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TGIF: Archrivals

The creative and editorial minds of Marvel select the feuds that make their Universe go round

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By Ben Morse In an idealized Marvel Universe, everybody would get along and peace, love and respect would reign supreme. But, ya know, that would be super boring. We had the creators and editors here at Marvel give us their picks for the finest feuds, most spectacular spats and raddest rivalries in the Marvel Universe. It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
RICK REMENDER (co-writer of PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL): Daredevil and the Kingpin is the [rivalry] that stands out in my mind as the most important—the most intense. [Frank] Miller had a nice long run to build on it and so when it came to a head in his classic "Born Again" arc it had a real emotional impact. "Born Again" still stands as my favorite comic of all time.

Hulk vs Thing

CHRISTOS GAGE (co-writer of AVENGERS: THE INIATIVE): I'm gonna get old school and say the Hulk vs the Thing. [FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #25-26] might just be the greatest fight in comics history! In fact, I think it's about time for a rematch... PHIL JIMENEZ (upcoming artist of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN): Northstar and Sasquatch of Alpha Flight. In the early days of Alpha Flight, Sasquatch was dating Northstar's twin-sister and D.I.D. sufferer Aurora and boy, did the gay speedster hate it. Indeed, Northstar fought with Sasquatch constantly, most often—ostensibly, at least—about the mental well being of the personality-switching Aurora. But what I think that was really about was jealousy—on some deep level, the fairly closeted Northstar actually wanted Sasquatch as his own, ahem, manfriend, and was envious of his hot, psychotic sister for being the lucky Beaubier twin to bed Canada's hairiest hero! MOOSE BAUMANN (colorist of IRON MAN: LEGACY OF DOOM): Really, all rivalries pale in comparison to the one between Dr Doom and Reed Richards. The visceral hatred Doom has held onto and built upon over the years is really pretty remarkable. A lot of folks will talk about John Byrne's run on FANTASTIC FOUR as defining the relationship between the two characters, but for me Marv Wolfman's dialogue in [FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #200] brought the whole thing together for me.

Thor vs Hercules

FRED VAN LENTE (co-writer of INCREDIBLE HERCULES): I'm going to have to be a shameless hypester and say the rivalry between the two biggest god-heroes in the Marvel U, Thor and Hercules—'cause it's a major plot point in this month's INCREDIBLE HERCULES #117! Check it out and see how it impacts our Secret—er, "Sacred Invasion" storyline! RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Executive Editor): I think the greatest rivalry in the M.U. has always been the Hulk against the Thing. I know the Hulk usually wins most of their encounters, but there's still something very primal about two monsters duking it out. I say that because lots of people might say it's the Hulk against Thor that's the big rivalry, but Thor's a god and it's just not the same as when Ben Grimm goes up against ol' Greenskin. From their very first battle way back in FANTASTIC FOUR to their recent spat in "World War Hulk," when these two go at it, I want the best ringside seat. And my money's always on Benjamin J. Grimm—'cause he's got heart. Go get 'im Rocky! BRYAN HITCH (artist of FANTASTIC FOUR): Brian Bendis and Mark Millar. KAARE ANDREWS (writer/artist of SPIDER-MAN: REIGN): My favorite rivalry was always that between Scott Summers and Logan. Slim and Psycho. Cyclops and Wolverine. Couldn't be more different but each loved the same girl. Me, I'd have hooked up with mohawk Storm.

Namor vs
Mr. Fantastic

PETER DAVID (writer of X-FACTOR): To me, the all time greatest was Sub-Mariner vs. Reed Richards. Brought back from amnesia courtesy of the Human Torch—ironic considering that the Torch/Namor, fire vs water conflict back in the earliest World War II days of Marvel, was a historical rivalry of its own—Subby became fixated on Sue Storm. Remember, you can't spell "enamored" without "Namor." He became a serious contender for Sue's attentions. It was an infatuation so monumental that it pissed off Lady Dorma and wound up alienating the entire Atlantean people, causing them to pack up and move and leave him behind. It would be the equivalent of America getting so fed up with Bill Clinton during the whole Monica thing that the entire population relocates to Canada. Plus it resulted in the first recorded incident of Reed Richards going berserk. Typically reserved to the point of snore-inducing, an infuriated Reed leads the FF after Namor when Subby kidnaps Sue and, upon catching up with the monarch, overwhelms Namor with a display of brute force and aggression that nearly leaves him an Imperius Wreck. WELLINTON ALVES (artist of NOVA): I think the best rivals could be the Ultimates and Nick Fury—that guy is bad! Also, there's Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus, the Fantastic Four and Dr. Doom, Thor and Loki, the Hulk against himself, and finally Nova and the Phalanx!

Thor vs Loki

CHRIS YOST (co-writer of X-FORCE): Thor vs Loki. Bitter enemies, sometime allies, rivals, brothers...and Loki turned Thor into a frog, just to do it. Classic. STEVE WACKER (Marvel editor): Look, everyone else is going to go on about Spider-Man vs Green Goblin or Daredevil vs Bullseye or even [Executive Editor Tom] Brevoort vs good taste. All obvious answers. But I'm here to tell ya they all pale in comparison to the greatest of all Marvel rivalries: Shogun Warriors vs the Followers of Darkness. Do yourself a favor and troll your back issue bins to see some of the crazy monsters the FOD throw at these no-longer-legal-for-Marvel-to-publish giant robot warriors. Creatures like Starchild! The Hand of Five! Cerberus! These are challenges worthy of giant robots that lasted 20 issues before getting cancelled. Someone, somewhere has to bring these guys back!

