Comic Should Be Good just finished their Superhero March Madness, where comic fans voted on which characters would win a fight. The rules were: the characters know which fight is coming, have a half hour to get ready, and have to use their normal resources. Reading through the posts after each voting and results round made me sad. Not sad because my favorite fictional characters lost matches based on the outcome of random internet fan voted results concerning pretend contests between imaginary people with impossible powers, mind you. Incensed, and filled with nerd rage maybe, but not sad. (And not nearly as upset as my mother, it's apparently genetic.) What made me sad was how many different comments in the voting threads said, “I can’t imagine character A EVER beating character B.”
In fictional worlds where huge personal tragedy and huge doses of radiation produce not a major need for counseling and a major case of death, but people with powers, abilities, and drive far beyond the norms, who choose to wear funny pajamas and fight crime: you can’t imagine something.
In a story setting, where what any sane person would call “surpassing insurmountable odds” is called “Wednesday”: you CAN’T imagine something.
In a medium where Doctor Doom has fallen to Squirrel Girl and Robin II defeated Mongul (in the arctic, wearing a polo shirt and a green scaly version of “tighty whiteys”; the same costume Robin I survived forty four North Eastern winters in): YOU CAN’T IMAGINE SOMETHING?
I weep for some of my fellow fans. After all the comics I’ve read, I could readily imagine Galactus being trounced by Perry the Platypus.
Divisions were broken down between Marvel and DC, and Street Level and Heavy Hitters. This year’s Final Four were Superman, Thor, Batman, and Captain America. (Yes, comic people, I know it was “Steve Rogers”, and he isn’t Cap right now, but he will be again by the time his movie comes out, and for a challenge this important, he’d wield the mighty shield again.) Unlike some other March Madnesses that I’ve heard occur, this one really has the best of the best as the Final Four.
Before I talk about specific fights, an important note: Having Kryptonite does not automatically guarantee a win against Superman. That would mean Superman loses every battle with Metallo, and anyone else with the green space stone, but he doesn’t. In that half hour beforehand, against someone likely to have Kryptonite, Superman gets a lead suit, or shield, or uses super speed and a robot to replace the Kryptonite with something inert (in the Silver Age anyway).
On the other side, there are other ways for these very resourceful (if nonexistent) heroes to take out opponents far stronger and more powerful than themselves without resorting to a magic “Game Over” rock.
So here’s how any of the final four can handily beat the other three…and to make it interesting, I will in invoke the “No Kryptonite Rule” when discussing others beating Superman.
Let the battles commence!
SUPERMAN: The Man of Steel. Strength, Flight, Near Invulnerability, about a zillion Super-Something powers (Sight, Hearing, Ventriloquism, whatever) and also (often forgotten) Super-Intelligence.
Superman Vs. Thor
For a change, in a battle against a powerful opponent, Superman remembers that he has super speed (and has run as fast as the Flash in many races.) Therefore, he dashes between close in and ranged attacks faster than even Asgardian eyes can follow. (Thor had trouble keeping up with Mongoose, during the Defalco run. Mongoose was like a slower, fuzzier Flash, not the Thunder God’s finest moment.) Able to see clearly through any weather effects with his x-ray vision, Superman keeps Thor off balance for several sorties until he pauses at a distance long enough to get Thor to hurl his hammer, which Superman ducks past and then charges in to finish the fight before the hammer returns. (Or, y’know, he wins exactly like he did in JLA/Avengers, but I said I wanted to use imagination.)
Superman Vs. Batman
Superman arrives in his lead overalls, and carefully scans the area with all of his super senses. It takes a bit but, he locates the hidden Batman. Then he uses his heat vision on Batman’s utility belt (or equivalent if Bruce shows up in the Bat-Armor) until some of the equipment starts to cook off. (The heat vision has burned Mongul and Darkseid; even the Bat-Belt can’t stand up to it completely.) While Batman deals with his wardrobe malfunction, Superman swoops in, grabs the Bat-Cape, does a Super Tornado Spin, and hammer throws Batman into the next county.
