DEATHMATCH-Episode 2: Bad Meets Evil (Part 1 of 3)- The Injustice League

It’s taken me ten months to figure out what I want to do for episode 2. And three of those months were spent just figuring out what ironic gif to use for my featured image.

Wow, when I say “I’m not promising anything.” I really mean that I’m not promising anything, huh?

Anyway, in between studying, contemplating suicide and occasionally sleeping, I was somehow able to workshop the next installment of my DeathMatch series, which has been on hiatus since December of last year, when I had the villains from the TarantinoVerse clash that left only one man/woman standing. Character profiles can be found here while the actual fight can be found here.

So, who are the characters who will bloody and slaughter themselves on the whim of a bored teenage nerd? Well, considering that it’s Halloween, and we’re fast approaching 2016, the year in which Marvel and DC will finally duke it out for box office supremacy (Which is great. Don’t give me the “superhero movies are dying” bullshit. If that was gonna happen, it would’ve happened by now), I thought I would have a fight between some of the best villains that both comic companies have to offer. However, to pump up the character count, I’ve decided to make the fight between two seven-person teams of super villains: the Injustice League from DC Comics, and the Dark Avengers from Marvel.

Because comic book companies have absolutely NO idea how to name things subtly.

This week and the next will be devoted to profiling the two teams of fighters, who will each have their equivalent on the other team as their adversary. After each fighter has dispatched their opponent (In the most brutal way possible for the written word), I’ll take a look at the results and decide which team would win in a brawl. However, in the two (Weekly???) posts before the actual fight (Including this post) I’ll take some time to profile both teams, so you don’t need to look up information from some of the lesser-known characters…

…Yeah, that’s about it! Let’s get into reviewing the first team of evildoers: the Injustice League from the Forever Evil storyline!

Injustice League

The one on the right is Black Manta. Yes, we’re supposed to take him seriously.

First appearance: Forever Evil #3

Origin: During a particularly confusing time for Earth’s Heroes (Known as the Trinity War) Earth is invaded by a supervillain team from an alternate universe known as the Crime Syndicate, who are essentially evil, sociopathic versions of the Justice League. They immediately get to work, taking out the three weakened Justice League teams by imprisoning them inside Firestorm (Yeah, I dunno) and teaming up with an enormous cabal of villains known only as the Secret Society.

These maniacs take over the world with little-to-no resistance and with no heroes to turn to, humanity must turn to its greatest hope: a group of murderous assholes with saviour complexes led by Lex Luthor!

Lex Luthor (Leader)

The big guy? we’ll get to him later.

First appearance: Action Comics #23 (April 1940)

Villain for: Superman

DeathMatch Opponent: Iron Patriot

Origin: An arrogant, sadistic, small town boy with enormous ambitions, Alexander Luthor moved away from Kansas as an adult to the metropolis of, uh, Metropolis and, thanks to his ruthlessness and powerful intellect,  he became one of the most powerful people in the city through his corporation, LexCorp. Lex relentlessly pursued more and more wealth and domination no matter who got in the way through whatever means necessary, whether that be through intimidation, robbery or straight-up murder.

When a certain superpowered Boy Scout arrived in Metropolis, Luthor immediately distrusted him, claiming that if humanity started relying on Superman, we would become weaker overall as a species. Of course, the fact that he’s a cruel jerkass with a Saviour Complex  didn’t exactly help. Regardless, one of Comicdom’s most enduring rivalries was formed.

 Equipment: Luthor generally doesn’t like to do any of his dirty work, preferring to stay behind the scenes, pulling the strings. However, when he feels like he needs to get personally involved, his weapon of choice is a goddamned War Suit designed by goddamned Darkseid.

Questionable colour choice there, bud.

Designed for the purpose of taking down You-Know-Who by freaking Darkseid, the War Suit provides Lex with superhuman strength (Enough to hold its own against Superman), flight, and a friggin’ force field, which lets him leave his self-absorbed face unprotected. As if that shit wasn’t enough, the suit can also fire Kryptonite energy beams, produce an ax made of Kryptonite energy, and comes equipped with flamethrowers, because why the hell not?

But wait! There’s even fucking more!

Lex has satellites positioned all around the globe for the purpose of, when necessary, WIPING PEOPLE OFF OF THE FACE OF THE EARTH WITH SPACE LASERS.

Ronald Reagan would be proud.

Strengths: While he’s not exactly a limber character, Luthor’s Warsuit provides him with enough strength and defense to both take multiple hits and bludgeon any opponents into submission. The fact that he is easily one of the smartest human beings in the DC Universe doesn’t exactly hurt, either. Also Space Lasers.

Weaknesses: As mentioned, while his Warsuit apparently lets him fly, it also impedes his speed. His arrogance and pigheadedness can sometimes get into the way of his success (Such as when he insisted that, even with evidence to the contrary, that Clark Kent wa not Superman, because he scoffed at the notion that Superman would ever want to appear normal). Perhaps most glaringly, his Warsuit is more specifically designed to take down Superman than anything, what with all the kryptonite weapons and such, and could leave him prone to powerful, non-Kryptonian foes.

“We stopped trying to solve our own problems and instead looked up into the sky… staring at those bright colors. That’s why the world is doomed.”

-Lex Luthor, Forever Evil #1

Leonard Snart/Captain Cold

Such a badass costume design for a villain with such a stupid name.

First appearance: Showcase #8 (June 1957)

Villain for: Flash

Deathmatch Opponent: “Spider-Man”

Origin: The unfortunately named Leonard Snart grew up in an abusive household, where his only respite from his father’s drunken beatings was the ice cream truck his grandpa took him to, the only place he felt safe. Eventually running away from home and turning to a life of crime, Snart eventually got put away by the Flash. Looking for a way to counteract Flash’s speed, Snart, a gifted mechanical mind, apparently (Despite being a high school dropout. I dunno) created his iconic (???) cold gun,  which does exactly what it sounds like it does.

