Tons of drama and surprise in the first two days of the HESSET64FCBHV, or March Madness as the simple folk call it. The NCAA should consider doing something like this for a basketball tournament! What? Oh.
Let’s check out the second round results.
In the DC Hero Bracket, #1 seed Superman ran into #8 Big Barda. Both agreed not to mention Action Comics #593, and the two sparred as warriors. Although Big Barda has the edge in combat training and comparable punching power, the variety of Supe’s powers keep Big Barda at a distance. At the end, it was the cold breath that froze Barda. Top seed Superman advances.
In Mega-City Two, #3 Wonder Woman and #6 Flash met in the battle of unmade movies. Unable to use his speed in his last battle, Barry was eager to stretch his legs. Diana was able to both anticipate his movements and hinder them. With a flick of wrist, it is one magic lasso that wraps up Barry and ends the match. Wonder Woman and Superman will face off next.
In Midway City, #4 Green Lantern and #5 Martian Manhunter met, but the match was short-lived as Green Lantern created green fire capitalizing on J’onn’s pyrophobia. Despite his best effort, the last survivor of Mars in unable to overcome the deep-seated terror. He withdrew in a bow to Hal’s creativity and cruelty.
Seed #2 Batman and #10 Atom faced off in Radiant City. Despite his genius intellect, Ray has little in the way of powers (get it?!) to attack Bruce. Going back to the strategy that worked last match, the Atom tried to penetrate Batman’s physical defenses through his nose. Unfortunately, Batman is on a steady diet of antibiotics given the number of wounds he typically sustains, so the Atom found himself in a hostile environment. Two sneezes later, the Atom was knocked out. Batman advances and will face Green Lantern next.
Civic City is the site of the first battle in the Marvel Hero Bracket with #5 seed Storm and #13 Spider-Man. Storm found herself surprised by both the speed and strength of Spider-Man, but was able to keep him at distance with her weather manipulation. Peter eventually closed the gap, but he was surprised by Storm’s hand-to-hand skill. Drawing upon all his tricks, Spidey weaves a cocoon with his web, and Storm’s claustrophobia kicked in. Unlike Hal’s strategy, Peter’s victory was accidental but still he moves on.
In Mega-City One, #2 Iron Man and #7 seed Rogue faced off. Despite still having some residual rockiness from the last match, Rogue couldn’t compete with Tony’s arsenal and armor. Rogue was able to take advantage for a moment of Tony’s overconfidence but the Iron Man armor compensated, and thus the RogueBuster Armor was born and trademarked. Iron Man moves on.
In Capital City, #6 Wolverine and #3 Captain America tangle. For the historians in the crowd, Cap and Logan met up in 1941 (chronicled in X-Men #268), where the Canuck saved Cap’s bacon from the Hand. Age seemed to have no impact on the ageless pair as the battle was fierce. The battle turned on Wolverine’s willingness to fight dirty, and Steve’s attempt to keep things honorable. The runt moves on.
The last hero battle was in Duckburg where #1 Black Bolt met #8 Emma Frost. Before the match begins, Emma proposed a truce where the two divvy up the United States to serve as their mutant sanctuary. Black Bolt shakes his head slowly, and says “No.” Good-bye Emma – when will people learn? Black Bolt and Wolverine will meet in the Sweet Sixteen (and probably without a Venom-dinosaur).
Ivy Town had #8 seed Brood Queen and top seeded Cassandra Nova. A classic contest of quantity and quality as the hive mind of Brood struggled mightily to defend itself from the unrelenting power and fury of the Cassandra Nova. When Cassandra got a foothold, the Brood collapsed like a house built on sand. Cassandra Nova moves on with little effort.
In Riverdale, seed #3 Magneto and #11 Norman Osborn met. Neither were lacking for confidence, but Magneto’s lack of crazies was the essential element. That and Magneto sucked out all of Norman’s iron leaving him with a critical case of anemia. Magneto faces Cassandra Nova in the next round – Genosha brace yourself.
In The City, #12 Purple Man and #4 Dr. Doom face off in what seem to be a foregone conclusion – Doom should win. But even Dr. Doom did not anticipate that the Purple Man could have found the Psycho-Prism. Instead of being Doom’s prisoner forced to use the Psycho-Prism, Killgrave used it to overpower Dr. Doom’s substantial willpower. When last seen, Victor von Doom was naked, riding a tricycle, and singing Andrews Lloyd Weber hits.
In Mouseton, the battle between #7 M.O.D.O.K. and #2 Kang happened. Even with all of the 40th Century technology (will we have flying cars then?) at his disposal, Kang is still at the mercy of M.O.D.O.K.’s thirst for death and destruction. M.O.D.O.K. was able to pierce Kang’s body armor, and Kang could not escape the following onslaught. And the crowd goes wild for M.O.D.O.K.!
The triumph of the underdogs continue in Opal City where #11 Shade took out #3 Joker. In reality, the Joker left after finding it impossible to kill Shade in any creative manner. When asked why he gave up so soon, the Joker replied, “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just do things.”
In Freedom City, #2 seed Brainiac and #7 Mongul tangle, and although it now appears Mongul is sporting a Yellow Power Ring, it doesn’t matter to Brainiac. Brainiac anticipated each of Mongul’s moves, and has little or no biological weakness or emotions that Mongul can capitalize on. The match is swift and bloody, with Brainiac moving on and facing the surprising Shade in the Sweet Sixteen.
Equally brutal was the toss-down in Coast City between #1 seed Lex Luthor and #8 Despero. Lex brought out a special battlesuit created just for this match that not only deflected Despero’s mental attacks, but also drained his Flame of Py’tar. Despero, although defenseless, was shown no mercy.
And in Civic City, #4 Sinestro and #5 Vandal Savage battled in the last fight of this round. In a contest of remarkably well-groomed facial hair, Sinestro easily dispatched Savage. The combination of the large forehead with the waxed pencil-thin mustache is just too much for the ageless goatee. (Actually, Sinestro was just too much power for even a great tactician like Savage, but that didn’t sound nearly as clever.) Sinestro and Lex knock heads in the next round.