Monday, May 09, 2016

HERO OF THE WEEK: APOCALYPSE (Marvel)
Real Name: En Sabah Nur
First Appearance: X-Factor #5 (June, 1986)
Fight Club Ranking: #220

Featured Fights:
- vs X-MEN: Uncanny X-Men #295 (Dec 1992)

One of the super heavyweights of the Marvel Universe is coming to live-action this month as the headlining star of X-Men: Apocalypse. As a lapsed but now long standing X-Men fan, I was certainly excited by the prospect of seeing Apocalypse on the big screen. Where mileage will vary significantly is in the interpretation of whether or not that's what fans will be getting.

Visually, the X-Men big bad isn't there. Oscar Isaac arrives as a breakout star after appearing as Poe Dameron in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but is unrecognizable caked under bright blue body make-up. He's been aptly compared to Power Rangers movie villain "Ivan Ooze" - more than a few shades away from the comic book original, in color and tone.

Apocalypse boils down to a pretty simple, but well executed idea: aggressive Darwinism. Apocalypse will recruit those he deems fit to ride as his Four Horseman, but for the most part, he's a near immortal mutant whose ancient perspective leads him to stress test humanity's survival. A simple premise for conflict and an interesting way to play with the X-Men's internal ideas of evolution and so forth.


Disappointing costume design has been par for the course for Bryan Singer's tenure as director of the X-Men. I might've said "visuals", but Singer is basically a good commercial filmmaker and that's better than average right now. That said, I was dismayed to see unused Apocalypse designs that better represent the character as comics fans know him [above]. Comic Book Resources featured pictures that aren't fantastic for giving an overall impression, but reveal a visual base that certainly could've popped on screen with the right directorial vision.

Singer's willingness to take the material seriously in 2000 was vital to entrenching superheroes on the big screen. For better or worse, we may not have the catalogue of superhero films we do today without the one-two punch of X-Men and Spider-man. By mining the comics for their subtext, he found a way to connect with a world he never claimed was his (comics). Things didn't really click until X-Men 2, but the franchise hit its strongest note with X-Men: First Class directed by Matthew Vaughn.

Watching Days of Future Past recently, I was struck by a lot of little frustrations. There was an interesting core, but it felt like a derailment in a great many ways. It was everything First Class wasn't. Gone were the deliciously colorful costumes. Absent was the juicy pop cinema and design sensibility that permeated the entire film. In disarray, the juggling of characters and plot. Still here - Professor X, Magneto. Wolverine and Mystique.

Early reports suggest X-Men: Apocalypse suffers from a similar failure to live up to the balancing act it sets itself up for. Characters you know and love won't be front and centre. The conflict between Charles Xavier and Magneto will be ever present at the expense of a villain who arguably should've occupied soul focus of a blockbuster epic. There's no denying Michael Fassbender has made Magneto as magnetic a presence as ever, but good lord - the X-Men have a lot of other villains! Good lord!

Will the X-Men survive Apocalypse? Will cinema? X-Men: Apocalypse opens in the US May 27, 2016. You can expect some Apocalypse inspired comic book battles coming your way right here, too. Maybe we'll show 'em how it's done.

       [Home]       Hero of the Week 05/02: War Machine >> 

Friday, May 06, 2016

SECRET AVENGERS versus BARON ZEMO
Swimming With Sharks (Marvel)
Where:
Thunderbolts #105 When: October 2006
Why: Fabian Nicieza How: Tom Grummett

The Story So Far...
Concepts of law and justice are challenged when the US Government initiates a program called the Superhuman Registration Act. It comes as a response to the death of hundreds of civilians as a result of reckless heroics outside of a Connecticut school.

In their zeal to control super-humans of all persuasions, the government forms a pact with known super-criminal Baron Helmut Zemo. As leader of the once duplicitous Thunderbolts; Zemo is sanctioned with the task of capturing super-criminals for incarceration in Prison 42: an inescapable Negative Zone facility designed by Reed Richards.

Although Baron Zemo and his Thunderbolts comply, the one-time villain draws his own plans to deal with the onset of superhero civil war - and a coming contest with The Grandmaster! Seemingly on the path to being a better man, he reaches out to Captain America's renegade Secret Avengers with an offer of allegiance. An olive branch they aren't as ready to accept as the government.

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Hercules 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Baron Zemo 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Captain America 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Hercules 5 (Marathoner)
Agility: Iron Fist 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting: Iron Fist 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Iron Fist 3 (Explosives)


The Secret Avengers are: Captain America, Falcon, Hercules and Daredevil, with Redwing.

