Oh Screw Attacks, I love your videos... sort of.
After a long list of fans demanding a rematch, Screw Attacks updated their Death Battle using the most recent developments achieved by both characters in their respective universes.
However, their conclusion leaves many questions unanswered and many issues unresolved.
Watch the videos before continuing as there are spoilers ahead.
Did you watch them? Good, let's get to the spoiler stuff.
So obviously they pit Superman against the now Super-Saiyan God Saiyan Goku and after Superman makes Earth whole again via a wish from the Dragon Balls, he and Goku have at it once more.
Yet the video falls into the same assumptions about the two characters that are plainly not true. The primary arguments for Superman's ultimate win in this bout is that he has no limit. Limitless Potential the people at Screw Attacks call it. While Goku can overcome any limit, Superman is made to be limitless.
Of course this claim flies in the face of the canon of the DC universe in regards to Superman and even contradicts claims made by Screw Attacks in their own video.
Problem 1) They ignored their first video's assertions about how Superman's limitless potential actually operates.
In the first video, they claim that while it took some time for Superman to physically move a planet, but ultimately he rose to the challenge. The biggest limit to Superman's "limitless potential" is in fact time. It takes time for him to reach a given level of power and to match an opponent that is stronger than him.
Goku on the other hand doesn't have such a limit. Let us assert that in the first video, both Goku and Superman are roughly at the same level of strength when they meet. This is apparently obvious by the way the fight plays out, though this is arguably a fault in the creators of the first Death Battle, so we can't use it as a base. But because we are operating on dismantling the Death Battles we will use them as our base.
Both Goku and Superman exchange blows matching each other in strength and stamina. While it is clear that Superman is holding back the shift in power as Goku power's up through his usual stages of strength, that rapid increases in power can and do overwhelm Superman. At lower levels of power Goku surprises Superman knocking him back during the fight until Superman retaliates and really starts to fight back. But what isn't shown is the limit of time on Superman.
Throughout the comics Superman is overwhelmed by his strongest enemies. In fact he dies several times throughout the DC Comic Universe against overwhelming enemies, like Doomsday. (And for the record Doomsday killed Superman while Superman was in his prime, albeit pre-Crisis). If Superman had limitless potential he should have been capable of continually and rapidly raising his power to meet the demands that the battle against Doomsday presented. Instead, Doomsday won.
Goku, in contrast is several times more powerful than Doomsday, even at SS3 or SS4 (which was used to defeat one of the DragonBall universe's strongest antagonsits, more on that in a bit).
Thus the representation that Superman could keep up with Goku in the film, while exciting, isn't accurate. If Goku can rapidly increase his fighting strength as he does, and is shown as overwhelming Superman at any level of power, then by the canon of the DC universe (comic, animated, and cinematic), he would ultimately win against Superman. (See Problem 3 for more examples.)
Problem 2) Screw Attack's dismissing the claim that Ki should count as magic, ultimately destroys Screw Attack's own conclusion in both videos.
First the universe comparison. Many people argued that Ki is akin to magic in the DBZ universe. And fair dues to Screw Attack, they are correct in arguing there is a differentiation between Ki and Magic in the DBZ universe (even if it is a flimsy differentiation). Looking at the Spirit Bomb and how it is used in the DBZ universe, we learn that all living things, including the very universe can be drawn upon to build a spirit bomb. This includes the power of suns and planets and blackholes etc.
In fact, during the build up of the spirit bomb during the Frieza Saga, we see whole planets and stars give energy to the spirit bomb. This, in terms of the DBZ universe equates Ki energy to essentially any type of available energy, including solar energy.
In the DC universe the concept of Ki is used, but it is almost always equated to magic (including post-Crisis).
In fact the DC universe is very vague about the differences between magic, ki, superpowers, and alternative reality technology. In many cases superpowers that derive from outside forces (like the Speed Force with the Flash or Dr. Strange's magical abilities) are linked at least in part to their own vital energies. In the New 52, several characters appear to use Qi or Ki including Hellblazer (John Constantine), Zatanna, Enchantress, and Madame Xanadu.
Screw Attacks argument is that Superman can't be affected by Ki as he would as if it were magic, which is a grey area because of how Ki is qualified in the DC universe. However, because of how the DBZ universe defines Ki and represents Ki, there is a crucial shift in the affects of Ki on Superman.
In Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman we learn there is another limit to Superman's power, he can absorb too much solar power which eventually tears apart his cells. I'll quote Wikipedia here"
Believing he is on his home planet of Krypton, Superman joins his Kryptonian father Jor-El, who reveals that Superman's body is converting itself to a solar radio-consciousness. He offers him a choice: remain or come back to life. Clark wakes up and fights Luthor with a gravity gun. The gravity gun warps time for Luthor, burning out his powers. As his powers fade, Luthor briefly sees the world as Superman sees it, and weeps before Superman knocks him out. Superman and Lois embrace and he proclaims his love for her once and for all. He takes off, flies into the Sun and repairs it, saving the day for one last time. One year later, Lois still believes that Superman will return. Inside the sun, Superman, now a solar being, is making machinery within. The story concludes with Quintum revealing that if something happens, they will be ready, standing before a door with Superman's characteristic shield, but with its usual "S" replaced with the number "2". (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Star_Superman)
Because the DBZ universe shows Ki as being equal to and generally the same as sunlight, Goku's key blasts are like hitting him with concentrated forms of sunlight. If Goku can absorb too much sunlight and be forced to turned into asolar radio-consciousness well what exactly would happen if he absorbed energy way to fast to convert?
