Franchise favorites Batman and Iron Man of the DC Brothers and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, respectively, are characters that have a tendency to evoke the raw passion and devotion of the audience and rightfully so: they are essentially human with no innate superpowers and yet have established themselves as forces of good with nothing but the behemoth of fortune their parents left them to fund their fight against dark, sometimes inter-galactic forces. Take that and top it off with tons of wit, will and a kind heart, and fans would go to war for them, with no regards whatsoever for the fact that they are only an extension of fiction. Well, a common subject of debate, if not war, that has fans scratching their heads is over the question: who is wealthier? Broody Bruce or Quippy Tony? To answer this question, we need to take a look at each of their business ventures and personal purchases.

Fortunately, business experts at Forbes have provided a possible starting point in the form of the Forbes Fictional 15, a list from Forbes business magazine that listed the 15 richest people in fiction produced between 2002 to 2013. In this publication, Tony Stark was ranked as the 4th wealthiest character in all of fiction with a total estimated fortune of $12.4 billion which outshines Bruce Wayne's by $9.2 billion. However, it is imperative we dive into specifics in order to put this conflict into a certain rest.

Tony Stark & Stark Industries

The majority of Iron Man’s income undoubtedly comes from his family-owned company, Stark Industries, an American global defence, aerospace and advanced security technologies corporation with comprehensive concerns. Tony owes his position at the company to his father Howard Stark and did justice to his father’s legacy by developing cutting-edge technologies like Disintegrator Rays, Anti-Gravity Rays, Observer Missiles, etc. Obviously, these high-tech innovations do not come cheap. Now while Tony may not have personally funded them, the revenue obtained from the purchase of these expensive creations by governments and private enterprises certainly keep Tony’s silver spoon from corroding.

The “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist,” under his suit of armour, has owned exactly eight different lavish mansions across his time. Besides, building and maintaining an absurdly expensive army of gold-titanium nano-tech Iron Man suits, and the monetary flow from numerous Stark subsidiaries, indicate that not only is Tony spending millions constantly but also earning millions consistently. Thus, we may extrapolate that Iron Man has more disposable income.

Bruce Wayne & Wayne Enterprises

As the CEO of Wayne Enterprises, the biggest industry in the DC world, this playboy billionaire funds his vigilantism by way of his feats as a businessman. Like Tony, Bruce also inherited his position from his father. However, his corporation’s investments are considerably more diverse than Tony’s: although its main focus is technology, Wayne Enterprises also invests in healthcare, trade, manufacturing, and several philanthropic foundations for arts and sciences. So, technically, Batman has more sources of revenue, but allocation of the whole of his resources onto a single focus remains unaccomplished.

As for personal expenses, other than buying banks for his buddy Superman, Batman  doesn't spend remotely as much money as Iron Man. After all, a fully-equipped military-grade mech suit trumps an armour-laden spandex, a few bewildering gadgets like the Batarang and the much-coveted Batmobile. Moreover, while he flaunts a gallery of expensive cars and motorcycles and an infamous cache of equipment, gadgets, and gear, Bruce doesn't have as many properties as Tony, other than one mansion: the Wayne Manor.

This comparative study leads us to the conclusion that Forbes is not wrong in its estimation that Tony Stark’s net worth of $12.4 billion is higher than that of Bruce Wayne. It must be noted nonetheless, that this battle of billionaires is but narrowly won assuming that their fortunes might vary with their writers’ choice and whatever they need to tell their story. At the end of the day, therefore, it doesn't quite matter how wealthy either of these superheroes are because just like their tools and abilities, Iron Man and Batman’s prosperities are only transient elements which tend to diverge under different writers and universes. 

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