Two of Marvel’s best-known heroes and here we have them in our article. Iron Man and Captain America are two pillars of Marvel’s superhero comics, each of them playing a pivotal role in the evolution of superhero comic books. In today’s article, we at Fiction Horizon have decided to finally settle the score and reveal which of the two heroes is stronger. They fought in Civil War, and it was brutal, but we’ll give you more details on what they can or cannot do in the paragraphs that follow. Enjoy!
Despite the outcomes in the comics, Iron Man is simply stronger than Captain America. His suits are exceptionally strong and they make him much more powerful than Captain America, giving him some powers that Cap can’t really deal with. This is why Iron Man would win this fight from an objective standpoint.
Our comparison is going to be divided into three sections. The first is going to bring an overview of the two characters, after which we are going to compare their powers, including their signature weapons. Finally, we’re going to bring you a detailed analysis of the two characters to determine which one would win in a direct clash.
Captain America and his powers
Captain America, whose real name is Steven Grant “Steve” Rogers, is a fictional comic book character created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in 1941 for Timely Comics, which later became Marvel Comics. Initially created as a propaganda character during the Second World War, “Cap” was immediately a great success (the first issue of the series sold almost a million copies and the following ones remained on these levels, surpassing magazines such as Time) and became the publisher’s most popular character.
His popularity dropped after the war, which led to his in-universe disappearance for several years, until he was reinvented as a proper superhero, without any propaganda elements.
During the Second World War, the young Steve Rogers wanted to enlist to serve his homeland in war. Discarded on the draft visit due to his frail physique, he was allowed to participate in a secret experiment called “Project: Rebirth”, aimed at creating an army of super soldiers. Through a chemical preparation made by Dr. Abraham Erskine, Rogers’ physical and mental condition was enormously developed.
The death of the inventor of the trial, killed by an infiltrated Nazi spy, meant that Steve Rogers remained the only person to take advantage of the benefits of the super soldier serum, thus becoming a unique specimen. Enlisted for secret missions beyond enemy lines, the meek Steve Rogers thus became Captain America, wearing a stars and stripes costume that explicitly resembled the American flag.
Initially, he was provided with a triangular-rectangle shield always in theme with his uniform, but later he replaced it with a circular one, practically indestructible, given to him by President Roosevelt himself. Steve learned to use the shield as a defense and attack weapon, which soon became the symbol of the hero all over the world.
As a symbol to counter the rise of the Hitler Youth, the government gave him a young “sidekick” named James Buchanan Barnes, better known as Bucky. Towards the end of the war, Cap and Bucky travel to Great Britain to stop Baron Zemo, a Nazi scientist who is there with the task of bombing London by a V2; the two heroes are unable to prevent it from taking off but launch in pursuit: the plane explodes while it was flying over the English Channel, and Cap crashes into the sea trying to divert its course, while Bucky dies in the explosion.
In the sixties Steve Rogers comes back to life thanks to the involuntary help of Namor who, still furious with the Avengers after the defeat suffered by allying with the Hulk, goes to the Arctic Ocean, where he finds Eskimos bowing in front of a block of ice, believing it to be a totem pole.
Namor, who considers the gesture outrageous, becomes furious and throws the iceberg away. The block begins to thaw under the effect of the hot currents, revealing a man inside in a state of suspended animation.
Giant-Man manages to grab the man and drag him into the Avengers submarine, where they identify him as Captain America, surviving thanks to the super soldier’s serum, which had prevented the crystallization of organic fluids. Steve Rogers thus becomes part of the group of heroes, of which he becomes one of the recognized leaders.
Iron Man and his powers
Iron Man is the superhero alter ego of one Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark, American billionaire, playboy, and inventor. Iron Man was collectively created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby in 1963, debuting in the comic book Tales of Suspense #39. Iron Man is a superhero from the Marvel fictional universe, known also as one of the first and best-known members of the Avengers.
Tony Stark was born as the son of industrialist Howard Stark and his wife, Maria. He was a wunderkind, entering MIT at the age of 15 and later receiving a master’s degree in engineering and physics. While he was still young, his parents died in a traffic accident, so Tony inherited his father’s company.
Initially, Iron Man was a way for Marvel to approach Cold War topics, especially the comparison of American, capitalist technology with Soviet, communist worldviews. When the Cold War ended, Iron Man became less of a political character and more of a modern superhero character.
The Iron Man suit was actually an invention of Stark’s, who is a genius engineer and inventor. On one occasion, he was kidnapped and sustained a severe chest injury. The kidnappers wanted him to build a weapon of mass destruction, which he refused and instead built a suit for himself to escape. Thus, Iron Man was born, but Tony Stark never wanted to stop with the first suit. He has constantly upgraded and improved his suits, creating enhanced versions every now and then.