The newly-christened “Captain Cold” went on to become one of the more prolific, and uncommonly non-murderous, Flash villains, forming an alliance of thieves and Flash villains called the Rogues and becoming, without a doubt, DC’s second or third best-known ice-based villains.

Equipment: Snart’s signature piece of gear is his cold gun. Despite outward appearances, this contraption doesn’t merely shoot ice. That would be silly. Instead, the gun actually slows the atoms of its target to a halt, immobilizing them and causing said target to become incredibly cold. His strange-looking goggles help protect his eyes from the flashes of energy that the gun produces when used.

Strengths: For essentially being a glorified street tough, Snart sure has a pretty good brain on him, having created an extremely advanced piece of weaponry in the Cold Gun, and having full knowledge of how to use it. It’s not just mechanical prowess either, as he has a good tactical mind, and has been a an effective leader of a supervillain group, the Rogues.

Weaknesses: While he is in good physical shape, there really isn’t much to Captain Cold once you get past his powers.

 “[You’re] a kid who wasn’t out to hurt anyone. Sure, you’ve done your fair share of armed robbery, grand theft, destruction of property, kidnapping… But you never wanted to start a new ice age or turn people into popsicles.”

-Jake Shell (Snart’s probation officer), Justice League #30

                                                             Slade Wilson/Deathstroke

Deadpool Beta.

First appearance: New Teen Titans #2 (December 1980)

Villain for: Teen Titans, Green Arrow, Batman

DeathMatch Opponent: “Hawkeye”

Origins: When Slade Wilson was sixteen years old, he lied about his age and joined the U.S. Army, because as we all know, there is no demographic on this planet more willing to die for their country than teenaged American boys.

“Semper fi, motherfucker!!!”

Wilson excelled in the army, quickly moving up to the position of Major, and in probably one of the most unlikely meet-cutes known to mankind, met his future wife, Captain Adeline Kane. If you think this love story ends in anything other than tragedy than congratulations! You’ve clearly never read a comic book before!

Within a year, Slade became a master of multiple forms of combat and guerilla warfare, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Six months after his promotion, he married Adeline, and they later had two kids, Grant and Joey.

Some time later, Wilson volunteered for a medical experiment designed to stimulate his adrenal gland in the hopes of increasing his ability to resist truth serums. Because shit like this never works out as planned, Slade fell into a coma upon completion of the treatment. He wasn’t out for long, though and when he woke up, he found that he could now think nine times faster than the average schmuck, and had developed levels of strength, speed and durability that would put any Olympic athlete to shame, as well as a healing factor and enhanced senses. When the army denied his request for reinstatement (Because apparently, the army is composed of just the most fucking idiotic people), Slade became a world famous safari hunter by day, but also moonlighted as a world-renowned assassin, Deathstroke the Terminator.

When a group of fellow mercenaries decided to get even with Slade, they broke into his mansion and kidnapped Joey. Forced to reveal his double-life as Deathstroke to Adeline, Slade went after the mercenaries and was able to rescue his son. Unfortunately, Joey’s vocal cords were slit in the process, rendering him mute. The combination of having a secret assassin for a husband and having her son’s throat get cut as a result of Slade’s career caused Adeline to lash out at Slade, and she shot him in the head, destroying his right eye. Deciding that maybe this was the best possible time to flee his rageful wife, Slade Wilson devoted himself to assassinating people full-time and has enjoyed increased popularity in DC Comics ever since, debuting as a major villain (And part-time ally) of the Teen Titans, Batman and more recently, Green Arrow (Thanks in big part to the Arrow TV show).

Equipment: As would be beneficial for any mercenary, Deathstroke always has a boatload of weapons on him. More often than not, he carries an assault rifle of some sort on his person, an energy lance that fires concussive energy blasts, and a “super bomb”, which is essentially a flash grenade with bits of kryptonite inside. As you’re assuming right now, yes, this is a weapon meant to take down Superman.

His favourite weapon, though, is his Promethium broadsword. All you really need to know is that it’s essentially a katana made out of one of those bullshit metals that are stronger than titanium (It does bear mentioning that promethium is an element that exists, it’s just used for a completely different reason).

Speaking of which, his armour is made of Nth, a metal from the planet Thanagar, the home of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Surprisingly lightweight, Nth metal provides Deathstroke with excellent defense as well as augmenting his already astounding physical abilities.

Though even without armour, he could probably overpower opponents through badass death sneers.

Strengths: Deathstroke is nothing short of a tactical genius, easily on the level of, if not superior to Batman. Even without his superhuman enhancements, Deathstroke would easily rank among the best hand-to-hand in the DC Universe along with (Again) Batman, Nightwing and Lady Shiva.

With his enhancements though, he’s easily the strongest of them all in terms of sheer combat ability. Shit, he’s even agile enough to elude fucking Superman and can see at a goddamned subatomic level. And his healing factor is near-Wolverine level, as his aging is slowed (He’s about eighty, but looks to be in his fifties) and he has had his brains shot out, only to come back to life hours later. That;’s just silly.

Weakness: When in extreme pain, Deathstroke can go into a bloodthirsty rage that makes him stronger, at the expense of his own humanity. Yes, this is what passes for a weakness with this beast of a man.

“I am the thing that keeps you up at night. The evil that haunts every dark corner of your mind. I will never rest. And neither will you.”

-Slade, Teen Titans

Thaal Sinestro

That’s Power Ring there at the bottom, by the way. Look him up if you want, but his backstory is fairly disturbing.

First appearance: Green Lantern #7 (August 1961)

Villain for: Green Lantern

DeathMatch Opponent: “Ms. Marvel”

Origins: Anthropologist Thaal Sinestro of the planet Korugar was chosen to be a Green Lantern (Think Space Cop) by the Guardians of the Universe for his honourable conduct and fearlessness in combat. Under his protection, Sector 1417 became one of the safest in the universe, and the Guardians trusted him to train many rookie Lanterns, including Hal Jordan, the successor to his late best friend and brother-in-law, Abin Sur. While the two became fast friends, Jordan was horrified when he learned that Sinestro had imposed a draconian personality cult on his home planet of Korugar. The two had a falling-out that resulted in Sinestro being imprisoned and swearing revenge on Jordan and the Guardians.

