Poll Position: Top Dogs

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:

{democracy:138}

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!

15 Responses to Poll Position: Top Dogs

  1. You may be right there, Jeff. Superman is currently winning.

  2. Thor El Primus

    For Truth…
    For Justice…
    FOREVER!!!

  3. I’ll go with Sentry on this one. At least if I were the General Oversseing Director. My methodology is this:

    As you say, Spawn simply desn’t stand a chance, so he’s out right off. So that leaves the other three. If Sentry is smart and throws the mental whammy to mentally Dominate Capt. Marvel. He then has Marvel take out Supes with his magic lightning bolts, and then Sentry can use his other abilities to take out Marvel, and voila! He emerges victorious.

    Why outfight your opponent when you can outthink him.

  4. UesugiWarrior

    I’m choosing Sentry as he’s Marvel (my favourite comics publisher) and he’s not Superman who happens to be the super-hero I hate more than any other. Nuff said!

  5. I’m just going to go with Superman because he has slightly stornger powers than the others in my opinion, and if he uses them wisely he could eliminate the others.

  6. I voted Captain Marvel. He’s empowered to Superman’s level, plus he’s magical. Means he has an edge over Superman because he’s roughly the same prowess, but with NONE of his weaknesses. (The Wisdom of Solomon should help him out tactically and creatively, you’d think.)

  7. Sentry can tear them all apart through matter manipulation, and he’s a nutcase so he won’t shy away from doing so.

    And he can regenerate completely unharmed after being completely destroyed.

    So Sentry rapes them all at once with a twitch of his finger.

  8. Oh, and one more thing Invincible or Omniman would have been a better choice for an Image character.

  9. Gah, how could I forget Invincible, my favorite Image character of them all and one of my overall top guys?! Grrrr!!!

  10. Yeah, I was like… Spawn? Really? Where’s Invincible?

    Of the four you listed though, I’d pick Supes hands-down.

  11. William A. Peterson

    Sentry’s powers are over the top, but Supes has shown the ability to deal with Mentalists, before…
    But, you’ve forgotten one key factor!
    If Superman doesn’t at least tie, DC is simply NOT going to let him play!
    So, do you want to throw the fight, or do you want to see the whole project collapse, and the Comic never get published!

  12. Yeah, that’s the thing I hate about cross-company fights – the pride of the companies involved almost always prevents a ‘fair’ fight.

  13. Wesley Belk

    Well yeah, as you say, if you put Golden-Age Supes in there with the Golden-Age writers backing him up, then no one can beat him if the writers say so.

    But in these cases, I always like to put the characters on their own, and not let “writers” per se, get in the way of what could very well be a very intense four way battle royale. At the height of his power, Spawn had elemental powers, along with the living armor, hell-fire power, and probably other things, as well as having an entire armory stock-piled somewhere. Also if we’re going total what-if here, we could say Spawn took on the crown of Hell and became the Devil, after killing Malebolgia, way back when, then he’d have the entire legion of demons at his command.

    And if we’re talking about the Robert Reynolds version of Sentry … then yeah, Supes will at least tie, as it seems the writers took the same liberties giving him new-found powers when they felt it was convenient.

    I mean if we’re going to give one character ALL his powers, why not the rest? If this is to be fair I say have them at their most powerfulest (copyright 2010, Wesley Belk)… Right?

    Captain Marvel is uber-powerful at the Rock of Eternity! Up to 24 hours he could destroy whatever he wanted! Well if he was a bad guy, but you get my point.

    Give everyone their just due, don’t just slump off a character because Big Blue had the power of the Golden-Age writers behind him …

  14. It’s not psychic powers that make Sentry the most dangerous here (Though he could mindrape them as the Void, with the possible exception of Simmons), it’s his matter manipulation (Which allowed him to turn Molecule Man into a pretzel before wiping him out of existance)

  15. The Sentry’s unstable mental condition would likely be a hindrance, rather than a benefit. I think Sentry wouldn’t be able to cope with Super Thinking or the Wisdom of Solomon.

    Superman vs. Captain Marvel? I’d give it to Marvel…

    Who would then have his ass handed to him by Omni-Man.