By the_red_viper 89 Comments
This is a new thing I wanna try here. My goal here is to determine, more or less, the fighting prowess of various characters, by analyzing their feats and abilities as objectively as possible.
If this first thread gets positive feedback, I will keep it up and make others in the future. I will start with human, live-action characters, and maybe in the future I will advance to other tiers and/or mediums as well.
What is going to be tested here?
The characters I will examine here will be judged by 3 main attributes: strength, speed and skill. In addition, other various factors will be put into consideration - such as endurance, stamina, gear, mindset and so on, depending on the character. In the end, a final verdict will be given, giving the character a numerical rating in strength, speed and skill, and detailing all its other noteworthy advantages and disadvantages.
How do we do this and keep it objective?
The three main attributes - strength, speed and skill, will be gauged by analyzing the feats of the character in question and comparing them to a certain bar, set by another, unrelated character. The bar set in each field will be higher than the capabilities of our test-subject, and in the end our test-subject will receive a numerical rating (X/10) based on how close they got to this bar. The character chosen for each category will be in pretty much the same tier as our test-subject, and will represent more or less the pinnacle of their category in this tier.
To make it clearer, here's an example: let's say we want to analyze the Punisher. In order to rate the Punisher's strength, we will compare it to the strength of Deathstroke - a character who's completely unrelated to the Punisher, coming from a whole other verse. Deathstroke's strength is clearly above that of the Punisher, and will represent a 10/10 in the field of strength. The Punisher's best strength feats will then be analyzed, using Deathstroke's strength as a measuring stick, and the Punisher will receive a rating according to how close his strength comes to that of Deathstroke. The closer the Punisher comes to matching Deathstroke's strength, the higher the rating (for example, if the Punisher comes very close, he will get a 8/10, maybe even a 9/10, but never higher than 10/10). The same will then be done with speed and skill (with different characters used to set the bar in each category most likely). After those three main fields are fully analyzed, we will look at some of our test-subject's other attributes - both good and bad. These different attributes may differ, depending on the character in question.
Hope that makes it clearer. If not, just read on and I'm sure you'll understand.
Who are we looking at here?
This first analysis will discuss everyone's favorite gladiator - Spartacus (unless you're more of a Russel Crowe guy, that is). I decided to make this about him since I think he suffers from a horrible overrating on Comic-Vine, and despite stating my opinion regarding him in detail many times over in different battle threads, and even though I know many people will disagree with me here - I am 100% certain of my opinion on the guy and I want to put it in detail once and for all. Even though it will feature quite a few misinterpreted feats that need to be put into proportion, don't get me wrong here, this isn't a "debunk" thread or a rant of any kind, I loved "Spartacus" and binged it like a madman. I think he is extremely formidable and will pose a challenge to most live-action melee fighters of his tier, I just don't like to see any character's capabilities blown out of proportion.
Before we start, let's set the mood. Spartacus is a gladiator, so this fine track (which personally I absolutely love) seems very appropriate here:
So, without further ado, let's get to it.
Spartacus, as we all know, is a very skilled and experienced fighter. He was a battle-tested Thracian soldier before being captured and enslaved, then proceeded to become one of the most famous and successful gladiators in the Roman Empire. After leading a slave revolt and killing his master, Spartacus became the leader of an army comprised of former slaves, mainly gladiators, and dedicated his life to make the Roman Empire bleed. The Romans suffered great losses against Spartacus and his army, until eventually Spartacus was killed in an epic battle against a Roman force lead by Marcus Crassus - even though it was a pretty close call.
Spartacus boasts good physical stats and skill, mostly as a result of the grueling gladiator training that he went through. Let's start gauging just what this ruthless killer has to offer, beginning with a very important and pretty straightforward physical stat - strength.
As explained above, Spratacus's strength will be analyzed and compared to the strength of another, completely unrelated character. That character would be Ser Gregor Clegane, AKA "The Mountain", from the TV series "Game of Thrones", a monster of a man notorious for his inhuman strength. To make things clearer, in case you did not quite understand the explanation I gave above, for the purpose of this thread - let's say Gregor's strength gets a 10/10 rating. Spartacus's own strength will be gauged by analyzing some of his best strength feats and receive a numerical rating out of 10 in comparison to Ser Gregor's strength.
Let's start by putting forth some of Gregor's strength feats, to use as a measuring stick:
- Easily lifts a man over his head.
- Pops a human skull like an overripe tomato with his bare hands - probably his best strength feat, which is absolutely superhuman.
- Throws Oberyn Martell over a considerable distance with one hand.
- Cuts a man's arm off and kills the man's horse with one swing of his sword (source video here).
Now, let's start going bit by bit, over some of Spartacus's most prominent strength feats. I'll start with a disclaimer - Spartacus has quite a bit PIS showings. He has some crazy super-soldier-level showings, but those are few and far between and every one of those can be countered with a comparable showing that's simply far inferior. I will start with those outliers, in order to get them off the table first.
Let's start with a very notorious feat, from season 1 episode 13:
What we see here is Spartacus, with some help from Crixus who gave him boost with his shield, jumping straight to a 2nd-story balcony. That is definitely a pretty superhuman feat, no doubt about it. I can't think of many non-enhanced characters, if any at all, who could do such a thing. However, that is one of these outliers I was talking about. Spartacus has made many such jumps throughout the show, and has never achieved this kind of result again.
Let's look at this one for example, from season 1 episode 5:
Same ally, same shield, exact same sprint before taking the jump - but Spartacus didn't achieve half of what he did in episode 13.
Here's another, from season 1 episode 10:
A different ally this time, but exact same idea. The double beheading was a nice touch and will definitely be taken in mind here, but the jump itself, which is the point here, was nothing special. In fact, Spartacus literally asked for Varro to position his shield for that jump - which means Spartacus knew he couldn't accomplish that jump on his own. Can be seen here.
One last example, from season 3 episode 10, the very last episode of the show. Spartacus used a pile of dead bodies as leverage instead of an ally's shield in this one, but it doesn't make much of a difference so it doesn't matter:
Again, not near as good as that superhuman jump.