Tony Stark was initially secretive about his superhero identity, but at one point he decided to go against the general comic book rule that states that the superhero should never reveal his or her name as to spare their family, friends, and others. Namely, Tony Stark decided to reveal to the whole world – not just Pepper Potts and James Rhodes – that he was actually Iron Man, which was a bold and very important moment in the history of American comics.
As for Iron Man’s appearances in derivative material, he has appeared in all forms – movies, animation, and video games – since he is one of the pillars of Marvel’s expanded universe. The most notable interpretation of Iron Man is Robert Downey Jr.’s from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Comparing the powers of Captain America and Iron Man
Our second section will contain a comparison of the two characters’ powers. It won’t be a direct comparison as much as a listing of their powers abilities, which is going to serve as a basis for our analysis in section three of our article. Now, let us begin.
Firstly, Captain America’s battle experience and training make him an expert tactician and an excellent field commander, as his teammates frequently respect his orders in battle. Rogers’ senses and reflexes are remarkably keen. He has mixed Aikido, Boxing, Judo, Karate, Jujutsu, Kickboxing, and gymnastics in his own unique fighting style and is a master of multiple martial arts.
Years of practice with his nearly indestructible shield allow him to aim and throw it with near-unerring precision. His ability with his shield is such that he can attack multiple targets in succession with a single throw or even trigger a boomerang, such as a return of a throw to attack an enemy from behind. Instead, other skilled combatants regard him as one of the best melee combatants in the Marvel Universe, limited only by his human physique.
Although the super soldier’s serum is an important part of his strength, Rogers has shown himself still capable enough against stronger opponents, even when the serum has been deactivated reverting him to his pre-Captain America physique.
On the other hand, we have to state that Tony Stark is a genius-level engineer and inventor. Stark has, for the most part, invented and built everything himself; he knows how to design and build different machines, including Iron Man suits, weapons, computers, and even A.I., all of which he has built over the years. It is exactly these Iron Man suits that have made him so powerful. Namely, Stark has a suit for almost every occasion and every type of opponent, which gives him the necessary diversity to go along with the bulked-up technology of his suits.
As far as his knowledge goes, Tony Stark is somewhat “limited” in that aspect. He knows physics and mechanics, but outside of that – he doesn’t really know that much. This doesn’t mean he’s ignorant – on the contrary – but the extent of his knowledge is far more limited when compared to other characters, like Batman or even Spider-Man.
Before we continue, let us see how the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010) compares the two characters:
Iron ManCaptain AmericaIntelligence6/73/7Strength2-6/73/7Speed2-5/72/7Durability1-6/73/7Energy Projection1-6/71/7Fighting Skills4/76/7
Captain America vs Iron Man: Who would win?
And now for the most important and interesting section of our article – the analysis. Here, we are going to use what we have found out about these two characters and analyze how all these facts would (or would not) help them in a fight against each other. Let us continue.
Most people perceive this rivalry through their epic clash from the Civil War storyline. In the comic book, after an exhausting battle, Captain America ultimately managed to defeat Iron Man, but decided to spare his life as he still considered him an ally. Yet, if you analyze this from an objective standpoint, this victory seems more like a writer’s decision (or an editor’s decision) than a logical development.
Why do we think so? Well, if you look at what Iron Man is capable of and how powerful he can become with his suits, you really do wonder what Captain America can do there? Okay, sure, the guy is strong, very strong-willed, and doesn’t give up easily, but can that really help him in a battle against Iron Man? Strictly speaking – no.
Iron Man can fly, he is physically imposing and has a variety of weapons at his disposal. Captain America, on the other hand, has a shield and can pack a punch. It would take a lot of luck and divine interventions for him to surpass Iron Man in battle and that is why we think that Iron Man would win.
Now, let us answer some additional questions.
In what movie did Captain America and Iron Man fight?
We all know that Captain America and Iron Man ended up on different sides of the law (and politics) in the famous Civil War crossover event in the comics. But, what some might not know is that the storyline was adapted into the 2016 movie titled Captain America: Civil War, directed by the Russo Brothers. The movie, although not a direct adaptation of the comic book story, featured a very similar main premise and was the movie in which Captain America fought Iron Man.
In order for you to fully comprehend what happened in this movie and how different it was from the original comic book, here is a brief synopsis:
1991. HYDRA agents in Siberia awaken Bucky Barnes from his cryogenic sleep and transform him into the Winter Soldier, mentally conditioning him to obey anyone who recites a specific combination of words. Later, Bucky is sent to retrieve a briefcase containing the super soldier’s serum samples from a car, and kills the occupants of the vehicle.
