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Side-by-Side: Captain America or Iron Man?

by Bailey Weber and Kyle Harper

In this issue, Bailey Weber and Kyle Harper debate which Marvel superhero is better: Iron Man or Captain America.

Captain America Until the End of the Line
by Bailey Weber

Captain America is the best Marvel superhero hands down. Steve Rogers is a humble soldier who wants the best for his country. Rogers will fight enemies to keep residents of the United States safe, even if those enemies are his old friends. 

Captain America arguably has the best origin story. He grew up as a small boy in Brooklyn, N.Y. and always wanted to be in the military. Even though Rogers knew he was unable to join the Army, he still tried to enlist. He was what America wanted a man to be, just too small. 

Once he was approved for the super soldier program, Rogers went all in. He got injected with the serum, became the face of America, and began to travel while asking men to enlist in the war. All in all, he was the best candidate they could have asked for. 

Captain America is also better than Iron Man because he is humble. Rogers cares for the well being of everyone around him. He hates hurting others, even when it’s necessary. 

In “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Cap fought his childhood best friend, Bucky Barnes, who was turned into a Hydra super soldier. Rogers even thought about killing Barnes to save those in danger. But even then, he hesitated. 

In the Marvel comics, Captain America became “Nomad” at one point because he disagreed with the direction America was going. He made this known by removing himself from American propaganda. He felt like it was a step in the right direction in America seeing the problems they were creating. 

Captain America is better than Iron Man because he has heart. Tony Stark is a self-centered, rich man who only cares for himself. Yes, he has cool gadgets, but care for others is the most important aspect of a superhero. 

Tony Stark: The Hero of a Generation
by Kyle Harper

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” breaks down the idea of what would happen if Captain America and Iron Man battled for leadership of the Avengers. While an intense battle breaks out, and Cap appears to leave with the upper hand (with the help from Bucky Barnes), I think Iron Man is a more developed character than his patriotic counterpart.

First, let’s talk about the obvious. Iron Man’s intelligence far exceeds Captain America’s. This doesn’t mean Captain America is just a mindless strongman, but Stark’s feats are mind-blowing. Stark created hundreds of Iron Man suits and even started using nanotechnology to power the suit. Stark also created JARVIS, a gauntlet to hold the Infinity Stones, and a time machine.

Additionally, Iron Man evolves more as a hero and as a person. Stark starts as a jerk in the MCU, and has to battle his physical and mental demons to overcome them. He eventually starts to value love, friendship, and family. In the end, he sacrifices everything to save the world.

It can be argued that Captain America had these qualities to begin with, which I do agree with. However, that also makes Cap a slightly flatter character than Iron Man. 

If Captain America is already perfect, what more needs developing? The dynamics of how Captain America works with other Avengers is interesting, but he individually struggles as a character. 

Tony Stark grows into a character that everyone loves. He has a hero’s journey, and through this, grows through the eyes of his audience and presents himself as a more thorough character.

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