By Ben Morse
If you live in the Marvel Universe, you can count on seeing some extraordinary things, from men and women flying overhead, to cosmic giants descending from above, to folks who can light on fire, turn invisible, stretch across a city, and so on.
You’re also gonna see a lot of fights.
When you’ve got heroes, villains, mutants, aliens, Hulks, gods, robots, Doctor Doom and more all trying to make their mark on the same chunk of land, water and outer space, there’s going to be conflict—loud, noisy, brutal conflict. People get hurt or killed, property gets damaged and landscapes change forever.
But that’s the cost of living in the Marvel Universe, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Secret Cabal has lined up the following 10 brutal ballets as the top fights of 2010.
10. CAPTAIN AMERICA VS BARON ZEMO
The Duration: CAPTAIN AMERICA #606-610
The Play-By-Play: Helmut Zemo’s battle with the new Captain America, Bucky Barnes, plays out primarily in the public arena, as the Baron reveals his rivals past as the Winter Soldier while also launching systematic attacks on his allies. By the time Zemo lures Bucky to the island where he believed his father had once killed the hero, the Sentinel of Liberty already finds himself at a tremendous mental disadvantage, as the two enter a more physical duel.
Digital Comics Spotlight: AVENGERS #277
9. THE AVENGERS VS DEATHLOK
The Duration: WOLVERINE: WEAPON X #11-15
The Play-By-Play: When an army of killer Deathlok robots from the future make their way to the present looking to eradicate all superhuman combatants and clear the path for their version of tomorrow, Wolverine and Captain America stand against them despite being completely outgunned. When every Avenger active plays cavalry under the command of Steve Rogers, the odds even somewhat, but it will still take an ace in the hole to eliminate this deadly threat—luckily, Wolverine’s got one.
Digital Comics Spotlight: WOLVERINE: WEAPON X #12
8. SPIDER-MAN VS KRAVEN
The Duration: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #634-637
The Play-By-Play: Spider-Man has been put through hell with a gauntlet of his greatest foes tormenting him, numerous allies fallen, and now an enemy he thought gone forever, Kraven the Hunter, staring him in the face. Forsaking any pretense of being “friendly,” a black-clad Wallcrawler assaults his bestial foe with ruthless aggression, opening the door to a primal brawl that threatens to claim the souls of both men and everybody around them.
Digital Comics Spotlight: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #567
The Participants: Doctor Doom, The Black Panther (Shuri), T’Challa, Storm, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, Deadpool, War Machine
The Duration: DOOMWAR #1-6
The Play-By-Play: It seems that Doctor Doom has won. He has conquered Latveria, forged incredibly powerful Vibranium armor and even earned the approval of the Panther god—but T’Challa refuses to quit. Playing a major wildcard by having Deadpool infiltrate the enemy camp, the former ruler of Wakanda allows his sister and current Black Panther, Shuri, to engage Doom in combat, backed by their allies, while he chooses to forego decades of tradition and render Vibranium inert, ensuring a chance for victory but perhaps dooming his nation in the process.
Digital Comics Spotlight: DOOMWAR #1
6. SPIDER-MAN VS BULLSEYE (MARVEL ADVENTURES)
The Duration: Seeking to collect a mob-placed bounty on Spider-Man’s head, Bullseye has waited patiently and now relentlessly pursues an exhausted Web-Slinger on a dizzying chase throughout New York City. The man who never misses pulls out all the stops against an overmatched but unyielding Wallcrawler, starting out cocky and laidback, but getting more frustrated by the second with his inability to close the deal. Spidey’s refusal to quit proves inspiring, but in the end his salvation comes from the most unexpected of corners: his girlfriend Chat’s beloved pet owl making an amazing save and inspiring untold rage from the hero against his tormentor.
The Play-By-Play: MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN (2010) #4
Digital Comics Spotlight: MARVEL ADVENTURES SPIDER-MAN (2010) #1
5. THE HULK VS RED HULK
The Duration: THE HULK (2008) #24
The Play-By-Play: With The Hulk possessing the full intelligence of Bruce Banner and the Red Hulk revealed as General Ross, the clash of Gamma Goliaths that concluded World War Hulks proved the most personal and profound thus far. Ross’ aggression and total belief in his own cause gave him an early advantage, but Banner used his brain when the contest of strength gave way to a battle of wits, and the original Hulk proved to his longtime tormentor why only one could be called truly the strongest there is.
