By Veshark 33 Comments
So after three days of nomination and voting, we are finally done. The Top 25 Battles in DC Comics History - as voted by (some) Viners - is complete!
For those just joining us, this list was created in response to IGN's own Top 25 list, which many Viners felt was somewhat underwhelming. This list aims to improve upon that by getting rid of any fluff, and only including the most iconic clashes in DC's history, as voted in by the community.
The results are fascinating. It's missing some notable fights like Infinite Crisis (which made nomination) and the Anti-Monitor conflict (which didn't even get nominated!). But on the other hand, we've got some really awesome and different choices too. The list only shares about 40% of the battles with IGN's list, and we've got a nice balance of different characters here as well.
It's really interesting to see what the CV community, collectively, considers to be the most memorable and noteworthy battles in DC's 75-year history.
So without further ado, let's start with Number 25:
*For any battles that share the same number of points - I've given the higher spot to the battle that was closer to that number first
25: JLA vs. Hyperclan, Final Battle (JLA #4) - 153 points
1997: Grant Morrison is put on the JLA title and reunites the Big 7 of the League. Right from the start, the Earth comes under attack from a group of White Martians, and it takes the League and the entire world to save the day. This battle here launched the (arguably) greatest JLA run of all-time, and also firmly established why Batman can hang with superhumans. Because he's Batman.
24: Deathstroke vs. Justice League (Identity Crisis) - 154 points
A somewhat controversial battle from a controversial book - in this memorable fight, Slade is hired by Dr. Light to take on a good portion of the League. Using prep time, he manages to subdue most of the team, trouncing powerhouses like Zatanna, Wally West, and most notably - Kyle Rayner. Though Deathstroke is eventually defeated, this fight will still remain....that one battle everyone brings up in any Slade thread.
23: Superman vs. Doomsday (Hunter/Prey) - 155 points
R-R-R-REEEMATCCHHH! Superman goes up against Doomsday for the first time since the Death of Superman, and this time he comes packing heat and wearing a new XTREEEEMEEE costume. It's the vicious Round 2 of one of Superman's most iconic fights. In the end, Supes - with the help of Waverider - uses a device to BFR Doomsy to the edge of time, winning the fight.
22: Justice League vs. Ocean Master/Atlantis (Throne of Atlantis) - 156 points
In the first New 52 Justice League-Aquaman crossover, the United States comes under attack from an undersea Atlantean invasion. Led by the Ocean Master, the surface world's only hope lies in the Justice League, and the heroes mobilize their entire roster to stem the tide. In the center of it all is Aquaman, who is trapped between the League and his people....and forced to choose to between his adopted world and his kingdom.
Damn, I should write trade blurbs.
21: JLA vs. Amazo (The Second Coming) - 156 points
The League goes up against Amazo for a second time in this brutal three-issue rematch. This is Amazo at his most powerful - with the speed of Flash, the magic of Zatanna, and powers from about ten other characters. Inhabiting a new Red Tornado body, the android wreaks havoc and decimates the entire team. In the end, only BFRing Amazo into a star ends the battle.
20: Emperor Aquaman vs. Wonder Woman (Flashpoint) - 157 points
Well that escalated quickly. In this alternate reality, Aquaman and Wonder Woman go to war after a bad breakup, and the entire planet is thrown into chaos by the conflict between Atlantis and the Amazons. The war finally comes to a head on New Themyscira, where the former lovers and their respective armies clash. Though Barry Allen is able to retcon this war, there's a moral here: Don't cheat on your spouse!
19: Wonder Woman vs. Superman (Wonder Woman #219) - 159 points
It was bound to happen. The Man of Steel falls under the control of Maxwell Lord, and the only one who can stop him is Wonder Woman. The two most recognizable powerhouses of the DCU go at it in a bloody brawl that threatens the entire planet. But the most memorable moment of the fight happens in the end...when with no alternative left, Diana kills Maxwell Lord on global TV. The fight would have long-lasting repercussions, and led to the disbanding of the League.
18: Batman vs. Mutant Leader (The Dark Knight Returns) - 161 points
Beat Batman once: good for you. Beat him twice: Not gonna happen. After barely surviving a vicious loss at the hands of the leader of the Mutants gang...an old Batman returns for a rematch. This time, Bats doesn't hold back, and in a brutal and messy fight, the Caped Crusader trumps his foe. This win here not only makes Batman the alpha male of the Mutants gang, but also proves to himself that he still has the skills.
