Private planes, yachts, weekend jaunts in Europe, champagne wishes and caviar dreams. It is a life of privilege enjoyed by few of us (possibly due to the large sums of money we so generously donate to our local comic shops every week). But this is the life enjoyed by two of comicdom’s most prominent heroes and most eligible bachelors: Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark.
In both cases, behind the façade of snobbery and elitism lies the heart of a true hero. These two billionaire playboys lead double lives as members of the superhero elite and the similarities between the two are striking: brilliant minds, astonishing gadgetry and advanced weaponry that would make any country’s military drool with envy. But today’s argument doesn’t lie attempt to determine which hero is better or who would win in a fight; today we compare the men behind the masks. Who has the more enviable alter ego?
The son of a billionaire surgeon and philantrophist, Bruce Wayne inherited the Wayne family fortune when his parents murder left him orphaned at an early age. This event led to Bruce dedicating his life toward the eradication of crime and eventually adopting the costumed persona of Batman. To the world at large though, Bruce Wayne is a spoiled socialite living off of a fortune he did nothing to earn. Often acting dim-witted and self-absorbed, Bruce furthers this false front by consuming copius amounts of alcohol (actually harmless ginger ale) and maintaing at least one bubble-headed bimbo on his arm at all times. Essentially, Bruce Wayne is the Scott Disick of the DC Universe. And yes, we’re embarrased that we even know that guys name.
On the more positive side, Bruce is also known for his charity work. The Wayne Foundation tackles a variety of social problems and assists victims in ways that Wayne’s alter ego of Batman cannot. It also acts as a holding company for the Thomas and Martha Wayne Foundations, which provide free clinics, schools, orphanages and soup kitches throughout Gotham City and even into Blüdhaven. So even if you don’t like his partying lifestyle, you gotta respect the good the man does for the world.
Tony Stark makes you feel, he’s a cool exec with a heart of steel. An industrialist playboy and genius-level engineer, Tony Stark inherited his father’s company when both parents died in a car crash. An adventurer, inventor, CEO, ladies man and former Secretary of Defense, Tony Stark was a weapons manufacturer for years until a change of heart (including a piece of shrapnel lodged in his heart) led him to become a costumed hero.
Back to that ladies man part… Pepper Potts, Maria Hill, Black Widow, Madame Masque and She-Hulk are all among Tony’s conquests along with various celebrities and even a few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. And in the ultimate slash fiction sexcapade, a recently discovered alternate reality version of Tony Stark (Earth 3490, to be exact) was a female named Natasha Stark who was romantically involved with that universe’s Captain America. So yeah, Tony’s slept with pretty much everybody.
Oh yeah, and he’s an alcoholic. Which isn’t really all that cool, especially when he’s wearing a suit of armor that could take out a battleship. But at least the guy gets to relax with a drink now and again.
What Bruce Wayne pretends to be, Tony Stark actually is. While he’s definitely slowed down a bit in recent years and quit drinking completely, Tony is still living the good life: bedding beautiful women and driving fast cars while Bruce Wayne spends all his time brooding and wondering how he can ditch the beautiful blonde he came to the party with so he can hang out with a young boy in tights. When Bruce is hanging out on rooftops in the rain or cataloging his friends’ powers in case they turn evil, Tony is (or at least, was) getting drunk on expensive booze and doing lines with Wonder Man in the bathroom of a ritzy club.
Sure, Bruce had had his share of loves including Silver St. Cloud, Talia al Ghul, Vicki Vale and in his costumed identity, Catwoman, but these are always tortured romances that never end well. Tony Stark might be a shallow womanizer and a drug addict, but at least the guy enjoys himself. And if you still have your doubts, we’ve got two words for you: She-Hulk. Don’t act like you haven’t thought about it. In the Marvel Universe locker room, that move gets you the ultimate high-five.
What would you rather have: Billions of dollars, a sweet costume and emotional baggage that a lifetime of therapy couldn’t resolve or billions of dollars, a sweet costume and a lifetime of partying? The bottom line is, Bruce Wayne can’t beat Tony Stark because Bruce Wayne doesn’t exist. It’s all a façade that exists only to serve the higher purpose of Batman’s war on crime while the only purpose Tony Stark serves is gettin’ high.
Stark for the win!