc reactor;
- Pulse bolts — in-built devices that pick up kinetic energy to create a stronger impact.
Who Is Iron Man?
Tony Stark is one of the most intelligent people in the Marvel Universe. He ran Stark industries and lived a wealthy bachelor’s life until an unlikely chain of events changed everything. During a business trip in Vietnam, Stark was captured and severely injured his heart.
Local doctors provided a temporary solution in the form of a battery chained to his heart. Vietnamese guerilla leader Wong-Chu forced Stark to create weapons for his troops in exchange for his freedom. Tony agreed, but he was only biding his time to build an Iron suit that would help him escape.
Thus, Tony’s superhero career began. From then on, he would make several models of his suit, constantly upgrading them. I love this aspect because it shows how perfectionist Tony is. Besides, this constant evolution means Iron Man is always at his best.
With his inventions, Stark can fight against some of the most powerful beings in the Universe. If one of his suits has “buster” in its name, things will get serious. Just look at the Hulk-buster and the Phoenix-buster to know I’m telling the truth.
Despite these suits’ powers, my favorite one is from the Superior Iron Man series. I think it is the most beautiful design among all of the hero’s suits. All in all, no matter which version you prefer, Iron Man is a mighty foe who uses technology to overcome his weaknesses.
Most Brutal Fights and Feats
Iron Man Defeats Hulk and She-Hulk — Iron Man#132 (1979)/Avengers #501 (2005)
This is a double entry because Hulk and She-Hulk have similar powers, but I didn’t want to leave one of them out. The first instance is a classic.
Tony Stark is helping Bruce Banner with experimental treatment to stop him from becoming the Hulk. Banner is trapped in a device with his heartbeat kept steady. But one of the doctors realizes the machine has the opposite effect – increasing the scientist’s mass and muscles. Banner turns into the Hulk and wreaks havoc on the city.
Iron Man feels guilty and charges after him. Stark recognizes he’s fought Hulk many times and has never won. But he has always held back a little, and now he can’t afford to do that. Iron Man directs all power from his suit to his hand and knocks Hulk down with a punch.
Wow! Tony pulled a One-Punch Man. Saitama better beware!
In the next issue, we find out Tony is stuck inside the armor because he used all of its energy, paralyzing his motor network. It takes a while, but with help, the hero is back to normal.
This wouldn’t be the last time Tony would defeat a green monster.
The world is in chaos in part two of the Avengers disassembled storyline. Ultron robots attack the Avengers, and She-Hulk loses control, becoming an enraged version of herself. Iron Man arrives at the scene and knocks her out with a punch.
Again! That’s becoming a trend.
This impressed me! Keep in mind he wasn’t even in the Hulkbuster suit but in his normal one.
Iron Man Makes Sentry Bleed — Iron Man Vol. 4 #11 (2006)
This is similar to Cyborg’s case with Shazam. Sentry is so powerful he is often considered the Superman of the Marvel Universe. But why are they fighting?
Iron Man discovers that due to a chip in his brain, he has caused enormous damage and killed several people in the process. Now a fugitive, Tony is trying to find a solution to his problem when Sentry arrives to take him into custody.
Stark punches Sentry and draws blood from the hero, which is impressive when you think that Sentry is on Superman’s power level. However, I believe Tony only got the best out of this battle because of his intelligence. He overwhelmed Sentry with global disaster alerts causing him to panic.
I’m confident Sentry would be the winner in a straight fight to the end.
Iron Man Shatters the Phoenix Force — Avengers vs. X-men #5 (2012)
The two superhero teams are battling over what to do regarding the Phoenix force’s arrival on Earth. While everyone is fighting on the surface of a strange moon, Tony Stark and Hank Pym are preparing the Phoenix Buster.
Tony is ready to use the suit even though there wasn’t any testing. The armor contains a disruptor that, when fired, was able to fracture the Phoenix force into pieces. Thus, the force that resided in Hope Summers was now divided between 5 other heroes.
Tony Stark has a buster suit for every situation, doesn’t he?