In the present, about a year after the Battle of Sokovia, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson and Wanda Maximoff stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a bioweapon from a lab in Lagos. During the fight Rumlow activates an explosive vest, committing suicide; Wanda limits the explosion, killing several Wakanda volunteers, and increasing the international community’s distrust of the Avengers.
At Avengers headquarters, Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informs the Avengers that the United Nations has entered into the Sokovia Accords, which will establish an international government body to monitor and decide when to ask for the Avengers to intervene.
The team is divided; Tony Stark argues for external oversight as he feels guilty for creating Ultron and the subsequent destruction of Sokovia, while Steve struggles to trust governments and institutions after the fall of SHIELD, and believes the Avengers should be free to decide of their own accord when to intervene.
Unable to convince Rogers, Romanoff travels to Vienna for the ratification of the Accords, but during the conference a bomb kills the king of Wakanda T’Chaka. Security cameras reveal that the bomber is Bucky, and T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, decides to take revenge personally.
Rogers and Wilson track down Barnes in Bucharest and try to protect him from the police and T’Challa; all four are arrested. Jailed in Berlin, Bucky receives a visit from Colonel Helmut Zemo, who uses the HYDRA word combination to unleash his fury. Steve manages to stop Barnes and flees with him along with Sam; after coming to his senses, Bucky reveals that Zemo is responsible for the attacks, who is headed to the Siberian base where he was locked up along with other Winter Soldiers created with the stolen serum who rest in cryogenic sleep.
Rogers and Wilson recruit Wanda, Clint Barton and Scott Lang, while Stark recruits Natasha, T’Challa, James Rhodes, Vision and a young Peter Parker. Iron Man’s team intercepts Captain America and his team at Leipzig-Halle airport, where the two factions clash; during the battle Romanoff decides to let Rogers and Barnes escape, who travel to Siberia to stop Zemo. The rest of their team is captured, while Rhodes is paralyzed in the legs after being inadvertently hit by the Vision beam.
Tony discovers that Zemo is the real perpetrator of the attacks, so he joins Steve and Bucky in Siberia, making a truce with them, without suspecting that he was being followed by T’Challa. The three discover that the other Winter Soldiers have been killed by Zemo, who reveals that he is a Sokovian seeking revenge for the death of his family during the Battle of Sokovia.
Zemo shows them a video from December 1991, in which Howard and Maria Stark, Tony’s parents, are brutally killed by a Barnes who is completely deaf to their pleas. They were therefore the occupants of the vehicle containing the serum. Tony attacks Bucky and, during the fight, Bucky loses his metal arm and lies on the ground. A fierce battle ensues between Rogers and Tony, which ends when Steve deactivates Stark’s armor by destroying its core.
Captain America leaves with Bucky, leaving his shield on the ground. Outside, T’Challa finds Zemo, who, after explaining the reason for his hatred of the Avengers, attempts to commit suicide, but is stopped by T’Challa and handed over to the authorities.
Some time later, Stark gives Rhodes an exoskeleton to help him walk, and meanwhile Rogers makes his companions break out. In Wakanda, Barnes decides to let himself hibernate again thanks to cryogenic sleep until a cure is found for his conditioned brain. In the after-credits scene, Parker tries out a new gadget given to him by Stark.
Who was right in Civil War?
The question of who was right in the Civil War movie depends, really, on your own preferences. It’s down to whether you think that superheroes should be controlled by the government or not. We, at Fiction Horizon, don’t really think that politics should control superheroes, especially if these superheroes function in a proper way, which the Avengers have up to the point. Surely, the Sokovian tragedy raised some issues, especially since you could – in a manner – blame Stark for Ultron, but what should they have done?
The story was presented in such a way that the destruction of Sokovia was inevitable and while one might raise the question of someone’s responsibility, it was really a matter of survival. In that aspect, Captain America seems to be right in this clash of stances, but you cannot really blame Tony Stark for feeling guilty because of Sokovia.
Who won in the movie, Captain America or Iron Man?
There was no decisive winner in the final battle of the movie. Iron Man turned on both Captain America and Bucky. In this epic clash, Bucky ended up losing his robotic arm at the hands of Iron Man, while Captain America, standing by his friend’s side, managed to deactivate Iron Man’s armor, thereby rendering him useless. Captain America then left with Bucky, leaving his shield behind. Captain America won the battle from a purely technical standpoint, but it wasn’t a completely decisive victory. If you want to check it out for yourselves, here is a video of the battle:
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we have given you all the information you were looking for. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!
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