web stats

CSBG Archive

Top 100 Comic Book Battles: 45-41

Here’s the next five!

Here is the master list!


45. Heroes vs. Villains (Secret Wars)

I got some general votes for Heroes vs. Villains in Secret Wars, but I’m going with the specific battle that got the most votes (and counting all the votes for that as representative of “Heroes vs. Villains”), which is the fight in Secret Wars #8, which also was the first appearance of Spider-Man’s black costume!

Earlier in the War, the Wasp was killed. The Avengers want to go take on the villainous murderers, but Captain America does not think they can stop monitoring Galactus, who appears ready to devour the Battleworld they’re all stationed on.

She-Hulk goes it alone, then, and obviously gets beaten badly (I mean, duh, one She-Hulk < a bunch of villains). The heroes want to go rescue her, but Cap still can't agree to leave. However, the X-Men show up and say they'll watch Galactus. That allows Cap to lead the heroes on an assault on the villain compound, and the heroes proceed to destroy the villains. Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck handled the creative duties, and there are some notable scenes, but probably my favorite is the bit where Hawkeye takes down Piledriver of the Wrecking Crew (or was it Bulldozer? One of the loser duo of the group) with an arrow. After the battle, the heroes used a machine to repair their costumes, and Spider-Man uses a machine he THINKS is the clothing repair machine but is actually a (bear with me here) prison holding an evil symbiote that attaches to Spider-Man and becomes his new black costume. 44. JLA (mostly Batman) vs. Hyperclan

So these new superheroes show up on Earth called the Hyperclan.

They proceed to pretty much end all suffering on Earth – fixing droughts, taking care of all the supervillains, etc.

They make the Justice League more or less obsolete.

Of course, they’re secretly totally evil (there’s this big execution scene where they kill all the villains they’ve rounded up).

The Justice League then takes them on, and early on, there’s a great scene between the Flash and the speedster of the Hyperclan, Zum. Here, writer Grant Morrison vibes the Silver Age perfectly with Wally narrating about the “Flash Facts” that his Uncle Barry used to tell him, and Wally then uses one of them to take out Zum. Great scene. Artist Howard Porter does a great job there (and the cover above is really good, isn’t it?).

Finally, though, the League is in big trouble, and it appears Martian Manhunter may even have turned on the League! Superman is captured and held under kryptonite control and Batman is seemingly dead.

Of course, the thing about Batman is – he prepares for everything.

Batman survives the plane crash that the bad guys think kill him (there’s even a great explanation for why they do not examine the fiery wreckage to confirm his death) and he breaks into their headquarters and figures out their secret – they’re actually White Martians!

In one of the coolest scenes ever, Batman takes out on of the Hyperclan and leaves a note for the rest on the unconscious villain – “I know your secret.”

Later, he is surrounded and seemingly screwed, but that’s when he reveals he knows their secret and then lights a match and drops it on the gasoline he’s spread all over the floor.

Once he frees Superman (and Martian Manhunter reveals he never actually turned on the League), they mop the floor with the Hyperclan really easily and then hypnotize them all into becoming humans.

43. We3 vs. Government

We3 was a group of three animals who were turned into assassins by the government. They were a dog (1), a cat (2) and a rabbit (3). Well, while they were quite effective as killers, the government decided to upgrade the program, and kill off these test subjects (or “decommission” them).

Their trainer could not abide by this, so she freed the three, who then went on a incredible journey to find their “home,” something they do not know if they ever will actually find (2 is fond of telling 1 this).

Well, the government naturally does not want these killing machines on the loose, so they send loads and loads of soldiers after them, but We3 kills them all fairly easily.

Story continues below

This leads to a confrontation with the animal that was to replace them – We4 (a bulldog).

4 kills 3, but in the end, 2 and 1 combine to take him out.

It is such a brilliantly executed fight scene by Frank Quitely (hell, the whole book is brilliantly executed by Quitely) and Grant Morrison comes up with some marvelous character moments mixed together, including 2 and 1 coming together as a team in these adverse times.

And of course, the trap for We3 also involved using their trainer, leading to perhaps the saddest comic panel this side of that panel with the grape in Y the Last Man (probably even sadder than that Y scene).


42. Batman vs. Bane (Knightfall)

You really have to give Bane some credit – if your sole purpose is just to beat the crap out of Batman, Bane did it perhaps the best way you could go about doing it.

First, Bane tested Batman for a little while, just gauging what kind of shape Batman was in, etc.

Then he broke almost all of Batman’s Rogues Gallery out of Arkham Asylum and forced Batman to capture them all within, like, a week’s time.

Then, when Batman was roundly exhausted by these battles, Bane shows up and takes on Batman.

Now, you certainly don’t have to admire the fact that this is not honorable in the least bit, but hey, if all you want to do is beat up Batman – this is the way to go.

So in Batman #497, by Doug Moench and Jim Aparo (whose eyes probably popped out of his skull when he saw the royalties from this issue), Bane does just that – beat the hell out of Batman.

And, for the coup de grace, he breaks Batman’s spine over his knee.

But as Batman mentioned just this past issue of Batman – that didn’t stop Bruce Lee, and it didn’t stop Batman (okay, his super-powered girlfriend, Ms. MacGuffin, certainly helped as well).

41. Batman vs. Joker (Killing Joke)

This is the fight that is most notable for something in the fight that had nothing to do with fighting at all.

In this one-shot by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, the Joker breaks into the home of Commissioner Gordon and his daughter Barbara (who had just recently retired as Batgirl). When Barbara answers the door, the Joker shoots her in the torso, paralyzing her for life. He then kidnaps and tortures Gordon for hours in an amusement park, all in an attempt to drive Gordon insane. Part of the torture involves showing him pictures of his bleeding daughter in various states of undress. Twisted stuff.

Batman shows up, and saves Gordon, and Gordon shows that he has not been broken by the Joker. He tells Batman to bring the Joker in by the book, to show that their way works.

Batman then goes in and, naturally, beats the Joker up and takes him into custody.

Before he turns him over to the police, though, he tries to break through to the Joker and try to get him to stop his madness. The Joker (throughout the story, Moore has been giving the readers a possible origin for the Joker) tells him no, and points out that he and Batman are basically just opposite ends of the same coin – two men turned based on one bad day – basically what he was trying to recreate with Gordon.

Finally, right as the book ends, Joker tells Batman a joke, and the book ends with both men laughing.

The joke, for the record:

See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum…and one night…one night they decide they don’t like living in an asylum any more. They decide they’re going to escape! So like they get up on to the roof, and there, just across the narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in moon light…stretching away to freedom. Now the first guy he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daren’t make the leap. Y’see he’s afraid of falling…So then the first guy has an idea. He says “Hey! I have my flash light with me. I will shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk across the beam and join me.” But, the second guy just shakes his head. He says…he says “What do you think I am, crazy? You would turn it off when I was half way across.”

So yeah, this fight is more known for the fact that it was the one where Batman and Joker laugh together more than anything else.


Has Bane done anything interesting since the Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend mega-arc? It seems like he’s the super-villain equivalent of the premature ejaculator; one big move, then no follow-up.

Well, like I said, it seems his only goal was to beat up Batman, and he did that, so I guess he didn’t feel like he needed to do anything else. :)

WE3 is really a heart-breaking story, it tells a lot about the concept of humanity. Batman beating down the Hyperclan was awesome, at that time I loved the JLA, ahh, those good times. Peace.

I never thought about it, but the way the entry about Bane breaking Batman’s back reminds me of this character on MadTV back in the day. It was a Mexican wrestler whose whole gimmick was the promise the he would “break you, like so, with my knee.”

Good joke.
One of my favourites.
I tell it sometimes.

Just for the record, We4 was a bullmastiff, not a bulldog.

I think We4 was a mastiff…

Why was 6 afraid of 7?

Because 7 8 9.

Has Alan Moore written anything worse than The Killing Joke? It’s one of the most disappointing things from my childhood that I’ve reread. I got the recolored version out from the library and while the coloring is WAY better in hand than anything I saw on the internet and the Bolland art is pretty, the story is just pointlessly vile. I was absolutely underwhelmed. And I can remember waiting on pins and needles to buy the original when the house ads starting appearing in everything DC put out back then. Reading The Killing Joke just makes you appreciate John Ostrander (and Kim Yale?) all the more.

I’m still hoping for Jean Paul Valley Azrael vs. Bane in Batman #500.

Merry Christmas.

once again the list keeps rising in good choices. most i read we3 i agree was sad. Bane proved how to beat Batman. as for the battle with the white Martians . batman greatest weapon is his mind he is always covering bases. as for the killing joke it did two things proved how nasty and disturbed the joker really is and also what a strong and powerful woman Babs is . not to mention how batman figures out that the joker will never change and is a true sociopath. even though to me the killing joke is one of the most disturbing batman books ever next to ArkhamAsylum.

isse three of We3 is great and the fight with 4 and the gov’t is well worth being on the list. Bane will hopefully get his second great moment in secret six, he’s done squat (unless you count killing judomaster in Infinite Crisis) since then.

Comic Book Legend: With We3, Grant Morrison inadvertently created lolcats.

Actually, Nitz, you should check out the current Secret Six series. Bane is semi-reformed and refuses to use Venom anymore because it’s immoral. He’s kind of the straight man to the rest of the lunatics in the group and makes for some damn good storytelling.

Bane in Secret Six is hilarious. His over-over-over protective attitude towards Scandal is worth the price of the book alone.

Has Alan Moore written anything worse than The Killing Joke?

The lesser issues of Promethea (particularly the final issue). Most of Tomorrow Stories (except Jack B Quick and Greyshirt which are great).

i hated Aparo’s work on Bane Vs Batman. Ugh. Anyone else?

Oops – That “Anonymous” post was me. For some reason most of my posts yesterday were either anonymous or showing someone else’s name.

danjack – you’re not alone. Jim Aparo’s work was always to drab and lifeless for me.

Bane took a personal quest to destroy all of Ra’s al Ghul’s Lazarus Pits. and the killing joke was awesome even if you didn’t care for the content just look at the storytelling mechanics that Moore utilized, This book helped people stop looking at batman and seeing Adam West. (seriously just look at the scene changes in the book, panel to panel this book is brilliant)

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives