I've threatened to do this before (or did I menace?) and now seems to be a good time to do it. This is my personal list of the 10 best fights in Marvel Comics during the Silver Age.

A few thoughts:

* This is my list. You can disagree if you want. Better still, start your own thread.

* I'm focusing on one-on-one fights here. While there are members of teams involved, the focus will be on individual battles.

* Yes, that fight will be listed. So will that one. Maybe not that one though. And that one is right out.

* Sorry, no Hulk vs. Boomerang, even though I know you all want to see that one. Same with anything involving Paste-Pot Pete.  Too glorious for this list.

* I'm setting an endpoint of 1968 for the Silver Age for this particular discussion. If it happened afterwards, I'm not counting it.

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10. Spider-Man vs. the Rhino

Issue(s): Amazing Spider-man #41,#43
Creative Team: Stan Lee and John Romita
Publish Date: October, December 1966

You would think it would be easy to pick a Spider-Man entry for this list, but it actually wasn't. There were a number of good candidates, including fights with Kraven the Hunter, the Green Goblin and the Sandman. However, ultimately I picked this classic sequence over two separate issues.

To get into the story, John Jameson is visiting his father at the Daily Bugle. The Rhino has been dispatched to kidnap young Jameson and does so, smashing through pretty much everything in order to get him. Small arms fire has no effect on him, so the kidnapping is pretty easy--except Spider-Man has taken an interest.

So now it's on:

So, Spidey has defeated the Rhino and everyone's happy, right?  Not so fast.  Seems the police don't have much except  tranquilizers to deal with the Rhino, and he easily escapes. He decides that the best thing for his career will be to defeat  Spider-Man. A rampage ensues, noticed by Peter and Mary Jane on television. This part of Rhino's plan is working. Spider-Man  arrives at the street where the Rhino is wreaking havoc, and the two of them square off:

So round 1 goes to the Rhino. Spider-Man pays a visit to Dr. Curt Connors, as he has an idea to defeat the Rhino using a bit of his "skin" for analysis. Afterwards, he stakes out Colonel Jameson again. sure enough, here comes the Rhino:

After melting his hide, the Rhino folds like a house of cards.

One of the reasons I love this particular fight is that spider-Man wins using both his physical power and more importantly, his brain power. One of the things I think was really well thought out here was using Curt Connors as a regular member of the supporting cast, as it only made sense, and only made his subsequent appearances as the Lizard more poignant.

The other thing I love about this fight is that it actually gives Spider-Man an opponent in his weight class for a change. Most of his antagonists he's had to pull his punches with to avoid injuring them, but here he has to pull out all the stops.

 

Great choice to start off the list, Randy! These two issues (reprinted in Marvel Tales #30 and #32) were my second and third Spider-Man comics ever. They have nostalgiac value for me, sure, but they still hold up. Look at the blend of dialogue/narration, sound effects and art. Even the placement of the word balloons is part of the composition of each panel. Today's comics are tame in comparison.

There are some really good comics being made these days, but one of my laments is that it seems very few of today's artists know how to draw a good, coherent fight. Many are lacking in the dynamism from the Silver Age, others are obscured by (IMO) excessive use of millions of colors, or in some instances I think the artists plan for chaos over good visual storytelling. It's a shame, as one would hope the advances in technology would have made things better in these respects.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Today's comics are tame in comparison.

Randy Jackson said

The other thing I love about this fight is that it actually gave Spider-Man an opponent in his weight class for change.

The Rhino, the second new villain from the John Romita era, was a bruiser that could go one on one with the Wall-Crawler but soon he was battling the Hulk so they had to boost his strength level like they had to with Sandman when he clashed with the Thing.

I've always felt that the Rhino was significantly stronger--maybe Doc Samson level--than Spider-Man, but that Spider-Man's speed, agility and smarts gave him a slight advantage.  At that level, it's conceivable that he could survive a fight with the Hulk.

Philip Portelli said:

The Rhino, the second new villain from the John Romita era

Second?  Who was the first one?

Nick Caputo argues here that Bill Ward assisted Romita on the fight sequence in #41. (This may sound familiar: I've posted the link before.)

I think Rhino was the first Romita contribution, followed by the Shocker (2nd) and the Kingpin (3rd).