Now, an argument could be made that Spartacus simply jumps as high as the moment requires him to. But that's just another way of saying "he is as strong as the author wants him to be", which means it's quite an illegitimate excuse. Think of all the times when that super-jump could have saved Spartacus. He could have jumped over high walls, clear entire enemy squadrons to reach their commander in the back, etc. That jump wasn't an evidence of Spartacus's real physical capabilities. However, his standard jumps, shown above, do show he is very athletic and in pretty peak physical condition. Credit is given where credit is due, but since I see so many people take that super-jump as if it was legitimate, I had to put this off the table first.
Seeing as the question of super-jumping led to a discussion with some people in PM, who disagree with me about that super-jump being a complete outlier, I have decided to elaborate a little more.
Here are a few of the instances throughout the show where Spartacus COULD have used the super-jump to his advantage, but didn't, with no reasonable explanation other than genuinely not being able to jump like that:
- Why didn't Spartacus just escape Batiatus's ludos in season one? He could have easily jumped over the walls. Why did he have to plan a daring, dangerous, complicated escape which he never even got to carry out? He had to wait for the gates to be voluntarily opened in order to make an escape. There were several instances in season one where Spartacus was practicing alone in the yard at night. He could have jumped over the walls and run away, and it would have been hours before anyone realized he was gone. He clearly wasn't afraid of being caught, since he strongly believes that it's better to die free than live as a slave - and he said as much to Agron in the show's last episode, moments before dying.
- In season 3 episode 2, when the rebels capture Sinuessa, the city's governor locks himself in the city's food storage and threatens to burn it all to the ground, leaving the rebels with no provisions. Spartacus had to distract him while Gannicus and Crixus scaled the walls of the food storage from the other side of it in order to stop him from burning it all down. The walls weren't particularly high, why didn't Spartacus just jump over them and killed the governor himself?
- When chasing Marcus Crassus and his party in season 3 episode 10, why did Spartacus have to fight the entire party, consisting of ~10 men or maybe even more, before engaging Crassus? Why didn't he just jump over them and got straight to Crassus?
- In season 2 episode 5, when Spartacus and the rebels rescued Crixus and Oenomaus from the arena in Capua, Spartacus spotted Glaber watching him from the gallery. The gallery was definitely not higher than the balcony in Batiatus's villa, why didn't Spartacus jump there and killed Glaber? Instead he tried throwing a spear at him, why not jumping and going straight for the kill?
- In season 3 episode 10, after knocking Crassus off his horse, a bunch of Romans formed a small shield-wall between Spartacus and Crassus, which prevented Spartacus from getting to him. Why didn't he just jump over them? He wouldn't have even put himself at a disadvantage, his army was all over the place.
- In season 2 episode 1, Spartacus and a bunch of his men (Crixus and Agron included - his very best), infiltrated Capua to try and rescue Varro's wife. Sparacus spied Glaber standing a bare few meters away from him and ran forward, shoving past Illithyia and Lucretia to try and ge to him, only to be intercepted at the last moment by a Roman soldier. Why didn't he just jump at him? He had his men undercover all over the place so he wasn't really in danger of getting overwhelmed, and one small jump (they weren't even very far apart) could have solved all his problems right then and there. He could have jumped and killed Glaber while one of his men grabs Varro's wife and then make a run for it.
- Season 2 episode 10. After Spartacus and his army infiltrate Glaber's stronghold near the end of the episode, why did Spartacus fight his way to Glaber instead of just jumping a couple of meters to get to him? Not a very long distance. Again, he had his men all around him, it wasn't much of a risk.
- In season 3 episode 3, Tiberius Crassus attacks Spartacus and the pirates while they're having a trade deal outside of Sinuessa. Why didn't Spartacus jump over some soldiers and get to Tiberius? The plume on his helm easily marked him as the commander and Spartacus's army was all over the place, so, again, not really a risk.
Generally, if Spartacus has that much strength in his legs, how is it that he never kills, or at least incapacitates men with every single kick he throws? A kick from a leg that powerful would be like getting hit with a cannonball.
He kicked Glaber in season 2 episode 8:
This was after Glaber betrayed Spartacus's trust and launched a surprise attack against him. A few seconds earlier in this very scene, Spartacus even told Glaber "someday soon I will have your life", and all that is beside the point that Glaber is the man responsible for Spartacus and his wife being sold into slavery in the first place and the show's main antagonist for the first 2 seasons. That kick should have at least sent Glaber flying outside the walls if not outright killed him, but it did no damage whatsoever other than making Glaber lose his footing.
Another one. Season 3 episode 5. Here Spartacus kicks Heraclio, seconds after the latter betrayed him and led a legion of Romans into Sinuessa:
Same idea. Why was Heraclio still alive here? Why did he get up seconds after that and keep fighting like nothing happened? Why didn't this kick kill him? Because Spartacus is not superhuman.
These are just 2 examples off the top of my head. Spartacus never even knocked out anyone with his kicks. Conclusion - his legs aren't uber-powerful, and that super-jump was an outlier that does not correlate with everything else we have seen him doing (or not doing) throughout 3 whole seasons.
Another high-end feat that Spartacus has is this one, also taken from season 3 episode 10:
What we see here is Spartacus sending two men literally flying, each with a single, almost casual strike of his sword. That is pretty high-end, to be sure, however it's inconsistent with Spartacus's standard striking strength, by far.
Let's compare with some other of the man's striking feats, both with and without weapons. For example, here's a showing taken from season 2 episode 7:
As we can see here, Spartacus took a few meters sprint, jumped from an elevated position, and landed a Superman-punch flat on Nemetes's face. Now, you would expect that a man who can send people flying with casual strikes would have left Nemetes unconscious and with a shattered jaw, if not outright kill him with that kind of punch... but he didn't. He made him lose his footing for a moment and stumble backwards, but not much else. Now, of course, the man has better showings than this one. But nothing he's ever done comes close to this contemptuous ragdolling you saw above.
Now that we've cleared the PIS showings, let's get to real business. Spartacus has pretty good strength, which he gained by maintaining the grueling training routine of a gladiator. Other than sparring and weapon training, the gladiators went through many physical exercises as well:
Now let's take a look at a couple of Spartacus's better strength feats, that are still within consistency.