Superman Vs. Captain America
After surveying the area, Superman feints as if he’s going to charge. When Captain America braces himself behind his shield, Superman changes direction and slams into the ground a medium distance away. As Cap finds himself airborne, Superman lets loose with a blast of Super Breath, once again freezing the First Avenger, and also blowing him over the rainbow.
THOR: God. Of. Thunder. Giant Hammer, Weather Control, Centuries of Battle Experience, and more importantly: Centuries of Being too Thick Headed to Give Up. Heck, in the Simonson run, he defeated the Midgard Serpent, Mephisto, the Destroyer, and Hela, all in a row…and most of them after being reduced to a puddle of Asgardian jelly. How’s that for insurmountable odds?
Thor Vs. Superman
As they enter the battlefield, Thor immediately begins to whirl his hammer, creating a dimensional portal. On the other side, is the center of a solar system containing a large bloated red sun. Thor gives the now powerless Superman a wedgie (made easier by Superman’s underwear being on the outside), gently knocks him out, and hangs him on the nearest branch of Yggdrasil. (Unless you’d prefer a more honorable victory: just picture the JLA/Avengers fight, but instead of the melee attack with the hammer (that Superman caught), Thor strikes from a distance, winding Mjolnir up for the Unfettered Might Attack and charging. The energy sheath covered Uru mallet that blew up the head of the Midgard Serpent would certainly floor the already tired Kryptonian.)
Thor Vs Batman
Thor creates an epic storm to disorient and flush out his opponent, as well as set off any hidden traps. He then approaches him spinning the hammer, creating a whirling shield that deflects anything the Dark Knight can throw at it. As Batman attempts to steady himself against the storm, and pull out more of his equipment, Thor stops whirling Mjolnir long enough to fire some godly energies from the weapon and toasts Batman where he stands.
Thor Vs Captain America
Thor summons a continuous barrage of lightning down upon his ally. This causes Cap to hold his shield over his head, leaving his body open for any attack the Thunder God feels like bestowing upon the poor mortal.
BATMAN: Trained in Every Combat Form, World’s Greatest Detective, Master Planner, Crazy Prepared for ANYTHING; Even my seven year old daughter knows this; I asked her how Batman could beat Thor and she replied, “Batman has EVERYTHING…duh!” (I’m so proud...It's genetic I tell ya.)
Note: Batman being Crazy Prepared is not an invention of the Grant Morrison Batgod writing, it is much older. Even in the Silver Age, if Batman met the Sinister Sergeant Spud on patrol, you can be sure his utility belt contained the Bat-Potato Masher. Remember Adam West and his Special Thermal V Long Underwear and Bat Shark Repellent?
Batman Vs Superman
Batman wins using Kryptonite. To quote Jaime Reys in the Batman: Brave and Bold cartoon, “Trick question, Batman always has Kryptonite.” Just kidding, I won’t break my own rule. Batman starts out by hiding. (He has snuck up on almost the entire JLA on occasion.) As Superman intensifies his super senses to hunt the Dark Knight, Batman triggers/launches multiple attacks on those senses (high energy lights, high powered sonics, and high potency Bat-Stink Bombs) to disorient the other half of the World’s Finest team. Then Batman is able to more precisely aim the second round of attacks consisting of: Scarecrow’s fear gas, hypnotic electronics, Poison Ivy’s pheromones and virtual reality inducing nanites from JLA: Tower of Babel. Superman is convinced that the only way he can save Lois from horrific torture is to beat himself up, and he efficiently pummels himself into la la land.
Batman Vs Thor
Batman hides (Yes, it’s the same start, but a very prudent action when facing those who can grind you into Bat-Powder.) Immediately all sorts of explosives and other annoyances are detonated and fired at the Thunder God. These have one goal, to enrage Thor. While there is no Asgardianite, Thor does have a weakness: his temper. There have been many battles with the Hulk where Thor became so angered he loses track of how much collateral damage he was doing. Batman keeps out of site and on the move as the assault continues. When Thor is visibly seething, the Dark Knight pops into view at a location of his choosing. Thor hurls Mjolnir through his red haze. Batman (who has dodged Darkseid’s omega beams, at least short term) avoids the strike, and the hammer crashes behind him. As Thor rushes in and summons it, Batman grabs the handle in hopes of attaching the Bat-Extra Dimensional Energy Siphon to draw power off the hammer and redirect it at Thor. The great Uru mallet senses the worthiness of a man who has sacrificed everything in life to protect the innocent. Bruce, with the help of his Bat-Exo Suit to add strength against mighty foes, lifts Mjolnir, transforms into Bathor the Knight God, and proceeds to batter Thor with his own weapon.
