It’s rare when wishes come true. It’s even more rare that when they do, they go the way we want them to.
As Aladdin, the guy with the monkey paw, and the kid from Kazaam all learned well, when dreams are made reality, quite often they shift to nightmares. And while as a kid I may have pulled a little extra hard on every wishbone I came across, while I would scour the sky for shooting stars, and while I’d violently rub any oil lamps I found, it wasn’t until 1996 that the comic industry put a stop to all these wish-wanting shenanigans and published my first loss of comic innocence.
It promised to be the biggest miniseries of all time. Everything we ever wanted. Every comic reading kid’s wish come true in four-colored ink glory.
DC versus Marvel. Marvel versus DC.
Didn’t matter how you lined them up, because everything was going down.
It still boggles my mind that this mini ever happened. This was a world long before any Brothers threw down in any Super Smashes. Way before Mr. Whedon and Co. made the impossible-film-to-make make a billion bucks in grosses. Team-ups of this magnitude, dreams of so many decades, precious wishes such as these were never granted.
And yet, we would be getting four issues of it.
I…was quite tickled.We’re nearly two decades away from that time now (yeah, just let that factoid settle in there, true believers,) and I still remember that freshly-scooped ice cream sweet optimism that colored my days in anticipation of that fated Wednesday. I remember wanting and wondering with my friends just how high the peaks of this blue moon crossover would reach.
Oh, how I remember.
Look, it wasn’t a bad miniseries. Not one bit. It had Ron Marz on the writing staff, and he’s one of my all time favorite anything evers.
But it did have some…questionable judgment. Ya see, comic fans, while some of the big battles were determined by the writers and editors, the rest were left to the people. Yes, what should have been the end-all be-all, schoolyard argument shattering battle royale examination of the true abilities of the two flagships’ icons…instead turned into American Idol: Funnybook Edition.
Today I’m gonna take a look back at half of the fan-decided battles and see how accurate they really were. Did popularity prove prudent? Let the battles begin…again.
STORM VS. WONDER WOMAN
COMIC WINNER: STORM
When it comes down to the two most famous feminist forces in the Big Twoniverse, it’s hard to find two ladies higher up than these two goddesses come to earth. Both have led some major comic crews, and while they may not have lined up their own solo super-flicks yet, if one of them is the key that unlocks the door to superheroine movie blockbusters, consider me not surprised.
And, pardon the pun, both are forces of nature in terms of superheroing. Between Diana’s strength from the gods and Ororo’s weather wizardry, we’re lucky they’re on the side of the angels, because their power rivals the best of their respective universes, and that’s not to mention their aptitude as leaders and tacticians.
It’s really a no-brainer to put these two against each other, but when you look at them utterly objectively…the answer becomes pretty clear.
Storm is plenty powerful, lightning and all that, but do you really see her trading punches with the likes of Superman? Wonder Woman’s gone toe-to-toe with the Man of Steel more than once and held her own just fine. She’s typically in the top five in terms of raw strength in the DCU (usually shoulder to shoulder with fellas like Captain Marvel and the Martian Manhunter), and that’s not to mention her impressive gods-given arsenal of jets, armbands, and that unbreakable magicky magic lasso of hers.
Storm…just isn’t. Yeah, controlling the elements is potent and nothing to sneeze at, but Wonder Woman is immortal. And while Storm may fancy herself a goddess, Wonder Woman’s birth certificate lists Zeus as Daddy.
Is Storm a better character? Arguably yes. Is she more popular? She’s an X-Man. That’s like putting on god mode in terms of comic book popularity. There’s no way a student of Xavier isn’t taking home the crown. Hell, I’m sure ever X-Zeroes like Skin and Ugly John would get more votes than deserved.
Halle Berry may be hotter than Lynda Carter was, but this ain’t a beauty pageant.
NEW WINNER: WONDER WOMAN
WOLVERINE VS. LOBO
COMIC WINNER: WOLVERINE
Speaking of absolutely no way the other dude’s gonna overwhelm the X-factor, welcome to the most obviously predetermined of all the MVDC vote-ins. It’s Wolverine. The macaroni and cheese of comic book superheroes. Everybody loves him. And he’s going against who? An albino in need of a haircut? Huh?