The Mr. Fantastic
vs Dr. Doom

BOB GALE (upcoming writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN): For me, the Marvel rivalries that I always found the most powerful and fascinating were Reed Richards and the FF vs Dr. Doom and Thor vs Loki. These resonate because they're deeply based in character, as opposed to a symbolic rivalry such as Captain America vs The Red Skull—where you have the symbol of democracy pitted against a symbol of facism—or the X-Men vs any group of "Evil Mutants"—which is quite simply good guys vs bad guys—or a political/imperialistic rivalry such as the Kree vs the Skrulls. When Doom defeated the FF at the end of [FANTASTIC FOUR v1 #58] and just walked away without having a compelling need to physically destroy them, I thought, "Doom is so cool!" And the family ties and jealousy between Thor and Loki always informed their rivalry and made it very human and identifiable. KEVIN GREVIOUX (writer of NEW WARRIORS): I think one of Marvel's greatest rivalries is between the Hulk and Thor, which has been going on since JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112. I like it even more than Hulk/Thing or Hulk/Namor because the Hulk and Thor are Marvel's top two strongest characters and they would tie each and every time back in the day. The strongest one there is vs the Norse God of Thunder—you can't really get a better battle than that. Even though the madder Hulk gets, the stronger he gets, I've come to feel that Thor would eventually edge out the Hulk if he really put his mind to it. Even without the hammer just by virtue of the fact that he's a warrior god with thousands of years of high-level fighting experience. I mean, Thor would've seen it all. That would have to account for something, right?

Hulk vs Thing

ANDY SCHMIDT (writer of X-MEN: DIVIDED WE STAND): Hulk versus Thing. They've got an actual rivalry going and I never understood why but I've really enjoyed a bunch of stories in which they clobber and smash each other. In particular, THE INCREDIBLE HULK #350 was fantastic. After The Hulk had turned Gray again and was much weaker, they met and the Thing was cleaning Hulk's clock. But the Hulk was smarter—craftier than he used to be, and wound up winning the day. Great issue. Great rivalry! BOB LAYTON (co-writer of IRON MAN: LEGACY OF DOOM): The greatest rivals in the Marvel Universe? The one that comes to mind, excusing my natural prejudice, would be Thor vs. Hercules! Those early Stan Lee/Jack Kirby issues of [JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY] and [Thor's] frequent tangling with the Prince of Power was a powerful influence for me in creating my multiple Hercules mini-series. Both were equal in strength but their personalities were diametrically opposed, with Herc being a bragging show-off and poor Thor always behaving as grim as a Viking funeral. AXEL ALONSO (Marvel Executive Editor): It's gotta be Hulk vs Thing. It's kind of like late '80s Tyson vs. Rocky Marciano. Relentless brute force versus scrappy street smarts. HUMBERTO RAMOS (upcoming artist of RUNAWAYS): Professor X vs Magneto, Mr. Fantastic vs Dr. Doom, Spider-Man vs Green Goblin, Venom, Doc Ock, J. Jonah Jameson, etc…and of course, Aunt May vs Mary Jane!

Dirk Anger
vs Nextwave

NICK LOWE (Marvel editor): Dirk Anger and the Nextwave Squad. Best rivalry—Marvel or otherwise—ever. JEPH LOEB (writer of HULK): Everybody at Marvel vs Mark Millar! That's the real Civil War! GREG PAK (upcoming writer of SKAAR: SON OF HULK): Jean Grey and Emma Frost. Fire and ice, baby! Reed Richards and Namor. 'Cause when it comes to Sue Storm, the Sub-Mariner's no cold fish. Tony Stark and Jim Rhodes. 'Cause men of iron have the hardest heads. TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor): The quintessential Marvel rivalry is between the Thing and the Hulk, and goes back to the really early days of Marvel. It's because these characters are at once so similar and yet so different—they're both big, powerful bruisers with a monstrous exterior. This really became a fan favorite rivalry, and forms the basis for the classic conundrum that's since been applied to so many other power couples: "Who's stronger, the Thing or the Hulk?"

Spider-Man vs
the Human Torch

You don't see it as often anymore, but Spider-Man and the Human Torch is another long-time classic rivalry, based almost entirely around the fact that the characters are around the same age. At its heart, this is a real grade school rivalry, between the jock and the geek. A more sinister schoolboy rivalry is the one between Reed Richards and Doctor Doom. Say what you will about Doom's many motivations, everything this guy does really comes back to the fact that, when they were at University together, Reed tried to correct one of Doom's calculations, and he was right. The consequences of Doom not listening to Reed and destroying his face set the course for everything that Doom has done since. He's competing with Reed every second of his life. And the reality of it is, even if he did manage to take over the world and crush all of his enemies, he'll never be able to take back that one moment of coming in second. And of course, there's Cyclops and Wolverine. The deep, dark secret at the heart of this one is that Wolverine knows that it doesn't matter how much he cleans up his act or how many comics he stars in, he's never going to measure up to Cyclops and he's never going to get Jean Grey. The greatest Marvel rivalry, of course, is the one between myself and Axel Alonso.

Ralph Macchio
vs Computer

BILL ROSEMANN (Marvel editor): Captain America vs the Red Skull? Spider-Man vs the Green Goblin? The X-Men vs Magneto? Surely all of these pairings pale before the unholy war known as Ralph Macchio vs His Computer! Unceasing e-mails, mischievous passwords, tricky timesheets…does the online onslaught never end? Whatever happened to the days of the trusty typewriter? Verily, Ralph shall gaze upon his wall of Gwyneth Paltrow photos and find the inner strength needed to hit the power button, untangle his mouse cord, and battle his electronic nemesis again and again!

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