2013 might not have flying cars or personal jetpacks (not yet, at least), but it does still have 'Best Battles!' Welcome to the future, and luckily for me, comics in the future still have plenty of heroes and villains duking it out.
In case you're new here, this weekly segment is my chance to praise my 3 favorite fights that took place in new comics. I don't have the time or attention span to read every single comic each week (except for the week of ASM #700, that is), so if a fight you loved didn't make the cut, you're free to discuss it below!
Without further ado, here are my selections!Warning! Spoilers ahead...
Darth Vader vs Cho'na Bene
It's the rise of the Empire and Vader is tasked with making the citizens of Vaklin fall in line. The only issue is they love and worship the Jedi, so Vader and his forces attempt to remove all remains of their influence. A statue? Destroyed and replaced by an Empire building. A temple? Reduced to ruins. But one Jedi still defies Vader and his name is Cho'na Bene. The four-armed alien finally confronts Vader, and tragically, the hero stands no chance.
Clearly outclassed, Cho'na lures Vader into a location where they can't use their blades, but little does he know that even unarmed combat won't save him. Cho'na attempts to incapacitate the Sith Lord with a grip from behind, but Vader smashes the Jedi into a pillar and later plows through the rubble that is sent his way. It goes without saying that Vader's a boss.
Vader quickly proves he doesn't need a lightsaber or even the force to deliver a vicious beat down to any and all who oppose him. Vader brutalizes Cho'na, whacking him across the face then abruptly smashing his face into the ground. He then clearly has the Jedi at his mercy, yet opts to let him go. Seems a bit out of character for Vader, eh? Don't worry, it'll make sense soon enough.
Battered and beaten, Cho'na flees to the market and tries to get support. However, Major Oniye Namada is waiting for him and executes the defeated hero in front of the crowd. What's the best way to kill their faith in the Jedi? It's not simply erasing their footprints on the society, but instead proving that their hero stands no match against the might of the Empire. Consider their hopes and dreams of an Empire-free Vaklin officially shattered.
Rest in peace, Cho'na Bene.
Punisher vs Howard Aguello
Howard Aguello, your life could have been so different. If your parents were there to teach you right from wrong, you'd possibly be running in place on a treadmill for an evening workout instead of running for your life from the monster known as The Punisher. But here we are, you opted for a life of crime, and because of you, an innocent child is now dead. Frank won't stand for that nonsense.
Running from The Punisher only means you're going to die tired. Sadly, Howard wasn't CC'd on that e-mail and he attempts to outrun Frank. Naturally, the effort is futile and Frank eventually catches up and makes his target eat the sidewalk. Young ones, shield your eyes, it's about to get brutal.
Howard's stray bullet struck and killed a child. So, it only seems sickly fitting that memorial candles for said child are used to kill Howard. Let it never be stated that Frank Castle isn't a resourceful man. Should have thought twice before pulling that trigger, Howard.
Frankly, I'm impressed that candle case is so durable. But anyway, this is how PUNISHER: NIGHTMARE #1 opened. This display of brutality meshed with the excellent gritty artwork is hopefully just a taste of things to come in this 5 issue series.
Frank, you've got red on you.
Oh, Knight... we hardly knew ye.
BATMAN INCORPORATED #6 had some superb displays of Batman taking down goons and, at the time, I was certain it would receive a spotlight this week. But then writer Grant Morrison blew me away with an ending I simply had to focus on this week.
Knight revives Squire, but this moment of happiness will soon be replaced with sorrow. Now prepare yourself for giant pages of fantasticness.
Knight delivers one last (heroic) line before The Heretic's massive hand tightens around Cyril Sheldrake's neck, cracking it and killing the hero. Despite a face full of tears and blood, Squire puts her slingshot to great use, shattering a projectile through the villain's visor. Unfortunately for the heroes, the attack doesn't have a lasting effect on the towering bad guy. The fiend then uses Knight's limp and deceased body as a weapon to swat Batwing. Talk about humiliating.
The Dark Knight arrives too late to save Knight yet makes a valiant effort to defeat their enemy. He lands two strong strikes, but the brute is far too durable and too strong for Bruce Wayne. Talia al Ghul's ally then smashes Batman's face into the dirt, kicks him away and then lands a devastating blow to his abdomen. Defeated, the tall foe then holds the hero over his head (a la Bane) and throws him off the building. Will this be the end of Batman? Probably not, but he's likely going to need a band-aid or two when all is said and done.
I can only hope one day I'll be able to include a fight with Bat-cow or feline Alfred.
Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine & IGN Entertainment. Follow him on Twitter, it's what all of the cool kids are doing nowadays.