In this feature, I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!
If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!
For the latest fight, we’ll take a look at the time that Green Lantern easily defeated a guy that the entire Justice League couldn’t take down.
As always, the first page is spent setting up the power levels for the characters.
The Shaggy Man made his debut in a trippy story in Justice League of America #45 (by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Joe Giella and Frank Giacoia). The concept of the book is that one half of the League ends up fighting against a nearly unbeatable moon creature while the rest of the league face off against a seemingly LITERALLY unbeatable android monster known as the Shaggy Man, who just grows back any lost body parts and also adapts itself to any novel attack you might use (the modern Superman foe, Doomsday, riffed on that concept, as well). The Flash comes up with a plan, just make the two unbeatable creatures fight each OTHER.
But what to do when the Shaggy Man inevitably defeats the moon creature? And here’s where it just gets insane – they have the guy who built the Shaggy Man build ANOTHER Shaggy Man, with the assumption being that they’ll just fight each other to a stalemate. FLash digs a deep, deep pit and just leaves them at it. And that’s it!
Superman and Green Lantern were absent during the mission, though, so they wonder what would happen if they ever got a shot at these bad guys…
Okay, in a rare move, I am going to feature as an example of the power levels, an instance of a fight that ALSO seems to fit into the Wrong Side.
In Justice League of America #104 (by Len Wein and Dicks Dillin and Giordano), Green Lantern’s enemy Hector Hammond frees the Shaggy Man and drops him off on the Justice League’s satellite (again, everyone is there except for Hal and Superman). Shaggy Man proceeds to kick everyone’s ass and then knocks the satellite out of orbit!
Superman shows up and even HE can’t stop the Shaggy Man. Luckily, Green Lantern shows up to rescue the satellite from crashing…
So while he’s dealing with the satellite, Superman tries his best against Shaggy Man.
It doesn’t work. Then the rest of the League shows up and they all take him on…
Now look at that page. Those are a whole lot of powerful people on that page. With their combined might, they could possibly even take out Spider-Man, but even they can’t do anything against the Shaggy Man!
So Hal shows up for his showdown with the Shaggy Man and then he just…pulls a power out of nowhere to win the day…
What the what? This is just something Hal has up his sleeve whenever he wants to? “Okay, Doctor Polaris, let me just concentrate and I’ll shrink you down and put you into an unbreakable jar.” It really seems like Wein was thinking, “Crap, I’m almost out of room in this story. I only have a page and a half left, I guess I better just have Hal win somehow.”
So that, in and of itself, is silly. However, that plays into things, as the NEXT time the Shaggy Man shows up in Justice League of America #186 (by Gerry Conway, George Perez and Frank McLaughlin), now Hal’s trick doesn’t work, so he gets defeated by the Shaggy Man (actually, the copy of the Shaggy Man who was left behind that no one thought to check in on since #104)…
I’m not sure I buy the Flash being able to defeat him so easily (Batman defeats the other Shaggy Man in the issue by tricking it on to a rocket to outer space. I like that better, as it keeps in with the idea that you can’t DEFEAT the Shaggy Man, you can only get rid of him).
So years and years passed and the Shaggy Man returns in Grant Morrison’s JLA, only this time General Wade Eiling puts his brain into the Shaggy Man’s body and after a shave, he is now known as the General (the issue was guest-drawn by Mark Pajarillo and Walden Wong). The other heroes helping the Justice League are the Ultramarine Corps, supersoldiers that Eiling tricked into working for him against the League. Now that they realize Eiling has snapped, they team-up with the league to try to stop him…
As you can see, Morrison is basically buying into the “you can’t beat the General, you can only hope to contain him somewhere far, far away from people he can hurt.”
The General is rescued for Morrison’s final story arc, and in JLA #39 (drawn by Howard Porter and John Dell), he is finally dealt with, as the Watchtower has been brought to the Ghost Zone (basically the Phantom Zone) and Superman and Orion fight the General in the Watchtower. One of Orion’s hounds sacrifices itself to knock the General off of the Watchtower and into the Ghost Zone…
So once again, you can’t really DEFEAT the General, you can only take him off the field of battle.
Unless, of course, you are Hal Jordan.
Go to the next page for the fight of the century! Well, at least the fight of the issue of JSA! Well, at least A fight WITHIN an issue of JSA!
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