17: Batman vs. Joker (The Killing Joke) - 164 points
Though this fight may not be as awe-inspiring as some of the other fights on this list, it's still one of the most memorable encounters between the knight and his jester. After the brutal crippling of Barbara Gordon, and the subsequent torture of the Commissioner, Batman and the Joker have one final fight. It's a vivid exploration of their violent relationship, and the ambiguous end is still widely-debated today.
16: Superman vs. The Elite (What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?) - 178 points
In a not-so-subtle criticism of the popular anti-heroes of the time, The Elite - a team of 'no-nonsense' heroes is challenged to a duel vs. Superman with the world watching. Supes seemingly 'kills' the team, shocking the world and the Elite's leader, but it's all just revealed to be a ruse on his part, to show everyone why heroes don't kill. It also led to one of the greatest Superman speeches ever put on paper.
15: Armored Batman vs. The Talons (The Court of Owls) - 180 points
In one of the best parts of Snyder's Court of Owls saga, Batman dons a giant mech suit to defend his home against the Talons. Batman is pissed, his suit is loaded, and the Talons are f&*^%ed. Let me repeat. Batman WEARS A GIANT ROBOT SUIT AND FIGHTS OWL NINJAS. If that sentence alone doesn't get you pumped for superhero comics, you're probably reading the wrong medium.
14: Batman vs. Superman (The Dark Knight Rises) - 185 points
It's the battle of the century...the Dark Knight goes up against the Man of Steel himself. DC's two alpha males finally come to blows in this iconic clash. Even with a suit of armor and kryptonite to aid him, Batman still doesn't definitively beat Superman, though he does give him a brutal whipping. But then again, as we all know, Bruce always has a plan...
13: Batman & Catwoman vs. Superman (Hush) - 187 points
Two Bats vs Supes fights in a row? Huh. What are the chances of that. Either way, in this clash, Batman fights a Poison Ivy-controlled Superman with nothing but a kryptonite ring. Even then, Batman barely hurts Superman, and it's only when Catwoman puts Lois' life in danger that Clark snaps out of it. The fight was written by Jeph Loeb so...take it with a pinch of salt, but at least it gives us the awesome image of Bats decking Big Blue.
12: Nightwing vs. Jason Todd (Battle for the Cowl) - 199 points
The two of Batman's oldest 'sons' have one final fight to determine who deserves to take on the mantle of Batman. It's a battle of brothers, and though the end is somewhat predictable, it's still an awesome fight between Nightwing and Jason Todd. Even with his prep time, Todd is soundly beaten by Nightwing, and Dick would eventually go on to be Batman for a while.
11: Superman vs. Brainiac (Brainiac) - 200 points
Superman finally comes face-to-face with the 'real' Brainiac, and with the aid of Supergirl, has to stop the crazy Coluan computer. This battle is noteworthy for not only leading in to the New Krypton saga, but also for the (spoiler alert) death of Jonathan Kent.
10: Superman vs. Darkseid (The Supergirl from Krypton) - 200 points
After saving Kara from Apokolips, Superman gets ambushed by Darkseid - who has returned for one last vengeance. The New God seemingly kills Supergirl, and he brawls with Supes for a while, before Clark BFRs Darkseid into the Source Wall. Later, it's revealed that Supergirl survived, and that Superman duped Darkseid into thinking she was dead so he would leave her alone.
9: Cassandra Cain vs. Lady Shiva (Batgirl #73) - 206 points
In this final issue of Batgirl, Cassandra Cain goes toe-to-toe with her mother - master assassin Lady Shiva. Two of the DCU's finest martial artists tangle with brutal hand-to-hand in this rematch. In the end, Cassandra triumps over Shiva in this rematch, and snaps her neck. But our Batgirl shows mercy by placing her mother in a Lazarus Pit, in return for giving her life.
8: Batman vs. Red Hood (Under the Red Hood) - 218 points
Batman's greatest failure has always been the death of Jason Todd at the hands of the Joker. And in this emotional encounter, Bats comes face-fo-face with his own prodigal son. Their fight comes to a heady conclusion when Todd forces Batman to make an impossible choice: kill me, or I kill the Joker. Though Batman finds a solution and Todd would return, this battle still remains one of the Bat's most memorable moments. And it spawned a kickass animated adaptation, to boot.
7: Superman & Friends vs. Mongul (For the Man Who Has Everything) - 220 points
It's Superman's birthday, and Mongul has a gift for the Kryptonian. Trapped in a fake reality created by his heart's deepest desires, Superman is immobilized while Batman, Wonder Woman, and Jason Todd try to stop Mongul. When Batman eventually frees Clark, his fury at being ripped from a world where Krypton lived is unmatched, and Superman clashes with Mongul in one of the most iconic fights of his career.
