ONCE AND FOR ALL, PEOPLE. . .
That's it, right there: the ten most frequently-utilized Avengers of the Silver Age, on the one hand; and the ten most constantly called-upon JLAers of the Silver Age, right there on the other.
No Phantom Strangers or Firestorms or Orions, in other words. No Black Knights or Sersis or Hulks.
The movers and shakers.
The BIG Dawgs. ;-))
No rocks. No trees. No buildings. No mountains.
No oceans or ocelots. No gullies or gophers or gazelles.
No deep, comforting waters for Aquaman. No dense, concealing jungle foliage for the Panther. No jutting skyscrapers or concrete canyons for the Batman.
No nuttin', in other words.
#3 NOBODY --
-- and this'un is the single most critical and overriding factor of them ALL, okay? The very ne plus ULTRA of tactical determinants; the be-all and the END-all; the mother of ALL situational "gimmes" --
These here costumed combatants are all meeting one another for the very first time; just as God (and George Perez) originally intended.No one on the Marvel team knows (f'rinstance) that Green Lantern's power ring is virtually useless versus lemon peels and dead canaries, lobbed with sufficient velocity.
Nary a soul on the DC side of the plain knows (again: just as a f'rinstance) that Thor Minus Magic Mallet = Puny and Readily Stompable Nerdy Lame Guy.
Unca has seen how you all are, you see, on the various message boards and suchlike; worrying this particular If-This-Then-That bit of business like so many scrappy and stubborn terrier puppies.
"Okay. So: Scarlet Witch and Thor would immediately gang up on Superman, crack off the bat. Because they can both see that big, red-lettered, bold-painted sign dangling from his neck. The one saying: ALL MAGIC-WIELDING OPPONENTS PLEASE JUMP UP AND DOWN REPEATEDLY ON MY HEAD, UNTIL I FALL DOWN AND COUGH UP INTESTINAL BLOOD AND DIE."
"Okay. So: Superman and Green Lantern both jump all over Thor and take turns sucker-punching him and steal the hammer, see? And then they wait for him to revert back into his human form. Because they know he will, right? And then they take turns using the hammer to beat his brains out."
Unca is here to tell it to you plain, people:
Ninety-nine percent of you kids are nucking futs when it comes to this here particular issue. ;-))
WIZARD Magazine's blatantly one-sided wishful thinking (mercifully) aside: most comics characters generally don't rush headlong into battle, shrieking their various and respective weaknesses and vulnerabilities at the tops of their spandexed lungs. ("My ring is completely and totally POWERLESS versus the color yellow! Kill me! KILLLLLLLLLLL MEEEEEEEEEEE -- !") ;-))
Lookit, troops: if your own partic'lar favorite battle scenario, JLA/Avengers-wise, hinges even in slightest measure upon the characters themselves possessing and/or acting upon foreknowledge they cannot possibly have (e.g.: "Captain America sees this big, bald, green-skinned goober in a red cape rocketing straight towards him; so Cap does what he always does, in situations such as these: rubs two sticks together, and starts a fire.") --
... then: it's bogus, all right?
It also means your chosen "side" (whichever one that might be; IF any) can't make scratch fairly, ultimately. Which is pretty exactly the same thing as stating, baldly: "My Team Is A Bunch Of Weepy And Ineffectual Candy-Asses." I'm just sayin', here, is all. ;-))
... because these are all super-HEROES. You big, dopey palookas.
There. Now all the Garth Ennis fans have wandered away from me, again. ;-))
Seriously, though: fans of both teams had better oughtta be durned good'n'grateful that Unca isn't going the buckets-o'-blood route, on this one.
Otherwise: all the Thor fans would end up cheesed off over his having Superman (say) melting Thor's eyes into gooey, sightless ruin, from afar, with his heat vision;
and all the J'onn J'onzz devotees would be mewling and whining when (again, say) the Scarlet Witch hexed his interior organs outside and three feet to the left of his body. ;-))
So: two teams of ten, then.
They've just now found themselves mysteriously teleported approximately one hundred feet away from one another, in two separate bunches.
Each team has been given ample (and wholly convincing) reason to believe that the other is -- in all actuality -- a hardened and unsavory collective of extra-dimensional super-villainous types.
All flight-capable heroes and/or heroines are already airborne and hovering.
Fastest moves firstest, obviously. (Just like in real life, in other words.)
Let's get busy, then, shall we...? ;-))
All super-speedsters move first.
For the Silver Age JLA, that means: Flash. Superman. And Wonder Woman.
For the Silver Age Avengers: Quicksilver.
Starting from the baseline assumption that nobody hereabouts harbors any serious doubts as to whether or not the late, lamented Barry Allen really and truly was The Fastest Man On Earth: we''ll start out with his move, first.
The two most patently obvious non-airborne threats on the Avengers' side (working solely from visual cues; which is all he has to decently work with, right here, right now) are the fifty-foot-tall colossus (Goliath) and the dude hefting the bow and arrows (Hawkeye).
His powers not being especially well-suited to slugging things out with your basic, standard, garden variety gargantuoids, overall: the Flash launches himself durectly towards the Avengers' resident archer.
The Silver Age Superman was continually shown to be only the slightest bit slower than his crimson-garbed JLA comrade... so: he's next. And -- being airborne -- he's (naturally; being, y'know, Superman, and all) going to go for the most immediate and obvious threat from his perspective, as well.
Of all the airborne Avengers (Iron Man; Thor; Vision; and the Wasp): two of 'em are (apparently) weaponless; one of them is gripping what appears to be an oversized croquet mallet...
... and the last one is sheathed head-to-metallic toe in what is (clearly) super-scientific body armor.Pietro's decision is very nearly the mirror image of the Flash's own, nano-seconds earlier: one of the non-airborne JLAers (specifically, Green Arrow) is toting a bow and quiver; whereas the others don't appear to be brandishing much of anything, ordinance-wise. And Quicksilver (it should be remembered) knows full well how dangerous an opponent a trained archer can be; having joined the Avengers right alongside said team's own battlin' bowman.
Therefore: Quicksilver hyper-locomotes his bad self towards a planned rendezvous betwixt his balled fist and Green Arrow's unsuspecting bridgework.
Superman, therefore, rockets towards Iron Man.
Wonder Woman and Quicksilver both move next, at this juncture.
Finally: warrior princess Wonder Woman whizzes unerringly towards the other manifest physical threat; the one Superman and Flash neglected, in favor of their own current opponents: Goliath.
That leaves three airborne heroes on each team, then... so: we'll let them mix it up, at this juncture.
Because the JLA got the better of things during Segment One of this battle, initiative-wise -- and because Unca strives for ruthless fairness, always -- he'll allow the Avengers to pick their own opponents, for this go-round.
Thor sees three potential nemeses, hovering directly before him: a green, bald-headed dude; some joker with a glowing emerald ring...
... and -- Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! -- some stern-faced winged fellah, with a battle mace!
Thor moves in towards Hawkman, licking his Asgardian chops in eager anticipation.
The Vision could go either way, really. His remarkable synthezoid senses inform him that -- of the two enemies remaining, within his immediate airspace -- one of them is wielding an alien power-channeling device of some sort; and the other one is (patently) an alien creature, from God alone knows where, really.
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The Vision coolly wraiths his imperturbable way towards J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.
The plucky Wasp zips towards the sole airborne JLAer remaining, then: Hal Jordan, Green Lantern.
That just leaves the grounded trio remaining, for each team, respectively.
For the JLA: Aquaman; the Atom; and the Batman.
For the Avengers: the Black Panther; Captain America; and the Scarlet Witch.
Captain America and the Batman -- being the most practiced hand-to-hand combatants, at this altitude -- both move first.
The Batman has already picked out his opponent: that silent, ebon-clad cat-like feller, across the way: the Black Panther.
Cap, in the meantime -- noting the Batman's movement towards the Panther; and fully confident in his longtime friend, T'Challa's, ability to defend himself, thankyouverymuch -- is already rushing towards the largest JLAer remaining: Aquaman.
That just leaves the Atom, then; who's already headed on a teensy, tiny collision course with the Scarlet Witch's pretty little jawline...
... and: that's the end of Round One.
... picks up right where Round One left off.
As fast on the draw, archery-wise, as ol' Clint Barton was (and still is): he's never, ever faced an opponent who can move at speeds capable of making even Quicksilver seem as if he were standing stock, stone still.
The Flash takes him out in the silent half-space between heartbeats.
Superman wallops Iron Man with one of the very same hands so often employed in (say) shoving rogue planets to one side; the way you or I would brush aside a beaded curtain.
Unca's going to give Shellhead the benefit of the doubt, here: that (justly) fabled armor manages to keep Tony Stark's head still attached to the rest of his body. Barely.
Unca's going to extend his auctorial largesse even further, however, on behalf of the beleagured Iron Man: allowing the latter to fire off a savage and accurate pair of "repulsor ray" blasts, directly into the face of the same alien being capable of swan-diving his way through the hearts of exploding super novas .
For all the bloody good it'll do him, I mean. ;-))
Either way: the Armored Avenger is, plainly and simply, playing out of his (you should only pardon the expression) league, this time out.
The infinitely more powerful (and more invulnerable) Superman peels that super-sophisticated, high-tech bodysuit like a big, metal banana. ;-))
The Quicksilver/Green Arrow match-up, in the meantime, is a redux of the earlier Flash/Hawkeye one. (Boy... kinda sucks, bein' an archer-type hero, when your opponents are all god-like beings, huh...?) Green Arrow goes down quicker'n a submarine staffed full of Monica Lewinski's. ;-))Wonder Woman -- one of only two JLAers capable of slugging it out with teammate Superman, toe-to-improbably-powerful-toe -- high-speed bodyslams into an uncomprehending Goliath's jaw with all the impact of a small and shapely meteor.
The Silver Age Wonder Woman was (as we were incessantly reminded) "faster than Mercury, and stronger than Hercules."
Maybe he remains conscious long enough to require a second punch.
... or: Diana could simply end things the merciful way (in accordance with her Amazonian heritage), and command the stunned scientist to fall fast asleep, via her Magic Lasso.
Either way, however: stick a fork in him. He's done. ;-))
Thor launches a hammer strike, meanwhile, smack dead-on towards the stoic Hawkman; the later whom coolly attempts to deflect said mallet, with a swing of his trusty battle mace.
We won't be hearing from the man from Thanagar again until this battle is long, lonnnnnnnng over.
When he finally regains consciousness, that is.
In a body cast. ;-))
... and, while all of this violence and carnage is going on: the Vision has reached the Martian Manhunter, and is engaging in his standard offensive ploy; reaching into his opponent's chest, and turning his unliving hand semi-substantial.
J'onn J'onzz, however, is an alien being with complete and total control over every molecule of his body; capable of (f'rinstance) turning invisible; shape-shifting into any form whatsoever --
... and (most directly to the point, here) turning intangible his own bad, bald-headed self.
Unca's "take" on this'un is as follows: the combination of alien physiognomy and (highly probable) instinctive, defensive shifting to "wraith" form keeps a (nonetheless) stunned and reeling J'onn in the proverbial game, for another round.
He and the Vision are gonna have to continue this brutal business into Round Three, therefore, before it's all over and done with.
|Unca's "take" on this'un is as
follows: the combination of alien physiognomy and (highly probable)
instinctive, defensive shifting to "wraith" form keeps a (nonetheless)
stunned and reeling J'onn in the proverbial game, for another round.
He and the Vision are gonna have to continue this brutal business into Round Three, therefore, before it's all over and done with.
The Wasp (meanwhile) launches herself towards Green Lantern, firing off a nettlesome series of her patented "wasp stings."
One quick'n'efficient power ring'd bubble after that, however: she's a helpless captive... and a combat non-factor.
Sit this one out, Janet.
It's only gonna get bloodier and more awful, from here on out. ;-))Captain America jacks Aquaman's Atlantean jaw for him; introducing regal head to the business end of red-white-and-blue shield, with a brisk and admirable economy of motion.
Yeah, yeah... I know: "super-strong Atlantean muscles," and alla that.
The Good Captain, however, has gone mano a mano against the Sub-Mariner, f'chrissakes. Who -- unlike Aquaman -- can (and has) survived slapping contests with the Incredible Hulk.
I'm thinkin': Arthur ends up slurpin' sushi through a bloody straw, by the time Mr. Stars-And-Stripes gets through with him. ;-))
The Panther and The Bat, meanwhile, are circling one another warily; each one "reading" the tense and coiled movements of the other.
T'Challa is the first to break off the confrontational impasse, ultimately; and the two superbly-trained combatants grapple.
This is another To-Be-Continued bout, fer shure, fer shure.
Finally: the Scarlet Witch -- unable to re-focus her attention (and energy) upon her itsy-bitsy oppponent until he was practically right on top of her -- got a one-hundred-and-eighty pound smackdown, courtesy of pint-sized paladin Ray Palmer, Esq.
So... here's what it all looks like, then, as we enter Round Three:
Both teams have taken significant losses, thus far; with the League now minus the combined services of Aquaman, Gren Arrow and Hawkman...
... but with the Avengers (at this juncture) shakier still; down a full one-half of their total team roster, with Goliath; Hawkeye; Iron Man; Scarlet Witch; and the Wasp all convincingly numbered amongst the fallen.
Advantage, then (so far): the Justice League.
The Flash -- having already disposed of his primary opponent, with hyper-accelerative dispatch -- alertly glances about the field of battle; seeking a likely secondary target...
... and notices -- his own senses being (naturally) more attuned to the observation of this sort of phenomena -- that: "Hey... is that somebody else zipping about at super-speed, by golly...?"
Now: Quicksilver's top speed has repeatedly been given as being something in the 700 M.P.H. category. (Which ain't exactly shabby, by any means, He Added Hastily.)
The Flash, on the other hand, can (and has) surpassed multiples of light speed. While running backwards.
This one isn't even a decent contest, f'chrisaakes.
Quicksilver better hope he can heal at 700 M.P.H., boy. That's all I can say. ;-))
Superman and Wonder Woman are both casting about for new foemen, as well; and observe, jointly, that the sole remaining airborne Avenger not already engaged (i.e., Thor) has just finished playing hackysack with Hawkman's head.
Now: if it was just Superman versus Thor... then: Thor, probably.
If it was just Wonder Woman versus Thor: Thor, almost definitely.
Superman (Juggles Entire Planets. Just For Fun.) AND Wonder Woman (Stronger Than Frickin' Hercules) versus Thor, however...?
Well: both Supes and WW possess super-speed... and Thor doesn't.
They can (and almost assuredly would) approach the thunder god from opposite directions. (Robbing him of the opportunity of a two-for-one "lightning stike"-type attack; even if they weren't both zeroing in at something just under, say, Mach One.)
Even assuming the absolute worst for the Leaguers -- i.e., that Thor turns his fullest attentions against the onrushing Superman, in a ferocious, all-or-nothing assault (which would certainly effect major, major damage to everybody's fav'rite Big Blue Boyscout) --
... that still affords Diana a clear shot at ol' Cap'n Asgard with that funky, unbreakable magic lasso of hers; which has (repeatedly) been shown to be every last bit as efficacious upon the deities of various pantheons as it is on ordinary schlub bankrobbers, and suchlike.
Badda-boom, badda-BING. And the Avengers have just been stripped of their most potent and pressing threat, power-wise.
Meanwhile -- elsewhere, in the killer skies -- Hal Jordan has observed that J'onn J'onzz is having rather the worse of things, Handling-The- Vision-wise; and zooms on over, to lend a much-needed power ringed hand.
Well, sir: it's the Supes/WW/Thor equation all over again, at this juncture. ;-))
Even granting the Vision every last benefit of blind chance -- and allowing him to shift instantly (to say nothing of inexplicably omnisciently) to his secondary mode of attack (i.e., "solar blast") versus an opponent uniquely vulnerable to such an onslaught, overall...
... the avenging android has to turn solid, once more, in order to enact said stratagem.
Let's say the Manhunter does hit the mat, then. Just for the sake of sweet argument, mind.
