Since a while now I have been brooding over this very question: Batman or Iron Man? Who is the ultimate .., wait, what really are they? They aren’t superheroes, they have no super powers of their own. All of their abilities stem from being brilliant billionaires who have figured out how to use science and technology to their own advantages in order to help humanity. In many ways they are more similar than different, and maybe that is why the Geekverse has always been obsessed with trying to figure out who is the mightier of them both, or at least I have been.
After hours or rather days of mulling over this question I have concluded that I have to side with Batman. Mind you, I do adore Iron Man, and there is nothing but undying admiration for him, but somehow Batman tops him by at least a couple of notches.
To begin with, Batman has the classic troubled childhood which leads to him being traumatised in a way that created Batman. His need to fight crime and make Gotham city safe so that no child is left an orphan in a back alley ever again tugs at your heartstrings in a way that makes it difficult to not feel a little more for him. His cause is nothing if not noble and selfless, which has to count for something. Agreed, Iron Man created his ‘suit’ under dire circumstances when he was kidnapped and stuck in a cave somewhere deep in a hostile environment, but that story is not as heartfelt as Batman’s is.
Another notch in Batman’s favour can be described in one word: Batmobile. Man, have you seen the things that magnificent vehicle can do? Yes, I know, it is still cannot fly or reach outer space like Iron Man’s suit can, but isn’t this very aspect of the suit that lead to Iron Man suffering from PTSD as a result of the encounter with the ‘black hole’ in New York? And of course, Batman can fly; short distances, yes, but he still can without the help of something that has to have back-up battery to function properly.
Batman functions in secrecy, he has trust issues, and that is why he has no one but his trusted butler who has known him since before he was born. Whereas, Iron Man has A.I. for a butler, has complete disregard for his safety, and goes about blurting out his home address to the world. I am not mocking him in any way; in fact I do believe that Iron Man is quite noble himself as he created the Iron Soldier for the US army. That is proof of his selflessness; however, he does have a penchant for nursing his borderline narcissistic personality.
Iron Man is of course Marvel’s undisputed knight in shining armour (quite literally) and he deserves being so, however, there are some things that dark and secretive does better than shinny and in-your-face. And that is why Batman wins in comparison to Iron Man; by a small margin, but he does!