Friday, May 05, 2017

SUPERMAN versus BRAINIAC
No One Defeats Brainiac! (DC)
Where:
Adventures of Superman #519 When: January 1995 Why: Karl Kesel How: Barry Kitson & Mike Manley

The Story So Far...
The world mourned when Superman gave his life to stop the rampaging behemoth known as Doomsday. To fill his void emerged four heroes claiming to be the genuine article, unaware the real Superman would survive his injuries, and return from the grave to fight for truth and justice once again! Or did he...?

The citizens of Metropolis are forced to question the legitimacy of their hero once again when his corpse rematerializes inside the abandoned tomb! Even Superman himself is unsure of his reality, beginning a search of any villain who may be responsible!

Brainiac appears beyond suspicion, remaining comatose on the planet New Genesis after his last battle. Even in this state, however, his powerful mind envisions the demise of his arch-nemesis! Brainiac did indeed create the false image of a fallen Superman while in his coma -- and now he has returned to make that vision a reality!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Superman 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Brainiac 6 (Genius)
Speed: Superman 6 (Mach Speed)
Stamina: Superman 6 (Generator)
Agility: Superman 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting: Superman 3 (Street Wise)
Energy: Draw 5 (Lasers)
Total: Superman 33 (Super)

Time to kick-off a big month of DC Injustice with the long overdue debut for one of the DC Universe's greatest threats! He's a nemesis well known to Superman, but we're yet to see what he can do in the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths!

Brainiac is a naturally gifted scientific genius from the planet Colu. Real name Vril Dox, he fought against the Computer Tyrants who ruled his home world, before leaving the planet in search of greater knowledge and experience.

Notoriously known as The Collector of Worlds; Brainiac used his advanced technologies to literally shrink entire cities for storage and examination. The most famous of his stolen domains is the bottled city of Kandor: the last surviving populace of Superman's birth planet - Krypton!

Brainiac became a nemesis for Superman when he found his way to Earth, making various attempts to steal landmass, threaten loved ones, and generally cause terror. During this time he possessed various bodies of artificial and living nature, including a telepathic magician named Milton Fine, and even Lex Luthor!

His powers have included advanced mechanical weapons, remote manipulation of computers and technology, super-human strength, speed, telekinesis, enhanced durability and stamina, and a phenomenal level of natural intellect!

We haven't seen Superman go up against anyone quite like his old nemesis Brainiac, but there have been various instances of battles against the brilliant, the brawny, and well equipped!

Look no further than Marvel's green-skinned Hulk for an opponent who possessed both phenomenal strength and intellect, but was defeated by Superman in Marvel versus DC #3! We also saw him effortlessly stop Lex Luthor in his armored power-suit during a team skirmish in Justice League of America #15!

In Action Comics #713, we saw Superman challenged by a very different opponent - a zealous villain calling himself Saviour! He could literally manifest weapons or super-powers by sheer force of belief, conjuring thought into reality through advanced psycho-kinesis.

For today's feature fight Brainiac has reassumed the Milton Fine personality he once possessed. That means heavy on conjuring and psychic manifestation. The same year as Savior and similar tactics. That means he's dangerous, but the same combination of determination and cunning can deliver Supes to victory.

The Tape: Superman Ranking: Superman (#6)

What Went Down...
Superman and the Special Crimes Unit watch desperately as the green menace called Brainiac stands amidst the carnage of a torn Metropolis street. In his hand he clutches the sweater of Lois Lane: Star reporter for The Daily Planet, and the love of Superman's life!

A hostage, Lois may be - but never helpless! With Brainiac distracted by a mano-a-mano challenge from The Man of Steel; Lois pivots to thrust her boot heel deep into an unsuspecting torso!

Freedom comes with a price. Lois now faces certain death hovering above the gaping chasm rendered in the road -- or so it seems. In reality, the drop is just an illusion cast by the malicious mind of Brainiac! With his trick exposed, he turns his mental powers toward the meddlesome reporter. Superman acts!


Like a living missile Superman fly-tackles Brainiac from behind, diverting his intended mental strike against Lois!

Superman confronts his arch-nemesis over the manifestation of a doppelganger created in the image of his corpse. The accidental apparition becomes Brainiac's physical threat. The dead Man of Steel stands and unleashes raw heat vision!



Superman recovers from the surprise attack and retaliates with a devastating right cross to his mirror's jaw! The imitation Superman appears to share the original's phenomenal durability. He fires back with a right hand of his own!

No mere illusion - the false Superman hoists massive pieces of rubble and smashes them over the true Man of Steel! The genuine article is undeterred, bursting from the debris to attack like a speeding bullet!

The hero has no reason to hold back against the soulless construct. He pummels his short-haired doppelganger as they fly through the air -- and a nearby building! They make a crash-landing at the feet of the Special Crimes Unit, but emerging from the dust are now two identical Supermen!

With the copy now claiming legitimacy, the SCU decide to take everybody in for questioning to sort it out peacefully. Lois Lane has a better idea, quizzing the duplicate heroes on the one person they'd save if Brainiac was about to destroy Earth. One rejects the premise, while the other chooses Lois. The latter, offering the answer Lois wants to hear -- which goes unheard by all others!



With his gambit exposed; Brainiac destroys Turpin's pistol with a bolt of mental energy and rushes for his phony Superman! He dives head-first at the motionless copy -- absorbing its mental energies in a dazzling blast of light!

The Brainiac that emerges is surrounded in a shell of raw energy! He uses his full power to launch a frontal physical assault on his unwavering nemesis!



Superman is sent smashing into a nearby building, but emerges unscathed. Brainiac hoists a nearby truck above his head, responding to his foe's defiance by pile driving him into the street with the heavy duty vehicle!

The villain proposes Metropolis be Superman's tombstone, offering to dig his grave. He does so, pounding the ground with sufficient force to send a very real tremor that rips through the road!



Once again, The Man of Tomorrow paws his way from the rubble. He's getting tired of "everyone trying to do their version of The Death of Superman!" His nemesis doesn't mind playing a "variation on a theme".

A blast of telekinetic energy shunts Superman into a would-be early grave, but the only prematurity is Brainiac's celebratory cackling as he covers Superman in dirt! He rises -- coming for Brainiac with clenched fists!



An uppercut rattles Brainiac inside his telekinetic force field! A right hook snaps his head sideways as if a direct hit! A tackle pushes him through the remaining bricks and mortar of a crumbled wall! A straight right comes with the musing that Brainiac is just two-bit carnival magician Milton Fine! The shell cracks!

The mentalist attempts to reinforce the confidence of his shielding and persona. He claims intergalactic terror at the name Brainiac - but Superman isn't buying it! With but a single extended hand, he catches Brainiac's fist - and responds!



A determined right hand shatters Brainiac's force field!

The impact reduces the fiend to a quivering shadow of his former self. Exposed, he clings briefly to a rejection of defeat before passing out. The mental toll of Superman's attack on his mind and force field clearly too great!

When Brainiac recovers shortly thereafter, he is no longer the intergalactic menace who plagues Metropolis! Instead, he has resumed the personality of magician Milton Fine. Superman helps him to his feet, ushering him to a better life -- at least for as long as it will last.


The Hammer...
A slightly ignoble end for one of the DC Universe's most notorious villains, but a welcome induction into The Comic Book Fight Club!

Brainiac is one of the bigger names to have eluded the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths over the years. There's never been any conceited effort to keep him out of the fighting ranks, but I have to admit, he hasn't been flagged as a priority until now.

It's always been a given that Brainiac comes somewhere just behind Lex Luthor in the pantheon of classic Superman villains. His status was earned over some sixty years of tyranny, beginning with his print debut in 1958.

I tend to think the past weighs heavily on Brainiac. He's a quintessential sci-fi baddy of the time, right at home with movie villains of the '50s and early '60s. Attempts to modernize the character have led to a long and tangled history, not always to the benefit of the character, or the removal of dated reference.

The Milton Fine version (seen today), though visually distinct, doesn't do a great deal to ingratiate the character into preference. I've gotta note: I really looking at this issue. Mike Manley's finishes are sumptuously strong and really pop with the bold colour palette of Glenn Whitmore. All those vivid purples, greens, and oranges are a treat with those deep inky blacks! Always nice to see Superman in bold blue and red, too. Trunks included.

The big-headed, moustachio magician still feels as much a throwback as a green man from outer space who wants to shrink the city. I have to imagine that's one of the reasons the character remained in flux.

I have some appreciation for the robot-bodied Brainiac that came just prior to the possession of Milton Fine. Immortalized in the Super Powers toy line and comics, and briefly seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths, that version did a solid job of reinventing a visual palette worthy of the pop culture of the eighties.

The skeletal robotic vision came a year before The Terminator was in theatres, and gave Brainiac a real sense of menace. It was a big departure from the green skinned villain of yore, but still felt like it had a foot in the sci-fi tropes of a bygone era, lingering fondly in popular reference.

I imagine the relatively short-lived robot form was a tough sell to traditionalists, and I ultimately appreciate subsequent attempts in the 2000s to consolidate the various styles. The modern Brainiac that's still a green-skinned humanoid, but suitably symbiotic in his relationship with technology, is a nice fusion.

As time goes on, I tend to see increasing value in restoring some characters to their original presentation. Modern sensibilities have had a tendency to push things into a convergence of repeating motifs. The more the meanings of early reference fade into obscurity, the more they become viable as a sense of identity, rather than anachronism. For those who know, the fifties spaceman with the citywide shrink ray is a torchbearer. For those who don't, he's an eerie phantom of strange intent.

Slithery, techno-tendrils add danger and a creepy pseudo-organic vibe that feels almost The Matrix meets Hellraiser. I'm not sure if the current version of Brainiac will endure as the definitive vision, but I've got no beef.

That's the version you'll find in Injustice 2 when it invades home consoles May 16th! Brainiac is the big bad boss invading the world of the fighting game sequel. Featured fights in May will be taking loose inspiration from the game, spotlighting some of the new and returning characters!

This entry is a big one for fans of the fighting ranks, as well! Superman punches his way back into the Top 5 with today's feature victory. Trainspotters will note he bumps Marvel rival Hulk back down to #6 as a result!

Want to see more of the fights that shaped the ranks? Dive into the Secret Archive to find every battle organized by publisher, series and issue. Or, follow along on Twitter and Facebook to get daily fights inspired by the topics of the day! Throw a like and a share to amaze your friends and support the site!

Winner: Superman
#5 (+1) Superman
#158 (+117) Dan Turpin [+1 assist]
#524 (new) Lois Lane [+1 assist]
#839 (new) Brainiac

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

COVER TO COVER: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!
Throughout last month's featured fights; the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths got decidedly cosmic in anticipation for the theatrical release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2! In wide release on May 5th, the wait is nearly over! To get you ready: we're going Cover to Cover with some of the best battles featuring characters from the movie - and a few of their friends!

Behind each cover below you'll find famous fights featuring: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax The Destroyer, Groot, Rocket, Ego The Living Planet, Nebula, Ronan The Accuser, Nova, and Thanos! Simply hit the cover of your choice to be transported to each corner of the galaxy!

Still craving space adventures from even more exotic sources? Dive in to the Secret Archive to find battles from even further corners of the multiverses!



Monday, May 01, 2017

HERO OF THE WEEK: ULTRON (Marvel)
Real Name: Ultron
First Appearance: Avengers #54 (July, 1968)
Fight Club Ranking: #202

Featured Fights:
- vs MACHINE MAN & THING: Marvel Two-In-One #92 (Oct 1982)

It looks like robotic bosses with purple highlights are this year's must-have fighting game accessory! Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite revealed its fused final boss in a pair of trailers last week, combining Marvel's Ultron with Mega Man X baddy Sigma to create "Ultron-Sigma".



This will mark Ultron's first appearance in the Marvel vs Capcom video game series, so it makes a bit of sense from that perspective. It's nice to see a new addition to the series - hopefully one of many. With that in mind, I'm doing my best to resist looking at it in terms of an ill-timed tie-in.

Age of Ultron events in comics (2013) and movies (2015) are still fresh in mind, and not especially fond memories, but MvCI will hopefully be the exception to the rule. A purple mecha-boss with endless armies of drones also strays awfully close to Brainiac in this month's DC fighting release Injustice 2, but again, it's probably best not to hold that against the MVC3 sequel.

Ultron will appear as a playable character independent of his boss form, which looks like a lot of fun in the gameplay trailer also released last week! Infinity Gems are back in a big way in MVCI, and you can see Ultron using the Space Stone to drastically reduce the area available to his opponent!

Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon, and Chun-Li are among the other favourites also featured in the story trailer. The line-up seems to support rumors that the Marvel side will focus heavily on their popular film properties. Although, one does wonder if Thanos wouldn't have made a stronger boss choice, if that really is the case.

There's been a lot of consternation over the expected omission of X-Men characters, who were a much bigger part of the series in the nineties. They've been persona non grata in a lot of arenas in recent years, allegedly due to tensions between Disney and X-Men film licensers: FOX.

The X-Men's role in the Versus series was largely due to their extreme popularity in the early nineties, which spawned Capcom's first Marvel fighting game in 1994: X-Men: Children of the Atom. Sprites from that game continued in subsequent releases, including Marvel Super Heroes (late 1995) and their inaugural crossover X-Men versus Street Fighter (1996).

That steady run clearly fostered a strong X-following among gamers, but from a comics perspective, I tend to think a break could be a good thing. In terms of function, we could see interesting substitutes for popular characters like Wolverine, Magneto and Deadpool, introducing heroes like Drax, Scarlet Witch and Winter Soldier into the series. Missing Sentinel? How about Ant-Man/Giant-Man?

I'd love to see Capcom introduce more martial artists into the series, too! Iron Fist was cool! I'd love to see the likes of Black Panther, Daredevil, Elektra, Bullseye, Black Widow, Blade, Shang-Chi and even Batroc the Leaper! Hey, don't laugh! This is the series that briefly made Shuma-Gorath a household name! Even Taskmaster and Super-Skrull were pleasant, Batroc-type surprises in MVC3!

Traditionally Capcom have been excellent at getting the most out of their characters. Here's hoping Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite blazes some interesting new trails when it arrives later this year! For now, Ultron walks the path of our Hero of the Week!

      [Home]      Hero of the Week 04/24: Cloak >>

Friday, April 28, 2017

DRAX versus THOR
The God and The Brute (Marvel)
Where:
Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21 When: October 1993 Why: Jim Starlin How: Tom Grindberg

The Story So Far...
Across the Earth and beyond; heroes have begun to fall under the spell of a being called The Goddess! She is the expelled good from Adam Warlock manifesting in sentient form, and she's on a crusade to eliminate evil from the universe - by any means necessary!


Among the ranks of The Goddess' religious zombies is the mighty Thor of Asgard! The thunder god's mind is already clouded with madness. He sees enemies where once there were friends, making him one of the most dangerous pieces in the cosmic game!

High above the Earth; the incredible Hulk and Drax the Destroyer confront the mad thunderer. Under other circumstances they could've easily overwhelmed the god, but with Hulk sent hurtling earthbound, it's up to The Destroyer to stand alone against the power of a god gone wild!

Tale of the Tape...
Strength: Drax 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Thor 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Drax 4 (Olympian)
Stamina: Draw 6 (Generator)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting: Drax 7 (Living Weapon)
Energy: Thor 5 (Lasers)
Total: Thor 32 (Super)

A showdown of super-heavyweights finishes a massive month of cosmic action!

Drax The Destroyer appeared in the Secret Wars on Infinite Earths just a few weeks ago, battling his resurrected arch-nemesis: Thanos!

As human Arthur Douglas, he was killed by The Mad Titan while driving in the desert. His daughter Heather survived, while Arthur's spirit was captured by the Titans Kronos and Mentor, who placed it in a body designed specifically to destroy Thanos! Thus, Drax begins his life's goal to destroy his nemesis!

Drax was gifted phenomenal strength, durability, and endurance in his artificial body, which at the time of today's fight reached hulking proportions. Similar to the classic Hulk, Drax also possessed greatly diminished intelligence. That was partially resolved in the mid-2000s when he was reborn as a leaner, meaner fighting machine with now iconic red markings.

This sleek version of Drax succeeded in fulfilling his life's mission at the worst possible time, killing Thanos in Annihilation #4! It was a kindler, gentler period for The Mad Titan, but none the less an impressive feat!

Thor wasn't exactly himself at the time of today's battle, either.

The god of thunder is fighting in the grip of madness! Upheaval in Asgard has driven him berserk, worsened by the manifestation of The Goddess: An entity created from Adam Warlock's expelled "good", whose holy war against evil has made crazed zealots of an army of the universe's greatest heroes!

Thor's a power player at the best of times, but in his mad state he's a warrior of scant mercy! This is the same Thor we saw destroy Super-Skrull in Thor #465, and similar to the Heroes Reborn version who fought The Avengers with Loki [Avengers #1], and went toe-to-toe with Hulk [Avengers #4]!

The might of Mjolnir and command of lightning gives Thor a unique edge in the fight, but Drax is in possession of the Power Infinity Gem! That means nigh limitless strength, similar to that once supplied to Champion of the Universe!

Drax was made to destroy a "Mad Titan", does that mean he can beat a mad god? Thor's comparable to Drax in so many ways, but feels like he has the edge. Let's drop the speculation and get ourselves some answers!

The Tape: Thor Ranking: Thor (#25)

What Went Down...
A wave of kinetic force ripples through space as titans clash! Even the incredible Hulk watches in awe, drifting helplessly away from a fight that could decide the fate of Earth's stand against The Goddess and her religious zealots!

Drax The Destroyer is a simple being, but he takes his fellow green goliath's words to heart. He must stop "hammer man" Thor! A goal he attacks with unwavering certainty - even as the hammer Mjolnir crashes across his face!

In a state of madness, Thor takes umbrage with the presumed arrogance that fuels Drax's efforts. The dim-witted warrior's confusion only provokes Thor's ire further as he buries his fist in Drax's stomach and sends him hurtling in space!


As his opponent drifts from sight, Thor's troubled mind turns to thoughts of other friends he would now call enemy. His dedication to The Goddess has blinded him in many ways. He hardly notices the shadow looming over him...


Drax returns from the void with a massive purple-gloved fist leading the way!

The Destroyer smashes Thor flat against the space rock that has become their ground. The thunder god marvels at his opponent's phenomenal strength and tenacity - even as Drax rains down against the back of his head with two fists!

Physically powerful in his own right; Thor shrugs Drax off his back and leaps to his feet! He now plans to punish The Destroyer for returning to continue their battle. His old world tongue inspires Drax to attempt to shut him up with a devastating right cross! He follows with a left - but Thor ducks it!

Displaying superior combative finesse, Thor looks to his enchanted hammer to demonstrate another key to victory -- what he calls "mystic guile and strategy"!


When the lightning clears Drax is somehow still standing! He returns "guile" in kind with blasts of energy from his extended fist!

Once again Thor recognizes he faces a uniquely worthy opponent! Undeterred he launches at his new nemesis, who responds in kind in a spectacular collision!


As the two behemoths brawl through space - Thor is visited mentally by Drax's daughter: the telepath Moondragon! Working under the spell of The Goddess she warns Thor he cannot defeat Drax so long as he possesses the Infinity Power Gem. She orders him to abandon the fight, summoning his impressive godly power to The Goddess' cause on distant Earth.

Thor clobbers Drax with a Mjolnir-wielding uppercut - freeing himself to refuse Moondragon's telepathic demand! Torn between his vow to The Goddess and the pledge of righteous combat -- the mad god becomes lost in his own thoughts of Odin and rotating Asgardian rule. Driven deeper to madness he renounces The Goddess -- a choice her representative swears he will come to regret!

Moondragon's threat is soon forgotten as Thor launches himself back toward his stunned opponent! He hurls his enchanted hammer like a missile - momentarily launching Drax through space again!

Thor follows as his foe plummets to the rocky surface below. Identifying the hammer as a deciding factor: Drax instantly recovers and pounds his hulking fists to the ground! The disruption staggers Thor, and Drax catches him with another blow with inter-locked fists! His tactic: to take control of Mjolnir!


Like so many before, Drax tries in vein to lift the hammer. Its enchantment ensures only they who is worthy will succeed, and although Drax fights for the side of good, he is not so fated. Thor allows him his futile chance, before beckoning the hammer to return to its rightful wielder.

Slightly confused and none the wiser, Drax decides he'll just beat Thor with or without the hammer. Their battle resumes, the two charging to one another once again!


Thor breaks the deadlock, toppling Drax with another Mjolnir uppercut! Drax clutches at the space rock as he lands, wrenching a massive boulder he catapults across the battlefield! Thor endures the shattering rock and swings his hammer in a circle above his head to clear the debris!

Drax charges toward the thunderer, but Thor knocks him back with a right hand. Drax returns fire with a right of his own, slamming it into Thor's trunk! He follows it up by driving his knee into the hunched god's vulnerable stomach!


Thor reverses the chain, nailing Drax on the side of the head with his hammer! He pounds Drax again like a smith working steel! They tumble together and Drax turns the tables with a kick. Thor retaliates - burying Mjolnir in Drax's stomach! Even then - The Destroyer doesn't back down!

Seemingly inseparable, the two gladiators break and stare intensely at the other. They have fought hard, but neither seems willing to yield. It may be one of the most intense battles the galaxy has ever played host to, but it will not be decided by weapons or brute strength.

Thor sees something amiss with "Midgard's star". Drax senses the temperate starting to rise. In the distance, Earth's Sun suddenly begins to flare and swell!


Mortal enemies become idle equals as they gaze into the cosmic magnificence of The Sun going nova. Each warrior is helpless as its fire expands to completely engulf them! They disappear in the blinding light!

The Hammer...
If you've ever found yourself wondering who would win in a fight between Drax and Thor - there's good news and bad news. The good news is: you now have an entire issue's worth of empirical evidence to satisfy your curiosity!

The bad news is: Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21 ends with an inconclusive draw brought about by the impending apocalypse. Bummer!

Fortunately, there are twenty pages of all-out super-heavyweight smackdown before the fight ends. An epic showdown worthy of two powerhouses from the Marvel pantheon! There's an ebb and flow, but even in the character moments, the unique style of artist Tom Grindberg gives every panel critical mass!

We featured Grindberg's work from Secret Defenders #10 last week, but didn't really get a chance to dwell on the visuals all that much.

He's a very interesting artist. Divisive, I imagine. Even in the early nineties, I never quite knew how to feel about his unique style. It's so consistently exaggerated - I can't imagine criticizing his anatomy - yet there are times when proportions warp beyond credibility, details fade into insignificance, and bulk blurs into the indistinct and implausible.

Rob Liefeld sometimes cites the influence of Jack Kirby on his work, and it's easy to imagine similar inspiration filtering into Grindberg's pencils. In fact, if I could compare Grindberg to any other artist, it would probably be Mike Mignola -- another self-confessed Kirby acolyte, with slightly more obvious references.

Grindberg is much less inclined toward the square features and gnashing mouths of Kirby characters. When his figures project out of the page, often they're jumping legs first -- unlike Kirby's forward lunging heroes.

In fact, legs may be the most exaggerated part of Grindberg's anatomy, more consistently over-sized than the arms or trunk. When it gets away from him, sometimes you're left humming Fat Bottomed Girls, but it's a rare exception. A single panel from this issue, featuring Moondragon, comes to mind. You'll know it if you see it. Physically large characters typically fare better.

In 1993, they didn't come much bigger than Drax The Destroyer. This is Drax a decade before the 2005 revamp that cut back on bulk, and streamlined his mind. This was a time when Bruce Banner kept his smarts in any shade of green and Drax was more Hulk than Hulk!

In fact, the very first pages of Warlock and The Infinity Watch #21 show the intelligent Hulk drifting away in space, as if seceding to Drax. He had the wherewithal to impress upon Drax the importance of beating Thor, but couldn't find a way to change his trajectory. I guess even Hulk claps need atmosphere.

Hulk was present because of the events of Infinity Crusade, which saw half of the Marvel Universe fall under the spell of The Goddess. That meant a whole lot of oddball pairings of brainwashed heroes fighting heroes. It was a sequel event to The Infinity War, but in the bigger picture, it fits somewhere between the high-concept pitches for 1984's Secret Wars, and 2006's Civil War.

I'm sure we'll endeavor to take a closer look at some of those interesting battles sometime in the future. For now, we commit this entry to the records and look forward to what's ahead!

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 officially hits screens next week (May 5th) and is the inspiration behind this month's crammed card of cosmic collisions! If you see the movie in theatres, you may also catch a preview of Thor: Ragnarok - a sequel that promises to pit Thor against Hulk in a battle not unlike today's!

Want to see the full fight for yourself? Check out the Amazon link provided to pick yourself up a copy. Amazon will support Secret Wars on Infinite Earths at no extra charge if you do -- and you'll be able to bask in that amazing last page!

Still craving more action? Check out links scattered throughout this post (or labels below) to find more featured fights and articles about your favourite heroes!

Dive deeper into the Secret Archive to scan past battles organized by publisher, series, and issue number. Or subscribe on Twitter and Facebook to get daily links to fights inspired by the topics of the day! A like and share also helps a lot!

Winner: Draw (Inconclusive)
#25 (--) Thor
#125 (+15) Drax The Destroyer

Monday, April 24, 2017

HERO OF THE WEEK: CLOAK (Marvel)
Real Name: Tyrone Johnson
First Appearance: Spectacular Spider-man #64 (March, 1982)
Fight Club Ranking: #574

Featured Fights:
- vs AVENGERS: Civil War #3 (Sep 2006)

Marvel hasn't exactly wowed with their expansion into television. The Netflix shows have a certain referential appeal, but their reluctance to go all-in on the designs and spectacle of the comics takes some of the fun out of it. Shows like Agents of SHIELD and Inhumans persist in spite of themselves. Even Marvel cartoons lack the punch of earlier incarnations who didn't have the resources of Disney.

Cloak & Dagger doesn't immediately scream a game-changer, but if you take a look at the first trailer, you may agree that the 2018 series will be worth keeping an eye on...



Like a lot of fans; I know the tag team of Cloak and Dagger primarily through the adventures of Spider-man. Sure, I was pretty chuffed that time I found the first issue of their 1983 mini-series in an el cheapo three-pack, but their solo escapades lacked the punch of time spent with the web-slinger. Heck! They even produced an oddball Spidey villain I've always had a fondness for: The Spot!

For readers of the early nineties, and lovers of 16-bit video games, the duo is probably best remembered as players in the crossover jambalaya that was Maximum Carnage!

The 14-part epic put Cloak & Dagger on the same side as Venom, Black Cat, Morbius, Captain AmericaIron Fist and even more oddly grouped heroes. Collectively they were roped in to fight the serial-killing symbiote Carnage, and his own Manson Family-esque crew of homicidal maniacs. In theory it was all kinds of wrong, but damned if it wasn't a whole lot of 1993 fun!

The drama of Dagger's apparent death early in the story was particularly memorable. It focused on a dynamic of affection that bordered on co-dependency. Their super-powers of light and dark were reflected in their personalities, making the balance of their unique partnership more than just a corny codename. They weren't the Wonder Twins, but they worked well together!

The origin of Cloak & Dagger functions as a weird sort of garbled PSA. It's embroiled in the usual types of teen dramas: stuttering, anxiety, emotional neglect, running away, exploitation, and being experimented on by Mafia chemists who're developing an alternative for heroin. You know. The problems we all dealt with in puberty.

It looks like the relationship drama will play a big part in the live-action TV series, which will air next year on Freeform. I don't know a whole lot about Freeform, but it doesn't take deep analysis to recognize they'll be aiming this series at a Millennial teen demographic. It has the same filtered haze of faux-eighties touchstones like It Follows, with a vibe that reminds me of what's going on with The CW's Riverdale. Not a bad way to go for a TV serial working to a budget.

The thing that gets me most excited about the TV version of Cloak & Dagger is the glimpse of super-powers seen in the trailer.

Live-action shows usually disappoint severely in the costume and powers department. I don't think Cloak & Dagger will rewrite the rules in that respect, but a lack of expectations make the glowing white of a light dagger, and the wind swept fabric implying a cloak, an early thrill. That rooftop crane (or drone) shot of Cloak at the end is particularly cool!

Of the pair, Cloak was always my favourite. His ability to cast a shadowy sub-dimensional void within the animated folds of his fabric is a great visual! The concept of engulfing villains and trapping them within the terror of their own darkness - a wonderful pulp irony. There's a little bit of The Shadow in the concept, which always appeals. Aubrey Joseph plays the role in the series, and is the more immediately convincing of the two young leads.

We haven't really talked much about Cloak (or Dagger) on Secret Wars on Infinite Earths, but I hope this will spur on a future feature fight. For now, Cloak is our Hero of the Week! If you'd like to find more of his adventures in the future, or other characters, be sure to follow links throughout this post, or dive in to the Secret Archive!