If the Vision thought he had a fight on his plasticene hands before, with the Manhunter --
... hell: he ain't seen nothin', yet. ;-))
Now: we left the two grim, obscenely wealthy, rooftop-skulkin'-type guys a-wrasslin' back down on the ground, earlier, right...? ;-))
Could go either way, really. T'Challa's probably the tad stronger of the two, physically (we're talkin' a fellah who once wrassled a charging rhinoceros to the ground, back in the JUNGLE ACTION day)...
... whereas the Bat spent a good -- what? -- fifteen or twenty years wandering the globe, mastering every last arcane method of hand-to-hand combat known to man.
AND has a utility belt crammed full of handy, equalizing goodies (gas capsules; a tazer; etcetera), on top of that, for pity's sake.Unca's gonna have to side (somewhat reluctantly, admittedly; he really, really LIKES the Panther, as all good CHEEKS site regulars are doubtless well aware) with The Dark Knight, on this'un.
Whether by studied combat prowess or sneaky, last-ditch belt "gimmick" gambit: the Panther is -- sooner or later -- goin' down.
That leaves the Atom free to turn his attentions, in turn, towards the victorious Captain America; a battle the latter probably expects to win, I'll betcha. Betcha a dollar. ;-))
Unlike the previously vanquished Aquaman, however: Cap is a uniquely skilled hand-to-hand combatant. And (additionally) enjoys the benefit of carrying an indestructible shield into battle, as well.
Too: Cap's probably taken on Ant-Man; Yellowjacket; and the Wasp any number of times, during countless Avengers Mansion training sessions; and (you could probably bet the family farm on it, without sweating it overmuch) almost certainly has a few tactical ploys committed to memory, versus teensy-tiny opponents.
Let's be fair, here: Unca gave the nod to the Bat, earlier, after all.
Cap manages to swat an incoming Atom a good'un, with the shield; making like a red, white and blue Mark McGwire, in star-spangled turn. ("... annnnnnnnnnnnnd: it's headed outta the BALLPARK -- !") ;-))
Captain America's two-for-two...
... and, heck: he isn't even decently winded, yet. ;-))
Round Four, comin' right up... and the ranks have been winnowed further, on both sides:
Well, really: it's pretty much almost over but for the shouting, at this point, isn't it...? ;-))
Superman and Wonder Woman zip in to aid Green Lantern versus the Vision... and: it's gonna be rainin' plastic for days, hereabouts.
The Batman and the Flash double-team Captain America... and: the flag's at half-mast, bay-beeee.
Even had Unca allowed the two "maybe" battles to turn the other way -- granting the Avengers a still-conscious Black Panther and Goliath -- it still wouldn't end up adding enough to the ranks of Team Marvel to make any conceivable difference, raw, nekkid power-wise.
Simply put: even after allowing them every single, last "break" possible and/or imaginable -- reducing (say) the telepathic and shape-shifting J'onn J'onzz to a virtual non-factor, on top of everything else --
... the Avengers of the Silver Age just plain ol' ain't buff enough to take on their DC counterparts, pound for proverbial pound.
Not without playing the typically self-serving logistical games favored by far too many Marvel devotees, online, whenever the subject (inevitably) arises, at any rate. (e.g.: "Thor immediately singles out the one guy out of ten or twelve with the heightened vulnerability to magic, and gives him a fast, hard hammer enema. Just... ummmmmm... because his 'Magic Sense' starts tinglin', or somethin'. He's... like... a god, y'know? Dude.") ;-))
A few quick'n'dirty post-battle observations, at this juncture:
1.) It has been noted, prior to this -- but (just possibly) merits the repetition -- that the chiefest difference between the flagship Marvel Comics characters and the DC Comics one is: the former are the more naturalistic and "human"; and the latter, the more iconic and "god-like."
Unca would like to posit, here, that -- if such is, in fact, the four-color way of things (and, as purest theory: it's certainly open to reasoned and reasonable debate) -- said fannish belief goes a long, lonnnnnnnng way towards explaining the massive and inarguable power differential between the big league team "franchises" for said companies, respectively.
The prototypical DC Comics character is -- whether by nature (think Superman, here); accident (think Flash); determination (Batman); or commission (Green Lantern) -- so far above and removed from the ordinary constraints of common humanity, as to be well and truly something... other.
