O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
Here’s the next five!
Here is the master list!
35. Jesse Custer vs. Jody
To say that Jesse Custer had a rough upbringing would be a massive understatement. Jesse’s grandmother, Marie L’Angelle, was upset that her daughter ran away from home, so she sent her two enforcers, Jody and T.C. to go find her. They found her married and with a child. Jesse’s father fought Jody bravely, and may have won had it not been for the fact that T.C. held Jesse at gunpoint. Jesse then watched as Josy murdered Jesse’s father in front of his eyes, then called Jesse a crybaby for weeping.
While Jesse hated Jody, it was Jody who more or less raised Jesse from youth to adulthood, teaching him everything he knew about, well, everything. Finally, as a young adult, Jesse was given his chance by Jody to take him on – Jody proceeded to beat him severely, breaking his arm and jaw.
Years later, Jesse also ran away from home and began seeing Tulip O’Hare. Jody and T.C. came after him and told him that if he came back, Tulip could live. Jesse came back.
When Jesse gained the Word of God and left home, he came back to his hometown of Angelville, where Jody proceeded to shoot Tulip in the head (God revived her later).
Finally, though, Jesse took on Jody one-on-one and defeated him, breaking Jody’s back and strangling him to death (the revived Tulip took care of T.C. and the fire took care of Marie).
Jody’s last words were “Prouda you, boy.”
Man, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon created some impressively vivid background characters, didn’t they?
34. Daredevil vs. Bullseye (Daredevil #181)
Talk about an impressive issue! This is, I believe, the only issue on the entire countdown to get TWO fights on to the countdown!
In any event, this issue is most famous for the fact that Bullseye kills Elektra early in the issue, but Frank Miller and Klaus Janson give us another memorable fight later in the issue when Daredevil gets his revenge on Bullseye.
Miller even works in a big plot about how Bullseye discovers Murdock is Daredevil, but then feels this theory is disproven later on in the story – it’s quite interesting.
But then the fight – a typically cinematic fight sequence by Miller and Janson with little to no dialogue and finally, at the end of the battle, Daredevil is triumphant and Bullseye is hanging from a ledge. Will Daredevil save the man who just murdered his lover?
Ultimately, Daredevil is just too nice of a guy and he goes to save Bullseye, but Bullseye is having none of it, and lets go, plummeting to the ground below, suffering a broken neck.
I prefer not to think of the fact that Miller was only 25 when he wrote and drew this issue.
33. Superman vs. Lex Luthor (All Star Superman #12)
In the final issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman, Lex Luthor has the powers of Superman (for 24 hours) and Superman is near death and powerless (after Solaris turned the sun red – the sun is now turning blue and it is major trouble).
However, Superman is a lot more than just his powers.
So first off, Superman (who seemingly died at the end of All Star Superman #11) comes back to life for one last battle, and his only way to fight Luthor is through a gravity gun and, of course, his wits, which are a lot better than people give him credit for.
While Luthor thinks he is on top of the world, Superman is secretly using the gravity gun to warp the time around Luthor, so that the 24 hour time limit approaches much faster than expected. As the powers run out, Luthor experiences the world as Superman sees it, and it almost drives him mad.
Now, Superman fights Luthor on the same level, and he naturally beats Luthor up badly, as Superman is awesome.
Superman is now almost dead (when he dies he converts to a sort of living solar energy), so his last act (after kissing Lois, of course) is to fly into the sun to fix it.
An amazing final battle for an amazing final issue of an amazing comic book.
32. The X-Men vs. Magneto (in the Volcano Base)
The All-New, All-Different X-Men first faced off against Magneto in Uncanny X-Men #104, where he trashed them badly in a manner of seconds before a distraction saved them.
Now, a year later, he showed up again in Uncanny X-Men #112 to finish what he started. He takes the team apart very easily, challenged only by Phoenix, who he is surprised to find such a formidable opponent. Sadly for her, her powers cut out at a bad time, and she is taken in. Wolverine is the last X-Man standing, but that does not last long.
At the end of #112, Magneto has the X-Men captive and he plans to have them held in captivity for the rest of their lives with a robotic Nanny taking care of them (similar, I suppose, to what happened to him when he was reduced to infancy).
Claremont and Byrne continue the story in the next issue where Storm’s pickpocketing experience helps her out as she picks the lock on her chair. When Magneto comes back to the base (which is underneath a volcano in the Antarctic, natch), he discovers that the X-Men are free.
While the first time around, the X-Men tried fighting him one on one (and got beaten easily), this time, Cyclops is coordinating their attacks telepathically through Phoenix, and their hit and run style of attacks are disorientating Magneto enough so that he is having a hard time using his powers.
However, during the battle, the base is damaged, and the lava from the volcano begins to seep in. The X-Men all dash for the exits, with Beast and Jean being the only ones who make it out to the surface alive – or so they think.
31. JSA vs. Dynaman
The Golden Age tells the story of how the Golden Age heroes dealt with the coming of McCarthyism during the 1950s.
This out-of-continuity mini-series by James Robinson and Paul Smith is a strong window into the sort of storytelling approach Robinson was soon to bring into Starman, although this story is perhaps a bit darker than his Starman work.
The main plot of the comic is that Tex Thompson, the Americommando, has returned from the War to become a U.S. Senator. Thompson then puts together a new team of heroes for the 1950s after the Justice Society disbanded. Among the heroes was Dan the Dyna-Mite, the sidekick to the hero TNT, who is a bit lost in the world after the death of his mentor. Dan is experimented on until he becomes the ultra-powerful Dynaman.
The rest of the series catches us up with various heroes and how they’re dealing with Post-War society, but also hints at a hidden agenda by Thompson – a sinister hidden agenda. Essentially, Thompson and Dynaman are slowly becoming dictators of sorts in the US.
The actual agenda is fully revealed in the lead-up to the climactic battle in Golden Age #4. We learn that Thompson was actually possessed by the JSA villain, the Ultra-Humanite, back in the war. And the Ultra-Humanite uses his mind-transfer abilities to put someone else’s consciousness in the body of Dynaman. That person? Adolf Hitler!!
As the various characters all find this out at around the same time, they all converge upon Dynaman for an epic battle that takes up most of the fourth issue of the Golden Age (and since the book is 48 pages long, that’s a lot) as basically all the Golden Age heroes take him on at once.
While they rack up a LOT of deaths, they are ultimately successful in taking him down.
Amusingly, the hero who gets in the last punch is a young Captain Comet, who was the first post-World War II hero created at DC (Comet debuted a good five years before Barry Allen and a good four years before Martian Manhunter).
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