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When it comes to the Marvel universe, no two characters have made a bigger leap in popularity over the past decade than Iron Man and Captain America. As the Avengers films took over the world, these two characters got more shine than ever before, and despite being two of the more mundane heroes in the world of comic books, they now are up there amongst the likes of Spider-Man and even Batman.
These two have led the Avengers for years and years, and despite not being at the same level as some heroes, they are remarkable because they’re two of the least powerful characters in the superhero world, yet they command so much respect. I’ve always loved Iron Man’s flawed nature, as it was pretty much the only thing that made him relatable. Cap, on the other hand, was interesting because he was given the weight of war on his shoulders and has managed to never break because of that. The amount of pressure he’s given by both The Avengers and his country is more than most men could handle, but Captain America has proved time and time again that he is no ordinary man.
The two characters have a lengthy history, and it’s not the happiest of relationships, to say the least. Iron Man is responsible for granting Captain America leadership of The Avengers, and it’s safe to say that is probably a decision he has come to regret. Let’s check out everything there is to know about Captain America Vs. Iron Man
The Main Differences Between Iron Man and Captain America
While they are similar in plenty of ways, the two comic icons have a lot that differs as well.
- Captain America is someone that is dedicated to his country above all else, whereas Iron Man is someone who believes in his ideals first, regardless of what the government thinks.
- Captain America was created by injecting Steve Rogers with the Super Soldier serum, while Iron Man is still just normal Tony Stark entering a suit of armor.
- Iron Man is a billionaire socialite who uses his funds to keep Iron Man one of the most well-equipped superheroes around. Captain America relies on his superhuman abilities as well as the vibranium shield that was given to him by the president of the united states.
- Iron Man is a hero that generally fights while airborne and from afar with his impressive array of weaponry, while Captain America is mostly a melee combatant, although he can use his shield when long-distance combat is required.
- Iron Man is an independent superhero for the most part, and although he fights with The Avengers, he also freely goes on missions throughout the world with little restriction, while Captain America is largely obedient to the forces he is a part of, whether it be the U.S. Army in his early days or under the guidance of shield in his Avengers days.
- Captain America is military trained and a highly-skilled combatant, while Iron Man is a self-made man who only learns to fight when hand to hand when Captain America teaches him how to.
- Captain America’s body is his weapon, needing little else but his shield to take on his opponents, while Iron Man requires his suit to be an effective combatant.
- Captain America is incredibly fast, able to perform superhuman feats of speed, while Iron Man has managed to break the speed of sound while using his suit.
- Captain America was frozen during WW2 and had to be thawed out by Iron Man and The Avengers, while Iron Man’s heroic prime happened 20 years following the war.
- Iron Man is an incredibly rich man, amongst the highest paid in the world, while Captain America relies on payment from organizations like the U.S. Military or SHIELD to get by day to day.
- Super speed
- Superhuman healing
- Bullet and blade-proof armor
- Vibranium shield that is nearly indestructible and returns to Captain America after being thrown.
- Superhuman strength
- Flight lets Iron Man maneuver throughout a battlefield as few others can.
- Genius scientific mind
- Repulsor rays that can be fired from his gauntlets allow for quick long-range attacks that are incredibly powerful.
- Unibeam that launches from his chest. When charged, it unleashes a massive beam of energy that destroys anything in its path.
Although Captain America and Iron Man are superheroes, they are still just human beings and have weaknesses because of that.
- Captain America’s shield is one of his biggest strengths, but it’s also one of his biggest weaknesses, as you can remove the shield from him and force him to fight at close range with no real ability to block attacks other than using his own body.
- The first time we see Captain America emerge to join The Avengers, he comes out of a block of ice. This means that while Captain America is incredibly strong, he can be frozen solid, although this won’t kill him.
- Bullets. Although Cap has some of the most reinforced armor possible, if the bullet is strong enough, it can pierce the armor and pierce his skin as well. Although he has the healing factor, if the gunshots are repeated, they can be fatal, and that’s just what happened when Dr. Faustus mind-controlled Sharon Carter to deliver the fatal gunshots to Steve Rogers on the orders of Red Skull.
- According to Red Skull, Cap’s biggest weakness is that he’s a man of the past, and because of that, he can’t see the bigger picture clearly when in the future.
- Iron Man is a hero who relies on his technology to be effective, so if you can remove him from his armor at any point, he’s just a normal human with no super strength or flying abilities and can be killed like any other hero.
- Iron Man is among the cockiest superheroes of all time, and because of that, his massive ego has gotten in the way more than once.
