In 1997, the pillars of heaven shook, titans clashed, and universes collided.
I am of course referring to Marvel vs DC and/or DC vs Marvel, a cataclysmic crossover that pitted the superheroes from each fictional milieu against one another for the fate of their respective worlds. In this four-issue mini-series plotted by Dan “I Killed Superman” Jurgens, two colorful and gigantic pseudo-manga cosmic beings each embody their respective universes. I’d be embarrassed if my reality's avatar looked like a big blue Shogun Warrior – I would want our cosmic being to look like a giant floating Richard Belzer head. Just because it would be freaky as hell.
The premise of the story is simple and more than a little goofy. The red and blue cosmic beings, who are brothers in some way, notice each other and decide to fight it out for supremacy. These two titans hash out their differences by pitting the superheroes of their respective universes against each other in a contest. The winner's universe will reign supreme, while the loser's universe will be destroyed. Presumably these beings can throw meteors around and make suns go nova, so why they would want to settle things by having Robin fight Jubilee is beyond me.
Velociraptor versus Jubilee? Now we're talking.
Anyway, the readers were invited to vote for the winner of one of the big "title bouts," while the lesser matches were determined by the book's creative team. Basically the whole thing boiled down to a popularity contest, not a true appraisal of which hero would win. That's the only way I can explain how Storm beats Wonder Woman: X-Men outsells Wonder Woman, so Storm wins. Stupid people.
Let's play a fun game, shall we? We'll examine each match-up and then we will compare and contrast who the readers voted for with who would really win each bout, According to Dave. Actually, I'll play the fun game and you can just watch.
Check out the scoreboard below for a list of the combatants:
Hulk vs Superman
We’ll start off with an easy one.
Sure, The Hulk is allegedly the strongest being on Marvel's Earth, but the laws of superhero physics work a little different in the DC Universe. Over there, Superman isn't just the strongest being on Earth, he's the biggest dog in several light years. He’s so bad-ass that he can pull the moon out of orbit, wrestle angels, and fly into the sun. All Hulk does is smash shit. Big fucking deal. Can Hulk fly? Shoot lasers from his eyes? Chill a beer with his breath? Hear an ant fart in Minnesota? Outrun The Flash? Of course he can’t. Face it, Hulk may be hot shit in the Marvel Universe, but he’s just another villain-of-the-month for Superman.
The Man of Steel could fly up at super-speed, grab Hulk’s ankle, toss him into deep space, and still get back to the Daily Planet in time to finish that article before deadline. Come to think of it, why didn’t Superman just do that with Doomsday? Kal-El would be well served to remember the wise words of The Immortal from Robert Kirkman’s Invincible:
Superman, hands down
Actual winner: Superman
Captain America vs Batman
This is a tough one. On the one hand, Captain America is at the apex of human physical development and is a master of combat with lots of experience taking out opponents ranging from Nazis to superhuman juggernauts. He kicks ass for a living, and business is good.
On the other hand, Batman is Batman. The conventional wisdom is that, provided Batman has enough time to prepare, he can’t be beat. The dude has taken out Superman more than once, who once described him as “the most dangerous man on earth.” If Superman calls you that, you must be doing something right.
In Marvel vs DC, they try to have their cake and eat it, too. Batman wins a brawl in the sewers between the two heroes, but only because Captain America is caught unaware by a sudden geyser of filthy, reeking toilet water that sprays him in the face, allowing Batman to get a lucky batarang shot in. Batman wins, but only by exploiting Cap’s bad luck.
I’m going to be a little more decisive and say that Batman would just flat out win by doing the one thing Cap won’t do: cheat! Batman cheats like a motherfucker! The man doesn't believe in fair fights, he's just interested in the outcome.
It would go like this: As they start fighting, Batman pops open a canister on his utility belt, releasing a colorless, odorless narcotic gas into the air. He needs Captain America to stay close enough to inhale the gas, so he uses a “rope-a-dope” ploy and lets Cap beat on him for a few minutes. To a casual observer, it looks like Cap is winning, but then the Marvel hero's vision starts to swim and his legs grow heavy. He sinks to one knee, dizzy… and then Batman pummels Captain America into oblivion, explaining how he has developed immunity over the years to the narcotic gas Cap has inhaled.
Then, when Cap is unconscious Batman takes permanent marker and draws all over his helpless foe and makes marshmellow eyes for him, which is really uncalled for, but funny.
Actual Winner: Batman and sewer geyser
Storm vs Wonder Woman
God, this pissed me off.
I can see how somebody could argue in favor of Storm - somebody stupid! I humbly submit that although Storm can summon tornadoes and hurricane-force wind and lightning and hot hail, Wonder Woman would still kick her ass. I'm going to be charitable and say that most of the people who voted for Storm probably weren't that familiar with Wonder Woman's powers - otherwise they would have voted differently.
Let me break it down for you. Wonder Woman can fly really fast. She has incredible reflexes (e.g., bullets and bracelets). She is hella-strong, which is one step below Superman. And, as I have argued previously, Wonder Woman is super-tough to the point of being bulletproof. Plus, she's a professional warrior with all manner of martial arts training. Wonder Woman is hardcore.
All she needs is one punch. Sure, she might get zapped by lightning, but BFD. That can't be any worse than getting knocked through a skyscraper by Superman. She'd shrug it off, fly up to Storm at supersonic speed, and punch her in the ear. One punch and it's over, baby.
Do you not see the wisdom of my words? The Amazon wins.
Dave’s Winner: Wonder Woman
Actual Winner: Storm
Spider-Man vs Superboy
I would be offended if I were Spider-Man and had to fight this clown.
Spider-Man wins. It's not even worth talking about.
Dave’s Winner: Spider-Man
Actual Winner: Spider-Man
Wolverine vs Lobo
Quicksilver vs The Flash
Now THIS should have been an off-panel fight. The Flash lives in the DC Universe, where physics are cranked all the way up to 11. He can tap into something called The Speed Force which basically means he can stop time and race around pulling down everyone's pants before they can even blink. Quicksilver is fast, but we're talking race-a-jet fast, not race-a-beam-of-light fast.
In the comic, The Flash wins as he should, but in such a way that Quicksilver preserves a shred of dignity. I think The Scarlet Speedster would have made quick work of the Scarlet Witch's brother.
Dave’s Winner: Flash
Actual Winner: Flash
Jubilee vs RobinJubilee: annoying X-Men sidekick! Robin: not-annoying Batman sidekick! Whoever wins - we lose!
Robin has a head-cold, so at the last minute I have substituted him with a hungry velociraptor. Run, Jubilee, run!
Dave’s Winner: Velociraptor
Actual Winner: Robin
Sub-Mariner vs Aquaman
Peter David scripted Marvel vs DC #2, which features an embarassing encounter between the Marvel and DC Kings of Atlantis, Namor the Sub-Mariner and Aquaman. I believe David was writing Aquaman at the time, and methinks I sense a little chauvenism creeping in the fight scene between the two undersea heroes. After trading jabs and jibes, Aquaman defeats Namor by commanding an orca whale to flatten him.
First of all, getting smothered by a whale wouldn't be enough to KO Namor. Second, Namor can fly. Third, Namor is about ten times as strong as Aquaman, whose own super-strength is rather ill-defined. Fourth, Namor has a battle cry: "Imperious Rex!" Aquaman's battle cry is: "Wait for me guys!"
I'm not saying it wouldn't be a fight, but Namor would kick all sorts of ass.
Dave’s Winner: Namor
Actual Winner: Aquaman
Elektra vs Catwoman
I'm inclined to say that an uber-competent she-ninja would beat an uber-competent cat-burglar, but let's decide things another way. Let's determine the winner by comparing the domestic box office totals of the crappy film Elektra with the excretory movie Catwoman.
Budget: $85,000,000 (estimated)
Gross: $40,202,379 (USA) (10/17/04)
Budget: $43,000,000 (estimated)
Gross: $24,409,722 (USA) (03/27/05)
Although Elektra only grossed $24 million to Catwoman's $40 million, it had about half the budget. And Terence Stamp, which tips the scales in the ninja's favor.
Dave’s Winner: Elektra
Actual Winner: Elektra
Thor vs Captain Marvel
"Verily, the God of Thunder shall smite yonder Big Red Cheese with thine enchanted mallet, Mjolnir!
"Gasp in awe as the Odinson metes out pain as only the Odinson can. Mine uru hammer shall strike his ear again and again until the heavens gape wide and the earth heaves and trembles and yon foe cries, 'Yield!' Watch as mine vanquished foe kneels before Thor and begs me not to strike him anon, like a starving cur trembles at the feet of his master! For glory in battle is the birthright of the Mighty Thor - I drink victory and sup on triumph! Forget it not!"
Dave’s Winner: Thor
Actual Winner: Thor
Silver Surfer vs Green Lantern
In Marvel vs DC they pit the Silver Surfer against young Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, and the Surfer comes out on top. This is as it should be; Silver Surfer possesses the Power Cosmic and Kyle is just a lucky punk with a magic ring.
However... everyone knows that Hal Jordan is the Real Green Lantern. If you threw him up against The Silver Surfer, Hal would win because he is Hal.
Dave’s Winner: Silver Surfer
Actual Winner: Silver Surfer
There you have it. As you can see, I concur with the outcome of most of the matches in Marvel vs DC, but there are a couple head-scratchers in there. Aren't you glad that I took the time to sort this all out? I know I am.