Magneto vs Iron Man seems like one of those match-ups just thought up for a laugh because the outcome would be so incredibly predictable. However, these two have fought before and the winner wasn’t who you might expect.
That said, there may have been some shenanigans going on behind the scene that drove the outcome of that fight. In any case, let’s take a look at the powers, abilities, and skills of these two characters and see who would win in a 100% fair Iron Man vs Magneto fight.
Magneto vs Iron Man: Does Iron Man stand a chance?
Bio: Magneto (Max Eisenhardt)
Magneto’s real name and origin story have been retconned many times over the years. First, he was a Polish Jew named Magnus, then Erik Lehnsherr, and now a German Jew named Max Eisenhardt. (FUN FACT: Eisen means “iron” in German. So yeah, Marvel just couldn’t resist using another magnetism/metal pun with Magneto’s latest name retcon.) In any case, Magneto suffered horribly during the Holocaust as a child and the trauma would shape the man he would become. Fortunately, he was able to escape Auschwitz with his girlfriend Magda and flee the country. Ultimately they ended up in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, and had a daughter named Anya.
Things were looking pretty good for Max until his boss tried to cheat him out of money, causing his mutant powers to activate for the first time and subconsciously hurl a crowbar at him – a fighting style he would come to fully embrace much later. Returning to the inn where his family was staying he found the building on fire and used his new power to save his wife. However, before Max could save his daughter his boss showed up with some thugs and beat him to a pulp. Enraged at the death of his daughter, Max once again subconsciously used his powers, this time incinerating the entire village and everyone in it except for his wife. Terrified, Magda called Max a monster and fled while Max collapsed from exhaustion. Later, Max would be attacked by soldiers while trying to bury his daughter. This would mark the first time he decisively used his powers to kill.
Years later Max would end up working alongside Professor Charles Xavier at a psychiatric hospital in Israel to help Holocaust victims. Max and Charles became close friends but disagreed heavily on the issue of the place of mutants in society. Charles believed that mutants and humans could live together in peace. Max, his heart hardened by his experience in Nazi Germany, believed that humans would commit mass genocide against mutants unless mutants subjugated them first. Upon revealing their powers to one another to save a mutual friend from the terrorist group Hydra, Max left and wasn’t heard from in years.
Max would eventually return and become the X-Men’s first villain using the name Magneto. He would repeatedly try to either conquer the world or create a nation only for mutants. However, Magneto would always fail either due to the intervention of Xavier and the X-Men or other superheroes looking to uphold the status quo at all costs.
After many years of feuding with one another, Magneto and Xavier would eventually come to an agreement and create a nation for mutants on the living island of Krakoa. Despite literally murdering countless people in the past to achieve his goals of world domination, Magneto now served on the Quiet Council of Krakoa and was no longer seen as a mutant rights extremist/terrorist but instead held up as a hero of mutant-kind.
Bio: Iron Man (Anthony Edward Stark)
Tony was born to two shield agents, his father being a Hydra spy. Upon the death of his father, his mother put him up for adoption and he was taken in by the rich industrialist Howard Stark whose wife had trouble with pregnancy. While his adoptive mother was kind to him, Howard was an abusive alcoholic and Tony got the worst of it.
At the age of 21, Tony’s parents would die in a car crash and he became the CEO of Stark Industries. However, despite being a genius, Tony would spend his time womanizing and thrill-seeking since both these things are extremely easy to get into when you’re the son of a billionaire. Also, he had a tendency to get bored easily.
During a weapons test in the fictional nation of Siancong, an accident left Tony with shrapnel lodged in his chest. To make matters worse, he was kidnapped by terrorists and forced to build them a weapon. Thinking on his feet, Tony created his first Iron Man suit and escaped with the help of helicopter pilot James Rhodes who would later become the superhero War Machine and Tony’s best friend.
After getting into a battle with some terrorists who tried to blow up a tennis match, Tony decided to become a superhero named Iron Man. He had many adventures over the years and was even a founding member of the Avengers despite being kind of a douche. He was a major figure in the superhero Civil War and fought on the side in favor of the Superhero Registration Act.
In his latest adventure, Tony achieved godhood to defeat an android named Korvac. Renouncing his godhood and convincing Korvac to do the same, he defeated the android in a battle of wills. However, before Korvac killed himself, he beat Tony so badly that the playboy had to be hospitalized and developed a morphine addiction which forced him into drug rehab.
