Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is kind of like Marvel’s Golden Boy. Despite his awesome abilities and powers, Cap is as morally sound as they get, and he always aims to use his powers to protect while dealing minimal harm to the opponent. However, there was a time when he couldn’t rely on his powers anymore, so Tony Stark built him his own Iron Suit. The question is, how strong was Captain America’s Iron Suit compared to other Stark Suits?
Captain America’s Iron Suit first appeared in Captain America #438 in 1995 when Steve was left 95% paralyzed. Tony Stark tailored the suit to Cap’s needs and preferences, maximizing efficiency while minimizing the damage dealt. Durability-wise, it’s as strong as any other Iron Suit, but damage-wise, it’s a lot more ‘tranquil.’
It wasn’t as such because Tony wanted to make Steve’s suit weaker but because he wanted to honor Captain America’s fighting style and morals in combat. There were also several other Cap suits throughout Marvel Comics, so let’s explore them in more detail.
When & where did Captain America get an Iron Suit?
The first time we’ve seen Captain America get an Iron Suit was in ‘Captain America’ #438 in 1995. During this time, Captain America’s body started developing an illness caused by the Super-Soldier Serum. It started as mild cramps, then muscle spasms and seizures, but over time, it made Cap slowly lose control of his body, especially during physical exertion.
That’s exactly what happened during a fight between King Cobra and Mr. Hyde – he managed to fend off his foes, but as he tried to move King Cobra out of harm’s way, the over-exertion caused Cap to suffer a catastrophic heart attack. He was paralyzed over 95% of his body when he woke up.
Not only did it mean that he couldn’t be the beloved hero anymore, but he was too close to death. That’s when Tony Stark focused his energy on creating the first-ever Captain America Iron Suit.
Seeing that Steve was almost completely paralyzed, he needed to have movement sensors surgically implanted into his body to be able to control the suit. They have done so, and it allowed Captain America to continue being a hero we all knew and loved. Not only could Steve move again – for the first time in his career, he could also fly!
We saw Cap don the Iron Suit – which basically looked exactly like his old suit, only metallic – for about five issues, until in ‘Captain America’ #443, he learned a dire fact that none of us wanted to hear.
The Black Crow revealed to Steve that, although the Iron Suit allowed him to move, it did nothing to actually cure him of his illness. Rogers’ heart was still deteriorating, and by the time Cap found that out, he had only about 24 hours before his heart would stop forever.
Instead of continuing to fight, Cap used the time to make amends where he could and to say goodbye to friends he could see that day. Cap returned to the Avengers Compound to rest and die in peace in his last hours. Jarvis found his body and called upon the other Avengers to come, but his body was nowhere to be found before they could arrive.
As it turned out, Red Skull stole his body and held it in suspended animation until he could transplant his one bone marrow and blood into Steve – because, during that time in Marvel Comics, Red Skull was actually Steve Rogers’ clone. Cap survived that way, but his Iron suit hadn’t been seen again for almost two decades.
The return of Captain America’s Iron Suit
We hadn’t seen Cap’s Iron Suit again until 2014, when the ‘World War Hate’ event took place. Doctor Doom and Scarlet Witch performed a spell that essentially inverted the universe, making the heroes the villains and vice versa.
Steve was already aging at the time, and the Super-Soldier serum had no effect on him anymore. On the other hand, the Red Skull became White Skull as a result of the spell – a reformed, good version of the infamous villain. Meanwhile, the Avengers were the ones to turn bad, so Cap made a drastic decision.
He again put on the Iron Suit in a final bid to protect the White Skull from the crazed Avengers. This all happened in ‘Avengers & X-Men: AXIS’ #8, and Cap’s Iron Suit was never seen again after being damaged in a fight between Cap and his old partner, the Falcon.
How strong is Captain America’s Iron Suit?
Iron Man usually doesn’t care about his ‘blast power’ or ‘damage control’ – in fact, he aims to maximize the power of his suits as much as possible. However, he tailored Cap’s Iron Suit to match his own style and needs – maximizing efficiency but limiting damage dealt.
So, Cap’s Iron Suit had Mylex Shrouds, designed to trap opponents instead of hurting them. Instead of rocket launchers, it was packed with anti-missiles designed only to destroy incoming projectiles. Instead of hand cannons, Cap’s suit had compressed air cannons, and instead of energy beams, it projected distortion beams designed to cause vertigo and disorient enemies.
It also included Cap’s signature shield and allowed Captain America to fly. It wasn’t as robust as some other Iron suits to allow Captain America’s agile and acrobatic fighting style to flourish. Still, it was just as durable and full of useful hidden gadgets as any other Iron Suit Stark has ever made.
It was a super strong suit that allowed Cap to accomplish features he never could before – like the ability to fly – but how does it compare to other Iron Suits?
How does Captain America’s Iron Suit compare to other Iron Man Suits?
Although Captain America’s Iron Suit was incredibly well put together, bearing in mind Cap’s preferences and fighting style, it’s still hard to compare it to Iron Man’s other armors. As I’ve mentioned, Iron Man doesn’t shy away from making his Iron Suits as deadly and powerful as he can.
On the other hand, Cap’s Iron Suit was designed to minimize damage dealt and instead focused on apprehending the opponent and stopping them without causing too much harm.
It still had all the benefits of other Iron Man Suits, like useful gadgets, incredible durability, flight, etc., but if you’re asking which Iron Suit was deadlier – Captain America’s or any other Iron Man Suit – the answer would be the latter, no matter which type you choose.
That isn’t slander, nor does it mean that Tony Stark deliberately made Captain America’s Iron Suit weaker to make himself stronger. He did what every friend would do – he honored Cap’s legacy and ethics, making an armor specifically designed for him and his particular skills and abilities. I doubt Cap would even want to wear it if it were any deadlier.
Is there another version of Captain America’s Iron Suit?
Although this was the first Captain America Iron Suit we’ve ever seen, it wasn’t the only one. In fact, I can think of two more right off the top of my head.
The first one appeared in Marvel’s Animated Universe that was coming out in the 2010s. It included shows like ‘Ultimate Spider-Man,’ ‘Avengers Assemble,’ ‘Hulk,’ and the ‘Agents of S.M.A.S.H.’
All the plots took place in the Earth-12041 universe, which is the designated name of this particular Marvel Animated Universe, as per the ‘Secret Wars: Official Guide to the Marvel Multiverse’ #1.
Due to the technological complexity of the time, Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, designed a special Iron Suit for Steve Rogers and presented it in ‘Avengers Assemble’ Season 1 Episode 6. He wanted Cap to be able to adapt to the advanced technology of their era, but Cap dismissed the idea before ever trying out the Suit.
He said that it would only slow him down in fights and that machinery could never replace human intuition. Tony claimed he was afraid of new technology, and although Steve never admitted it, we can all agree that it is probably the case. I mean, waking up after being frozen for 70 years, missing the most rapid technological advancement in human history, is kind of scary, right?
The next Captain America Iron Suit came in the ‘Avengers: Tech-On’ storyline from 2021-2022. In it, all the Avengers lost their superpowers due to Red Skull’s strange new power that allowed him to strip heroes of their powers after fighting Thanos.
Luckily, Tony Stark was still a team member, so he designed a special Iron Suit for every Avenger, tailor-made to amplify their previous powers and skills. Hence, Captain America also got his own Tech-On Iron Suit, and the team became the Iron Avengers.
Their suits all had the classic arm cannons, could fly, etc., along with hero-specific add-ons, like Cap’s signature shield. I guess when push comes to shove, even Cap can accept the fact that they need advanced technology to keep serving and protecting the world.
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