One could count the Masked Marauder, introduced in Daredevil #16. He solely appeared in Daredevil in the 60s, but the issue established that he'd previously fought Spider-Man. I owe this point to the Supermegamonkey review.

Sorry, I got the timeline wrong and forgot a couple of words.

I meant that the Rhino was the second-most memorable new villain from the John Romita era.

The first is, of course, the Kingpin.
 
John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

Philip Portelli said:

The Rhino, the second new villain from the John Romita era

Second?  Who was the first one?

9. Daredevil vs. Namor, the Sub-Mariner

Issue(s): Daredevil #7
Creative Team: Stan Lee and Wally Wood
ublish Date: April 1965

There are a number of combatants on this list that will appear several times. Namor is one of them.

As we begin our story, Namor is siting on his throne in Atlantis, giving an audience to Warlord Krang. He wants to know when Atlantis will take it's rightful place on the surface world. He tells Namor that his people wish to bask in the sun, see the stars, etc. Namor agrees that the surface is part of Atlantis' birthright, but he doesn't want to go to war with the surface world again, nor do his people. He accuses Krang of wanting to start a war for his own purposes.

However, Namor does want to see what he can do, and wonders about a method other than war. Despite receiving words of caution from Lady Dorma, he decides to go to the surface world again to see what he can do by way of reason. Krang urges him to simply attack, but Namor intends to see if he can peacefully resolve the issue. Krang is pleased, as he thinks the humans will kill Namor on sight.

Later that day, in downtown Manhattan, Karen Page spies Namor walking casually down the street as people run the other way, fearing trouble. However, he's decided to seek legal counsel to press his claim legally. Since he doesn't have a specific lawyer in mind, he just randomly walks into a building and looks at the building directory, locating the first attorney listed--namely, Nelson and Murdock.

Entering their office, he tells them he's come to hire a lawyer. He tells them he wants to sue the human race for depriving the Atlanteans of their birthright. While Matt Murdock tells him that it's impossible since there's no one nation representing the human race, Namor tells him that it's his problem to figure out who to sue. Matt tells him he has no evidence but once again Namor doesn't want to hear it. Foggy then tells him that they'd love to represent him but they have no legal basis on which to stand. Finally, Namor listens to Foggy, but he's determined to have his day in court. He tells them that he will force them to take him to court. Matt's worried, as he doesn't know what Namor means. Namor responds by busting through the wall and flying away, promising to call when he's ready for them.

At this point, Namor runs amok, attempting to draw attention so that they'll try to capture him, meaning they'll take him to court (I didn't say this story made sense, did I?). Anyway, after a lot of property damage, the army is mobilized to take him out. Someone else is after him as well, namely Daredevil. He intervenes while Namor is scattering soldiers like bowling pins. They fight briefly, and Daredevil gets the bright idea that dumping Namor in the sea might bring him back to his senses. Oops. Anyway, after a brief struggle underwater, Namor decides to surrender. A completely outclassed Daredevil goes off to lick his wounds.

Anyway, Namor calls Nelson and Murdock the next day to represent him. So the trial begins almost immediately, and when Matt attempts to enter Namor's charge against the human race, it's rejected by the judge. The trial is interrupted by Lady Dorma, who has come to tell Namor that Krang has started a rebellion in his absence. Namor decides to return to Atlantis. However, in order to get the court to listen to his charge, he agrees to stay in a cell until the trial is over. However, when the trial is postponed for a week, Namor breaks jail. One of the guards tells him that the militia is guarding the building, but Namor is undaunted. He leaves the building and begins smiting the army camped outside, fighting his way back to the ocean.

Daredevil shows up and asks to speak to the commanding officer. He makes a proposition, and the army agree to let him fight Namor. Now it's on:

Having beaten Daredevil completely, but impressed by his courage, Namor decides to fly the rest of the way to the ocean, leaving the army alone. There's a little denouement at Nelson and Murdock the next day as Matt explains his injuries, but that's that.

So, the main signficance of this fight is that it showcases the hero that Daredevil is. Completely outclassed power-wise, and for no other reason than to hopefully stave off both military and civilian casualties, he never gives up, even when he's been soundly defeated. One is reminded of Monty Python's Black Knight, although not quite so silly.

I've always thought that the last scene showing him grabbing Namor's ankle, showing his readiness to sacrifice his life, was Daredevil's finest hour.

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