Welcome back to Hold 322’s 2013 Tournament of Heroes! This week, we’ve completed the 4th and 5th rounds—also known as the Sweet 16 and Elite 8—and today’s blog will give you all the results, along with (by special request) my own snarky commentary. Buckle up and settle in, here we go…


The Sweet 16


Aquaman_1Group A
Superman (#1 seed) versus The Thing—Ben Grim (#8 seed)
We all agreed this would be a BIG fight, but that when the dust settled, Superman would be victorious. I joked that Ben might have orange, rocky skin, but it isn’t orange Kryptonite; something I, as a lifelong Superman fan—who has read stories from almost all eras—had never heard of. JC looked it up on his Google machine and guess what? DC introduced orange K in 2007, a time when I wasn’t reading new comics due to low funds. Apparently, that kind of Kryptonite gives animals super powers. Now we’ve all learned something that I’m sure we all wished we hadn’t.
Winner: Superman, by a 3-0 vote

Invisible Woman—Susan Storm (#6 seed) versus Aquaman (#7 seed)
I voted for Aquaman. All three of us did, but I was trying to keep things interesting by challenging our collective assumptions on the fight and asking follow up questions. This irked JC a bit, and I swear, he almost stabbed me with Arthur’s trident.
Winner: Aquaman, by a 3-0 vote


golden-apple-300x286Group B
The mighty Thor (#1 seed) versus Zatanna (#8 seed)
We all agreed that no amount of backwards spell casting would save Zatanna in this one.
Thor: “Ha! Your magic is soft, hat wearing mortal! I’ve consumed mead stronger than your spells!”
Winner: Thor, by a 3-0 vote.

Doctor Strange (#3 seed) versus Valkyrie (#5 seed)
JC and I agreed that Stephen would prove too powerful and resourceful for Valkyrie to overcome, despite his history of messing up with women in his personal life. Jeff stayed loyal to Asgard, and voted for Val. I want a magical golden apple!
Winner: Doctor Strange, by a 3-0 vote

So at this juncture, I pointed out what interesting Elite 8 match-ups we could have had in Groups A and B had our results been different. Had Ben and Sue won their matches, they would have faced off in an all FF contest. Had Valkyrie beaten Strange, she would have faced Thor in an all Asgard battle. Jeff decided this meant I was disappointed in our results and upset that thing weren’t going ‘as planned’. I don’t know where he got that idea from, since at that point, all the people I had voted for had won. Silly ginger. Moving on…


Cap ShieldGroup C
Wonder Woman (#1 seed) versus Captain America (#6 seed)
This would be an epic battle; very star-spangled to be sure. We could all see this fight going either way. Jeff settled on Cap. JC had to flip a coin, leading him to vote for Diana. I broke the tie with a sympathy vote for Steve. He’s had a rough past few years.
Winner: Captain America, by a 2-1 vote

Spider-Man—Peter?—Otto?—I don’t know, really (#2 seed) versus Iron Man—the real one, not the Orson Scott Card blue skinned teenage one (#4 seed)
I unashamedly voted for Spidey, just because he’s my favorite. JC surprised me by also voting for Spider-Man, instead of Iron Man, who is his fanboy fav. He based his vote on the Otto factor. Otto Octavious, with Peter’s memories and abilities combined with his own ruthless ingenuity and disdain for Tony Stark would just prove too much for the billionaire playboy. I can’t remember why Jeff voted for Iron Man. It may have had something to do with Robert Downey Junior’s facial hair or how great Gwyneth Paltrow’s legs looked in those shorts Pepper Potts had on in the Avengers movie. Now I’m being silly. Silly bald headed Bob. Moving on…
Winner: Spider-Man, by a 2-1 vote


Hulk SmashGroup D
The incredible Hulk (#1 seed) versus Supergirl (#4 seed)
Jeff objected to me having changed my vote after the recording of last week’s show. Objection noted. We all voted for the Hulk anyway.
Winner: The Hulk, by 3-0 vote

