Who can beat who in a fight? No matter how far we advance as a civilization or how far we come on social issues, this question will always be one that’s on our minds. Typically we reserve that discussion for real world athletes like boxers or MMA fighters. I as a nerd though will obviously take it to the next level and pit fictional characters against each other, characters whose methods of winning are entirely dependent on the writer of the fight! But it sure is fun to speculate though isn’t it?
Without talking about specific characters, the biggest rivalry in comic books is Marvel Comics vs DC Comics. Both companies boast unimaginably large rosters of spandex-clad, armoured and super-powered heroes and villains. And while the two factions may wage war against each other on a weekly basis in their own worlds, today I’m going to throw a huge monkey wrench into their routines.
When discussing battles between characters who don’t exist in the real world, it’s highly important to establish some ground rules. For all of the fights, we are going to assume that they’re random encounters. That means these characters don’t know anything about each other’s skills, weaknesses etc. (but they can learn throughout the course of a battle). Also, the battles don’t necessarily have to be won via a kill. A knockout is a perfectly fine way to win especially when it comes to those with amazing healing factors – looking at you, Wolverine and Deadpool.
Now without further ado, let’s see who wins in fights between DC and Marvel comics.
15. Kingpin (Marvel) vs Penguin (DC)
Equipment: Penguin has his umbrella that shoots gunfire and can block bullets. Kingpin has his cane that can fire low-power electricity.
Both oddly shaped men in suits who run criminal empires, Wilson Fisk and Oswald Cobblepot are two feared criminals who run parts of New York and Gotham’s underground with an iron fist. But while the Kingpin grew his empire from nothing, Penguin had the benefit of coming from a very rich and high social class family. Does the short stack Penguin have the tools to break the man who can ruin lives with a sentence?
Projected Outcome: Penguin might be oddly agile, possess superior weaponry and his small stature might make it hard for Fisk to grab a hold of him, but once he does, the Penguin will be one with the dirt. Not only does Kingpin tangle with superhumans on a constant basis, Fisk is agile for a man his size and his strength is likely the strongest for a human in the Marvel universe. Not only that, but Kingpin has demonstrated that he can shrug off bullet wounds in a battle and keep trucking forward. The fight ends with Kingpin crushing Penguin’s skull in his hands.
14. Catwoman (DC) vs Black Widow (Marvel)
Equipment: Catwoman has her whip, while Black Widow has her electric shock gauntlets.
Both masters of getting what they want by any means necessary, Selina Kyle and Natasha Romanova have straddled the line between hero and villain, but while Widow seems to have settled on the side of good, Catwoman still enjoys the thrill of stealing too much to become a true heroine. But what happens when Gotham’s greatest cat burglar tangles with one of Marvel’s greatest spies?
Projected Outcome: Selina Kyle is an amazing acrobat and has held her own against some of DC’s best martial artists, but seeing as how any psychological advantage through way of her “assets” is a moot point here, the edge would have to go to Black Widow. Widow has military training from S.H.I.E.L.D, superior physical skills (due to a serum that pushes her body to peak human levels) and tech that is far more advanced than a whip.
13. Vision (Marvel) vs Martian Manhunter (DC)
Cold beings of logic and reason that strive to acclimate to human life, both Martian Manhunter and the Vision are not human but would want nothing more than to stand among them and fight for their lives. While Vision is an android created by the insane robot known as Ultron, Manhunter is the last member of an extinct alien race from Mars. If his backstory doesn’t sound like Superman enough, he has the strength to match Kal-El as well. But will the Manhunter’s weakness to fire see the Vision to victory?
Projected Outcome: The solar jewel in the Vision’s head is a powerful weapon and one that could finish off Manhunter if he could nail him with a heat blast from it, but that’s a big if. Martian Manhunter’s list of powers is so long that even Vision’s computer brain would take a while to download it. Worse off for the android is the fact that he has at times shown that he can be controlled by very powerful telepaths and J’onn J’onzz is a mighty powerful telepath. Chalk up this one for the DC Universe.