To counter the Green Lantern’s Green Power Rings of Willpower, Sinestro had a Yellow Power Ring forged, which drew upon not Willpower, but Fear. Setting out to make life miserable for Jordan, Sinestro eventually formed his own Lantern Corps, the Sinestro Corps.

Equipment: The only piece of equipment that Sinestro really needs is his Yellow Power Ring, which can create whatever Sinestro can imagine, from concussive energy blasts to force fields. It can also help him manipulate and manifest other people’s deepest fears, allow him to phase through solid objects, heal himself, fly, and turn goddamn invisible, because of course it can.

However, the Power Ring’s energy has a limit, and when drained, it requires a recharge, which is done by holding the ring up to a Wellow Power Battery and reciting the Sinestro Corps oath.

Strengths: Dude, did you read  what the Power Ring can do?

Even without the Power Ring, Sinestro is a master of manipulating people’s fears, and possesses a genius-level intellect, and an ego to go with it.

Weaknesses: When you get beyond the Power Ring, there isn’t much to Sinestro besides being a super-smart, manipulative egomaniac. That is, is you were to pit him against a well-trained human being, he might give you a hard time (As he does know some basic combat techniques), but he wouldn’t be that much trouble.

“In Blackest day, In Brightest night, beware your fears made into light. Let those who try to stop what’s right burn like his power – Sinestro’s might!”

-Sinestro Corps Oath

Bizarro

….Awww…..

First appearance: Superboy #68

Villain for: Superman

DeathMatch Opponent: Ares

Origin: When Lex Luthor decided to create his Pet Clone of Superman, he did so through flexing his Mad Scientist. Abducting a teenager named Bobby, Lex spliced human DNA and DNA from the Man of Steel himself and injected the result into Bobby. The result was a failure (Subbed “Subject B-Zero.” Get it?), and Luthor destroyed the clone, but took samples and tried the experiment again.

When the Crime Syndicate invaded Earth and incapacitated the Justice Leagues, they instigated a global power outage in order to easily take over the planet. Lex Luthor, realizing that he needed somebody comparable to Superman to take back the planet, decided to revive the new Subject B-Zero. Unfortunately, the power cut had caused the machinery taking care of B-Zero to fail, resulting in a very imperfect clone of Superman, aesthetically, mentally and practically. Showing extreme loyalty to Luthor from the start of its life, B-Zero  named himself “Bizarro” (He took that name upon not realising that Luthor was insulting him) and dedicated itself to presenting its jerkass daddy.

Equipment: N/A

Strengths: Since Bizarro is a clone of Superman, one would assume that his skillsets are similar to those of the Man of Tomorrow, and one would be right. While he’s not as strong as Superman, he possesses comparable speed, both on land and in flight. Bizarro is invulnerable to every known form of physical  force, and he has no need for rest or sustenance.

True to his classic power set, Bizarro also possesses flame breath (As opposed to Superman’s freeze breath) and freeze vision (As opposed to Superman’s heat vision). Seeing as he’s Superman Lite, what could possibly-

Oh. Oh no.

Weaknesses: Bizarro is stupid. Like, REALLY stupid. He had barely developed the ability to speak at the end of the Forever Evil arc, and is single-minded in his love and devotion to Lex Luthor. Also, while he can’t perceive pain and can’t be injured, his body can be worn down by consistent pressure, which isn’t good when he is incapable of realizing when he’s getting his ass kicked.

Oh my god, that’s fucking adorable.

Teth-Adam/Black Adam

Also known as: The Rock in 2019. I’m so fucking excited.

First appearance: The Marvel Family #1 (December 1945)

Villain for: Shazam

DeathMatch Opponent: Sentry

Origin: Teth Adam was born a slave in Kahndaq, an African country located in between Jordan and Egypt. His family nearly exterminated by the tyrannical rulers of Kahndaq, his only relation left was his nephew, Aman. After the two of them escaped from slavery, they found themselves at the Rock of Eternity, where the Wizard Shazam declared Aman to be pure of heart, and therefore worthy of the role of being the Wizard’s Champion. Bestowed with superhuman powers, magical in their origin, Aman shared his power with his uncle, who encouraged him to use his power to destroy the dictators who had caused them unimaginable pain. Aman, on the other hand, just wanted to stop the bloodshed through nonviolent means. Anticipating the failure of this plan, Adam killed his nephew for what he believed to be the Greater Good-

“The Greater Good…”

-and went about murdering the dictators and taking control of Kahndaq. After being sealed away by the Wizard, Black Adam remained incapacitated until he was awakened in the present-day.

Equipment: N/A

Strengths: Through the Wizard’s empowerment, Black Adam gained a metric shit-tonne of powers that I’d rather just list in bullet-point form, all things being equal.

  • A healing factor
  • Photographic memory
  • Magic resistance
  • Superhuman intellect
  • Strategical genius
  • Flight
  • Healing
  • Superhuman speed, agility, stamina, reflexes and strength
  • Immortality

Weaknesses: Arrogance. Hubris is the downfall of man, yadda yadda yadda.

“SHAZAM!!!”

-Black Adam. Constantly.

David/Black Manta

Actually, that is kinda intimidating.

First appearance: Aquaman #35 (September 1967)

Villain for: Aquaman

DeathMatch Opponent: “Wolverine”

Origin: Very little is known about the man known as Black Manta except that his father was accidentally killed by Aquaman when Aquaman was trying to avenge HIS father, who had been killed by Black Manta. Small world!