I’ll be honest, MVDC was my introduction to Lobo, so I had no clue what a Czarnian was. Being a huge fan of the X-Men animated series, of course I was gonna root for the world’s most popular Canadian of all time (seriously, find me a contender. Wayne Gretzky? Geddy Lee. Keep trying.)
It was no surprise whatsoever when the House of Ideas chalked up a win for this bout. If the company’s had any balls they’dve tossed the big bad Batman against Logan and really saw who was top, brooding banana. Alas, we get a darkhorse fan-favorite against a one-man New York Yankees, and the results were utterly unsurprising.
And, honestly, it’s ok. Lobo’s got an impressive arsenal of abilities, but his level of strength was always fluctuating, and sure he’s got a healing factor, but in this battle that’s nothing impressive. He’s a tough dude and a mean brawler, but Wolverine’s the best there is at what he does. Lobo’s the guy you don’t want to piss off in a bar fight. Wolverine’s a ninja.
Plus, you know, dem claws. While maybe James may need the Ultimate Bastich to reach something on the top shelf, when it’s time to knuckle up, it helps when your bones are unbreakable.
NEW WINNER: STILL WOLVERINE
BATMAN VS. CAPTAIN AMERICA
COMIC WINNER: BATMAN
Another battle where the other guy had no chance. Since this comic was closer to Matt Sallinger throwing his mighty shield than Chris Evans, it’s no surprise that the Bat was the king of comics. The only person who may have been able to beat him in this challenge…was Batman.
It’s battles like this one that really disappoint me. Call me an anarchist (my comment history in Twitch Plays Pokemon would probably confirm this,) but there was a real chance to shake things up here. I know that this miniseries was first and foremost a MASSIVE CASH GRAB for both companies, and doing anything too revolutionary could hurt profits, but, man, wouldn’t it have been grand? Just to really shake things up and make fans finally be honest about who was truly the most super out of all the heroes?
But know, like all first flights, they had to play it safe and feed us all vanilla and McDonald’s and keep it nice and homogenized. Nothing too groundbreaking to see here, folks. Move along.
Batman’s a badass, no argument here. Dude took down the white Martians with some rope and a pack of matches. Awesome. But all of that, as does most of Bruce Wayne’s impressiveness, comes out of one critical aspect: planning. When the Dark Knight deliberates ahead of time, gods fall.
This wasn’t the case here. And while Brucey may be able to improvise some asskicking that’d impress Colin Mochrie, he hasn’t had an opponent like Captain America.
Super-strength? Check. A repertoire of fighting styles that easily rival and perhaps outmatch Batman? Bingo. Big-ass, indestructible shield? Duck, mofo.
There’s a reason Thor listens to Captain America.
Captain America is just as impressive as Batman. Maybe Batman’s a better detective, but Cap’s a better field commander. That takes brains, and, more important, the ability to think on your feet. Batman has that ability, too, but he gets more brownie points for his preparation prowess.
It’s a close one, but given the circumstances of no previous prep time and Captain America’s sheer skill and strength, I really gotta give it up to the man wearing the stars and bars.
And to be perfectly honest, I was a DC fan first, and in a big bad way, so admitting all of this hits me right in the power ring, but there’s no way I could lie into Captain Roger’s baby blues. Truth, it’s the American way, Unrealtors…
NEW WINNER: CAPTAIN AMERICA
Join us next issue where we revisit the second half of the fan-chosen champions to see if they really deserved the win. It’s gonna get bloody, Unrealtors. Blame Access.
Adam Esquenazi Douglas is a playwright who was born in Texas, grew up in Arkansas, was raised by a Jewish man and a Cuban woman, and, somehow, he doesn’t have an accent.
He is co-host of two podcasts, The JimmyJew Podcast Extravaganza and Schmame Over, which can be found at http://jimmyjew.libsyn.com/ and http://schmameover.libsyn.com/ respectively, as well as on iTunes. He is a contributing writer to www.GamersSchmamers.com.
He currently lives in Brooklyn where he drinks far too much coffee.