Magneto: Powers & Abilities
Most people misunderstand Magneto’s power set, including many of the writers at Marvel apparently. Magneto doesn’t just control ferrous magnetism, he controls the entire electromagnetic spectrum and even has several powers that can’t be explained by magnetokenisis or electromagnetic manipulation. Here is a quick rundown of Magneto’s impressive power set:
- Magnetic Force Fields/Armor
- Magnetic Rays/Beams
- Geomagnetic Link
- Gravity Reduction/Cancellation
- Metal/Matter Manipulation
- Organic Iron Manipulation
- Electromagnetic Sight
- Electromagnetic Spectrum Manipulation
- Portal Creation
- Astral Projection
- Telepathic Resistance
- Superhuman reflexes
- Genius Intelligence
- Skilled Combatant
- Indominable Will
Having been created to fight entire teams of superheroes by himself, Magneto wields near limitless god-like magnetic powers. His most commonly used abilities are his protective force fields, flight, and manipulation of metal objects to hurl at his opponents.
Magneto can do far more than just toss around metal though. He can manipulate the iron in a person’s blood to insta-kill them if he wants and can release area-of-effect energy attacks that can incinerate everyone in the vicinity. Magneto can also use an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) to disable all electronic devices across the entire globe. Theoretically, Magneto could even manipulate the Earth’s magnetic field to let the sun scorch the planet dry if he wanted.
On top of these amazing abilities, Magneto has a few weird ones that don’t seem to fit or make any sense. For one, he can create warp portals between two points. Another weird power is his ability to lessen or negate gravity entirely even though this isn’t how gravity or magnets works. Some of the writers at Marvel must be ICP fans.
Iron Man: Powers & Abilities
Tony Stark has many different Iron Man armors each with different powers that allow him to do anything the plot needs him to do. Joking aside, this “on-demand” approach to superpowers makes Tony one of the most versatile superheroes in all of comics and beyond. Here is a list of his powers taking into account his many armors:
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Speed
- Superhuman Durability
- Power Cell System
- Energy Absorption/Recharge
- Life Support System/Environmental Protection
- Onboard Computer
- Sensory Array
- Override System
- Crystallized Armor Structure
- Energy Shield
- Various Beam Attacks
- Pulse Bolts
- Energy Blade
- Smart Missiles
- Hyper-Velocity Impact
- Plasma Discharge
- Telepathic Microscopic Tasers
- Telepathy Inhibitor
- Genius Intellect
Like many superheroes, Iron Man has the standard superhuman strength, speed, and durability. This makes him great in a brawl with other bruisers and a serious threat to characters without any sort of physical enhancement. Also, being able to fly is a huge tactical advantage against anyone who can’t.
Iron Man’s main form of offense comes in the form of his beam attacks. Most notable are his repulsor rays in his gauntlets and his uni-beam in his chest. He also has smart missiles to take down enemies that are good at dodging and a long-range pulse barrage for when he needs an attack with high penetration outside of the bedroom. Iron Man also has an energy blade for when he wants to engage in melee combat though he’s not exactly an expert swordsman by any means.
As far as defense goes, Iron Man has an incredibly durable energy shield. Even at just 2%, it could withstand the force of a nuclear explosion. The structure of Tony’s armor is also crystalline in nature, making it incredibly flexible but also amazingly hard to damage as well.
The Iron Man armors also have several other handy features such as sensory arrays to track multiple streams of battle data and an onboard computer that allows Tony to interpret that data quickly and easily. This allows him to make intelligent strategic decisions on the fly. He also has built-in countermeasures against opponents that use telepathy and magnetism.
On top of all of this, Tony’s Iron Man armor has a “limit break” ability called Override. This ability literally overrides the armor’s safety systems to make it up to 5000% more powerful. However, this does come at great risk since the further the suit is pushed past its limits, the faster it will burn out and shut down effectively rendering it an inescapable metal coffin.
Lastly, let’s talk about the power source of Iron Man’s armor – the Power Cell system. This system allows the armor to run off of multiple power sources instead of relying on just one. An on-board generator allows the suit to absorb both solar and beta particles for fuel in addition to standard electrical batteries. Newer models also have Repulsor Tech generators. Basically what this means is that Tony’s suits can’t be disabled by someone trying to affect their power source with electromagnetism or with an EMP.
Magneto’s greatest weakness is that even though his electromagnetic powers are limitless in theory, they are held back by his physical condition. In other words, the more exhausted or injured he becomes, the harder it is to use his powers. In fact, the more he uses his powers the greater the strain on his body. Thankfully in the comics, Magneto had his youth restored by an alien during the Phoenix Saga so he isn’t as limited as he is in other forms of media where he’s an old man.
Another semi-weakness is the fact that Magneto seems to lack creativity in combat. Either that or he’s just really lazy or so powerful that he doesn’t need to be creative most of the time. In any case, his favorite tactic is creating a force field around himself and then just hurling metal objects at his opponents. This is extremely effective most of the time since he can hurl metal at hypersonic speeds but doesn’t even scratch the surface of what he’s truly capable of. On rare occasions, Magneto will rub two brain cells together and come up with a new strategy – like the time he used the iron in the blood of a physically invincible mutant named Pauly to hurl him into the upper atmosphere to suffocate him.
