As real life March Madness nears the home stretch, we dive headfirst into Superhero March Madness’ second round. The matchups will only get tougher from here, with fewer and fewer easy calls as we head towards crowning the champion of my personal opinions. Here’s the first half of our bracket’s second round.
1. Superman vs. 8. Cable
Mind control is something Superman has fallen victim to on several occasions. But Cable’s telepathy isn’t the most reliable. As we discussed in the first round, his powers tend to fluctuate greatly from one story to the next. That kind of inconsistency isn’t going to hold up well against the Man of Steel. Cable has laser eyes. Superman also has laser eyes. Cable’s cybernetics give him super strength. Superman has superior strength. Sure, the mutant can telekinetically move things with his mind. But the combination extreme speed, strength, durability and just about every physical attribute in the book is going to beat him. Superman breezes through another round.
4. Black Bolt vs. 5. Raven
As mentioned in his first battle, Black Bolt possesses some top tier destructive power. But the wildcard nature of Raven’s powers grants her some serious upset potential. There is one very simple key to defeating Black Bolt if you don’t want to deal with all the planet busting. All you have to do is get him to shut up, literally shut his mouth. Or in this case, convince him to shut his own mouth. Either by strict telepathic control or maybe through enough generated apathy in his mind, Black Bolt will find his powerful voice nullified by Raven’s powers. Raven moves on with a slight upset over one of Marvel’s heaviest hitters.
3. Sentry vs. 6. Rogue
The Internet didn’t take Rogue very seriously while I was sorting out the tournament’s seeding. Maybe the general fan population is a little too hung up on the movie incarnation of her character. Sentry brings more to the table as far as raw power is concerned, but the two are close enough to make this fight last a while. And in that time, at some point, Rogue will be able to get her hands on Sentry. With his power in more stable hands, the battle shifts in the mutant’s favor. Whether or not Rogue would also absorb his mental state is unclear. Based on what I know and have been able to find, Rogue’s power primarily focuses on physical abilities. In this fight, Rogue lasts long enough to give Sentry a taste of his own medicine.
2. Hulk vs. 10. Nightcrawler
There are a few matchups like this in our Superhero March Madness bracket that become tricky because, theoretically, they may never end. Nightcrawler’s agility could easily dodge the Hulk’s attacks. This could theoretically go on for years. At the end of the day, the verdict comes down to the fact that Nightcrawler would never ever be able to do any significant damage, let alone finish off, the green goliath. Eventually, one Hulk punch would land and then it’s lights out for Kurt Wagner. This fight would be like when you chase a fly around your kitchen. It may take forever, and you may never even find the little guy. But the encounter certainly won’t end with your death. Hulk smashes his way to another victory.
1. Jean Grey vs. 8. Firestorm
Firestorm’s inorganic matter manipulation could counter almost anything Jean Grey throws at him. But the limitations of his standard powers prevent him from seriously competing against a truly unstoppable force. Jean could hold him in place, assault him with organic matter that he can’t alter so easily, or even collapse the entire setting around him. This is another one that would take a while, given Firestorm’s elusive nature. But it can only end with another Jean Grey victory.
4. Green Lantern vs. 5. Adam Warlock
Adam Warlock’s speed and cosmic powers place him around a Captain Marvel threat level. Characters like this can pick opponents apart from a distance, avoiding almost all damage in an average fight. His healing and restoration abilities are better suited for a team, as opposed to a one on one scenario, but he’s still a force to be reckoned with. He may even have the speed advantage over a Green Lantern, but Hal Jordan’s imaginative strength and experience in tough battles gives the space cop a considerable edge here. Physically, the two match up fairly well. But a Green Lantern’s attack strategies are literally endless, only bound by the user’s imagination. And Hal’s imagination tends to run wild. Green Lantern manages to corral Warlock, and capitalizes on an advantage in combat.
3. Flash vs. 11. Cyborg
Flash’s legendary speed allows him to dismantle Cyborg piece by piece. Even if Cyborg manages to land a shot here and there, he’s not powerful enough to win this in one or two lucky hits. And he wouldn’t have more than one or two lucky hits. Vic did win his previous battle on some semi-cheating, teleporting poor Aquaman into space when the fight got tough. But the Teen Titan’s nifty portals and warping abilities wouldn’t even be able to lock on to a target like Barry Allen. The Flash wouldn’t find himself trapped in that situation, and he’d eventually win in a death by a thousand cuts fashion.
2. Martian Manhunter vs. 7. Captain America
Cap’s many intangible advantages in battle are completely negated by just how physically outmatched he is here. The Martian Manhunter is like if Mystique, Kitty Pride, Nightcrawler, Mr. Fantastic, and Superman all came together to combine powers for no reason. He’s similar in some ways to Marvel’s Vision, but is much physically stronger and has an even wider array of powers. Cap isn’t someone who can take advantage of the last Martian’s fire weakness, and he certainly can’t win the fight straight up. Martian Manhunter wins easily.
Next time, we’ll tackle the other half of our bracket’s second round. The remaining victors from Round 1 will face off, and we’ll finalize the Superhero March Madness Sweet 16.
Here's our last piece of the first round for anyone catching up:
As always, thank you for reading and I hope you've enjoyed!