An interesting time in Marvel Comics history. 2006 was all about Civil War, but there were a lot of intertwining and far reaching effects you could be forgiven for forgetting, or missing completely. We'll touch on a couple of them today.

The Secret Avengers began as heroes operating in defiance of the government's Superhuman Registration Act. They're led by principled hero Captain America, who stands opposed to the cataloguing of peoples, and federal intrusions upon civil liberty. Siding with Cap's rebel stance is an eclectic early line-up that includes: Luke Cage, Cable, Vision, Cloak & Dagger, The Young Avengers, and the membership featured today! We saw them all in action together during the first big stand-off with Iron Man's pro-registration team in Civil War #3.

One of the interesting quirks of the period is Daredevil: a Secret Avenger in name and costume only! Matt Murdock (Daredevil) wasn't far removed from declaring himself Kingpin of Hell's Kitchen and grappling with issues of exposure and opposition. He was incarcerated in prison at the time - leading "Iron Fist" Danny Rand to assume the mantle in his absence. He joined the superhero civil war in his borrowed identity - even though he'd taken up the devil horns without Murdock's foreknowing [see; Daredevil #87]!



Baron Zemo represents a legacy of evil as the son of Baron Heinrich Zemo: a German scientist working for the Nazi Party during World War II. In the modern era, Helmut Zemo inherited his father's fortune, intellect, and hatred for Captain America. He adopted the purple masked mantle after his face was hideously scarred in battle with the returned hero, but it isn't the only mask he's worn.

When Earth's mightiest heroes were trapped in the Heroes Reborn pocket universe, Zemo became Citizen V - leader of a cadre of villains masquerading as a new generation of heroes called The Thunderbolts! It's in this capacity he's been most featured here on The Comic Book Fight Club, leading his T-bolts to victories over heavy duty opponents: Hulk [Incredible Hulk #449] and The Wrecking Crew [Thunderbolts #1]!

Against the Secret Avengers, Zemo doesn't have a team to do his fighting for him. He has had plenty of time to prepare and strategize, however. As an accomplished swordsman he can handle himself in combat, but his greatest weapons are his former teammate's Moonstones. The alien artefacts grant Zemo mastery over a range of physics principles, including gravity, time and space, as well as more standard energy projection.

Zemo directed Hercules into a coma during The Masters of Evil's infamous siege of Avengers Mansion. His history with Cap and Falcon is extensive and well documented. Iron Fist is the only hero present without serious baggage, but he's more than capable of handing a whooping to the mastermind villain if the other heroes are on board. Everything about the scenario says an Avengers win, but you can never completely count out a villain like Zemo.

The Tape: Captain America Ranking: Captain America (#7)

What Went Down...
The Avengers are none too pleased when confronted with the visage of one of their deadliest enemies. Iron Fist is the first to leap into action, nimbly avoiding the thrust of Baron Zemo's sword. Hercules closes in behind the villain, bellowing a warrior's insults for his hated foe. It does him no good!


Zemo uses the power of the Moonstones to suspend the attacking demi-god and replacement hero helplessly in mid-air! While they're there, he pleads his case to Falcon and Captain America -- submitting their vulnerability as an example of the purity of his intentions. His example of hypothetical quantum dissections does little to persuade the sentinels of liberty.

Falcon beckons for his avian ally: Redwing! "The bird" the Baron had almost forgot swoops down to snatch the levitating Moonstones -- leaving him vulnerable to a two-prong attack from the legendary duo!

Falcon leaps into the air - while Cap tosses his shield in the direction of Baron Zemo's sword. The expertly targeted trajectory leaves Zemo forcibly disarmed and open to an aerial assault!


Falcon delivers a torpedo-like right hand that would knock any ordinary man into next week! Apparently the Baron has been working on his glass jaw -- as well as controlling the Moonstones without being physically linked to them!

Energy crackles around Redwing before the soaring falcon disappears -- leaving only the glowing stones! Emotionally and telepathically linked with his bird - the man Sam Wilson is incensed!

Cap holds his friend back from doing anything rash, while the benevolent Baron restores the bird at Falcon's side -- before sending them both through a "gravimetric phase shift" along with Iron Fist and Hercules!


Captain America quizzes his old nemesis on whether or not his methods are fatal. "A fate worse than that. I sent them to Bayonne, New Jersey."

Using the power of the Moonstones once more, Zemo manipulates the mass of Captain America's greatest tool - his red, white and blue shield! The force of its gravity drags Cap down to one knee.


The Captain untethers himself from the shield's straps and leverages his position into swinging his right leg around for a devastating kick! It finds nothing but air as the target once again uses the Moonstones, this time to render himself completely intangible - a mere ghost: "I am quite done being hit, thank you."

The stones' energy surrounds Captain America and the arrogant Baron tosses his old foe against a nearby brick wall. The twelfth generation Barons' idea of parental discipline, apparently.


Holding his foe in cosmic bondage without hope of recourse - Baron Zemo speaks his mind. He repeats his goal to forge a truce with the hunted hero. He declares a change in character for the notorious Zemo lineage. A desire to do right - even as the definition of the word changes around a civil war of heroes.

Zemo releases his would-be ally from his hold, and Captain America listens...

The Hammer...
The last two masked men standing may have reached a peaceful resolution, but for the purposes of combative notation we declare Baron Zemo the victor! He not only dealt with the attacks of the other heroes, but also worked to pacify Captain America.

As you may know, Baron Zemo appears as one of the mastermind villains lurking behind Captain America: Civil War. If you're just joining us after seeing the movie in theatres, I hope you've enjoyed getting a taste of the comic book version. Baron Zemo likes to talk about being superior, and I tend to think it's the comics version(s) that fit that description.

The movie is notably getting rave reviews, but many elements arrive without the teeth of their source material. The "Civil War" high-concept proves far more mild in the movie. Methods leave the heroes untarnished enough to continue to lead uncomplicated, mainstream movie franchises that are presently too small to really pull off an all-out war. Iron Man and Captain America are alive and able to reconcile. Instead, Baron Zemo ascends as the villain of the piece to clarify exactly why this is a Captain America sequel.

Civil War had its detractors when it was published in 2006, and I suspect there are even more who resent its legacy as the top selling event that Marvel Comics has been trying to emulate ever since.

I tend to remember Civil War fondly, not only for its effective central concept, but for the many tendrils that extended in other series. Fans have been complaining about inter-connected crossovers for the better part of the last twenty years, but Civil War seemed to thrive on its central premise, inspiring a plethora of off-shoots for readers to pick 'n' mix. Thunderbolts was a series ready and waiting to capitalize on the premise.

If you tried to wrangle the monster of every conceivable Civil War tie-in - more power to you! I think most were best served by finding the branches that interested them the most, and pursuing them outward from the central event, which, admittedly, ran a bit lean at times.

Secret Invasion was as a pretty tedious follow-up, but the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn that followed re-connected the pieces of instability put in place by Civil War well. It was key to a great year in Marvel Comics! A lot of fun with screen potential!

Of course, the fun of Dark Reign depended on your tolerance for indulging the temporary success of super-villains. I rather enjoyed today's feature fight for that very reason. I don't harbor dark designs of tyranny or sympathy for any devils. It's just an interesting break in the formulaic expectation of heroes winning. A necessary exercise in credibility when your villains have to keep coming back month over month, year over year. Marvel have some of my favourite villains in that respect, but the movies leave a lot to be desired.

Marvel's cinematic dominance highlights some of the unique cultural differences between pulp savvy comics and blockbuster movies. A glaring omission from the film universe has been Nazi Germany. It was at its most absurd in 2011's period introduction - Captain America: The First Avenger. In that episode, World War II managed to lose the looming menace of its major villains. They even stripped the Red Skull of his explicit Nazi persuasions in favor of creating the oblique evils of Hydra that continue in Marvel film and TV.

For the uninitiated, it can seem a little strange to lament the absence of Nazis - arguably modern history's worst villains. It all boils down to the significance of the 1940s and World War II to the timeline of American comic book publication.

Mandrake the Magician and The Phantom began the evolution of pulp and radio mystery men into comic book superheroes in the mid-thirties. Superman and Batman kick off the Golden Age of superheroes by the time war is breaking out in Europe. Major superhero identities flourish from there, joining the war effort in many cases, and establishing the idea for future generations to mine the time further. By the seventies and eighties, Nazis were perennial whipping boys. Villains for all time to be racked, stacked, and whacked by every hero fighting for truth and justice - no questions asked!

Given Baron Zemo's flirtations with redemption in the comic books, it's probably not such a bad idea to disconnect the son from his WWII Nazi father. I'd think a film version of The Masters of Evil is probably more likely than a Thunderbolts movie appearance, but with General Ross taking a bigger role, you never know.

