Friday, December 21, 2007

By popular demand, the Infinite Wars are about to go where they've never been before! After two years of comprehensive canonical fight fact coverage, we're delving into the fictional world of fantasy fights, because you demanded it!

In the spirit of the immensly popular '96 DC/Marvel crossover event, we're pitting fifteen of each company's most relevant characters to 2007 against one and other! Stay tuned as we take a look at the imagine struggles of the superhero stars that have propelled the Infinite Wars across two full years of fisticuffs!

Strength: Iron Man 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Draw 5 (Professor)
Speed: Iron Man 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Iron Man 6 (Generator)
Agility: Draw 2 (Average)
Fighting Ability: Iron Man 4 (Trained Fighter)
Energy Powers: Iron Man 5 (Lasers)

The Hook...
Much like Martian Manhunter/Professor X; we get another opportunity to take a look at the secretive side of superheroics, drawing upon the intrigue and subversive qualities of Checkmate and The Illuminati!

Of course, both characters maintain public fronts as the governing faces of well known superhero groups, the Justice Society of America, and Avengers, respectively. Parallels between Mr. Terrific's duties with the United Nation's Checkmate are also evident when observing Tony Stark's role as Nick Fury's replacement as Director of SHIELD.

The similarities between the two characters don't end there.
As heroes they each employ extensive technologies of their own design, allowing them to compete on a par with many of their mutagenically, or extra terestrially powered contemporaries. In both cases their affiliation with technology has gone beyond the simple holstering of hardware to extend to physiological relationships granting them superhuman powers of some forms.

The Math: Iron Man Ranking: Iron Man (#4)

The Battle...
Every week, we here at the Infinite Wars employ our ever popular system to depict some sort of unversially independent analytical of the abilities of characters, hoping to reflect the liklihood of victory those skills might afford.
You can see in this very entry how that works with the individual measures represented by the superior character in each field, and then the final mathematical equation rated just above, followed by a win/loss ranking.

Our system is comparable to the sciences employed by the two characters represented here today. Michael Holt and Tony Stark are both well known for their technological and tactical competence - it is in both instances one of their key roles in any group, making their strike rate incredibly accurate.

Of course, our statistics are rigid by nature, and fail to take into account certain variable qualities that can encompass the nature of any given battle.
The same unwavering robotic indifference that gives us so many accurate predictions falls before the unique compound of certain combined powers.

After employing an experimental process; called Extremis; Tony Stark created for himself an entirely new physiology. This man who had relied so inevitably on technology made his Iron Man armor a wireless peripheral to his own brain and body, thus; Tony Stark becomes as much machine as he is man.

Mr. Terrific really only has one notable superpower: He is invisible to machines.

If you didn't already know where this battle was going, you can probably now imagine the kind of conclusion we foresee. Despite Iron Man's extensive arsenal that's been proven against even the likes of the Hulk; Mr. Terrific has the obscure advantage of total stealth. While his T-spheres and other technologies might fall before Tony Stark's defenses, he ultimately has the freedom to elude every form of analysis employed by the industrialist, leaving a simple nerve pinch, or sleeper hold to close this battle out.

The Hammer...
... Which is why nothing is infallible, kids!
We're ten deep into the DC/Marvel Fantasy Fights, but I have to say, that was one of the most fun! Unlike some fans, I don't personally hold any kind of malice toward the Iron Man character, so the enjoyment here isn't derived from some sort of fiction-blurring revenge plot for the Civil War. The thrill of this scenario is that it's just good comics. Good, fun, cause-and-effect comics.

CHECKMATE #12 features political intrigue in South America, earning the attentions of renegade powerhouse, BANE!Mr. Terrific has been a real breakout character over the past few years, due in no small part to the careful guidance of Geoff Johns on the JSA title.

The tumultuous nature of Checkmate saw the opportunity to somewhat pass the torch as Rucka continued to add another layer through the espionage title, including a love interest in former Bat-flame, Sasha Bordeaux.
Of course, recent tensions between Rucka and DC saw a symbollic split as the 52 writer voiced frustration, and opted not to renew a writer-exclusive deal with the company [What's all the Ruckas?]; thus raising some question to Terrific's, and the already tenuous B-tier title's future.

If we're going to use this opportunity to talk Checkmate, it's probably worth noting that the title has seen a co-writer for quite some time in television writing convert, Nunzio DeFilippis. While the name may prove unfamiliar to the casual observer, many will be familiar with he and wife, Christina Wier's, writing credits on Arli$$, Kim Possible, and Marvel's Academy X comics, amongst other projects, including a string of projects for Oni Press.

One might almost sound critical of the title when describing it as a politically driven comic book that fails to involve itself in any great complexity. The uninitiated may take time to familiarize themselves with characters old and new; and referencial dialogue pertaining to character's roles within the organization could take some getting used to, but for the most part it remains a fairly streamlined and accessible exercise in maneuvers and International pseudo-espionage.

For my money, this actually makes for a positive, allowing easy entry for even the intimidated. Granted, there's still a general mentality to overcome.
A self-conscious industry has somehow managed to not only indulge in, but purvey, the absurd fear of the unknown being carried by many readers. So persistent is this new mentality that it's infiltrated even familiar readers.

Relationships take a vaguely soap operatic emphasis, but play more to the network of different motivations and agendas that are regularly engaged in political negotiation to reach certain goals within certain rulesets. In this respect characters within the organization have the capability of fullfilling roles of 'hero' and 'villain', as much as the characters field agents are sent to battle.

Even so, this isn't nearly as smart a book as that makes it sound.
Checkmate remains a superhero comic at it's heart, and by that very nature, is easily absorbed by anyone willing to jump in and start reading.

The style of combat in the book has made it difficult to incorporate as a regular review on the Infinite Wars, so pleased, consider this the opportunity to recommend it vehemently. It might not be the book for you, but it's certainly worth flicking through a few issues to know for sure, because this series packs in not only it's own stories, but the underpinnings of events percolating beneath the surface of the DCU.

Oh yeah. I'm sure Iron Man is very nice, too...
If you want to tell the world IM is good, or debate the nature of a post-Extremis Iron Man in relation to our result, be encouraged to do so. Few sections of the Infinite Wars are as inviting as the Fantasy Fights.
Also, be sure to scroll back up to vote in the poll that is taking five of you by storm!

WINNER: Mr. Terrific
6 versus 4

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