The Comics 8 Ball 10.21.13: Top 8 Comic Book Fight Beatdowns
Posted by Anthony Kennedy on 10.21.2013
From Batman vs. Superman in The Dark Knight Returns and the Masters of Evil's takedown of the Avengers to Deathstroke's assault on the Justice League and more, 411's Anthony Kennedy counts down the top 8 comic book beatdowns!
But first….READER FEEDBACK
Last week's Comic 8 Ball yielded some spirited conversation on my list of retcons:
Jackie Estacado: One More Day was HORRIBLE. I didn't want to read another Spider-Man book after that beautiful Back in Black story with him kicking Kingpin's ass in prison in front of everyone.
Magneto had to be brought back. Got no problem with that.
Cyclops leaving Maddie and Cable for Jean Grey was one of the most selfish and evil things in comics but they act like it was all good and that somehow doing a limited series like the Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix where Jean and Scott magically raise Cable as a kid in the future makes things right. It made sense for Maddie to be a villain after that shit.
Glad to know others felt the same way I did about Cyke leaving Maddie for Jean. It's a testament to the X-Books writers that they were able to craft some semblance of a coherent and reasonable storyline to cover for the Marvel Editor's edict of more X-books. I do however think they failed with pushing Maddie as a baddie for that whole "Inferno" storyline, as any rational reader felt that Maddie got a raw deal.
Scott Bland: One More Day is what drove me away from Marvel for good. Quesada swore that he'd never repeat the mistakes of the Clone Saga (which I'm very surprised didn't make it to this list), and then gave us something worse. Let me get this straight... Peter and MJ's love is so pure that it causes the devil pain? Is there any wonder why J. Michael Straczynski wanted to take his name off of this piece of crap storyline?
The Clone Saga was a huge omission on my part, which goes to show how much hatred I had for One More Day. The Clone Saga might be the biggest middle finger to Spidey fans with four retcons occurring: 1) Return of the Spider-Man clone, 2) Spidey clone revealed to be "real Peter Parker", 3) Return of Norman Osborne, and finally 4) Retcon of Peter Parker being the real Spider-Man. It being the 90's, the big two comic publishers were chasing short term high sales numbers over long-term business by creating an event comic figuring they could retcon it later. That kind of thinking is what led to the decline in comic books.
Larfleeze: Kyle Rayner, emo bitch. Waah, my girlfriend's in the freezer. Dude, you've got the most powerful weapon in the universe, allegedly. Go. Freaking. Use. It. Hal Jordan lost his loved ones. Know what he tried to do with his ring? Delete the universe and remake it. THAT'S how you use it.
I just envision the DC editorial board sitting around saying, "Hmm. Everyone loves Spider-Man, what with his angst and internal struggles and constant crying and whatnot. We need one of those guys too. Let's replace, oh, I don't know, Martian Manhunter or Hal Jordan. Flip a coin, intern."
Tell us how you really feel Larfleeze. Emotions aside, the pressure put on by H.E.A.T. (Hal's Emerald Attack Team) had more to do with Hal's return than any failings on Kyle Rayner's likability.
Thanks to everyone who left a comment. I appreciate even when you say I'm wrong. Look forward to reading what you have to say about this week's topic. And with that, heeeeeeeere we go...
As a comic reader we used to getting these huge climatic fights where the virtuous hero vanquishes his villainous foe. As satisfying as that can be for the readers, sometimes there are those moments where we just want to see somebody get their ass kicked. This week's 8 Ball will be dedicated to those, in the great words of the Iron Sheik, humbling moments.
Superman/Supergirl vs. Darkseid from Superman/Batman: Apocalypse &
Superman vs. Darkseid Justice League Unlimited Episode Destroyer: These don't count as they're from the DC animated universe, but they are sooooo good that I just had to mention these. Superman vs. Darkseid yield some great fights and the handicap match of the Supes family on the Kent's farm from Apocalypse was a great beatdown on the Kryptonians by the New God. While watching Superman unleashing his power on Darkseid from the JLU episode saw some killer action as well.
#8 Batman vs. Superman
The Dark Knight Returns #4
The MOST iconic fight EVER in the history of comics. (There it is I said it!) No other fight resonates more with readers than this epic battle between DC's flagship characters. Frank Miller did not disappoint with a fight that, in the closing moments, shows Bats owning Supes. We saw ruthlessness and ingenuity on display from Batman as he figured out a way to bring a super man to his knees.
Batman beating Superman before succumbing to a "heart attack" had lasting implications on how Bats would be portrayed moving forward. If a man with brains and technology could take down Big Blue, who wasn't he capable of defeating. Anything Batman accomplished be explaiend with one phrase moving forward: "because he's the Batman." The excellent JLA ‘Tower of Babel' storyline where Ra's Al Ghul utilized Batman's intel to take down his superfriends being a testament to this.
#7 Squadron Supreme vs Nighthawk's Redeemers
Squadron Supreme #12
Mark Gruenwald and Bob Hall's maxi-series might be the epitome of an 80's comics as it tackled subject matters of that decade: high crime rate, government mistrust, poverty, starvation, disease and even death. The Squadron Supreme spent the series trying to bring an utopian world which started out altruistic and bordered on near totalitarian by issue #12. But after 12 issues we got this brutal fight as former teammate, Nighthawk led his group of former villains, the ‘Redeemers', to take down the Squadron. The battle is a long and bloody one, as body bags piled up.
