Superheroes are all about using their powers to win the day. Whether it be reversing time, traveling through dimensions, or throwing a giant hammer at someone, there is no limit to the things they can do with their abilities. But what about the times where all of their superpowers don’t help? What about the heroes that don’t have any powers at all? Many times, this leads to heroes and villains going at it with their fists (superpowered or not). When heroes engage in combat this way, it usually communicates a sense of desperation, like all of their resources have been exhausted fighting one another and they’re just throwing punches. It’s moments like these that stick out in our minds.
As comics have progressed, these types of fist fights have been more commonplace. We’ve seen heroes throw fists at other heroes, and villains going to toe-to-toe with the just. As time goes on, some of these fights have become extremely brutal and violent. Blood flies, bones are broken, and friendships are shattered in the process. No matter how well-written or drawn, it’s not a pretty sight to see. With that out of the way, let’s move forward with the 15 bloodiest fist fights in comic book history.
15. BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN
The Dark Knight Returns still stands as one of the greatest Batman stories of all time, and part of the reason for this is that it culminates with a fight between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel. After countless pleas from Superman for Batman to stop being a hero, the Caped Crusader continuously refused and stated that Gotham still needed a hero.
Eventually, the government ordered Superman to bring the Batman in, but Bruce would not go down willingly. The two engaged in a brutal fight. When Batman had a massive suit of armor built specifically to destroy the Man of Steel, things got much more intense. The two threw blow after blow, but it was the Dark Knight’s preparation and intelligence that allowed him to win out in the end.
14. THE FLASH VS. THE REVERSE FLASH
Barry Allen is a man tormented by grief, which is why he decided that he couldn’t take it anymore and went back in time to prevent his mother being killed by the Reverse Flash. Unfortunately, the result of that action was a changed timeline where the Earth practically destroyed itself at the seams.
When Flash decided to go back in time and make things right, Reverse Flash was there to stop him. The two engaged in a brutal fight that saw the villain practically beating Flash to death. Despite all of their super speed, it wasn’t a battle motivated by them running through the city either. It was close quarters, and they were both ready to be done with the other. If it weren’t for the Flashpoint version of Batman coming in to save the day, Barry Allen and the entire Earth would’ve been done for.
13. HULK VS. THE THING
The many stories of the Fantastic Four have seen Ben Grimm and Bruce Banner go at it multiple times. Of all of those fights, we still have to give this entry to one of their earliest fights from Fantastic Four #25. In this battle, it leaves the reader feeling tense as both the Hulk and the Thing seem evenly matched. However, as the fight goes on and they exchange blows, the Hulk’s rage increases, which only makes him stronger.
The Thing constantly looks for a different angle to beat his opponent, but it’s clear that he’s no match for the nearly indestructible powerhouse that is the Incredible Hulk. What’s most impressive about this fight is that it takes place solely between the two of them. Nobody else enters the picture.
12. DAREDEVIL VS. KINGPIN
Matt Murdock and Wilson Fisk have engaged in an ongoing battle for the soul of Hell’s Kitchen for years. Each time these two go at it, they always try to get the upper hand, but Fisk seems to be one step ahead of the Man Without Fear and managed to keep his crown as the ruler of the criminal underworld.
In the “Hardcore” storyline, Kingpin returns to Hell’s Kitchen after a long departure to try and take his seat on the throne again. He sends some baddies after Daredevil and ruthlessly kills anyone who stands in his way. However, Daredevil meets him at his doorstep and decides to engage in a brawl with the corrupt genius. The fight takes a dark turn as Murdock beats the living daylight out of Kingpin, nearly killing him in the process.
11. BATMAN VS. THE PUNISHER
We all know that Batman is one of the most impressive heroes ever created, but what happens when he goes face-to-face with someone who holds values counter to his? That’s what we find out in Punisher/Batman: Deadly Knights. This Marvel/DC crossover features these two vigilantes going at odds with one another over how to take care of villains.
Punisher feels that Batman is killing innocents by merely locking up criminals, and Batman feels that Punisher is wrongfully taking lives. Classic stuff. When the fight starts, Punisher gets one blow on Batman, to which the Dark Knight states “I let you have that one because you probably think I deserved it.” When Castle goes to throw another punch, Batman stops it and says “I said one.”
10. GLADIATOR VS. SUPREME
Gladiator and Supreme are probably two names you’re not familiar with (most of us weren’t either, so don’t feel too bad), but after you hear about the fight they had, you’ll remember them. Because of how powerful these two individuals are, their fight involves them exchanging massive punches as well as using a few of their abilities to get the upper hand.
The fight lasts for several panels, thrusting them down on different planets while exchanging expertly written dialogue. Because of the way the fight is presented, the reader feels every blow, every punch, every biting comment that they spit out at one another. If you want to see a great battle (as well as a good crossover between Marvel and Maximum), read Gladiator/Supreme.
9. SUPERMAN VS. MONGUL
Superman is often labeled as DC’s Big Blue Boy Scout. Of all the heroes that choose not to kill, Superman is the one who upholds that rule the most fervently. He always tries to do the right thing, even when it seems like it will make everything harder. However, in Superman Vs Mongul, his morality was tested when a fairly unknown villain by the name of Mongul was using a machine known as the War-World to destroy planets.
Superman sprang into action and fought Mongul in a brutal battle. Superman was shown doing whatever it took to save the lives of many. And while he didn’t kill the villain, he was entirely willing to for the good of the universe. He was pushed to his limits and his fight with Mongul was one for the history books.
