Greetings, action fans, and welcome back to this week's edition of "Best New Comic Book Battles." Every Wednesday I'll search through my stack and if I'm lucky, there'll be some top-notch action sequences. It's never easy to narrow down my favorites to just 3, but that's exactly what I'm going to do in this segment every Friday.
My bank account only has so many zeroes, so I clearly can't afford to buy every comic I want to. This means every now and then an awesome battle might slip past me or a neat encounter takes place in a book I'm not following. I'll do my best to flip through the pages of every book at my local shop, but if one does elude me, please feel free to make scans and share your favorites below!
BEWARE! Spoilers ahead.
Wolverine vs Alpha Flight (WOLVERINE #313)
Alpha Flight, we hardly knew ye. Is this a canon encounter or is it just a false planted memory in Mr. Howlett's head? No idea, but Simone Bianchi's artwork helps me forget all about the crazy story and appreciate this terribly brutal scene. Claws? He doesn't need claws where he's going.
While I wasn't the biggest fan of this issue, this quick and precise sword attack was my personal highlight in a reading experience filled mostly with questions and concerns. Bianchi's pencils aside, the coloring by Simone Peruzzi helped make the attack much more powerful. The faded colors represented memories of a flashback, but the contrast of the bright red blood splattering was incredibly vivid and helps highlight the gruesome strikes.
Black Widow vs Hawkeye (SECRET AVENGERS 31)
Can Hawkeye's accuracy overcome Black Widow's agility and tactical mind? These two teammates are forced to throw-down after The Abyss takes control over an entire city -- Hawkeye included. The two Secret Avengers are forced to battle on a plane and the limited space for mobility proves to be an immediate hindrance for Natasha as an arrow almost paralyzes her.
But the small environment quickly turns in her favor, allowing her to close the gap (awesome panel of Clint dodging the knife) and we're treated to a remorseless kick to Clint's face -- complimented with mandatory "hghraa--yaw!" No kick would be complete without yelling that phrase.
One poorly used explosive arrow later, Clint, Natasha and Squid (he gets no love) end up outside of the plane. Realizing she's left with no other way to stop the plane from leaving the city, the Russian spy throws a grenade at the engine. Clint, however, won't stand for any of that nonsense. While jumping out of the speeding plane, the archer manages to tag the thrown grenade with a putty arrow. Hot damn! Talk about one heck of an accuracy feat!
The fight never concludes and the preview cover for the next issue has the two crouching on the wing of the plane, ready to fight again. Usually I'd have my money on Barton, but seeing as he's the bad guy here, I'm pretty confident Black Widow is going to introduce him to a whole new world of hurt.
Red Mist vs Two Angry Sons (Hit-Girl #3)Mark Millar, why must you make me laugh at such terrible situations? Trying to prove he's a true villain, Red Mist arrogantly ventures into the city for some mindless crime. Without any hesitation, Chris Genovese uses his ridiculously powerful firearm to slay an innocent man. Chris is far from a master of prep time, though. When he tries to open fire on the now deceased father's sons, the gun doesn't respond. Stubborn and confused, "Hood 2" informs his brilliant boss that the XM-25 needs thirty seconds to recharge. Filled with rage and an opening, the two sons turn the table on the villain.
Proving he's far from ready for a life of villainy, Chris and his two hoods run for their lives from the understandably pissed off brothers. The Kung-Fu joke is hardly original, but the delivery in the ludicrous situation gave me a good laugh. It's such a tragic scene, but Millar twists it into an effectively comedic moment. The sons eyes are filled with anger and despair, but instead of feeling their suffering, I laughed because at that point we knew they were soon going to unleash all of that anger on the amateurish bad guy.
When it's his well-being on the line, Red Mist once again proves he's miles away from being a tough and formidable villain. The red caped fool begs for mercy, claiming that mindlessly killing their dad was "just a misunderstanding!" Bravo, Red Mist.
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter if you also have an odd obsession with comic book battles.