I do know I'm very disappointed to see another classic Marvel character arrive on screen without their iconic visual. Marvel in general have been pretty guilty of continuing Hollywood's long, confused tradition of fearing superhero design. The Captain America films, in particular, have struggled to come to terms with visually striking characters. Red Skull awkwardly hid his true face behind a Hugo Weaving mask for much of the first film, while Batroc could only wear his shirt in the second, and Crossbones got a dorky home-made paintball version of his straight-forward comics look. Zemo was out of luck. No purple mask for you!

There'll be a whole lot more masks and costumes in our future as we continue to wage Secret Wars on Infinite Earths!

Soak up more Civil War influences with Old Comics Wednesday spotlights on Captain America and Spidey Team-Ups! Or find even more famous fights and curious callbacks via the Secret Archive!

Support the site and get the full story by using Amazon purchase links provided [right]!

Winner: Baron Zemo
#7 (--) Captain America
#40 (--) Iron Fist
#101 (+224) Baron Zemo
#340 (-14) Hercules
#777 (new) Redwing
#803 (-23) Falcon

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

OLD COMICS WEDNESDAY: SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP!
The arrival of Spider-man in Captain America: Civil War marks a new dawn for the Marvel Universe on film! Spidey isn't just one of the best known Marvel Comics characters of all-time. He's the heart and soul of the largely New York City based superhero world! In Civil War he's teaming up with Iron Man and the Avengers, but if you name the hero, Spidey has probably shared an adventure or two with them! Heck, he was even the star of Marvel Team-Up!

Secret Wars on Infinite Earths is taking this Old Comics Wednesday opportunity to look back at some of Spider-man's best team-up fights featured in previous installments! By hitting the covers below you'll be transported to legendary alliances with: War Machine, Venom, Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, Ghost Rider, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Dr. Strange, Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, the Omni-Power and even DC heroine: Wonder Woman!

Not getting enough Civil War in your diet? Check out OCW: Captain America and Hero of the Week for more recommendations, browse the Secret Archive, and be back on the main page for all new featured fights starring Captain America, Iron Man and more!




Monday, May 02, 2016

HERO OF THE WEEK: WAR MACHINE (Marvel)
Real Name: James Rhodes
First Appearance: Iron Man #118 (January, 1979)
Fight Club Ranking: #105

Featured Fights:
- vs BLACKLASH: Marvel Team-Up #145 (Sep 1984)
- vs FIN FANG FOOM: Iron Man #271 (Aug 1991)
- vs CHARNAL: What If...? #54 (Oct 1993)
- vs IRON MAN: Iron Man #310 (Nov 1994)
- vs MANDARIN & THE AVATARS: Iron Man #312 (Jan 1995)

About the only hard and fast rule of Hero of the Week is that a character can only appear once a year. The staggered global theatrical release of Captain America: Civil War is still the big story in my view, but most of the feature players demanding attention have already received their honors: Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Spider-man and Winter Soldier -- all previous HOTW's.

War Machine hasn't been front and centre in the film's promotion for a while, but he's a character I've been thinking about this week. Thar be movie spoilers ahead, so you may want to set sail for Cap 3 before you dock in port! (Not sure why we went nautical with that analogy, but there you go).


If you've been reading this year's Hero of the Week entries, you know I tend to view the Marvel cinematic universe as being built with seconds in-place. The headlining acts of Iron Man and Captain America both have their one-time comic book replacements beside them (War Machine and Winter Soldier, respectively). Thor has Lady Sif, with potential for Beta Ray Bill opened by the cosmic Guardians of the Galaxy: they themselves seconds of a sort. Hollywood back-ups for mortal actors who've been mostly compliant throughout Marvel's success, but may not always be.

As we've learned in recent weeks: Robert Downey Jr has flipped his briefly precarious position. He's now more hot than cold with regards to future appearances - confirmed for Spider-man: Homecoming and even flirting with the concept of an Iron Man 4! It's a change of pace that challenges the need for an understudy, especially with a new generation of heroes already burgeoning. In a world where you can count on your original Iron Man, what's the future of War Machine?

When trailers flirted with the prospect of War Machine being the sacrificial lamb of cinema's Civil War -- the Goliath or Cap of the movie version -- it at least raised the question of the character's mortality. It turns out Rhodey was actually just very badly injured in Cap 3 - paralyzed by friendly fire. Like Tony Stark, War Machine's now a part of his tech - dependent on an exoskeleton to walk.

We've seen the films devise and drop perils before, but this one feels like it might stick. Spinal injury is something that struck Tony Stark down, in the comics. Interesting that they'd play that card with War Machine. Is it to launch into an exciting new era of the mechanical man - or is this sidelining a hero who never quite lived up to his potential? A far cry from the early days, when I really believed he'd be a convenience for the then-whispered rumor of film Avengers.

When Stark was paralyzed in the comics, he designed and built remote robotics to pilot the Iron Man armor. Appropriating that idea for the air force officer could give him a point of difference to the other armored hero. Especially if he were able to operate multiple suits by remote, or new types of Iron Man designs, like the Sentinel meets Evangelion type he used in the late 2000s.

The fact that the paralyzing injury was dealt by a Stark creation (Vision) during Stark's (Civil) war could also be the seed from which new resentments grow. In the comics, Stark and Rhodes have had severe fallings out. We saw that idea played with in Iron Man 2 - the movie that introduced War Machine as a product of the US Air Force, and pitted the two against one another, before they teamed up for a cluttered finale. It would seem awful soon to do hero-vs-hero again, but it would at least be a more personal story - fodder for Iron Man 4, perhaps.

What ever happens in the future, I hope we get to see more out of War Machine. This seems like the perfect opportunity to get him out of Iron Man's shadow and into a strong new direction.

I highly recommend checking out a couple of the classic featured fights (linked top) for more! If you're hungry for more Civil War, check out Old Comics Wednesday: Captain America and more updates in May!

Friday, April 29, 2016

BLACK PANTHER versus CAPTAIN AMERICA
The Claws of The Panther! (Marvel)
Where:
Tales of Suspense #98 When: February 1968
Why: Stan Lee How: Jack Kirby

The Story So Far...
Upon receiving an urgent summons from the mysterious ruler of Wakanda -- America's Sentinel of Liberty agrees to board a remote controlled Magnaship to speed to the aid of the far off nation!

En route; Captain America finds himself caught in the firing line of an orbital energy weapon! He can only watch helplessly as the beam reduces a mountain to melted slag! At the mercy of operators he really only knows from rumor and reading, Cap must consider the possibility that he's being led into a death trap!

Making clandestine touch down at a base hidden deep within the jungle - Cap goes on the offensive! In no mood to play the fall guy any longer, he seeks an advantage over shadowy figures who charge to greet him. Wave one wasn't any problem, but now he must face the claws of The Black Panther!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Black Panther 5 (Professor)
Speed: Draw 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Captain America 5 (Marathoner)
Agility: Black Panther 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting: Captain America 6 (Warrior)
Energy: Draw 2 (Projectiles)


Can you say famous firsts? Here on The Comic Book Fight Club we approach each fight as though it's the present, referencing archived examples for fights featured for the first time. This here represents the genuine very first time two of Marvel's most famed hand-to-hand combatants met in battle! A classic!

Black Panther is T'Challa: brilliant son of King T'Chaka of the isolated African nation of Wakanda. Rich with natural resources and advanced technologies, Wakanda honors a line of traditions which include guarded neutrality through closed borders. Wakandan traditions also include the trial of the Black Panther. This rite of passage is a royal ceremonial challenge that proves the winner's fitness to lead the nation, reflecting the peak physical and combative skills of the new Black Panther! The winner is enhanced by a rare herb that facilitates a spiritual confrontation with the panther god Bast.

The enhanced peak physical conditioning of T'Challa makes him not at all dissimilar from Captain America! Steve Rogers was a frail patriot so intent on joining the fight against Nazi Germany, he subjected himself to experimental testing! The enhancements of Dr. Abraham Erskine's super-soldier serum bestowed upon him ultimate human potential! Like The Panther, he was trained in armed and unarmed combat, and honed his skills in a theatre of war!

Personally, I tend to think of Black Panther as the more skilled of the two hand-to-hand fighters. WWII era America wasn't exactly a capital for martial arts. So when it comes to technique, I tend to give The Panther the edge. That said, the custom measure of The Haseloff System tries to balance literal definitions with the realities of comic book variables. That's why Cap rates higher on the fighting measure, for his sheer will to barrel through the opposition. Which isn't to say Cap is any kind of slouch, obviously. I just think of Panther as a more refined hand-to-hand fighter in the mould of a supreme martial artist.

This fight has a lot in common with the deadlock of Captain America vs Batman. Again, in that example, Batman's refined, literal martial artistry was underrated against the intangible "warrior" quality of Cap. A fine line of interpretation.
Of course, Black Panther doesn't just fight with innate skill and sense - he also fights with a brilliant mind. His knowledge of science and engineering sometimes plays out in new tricks in his suit, but can't be under estimated for giving him a unique perspective of opponents and environment.

Both characters have shown they can fight well above their weight, as well. In past featured fights we've seen Black Panther match heavyweights: Super-Skrull [Fantastic Four #6] and Dr. Doom [Black Panther #19]. On the flipside, Cap's gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Master Man [Reborn #2] and Iron Man [Captain America Annual #9]!

Separating the two is very difficult. When the fight starts, Cap has already taken out a couple of Wakandan guards. Let's find out how the main event went!


The Tape: Captain America Ranking: Captain America (#7)

What Went Down...
Springing from his remote controlled ship like a blaze of red, white and blue - Captain America goes of the offensive, hoping to avoid an ambush by taking down the shadowy figures who accompany the Black Panther!

The human dynamo springs from his toppled foes and braces for the attack of The Panther himself! With the momentum swinging his way, the super-soldier expects a single blow can finish the conflict, but the swing of his shield misses its intended target!


The Black Panther's legendary reflexes are too fast for the Captain's arrogant physicality, but Wakanda's ruler fights with honor. He prowls out of harms way, dashing between Cap's open stance, and refuses the aid of his soldiers as he rises to topple the American!


Well versed in hand-to-hand grappling, Captain America uses the Panther's own movement against him! With a cinched in hold, Cap tumbles into the roll, using his legs to vault the Black Panther over him!


The manoeuver is enough to pass T'Challa's martial test! Convinced the man he has summoned from afar is indeed the genuine article - he calls off their battle!
With a deadly menace threatening their very existence from above, the heroes must put all thoughts of combat supremacy aside. They get to work.

The Hammer...
It was a fast and furious struggle, but it was also just a test! Both fighters showed intelligence and intensity in their technique, but it was all for a draw!


There's a lot to like in this fight. I think it's a good illustration of the intensity Jack Kirby brings to his figures during this period of Marvel Comics. There's a reality and weight to the characters, but their logical actions are cranked up a notch. Judo mats be damned!

It may or may not surprise you to know today's featured fight essentially takes place over a single page. The limited range of movements makes this somewhat easy to deduce, but I don't know if it gives enough credit to the fluid continuity of their battle. The story clearly never intends to pit the two heroes at odds, but if you came for a fight between them, you got a decent taste in a small space.

Bit of a dick move on Cap's part to just dive out and start fighting anyone who shows up. Hardly the worst example of the 'superhero misunderstanding' cliché, but an entry, none the less. You can put it down to the Tales of Suspense double feature format. Sharing the series with Iron Man means limited pages and a healthy attitude to cramming a lot in!

The fight is also consistent with Black Panther's other early appearances, where he tests himself against international heroes. It built the tone of mystery and seclusion that is ultimately a unique defining trait for the fictional nation of Wakanda. Cap has ultimately been recruited to fight the new Baron Zemo of the time. In a nice example of Marvel continuity, Black Panther joins Cap as a new Avengers recruit right after this. Solid, pull no punches, organic storytelling.

As you'll no doubt have guessed: today's 1968 sparring session was far from the last time Black Panther and Captain America went head-to-head!

Fans in some parts of the world can already see the pair fighting on opposite sides in Captain America: Civil War! Black Panther is drawn into the conflict by the assassination of his father: King T'Chaka, whose interest in superhuman registration is piqued by the death of aid workers during an Avengers mission gone wrong. These tragedies lead him T'Challa to fight alongside Iron Man and the other heroes in favor of registration.

With Black Panther heading back to theatres for a much anticipated solo film in 2018, I'm hopeful we'll be here to talk a whole lot more about his exploits. The reputations of the Panther and Cap as two of Marvel's best hand-to-hand fighters has certainly spawned a few memorable rematches I can think of!

If your hunger for Civil War inspired entries hasn't been satiated - check out Old Comics Wednesday: Captain America for a choice selection of relevant back issues! You can also find hundreds of previous featured fights in the Archive Issued Index and come back next week for another exciting action-packed encounter with Captain America's past!

Winner: Draw
#7 (--) Captain America
#113 (+15) Black Panther