- Iron Man has a heart that is powered by the arc reactor, and while it helps him power the suit he uses, it still is very vulnerable, so if a villain can somehow detach his arc reactor heart, then that would likely kill him on the spot because its keeping shrapnel away from his heart that would then free fall and pierce it.
- The Iron Man suits are absurdly powerful, but one thing they require is the need to charge. Sometimes, this pops up in the worst moments and has led to several of Iron Man’s defeats over the years.
The Men Behind the Mask
Captain America, aka Steve Rogers
Steve Rogers is the one who donned the Captain America uniform first, and he is surprisingly a man of little consequence, which makes his ascensions to maybe the most beloved superhero in the Marvel universe so incredible. Steve is from a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn and was born in 1920. His father died at a young age and his mother passed shortly after, so all there was for Steve to do was join the war.
He entered World War II in 1940 and, from there, was admitted into the Super-Soldier test project. Upon the injection of the serum, Steve becomes Captain America.
His identity becomes secretive at this point, and he manages to keep his double life a secret despite his greatly changing physical attributes. It’s around this time that he meets Bucky Barnes, who would become his sidekick and best friend.
Captain America is not the most fascinating character, I’ll admit that. He’s very much your good ole boy type of hero, but thankfully, the past 15 years have made him SO much cooler to follow and his story in the Civil War plot is an excellent read.
Iron Man, aka Tony Stark
Tony Stark has one of the most illustrious upbringings of any comic book character that I can think of. As the son of the well-respected and incredibly wealthy Stark family, Tony had it all growing up. Tony had a rough time following his parent’s death, but despite that, he continued the Stark name and eventually used that wealth to fuel the superhero persona of Iron Man.
Tony Stark’s conscience is what initially causes him to begin a crusade to get rid of all the weapons he’d spread around the world as an international arms dealer, and it immediately shows just how much Tony regrets the things he’d done in the past. Enemies have tried to take advantage of Stark technology many times in the past, and it’s driven Tony to the edge, even causing him to completely lose it and go on a full-on warpath against all pieces of armor that exist across the world.
Tony Stark is quite the playboy as well, and the status as the leader of The Avengers has led him to several relationships throughout his time as a hero. One of the most important is his relationship with Madame Masque, who is the head of a powerful crime family that constantly clashes with The Avengers. His relationships have a habit of mixing with his superhero life and often in ways that get him and in allies into a lot of trouble.
Iron Man has always been fantastic to me, for no reason other than his suit is just awesome. Does that make me shallow? Sure does! But hey, Tony Stark is pretty shallow himself, so I won’t hold it against myself.
Have Iron Man and Captain America Met?
Not only have these two superheroes met, but they might’ve interacted more than any characters in opposing comics that I can think of. As co-leaders of The Avengers, they have quite a long history that has certainly been rockier more times than not. Iron Man is responsible for unthawing Captain America from his frozen slumber and, shortly after, tells him he should lead The Avengers with him.
Despite what the movies might tell you, these two are the best of friends for many, many years, and that’s what made my first read of Civil War so tough. Seeing these two bloodily beat the life out of each other was a rough one and it marked a huge moment in Marvel history.
Captain America is a man of the past, and Tony Stark is very much the man of the future, so the two of them tend to not see eye to eye much of the time when it comes to facing conflict. Usually, this will just result in some yelling matches and an emotional tug of war within The Avengers. Some of the time, though, the battles between the two become full-on fights, and when Iron Man and Captain America throw down, it’s usually a brutal affair and leads to some of the most impressive-looking panels in comic book history.
Notable Fights, Wins, Losses
Iron Man Losses
Although the God of Thunder would go on to become one of Iron Man’s biggest allies in The Avengers, it didn’t start that way as the two-faced each other in battle prior. If you know anything about Thor, you know that he’s one of the most powerful characters in any comic, and despite Iron Man’s best efforts, the limits of man-made technology could not stand up to the overwhelming power of a literal god.
Thor is a way goofier character in the comics, so you’d think that might mean he has less power because of it. Um, think again good reader! The God of Thunder is a veritable dynamo when it comes to combat and is one of the toughest to take on in the entire Marvel universe. No shame to Iron Man on this one.
Hulk tends to have Iron Man’s number more times than not, and even though the two are allies in The Avengers, the very nature of Hulk makes him an incredibly tough hero to control, and there are times when he just flies off the rails. In those times, Iron Man was usually the one who tried to deal with him and even created a specific armor for the occasion called the Hulkbuster. Despite that, Hulk swats him away like a fly most of the time, and Tony Stark is left wondering how he could ever stop him if he became truly unhinged.
The Hulk is pretty much unstoppable, so yeah, obviously Iron Man and his cool toys aren’t going to have much luck against him. It’s kind of sad really, I mean, Tony literally builds a special armor to face him and just gets obliterated, yeesh.
Another character of god-like power, Iron Man, came up against Captain Marvel when she decided that she would start imprisoning potential criminals around the world rather than wait for them to commit the crime themselves. This led to a showdown against Miles Morales, and Iron Man steps in to put an end to it. This does not go as he planned, and Captain Marvel’s overwhelming strength was able to rip through his armor and obliterate it in the process, nearly killing Tony Stark during the battle.
Captain Marvel is just stupid powerful and it’s no wonder that she almost killed Iron Man. Still, he survived and I think that counts for something! Even though it’s still a loss.
Iron Man Wins
Sentry is yet another hero with god-likeability, and he’s considered the Superman of the Marvel universe. He has one helluva dark side, though the being known as The Void exists within him and can come out at the worst times. That happened during the Siege of Asgard when Norman Osborn attempted to take the city with the Dark Avengers. Iron Man, among others, stepped in. It was a team fight, but the big blow came when Iron Man threw a helicopter at Sentry, leaving Thor to deal the final blow.
Sentry is essentially Superman, so yeah, this is quite the feat. Sure, he didn’t fight him 1v1, but he dealt the winning blow, so we’re giving Iron Man a break on this one.
Yup, Tony Stark did win a few of the battles against Captain America, and one of the most notable came during the famous Armor Wars storyline where Tony gets completely paranoid about his technology being used for evil across the world and starts on a mission to destroy it all. Things are going swimmingly until he starts destroying SHIELD technology, and Cap steps in from there to defend his employers. Iron Man doesn’t kill Captain America here, but he incapacitated him with a beam attack that pretty much renders Cap useless, so we’re giving him the win here.
Iron Man and Captain America beat the hell out of each other every time they fight, and this was one of the only ones that Tony Stark came out on top of. It was about 40 years ago now, but hey, a win’s a win.
Captain America Losses
Red Skull is Captain America’s biggest foe, and he achieved his goal of killing his arch-rival. While Red Skull does nothing physically during this storyline, he sets up the pieces beautifully and has Crossbones snipe at Cap, injuring him severely, and then, using a mind-controlled Sharon Carter via the help of Dr. Faustus, shoots Steve Rogers dead. It’s the first time I can remember where the villain kills the main character in any medium.
While some people may like villains in comics, nobody likes the Red Skull, because he killed Captain America. To see the nazis win after all those years Cap spent fighting them, I mean, what was it all for?
Although they are allies in The Avengers, during the Age of Ultron storyline, things got muddled when it came to relations between heroes and A.I. Vision is discovered to be the source of energy for all of Ultron’s doings, and during an image of the future, Cap is shown to be bloodied and beaten, with the most iconic image being that of his shield, laying on the ground, destroyed.
Vision is one of those characters that might have infinite powers, so to see that in another future, he thoroughly beat Cap down is hardly a shock.
Wolverine is one of the strongest characters in all of Marvel, and although he’s usually on the side of good, one particular instance had him brainwashed and fighting for the bad guys. This leads Captain America to look for him, and when he finds him, Cap finds himself on the wrong end of Wolverine’s claws, and it shows that no matter how strong Captain America is, he can certainly be bested by a more vicious and brutal opponent.
Wolverine is just relentless, and when villains’ minds control him, he’s completely unstoppable most of the time, so I can see how Cap was unable to withstand the Berserker with the leash off here.
Captain America Wins
This battle was won under precarious circumstances, but a win is a win nonetheless. It involved HYDRA Cap, who had been turned evil through the use of the Cosmic Cube. This win came when he tricked Captain Marvel into creating a shield to protect Earth because of the threat of alien invasion. When she arrived, he used a massive shield to trap her on the outside of Earth, essentially rendering the god-like superhero useless.
Captain America ain’t called the best strategic mind in history for no reason. Unlike Iron Man who tried to take on Captain Marvel 1v1, Captain America used his wits to render all her power useless. It’s chess, not checkers people.
Some might see this fight as a loss, but to me, it stands for everything that makes Cap a winner. He went head to head with Thanos, who was fully armed with the Infinity Gauntlet, and although the Mad Titan obliterates his shield in the process, Captain America never stops fighting. He knows he’ll die if he keeps going, and still, he gets up and clocks Thanos right in the face. It shows everything that Cap stands for and shows Thanos that he isn’t going to win his war easily.
