Welcome to the latest edition of 'Best Battles!' As always, this is the place to be on Friday if you sometimes enjoy seeing your favorite comic characters solve their problems with their fist, feet, claws and laser blasts instead of using their words (unless they're Blackbolt, that is). This week, we're highlighting fights with two indie characters you've probably never heard of before -- they go by the names Wolverine and Batman, I believe -- and visually stunning brawl with Silver Surfer.
Did your favorite melee not get a mention? Well, it's possible we didn't read that issue, so be sure to make suggestions in the official Best Battles Discussion Thread from now on. We review that before writing this weekly feature and do our best to get our hands on the issues suggested!
Bruce Wayne vs. Basically all of Norway (Batman #23)
Batman didn't fare too well against the Red Hood Gang in the issue's primary story, but the back-up has a jaw-dropping showing from the hero. We all know Batman can push himself well beyond what most people are capable of, but this is truly impressive -- like, Knightfall levels impressive when it comes to endurance. While continuing his training in Norway, Bruce is thrown into a "deathmatch" and, get this, fights for 28 hours. Not only is he going at it for an absurd amount of time but he continues to knock out everyone who dares to step up to him.
Wayne's "teacher" is telling him war requires killing and Wayne's current predicament means it's kill or be killed. Without crossing the line, she claims his enemies will come back time and time again and eventually they'll get the better of him. And unlike him, they won't resist a killing blow. He may win the individual battles, but the war is a whole different story. But if there's one thing you should know about Batman, it's the dude has a pretty strict no kill code. The overwhelming amount of combat has certainly taken a toll on our hero, but he won't stray from his moral path. He keeps on trucking and using non-lethal measures, even as his opponents attempt to take his life with blades.
Bruce is given a spear, but he breaks off the bladed part and opts to use what remains as a staff. Despite the overwhelming odds, he still refuses to take lethal measures. More and more opponents go face-to-face with Bruce and with one last scream ("Come on!"), he engages this final group of men. Clearly exhausted, Bruce gives it his all and lays into these chumps, dropping them one by one. One man gets a lucky hit but it's not enough to drop DC's iconic hero. Eventually, only Bruce is standing.
After seeing Wayne wipe the floor with so many fighters over such a long period of time, no one else will step up to the plate and challenge him. That's especially good news for Bruce because the dude collapses immediately afterwards. Get some rest, Bruce, because you've certainly earned it .
X-Men vs. Krakoa (Wolverine & The X-Men #34)
Nothing I say could possibly do the following page any kind of justice, so let's just jump right into it, shall we? We'll chat after you've spent a good amount of time gazing at this glorious image. Seriously, just dive right in because this phenomenal sight has left me speechless,
Alright, in case you haven't been following along, Wolverine and his X-Men are attacking Kade Kilgore's Hellfire Academy. Said academy happens to be on Krakoa, a living island. As you can see, Kade plans to defend his base from the X-Men with a slew of these sentient lava spewing (and rather massive) monsters. So, how do you battle monsters like this? If we've learned anything from popular culture, it's by creating our own monsters. In this case, Iceman takes a VERY familiar form for the monster mash. I would have preferred the Megazord but hey, I'll take what I can get.
Yes, Bobby slugging a giant lava creature across the face as an ice Voltron is pretty awesome. How can writer Jason Aaron possibly top that? With a Krakoa fastball special to the face, that's how. Be sure to read Wolverine's final line in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice. You're welcome.
There's a little more of terrific Iceman-Voltron action to be found in the issue, but we limit each highlight to only three images. What this means is you should go pick up WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #34 if you want to fully appreciate even more of the madness.
Silver Surfer vs. Builder Armada (Infinity: Against The Tide Infinite Comic #1)
Nowhere is safe from Infinity -- not even digital comics. The big event spills into Marvel Infinite, creating a brand new series just for Norrin Radd aka Silver Surfer. The story begins with a Builder Army attacking Hy'lt Minor, laying waste to numerous and completely helpless Skrulls. They're doomed until a certain cosmic character comes to their aid, that is. Can you guess who arrives to save the Skrulls from this formidable armada? I'll give you a hint: his name is somewhat similar to Milver Smurfer.
The former herald of Galactus obliterates a large amount of the invasion fleet with ease but it isn't long before he's forced to engage one in close combat. A vicious battle erupts as a blade slices through Norrin's wrist and then into his shoulder. The Surfer is by no means unarmed either, and calls upon something to turn the tide in his favor ("A WILD WOLVERINE APPEARS!").
Before you see how Norrin survives the encounter (yes, he's victorious, believe it or not!), can we all just take a moment to appreciate Agustin Alessio's breathtaking artwork? All of the work on the environment and extra effects are just icing on this superb looking cake. I'm left totally astonished by Agustin's character work. Anyway, where were we? Oh, right, Norrin called upon his board to even the odds. Does he simply bash the enemy in the face with it or send them flying away? Nope and nope! Prepare to see the best use of a cosmic surfboard since probably ever.
This new digital series is off to a fantastic start and is absolutely worthy of your $1.99.
This is usually where we dive into the honorable mentions, but if you have a moment or two to spare, I'd like to take a wee bit of extra time to give some much deserved loved to THOR: GOD OF THUNDER #11.
When it comes to the final battle with Gorr, it's actually a pretty brief event -- too brief to serve as a highlight in this feature. Despite that, it was beyond awesome and begs to be shared, so I'm going to provide the most magnificent scene in the quick battle.
- Iron Fist's students vs. The White Man
- Armstrong's fist vs. an alien's head
- Scarlet Spider vs. Superior Spider-Man vs. Jackal's mutations
- Etrigran the Demon vs. Giant Army
- Wolverine vs. Shin Harada's Ninjas
- Outrider vs. The Inhumans
- Deadpool vs. Butcher & her goons
- Harbinger #15 vs. my heart