Monday, April 10, 2006

"The Showdown of the Century!"
Marvel versus DC #3 When: April 1996
Writer: Ron Marz 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.
As a result of the actions of various beings of different realities, instabilities emerged. 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...
I've mentioned previously how interesting the time capsule effect of this crossover is. You really get a hightened sense of change over the last decade; seeing different artistic styles, and emphasis on story telling techniques.

Catwoman really highlights one of the most substantial changes in a character. While the purple bodysuit will be remembered fondly by many; for many others it's a distant forgotten memory overshadowed by the revamped works of Ed Brubaker, Darwyn Cooke and Cameron Stewart.

Her change in style was only part of the equation. Catwoman has blossomed into a far more interesting character too. Her struggle between good and evil became less vanilla, and a wider cast of characters and relationships were developed, along with Selina herself.
The success of her characters can be highlighted by the revamped version of Black Mask, who made his first sadistic appearances in opposition to the new look Catwoman. Black Mask, of course, went on to become crime boss of Gotham post-War Games.

Of course, Black Mask also highlights the more pedestrian nature of Catwoman's struggles. Compared to the matters of life and death Elektra has dealt with over her illustrious career as an assassin; Catwoman's just a chick stealing candy from babies.

Strength: 2 (Normal Human)
Intelligence: 2 (Normal Human)
Speed: 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: 4 (Athlete)
Agility: 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: 4 (Trained Fighter)
Energy Powers: 1 (None)

Catwoman's strengths are generally her speed and agility, which are often seen just a step ahead of the bulky, brooding Batman. While dancing a line between right and wrong, Catwoman's also been known to both fight and flee. More recent takes on the character have upgraded her fighting skill from street smarts, to a degree of training. Like a handfull of others, Catwoman's gotten tips from Ted Grant, Wildcat.

Strength: 2 (Normal Human)
Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)
Speed: 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: 4 (Athlete)
Agility: 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: 2 (Projectile Weapons)

With Wildcat in the equation you could get into a very interesting discussion of boxing versus martial arts, but we've already agreed not to go there. Ultimately, regardless of styles, Elektra is at the very top end of a five, arguably rating a fighting ability of six.

As fantastic as Catwoman is, I think Elektra's training instantly ranks her chances of victory at almost one hundred percent. Catwoman simply doesn't have the tools to outlast an assassin of that calibre. I'm sure she'd put up one helluva cat fight, though.

What went down...
The advantage apparently goes to Catwoman, having a Gotham homeground advantage as we join the fight already underway. Catwoman tears through the gut of Elektra's costume with her clawed glove, earning "first blood."

Catwoman questions her relevence as a champion for her universe, but motivation is quickly rendered irrelevent as she fights for her life. The assassin Elektra makes a move, tossing her sai blades, narrowly avoiding a hit on her purple suited foe.

Catwoman leaps along the scaffolding arena to a higher plane where she lashes onto Elektra's wrist with her whip. The move backfires, Elektra using superior strength to yank the burglar over the edge.

With her opponent dangling in her hand, by a thread; Elektra grants mercy.

She slices the whip with her blade, sending Catwoman plummeting into an industrial waste bin below, where she would land bruised, but alive.

The hammer...
I'd like to say this was a lengthier battle than it was, but sadly this was another two page knock-out. Elektra was always going to win this battle, so at least in that respect this match up doesn't disappoint. However, like many other fights from the mini-series already featured, it really just fails to utilize the format for anything more than a bland versus event.

With a greater emphasis on story telling this is definitely a fight that could've, at the very least, been more revealing of the characters. As it stands, like many of the other fights, it was relatively generic. Interchangable characters, iconography [re; sais/whip] and dialogue really make it a bland fight - no matter how many close ups of Catwoman's meta-humanly impressive arse are shown.

Apologies for lateness once more. Been ill, but hope to avoid further delays in future instalments.

The Fight: 2.5 The Issue: 4

NEXT: Spider-man versus the Tri-Sentinel!