For Part 1, click here.
Almost three years ago, the world was blessed/cursed (decide for yourself) with Zack Snyder’s reboot of the Superman franchise: Man of Steel. Man of Steel proved to be… Uh… Let’s succumb to massive understatement and say it was divisive. Some people (myself included) really liked it. Others think it was the worst thing to happen to the character since The Quest for Peace, a movie so atrocious it single-handedly crippled Christopher Reeve’s career.
Despite the mixed reaction, Man of Steel made enough money to get a sequel greenlit, which was originally announced as being another Superman movie, but was eventually revealed during Comic-Con as being both a Batman and Superman movie. This was huge news. Even people who have never entered a comic book store can tell you the basic plot points of Superman and Batman’s origin stories. Shit, even people in North Korea can tell you that the two characters were both created by Kim il-Sung as satires of Western imperialism so subtle that our backwards capitalist lizard-brains have yet to notice them as being anything other than cool characters who dress funny. This movie was going to make BANK, regardless of whether it was actually good or not. And now, in 2016, here we are, almost one month after the movie’s release. And boy, was it ever…. Well, it was something.
Now, I’ve seen Batman v Superman: World’s Finest (See Warner Bros.? That’s a GOOD title. And not much sillier than Dawn of Justice, either!) multiple times, and I’ve given myself some time to process my feelings on the film. I know that everybody who didn’t love the movie is kinda sick about hearing about it at this point, but oh well.
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
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.
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!
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)
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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-
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.
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-
-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.
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
- Superhuman speed, agility, stamina, reflexes and strength
Weaknesses: Arrogance. Hubris is the downfall of man, yadda yadda yadda.
-Black Adam. Constantly.
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.”
Continued in Part 2…
Last week, likely in response to Marvel’s announcement of the plot details to Captain America 3, Warner Bros. decided to go one further by announcing all of the movies planned for the DC Cinematic universe up to the year 2020, along with some casting details and a couple director announcements. So, was this really a hasty, impulsive announcement that doesn’t really bode well for DC’s ongoing rivalry with Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, or is this a genius publicity move by WB that will get people to forget all about the MCU?
Definitely the former. That doesn’t mean I’m not interested though. So, after getting through the last of my TV reviews until this week’s Legend of Korra episode, I decided to take a quick look at the movie announcements, with each movie accompanied by a short blurb. Let’s do this!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Release date: March 25, 2016
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder
Screenplay by: Chris Terrio (Argo)
Story by: David S. Goyer
Cast: Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), Ben Affleck (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman/Diana Prince) Amy Adams (Lois Lane) Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) Diane Lane (Martha Kent) Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor) Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth) Holly Hunter (U.S. Senator) Tao Okamoto (Mercy Graves)
Cameos: Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/Aquaman) Ray Fisher (Cyborg/Victor Stone)
This is the movie that we currently have the most information on, as it’s currently the only movie that’s in production. Really, there isn’t much more to say about it. I still liked Man of Steel more than most and think that the returning cast from that movie could do a great job, I still have faith that Ben Affleck can pull Batman off (Even more so now that the photos of him in the batsuit have been released), and Jesse Eisenberg is still kinda iffy for me. I guess this is where you pull the Heath Ledger card on me, because “You don’t now if he’s gonna be great until you see him.” That’s true enough, I suppose. I guess we’ll just wait and see.
Also, high fucking time that Wonder Woman appears on the big screen. We had a damn Steel movie with Shaquille O’Neal and no Wonder Woman? Bullshit.
Release date: August 5, 2016
Directed by: David Ayer
Screenplay by: Justin Marks
This…. This announcement really threw me off.
I just don’t get it. There was no solo Batman or Superman movie announced, and yet, a Suicide Squad movie?
The only possible reason that I can imagine why this was green-lit is that Warner Bros. saw Marvel and Disney make all the money because of Guardians of the Galaxy and thought “Hey, we can make a movie starring charming criminals who become reluctant heroes!!! Let’s do that!”
Regardless, I’m still pretty pumped about the movie, although I’m kinda pissed off that it doesn’t look like Harley Quinn’s gonna be in it as, morbid sexual attraction aside, I think she’s a great character. But hey, Deadshot’s gonna be there, and even if he’s got a bunch of nobodies behind him, they’re in negotiations to bring in an A-list cast of Will Smith, Ryan Gosling, Tom Hardy and Margot Robbie (Who, just saying, would be a great Harley Quinn). Also, David Ayer is a pretty highly regarded director, having helmed movies like Fury and End of Watch. I dunno, it’s bizarre, but it could pay off.
To be continued…