Comic books have amazing, decade-spanning lore that juggle larger-than-life characters, fantastic situations, and plots more convoluted than a telenovela. While comic book characters often get up on their soapboxes to preach about one thing or the other, fans know that eventually, someone is going to throw a punch at someone else. And that’s what we’re really here for, right?
Comics have been the stage of countless beat-downs, epic battles and legendary throw downs, all of which have entertained and titillated readers for years. Whether it is a grossly overpowered foe picking on someone half their size, or two titans throwing their weight around, not every fight is evenly matched. Every once in a while someone dominates so unequivocally that it is almost painful to watch. Read on to check out these comic book battles where the winner’s victory is utterly indisputable.
Here are the 15 Most One-Sided Battles In Comics:
15. Superman vs Maxima (Action Comics #651)
Depending on the writer, Maxima is portrayed as a superhero or adversary of Superman, but either way she’s kind of an embarrassment. Maxima is an alien who is best known for coming to Earth in search of a mate. Due to her superhuman abilities, she quickly develops an infatuation with Superman, who she deems to be her equal.
Originally propositioning Superman via her servant, apparently the cosmic equivalent of passing a note that has “Do you like me? Check Yes or No” scrawled on it, Maxima decides to tempt Superman herself in Action Comics #651.
Maxima tells Superman that they should totally get together because they’re “genetically compatible” and projects a bunch of future scenarios where they are living happily ever after courtesy of her telepathy. Superman, wisely realizing that Maxima is a Stage-5 Clinger, tells her that she’s crazy.
Maxima gets offended and goes on a rampage, hitting Superman with everything she’s got. Of course Superman simply brushes off her attacks and knocks her out with a single slap. Surprisingly, it’s not the worst thing he’s done.
14. Sentry vs Ares (Siege, 2010)
For reasons we won’t get into here, Norman Osborn is somehow able to weasel his way into becoming the primary defense officer of the United States, leading the espionage outfit H.A.M.M.E.R. as well as evil incarnations of high profile superhero teams the Avengers and the X-Men.
Osborn’s nefarious plans and careful manipulation of the media come to a head in 2010’s Siege crossover, where he is tricked by Loki into using his resources to attack Asgard, which has been transported to middle America (just go with it).
During the siege of Asgard, Ares, the God of War, who at that point had been a member of Osborn’s Dark Avengers, realizes the truth about Osborn and vows to put a stop to his evil machinations.
Osborn orders The Sentry to attack Ares before he can spill the beans. We’ve talked about how Sentry’s power of a million exploding suns could beat Superman in a fight, and he proves it in this battle against Ares. After a few pages of fisticuffs, Sentry decides he’s had enough and literally tears Ares in half, ironically mimicking the gruesome deaths found in the God of War video game franchise.
13. The Hulk vs Starfox (The Incredible Hulk #300)
In the lead up to Incredible Hulk #300 we are introduced to Nightmare, a foe of Doctor Strange who, thanks to the Doc, can no longer inhabit the waking world. In retaliation, Nightmare subconsciously attacks Doctor Strange’s allies in their dreams, making him Marvel’s Freddy Krueger.
Nightmare sets his sights on Bruce Banner, plaguing him with nightmares that allow the Hulk’s savage nature take control. With Nightmare suppressing Bruce Banner’s psyche, The Hulk goes on a rampage in New York City, drawing the attention of various superheroes.
Realizing that even with their combined strength the Avengers are still no match for the Hulk, Starfox suggests a different approach. Starfox is an Eternal of Titan and brother of Thanos, but whereas Thanos is a psycho killer obsessed with Death, Starfox is a chill, pleasure-seeker (in the creepiest way).
Starfox’s abilities include the standard superhuman strength and stamina, but his biggest claim to fame is the psychic control over people’s emotions, a power that has led to allegations of sexual assault. Anyway, Starfox suggests that the heroes may be able to avoid a fight with the Hulk completely if he can stimulate the pleasure centers of the Hulk’s brain (Ew) and calm the Jade Giant.
This brilliant plan ends in the most spectacularly awesome way possible, with Starfox being on the receiving end of a colossal punch from the Hulk that sends him hurtling through the air and into a brick wall.