Here's a good striking feat, from season 3 episode 9, where you see Spartacus doing a real number on a Roman soldier with a powerful flying knee:
Another fairly impressive feat is this, from season 1 episode 10. What we have here is Spartacus, who's having some serious emotional breakdown after being forced to kill his best friend Varro, punching the wall in his room. He punched hard enough to send chinks of stone flying, and even burrow a small hole in the wall, but he did kinda wreck his own wrists as well:
Other than that, there's all the usual stuff. Breaking people's teeth, lifting heavy burdens, and chopping through limbs and necks is another day at the office for Spartacus here. Since there's nothing else I would deem especially remarkable to add, let's move on to the verdict.
Spartacus is a very strong man, no doubt about it. He may not be the superhuman that many people seem to think he is, but his feats show with a certainty that he has honed his body to peak human performance.
Comparing that to Gregor Clegane, Spartacus falls short. Burrowing a small hole in a stone wall with multiple punches is a great feat, but does not compare to popping a human skull. Sending a man flying with his knee is pretty damn good as well, but does not compare to tossing a man one-handed several meters away. However, as I said, Spartacus was never supposed to pass the bar set by the Mountain, our purpose here was to estimate how close he would come. And my verdict would be, that compared to Ser Gregor Clegane, Spartacus's strength earns a score of Spartacus can't do anything that Gregor can, but he can at least come close.
Next up - let us gauge the man's skill.
Same as strength, Spartacus's skill will be compared to a bar set by another character. This time, we will be comparing Spartacus's skill to that of CW Ra's al Ghul - a deadly melee fighter with centuries of experience. Skill is a difficult stat to put a number on; it is comprised of several factors, such as speed, agility, dexterity, precision, equilibrium and so on. Therefore, this segment would be more dependent on my own perspective than any of the other segments. The main things I will take in mind here will be martial skill, which means Spartacus's knowledge of fighting techniques and his ability to utilize them, and his ability to fight several opponents at once (though this will also be considered in the "speed" segment).
Here are a few of Ra's al Ghul's feats that we can use as a measuring stick:
- Fights and defeats 8 ninjas who have him surrounded in less than 15 seconds, without taking a hit.
- Despite starting the fight barehanded, Ra's easily beats Oliver Queen, who's already an adept fighter and uses 2 swords.
- Beats Thea Queen, also an adept fighter, with contemptuous ease.
- In their final fight, Ra's beats Oliver again, despite Oliver greatly honing his swordsmanship skills throughout the season and training to fight Ra's specifically. Oliver does kill him with a surprise-counter-attack in the end, but in my opinion Ra's could have killed him if he hadn't wasted his time blabbering. Worth noting that Ra's used a very similar move against Oliver in their first duel that you can see above.
In the above scenes, Ra's has shown a great degree of skill. He is very adept in swordsmanship techniques as well as various hand-to-hand and wrestling moves. Now let's see what Spartacus has to offer and see how close he comes to match the great skill of Ra's al Ghul.
Let's start with focusing more on martial skill - showings of specific fighting techniques and moves performed by Spartacus, both armed and unarmed. Let me start with a showing near the end of Spartacus's very last fight in the show (and in his life) - his duel with Marcus Crassus, as seen in season 3 episode 10:
What we see here is Spartacus countering a counter-move by Crassus. I wanted to start here because it can be compared to Ra's al Ghul's failure to deal with a Oliver's counter-move at the end of their last fight (both moves were very similar, almost exactly the same really), and Spartacus really earns some extra credit for that. Although, as I said and you can see above, Ra's himself used a very similar move himself in the past too, against Oliver. Worth noting that Crassus used this very move in season 3 episode 1 to kill Hilarus - a gladiator who was said to be a famous champion. All in all, it is a fine showing. Not a very complicated or flashy maneuver, but shows good reflexes and adaptability.
Now, moving on to some of his flashier showings. This is a personal fave, from season 3 episode 2, where Spartacus pulls a total Ray Mysterio takedown on a Roman soldier, and killing another soldier with his sword while he's at it:
A very high-level maneuver in my opinion. To be fair, we have to ask ourselves how applicable it really is in combat: perfect precision and timing are a must in order to pull this thing off and get away with it, and there are so many things that could put one in immediate mortal danger when pulling that sort of thing. An enemy behind Spartacus or at his flank in that moment would have killed him in the blink of an eye. A soldier with better strength and balance might have been able to withstand that jump (unlikely though), and a faster one would have been able to avoid it, even a small shift in his stance at the right moment could have spelled failure and death for Spartacus here. That said, it is the only time Spartacus pulled this sort of thing off in the entire show, so I would assume he is well aware of the dangers in trying a move like this and only went for it when he knew he could risk it. The fact he could do it nicely in combat earns him another nod here.
He did pull off something similar in season 2 episode 5:
Now, that move was a lot less risky than the last, since Spartacus performed it against an enemy who was in no position to do anything about it. It was a little unnecessary, but it was flashy and nice nonetheless.
Moving on. Spartacus uses all sorts of martial arts moves in his fights pretty much all the time. For example here, in season 2 episode 6, where he countered a punch thrown by Gannicus, used his momentum and turned it into a throw:
He has a lot of other showings of using certain moves and techniques in his fights, no point in showing them all, or this thread would last forever. Point is, the man's got moves.
Now, let's get to the other aspect of the "skill" segment - Spartacus's showings against multiple enemies simultaneously. Ra's al Ghul's bar of stomping 8 ninjas is a very high one for Spartacus to live up to, so let's see what we have.
Now, I'd like to start with some of his season 1 showings. The thing about season 1 is, that in it, Spartacus was still a gladiator - and most of his fights were in the arena. Fighting in the arena isn't the same as fighting on a real battlefield, for the reason that gladiators fighting in front of a huge crowd have it in top priority to prolong the fight as much as they can, in order to provide a good show. Because of that, gladiators often choose to toy with one another, and don't always fight as effectively and lethally as they would under other circumstances.
Let's start with Spartacus's first fight in the arena, from season 1 episode 1. In that fight, Spartacus wasn't even a gladiator yet - he was a prisoner on death row, given a sword and set against four trained gladiators by himself - seemingly impossible odds. While Spartacus wasn't a gladiator yet, and wasn't as skilled or as fit as he was throughout most of the show - he was still the veteran of many battles and knew how to fight. He was fatigued and malnourished though. Anyway, here it is:
(sorry for the Italian, good-quality Spartacus full scenes are borderline impossible to find online and the only one I had is this one, couldn't find an English one. The talking isn't all that important though).
Now, as the fight starts, Spartacus is surrounded by 4 gladiators. He manages to avoid some of their first swings at him, but they eventually overwhelm him and put him on the ground after laying some hard hits on him. The shield to the face that he takes in 0:27 and the axe-shaft to the head at 0:37 are an example of what I was describing earlier - either hit would have been a killshot in a regular battlefield, but in the gladiatorial arena, the gladiators chose to abuse their "victim" instead of killing him to amuse the crowd. Then they do the most typical thing for a gladiator - they disperse to flex their muscles for the crowd, with only one of them remaining to finish off the prisoner. However, Spartacus finds some source of inner strength after remembering something that his wife told him earlier in the episode and springs up with a fast attack before the gladiator can finish him off. Then comes the better part of this fight for Spartacus, where he fights the other three and does a lot better than he did before. While he did get hit once or twice more, he finishes all three of them off quite effectively. All in all - not perfect, but a good feat nevertheless.
Now, another one would be here, from season 1 episode 7 (warning - loud and crappy music added in the background. Told you good videos are hard to find):
What we have here is Spartacus, facing 6 men by himself (he wasn't supposed to face them alone, but chose to, because those were men from Thrace- Spartacus's homeland. Spartacus wanted to do this by himself because he didn't want anyone else killing men from his homeland). Anyway, as we can see in the video, he charges in (after doing that oh so idiotic thing with the spear) and starts fighting the six men. He does relatively well in the first ~15 seconds (hard to say for sure with all that slow-mo but it was somewhere between 15 and 20 seconds), tagging his enemies a few times but not avoiding getting hit himself - and then he takes a blow from a warhammer straight in the chest and goes hard to the ground. Again goes the same deal as above: his opponents lay some unnecessary abuse on him while also flexing their muscles for the crowd's amusement, one guy goes back to finish the job, Spartacus finds some inner strength after remembering some motivational cliche that his dead wife told him once, and the fight is on again. Except here, these Thracians do the most idiotic thing they could have possibly done (and I really have no idea why they did it) - they start coming at him literally one at a time. Then it becomes a cakewalk for Spartacus here, because fighting one half-trained dude six times in a row is far easier than fighting six half-trained dudes all at the same time. To be blatantly honest, this fight is really not much of a feat for Spartacus. Losing to 6 guys then killing them one by one isn't really a skill-ish showing. So, for all the people who love saying that "Spartacus solo'd 6 enemies" - he didn't.
Lastly, there's one more showing from season 1 that I would like to discuss - from episode 12. This time, the fight doesn't happen in the arena, but in Batiatus's villa, with the odds stacked heavily against Spartacus - he's forced to use two wooden practice swords against Roman soldiers wielding real swords (again sorry for the foreign language, but as before the talking isn't really important):
This fight was held for Glaber's amusement, as a "demonstration" of Spartacus's famous skill. Glaber had Batiatus give Spartacus 2 practice swords, then started sending his own soldiers against him. As we can see, first Spartacus is fighting one opponent, and takes him out pretty quickly. Then two more are put against him, and they too are soon out of the game. Then comes the real fight, where Spartacus faces 4 soldiers at the same time. First, only two charge at him, to which Spartacus reacts well. Then the third charges in, and as Spartacus dodges his charge, one of the first two kicks him in the back of the knee and drops him (2:29). If you look closely in the background, the 4th soldier - who is yet to join the party - actually punches the one that Spartacus just dodged. Whose side are you on, dude? Then he remembers that Spartacus is his enemy and joins in, and lays a beating on Spartacus along with the 2 other soldiers who are still standing. Then, check this, at 2:55 that friendly-fire soldier (or maybe it was another one, hard to say for sure) actually hits one of his comrades with his own sword - again, with the same savage blow that cut Spartacus's wooden sword in half. In other words, it's either that these guys' loyalty is very questionable, or they're just a lot less than competent. I'd bet on the latter. Now, after hitting his mate, that soldier kicks Spartacus down into the water. And then - when Spartacus is down flat on his back, with water in his face and his "weapon" broken in half - that soldier chooses to patiently wait for Spartacus to get up and give him an angry look before attacking. As we've seen before, letting this guy regain his footing and coming at him one by one is a very bad idea. Of course he makes short work of that soldier and the other one who wasn't already out, but it's still far from a clean showing - especially considering that one of these four Romans was actually taken out by his own comrade. We do have to take in mind the fact that Spartacus wasn't using real weapons here - he was all but unarmed. Sure, wooden swords can be used as blunt weapons and deliver a painful blow, but they're not designed for such fighting style like clubs or maces and using a wooden sword against enemies wielding real steel isn't something to be overlooked.
Now, let's talk about another scene of Spartacus facing multiple enemies - but this time only two. This one is from season 3 episode 9:
Earlier in the episode, Spartacus and the rebel army capture Tiberius, the son of Marcus Crassus, along with a handful of his men. This happens shortly after Naevia delivers Spartacus the news of Crixus's death, so Spartacus decides to hold "gladiatorial games" to honor Crixus. The "games" are held with Spartacus and his men facing Tiberius's men. The first fight has Spartacus fighting 2 men simultaneously - which is what we see above. Well, to put it simply - he humiliated them. Sadly, the videos that I posted originally - depicting the full fight - were removed from YouTube so we have to settle for this one. He started by letting them come at him, tagging them a little here and there, mostly to amuse the crowd - same as in real gladiatorial games. It goes on for a while until one of them tags Spartacus and puts a cut on his cheek. Shortly after, Spartacus ditches his swords (which is where this video starts) - but don't worry, this is the good part of the fight since this is where the real humiliation started. He takes on both soldiers, at the same time, barehanded - and wins. This is probably Spartacus's best showing against multiple enemies, because he was literally toying with them, and killed them both after taking only one cut himself.
