The age old question that’s been argued from our days on the playground to our days at the comic shop: Marvel or DC? More specifically, which of their heroes would win in a fight: Superman or The Hulk? Flash or Quicksilver? The Justice League or The Avengers?
Thanks to the rival companies’ willingness to work together in the name of answering these huge questions (and of course, selling comics) you can wonder no longer! The “Big Two” have crossed over a surprising amount of times over the years; as a result, we know the outcome of these and many more incredible universe-crossing match ups. Today, we’ll be taking a look at 15 of the times Marvel and DC’s finest heroes duked it out.
16. SUPERMAN VS. SPIDER-MAN
A year after Marvel and DC collaborated for the first time on “MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz” in 1975, the two companies decided to have their two most iconic characters meet in the one-off “Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century” by writer Gerry Conway and art by Ross Andru, John Romita Sr. and Jerry Serpe. The story ultimately deals with Superman and Spider-Man teaming up to stop Lex Luthor and Dr. Octopus’ plans for world domination, but a misunderstanding between the two when they first meet leads to a super brawl between The Man of Steel and ol’ Web Head.
Peter Parker, Mary Jane, Lois Lane and Clark Kent are all attending the World News Conference when a fake Superman kidnaps Lois and MJ, leading both Peter and the real Clark to switch into their superhero identities to rescue them. After the real Superman is blasted with a red sun radiation blast from Lex Luthor, Spider-Man confronts him and is easily able to knock Supes around. When the radiation wears off, Spider-Man injures himself in his attempts to defeat Superman and the two talk things out, realizing they’ve been duped.
15. BATMAN VS. HULK
The next time Marvel and DC’s characters would meet was in the pages of “DC Special Series #27” in a story called “The Monster and the Madman” by writer Len Wein and artists José Luis García-López and Glynis Oliver. In the story, Bruce Banner is working as a researcher for WayneTech on a project called the “gamma-gun,” a device designed to cure disease. Bruce is there working on the gun in hopes he’ll be able to use it to cure himself of the Hulk.
When Joker attempts to steal the gamma-gun, Bruce turns into the Hulk, and the ensuing chaos causes Batman to arrive on the scene. Joker manages to convince Hulk that Batman is his enemy, and he immediately attacks Bats as Joker escapes with the gun. Batman does his best to fight the Hulk, but he’s simply no match for his raw power and only manages to defeat him using some knockout gas from his utility belt.
14. BATMAN VS. THE PUNISHER
The Punisher first visited Gotham City in a one off called “Batman and Punisher: Lake of Fire” during a period of time where Azrael was the acting Caped Crusader. However, in his second visit in “Punisher and Batman: Deadly Knights,” by writer Chuck Dixon and artists John Romita Jr. and Christie Steele, Bruce Wayne is back in the cowl and he wants Frank Castle out of Gotham.
Punisher has returned to track the Marvel villain Jigsaw, who has been hiding out in Gotham. After killing a band of thugs working for the villain Tango, Punisher interrogates the one survivor, but before he can pull the trigger, Batman swoops in to tell Frank to leave Gotham. Their fight ends when the building they’re fighting on collapses and Punisher disappears. They tangle again near the end of the book when Batman stops him from killing The Joker and whoops him before Punisher willingly leaves, remarking that Batman and “that giggling idiot deserve each other.”
13. HULK VS. SUPERMAN
Marvel and DC’s heaviest hitters finally got their own one-off face-off in the pages of “Incredible Hulk vs. Superman,” by writer Roger Stern and artists Steve Rude and Steve Oliff. After a nightmare forces Bruce Banner’s transformation into the Hulk, he attacks a BBQ. In short order, Superman arrives to stop him. Hulk tosses Superman into space, giving him enough time to finish his meal and escape.
After returning to Metropolis to chase leads as Clark Kent, Superman tracks Hulk to New Mexico. However, by the time Superman arrives, Lex Luthor is already on location with an elaborate scheme to use Hulk to take out Superman, using a robotic Hulk to kidnap Betty Brant and draw them into a final confrontation. Superman hits Hulk hard and fast to keep him from being able to retaliate before throwing him miles away so he can tend to Betty. When she points out that she was kidnapped by a robot, Superman realizes they’ve been set up. After getting tossed around like a ragdoll, Superman tries to explain what’s happening and make amends, but Hulk continues to fight until Lex attacks the two of them, and Hulk finally understands.
12. BATMAN VS. DAREDEVIL
The Dark Knight first met The Man Without Fear in “Daredevil and Batman” by writer D.G. Chichester and artists Scott McDaniel and Gregory Wright. When Two-Face murders a bunch of WayneTech employees, Batman takes the attack personally and feels (even more so than usual) that it’s his job to “force a murderer to pay for his crimes.” After tracking the villain from Gotham to New York City Batman ends up in the same sewer system as Daredevil, who is trying to get to the bottom of a string of gold-plated circuit board robberies-turned-murder cases.
Thinking Daredevil may somehow be involved in the murders, Batman attempts to attack and interrogate him, but Daredevil’s heightened senses allow him to pick up on Batman and repel his attack. They fight each other back and forth for a while (with few hits actually landing due to their comparable skills) before finally coming to the conclusion that they’re working the same case and (eventually) teaming up.
11. FLASH VS. QUICKSILVER
The remainder of our list pulls from the 1996 crossover event “Marvel Versus DC” which saw heroes from both publishers forced to fight for the fate of their respective universes. We learn in issue #2, by writer Peter David and artists Claudio Castellini, Dan Jurgens, and Gregory Wright, that the Marvel and DC universes are actually a pair of cosmic siblings locked in a never-ending war for supremacy, where every battle results in the death and rebirth of both universes.
To spare one of the two universes, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal convince the entities to have each universe’s respective heroes fight as champions in their stead. Reasoning that, since some of the heroes’ battles would be never-ending, they agree that whomever can immobilize their opponent first wins the match. Though several of the battles we’ll be discussing later in this list were decided by fan votes, all of the fights in issue #2, including the one between Flash and Quicksilver, were decided by the writers. As fast as Quicksilver is, Wally West is on a whole other level and easily outpaces him in their fight.
10. THOR VS. CAPTAIN MARVEL
That same issue also deals with the face off between Marvel’s thunder God, Thor (sporting some ridiculously ’90s-looking armor), and DC’s Captain Marvel, a.k.a. Billy Batson. After exchanging pleasantries, and expressing their regrets over having to fight one another, the two titans pray to their respective Gods before the fight that will decide the fate of their worlds.
The two fight through a boardwalk, with the highlight of the match being Captain Marvel chucking a Ferris Wheel at Thor in an attempt to take him down. Thor deflects the attack, pinning Captain Marvel underneath the wreckage, which he’s only able to escape by reverting to Billy Batson. Thor is able to secure his victory by absorbing the lighting Billy calls upon when yelling “Shazam!” with his hammer Mjolnir, making it impossible for him to change back into Captain Marvel. Though Thor is declared the winner, Mjolnir is overloaded with energy and “resets,” causing it to disappear and end up in the hands of Wonder Woman.
9. AQUAMAN VS. NAMOR
The last bout to discuss from issue #2 of “Marvel Versus DC” is the fight between the two publisher’s respective rulers of the sea: Aquaman, and Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Unsurprisingly, these two famously prickly leaders seem to have far less respect for each other than our last pair of combatants. Throughout their fight, the two trade quips about each other’s skills, looks and personalities, without landing so much as a single blow on one another due to being so evenly matched.
However, Aquaman is able to (excuse the pun) turn the tide in his favor when he takes the fight above water. While Namor is focused on trying to overpower him, Aquaman manages to distract Namor by cracking jokes. After wrapping Namor up in the harpoon he has in place of an arm, Aquaman crushes him underneath a killer whale, commenting his one weakness was that he was “too noble to cheat.”
8. ROBIN VS. JUBILEE
Issue #3 of “Marvel Versus DC,” by writer Ron Marz and artists Dan Jurgens, Claudio Castellini and Gregory Wright, begins with Jubilee of the X-Men writing a diary entry recapping the previous issues and lamenting her upcoming fight with Tim Drake, a.k.a. Robin, due to the blossoming romance between the two. Robin interrupts her, asking if she’d like to go for a walk before they have to fight. After Robin says he’d like to wish her luck, but can’t given the circumstances, Jubilee kisses him saying “So whatever happens, happens.”
Jubilee believes she has the upper hand due to Robin’s lack of powers, but his superior experience and training with Batman shines through. Hiding in the shadows of the warehouse they’ve been transported to, Robin is able to trick Jubilee by using his cape to produce a shadow, tying her up with a batarang and rope. Jubilee is embarrassed that Robin was able to take her out without throwing a single punch, to which Robin replies he never had any intention of actually hitting her.
7. SILVER SURFER VS. GREEN LANTERN
The next fight we see in issue #3 is between Kyle Rayner, the fifth Green Lantern, and the former herald of Galactus, the Silver Surfer. The two galactic protectors are upset at the idea of being forced to fight each other after previously teaming up to defeat Parallax and Thanos to save their respective universes in the one-off “Green Lantern/Silver Surfer: Unholy Alliances.”
Though the two friends take no pleasure in the fight, both refuse to hold back, knowing that this fight is the only way to save at least one of their home worlds. Kyle attacks Silver Surfer with a variety of increasingly intricate projections of his will, but he’s simply not able to overcome the Surfer. When Green Lantern’s final attack against Silver Surfer erupts in a massive green explosion, we see the Silver Surfer emerge victorious remarking that while he won, he’s never regretted an opponent’s defeat more.
6. ELEKTRA VS. CATWOMAN
Immediately following the fight between the Green Lantern and the Silver Surfer, we cut to Daredevil’s on-again, off-again love interest, the deadly assassin Elektra, getting cut across the torso from a swipe by the greatest thief the DC universe has ever known, Catwoman. While Elektra is perfectly content going for the win, Catwoman is busy questioning why the two less-than-heroic women were even chosen to face off against one another in the first place.
Catwoman attempts to incapacitate Elektra by catching her arm with her trademark whip, but Elektra flings Catwoman over the side of the developing skyscraper they’re fighting on, leaving her dangling. Elektra comments that while she’s an assassin who gladly kills her targets, she didn’t choose this conflict and won’t slay Catwoman to appease the cosmic beings forcing them to battle. To clinch the victory, Elektra cuts Catwoman’s whip, leaving her to plummet to a pile of sand below.
5. WOLVERINE VS. LOBO
Later that same issue, readers were treated to an all-out brawl between the company’s two most popular anti-heroes at the time: Marvel’s effortlessly awesome Wolverine, and DC’s “main man” Lobo. This was the first of the five showdowns that were decided by reader votes, so despite how controversial it was at the time to have Wolverine defeat a character that regularly goes head-to-head with Superman, it should come as no surprise that Wolverine was able to take the match.
As you might have expected, the pair duke it out in a good ol’ fashioned bar brawl at one of Lobo’s favorite intergalactic hangouts. Lobo lands the first major hit of the match, sinking his trademark chain weapon into Wolverine’s chest, but we quickly see the fight turn to Wolverine’s favor when he pins Lobo down behind the bar. The remainder of the fight (unfortunately) takes place off-screen, but we see Wolverine come out as a definitive victor when his hand shoots up from behind the bar before taking a seat and smoking an already lit cigar.
4. STORM VS. WONDER WOMAN
In another fan-decided fight, Storm of the X-Men was forced to take on the world’s greatest superheroine, Wonder Woman. When the two meet, Wonder Woman is wielding Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and remarking how much more powerful she’s become by holding it. Storm approaches her saying that while Wonder Woman may believe she has the advantage, but that Storm has also been called a Goddess, and she will not yield so easily.
Despite Storm’s confidence, Wonder Woman decides it would be unfair to fight with her newly-accentuated powers and elects to fight Storm using her own abilities, believing she’ll still win without the advantage. Though Wonder Woman proves herself to be the superior fighter, Storm is able to overwhelm her with her control of lightning. When Wonder Woman refuses to surrender, Storm is forced to hit her with everything she has while remarking, “Forgive me sister,” and lifting Wonder Woman’s unconscious body off the ground.
3. SPIDER-MAN VS. SUPERBOY
The next fight readers of “Marvel Versus DC” #3 saw was between everyone’s favorite Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and Kon El, the then-Superboy. An interesting note: while he was still using the name of his clone Ben Reilly, who had taken over the Spider-Mantle for a time, this was actually Peter Parker in the Spidey suit, so it was the real deal! Their fight was another of the five decided by reader votes, so it should come as no surprise that Spidey would easily beat out anyone but The Man of Steel or The Dark Knight. That being said, Superboy put up a great fight, despite being edged out by Ben’s superior moves.
The fight picks up with Spider-Man blinding Superboy by covering his signature turtle shell sunglasses with some webbing. Spider-Man attempts to use stealth to his advantage, but Superboy’s tactile telekinesis makes for a perfect counter. Despite Superboy’s seemingly superior strength and speed, Spider-Man is able to edge out the win by getting Superboy wet and trapping him with his impact webbing as Superboy charged at Spidey while he was in front of a high voltage electrical transformer.
2. SUPERMAN VS. HULK (AGAIN)
Though we’ve already discussed the idea of Superman and The Incredible Hulk going toe-to-toe, the pair also fought alongside their fellow heroes in “Marvel Versus DC” #3 in one of the popularity based matches. Though the outcome of the fight is more or less the same, with Superman proving to be the stronger of the two, there are a few key differences between this fight and the one we saw in “Incredible Hulk vs. Superman.”
For starters, instead of the Golden Age versions of the characters fighting it out, we saw the then-contemporary ’90s incarnations of the characters fighting instead. While all this meant for Superman was a sweet mullet, for Hulk it was during the time that Dr. Bruce Banner was in control of the Hulk form, meaning he not only wore the tightest clothes imaginable, but also retained Bruce’s intelligence. After Superman meets up with Bruce in the midst of defeating the DC villain Metallo, the heroes are transported to the Grand Canyon and their fight begins. After trading a series of increasingly heavy blows, Superman puts Hulk down in the name of defending his universe and the woman he loves, punching Green Genes with a thunderous punch and basically dropping a mountain on him.
1. BATMAN VS. CAPTAIN AMERICA
The final one-on-one fight featured in the “Marvel Versus DC” crossover was between the Super Soldier, Steve Rogers’ Captain America, and Batman, the Caped Crusader. The fight picks up with Captain America commenting on how Batman’s stealth makes him impossible to locate, complaining that he “can’t fight what he can’t find,” just as Batman swoops down on him.
Cap compliments Batman’s fighting skills, going as far as saying he’s never fought someone with whom he felt so evenly matched. Batman says at least until now, they knew they were always on the same side, to which Cap replies that they’re still on the same side and that in another time, he could see the two as partners. The fight lasts for hours until the sewer they’re fighting in starts to flood. Cap misses Batman with his shield and takes a batarang to the head, only avoiding drowning because Batman pulled him out of the water.
Which was your favorite DC Vs. Marvel face off? Let us know in the comments!