Monday, April 17, 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.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...
Prepare yourselves people as we enter the contested zone.
What do I mean by that? FOR THOSE WHO CAME IN LATE -- DC versus Marvel was a four issue mini-series that brought together some of the biggest properties in comics for a dragout cosmic slobberknocker. Of course, you already know that, having read the story so far.

Of the eleven fights, the final five were opened up to the zoo-going public for vote. Ballots were available through comics, collectible cards and an online e-mail vote. As a result; popularity driven results have led fans with ten years hindsight to contest the legitimacy of many of these voted outcomes.
As controversial as a result like Aquaman beating Namor might be, right or wrong, these are the [un]disputed doozys.

Of the final five, this fight is probably the most lopsided in terms of character stature. Regardless of powers and strengths levels, Wolverine is undoubtedly the better recognised character, and the character held in much higher regard in terms of status.

Though supported by a solid cult fanbase; Lobo, even at this particular junction, was probably not anywhere near the fan favourite that Wolverine is. He certainly wasn't a franchise force unto himself.

Strength: 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: 2 (Normal Human)
Speed: 2 (Normal Human)
Stamina: 7 (Unstoppable)
Agility: 2 (Normal Human)
Fighting Ability: 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: 2 (Projectile Weapons)

Introduced as a sole-surviving alien opponent to Superman; Lobo immediately gets the assumed status that goes with that.
It may be true that many uber villains are scaled down after their initial appearances [see; Doomsday], but these characters almost always remain on paper legitimate threats. Diluted as they may become as they're handed down from hero to hero, until eventually they're slapped around by a powerless Guy Gardner - they forever remain cosmic level heroes (or villains).

Strength: 3 (Trained Athlete)
Intelligence: 4 (Tactician)
Speed: 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: 6 (Generator)
Agility: 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: 1 (None)

Wolverine is not a cosmic hero.
In fact, despite his mammoth achievents on the superhero plane, he actually quite comfortable sits in the street-level category shared by many characters with limited powers. Characters reliant more upon training: like Daredevil, Elektra, Moon Knight, Iron Fist and others.

Key to Wolverine's selling point as the ultimate underdog is the healing factor. This once rather tame, long term advantage, has since fluctuated to exponential lengths. The character has survived everything from pointblank gunshots, to trips to the center of the sun.

As with other fights, thematic similarities are the inspiration for this pairing. Their healing resilience and blue-collar, cigar chomping, bar brawl fighting styles was deemed enough to pair them together - but how do they weigh up?

As I said, this is definitely one of the more contested fights among fans. The imbalance in the tiers in which these characters neatly fit has been at the heart of it. Can a street level mutant beat a cosmic mug who is the sole-survivor of a race that killed itself? The short answer is - no.

Lobo, to the best of my knowledge, is a character that's been created with maximum resilience. Coupled with strength that far outweighs Wolverine's own - Lobo should have the fight in the bag.

Wolverine's adamantium claws would be his supreme advantage, and to a sympathetic writer, Lobo's resistence and ability to cope with wounds may be adjusted accordingly, but as far as I can see, Lobo should probably win.

What went down...
A battle between two Earths? Not so!
This fight took place a long time ago, in a pub far, far away.

We enter the fray with pleasantries already exchanged, following Wolverine's boots along the bar as he leaps in attack with suspiciously smooth bone claws extended.

Lobo and Wolverine deliver a little wooden, character exposition, just to make sure we all know, that they all know each other.

Just as Wolverine is finishing up proving he's a beer swilling tough guy who demands the best of his "brew", Lobo sinks that hook on a chain of his deep into the X-Man's chest.

"AAGH!" quickly gives way to further bravado as Wolverine, unphased, tears the metal spike from his chest and begins a lecture on the principles of the mutant menace in Marvel America, and what his healing factor means to the socio-political Westchester.

Then Wolverine goes on the warpath, while an alien cheers him on.
Lobo assures Wolverine he'll be picking his teeth clean with his claws, which, by now should be broken in much the way they were when he faced Cyber, but I digress...

The two disappear behind the bar, each spouting their own colloquial threats.

What exactly they got up to behind that bar, we may never know, but one thing's for certain: Wolverine emerged from the shadows first, and needed a smoke.

The hammer...
Another brief encounter that under achieves, despite characters particularly well suited to a fighting theme. Cliched dialogue and uninspired direction typifying the storytelling of the time.

As far as results go, for me, it's entirely acceptable.
I would have to confess to having never had any investment in the Lobo character, and while the impartial party in me says he is definitely number one on paper, his defeat is still thoroughly acceptable.

As suggested already, the popularity of Wolverine is what ensured this victory. I would have to imagine even under regular written conditions, DC comics would have to willingly submit to the promotional powerhouse of Wolverine.
Personally, I'd probably say I don't have a problem with that, either. Though I can sympathise with opinions, I think the legitimate greater travesty of voting is yet to come.

Be here for that next Monday, folks!

The Fight: 2 The Issue: 4
NEXT WEEK: The Black Mask finally confronts the Red Hood!

1 comment:

Zac said...


Lobo should have destroyed Logan easily.