Dedicating himself to avenging his father, Black Manta became an emotionless killing machine, murdering Aquaman’s allies to get to Aquaman. In fact, the only reason he joins the Injustice League is because he wants to kill Ultraman when it looked like Aquaman had died, as he had wanted to kill Aquaman himself (And also, because Ultraman had destroyed his father’s grave in a flood).

Equipment: His suit is engineered so that he retains his abilities underwater. It also helps him acclimate to the atmosphere around him. He also wields twin knives to assist in close-range combat.

Strengths; While he doesn’t have any superhuman abilities, at least in the current canon, Black Manta’s hand-to-hand combat skills are such that he is able to go toe-to-toe with Aquaman. He is also highly intelligent, albeit not a genius.

Weaknesses: Black Manta isn’t anything special when it comes to actual abilities, and while he is intelligent, he can be single-minded and obtuse, focusing only on murdering his nemesis, Aquaman.

“The only thing I want is the death of Aquaman.”

-Black Manta

Continued in Part 2…

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DEATHMATCH-Episode 1: Battle of the Tarantinoverse Villains (Part 2 of 2)

I will never have a more appropriate moment to use this photo.

I will never have a more appropriate moment to use this photo.

So it’s come to this. One week after I posted my mildly in-depth analysis of the contestants, it’s time to quit discussing angrily amongst yourselves and learn which Tarantinoverse villain is the deadliest of them all. If you don’t know what the Tarantinoverse is, go read my last article. If you haven’t seen any of these movies yet…..Go watch them!?!?! Also, that’s your spoiler alert. I personally think that movies that’ve been available to watch for as long as these ones don’t merit a spoiler warning, but I dunno, I feel like a nice guy today.

Anyways, before we get started, I should point out that, while each character is allowed a signature weapon (For example, Mr. Blonde gets his razor blade and his pistol) they don’t get any objects that aren’t weapons (Stuntman Mike doesn’t get his car). Also, the fight takes place on what I deem to be neutral ground (In this case, a warehouse reminiscent of the one in Reservoir Dogs, except loaded with stacked crates of cocaine, because cover and, also, Tarantino.

Right, now that that’s out of the way…

Again, it’s like this place, but, y’know, there’s cocaine everywhere.

In an unnamed warehouse somewhere in Los Angeles County, all is silent. Until out of nowhere, nine notorious people from different points in the history of the world materialize: Notorious thief and murderer Vic Vega, noted drug dealer Drexl Spivey, bloodthirsty assassin O-Ren Ishii, older bloodthirsty assassin Bill, sadistic serial killer Stuntman Mike, SS turncoat Hans Landa and vicious slave owner Calvin Candie. 

Oh, and some Mexican lady is dressed in lingerie, and some guy dressed in bondage gear. That’s…. Really fucking weird. Who brought them here?

Not that I’m complaining. It’s just weird, is all.

 The gathered villains glare warily at each other, silently, as you would do if a bunch of these freaks suddenly materialized around you in a location that you found yourself in for no goddamned reason at all. 

After a good five minutes of staring, the gimp shrieks loudly, for no particular reason. Mr. Blonde gets a wild look in his eye and shoots wildly in the gimp’s general direction. Everyone else escapes to cover, but the gimp, sadly, takes a ton of lead straight to the torso and falls, having shrieked his last shriek. 

It was an act of mercy, really.

The scantily clad Mexican, while still behind cover, seems oddly fascinated with the bleeding gimp. 

Raise your hand if you ever thought you would read that sentence in your life. 

Stuntman Mike, hungering for a Big Fat Kill, runs through No Man’s Land, somehow not managing to be nailed by any of the bullets that Mr. Blonde sprays at him before he runs out of bullets, and sidles up to the morbid Mexican lady. Trying to take advantage of the situation, Drexl Spivey makes a break for the warehouse doors. However, he doesn’t count on Hans Landa squaring him up in the sights of his outdated German pistol and blowing three holes in his torso. Which he does. 

A scream is heard from behind the cover that Stuntman Mike has disappeared behind. Everybody assumes that Stuntman Mike has satisfied his need for murdering women. These sad, sad fools have no idea what’s coming next.  

Calvin Candie, being batshit insane, takes the opportunity to pounce on Landa, beating him with a brick of cocaine that he had pulled out from a crate. Landa manages to pop off a shot, but it merely grazes Candie’s arm, causing only a slow trickle of blood. 

Meanwhile, Vic Vega has decided to make a break for it, but runs into the legendary Cottonmouth, O-Ren Ishii. Itching for a kill himself, Mr. Blonde smirks and takes out his straight razor, starting to advance towards O-Ren. 

O-Ren, on the other hand, does some smirking of her own and pulls out her katana. 

Mr. Blonde stops smirking. 

As Cottonmouth slices Vega into bits of man-sushi, Candie is about to deliver the finishing blow to Landa when he hears a bloodcurdling shriek. He turns to see the head of Stuntman Mike being hurled away by what looks like Nosferatu with a skin condition. In a bikini. 

Again, I can’t stress enough how weird it feels to type that out.

Before Candie has a chance to react, the vampiress(?) pounces on him and tears the innards out of his throat. Landa takes the golden opportunity to limp off to find cover while the vampire enjoys her meal of delicious, delicious slave driver.  

The other white meat.

Bill, inactive until this moment, leaps into action, slicing furiously at the blood sucker with his katana. The vampire, distracted by her meal, doesn’t notice the pristine Japanese steel impaling her black heart until it’s too late. 

As Bill examines his deceased paranormal victim, Landa emerges from behind his cover and dispatches Bill, execution style. 

At least it’s quicker than having your heart blow up, apparently.

However, as has been the case throughout this whole Deathmatch, Landa’s downfall is his lack of foresight when things aren’t going according to plan, and as he leisurely begins the reload of his pistol, he turns to see the poised Asian woman in an aggressive stance, a katana pointed precariously at his forehead. He tries to get a word out to convince her to let him be, but can’t before O-Ren Ishii drives her katana straight through his forehead. 

