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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Thor Vs the Hulk is a bigger and better match-up than Thor Vs the Thing or Hulk Vs Sub-Mariner because we're not 100% sure which one is stronger or which one would win.

Both of them could take a loss from the other without harming their status as Marvel's Big Guns! But usually it's a draw or a double disqualification!

..Humm, bet I can guess which one.

My own list? No - I much prefer disagreeing with someone else!

Randy Jackson said:

Another reason to compile your own list, Richard. Without giving anything away, I can tell you right now that of the stories you just mentioned at least one didn't make my list.

There's that sound effect "BARROOM!"

"Bar room ... mmmm, beer!' says Homer Simpson.

Nostalgia-vision isn't necessarily wrong. Sometimes X was the first to do something, and Y then did it much better. That can make it hard to see why X was so popular, but it made the breakthrough that Y built on. How oneself or others reacted at the time can be a guide to how innovative X really was.

Nostalgia can color an opinion, but so do many other things, including favorite characters and artists and whatever was going in our lives when we read the comic. But if Randy is coming to these in reprints, then it takes nostalgia out of the equation. Next it'll be interesting to see if any artists recur. (It'd be an interesting list if we limited our choices to one listing per artist).

We can't really argue that his list is wrong, since it's his list. We can present our own list and people might agree with some of our choices more. Mostly, it's a chance to revisit some fun comics and consider the topic to create our own list and figure out why we pick the ones we do. That's usually the point of a Top 10 list, IMO.

-- MSA

Jack Kirby said he learned to draw fights by actually going out and picking fights with random strangers and remembering how things like looking down on a beaten opponent (or up at somebody that just clobbered him) looked then hurrying home to draw the scenes while they were still fresh in his mind. Few artists make that sort of commitment to their work, and that's more likely to get you into real trouble these days than back then.
 
Randy Jackson said:

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.



7. Reed Richards vs. Namor, the Sub-Mariner

Issue(s): Fantastic Four #27
Creative Team: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
ublish Date: June 1964

This is an interesting one.

As the issue opens, Reed is working on a thought-transference machine, one that projects the thoughts of the wearer, as the  other members of the Fantastic Four look on. And just what is Reed thinking about? Sue in a swimsuit. Because Sue in a  swimsuit, that's why.

As Reed removes the machine from his head, Johnny asks if he can use it, and Reed tells him it's not a toy. Sue suggests  that next time he think of something else to look at rather than her. Ben then suggests letting him use it, and Reed obliges  him. Unfortunately, Ben's first thought is of Dr. Doom, and the projection is so realistic that he thinks Doom has tossed an  explosive towards him. He falls backwards trying to escape the grenade, and Reed catches him, fearful that the helmet will  end up smashed.

At this point Sue leaves the laboratory, stating that no woman wants her thoughts revealed. As Ben shouts a good-natured bit  of banter, Reed complains that he didn't plan to use the machine on her. After she leaves, Ben tells Reed that he needs to  move his relationship with Sue forward as even though she's crazy about him, she's not going to wait for him forever. Reed  assures him that he has every intention of surprising Sue shortly--in fact, he was planning on ring shopping later that day.  Johnny quips about it not being a surprise as she's been waiting the last two years.

Meanwhile in Atlantis, Namor is brooding over his loneliness. Most of the Atlanteans have left him, and he wants a bride,  namely one Susan Storm. He thinks that if she marries him, his people will come back to him. He activates a machine he calls  his undersea scanner, and there's video of her on the surface. He decides she must be his. He calls his remaining subjects  to his throne room and tells them of his intention to go and claim Sue as his bride. His subjects are aghast, complaining  that she is of the surface people and that such intermingling is unthinkable. In a rage, Namor orders his subjects from his  throne room and they decide to abandon him as well. Undaunted, Namor decides to go and get the girl anyway.

Donning a natty green suit, Namor infiltrates the Baxter Building, catching Ben by surprise during a workout. He then puts  Ben out with a sleep capsule. Johnny is next to fall to Namor's attack, using a vacuum pellet to douse his flame. Sue then  enters the fracas, ready to fight, but Namor tells her that he's injured no one, and only wishes to talk with her. Johnny  tells her that what he says is true, although he doesn't like the way Namor is looking at her. Namor tells him that being  her brother is the only reason he's uninjured. He then tells Sue that Johnny will be unconscious in a few seconds, and that  by the the time he awakens, it will be too late to stop them. He then tells Sue he's given up everything, but it will be  worth it if...she stops him there, telling him he hasn't the right to say it. She then reminds him of Reed, and tells him to  leave. He tells her he won't leave without her, and uses an extra capsule of sleep gas on her before taking her away in his  special air/water ship that's conveniently parked outside the window. He muses that if she doesn't agree to marry him within  24 hours that he will return her safely.

