Greetings from the Odinson,
Last week I started a 5-part column debating whose heroes had the most dangerous adversaries – Marvel or DC? I called this little experiment The Rogue War. First up it was the diabolical Rogues of Batman vs. the sinister Rogues of Spider-Man. A case can be made for either side, but, in the end, it is Spidey’s foes that proved victorious. Though the Caped Crusader faces off with some of the scariest and most dangerous criminal minds in comics, it is Spider-Man’s personal connection to most of his foes and the sheer breadth of power they bring to the table that tips the scales in their favor.
The tally stands at: Marvel 1 / DC 0
Now on to the next bout…
The Man of Steel is the world’s greatest super hero, so it would stand to reason that he would face the world’s greatest threats. One such threat is the grotesque abomination known as the Parasite. In Pre-Crisis continuity he was Raymond Jensen, and he got his powers when he came into contact with radioactive debris that Superman brought back from outer space. In Post-Crisis continuity he is Rudy Jones, a man manipulated by the Lord of Apokolips into becoming the new Parasite. The Parasite is especially dangerous because his body absorbs the energy and strength of anyone he comes close to. If the Parasite absorbs too much energy from someone they die. Even Superman must use extreme caution when dealing with this enemy.
Mister Mxyzptlk is more a nuisance than villain. Mxyzptlk is an imp from the Fifth Dimension. He vexes the Man of Steel because he possesses the ability to alter reality. With a snap of his fingers he can turn downtown Metropolis into Candyland. Mxyzptlk’s ability to alter reality and teleport just out of Superman’s reach makes him nearly unbeatable. The only way he can be defeated is by tricking him to say or read his name backwards. This banishes him back to his own dimension, earning Superman the victory, for thirty days anyway.
General Zod was the greatest military mind on planet Krypton. However, Krypton was a planet of peace. So what is a man-of-war to do when there are no wars to be fought? Zod chose rebellion. He lost. For his crimes Zod, along with his fellow conspirators Non and Ursa, were banished to the Phantom Zone. This allowed Zod to escape death when Krypton was destroyed. Now he plagues the son of Jor-El in the present. Zod is dangerous because under Earth’s yellow sun he has all of Superman’s powers, plus he and his cohorts outnumber Kal-El three to one. One can never overestimate a keen military mind.
Bizarro is the “Reverse-Superman.” He is as strong as Superman, but his thinking is backwards. Hello means bye, up means down. And heroic deeds on Bizarroworld can take on a whole new meaning. Sometimes Bizarro wants to help, but his backwards way of thinking can put normal (or sane) people in harm’s way. Other times he is a tool that is manipulated by others to be used against the Man of Steel. Whether he’s an alternate universe version or failed clone of Superman, Bizarro is both one of the funniest and scariest villains on this list.
Darkseid is the undisputed Lord of the dark planet Apokolips. He is a dark god whose ultimate goal in life is to find the meaning to the Anti-Life Equation. Armed with strength that rivals Superman’s, his immeasurably powerful Omega-Beams, immortality, and an unnerving patience that could only have been honed over millennia of scheming, Darkseid has proven to be one the greatest threats in the DCU.
Brainiac is a cold and calculating machine. Obsessed with finding knowledge and assimilating all organic life under his rule, Brainiac has been a thorn in the side of Superman for many years. This diabolical villain is responsible for shrinking the capital city of Krypton, Superman’s homeworld, and holding its inhabitants hostage in a bottle to be studied like lab rats. Brainiac has gone through many incarnations, but none scarier than his truly robotic one seen in the months leading up to Crisis on Infinite Earths. The post-Crisis Brainiac once took over the battle planet known as Warworld and attempted to annihilate Superman’s adoptive planet. It took an army of Earth’s heroes to thwart the villain’s plans.
The next villain on this list is so monumentally threatening that his very name means the end of days. He is a creature born out of experiments to make the perfect killing machine. He is a nigh-unstoppable juggernaut fueled by rage and possesses a wanton desire to destroy. He has fought and defeated the Justice League, DC’s premiere super-team. He stood toe-to-toe with Superman, the greatest super-hero of all time. It was a battle so epic that the Last Son of Krypton had to sacrifice his own life to win. But every time he is defeated he regenerates and comes back stronger, smarter, and deadlier than before. What else can you say about a monster called Doomsday?
Nobody challenges the Man of Steel more than Lex Luthor. Arguably the smartest man alive, Luthor, much like other great villains, if not for certain events in his life, could have been Superman’s greatest ally in the pursuit of justice. Instead, jealousy and arrogance forever pit this mad genius against the Man of Steel and the rest of the DCU. He once schemed his way into the White House and presided over the most powerful country in the world. It took the combined prowess of DC’s greatest heroes, Superman and Batman, to take him down. The scariest thing about Luthor is that much like all megalomaniacs, he truly believes he’s right. As far as he’s concerned, Superman is the bad guy, and the world would be a better place under Luthor’s rule.
Superman’s Rogues Gallery rounds out with: Solomon Grundy, Metallo, Toy Man, Mongul, Titano, the Kryptonite Man, Vartox, Cyborg-Superman, Gog, the Galactic Golem, Bloodsport, Amazo, Silver Banshee, Terra-Man, Livewire, Superboy-Prime, and Atlas.