Now, of course, he was outnumbered in almost all of his fights in the show, often relying on superior tactics and guile to fill in for numbers disadvantage, and many times he's come out none the worse for wear. But just as often, and perhaps more often, he gets tagged by his enemies and in some of the times, like you saw above - he's escaping death by the skin of his teeth and his enemies' idiocy.
For example, here, in season 3 episode 2, where he was disarmed, punched and nearly overwhelmed by a Roman guardsman:
He did retaliate and regained control, but still not what you'd expect of the guy. Another example can be seen here, in season 2 episode 1, where he was tagged twice in a row when fighting 2 mercenaries:
Again, of course it didn't stop him and he killed them both after a little while, but that cut to his back could have easily been a fatal one if it had gone just a little deeper, or was aimed a little higher. Spartacus was very lucky here. Another example is this one, from season 2 episode 9, where Spartacus gets momentarily overwhelmed by 2 Roman soldiers:
It skips scenes right after that shot so we don't get to see the whole course of the encounter, but when it gets back to showing Spartacus and Gannicus, who were by there by themselves against a pretty big bunch of Romans, they seemed to be handling things pretty well.
One last showing for this bit is again from the show's last episode - season 3 episode 10. The original video that I posted here was removed from YouTube as well, and I couldn't find anything good enough online, so I went ahead and uploaded it myself (first time I ever uploaded anything to YouTube, it's a lot easier than I thought it'd be really):
What we have here is Spartacus, in his final battle, chasing Marcus Crassus's party for quite a long distance by his lonesome (you can see that the two armies fighting one another are pretty far off), and facing them in battle before engaging Crassus himself. Now, that was quite a lot of people there, and they didn't give Spartacus a very easy time. While they did not charge at him one by one, they didn't come at him all at the same time either. They came at him in pairs more or less, and in very quick succession, and he handled them pretty damn well. He was tagged a few times (0:38 for example, and 0:47), and it is worth noting that he didn't really kill them all (at 0:58 he throws one of the soldiers at three others without directly engaging them, and they didn't come back so I'm guessing they rolled down the hill or something, so that kinda counts for BFR). It's one of the man's better showings in my opinion, though, which also shows stamina in addition to skill - and a bit of strength with his killing blow against the spearman (1:03).
As for good showings against skilled opponents, the only two that I really feel have to be included here are his fight with Gannicus in season 2 episode 6 (relevant bit starts at 1:38), in which they were about equal until the fight was interrupted, and his fist-fight with Crixus in season 3 episode 7 (relevant bit starts at 1:35) which Spartacus won. Both Gannicus and Crixus are great warriors and matching/beating them are great feats on Spartacus's part. Not much to say on these, both were good fights and Spartacus was on the delivering end at least as often as he was on the receiving end in both cases.
Now, before moving on to the skill verdict, I'd like to point out one more thing that I always bring up on debates involving Spartacus: his main adversaries - the Romans - are awful fighters. I mean, regardless of how well trained Roman soldiers were (or weren't) in reality, in the show they're a disgrace. A few examples of that can be provided. One of those would be from season 2 episode 6, where three Roman soldiers get trashed by Ashur. Now, Ashur - by his own admission, and as seen throughout the prequel miniseries "Gods of the Arena" - was the lousiest gladiator in his brotherhood. He was very bad by gladiator standards, and what's worse is that this fight was about the first time he held a sword after a few years of recovering from a crippling injury. What makes this even worse still, is the fact that those three Romans were actually relatively high-ranked, meaning that they would have been better trained than common soldiers. In fact, one of them was Salvius - Glaber's own Tribune (second-in-command). Another example would be when Naevia defeated Tiberius Crassus in season 3 episode 9 (unfortunately there isn't one full, good-quality video of the fight so you'll have to settle for 4 parts - part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4). Now, Tiberius has shown several times throughout the season to be superior to regular Roman soldiers, and while Naevia wasn't an amateur or anything, she wasn't too good either. I mean, only a few episodes earlier - in season 3 episode 3 - she was almost killed in a fight with Attius, and Attius wasn't even a warrior - he was just a blacksmith, and in addition he was using an improvised weapon against Naevia's sword. One last example would be from season 3 episode 6, where Julius Caesar - one of the greatest Roman fighters in the show - almost loses to Donar in a fight. While it's true that Donar was a pretty beastly warrior, in his fight with Caesar he was suffering from pretty harsh injuries that he received before, and was also using a sword whereas his weapon of choice was always an axe. Caesar only gained an opening by hitting the deep stab wound that Donar already had in his belly from before this duel. If not for the preexisting wound, that punch would not have so much as annoyed Donar and Caesar would have died. With all this in mind, whenever Spartacus beats Romans and makes it look easy - it should be taken with a grain of salt. Beating Romans, in fact, IS pretty easy. Alright, NOW let's get to the verdict.
Spartacus is undoubtedly very skilled. He has shown knowledge on many fighting techniques and maneuvers, and has mastered several weapons as well (which I didn't really talk about here). While the moves he uses are sometimes flashier than those used by Ra's al Ghul, they're not more effective or anything. Spartacus's ability to counter the special move by Marcus Crassus earns him a big nod here as I said earlier too. When we consider Spartacus's showings against multiple opponents, he doesn't really come very close to Ra's al Ghul's feat of eating 8 ninjas who had him surrounded in only a few seconds. Spartacus has shown the ability to take on great numbers, but not so many at the same time, and he almost always gets tagged. His feat of toying with 2 Roman soldiers while unarmed was a very good feat, but I would say that Ra;s al Ghul beating Oliver Queen while unarmed tops that, since Ollie was already a trained warrior with great skill whereas the Romans... not so much. Spartacus has some good showings against skilled opponents such as Gannicus, Crixus and Marcus Crassus too. All in all, Spartacus is an extremely skilled individual. But compared to the very high bar set by Ra's al Ghul, I think that Spartacus's skill earns a score of While he cannot take on as many people as Ra's al Ghul, certainly not with such contemptuous ease, he can handle himself fairly well while greatly outnumbered, in situations where even greatly skilled warriors will be hard-pressed to survive. He'd be able to handle himself very well against 2 or 3 enemies at the same time, he'll manage with 4, but will start having trouble with more than that (though he has shown to take on a lot more fairly well when they just don't come at him all at the exact same time). His knowledge of fighting techniques and especially unarmed moves that can come in handy even against armed opponents is pretty great, and he uses it often to great efficiency, even though sometimes he uses unnecessary moves for the sake of flashiness - but hey, you won't hear me complaining about that.
