Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Death Battle S 02 E 21 Iron Man Vs Lex Luthor

Go To

Technology. It improves our lives, lets you watch cool shows on the internet, and sometimes it can help you to rival gods.

Like with Iron Man, the Armored Avenger. And Lex Luthor, arch-nemesis of Superman.

The forty-sixth episode showcases two of Marvel's and DC's premiere genius businessmen, both of whom are brilliant in and out of battle, coming into the fray with powered armor of their own making. The pair will test an array of adaptable suits against a single powerful make, a genius who uses his intellect to protect mankind from itself against a mastermind who uses his intellect to save mankind from otherwordly forces, for Tony Stark and Lex Luthor will bring nothing but their a-game to establish themselves as the sole survivor of a death battle.


Wizard and Boomstick start off Iron Man's analysis with Howard and Maria Stark, a couple that owned Stark Industries, a huge military technology firm worth roughly $9.3 billion, but were unable to conceive a child, so they enlisted the help of a sentient robot, the Rigellian Recorder 451 to help the couple artifically create a child with a mind geared towards leading humanity to a brighter, technologically prosperous future. The end-result, Arno Stark, wasn't exactly what they desired; matters were not helped by the fact that Arno was the victim of a plot by 451 that would have killed him had Howard not interfered with the process. The owners of Stark Industries had adopted a boy instead, Anthony Edward Stark. While not the prodigy his brother was, Tony was still a genius in his own right, graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the mere age of 19, but was grieved when his parents died as a result of a car crash, leaving him Stark Industries as inheritance. Tony used this newfound fortune to live a life of hedonism and tinkering weapons, further profiting from wars and reveling in it until he went to Afghanistan to demonstrate one of his weapons. There, he fell under attack by local revolutionaries led by Wong-Chu, where some shrapnel hit him in the heart, giving him a week to live at most. Wong-Chu and his henchmen captured Stark and forced him to build weapons lest they leave him without any treatment. But Tony would refuse this ultimatum, and instead built himself a pacemaker to keep his heart going and following this creation, a suit with which he used to fight off Wong-Chu's guerrillas and escape. But trouble would follow Stark even after his return to America, and as such, Stark would dedicate himself and his company to humanitarian causes, aided by his plethora of suits. And thus, Iron Man was born.


The Iron Man suits are numerous and unique, but they all share a few key concepts. Each suit is composed of a gold-titanium alloy, but their appearance belies their power; a given suit can up to a hundred tons and the ability to travel in supersonic speeds. The suits also have an impressive loadout of weapons, such as homing missiles, EMP-generators, and an array of negatively-charged duom concussive blasts, colloquially referred to as "repulsor beams", which can be fired from the suit's palms or chest. Such attacks come standard issue in Stark's Model 13, the Modular Armor, which is also built for adaptability where he can change individual parts at will for a given purpose, including attaching itself to its add-on, the Model 14, better known as the Hulkbuster. Like the name suggests, the Hulkbuster is a huge, bulky powered armor powered with magnetic and hydraulic technologies specifically designed to stand its ground with one of the Marvel Universe's most feared combatants. But more impressive than the Model 13, perhaps even the Model 14, is Iron Man Model 51, the Endo-Sym Armor, composed of liquid symbiotes that harden instantly upon contact, and can also be used to imprison foes and absorb electro-magnetic fields. Its repulsor beams are potent enough to harm meta-humans that can absorb and redirect energy beams. In addition, Stark can also use an artificial A.I. known as JARVISnote  to call on an armada of other Iron Man suits to aid Stark in combat to give him a further edge in combat.


It was through Stark's intellect and his impressive use of technology that he has shown to be capable of competing with among the best of his universe; he survived a blow from Thor's Mjölnir, competently fought Captain America in hand-to-hand, can quickly adapt to the fighting styles of his opponents, and withstand the equivalent force of several nuclear bombs. However, as impressive as any of the suits can be, they can be shown to malfunction in critical moments and drain Stark's energy quickly, leaving Tony in dangerous situations that are not helped through his headstrong demeanor. Such a demeanor has led to a worldwide conflict among superheroes, his angering a phoenix god to the point where it killed Charles Xavier, building and sending an extremely potent bomb into the earth just to see what the core is like in an experiment that did not end well, and struggling with alcoholism for a good deal of his life. But be it problems of his own design, or those of outside forces, Iron Man has taken on countless adversaries and triumphed.

