Iron Man and Batman went completely broke in 2022. Here’s why the ultra-rich in comics are penniless, and what that’s a good thing.
Warning: SPOILERS for Invincible Iron Man #1Marvel's Iron Man and DC's Batman are known by fans for being obscenely rich, but both superheroes are currently broke in comics – and this is not necessarily a bad development. Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark's wealth is well-known by fans and casual readers alike, and their tremendous wealth is often a plot point in comics and films. But Invincible Iron Man #1 continues a trend that Batman started: a wealthy superhero with billions of dollars to his name losing it all.
Iron Man and Batman both acquired their wealth through their parents. Thomas and Martha Wayne worked, but they themselves inherited wealth from their own parents (the Waynes have been rich for generations, and Martha was the heir to the Kane Chemical fortune), while Howard Stark was a brilliant inventor who also profited from the war and numerous government contracts. As such, Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark grew up surrounded by wealth and influence, large mansions and powerful people – and while both would eventually become superheroes, neither Bruce nor Tony have felt the pain of hunger, homelessness or lack of access to proper medical care.
In Invincible Iron Man #1, written by Gerry Duggan with art by Juan Frigeri, Iron Man must downsize after a spending spree in which he bought every destructive weapon from a major arms dealing company. While his mission to destroy the company was successful, Iron Man has hardly any money left – and when his home is destroyed in a freak accident, he takes to the streets in despair before ending his sobriety streak, drinking in a pub, and passing out on a pile of garbage bags.
Batman is also no longer a billionaire, though his situation is slightly different. Lucius Fox is now in control of Bruce's fortune, and the government is watching every penny; he can't easily give it back and Bruce can't use it to fund his crimefighting activities. Batman handles losing his billionaires status slightly easier than Iron Man, but the point still stands that two of the richest fictional characters in comics have lost most (if not all) of their wealth. People living in 2022 no longer view billionaires the same way; income inequality and a plunging economy seriously impacts everyone's lives except billionaires, who seemingly refuse to lift a finger to help.
Other rich superheroes are in similar predicaments: Reed Richards and Sue Storm have seemingly left New York after a catastrophe, and the FantastiCar even runs on gasoline now. While Reed does not have the immense wealth as Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark, he still has a considerable fortune. Meanwhile, Iron Man and Batman are broke in 2022 and potentially beyond – and this may allow them to live like almost everyone else in the world.
Next: Robert Pattinson's Batman May Be Canon In James Gunn's New DCU
Joshua Isaak is a Comics Staff Writer for Screenrant and attended New York University. He currently lives in the United States and writes about Marvel, DC, Star Wars and other properties.