THE WINNER: O-REN ISHII

In the end, I decided to go with Kill Bill‘s Cottonmouth, because not only is she one of the foremost assassins in this twisted universe that Tarantino has created, she also has the least amount of flaws. Sure, she gets cocky in her fight against the Bride, which leads to her death in that movie, but she only really does that when she thinks she’s got no shot of losing. In this fight, she sees that Landa is dangerous, so she wouldn’t waste any time in wasting him when the opportunity presents itself. Hell, watch that scene in Kill Bill when she decapitates the Yakuza boss who insults her. Maybe she isn’t in any direct physical danger from this dickhead, but she realizes the threat of having her lofty position undermined, so she doesn’t waste any time chopping his noggin off.

Hans Landa, Bill, Santanico Pandemonium and Calvin Candie were all fairly strong candidates, but they each have their fatal flaws. Candie may be batshit insane. but he isn’t all that smart (He isn’t even really the main villain for the last bit of the movie. That would be Stephen). Santanico Pandemonium is vicious, but she’s also very killable (Vampires in From Dusk Till’ Dawn tended to do their best work in group or surprise attacks anyway). Bill is sixty goddamn years old, and Hans Landa leans on his intelligence, not so much his strength, or combat proficiency. When I think back to Inglorious Basterds, I’m pretty sure the only person he actually murdered himself was Diane Kruger.

…The bastard.

Well, that was the first episode of Deathmatch and, while there’s still some tune-ups to be done, I had a lot of fun with it. So, until next time, I leave you all with three pressing questions:

1. Did I get it right? Who do you think would’ve come out on top?

2. What Deathmatch would you like to see next? 

3. What did you think of the Terminator: Genisys trailer? Personally, I still can’t get over the fact that they can’t spell fucking “genesis” right. 

“You didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, did you?” 

DEATHMATCH-Episode 1: Battle of the Tarantinoverse Villains (Part 1 of 2)

Ooooo….So edgy….

Wow, maybe I should finish up that Star Wars series I started forever ago. Now would be the ideal time, anyways. I’ve had more views in the past six hours than in the entire past week. Quentin Tarantino is not on anybodies’ must-see list right now. It’s all Star Wars.

Darth Maul officially looks like a pussy now.

 But hey, this wouldn’t be Please Kill the Messenger if it wasn’t hopelessly irrelevant. So with that said, it’s time to get the first episode of Deathmatch underway!

As I mentioned in the introduction to this whole concept last week, this first part of the episode is more of an introduction to the participants, their strengths, their weaknesses and so on. It’s a doozy as well, with a whopping nine fighters representing their respective movies.

I should note for those not aware that the Tarantinoverse consists of select films written by Quentin Tarantino that all have shared elements, most notably characters (For example, Pulp Fiction’s Vincent Vega is the brother of Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs) and fictional brands (Big Kahuna Burger and Red Apple Cigarettes) that seem to suggest that all these films take place in the same ultra-violent shared universe that split apart from our own after Adolf Hitler was assassinated by American forces in Inglourious Basterds.

Or when the KKK was destroyed in its infancy by its member’s fortunate inability to make hoods right. Pick one, I guess.

That said, not every Tarantino movie is part of this universe. Movies like Natural Born Killers and Crimson Tide don’t have enough evidence to link them conclusively to the other movies, and Jackie Brown, being based on a novel, is part of a whole different shared universe. So, the movies that will contribute a fighter will be Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Death Proof, From Dusk till Dawn, the two Kill Bill movies, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained.

So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!

(Also, consider this a spoiler alert for the previously mentioned movies. You’ve been warned)

Vic Vega (Mr. Blonde)

How the fuck is he seeing where he’s shooting?

Appearance: Reservoir Dogs 

Portrayed by: Michael Madsen

Best quote: “Listen kid, I’m not gonna bullshit you, all right? I don’t give a good fuck what you know, or don’t know, but I’m gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It’s amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want cause I’ve heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain’t gonna get.” 
[He removes his razor]

“You ever listen to K-Billy’s “Super Sounds of the Seventies” weekend? It’s my personal favorite.”

It only seems logical to start with the movie that propelled Tarantino to cult stardom, 1992’s Reservoir Dogs. While this masterpiece is chock-full of memorable characters like Mr. Orange, Mr. White, Nice Guy Eddie, etc., the most memorable character, in my correct opinion, is Vic Vega. While on the surface, Vega (Who goes by the alias of “Mr. Blonde” throughout the movie) appears to be your typical strong, silent type, good friends with Nice Guy Eddie and, like the others, a professional criminal. However, not only is it revealed that Vega is not exactly the most respectable criminal, murdering several civilians in a panicked rush to escape the bank he robbed with the others and showing no real remorse for the deed, which is pretty heinous in the first place.

As if that wasn’t enough, after he is left alone with a police officer, he starts taunting, then torturing him, even going so far as cutting his right ear off with a straight razor and dousing him in gasoline, fully intending to burn him alive. In fact, the only reason he doesn’t do just that is because Tim Roth shoots him to death before he can do so.

Right away, we have a very, very interesting candidate for this battle royale. I mean, forget sadistic, this guy’s a fucking full-blown psychopath. He kills without any real remorse, tortures for shits and giggles…. I mean, when it comes to kill instinct, this guy is off the chain. This guy’s antics disgusted even some of the most dedicated filmgoers around back in the day.  Add in the fact that he’s handy with a razor blades and hand guns, and he looks like a strong candidate.

Hell, I haven’t even mentioned the fact that I can’t listen to “Stuck in the Middle With You” anymore without instinctively covering my right ear.

What’s the catch? Mr. Blonde is not particularly great under pressure, being cursed out by Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi for his violent outburst in the bank robbery. True, in a fight to the death that can be a plus, but not always. Also, it doesn’t help that he was taking so much pleasure in watching the cop suffer that he doesn’t notice that a bloodied and battered Tim Roth has woken up, pulled out his pistol, and aims to kill him before he can kill the cop.

Hey jackass! How about a little less white-guy dancing and a little more peripheral vision!?!?

Also, for a psychopath, he doesn’t seem particularly smart or cunning. Sure, he talks a good game when confronting Harvey Keitel, but, again, when you have a chance to save your ass by looking slightly to your left, and you don’t take it, you don’t come out looking so rosy in the “brains” department.

Also “pistol and razor blade” isn’t the most intimidating arsenal to take into a fight.

Drexl Spivey

Oooohh… So THIS is who those “Stranger Danger” PSA’s were warning us about.

Appearance: True Romance 

Portrayed by: Gary Oldman (Obviously)

Best quote: “He must have thought it was white boy day.”

As the quote may have suggested, Drexl Spivey suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. Alabama Worley mentions at one point that he tries very hard to be a black guy. What this is saying about black people is a little bit sketchy, but I so do not want to get into the topic of racism in Tarantino movies right now.

Anyhoo, Drexl is a Detroit pimp and a drug dealer who is Alabama’s pimp at the beginning of True Romance. When Clarence comes to intimidate him into letting her go free, he responds by taunting him and beating him up.

Then, Clarence shoots him in the face.

Going with the most memorable villain of the movie doesn’t always leave me with the strongest candidate, apparently.

I mean, Drexl isn’t a pushover, he’s smarter than one would guess, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty (He does have the balls to kill Samuel L. Jackson at the beginning of the movie), but he doesn’t have a weapon (He holds a shotgun for a bit, but he doesn’t use it as much as, say, Mr. Blonde uses his signature razor blade) and he’s not that smart. I mean, he let Christian Slater kill him, for Chrissakes. Weak candidate. Let’s move on.

The Gimp

The sooner we get Tarantino to psychoanalysis, the better.

Appearance: Pulp Fiction

Portrayed by: Stephen Hibbert

Best quote: *Unintelligible shrieking*

Once again, the “most memorable character” rule bites me in the ass. No way this guy’s not getting offed in the first round.

Santanico Pandemonium

Eh. Still less embarrassing than Grown Ups 2.

Appearance: From Dusk till Dawn

Portrayed by: Salma Hayek

Best quote: “I’m not gonna drain you completely. You’re gonna turn for me. You’ll be my slave. You’ll live for me. You’ll eat bugs because I order it. Why? Because I don’t think you’re worthy of human blood. You’ll feed on the blood of stray dogs. You’ll be my foot stool. And at my command, you’ll lick the dog shit from my boot heel. Since you’ll be my dog, your new name will be “Spot”. Welcome to slavery.”

From Dusk till Dawn is probably the strangest Tarantino-written movie, and holy shit, is that ever saying something. While it starts off in what seems like typical Tarantino fashion (George Clooney and Q.T. himself kidnap Harvey Keitel’s family and try to sneak over the border into Mexico, the second half spirals out of control when the motley crew get themselves trapped in a seedy Mexican strip club where, thanks to the well-known magic properties that come with a strip club being built on Aztec ruins, the strippers are actually vampires. It’s a twist that comes out of nowhere, it’s silly, and it’s really jarring.

It’s also super fucking cool.

The head stripper/vampire goes by the name of Santanico Pandemonium (A homage to the 1975 nunsploitation film, Satánico Pandemonium. Also, yes, nunsploitation is a thing that exists, and yes, it’s just as disturbing as you’re imagining right now ), and, until she transforms, she pretty much looks like, well, scantily clad Salma Hayek. Nothing that really stands out.

Uhh…You know what I mean.

But then, once she catches sight of some stray drops of blood from an open wound, she turns into a ravenous, bloodthirsty monster whose only real purpose is to consume the life essence of every human in her line of sight.

Women, am I right?

So, she’s got that going for her. The other candidates in this Deathmatch may have seen some freaky shit, but chances are, they haven’t seen a goddamn vampire before. And this is a bona fide vampire, by the way. None of that Twilight dreck here, she’s purely out to kill, kill, kill. Being a vampire, she has enhanced strength, speed, and  and her bite spells doom (Albeit, not instant doom)for anybody unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of it. Unlike the other fighters, she has no need for weapons to gain an edge. She is a weapon.

Problem is, while her offense is impressive, her defense leaves a lot to be desired. It is revealed during the movie that these vampires have extra-thin skin, making them especially vulnerable to bludgeoning and stabbing attacks. Being a group of villains that is not exactly short on bludgeoning and stabbing weapons, this could prove to be her downfall. It’s not like she’s gonna be a pushover, and again, none of these guys have seen a vampire before, but she has some pretty glaring weaknesses to be considered before crowning her the champion yet.

O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth)

Charlie’s Angels, this is not.

Appearance: Kill Bill: Volume 1

Portrayed by: Lucy Liu

Best quote: “As your leader, I encourage you from time to time, and always in a respectful manner, to question my logic. If you’re unconvinced that a particular plan of action I’ve decided is the wisest, tell me so, but allow me to convince you and I promise you right here and now, no subject will ever be taboo. Except, of course, the subject that was just under discussion. The price you pay for bringing up either my Chinese or American heritage as a negative is… I collect your fucking head. Just like this fucker here. Now, if any of you sons of bitches got anything else to say, now’s the fucking time!”
[pause]

“I didn’t think so”

O-Ren Ishii is so friggin cool.

A half- Japanese, half-Chinese-American living in Japan, O-Ren’s parents were brutally murdered by the Yakuza when she was little. Growing vengeful to an unhealthy extreme, O-Ren tracked the Yakuza boss down and brutally murdered him. After that, she trained as a hired gun, and by age 19, she was the top assassin in the world, eventually joining the Deadly Viper Assassination squad with the codename of “Cottonmouth.” After taking part in the assassination attempt on Beatrix Kiddo, she leaves the D.V.A.S. to pursue a prosperous career in the Tokyo underworld, during which she rises to be the Kingpin of Crime in Tokyo….Because when her parents were murdered by the Yakuza, she obviously decided that becoming the head of the Yakuza was the correct way to go about it.