Iron Man: (wordlessly dodges a tank mortar, fires a missile at the tank, and walks away moments before the tank bursts)

Having wrapped up Iron Man's analysis, the hosts then move on to Lex Luthor's, a man able to rival Superman, capable of destroying worlds, surviving supernovas, and traveling faster than the speed of light itself. And yet, the arch-nemesis of the Man of Tomorrow is neither a being from the cosmos nor capable of cosmic feats of his own, but is merely an Earth businessman with a high intellect and cunning, his name, Alexander Joseph "Lex" Luthor. Luthor had his start in Metropolis' Suicide Slums (so named because venturing there is considered suicide), born to abusive parents, Lionel and Letitia Luthor. Through willpower and a willingness to get his hands dirty, Lex engineered his parents' deaths by signing a massive life insurance policy in their names and arranging for a car crash to kill them both, letting him claim his fortune in the form of the insurance policy, with which he left the ghetto and formed LexCorp. Though it was done through shady methods, Lex had overcome his past in the Suicide Slums and led LexCorp to spread its control across Metropolis, virtually able to control the entire city on his own, with every media outlet portraying him in a rather flattering light. This combination of control and public image lent Lex a sense of being unstoppable until Superman stepped in and helped fight Metropolis' battles for them. In Lex's eyes, this was a major problem; with someone to guard it, humanity would, in the businessman's eyes, become weakened and dependent on its savior instead of thriving on its own. Thus, Lex resolved to put Superman out of the picture in any way, intending to rule humanity afterwards.

While Lex's preferred methods of villainy favor his genius strength, playing his foes into unwinnable situations and traps, he also has a Warsuit for occasions that would require intense physical combat. The Warsuit had been forged long ago in Apokalips by another one of Superman's biggest rivals, the alien god Darkseid, and was enhanced further through Lex's own designs. It can fly and has the durability and strength to fight Superman, augmented by a collection of tools that include a robust force field system, gauntlet blades, and Kryptonite-based weaponry. While the suit seems like it may have a vulnerable spot in the form of Lex's armorless head, the aforementioned force field goes so far as to even cover that as well; it merely looks unprotected because Lex would prefer his foes to look at the man who's currently beating them. To cap it all off, Lex also has a massive array of satellites surrounding the planet that he can summon at any time to send a powerful beam towards him, which his suit can gather and concentrate into a ball capable of causing a huge explosion visible from space.

With his suit, Lex is a formidable foe, able to fight Deathstroke, Nightwing, and even Batman himself, all on even footing, impaled Supergirl, snap Brainiac's neck, and dispatch Powergirl in a single move, but that does not mean he's any less vulnerable without it. Without his suit, he also has access to a kryptonite-based steroid which temporarily enables him to be stronger than any human being, and he has survived great falls that no normal human being can survive, such as Gorilla Grodd shooting him though the chest and off a helicopter and landing headfirst on a canyon ground after tumbling down it. Lex is also highly adept at robotics; he once made a lifelike replica of Lois Lane that functioned as both a Sex Bot and war machine and while in prison built a small talking robot that let out a frequency high enough to carve out an escape route on its own. And deviously, he once stole forty cakes when no-one was looking (and that's terrible), which funnily enough, is now canon. All memes aside, Lex's pride and hatred of Superman drives LexCorp's founder to extremes, so much that he outright refused Superman's aid after a satellite crashed into his company, leaving Luthor a bloodied, limbless mess. This arrogant sense of pride and desire to defeat Superman can also be his downfall, such as when he merged with the Zone Child, which granted him infinite power in exchange for not using said powers to kill, but he stubbornly tried using it to kill Supes anyway, which made the power leave him. Nonetheless, when the earth is under threat, Lex Luthor can step in as the savior— and exploiter— of his people.

Lex Luthor: You know what happens when you take on Lex Luthor!? (fires a pistol at a downed Parasite before furiously beating him into the ground) The same thing that's gonna happen to Superman!

