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Batman always wins
November 23, 2008 11:53 PM   Subscribe

The Top 25 Comic Book Battles, as voted on by the readers of Comic Book Resources.

#25. Fantastic Four vs. Galactus
#24. Batman vs. the Leader of the Mutant Gang
#23. Invincible vs. Omni-Man
#22. X-Men vs. the Marauders
#21. The Ultimates vs. the Chitauri
#20. The Avengers (and friends) vs. Korvac
#19. The X-Men vs. the Hellfire Club
#18. The Avengers vs. Ultron
#17. Deathstroke vs. the Justice League of America
#16. Batman vs. Guy Gardner
#15. The Superheroes of the DC Multiverse vs. the Anti-Monitor
#14. Wolverine vs. the Hulk
#13. Hulk vs. the Thing
#12. X-Men vs. the Shi'Ar Imperial Guard
#11. Spider-Man vs. the Green Goblin
#10. Elektra vs. Bullseye
#9. Avengers vs. the Masters of Evil
#8. Spider-Man vs. Juggernaut
#7. The Ultimates vs. the Hulk
#6. The Sinestro Corps War
#5. Practically all of Marvel's Superheroes vs. Thanos
#4. Miracleman vs. Kid Miracleman
#3. The Final Battle in “Kingdom Come”
#2. Superman vs. Doomsday
#1. Batman vs. Superman
posted by Artw (142 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Batman always wins", BTW, is not a spoiler, but an immutable fact of the universe.
posted by Artw at 11:57 PM on November 23, 2008 [5 favorites]


let me add that the "What If" version of Avengers vs. Korvac (#20 on the list) is one of my favorite Marvel books, period.
posted by Auden at 12:05 AM on November 24, 2008


Epic comic book battle: me versus that stupid piece of tape that always sticks to the back of the comic when I'm trying to get it back into its storage bag.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:12 AM on November 24, 2008 [16 favorites]


No Batman vs. The Joker?
posted by doctor_negative at 12:31 AM on November 24, 2008


How about Lekvar vs. Slow Goddamned Server?
posted by lekvar at 2:35 AM on November 24, 2008


Do Batman and the Joker have many battles really? All the great Joker stories I can think of are either chess match detective stories or wars by proxy.
posted by rokusan at 3:02 AM on November 24, 2008


I'd say that The Killing Joke would be the Batman/Joker battle and I'd replace the Batman/Leader of the Mutants battle with it.
posted by jackiemcghee at 3:21 AM on November 24, 2008


"Batman always wins", BTW, is not a spoiler, but an immutable fact of the universe.

It's fanboy bullshit, 'nuff said.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:54 AM on November 24, 2008


I know these lists exist solely to be disagreed with, but really. No sign of the battle of wits between Dream and Choronzon? (Slightly more than halfway down the page.) USELESS.
posted by kalimac at 4:35 AM on November 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Batman always wins... by cheating!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:49 AM on November 24, 2008


Anyone else find it a bit sketchy that a feature sponsored by Warner Bros release of "Superman Doomsday" just happens to rank Superman vs. Doomsday at #2?
posted by jeremias at 4:51 AM on November 24, 2008


The aforementioned battle of wits between Dream and Choronzon makes me regret less that I keep putting off reading Sandman. I was planning on placing it next on my reading list, but if the whole thing is written like that, maybe I'll just forget it. I will also throw in that my personal experience with comics and battles therein does not match the list that is subject of this post and I am thus full of nerd rage.
posted by thedaniel at 5:04 AM on November 24, 2008


I still fondly remember the superb Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow that was run in Action Force/GI Joe many years ago, particularly the one without any dialogue, Silent Running IIRC
posted by Chunder at 5:40 AM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Unlike most of the lists that pop up here, that was pretty decent. Good explanation for each fight, and why it counted, actually justifying separate links for each fight. The Dream fight would be interesting, or possibly Dream vs. the Corinthian (if I remember correctly, was pretty simple, but a clear example of just how powerful Dream was.

And fearfulsymmetry, it's only cheating if Batman had agreed to your rules. Batman has his own rules, and his own game, and he always wins.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:45 AM on November 24, 2008


No John Constantine's fights there? Bah.

A character that, while pissed off his skull, can defeat a vampire lord with a well aimed smashed bottle, and proceed to drag his raving ass to the sun while singing dirty ditties and getting even more sloshed deserves at least a slot. Oh, and he also finished getting sloshed while sitting next to the remains in the sunlight, I suppose for victory's sake.
posted by Iosephus at 5:55 AM on November 24, 2008


It ain't a comic book fight if nobody throws snack cakes at their opponent.

(Who can think of devouring planets when there's golden sponge cake?)
posted by Spatch at 6:08 AM on November 24, 2008 [4 favorites]


#4 is #1.

I know, of course, that there is no way that any writer would place a British comicbook face-off over an American face-off, but come on ... Miracleman vs. Kid Miracleman is everything that a grand guignol battle of titans should be. The sheer devastation that KM leaves in his path is horrifying -- so extensive that Miracleman had no choice after but to rebuild over the bodies of practically an entire city's fallen. And the resolution of the battle is nothing short of tragic, as it is an innocent child who must take the fall for the immense sins of his irredeemable alter ego.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:10 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd rank Invincible vs. Omni Man much higher, too. That was a brutal, dramatic fight between father and son with a suitably tragic ending. Very compelling stuff. I kept muttering "Jesus" while I was reading it.

Much better stuff than Supes vs. Doomsday.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:26 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


What, no Great Darkness Saga?

Of course, Scott McCloud's Destroy!! should be in the top three. I mean, seriously.
posted by kimota at 6:43 AM on November 24, 2008


I'll agree that Superman v. Doomsday is an overrated fight, but it's also probably one of the best and longest brawls in comic history. Batman always wins through trickery, but Doomsday stood toe-to-toe with Supes and pummeled him to death. That's fairly impressive.

I'm just glad the Sinestro Corps War is on the list. That was a great story, perhaps the best in the past year or so.
posted by graventy at 6:48 AM on November 24, 2008


Ah, Guy Gardener and Batman.

The Justice League of America was my absolute favorite during that era.
posted by kbanas at 6:48 AM on November 24, 2008


Spider Man vs. Wall

And, Artw, I know you tried to indemnify yourself by claiming it's not a spoiler, but a universal truth, that Batman always wins. But from one comic geek to another...curse you for spoiling it.
posted by aftermarketradio at 7:03 AM on November 24, 2008


What? No Jimmy Corrigan Vs. The Horror Of Being Alive? Any Adrian Tomine Character Vs. All Humans Everywhere? Dr. Gull Vs. A Bunch Of Prostitutes?
posted by The Whelk at 7:21 AM on November 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


1. The Badger belongs somewhere on this list.

2. "Nothing can stop the Juggernaut!" remembered with great fondness. It's a really nice linguistic trick -- the whole story rests on the fact that both Spiderman and Juggernaut himself are focused on the fact that nothing can hurt Juggernaut -- and, at the climax, both realize simultaneously that while Juggernaut can't be hurt, he can, purely literally, be stopped, and that's what's actually relevant.

3. But my very favorite is the Spiderman/Doctor Octopus fight from PPTSM#79. It ends with a beautiful moment that, to me, completely captures the relationship between the two: Dr.O webbed up and on the ground, and Spiderman saying

“It’s time you faced the truth! I beat you — despite the fact that you are the deadliest, most dangerous foe I’ve ever faced — despite the fact that you are at the height of your power! I’ll always find a way to beat you! You’ll never win! Never!

And yet both of them know they'll be back at it again.

Here's the page.
posted by escabeche at 7:31 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


No Dredd vs Fear... FAIL
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:57 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Daredevil vs. Kingpin?

Joker vs. Jason Todd ?
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:02 AM on November 24, 2008


No Squirrel Girl vs Doctor Doom?
posted by martinrebas at 8:30 AM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Adrian Tomine Character Vs. All Humans Everywhere?

In this epic battle, penned by Adrian Tomine, and illustrated by the capable hand of Adrian Tomine, a young man stares into a cup of coffee. Wracked by Thoughts and overcome with Problems, he decides the only way to defeat All Humans Everywhere is to continue sitting in his diner, staring at his cup of coffee.

(spoilers follow)

A surprise twist is revealed in panel four of the story, in which the young man experiences Regret and Melancholy! He continues staring at his coffee, feeling the weight of Being Alive, and All Humans Everywhere threaten to destroy him. But at the last second, he manages to pay for his coffee and leave the diner. As always, our hero lives to fight another day, and his reprieve is granted. But for how long???

Tomine famously said about this battle that it was inspired by the work of the great Jack Kirby. "I thought to myself, 'How would Jack Kirby stare at a cup of coffee?' And then I tried to draw that. I don't know if I really succeeded, though. I guess it's not that great."

Tomine may have had his doubts, but Marvel sure didn't; later that year, they signed him up to write their new spinoff series, The Inconsolable X-Men. Led by Jonathan "Chamber" Starsmore, this team would spend the first twenty issues of the series staring into cups of lukewarm beverages. Truly, Adrian Tomine Character Vs. All Humans Everywhere has become one of the seminal stories of modern comics.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:58 AM on November 24, 2008 [15 favorites]


#22. X-Men vs. the Marauders

Ironically, although this is one of the better battles in comics history, the Mutant Massacre was one of the reasons why I stopped reading X-Men. They killed off all my favourite characters!
posted by KokuRyu at 8:58 AM on November 24, 2008


Joker vs. Jason Todd?

I'm not sure I'd called that a "battle"...

Squirrel Girl vs Doctor Doom?
Thank you, I came in here to add that one.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:04 AM on November 24, 2008


Like all such lists, it comes up short. Even before I clicked on the link, I thought, "This list is worthless if it doesn't have Galactus' first appearance on it." Well, it did... barely. #17 is a joke--Flash running into the sword, everyone attacking one at a time so that Deathstroke could defeat them one at a time; just as worthless as Identity Crisis was overall. Dark Knight Returns doesn't deserve two entries on the list, and Ultimates doesn't deserve any; Bryan Hitch already did the widescreen stuff in Authority, and did it better.

I won't argue against the entire list; #s 4 and 12 are particularly deserving. But I agree with martinrebas: Squirrel Girl vs. Doctor Doom rocks the freakin' casbah.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:15 AM on November 24, 2008


Joker vs. Jason Todd?

I'm not sure I'd called that a "battle"...


It is awesome though. I'd certainly rate it as #1 Crowbar Beating & Explosion.
posted by Artw at 9:16 AM on November 24, 2008


The Vertigo nerds arguing that their special goth comics need to be on the list because they haven’t read any proper fighting comics are making me laugh. What’s next, are you going to demand Maus and Watchmen be added on the grounds that they’re the only other comics you’ve read?

That said, in a more ideal less yank-centric, slightly less superhero centric list I’d be pushing for the following:

-The above mentioned Dredd vs Death (though it needs the set up)
-Kaneda Vs Tetsuo (gotta have that token manga entry – plus also motorcycle/laser vs telekinetic blob = fucking awesome)
-Zenith and chums vs Maximan (yet another London superhero apocalypse)
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Feh: this list needs Jesus versus Spider-Man!

http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.xbooks/search?hl=en&group=rec.arts.comics.xbooks&q=jesus+spider-man+reflexes
posted by wenestvedt at 9:42 AM on November 24, 2008


Reading the summary of Elektra vs Bullseye made me reflect on those wonderful Frank Miller Daredevil books -- the first time that I encountered an artist exploding a page like that in order to show sequential motion. Now Frank Miller seems to draw just grumpy black squiggles.

This also reminds me of long drunken arguments with a friend of mine during which I would contend that Daredevil was obviously the Batman of the Marvel Universe, thematically and functionally, while he would hold that since the Hulk was the most powerful Marvel character, the Batman role was filled by Spider-Man, as he was the more-popular second-banana, just like Batman. I still find this position untenably absurd.

(Also: obvious Batman rip-offs like Moon Knight don't count.)

I like the Comic Book Resources site, and I especially like a blog I found linked from there, the cheerfully named Comics Should Be Good.

Good post, Artw!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:46 AM on November 24, 2008


You could argue that The Punisher is the really fucked up Batman of the Marvel universe. Of course Batman would despise him and everything he stands for.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on November 24, 2008


Obligatory comic-book fight scene.
posted by Grangousier at 9:51 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


It pains me to read this list and recall some of these stories, both the writing and the art, 'cause lets face it, some of them were terrible.

The one that does still come out well is the X-men vs Marauders and Colossus's killing of Riptide. That made sense then and it makes sense now: There are bad guys and sometimes the only want to stop them is to kill them. And there were consequences to that battle, with 3 members terribly injured and the team struggling to move forward.

Contrast that will Captain America trying to save Baron Zemo and Batman's refusal to kill when it's the logical path to take, combined with the sometimes poor art and writing and you wonder why the hell you bothered back in the day and toss in the occasional "they're all dead, but we'll bring them back to life" storyline and you wonder why they hell you read such crap as a teenager. Nostalgia, where are you?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:54 AM on November 24, 2008


Hookjaw vs Red McNally! (NSFW)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:04 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sentences like: "Michael Korvac was born in 2997 and was a computer technician on the moon when the alien invaders known as the Badoon conquered the Earth," are what made me stop reading super-hero comics, start reading super-hero comics, then stop reading super-hero comics again.
posted by Football Bat at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


They left out Sting vs. Harada from Harbinger #25. This battle was an epic climax to the very tight arcs in the first three years of this title. It's a psychic battle between the two most powerful men in the world, using telepathy and telekinesis. The battle at the end of Dark City always reminds me of Harbinger 25.

X-Men's Mutant Massacre was what sucked me into comics at 10 years old. I'm still into them, but I don't read much superhero stuff any more, outside of high-concept material like The Boys, and Wanted.
posted by autodidact at 10:10 AM on November 24, 2008


I've still never gotten to read Miracleman. When will this be out of litigation hell and get a nice reprint?
posted by autodidact at 10:12 AM on November 24, 2008


The was some talk last year of things edging forwards, and then someone else claiming rights. At a guess I would say "never". Ditto Zenith. It's Ebaying the issues or warez I'm afraid.
posted by Artw at 10:16 AM on November 24, 2008


Epic comic book battle: me versus that stupid piece of tape that always sticks to the back of the comic when I'm trying to get it back into its storage bag.