It gets even worse for Superman here, because it is the frequency of light that determines his power level. The higher the energy light the faster his powers recuperate. Screw Attack in their final comments point out that Superman recovers even faster in the presence of a Blue Sun. While we know that Red Light makes him mortal. We also know that he can't control which energy he absorbs (though from the new material he can essentially go supernovae by releasing all of the stores solar power he has in one go) and we learn this from The Kingdom sequel to The Kingdom Come series by Alex Ross and Mark Waid.
In The Kingdom Superman is killed over and over again throughout time by Gog, who uses a staff infused with the power of a dozen red suns. Gog uses blasts from this staff to ultimately kill Superman, all of them, across the multiverse. Superman isn't resurrected, but sent to a purgatory filled with other dead Supermans...(I don't think Supermen is an appropriate plural here).
This means repeated blasts including the super-Kamehameha and the God level Super-Kamehameha that hit Superman would cause some serious issues. Especially when Goku entered into Super God-Saiyan mode. The blue light that makes up his KI blast is like hitting Superman with a hundred blue suns worth of solar energy rapidly filling his cell's solar capacitance to overload. At this point, there isn't much for Superman to do, even with his latest abilities, that would allow him to win this battle.
He could either go supernovae releasing all of the energy and draining him of his powers entirely for 24 hours (which let's face it, is an instant win for Goku), he could just explode as his cells tear apart from the energy, or go into the sun and become a solar consciousness.
More importantly, the conclusion of this battle relies upon Superman using his heat vision to penetrate Goku's head and utterly destroy his brain. But this violates an already established rule in the Death Battle video, Goku can deflect and even simply withstand Superman's heatvision with is Ki. This establishes that Superman's heatvision is similar to, if not the same as, the Ki energy Goku uses. Goku, even if grappled, was in a powered up state with his Ki flowing around his body, the heat vision wouldn't have ever reached him.
Problem 3) Touching again on the whole unlimited potential argument, Superman is not limitless. In fact both characters must over come limits to succeed at what they do. This is exemplified dozens of times in the DC comics in regards to Superman and it is folly to assert that his powers are limitless.
For example, the assertion that Superman has no limit logically must also apply to other Kryptonians who have access to Yellow or Blue Sunlight, right? Since there should be no inherent difference between Superman and other Kryptonians, including Supergirl and his clone/son Superboy, arguably none of them should have limits either by the logic that Screw Attacks asserts, and yet we see Superman kill Zod who is also Kryptonian.
Now we could argue that Zod hadn't been exposed to sunlight long enough to gain the powers that Superman does, but that flies in the face of Screw Attacks' own arguments. While discussing the new Superman power (the Nova Flare(sic)) they describe it as him expelling all of the sunlight he'd absorbed as one huge powerful blast which leaves him powerless for 24 hours. After 24 hours, however, he somehow has all of his powers back and that "limitless potential" they describe.
As such Zod should have had the exact same level of limitless potential after spending just 24 hours on Earth absorbing the sun's light, and having been properly trained in martial arts decades longer than Superman had been alive, should have had the upper hand in a battle between the two. In fact he often does in most every instance and retelling of the two fighting.
Thus we have an argument not over power or skill, but personality and here in lies the problem. The assertion that Superman is limitless is paradoxical and contrary to the canon of the character. In fact Superman has just as many limits as Goku does and both characters require time and training to overcome those obstacles in their own ways.
Problem 4) General assertions about both Superman and Goku show that Goku is ultimately far more powerful than Superman. Boomstick states "Goku is the epitome of a self-made man...to many, Goku is proof there is no struggle that can't be overcome." (I'll come back to this in a moment.)
They give several examples of Superman's strength, like lifting Spectre off the Ground. They qualify this example as proof of his superiority by saying "...a guy literally made out of Eternity". The issue, it is clear that Spectre doesn't way much (relatively speaking) as his body is lying and is supported by a planet. Even then, Superman requires the help of other heroes to move the giant. They point Superman and Captain Marvel "lifting a book of infinite pages". This again flies in the face of canon (even with the Infinite Crisis being a matter of question). The book has infinite pages, based upon the reader's life. The use of infinite means it isn't finite. Not that it is indefinite and massive. A string of numbers can be broken down infinitely yet still have outer defined values. This again doesn't prove anything about Superman's abilities. (Also, Boomstick, half of infinity is undefined, not infinite.) Superman held a black hole, and a rather small one at that, but Goku held something far heavier.