The Phoenix force is one of the most potent forces in the entire Universe. So the fact that Tony was able to create a suit capable of fracturing within a short time is astounding.
Iron Man Faces the Dark Celestials — Avengers Vol. 8 #5 – 6 (2018)
The progenitor was a Celestial who fell on Earth over 4 billion years ago because he was injured. As he died, he spilled liquid with his infection. This substance is the reason behind the many mutants and gamma irradiation on the planet and life at large.
Now the Dark Celestials — which are the ones infected with the substance that killed the Progenitor — are attacking Earth. Using the Godkiller Mark II, Tony could go toe to toe with the Celestials. Still, he was only one, while the Celestials were many. Soon the beings surrounded Tony, and Iron Man exploded the suit. Thankfully he damaged a lot of Celestials doing that.
While he technically didn’t win the battle, Tony did a lot of damage to god-like beings. The celestials are so strong that compared to them, Odin is nothing. Just think about that.
The Battle Begins
After all these fights and feats, do you have an idea who would win?
Well, let’s compare their powers, starting with strength. They both have similar strength levels if you judge by Sentry and Shazam. So, I think the fight would rely less on brute force and more on specific gadgets.
Next, there’s tech.
Cyborg and Iron Man have very similar tech that would cancel each other out: control over communication devices, assembling technology to make weapons, force shields, and energy beams. One could only gain an advantage using something the other doesn’t have.
Then, there’s hacking. People on the internet fight endlessly about this particular issue. But I don’t think any of them would win in this instance.
They are both advanced hackers, but I don’t think that would count here. Iron Man’s tech is unknown to Cyborg, so he would have to physically interface with the suit to hack it. That would be highly challenging. Tony would see the attempt from miles away and evade the contact.
On the other hand, not even a genius like Tony Stark would be able to hack alien tech in the heat of the battle without any preparation. Remember that the Mother boxes are sentient beings that contain the source of everything. Tony can’t top that.
So what could be the difference in this battle?
I think Cyborg has three elements that would give him an edge: his brain scrambling frequencies, silent boom tubes, and regenerative powers.
First, let’s look at the frequencies. As I’ve mentioned, Cyborg stated he could scramble Superman’s brains. So doing that to Tony would be no problem. One could argue this statement is a stretch since he hasn’t done that in the comics. But even if it was so, this isn’t Cyborg’s only advantage.
Next, we have the silent boom tubes. With that ability, Cyborg can teleport quickly and silently, gaining the element of surprise. For me, surprising your enemy is a vital component of winning a battle.
Lastly, there’s Cyborg’s reboot system. Theoretically, he can’t die. If defeated in battle, he would eventually return online with his organic and artificial parts regenerated. As I pointed out, Tony’s main weakness is being a human. There were several instances when enemies took out his suit.
Even though Tony is skilled in combat, could that be enough with an adversary that can keep coming back to life?
I don’t think so.
Question: Can Cyborg hack Iron Man?
Answer: Yes, he can. But since Iron Man’s system is unknown to Cyborg, he would need to interface with Tony’s suit. That would be challenging and could only be accomplished if Cyborg could incapacitate Tony somehow.
Question: Who came first, Cyborg or Iron Man?
Answer: Iron Man came first. Tony first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 in 1963, while Cyborg debuted in DC Comics Presents #26 in 1980.
Question: Is Tony Stark a cyborg?
Answer: No. To qualify as a cyborg, someone must be part-human and part machine. Tony Stark is a regular human who wears machine armor to fight villains.
Question: Power over popularity?
Answer: People grossly underestimate Cyborg’s abilities. I believe this is due to the lack of reading material about the character compared to other heroes. Since Iron Man is the most popular among them, it’s easy to find several people affirming he would be the winner. What annoys me about this is that most of the time, their arguments don’t back this up.
Analyzing the situation closely, it became clear to me Cyborg would be the winner most of the time. That is not to say that Tony wouldn’t be able to win, given enough time to devise a plan. I believe he could. But in the heat of the battle, with the surprise element at play, Cyborg is the superior combatant.
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