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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Battles: 70-66

Here’s the next five!

Here is the master list!


70. Wolverine vs. Sabretooth (Right before the Age of Apocalypse)

This fight (written by Larry Hama) is probably most notable for the fact that it was perhaps the first time Wolverine actually popped the third claw after doing the bit where he puts his two side claws around a person’s head then says something like “Don’t make me give you the third claw” (the third claw being in the middle, so it would go through the person’s head, naturally). He used to do that a lot during the 90s, but never actually popped the third claw.

Well, in this fight, he actually popped the third claw!!

In any event, at some point around 1993 or 94, Professor X took Sabretooth in in an attempt to rehabilitate him. Wolverine was away from the team at this point, going through some issues due to his adamantium being pulled out of his body by Magneto. So in Wolverine #90, when Wolverine returns to the X-Mansion, well, as you might imagine, he is displeased at seeing Sabretooth there.

Sabretooth, meanwhile, also wants to fight Wolverine but can’t because he is held back by a force field. However, being extremely tough, Sabretooth manages to get past the force field – but Logan is waiting for him.

They tussle, and Sabretooth is talking all sorts of trash.

The comic came with fold-out pages, letting artist Adam Kubert really cut loose on the fight scenes.

Finally, Wolverine had Sabretooth at his mercy with the claw routine, and Sabretooth is mocking him about how Wolverine better kill him, because if he doesn’t, Sabretooth will kill someone Wolverine loves (as he has done so many times in the past).

The book ends as Wolverine pops the third claw to the awesome sound effect “SCHLIKT!” as reality falls apart and the Age of Apocalypse begins (we later find out that Wolverine basically lobotomized Sabretooth, but as he has a healing factor, Sabes gets better eventually).

69. Spider-Man vs. Morlun (First Battle)

J. Michael Straczynski began his run on Amazing Spider-Man with artist John Romita Jr. by both introducing the idea of the Spider-totem (did the radioactive spider give Peter powers due to it being radioactive, or was the spider already a super spider?) and also introducing the poweful villain Morlun.

Morlun is drawn to Spider-Man because he needs to feed on Spider-Man and the pure energy within him.

The fight between Spider-Man and Morlun is a great one because it also manages to work in the whole “Spider-Man never backs down from a fight” routine that makes other Spidey stories so good (and, of course, John Romita Jr. is a great artist).

Although, it’s interesting that this is a fight where Spider-Man actually DOES try to flee, but he can’t because Morlun starts killing civilians until Spider-Man will fight him again. Spidey only gets a respite when an explosion ruins Morlun’s clothes. Morlun’s powers work in a way that he can always find Spider-Man again, so he leaves to go get new clothes and find Spider-Man again.

Morlun is very powerful, but even worse, every time he hits Spider-Man, he drains some energy from him, making the blows that much worse.

Spidey is in bad shape, and he is only saved from the man, Ezekiel, who told him about Morlun recently. Ezekiel manages to draw blood by a punch to Morlun’s nose, but Morlun is able to absorb Ezekiel’s energy, leaving him sated for now.

Spidey uses this time to examine Morlun’s blood and come up with a way to stop him – when next they meet, Spidey has injected himself with radiation – so when Morlun tries to absorb Spidey’s energy – it is no longer pure – it s now “tainted” with radiation!!

This weakens Morlun to the point where Morlun’s assistant takes the opportunity to kill Morlun.

68. Doom vs. Beyonder

When the Beyonder called a bunch of Marvel heroes and villains to Battleworld to battle it out for the “ultimate prize,” he did not take into consideration the fact that Doctor Doom was not one for taking orders. Doom is all about taking power for himself on his OWN terms, like the time he took the Silver Surfer’s Power Cosmic.

Story continues below

Doom decides to do the same to the Beyonder, and confronts him in Secret Wars #10, in a devastating battle where the Beyonder puts Doom through quite a beating – however, Doom knows that if he can just hold off long enough to absorb the power, he can fix himself. And if there’s one thing Doom has going for him – it’s willpower.

