Cross-universe publishing house fights have been a staple of the dedicated fanboy for decades (and, not incidentally, also a source of profits from the blockbuster team-up issues). Our intellectually demanding question for this week tries to figure out what would happen if you took the most powerful "every day" super-hero from four of the biggest historical publishers and pitted them against each other:
Discussion after the jump.
- Superman (DC): Clearly, any discussion of "most powerfuls" has to start with Superman, the granddaddy of them all. Here I'm thinking of pre-Crisis, Golden Age Superman, who could do pretty much any ridiculous thing the writers could think of. From super freezing breath to super hypnosis (their explanation for how no one ever figured out Clark was Superman, even though they look identical except for the glasses) to nova-level heat vision to Heaven-busting super-speed, he could do it all. People tend to get caught up in the super strength and invulnerability, but at his height Big Blue used his overwhelming market dominance to leverage himself into a God-like level of power.
- Sentry (Marvel): Let's be honest, Marvel basically invented Sentry to be their Superman analogue. But being Marvel, they couldn't just pull a Captain Marvel, they had to go one better by also giving him incredibly powerful psionic abilities as well. Cheesy, yes, but the bastard love child of Clark Kent and Professor X nonetheless would kick some serious butt.
- Captain Marvel (Fawcett): Another Superman rip-off, but with the added gimmick of magic lightning. He also has manifested other short-term magical abilities (lightning fists to punch through an inconvenient force field comes to mind). The definitive Captain Marvel - Superman showdown for my money was in "Kingdom Come", where he kept shouting "SHAZAM!" and dragging Superman into the magic lightning bolt's path. That was pretty cool, and since Supers is vulnerable to magic, that's one way to win.
- Spawn (Image): There's probably a more conventionally powerful Image character I could have chosen, but my Image-fu is weak. Therefore, I took the most popular one. Granted, Spawn isn't the toe-to-toe bruiser the other three are, but he's got magical Hell powers to compensate. Plus he can't be killed, which is a bonus in this kind of fight since I don't see any of the other three wielding a vorpal Heaven sword any time soon.
I'm going to count Spawn out mostly due to his lack of super speed. By the time he knew a fight was going on, as the other three zip around at light speed, it would all be over.
Captain Marvel has the wisdom of Solomon, so I think he'd be able to resist Sentry's mental abilities. However, he's also got the brain of Billy Batson knocking around in that square-jawed super skull, and they've been known to be susceptible to mental domination before (that little worm with the radio around his neck). Still, he'd have a chance against the other two.
Sentry has an edge with those psionic powers, but Golden Age Superman would be able to use his Super Thinking and Super Willpower and Super Mental Defense (or whatever other inane Super power the writers could pull out of the nearest available orifice) to counter it.
Which is why ultimately, I'm going to be old-school and go with Golden Age Superman. There's no pickle so picklish that Golden Age Writers couldn't justify some new power to overcome it. Therefore, Superman wins!
Go ahead, show me I'm wrong, I Super Dare you!