Hercules calls it “The Gift”, Wildcat calls it “The Sweet Science” and for The Thing, it’s simply “Clobberin' Time!” To most, they are simply fights, and while the superhero battle is one of the most well-worn tropes in the industry, it is never more satisfying than when two characters face off against each other one-on-one until the best person is the last one standing.
It is true that, at least in the beginning, those comics were primarily a medium created for young boys, and big guys beating up on each other is what kids like. Parents may hate to admit it but kids love to fight and watch others fight. And while the big explosions, giant space battles, and armies pitted against armies have their place, a superhero overcoming his nemesis, or on a few occasions two heroes battling until one person wins, is the backbone of most comic book stories throughout the years.
Of the countless fights in comics, there have been a few that can be considered among the very best. They are either because of the characters involved, the significance of the story being today, or the cultural significance that the stories have taken on since it was released. Some of these stories have become cultural touchstones and modern classics over the years and the readers have benefited from them.
10. Wolverine Vs. Sabretooth
Nothing is ever easy when it comes to Wolverine. He’s the best there is at what he does, but what he does comes with an extremely tortured past. In Wolverine #10, Logan, in the guise of Princess Bar co-owner Patch, breaks up a fight that triggers a painful memory of his lover, the Native American mutant Silver Fox, being raped and murdered by Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth.
Told through flashbacks as the current mystery in Patch’s life unfolded, Sabretooth freely admitted his crime and goaded Wolverine into fighting him, which was a major mistake on the smaller man’s part. Victor easily overpowers Logan, knocking him through a wall and beating him into submission. After Creed literally brings the house down around them, the Canadian escapes and manages to make it to the top of a mountain.
The pair battle at the top of the mountain, and the larger and stronger Sabretooth is mercilessly battering Wolverine around, showing him for the first time with what it is like to be truly beaten. As a last-ditched effort, Logan knocks them both off a cliff.
Much later, Victor wakes up first and looks down at his unconscious foe, saying that this is the way it is going to be. In the present, Patch receives a note that says, “Nobody kills you but ME!” - letting him know that Creed is coming for him.