Tuesday, December 25, 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: Winter Soldier 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Draw 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Draw 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Winter Soldier 5 (Marathon Man)
Agility: Red Hood 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Red Hood 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Red Hood 4 (Arsenal)

The Hook...
Few, if any, of the battles featured thus far are as perfect as this.
They were two of the most famous deaths in comics, and they were both but young boys when they died as sidekicks to superhero legends. In 2005 they both made their unceremonious return, and fans have been split ever since.

In the original event it was the battle of their mentors, [Batman versus Captain America], that provided the exciting main event to the clash of universes.
There, it was Gotham's Batman who walked away the victor, but not without some grumbling from Cap's camp of fans, and external forces enacting themselves upon heroes who found themselves ambushed by floods.

Different camps regard the return of these once 'untouchable' corpses at varying degrees of success. The flippant reasoning behind Jason Todd's resurrection as a result of events related to Infinite Crisis, and the extra-universal influences of Superboy-Prime, led many to criticize what became a directionless return when Winick left the main Batman title, forcing deviation into his work on Green Arrow.

On the same hand, Bucky Barnes' return wasn't without it's contrivances, suggesting some ambiguity as to whether or not the return may have been a result of influences from the Cosmic Cube. Otherwise, Bucky was simply said to have survived the airplane that supposedly killed him, and apparently left him to the devices of Russian agents.

Regardless of the circumstances of their lost history; be it as assassin for Russians, or wayward heir of Ra's Al Ghul; they are back and represent comparable forces struggling to come to terms with abandonment, and their origins as heroes, despite their new history.

The Math: Red Hood Ranking: Red Hood (#29)

The Battle...
Well, the last one of these [Black Adam/Hulk] was tough to decide upon and easily argued. Despite the common resonances between these two characters, it gets absolutely no easier, and here's why:

For starters, the debate. The similarities between the characters creates a great hook, but has also been the subject of online debate since their returns. I think, if we had to choose, the Infinite Wars has fallen on the Jason Todd side of the fence, accepting the weaknesses of the Prime-Punch in exchage for motivated, high excitement story telling.

Bucky hasn't exactly been sitting still. In fact, his version of the absurd return backstory actually asks us to believe he's been active for quite some time prior to the reemergence under Ed Brubaker. That either makes him really good at what he does -- or really bad.

The scale of the characters has set them apart, and it's probably here that we draw our conclusion. These two characters inevitably meet on the urban battlefield detailed in more elaborative recaps [ie; Green Arrow/Hawkeye].
Both have a pedigree of training that favours operation in these environments, but Jason Todd's training is about advertising, as much as it is stealth. A steady contrast to the assassin's creed of Winter Soldier, whose modus is to remain unseen, whenever possible.

Picking Todd off with a sniper shot aside; Winter Soldier has also lived a very long existence, and emerged the more outwardly mature of the two characters. As Red Hood, Todd has exhibited considerable growth as an urban combatant, but at the same time, possesses much of the impetuousness that characterized him during his brief career as Robin.

RED HOOD dances with SPEEDY in the pages of GREEN ARROW #72!I tend to imagine Winter Soldier would gain first blood with a stealthy sniper shot, probably after a great deal of cat-and-mouse chase, as Red Hood attempts to evade the veiled attack, while also seeking to locate his opponent.
Winter Soldier would probably have a rooftop vantage point that would allow him maneuverability to escape detection, and maintain a strong ranged presence.

Bucky would likely move-in close to finish the wounded (but armored) Red Hood, only at a last resort. On the hand-to-hand front I probably favour Todd, but that skill is diminished sufficiently by Winter Soldier's penchant for preemptive, armor-piercing assaults.

The Hammer...
Ugh. Sometimes you just can't shake the feeling of disatisfaction, regardless of which way you go.
These kinds of match-ups are elegantly obvious, but it's that strength that also makes them so difficult to hammer down to a final conclusion. Even so, much as Black Adam/Hulk, we stand by our results.

Of course, though there is a sincere argument behind our decision, it also raises the unexpected scenario of a cumulative tie between DC and Marvel.
You've got a day or two left to scroll up to the top of the page where you can find a groovy little poll concerning just this. It seems the few who're voting either predicted the unlikely swing of events, or are voting with their hearts.

Either way, there are interesting points to be made from as flippant an exercise as this. There's a common (and not terribly strong) argument that arises from certain fans, that claims the DC heroes are infinitely more powerful than their Marvel counterparts. This is typically a point of chagrin for readers, but here, both in poll and result, we see that Marvel is just as capable as combatting their otherworld counterparts. Combatting, and as the canonical event showed, capable of beating them. Of course, that was decided by vote.

An ink-covered WINTER SOLDIER combats WOLVERINE in a printing press, as seen in: WOLVERINE #39!With only three battles to go, we're counting down to the business end of our competition. One can't help but admit that there's an ominous expectation of a tie leading into fight fifteen, and to give back to you, the readers, we'll abide by the poll result in the final fight. That means if you're a supporter of the DC Nation, you better rally the troops, because Marvel's looking for the win.

The final three promise to be some of the biggest of our Fantasy Fights.
If you have any opinions to voice, be encouraged to join in. The Infinite Wars are typically independent of the readers, but the Fantasy Fights offer the opportunity to connect in a far greater way. Fighting; bringing us together! Yay!

WINNER: Winter Soldier
6 versus 6

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