Superheroes have all sorts of superpowers. Some are big, some are strong, some are fast – and some are just flat-out brilliant. That is the case with Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, who has no superpowers of his own, per se, but he has the brain to develop the biggest, strongest, and fastest suits of armor man has ever seen. But, just how fast can Iron Man go, and how does he compare to other epic fast superheroes? Let’s find out!
How fast is Iron Man (MCU & comics)?
Tony Stark is one of the fan-favorite superheroes that exploded in popularity after Robert Downey Jr. took on the role of Iron Man in 2008. The ‘genius billionaire playboy philanthropist’ never had superpowers of his own but had the brains that could go up to par with any super-genius you could find on Earth.
Tony uses his intelligence to constantly try to improve newer models of his Iron Suits. Each model is specifically designed to do a certain type of task. For instance, the Hulkbuster suit was specifically designed for incredible physical power so that it’d be able to fight the Hulk.
On the other hand, some MCU Iron Suits – such as Mark XL (Mark 40) from ‘Iron Man 3’ – were designed to achieve incredible speeds. The Mark XL suit was described within the JARVIS Application as such: ‘High Velocity Suit Upgrade. Optimized for extreme velocities, extended flight missions, and capable of achieving speeds in excess of Mach 5.’
For those unaware, Mach 1 equals the speed of sound, which is roughly 1235 kph, or 767 mph. That means that Tony’s Mark XL suit could go well over 3836 mph (Mach 5) and probably even over 4000 mph (6437 kph). That’s the fastest MCU Iron Suit for which we actually have numbers.
However, according to some fan calculations on Reddit, it seems that the Mark 50 suit from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ could crush that speed effortlessly, especially with the special booster device below the feet thrusters. It was calculated that this version of the Iron Suit could potentially reach around 17000 mph (27358 kph), or a staggering Mach 22.
Take that last bit with a grain of salt because it was never explicitly stated – rather, it was calculated by Iron Man’s ability to reach low Earth orbit as an SSTO (single-stage-to-orbit) vehicle.
Now, in the comics, almost every regular modern Iron Suit can reach upwards of Mach 3 speeds fairly effortlessly, as you can see in the scan below, where Iron Man wears his Model 29 suit.
That being said, it’s nowhere near the top speed that some of Iron Man’s suits can reach. Even that very same armor – known as the Extremis suit – has reached incredible speeds of Mach 8.7, which is roughly 6675 mph (10742 kph).
That’s basically the fastest we’ve seen Iron Man travel within an atmosphere. In space, however, his Model 45 Space Iron Suit broke those speeds with flying colors. In ‘Iron Man: Fatal Frontier Infinite Comic’ #1, we learn that Model 45 has two speeds – sub-warp speed, exceeding Mach 10 (7672 mph, or 12346 kph), and warp speed – which is approximately the speed of light.
If you don’t think that is insane, then how about this – recently, one of his Iron Suits was able to reach orbital escape velocities, which is around 5 miles per second, or 18000 mph (29868 kph), or an insane Mach 23.45. And that’s within an atmosphere, escaping an orbit. In space, a Mark 42 suit was capable of literally escaping a black hole when pushed to its limits.
To conclude, Iron Man’s speed in the comics varies based on which suit he’s using at the given moment. Also, his maximum speed keeps changing as Tony invents and upgrades new Iron Suit models. Therefore, his base speed is around Mach 3, but he can reach up to a staggering Mach 23 when escaping an orbit or even warp speed when in outer space.
How does that compare to other fast superheroes?
Other non-superpowered heroes are no match for Tony Stark’s speed
The Avengers have several non-superpowered individuals within their ranks, like Hawkeye, Black Widow, the Falcon, or even War Machine. And yet – none of them come even remotely close to Iron Man’s speed.
Hawkeye and Black Widow are superheroes, but they focus exclusively on peak physical conditioning and incredible skill. That means they can probably run as fast as an Olympic athlete, but still, only a human-level speed.
The Falcon – now known as the new Captain America – could use his mechanical wings to reach awesome speeds – according to the ‘Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z’ #4, the Falcon’s jet-powered wings could propel him at speeds up to 250 mph (402 kph), which is still only Mach 0.32.
