It's time again for 'Best Battles' and when it comes to action in this week's new issues, it was definitely quality over quantity. There weren't a whole lot of fights to choose from (at least based on what I read and what was recommended), but I really, really dug the following three and they were easily the ones worth highlighting. This week, we have an emotional and brutal encounter between a father and his son's killer, DC's famous archer absolutely obliterating some goons, and Marvel's most popular symbiote going toe-to-toe with a number of mercenaries.
Did your favorite melee not get a mention? Well, it's possible we didn't read that issue, so be sure to make suggestions in the official Best Battles Discussion Thread from now on. We review that before writing this weekly feature and do our best to get our hands on the issues suggested!
Batman vs. The Heretic (BATMAN, INCORPORATED #12)
Batman finally gets the chance to lash out at The Heretic, the character who viciously murdered his son. He was significantly outclassed the first time he faced the lumbering powerhouse, and Talia al Ghul's ally made short work of Bruce. But now Batman has become... well, Man-Bat-Batman (or Batman-Bat?) and is geared up and looking for revenge. Wayne kicks the fight off by carrying Heretic into the air and then dropped him through a watertower -- a violent yet effective start. Heretic is one tough cookie (the guy hasn't seemed to mind he had an eye destroyed a few issues ago) and gets up, ready for more. Batman finally has his chance for revenge and the two begin a savage melee in the rain.
Batman then activates a feature on his armor which makes him invisible. From here, he unleashes on Heretic and eventually knocks the brute off the rooftop. Heretic's jetpack doesn't immediately activate but he does happen to fall on a blimp. Bruce joins him on top of the aircraft in hopes of pummeling the villain some more, but Heretic takes the edge and rips off one of his wings and then stabs him in the chest with it. Luckily for Bruce, his armor mostly protected him from the attack, but Heretic then reveals his jetpack does indeed work and the following craziness occurs.
The two go crashing through an office and then plummet into a school bus. Such a fall would surely end many fights, but one between an amped up and armored Batman-Bat and the Heretic? You can bet this isn't the end. But the end is indeed near and the school bus is where Wayne unleashes his final and oh-so-vicious volley of punches.
But just because it's the end of Bruce and Heretic doesn't mean the action is over. Immediately after this, Nightwing and Squire join the fray and we soon see what's under The Heretic's mask. If you want to know more, BUY THE ISSUE to find out. Support what you love with your money, Viners.
Venom vs. Jagged Bow, Blood-Spider, Death-Shield (VENOM #37)
Lord Ogre wants Venom dead so he does what any rational kingpin would do: put on bounty on Venom's head. A trio of Spider-Man, Captain America and Hawkeye knockoffs are the first to try and collect the massive price on the anti-hero. Death-Shield strikes first, hitting Venom in the face with his shield. Now that they have the symbiotic hero's attention, Jagged Bow steps up to the plate and he clearly did his homework. Instead of firing generic arrows (which would do diddly-squat against Venom), the villain fires three explosive arrows and then follows-up with a sonic arrow. The coolest part of it all? Venom shrugs it off like a total boss.
"Who is behind that glorious artwork?" I'm glad you asked, random reader. Illustrator Kim Jacinto took over this issue (with Lee Loughridge on colors) and as you can see, Jacinto does a killer job with frenetic fight scenes and all of the madness that goes down. From the symbiote fleeing Flash's body after a sonic arrow to Venom's frightening face, the entire sequence looks excellent. Anyway, back to the fight. Jagged Bow failed to keep Venom down at a distance, so now Blood-Spider will see if he'll have better luck up close and personal. Spoiler alert: he doesn't fare much better.
Two out of three mercs have proven ineffective, so how about Death-Shield? Well, do you remember how Venom vs. Captain America went earlier in this series? If not, here's a quick refresher: Venom one-shotted him. Yup, that's right. Captain America got dropped by one punch from Venom. So, if that happened to the great Steve Rogers, how do you think this dude will do? If you guessed "not well," congratulations! If you guessed otherwise, click this link.
Just in case you're wondering what's going on in the final panel, that's Constrictor entering the fray (Lord Deathstrike follows shortly after). He's often treated as fairly ineffective, but writer Cullen Bunn gives the guy a more than fair amount of credit in the following sequence -- a sequence I'm not showing you because BUY THE BOOK. More people need to be reading VENOM. It's good for your health. Okay, maybe not, but it is really enjoyable.
Green Arrow vs. Count Vertigo's Mercs (GREEN ARROW #22)
GREEN ARROW has been a great book, but when it comes to being a hero, Oliver Queen hasn't had many overly impressive showings as of late. This issue completely changes that with a hugely detailed and thoroughly entertaining action sequence. A big group of armed mercenaries vs. Green Arrow? Well, writer Jeff Lemire makes it clear it'll take far more than that to even come close to stopping the marksman.
While Ollie spends plenty of time punching and kicking his targets, this issue also shows off all of the new goodies his allies have given him. As you saw above, his explosive arrow would make Michael Bay blush, but it's not nearly as cool as the flaming arrows. Seriously, go ahead and check out their greatness below.
Wow, Oliver just humiliated that firing squad. It's really nice to see him finally stepping up his game and doing things which clearly place him above the rest and make him worthy of being a hero. The book still feels more down to Earth than other titles, but it's nice to have these "the hero is unstoppable" moments every now and then. At any rate, back to more of the archer wrecking the remaining mercenaries.
I usually only provide three images per entry because I don't want to give too much away, but there's a page in GREEN ARROW #22 I simply have to include. After defeating all of the mercenaries, Oliver finally encounters Count Vertigo. The villain is introduced in a brilliant manner (parts of the panel are falling out of place), but then Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo deliver this truly stunning page.
- Batman's Rebellion vs. Superman Cultists (Boxing glove arrow!)
- School of Five Weapons (Teachers / Students) vs. Vera
- Batman vs. Riddler
- Batwing / Fox Mansion vs. The Marabunta
- BATMAN 66 #1 vs. Your nostalgia
- Daredevil vs. Mother Nature
- DEXTER #1 vs. Fans of the show who haven't read the books