Thanos is probably the biggest bad Cap has ever faced and still, he just refused to give any ground. Proud? Yes. Stupid? Possibly, but it’s what makes him such an endearing superhero.
Although Iron Man has won a fight or two, it’s generally Steve Rogers that comes out on top. The first victory against Iron Man was when Iron Man mistakes Captain America as the villain The Chameleon, who was one of Spider-Man’s first foes. The fight is an intense one. Iron Man has one serious weakness in that he needs to recharge, and as we all know by now, thanks to the MCU movies, Cap can do this all day. The fight is a quick one, but it’s clear that he has Iron Man against the ropes before cleverly escaping his ally before any more damage can be done.
See also: Iron Man Suits Guide
Who Would Win in a Fight?
Luckily, this question isn’t hypothetical here, as the two have fought on many occasions, with each taking a handful of victories in the process.
How Could Iron Man Win?
Iron Man has bested Cap on a few occasions, and the way he does it is by using his scientific brilliance in the process. During their most brutal fight during the Civil War storyline, Iron Man tells Steve that his efforts are useless because his suit has recorded every punch he’s ever thrown and knows what move he’s going to make even before he makes it. This makes the fight a quick and brutal one where Iron Man delivers a bloody beatdown on the ever-resilient Captain America.
The way Iron Man generally comes out of these fights victorious is by careful planning and strategic use of long-range combat. He knows that Cap can block anything he throws at him via the use of his shield and also knows that his suit can’t last forever on one charge, so his wins have generally come during fast-paced fights where he can incapacitate him quickly.
How Could Captain America Win?
On the occasions that Captain America has beaten Iron Man, it generally comes by him outlasting Iron Man or coming up with a strategy to take advantage of his technology. One of their earliest fights has him coming out on top against Iron Man thanks to him outlasting the charge of Iron Man’s suit, and it’s a strategy like that that allows Cap to win some of these bouts.
Captain America has nothing close to the arsenal Iron Man has, but he outlasts Tony Stark on many occasions thanks to his grit and brilliant tactics on the battlefield. He often uses his shield to deflect Iron Man’s attacks, leaving him open to engaging in melee, and although Iron Man’s armor is powerful, Cap’s lack of care for his body when fighting lets him put his full force into every punch, especially when he’s fighting for what he believes in.
Cap is a beast when it comes to melee combat, so I can see how Steve might get the upper edge here especially if he could dismantle some of Iron Man’s highest tech
Both of these Superheros have gathered their share of wins against each other throughout the years, so the winner is really up to you to decide. Their most brutal affair and a true testament to each are unwillingness to back down took place during the Final Incursion plot, where reality was ending all around them. Captain America started fighting with Iron Man, preventing him from escaping fate on one of the life rafts, and the two beat the hell out of each other as existence ended all around them. It was a tragic and powerful moment in the comics that showed the two fighting till the very end.
Did you know that Iron Man is not the only one to don the Iron Man suit? Arno Stark has also worn the costume in the Iron Man 2020 storyline. Apart from him, Riri Williams, a 15-year-old girl, has also worn the suit, although she went by the name of Ironheart instead.
Did you know that Iron Man is now technically a god in the comics? After bathing in the Power Cosmic, he is now technically a god. He wields otherworldly power now mixed with his already advanced technology to create Iron God, although whether he s a hero or not is something that remains to be seen.
See also: Iron Man Universe Guide
Did you know that Captain America isn’t the only one to wear the suit? John Walker took up the mantle for a time before ultimately becoming U.S. Agent. Sam Wilson has also been Captain America and is currently the one to don the name in the MCU.
Did you know that Captain America turned evil at one point? Due to the power of the Cosmic Cube, Cap was brainwashed and turned into a HYDRA champion. He went on to help them take over the entire world in one of the most brutal and disturbing storylines that Marvel has dared to do.
Question: Is Captain America stronger than Iron Man?
Answer: Physically yes, but Iron Man has access to tons of technology that evens the playing field.
Question: Has Iron Man ever died?
Answer: Following a battle with Captain Marvel, Iron Man’s body dies, but his mind is uploaded into a cloned body to continue.
Question: Who replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America?
Answer: Sam Wilson replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America.
Iron Man and Captain America are two of the most important heroes in the Marvel universe, and the two leaders of the Avengers have so much in common despite always seeming to clash heads in recent years. Their battles are far from over, so keep on reading to see what might come next.