Batman (#2 seed) versus Captain Marvel—Carol Danvers (#3 seed)
I challenged Jeff to tell me how Batman could possibly defeat Carol in a fair fight. At first he couldn’t convince me, but then he suggested that Batman could attack Captain Marvel with a high frequency sonic blast that would burst her preexisting brain lesion. That was convincing enough for me. JC went on to list many weaknesses of Carol’s that Bruce could exploit.
Winner: Batman, by a 3-0 vote


The Elite 8


Superman_new 52_1Group A
Superman (#1 seed) versus Aquaman (#7 seed)
I remarked on how this fight would not be the joke it once may have been. Geoff Johns has done a great job showing the comic reading world who Aquaman really is and what he’s always been capable of doing. The fact that Arthur, the guy who ‘talks to fish’, has made it this far in the tournament, having beaten Angel, Power Girl and Sue Storm along the way, is a testament to how awesome the character really is. That said, Superman wouldn’t take this fight lightly and he has the powers, intelligence and experience needed to win.
Winner: Superman, by a 3-0 vote


Thor_1Group B
The mighty Thor (#1 seed) versus Doctor Strange (#3 seed)
Remember how Stephen Strange used to be a medical doctor who performed advanced surgeries until his hands were crippled in a car accident? And only becoming the Sorcerer Supreme fixed his hands? Well it looks like Thor’s hammer may break them again, along with Stephen’s face and his back and his spine…
Winner: Thor, by a 3-0 vote


Superior_Spider-Man_Vol_1_3Group C
Spider-Man (#2 seed) versus Captain America (#6 seed)
Spider-Man—apparently an old evil German man’s mind in the body of Peter Parker, followed around by the ghost that used to inhabit said body (#2 seed) versus Captain America (#3 seed)
Jeff speculated that eventually Cap would lose his shield in the course of the fight. I added that then Spider-Man could web it to the place where it landed so Steve could not get it back. We all agreed that without his trusty shield, Captain America would not have enough to defeat his powerful foe.
Winner: Spider-Man, by a 3-0 vote


Batman_new 52Group D
The incredible Hulk (#1 seed) versus Batman (#2 seed)
How can a non-powered mortal man, like Bruce Wayne—even if he is the technologically adept, martial arts expert and master detective that he is as the iconic Batman—have any hope of defeating such a powerful and unstoppable force like the Hulk? This was the question I found myself unable to answer when it came time for me to cast my vote. Jeff cast his fanboy vote for his beloved Batman, and I wanted to join him in doing so—having been a big time Bat-fan myself my entire life—but JC was making such convincing and steadfast arguments for why the Hulk would prevail that I just couldn’t justify voting for the Dark Knight in the face of all the evidence Mr. Carter was able to provide. We had to take a break. During which I listened to both JC and Jeff make their respective cases and lobby for my vote. At some point I tuned them out and remembered something I’d recently read in a comic that convinced me how I should vote. When we came back from the break, I laid out the fight as I saw it. The Hulk would chase after Batman, smashing a city in his wake until finally catching up to the caped crusader, only to discover that his opponent, and the world around him, was no more than illusions. The Hulk would find himself lost in space, trapped aboard a Batman built holographic projecting space ship.
Winner: Batman, by a 2-1 vote

That’s it for this week’s match-ups. Damn, it’s getting intense, fanboys and fangirls! Feel free to share your own opinions on the fights so far. Next week we will have the final four, followed immediately by the championship fight. A winner will be crowned. Will it be a Man of Steel or will it be a God of Thunder? Will it be someone imbued with the powers of a spider, or will it be someone who inspires fear in the hearts of evil doers wearing the guise of a bat? Listen to the show next Tuesday to find out who will be the last hero standing.
Until my next blog, be sure to listen to Hold 322, follow me on twitter @Robert_A_Easton, and read comics, read comics, read comics.