I think people love a good fight scene. It’s one of human beings most primal instincts. To just beat the hell out of each other and watch. Weird as it may seem. It has the potential to excite and horrify us all at the same time and yet we can’t seem to lose our interest in it. I’m not necessarily talking about violence. I have no desire to see someone in reality, being beaten to a bloody pulp. Even in fiction, a mostly one sided fight is not very appealing.
However a fictional well orchestrated fight is awesome and can even be artistic if done correctly with a sense of purpose. You’ll find that many( not all) of the fight scenes that are the most memorable are the ones that add to the story or feel necessary. I think that comic books are as good a place to find great, iconic battles.
In the next few weeks I’ll be picking some of my favorite fight/battle scenes featuring:
Each of these characters has had their fair share of great battles which deserve to be showcased separately. This week our focus will be on the first Superhero ever. The true grand daddy of huge epic battles. Superman.
Without further ado, lets begin with my five favorite Superman battles of all time!
5. Superman Vs The Elite. ( Action Comics # 775) By : Joe Kelly and Various Artists
Not just one of the greatest Superman battles, but one of his greatest stories as well. Originally this was just a fill in issue until the next major story arc but Joe Kelly really achieved something special with it. It puts forward what everyone always complains about with Superman. His “failure” to kill and eventually his overall effectiveness. This becomes even more magnified when a new superhero group shows up in Metropolis calling themselves “the Elite”. They’re bad ass and they take no prisoners. They quickly win everyone’s favor, except Superman. An eventual final climax leads to an emotional battle between the old school and the new school. Right vs easy. It’s a great fight scene because of the nature of the character and the knocks against him. It really serves as the ultimate story for the Superman hater. It doesn’t hurt that a myriad of talented artists like Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo helped to craft such an epic.
4. Superman vs Darkseid: Apokolips Now! By Mark Schultz & Mike McKone
Darksied. A fantastic villain and the perfect antithesis to Superman. If Superman is a Godlike character than Darkseid is the Devil incarnate. And who doesn’t want to see God and the Devil going at it? This issue is actually, more or less, one big slug fest. The story is not bad but it’s really about seeing these two hated rivals duke it out in the scope that is needed. It’s a fight that never gets old, and fans want to continue to see. It’s not as if Superman and Darksied never battled before this issue. John Byrne drew a particularity good fight scene between the two during the 80’s. It’s just that this felt that much bigger than any battle before or after it. It’s a nerdgasim. What else can I say.
3. Superman vs Shazam: Kingdom Come : By Mark Waid & Alex Ross
Kingdom Come really touches on my point about crafting an artful battle. Just look at this image above. Does it not look beautiful and epic? Kingdom Come is one of my favorite DC stories of all time and it doesn’t have Superman in it’s title but he is very much, the heart of the story. It takes place in the future where heroes are no longer needed and dark times have descended on the world. Superman has pretty much retired but eventually comes back when he is needed. He gathers his forces against Luthor’s and one final battle changes everything. So many characters face of against each other but the highlight is seeing Superman vs Shazam. The history between these two characters goes back a number of years, even back when Shazam was still owned by Fawcett Comics. DC saw him as a ripoff of Superman and things got even more heated when Shazam, at one point outsold Superman as the number 1 comic. Once Dc acquired the rights to Shazam they couldn’t resist pairing them off against each other a number of times. Thanks to Mark Waid and Alex Ross ,”Kingdom Come” is their definitive battle.
2. Superman vs Superboy Prime: Infinite Crisis: By Geoff Johns & various artists
Infinite Crisis is one of DC’s best major events but as you can see this is a bit of a confusing picture and sort of a spoiler to the story. Basically it’s a Superboy from another direction who is quite bloodthirsty and very pissed off. Another thing to mention is that he is younger, faster and possibly stronger than Superman himself. There are many things to take away from this climatic fight. For one thing Superboy, at this point already went through the Teen Titans with relative ease. Naturally it was cool to see someone like Superman finally stand toe to toe with him. Another thing was seeing the squeaky clean Superboy go off the rails and become a monster. He relished in the pain and suffering of others. Traits you don’t associate with anyone wearing that S on their chest. In the end it’s the sheer brutality of the fight that makes it that much more shocking and memorable. No one leaves without a mark and the art captures that excellently.
1. Superman Vs Doomsday: Death Of Superman: By various writers & artists
Arguably the biggest Comic Book fight of all time. The Death Of Superman was a game changer for years to come and the first time a major comics character ” Died”. Of course it was also the first to start the trend of , dying doesn’t really mean dead. Nevertheless, at the time it was unheard of to have Superman die. I mean the guy was just the most powerful being out there. Until Doomsday came out and proved to be his equal and much more. Essentially a mindless destructive hulk of a character whose only mission was death and destruction. Doomsday and Superman tangled a few times in this story but not before Doomsday destroyed half of Metropolis and decimated the Justice League. I still remember poor Blue Beatle. The final fight ends in dramatic fashion. One entire issue of full pages devoted to Superman and Doomsday pummeling each other. Not a masterpiece in story telling but that didn’t matter. The action of seeng Superman die in such a dramatic fashion was enough. It reminds me of the Man Of Steel movie in terms of the sheer destruction they cause. There’s even a page where you can see that both combatants are punching each other so hard that it’s breaking windows! This wouldn’t be the last time we see Doomsday though. He came back to haunt Superman in the wonderful “Hunters & Prey”. They even had a story about the aftermath of that battle and the victims who perished because of it called ” Day Of Doom”.
Stay tuned for more iconic battles!