Earlier this week, we took a look at the best fights for superhero films and TV shows. Showcasing moments from our favorite MCU, DCEU, CW ABC, and CW superhero shows, there has been plenty of action in the superhero world. Of course, these shows and their epic fight scenes are all based on comic book properties.
We here at Heroic Hollywood though it would be a good idea to also look at the comics themselves and see what were some of the best fight moments from the comics. With decades upon decade’s worth of grand action sequences, there’s a lot to choose from. We wanted to take a look at some of the most iconic superhero fights we’ve seen in the comics. This is by no means a definitive list and some of your favorites may not appear here. Please feel free to sound off in the comments for which your favorites are.
Batman vs The Mutant Leader
Batman is one of comics’ all around best characters. Not only is he a hyper-intelligent detective, capable of almost anything with his mind, he’s also one of their most skilled fighters. It’s been said time and time again that with enough prep time, Batman could defeat just about anyone in hand to hand combat.
But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get his ass handed to him every now and then.
In Frank Miller’s iconic Dark Knight Returns series, Batman comes out of retirement where he takes on The Mutants, who are terrorizing Gotham City. When Batman decides to return to vigilantism, he goes to their lair where he easily dispatches many of the gang with his new and improved Batmobile. One man stands in his way, the Mutant gang’s leader. As Batman tries to take him one on one in single combat, he gets beaten within an inch of his life. If Carrie Kelly didn’t come to save him, he surely could have died. Batman realizes that he cannot match the mutant leader with sheer brute strength, he has to fight strategically and bests him in a second fight later on in the comics.
Speaking of Batman losing…
Batman vs Bane
During the Batman: Knightfall arc back in the 1990s, Batman faced one of his greatest foes, Bane. Bane decide that he want to take over the underworld of Gotham City, but he first needs to take out Batman, who he declares as Gotham’s “king.”
Bane is no ordinary foe. As incredibly strong and skilled at fighting Bane is, he is also incredibly intelligent. He decides to help break out numerous criminals from Arkham Asylum, causing Batman to be busy dealing with multiple villains at once. This not only distracts Batman, but it also works him over time and weakens him.
Bane takes Batman on in single combat, and it’s not even close. Batman suffers a terrible defeat at the hands of Bane with is concluded with Bane breaking Batman’s back. He literally and figuratively “breaks” Batman. This is done well in Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Returns movie as well, but in the comic is was more brutal and had a lasting impact on the Caped Crusader.
Rick vs The Governor/Rick vs Negan
In The Walking Dead, Rick has faced many dangers. Of course, there are the zombies, but they don’t hold a candle to the tyrants he encounters throughout the comic book.
The first one he faced was The Governor. The Governor showed Rick that he means business by cutting his hand off at the beginning of their first conversation. Their war concluded with The Governor and the citizens of Woodbury storming the prison wanting to take out Rick. The battle resulted in the death of his wife Lory, baby Judith, Tyrese, and countless others. Although most of them survived, it was the first major defeat for Rick and the group. Although the arc with The Governor wasn’t as grand on the TV show as it was in the comic, it still was entertaining.
If The Governor was a formidable foe, he was a toddler compared to Negan. We are seeing Negan now on the television as he made his impact felt the first episode this season of the television show. In the comic book, Negan is just as ruthless as on the show, if not more. In the comic, Negan also loves to drop f-bombs as if they were almost a noun. After the savage beating to death of Glen, Negan forces Rick and his people under his rule. Eventually they o rise up (as we are now seeing on the show) and that leads to the “All Out War” arc on the comics. There are casualties on both sides and there are endless battles between Rick’s alliance and The Saviors. The war concludes with Rick and Negan engaging in a one on one fight on the battlefield with knives and their fists. It’s quite brutal!
War of Kings
In the aftermath of the Annihilation Conquest and the Secret Invasion storylines, Marvel released the War of Kings limited crossover series.
The Inhumans finally returned to the stars and joined their Kree brethren as their leaders. Meanwhile Gabriel Summers, AKA Vulcan has come to leadership of the Shi’ar Empire. After leading a coup d’etat against Lilandra and begins a campaign to expand the Shi’ar Empire.
This leads to a confrontation that starts to touch many corners of the galaxy. Not only does the Kree and the Inhumans get involved, but also The Nova Corps, The Star Jammers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy get heavily involved in the conflict. If feels almost Game of Thrones, but in outer space as each faction is vying for power over their territories.
X-Men vs Shi’ar Imperial Guard
After Jean Grey becomes “Phoenix” at the Dark Phoenix Saga, her powers exponentially develop, so does the danger of her. She is forced to consume and entire star to recharge herself in one instance, which leads to the destruction of an entire planet’s civilization. This causes Shi’ar Empress Lilandra to decide to take some action against her.
