Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ask Erik: Episode 3

Every week we take your questions and run them through the gamut of tests, evaluations, and research projects to come up with the perfect answer, backed with science and opinion (mostly opinion)!

Keep sending those questions, I'm still dreading looking forward to finally being able to answer any and all questions about the miniseries "JLA: Act of God" and how it sucks takes an interesting idea and kills it implements it terribly.

So, without further ado:

To Erik: Huntress or Green Arrow, who wins?

All right, then!  A basic battle question, the sort of which engages liveliest of debates and the silliest of fist fights in comic books.  One based solely on preference and utilizing examples of character behavior derived from moments of being the protagonist of a story (which, in layman's terms means "they can do what they need to do to suit the story").

What could possibly go wrong?

Now, I know this question stems from the new CW TV series Arrow, and I'm going to give my opinion of it and Smallville thusly:  having a show on the CW is a blessing and a curse, because you introduce new people to an original telling of a character, but the story is often not very good.  I genuinely hope nobody asks me to pitch several CW superhero shows, because I'll have to figure out which characters I like enough to have their own TV series, but ones I think deserve stories that usually involve at least one visit per week to a dance club.

Now, there are several ways to approach this kind of debate.  Is it a simple knock-down, drag-out fight?  Is it an open world hunt, where the contestants stalk each other through a smoky urban landscape?  Maybe a cage match in a wrestling ring, best two out of three pins?

Or I could just have them both sit down and see who wins a game of horse.

So before I decide who wins, it's time to look at the contestants.  One is a revenge-fueled mafia princess who used to fight crime with a bare navel, and the other is an archer who sees no problem in the richest man in town and a vigilante having the same ridiculous facial hair.  Let's break it down!


Helena Bertinelli, The Huntress, underwent her own Batmanesque journey in life when she witnessed her parents murder.  She traveled around the world, studied under various masters of combat, and for some reason thought that a handheld crossbow was the way to take revenge on criminals (my guess is that Frank Castle took all the guns).

Oliver Queen, on the other hand, was the spoiled brat of people with more money than taste who drunkenly fell overboard On his own yacht, washed up on the island the new Tomb Raider game is based on, and learned to fight criminals with a bow and arrow set.  Afterwards, he returned to his home city and spent his money on a lot of silly stuff to make him a Batman clone (an Arrow-car and Arrow Signal, I kid you not) before finally realizing his niche and becoming the best archer on his world.

He also has a son who went by the same name, but while Connor Hawke might be a better martial artist, Ollie is a better archer, and I'm going to go with the original here.

No points are awarded for best background, but it's important to know who's in the match.

Martial Arts:

Martial arts are tricky in comic book universes.  Besides a few who are quite simply "the best of the best," most fighters fall into a gray area that varies form writer to writer.  So, the way I figure we should judge this is look at who trained them.

Starting with Green Arrow, I'll admit to little knowledge of his martial arts training.  Mostly, I think he goes with a more classic brawling style, but I do remember he was trained for one (1) year by Natas, the same man who trained Deathstroke the Terminator, one of the deadliest assassins in the DC comics universe (unless he has to fight Aquaman).

Huntress, meanwhile spent her key formative years training for battle in back alleys and slums, and also studied technique under Richard Dragon, a martial artist so awesome that his mere presence makes some of the deadliest Chinese assassins who live suddenly discover the joys of religion and western languages.

She also once managed to fight Lady Shiva, the deadliest fighter who exists in the DC universe.  She lost, but she managed to last a few minutes and didn't die instantly.  That's about as good as you can hope against her.

In martial prowess, I give it to Huntress.


This one is going to be rather easy.  One of the two of these is a skilled enough archer that he was able to hit a target one mile down a cleft in a cliff side.  The other...well, isn't.  Plus, Huntress would have one other handicap.  When Green Arrow shoots someone with a bow and arrow (unless you count some recent years story lines that are complete garbage, and I don't), he never hits a vital spot.  Huntress, up until her time with the Birds of Prey, didn't always care that much.  And unless she believes Ollie is a serious threat that needs to be taken down by any means necessary, she'll need that microsecond more to make sure she doesn't hit anything vital.

In this category, I give it to Ollie.


Huntress tends to be a rather single note hero.  She does best against common criminals, mobsters, and martial artists.  If you put her up against characters with actual super-powers, she tends to struggle a lot more.  Green Arrow, having been a long-serving member on the Justice League, has faced threats from guys who ride around on flying playing cards, intergalactic conquerors, and giant alien starfish.

But in a one-in-one, that might not apply so much...unless you count Ollie's weapons.  He doesn't just shoot point-tipped arrows like Huntress does, he has gimmicks that make Batman look simple.  He has handcuff arrows, boomerang arrows, sonic attack arrows, net arrows, boxing glove arrows, and who could forget the fire extinguisher arrow?

Plus, Ollie cheats.  Whether on a tropical island or in a city, if Ollie knows he has to face somebody who would be a genuine challenge for him, he won't hesitate to work the environment as best he can.  Huntress can expect rigged smoke bombs, tripwires, and other traps to keep her off balance.

So, from this, I'd rule in favor of Ollie taking the fight.  While Huntress would apply a better foot to his face, her major problem is getting close enough to apply it.  But Ollie would undoubtedly be gracious, and knowing his character, I wouldn't be surprised if he put the moves on her immediately after the fight.

The round goes to Ollie!  I mean, it's not like there's another character out there named "The Huntress" who would stand a better chance against him, right?

Because if you're going to use a picture, and Adam Hughes is a choice, then of COURSE you use it.
Oh right, the original Huntress (ignoring the one from the Golden Age who was a villain not at all connected to this character), Helena Wayne.  The daughter of Batman and Catwoman, trained by both parents to be a superb athlete, the version that's back now in the Earth 2 series currently published by DC Comics was also the original Robin to her father's Batman.

So, let's under one of the best martial artists there was?  Check.  Training in stealth from the man who can sneak up on Superman and the premiere cat burglar of her universe?  Check.  Adaptability?  Well, Helena was a member of the Justice Society for years, and frequently went on adventures with Power Girl, her earth's version of Supergirl.  Being able to keep up with threats that challenge a kryptonian means you're doing something right.

So yeah, Ollie might take down the mafia daughter, but in this one I'm definitely giving the battle to Batman's Daughter.

And now, the Lightning Round!

To Erik: Super Mario Brothers 3 or Super Mario World?

Hoo, tough choice.   Both games are superb examples of the "run to the right and kill everything in your path" method of the Mario franchise.  Super Mario World expanded on the abilities, introduced Yoshi, and introduced the invulnerable caterpillars that you never wanted to piss off, but Super Mario Brothers 3 let you turn into a statue and jump on things in a giant, clockwork shoe.

So instead I'm going to base this decision entirely upon their respective cartoon shows.  Super Mario Brothers 3 involved a first for the Mario cartoons in that it had actual continuity.  It also had King Koopa and the kids regularly invading the real world with their magic.  I remember one episode where Venice gets turned into a water slide castle, and another where they have to save the Clintons and the White House from being stolen.  That's pretty goofy, but pretty cool.

Then we have the Super Mario World cartoon where Mario, Luigi, and Peach all live in Dinosaur World amongst cavemen for the entire season, and Mario tries to teach them things like "how to use a telephone" and "how to build fire."  It still has Koopa and the kids, but it also adds one of cartoon's "characters that made my ears bleed" in a talking Yoshi that thought Luigi was its mother.

Dear lord.

Super Mario Brothers 3 wins, on the grounds of not having that ... "thing" running around.

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