Wednesday, December 19, 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: Nova 5 (Super Strength)
Intelligence: Nova 4 (Tactician)
Speed: Nova 7 (Lightspeed)
Stamina: Green Lantern 6 (Generator)
Agility: Nova 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: Green Lantern 4 (Trained Fighter)
Energy Powers: Green Lantern 7 (Solar Power)

The Hook...
There's a popular belief that Marvel has built their empire on making characters relatable -- characters with "headaches" who grapple with day-to-day life as much as they struggle against the tribulations of their alter-egos.
The Mickey Mouse to this notion is Spider-man, who for the first few decades was well characterized as a gawky, nerdy teenager who couldn't get girls, had a sick aunt, and was constantly cash strapped.

This common misconception often sees Kyle Rayner; the most recent headlining inductee into the Green Lantern Corps; compared to his web-slinging contemporary. Of course, asthetics aside, there's a character Rayner shares a great deal more in common with. He's a member of a cosmic guard, and in the recent cosmic crossover, Annihilation, he became the sole inheritant of the legacy of this Corps of intergalactic lawmen.

The Nova Corps are Marvel's none-too-subtle answer to their green counterparts, created in the mid-seventies by comics legend, Marv Wolfman. Like Rayner, Richard Ryder's status as Nova has bounced back and forth between being the last of the Centurion, to relinquishing his powers all together. Of course, for the most part, Ryder did much of this before Rayner.

Rayner has had his brushes with omnipotence, absorbing the powers of his predecessor, Hal Jordan, in an instance that saw him become Ion for the first time. This makes for yet another vague parallel, with Nova until recently being the sole possessor of the Nova Worldmind, and the sum of the Corps power.

Both characters are well known for their periods as green around the gills youngsters, but each has been baptized by fire. Today, both are well intergrated into their universes, representing the next generation of superhero leaders.

The Math: Nova Ranking: Nova (#66)

The Battle...
So, I suppose this represents our first foray into the space battle.
We've danced in and around prosey scripted versions of these battles, but as I'm a bit behind, and not feeling terribly visual at the crack of dawn, we might talk about this one from outside the box.

Rayner's had a tumultuous 2007 that we've been unfortunately unable to reflect. The character has seen fluctuations from returning to the Ion identity, to absorbing the Parallax in Sinestro Corp Wars, to traversing the DC mega-verse as a new breed of 'Challenger.' For the sake of this exercise we'll assume he's streamlined to be somewhere around the standard for a Green Lantern, albeit with a costume that straddles the line between retro-chic and plain hideousness.

On the flip side, we're going to give Nova the benefit of his 06/07 transition as the sole possessor of the Nova power. So, I guess it's from this conceit that we're inevitably going to derive our final result.

While the 'yellow imperfection' has been removed and personified as Parallax, there's a fun sort of synergy to the Nova powers being typically represented as yellow. This almost represents the new association of the Sinestro Corps, even though I doubt Nova will inspire fear in the young Green Lantern.

Rayner's been here before, having suffered defeat at the hands of the Silver Surfer, but I'm not sure how much that experience is going to benefit him.
The way I see it, Rayner's going to approach this with the head-on police strategy that's been established in the GL books. While the subject of lethal force has krept up again through the Fantasy Fights [Wonder Woman/Ms. Marvel], I don't think that final resort would apply here, despite the reaffirmed Lantern Corps law enforcement powers.

I would imagine the two would engage each other with a moderate offensive strategy. A lot of the typical Green Lantern constructs are inevitably going to come into play, presumably calling upon regular features in the Rayner arsenal, like suits of armor, and imaginative offensive weaponry.

I think this would keep the pair on even pegging for a while, and the unknown quantity of the Lantern ring is probably going to reduce the Worldmind to speculative insights, at best. Though Nova would be off balance to start, I think that larger pool of independent energies is going to give him the ability to blast through the GL energies, and secure a hard earned victory, perhaps even calling upon more traditional bruising that was absorbed through the Annihilation Wave.

The Hammer...
Wow! Is it just me, or has the Christmas season really taken a toll on quality around here? I think inspiration is going to be an issue bandied about in the upcoming Friday feature, but while we're here, we may as well talk a bit about Kyle Rayner.

It's hard not to feel like there's almost a beat of bad comedy about this result. I would certainly argue that it's a conclusion I believe in, but the Green Lantern is supposed to represent a power unlike any other, so to go down against the Silver Surfer and Nova, would seem like a bit of a bitter pill. Especially for those die hard Rayner fans who already have the feeling they're being slapped in the face time and again.

Between the heavy nostalgia gripping the industry, and contemporary efforts to keep a sense of forward momentum, a character like Kyle Rayner can sort of fall by the wayside. As a product of the nineties he's neither here, nor there, with powerhouses like Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison willingly revelling in the flavours of anywhere from the fifites, to the seventies.

Even the eighties revival of properties like Suicide Squad and Checkmate seems to have left the mid-nineties Lantern somewhere in limbo, and ironically, that's probably been his greatest strength in Season 07.

Countdown has continued the tradition of 52; presenting characters of mixed representation in starring roles. The uninitiated listening a little too carefully to Countdown-criticism might not know that the Green Lantern, whilst starring in Sinestro Corp Wars, has also had a feature role joining Donna Troy and Jason Todd in a mega-verse spanning quest to find Ray Palmer.

This has incorporated not only feature spots alongside Karate Kid and Mary Marvel, but also spin-off one-shots featuring well known universes from DC's now defunct Elseworld books.

While it continues to be a point of chagrin that the Infinite Wars simply cannot support analysis of regular output from the big two, one does tend to assume there's at least a bit more going on than the harshest critics would have you believe. Among other things, the opportunity to show Kyle Rayner in an individual sense is no doubt to great benefit, along with the chance to elevate him beyond the youthful inexperience that has all too often been the defining quality of this newest Lantern.

DEATHSTROKE gets the better of an ill-prepared RAYNER in IDENTITY CRISIS #3!By this point I'm not sure how much we're actually saying, but then, at 7am in the lead-up to Christmas, I don't know how much you're reading into this, anyway. As such a polarizing character, no doubt someone is stirred to opinion, and as always, feel encouraged to lodge your opinions in the comments section!

The Infinite Wars does it's best to cater to the many fans seeking obscurities and informations, and though our features are often built around one-sided discussions, the ears of the internet are always listening. Yes, even to crazed Green Lantern fans!

And hey, if you're the shy type, why not lodge your opinion through the abstract anonymity of our current poll! This battle brings Marvel back up to a dramatic one-point deficit, but will it be enough to secure victory in our Fantasy Fights?
By this point I'd be lying if I didn't say I had some idea, but in truth, the result is still anyone's! Alas, for now:
5 versus 4

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