8. WOLVERINE VS. THE X-MEN
When we first see the events of “Old Man Logan”, Wolverine no longer uses his claws and he’s retired from superheroing or X-Maning. After wondering the reason for that, we are given the answer in the form of a flashback. Logan, on a seemingly normal day, enters a room that is suddenly filled with the greatest foes he ever fighting. Immediately he goes into savage mode and rips everyone to shreds.
However, it seems much too easy, as none of them put up a fight like they normally would. When the dust finally settled, Wolverine saw that he had been tricked. The bodies of all of the X-Men lay mangled and bloody all around him. Mysterio had deceived him into seeing villains when he was actually fighting his old teammates.
7. BATMAN VS. BANE
Batman is an amazing hero, but even he has his limits. After the masked villain known as Bane discovers who the Batman really is, he concocts a terrible scheme in “Knightfall”. He unleashes many of Gotham’s greatest villains all in one night and Batman has to lock them back up. Then, when the Dark Knight finally gets home, he is confronted by Bane.
The two immediately engage in a tense fight, but it’s clear that Batman is exhausted and can’t keep up with the powerhouse that opposes him. While he takes a massive beating, the fight is ended when Bane lifts up the Batman and snaps his back. Leaving the scene, Bane was forever known as the villain who broke the Bat. It took the Dark Knight a long time before he completely recovered from this event, but we as the audience will never forget that it happened.
6. DAREDEVIL VS. THE PUNISHER
The greatest thing about Daredevil Versus Punisher: Means and Ends is that these two heroes (if you can call Punisher that) are at war with each other throughout the entirety of the story. They don’t have just one fight — they have multiple. Of the ones found in the issue, the final one is the fight that earned its spot on this list.
After going at it for so long, getting an innocent harmed in the process, and losing control, these two are at their wits ends with one another. The final battle is raw, gritty, and painful to watch. We see Punisher try to break Daredevil’s back while he retaliates by slamming Castle in the face. It’s a brutal show to behold, but it’s one that communicates the lengths these men are willing to go for their ideals.
5. BATMAN VS. THE JOKER
The Joker is often seen toying with Batman, willing to torture the Dark Knight so that they can keep doing their dance for ages. They’ve fought for decades but never with a definitive winner or loser. However, in “Endgame”, the Jester of Genocide is ready to kill Batman and is willing to do whatever it takes. The story opens with the Justice League going crazy and attacking Batman because they were controlled by the Joker.
As these events build, it ends with Batman and Joker fighting each other one on one in an underground location. They exchange blows, get several good hits in, all the while the feeling of urgency never lets up. It is portrayed as the final battle between these two characters, which ends with their presumed deaths due to natural hazards.
4. DEADPOOL VS. BULLSEYE
For those of you not aware, “Dark Reign” sees Norman Osborn and other villains taking over the mantle of the Avengers, and they cause a lot of havoc while they operate. Among the bad guys in disguise, Bullseye took the role of Hawkeye, and he was assigned by Osborn to kill Deadpool, who had become a nuisance for too long.
While the fight itself doesn’t have massive stakes, it is well put together. Deadpool and Bullseye exchange several blows among each other, but it’s the Merc with a Mouth who gets the upper hand. The battle becomes so intense that Deadpool actually sends Bullseye to the hospital with all of his wounds. Yet the fake Hawkeye was dumb enough to recover and try going after the indestructible mercenary once again.
3. WORLD BREAKER HULK VS. SKAAR
For those that have no interest in a storyline following the Incredible Hulk, we urge you to read the battle that unfolded in “World War Hulks”. In it, World Breaker Hulk (the strongest version of the Hulk) returns to action, putting the entire Earth at risk. The only one who can even stand somewhat of a chance is his son Skaar. What makes this fight so gruesome is not only the fact that they’re literally punching each other through the planet and shaking it at the same time, but that the fight itself is not the point.
Hulk realizes that every time he throws a punch at his son, he has taken the role of his abusive father, who defined the Hulk persona. As the two engage more, World Breaker Hulk breaks down at the scene and the fight ends with a heartwarming moment between Bruce Banner and Skaar.
2. SUPERMAN VS. DOOMSDAY
Doomsday was a being created only to destroy. After being ripped apart and put back together for years, he finally had the strength to break out of his containment, kill his creator, and travel to the planet Earth. It was there that the only person strong enough to take him was Superman himself. The two engage in a colossal battle that puts the entire planet at risk. It was one of the first times where we saw Superman actually at risk of dying.
Yet, the two continued trading blows and punching through buildings in order to win the day. In a powerful moment, the fight ended with both of them throwing one last punch at each other, effectively killing both of them at the same time. No villain has ever challenged the Man of Steel quite like Doomsday.
1. CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. IRON MAN
As the Civil War event progresses, we see both Captain America and Iron Man get much more desperate. While they are initially focused on not harming anyone in the process, a Thor clone is created, heroes die, and a special prison is built. It’s here when Captain America is at the end of his rope. Through a well-crafted plan, Captain America rescues his captured comrades and takes the battle to the city.
He goes toe-to-toe with Iron Man, and the two are merely exchanging blows. They both end up battered and broken, with Captain America given the opportunity to kill his former ally and put a stop to the Civil War. However, when he realizes the harm he brought to the people around, Captain America breaks down and turns himself in, effectively ending both the battle and the war.