Philanthropists. Geniuses. Heroes. Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne have a lot in common — but these billionaire playboys are about to meet their greatest foes yet: each other.
In anticipation of the release this week of "Iron Man," and "The Dark Knight" soon after, we wanted to know who would win an ultimate showdown between these two comic titans.
Who comes out on top? We break it down by category to find out.
Batman: Bruce Wayne's personal wealth is estimated at $6.8 billion, thanks to Wayne Corp. and a sizeable inheritance.
Iron Man: Tony Stark's wealth, meanwhile, is a comparably paltry $3 billion, almost entirely from Stark Industries.
Verdict: Both numbers come courtesy of Forbes magazine and were determined by pulling random numbers out of thin air. Both combatants are obscenely wealthy and can buy and sell anything they want. Neither faces any limitation.
Batman: Spurred to be a crime-fighter after witnessing his parents' death, Bruce Wayne is motivated by guilt and hatred to clean up the streets of Gotham.
Iron Man: Tony Stark becomes Iron Man after being captured and held as a prisoner of war. A true hero, he selflessly and altruistically decides to better mankind through his technology.
Verdict: As for behavioral modification, any Psych 101 student could tell you that positive reinforcement just doesn't come close to negative reinforcement in terms of knowledge, duration and strength. Iron Man might eventually take pity on you, but Batman will always hate you. In a battle of wills, that counts for something.
Batman: Genius-level intellect, called the world's greatest detective by his enemy Ra's al Ghul.
Iron Man: Genius-level intellect, called the world's greatest "futurist" by fellow superhero Reed Richards.
Verdict: Both are highly capable thinkers, but IQ is a relative measure, not an absolute one. So how do they stack up to their peers? Batman is universally hailed as the smartest man in D.C. Comics, with Lex Luthor his only real competition. Iron Man, by contrast, is at least the fifth or sixth smartest character in the Marvel universe, with Richards, Victor Von Doom, Bruce Banner and Hank Pym all believed to be more intelligent.
Batman: The perfect human specimen, Batman has spent years training himself into peak physical condition. He is proficient in all forms of fighting and a master of martial arts.
Iron Man: Stark's strength comes from his superpower armor, which houses the world's best weapons systems. In addition, the suit grants him preternatural strength and endurance and enables him to fly.
Verdict: In hand-to-hand combat, it's no contest. Stark's armor is so powerful, it might very well swing the entire contest in his favor.
Edge: Iron Man
Iron Man: Jim Rhodes, the superhuman War Machine, who wears a suit of armor that has powers darn close to the one worn by Stark. Stark is also an integral part of the Avengers, and can therefore call upon just about every Marvel hero, from the Fantastic Four to the god Thor.
Batman: Dick Grayson, a prepubescent boy in tights. Most of the rest of the Justice League wouldn't spit on him if he were on fire.
Verdict: If our heroes need to call in some support, Stark wins in a landslide.
Edge: Iron Man
Iron Man: Stark has been known to hit the bottle every once in a while, making him vulnerable at best and unavailable at worst.
Batman: Due to his upbringing and strict moral code, Wayne is unable to trust people and, oftentimes, isn't able to see any good in them at all.
Verdict: Batman's biggest weakness may turn out to be his greatest strength. Because he was unable to trust the Justice League, for instance, he kept dossiers on all the members, learning their secret identities and weaknesses should he ever need to take them down. He investigated Superman. Do we think he wouldn't also have a file on that goody-goody Tony Stark? Stark's weakness, meanwhile, just makes him incorrigible.
Iron Man: In the recent comic miniseries "World War Hulk," Stark took on and was utterly embarrassed by the big green guy. For good measure, the Hulk even destroyed Stark Tower.
Batman: Batman has beaten Superman.
Verdict: Batman beat the Man of Steel. 'Nuff said.
In close combat, and with no preparation, Iron Man would make mince meat out of the Dark Knight with his superior strength. But Batman knows this and would not only then know Stark's weaknesses, but would have a contingency plan to take him down. This plan would probably involve overtaking Stark's armor, making him Batman's slave.
One-on-one, it's not really close: Batman in a landslide.
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