Sometimes this weekly feature shows off characters using great hand-to-hand technique or a variety of cool powers. This isn't one of those weeks... not at all. Instead, this edition's all about the brutal punchfests that went down in Wednesday's new comics. Firstly, two of Batman's villains slug it out in Wayne Tower as Arkham War hits the city. Secondly, Captain America goes all out against a fellow super-soldier. Last and most definitely not least, two incredibly strong characters from the Ultimates universe completely unleash. Once all is said and done, let us know what you think about the fights we've highlighted and be sure to tell us your top three from this week, too.
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!
Bane vs. Killer Croc (FOREVER EVIL: ARKHAM WAR #3)
Bane and Killer Croc have faced-off twice before the New 52. The first time, Bane completely humiliated the villain. The second time was far more even, but it was still transparent Bane has no trouble holding his own against the fiend. But this was all before Flashpoint altered everything and both characters have changed a good deal since then. Bane's physicals have been boosted and Killer Croc's... well, his showings still fluctuate, but he's been more powerful since Hush. So, what happens when these two square off in the modern era? Awesomeness, that's what. And the reason these two come to blows is Peter J. Tomasi's ARKHAM WAR. The villains are struggling for control of Gotham. Bane and his forces from Blackgate are up against Scarecrow and various other rogues from Batman's gallery. During the course of events, Bane was told the villains won't bow to him because they don't fear him -- he's not Batman. Well, Bane changes that and creates a Bat-armor of his own. He then sets his sights on his first target: Killer Croc. Needless to say, things get savage pretty fast.
We all know who will be left standing when the melee comes to an end, but that makes watching it all unfold no less fun. Before the New 52, Bane often displayed great skill behind his methods, but the post-Flashpoint version has a clear emphasis on power over technique. It's fitting since he's undergone quite a physical upgrade, and seeing a man of that stature dropping serious skill just wouldn't be fair. The end result is an explosive set of attacks between two dudes who are just throwing everything into their swings and, like I said, it's awesome.
Yes, Killer Croc is treated like a jobber here and there, but overall, the guy's actually quite a powerhouse when it comes to street level characters. Instead of displaying raw strength (Bane's got that covered), Waylon Jones utilizes something Bane doesn't have: fearsome claws and huge teeth. He gives a good effort, but ultimately, Bane's not losing this one.
Man, beating him in the face with the bat symbol is just vicious. What happens next, though? Does Bane actually beat Waylon to death with it? Does he pull the infamous back breaker? Does he get Waylon to join his side? Even if someone spoils it for you in the comments, Scot Eaton and Andrew Dalhouse make it look great, so it's a moment you'll definitely want to see for yourself.
Captain America, Falcon vs. Nuke (CAPTAIN AMERICA #14)
Frank Simpson aka Nuke has been going on a bloody rampage in Nrosvekistan and he's doing it because he believes he's under orders from the U.S. military. This obviously looks terrible for the United States (Nuke does have the flag on his face and all), so S.H.I.E.L.D. has sent in Captain America to not only stop him, but also make it crystal clear Simpson's not acting on behalf of the country. Rogers has been trying to stop the bloodshed for hours and he's been unable to put Nuke down. The opposing super-soldier has ridiculously impressive durability (a long time ago, Daredevil hurt his hand trying a nerve strike) and, as you'll see below, even Cap's shield isn't doing the trick.
Rogers promptly realizes he's going about this the wrong way, so instead of throwing more attacks at the tough foe, the Avenger tries to reason with Simpson and make him realize someone's manipulating him. Believe it or not, the heart-to-heart works and Simpson kindly decides not to kill the hero. Leave it up to a journalist to screw this all up, though. The flash of the camera puts Nuke back into a bloodlust as it brings back memories of how many in the media and public opposed the war during Vietnam. He goes after the journalist, but Falcon swoops in to save the day and violently throws the enemy into a tree. However, it's just a temporary saving because after a couple of hits, Simpson turns the tide with his knife. "A" for effort though, Falcon.
Cap realizes things are completely out of hand at this point. Not only has Nuke killed so many innocents, but eventually, he could kill Falcon and Cap, too. Because of this, Rogers has the harsh realization that the kid gloves need to come off and in order to keep Nuke down, he needs to truly unleash. Sure, Nuke has what it takes to recover from a shield hit, but what about when Cap doesn't let up and keeps 'em coming? Let's just say Rogers puts this guy's durability to the test.
What makes this one particularly interesting (you know, shield smashes to the face aside), is the conversation they have when it all hits the fan. Rick Remender's placing two super-soldiers from totally different eras at odds and naturally, they both have entirely different views on war and the public. It's a good one, people, so go read it.
Hercules vs Gah Lak Tus consumed Hulk (CATACLYSM: ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #2)
There's a lot of potential for great showdowns when the Ultimates stand against a Gah Lak Tus swarm, but none compare to Hercules happily leaping into action to take on a now consumed Hulk. Zeus' son is quite a powerhouse, but Ultimate Hulk isn't a character anyone should take lightly. The demigod swiftly learns that lesson and admits he's somewhat impressed, too.
Even though the stakes are absurdly high, writer Joshua Hale Filakov has a lot of fun with the super-strong slugfest. The consumed version of Hulk has great banter ("Hulk consume!") and, despite massive grey fists flying at his face, Hercules keeps things fresh and delivers plenty of levity as they trade blows.
As Fialkov keeps the jabs -- physical and verbal -- coming, artist Carmine Di Giandomenico does a solid job bringing all of the spreading havoc to life. It's a massive war zone with a helluva lot going on and these panels make sure you never lose sight of that. The fight may not be that long, but damn, it's sweet. I mean, how can you not love the following image?
Herc may be faring pretty well, but his team isn't nearly as fortunate. What happens with them? Is Herc able to topple the goliath or is he consumed? Without spoiling anything, we will say this fight does reach a verdict within the issue. The cliffhanger will absolutely make you anxious to see what's next as well.
- Zod vs. JLA (SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #3)
- Unity 2.0 vs. X-O Manowar (UNITY #2)
- Stargirl vs. CSA Sympathizers (JLA #10)
- Invincible, Guardians of the Globe Vs Doc Seismic, Volcanikka (INVINCIBLE #107)
- King Shark vs. Kamo (SUICIDE SQUAD #26)
- Half-bison men vs Explorers (MANIFEST DESTINY #2)
- Broudaire vs. Doctor Doom's Death Ray (SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN #6)