Now, for the last of the three big segments of this thread, before moving on to Spartacus's miscellaneous advantages and disadvantages, let's take a look at the man's speed.
Here, in my opinion, Spartacus faces the highest bar yet. His speed will be gauged in comparison to that of one of my favorite TV badasses, and a ruthless killer with hundreds of kills to his name - Sunny from "Into the Badlands". When looking at speed, we will look mainly at combat speed - how fast can Spartacus fight, and reaction speed - how he deals with fast attacks coming his way. His ability to deal with multiple enemies at the same time, which we already saw in the "skill" segment will also be factored in here, in one way or the other. This segment will be relatively short since Spartacus's speed is pretty consistent, and it isn't complicated to gauge, like skill.
As usual, let's start with seeing some of Sunny's showings of speed for future reference. It's pretty hard pinpointing the man's exact speed feats since everything in this show, well... just happens so fast, but here is a fair taste:
- One of the first big fight scenes in the show, where Sunny faces a few dozen foes on his own. It's pretty standard for him really, but here are a few markers to note in regards to speed: 0:47-0:52 - Sunny, while flat on his back, removes the legs of quite a few people around him in about 4 seconds. 0:58-1:03 - Sunny kills 4 men who have him surrounded in as many seconds, then proceeds to kill some more in a pretty cramped space. 1:15 - deflects a thrown axe back at his enemies with contemptuous ease. 1:29-1:32 - kills 6 men who have him surrounded (pretty much off-screen so pay close attention) in about 3 seconds or so. Anyway, just watch the whole scene, it shows Sunny's standard combat speed pretty well in my opinion.
- Here Sunny deflects and dodges a multitude of crossbow bolts while running at the shooters through a corridor. Couldn't find it on YouTube and I couldn't fit the whole thing into a single GIF, but for reference, he only got hit twice in the entire run (including the one that appears in the GIF) which is pretty damn impressive.
Each of the 16 episodes of "Into the Badlands" features at least a few fight scenes, and I can't really post all of Sunny's impressive speed feats here - but these should give you the idea on how fast the man is.
Now, Spartacus has quite the bar to live up to. While he isn't as fast as Sunny he is no slouch whatsoever either, so let's see what we have here.
First of all, let's take a look at combat speed - the speed in which Spartacus can deliver effective blows.
One good example would be right here, in this scene from season 2 episode 1:
What we see here is Spartacus killing 3 mercenaries in as many seconds (give or take, a bit hard to tell with all the slow-mo but I'd say it's 3 seconds tops). Now, I'm not really buying the whole "he's so fast that everything around him appears to move in slow-mo while he's maintaining normal speed" nonsense, it's just cool cinematography (which often makes people misjudge certain feats and characters). Spartacus isn't a speedster, he'd have to be like Spider-Man level at the very least to make everything look so slow compared to him, but that showing alone is safe to say that he is definitely quick. The first kill of the three here is a bit iffy, since Spartacus did it by throwing his sword at a distant opponent, but it's still nice. What I like most about this feat is how Spartacus reacted to the enemy coming from behind him a split-second after killing the horseman.
Here's another nice showing of combat speed, from season 2 episode 10:
What we see here is Spartacus and his rebel army storming Glaber's stronghold (which was previously their own stronghold). Glaber, who's hiding in the back and lets his men get butchered while doing all the dirty work since he's a useless coward, has been the show's main antagonist in the first two seasons, so obviously Spartacus is going to be the one to see him killed in an epic fight. So, the man charges ahead of his army to get to Glaber, and what we see here is Spartacus tearing through 2 Roman soldiers in just about an instant, tossing Salvius around and then parrying and headbutting Glaber himself - all in pretty much a heartbeat (turned into 12 seconds by that goddamn slow-mo). Now, it skips scenes after that headbutt, and when it goes back to Spartacus we see him bashing Salvius's head against a pillar which kills him, and then he goes on to dueling Glaber (obviously winning in the end). Anyway, a nice showing of speed.
Now, Spartacus doesn't have anything else that I think is really worth mentioning in regards to combat speed. I can find other cool sequences, to be sure, but it'll just be more of the same. The guy is fast and his speed has been pretty consistent throughout the show and those two showings should give you the general idea. So, let's move to reaction speed.
First, let's talk about this showing from season 2 episode 6:
What we have here is Spartacus (and Gannicus) aim-dodging an arrow fired by Mira. Now, I say "aim-dodging" because that's exactly what it was - you can see in the GIF that Mira warned Spartacus before she let the arrow loose so he wouldn't get hit. I think it's a good showing because Spartacus was locked in combat with Gannicus when Mira shouted her warning, and Gannicus isn't just some easily-disposed fodder, he is a very skilled fighter and in my (unconventional) opinion he's even a better fighter than Spartacus. Heeding Mira's warning and moving out of the way in time while fighting someone like Gannicus is a good feat of reaction speed in its own right, even though it doesn't compare to Sunny's suicide-run in that corridor while deflecting all those crossbow bolts.
Now, as for slower-moving projectiles, Spartacus has some very nice feats. Thrown weapons are usually of no concern to him. For example, there's this showing from season 1 episode 7, in his fight against the 6 Thracians:
Not much to explain, what we see here is Spartacus dodging a thrown axe at relatively close range (looks like 3-4 meters away I believe). Pretty nice. Moving on to another feat of the same category which I personally like better, from season 3 episode 2:
Here you see Spartacus putting a human shield between himself and a spear that was thrown at him. What makes this feat better than the last one in my opinion is that Spartacus only noticed it after it was thrown, so he had a pretty small time-frame to react, especially when you consider that the spear came from above him and probably traveled with greater velocity than it would have if it had just been a straight throw. He dodged a couple more spears in this scene, worth mentioning (one of these you can see in one of the GIFs featured in the "skill" segment). Now, it should be said that dodging an object thrown your way isn't in itself an overly impressive feat. I mean, there's a whole sport based around dodging things thrown at you, it's called "dodgeball". Even still, I think these showings are worth mentioning, dodging that spear for example was far from trivial in my opinion.
