INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Here’s the next five!
Here is the master list!
90. Spider-Man vs. Sinister Six (First Battle)
What a notion for the very first Annual in Spider-Man history! For Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, Spider-Man faced almost all of his (at that point) solo villains as a team!!! Doctor Octopus, Kraven, Electro, Sandman, Mysterio and the Vulture combine forces to take on Spider-Man!
The Sinister Six were such a major point in Spider-Man history that they did not even show up again as a team for almost 30 more years!!!
The plan in the issue was not exactly brilliant, but the Stan Lee and Steve Ditko issue made up for the villains’ fairly silly plan with the gusto in which Lee/Ditko executed it – especially Ditko, who did a marvelous job on this Annual.
The villains’ plot was that each one of them would fight Spider-Man one by one at a location best suited for each of the villains. The hope would be that after facing them all in a row, eventually he would tire and one of the villains later in the line would be able to take him out. Probably not as smart as actually using their numbers advantage to crush him, but hey, at least it is a plan!
The motivation for Spider-Man to follow their plan is that Aunt May and Betty Brant have been kidnapped. He is told he must defeat each villain and if he does, pick up a card telling him which one he has to face next and where.
Of course, complicating matters is that Spider-Man loses his powers early in the issue (he gets them back really quickly, but still – he begins the battles powerless!).
Each of the fights include one splash page by Ditko of Spider-Man fighting each of the villains.
Naturally, Spidey proceeds to beat each one of the villains and save the day, but at the end of it all, the novelty of six of Spider-Man’s villains getting together proved so popular that even though it was their only appearance for almost 30 years, people still remember it quite fondly.
89. Superman Prime vs. Ion
During the Sinestro Corps War, Daxamite Green Lantern Sodam Yat is given control of Ion, a powerful energy source that the Guardians trust to special Green Lanterns to guard. In return, Ion gives the user powerful energy powers.
Also during the War, Superman Prime made his way back to Earth for the first time since Infinite Crisis, and this time, it is not just the Teen Titans waiting for him, but pretty much every DC hero there is! Their plan was to take him out before the sun comes out, but they were unable to do so, so Sodam Yat shows up to try to stop him.
Their battle is a fierce brawl in Green Lantern Corps #18 by Peter Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason (Jamal Igle draws some flashbacks during the issue) that leaves Yat, the most powerful Green Lantern of them all – a bloody mess by issue’s end.
Still, he gave a villain who took on the entirety of DC’s superheroes a run for his money!
88. Avengers vs. Nefaria (Second Battle)
Count Nefaria was one of the earliest Avengers villains, attempting to take them on sans powers. That did not work out so well for him, and he was a minor character the next decade or so.
He came to preeminence again in Avengers #164-166, a dynamite three-parter by Jim Shooter and John Byrne, where Nefaria reformed the Lethal Legion with the villains Power Man, Whirlwind and the Living Laser, whose powers were increased by Nefaria to fight the Avengers.
We soon learn, however, that Nefaria experimented with their powers only so he himself could gain their powers! He has a scientist do so and once he is powered, he fatally wounds the scientist and takes on the Avengers!
He handles them easily, in a series of great panels by a young John Byrne. What’s especially cool is the battle between Nefaria and Thor, where he man-handles Thor (who, to his credit, never gives up) including the awesome scene where he just stops Thor’s hammer mid-swing.
Eventually the dying scientist catches up with Nefaria to tell him that the energy transfer is quite unstable (and it is aging Nefaria rapidly), and Nefaria is clearly losing some power, so ultimately, the Avengers just pile on him with all they have until he is very weakened, at which point Vision flies high into the air, turns as hard as diamond and then drops to the ground, crushing Nefaria and finally takes out the man who took on the entire assembled Avengers!
87. Captain America vs. Red Skull (Cosmic Cube)
The Red Skull, Captain America’s greatest enemy, returns from seeming death as well in the 1960s in the pages of Tales of Suspense #79-81, which is also the first appearance of the Cosmic Cube.
The Cosmic Cube gives the bearer of the cube basically absolute power, and the Red Skull possesses the Cube (for the first of a few times he’s handled the item).
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby tell the tale demonstrating just how heroic Cap is (and this is early Silver Age Cap, too!) that he is able to take on a villain with absolute power and still beat him!
A lot of that comes from the fact that Captain America just does not know how to quit – even though the Skull out-powers him tremendously, Cap keeps at it, and eventually he causes the Skull to doubt himself long enough for Cap to separate the Skull from the Cube, saving the day (and really, the whole world!).
It was one of the earliest classic storyline for Captain America – you could really tell how much affection Kirby had for his co-creation in this tale.
Most of the tale is Cap trying to keep Skull from getting the Cube, but when the Skull gets the Cube finally, the disorientation of the great power is the best asset Cap has, which is how Cap is able to trick the Skull long enough to knock the cube from the Skull’s hand (the battle takes place on Red Skull’s own island!).
Okay, yeah, there really should have been no way for Cap to last this long with a Cosmic Cube-holding Skull, but darnit, it was still awesome!
86. Spider-Man vs. Firelord
The former herald of Galactus, Firelord, is visiting Earth for some Earth cuisine when he is attacked by some construction workers who think he’s a mutant. As he is about to kill the worker for the affront, Spider-Man shows up, and spends the rest of Amazing Spider-Man #269 and 270 fighting Firelord throughout New York.
Writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz handle the tale, which is very reminiscent of Spider-Man’s battle against the Juggernaut, in that Spider-Man does everything he can to stop Firelord, but Firelord basically shrugs it all off.
Spidey actually tries to steer the battle towards other heroes he feels better suited to stop Firelord, like the Fantastic Four and Avengers, but that does not work out for him.
Ultimately, Spider-Man tricks Firelord into exploding a gas station. The gigantic explosion softens Firelord up enough for Spider-Man to finally really go on the offensive, and begin pummeling the herald with blows until eventually, all of Spider-Man’s punches begin to have an effect. Spider-Man won’t quit and just keeps at it, constantly punching Firelord until a hand stops Spidey. He turns and sees it is Captain America. The Avenges are here just in time to have seen Spider-Man pummel Firelord into unconsciousness!!
See what you can do when you put your mind to it, kids?
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