Monday, April 03, 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.
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...
The overall focus of Secret Wars on Infinite Earths has been directed toward the technically sound fighters, and some of their superhero cohorts - but off the heels of the Champion's victory, we move into cosmic territory.

"What's the big deal about cosmic characters?", I hear you ask.
Generally speaking, these guys are probably better recognised for their fights than the guys who actually know the ins and outs of fighting styles. A character like Iron Fist or Richard Dragon might be one of the greatest fighters known to man - but they can't hope to make as big an impact as a Superman or a Gladiator.

By extension of that, cosmic characters serve up the rare opportunity for multiple sevens across the Haseloff scale. In short? These guys move planets with their battles, and they're some of my favourite characters for it!

When it comes to cosmic; few characters do it as well as the Silver Surfer.
The Silver Surfer is the Ferrari of the cosmic superhero world. He's instantly recognisable, he features a sleek and graceful design, and he's red hot with power.

Strength: 7 (Omnipotent)
Intelligence: 5 (Professor)
Speed: 7 (Light Speed)
Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Agility: 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: 7 (Solar Power)

Not only does Silver Surfer possess all the necessary staples of a cosmic hero, like super strength, flight, and survival mechanisms for the gulfs of space - he's also got a whole range of abilities oft untapped.
The power cosmic, bestowed upon Norrin Radd by Galactus even allows him abilities regarding the arrangement of matter, and the manipulation of molecular structures. This guy could probably turn water to wine.

Mind you, a guy like the Green Lantern could probably create wine from nothing with a vivid imagination, and the will to make it happen. A certain Oan artifact worn on the finger might help a little, too.

Strength: 2 (Normal Human)
Intelligence: 3 (Straight A's)
Speed: 2 (Normal Human)
Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Agility: 2 (Normal Human)
Fighting Ability: 3 (Street Wise)
Energy Powers: 7 (Solar Power)

Despite only assuming the Green Lantern mantle two years ago in real-time, the Green Lantern better known as Kyle Rayner gathered plenty of experience behind him. In fact, though only two years after his first appearance, DC versus Marvel is even able to reference a previous meeting between the two characters.

Initial misunderstandings resolved, the two characters were able to collect their combined powers to thwart the evil plans of a crazed Hal Jordan (possessed by the Parallax force; re Green Lantern: Rebirth), and Thanos, Titan with a deathwish.

Modest stats do not reflect the capabilities granted to Kyle Rayner by what is often referred to as the most powerful device in the [DC] universe. Despite being a relatively average human in good physical condition, Rayner is able to construct various armors and weapons to exponentially enhance his fighting potential.

Of course, despite this, I think it's still fairly safe to say the more experienced, balanced, and powerful of the two is - Silver Surfer.

The expansive nature of each characters' gifts of cosmic energy make it difficult to accurately estimate, but the displayed application of this energy, and the relating sources tend to suggest Silver Surfer is the more powerful of the two.

Of course, the blue Guardians of Oa are generally regarded as placied keepers of the peace; while Galactus is an active force in the Marvel universe. The nature of each source therefore makes it difficult to accurately credit a more potent origin for the energies.

What went down...
Like some of the other fights, this one's a brief two pages long.
If it weren't for the Green Lanter/Silver Surfer mini-series that preceded the event, it might even be cause for a new acronymous movement!

Never the less; using his power ring to fashion a craft equipped with massive weapons, the Green Lantern fires off Oan energy blasts at the nimble Surfer.
Each character, recalling their previous encounter, regret their forced situation, recognising their potential as a combined solution, rather than two pitted pawns.

The Silver Surfer easily avoids Rayner's energy blasts, and plows right through him at high speeds atop his mighty cosmic board.

GL's ring grants him the ability to steady himself amidst deep space, and form a defensive lantern shaped shield, as the Silver Surfer swings around for another pass with blasts of power cosmic!

The Green Lantern fashions himself a glowing green suit of armor, and a giant flying creature, as he charges into battle his foe, like a medieval knight atop a charging steed.

When the explosive cosmic energies dissipate, a smoking but unphased Silver Surfer stands baring an unconscious Kyle Rayner on his board. Regretfully victorious.

The hammer...
With the era in mind, it's probably best fights like these were left to two pages, but it would've been fantastic if a linear story could've been constructed in a way to better showcase two powerhouse characters like these. The Silver Surfer's victory could've certainly been all the sweeter if a more dramatic tension could've been built.

Also, while it was nice that both characters were able to take a perspective many of us behind the fourth wall would be imagining; it's a shame there wasn't space to explore these two cosmically charged beings trying to rebel against those that would pit them against each other.
Images mirroring Silver Surfer's betrayal of Galactus come to mind, potentially giving a dramatic resonance to the piece.

In the coming months, I wouldn't be surprised if the Green Lanter/Silver Surfer one-shot turns up. Right from the very inception of this site, that's been a book that's been sitting on the high prospect pile.

Of course, ten years later each character is being reinvigorated through spin-offs from their respective events. Silver Surfer: Annihilation is just around the corner, marking the character's return to a starring role for the first time since his last failed on-going series.
On the flipside, Kyle Rayner will return to his supercharged Ion persona spinning out of the Infinite Crisis fallout from the Rann/Thanagar war. Definitely one to watch out for!

The Fight: 3 The Issue: 4

The Justice League versus Demons Three!

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