Kachin as the Dubbed version calls it is the "Strongest metal in the universe" according to the Supreme Kai. In metals strength reflects density and the most dense metal in the [known] universe would be Neutron Star core. Quoting Google here:
A neutron star is so dense that one teaspoon (5 milliliters) of its material would have a mass over 7012550000000000000♠5.5×10^12 kg (that is 1100 tonnes per 1 nanolitre), about 900 times the mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
(Noting: that black holes are space-time displacements with extreme gravity.)
To put this into perspective, Kachin, to be the strongest metal would have to be Neutron Star material or something very much like it. If one nanolitre is equal to 1,100 metric tons we can calculate the total mass of that block Goku lifted relative to the Kai's world (which for future record, is magically suspended in the After Life and isn't subject to the same rules as the normal world). At 00:56 seconds into the video, we can see that the cube he is lifting is roughly Goku's height cubed, or 5'7" cubed (1.7018 meters cubed). That comes to 1701.8 liters or 1,701,800,000,000 nanoliters. That means that cube has a mass of 1.87198e+15 ton. On Earth it'd weigh just that 1.87198e+15 tons. On King Kai's planet, which we know has gravity that is 10 times that of Earth's, it'd weight 1.87198e+16 tons. But this was done on the Supreme Kai's planet which has gravity at 50x Earth's gravity. Kachin would weight 9.3599e+16 tons.
That is massive, excessively massive. To put this into perspective one Solar mass, the mass of our sun, is 1.9891e+27 tons.
And Goku threw it like it was nothing (it also says a bit about how dense the Supreme Kai's planet is...)
The mass of a black hole, however, is the same as the mass it absorbs. If it were small enough for Superman to hold, it would have been light enough as well (black holes of this size also can't really exist for very long. They expend their energy as they collapse and ultimately dissipate). The relative mass of the black hole Superman holds wouldn't even be half of the mass of the cube of Kachin that Goku tossed, on a planet with 50x Earth gravity, without being in Super Saiyan form or even in Kaio-ken. Not only that, but it is clear that Superman has a very hard time controlling the black hole. Oh, and gravity is determined by mass, so the gravity of the black hole Superman is shown controlling would also be about half of the gravity of the Kachin cube Goku threw....
As for flying through a Red Sun...well no it isn't like taking "millions of nukes rapid fire". Stars form through continual fusion, nuclear warheads mostly operate on fission reactions. That said, Superman has flown through many stars and a Red Giant has the least amount of energy and relative temperature to other hotter stars. So this example is only relative to the fact that Superman is vulnerable to Red Sunlight. It really doesn't demonstrate his strength.
Oh and there is the section at 15:37 where Boomstick says "...he absorbed enough solar energy to vaporize half a galaxy." Now here is where this gets interesting.
See this battle here:
That's Goku defeating the Legendary Saiyan, Broly.
And here, in this video;
Broly destroys an entire galaxy.
Think about this, if Superman has to absorb enough energy just to reach the level where he can wipe out half of a galaxy, he obviously doesn't have that sort of power at his disposal on any given day, even if he were at his best performance. He has to go out and get that energy.
Goku....Goku has that power instantly, and that's PRE-GOD TRAINING....
Speaking of his God Training he becomes so powerful that he is able to stand toe to toe with Beerus the Destroyer. From the Dragon Ball Super Wiki
The power of this form [Super Saiyan God] is great enough to allow Goku to fight on par with the God of Destruction Beerus, who had effortlessly defeated Super Saiyan 3 Goku, Ultimate Gohan, Majin Buu, Super Saiyan Gotenks, and a fully powered Super Saiyan 2 Vegeta. In fact, it is so powerful that none of the Z Fighters can sense Goku's energy while he is in this form, the form even makes its user completely immune to Demigra's Dark Magic. This form also allows the user to sense godly ki.
Arguably once becoming a god, Goku's power reaches heights that nothing in the DC universe can really compare to. It is essentially the combined power of six different Super Saiyans fused together into one Saiyan.
Conclusion: The debate over who would win, Goku or Superman, is not in anyway decided by the Death Battle created by Screw Attacks. In fact, it is entirely misrepresented by Screw Attacks who didn't bother to look at crucial facts about both universes and relative power levels. They claim that Superman is at an entirely different level than Goku, whom we like to see as the underdog struggling to overcome limits and strive for higher power levels. In reality Goku surpasses Superman in all ways by SS3, let alone SS4 and the newly established God levels.
Screw Attacks Death Battle is more about bias towards Superman than it is about proper representation of the two characters. Their presumptions about what Superman is, their claim of limitless potential, is simply invalid.
Goku increases in strength, power, and fighting prowess so quickly it out matches Superman's ability to "rise to the occasion" as it is put in the first video. We know that Superman has limits and those limits are shared with the rest of the Kryptonian race.
And even if he does have "limitless potential" potential has no value here. Limitless potential implies that there is no cap to what Superman can do, given the right circumstances and the time to achieve his goal. That doesn't translate into being able to match a foe, that is several orders magnitude in strength and power greater than he is, instantly. It just simply doesn't.