Batman Vs Captain America
The two evenly matched mortals square off, trying to find each other’s weak spot. Batman leaps onto and is easily blocked by Captain America’s shield. He is thrown off, and lands tossing a batarang which is also easily blocked. Cap returns the attack while Bruce still looks unstable (but is faking it) by hurling his shield. Batman activates the tiny high energy Bat-Magnet he attached to the shield, throwing the balance off. This causes Captain America to instinctively, but awkwardly, leap to catch the returning disk. As he lands, out of position, Batman takes him down with a flying kick to the face.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: Peak Human Strength and Athletics. Master of Strategy, Tactics, and most importantly, Leadership and Inspiration.
Captain America Vs. Superman
Captain America stands proudly on the battlefield and salutes Superman as he flies in. Superman lands, the two honorable warriors shake hands and face each other on the ground. Cap is immediately on the defensive blocking a series of more and more powerful blows from the Kryptonian with his Vibranium Steel alloy shield. (In the same way its unique composition has saved him from blows by King Thor and other powerful foes.) With each hit by Superman, Captain America is pushed further back than usual in this kind of battle. Superman becomes more and more focused on the fight, settling into a rhythm of: hit, close the gap, hit, close the gap. As Cap tires, he allows the gap to extend each time he’s hit. Eventually, Superman changes from closing on foot to a flying charge to maintain the pattern. At the last moment before impact, Captain America turns the unbreakable shield sideways, bracing it against the rocks he’s allowed himself to be pushed on. Superman hits the thin edge of the shield at high speed, driving it into the rocks, and also deep into his normally unbroken hide. Not used to such a high level of physical trauma, Big Blue passes out from blood loss and shock.
Captain America Vs. Thor
Cap has already wielded Mjolnir, in the Defalco run again, but since I already referenced that run, and did the ole steal the hammer trick for Batman, I’ll use another reference for this one. Note that I use a different writer’s run as precedent for Thor winning or losing a battle. That’s the lesson of the day, kids. (Sort of, Thor did take out a Celestial on his own in that run as well. It may be more what day of the week a story happens than what writer when you get down to it.)
Thor is greeted by his teammate. This is a man about whom, during the Secret Wars, and after sharing Mjolnir, Thor stated:
Captain America says, “I know this goes against every fiber of your warrior’s heart, but you must trust me, my friend…The fate of the world is at stake, I need you to lose this contest, in order to save Midgard.” Thor thinks for a moment, and replies. “For no other man would I make this sacrifice…Yet to you I say, ‘Aye’.” Cap wins the final fight and the tournament by dropping Thor just like Honey Roy Palmer dropped Minoso Torres to win his final fight, and the bet. (And if you don’t get that reference, get yourself to the fastest legal way to acquire a movie that you know, and watch Diggstown.)
Captain America Vs. Batman
Just like the last time they met:
Except in the middle of Batman’s pretentious speech, Captain America nails him with a Star Spangled right cross, and knocks him out. (Switching gears from JLA/Avengers to Civil War in mid reference.)
There, see… all possibly imaginable.
I know all the fans of each character will now line up to tell me why I’m wrong, and the other character will win in each situation because of flibberty gibbety foofoo. Good for you, keep imagining.
Not like any of this really matters though. (For more than the obvious reason: to quote my Dad, "You do realize these people are fictional?” He added a pinch of sanity to the genetics...my wife is in charge of that now.) The real winner of any of these contests can only be one character. Take a look at this panel:
A whole solar system snuffed out thanks to fifth dimensional sneezing powder and a blast of Kryptonian mucus. If a combat based March Madness of super heroes starts; all Kal-El needs to do is down a can of Myxptlyk’s Baked Beans. Then, quicker than you can say, “Jimmy, pull my finger,” the Multiverse is destroyed by the Fart-ness of Solitude.