One more aspect of speed would be travel speed. While it's not something that is usually discussed and brought into question when discussing characters of this tier (it's usually more important for powerhouses and high-tiers like Superman or the Flash), there's one feat in particular that I'd like to bring up here. It's taken from season 2 episode 7 (relevant part starts at 3:10):
What we have here is Spartacus, reacting to a call from Mira and rushing to save Agron from Sedullus who was stupid-drunk and stupid-angry and trying to kill him. Now, many people seem to think that it was a split-second reaction and movement feat, since you see Sedullus already starting to bring his sword down (3:18). Now, what some people seem to miss is, that by the time Spartacus is already within arm's reach of Sedullus, the latter is clearly only bringing his sword upwards (3:22). The very simple explanation for this is that these two shots (3:15-3:20 and 3:21-3:22) happened simultaneously: Mira called for Spartacus when she saw Sedullus grabbing the sword, or maybe even just throwing Agron to the ground, and Spartacus reacted. In fact, somewhere between 3:21 and 3:22, there's a split second where you see Spartacus rushing forward, and at the left-end of the screen you see Sedullus only beginning to raise his sword. It's not easy to notice, but it's there. It's still a very nice speed feat, but nothing like that Deathstroke-level affair that many people seem to think it was, especially when it's evident that Spartacus was only 5 feet or so away from Sedullus when Mira called for him.
Lastly, one more thing I'd like to discuss in regards to speed is Spartacus's fights shown in the "skill" segment. Namely the ones that involve him fighting multiple opponents. Now, I don't have the means to measure his exact speed in such situations or anything, but the very prospect of fighting multiple enemies at the same time requires good amounts of speed as well as raw martial skill and experience. Spartacus has shown to be able to handle himself well enough against superior numbers, even if he gets tagged most of the time. Sunny, the man who set the bar here, usually gets tagged more than once in his fights as well - but, of course, he's usually facing far greater numbers, as shown in the scene I linked at the beginning of this segment. Another thing to consider here would be Spartacus's fight with Gannicus. Gannicus is, in my opinion, one of the best fighters in the show - even better than Spartacus himself. In the show, he has shown his speed and skill many times over and I believe that matching him in combat is worth mentioning here too.
Well, I'll just be blunt here - Spartacus doesn't come very close to Sunny. His speed, in all aspects, is pretty much the standard for peak-human level characters. He's quick enough to kill multiple foes in the blink of an eye, he's capable of avoiding weapons thrown at him from relatively close range and aim-dodging an arrow, but while it's very nice by "real-world" standards, it's nothing too unique in fiction. He gets credit for consistency, but his level of speed isn't something truly remarkable, and doesn't really live up to the standard set by someone such as Sunny - who, in my opinion, resembles pretty much the pinnacle of speed for live-action street level characters. High as the bar here is, I think Spartacus's speed earns him a score of . He's quick, he's definitely a peak-human and could undoubtedly match and maybe even surpass some world-class champion athletes, but not much more. He definitely can't do what Sunny does for breakfast, I don't think that needs too much explaining.
Alrighty then. Now that strength, speed and skill - the three major aspects that are being evaluated here - are done with, it's time to look over some of Spartacus's other qualities, as well as drawbacks.
Now, this segment will be different from the previous three. Spartacus's various advantages and disadvantages that will be discussed here won't be compared to any certain bar and will not feature a thorough analysis like strength, speed and skill did. Each of Spartacus's miscellaneous advantages and disadvantages will get a short overview, with maybe some GIFs or a videos for reference.
Let's start with a more positive tone, and point out the man's advantages.
Spartacus's stamina is pretty great. One classic example for that appears in season 3 episode 10, right before his fight with Marcus Crassus (see scene above in the "skill" segment). Spartacus, after fighting Crassus's army for a while, runs a few hundred meters uphill (hard to gauge the distance but the video makes it pretty evident that it was a pretty long distance he had to run) and engages Crassus's party before fighting - and for all intents and purposes defeating - Crassus himself. Stamina is very important in fights that drag out over long periods of time. Spartacus's almost complete lack of armor lessens fatigue, and combined with the man's peak physical condition - he can go at it for hours probably if need be.
2. Endurance (pain tolerance):
While Spartacus's endurance isn't as freakish as that of other characters, such as Theokoles for example (who was a complete freak of nature in that regard), it's still very impressive. He can take multiple cuts and bruises and keep fighting like a champ, which happens pretty much every time he fights anyone anywhere throughout the show. He did show to get overwhelmed at times, just barely finding the willpower he needs to get up and keep fighting (for example in his first arena fight from season 1 episode 1, or in his fight against the 6 Thracians in season 1 episode 7), but he has fought through pretty bad injuries many times. For example, this cut that he took from Varro in season 1 episode 10:
As you can see, Spartacus literally laughed it off after taking that cut, but in later episodes it was seen to be very deep and even made him collapse once or twice. Normally, I don't take the odd cuts and bruises as overly impressive showings of endurance, simply because it's only natural for the human body to ignore pain while in a life-and-death scenario and the adrenaline is pumping, but deep injuries like this one are not at all trivial to just shrug off. Worth mentioning that this fight with Varro was a "mock" battle. It took place at a birthday celebration for the governor's son, and was supposed to be just an exhibition for the entertainment of the birthday boy and the other guests. Neither combatant was supposed to die, and both Spartacus and Varro knew it, so I'd say it's very plausible that they weren't even in a "real" adrenaline rush as one would experience in a real fight to the death. Varro did end up dying there, but that's another story - it wasn't supposed to happen and came as a surprise for everybody present. Anyway, Spartacus has great endurance. The training routine of a gladiator, which Spartacus went through day after day for many months, involved getting hurt on pretty much a daily basis. He's been through pretty debilitating experience, such as fighting at the cruel underground fighting pits for several consecutive nights, and ended up living to tell the tale. I mean, the guy goes around headbutting Roman soldiers wearing helmets pretty often too, so yeah, he can definitely take some harsh punishment and keep fighting.