Before the match proper begins, Wizard and Boomstick take a moment to advertise the ScrewAttack Gaming Convention, or SGC, a three-day-long convention celebrating all things video game; some of the highlights their rundown feature a reunion between the voice actors of Dragon Ball Z, an array of games, both arcade and console, for its participants to enjoy, and, most relevant of all, an all-new highly requested episode of Death Battle and a panel for the series premiering during the convention. But all of that's for a later day; now, it's time for a death battle!

The scene starts off in a Stark Industries warehouse, where Lex Luthor has just broken his way in, making quick work of the armed guards around the perimeter, all with Tony Stark, busy in his workshop, none the wiser. The heir of Stark Industries, however, is halted from crafting a new suit when JARVIS informs him of this intruder's presence. As Tony gets himself armed for battle, Lex, free to explore the warehouse unopposed, examines a collection of prized possessions in a specific chest, including a series of seven balls with stars on them, a hybrid of a key and a sword with a crown indentation, and an array of crystals lodged inside a clump of dirt. Picking up the crystal, Lex takes a moment to admire his ill-gotten gains before Iron Man comes into the scene and shoots the crystal out of Lex's hand and right back into the chest. While Tony and JARVIS soon devolve into an argument about the ownership of the belongings in the warehouse, Lex takes advantage of the distraction to summon the Warsuit, taking a fighting position and a boast of his superiority for good measure.


Suits red and green charge towards one another, their respective energy blasts colliding; Lex eventually pushes Iron Man away, though Tony needs only a moment to manage a soft landing. Luthor then advances towards the CEO of Stark Industries, his forcefield deflecting the repulsor blasts. Tony is quick to send a barrage of missiles at Lex, but the Warsuit's armor scrambles the Model 13's aiming mechanism, scattering the missiles across the warehouse, several very valuable cars lost in the failed assault. Lex's Warsuit seems impenetrable, the sworn nemesis to the Man of Steel laughing off everything that comes his way. Even a large repulsor beam blast to Lex's presumed unguarded head fails to even sway Lex, who picks up Iron Man and smashes him into the floor before hurtling him into even more possessions; JARVIS, in the meantime, has been trying to hack into the Warsuit, but not without informing Tony of the costs their battle has been taking. The battle picks its pace back up when Lex arms himself with a kryptonite axe and lunges at Tony, who swiftly evades each strike and sends out an EMP, successfully stunning the War Suit leading up to Tony throwing the Batmobile at Lex, whose ease of slicing the vehicle clean in two is matched only by his shock at Tony's possession of it. JARVIS, once again, informs Tony of the Batmobile's exorbitant cost, and as his heads-up display lists off the figures of the various devices housed within the car, Stark is amazed by all the vehicle had to offer. Lex then uses this distraction to his advantage, hurtling a massive crate Iron Man's way, sending the Armored Avenger out of the Stark Industries warehouse.

As LexCorp's founder strides out of the warehouse, he assumes the battle over, but luck is on Stark's side; the crate currently residing atop him carries the Hulkbuster, which Tony wasted no time attaching to the Model 13 before getting back to the fight, promptly shattering the kryptonite axe. The Hulkbuster proves itself a more formidable fighter, being able to trade blows with the Warsuit on melee terms before smashing Lex into a skyscraper then blasting him with a potent repulsor beam. The fight goes skyward, the man in the Warsuit being dragged across the skyscraper, Tony hurling him away with another Repulsor blast for good measure. The two then rush one another and lock into a grab until Lex gains the upper hand, Iron Man having burnt through his battery power quickly. With Lex having restored his force field in the meantime, Iron Man desperately tries to break through the force field assaulting it directly but to no avail. In a last ditch move, Tony orders JARVIS to redirect all the suit's remaining power to hydraulics, finally able to shatter the force field before running out of power. Lex is now primed to finish the fight, calling in his satellite, which sends out a potent beam at him, which Lex concentrates into a great amount of energy, before shooting it at the helpless Iron Man and sending him hurtling into the nearby rubble.

