Captain America may not be a rich super genius with a high-tech power suit, but here’s how he could still defeat Iron Man in one-on-one combat.
As founding members of the Avengers, Captain America and Iron Man have a long and storied history as allies, friends, and even enemies. Rogers and Stark have strong personalities and opinions and have butted heads battled each other on multiple occasions. As much as the two rely on one another, it seems they’re always destined to come into conflict.
Just lihe Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain America: Civil War did not give a definitive answer to who’d win in a battle, the comics have not declared who is the superior fighter. Captain America possesses peak human strength, durability, and stamina and is a hardened battle-ready soldier who knows how to use tactics, strategy, and old fashioned fisticuffs to his advantage. Stark is a super-genius inventor with billions of dollars at his disposal—and access to high-tech suits that allow him to trade blows with the likes of Hulk, Thor, and Sentry, as well as survive nuclear explosions at point-blank range. On paper, Iron Man has the clear cut advantage, and Cap would likely suffer in closed-quarters combat due to Iron Man’s superior strength and durability.
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It should be noted that Cap is not only a master of battle tactics, but holds a mastery of martial arts that far surpasses Tony’s. One could argue that Steve’s fighting advantage is negligible compared to Tony’s overwhelming force, but that would be doing Cap a disservice. Captain America has pulled off superhuman feats via his combat prowess. He combines his martial arts mastery with his gymnastic skills to create a unique fighting style and compensate for his strengths and weaknesses. Captain America’s fighting skill has allowed him to defeat Tony Masters, the Taskmaster, who possesses a photographic memory so great he can instantaneously learn his opponent’s fighting style.
Even though Iron Man’s armor can take nuclear explosions and it allows him to survive blows from the Sentry, Cap has his own arsenal he can employ. He typically carries a utility belt with a host of items, including a first-aid kit and multiple grenade-types. Besides that, Captain America’s suit, while not as durable as Iron Man’s armor, can take quite a beating and is bulletproof. Then there’s Captain America’s iconic shield, which doubles as both an offensive and defensive weapon. Cap’s shield is unique, in that it’s a combination of Vibranium and Proto-Adamantium, the latter a material that has never been duplicated. The shield is so tough it’s allowed him to defend against blows from the likes of Hulk and Thor without even losing his footing or being pushed back. Not only could Cap’s shield protect him from Iron Man’s weaponry, it could deliver critical damage to Tony’s suit if it strikes a vulnerable area.
Of course Stark’s suit employs a plethora of weapons including smart missiles, magnetism, and various beams and lasers. But ironically Cap has access to his own Stark-designed exo-suit, which he’s used on numerous occasions. He’s also one of the few people with access to Iron Man’s armory as shown in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers #44. But the coup de grâce is the fact that Steve is worthy of wielding Thor’s hammer, which would certainly make a dent in Tony’s armor.
If all else fails, perhaps Cap’s greatest strength is the fundamental difference between his and Tony’s personalities. Captain America possesses an indomitable will, no matter how hard you hit him he’ll keep coming back for more if he believes he’s fighting for what’s right. During the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, Cap alone strode up to Thanos while the latter wielded the power of the Infinity Gems. Cap is also an inspiring figure who can rally people to his cause. So if all else fails, Captain America would be able to assemble an army of heroes to go up against Iron Man.
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