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Top 100 Comic Book Battles: 75-71

Here’s the next five!

Here is the master list!


75. Wonder Woman vs. Superman (Sacrifice)

Maxwell Lord had himself a very difficult subject to work with when he attempted to control Superman’s mind. It was not so much the taking control of Superman’s mind that was the issue so much as it was the “getting Superman to do the things Lord wanted him to do when he had control” thing, as Superman’s moral compass is pretty darn strict, so to get him to kill, Lord had to go to some extreme measures.

That was the point of Sacrifice, a 4-part crossover taking place in the middle of the OMAC Project, where we see Lord run Superman through various horrific scenarios in his mind until he finds one where Superman was willing to use lethal force.

Of course, the villains Superman is attacking is actually Batman, who Superman nearly kills.

Wonder Woman has to step in and fight Superman, who thinks she is Doomsday (and has just killed Lois, natch). Her goal is to keep both herself AND Superman alive.

After a brutally vicious battle, Wonder Woman figures that the only way to stop Superman is to stop Maxwell Lord, who gloats that even if she stops him NOW, he’ll just come back later to take control of Superman – so she figures the only way she can safely stop Lord is by killing him, so she snaps his neck, ending his threat and his life.

74. Batman vs. Cops in Year One

Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli were practically in another world with their work on Batman: Year One, telling a brilliantly detailed look at the early days of Bruce Wayne as Batman, with special attention paid to how poorly the corrupt Gotham Police Department takes the involvement of a do-gooder vigilante.

Really, in many ways Batman: Year One is about Jim Gordon just as much as it is about Batman, so it makes sense that the police interaction with Batman takes such a major role.

The conflict with the police has its spotlight moment when, after many failed attempts to catch Batman in a trap, Batman shows himself to save an old woman from getting hit by a truck. Gordon’s partner, Sarah Essen, has Batman cornered in the street, but loses him when she checks to see if Gordon is all right (Gordon tried to stop the truck by jumping inside, but he was in it when it smashed into a wall).

Batman escapes into an abandoned buidling where the police commissioner orders destroyed by a bomb. In the explosion, Batman’s belt catches fire and he has to discard it. He is also shot twice. Luckily, he makes it to the basement which is secure, so he survives the explosion.

Now armed only with a blow gun and three darts, Batman has to take on the Gotham SWAT team that is entered the remains of the building. Batman, naturally, kicks their collective asses, but to aid in his escape, he uses a device to call in a swarm of bats that cover his escape.

He jumps out of the building (carrying a cat he saved) and escapes on a police motorcycle.

Rarely has there ever been a Batman action sequence quite as cool as this one.

73. Superboy Prime vs. Superboy (Final Fight)

This cover is actually for their first fight, but I couldn’t find anything good to use for the second fight, so I went with the first cover!

So Superboy (Conner Kent) and Superboy Prime had a fight earlier in Infinite Crisis, but Superboy needed all the Titans and all the Flashes to make it out of that one alive, as he is severely out-classed by Superboy Prime’s power levels. And Superboy Prime made Conner think that he (Conner) really WASN’T worthy of being called Superboy.

Now, later in the series, Alex Luthor and Superboy Prime are working together to merge various Earths into one “perfect” Earth, and to do so, they’re using a special Tuning Fork Tower thing that is working off of energies from heroes and villains from the various Earths.

Nightwing, Conner and Wonder Girl make their way to the secret headquarters where Luthor is doing this (Superboy Prime is not there), and they try to stop them. They release the prisoners but then Superboy Prime shows up and starts handing out some serious beatings!

Story continues below

He mocks Nightwing by saying when Prime wiped out the Titans, he wasn’t even TRYING. Conner shows up and shouts that neither was he!

Now Conner takes on Prime and their battle is pitched but Conner still is not in the same class as Prime, so he likely is not strong enough to defeat Prime outright, but instead, he manages to hang strong long enough to force the pair to crash into the Tower, ruining Luthor’s plan to destroy the various Earths in his endeavor to find one “perfect” Earth and instead creates on merged “new” Earth (of course we later learn that there are more Earths out there).

As Superboy lies dying in the arms of his girlfriend, Wonder Girl, he tells her how Prime made him doubt that he was the “real” Superboy, but he showed him. She tells Conner about how he saved the world, and Conner replies with his dying words, “I know, Cass. Isn’t it cool?”

72. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vs. Martians

After first introducing the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in the first series, Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill return to tell a massive epic detailing the invasion of Earth from Mars.

In typical League fashion, Alan Moore was extremely detailed in his combination of the various fictional takes on Martians and had a unified race attack London.

There were three main plot points in the battle against the Martians…

1. The Invisible Man’s betrayal of the rest of the group to the Martians (which he is punished by being raped and murdered by Mr. Hyde, but his death comes a long time after Hyde is finished with him, as Hyde wants his last moments to be agony.

2. Mina and Quartermain visit Dr. Moreau for a certain device that will help win the war.

3. Captain Nemo and Mr. Hyde single-handedly keep the Martians at bay via the Nautlis and Hyde’s brute strength (they are undone when the Invisible Traitor shows the Martians how to take away the water advantage of the Nautilis).

Once Mina and Quartermain return, they need a way to deploy the device against the Martians. Hyde volunteers and personally delivers it to the Martian tripods. They kill him but the device works – it is a mutated virus that is much deadlier than anthrax and it kills all the Martians and a good deal of people in the area, as well.

The cover story was that it was the common cold that defeated the Martians.

Captain Nemo is outraged and vows never to work with the rest of them ever again (Mina leaves, as well). They won the battle, but this incarnation of the League did not survive.

71. Avengers and Justice League vs. Krona

Really, the how and the why of the team-up in JLA/Avengers, the cross-company-crossover written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by George Perez, is not really all that important.

It’s the who and the what that is happening, and that you can see for yourself (click to enlarge the image, by the way) on that above cover.

Kurt Busiek and George Perez team up ALL of the Avengers with ALL of the Justice League to fight against Krona and some bad guys. You are not going to screw up an idea that cool!

That said, while it is not important, the HOW of the story is actually handled really well, as we see the Leaguers and Avengers merged together into a “perfect” world by Krona that they have to break free of for the sake of the universe, and that they do so is a testament to their integrity and heroism, because they know that by defeating Krona that they set into motion some awful events (Barry Allen’s death, Hal becoming the yellow fear monster, etc.). However, they know that a merged Earth means that some people won’t make it – so for those innocents, they must fight Krona!

Of course, not JUST Krona, for the finale is a lot like Busiek’s Avengers Forever #12 – there are a LOT of characters mixed in there!

It’s hectic – it’s frantic – it’s frenetic – it is quite cool.

One last image to convince you…

You know you want it.


I just noticed that Perez drew Thor twice in that big spread image.

There’s the prominent image of him in the middle and then he’s in the picture again in the top right corner.

Methinks Perez wanted to sneak as many incarnations of characters on there as he could. I see at least four Iron Men (one above Mr. Fantastic, one right below him, one above Quicksilver, and War Machine is just behind Scarlet Witch), and a few Hank Pyms (Yellowjacket, Giant Man, and two Ant Men, although one has to be Scott Lang, and one in his red jumpsuit to the left of the “Shazam” Captain Marvel).

My guess is that the Thor at the top right is Eric Masterson, even though Thunderstrike is also at the top left.

>> My guess is that the Thor at the top right is Eric Masterson, even though Thunderstrike is also at the top left.>>

Yep. George put in every identity that joined the team, so Eric-Masterson-as-Thor and Thunderstrike both got in there, just as Rhodey-as-Iron-Man and Rhodey-as-War-Machine did too.

The three Iron Men are Tony, teen Tony and Rhodey.


Dang. Year: one is another one I should have put in my top ten and didn’t!

Although at the time, and I absolutely loved the story, I can remember the letters pages being quite vitriolic in their distaste for the reboot.

Although at the time, and I absolutely loved the story, I can remember the letters pages being quite vitriolic in their distaste for the reboot.

the funny thing is that Year One is hardly a reboot at all compared to what was done with Superman, Wonder Woman or Hawkman.

(i suppose there were some pretty dramatic changes made to Jim Gordon and his family, but Bruce was virtually untouched)

The League vs. Martians was great, but not a “fight” in the way I would qualify.

=XD <<<< Two smiley faces squished together, or just Choronzon reacting to that scene with all the blood?

I’ve read four out of five of those. And nothing says “kick-ass” than random Leaguers and Avengers popping in and out of a battle against an army of villains and henchmen organizations. Also: Batroc getting a kick in on Batman and Superman going electric for a few panels.

