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Comics 411: Favorite Superhero Feuds

September 2, 2020 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
World's Finest Batman Superman

Welcome back! I’m Steve Gustafson and if you enjoy discussing anything comic book related, you’ve come to the right place. Each week we cover something in the industry and I always enjoy your input in the comment section below.

Previously on…

Last week we discussed our Thoughts on the Return of Milestone Comics Here’s what some of you had to say:

Benjamin Kellog: “Well, now that the market is somewhat more open/inclusive/willing to do just about anything to bring eyeballs back to its business, maybe the Milestone line will have more of a chance. At any rate, Static will undoubtedly draw some attention, mostly because the events of his DCAU TV show seem more relevant now than ever. Them going the graphic novel route also seems a smart move; with the explosion of OGNs across DC’s various lines that have proven innovative in ways the regular comics haven’t been in ages (I’m thinking in particular Black Label, Zoom, Ink), the Milestone heroes have a good chance of continuing this precedent, and perhaps succeeding more today than they did back then.”
Richard C: “The Blood Syndicate has plenty of intriguing multimedia potential in the relaunch.”

Big thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts!

This week we discuss our…

Favorite Superhero Feuds
Before we jump into things and I get a bunch of comments from people who don’t read asking why I didn’t include Reed Richards and Doctor Doom, I’m talking about superhero-on-superhero feuds. 
The other week a couple people commented about the greatness that was “The Punch” in Justice League and thinking about it inspired this. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis were gold from the very start of their 1987 Justice League run. One of the highlights was the rivalry between Guy Gardner and Batman. Guy always felt he should be the leader of the group and often took umbrage under Batman’s direction. While Gardner usually complained or gave Batman a hard time, the two finally clashed physically in Justice League
Yes, he picked a fist fight with Batman.

Guy take his swing and then Batman proceeds to knock Guy out with one punch.

“One punch! One punch!”

Comic book history has had its fair share of friendly (or not so friendly) superhero feuds. Some more friendly than others. Some of those rivalries have upped the drama to the point of battling it out from time to time.

Take Batman and Superman. The world’s finest! We could do a whole column on what these two represent and how they reflect on each other. Batman and Superman have a long and storied history together; both as allies and opponents. While it’s exciting to see these two match wits and duke it out, I’ve always enjoyed the quieter moments that showed how much these two respect each other. You have the hard-edged Batman, dedicated to his mission contrasted with the hope Superman inspires. The two first crossed paths in ‘The Mightiest Team in the World’ story in Superman #76 back in 1952. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent happen to be vacationing on the same cruise. Of course the ship is overbooked and the two have to share a cabin and are called to action when a diamond thief makes himself known. Over the years the two have built a mutual understanding with each other and have been in some classic stories like The Dark Knight Returns, World’s Finest Vol. 2, Superman & Batman: Generations, the entertaining Superman/Batman series, and working with each other in several incarnations of the Justice League. Their feud is definitely one for the ages and beyond but it’s grounded in respect. 

Of course not all rivalries are as complex as Superman and Batman. Some are simply over the love of a woman. We’ve all been there. Maybe not exactly like the one between Cyclops and Wolverine though. Jean Grey has long cast a spell over these two, making herself the center of their not-so-secret dislike for each other. On one hand you have the primal, animalistic Wolverine and on the other you have the reserved and focused Cyclops. A classic theme that showcases their strengths and weaknesses. What’s a girl to do? These two have enjoyed poking the other over the years, coming to blows at time and trading barbs. They’ve split over ideology differences but it still comes back to Jean.With these two, will there ever really be a “winner”? With the current state of things, I’m not sure how to call it. 

What about Reed Richards and Namor over Sue Richards? That’s one that goes deep and still has plenty of potential for future storylines.

If you want straight action and punching, look no further than the Hulk and Thing. Many debates have been waged over who would win in a fight between these two. The Hulk has usually come out on top but Ben Grimm has held his own and has managed a win or two. This rivalry has survived and thrived over the years. Out of all their encounters, I liked the Grey Hulk v Thing the best. Even though Hulk started off at a lower strength level, his cunning made the match up that more exciting. Probably tied with those encounters was back in Fantastic Four #112. We witnessed the Thing go full tilt against the Hulk, no holding back. The issue was one big super fight and Grimm’s smarts and determination were on full display. While the Hulk kept going, Ben had reached his limits, yet refused to yield. Unfortunately, his heart brought him down when his girlfriend at the time, Alicia Masters, screamed out as debris fell around them.

Poor Ben.

You know who’s not poor? Tony Stark. Which makes the Captain America and Iron Man rivalry one of my favorites. This is another case of ideologies coming into play. While they have the same goal in mind, they use different methods to achieve them. Marvel’s ‘Civil War’ played out thanks to these two and the rivalry plays so strong that they are basing some of the cinematic universe around it. Who’s right or wrong when it comes to these two? It all depends on whose side you’re on.

Who’s your favorite? Who did I miss? Who do you think would make a good superhero rivalry?

Bonus content! Check out former 411mania contributor Tony Farinella as he looks back on the year 2004 in film!  

That’s all the time I have. See you next week!