Reed comes back to the Baxter Building having returned from his ring shopping, only to find Ben and Johnny licking their  wounds. He shows them the ring he's bought for Sue, and they tell him about Namor kidnapping Sue.

And Reed loses his cool. That's right, Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, loses his cool:



An off-hand comment by Ben gives Johnny an idea. He takes to the skies and leaves a message for Dr. Strange, hoping that he  can lead the two of them to Namor before Reed. Strange sees the message and sets off to find the Torch in his astral form.  On his way to the Baxter Building, he spots Reed flying away in a helicopter, but continues to find the Torch as that's who  summoned him.

Flying through the wall, Strange surprises Ben and Johnny (I complained a fair amount about the rules of Strange's astral  form during my reading project, but here Ben and Johnny can not only see him, but converse with him as well). Ben asks  Strange what his price is, and Strange tells him that his services are not for sale. Johnny then explains the situation to  Dr. Strange, and Strange agrees to help them locate Namor and Sue. He sends his astral form under the sea to locate them. He  finds Sue entreating Namor to let her out of her cell. He tells her that he doesn't want to keep her captive and only wants  a chance to plead his case for her marrying him. She warns him that Reed will find him, and then nothing can save him. Namor   demands to know who she loves, him or Reed, and Strange returns to the surface to tell Ben and Johnny. However, Reed has  arrived, and it's on:






While Ben fights off the Atlanteans, Johnny goes to rescue Sue. He melts the glass cage she's trapped in, and they begin to  escape. However, there are a couple of Namor's men in a control room, and they start flooding the chamber with sea water.  Sue and Johnny are able to escape their dilemma through use of their powers. They spot a flying camera following them, and  Johnny turns it into slag and Namor's men can no longer follow their movements.

Sue's worried about the health of both Reed and Namor, which Johnny doesn't understand. They then see the scene ahead:



Thinking Reed is done, Namor leaves him on the floor despite Ben's protestations. However:




Reed then checks on Ben, who was attacked with an electrical weapon by Namor's people. However, Ben is made of sterner stuff  and easily survived. At this point, Namor has decided to take off the kid gloves. He didn't want any bloodshed, but he feels  he's not being given a chance, and they will hound him forever unless he finishes them off.

Gathering his men together, Namor readies a fresh attack with his undersea blast gun. Before attacking, he offers Reed and  Ben a chance to surrender. Both Reed and Ben refuse. Namor orders his men to fire. Ben steps up to take the blast, only to  find that it doesn't do anything. Namor tries an attack, but he's blocked by something invisible--like a force field. Like  Sue's force field.

She and Johnny enter the room. Namor suggests that Reed is lucky that she felt enough loyalty to him to interfere in his  vengeance, but Sue tells him it's not loyalty, it's love. Namor has to look on as the woman he loves tells him that she  loves another.

Dr. Strange then interferes himself by mystically transporting the team to Reed's craft, and by relocating Namor's palace  elsewhere. Reed asks Sue about what she said, but she doesn't want to talk about it. Ben wonders aloud if Sue said those  things to put an end to the fight, but Reed doesn't want to believe it. She muses that of course she's in love with Reed,  but now he'll always be suspicious that her declaration was purely for show.

I'm sure this fight seems an odd choice to some, but I remember first reading this comic a few years ago and just being  completely impressed by Reed here. This is a Reed Richards that we've rarely seen since (perhaps never), and it's a shame.  It's not even that out of character for Reed at this point in his comic book existence, as he was depicted as more of a man  of action initially. I'm not sure when he became the completely detached and emotionless super-scientist, but I like this  Reed a lot more.

Or course, it helps that the fight is drawn by Kirby. Hard to go wrong there.

I like Action Man Reed too. I think Reed and Ben were the title's key characters.

There's an earlier fight between Reed and Namor in Fantastic Four Annual #1.

I remember being really impressed by the Reed/Namor battle when the issue first came out, and I still am.

I notice a couple of interesting scripting choices: Namor's subjects referring to themselves as "sub-mariners" and reference to Dr Strange as master of "black magic."

Namor's race was referred to consistently as "sub-mariners" throughout the '50s run. I don't think they were ever called "Atlantians" until the '60s. Frequently throughout the '50s, Namor himself was referred to as the "aquaman." There's an entire volume of MMV dedicated to Bill Everett's '50s Sub-Mariner, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Ditto for the volume (just released) reprinting his '70s Sub-Mariner.

Thinking about this, this was pretty early in Marvel's history as a company with a shared universe. Dr. Strange was fairly new at the time, and I think he was also sometimes referred to in his own stories as a master of black magic. I don't think that was dropped until they decided to make a distrinction between black magic and other magic.

Richard Willis said:

I notice a couple of interesting scripting choices: Namor's subjects referring to themselves as "sub-mariners" and reference to Dr Strange as master of "black magic."

FF #27 was concurrent with ST #121, Doc's tenth appearance.

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