The Greatest Comic Book Super Hero Punches Ever Thrown!

Hey Everyone,

Paul here…

Ben Grim knocks out The Hulk (Fantastic Four #13, 2019, pgs.13-15) W. Dan Slott A.Sean Izaakse

Few years back, Reed Richards formed The Future Foundation. A school in the Baxter Building for a handful of brilliant, unique, and gifted children. I’m sure this sounds familiar, but Xavier and The X-MEN have mutants covered (though there happen to be a couple of mutants in The Future Foundation, like Reed’s son Franklin). As part of one of their school projects, the kids came up with a way to make Ben Grimm revert to his human form for one week, every year for the rest of his life. Though the kids Felt bad that they couldn’t come up with a way to make the transformation longer than one week each year, Ben was elated. A few years later, Ben marries his longtime girlfriend Alicia Masters. They make sure to time their Hawaiian honeymoon perfectly, so they’ll have as much time as possible together while Ben is in human form. The change arrives at the same time every year, Ben doesn’t have any control over when it happens. So it’s a very inconvenient time for a bloodthirsty Hulk to show at Ben and Alicia’s honeymoon resort, when Ben is only minutes away from turning back into a human. Though there’s always been a rivalry between The Hulk and The Thing, we later learned that The Hulk is being mind controlled by Alicia‘s lunatic stepfather and Fantastic Four villain, The Puppet Master. The Hulk and Ben engage in arguably their most vicious and brutal battle. Time is running out and the fights doesn’t seem to be going Ben’s way. With only seconds to spare, and the life of the woman he loves on the line, Ben musters up every ounce of heart and strength he has left, to deliver the punch of the century. Knocking The Hulk out cold. Unfortunately for Ben, the crisis may have been averted, but he was so badly injured in the fight, that by the time he wakes up, his week as a human for the year has come and gone. Much to his chagrin, he’s reverted back to his rocky, Thing form. At least he still has Alicia and there’s always next year.


Justice League International (1987) W. Keith Griffin & J.M. DeMatteis A. Kevin Maguire)

“ONE PUNCH!” Batman lays out GL Guy Gardner with one, almost effortless punch, after professional dickhead Garnder gets angry, picks a fight with Batman, and says he can take Batman anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t go Guy’s way, too say the least.


Batman #612 (2003) W. Jeph Loeb A.Jim Lee

This is actually the first “in continuity” fight between The Dark Knight Detective and The Man of Tomorrow. While wearing a Kryptonite ring, Batman delivers a devastating punch to Superman’s face, fending off an attack by The Man of Steel, while he’s under the control of Poison Ivy. It’s often said that, with prep time, Batman could defeat nearly any opponent. This fight is a great example of Batman getting caught totally off guard for a confrontation he is absolutely not ready for. Yet, using the tools he has on hand, his tactical knowledge of his opponent and his environment, The Dark Knight is able defeat (or at the very least bring the fight to a draw) one of the most powerful beings on Earth. To quote the great Superman himself, in a different comic book…

JLA #3 W. Grant Morrison A. Howard Porter (1997)

Hal Jordan give Batman a well deserved crack in the mouth (Green Lantern: Rebirth #6) 2005 W. Geoff Johns A. Ethan VanSciver

Batman never liked or trusted Hal Jordan and the feeling was mutual. In the Justice League, Batman, a mortal in a room full of gods, calls the shots. His authority among the heroes is almost always respected. On the very rare occasions when its isn’t, he doesn’t like it one damn bit. Hal Jordan never bought in to Batman’s bullshit and wasn’t afraid to let him and everyone else know it. With the fate of the universe at stake, Earth’s Green Lantern’s needed to take action. When a distrustful Batman attempts interfere, Hal Jordan decks him and lays him out, with a shocked Guy Gardner exclaiming “ONE PUNCH!”. A little poetic justice for Guy Gardner. Gardner may be a horse’s ass, but Batman can be a real prick. He isn’t occasionally called “The Dick Knight” for nothing. Batman deserved this humbling punch in the face.


Honorable Mention:

Alfred Beats The Living Shit Out Of Superman (Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One) W. Tom Taylor

In the Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year One storyline, a horrific tragedy pushes Superman into becoming a tyrannical dictator, ruling Earth with an iron fist. Some heroes side with him and others join a resistance against Superman’s regime led (naturally) by Batman. In a move that could turn the tide of the war, Batman develops a pill that can give normal humans superpowers (super strength, invulnerability, etc.). Superman manages to corner Batman in the Batcave, before Bruce can take the pill. Superman begins top brutally torture his one time friend. Superman stops when someone puts a hand on his shoulder, he looks up to see Alfred Pennyworth standing over him, who has just taken the superpower pill. Alfred proceeds to give Superman a lesson in exactly what will happen to anyone, be they god or man, who fucks with his family.

Alfred doesn’t let Superman off the hook with a simple brutal beating. He gathers up the injured Bruce and make their way to the teleporter in The Batcave, to make their escape. But not without throwing one final sick burn Superman’s way, to make it crystal clear exactly what Alfred’s opinion of the Man of Steel has become.

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-Paul

COMIC BOOK OF THE WEEK: INJUSTICE 2 #1

First all, sorry for not putting up the “Comic Book of the Week” column earlier. (It should really be Comic Book of LAST Week). I got distracted by a trailer for a small indie film that’s coming out, “Star” Something…
But enough about that, let’s get into some MOTHER FUCKIN’ COMICS!!! Even though there were some high profile books released this week, including the end of Brian Michael Bendis’ epic Guardians of the Galaxy run “The Comic Book of the Week” goes to Injustice 2 #1. In case you don’t know, Injustice Gods among Us was an enormously popular, Mortal Combat-style, fighting video game, featuring all your favorite DC Comics heroes and villains beating the ever-loving fuck out of each other.
As a rule, comic book tie-ins designed to promote film, TV, or video game properties are massive piles of dogshit. However, the comic book tie-in to the 1st game, Injustice: Gods Among US, chronicled Superman’s slow decent into madness and fascism after the destruction of Metropolis and the deaths of his wife and unborn child at the hands of The Joker. Believe it or not, this was one of the best Justice League stories of the last few years. Injustice: Gods Among Us Years 1-5 are all available in trade paperback collected editions. I highly recommend you check them out.
It’s another compelling physical and ideological clash between Superman and The Dark Knight. (Of course Batman wants nothing to do with what he sees as Superman’s fascist regime). One of the interesting aspects of the story is seeing who sides with who, and why. In this universe, Superman and Lex Luthor are best friends and it’s cool to Lex struggle with being loyal to his friend, but realizing that Superman has completely lost it. It’s a great flip to their usual relationship.
The biggest difference between Marvel and DC is that the heroes of the DC Universe are MYTHIC. They’re more than human, they’re modern day gods. Which is why (despite what some people say) it’s so interesting to see these characters shown in a new light. Some of the best DC stories ever told are deconstructions of these archetypes and that’s why Injustice: Gods Among Us works so well.
Next month Injustice 2, the sequel to the hit video game comes out. In anticipation of the games release, Injustice 2 #1 hit shelves this week and it covers the events from the end of the last game to just before the beginning of Injustice 2. Considering how strong the first series was, Injustice 2 #1 is a must read.
I’ve read the first issue and one of the more intriguing aspects of the story is how can Batman pick up the pieces of a devastated world after finally toppling Superman’s regime? Absolute power corrupts absolutely and with that much power, will Batman fall victim to the same temptations that turned the Man of Steel into a monster? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out! I will say this; the series is off to a strong start.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about all the different ways comics are available to potential readers. If you’ve ever thought about picking up a comic book, there’s been no better time in the history if the medium. Comics have never been better. I’m a big believer in supporting your local comic book store. They’re the backbone of the industry and comics need as much readers as they can get. But, if you don’t have the time or there isn’t a comic book store located near you, I highly recommend the Comixology app. Each week, you can get all your favorite comics downloaded to your tablet or smartphone, as well as a massive library of previously published comics. Once you buy them, they’re yours, you own the comic. Just like if you bought a digital copy of a movie on ITunes. One really cool feature is while reading a comic on Comixology, you have the option of having each panel fill up your screen and read panel to panel instead of page to page. It’s my favorite way to read comics because you appreciate the art and storytelling so much more. Of course, trade paperbacks and collected editions are available at any Barnes & Noble. Considering that most comic book issues are written like chapters in a book, waiting for the entire story arc to be collected in one book is a great way to read.

Anyway, we’ve got a whole new batch of comic coming out this Wednesday and hopefully I’ll have my “Comic Book of the Week” column up a lot sooner than this weeks.
Thanks,
-Paul

Comic Book of the Week: Batman #20

Since DC’s Rebirth launch last summer, the Batman books across the board have been consistently great. James Tynion’s Detective Comics, Scott Snyder’s All-Star Batman, and Tom King’s Batman with artist David Finch are fantastic books. I tend to go back and forth from month-to-month on All-Star Batman or Tom King’s Batman being my favorite Bat book, but this week “The Comic of the Week” has to be Tom King’s Batman #20.

This is the final chapter in the excellent “I Am Bane” story arc and though it wasn’t necessarily the strongest chapter in the series, it was still a satisfying and powerful ending to the arc. I’ve never been a huge fan of David Finch’s art but he’s really winning me over on this book. His work here was phenomenal, especially when it came to the brutal final fight between Batman and Bane. His line work on both of these imposing figures really stood out as well.

It also didn’t  hurt to have a reminder what complete and utter badass Batman is. As illustrated in the pages below:

C’MON! How fucking sick is that?!

King also took some time to emphasize a part of Batman’s psychology that isn’t focused on enough. I think I first noticed this during Grant Morrison’s classic JLA run, where he put forth the idea that Batman only wants people to think he’s driven by vengeance and rage, but it’s a facade. In reality, he does what he does because he doesn’t want to see what happened to him happen to anyone else, ever again. He knows that’s an impossible mission, but he’ll still try to help in anyway he can. That’s what makes him a hero. It’s empathy not anger that drives Batman and Tom King emphasize this really well in his script.

I think there is going to be an epilogue chapter in this story, which is definitely needed to wrap up some of the loose ends of this arc, but I’m really looking forward to the next storyline “The War of Jokes and Riddles”. Which is apparently an epic story taking place shortly after Zero Year where Batman has to contend with a war between The Joker and The Riddler. If King’s work on this book is anything to go by, this should be something to look forward to.