It’s not cheap to be a hero in the Marvel Comics universe. While some heroes were able to sew their costumes from scratch, many heroes never had that option. Considering how reliant some Marvel heroes are on technology, many of them needed incredible resources to build their costumes.
Of course, with so many Marvel heroes who are either rich with their own inventions or have connections to people who are, this is often not a problem. But it makes it clear why SHIELD and so many other government agencies are struggling to keep up. When your costumes cost as much as a state budget, it can be hard to compete with that.
10/10 Ant-Man costumes contain advanced technology
Later versions of Ant-Man and the Wasp had increasingly complicated technology inside their suits. While the Pym Particles make Ant-Man a great infiltrator, they’re also nearly impossible to use and require specific controls. A different set of controls sends out specific signals designed to control insects, while also allowing him to talk to humans even when he’s small.
Developing all these skills would cost millions. Putting that aside, Pym’s wardrobe was generally designed by Janet Van Dyne, a world-class costume designer. Any outfit made by her is priceless in the world of fashion.
9/10 War Machine armor is designed to have more weapons
The War Machine armor was intended to be specialized Iron Man armor that could deal with very specific threats that Tony Stark faced. His first appearance was against the Masters of Silence, a group of tech-focused ninja who mistakenly attacked Tony Stark. Strictly speaking, the armor doesn’t have as many gadgets as the classic Iron Man armor.
Instead, trade technology for ballistic weaponry. Shoulder-mounted missile launchers and mini-guns don’t come cheap, not to mention heavier, more durable armor. As much as Tony Stark loves Rhodey, there’s a reason he hasn’t made many replacement versions of this suit.
8/10 Ironheart’s armor is so advanced that it requires an AI to function.
Ironheart’s original outfit was something he put together at MIT from spare parts, but it fell apart on his first test flight. Since then, Riri has developed not one, but two costumes that were massive improvements. Her second costume was meant to keep pace with Iron Man’s armor, and was complex enough to require an AI to help execute it.
His third costume was an even lighter and more powerful armor known as the Ironheart 3.0. His ultimate suit is able to automatically form around him whenever he needs it, making it one of the most advanced armors in the Marvel Universe.
7/10 Gold Goblin contains advanced versions of Green Goblin weapons and armor
The Golden Goblin is a purified version of Norman Osborn trying to right the things he’s done wrong. But it’s the Marvel universe, so it was only a matter of time before he donned a new costume and tried to redeem himself through superhero tactics.
The original Green Goblin suit was expensive enough: after all, specialized armor and smart bombs don’t pay for themselves. But this new suit seems to incorporate a bunch of new ideas, with a new glider and entirely new types of smart bombs. Only someone with Norman’s means would be able to produce a suit like this.
6/10 Iron Patriot became a master of non-violent weaponry
There were two people responsible for the creation of the Iron Man armor. One of them was the inventor and businessman Tony Stark, and the other was the scientist Dr. Yinsen Ho. And even though Yinsen didn’t make it, his daughter is alive and she’s just as cool as he is.
Toni Ho has created a series of costumes to act as a superhero. She started out with her own version of the Rescue armor, but while she was with the US Avengers she switched to the Iron Patriot outfit, taking on one of Norman Osborn’s identities. Ella’s multiple versions of her Iron Patriot suit contain several non-lethal options, including force fields and stun lasers.
5/10 Black Panther’s armor is made entirely of vibranium
It’s easy for people to be fooled into thinking that Black Panther’s relatively simplistic-looking costume was created on the cheap. But the Panther habit is a powerful outfit given only to the ruler of Wakanda. It is made of vibranium, one of the rarest metals in the world that only exists in large quantities in the country of Wakanda.
It also has adamantium claws for attacking, which is another extremely expensive metal. The suit would fetch millions outside of Wakanda just for what it’s made of alone. But it’s also packed with the country’s advanced technology, like teleportation, glider wings, and cloaking devices.
4/10 The Fantastic Four costumes are made of unstable molecules
The Fantastic Four costumes may look normal, but they’re not. Each costume is a miraculous invention courtesy of the genius at Reed Richards. There’s a reason Reed’s costume stretches with it and Johnny’s never burns.
All of his disguises are made of unstable molecules, which adapt to whatever power is used on them. These costumes have been around for decades, but there are still not that many in the world considering how special the material is. Reed has occasionally made costumes for other heroes with this technology, but it’s a rarity.
3/10 Spider-Man’s armors were designed with advanced technology from Horizon Labs
Spider-Man’s original costume was made at his aunt’s house and hand-sewn. That costume is only worth what a Spider-Man fan would pay for it. However, some of the later sets of him are quite expensive.
Most notably, while working at Horizon Labs, he created a special Spider-Armor that helped him deal with Doctor Octopus’s most dangerous plan yet. The armor not only came with added protection, but also featured some of Peter’s newly patented ideas that he could only have made while working for Horizon.
2/10 Falcon’s suit has been rebuilt using advanced Wakandan technology
Falcon’s original equipment consisted of a pair of jet-powered glider wings that allowed it to move at around 250 miles per hour. But in the years since he became Captain America, Sam Wilson’s outfit and job have changed.
These days, he wears a considerably more expensive costume designed by Wakandan scientists and modified by Tony Stark. The suit itself has vibranium woven into it, while the wings are made entirely of vibranium: they are capable of withstanding the force of a bomb at close range. The suit itself is entirely thought-controlled, technology that not even Tony Stark had until recently.
1/10 Iron Man armors remain at the edge of the limits of technology
The original Iron Man suit was hastily assembled in a cave to help Tony Stark escape back home. But since then, the armor has easily become one of the most expensive suits in comics. Iron Man’s armor has been upgraded several times in the 50 years since the character was introduced.
Even when he tries to use low-tech armor as his latest suit, he is still more advanced than most of the spy organization’s suits by leaps and bounds. While he originally created specialized armor for specific situations, eventually not even this was necessary. These days, much of the equipment that made those armors special has been stuffed into his main suit, making it even more expensive to produce.
NEXT: 10 Smartest Tech Heroes, Ranked