Digital Comics Spotlight: HULK (2008) #6
4. X-FORCE VS SELENE
The Duration: X NECROSHA #1, X-FORCE (2008) #21-25
The Play-By-Play: With the X-Men attempting to safeguard Utopia from the army of dead mutants Selene has raised to aid in her ascension to goddess, X-Force takes the fight to the Black Queen and her Inner Circle, storming her home base of Genosha ready to do whatever it takes to win the day. While his teammates take on Senyaka, Wither, Mortis and Blink, Warpath gets a pep talk from his momentarily resurrected brother, Thunderbird, and draws upon the strength of his fallen tribe to perform the Ghost Dance ceremony and attempt to deal Selene a grisly end.
Digital Comics Spotlight: X NECROSHA #1
3. SECOND COMING
The Participants: The X-Men, Bastion, Hope Summers, X-Force, The New Mutants
The Duration: X-MEN: SECOND COMING #1-2, UNCANNY X-MEN #523-525, NEW MUTANTS (2009) #12-14, X-MEN: LEGACY #235-237, X-FORCE (2008) #26-28
The Play-By-Play: The moment the X-Men have waited for has arrived: Cable has returned to the present with Hope, the “mutant messiah” in tow. What should be a banner day for all mutants quickly becomes a potential nightmare, however, as Bastion unleashes his long-gestating plan to eradicate his hated foes once and for all by using all his resources to take out Hope before she can do any good. A race across America with the X-Men and their allies combating Bastion’s forces at every turn culminates with a stalemate when the robot traps his enemies within Utopia and unleashes an armada of Sentinels. The heroes rise to the occasion, with Nightcrawler, Cable, Karma, Hellion, Warlock, Magneto and others pushing themselves beyond their limits, but in the end, Hope herself must end the madness and embrace her destiny.
Digital Comics Spotlight: X-MEN: SECOND COMING #1
2. THE THANOS IMPERATIVE
The Participants: Thanos, Nova, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Lord Mar-Vell, The Revengers
The Duration: THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #1-6
The Play-By-Play: When the denizens of the “Cancerverse” emerged from the Fault, led by Lord Mar-Vell and his Revengers, and backed by the power of the twisted Galactus Engine, it seemed as if our universe had seen its final days until the unlikeliest of saviors presented himself in the form of the Mad Titan himself, Thanos, resurrected to save the reality he had often tried to obliterate. With powerful allies including The Silver Surfer, Gladiator and Beta-Ray Bill backing their play, the Guardians of the Galaxy manage to force Mar-Vell back into his home dimension where Thanos plays the ultimate gambit. Even if the Titan’s plan succeeds, Nova and Star-Lord still must make an unthinkable sacrifice to make sure Thanos doesn’t become the even larger threat…
Digital Comics Spotlight: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2008) #25
The Participants: The Avengers, The Dark Avengers, The Young Avengers, The Secret Warriors, The Initiative, Norman Osborn, Thor, The Sentry, Ares, Steve Rogers, Iron Man
The Duration: SIEGE #1-4
The Play-By-Play: Truly one of the most epic and encapsulating battles in Marvel history, Siege brought bloodshed and brutality to a new level, with the good guys needing to pull out as many stops as their villainous counterparts. It all started with a power mad Norman Osborn leading his Dark Avengers and evil Initiative on an unsanctioned raid of Asgard, taking Thor off the board in shocking fashion and dispatching a second god when Sentry eliminated Ares. Steve Rogers, newly returned from the “dead,” rallied the Avengers and allies as they hadn’t been since before Civil War and took the fight to the Iron Patriot and his allies. Asgard fell and casualties piled up, but in the end, the Dark Reign came to and end, a mad Sentry fell and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes stood reunited.
Digital Comics Spotlight: SIEGE #3
Keep checking back for more of the Best of 2010 here on Marvel.com!