12. Wonder Woman (DC) vs Phoenix (Marvel)
Equipment: Wonder Woman has her lasso, shield and sword. Jean Grey can tap into the Phoenix force but isn’t in Dark Phoenix form.
Arguably the most popular female characters of their respective companies, Jean Grey of the X-Men and Wonder Woman are also some of the strongest beings in their universes. Wonder Woman is an immensely powerful goddess warrior literally created by the Greek Gods while Jean Grey is the host of the planet destroying Phoenix Force and an incredible telepath.
Projected Outcome: While the Greek Gods’ blessings have served Diana amazingly in her life as a superheroine, nothing could prepare her for the wrath of the Phoenix force. Obviously if Wonder Woman got close to the longtime X-Man she could slice her to ribbons with her magically enhanced weapons, but Grey’s telepathic prowess and cosmic level of power would ensure her that Wonder Woman couldn’t get close enough for the kill. The Amazing Amazon is powerful, but is out of her league here.
11. Daredevil (Marvel) vs Nightwing (DC)
Equipment: Daredevil has his batons while Nightwing has the same loadout as Batman and eskrima sticks.
Since Batman is preoccupied in another fight you’ll see later on in the list, another member of the Bat family will take on the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen. Trained by the incomparable Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson is one of the most respected heroes in the DC Universe. Matt Murdock on the other hand is one of Marvel’s premier martial artists and has greatly enhanced senses (except of course for sight) stemming from an accident involving nuclear waste. So who takes it in a fight on the rooftops?
Projected Outcome: Like his mentor’s fight later on the list, this is one of the hardest ones to call. While Daredevil’s radar sense would give him an edge over Nightwing, this one comes down to their training. While Daredevil’s trainer Stick is no slouch, Nightwing has been trained by Batman for years. Nothing Daredevil does is anything Nightwing hasn’t seen before. Couple that with all the toys in his utility belt and Dick Grayson takes this fight.
10. Green Arrow (DC) vs Bullseye (Marvel)
Equipment: Green Arrow has his bow with regular arrows, bola arrows and explosive arrows. Bullseye has a bow, regular arrows, throwing knives and a deck of cards.
The obvious match up here would be pitting Green Arrow against Hawkeye, but let’s make a different battle of marksmen and pit Oliver Queen vs longtime Daredevil foe Bullseye. While Queen loves his city and has put his life on the line time and time again to defend it, Bullseye only cares about killing and his next paycheck. With that in mind, who takes a dirt nap from a projectile first?
Projected Outcome: Sorry to disappoint any fans of the Arrow television show, but the emerald archer doesn’t have the means to take out Bullseye in this matchup. Even if Queen’s arrows were to connect, the adamantium in Bullseye’s bones would keep him going long enough to tag Star City’s saviour with something, as Bullseye has shown he can throw anything with deadly accuracy. And if the fight goes down to hand-to-hand combat, Bullseye has held his own and even killed Elektra, one of Marvel’s premier assassins. Arrow is out gunned here… bullseye.
9. Taskmaster (Marvel) vs. Prometheus (DC)
Equipment: Taskmaster has a shield, sword, bow and arrow and two pistols. Prometheus has his armor, helmet, his super-powered nightstick and gauntlets which shoot rockets and gunfire.
While not complete clones of each other, there are definitely some similarities between these two villains. While Taskmaster’s ability to replicate any movement he sees comes from his own natural power, Prometheus has downloaded and stored the fighting techniques of the finest fighters in the DC Universe thanks to technology he developed. But would his technology be enough to fight a man who knows the fighting skills of some of Marvel’s best hand-to-hand fighters?