What I do to avoid this is fold the open flap back and stick my left thumb on the exposed tape. Nudge the bag open with the other fingers of your left hand and slide the comic in. Now pull the flap off your thumb and seal the bag. Works like a charm and if you show this to a strange comic book shop owner they will not eyeball you when you start opening comics from their back issue bins. It's been a while since I rummaged through bins, though. It's all trade paperbacks for me now.
posted by autodidact at 10:17 AM on November 24, 2008


I'm not sure a real Batman could survive constant exposure to the powerful emo rays of the Marvel Universe's yellow sun.
posted by cortex at 10:18 AM on November 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


2000ads always been a source of good bloody fights. I’d probably pick the first Nemesis the Warlock vs Torquemada fight in 2000ad, inside some insane gothic underground cathedral, with Torquemada possessing corpses and Nemesis decapitating them as fast as he can , and plenty of impalements and plunges into firey pits. I’ve only read it collected (pick up the collected Nemesis the Warlock for a cheap phonebook sized block of incredibly awesomeness – more mentalist action on any page than in most issues of modern comics) but I imagine stretched out over several weeks it must have been an incredible series of cliffhangers.

Marshall Laws not bad for long bloody Mills/O’Neil fight scenes either.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on November 24, 2008


Joker vs. Jason Todd?

I'm not sure I'd called that a "battle"...

It is awesome though. I'd certainly rate it as #1 Crowbar Beating & Explosion.


ahem. Jason Todd vs. Crowbar
posted by blue_beetle at 10:37 AM on November 24, 2008


I also enjoyed Hal Jordan vs. Legion, but that's fairly obscure I think.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:38 AM on November 24, 2008


Sorry, but... #1 deserves to be #1.

And: “It’s time you faced the truth! I beat you — despite the fact that you are the deadliest, most dangerous foe I’ve ever faced — despite the fact that you are at the height of your power!

How do you know at the time that someone is at the height of their power? Isn't that the kind of thing you can only know later? (unless you kill them)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:40 AM on November 24, 2008


We do obscure.

I’m kind of meaning to catch up with Green Lantern, from around that time onwards to Sinestro Wars, though DC doesn’t exactly do itself any favours in terms of making it clear what trades I should get to do that.
posted by Artw at 10:41 AM on November 24, 2008


The Black Zoid versus every other zoid ever would also be on my personal list. The list as it stands is sadly lacking in robot on robot action.
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Greg Nog, your comment itself is a metaphor for some of the greatest comic book battles--brilliant, but unappreciated by the general public due to the obscure reference material.
posted by schroedinger at 10:44 AM on November 24, 2008


Grant Morrison's JLA - World War III. Fucking epic. (See also: the rest of his run.)

Warren Ellis' Authority issues were cool.

The Miracleman stuff was also amazing.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:55 AM on November 24, 2008


See also: the rest of his run.

"Battle of wits. I won. Hh."
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on November 24, 2008


No Squirrel Girl vs. Iron Man?
posted by stavrogin at 11:09 AM on November 24, 2008


This also reminds me of long drunken arguments with a friend of mine during which I would contend that Daredevil was obviously the Batman of the Marvel Universe
BitterOldPunk

I think Artw is right about the Punisher being a version of Batman, though not the Marvel analogue. The Punisher is a class analogue to Batman. Wayne can hold up his high and mighty moral rules because he could afford to spend a decade traveling the world learning martial arts and detective work. A poor Wayne would have had to learn fighting skills on the street or in the armed forces, and would have turned out much more brutal...the Punisher. Your friend's position is still ridiculous; I think I get what he's saying (Hulk:Superman::Spider-man:Batman) but that doesn't work.

Anyway, I'd say the character most similar to Batman is Doctor Doom. Cold, supremely calculating, ready for any eventuality, a strong sense of honor, fighting for a noble cause (well, in his own mind) with brutal methods. He's even driven by the death of his parents, though in a different way. I'd love to see a Doom/Batman fight. Doom would win.*

*As both men are master strategists with access to enormous resources, it would be a battle of wits. Clearly the fight couldn't happen on either of their respective home territories to be fair. The deciding factor would be the hero's perennial flaw: he is doomed to be reactive and respond to attacks, while the villain is free to take the initiative.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:48 AM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Doom would basically be another Ra's al Ghul. Advantage: Batman.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on November 24, 2008


Batman is also Batman. Advantage: Batman.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:58 AM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Doom would basically be another Ra's al Ghul. Advantage: Batman.

Dr. Evil: As you know, every diabolical scheme I've hatched has been thwarted by Austin Powers. And why is that, ladies and gentlemen?

Scott: Because you never kill him when you get the chance, and you're a dope?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2008


The deciding factor would be the hero's perennial flaw: he is doomed to be reactive and respond to attacks, while the villain is free to take the initiative.

Batman is not reactive. Batman planeed ahead, and let you THINK you took the initiative.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on November 24, 2008


Sangermaine: The deciding factor would be the hero's perennial flaw: he is doomed to be reactive and respond to attacks, while the villain is free to take the initiative.

Batman? Reactive? No. Just shut up. You're wrong. He's not even the epitome of prepared: If he were met the avatar of preparedness, he could write down what he would do, mail it to the avatar weeks in advance, proceed to dismantle the avatar, & still have the avatar clueless about what exactly just happened & trying to piece together what happened by taking notes & asking bystanders "my ass, how did he hand it to me, I do not understand."

Because he's the goddamned Batman.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:05 PM on November 24, 2008 [7 favorites]


We should also have to take into account whether Doom was dense, and whether he was retarded or something, and who the hell he thought Batman was.
posted by cortex at 12:05 PM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Doom would get in at least one apparent success of a grandiose scheme, with accordant goblet swilling and fist shaking speach about how awesome he is because he is DOOM. Ultimately fucked though.
posted by Artw at 12:07 PM on November 24, 2008


How do you know at the time that someone is at the height of their power?

Spider-sense, natch!
posted by escabeche at 12:09 PM on November 24, 2008


Re; Squirrel Girl, the last episode of the cartoon The Tick, in which Tick and Arthur are presiding over an adult education class on superheroing, one of their students is "The Flying Squrrel," an obvious Squrrel Girl parody/homage. Of all the students, she turns out to be the one with actual powers, using her twitchy rodent friends to take out an ex-KGB agent in an armored, beweaponed ice cream cone mascot suit.

The more I find out about comics, the more of these little injokes I discover in The Tick.
posted by JHarris at 12:09 PM on November 24, 2008


Hmmm... Batman's gimmick is that he's the acme of human intelligence, and he wins because he's the cleverest.

Squirrel Girl's gimmick is that she always wins, usually off-panel, because it's hilarious and awesome for her to do so.

So then... who wins, Squirrel Girl vs. Batman? Ready... FIGHT!
posted by JHarris at 12:11 PM on November 24, 2008


So then... who wins, Squirrel Girl vs. Batman? Ready... FIGHT!

You can find the answer to your question in the title of this post.
posted by tzikeh at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2008


Pronoiac,
I don't think so. Yes, he wins by being clever and prepared, but he is reactive. What I mean is that he is prepared for every contingency once something happens. He doesn't go out and hunt down Ra's al Ghul or the Joker before they do anything, but once they do something he's always ready. Though if you have a counter-example, where Batman decides to go stop a villain before they do anything to preempt them I'd be interested in seeing it. Like, he hears about a new guy, so instead of waiting for the new guy to pull something, he just goes out and catches him first.

Doom, as a villain, doesn't do this. He doesn't wait for the Fantastic Four to come at him. As the bad guy, he launches some scheme, and then has contingencies for the FF's reactions until Reed pulls something out of his ass.

