As real life March Madness comes to a close, Superhero March Madness reaches its penultimate installment. Eight fighters and seven fights remain. DC actually outnumbers Marvel 5-3 in terms of characters left despite being outnumbered by an astounding 49-15 margin at the start of this whole thing. Check out the superhero tournament’s quarterfinals:
2. Hulk vs. 5. Raven
Let’s browse Raven’s tournament résumé for a moment before pitting her against the Hulk. She defeated Black Bolt and Superman, so right off the bat there are no guarantees heading into this one. I had her beating Superman using the mental manipulation that makes her so dangerous. The Hulk is a similarly terrifying to fight. He’s also similarly vulnerable to Raven’s powers. Scarlet Witch scrambled his brain enough to undo years of fancy Hulk yoga and whatever else Bruce did to control “the other guy”. And Scarlet Witch primarily dealt hallucinations. Raven deals directly with mood manipulation. You could take that in two very different directions with the Hulk. You could make him completely lose control, a route I would not recommend. Or, a strategy that actually gives Raven another miracle win here, you could use this power to calm him down. If Black Widow can do it on screen, and Hawkeye can do it on paper, Raven’s mood related superpower can absolutely do it. From that point on, the Hulk is just Bruce. They say don’t make the Hulk angry, so she’ll do the exact opposite. Raven defeats Bruce Banner and takes her absurd résumé to our Final Four.
2. Martian Manhunter vs. 4. Green Lantern
Of every fight I’ve had to call so far in the tournament, this is the toughest yet. The time I had planned on posting this was actually pushed back because I couldn’t pick a winner. Let’s try our best to dissect this matchup piece by piece. Martian Manhunter’s telepathy is off the table due to Green Lantern’s mental defenses. The Martian still has a speed advantage and a case-by-case strength advantage since a Lantern’s physical strength is measured on a more as-needed scale. Hal’s ring can also counteract the Manhunter’s intangibility, but the question becomes whether or not he could deal enough damage to take the Martian out. This comes down to a pretty epic boxing match between the two. My tiebreaker ends up being a combination of combat savvy and sheer will to win. Needless to say, these x factors lead me to give Green Lantern the win here. In a battle that I cannot physically decide, the only logical tipping point is which side will fight harder. You’d have to physically dominate Hal Jordan to beat him, because you won’t edge him out on willpower. Green Lantern takes the closest battle yet and advances to the Final Four.
1. Thor vs. 2. Shazam
We’ve got plenty of thunder and lightning in this quarterfinal fight. This goes without saying, but the electricity from each side more or less cancels the other one out. No one is suffering a knockout via lightning bolt here. Shazam possesses a speed advantage, while Thor boasts an edge in strength. Thor has actually won this fight already, but comic outcomes are often driven by their plots. That outcome leveled a convenient tie between Marvel and DC heroes. Nonetheless, I am going to give Thor the win here. Shazam’s non-lightning attacks aren’t nearly as deadly as a mighty swing from Mjolnir. Shazam may be wiser, but Thor’s pedigree as a seasoned warrior gives him a more practical battle instinct that trumps conventional wisdom. Lastly, the fullest extents of their powers differ in terms of sheer dominance. Both have some incredible feats, but Thor has more consistently displayed world-busting capabilities. It’s another tough matchup, but Thor swings his way into our Final Four.
1. Silver Surfer vs. 2. Wonder Woman
Silver Surfer’s status as the most powerful cosmic being in either comic universe has propelled him through these first few rounds with relative ease. Now, he faces his toughest foe yet. But Wonder Woman also has a Power Cosmic equivalent that reaches her full potential. The Godwave, much like Flash’s Speed Force, unlocks new levels of power that for its respective characters. While Silver Surfer’s cosmic abilities may still be superior, a Godwave driven Wonder Woman can close the power gap just enough to make this fight competitive. Given that lessened gap, other factors begin to matter. Silver Surfer entirely relies on the ability to overwhelm his opponents. His ability to dismantle Wonder Woman on a molecular level is negated by the Godwave. So the cheap win is off the table. Her gauntlets or shield can take care of just about any projectile he can fire at her. And up close, she has a clear advantage because the Surfer has no hand-to-hand combat abilities to speak of. He is still much faster, and can fly circles around her. But there’s nothing she can’t deflect or handle defensively. On top of all this, DC’s fiercest and most competitive warrior starkly contrasts Silver Surfer’s complete lack of aggression. Again, everyone is willing and ready to fight in this tournament, but that discrepancy between attitudes is something to be considered. The Internet doesn’t seem to think the Silver Surfer can lose and, in most cases, he can’t. So I’ll hide under this table and whisper, Wonder Woman moves on to the Final Four.
The next Superhero March Madness post will be our last in this absurdly hypothetical miniseries. We’re left with a 1, 2, 4, and 5 seed to round out our Final Four. One Marvel Avenger and three DC heroes remain. Next time, we’ll crown a champion as Superhero March Madness reaches its finale.
Here's our Final Four/Championship!
Check out our Sweet 16 for anyone catching up: