Nerd Classics - Best. Fight. Ever.

Seeing 300 has Frank Miller on my mind. He's kind of old and cranky and somewhat misogynistic these days, and perhaps a bit of a self-parody. But back in the day, Frank Miller was The Fucking Man. His run on Marvel's "Daredevil" was so definitive and influential, he might as well get co-creator credit for the character.

Comic book geeks, as you may be aware, love nothing more than endless discussion of the minutiae, chiefly who could beat who in a fight. An infamous example of the form comes from the letters page of "Wizard" magazine in the mid-'90s, where there was a years-long running debate about whether Iron Man could singlehandedly defeat the X-Men. That was a little absurd, but mostly it's just idle speculation to while away a lazy summer afternoon, or kill time while the GM gets the next encounter set up. The Marvel-vs.-DC debate is the classic - Aquaman vs. Namor the Submariner, Flash vs. Quicksilver, Green Arrow vs. Hawkeye, etc. There's also plenty of speculation about characters from the same universe - Would Captain America beat Daredevil? Would the Martian Manhunter beat Captain Marvel?

The one question that is essentially settled, however, is that of Batman vs. anybody. The fandom cliche states that, "if he's prepared," Batman could take on all comers. Why is this a settled question? Frank Miller and the climax of his epic Batman saga, The Dark Knight Returns. It has lodged so firmly into the collective fanboy brain that no comics reader with more than a single overstuffed longbox to his name doubts for a nanosecond that, given a day or two to prepare for the fight, Batman could whup Superman.

There is also no doubt, nor should there be, that this sequence is the single most kickass fight scene in any superhero comic book ever. Batman has had the required time to prepare. Also, conveniently for Batman, Superman is just on the mend from being caught in the heart of the explosion of an experimental Soviet super-nuke. So the Man of Steel isn't exactly on the top of his game, here. Batman also has an assist from Robin and Green Arrow.

Still, the fight is totally badass. Yeah, Batman's cheating like nobody's business, but he's in a life-or-death fight with a demigod, can you blame him? And more than anything else, it's flat-out HAWESOME to watch Batman and Superman trading blows, beating the shit out of each other.

In the comics geek world, it's just assumed that Dark Knight is cool as fuck and universally beloved. But we never really stop to appreciate just what it is that makes it so cool. It's not, in this case, the little things. It's the fact that, in Dark Knight, there are no little things. It's too big for little things. It's HUGE, full of Batman being the Coolest Guy on the Planet, kicking ass and not bothering to take names, 'cuz why bother? It's not great because it's full of the neat little details and nuances; it moves at such breakneck speed that it has no time for nuance.

And it ends with Batman and Superman punching each other.