Not even War Machine – whose suits were carefully designed by Iron Man himself – can reach such unfathomable speeds as Tony can. As his suits focus more on heavy artillery and firepower than speed, War Machine’s classic suit can reach up to Mach 2 speeds, which is around 1535 mph (2470 kph). That’s insanely fast, but it can’t even graze Iron Man.
Iron Man leaves Captain America and Spider-Man in the dust
Captain America is awesome – I mean, Steve Rogers has to be the most likable guy in history. He has incredible powers due to his Super Soldier Serum enhancements, and he can easily run as fast as 60 mph (96 kph). We know that, as he had stated, Cap is able to run a mile in a little over a minute.
That being said, he could probably push himself even further. He was once able to move into the crosshairs of a bullet from a revolver that travels at about Mach 1 speed.
One can consider that to be Cap’s top speed in very short bursts – but even then, it’s nothing compared to Iron Man.
As for Spider-Man, his speed is incredibly hard to determine. He can usually reach top speeds when swinging at about 700 mph (1126 kph), which is just below Mach 1 speeds. His unique bodily composition allows him to do so without physical harm to his body.
On the other hand, we’ve seen versions of Spider-Man in both the comics and movies (Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, to be precise) that can easily dodge a hail of bullets, but more impressively – he dodged lightning, moving at light speed. That doesn’t mean he can run as fast, but he has lightning-fast reflexes and can move at lightning-fast outbursts.
Still, we’ve seen Iron Man outmaneuver Spidey even in close proximity (Iron Man Vol. 4 #14), which isn’t the norm, but it did happen. In terms of reflexes, Spidey is still faster than any Iron Suit, but in a top-speed race, he couldn’t really come near Iron Man.
The three mightiest Avengers would leave Stark in the dust
Now, if we’re comparing Iron Man to the three mightiest Avengers – the Hulk, Thor, and Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers – he’ll be left in the dust like a kid on a bike racing a jet.
The Hulk is known for his unlimited strength, but people don’t seem to realize that he also has unlimited speed. You see, the angrier Hulk gets, the stronger he is, going up to unlimited levels. He uses his strength to propel himself and runs at about 300 mph (482 kph) at his basic, normal levels.
However, in ‘Incredible Hulk Vol. 1’ #175, he was able to easily defeat Quicksilver – one of Marvel’s most famous speedsters. The Hulk’s speed is limited only to the strength of the ground beneath him. Seeing that he uses his strength to propel himself, should the Hulk move at incredible, speed-of-light velocities that he’s capable of, the ground beneath him would crumble.
As for Thor and Captain Marvel, both were shown multiple times to be able to move well over the speed of light, so there’s really no point in comparing them to Tony. Iron Man is fast, but this game has levels, and Thor and Carol are simply on a few levels above.
Could Iron Man actually beat Quicksilver in a race?
Yes, he could! Well, at least some versions of Quicksilver. In the comics, Marvel’s designated speedster runs at about Mach 5 speeds but can even reach Mach 10, or 7672 mph (12348 kph). That’s something that Iron Man could potentially beat.
However, he could never, ever touch Quicksilver’s major feats, like running at the speed of 1500 miles per second. Yes, per second.
That equates to about 5400000 mph (8690458 kph), or an unfathomable Mach 7038. Theories suggest that Quicksilver could potentially outrun the speed of light, but it would depend on the version of the character. In any case, he’d destroy Iron Man in a race.
The designated DC speedsters would crush Iron Man in a race
Finally, what if we took Tony Stark and put him in a race against the top speedsters of the rival DC Comics – the Flash and Superman? Well, it’s a no-contest here.
Supes and Flash have raced each other a number of times, and Superman was able to keep up almost every time – even win in some cases. Meaning he can travel way, way faster than the speed of light. However, the Flash is not just fast – he IS speed personified.
Some of his feats are nearly immeasurable, and he can move at speeds that are millions, billions, or trillions of times faster than the speed of light. Even if you want to play the game of ‘who can think faster’ – the Flash said he was capable of perceiving events that are less than a single attosecond long.
To put that into perspective, the tiniest fraction of time that humans were ever able to measure is twelve attoseconds. I mean, even the Flash’s brain is faster than Iron Man. Sorry, Tony, but you’re out of your league here.
Now you know everything about Iron Man’s speed and how it compares to other fast superheroes. He may lose to some of them, but they’ll never have what Tony Stark has – and that’s being the coolest guy in the room anywhere he goes.
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