That makes sense.

Anyways, O-Ren is probably the strongest candidate so far, if only because she has a katana as a weapon, and, as Tarantino has taught us, katanas (Along with Samuel L. Jackson) were created specifically for the purpose of smiting the weak and cowardly off of the face of this planet.

Seen here: The exact moment when everyone decided that Pulp Fiction was their new favourite movie.

In addition to her cool weapon, and her extreme proficiency with it, she is also a top-notch martial artist and an expert marksman (Although she won’t have a sniper rifle with her in the Deathmatch) and has no problem with killing other people. I wouldn’t say she slays people whenever she feels like it, because that’s not the truth, but she will execute if her life is in danger, and she is really damn good at it.

Case in point.

What’s her fatal flaw? Well, first of all, we see that she does use her Crazy 88 gang to tire out the Bride, but it’s not like she overly relies on them, she still does a lot of dirty work. Nah, her biggest flaw is the fact that she gets too cocky when confronting her enemies. In her final fight against Beatrix, she has her on the ropes, but takes too much time taunting the Bride instead of moving in for the kill. I mean, you can talk a good game if you know, 100% that there’s no possible way it could come back to bite you in the ass. Otherwise, you risk ending up like…Uh, that one part in the fourth season of Game of Thrones. Yeah, if you watch the show, you know what I’m talking about.

And you thought Tarantino was into liberally murdering his main characters.

Bill (Snake Charmer)

Man, he looks so badass until he talks, and you learn he has a lisp.

Appearances: Kill Bill (Both volumes)

Portrayed by: David Carradine

Best quote: “As you know, I’m quite keen on comic books. Especially the ones about superheroes. I find the whole mythology surrounding superheroes fascinating. Take my favorite superhero, Superman. Not a great comic book. Not particularly well-drawn. But the mythology… The mythology is not only great, it’s unique […] Now, a staple of the superhero mythology is, there’s the superhero and there’s the alter ego. Batman is actually Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is actually Peter Parker. When that character wakes up in the morning, he’s Peter Parker. He has to put on a costume to become Spider-Man. And it is in that characteristic Superman stands alone. Superman didn’t become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he’s Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red “S”, that’s the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears – the glasses, the business suit – that’s the costume. That’s the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He’s weak… he’s unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.

He’s basically Christian Slater from True Romance, but a kung fu master.

The titular character of the Kill Bill movies, Bill, also known as “Snake Charmer”, is the leader of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, and Beatrix Kiddo’s mentor and “special friend”, until she runs away. Jealous, Bill and the rest of the D.V.A.S. track her down and try to murder her, putting her in a coma in the process. This, upon Beatrix’s awakening years later, sparks the events of the two movies.

A lot of the praise that deserves to go to Bill also applies to O-Ren Ishii. Good with a sword, crafty, intelligent, yadda yadda yadda. Also, he’s less chatty than O-Ren, so that’s a point in his favour.

Problem is, he’s also in his sixties in terms of age. It’s very safe to assume that he’s lost a step or two. Also, he seems to rely more on his craftiness than sheer fighting technique (See the truth serum gun, or whatever), which can help him out, no doubt, but maybe not enough to get him that far into the Deathmatch.

Stuntman Mike

Hey, remember when Kurt Russell was the live-action face of Disney?

Appearance: Death Proof

Portrayed by: Kurt Russell

Best quote: Right, like anything was memorable about Death Proof.

Death Proof is easily the worst Tarantino film, in my opinion. It may just be that I have a built-in hatred for slasher and horror films, but aside from the performances and some of the writing, there really isn’t anything special about it. I mean, I guess the villain isn’t bad, and Kurt Russell’s good and… Eh, whatever, let’s get to Stuntman Mike.

Mike is a stuntman with a customised car designed to offer the best possible protection for the driver, but for anybody in another seat, it’s a death trap. Not the best thing to combine with Stuntman Mike, a sociopathic serial killer whose M.O. involves murdering young women with his car, whether it be through getting them in the car and driving recklessly enough to kill them, or straight-up ramming them with his car.

If Stuntman Mike were to have his car in the Deathmatch, this would be a whole different story, but he doesn’t as no matter what the NRA keeps saying, cars aren’t actually weapons. This means that he’s just a 50-something year old man with sociopathic tendencies. He’s screwed. Let’s move on.

Colonel Hans Landa

Sherlock Holmes wishes he had Hans Landa’s pipe.

 Appearance: Inglourious Basterds

Portrayed by: Christoph Waltz

Best quote: “Now if one were to determine what attribute the German people share with a beast, it would be the cunning and the predatory instinct of a hawk. But if one were to determine what attributes the Jews share with a beast, it would be that of the rat. If a rat were to walk in here right now as I’m talking, would you treat it to a saucer of your delicious milk? […]  I didn’t think so. You don’t like them. You don’t really know why you don’t like them. All you know is you find them repulsive. Consequently, a German soldier conducts a search of a house suspected of hiding Jews. Where does the hawk look? He looks in the barn, he looks in the attic, he looks in the cellar, he looks everywhere *he* would hide, but there’s so many places it would never occur to a hawk to hide. However, the reason the Führer’s brought me off my Alps in Austria and placed me in French cow country today is because it does occur to me. Because I’m aware what tremendous feats human beings are capable of once they abandon dignity.”

Quentin Tarantino has always written great, great villains. However, I think I’m not alone in saying that the character of Col. Hans Landa is not only the best character Tarantino’s ever written, but one of the best villains ever, period. Is he likely to go deep into this Deathmatch, though? I dunno, let’s see.

