It's time for another dose of 'Best Battles!' If there's one thing these three featured fights have in common, it's excellent artwork for our eyes to enjoy. This week, we have a quick fight between two heroes who could level buildings with their fists, an agile good guy trying to dodge a powerful brute, and the return of a classic rivalry between two brutal fighters.
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!
Superman vs. Shazam (JUSTICE LEAGUE #22)
The beginning of Trinity War is finally here and it kicks off with a brief yet oh-so-awesome slugfest between Shazam and Superman. You see, Billy Batson was just trying to do the right thing when he flew to Kahndaq -- he simply wanted to put Black Adam's ashes to rest in the villain's homeland. The nation's government, however, didn't take too kindly to him crossing into its territory and opened fire on the new hero. Before Billy could retaliate, Superman sent him soaring with a super-fast and super-strong punch. Despite Superman saying there's no need to fight, Billy didn't react to kindly to being struck by the powerhouse. What happens next is fantastic.
Being new to his powers and all, you can understand the surprising amount of joy Billy has when he discovers he has what it takes to send Superman -- yes, Superman -- flying with a punch (that page also makes you smile, right?). Unfortunately for him, the power trip goes straight to his head and makes the mistake of trash talking Superman while punching him in the face. Unwise move, child. Billy soon discovers the Man of Steel has been holding back and he's then struck by an absolutely tremendous punch from Clark.
Most of you probably know what happens next to really set off Trinity War, but in the event some of you out there still have no idea, I'll spare you the details. Besides, it's one of those things you need to read for yourself, because if you hear it from someone else, odds are you'll overreact without having all of the facts.
So, something rather terrible happens when the Justice League of America confronts the Justice League after the little brawl between Clark and Billy. But what follows is far from terrible. In fact, it's glorious and that's thanks to Ivan Reis' amazing panel below.
And if you are upset by what occurred: come on. Writer Geoff Johns drops about three lines or so informing you there's much more to the situation than meets the eye. Have patience, friends.
Hulk & Daredevil vs. Baron Zemo / Hydra (INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #10)
When you think of an awesome team-up, Daredevil and Hulk doesn't immediately come to mind, does it? Well, the INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK story 'Blind Rage' proves they're an incredible duo and even makes me wish Marvel would green light a HULK & DAREDEVIL book under this creative team. Matteo Scalera and Val Staples turn writer Mark Waid's tight script into a beautifully cinematic and visceral experience that you simply have to check out. Don't believe me? Just gaze at the following page and let all of its glory sink in.
Now that I'm done praising the creative team, I'll let you know what's going on in these stellar pages. Baron Zemo is attempting to set up a high tech armory right in Hell's Kitchen and naturally, Daredevil and Hulk don't take too kindly to that. If you're wondering why they're together in the first place, please do yourself a favor and read INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #9 -- you can thank me later. Hulk already withstood the power of a gun designed to rewrite his molecules, but he's not so lucky when Baron uses a gun which is designed to blind everyone it hits. As expected, Daredevil is perfectly fine, but now we're dealing with a blind and unhappy (not to mention not too bright) Hulk in a warehouse full of high tech weaponry. Need I remind you it's in a highly populated section of Manhattan, too? Daredevil has to stop the brute from flailing and destroying everything around him, so he picks up one of the sonic guns and hopes for the best. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't work.
The brawl eventually smashes out of the building and into the streets of Hell's Kitchen. With no idea how to stop the Green Goliath (something tells me his baton won't suffice), Daredevil chats with Maria Hill and Bruce Banner's partners via an emergency device he has on him (thanks to his time with the Avengers). The team suggests he needs to change the sonic gun to a certain frequency, but due to his radar sense, he can't spot the important markings on the advanced weapon and just hopes for the best. Again, no such luck.
Remember when I said I was done praising the creative team? I lied. Seriously, take a moment and look at the above page again. The art team absolutely kills it when it comes to delivering frenetic action and Waid's script is as sharp as ever. How does it end, you ask? I'm not going to tell you! Buy the issue if you want to know -- it's well worth your cash.
Wolverine vs. The Hand & Sabretooth (WOLVERINE: JAPAN'S MOST WANTED #1)
Look away, Wolverine fans, because this isn't a flattering showing for your favorite X-Man. The first digital issue of Logan's thirteen chapter series came out this week, and while it was a tad light on plot, it made up for that with a whole lot of action and solid visuals. The story literally begins with Wolverine in the middle of fighting a large swarm of Hand Ninjas. While this shouldn't be too troubling for him, it's proving more difficult than usual (though we still don't know why that is) and, as you can see from the panel below, one Hand Ninja even has the chance to burrow his sai deep into Wolverine's shoulder.
At this point, the fight has been going for hours and Wolverine needs to get away from the army of melee-wielding ninjas he's facing on a rooftop. So, he leaps off of the rooftop, successfully crossing the width of the street many floors below him and goes crashing into a skyscraper. Wolverine then almost makes it to an elevator before SHUNK! No dice, Wolvy.
When Howlett finally wakes up, he's in the elevator shaft and abruptly becomes covered in gasoline. As Logan looks up, he sees none other than Victor Creed aka Sabretooth standing in one of the entrances. The brutal villain lights a match and lets it falls near the X-Man, setting the area on fire. Creed jumps down and begins to claw away at the hero. Sabretooth gets a good hit or two in but it's not long before Wolverine lands a hit of his own and then escapes the elevator shaft.
Honestly, it's kind of disappointing to see Wolverine giving such a lackluster performance as a combatant, but I'll give the series the benefit of the doubt and assume an answer will be provided for that in due time. After all, Creed even remarks that a couple dozen ninjas used to be easy for Wolverine. But for now, I'm cool with enjoying this really crisp and vivid action.
- Death vs. New Shanghai Troops (East of West)
- Apex vs. Nico (Avengers Arena)
- Suicide Squad vs. Anarchist Group & Giant Creature (Suicide Squad)
- Spider-Man vs. Smythe (Superior Spider-Man)
- TMNT vs. the Military (TMNT: New Adventures)
- Barney Barton vs. Tracksuit Bros (Hawkeye)
- Batman vs. Red Hood Gang (Batman)
- Michonne vs. Zombies (The Walking Dead)
- Superman vs. a the Apollodorus(Superman Unchained)
- Savage Dragon vs. Inmates (Savage Dragon)
- Anderson Lake vs. Inmates/Security (Ghosted)
- Superman vs. Flash *in a game of chess* (Injustice: Gods Among Us)
- Batman & Robin vs. Catwoman & Goon (Batman '66)