FREEDOM FIGHTERS versus SUPERMAN & BATMAN
Absolute Power Chapter Two: "What Price Freedom...?" (DC comics)
Where: Superman/Batman #15 When: Early February 2005 Why: Jeph Loeb How: Carlos Pacheco
The story so far...
In a world without freedom, the intervention of Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen and Cosmic King is unchallenged.
The time travellers from the 31st century use their hindsight to capture and raise Kal-El and Bruce Wayne through their formative years, sculpting them into the ultimate dicators.
With their knowledge, they preemptively prevent the birth of the greatest heroes. Extinguishing any flame that may potentially rise against their 'sons' and the utopian they believe they have created.
Some flames cannot be extinguished, and lost in the sea of humanity is one such individual, who, once discovered by the Amazonian Wonder Woman, is reborn once more as Uncle Sam. Once in possession of the lost Green Lantern ring of Abin Sur, Uncle Sam and Wonder Woman go about starting a revolution.
Wonder Woman (#130): Wonder Woman was defeated by Storm during DC v Marvel.
Superman (#6): Superman has victories over Hulk, Metallo and the Mole Man.
Batman (#1): Batman is the first ranked character to reach ten victories, having defeated the likes of; Superman, Captain Nazi, Captain America, Bullseye, Two-Face, Amazo, Slam Badley and The Joker.
Uncle Sam & The Freedom Fighters: None of the charter members of the Freedom Fighters have been featured on the site.
The Legion of Superheroes: No member of the Legion has yet been featured on the site.
Tale of the tape...
Strength: Superman 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Batman 5 (Professor)
Speed: Superman 6 (Speed of Sound)
Stamina: Superman 6 (Generator)
Agility: Batman 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Wonder Woman 6 (Warrior)
Energy Powers: Superman 5 (Lasers)
You ever get that feeling you've done something before you've done it?
Yes, not only am I running a couple of days behind again, but I'm catching up by doing a post that I wrote a week ago! If you missed out on that, scroll back to see a big giant picture of Galactus...
Anyway, taking a look again at this one I can tell you straight up that it really comes down to the two major players on either side: Wonder Woman & Uncle Sam versus Superman & Batman.
Sam's in possession of what, in the regular universe, would have been Hal Jordan's ring, given to him by Abin Sur. He's a character who's all about chanelling the people's spirit and will, so he's pretty well in the driver's seat with the ring en tow.
That said, if you think Batman is scary in the regular universe, what about a world where he's willing to kill and has access to an entire world's technology and arsenal! Set your phasers to pee yourself, because that's bad news bears.
Some folks are a little uncomfortable with the addition of super strength and flight to Wonder Woman's array of skills and abilities. Personally I'm pretty fond of it, and think it slots her suitably into that top three echelon, so I'm quite willing to entertain the idea that she'll go toe-to-toe with Superman.
That said, I still lean toward Supes when it comes down to a knock down, drag out fight between these particular two super powers. He's got a wider margin for flight, the heat vision, and all those other wacky powers that come and go.
In the mid-card, the Legion of Superheroes will provide strong numbers against the Freedom Fighters. However, the distinct lack of personality and/or fashion sense will leave the future-kids up the creek with the Human Bomb for a paddle.
The Math: Batman, Superman & The Legion
The Pick: Batman, Superman & The Legion
What went down...
The Freedom Fighters launch their attack in the shadow of the looming Superman/Batman New York monument, a symbol of the liberty absent.
There they are confronted by a number of members of the Legion of Superheroes from the 31st century, all brainwashed to do the bidding of their adult counterparts who have orchestrated this entire world.
The Freedom Fighters are swift and uncompromising.
In the interest of the future and liberty they slay all who cannot be subdued without lethality. The distraction does, however, prove sufficient enough, and Superman and Batman soon teleport to the scene.
The Ray is the first to take the bold responsibility of stopping the world's dominators, and he pays for it. Batman fires a clunky gun, blowing a hole through the Ray's head with a spray of blood and brain matter.
While the Human Bomb does his best to blast into the base of the monument, Wonder Woman launches herself at the Batman with a warrior's fury!
While Wonder Woman engages Batman, Uncle Sam uses the Oan energy of the Green Lantern ring to do battle with Superman. He creates a mighty eagle with the energies, channelling the will of the people, despite Superman's objective claims that the people bow before him.
Wonder Woman and Batman wage a war of words while they battle.
The Amazonian deflects an onslaught of razor-edged batarangs, whilst deflecting Batman's notion of a world where humanity desired only war, and needed to be protected from itself.
She takes a chop to the throat, but dishes it back, striking Batman across the face with the edge of her shield. He finds himself on the back foot, phsycially and philosophically as Wonder Woman speaks of a great age of heroes foretold by the Amazonian fates.
With a clear conscience, she strikes the deciding blow. Her sword plunges deep into his chest, and the would-be dictator dies then and there.
The blow is enough to inspire Superman's rage, giving him the maddened strength to shatter Uncle Sam's green projections, and thunder through him at lightning fast speeds to come to the aid of his adopted brother.
At the base of their monument, Superman cradles the frail human body of Bruce Wayne, and cries to the heavens for his mother and fathers. They hear, and teleport their sons to their space station high above the Earth.
Wonder Woman tends to Uncle Sam, but the bone shattering speed at which he was hit has already taken it's course. Like a flickering beacon of justice, Uncle Sam again ceases to be, no matter the strength of the people's resolve.
Cosmic King and Saturn Queen mourn the death of their pawn, and Lightning Lord approaches his emotional son. He directs his pain to vengeance, and with that, the Superman leaps away from the Watchtower, and hurtles back to Earth.
A streak of red and blue trails behind the Superman as he bursts through the atmosphere back to New York, and directly into the Amazonian warrior woman.
She pleads for him to remember a time when he was a great hero, but her words fall on deaf ears as he pounds his mighty fists like piledrivers.
Superman had been taught to be emotionally distanced in his rise above the mere mortals of Earth, but this battle is oh-so different. This battle is personal.
He snatches the broken Wonder Woman's lasso, and coils it viciously around her neck.
This time it's Wonder Woman's turn to die.
Meanwhile, within the depths of the monument below, the Human Bomb has penetrated the hidden fortress below, where the means to travel through time are held under maximum security.
Doll Man goes to work on the controls, with the Phantom Lady en tow, programming them for Smallville, Kansas, in a time before Superman was snatched from the Kent's farm and corrupted.
Shrinking Violet appears on the scene to prevent them, but the arrival of the Superman quickly dwarfs her. He pounds through the ground, furious at the audacity and ungrateful actions of his subjects.
He sprays Phantom Lady with his arctic ice breath, blowing her until her icey visage cracks and shatters. "Obey. Or die."
The Human Bomb warns the angered Kryptonian off attacking him, fearing the potential results of his explosive atomic energies should they interact with the activated time bubble. Superman does not take kindly to the advice.
Heated laser beams penetrate Human Bomb's costume and brain, resulting in an explosion that shatters not only the statue, but the entire world around them.
Superman condemns the world to death.
Well, despite destroying the entire planet, I'm going to give this one to Superman in the end on points. No bonus for killing the planet.
So, here we are, and here I am, at the conclusion of this entry for a second time. I can only imagine how many of you out there have felt the bitter sting of typing away for a lengthy time, only to impatiently go straight for the publish button without paying mind to a cautionary save. You can rest assured that I've reverted to over cautious saving every few paragraphs since then.
As I mentioned, and as you no doubt noticed, I am again running a bit behind.
Apart from being unwell for a little while, there's a slew of convenient excuses. I've got family returning from some time overseas, it's Easter, and I've been hard at work putting the finishing touches on my own comics work, which for all intents and purposes is print-ready. So, hopefully there'll be news on that in the coming months.
In the mean time, what about this comic?
If you can imagine it, the last time I did this entry it was one of my laboured efforts, where maybe I lingered a little long on the one subject, and pushed through various ideas without really articulating them well. Hey, when I'm running behind, sometimes the Legion of Superheroes are enough to sap me of strength.
One of the points I did want to revisit, because I find it fascinating, is the closing stages of the battle between Wonder Woman and Superman.
Apart from being ironically topical off the heels of International Woman's Day last month, it's probably one of those things that has an air of controversy. Although, I don't remember there being any major rumblings about this particular issue, and I didn't use this extra week to polish up my research. [Someone light the Ragnell symbol!]
Superman fairly brutally beats on Wonder Woman, culminating in the full page splash pictured above. The scene where Wonder Woman, already bruised and battered, is choked with her own lasso, whilst exposing just the right amount of alluring waist and thigh. Disturbing, but still a little bit sexy!
Assuming this didn't cause a furor amongst the wacky fan community, I'm going to say I'm pleased. No, I don't indulge in the battery of women (or men), and I certainly couldn't condone any crime of the sort, but this is one of those situations where it's delightful to see reality and fiction suitably separated.
The world in which these heroes live is one of regular violence. Though we may not like to see the subject considered, assault of female heroes would surely be common place, and perhaps to fairly heinous degree.
For whatever reason, innocence has been a theme for comics for a very long time, and stories like Identity Crisis, which dared to breech the subject in a fairly flippant manner have cause phenomenal outcry from fans and commentators alike.
I'm not about to say injecting rape into regular comics is a healthy thing for the industry or reader, but what does please me about this fairly brutal depiction of violence [in Superman/Batman #15] is that it's honest, and it's real.
There seems to be a tendency to want to restrict the fisticuffs to the male characters, particularly if it's going to go beyond cartoony sound effects, but this simply doesn't ring true. Perhaps one of the greatest calls of precedent is the infamous Daredevil #181, where Elektra suffers the perils of being a costumed ninja in a world of criminals and adamantium bones.
From that point, certainly in the Daredevil title, there was a threat of violence to the characters that has rung true even to this day. Few characters have been as realistically battered as Daredevil, and we see that even in the most recent take on the character, with Ed Brubaker taking the stakes to imprisonment.
Superman/Batman seems to have it's share of detractors, as does writer Jeph Loeb. On this particular title much of that seemed to be directed toward the light hearted throwback style of the story telling, and the nature of stories with minimal consequence to the long term canon of the characters within.
Personally, I'm comfortable with that, and I'm going to go the other way.
Even if only in an alternate reality, I'm going to commend Loeb (and Pacheco), for their depiction of realistic violence inflicted upon a character who is a pledged warrior. She just also happens to be a woman.
The Fight: 5.5 The Issue: 5
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Posted by Mike Haseloff at 11:59 PM
Labels: 2005, Absolute Power, Batman, Carlos Pacheco, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, DC, Doll Man, Freedom Fighters, Human Bomb, Jeph Loeb, Karate Kid, Legion of Superheroes, Phantom Lady, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Superman, Superman/Batman, The Ray, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Uncle Sam, Wildfire, Wonder Woman