The Incredible Hulk is the mightiest mortal to ever walk the earth, so it should come as no surprise that his Rogues Gallery is made up of some of the biggest bruisers the Marvel Universe has to offer. There are few in the world that can rival the Hulk’s strength, even fewer that can push him to his physical limits. The Juggernaut is just one of the foes. Cain Marko is the earthly avatar of the dark god Cyttorak. He is immeasurably strong and totally impervious to pain and injury. The Juggernaut has battled the X-Men, Spider-Man, and even the mighty Thor to standstills. His only weakness is a mental assault, but his mystical helmet protects him from such an attack.
Crusher Creel, a.k.a. the Absorbing Man, empowered by Asgardian black magic, is easily one of the most dangerous men walking the earth. He possesses the uncanny ability to absorb the properties of anything he touches, thus absorbing its strength and power. He can become as hard and strong as steel, as elusive as liquid, or as deadly as fire. Crusher’s battles with the Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man and the Avengers are the stuff of legend. His girlfriend, Titania, is a powerhouse whose super-human strength rivals that of the She-Hulk. Rarely will you find a more universally feared super-villain in any universe. His only weakness is that he isn’t the smartest guy around. And it’s his lack of intelligence that usually leads to his downfall.
The U-Foes are the evil Fantastic Four. Their origin is similar to the FF’s but the way they chose to use their gifts is much different. There’s the gaseous Vapor, a vixen with the ability to turn her body into poisonous gas. X-Ray is intangible to the touch, but he can project dangerous levels of radiation. There’s the monstrous Iron Clad who can mentally increase his great strength along with his mass, and finally their sinister leader, the cold, calculating Vector. He possesses the ability to repel objects away from him with deadly force. With next to no redeeming qualities (they are selfish, cowardly, petty, and ruthless) these four have plagued the Hulk for years.
If the Hulk were the evil monster that the majority of the world thinks he is, he would be the Abomination. Emil Blonsky was a Russian spy during the Cold War. When infiltrating a US military installation he was bombarded with Gamma Radiation and given powers and abilities like the Incredible Hulk. The Abomination is more grotesque looking and naturally stronger than the Hulk. The Abomination is one of the few beings alive that has actually single-handedly defeated the Jade Giant. The only thing that gives the Hulk an edge against such a powerful adversary is that the madder the Hulk gets, the stronger the Hulk gets.
The Leader is probably the most dangerous foe the Hulk has ever faced. Samuel Stern was an average labor worker who worked in a top secret government facility. But on the day he was exposed to some radioactive material his intellectual and mental prowess increased to super-human levels. He possesses a genius level intelligence that rivals that of Reed Richards, Victor Von Doom or Tony Stark. He has the ability to use his mind to take control of weak-willed people. And he has an army of clones, androids, mutants, henchmen, and super-weapons at his disposal. The Leader has come close on several occasions to actually destroying the Hulk. No one has challenged the Jade Giant the way the Leader has, and no villain has had a bigger impact on the Hulk’s life than the Leader has.
Marvel Super-Heroes have always been a thorn in the Hulk’s side. What do the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Sub-Mariner, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Thor, Silver Surfer, Hercules, Doc Samson, Wolverine and the X-Men, Machine Man, Jack of Hearts, the Inhumans, Captain Marvel, Soviet Super Soldiers, Alpha Flight, Rom, Iron Man and Doctor Strange all have in common? They’ve all felt the crushing blows and unparalleled anger of the mightiest mortal to ever walk the earth. When you are a monster by nature you draw the attention of a super-hero community that believes they have humanity’s best interest in mind. They’ve even conspired against the Hulk and twice exiled him, once to another dimension (Hulk in Exile) and another time to deep space (Planet Hulk). Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with the Jade Giant, and when he returned he expressed his disappointment in the heroes of the Marvel U in a very special way – World War Hulk! NOTE: The Marvel Heroes, though they had to be included in the list, will be excluded from the decision-making process for victory, because they would tip the balance of the scales too far in the Hulk’s favor.
Hulk’s Rogues Gallery rounds out with: Rhino, The Harpy, Shaper of Worlds, Half-Life, Tyrannus, the Hulk-Hunters, the Hulk-Busters, Bi-Beast, Mr. Hyde, Glorian, Wendigo, Gremlin, Moonstone, Zzzax, High Evolutionary, MODOK, Hammer and Anvil, Maestro, and the U.S. Army.
WINNER: Superman’s Rogues
The Incredible Hulk is the strongest one there is and he faces a bevy of monstrous foes with the collective power to crack the moon in half, but the foes the Man of Tomorrow must face are on a whole other level. Take away the Shaper of Worlds, MODOK, and the Leader and most of Hulk’s foes are henchmen types. Though it would be pretty sweet to see a Juggernaut/Doomsday throw down and what would happen if the Absorbing Man, Half-Life and Parasite ever met, in the end, a group of Rogues led by Lex Luthor, Zod, Brainiac, and Darkseid would prove victorious over the Jade Giant’s cast of strongmen.
Rogue War Total: Marvel 1 / DC 1
The competition continues next week when the fiendish foes of the Amazing Amazon take on the immortal adversaries of the god of thunder.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell