Spoilers for ‘The Eternal’, ‘Invincible’, ‘The Boys’ and the DCU
We can’t help it, there is something in our nature that always leaves us wondering who could beat who in combat. We have all heard the hypothetical: “Who would win in a fight between …” and the two names, from there, could be anyone. It could be between Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, or Jack Bauer and Dirty Harry, or, heck, Scooby-Doo and Simba.
With the premiere of ‘The Eternals’, the 26th film in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, viewers meet an omnipotent new character: someone named Ikaris. Ikaris, played by Richard Madden, is one of the titular Eternal, a thousand-year-old being who can fire heat vision from his eyes and fly into outer space whenever he wants.
Sounds familiar, huh? Well that’s because Ikaris is the latest in a group of enormously powerful superheroes; joins Patriot (Antony Starr) in Amazon Prime Video’s’ The Boys’, Omni-Man (JK Simmons) in Amazon Prime Video’s’ Invincible ‘, and Superman (most recently played in films by Henry Cavill in’ The League of the Zack Snyder’s Justice ‘) as our resident flight-and-can-kill-everyone-if-they-wanted-to be superheroes. But what if we put them in a fight … with each other?
Ikaris would win
Although the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Ikaris only shows his flight and his ability to shoot bolts of cosmic energy from his eyes, the alien superhero is more powerful than people think.
In Marvel Comics, Ikaris does more than fly and shoot lasers. According to Marvel’s rundown on Ikaris, he has complete mind control over his body, which means he can regrow limbs and is immune to extreme temperatures, disease, and pretty much any other deadly obstacle. Basically he also has the combined powers of his eternal companions, creating visual illusions of himself, shooting light and heat from his hands, and rearranging the molecules of other objects.
You shouldn’t write off Ikaris just because he hasn’t had his own movie or TV series after all these years. See, Omni-Man can’t shoot heat with a finger let alone his hands or his eyes. And Superman will always have to fear kryptonite. As for Patriot, he’s basically a bully who has no morals and no sense of limits. Even if he could put up a good fight, it doesn’t represent anything. In time, he would probably give up, unless the award was a photoshoot of The Seven.
Ikaris is the winner, but only because his competition won’t know what to expect.
Patriot would win
The only rule to remember about Patriot, the Superman-style hero (or, you know, the villain) from Amazon Prime Video’s ‘The Boys’? It does not follow rules. This guy is absolutely ruthless, willing to destroy anyone and anything in his way if it gets between him and what he wants, be it some time on the evening news or a little jar of breast milk. And are we pitting him against a good guy (Clark Kent) and a moral puritan, but wayward (Ikaris)? They have no chance. My boy is crazy.
Only Patriot’s fellow Amazon Prime Video resident Omni-Man from ‘Invincible’ would pose an appearance of threat, because he too does what he has to do without fear of any kind of moral repercussions. Omni-Man slaying a crowded train in a viscerally bloody way in the ‘Invincible’ season 1 finale was something of a Patriot playbook classic; a total disregard for any life other than his own. Patriot’s sociopathy (letting an entire plane of people die without blinking, for example) is one of his strengths.
Now, we must bear in mind that Patriota has some major problems with Mom (and Dad); a cunning and intelligent fighter might find a way to use that against him. But this is not a team, it is a real battle between everyone. And are you going to compete with this lunatic? He can fly to the moon whenever he wants, and then start cutting innocent people in half with his heat vision five minutes later. What is Superman going to do when Patriot starts taking human hostages? He’ll back off, that is. The world is not a pretty place, so the one who will win this fight will naturally be someone who is not really a good guy.
Superman would win
Here’s everything you need to know about Superman: It took a hyper-adaptive, conscienceless, soulless warrior who basically can’t die and comes back stronger after every defeat (Doomsday, look him up) to “kill” Superman. Except that Doomsday never killed Superman, who later returned thanks to his regenerative energies.
The greatest superhero of all time essentially can’t die, to hell with Kryptonite. (And no, kryptonite can’t kill him; it just hurts. Think bright green bee sting.)
So no, none of the contenders (who are essentially Superman clones from rival brands, by the way) have a chance. Patriot, essentially a parody of Superman, would have no choice, in part because he has never fought a meaningful battle. Sure, he’s powerful, but his entire role in the universe of ‘The Boys’ is to serve as a being without equal. He never faced the great challenges that Superman has and never had to fight an equal. Facing Superman (or even the more hardened Omni-Man and Ikaris), Patriot would run back with Elisabeth Shue.
Omni-Man and Ikaris pose more respectable challenges for the Man of Steel, and they both have a lot in common with Super. Omni-Man hails from an alien planet (Viltrum) and essentially easily killed the ‘Justice League’ version of his universe. Ikaris, meanwhile, has similar abilities to Supes to fly, fire heat vision, and even teleport, and is powered by cosmic energy, which is not that far from Superman, which draws its energy from the sun. Both Omni-Man and Ikaris also have an advantage over Superman: They have never had any qualms about fighting and murdering.
But that’s part of Superman’s beauty, and part of why he would destroy both Omni-Man and Ikaris: The Man of Steel has always fought sparingly. He frequently doesn’t kill his opponents, which means we haven’t even seen him fully unleash his powers. Comic after comic (and in the ‘Superman and Lois’ series) reinforce this. So while we’ve seen Omni-Man unleashed, and we know the upper limits of Ikaris’s capabilities, we’ve never seen Superman rampant, in full force.
And that Superman in full force would kick anyone’s butt, be it Omni-Man, Ikaris, Patriot, or Thor (just in case). And even if you hit him momentarily, Doomsday, you’d die in the process, only for him to get up later.
-Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS
Omni-Man would win
It seems like an obvious fact: the only beings that can defeat Omni-Man are other Viltrumites, beings literally bred to win battle royale-style combat. And Omni-Man has won over and over again.
Sure, every figure here has a weakness. Omni-Man has the Source Virus bioweapon, Superman has Kryptonite, Ikaris has literally any star, Patriot has himself. But, in the absence of achieving these elements, who has the advantage of the heads up? Well, two of these men have died before. (Superman and Ikaris. So, their invincibility has obviously been disproved). This basically leaves Omni-Man facing off against Patriot, and Patriot is as mentally stable as a 20,000-year-old Ikaris flying towards the sun.
In fact, most of these übermensch heroes have psychological stressors; they all struggle with loyalty: Superman for the people of his adopted planet, Ikaris for the people of his adopted planet, Patriot for his nursing foster mother (and also her strange son).
As cold as it may sound, Omni-Man is probably the least psychologically vulnerable, because he doesn’t give a shit about his family. (However, her inability to finish off her son could be evidence of a change. To be continued).
But really the answer to the question comes down to a personal litmus test. Ask yourself this: who are you most afraid of? Omni-Man is a fucking cartoon, and he’s the scariest of all.
-Josh St. Clair
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