Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"The Showdown of the Century!"
Marvel versus DC #3 When: April 1996
Writer: Ron Marz Artist: Dan Jurgens

The story so far...
Life in the DC and Marvel universes has always been tough, but when cosmic events conspire to endanger both, the heroes of both Earths face a secret crisis that could destroy them all.

Before time two cosmic entities existed, sexless brothers representing the two sides of all that is, was, and will ever be.

Turmoil between the two brought about an end to things as they once were, but in the aftermath their energies were dissipated into space, becoming part of the multi-verse.Cosmic instabilities, as a result of the actions of various beings of different realities, created instabilities. After eons of recollecting their fragmented thoughts, the two brothers turned, and remembered their existence.

Now they pit their warriors against one and other.

Tale of the tape...
Hmmm... well, as offensive as the result of Namor/Aquaman was, I have to say this is the fight I looked forward to the least.
I've mentioned previously that this mini-series is almost a time capsule into the past, looking back on an era in flux, often for the worst. I don't know if this is the worst, but the creative decision to give Jubilee and Robin more screen time than the Flash, Silver Surfer, Elektra and several other characters held in high regard has to be questioned!

It was a sweet touch having the two youngsters stoking some kind of romantic embers as the world's merged, but these are still two characters that generally don't interest me. Particularly Jubilee, who seems quite obselete in a world of Boom Boom, and Joss Whedon's reverted Kitty Pryde.

Junior Batman no doubt has the edge of Jubilee, whose highlights and milestones generally revolve around getting into trouble, and introducing new plot points. Though renowned for their own status as the boy hostage, Tim Drake has probably exceeded his predecessors in the proactive department, and avoided danger relatively well.

Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)
Agility: 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: 5 (Martial Artist)

With skills across the board that impress even the mighty Batman, you tend to have to wonder whether or not Jubilee stands even a minute chance on paper.
Robin certainly has her covered tactically, and from a fighting perspective, his rigorous training with the Bat leaves Jubilee's carnival sessions in the danger room for dust.

Energy Powers: 3 (Explosives)

The most generous Jubilee fan would have to acknowledge her only real advantage here as having inherent mutant powers on tap. Of course, relying on her hands, which have been so effectively restrained in the past, you'd tend to think Robin shouldn't have any problem.

The only questionable factor I can see is whether or not Robin has legitimate feelings for Jubilee.

Since the purpose of the tale of the tape is to speculate based on generally accepted facts, I'm going to ignore the doe-eyes made in previous issues of this mini-series, and say Robin would never fall in love that easily. Especially not with the fate of the universe on his green shoulder pads.

Thus, we can safely conclude - Robin takes this, and then helps Aquaman strategize before his fight with Namor, because he has so much time left.

What went down...
Unlike other characters, Jubilee and Robin are actually together before being transported. This of course picks up on the inspired decision to have the two stylistically similar characters form some kind of relationship during the displacement of realms.

As with previous battles, the two representatives are transported to a fitting location; this time a giant toy store. Right out of the sixties stories.

The two young heroes share a kiss, and then get straight to business. No, not that kind of business.
Jubilee lets the sparks fly, firing off a whole bunch of her trademark explosive plasma bursts, as Robin uses his acrobatics to flee. Though seemingly cowardly, the cunning Robin does more than runn from a girl - he disappears into the shadows.

As Jubilee foolishly stumbles around calling out to her foe, Robin draws a batarang and prepares his plan. The dark celebate training of the Batman - stronger than love, or just cause for more questions?

Either way, a flapping cape descends from the shadows, prompting Jubilee to move in for the kill - only to be sprung from behind by the ever tricky, Boy Wonder.

Descending from the rafters, Robin wraps Jubilee up in rope, leaving her hanging upside down like a rabbit caught in the wild.

Robin jumps down and shares a tender moment, relenting his trained focus to see if his opponent were unharmed. Isn that sweet? The guy is such a little misogynist he didn't even think the girly worthy of a punch!

The hammer...
Robin emerging there, quite unquestionably the winner.

Obviously I'm not the biggest fan of either character. I generally don't mind Robin in his own context, but find him a brightly coloured distraction and diluting agent when coupled with the Batman.
I think in the lifespan of the characters Robin has probably reached a stage where he can quite succesfully soar on his own, while also pitching in his team efforts with the likes of the Teen Titans.

Well illustrated in strong stand-alone stories like the Batman Begins featured film; Batman works at his finest alone. A majority of the pathos, and the bittersweet intrigue of the character surely comes from his solitary nature, which the bat-family betrays.

When marketing potential is put aside, and we kill off the likes of the Spoiler and Huntress; I think it's fair to recognise the likes of Alfred and Catwoman are perhaps the only on-going suitable supporting characters, on a personal level, for a character like Batman.

Jubilee on the other hand, not so much.
Of course, Jubilee's involvement in DC versus Marvel did produce on moment of brilliance, and that's surely the Carrie Kelly inspired, Sparrow, featured in the Amalgam Dark Claw comics.

The Fight: 3 The Issue: 4

NEXT: She-Hulk versus The Champion of the Universe!

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