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CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Battles: 35-31

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.

Story continues below

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).


once again the list choices top the last ones. for loved Jesse getting some revenge on Jody. and Bull’s eye is the reason Daredevil can never keep love.besides Bull’s eye was never going to want to owe Daredevil anything. as for golden age never read it. as for the battle with the second team of X-men and Magneto considering it takes place during the Phoenix saga and jean was just starting to figure out how to use the Phoenix power not surprised Mags beat them. for Magneto requires total concintration for his powers to work and the hit and run tactics used that flaw. can’t wait to see the final choices

Thirty-first? Like I said a while back, the brawl in The Golden Age (with the Ultra-Humanite/Paul Kirk fight serving as an undercard) topped a similar list in Wizard. Even with the general misgivings for that magazine, you have to admit that a case could be made for that fight, especially since it was the only real fracas in the entire miniseries. What, would you count Hourman testing faulty Miraclo on hoodlums? Or an unringed Alan Scott trying to thwart Sportsmaster? It’s the insanity Robinson brings, to have the brain of history’s greatest madman controlling the most powerful body ever, that makes it work. And like Johnny Chambers noted afterwards, it took everybody to chip away for the victory over Dynaman.

Speaking of the late Daniel Dunbar (who had a baseball autographed by Wally Pipp, for God’s sake), here’s a sketch I got of Dynaman back in ’07. I’m just happy to have found somebody who remembered the story, and who could get goofy with it.

Glad to see that X-Men/Magneto fight on this list. That came out in the first year that I collected comics and to this day I think that stretch was the best X-Men storyline I’ve ever read. I was naive enough to believe the X-Men were killed by the lava and remember being speechless as the Beast collapsed in the snow after escaping with Jeannie. Ah, to be 10 years old and on summer break again!

“I prefer not to think of the fact that Miller was only 25 when he wrote and drew this issue.”

You’re just jealous that Miller rose to fame quickly at that age.
But look on the bright side, now that he’s starting his career as a film director, his comic career is taking quite a nose-dive right into the toilet!

How’s that for Karma?

It’s been so long since I read it that I might be misremembering it, but as opposed to the description above doesn’t the DD/Bullseye fight end with DD grabbing Bullseye’s arm as if to save him, but when Bullseye continues ranting about killing, DD says “No. You won’t hurt anyone ever again.” and consciously lets go of Bullseye to have him fall and break his back?

I remember being shocked as a kid when DD did that, and later when I read the complete run it made more sense to me to see DD do that after seeing him go at great risk to rescue Bullseye earlier in Miller’s run. It really drove home a point how close to the edge DD was mentally the second time around.

I’m willing to admit II might be wrong but I no longer have the issues to double-check….

Yeah, I just read the Frank Miller Daredevil run a few days ago and the fight ends with Bullseye saying “No! You won’t save me — not like before! Kill you! I’ll kill –” (Bullseye was pretty mad that Daredevil had saved him before, and felt it was a serious blow to his reputation), and then Daredevil says “You’ll kill no one — ever again!” Then Bullseye falls out of Daredevil’s grasp and onto the ground below, so I think it was pretty obvqious Daredevil let go.

X-Men #112 is one of the most memorable comics I ever bought. I had picked up one issue two years previously of the “new” X-Men and wasn’t at all impressed (I didn’t like Dave Cockrum’s art at the time). After avoiding the book after that, In this case, after seeing the cover, I couldn’t help myself, I had to pick it up. The Claremont-Byrne-Austin combination just blew me away. It instantly became my favorite series. while they obviously did stellar work afterwards, this is my favorite issue of the run.

Is the “Golden-Age” collected anywhere?

Golden Age was collected into a TPB, but I suspect that it is out of print. So write to DC and maybe they’ll reprint it as a hardcover. It’s worth it.

Thanks, Gopher!

I believe The Golden Age is collected both as The Golden Age and JSA: The Golden Age. It’s well worth seeking out!

I don’t buy All Star Superman. is that supposed to be Superman or evil Superman or something? Why does he look like a mook?

The battle with Magneto is a classic. It shows the off the brilliant tactical ability of Cyclops ,who rates with Captain America and Reed Richards as the best tactical leaders in the Marvel universe. When Magneto floats down in to the volcano, finds Nanny running around in circles says”nanny,Ithought I bulit you better”. Then he gets hit by the 4 powerhouse X-men of the time,Storm,Jean,Banshee and Cyclops at the same time–pure magic.—paul

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