It’s not exactly a rare occurrence in comic books that superheroes fight each other. In fact, the cliché is so prevalent – superheroes mistake each other’s intentions, fight, realize their mistake, and then team up to take down bad guy – that most writers nowadays have the heroes say something jokey about just skipping right to the team-up part.
…But that doesn’t mean we don’t like to see capes slug it out. Here are six of the best superhero on superhero fights – ever:
6. Guy Gardner vs. Batman (Justice League International #5)
The most annoying Green Lantern vs. the world’s greatest detective should have been a fight for the ages. Guy Gardner had been challenging Batman’s leadership of the Justice League International for months, finally culminating in Gardner challenging Bats to a fist fight. And then Batman took him out. With one punch. It may be the shortest fight on this list, but hey, it’s a memorable one.
5. Superman vs. Wonder Woman (Adventures of Superman #642, Wonder Woman #219)
We hesitated to use a mind control fight here, but this beat-down between Wonder Woman and Superman is so brutal, we couldn’t leave it off the list. Superman is being controlled by Maxwell Lord, former leader of the Justice League International. He’s already nearly murdered Batman, and is now after Wonder Woman, who he thinks is actually his arch enemy, Doomsday. Superman isn’t holding back, so neither does Wonder Woman, going so far as to slit Superman’s throat with her tiara. The fight only ends when Wonder Woman snaps Max Lord’s neck, leading to a whole other set of problems.
4. Hulk vs. Wolverine (Hulk #181)
There’s so many good fights with the Hulk, it’s hard to choose just one. But we did – and one of the originals is still one of the best, as the Marvel Universe was introduced to a furry, feral mutant named Wolverine. In fact, it’s a three way fight between Hulk, Wolverine, and a murderous creature called the Wendigo. But the best blows are saved for the main event, as Wolverine nearly rips the green goliath to shreds, before they both knock each other out.
3. Thorcules vs. Hercuthor (Incredible Hercules #136)
Basically: Hercules is pretending to be Thor in order to keep having sex with a hot elf princess, while Thor is pretending to be Hercules so he won’t get Herc in too much trouble and start a multi-dimensional war. They end up being forced to fight each other in order to keep up appearances, going so far as to imitate each other during the fight. This all crests in the best comic book sound effect of all time, as Hercules grabs and twists Thor’s exposed nipples. The effect? A purple colored “Nurp!” Yeah, that’s right.
2. Avengers vs. JLA (JLA/Avengers)
Proving that if fans ask for anything enough, they can will it into existence, JLA/Avengers is pure fan-service at it’s best. Sure, there’s a plot, but it’s the fights you want to see, and you get ‘em. And literally every Justice Leaguer ever fights every Avenger ever, before teaming up. Can we move on, now?
1. Batman vs. Superman (The Dark Knight Returns)
In a near future wracked by war and corruption, Superman is the government’s only sanctioned hero, and Batman is a no-holds-barred freedom fighter. The series culminates in a pitched battle between Supes and Bats in Crime Alley – the place where Batman’s parents were murdered. You’d think Superman could end Batman with a punch, but it’s a fair fight, because Batman is always thirteen moves ahead. It’s also the fight anyone will bring up whenever you say, “Oh come, Superman would kill Batman.” So now you know.