Both men are extremely clever and known for planning far ahead. But again, Doom has the upper hand because he can act first.
posted by Sangermaine at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2008


Batman would find a way to leverage an apparent defeat by Squirrel Girl into a winning blow in some other, larger conflict. It'd be the Batman equivalent of that joke about the guy who bets his friend that he can piss on the bar and the bartender will laugh, except with more tights and squirrels.
posted by cortex at 12:21 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can I just say how happy this conversation is making me?
posted by The Whelk at 12:25 PM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know who would rule? A Kryptonian Green Lantern raised on the same planet as Doomsday. Also, she is a chick with large breasticles.

Which brings me to a question I've had for a while: is there a Kryptonian Green Lantern? Like Jor El's uncle or something? I thought each sentient race had their own Green Lantern protector dude.
posted by Tacodog at 12:29 PM on November 24, 2008


I hate to break it to you, but Krypton got blown up.
posted by Artw at 12:31 PM on November 24, 2008


Oh thanks for the spoiler.

I figured the GL Corps were running about the galaxy and surely had encountered Krypton pre-explosion. Maybe they lost their Green Lantern because the n00b couldn't keep the planet from getting all blow'd up.
posted by Tacodog at 12:34 PM on November 24, 2008


Ah, gotcha. IIRC This would have been tens of thousands of years ago, as supermans capsule travelled at sub-lightspeed? Did they have Green Lanterns then?
posted by Artw at 12:36 PM on November 24, 2008


Tacodog, the closest equivalent is Sodam Yat, a Daxamite ("cousins" to the Kryptonians).

As for Batman vs. Doom, instead of seeing them fight directly, I'd love to see them each train a team of combatants a la the MMA reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. I can't make up my mind about who would be more brutal in training and unforgiving to fighters who lost a match-up with the rival team...probably Batman.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:37 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ominous voice of standard political attack ad narrator:

Artw sure does post a lot about comic books. You might even say that he's Metafilter's comic book expert. But Artw has a few skeletons in his closet...

First Artw said,

*The Punisher is no Batman, and the Batman is no Punisher.

When commenting on the issue a few month's later, Artw flip flopped and stated:

You could argue that The Punisher is the really fucked up Batman of the Marvel universe.


So which one is Art? Is The Punisher a Marvel Batman analogue, or isn't he?


*This ad brought to you by Metafilter Citizens for freedom and the theory that the Punisher is a more badassed interpretation of Batman than most actual Batman interpretations.
posted by Telf at 12:37 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


I said you COULD argue it. I didn't say you'd be right.
posted by Artw at 12:38 PM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I want to point out that in the original version of that above post, all the quotes attributed to Artw were supposed to be pink in a lame font.

The narration was supposed to be larger and more sinister looking. Funny enough, it previewed correctly. I guess the moderators were wise enough to disable that kind of HTML tom foolery.
posted by Telf at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2008


lord_wolf - Careful. On comics boards that would drag the "Nighwing is really awesome" crowd out.
posted by Artw at 12:40 PM on November 24, 2008


Telf - It's okay, we all know you can't operate HTML because you were a POW.
posted by Artw at 12:41 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fixed the ad. OK smarty pants did you or did you not say this?

When commenting on the issue a few month's later, Artw flip flopped and stated:

"...The Punisher is the... Batman of the Marvel universe...."

Nailed you.
posted by Telf at 12:42 PM on November 24, 2008


C'mon, the ultimate "Batman" is obviously the Confessor.

And Nightwing is always, and forever will be, a putz.
posted by bonehead at 12:45 PM on November 24, 2008


omg Telf is the secret identity alter-ego of The Ellipsis
posted by cortex at 12:47 PM on November 24, 2008


He's a vampire though. That's cheating. A true test of Batmaniness is would go like this:

1. Assume each Batman knows of the other's existence and also of the other's motives.
2. Assume both Batmen have 24 hours to prepare and draw out the other Batman.
3. Postulate which Batman would probably win given the resources of their respective character.

For the sake of brevity, Batman here refers to any actual Batmen or archetypal homages.
posted by Telf at 12:52 PM on November 24, 2008


If Batman can use red sun lamps to beat up Superman, then I'm sure he could he easily take out The Confessor with regular sun or grow lights.
posted by Telf at 12:55 PM on November 24, 2008


You're talking beat-upitude. I thought you were talking straight awesomeness ('cause how awesome is a batman who's actually a bat-man?). Has the Midnighter fought the bat? The Jakita Wagner/Elias Snow fight in the various Gothams was hilarious.
posted by bonehead at 1:03 PM on November 24, 2008


is there a Kryptonian Green Lantern?
Tacodog

No, because the Green Lantern for Krypton's sector (2813) was Tomar-Re. He was actually on his way to help stop Krypton from exploding when an accident happened and by the time he got to Krypton it was too late. I guess it could be possible that a past Lantern of that sector was Kryptonian, but it's never been mentioned.

I think the closest thing to a Kryptonian Green Lantern was the Elseworlds story Superman: Last Son of Earth from 2000. It's not exactly what you're looking for, though, since it's about a human Clark Kent whose father sends him in a rocket from a doomed Earth which of course lands on Krypton and is found by Jor-el. Clark eventually finds a Green Lantern ring and becomes Krypton's protector.

(If you want a really great GL Elseworlds, find a copy of Batman: In Darkest Knight where Abin Sur crashes in Gotham and gives the ring to Bruce Wayne instead of Hal Jordan.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:04 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


“The Badger belongs somewhere on this list.”

I’d go with the Black Lotus tourney. I’ve been carrying my gear in a craftsman tool box since I read it (I keep my bokken in a golf bag). “ ‘So...Did you remember ask for world domination for me?’ ‘D’oh!’”

Spiderman vs Kraven in Kraven’s last hunt was pretty good.

I liked the Savage Dragon over the top issue with God vs. the Devil.

Also Lobo vs. Santa Claus was pretty good (Badger vs. santa claus was pretty good as well). For that matter Lobo kills everyone was pretty good as well (albeit ‘all a dream’).

Marv vs. Kevin was pretty good too. (Although I’m convinced Miller followed me around for Hell and Back - damned similar in details, the hush puppies, etc. hell, I drove the same kind of car)

Although I very much liked the (second) Batman vs. the Punisher.
I mean, the Punisher with a gun to the Joker’s head telling him he’s got all the therapy he needs right there, Batman saving the Joker telling him to run for his life.
The physical confrontation is pretty much what you’d expect between a guy who does nothing but train, fight, train, fight all day every day versus someone who is merely a talented (albeit very talented) psychopath.
But the Punisher, as far as I’m concerned, won that encounter, saying “You and that giggling idiot deserve each other.”
Ow.

“I'd love to see a Doom/Batman fight. Doom would win.”
Define win.
I suspect Batman would foil Doom’s plans. That’s about all that ever really happens anyway.
Anyway, Doom always beats Doom. He always screws himself out of whatever accomplishment he makes. So he’d hand it back to Batman anyway.

Y’know, one of the things that tends to make DC stories a little better is that their villians tend to be more than just punching bags.
Generally speaking, exceptions abound.

I’d love to see a villian where you actually cared whether they accomplished their goals or not.
Sandman I think, was like this for all of two minutes. Guy just wanted to go straight.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:14 PM on November 24, 2008


It seems that a lot of the "top battles" were included because of the significance of the story they were in more than because they were, in themselves, really cool battle scenes. In fact, it seems to me that most Big Event battle scenes are less satisfying that the ones you find in just a "normal" story, since in the Big Event, the logic of a really cool battle scene is often warped by the need to make the plot turn out a certain way.

