Gallivanting Billionare Single-Elimination Championship Showdown: Iron Man vs. Green Arrow
Name: Iron Man
Origin Story: Anthony “Tony” Stark, wealthy industrialist, endures a severe heart injury, builds himself an armored suit powered by a mechanical chest plate. Decides to use his money and brains for forces of good.
Costume: Red and gold impenetrable metal — oooh, so shiny!
Coolest Power/Ability: In the suit, Stark can fly, tremendously amplify his natural strength, employ computer technology within the helmet, emit power blasts through his palms.
Defining Stories: The Stan Lee/Larry Lieber-writ, Jack Kirby/Don Heck-drawn silver age initial stories in Tales of Suspense from 1968. The Mark Millar-authored “Civil War” storyline, a 2006-7 limited-series “event.” Invincible Iron Man, a run begun in 2008 from writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvator Larroca, brought a new sophistication to both the dialogue and action.
Cultural legacy: Combined at least four pulp hero clichés into one archetype — the billionaire/playboy/inventor/alcoholic — and emerged a symbol of American capitalism redeemed. He began life as an anti-Communist Cold Warrior who over the decades hardened into the staunch supporter of the “Superhuman Registration Act,” a stance that put him at odds with, among others, Captain America, thus out-patriotizing the comics’ ultimate patriot. In film, is portrayed by arguably the most fleet, witty actor to don a super-hero costume, Robert Downey, and has arguably the slinkiest assistant of all assistants, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts. —Ken Tucker
Name: Green Arrow
Origin Story: Oliver Queen, billionaire archer with progressive leanings, and a quiver full of trick arrows. Became a great archer after being isolated on a deserted island; returned to civilization with determination to use his bow and his bucks for the forces of good.
Costume: Green, the better to blend into the forest a la Robin Hood. Speaking of hoods — has one, plus an eye mask.
Coolest Power/Ability: Deadly aim and a limitless imagination for special arrows, including a boxing-glove arrow, a buzz-saw arrow, and a grappling-hook arrow. (We won’t mention the bubble-gum arrow or the fountain-pen arrow, the latter a personal fave of EW scribes.)
Defining Stories: The brief but kinetic 1950s run drawn by Jack Kirby. The early-70s stories drawn by Neal Adams and written by Dennis O’Neal that paired Green Arrow with Green Lantern, explored GA’s liberal political leanings and featured then-daring storylines about social injustice and the heroin addiction of his boy-wonder pal Speedy. The 2006 Green Arrow: Year One series retold his origin and reemphasized GA’s roots as a wealthy social activist.
Cultural legacy: Did more to redeem archery as something more than a minor Olympics event than anyone since Robin Hood. And yes, we’re looking at you, Hawkeye. —Ken Tucker