12. Franklin Richards vs Mephisto (Fantastic Four #277)
Franklin Richards in the son of the Fantastic Four’s Reed and Sue Richards, and he is an “omega-level” mutant, which is a fancy way of saying that he is crazy powerful. Franklin Richards has the ability to change the fabric of reality, which essentially means that he can make anything happen through sheer will. Franklin is so powerful that he literally created a universe to house all of the heroes that had fallen during the battle with Onslaught. If you’re shrugging your shoulders and rolling your eyes right now, consider this: Franklin also shot Norman Osborn with mind bullets and he is chummy with the eater of worlds, Galactus, to the point where they talk to each other like a couple of pre-teen girls on the phone.
Oh, and by the way, Franklin has also defeated Marvel’s version of Satan. Back in Fantastic Four #277, Doctor Strange travels to the Marvel equivalent of Hell, where Mephisto, the “embodiment of evil”, is torturing Reed and Sue. Spying Franklin being held in stasis, Strange frees him. Franklin rubs the sleepy dust out of his eyes and annihilates Mephisto, shattering him into pieces, presumably because he interrupted naptime.
11. The Hulk vs Abomination (Incredible Hulk #270)
The Galaxy Master is a giant space mouth thing that was created by an unknown alien civilization to be an unstoppable weapon. Galaxy Master, gaining sentience, decided to turn against its creators and destroyed them instead. Believing that all intelligent life was a threat to its existence, Galaxy Master proceeded to travel the universe, hellbent on murdering anything that could solve simple math problems.
Galaxy Master runs afoul of Bruce Banner a handful of times, and quickly becomes annoyed at the Hulk’s ability to beat him in battle, since Galaxy Master is able to enslave entire planets and all.
After being beaten by the Hulk, Galaxy Master mounts a comeback, this time recruiting Abomination as its right hand man. Galaxy Master increases Abomination’s powers and sends him after the Hulk. Abomination is easily able to lay the smack down on the Hulk, all the while gloating like a fool. As Hulk peels himself off of the ground, Hulk casually reminds Abomination that the madder he gets, the stronger he gets, and he’s the maddest he’s ever been right at that moment.
10. Alfred Pennyworth vs Superman (Injustice series)
The delightfully wacky Injustice series reimagines DC’s resident boy scout, Superman, as a permanent resident of crazy town. This alternate reality is essentially the same as the main universe, but all of that changes after Lois and her unborn child are killed in a particularly nasty scheme, courtesy of the Joker.
Psychologically and emotionally damaged, Superman uses his powers to become a worldwide dictator, something that doesn’t sit particularly well with Batman and a rag tag group of heroes and villains. Knowing that they don’t stand a chance against Superman, Batman manages to synthesize a drug that grants the user incredible, Superman-level power.
Superman isn’t too happy about this, and confronts Batman in the Bat-Cave, not hesitating in the least to snap Batman’s back in one fell swoop, further proving that Superman has gone off the deep end. Witnessing this, Bruce Wayne’s confidant and only family, Alfred, ingests one of the super pills and proceeds to wipe the floor with Superman in retaliation. We always knew Alfred was a badass.
9. Spider-Man vs Titania (Secret Wars #8)
Titania is one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful females, courtesy of Dr. Doom, who used the advance technologies at his disposal to transform her from a scrawny weakling to a super-powered villain. After suffering from years of torment at the hands of her peers due to her physical weakness, Titania revels in her newfound strength, becoming confident and particularly vicious in battle.
Despite her relative inexperience, Titania is able to best She-Hulk in combat, almost beating her to death. With She-Hulk imprisoned in Doombase, a number of heroes come to her rescue, including Spider-Man. Titania faces off against the web slinger, figuring that her superior strength will easily crush the webhead, but she quickly finds herself outmaneuvered and outclassed.
Spider-Man’s speed, agility, and years of experience prove to be more than enough against Titania’s brute strength. As Titania is becoming increasingly frustrated, Spider-Man avoids the high road altogether and proceeds to berate her for being a loser, just like she was before she had powers, uttering destroying her emotionally. He also rubs salt in the wound by throwing her through a wall.
8. Bane vs Batman (Knightfall, 1993)
The inclusion of this battle is bound to ruffle some feathers, as many fans will likely point out that Bane is simply no match for Batman. Whether you consider their epic throw-down in 1993’s Knightfall a fair fight or not, you can’t deny that Bane’s evil genius allowed him to deliver a beating to the Caped Crusader, the likes of which the Bat had probably never experienced before.
