SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
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!
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.
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