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Who Is Richer: Iron Man Or Batman?

Being rich is almost as much of a must-have for a superhero's backstory as having dead parents. After all, only the most wealthy and affluent people in society are the ones with access to the materials, methods, and free time that are required to play the part. There are notable exceptions, of course. Spider-Man is generally dirt poor, for instance. But if you don't have superpowers, then wealth and intelligence are typically your only avenues toward becoming a superhero. In those regards, two superheroes stand above the rest. In Marvel's camp, Iron Man stands as the epitome of what inherited wealth and extraordinary genius can accomplish. Meanwhile, DC's Batman takes the cake in terms of financial and mental power.

Both of these characters are two of the most celebrated superheroes of all time, but even they are not exempt from the great comic book conflict between Marvel and DC heroes. Now, it might be fair to say that Iron Man beats out Batman in terms of intelligence — at least, in terms of scientific intelligence. Batman, meanwhile, is generally more well-rounded than any other hero. However, it's unclear which billionaire hero has more actual dollar signs behind their name. Thus, we need to look at each of their business ventures and purchases to finally answer this important question: who's richer, Iron Man or Batman?

Now, before we jump into analyzing these characters' monetary worth, it's prudent to point out that the business experts at Forbes have already run some of the numbers on this currency-driven conflict. In the publication's "Fictional 15" article from 2013, Forbes ranked Tony Stark as the 4th wealthiest character in all of fiction. In total, his estimated $12.4 billion fortune outshines Bruce Wayne's by $3.4 billion. However, Forbes neglects to go into the specifics. As such, it seems as though further analysis is required to either confirm or deny this estimation.

How much does Tony make from Stark Industries?

Tony Stark's main source of revenue is doubtlessly his family-owned company, Stark Industries. One of the Marvel world's leaders in technological innovation, the company has developed Disintegrator Rays, Anti-Gravity Rays, Jet-Powered Roller Skates, and much more (via Marvel Wiki). Now, while all of the money that went into developing these innovations probably isn't from Tony's personal accounts, the amount of money made through the companies and governments that purchase these expensive creations are sure to keep Tony rolling in dough.

Looking at some of Tony's personal expenses, the playboy billionaire philanthropist has owned precisely eight different opulent mansions across the Marvel timeline. If you combine that with all of the money he spent on personal projects (like the ludicrously expensive army of Iron Man suits) and the 20-something Stark subsidiaries that have come and gone over the years, then Tony is constantly both spending and earning millions on a regular basis.

How much does Bruce make from Wayne Enterprises?

In "stark" contrast to Stark Industries, Wayne Enterprises is much more of a chameleon. In other words, Bruce and his family have done a better job at diversifying their company's investments. They aren't just focused on technology (though that is their main focus), but also healthcare, trade, manufacturing, and several philanthropic foundations for arts and science (via Batman Wiki). In theory, this approach would give Wayne Enterprises more sources of revenue. At the same time, however, it prevents them from allocating all of their resources onto a single focus.

In terms of personal expenses, it seems as though Bruce is much more reserved than Tony. His career as Batman doesn't always require quite as much money as Tony's time as Iron Man. After all, a fully-equipped military-grade mech suit is probably a lot more expensive to build and maintain than some armor-laden spandex and a few handheld gadgets. Furthermore, Bruce doesn't have as many properties or personal expenses as Tony. After all, he only has one mansion — Wayne Manner.

So, who really is richer?

At the end of the day, Forbes is probably correct in its estimation that Tony has a bigger bank vault. Though it could be argued that Batman is investing and earning back more through his company, and simply doesn't spend as much money as Iron Man, Tony's near-constant expenditures in modifying his more intricate superhero tools indicate that he might have more disposable income.

It should also be noted that both of these two invest heavily into their respective superhero groups. That being said, S.H.I.E.L.D, the Avengers, and the Justice League all have multiple millionaires throwing their fortunes into the pile. Even with Bruce Wayne's massive fortune, it's hard to imagine that he paid for that Justice League satellite all by himself.

In the end, however, it probably doesn't matter how rich either of these heroes are. Like their abilities and tools, Tony and Bruce's fortunes are story elements that vary across stories, universes, and writers. For instance, assuming that Forbes' estimated $9 billion is an accurate representation of Bruce Wayne's fortune, that could easily change in a single issue. A single line of dialogue about "WayneTech's newest profitable venture" is all it takes to bump that number up to the tens-of-billions. Therefore, in practice, Tony and Bruce both actually have infinite sums of money. More accurately, they have precisely as much as the writer needs to tell their story — and that makes us, the audience, the richest ones of all.