The lead up to this fight sees Bruce Wayne suffering a psychological breakdown, threatening his concentration and focus, and ultimately leading Wayne to believe that he has lost his edge.
Despite everyone in Wayne’s life telling him that he needs to take a break, he continues his vigilante activities as Batman, unaware that the master criminal Bane has been monitoring him. Knowing that Batman is exhausted, Bane initiates his master plan to remove Batman from the equation for good.
First, Bane frees all of the inmates at Arkham Asylum, forcing Batman to face off against a number of his rogue’s gallery, one after the other. After three days of virtually no rest, Batman retires to Wayne Manor, where Bane is waiting for him. Physically and mentally drained, Batman is no match for Bane, who pummels Batman and breaks his back over his knee, rendering him paraplegic.
7. Doomsday vs Justice League International (Justice League America #69)
Everyone knows Doomsday as the rage monster with a bad case of adult acne who punches Superman to death in the 1993 story arc The Death of Superman. Born from DC’s inability to marry Clark Kent and Lois Lane due to some legal mumbo jumbo regarding the Lois and Clark television series (seriously), the Death of Superman story arc came about because the writers decided that the world had been taking Superman for granted. Naturally, the only solution to this was a full-on Kryptonian murder party, with ol’ Clark as the guest of honor.
DC writers decided to develop a character that could rival Superman in brute strength. That character would come to be known as Doomsday, a genetically engineered alien of destruction. Doomsday’s origin was shrouded in mystery, but one thing was certain: it really liked to kill things. Breaking free from its restraints (save for one hand still tied firmly behind its back), a green jumpsuit-wearing Doomsday proceeded to wreak havoc throughout Ohio when the Justice League International showed up to investigate.
Doomsday systematically dismantles the JLI in a display of epic savagery, culminating in Booster Gold being punched into the stratosphere, all with one hand still tied behind its back. At this point, Superman joins the fray and, with the remaining members of the JLI, attacks their enigmatic foe with all of their combined energy-projection powers. This only serves to burn off Doomsday’s jumpsuit and free his previously-restrained hand. Smooth guys. Real smooth.
6. Thor vs Iron Man (Thor #3)
During the events of Civil War, Iron Man became the figurehead of authoritarian douchebaggery, and subsequently his approval rating hit rock bottom. Even though it seemed like every superhero ever weighed in on the pros and cons of the Superhero Registration Act, one hero that was missing completely was Thor, who had some Asgardian hoopla to sort out.
Thor eventually reappears, bringing Asgard with him, and dumping it smack dab in the middle of rural Oklahoma. This doesn’t sit well with the government, so they send Tony Stark to talk some sense into Thor before they declare eminent domain.
Despite Stark’s best efforts, Thor doesn’t care much about zoning laws. Thor also tells Stark that he’s none too pleased about being cloned (long story short, Stark nabbed a bit of Thor’s hair with the idea he’d clone him for a rainy day– that rainy day being Civil War). No matter what Stark says, Thor has come ready to rumble and he absolutely dominates Stark at every turn.
Stark erroneously believes that he stands a chance against the God of Thunder and tries to retaliate, only to be on the receiving end of Thor’s impressive electrical powers. A seriously PO’ed Thor reminds Stark that he is nothing but a mortal inside a tin suit and that he won’t hold back in the future. It’s an invaluable piece of advice for someone who just got knocked down a peg.
5. Magneto vs Wolverine (X-Men #25)
Magneto has been a long standing enemy of the X-Men, opposed in both ideology and practice to Professor X’s more altruistic goals of human/mutant peace. The X-Men have faced off against Magneto countless times, however they’ve always managed to thwart the Master of Magnetism’s nefarious plans for world domination.
In 1993’s Fatal Attraction storyline, Magneto is up to his old tricks and threatening to destroy humanity (again), so Professor X rounds up his X-Men to put a stop to him. One would think, that given the intimate history between the X-Men and Magneto, someone would have suggested that Wolverine, a character whose entire skeleton in wrapped in metal, should sit out any and all fights against a guy whose claim to fame is his ability to control metal.
No one thinks twice however, when Professor X selects Wolverine to be a part of the team that leads the assault on Magneto’s base of operations. You don’t have to read comics to see where this one is going, but long story short, Wolverine tries to get stabby with Magneto, something he obviously doesn’t appreciate, so Magneto uses his powers to rip the metal from Wolverine’s bones, causing grievous injury. Of course this is only one of the worst things to ever happen to the ol’ Canucklehead.