And ultimately, Doom succeeds! He beats the seemingly unbeatable! He has the power of the Beyonder! Of course, the Beyonder secretly puts some of his essence into Klaw to protect himself from Doom, but still, Doom did quite an impressive feat.

67. Magneto vs. Apocalypse

The Age of Apocalypse was based on the idea of what would happen if a powerful mutant killed Professor X in the past before he could create the X-Men? The power display would waken Apocalypse, who would attack the world before it had the proper superhero defenders to stop Apocalypse, and Apocalypse would soon rule the world.

However, with Professor X dead, Magneto would have to be the one who started the X-Men, and in the Age of Apocalypse, we see that Magneto and Apocalypse have had quite a few battles over the year through Magneto’s X-Men and Apocalypse’s forces of evil.

Magneto had been captured by Apocalypse’s forces earlier on in the storyline, and in the final issue of the crossover, X-Men: Omega (by Scott Lobdell & Mark Waid with pencils by Roger Cruz), Magneto has been tortured and is in bad shape. Meanwhile, nukes are falling all over the place in an attempt to destroy Apocalypse. Magneto and the X-Men, however, need to get Bishop enough time so that he can travel back to the past to stop Xavier from having ever been killed. To do so, the X-Men break into Apocalypse’s headquarters to free Magneto.

They do so, but suffer heavy casualties.

The weakened Magneto takes on Apocalypse, and things are not going so well, but in one last heroic gesture, Magneto uses all of his power he can muster and TEARS APOCALYPSE IN TWO!

That dramatic scene gives them the opportunity for Bishop to make his move (with a few stowaways from the Age of Apocalypse universe) and Magneto can stand happy as the nukes fall knowing that he has saved the day.

66. Swamp Thing and Friends vs. The Soul of Darkness (American Gothic)

The conclusion to American Gothic deals with the “Soul of Darkness” which is basically a Primordial Shadow, which threatens to change the status quo in Hell by marching upon Heaven.

John Constantine puts Swamp Thing into the position where he can help stop this, in a two-front battle.

Swamp Thing and a host of notable DC magic users (like Phantom Stranger, Dr. Fate and Etrigan the Demon – who is leading an army of demons who don’t WANT the status quo to change) into battle with the Shadow and his army of demons.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Constantine leads a group of the most notable magicians in the DC Universe to also stop them. In the ensuing magic battle, both Sargon the Sorceror and Zatara are killed.

Ultimately, it all comes down to Swamp Thing (as Constantine planned it), who convinces the Shadow that evil and good are not necessarily at odds with each other – the Shadow then strikes up a balance with the Light of Heaven, and all is right with the world (except for the casualties, of course).


Man, that cover and story in Secret Wars #10 are great. Doom essentially fights God and wins. I still love that series, and issue #10 in particular is a high point.

I like that Magneto – Apocalipse fight in AoA, a great ending for a cool crossover. Peace.

I voted for the whole Secret Wars as one big battle, but then I’m a generalist.

Doom slicing Klaw up into lenses is just so wicked. It blew my little mind.

And how cool is it that Shooter let Doom beat the Beyonder? Shooter created the Beyonder. He wanted everyone to understand how omnipotent and scary and cool his new character was, right? A lesser writer would have used this opportunity to show how their NEW character is so bad ass he puts all the OLD characters to shame. But not Shooter. He basically says “Look, I love my guy, but this is still the Marvel Universe, I’m playing in Stan and Jack’s sandbox, and even if I introduce a villain who is LITERALLY OMNIPOTENT, he still won’t be as bad ass as Dr. Doom. Now THAT’S a PRO.

As great as Alan Moore’s swamp thing run was, issue 50 was one of the weakest issues.

Luckily he made up for it three issues later with the sublime extra long issue 53. I wonder if his fight with Batman from that issue will turn up…

Bugged me a lot as a kid why Magneto didn’t just tear Apocalypse in two years ago in that story.

Great to see that the Magneto/Apocalypse fight in the AoA made it to the list. I don´t recall my votes, but I think I placed 2 or 3. This is my personal favorite fight (voted N1 Superman vs Doom because it had media coverage), and loved that crossover.