(I mean Kingdom Come? Alex Ross spends four issues painting dozens of heroes, many of whom could challenge Captain Marvel - (Green Lantern? Mary Marvel? Supergirl? Power Woman?) but of course they leave him to Superman and spend the issue having ill-defined fights in the background against faceless nobodies. Maybe a good story, but a great battle scene it is not.)

For just sheer cool teamwork-oriented superhero battles, it was hard to beat Chris Claremont's and either John Byrne's or John Romita Jr's X-Men. X-Men vs. Nimrod, X-Men & Helfire club vs. Nimrod, X-Men vs. Brotherhood of Evil Mutants when they were trying to assassinate Senator Kelly, Brotherhood of Evil ganging up on Colossus, X-Men vs. the Magus. I could go on and on.

Where most superhero team fights come across as a bunch of one-on-one battles, these fights feature real teamwork. And both Byrne and Romita Jr. had an ability (learned from Kirby, of course) to set the stage and draw the action in a way that it was absolutely clear where everyone was and what they were doing. When Colossus threw Wolverine, you knew before looking at the next panel where he was gonna land. How I would love to have seen Claremont and Kirby work together at the height of their powers.

And lets not forget the Colossus vs. Juggernaut fight in which Colossus has no idea who he's picked a barfight with until it's much too late.
posted by straight at 1:14 PM on November 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the info, guys. That Elseworlds Batman story looks pretty good.
posted by Tacodog at 1:32 PM on November 24, 2008


lord_wolf: Can't believe I forgot the Daxamites. They're descended from Kryptonian colonists, so Sodam Yat is, technically, a Kryptonian Green Lantern from Daxam (though perhaps they have changed so much that they are an entirely separate species from Kryptonians now). Anyway, it's the best kind of comic answer: an obscure technical one.

>I’d love to see a villian where you actually cared whether they accomplished their goals or not.

This is pretty hard. Generally guys who have goals you root for are heroes. The closest you usually find in the supers books are the villains who have noble goals but will use any means necessary. This would include R'ash al Ghul who wants to restore the environment but is willing to kill billions to do it, Dr. Doom (don't mean to worship him here, he's just a good example) who wants to rule the world but he actually would make it a better place, etc. It's hard to make the villain's motivation and methods equal to the hero's without bringing up the obvious questions of why they don't just work together. I guess another scenario would be where the "villain" has to do something terrible to save some people, and the hero must stop it, but they usually cop out and it turns out there's some third way where everyone wins. It would be interesting if there wasn't, and the hero had to live with knowing he saved his own people but let the others die.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:35 PM on November 24, 2008


There’s Magneto, who veers between nobel-but-misunderstood upholder of mutant rights and genocidal maniac.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on November 24, 2008


My favorite battle was in Adventure Comics in the late 60s. When the Legion Of Superheroes battled the Fatal Five.
posted by DaddyNewt at 2:08 PM on November 24, 2008


I'm for the Red Skull, cuz he'll make the trains run on time.

What? Too soon?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:13 PM on November 24, 2008


Things I wanted to see on the list...

*Black Panther vs. Mephisto

Guys, Black Panther is really the Marvel analogue to Batman. For more than half the story arc it looks like the world is going to hell in a handbasket and the bad guy is holding all the cards, and then towards the end you realize that the bad guy is ultimately playing cards that T'Challa GAVE HIM.

*G.I. Joe vs. Cobra Island in its infancy, racing to push the Cobras off the island before their lawyers and lobbyists won international recognition of their sovereignty.

*Annihilation. Pretty much all of it. So, so much more deserving of fanboy dollars than that Civil War crap.

*Ennis's 1st Punisher vs. Wolverine.

Nutshot. Shotgun to face. Steamroller action crushing all FTW. Wolverine, much like Superman, is much more enjoyable as a supporting character. As a lead and a corporate figurehead, I despise him so much that I really enjoy seeing Frank beat the hell out of him.

*Spider-Man vs. X-Men, Secret Wars #3.
Why? 'cause I'm SPIDER-MAN, bitch!

*Spider-Man vs. Wolverine (one-shot, set in East Berlin circa late '80s)

The definitive Spidey vs. Wolvie for me. Spider-Man's flat-out better. Wolvie's only edge is the willingness to kill. Also the only instance I've seen of Suicide By Spider-Man.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:25 PM on November 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


“This is pretty hard. Generally guys who have goals you root for are heroes.”

Off the cuff I’m thinking of ‘Junkman’ from Astro City. I mean, you can’t root for their goals, but you can make them sympathetic characters through story telling.
I know I was rooting for the Junkman.
Pretty much tho’ it’s “I want to rule the world! Just because! Moo hoo ha haaa!”
But yeah, I suppose given the premise it would be pretty hard.

Magneto is a great villian. But the only thing that makes him a villian is his willingness to kill all kinds of people. I like the fact he’s oscillated between ‘hero’ and ‘villian.’

Seems like you have to have the villains be really really really evil if you give the hero any depth at all. And that’s where the villain’s goals become undefined. Or the ‘they’re just crazy!’ explanation comes in. Luthor is a pretty good villain but he’s really been misused.

Another very good battle that comes to mind is Juggernaut vs. Thunderstrike
posted by Smedleyman at 2:29 PM on November 24, 2008


"The aforementioned battle of wits between Dream and Choronzon makes me regret less that I keep putting off reading Sandman. I was planning on placing it next on my reading list, but if the whole thing is written like that, maybe I'll just forget it."

It's a lot better in the comic. Gaiman's kind of a goofy, operatic and bombastic writer (and his dialog is often laughable), but in the context of a larger story, it usually works.
posted by klangklangston at 2:32 PM on November 24, 2008


The real #1 should be Ogami Itto and Yagyu Retsudo's climactic battle in Lone Wolf and Cub (or Ogami Daigoro). It's one of the few comics that ever made me cry.

And I'd also probably toss in Milk & Cheese vs. Merv Griffin, just to be cheeky.
posted by klangklangston at 2:35 PM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've... consulted... & here's our assessment of Batman vs. Dr. Doom:

It largely depends on how it kicks off.

Batman
pros
Learns quickly - after round 1, the favorite.
Has a good network, so it would be tricky to avoid forewarning him & giving him time to prepare.
He's the good guy. And also, the Goddamn Batman. (sorry about the previous error.)

cons
Susceptibility to magic.


Dr. Doom
pros
Likely winner in a sneak attack.

cons
EMP would knock out his armor & movement, likely his spellcasting.
His gigantic ego keeps him from following through & checking his work. He trips himself up.


I might consult more advisors later.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:36 PM on November 24, 2008


Re: the Squirrel Girl vs. Batman debate:

Squirrel Girl commands squirrels.

Bats are basically squirrels with wings.

I think that you know where I'm going with this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:59 PM on November 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


Why isn't Archie vs. Punisher on this list?
posted by premiumpolar at 3:07 PM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


Pronoiac

>EMP would knock out his armor & movement, likely his spellcasting.

I'm sure Doom would have protection against this. You can shield against EMP. Surely someone must have tried it before, though if it has I can't remember when. Though I hadn't considered his ego as his weakness. Guess it depends on the writers.


Though my favorite super-fight argument is Thor v. Superman.

*scaryblackdeath: What issues did Black Panther face Mephisto in?
posted by Sangermaine at 3:16 PM on November 24, 2008


But that would mean that squirrels are just WINGLESS BATS, and so...