An Austrian SS officer, Col. Hans Landa is notorious throughout Nazi Europe for his ability to round up and execute Jewish runaways, earning himself the nickname of “Jew Hunter”. However, Landa himself does not hold any animosity towards Jewish people, nor does he feel much love for the Nazi party. He just chooses to find and murder Jews because it is what he does best, and because he finds a sick sense of delight in it. An epitome of opportunistic evil, Landa would let Germany fall as long as he stands to gain something from it, whether it be money or amusement.

What does he have going for him? Well, he’s probably the smartest guy out of any of the candidates. He may lack the brute strength of, say, a vampire, but he could probably convince somebody to off themselves if he had enough time.

You silver tongued devil, you.

What’s the downside? Well, one minor detraction would be his use of an outdated German handgun, but I doubt that’ll affect him pretty much. A shot to the face is still a shot to the face.

As Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta will testify.

The only weakness of Landa’s that I can think of off the top of my head is his lack of real physical skill (Strength, speed, etc.), but something tells me that he could find a way to make it to the later rounds. Call him a Dark Horse, if you like, but I think he’s got a real shot.

Calvin Candie

“Go on. Say “count the Oscars” one more time. SAY IT, MOTHERFUCKER, I DARE YOU!!!”

Appearance: Django Unchained

Portrayed by: Leonardo DiCaprio

Best quote: “And if y’all wanna leave Candyland with Broomhilda, the price… is $12,000 […] You see, under the laws of Chickasaw County, Broomhilda, here, is my property… and I can choose to do with MY PROPERTY… WHATEVER I SO DESIRE!
[Candie rubs his injured hand and smears the blood all over Broomhilda’s face; she shrieks and moans in disgust and fear]

And if y’all think my price for this nigger here is too steep, what I’m gonna desire to do is…
[Candie causally sets his cigarette down; he suddenly but quickly picks up his hammer and violently grabs hold of Broomhilda’s hair, slamming her face on the dinner table and raising the hammer above her head. Schultz jumps while Django rises up out of his seat]

TAKE THIS GODDAMNED HAMMER HERE, AND BEAT HER ASS TO DEATH WITH IT! RIGHT IN FRONT OF BOTH YA’LL! THEN WE CAN EXAMINE THE THREE DIMPLES INSIDE BROOMHILDA’S SKULL! NOW… WHAT’S IT GONNA BE DOC? HUH? WHAT’S IT GOING TO BE?”

Long quote, I know, but I needed to get a quote that really highlighted Calvin Candie’s insanity. Yeah, Candie is probably the craziest of all the candidates. Well, I guess the Gimp might be crazier, but who knows, he could actually be a calm rational person behind that extravagant get-up.

He’s actually a family man, and holds a steady job as an accountant.

Anyways, Calvin Candie is batshit insane, even setting aside his racism. He’s a Southern Francophile plantation owner who enjoys watching slaves fight each other to the death in brutal “Mandingo” fights. Jeeesus.

Does craziness translate well to a Deathmatch such as this one? Well, in a fight where most of these people are armed with handguns and aren’t exactly bad shots….Probably not. He’s a great villain, don’t get me wrong, but in this context, he isn’t much more than a crazy racist dude. Nothing that isn’t too hard to dispatch.

Just ask Brad Pitt!

Welp, that’s it for the preview. The actual Deathmatch should be out sometime next weekend. After I finish recovering the hours of sleep that this post cost me. It’s really fucking long, you guys.

But! Before I sign off, I’ve decided that I’d like a little more audience input, as the only comments I get are mostly spam. So, I leave you fine people with two questions:

1) What Deathmatch should I do next?

2) What is your favourite and least favourite Quentin Tarantino movie?

Until next time.

 

DEATHMATCH: Episode 0- The Introduction

Van Damme’s excited and you should be too!!!

Since the dawn of time, the creative genius of mankind has crafted some of the most memorable stories of all time, chock-full to the brim of memorable characters that have stood the test of time, even as their creators have long since vanished off the face of the planet. Who could possibly forget the classical deities and heroes of Ancient Greece, such as Zeus, Achilles and Hercules?

For better or for worse?

To use examples from the last two millenniums, who could ever forget the fascinating, multidimensional tragic heroes of William Shakespeare? Or, to get even more modern, how about the staying power that we’ve managed to get out of our stoic, square-jawed superheroes? Hell, we’ve managed to get a timeless character out of a talking tree voiced by Vin Diesel, for chrissakes.

Seen here: This generation’s Hamlet.

So, what is it that we do with these legendary characters from literature, movies, television and video games when we’re not reading about them or watching their exploits? Well, it depends. Some enjoy dissecting the character’s motivations, psychology and relationships. Others enjoy writing extremely disturbing fan-fiction. However, those of us with superior taste and highly developed brains know that there is only one possible use for these characters outside of their respective universes.

Fights to the death, of course!!!

Tell me I’m wrong!!!

Look, don’t act like you haven’t thought of this before. Even the stuffiest of the stuffy cultural elites have thought about injecting a little ultraviolence into their critiques. I’m sure some Shakespeare buff has witnessed some obnoxious college kid spout a bunch of Ayn and quote and thought “Pffft… Will could beat her any day.”

And I don’t mean “beat” as in “prove literary superiority”. I mean beat as in “kick the shit out of her in a barfight.”

So, my newest feature is the long-awaited “Deathmatch” series, in which I pit two or more fictional characters against each other in a battle to the death (Unless otherwise specified) to determine the victors of timeless theoretical battles like “Batman vs. Iron Man”, “Katniss Everdeen vs. Green Arrow” or “Disney Princess Battle Royale.”

Spoiler alert: Aurora is doomed. DOOOOOMED!!!!

However, before I go nuts with this, There have to be some rules and parameters set up. Every episode will be a two-parter, with the first part being an analysis of the fighters and their strengths and weaknesses, and the second part outlining the outcomes of the fight. The first fight in this award-winning series will be a 10-man, over-the-top fight to the death between the best villains from each film of the Tarantinoverse. Stay tuned, it should be out later this weekend or earlier in the weekday.

Watch it come out in the first week of 2016.