I figured there would be some battles I hadn’t read on this list. Maybe even some I hadn’t heard of. But I never expected there to be a character I’d never heard of. Morlun? Seriously?

This weakens Morlun to the point where Morlun’s assistant takes the opportunity to kill Morlun.

But of course, Morlun wasn’t really killed in that Amazing Spider-Man storyline was he? Without any reason or explanantion, JMS resurrected Morlun as the villain for “The Other” storyline, where I guess he was killed… again.

Man, I love that Secret Wars cover…

Ah, the Magneto/Apocalypse fight which is always cited as the end-all/be-all example of who would win: Magneto or Apocalypse

Doom invents “prep time”. One of my favorite Doom moments ever, and that’s a pretty tall order considering how many great moments with great artists he’s had. I’ve gone on and on about how much I love Secret Wars #10 in other talkbacks, but damn, is that not one of the greatest covers ever produced by Marvel? And of course, the “Pain? Pain is like love, like compassion. These are things of lesser men. What are they to Doom?”, line, which has been used over and over and over by others– its just that good of a line.

All of those are awesome.

Man, that Swamp Thing issue – I used it in a talk I gave when I was in college about comics as literature – back in 87.

I can still picture each “champion” going in one at a time to confont the Shadow – Dr. Fate, I believe, and Etrigan and the Spectre – and each one basically being spit out in a battered mess.

And one of the best lines ever – Zatara to Sargon – “now be quiet (or something close) and die like a sorceror!”

Gonna have dig this one back out this week……

Two of my votes are here: Doom vs. the Beyonder and Morlun vs. Spidey.

If Doom defeated the Beyonder himself, who could be that big bad ass he is afraid of in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign? Bendis should remember this battle.

Morlun’s resurrection during the Other was one of the most unnecessary and stupid plots in recent Spidey-history. We never found out HOW and WHY he came back and how weren’t the other heroes able to see him in Avengers tower.
Stories like this destroy Spider-man, not his marriage to MJ.

It’s been a while so I hope I have the right battle, Spider-Man Vs. Morlun was more then a battle I was blown away when Aunt May came in and found Peter in costume, this was ground breaking, the conversation to follow about each of them feeling responsible for the death of Uncle Ben, this was amazing stuff! Oh.. I forgot about Brand New Day this never happened, did it? Never mind. later!

Donna Troy vs the Mythological Titasn the mini series that just preceded Infinite Crisis

All of these are really awesome! i totally enjoyed the AoA stories, as i am a sucker for alternate histories, etc. The Swamp Thing 50 was my first introduction to Swampy, and Alan Moore. i loved/feared when the Spectre tries to stop the black ‘slug’ from advancing, and is overwhelmed by four ‘smokestacks’ falling over him. It truly unnerved me then and still does.
Aslo, that Doom cover is one of Zeck’s best! Doom beating omnipotence? Not a problem, for Doom………

” I figured there would be some battles I hadn’t read on this list. Maybe even some I hadn’t heard of. But I never expected there to be a character I’d never heard of. Morlun? Seriously? ”

Was surprised to see that battle on the list, not so much because it’s not famous ( even though Morlun is hardly in the highest echelons of Spidey villains, JMS made his debut at Marvel with that story ), but because it wasn’t that memorable. Not just because Morlun was a flat character, but because the resolution– Morlun’s assistant kills him before Spidey gets they chance to– basically removes the moral dilemma from Peter’s hands.

It was a decent story, certainly superior to what had been preceding it in the title, but establishing Morlun as the biggest bad in Peter’s history took us from Point A ( introduction ) to Point C ( importance ) without a hint of Point B ( character development ).

That Secret Wars cover is one of my all time favorites too. I never would have thought when I was reading the series as it came out every month that Marvel’s greatest villain would be the one that would steal the spotlight from a whole cast of heroes. Shooter bestowed Doom with a ferocious kind of… dare I say …courage that rivals that of any of the great heroic battles.

“But I… I am DOOM!”

Yeah, that is pretty much the epitome of absolute bad-ass right there. Both the battle itself, and then Cap’s response when Doom arrives victorious scream “awesome” to me.

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