Well, not much to say. Spartacus is pretty damn agile. He can avoid hits and dart around the battlefield with cool maneuvers such as this nice jump from season 2 episode 1:
The man is extremely athletic. Not much needed to be said here, just look back at the GIFs and videos posted throughout the thread and you'll see. He's not Remy LeBeau or anything, but his agility is definitely impressive and he knows how to use it.
Not much to say on this one. The man is a complete savage. He was described in the show (season 1 episode 7) to "fight like a man possessed by the gods themselves" and has lived up to this description pretty nicely. Spartacus does not shy away from quick, efficient kills, he is a ruthless killer and has no remorse. Need proof, just look back through this thread.
5. Guile and leadership:
This one is different from all the other things that appear in this thread, as it doesn't have that much to do with personal fighting prowess. Spartacus has proven to be a great leader, not just because of his ability to inspire loyalty and motivation, but also because of his brains. He's a great strategist and has overcome seemingly impossible odds time and time again throughout the show with creative and brilliant plans and strategies. Be it long planning or quick improvising, the man has proven himself to be very, very smart and a great leader.
Now, moving on to the man's main drawbacks.
This is Spartacus's main drawback in my opinion. His armor isn't what you'd call... good, really. He wears almost none most of the time, and when he does it never covers much of his body. He's used the odd lobstered arm-guards, vambraces, spaulders, greaves and even a breastplate every now and then, but it's a far cry from being consistent and even when he does use these things, they don't offer much protecion and still leave most of his body exposed to damage. He used to wear helmets in season 1 but that ended after episode 5 as well, when Spartacus started training in the "Dimachaerus" fighting style. Endurance and luck can only take you so far, and while it does help him with stamina and a little with mobility too, lack of armor is very, very dangerous.
Well, that one's pretty dependent on who he fights, but I think it's pretty fair to say that his weapons aren't ideal for Comic Vine's battle-board. First of all, the swords he usually favors are pretty short and offer very little reach. Second, if he has to fight someone from a more advanced time-period, his antique steel will put him in a pretty big disadvantage. Spartacus comes from around 100 BC, a time when metallurgy and technology weren't very advanced and his swords would easily nick and maybe even break if he has to face a fighter from an advanced period of time. Even in medieval times, metal was a far cry above what Spartacus has to offer. As I said, it depends on who he fights, and certain rules can be set in battle threads to even it out, but under default conditions - his weapons would put him at a disadvantage against most potential enemies.
Now, that's all she wrote folks. This is everything I think deserves mentioning when looking at our boy Spartacus here. Let's move over to one final summary to gather up everything we've had here so far.
So, we started with gauging three basic attributes that are extremely crucial for every fighter - strength, skill and speed. We set an objective bar for each of those three attributes and analyzed them thoroughly, so let's see what we gathered.
As far as strength goes, Spartacus was assessed compared to a true behemoth - Ser Gregor Clegane, who in my opinion resembles a real 10/10 of strength in his tier. Spartacus's strength is often very overrated because of certain outlier showings which had to be dismissed in the start, but we did see some of his legitimate strength feats such as punching a small hole in a stone wall in a fit of red rage or kneeing a Roman soldier into oblivion. The man is not superhuman, but he does boast peak-human physicals, which earned him a rating of in strength.
As for skill, Spartacus was compared to the deadly Ra's al Ghul from the CW verse. While he does not live up to the bar set by Ra's of killing 8 foes who have him surrounded in mere seconds, or utterly humiliating expert swordsmen with his bare hands, he does have some nice feats worth mentioning. He can take on superior numbers, albeit less than 8, and still end up winning, and he also has great knowledge of fighting and wrestling techniques with he masterfully employs into his fights. While his most common foes - the Romans - were pretty crappy fighters, his feats are still very nice and earned him a rating of in skill. It may not appear as much at first glance, but you have to remember that bar of 10/10 was set by Ra's al Ghul - a killer of amazing skill that very few of this tier can match.
The last of the three main attributes, speed, had a very high bar set by Sunny, who's a speed-freak and is really the pinnacle of speed for this tier in my opinion. Heck, he may even push the limits into a higher tier with his feats sometimes. It wasn't a very close comparison, though; while Spartacus is definitely very fast in both combat and reaction speed, he just doesn't break past the limits of "peak-human" like Sunny does with ease. Set against another human who doesn't break the laws of physics, Spartacus will have the speed advantage more often than not. But not beyond that. All in all, Spartacus's fairly impressive feats earn him a rating of in the speed department.
Lastly, we discussed all of Spartacus's other attributes as a warrior, both positive and negative. As for his advantages, they mostly have to do with his peak-human physical form. He is very agile and has great stamina, and he can take great amounts of punishment before going down. On top of that, he is a ruthless, savage killer who fights with brutal efficiency. He has fire in his eyes whenever he grabs a blade and that alone can overwhelm many opponents. In addition, he is an excellent strategist and tactician, which may be less relevant when gauging his personal combat prowess, but it's still one of Spartacus's dominant qualities and it's definitely worth mentioning here.
Spartacus's disadvantages revolve mainly around his gear. His very minimal, and often nonexistent armor makes him extremely susceptible to damage and could prove his downfall against another quick and skilled opponent. His twin swords, which are his most common weapon of choice, offer pretty small reach which would be a problem when fighting against someone with a bigger melee weapon, such as a longsword or a spear. In addition, the fact that Spartacus comes from an era when steel wasn't very advanced might be a problem when put against someone coming from a more advanced time period.
Bottom line, Spartacus has the stats of a peak human, straight-up great skill, zero remorse and a great tactical mind, all of which make him a very formidable opponent for just about anyone on his tier.
Well, that was a long thread and it took me the better part of a month to write down. I re-watched the whole series for it (admittedly I did skim through many parts that didn't really involve fighting and such), but I did have a lot of fun writing this. Hope you guys enjoyed the read, I would love to hear your feedback on this.