The empire kidnaps The X-Men and Jean and deems she cannot be allowed to survive as she is putting the galaxy in jeopardy. Charles Xavier invokes the Shi’ar tradition of “trial by combat.” After speaking wth both the Kee and Skrull, Lilandra agrees to the trial by combat which pits the X-Men against the Shi’ar Imperial Guard. On the Blue Area Of The Moon, the X-Men face off against the Shi’ar Empires toughest warriors, including Gladiator. Most of the X-Men are defeated, but instead of seeing them die for her, Jean sacrifices herself.
Just like its movie adaptation, the Civil War crossover event pits Iron Man versus Captain America. After the New Warriors trying to show off for their reality show causes the Stanford Incident (facing off against more experienced super villains for ratings causes Nitro to explode and killing 600 people, including school children) the Superhuman Registration Act occurs, splitting the Marvel Universe into either for or against the legislation.
Those who sided with Captain America formed the Secret Avengers who wanted to continue their heroic activities without S.H.I.E.L.D. oversight. Meanwhile, those who sides with Iron Man joined the registration. This causes families to even quarrel with each other as Sue Storm could not go along with her husband’s plans concerning the Act. The two sides came to blows over it and there are problems across the board. Mr. Fantastic’ s Thor clone murders Goliath during one of their battles. In the final confrontation, Captain America and Iron Man go toe to toe. Captain America stops the battle when he sees ordinary people siding with Iron Man and he surrenders to S.H.I.E.L.D. In the aftermath, Captain America is fatally shot by an assassin’s bullet as he goes to the courthouse to await trial.
Wolverine vs … Anyone
One of Marvel’s fiercest fighters, Wolverine’s fights could make their own list. When he’s in berserker mode, forget about it! Wolverine has gone toe to toe with Lady Deathstrike, is own son Daken, Omega Red and countless others.
Wolverine’s fiercest battles have been against The Hulk (he’s one of the few people who can take the big green guy down as he did in Old Man Logan), and also against his nemesis, Sabretooth. In fact each year Sabretooth tried to kill Wolverine every year on his birthday. Both Wolverine and Sabretooth have regenerative healing factors, so their battles are quite intense.
Infinity Gauntlet Saga
The Infinity Gauntlet provides the user with limitless power, a virtual God, and in the Infinity Gauntlet Saga, it couldn’t be in worse hands. Thanos, the Mad Titan who worships Death came in possession of the gauntlet and the gems and becomes one of the galaxy’s greatest threats.
After wiping out half the universe’s population at the snap of his fingers, Earth’s remaining mightiest heroes gather together to launch an assault on Thanos. Thanos even gives them a 10% chance of success as a means to impress Mistress Death, but it still is a slaughter as they are all defeated.
Afterward, the Galaxy’s strongest try to take Thanos on. Such powerful entities like Galactus, The Stranger, Lord Chaos, Master Order, and even Eternity try to take Thanos on. They also are defeated in a battle that almost destroys the galaxy. After he defeats Eternity, Thanos sheds his physical form, which allows Nebula to take the Gauntlet, which leads to his overall defeat. The battle in the Infinity Gauntlet Saga were some of the most destructive in Marvel.
Superman vs Doomsday
The Death of Superman was one of the biggest storylines of the 1990s. In it, Superman had to face off against a seemingly unstoppable foe, Doomsday.
Doomsday single-handedly defeated The Justice League International early in that conflict and it would take the Man of Steel to save Metropolis from his destruction. In the climax of the event, Superman and Doomsday are fighting punch for punch, which was so strong their blows shattered windows and caused tremors. Kal-El gave his all to defeat the monster and died as a result. Much of the end of Batman v Superman is based on this story arc (although the comic did it better of course).
In the aftermath, Superman was dead and in his place were four new Supermen who tried to take his place.
- The Man of Steel (John Henry Irons)
- The Man of Tomorrow (Cyborg Superman, who really was a villain)
- The Metropolis Kid (a Project Cadmus Clone of Superman)
- The Last Son Of Krypton (Eradicator, another villain)
Eventually, Superman resurrected and reclaimed his title after defeating the two evil Superman imposters.
Batman vs Superman
The concussion of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns pitted Superman against Batman. When Batman returned, so did the idea of heroes and vigilantes. The president wouldn’t have any of this on his watch, so he dispatched Superman to Gotham City to reign him in.
Unlike against the Mutant Leader, Batman had more than enough prep time. Planning everything to a T, Batman used a suit powered by all of Gotham City’s electricity, he also enlisted Carrie Kelly, and the Green Arrow (who had a Kryptonite arrow that exploded like napalm). Batman even planned a grand exit for himself, giving himself a pill to cause his heart to stop temporarily so that it would appear that Superman stopped him. As he was pummeling Superman’s face he said:
“I want you to remember, Clark…In all the years to come… in your most private moments… I want you to remember my hand at your throat… I want you to remember the one man who beat you…”
In the aftermath, Batman was “dead” and went underground to train his new army, the Sons of Batman (reformed Mutant gang members) in peace and quiet.
What are your favorite fights in the comics? Sound off in the comments.