This week, we placed an Avenger, Natasha Romanova, against an assassin from DC, Talon (William Cobb). Black Widow has decades of appearances while Talon is relatively new, but according to a majority of voters, Natasha's experience just wasn't enough to overcome this lethal dude. In fact, out of 317 votes, a whopping 59% of voters sided with the heavily bladed dude.
37% sided with Black Widow and 5% think it's simply too close to call. Gotta admit, we really underestimated how many people would overestimate a healing factor. Look, there's absolutely no denying it plays a role in the fight and if you legitimately believe Talon wins because of his physicals and skill in addition to his accelerated healing, then that's perfectly fine. But a fair amount of posts seemed to imply he was literally undefeatable in this scenario. Some suggested Natasha could only win through using the cold or getting some kind of ice weapon, and that's simply not true. Yes, that's a Talon's weakness and they can certainly heal very rapidly, but something like a bullet to the noggin really should suffice (per the rules). Whether or not she can accomplish that or other options before getting sliced apart really should have been the subject of debate and thankfully, there were still plenty of people who made great posts and really brought their A game. So, let's go ahead and reward 'em. And as usual, Corey "Undeadpool" Schroeder also chimes in!
Comic Vine Argument of the Week for Talon is by Saren
"Cobb has a bad track record against Batman, but then I don't really see Widow doing any better in the same situation. Beatdown in the Court of Owls' maze notwithstanding, Widow's options should essentially only be limited to gunplay, because I have a hard time seeing her fists and feet do much of consequence to someone who regenerated a half dozen broken bones in a few seconds during his fight with Nightwing.
And that's actually a pretty mild healing feat for the Talons --- others have survived having their necks snapped all the way around, shrugged off getting electrocuted and freaks like Felix Harmon have ripped out their own eyes, dug around the insides of their skull through the eye sockets, and then grown everything back without issue.
And with that, the shots Widow takes will basically have to blow Cobb's head off, because anything else will be gone in two seconds. In contrast, Cobb's got a lot more options than she does, and he throws those knives pretty damn fast. Any injuries he sustains won't weigh him down, while the ones Widow sustains will. He had a pretty good showing against various Arkham metas recently too, which I found most notable for him taking out Sumo by using an unconscious Firefly as a weapon. He's not averse to thinking on his feet either."
Comic Vine Argument of the Week for Black Widow is by Owie
"I've been thinking about this thread for a couple days now. My immediate reaction was that Talon crushes Natasha due to his stats, record against Batman, and healing factor. She has the skill edge, but that was all, in my mind. But I had forgotten that Natasha's stats are also enhanced to a degree. And that the Bat family second-stringers didn't get killed immediately, and that Batman, for instance, was able to survive fighting a whole horde of them on his own for quite some time before he had to get into his Bat-armor. And the more I thought about her edge in weapons, the more I moved over to her winning.
Here's how I see it.
They start 20 feet apart. From this distance, either could attack with ranged weapons. Natasha could shoot with guns or her Widow's Bite, and Talon could throw knives at her. While Natasha is a cold-blooded assassin, I kind of doubt she is going to just shoot him right off the bat. She would usually go for a submission against an opponent unless she knew the guy deserved to die. It's possible she'd shoot, but I don't think so. Cobb may throw some knives at her, but she's extremely agile and I have no doubt she'll dodge those.
So they'll close. Up close, I think Talon would ultimately overwhelm her. She has the skill edge, but his physicals are still above hers by some degree and he is pretty skilled on his own. But Natasha is a smart fighter. Once she gets in there and realizes what he's like, she's going to put her emphasis on dodging, and I think she is capable of doing this reasonably effectively against him, at least for a time. Even if he hits her with a blade, she is durable and able to resist pain, and can tough it out. Then she is going to go for her Bite. 30,000 volts from both arms at point blank range is not going to miss, and while he may survive it, he is going to be KOed long enough for it to count as a win.
Basically it comes down to this. Talon is skilled and strong and regenerative enough to kill her in a long hand-to-hand session. But he is not good enough to kill her immediately, even with bladed weapons. And since she has a game-ending weapon, and is good enough to survive long enough to use it, that's what she's going to do."
Corey "Undeadpool" Schroeder, Comic Vine writer
"Gotham. Not the best place for Black Widow to find herself. She'd heard whispers and mutters of a city bereft of justice, save for one man's singular, bizarre crusade. As she surveyed it, she couldn't disagree, gazing out over the ruined, deserted buildings. She'd gotten word of a strange man in the shadows and figured he might be worth a few more than a few dollars. But as she checked her binoculars again, it was clear he was a no-show. As she turned, she chuckled and shook her head, bringing up her arm to block the bladed attack aimed at her neck.
"I am unsure of how the whole owl/spider thing works, but" she fired her shot back into his face, staggering him, "I am sure how this will go." she laughed again, bringing her hand to his neck as he crumpled. His weakness was short lived, however, as he grabbed her hand and bent it one way, shaking his head and kicking her torso, sending her flipping aside and springing back toward him. They met in a vicious grapple, each exchanging blows and violent strikes before separating and heading their own ways into the buildings.
William Cobb's mind swam with new knowledge, his mind adjusting to his new foe and rounding each corner cautiously. Where he neglected to check was the ceiling and Widow took advantage of this, dropping down on him and striking his vital nerve clusters before drawing a pistol and firing into his head. His mind went dark, but not for long. She was walking away from him, talking into some kind of communicator when he staggered upright and locked his arm around her neck, "Black Widow...the Court of Owls has sentenced you to DIE!" he jerked his arms, but found his grip broken as he tumbled forward, his arm snapping, his head stomped as he stared down a barrel of his own. "And to think..." she shook her head, firing more of the strange Widow shots into his body, paralyzing him, "someone thinks you're the equal of Steve Rodgers." He wasn't dead, but he was unable to tell what was going on as he lost consciousness."
We've got good news and bad news for you, Viners. Let's start with the bad. Well, this is the last edition of this segment. Now for the good: it will be replaced by another "this or that" weekly segment that'll appeal to all kinds of comic fans instead of just people who love battles. It'll still be a poll every Monday and the results will be posted every Friday. And yes, you'll still be able to get your posts highlighted in the updated feature.
As for my fellow battles junkies, don't worry, the Batman Battle of the Month and Best Battles in New Comics/Best Battles in Comic Book History are here to stay. If this news really bums you out, jump into the Battles forum and do your part to improve the quality of discussions and create unique and fun threads. Go get your creativity on, Viners! Just remember this: we're talking about fictional characters fighting, so there's no reason to lose your cool. Debating isn't about winning or losing -- it's about sharing knowledge with your peers and expanding your own knowledge. Being able to admit when you're mistaken is far more respectable than being stubborn and refusing to at least understand where the other person is coming from. If someone disagrees with you, prove why you think they're wrong, don't reduce yourself to insults. That is all.