Projected Outcome: While Taskmaster is arguably a better hand-to-hand fighter than Prometheus, Prometheus’ tactical mind is the key advantage in this fight. Taskmaster may be able to copy movements of great fighters, but he doesn’t have the intuition or minds of those he copies. Prometheus by comparison is an intellect on par with Batman and has shown that by taking down heroes far above his power level. The man in the skeleton mask ends up a corpse by the end of this fight.
8. Green Goblin (Marvel) vs Joker (DC)
Equipment: Green Goblin has his glider, pumpkin bombs and razor bats. Joker has pistols, joybuzzer and his Joker Venom.
Amazing that DC Comics and Marvel’s most popular heroes have villains with affinities for the colours green and purple. Both The Joker and Norman Osborn are insane criminal geniuses who make it their mission in life to torment Batman and Spider-Man. But who would take it in a fight to the death?
Projected Outcome: While the Joker has managed to escape situations that surely should have killed him numerous times, I don’t see how he could escape the wrath of the Green Goblin. Osborn’s arsenal of electricity discharging gloves, bombs and sheer hand-to-hand ferocity would be too much for the Clown Prince of Crime to handle. Joker’s best bet would be his Joker Venom, but Green Goblin’s mask filters out gasses so…
7. Wolverine (Marvel) vs Bane (DC)
One of the most popular heroes in Marvel’s roster, Wolverine is the defining mutant in the Marvel Universe. His fascinating life, amazing powers and gruff personality made him an instant fan favourite in the 70s and his popularity hasn’t died out since. But the criminal mastermind known as Bane has shown to be equal parts brain and brawn, capable of going toe to toe with the almighty Batman physically and tactically. Claws vs Venom, what wins in this battle?
Projected Outcome: With his Venom power up, Bane can easily take plenty of Wolverine’s punishment and dish out quite a bit of his own as well. However, Wolverine’s durability and knack for survival is incredible, adamantium skeleton or not. While I have no doubt that Bane could deal some damage to Wolverine, it’s nothing that would knock Logan out. Wolverine’s wild style has some holes in it, but he will tough it out long enough to slice Bane’s head clean off.
6. Deadpool (Marvel) vs. Deathstroke (DC)
Equipment: Deadpool has two katanas, pistols, sub machine guns, grenades and a teleporter. Deathstroke has his armour, same guns as Deadpool and his signature sword.
Mockery is the sincerest form of flattery, but somehow I don’t think Deathstroke the Terminator finds anything funny about Marvel’s parody of him. Now uber popular thanks to the internet and his recent movie, Deadpool a.k.a Wade Wilson is one of Marvel’s most skilled assassins and possibly the most insane character in the Marvel Universe. Deathstroke on the other hand is a cold and calculating mercenary who stops at nothing to get the job done. But can he get the job done against the Merc With A Mouth?
Projected Outcome: Two words: healing factors. Both characters may possess incredible fighting skill but Deadpool and Deathstroke’s healing factors make this fight much tighter than one thinks. If we were to talk pure fighting skill, Deathstroke would take this one, but Deadpool’s ability to mess with his opponents can’t be ignored. If you combine Deathstroke’s habit of going into a blind rage and Deadpool’s smack-talking and vastly superior healing factor would earn him this victory. If he can’t permanently kill Deathstroke, he’ll just kill him over and over again. A rousing Saturday afternoon for Deadpool.
5. The Incredible Hulk (Marvel) vs. Doomsday (DC)
Special Rules: Not to the death but the first to be knocked out.
While The Incredible Hulk vs Superman has long been a dream match, the Hulk vs the monster that killed Superman makes a more interesting fight to me. Doomsday’s power to adapt to nearly anything and his frightening strength make him one of the strongest characters in comic book history. He might be strong, but the Hulk is the strongest one there is! But is he really?