6: Wally West vs. Zoom (Blitz) - 224 points
In Zoom, Wally West finally has his archnemesis. No Flash villain has that level of personal connection with Wally, or the threat level that matches Zoom's. This is the one guy that only Flash can stop, and he only has one depraved purpose: to create a tragic loss in Wally's life. Though Wally does end up stopping Zoom by borrowing the powers of his fellow speedsters, this battle still causes Linda to miscarry, making it a Pyrrhic victory indeed.
5: All-Star Superman vs. Lex Luthor (All-Star Superman) - 231 points
A dying Superman at his weakest goes up against a superpowered Lex Luthor at his strongest! And though things seem at their worst, the irony of the battle is that their roles are reversed. Luthor has all the power that Superman usually does, but Supes wins the fight with the one advantage Luthor usually uses: science. With a gravity gun, Superman is able to warp Lex's physiology, causing his superpowers to run out. And with a final punch, Superman KOs his archnemesis one last time before flying to the dying sun to save the world...one more time.
4: Sinestro Corps War Final Battle (Sinestro Corps War) - 238 points
And this right here, ladies and gentlemen, is the event that cemented Geoff Johns' Green Lantern run as one of the best superhero runs of our generation. Sinestro has assembled his own army, and the final battleground is Earth. Ion Sodom Yat vs. Superboy-Prime! Anti-Monitor vs. the Guardians! The superheroes of Earth vs. the Sinestro Corps! Parallax! Cyborg-Superman and the Manhunters! This crazy last battle amps the stakes and has it all, and in the end it's the collective efforts of the GLC and other heroes (with a boost from Coast City's residents) - that win the war.
3: Blackest Night Final Battle (Blackest Night) - 244 points
Two Green Lantern epic battles in a row - what are the odds? This time, the Earth is threatened by the dead, as heroes and villains are revived from the grave by the Black Lantern Corps. The final battle has the Black Hand summon Nekron - the personification of death. And the only way the heroes win is with the entity of life - the White Lantern. It's a smorgasbord of colors and actions as heroes of every color (not what I meant) go up against a legion of the unliving.
2: Superman vs. Doomsday (The Death of Superman) - 266 points
No other death in the history of the medium will be as iconic as Superman's - when he went up against the unstoppable monster that was Doomsday. In a long, drawn-out, and bloody fight - the two powerhouses traded blow after blow, before finally killing one another in their last punches. The haunting scene of Lois Lane holding a dead and bleeding Superman will forever be a visual milestone in this genre. Doomsday's role as one of Superman's greatest rogues would be forever cemented with this fight, and the Death of Superman would be a landmark battle among the Man of Tomorrow's many memorable encounters.
1: Kingdom Come Final Battle (Kingdom Come) - 266 points
And here we are....numero uno. The Number 1 battle in the Top 25 Battles of DC's history. The running plotline of the coming apocalypse and the planet's superhuman problem comes to a head in this titanic clash. When the Justice League's gulag is split open, the heroes have no choice but to get into a brutal battle to contain the supervillain breakout. And the one man who can contain it all - Superman - is unable to because he's busy in a fight against his own physical equal...Captain Marvel!
It's a battle that is epic in every sense of the word, and even the arrival of Batman and his own group of heroes is unable to end the fight decisively. Superman and the mind-controlled Cap go at it, while Wonder Woman and Bats do the same in the skies. In the end, the Trinity realizes that the UN has ordered three warheads to be dropped on the battle to contain the superhumans before the entire world is destroyed.
Batman and Wonder Woman disarm two planes, but a third bomb manages to be dropped. Superman then tells Captain Marvel that because he is both human and superhuman...only he can make the choice whether or not the bomb should be stopped. In the end, Marvel gives his life to stop the bomb, and while many die as a result....many do live, and the world of Kingdom Come becomes a better one as a result.
It's a dramatic conclusion to a superb story, and will always remain a classic in superhero history. The detailed artwork of Alex Ross shines through as we see literally hundreds of both old and new characters fighting. And it's the final moment, where we realize that Captain Marvel...the one man from both sides of the war...is the only one who can make the decision on who wins. And Cap realizes that the only right choice is life, proving that the distinction was not what mattered.
We Are Done!
And that's it, folks! I'd like to thank all the Viners who participated in the nomination and voting process, and feel free to leave your thoughts on this list below. These were some very fascinating results indeed; I notice a lot of Superman and none of Batman's battles even cracked the Top 10. Overall, I think we accomplished what we set out to do - that is to make a more dynamic and interesting list than IGN's, as well as a good celebration of DC's eventful history.