Also, this thread needs at least one reference to Ragman. Just because I thought Ragman was the shit when I was 11.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:16 PM on November 24, 2008


IIRC The Punisher took out Doom with an EMP limpet mine to the forehead, followed up by bashing him repeatedly with a big hammer. Not really very Batman-ish though.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on November 24, 2008


"When it seemed that Cap was defeated, Kleiser taunted him by asking him for his surrender, leading to Captain America reacting with anger and one of the more famous lines of the series - the politically incorrect, "Surrender? SURRENDER? You think this letter on my head stands for France!"

At this point, the Hulk shows up and finishes Kleiser off by eating him."


There's a lesson in there for all of us. Namely that super-patriots talk big, but the guy with the dark skin effects real change.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:29 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Though my favorite super-fight argument is Thor v. Superman.

No comment. If you want to start a flame war, ask "Can Superman lift Mjolnir?"


IIRC The Punisher took out Doom with an EMP limpet mine to the forehead, followed up by bashing him repeatedly with a big hammer.

Yup, in Garth Ennis' "Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe."
posted by Pronoiac at 3:36 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


The introduction almost-fight between Tick and Hand Grenade Man was pretty intense.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:47 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't the whole point of Batman that he's prepared for every contigency? While the point of Doom is that he will always fail because eventually his massive ego and pride gets in the way? In a war between two master strategists, the one who is willing to adapt will always win over the one unwilling to admit his mistakes.
posted by schroedinger at 4:25 PM on November 24, 2008 [2 favorites]


...effect real change.

Heh, I guess I take that back.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:31 PM on November 24, 2008


IIRC The Punisher took out Doom with an EMP limpet mine to the forehead, followed up by bashing him repeatedly with a big hammer. Not really very Batman-ish though.

No, however it does fall into the category of "awesome."
posted by middleclasstool at 4:52 PM on November 24, 2008


“Though my favorite super-fight argument is Thor v. Superman.”

Yeah. Arguing where Superman is concerned tho... his powers are kinda like the Catholic church’s stance on gambling - “this law is ETERNAL...except this weekend!” *shoulder dance!*
(to borrow from George Carlin)

Hmm...Thor’s a god. He's made of magic. Has a magic belt, magic boots, magic gloves, magic goats, a magic chariot. He lugs around big heavy mallet made of really a whole lotta magic.

Superman is an alien farmboy. But Very Powerful. Has two weaknesses, one of them is magic...except when fighting Norse gods!

Like the Lobo v. Wolverine. Yeah, that made a lotta sense. Plus - what dramatic storytelling.

Some of those guys decisions, I think, aren’t made based on, y’know, the best story choices.

Actually I liked Batman vs. the Hulk as well. Got a bit surreal there at the end, but...
posted by Smedleyman at 5:03 PM on November 24, 2008


Yeah, I remember that Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe thing. It was awesome, but it seems like since an EMP weapon would be the most obvious mode of attack against a tech-based person, Doom would realize this. That Punisher issue would have been no fun if it ended in the first few pages with Doom crushing him. I did like how Castle took out the Hulk by tracking him until he turned back to Banner and then shooting him in a dumpster. That Ennis book was great.
posted by Sangermaine at 5:19 PM on November 24, 2008


"The aforementioned battle of wits between Dream and Choronzon makes me regret less that I keep putting off reading Sandman. I was planning on placing it next on my reading list, but if the whole thing is written like that, maybe I'll just forget it."

It's the worse written bit in the worse written chapter in the book I usually tell people to skip. It gets so, so much better.
posted by The Whelk at 5:29 PM on November 24, 2008


For just sheer cool teamwork-oriented superhero battles, it was hard to beat Chris Claremont's and either John Byrne's or John Romita Jr's X-Men.

Yep, those were some amazing battles and it was always clear what was going on. Time to dig up some back issues!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:48 PM on November 24, 2008


Dr. Doom (don't mean to worship him here, he's just a good example) who wants to rule the world but he actually would make it a better place, etc.

So what you're saying is, that green cloak and metal suit are really hiding a pair of laboratory mice out to take over the world?
posted by JHarris at 5:57 PM on November 24, 2008


(In regards to my last comment, I'm surprised I never realized that before. Not only is Dr. Doom engaged in a Brainian campaign for personal honor, and could actually rule the world well, but his arrogance also tends to result in the downfall of his own plans. As far as I'm concerned that clinches it, now I'm only surprised we haven't seen Brain shaking his fist to the heavens by now and yelling "RICHARDS!")

Superman is an alien farmboy. But Very Powerful. Has two weaknesses, one of them is magic...except when fighting Norse gods!

The magic weakness is a bit of a retcon, since a lot of Superman's point is that he's basically invulnerable and has wide-ranging, if direct, powers. Magic isn't something that really works well in regards to Superman, it's usually either too huge an exception or an obvious dodge around his powers.

My problem with Superman's magic weakness goes down to the implied nature of magic, and a perceived duality between technology and magic, which usually arises from sloppy thinking about the similarities between the two. Technology relies on physical laws, while magic is usually represented as power by fiat. Someone with magic powers, thus, could potentially do any sort of "just because" things, limited only by the editor's rein on the writer.

If Superman lifts a car and throws it, that's obviously not a magical ability. If a wizard guy were to use it using his sparkly, aura-glowy wizard powers, could Superman stop him my holding onto the car? If the wizard guy were to throw it at Superman, would he be hurt by it? I'd say the answers are "yes," then "no," because the magic is producing a physical effect, and Superman is the ace of trumps when it comes to physical effects.

Magic that redirects physical effects, though, could be useful for directing Superman's own force against him, or possibly against others so that he couldn't utilize them. And mind control effects have no counter in Superman's arsenal other than is super-intelligence, which should obviously make him the target of every two-bit mindbender on Earth. (He really should see Hellboy about borrowing some of those talismans he's always carrying around.)
posted by JHarris at 6:28 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aren't the asgardians basically just fancy eternals? I'm pretty sure superman could take an eternal.
posted by Artw at 8:15 PM on November 24, 2008


Yeah, if you believe the whole apocalyptic Marvels etc. stuff. Which would make the Asgardians basically the equivalent of the New Gods (with extra Kirby), and since Superman has taken New Gods, by the transitive property of comics, he could take a Celestial (but likely not a whole bunch of them).
posted by klangklangston at 10:08 PM on November 24, 2008


Batman = the Punisher? No.

The Punisher, in "trying to emulate and live up to the reputation of the Batman, has become every bit as driven and vicious as his mentor but...lacks the depth of compassion and understanding that separates the Batman from all the other grim vigilantes."*

Here's what I think makes Batman different. I see it as coming down to having different motives.

1) Batman's not in it to avenge his parents. Unlike the Punisher, Batman doesn't see the face of Joe Chill everywhere he looks.

2) Batman does want to make sure that what happened to orphaned Bruce Wayne doesn't happen to anyone else, and for that reason he does everything he can to protect the innocent.

3) Batman wants to see broken people get mended. This includes criminals. Unlike most of us, Batman can imagine what would motivate someone to build a deathtrap out of a giant penny, and he has pity on the kind of person who would devote their life to that. He's aware that his own crime-punching is a bizarre compulsion, but it's as close to peace as he can come, for now at least.