But Tony still has one final surprise in store for Luthor. A series of numerous silver strands fly right past Lex, and into the spot where Iron Man was downed. Stark emerges, now clad in the Endo-Sym Armor, and now meaning business. He turns the tides of battle back in his favor, quickly rushing down Luthor and launching into a heated frenzy that knocks Lex across what remains of the city surrounding the warehouse. Lex musters what energy he can into an orb before hurling it at Tony, but the Model 51 effortlessly absorbs the energy and continues racing towards Luthor. Arno's adopted brother then disables the Warsuit before ripping Lex straight out of it and administering a beatdown, hurtling the man away. The genius billionaire philanthropist playboy wraps up the fight by readying the power on his chest and releasing it all into a huge Unibeam, which captures Lex in its blast and disintegrates him. With the Warsuit the only thing that remains of Luthor, Tony touches down onto the ground, but now has to contend with a call from his secretary, Virginia "Pepper" Potts. Pepper can only wonder what reason JARVIS would have to deposit $5 billion dollars into her account for "property damage", but Tony only insists that he was out jogging as he takes off into the clear blue skies.


As Iron Man deploys the Proton Cannon to atomize what little remains of the Warsuit, Wiz and Boomstick look over the key elements to Tony's victory. Both fighters do indeed possess incredible pieces of technology, but Stark's is the one who was prepared for most anything. Lex Luthor's Warsuit was designed to fight Superman and can trade blows with him, but only because most of the suit's technology was kryptonite-based, which is great against Kryptonians, but does nothing special to anyone else. Also, while the Warsuit is durable enough to handle the kind of blows the Hulkbuster can deliver, even against the very foe it was designed to counter, Lex's creation can only last so long. In addition, Iron Man carries the advantage of being adaptable enough to the situation at hand to change suits, with the Endo-Sym suit in particular able to counter anything in Lex's arsenal. Lastly, Lex employs physical combat as a last resort, while Iron Man had much more experience in conflict and even revels in it. While both men have suits of great power, the odds were stacked too greatly in Stark's favor.

Boomstick: Lex just wasn't suited for this battle.
Wiz: The winner is Iron Man!

Next time on Death Battle...

Iron Man vs. Lex Luthor contains examples of:

  • Badass Boast:
    Iron Man: I dunno, Lex. Being a god can't be too hard. I mean, I'm the most intelligent, capable person on the planet. I'm not playing god. All this time, I've been playing human.
  • Beehive Barrier: The dome forcefield that is protecting Lex Luthor for most of the combat. It only gives up under a barrage of blows from the Hulkbuster.
  • EMP: Iron Man's suit emits one which shortly paralyze Luthor's suit, but not long enough to make a difference.
  • Fanfare: The post-match analysis screen, given the match's winner, uses the credits theme of Iron Man 3 as its background music.
  • Foreshadowing: Metal Gear REX is one of the objects present in the Stark Industries warehouse; two episodes later, the man responsible for destroying it would enter the Death Battle arena.
  • Kill Sat: Luthor uses the redirected beam of one of his killer satellites to finish off the Hulkbuster.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Done briefly by Lex to Tony in the first leg of the fight.
  • No Body Left Behind: The ultimate fate of Luthor, being atomized by the Unibeam.
  • Powered Armor: The common theme of this episode.
  • Punch Catch: Luthor manages to catch what should have been a finishing blow from the Hulkbuster, just as it runs out of power.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Played for Laughs. Tony Stark wins the fight, but his victory comes at a literally high cost: 5 BILLION DOLLARS in property damage.
  • Shout-Out: The collection in the Stark Industries warehouse contains various relics from various works which eventually wind up getting damaged in the first phase of the fight. Such objects include the Dragon Balls, a Keyblade, Metal Gear REX, at least two L5 Riesigs, a Gundam, and the Batmobile.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Tony gets one to the tune of MKAliez, from Aldnoah.Zero.
  • Victory by Endurance: Although Tony's more advanced suits can outfight Luthor's Warsuit mano-a-mano, this is still a significant advantage Tony has over Lex. For every Iron Man suit that Luthor defeats, Tony can just remotely summon another one to take its place.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Hulkbuster destroys Lex's Kryptonite Axe during the fight.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: