Welcome to this week's Best Battles! This is the spot where we praise the best fights that took place in all of the latest comics. There's been more than a few times where I've said something along the lines of, "Oh man, this was a tough week to pick 3 favorites!" Well, those were likely very, very easy compared to this past Wednesday.
This week, we have fights with Wolverine, Young Cyclops, Batman, Hulk, Deathstroke, Daredevil, Captain America, Punisher, Venom and much more. So, I made my selections the most logical way I could think of: eenie meenie miney mo. But really, I think this trio of fights was the most fun and had the most variety.
Grab some popcorn and enjoy the slugfests.
...Unless you're still super upset about Spider-Man... then you might wanna back out now because he's in not one, but two of these.
THAR BE SPOILERS AHEAD!
Superior Spider-Man vs Wolverine
Spider-Man vs Wolverine has always been a vicious debate. Spider-Man has agility, speed, reflexes, strength and webbing on his side. However, Wolverine has superior skill, insane durability and a healing factor, and those pointy claws on his side. Usually, opinions are divided, but it's reasonable to think Wolverine could eventually win -- and many comic creators have agreed with that. Peter's morals play a big role in his methods and because of this, he tends to hold back a good deal. Wolverine, on the other hand, might not worry about thrusting those claws into Pete's torso (like he has once before in training). Both have a means for victory (for example, Spider-Man can incapacitate him with webbing), but Wolverine's ability to stay in the fight and turn the tide with one hit is key and that's how it has been written numerous time before.
Now, "Peter" is no longer in control of his body -- Otto Octavius is. This formerly flabby villain isn't a fan of holding back, so how does a no holds barred version of Spider-Man fare against the deadly X-Man? It takes place in latest issue of AVENGING SPIDER-MAN and Wolverine fans might want to cover their eyes. James gets in "Peter's" face, and, as you can see below, Otto won't stand for being talked down to or being touched.
Alright, it's clearly on after an uppercut like that. There's no way this scenario will now turn into talking it out. Otto-Man has thrown the first strike and Wolverine definitely isn't going to take this sitting down. Despite taking a hit like that to the jaw and clearly being all kinds of pissed off ("RRRAAAA!"), Logan keeps the claws in and tries to give Spider-Man a punch of his own. But Spider-Man's superior stats render him virtually untouchable now, especially because he's going all out. Sorry, Logan, but you're about to suffer a rather vicious beat down.
Even if you don't like Wolverine, you can't help but feel bad for him as he's humiliated. Just look at his face when Spider-Man grabs him by the throat. Poor dude looks beyond confused and helpless.
Yeesh, that was just about as one-sided as a fight can get. Viners, do you think an unleashed Spidey would wreck Wolverine... or do you think Wolverine would edge it out? Personally, I agree with this outcome considering Superior was going all out and Wolverine was clearly restraining himself.
Robin vs "Batman"
Okay, the twist here was obvious since last issue's cliffhanger but that didn't make this battle any less powerful. There's no real tension when it comes to who's behind the cowl, but that really doesn't matter to me. The brilliant element here is the tight focus on Damian's emotional conflict. We're pretty certain that's not his dad, but we're not in his shoes. For him, it's kill or be killed against his father.
Joker's influence slows the Caped Crusader's reflexes and Damian goes to down on the Dark Knight in a non-lethal manner. It's tons of fun to watch and that's mainly a credit to Pat Gleason's amazing artwork. The motions feel fluid and his detail on Batman and the Joker is legitimately creepy.
The 10 year-old Robin quickly realizes he's just a pawn in Joker's twisted game, so he seeks to change the scenario. He finds a way out of the caged area, but unfortunately the entire Zoo appears to be Joker's play place. There's no escape for Robin.
The two end up in the Polar Bear section and duke it out underwater. Damian clearly can't match Batman in terms of strength, so he relies on cooler and cheaper tactics, like a headbutt. All that does is annoy him, though, and Damian is promptly thrown out of the freezing water.
What happens next is too fantastic for words. So, instead of babbling about it, I'll just get right to showing you the overwhelming amount of awesomeness.
After a flurry of strikes that would make Barry Allen feel slow, Damian tops it off with one heck of an uppercut.
After all that the little Boy Wonder dished out, Batman's still standing and laughing uncontrollably. Joker wants Damian to cross the line and, for a moment, it seemed as though he would. After all, he's the Robin with quite a dark past. Yet in the moment that truly matters, Damian shows true bravery... he'd rather die at his father's hand than kill him himself.
As I'm sure you already gussed, that's not really Batman under the mask and Joker sets off a trap that stops "Batman" before he can deliver the killing blow. Now, on to more pressing matters... what the hell is on that tray?
Superior Spider-Man / Daredevil vs Stilt-Man
Superior Spider-Man and Daredevil have a brief scuffle across the rooftops of New York, but that's totally trivial because something far more spectacular happens next: Stilt-Man makes a grand return! The identity of this new fearsome foe is never revealed, but it's safe to say it can't be the original seeing as he took a rocket to the groin and even had a funeral service. But hey, crazier stuff has happened in comics just about every other day. So hold onto hope, Stilters.
Like he bluntly points out, Stilt-Man has undergone some upgrades. His arms are now extendable and stronger. Superior Octopus-Man gets to experience that first-hand while Daredevil focuses on saving the people in the falling helicopter. A webbing net later and the people are saved and it's time to focus on one of the greatest villains ever. Because... you know... he's a bad guy... on stilts. Awesome, right?
It turns out this new Stilt-Man has "borrowed" Doc Oc's technology to create those fancy new arms. Now that technology has come back to bite Otto in the butt -- or, in this case, in the shoulder. Enjoy the following scene and the delightfully creative sound effect.
Daredevil puts an end to playtime as he uses his enhanced senses and radar to locate a weak point in the bad guy's armor. He discovers Stilt-Man's control center, equips his batons and goes for the gold. The end result is this ridiculously good splash page.
Stilt-Man then babbles about how the control center will automatically repair, but unfortunately for him, Spider-Man pretty much says "no way" to that. One superhuman punch later and it's goodbye, auto repair.
My knight in shining armor has been defeated yet again. One day Stilt-Man will return with an upgrade so powerful that only Squirrel Girl will be able to challenge him.
- Hulk vs A.I.M.
- Batman vs "Riot Guards"
- Deathstroke vs Koschei
- Wolverine vs Neanderthals / Raptor
- Young Cyclops vs Wolverine
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine & IGN Entertainment. Don't forget to go be his pal on Twitter.