Bruce Wayne pays out of his own pocket to make sure Harvey Dent gets the best possible care. He'll schlep a knocked out Riddler all the way back to Arkham rather than just chuck his dead body in the nearest dumpster like any sensible person would. Batman won't even kill the Joker for goodness' sake. When Batman looks at his enemy, he doesn't see a rabid dog who needs to be put down. He sees "a reflection."** I can't think of anything half so interesting that you could say about the Punisher.

Also, shooting people year in and year out seems a bit dull to me. Batman gets improvisational.

* Alan Moore, Twilight of the Superheros
** Frank Miller, DKR
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:30 AM on November 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


Dr. Strange could probably fuck Superman up permanently.
posted by autodidact at 5:43 AM on November 25, 2008


Dr. Strange could probably fuck Superman up permanently.

Nah, they'd find a way to bollocks up a Dr. Strange v. Superman fight. Like some bullshit about how Krypton once had a Sorcerer Supreme, and Kal-El is a direct descendant of her or him, giving Superman an innate resistance to Dr. Strange's magic -- but only Dr. Strange's sorcery, leaving him more or less vulnerable to "other" forms of magic.
posted by lord_wolf at 8:18 AM on November 25, 2008


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow

That's why I was saying what separates the Punisher and Batman is class. Wayne had the luxxury of being able to develop his body and mind for years and can afford to stick to his moral code because of this training and the equipment he has access to. If Bruce Wayne was born poor like Castle, if he wanted to wage his war on crime he'd have to learn to fight on the streets or in the military. I imagine he would end up more violent and vicious. You're right about those points about Batman, but the Punisher does those things too, but in a more vicious manner. Batman is to a degree bent on avenging his parents, and the comics often depict him thinking on or being reminded of Joe Chill and his parents when he fights criminals. The Punisher also wants to make sure no one else suffers from criminals as he suffered.

The main difference is the third one, as Castle doesn't believe in reform. But I posit that this is due to their different backgrounds. A poor young boy who sees his parents killed (which unfortunately not a unique occurrence) and wants to fight back against crime has very few options but to use lethal force. Guns are cheap and easy to get. Batman is just as crazy as the Punisher; both are driven by tragedy to a degree far greater than any normal person and probably any sane person. The difference is the available means and environments, which shapes the available methods, which shapes their philosophies.

The Punisher = Batman without the money
posted by Sangermaine at 9:03 AM on November 25, 2008


Sorry, hit reply by accident before adding this:

Aren't the asgardians basically just fancy eternals?

Artw

No, the Asgardians are not Eternals. Earth X is set in an alternate timeline (Earth-9997 v. the "normal" Earth-616) as described in Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005.

The gods of the Marvel universe were born out of the natural magical energies of the Earth when life arose billions of years ago. (See: Elder gods)

The Eternals were a result of genetic experimentation on humanity's ancestors 5 million years ago by the Celestials.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:18 AM on November 25, 2008


If Bruce Wayne was born poor like Castle, if he wanted to wage his war on crime he'd have to learn to fight on the streets or in the military. I imagine he would end up more violent and vicious.

To be fair, a moneyless Wayne could still have busked, hiked, and begged his way to some mystic monastery and come home with a lot of Batman's moves and philosophy but like Spiderman's salary.

And arguably there's a difference in character between the two men that makes for the reasonable possibility of a rags-to-riches Wayne Enterprises situation. Perhaps sprouting from the modest beginnings of a martial arts academy and lessons-on-video business. Batman as brainchild of karate instruction mogul. Slows Wayne down by a number of years, but that could make for a fun story anyway.
posted by cortex at 9:42 AM on November 25, 2008


*As both men are master strategists with access to enormous resources, it would be a battle of wits. Clearly the fight couldn't happen on either of their respective home territories to be fair. The deciding factor would be the hero's perennial flaw: he is doomed to be reactive and respond to attacks, while the villain is free to take the initiative.

8 bit theater's take (off-site link because of unhelpful archive page)
posted by ersatz at 10:19 AM on November 25, 2008


“The magic weakness is a bit of a retcon...”

Yeah, s’what I mean. Are we talking the weakened 90s superman? The 70’s “I can move the universe” superman? Superman red? Superman blue? The superman who’s a t.v. news anchor and has massive hypnotic powers?
Is it red k? Green k? Gold k? Purple k?
Is it Myxlplyx’s magic? Is it Zatannas?
First Captain Marvel can beat the crap out of him toe to toe, then Superman can crack a planet in half. He can beat Darkseid, he can’t beat Darkseid...
It’s all over the map really.

Plus, if he can take out a celestial he’s way way too big a fish in a small pond.
I mean, there was a one shot crossover with the FF where he took on Galactus and looked like he could have won.
I mean, whut?

Only guy I can think of remotely in Superman’s class, however he’s written, is the Silver Surfer.
Surfer’s sort of the same deal though - power cosmic, he can do anything (I believe he unshrank Kandor as well).

But he’s not catching bank robbers. He’s an instrumental player in galactic affairs so he’s actually, y’know, challenged.

I have a number of ideas on why this could be (storywise), but I suspect Marvel, DC, et.al. keep such things inconsistent for the sake of leeway for sloppy writing.
(Not the writers themselves, many are quite good, but then, you have to start paying them that way, right? So, new guy, new guy, new guy, and leave open the vision and call it ‘creative’ rather than cheezy. Nothing wrong with a retcon in terms of fresh new perspective, if it’s deliberate. Very often I doubt it is.)

“The Punisher = Batman without the money”

I disagree somewhat - I mean, I think your premise is solid, but I think their backgrounds and when and how their tragedies occured is what shaped them.

I mean, yes, Wayne was a child - he reacted as a child would - trying to make the world a better place. Bit more idealistic.
Castle was already a combat vet. So he reacted that way.

But I think though the major difference is in how their originating tragedies occured.

Batman’s parents were gunned down in a back alley under the cover of night.

Essentially they went down the ‘wrong’ alley (ergo, there are ‘right’ alleys, streets or neighborhoods). Had a Batman been there - or had Bruce been strong enough, he could have fought back and saved their lives.

All children think this way when they lose a parent. They take on some of the blame themselves. I know I did.
So his reaction is more internalized. That is *I* need to be stronger in order to protect.

Castle on the other hand is the result of a broken covenant, betrayal and dispair. His family was murdered in broad daylight in open space in what is a place for families to have fun. There is no ‘right’ neighborhood there if a family can be killed in the middle of a park in broad daylight and the killers walk from justice (yeah, bit of a stretch, but it’s the story).

So he goes off to war (ostensibly to protect his nation and other families - again, certainly a debatable premise in the real world, but that’s his story - add the vietnam experience on top of it as the betrayed vet story) and yet when he comes home internal forces - crime -destroys his family.

So his reaction is external.
As in “WTF kind of world is this?” Not, whoops wrong neighborhood. In his world there’s no safe zone.

So, since he already has the tools, he doesn’t go inward. Plus - the failure was societies, not his.

Oh, certainly, like Batman, he blames himself for not being able to protect his family. But he wasn’t a child, so there’s no real excuse that “I wasn’t strong enough then.”
So what is the answer? Well, “I didn’t see them. I wasn’t hard enough.”
He paradoxically tries to fix what killed his family by becoming a hard, brutal man who could not possibly have a family. The more he fights, the more alienated he becomes.
(Contrary to batman who has a sort of lovable grump thing going on - Wayne has to actively fight attatchments. People would otherwise love him. Castle - not so much.)

Certainly killing is his the Punisher’s tool. But the difference between the two is *cough* night and day.