From the final panel: "Nighthawk…dead on arrival. Heart Failure. Foxfire…Died in surgery…Massive internal bleeding. Blue Eagle…dead on arrival…broken neck. Pinball…Dead on arrival. Broken Spine. Black Archer…died in surgery…massive trauma to the head. Thermite…still in critical condition. 10 percent chance of recovery. Lamprey…dead n arrival. All of body not yet recovered." This was a bloodbath with both sides taking heavy losses.
#6 The Avengers vs. the Masters of Evil
The Avengers #273-277
Over the Avengers 50 year history, Earth's Mightiest Heroes have faced off against the Masters of Evil on many occasions, but none more deadly and vicious as the Under Siege storyline. This time led by the son of the original Baron Zemo, this group amassed was a threat the likes the Avengers hadn't faced before.
In Avengers" #273 Zemo's plan was realized as one by one they took down the Avengers with Hercules taking a severe beating that put him into a coma. The most sadistic moment occurred when the Masters force the captured Captain America and Black Knight to watch as Jarvis gets pummeled by Mr. Hyde. This was sadistic storyline, but the writers had to put enough heat on the bad guys before the Avengers eventual comeback.
#5 Thanos vs. Marvel Superheroes
Infinity Gauntlet #4
It took me three reads before I fully understood what was going on in this mini-series: Thanos wants to woo Death, tracks down the six Infinity gems, kills half the universes population, all before someone was ready to challenge him. Even though the team recruited was barely capable of taking down the mad Titan, he was talked into making himself fallible but Mephisto by using the Gauntlet to take away a few of his near omnipotent powers, so that this superhero army attacking him actually had a theoretical chance to defeat him.
What occurs may be the most devastating display of superhero deaths as Thanos figures out creative ways to slaughter them all. The most brutality actually occurs from Terraxia, Thanos' created life mate. She tackles Spider-Man and bashes his head in with a rock, after she had already ripped off Iron Man's helmet, with his head still in it. There would be another battle between Thanos and the cosmic forces, but this battle was the true highpoint of this series and low point for our heroes.
#4 Superman vs. Captain Marvel
Kingdom Come #4
This fight was the culmination of Alex Ross and Mark Waid's epic Elseworlds mini-series. With the situation at the Gulag deteriorating rapidly – as more and more prisoners are showing up, a riot happens and Captain Comet gets merc'd. Superman and the Justice League show up to put the riot down. But shit escalates quickly when a nearly crazed Billy Batson, now as Captain Marvel, arrives bent on stopping Superman.
I never considered Captain Marvel a serious threat, but Mark Waid took advantage of all of his magically endowed powers and the ass whipping commenced on Clark Kent. Time, after time Marvel hit Supes with his magic lightening bolt. Blood started flowing from Superman's ears and only quick thinking and superspeed enabled him to subdue Captain Marvel. But make no mistake, Marvel was owning big blue.
#3 Superman vs. Doomsday
Justice League America #69 & Superman #74
I guess it must be the wrestling fan in me, that I like seeing the monster heel take out opponent after opponent and building heat and placing doubt in fans minds that he can't be stopped. These two issues saw Doomsday absolutely and brutally beatdown the Justice League members with savage precision. Wannabe badass Guy Gardner got his ass kicked in a matter of seconds, so bad that his eyes were swollen shut. I've never cringed more in this storyline than when Doomsday callously punches a prone Ice while she lied on a kitchen cabinet. Booster Gold's costume, had his costume beat off him and nearly left for dead. Blue Beetle was throttled to the point of going into a coma.
It was clear that this was a job for Superman, and he eventually got the better of the monster. But the damage was done and a new baddie was established in the DC Universe. By the way, for those who complained about ending of Man of Steel because Superman doesn't kill, I point you to this moment. SUPERMAN KILLED DOOMSDAY!!! What say you now, huh?
#2 Deathstroke vs. the Justice League
Identity Crisis #3
What if Batman used his gadgets and tactical mind for evil rather than his crusade to end all crime? He might be Deathstroke and this is a look at just how ruthless he might be in dealing with the Justice League. Identity Crisis is an excellent moral tale of the Justice League along with a great whodunit. But what I remember most is this street fight where Deathstroke the Terminator systematically picked apart the team. He stabs the Flash, gut punches Zatana inducing vomiting, cuts Hawkman's wings off, handcuffs and blindfolds Black Canary, destroys all of Green Arrow arsenal in his quiver, and knocks out Atom. His demise, his arrogance in trying to will Kyle Rayner's power ring which left him open for an arrow to the eye.
This epic thrashing left a lasting impression showing what a threat a man with the skills of Slade Wilson can accomplish. Also, am I the only one who looks at the panel of Dr. Light smiling as he stands behind Deathstroke and thought this was a classic moment of the chickenshit heel manager talking tough behind his monster heel.
#1 Batman vs. Guy Gardner
Justice League International #5
He has the most powerful ring in the universe (to go with a big mouth) and he finally pushes Bats too far and –thankfully—we got this epic ownage. One Punch. It took one punch by the Dark Knight to finally shut Guy Gardner up and let the rest of the League get back to the business of saving lives. It's a quintessential Batman in the 80's moment where he shows he's in charge and everyone should fall in line.
Well that's my list. Agree, disagree, did I miss a couple that should have made this list. Let me know and join me next week for a new Comics 8 Ball.