We’ve got more Superhero March Madness action, this time moving over to the top right corner of the tournament’s first round. Let's hope my humble opinions seem reasonable enough. The upcoming competitors are shown below. Now let’s get started.
1. Thor vs. 16. Starlord
Well, this would certainly be an attractive matchup. Competitive? Not so much. A godlike figure of mythology known for thousands of years does differ slightly in combat experience from the outlaw who left his captors saying, “Who?” Granted, you can’t underestimate the power of a distracting dance battle, but one way or another this fight ends in classic 1-16 fashion. The mighty Thor moves on without breaking a sweat.
8. Rocket/Groot vs. 9. The Invisible Woman
Maybe these guardians will have better luck. If there are any two heroes who earn the tag-team status, it would be this inseparable pair. Rocket brings the heavy firepower. Groot provides an exceptional durability, as well as some up close and personal power. Sue Storm, on the other hand, is quietly the most powerful member of the Fantastic Four. The combination of her invisibility and powerful force fields make her a very difficult target to finish off. But what she has in defense, she somewhat lacks in offense. She works exceptionally well with a team as a support player, but can do comparatively little on her own in terms of attacking formidable opponents. She would have been able to do enough damage against Rocket for a victory, but the added element of Groot’s contribution makes all the difference. The force fields could absorb gunfire, but an angry tree could eventually break through. Rocket and Groot tag-team for the win.
5. Iron Man vs. 12. Ant-Man
Hank Pym’s Ant-Man, the one I’ll use for this fight, is a genius. That’s always something to consider in one-on-one encounters. Tony Stark, however, also a genius. Ant-Man can cause some serious havoc, especially in a team setting, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have barely scratched the surface of just how powerful Iron Man actually is. We’ve seen Ant-Man tear apart someone’s super-advanced armor from the inside, more than once actually. But Stark isn’t just inside his armor; his armor is inside of him. The Extremis (not that fire-breathing Iron Man 3 garbage) and Bleeding Edge armors completely redefined the character, allowing him to both summon suits on command and even produce them from inside his own body on a moment’s notice. There is no catching him off guard, he commands an unofficial army of his own weapons, and the firepower inside each and every suit is deadlier than the last. Iron Man’s targeting would eliminate Ant-Man’s stealth, and his sheer firepower would provide a decisive victory.
4. Vision vs. 13. Punisher
I would love to hear a conversation between these two and just enjoy their different perspectives on life. The Punisher’s sheer anger can disarm physically tougher opponents. While I made a point to say everyone in this tournament would be willing to kill, just to secure a victory, we still have to factor in things like ferocity and overall attitude. Unfortunately for this hilarious matchup, Vision is one of the few heroes who would be completely unaffected by Frank Castle’s temperament. On top of the mindset advantages, Vision is just worlds ahead of the Punisher in terms of power and abilities. Depending on which version of the android you’re referring to, he’s even capable of taking Mjolnir for a spin. Vision wins easily, but not before explaining to Frank the value of all life. Then Frank spits in his face, and Vision blasts him for the win.
6. Deadpool vs. 11. Cyclops
Oddly enough, the most straight-laced Boy Scout in the X-Men’s corner of the Marvel universe is facing the most foul-mouthed wildcard of that same bunch. Truthfully, Cyclops is way cooler than his movie-ruined reputation would have you believe. His hand to hand combat would take even Deadpool a few rounds, and before long he’d start landing some concussive blasts between punches. But Deadpool’s ability to regenerate negates most attacks, and it would take someone much tougher than Cyclops to incapacitate him long enough to claim a victory. Wade would only need one well-aimed slice to the neck to win in the goriest possible fashion.
3. Captain Atom vs. 14. Mr. Fantastic
Punch for punch, this fight isn’t a fight at all. It’s about as competitive as a walking warhead getting into a fight with a rubber band. Reed Richards’ nearly unparalleled intelligence balances the scales here. He rarely ever enters a fight with the sole intention of throwing lengthy punches. Whatever device it may be, you don’t want to mess with someone who plays around with physics the way a child plays with Legos. By the rules I’ve established for this tournament, this isn’t a cage match. And the contestants would have some time to prepare for their opponent beforehand (a rule we’ll call “The Batman Clause”). Captain Atom is practically immune to both physical and elemental attacks. His only weakness is the excessive absorption of his own nuclear power. And if there’s one hero who can manipulate this power, it’s Reed Richards. The Internet grossly underrated the value of intelligence even greater than Tony Stark’s, forcing Mr. Fantastic’s seed well below where I would’ve placed him on my own. He’d enter the scene with some kind of nuclear reactor, one encrypted well enough to keep Atom’s technology-hacking abilities off the table, and send the powerful opponent to another dimension entirely (if he even survived his own overdose). The win doesn’t always go to the biggest boom, and stretch lives to fight another day.
7. Psylocke vs. 10. Colossus
I don’t mean to pick on the big guy, but Colossus thrives as a big, strong, durable hero in a universe with several bigger, stronger, and more durable heroes. He’d give some big-time characters problems if their attacks were purely physical by withstanding and outlasting them. We even saw him beat up Deadpool with relative ease. But Psylocke is another character that seems to fly under the general public’s radar, or else I would’ve placed her much higher as well. Her psychic blade would most likely be able to slice right through Mother Russia for the win. If that doesn’t work and my nerd science isn’t up to par, she could still pummel him around until he turned to scrap metal. This isn’t the type of hero Colossus can neutralize, and Psylocke moves on to Round 2.
2. Shazam vs. 15. Green Arrow
My name is Oliver Queen, and I have no business being in this fight. Even if you do make this the CW Green Arrow, who’s basically Batman with a bow, there is nothing in the Emerald Archer’s arsenal (pun intended) that makes this anything short of a blowout in favor of the man-child. Shazam possesses near-Superman physical abilities with an added element of Thor-like thunder and lightning. Some argue he can even beat the Man of Steel (unless you’ve played Injustice…yikes.) If he has a weakness, it’s a Hulk-like duality and the whole “kill him when he’s just a kid” argument…what monsters we are for breaking this down. I suppose if Ollie loaded up a horse tranquilizer arrow, landed it right in Shazam’s throat, and turned him into Billy Batson on the spot, then sure. That’s also a ridiculous series of events. Shazam uses his speed to dodge any incoming fire and ends the fight faster than you could explain what his name stands for.
Halfway through Round 1, this tournament has had its fair share of fun. Here's Round 1-1 for anyone who missed it:
And here's Round 1-3 for what happens next: