A big congratulations to Villanova for putting an all-time great exclamation point on yet another exciting year of March Madness. The degree to which I am shocked by NCAA basketball every March has to be the least shocking thing in sports. That and the Patriots clinching a first round bye week. On the Superhero March Madness front, we’re down to our Final Four. Those two matchups, as well as the championship fight, will be decided right here. I’ve had a great time piecing this project together and I greatly appreciate anyone who’s been crazy enough to follow the bracket or even jump in at any point in this journey. Without wasting any more time, here’s our Final Four.
4. Green Lantern vs. 5. Raven
Hal Jordan defeated Gamora, Adam Warlock, Jean Grey, and the Martian Manhunter on his way to facing the Teen Titan here. Raven took out Luke Cage, Black Bolt, Superman and the Incredible Hulk. She’s been the Cinderella story of this miniseries. One factor that’s decided many of these late-round fights is telepathy, or one’s ability to defend against it. Raven upset the two strongest heroes in this entire tournament in terms of pure physicality. She did it with a lot of magic and mind control. Green Lantern, unlike those two behemoths, can protect himself from these attacks. The ace in the hole that made this underdog story possible has been all but disabled. Of course, Raven’s psychic abilities aren’t limited to manipulation. But Green Lantern defeated Jean Grey two rounds ago. She’s much more threatening than Raven, even at Raven’s most devastating potential. Hal Jordan may not be the best at any individual skill, attribute or power. But a Green Lantern’s power can challenge the strongest heroes if their willpower is strong enough. Their speed is considerable, rivaling any second-tier speed character. They’re smart, aggressive, and possess an unmatched will to win. Makes you wish they gave us a better movie, right? Green Lantern wins this one, advancing to the championship matchup.
1. Thor vs. 2. Wonder Woman
Whether or not fans and writers have always drawn this comparison, I see these two as near-counterparts in their respective universes. The God of Thunder vs. the Amazonian warrior. Son of Odin vs. daughter of Hippolyta. Oh, and her father is Zeus. Granted, just about everyone’s father is Zeus according to mythology. My father might be Zeus. Either way, this matchup between demigods is unlike anything else this tournament has had to offer. It’s…the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. And I am now the coolest person to say that. Thor defeated Starlord, Rocket/Groot (really was not kind to the Guardians), Iron Man and Shazam on his way to this fight. Wonder Woman defeated ATOM, Batman, Doctor Strange and the Silver Surfer. Those are two very solid résumés. Can I vote for these two to just have kids and see what happens?
In terms of who has more combat experience, your guess is as good as mine. I believe Thor does, but it really doesn’t matter when you’re comparing this many thousand years to that many thousand years. Wonder Woman is generally more highly touted for her actual combat skills, whereas Thor is more often depicted as the more powerful being. But both of their skill and power levels are off the charts. You can’t deactivate either hero using magic; they can both resist mystical attacks. Lightning can hurt Wonder Woman but she won’t crumble, and Thor won’t end this fight quietly sitting while bound by a lasso. The winner is going to have to actually win this one. They can both withstand and recover from massive amounts of damage, so this would be a real marathon. I’ll say upfront, both of these characters are going to get pretty ridiculous over the course of this fight as they’re pushed to their respective limits.
We addressed Wonder Woman’s Godwave enhancement in the previous round. Thor has a state called Warrior’s Madness that increases his power tenfold, saved only for times of desperation (which Wonder Woman would certainly push him to). Then, he has an Asgardian belt that doubles his strength. These multipliers really add up for the big guy. Then there’s his God Blast attack that basically turns Mjolnir into a vacuum cleaner built to get planets out of your universal rug. Of course, separating him from the hammer would change things. Wonder Woman may even be able to lift the thing. But Thor’s absolute bond with his weapon can have it back in his hand in a moment’s notice. There’s no way to really keep him away from it. And his all-powerful, “but wait there’s more” attacks and augmentations simply outnumber Wonder Woman’s many levels. Also, Thor’s durability does seem to be superior. Again, that’s splitting hairs but that sort of edge can win a fight like this. A battle between these two would play out like a Dragon Ball Z episode, but Thor just has that extra one or two notches to kick his fighting up to when he absolutely must. This is our new toughest fight to call yet, but Thor beats his DC counterpart and advances to our championship.
1. Thor vs. 4. Green Lantern
You’ve seen everyone they beat to get here. You’ve seen just about the full list of their powers. Without too much setup, we can get right into our championship. The protector of the galaxies takes on the protector of the realms. Both movie versions, as has been the case with almost every character in this bracket, barely scratch the surface of what these characters are capable of for the sake of making movies even moderately believable. This would absolutely be a competitive fight, one that doesn’t allow either character to hold back. Their speed is almost identical, judging by what the stories most often depict. But if we’re being completely honest, the previous fight between Thor and Wonder Woman was effectively the championship match because I think either of them would edge out Hal Jordan. Green Lantern’s power, even maxed out with unlimited will and strength of heart, isn’t the same as a very angry Thor. If Hal were to take his Spectre form, an evolution of the character that made him even more powerful than his role as a Green Lantern, he then becomes unstable and cannot fully control his own power. I’d actually say his best shot would be to enter this fight as a Lantern, fully composed and in-control, but he still can’t pack enough of a punch to win. The fact that our bracket’s left side contained tricky characters who eliminated the odds-on favorites created an opportunity for the right side of the tournament to run wild with raw power. At the end of the day, Thor surpasses or at least equals the potential of any other hero while suffering from absolutely zero weaknesses or shortcomings. If there were a way to sever his magical ties to Mjolnir, maybe from a Doctor Strange type, there’d be a chance. But no one is going to outslug Marvel’s mightiest slugger. At the end of this tournament, the God of Thunder is the last hero standing.
64 fighters and 63 fights later, Thor is our champion. Is any of this guaranteed? Not at all. I just hope my opinions made for some good entertainment. For all I know, Jessica Jones would win the whole thing. She’d just snap necks all the way to the finish. Regardless, I’d like to again thank anyone who’s as interested in competitive fiction as I am and took the time to follow the tournament. The mighty Thor reigns supreme, maybe a commentary on why he doesn’t have the most fascinating stories in comic book history. But he certainly is a force to be reckoned with. All hail the future king of Asgard. Happy April!
Check out our Elite Eight, for anyone catching up: