Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Absolute Power Chapter One: "I Pledge Allegiance..." (DC comics)
Superman/Batman #14 When: January 2005
Why: Jeph Loeb How: Carlos Pacheco

The story so far...
In a world where the fates of the world's greatest superheroes have been manipulated, Superman and Batman serve as dictators to the world's greatest super power.

Though the Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen and Cosmic King preemptively extinguished most of the rebellious powers that may rise, some inevitably emerge as though time and space was fighting their will. One such resistant is Oliver Queen, known to the world as the bow carrying vigilante -- Green Arrow!

Though he was killed once before, the Green Arrow seems unwilling to perish.
His return from the dead remains a thorn in the sides of the world's finest, but even as a resurrected symbol of hope, Green Arrow is just a man. A man fighting would-be gods...

Previous Form:
Batman (#2): Has victories over overwhelming odds, including Superman & Amazo.
Superman (#9): Single-handedly decimated the Freedom Fighters in this universe.
Green Arrow (#10): Victories against Superman, Brick and Red Hood.

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: Batman 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Superman 5 (Lasers)

Even though this is a battle exclusive to the top ten, the tape paints a pretty telling picture of the situation we have before us.

When you pair up two of the world's most iconic superheroes, evil better beware.

When you travel back in time to twist and destort their origins, so that you may raise them as your own little dictators -- everyone better watch it!

Green Arrow and Batman draw a lot of parallels between them. While GA tends to stand as the quasi-knock-off of his counterpart, they and their families have grown in tandem in ways that have made them even more similar than before.

The defining link between GA and Batman is the fact that, in a world of legends, they are two of the more prominent and successful humans.
While they accomplish fantastic feats, and overcome impossible odds, they are forever distance from their fellows, who can shoot lasers from their eyes, turn invisible, move at staggering speeds, or shatter eardrums with their voice.

Even of these two, Batman tends to top GA in most of their common fields.
Batman is more wile, he's richer, he's a better fighter, he's got a bigger arsenal, he plays dirtier, he has more sidekicks. He just generally one-ups Green Arrow in all but the most green of areas.

When you pile on the man of steel, it's overkill. Green Arrow is history.
Even a Superman who is somehow being manipulated [Batman #612] into fighting, and can be seen resisting, towers over the Green Arrow.

He has a couple of assists to his name with Batman against Superman [Dark Knight Returns #4, Dark Knight Strikes Again #1], both which include the use of kryptonite arrows -- which are a valid argument for neutralizing the threat of Superman, but at the end of the day, it just isn't enough to sway the argument.

The Math: Superman & Batman
The Pick: Superman & Batman

What went down...
Having rescued a couple from an armored trio of soldiers, Green Arrow grimaces as they speak the phrase, "Look... Up in the sky..."

Green Arrow turns to find Superman and Batman looming over him. He draws an arrow from his quiver instantly, preparing for the birthday battle that Batman has gifted his adopted brother. GA sends his present early.

At first Superman mocks the simple arrow, but as the head explodes in an array of green particle dust, he quickly realises the potency of the weapon.

Batman leaps from his fire escape perch, promising to kill Green Arrow if Superman has been at all hurt. Gee, he's falling from the sky because of an arrow fired at him. Might be a little late for if he was hurt, Bruce.

Though the leap would surely have earned him a high score from the judges, Batman lands perfectly to eat some bow wood, as Green Arrow sacrifices his weapon for an early edge.

Batman wipes his mouth and explodes, nailing Green Arrow with a backhand to the ribs, before rising into a devestating right-left combination.

He nails his bearded counterpart with a roundhouse kick, but remains unsatisfied. Still in a rage over the attack on his brother, he calls for Green Arrow to get back up.

Ever the rebel, GA pulls one of the arrows from his quivver and buries it into the ribs of the Dark Knight detective!

Though it delivers a suitable amount of pain, the arrow doesn't slow the Batman in the slighest. He returns the favour with an almost instinctive kick to the face that sprays GA's blood, and sufficiently distracts as he rips the arrow from his own body.

Before either of the fighting pair even knows what's happened, the alley in which they're fighting suddenly turns red with light.

Green ARrow is reduced to ash by two precision beams from above, fading before the caped crusader.

Descending from above, a stone-faced Superman bares a twinkle of red in his eyes, and coldly delivers his command: "Obey or die."

With the vigilante thwarted, Superman and Batman return to their moonbase, where they share cake for Superman's birthday with their metro contempo-liberal trio of parents. The end.

The hammer...
Superman and Batman win! Fatality!

So, there's an age old argument that Superman could beat just about anyone, because if he really stopped holding back he would either fling them into space/the sun at super speeds -- or he would obliterate them before they could blink with heat vision.

Absolute Power seemed to cause a bit of a stir, as most Jeph Loeb stories tend to do these days, but there remains one undeniable truth about the entirety of his work on Superman/Batman: It was fun!

NOT LIKE THIS!Granted, some times it was more fun than others, but on the whole, it was a lot of fun. It's time travel/reality bending antics provided an opportunity to play around with a lot of common place concepts, like what it would be like to have The Ultimates fight DC characters, or what would happen in a world where Superman just uses his heat vision to kill people with silly beards!

Unfortunately irrelevant to the review of the fight is the conclusion to this issue, which also makes brilliant use of Wonder Woman's lasso of truth as a lead-in to the following issue. [Superman/Batman #15]

Having survived an assault from the military police; a stealthy Wonder Woman lurks her way into the depths of the abandoned White House, where a raggedy old hobo in a dirty trenchcoat is sleeping amongst some boxes. He tries to run, crying for help, but is quickly snagged in the glowing enchanted Amazonian ropes.

Somehow aware of everything this hobo was, and stands for, Wonder Woman compells him to remember the truth, and under the vow of the rope, he is transformed into the patriotic symbol of American freedom: Uncle Sam!

It's a great scene, and really another fine example where a playful idea that would otherwise be difficult to come across gets a chance to air. It's not a revolution, but it's a nice little story, none the less.

Speaking of birthdays, July marks mine, and I was supposed to be doing a few extra entries during this month. As I'm writing this it's the sixth, so even though I'm making up some ground, we might have a small gap for the beginning of July.
I was going to use the free schedule to try to do more spontaneous updates, but for the time being it'll be the buffer to catch up. More of that in the Punch-Up!

The Fight: 5 The Issue: 5

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