Lastly, Magneto’s attempts to reason with his opponents can be a weakness as well. While he is definitely a good example of the “unfettered” trope since he’ll do literally anything to accomplish his goals regardless of morality, Magneto is always trying to convert his enemies to his way of thinking. Because of this, he tends to hold back in combat because he would rather get others to join him rather than kill them which he sees as a waste of potential. This tendency to hold back his true power has caused him to lose many battles, especially against the X-Men whom he has always been desperate to recruit just so he can rub it in Professor Xavier’s face.
Iron Man: Weaknesses
While Iron Man has an extremely versatile power set thanks to his many armors, he obviously can’t use every armor all at once. This means that his power set will be limited by what armor he is currently wearing. Yes, he can have a new armor delivered to him, but it will take time to arrive.
Like Magneto, Iron Man seems to lack creativity in combat and relies on very simplistic tactics. In most cases, Iron Man will either shoot at enemies with his beam attacks or hurl himself at them like a battering ram. Occasionally he will do something different if the situation calls for it, but he really does seem to like sticking to the basics.
Iron Man vs Magneto: Who Would Win in a Fight
So, you’re probably thinking that this fight would be over in a split second since you’ve got a guy in a metal suit going up against the Master of Magnetism. However, as mentioned before, Iron Man has developed countermeasures to deal with opponents that use magnetism. Before that, let’s talk about the fact that these two have clashed before and how that turned out.
In the past, Magneto has straight-up one-shotted Iron Man as you would expect. However, in their most recent battle, Iron Man came out on top. This was done by using a suit made of nanocarbon tubes instead of metal and a healthy amount of plot armor. You see, this battle took place in 2012 when Iron Man was one of the most popular characters in the MCU. And as we all know, popularity = plot armor. Just ask Batman.
Anyway, the suit made it so that Magneto could only affect the fillings in Tony’s teeth. Why didn’t Tony have them removed before the fight? Why didn’t Magneto just launch them into his brain? Because comic books. Regardless of these logical inconsistencies, the battle culminated with both characters drawing on the magnetic fields of distant planets in an attempt to overpower one another in an almost anime-like showdown. However, the Pheonix Force destroyed a planet that Magneto was drawing power from causing him to lose focus and get KOed by Iron Man.
So, back to the main question at hand, who would win in a fight? Well, the fight would probably go something like Magneto forming a forcefield and hurling metal at Iron Man while trying to convince Tony to join his cause. Tony would probably hang back shooting beams at Magneto and protecting himself with his energy shield until he gathered enough data for his onboard computer to come up with a better plan. In any case, the battle would be a stalemate since both combatants have very high defensive abilities.
However, this stalemate would come to a quick end when Magneto decides to get serious. Since the 2012 battle showed us that the nanocarbon suit can’t stop Magneto’s power from affecting Tony inside it, he could just manipulate the iron in the billionaire playboy’s blood to give him an aneurysm and one-shot him on the spot.
Magneto could also pick up a win using his other unusual powers. For example, he could sense the electromagnetic field of a nearby black hole and use his portals to teleport Iron Man into it where he’ll be spaghettified in its infinite gravity well.
Speaking of space, flying on Earth is much different than in a zero gravity environment. This being the case, Magneto could negate gravity to make it virtually impossible for Iron Man to maneuver correctly if he isn’t already wearing a suit made for a zero-g environment. This would leave him unable to dodge any of Magneto’s attacks and make him a sitting duck.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “that’s great and all, but what about prep time?” Yes, Tony may have learned his lesson in the 2012 battle and may have gotten smart enough to create a suit that completely keeps Magneto’s power from reaching him. However, if Tony gets prep time then so does Magneto. This means that Magneto can charge up to inhuman levels by channeling the power of multiple planets so that he can start the fight at full god-like power.
At this point, Iron Man wouldn’t be able to harm Magneto in any way even if he used Override. Meanwhile, Magneto could hurl entire mountains at Iron Man or even snatch up nuclear arsenals to throw at him. Sure, Magneto’s physical limitations may limit the amount of time he can spend in god-mode but it would certainly be longer than Iron Man can spend in Override giving him more than enough time to take Tony down.
Alright, time for the final verdict. As you can probably guess, we’re giving the win to Magneto. He is a character that was created to fight entire teams of superheroes so there is no way someone like Iron Man could ever beat him one v one without massive amounts of plot armor.
Honestly, Tony’s best chance at survival would be to exploit Magneto’s tendency to try and convert enemies into followers. If he pretended to take Magneto’s spiel about mutant superiority seriously, he could take Max out to a fancy restaurant, hit up an exclusive club, and do all the other fun stuff that only rich people can afford like polo and racecar driving. Then again, being exposed to this kind of lifestyle might just make Magneto want to conquer the world even more but for less idealistic reasons.