Pop culture hills I would die on: Iron Man is a better superhero than Batman

People love using the phrase “that’s like comparing apples to oranges” when they try to defend a less superior item in a well-mannered comparison. 

In the comic book world, the apples and oranges mentioned are Marvel and D.C. Universes. The simple truth is: fruit can be compared and so can comic books, superheroes and multi-billion dollar franchised “universes” and film companies. 

While I’m more knowledgeable on the Marvel Universe, I grew up watching much of the Batman adaptations on cassette tapes in front of my VCR – George Clooney’s Batman (although not the best) is what sparked my love for superheroes, graphic novels and comic book universes. There’s no doubt that Robert Pattinson’s adaptation will make up for George Clooney’s acting. 

While stuck in quarantine for the first couple months, I decided to spend much of my time critically researching all of the universal homologs between D.C. and Marvel comic characters, i.e. rewatching the entire Batman trilogy with Christian Bale and all of the Marvel movies in chronological order (not by release date but by the universe’s order). 

To say D.C. and Marvel cannot be compared would mean that one has failed to see all of the universal parallels in each character – I mean apples and oranges are still grown under the same sky right? 

Where there’s Alfred, there’s Jarvis, the Joker and Loki, Robin and Bucky, Batwing and Falcon, Bane and the Winter Soldier, Catwoman and Black Widow, and lastly Batman and Iron Man – these are just some of the cinematic parallels, I’m certain there’s more that haven’t even been brought to the cinematic surface. 

While looking very bleakly at the known basics of the two characters, both Iron Man (Tony Stark) and Batman (Bruce Wayne) are strikingly similar in ways that they are orphaned billionaire philanthropists slash inventors who take crime and wrongdoings into their own hands – with a big ego too. They weren’t born with their own superpowers or weren’t given some sort of biological injection that made them the heroes they turned out to be. They made inventions, built their own armors and used science and technology to fuel the power they use to save their respected cities and universes. 

Bruce Wayne came to be Batman after an incident in his childhood after witnessing the murder of his parents – Thomas and Martha Wayne, at a young age he sought to seek vengeance on criminals, metaphorically chasing after the man that killed his parents. 

Tony Stark became Iron Man a little later in his life, after he suffered a life threatening chest injury during an explosion and kidnapping. While he was held captive, he invented an iron suit that not only kept the shrapnel from the explosion away from his heart, but also led to his escape. Tony’s parents, Howard and Maria were killed in a car accident when Tony was a teenager. 

Both men inherited a fortune from their parent’s enterprises and companies when they died. Wayne Enterprise was a multi-national research and development company that studied and developed power plants, factories and labor units around Gotham that was mainly used for industrial purposes. Stark Industries was also known to be an industrial company and the largest tech conglomerate in the world used to create and invent defense, aerospace and security technologies. 

Both men were orphaned and grew up to be intelligent billionaire philanthropists, inventors, and even scientists, but the debate is – who’s the better superhero? 

Tony Stark and Iron Man are ultimately better than Bruce Wayne and Batman. 

To me – Bruce Wayne’s Batman is an over glorified vigilante. Yes, he saves Gotham and a few million people a couple times but it seems like he just does most of the clean up work for the Gotham police department. I mean – the police department literally puts out a signal whenever they need his help. 

Bruce Wayne invents and architects the Batcave, a cool car and many other little inventions but not like Tony Stark did. Lucius Fox single handedly invented and improved most of what Bruce Wayne used to capture and fight the villains he did – he was most of the brains behind Batman. But needless to say, Batman does have unrelinquishing sense of motivation.  

Tony Stark on the other hand, his suit can vouch for the argument itself. It’s powered by an arc reactor – it’s a harnesser of clean energy (whatever that means) – but a battery of some sort. It not only keeps Stark alive, but it allows him to do things that are not human in any way like power repulsor blasts, house weapon machinery, allow him to fly at the speed of a fighter jet while also keeping track of his biological functions and mechanical usage. While it’s a suit and a piece of weaponry that does run on battery, it seems as though Iron Man does not run out of gadgets and improvisations. 

Not only is Stark’s armor and tactical defenses and offenses more advanced than Wayne’s but theoretically speaking, Stark is much more intelligent than Wayne. Bruce Wayne’s education is definitely top tier — he went to an ivy league school but Stark could most likely be the most intelligent Earth-born man in any comic universe. A few of his successes could be summed up by saying he earned a few degrees at MIT by age 19, discovered a new element and particle, successfully created a source for clean and renewable energy and also perfected time travel. 

In a battle between the two – what would definitely help Batman succeed is his physical combat. He’s trained in so many different kinds of martial arts and physical combat and is in very good physical shape – Tony Stark for much of his heroic life did suffer from severe heart conditions. If both were defenseless without any sort of technological machinery, Batman would have the advantage. 

Batman also has the upper hand in anonymity, Bruce Wayne is not openly Batman while Tony Stark is world-wide known to be Iron Man. If the two universes were to ever collide, Stark would see Wayne as an entrepreneur, a fellow business competitor, not as some intelligent and relentless superhero while Wayne would be aware of Stark’s side gig. But yet again, Batman only comes out at night, the battle between Iron Man and Batman would have to be very discreet or it can’t happen at all. 

Maybe I’m a little bit biased, maybe I’m influenced over the fact that – I don’t know – Stark snapped and saved the entire world from vanishing off the face of the Earth. But the parallels between Stark and Wayne are there, and they are there for a reason – to be compared. 

I’m no comic book expert but when looking at the intelligence level, the technological advancements, the villains and challenges and even the armor – my last words before Thanos could snap me away would be: “I am… certain that Tony Stark and Iron Man are better in every way than Bruce Wayne and Batman.”