4. Peter Parker vs Wilson Fisk (Back in Black, 2007)
Immediately after the events of Civil War, an assassin shoots Aunt May. Overcome with rage, Peter dons his black Spider-Man costume, and sets out to find out who put the hit on Aunt May by any means necessary.
This story arc saw a more humorless take on the Spider-Man persona, with Peter using his abilities in a more vicious manner than ever before. Parker’s sleuthing eventually leads him to the man who commissioned the hit: Wilson Fisk, better known as the Kingpin.
At this point in time, Kingpin was sitting in jail, so when Parker confronts him Fisk erroneously believes that his incarceration will render him safe from physical retaliation at the hands of Parker, and proceeds to run his mouth.
Kingpin launches into a smarmy diatribe about how awesome he is while Parker stands silent. Parker then begins to slap the bejesus out of Fisk, but even that isn’t enough to stop Fisk from talking trash. So Parker laces into him again, severely beating (and embarrassing) Fisk in front of hundreds of inmates, and destroying Fisk’s street cred.
3. Iron Man vs Captain America (Civil War 2006-2007)
This year’s Captain America: Civil War saw Iron Man and Captain America duke it out during the final minutes of the film in truly epic fashion. Outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these two Marvel icons have gone at it numerous times over their differing ideologies.
Of course 2007’s Civil War story arc, which inspired the film, was the pissing contest between Iron Man and Captain America that split the entire Marvel universe down the middle. On one side you had Tony Stark, spokes-hero for the Superhero Registration Act, which advocated superheroes divulging their secret identities in order to be held accountable for the less-than-desirable side-effects of their superheroics.
Opposed to this was Captain America, who believed that exposing the identities of superheroes would be dangerous to their “normal” lives. After some philosophizing on both sides, the heroes do what they do best, and decide to settle their disagreement with their fists.
Even though Captain America is one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in the entire Marvel Universe, not to mention pretty handy with his shield, Iron Man completely dominates their first battle. Stark calmly explains to Cap that his Iron Man suit had been secretly recording every move Cap had ever made in battle, allowing Stark to easily block every blow and avoid every attack leveled at him. Despite being on the receiving end of an epic beat down, Captain America never concedes, and never admits defeat, leading to…
2. Captain America vs Iron Man (Civil War, 2006-2007)
The conclusion of Civil War sees Captain America and Iron Man going at it once again, this time in the middle of downtown New York City. With the two opposing factions laying into each other, Captain America set his sights on Iron Man.
With Iron Man’s armor being compromised by the Vision and no longer capable of blocking, countering, or dodging every one of Cap’s attacks, this battle swings in the favor of Rogers fairly quickly.
Captain America really tears into Stark during this fight, no longer keeping his emotions in check. He uses his star-spangled shield to deliver blow after devastating blow. Eventually, Stark’s Iron Man mask crumbles from the savage beating, leaving Stark totally unprotected from Rogers’ wrath.
Rogers is so overcome with rage and is about to deliver a final, fatal blow, until civilian rescue workers rush in to stop him. Realizing that he had gone too far, Rogers drops his shield, sparing Stark’s life.
1. Thanos vs Everyone (The Infinity Gauntlet, 1991)
There’s a reason why almost every entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is teasing that (as Thor might put it) big purple guy who doesn’t like to stand up. Thanos is super powerful and super insane, two personality traits that, when combined, spell imminent disaster.
Thanos’s quest for power ultimately leads him to pursue the six Infinity Gems– each stone gives complete control over one aspect of the universe. Thanos ultimately collects all of the Infinity Gems and mounts them on his glove, giving him complete power over the entire multiverse.
After essentially becoming a God, the first thing Thanos does is kill half of all sentient life (including a number of heroes) in the universe in an effort to impress Death, the object of his affection and the literal living embodiment of death. Thanos is so powerful that he is able to achieve this feat simply by snapping his fingers. The remaining heroes band together in an effort to stop Thanos, but they are no match for him, and he easily kills most of them with little effort. Now super cocky, Thanos begins to defeat and imprison many of the universe’s cosmic entities like Galactus and Eternity.
Thanos is eventually defeated and his actions are all undone, but the guy wiped the floor with everyone without even breaking a sweat.