The second panel I attended was on Sunday, at the bright and early hour of 11:30 AM; a face-off event known by the title, “Versus: Who Would Win Battles Between Your Favorite Characters.” The event promised to be fun; presented as a courtroom-style face-off between two powerhouses in a no-holds-barred debate centered around two-man teams of comic book characters duking it out in a theoretical struggle for supremacy. It sounded pretty awesome, though perhaps threatening to be a bit one-sided. After all, one of the participants in the debate was James Thompson, Esquire (meaning he was an actual lawyer).
The small room was quickly filled up with eager fans: with myself sitting in front, notebook in hand. The man in charge was one Hannibal Tabu, a freelance writer, DJ and all-around good-natured host. Tabu would be playing the part of the judge in this ersatz courtroom of comic book craziness. The other participants were the aforementioned James Thompson, Esq., and one Vito Lapiccola, host of the Comics on Comics podcast. The general premise was set up, and off they went.
Lapiccola had the first turn. His team: Black Widow and Nightwing. Not bad, all considering… And then, the opposing team, Thompson would be representing, was revealed to be Shang-Chi and Lady Shiva. Well, scratch whatever fairness that particular matchup had in store. Lapiccola, despite the obvious handicap, did his best to plan in his own favor. Shang-Chi was chivalrous, and would go easy on Black Widow, giving her time to paralyze his spleen chi with a dual strike. Nightwing, in his mind, fought to a standstill with Lady Shiva, giving them a draw. Probably the best logical situation he could possibly have come up with. Thompson countered by dispelling the assumption that the fighters would choose their opponents, instead presenting the scenario as an arena-style, all out brawl. Tabu confirmed, and Lapiccola merely conceded the round. The disappointment from Tabu’s side was almost palpable.
The next fight was a superpowered one: Thompson had Darkseid and Franklin Richards, whereas Lapiccola had scored Thanos and Mister Mxyzptlk. The debate quickly went underway, when the obviousness of Darkseid’s superiority as the original was stated. With that out of the way, Mxyzptlk would be defeated by a boomtube/Anti-Life Equation combo. Furthermore, Thompson stated, the Anti-Life Equation is partially represented by Death, who Thanos could not bring himself to harm. Lapiccola’s turn saw the point that Mister Mxyzptlk was once omnipotent, and could know the method of nullifying the ALE and take the necessary precautions ahead of time, making it impossible to kill him this way. Thompson came back with the fact that both Darkseid and Franklin Richards exist in the future timelines of their universes, and that Franklin Richards is capable of altering timelines permanently without splitting them. Mxyzptlk is incapable to permanently alter anything, as his leaving a timeline reverts it back to its previous state.
Lapiccola countered with the idea that Thanos would have gone back in time and conditioned Franklin Richards to lose unconditionally to him and Mxyzptlk when faced with them, and that he could also have opened a pocket dimension that would be used to slaughter the other team. The debate sort of devolved at this point, as the two ran out of time, with the discussion being opened to questions from the audience. A few questions were asked regarding the match-up, I threw one in as well, and then the final question was posed. Regardless of strategy… who would win in a straight, all out brawl?
The general consensus seemed to be that Darkseid doesn’t actually brawl, so it was a difficult question to definitively answer. As the games came to a close, the winner of Round 2 was dubbed Lapiccola, leaving the two men at an overall tie. While the other fans streamed out of the room, I found myself amused by the whole affair. I may not truly know who would win in a fight, but the idea of two grown men in suits debating heatedly over whether or not a particular power set of a fictional character would exist in a given fight, while a third man in a dapper hat played occasional sound effects, was enough to satisfy my curiosity.