THOR versus CAPTAIN MARVEL
"The Showdown of the Century!"
Where: Marvel versus DC #2 When: March 1996
Writer: Peter David Artist: Claudio Castellini
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...
Let's clear any illusions. Wow, this is the ultimate fanboy event, and I love it.
DC versus Marvel, or if you're so persuaded - DC versus Marvel. The ultimate showdown between the biggest, and best superheroes in comic books.
Or at least, a close approximation. While the nineteen ninties might not have been the ideal creative time for such an event, one imagines such an event could never have occured if the creative grounds were fertile to begin with.
Talk about a huge fight to get things rolling!
Two of each universe's heaviest hitters, each charged with the very power of Gods. Thor, a god himself, and Captain Marvel, harnessing the magically endowed abilities of a pantheon of legends and Gods.
The wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury.
The abilities that make up the magical acronym SHAZAM! Catch cry of Earth's mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel. But how do those abilities translate to the Haseloff system?
Strength: 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: 5 (Professor)
Speed: 5 (Super speed)
Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Agility: 2 (Normal human)
Fighting Ability: 3 (Street wise)
Energy Powers: 1 (None)
Although usually only revealing the relevent points to each fight, I usually do make note of each rating for most characters. I can honestly say, Captain Marvel is the most enclusively impressive documented thus far.
Like Superman, Captain Marvel's intelligence is almost certainly his most overlooked talent, even if not his most useful. As is this case on this occasion, intelligence will really only serve him so well. His abilities as a physical combatant, will no doubt be his advantage.
Against a fighter like Thor, agility probably isn't a concern. Thor's ability to control lightning would be Captain Marvel's biggest concern. If he could somehow find a way to turn that advantage back on Thor, however, he would be applying that wisdom of Solomon well.
As has been the case in fights passed, Captain Marvel might even be well served using the magical lightning bolt that changes him from Billy Batson to big red.
Strength: 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)
Speed: 3 (Trained athlete)
Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Agility: 2 (Normal human)
Fighting Ability: 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: 5 (Lasers)
Thor, also a mighty challenger.
Similarly a character perceived as traditionally dimwitted, I think over time we've come to recognise Thor's wisdom as both Odin's successor, and of course as a strategic warrior.
While Cap's energy rating is not indicative of his shazam lightning, Thor's is rated to represent the ease upon which he can use lightning. This, also coupled with the use of Mjolnir as a projectile, make him a formidable opponent.
Thor's greatest concern would no doubt be the chance of being outsmarted.
Obviously, the flipside of the already discussed disadvantages of Captain Marvel would be to use the distance advantage. Mjolnir is an incredible weapon, of immense power. Thor's greatest priority would be staying in contact with Mjolnir, and using him any chance given.
Who would I put my money on to win? Geez, this has to be one of the toughest match-ups to theoretically call. Ultimately I would lean toward Thor, but it's a very difficult call to make.
What went down...
Introducing one and other, the two characters possessing power of Gods decide it fitting that they pray. I'm not a religious man, but if my world was at war, I guess I couldn't say that was such a bad idea.
With their prayers said, the two characters engage in battle at the scene of a fair.
The two heroes lament their usual responsibility to search for an alternative solution, as they engage in forced battle.
Captain Marvel scores a good looking blow with a stiff right hand, but Thor manages to thwap the good Captain away with the mighty Mjolnir, sending Captain Marvel hurtling into a ferris wheel.
Calling upon the strength of Zeus and Hercules, Captain Marvel rips the structurally compromised ride from it's barings, and hurls it like a discus at his Norse foe.
Mjolnir makes light work of the ride, sending it back as a falling pile of scrap metal.
Pinned down by a massive piece of the structure, Captain Marvel lets out the mighty cry, "SHAZAM!!", shrinking down to the nimble but vulnerable Billy Batson.
Unwilling to be immobile for even a second, Batson shouts his cry again, but this time Thor, recognising the lightning based powers, hurls his hammer to intercept the bolt.
Explosive energy sends Thor and the frail Bill Batson into next week, the mortal unable to battle on any further. As Thor gathers himself, however, he realises victory has come at a price. Not only is his honor questionable, but his mighty hammer is apparently lost...
If you're sitting putting two and two together, let me put your mind at rest. Yes, this conclusive section of each update is inspired by Thor. Also to allude to the final drop of a judge's gavel.
The judge, of course, on this time would undoubtedly rule in favour of Thor, victorious. Ergo, Marvel jump to an immediate lead of 1-0.
To those unfamiliar with the event, I challenge you to avoid the temptation of spoilers, and bet amongst your friends on the final outcome.
As you probably noticed from the pictures, Thor is dressed somewhat uncharacteristically. This is something reflected more than once by the series, which really puts a unique stamp on the development of the two companies at the time.
Earlier I mentioned the event coming at a time perhaps not creatively suited to support such a concept in the way it deserves. This is well displayed by the event's inclusion of characters in flux like Spider-man, who at the time was Ben Reilly, the would-be non-clone, and Aquaman, complete with harpoon-hand.
While the nineties may not have been as creatively barren as some claim, it certainly produced a lot of comics that were less than well thought out. Many characters fell into traps of quick gimmicks, and eventually reversed changes.
Kyle Rayner, Hal Jordan's successor as the Green Lantern, is another example of a nineties shakeup prevelent in DC versus Marvel. Hal Jordan, of course, made his triumphant return as a cleansed hero in the 2005 mini-series, Green Lantern: Rebirth.
The Fight: 3 The Issue: 3
NEXT: Daredevil versus Turk, at Rosie's bar!
NEXT WEEK: Sub-Mariner versus Aquaman!