JLA/Avengers is not just one of the best crossovers in history, is one of the best minis, I’ve re-read it several times, the final fight is incredible, when Captain America is leading the combined team with telepathic orders, thanks to the Martian, an almost in every panel the team changes, but Cap is capable to do it perfectly. Oh man, I think I’m gonna read it again. Peace.

Holy cow, not only do we get to stare at that awesome bit of Perez art, but Kurt Busiek himself turns up to explain it. (I figured that Eric Masterson was the answer to the multiple Thors.)

Hey, is that Retro I see in there? About 1:00, just in front of the Thing, being held up by Justice’s TK field, blond guy, green cape? Wow, that’s really including everybody…poor guy died before he even joined the JLA.

This book is on my Christmas list; if I don’t get it, I’ll definitely pick it up before New Years.

You know, i’ve seen that image of the cover JLA/Avengers a bunch of times before, and this is the first time that i notice Sandman (Marvel) is the ground that the top row of heroes is standing on.

I had never heard anybody praise that JLA/ Avengers book, but when the trade was re-published a few weeks ago, I picked it up and read it– and wow! It’s fantastic! It’s so good at mining all the elements that are most FUN from the histories of both teams. I’m glad to see it getting some praise here.

It’s funny how much both teams have changed in the few short years since it was published, and not for the better. In some ways, the book becomes a tribute to the end of two eras of greatness, and who better to draw such a valediction than Perez, who has a strong history with both teams. And he really goes all out.

That Batman Year One fight is so great as well. It’s become very knee-jerk to call Miller a fascist, but that story is greatly enriched by Batman’s compassion for the homeless who are callously endangered by the cops. Miller’s work, at least at the time, was not easy to nail down politically one way or the other.

Brian Mac, I think that is Clock King from Justice League Antarctica.

Nevermind I see him. Aztek is at 1 O Clock from thing. Then the Clock King at 5 O Clock from him. At 7 O Clock is the guy you are talking about.

Ah, nothing like a giant Perez group shot!

Also, I never realized that the Batman Begins “swarm of bats” routine showed up in Year One. Though I have heard that the movie was somewhat inspired by the story.

I cannot understand why DC doesn’t give Perez and Busiek the JLA for a good, long run. I can’t remember the last team that went for just one year on JLA.

Oh, hey, what about Krona v. Galactus? For that matter, Darkseid v. Galactus in The Hunger was pretty insane.

I’m going to bet that there was more sheer thought put into the Sacrifice fight than any other fight on this entire list, for good or ill. I saw Rucka talk about it at a con once. One of those panels I wish was recorded. Ah well.

My favorite moment in that Perez book is when someone shouts “Look out, Captain Marvel!”

And both of the competing properties are saved, issuing a simultaneous “Thanks!”. It’s this great little soccer in the trenches on Christmas Eve moment.

JLA/Avengers was surprisingly quality; exactly what you WOULDN’T expect from such a crazed clusterfuck of characters.

Yeah, the reason there are multiple versions of the characters in that picture is because there are multiple versions of characters that actually appear in Fight #71.

My personal favorite moment in the JLA/Avengers is when Batman and Cap square off and decide, without a single punch being thrown, that they are too evenly matched and a fight would be pointless.

I’m not sure the LoEG one really counts as a fight.

I dunno … JLA/Avengers looked pretty and I’m sure Kracklin’ Kurt Busiek did his best but … aw, heck. It was fun. Sappy, stupid, sugary fun. It ain’t Pinter, it ain’t even David Mamet but it was fun.

But Cap vs Batman? And you cheated us? Come on. Cap woulda won. Hands down, even if Bats cheated, Cap woulda won. Cap never gives up. And Bruce doesn’t know what the Super-Soldier Serum is or can do.

And Superman was a dick in that book. So at least they got the characterization right.

I had that JLA/Avengers battle in my Top Ten, and the one top image in an awesome battle is that pic of Superman holding Thor’s hammer and Cap’s Shield.

DC and Marvel just WISH that any of their Event books had climactic scenes half as good as that one…

That Batman Year One fight was my #2 vote. I’m really surprised it came in so low.

“JLA/Avengers was surprisingly quality; exactly what you WOULDN’T expect from such a crazed clusterfuck of characters.”

But exactly what you would expect if you get Busiek and Perez and say “go to it!”

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