Someone brazenly killing people in broad daylight and taking out your family in the process is several orders of magnitude worse (in the sense of how open the corruption and violence is) than one guy in an alley with a pistol.

Batman then focuses on the ‘one guy’ he has to be stronger than. And works on them sequentially to be effective. (Much like his father, a doctor, I’ll add - he does triage - he moves to the worst first).

The Punisher works to take all of them on at once in the most direct and open application of force that he can.
That is - war. So, kill them all, sort them out later. Sort of a yes, and - “Oh, you want blood? You’ve got it.”

Batman vs. Punisher is a good example of that. Batman stays cold and outside of the violence, striking from the shadows, eliminating one opponent after another. Violence is just one practical method in a variety of methods to fight (treat) crime.

For the Punisher the violence is central - he joins it and raises the heat well past the level an ordinary crook can stand - he turns it into a war. (Oh, you like bullets? Ok.)
And looks to kill them all.
(Seen when he confronts the Joker - who at first loves him, then realizes, oh, he’s really going to just kill me in cold blood - something I don’t believe he had ever seen before. Even the villains engage in enough foreplay to give him time to think of something. Not the Punisher)

I think if the Punisher’s wife and kids were killed in a dark alley by a single robber he wouldn’t have reacted the same way. Oh, he might still kill people, but it’d be more of a stealth op than this one man open war thing he’s got.

Similarly - if Batman’s family had been gunned down openly and the murderers brazenly got away with it - that spawns a whole different sort of mindset.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:12 AM on November 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


The Punisher = Batman without the money

Superman = Batman if he were born on Krypton, got sent to Earth in a rocket, and found and raised by Kansas farmers. Therefore Superman is the Action Comics version of Batman.

I see what you're saying, but at some point trying to speculate what a fictional character would be like if only his life had been completely different seems kinda pointless. Just as pointless as the Elseworlds story I've probably summarized in the previous paragraph. "What if someone named Bruce Wayne was a completely different character? What if he were a less-interesting version of an already existing hero like Green Lantern or Wonder Woman?!?"

scaryblackdeath is right. Black Panther is the goddamn Marvel Batman.
posted by straight at 11:39 AM on November 25, 2008


I would like to collaborate with you on "Batman and the Punisher: Class, Violence, and Situational Impact on the Psyche". I guess the question is what Castle would have done if he had had a Wayne-like experience in his youth, or what Wayne would have done if he had experienced what Castle did as an adult. It could be the first cross-over Elseworld/What If...?.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:45 AM on November 25, 2008


Superman = Batman if he were born on Krypton, got sent to Earth in a rocket, and found and raised by Kansas farmers.
...Just as pointless as the Elseworlds story I've probably summarized in the previous paragraph.

straight

::cough::
posted by Sangermaine at 11:52 AM on November 25, 2008


THIS IS BULLSHIT!

What about BATMAN VS. BANE?!?!?

Dude! It was the battle that broke the Bat!
posted by liza at 2:16 PM on November 25, 2008


I guess I could just reply, "what about Batman vs. Bane?"

There are some interesting topics around Batman vs. Bane, such as the cynical "instant badass bad guy" & the grimmer Batman replacement, the treatment of his spinal injury vs. Oracle's, how did sudden retirement treat him, the pressing of the big reset button in the face of a somewhat reactionary (ha!) readership, etc.

Anyway, instead of adhering to the official canon, I just follow the stories (& writers) I like. Batman vs. Bane is so very, very much not one of those for me. (YMMV, IIRC.)
posted by Pronoiac at 3:19 PM on November 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


“I guess the question is what Castle would have done if he had had a Wayne-like experience in his youth,”

That’d be pretty nifty actually. I doubt he would have wound up in the military.
Probably be a bit like the rewiring in the What If? where Tony Stark was the sorcerer supreme.
Same guy different methods. So you’d have Castle as Batman, but more direct and brutal. Probably an Uber-Frank Miller version of Batman.

And you’d have the Punisher (Wayne) as ninja. Or The Shadow.

...hmmm.. what if the Batman were a pirate.
No, no, that’s just crazy talk. Then he’d be the Phantom.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:59 PM on November 25, 2008


One of my all time favorites was an Avengers issue where Orka the Human Whale kicks the butts of all the Avengers and while he's outside the mansion gloating, rain begins to fall... Thor walks out with a bloodied lip, no helmet, hair now wet and hanging because the rain is falling harder and harder. Thor makes a nice little speech (as the weather keeps getting worse) how in his time among humans he's gotten a little soft, tried to fit in, and in fact, has probably been holding back a little these days. And what he really is, is a GOD. One punch. One goddamn punch and the whale is blown back through several walls. And then Thor quits the Avengers for some noble philosophical reason that holds up for only a few issues or something like that. But the way that scene ratcheted up the tension was something that stuck with for years.
posted by Ber at 8:02 AM on November 26, 2008


I've a theory that the whole post-Bane batman replacement storyline was DC showing fanboys exactly why Batman shouldn't be more like Wolverine.
posted by Artw at 8:12 AM on November 26, 2008


Anyone remember electrical superman? Or the time superman had a mullet?
posted by Artw at 8:15 AM on November 26, 2008


That Wolverine angle is possible: I was far removed from that. If you like that, you might like the theory of "Superboy's an angry reactionary whiner: *whiny voice* Ew, I like things the way they used to be! Just like our fanboys! *beat up the strawman pinata*"

Electric Superman wrestled an angel.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:23 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've read the rest of them...

Spider-Man vs. the Green Goblin: After a pitched battle, Peter races to rescue Gwen, but Norman reaches her first and throws her off of the bridge! Peter valiantly tries to save her with his webbing, but it is too late – she's dead.

Wrong! She died from the sudden stop. The webbing killed her. The movie acknowledged & subverted this.

Regarding that panel in The Ultimates vs. the Chitauri: A two-part rebuttal from Nextwave #9.

I'm finally running out of nerd steam here.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:27 AM on November 26, 2008


I’m with Ber, I’ve always liked the otherness of Thor. In the Secret Wars there was a nifty scene where (because the planet was manufactured) there’s huge continent wide storms going on. And Thor wades out into on for some air. And the FF is looking at him and someone says “That’s got to hurt. Even a god couldn’t stop this storm. What does he think he’s doing out there?” And Thor’s out there in the raging storm with a big grin on his face. And the Thing says: “I think he’s egging it on.”

“Anyone remember electrical superman? Or the time superman had a mullet?”

Yep. They keep giving him the mullet. Or long hair. Or 5 o’clock shadow. WTF is with that? He’s supposed to be a completely square farm boy and a dignified (albiet nerdy) reporter at a major paper.

I was reading something that showed how his mind worked. How he would calculate how to - very visibly - be late for the train to get to work at least once every few weeks. Like he’d purposefully walk into the wind, lose his hat, chase it, make sure people saw him and maybe laughed, and be exactly far enough away to not be able to make it back to the train before the doors closed.


...man you get a lot of reading done when you don't sleep much.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:06 PM on November 26, 2008


Top 100 Comic Book Battles Master List
posted by Artw at 11:25 PM on December 22, 2008


What happened to 26-65?
posted by middleclasstool at 10:25 AM on December 23, 2008


A question I'd have an answer to if I R'd TFA.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:26 AM on December 23, 2008


Yeah, not all up yest, but I thought I'd slip the link in before thread-close.
posted by Artw at 10:57 AM on December 23, 2008


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