The prototypical Marvel Comics character, by way of comparison, is (very nearly always) One Who Has Been Exalted; only to end up sighing and pining for their long-lost humanity. (The Thing, longing for a return to the feelings and frailties of the flesh; Spider-Man, staggering under the accumulated tonweight of his own assumed, super-heroic responsibilities; the X-Men, chaffing jointly under the yoke of their own "mutant"-hood; etcetera, etcetera.)
Under meta-fictive constraints such as these, then: it remains highly unlikely that the keystone characters of the latter could ever, ever "measure up," battle-wise, to the (literally) Olympian standards of the former; failing, of course, the standard fanboyish gerrymandering of roster and rationale.
[UNCA CHEEKS' ASIDE: There will be a diehard few, doubtless -- unhappy that their team did not make the logistical "cut," victory-wise -- who will write in, blisteringly: "... yeah... well... the Silver Age DC Comics heroes were obviously too god-like to make a fair match-up out of it. Wouldn't of ended up that way if you'd utilized the present-day JLA line-up, goldang it!"
[Unca would merely like it noted, by way of measured and reasoned response, that said present-day League roster includes a "Green Lantern" whose ring possesses no inherent vulnerability to the color yellow; a "Flash" who can play absolutely devastating little party games with the comparative reaction speeds of both his opponents and his own teammates; and an "Aquaman" whose inborn telepathic abilities have only been cranked up so wayhigh, they now routinely are shown capable of striking down non-aquatic foemen from afar.
[In other words: don't go there, buttercups.] ;-))
2.) There will be some complaints, doubtless, that Unca did not "pair off" the two teams' respective combatants in the standard and accepted combinations. (e.g.: Superman/Thor; Atom/Wasp; etcetera.)
As painstakingly explicated throughout all of the foregoing, however: that's precisely because "the standard and accepted" fanboy permutations in the order of battle -- plainly and simply; far, far more often than not -- depend upon the characters possessing powers; knowledge; and motivations well and truly beyond their respective ken.
Thunder Gods, for instance -- no matter how practiced in the art of combat -- do not (inexplicably) possess the instinct requisite to the unerring "homing in" on those opponents whose chiefest vulnerability is to Thunder Gods, sans prior possession of such knowledge.
Likewise: Martians and Amazonian princesses -- no matter how wise, or stalwart -- can not (again: inexplicably) airily deduce, from the mere possession of a war mallet, that any opponent wielding same needs to maintain near-constant possession of same, minus ready access to a bound collection of THE HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE.
What Unca's been trying and trying to TELL you, people, is this:
There's no good, logical or inherent reason why (say) a Thor; a Superman; a Batman; or a Captain America would (or should) automatically "target" any one particular character, within a crowd of same; save for (as already demonstrated) those visual and/or contextual "clues" as might ordinarily be afforded them, via hurried and adrenalized observation... or, to put it more succinctly:
The common coin of fannish "wisdom" is -- here; as in so many other instances -- counterfeit.
So: what else is new...? ;-))
Now: let's not waste any more valuable breath or bandwidth, endlessly nattering over this silly business anymore, shall we? Huh?
Pretty please...? ;-))
A few quick passes of the mandatory "legal mumbo-jumbo" magic wand, here: all likenesses, images and logos of the comics characters on this and the following pages are the sole copyright and/or trademark of DC Comics, Inc.; Marvel Comics Entertainment Group; Hanna-Barbera Studios; and/or Archie Comics. All movie stills, images and posters are the sole copyright and/or trademark of their respective film studios, fan clubs and/or individual corporate owners; and all album covers, photographs and/or song lyrics are the sole copyright and/or trademark of their respective recording labels, fan clubs and/or individual corporate owners. These images, etc. are reproduced solely for scholarly and/or archival purposes, only; and their inclusion herein is provided for by the appropriate Fair Usage provisions covering (and rendering legal) such non-commercial, not-for-profit usage. No one's making Dime One of profit here, folks... so all you ravenous attorney- types can just sit the @#$% down and enjoy the proceedings along with the rest of us. Destroy All Lawyers. ;-)