Projected Outcome: Even with the special rule making the fight more evenly matched, the Hulk is outmatched here. While Hulk has shown that he can take hits from extremely powerful foes, Doomsday’s bone protrusions have been shown to pierce Superman’s skin and he has previously defeated the entire Justice League on his own. I realize that there is the old adage of “the madder Hulk gets, the stronger he is” but I think Doomsday could knock out Hulk while the Green Giant is in a weaker state, finishing him off before Hulk could get warmed up.
4. Thor (Marvel) vs Darkseid (DC)
The heir to the throne of Asgard against the reigning king of Apokolips, both Darkseid and Thor may be worshipped by many but they couldn’t be any more different. While Thor fights for the lives and freedoms of the innocent, Darkseid wishes to kill all life in the universe with the Anti-Life equation and remake the world in his own image. If the winner gets the other’s realm, who wins?
Projected Outcome: Talk about a clash of the titans. In a battle that would most likely last for hours, it is very difficult to call a winner. Thor is the superior fighter and Mjolnir is one of comic books’ most powerful weapons, but Darkseid has fought and beaten Superman and other DC all stars and won. The great equalizer for Darkseid in this fight would be his un-dodgeable omega beams. These beams have a crazy set of effects including teleporting the target through time and space and are strong enough to worry Superman. The planet they’re fighting on would surely get destroyed in the cross fire, but the God of Apokolips flies away with the W.
3. Iron Man (Marvel) vs Lex Luthor (DC)
Equipment: Lex has his war-suit and Tony Stark can remotely summon any of his suits.
Powerful in a three piece or a mech suit, Lex Luthor and Tony Stark use the power of science to take on foes that otherwise would slaughter them without a second thought. But while Stark uses his power on the side of justice, Lex Luthor is the greatest criminal mind in the DC Universe. So who wins in a battle of science and brawn?
Projected Outcome: While Lex spends most of time outside of his suit and not fighting, Tony Stark loves the rush from combat and thus uses his hours to fight the good fight. Also, since Luthor’s weapons are designed for taking on Superman, his weapons are based around kryptonite and that isn’t enough to take out the Golden Avenger. Stark has so many suits with different functions and his fighting experience far surpasses anything Lex could dream up.
2. Superman (DC) vs Silver Surfer (Marvel)
Indeed, finding an opponent for Superman is quite hard to do. The Man of Steel has shown time and time again that you should never count him out of a fight as his power is beyond imagining. He is definitely the measuring stick that all other superhumans are measured by in terms of both power and heroism. But Jack Kirby’s coolest creation the Silver Surfer is the hero that comes to the front of my mind as an opponent for Kal-El. Both are aliens who were robbed of their homeworlds and now fight to preserve life all around the universe.
Projected Outcome: While Superman is definitely one of the strongest characters in fiction, he simply doesn’t have the tools to take down the former Herald of Galactus. In terms of physical power, both the Surfer and Superman are roughly even, but it comes to the Surfer’s ability to control energy itself which would propel him to victory over Superman. The fight in the early going would be pretty even but once the Surfer scans Superman and strips him of his solar radiation, it’s goodnight Irene for the Man of Steel.
1. Batman (DC) vs Captain America (Marvel)
Equipment: Batman has all his standard equipment while Cap is armed with his shield.
For my money, this is the most evenly matched dream fight in comic book history. Both Bruce Wayne and Steve Rogers possess tremendous fighting skills and brilliant tactical minds and have tangled with foes way above their skill level and won. Having said that, who would win in a fight to the death between these men who stand alongside gods?
Projected Outcome: Out of all fights on this list, this one comes down a coin flip more than any other one. But that is way too boring so I’ll pick a side and go with Batman. Going by physical prowess, a slight advantage would have to go to Cap because of the Super Soldier Serum, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem as Batman has defeated enemies with similar power sets before (Deathstroke for example). In terms of gadgets, Captain America’s shield is incredible but Bats has way too many weapons in his arsenal and eventually not even Steve Rogers would be able to keep up with him. I see this ending with Batman maneuvering his way behind Cap and snapping his neck like the ninja he is.