Every week in 2018, the plan is that my friend Rod is going to ask me some geeky question that will answer in a post. This week is Week #23, and for this extended, bonus-length edition of this series, we’re now finishing with the question from last week:
Pick the weirdest powered characters I can think of, rank / seed them and then pit them against each other in a tournament!
It’s final round of the weird-powered Superhero Tournament, featuring only applicants—successful and otherwise—of the Legion of Super-Heroes, DC Comic’s one-stop shopping location for superheroes with strange powers.
To read what this all about, click here.
For Round One of the Binder Conference (named after Legion co-creator Otto Binder), click here.
For Round One of the Plastino Conference (named after Legion co-creator Al Plastino), click here.
For Round Two of both conferences, click here.
For Round Three of both conferences, click here.
For this round, we’ll keep the same rules as last time, with the winner being the best out of 7 points, but with one change which I’ll mention shortly.
Our Grand Final combatants are…
First, from the Binder Conference…
Super-teeth and digestion!
From the Plastino Conference…
However, there aren’t any environments left from my original list that both haven’t been used since Round 1, and which neither player have already fought a battle in.
So for this final round, the battle will be taking place on a disabled luxury space liner which is falling apart because of a terrible meteor storm. To further complicate matters, there will be civilians on board who are in need of rescuing. Since both characters are Legionnaires, they are honor-bound to help the endangered whenever possible, even if that puts them at a disadvantage.
So to reflect this, we will be making a slight change to the rules for when a 7 rolls. Instead of that just resulting in a second roll where the odds are evened out, it will mean that there is a civilian who needs saving. The last hero to have received a point will be the one who needs to do the rescuing. That means that the other hero gets a “free” attack – if the role goes their way, they score a hit, but if it doesn’t, they don’t lose anything, and we just go on to the next role. (If a 7 is rolled first, we’ll just randomly pick which hero gets disadvantaged).
For those who are concerned, rest assured that the civilians are actually being played by off-duty Legionnaires who are just volunteering for this job, and the whole environment is full of lots of safety features, so nobody is in any real danger.
Anyway, this environment doesn’t favor one character or the other. Dream Girl has a 4 point lead over Matter-Eater Lad in the initial rankings, but Matter-Eater Lad won the last match on an upset, which puts a point back in his favor (because of boosted confidence, etc). This all means Dream Girl wins this fight on a 2-6 or 12, while Matter-Eater Lad wins on a 8-10 or 11.
Anyway, make sense?
So ready, set…fight!
And the battle begins! Dream Girl and Matter-Eater Lad appear on the luxury space liner on opposite sides of a giant anti-gravity disco dance hall. Because of the disaster, lots of things are floating around in the midst of it all–chairs, drinks, disco glitter balls, etc. Both heroes start to fly at each other, but Dream Girl is a lot more used to this environment and is able to navigate it more easily. Dream Girl, incidentally, had attempted to dream about this situation to give her an advantage, but for once her powers didn’t give her any love and she ended up dreaming about some time in the future where the Fatal Five attack and destroy the Legion headquarters instead. Filing that away for future reference, she focuses on using her martial arts training to defeat Matter-Eater Lad in the forthcoming fight. However, as they approach each other, the gravity of the station goes a bit wonky, and they end up colliding into each other. Matter-Eater Lad recovers quicker, and boxes Dream Girl on the side of the head with both hands, dazing her.
Point: Matter-Eater Lad (Roll: 11)
The liner lurches again, which throws all the gravity off and interferes with the Legionnaire’s flight rings. Both heroes go plummeting toward the ground, but Dream Girl (again, more familiar with the nuances of anti-gravity dancing) twists around and manages to position herself so that she’s basically standing on Matter-Eater Lad. Matter-Eater Lad smashes to the ground, softening the blow to Dream Girl.
Point: Dream Girl (Roll: 6)
Matter-Eater Lad makes a desperate attempt to turn the tables on Dream Girl and begins to eat the floor of the space liner from under Dream Girl’s feet. Dream Girl stumbles as a result, but the results are not particularly damaging. She backs away from her enemy, as Matter-Eater Lad continues to eat away at the floor toward her, slightly reminiscent of some sort of land-shark. Dream Girl is able to grab a cocktail table which has just started floating in the wonky gravity, and to throw it with all her might at Matter-Eater Lad’s head. It finds its target, and Matter-Eater Lad goes down the for the second time. At this point, all the volunteer Legionnaires who have been standing by ready to play potential victims in need of rescuing begin to wonder if they’ll have anything to do in this battle at all.
Point: Dream Girl (Roll: 5)
Another meteor strikes the space liner, and the whole lurches to the side, throwing both heroes to the wall. Dream Girl positions herself to kick Matter-Eater Lad in the head, but Matter-Eater Lad eats the heel off of Dream Girl’s boot, knocking her backwards. Matter-Eater Lad grabs a handful of space credits from the space-casino located on board the space-liner, and flings them at Dream Girl, momentarily confusing her. Then he follows this up by charging at her mid-section, throwing punches left and right, connecting with her face a couple of times.
Point: Matter-Eater Lad (Roll: 11)
Now, at this point I have to interrupt the commentary by saying that originally when I was writing up this battle, I forgot that Matter-Eater Lad had won the last round by an upset (when he beat the more highly ranked Triplicate Girl). What that meant was that originally it was Dream Girl who won on the 11 (and Matter-Eater Lad on the 12) which meant that Dream Girl originally won the battle here, on four straight roles. I had completely finished the post and even scheduled its publishing before I realized my error. So suddenly we’re in this position, where they are actually tied and we’re down to just a maximum of three more points, and anyone could take it! Crazy, right? Kind of like that thing with La La Land at the Oscars!
Anyway, back to the fight!
Hurt but not defeated, Dream Girl manages to push Matter-Eater Lad back, but remains vulnerable to whatever Matter-Eater Lad throws at her next. He decides to play it tricky and deliver a knock-out punch with his left fist (instead of his right), but just then, Dream Girl’s powers kick in and she can see what her enemy is about to do. She surprises him by ducking his blow and then twisting so that his momentum ends up knocking him off balance. Dream follows up with a mighty flip that sends him over the bar in the on-board space-tarvern!
Point: Dream Girl (Roll: 6)
Dream Girl decides to get fancy, and uses her super-smart Naltorian science to reprogram some of the space-liner’s robot waiters to attack Matter-Eater Lad. Matter-Eater Lad, for his part, makes quick work of this attack by eating the robots. He attempts a counter attack where he throws the puck from a game of space-shuffleboard at Dream Girl, but her powers allow her to dodge this attack. Finally, Matter-Eater Lad decides he’s had enough of this nonsense and climbs onto the bar and leaps at Dream Girl directly. He collides into her just as the gravity goes off again, and the two twist into the air. Dream Girl grabs the now weightless Matter-Eater Lad and pulls his jaw straight into her knee (or vice-versa, depending on your perspective) and then gives him two space-karate chops, one on either side of his neck.
Point: Dream Girl (Roll: 6)
Matter-Eater Lad has had it!
And the Winner of a our Tournament of Weirdly-Powered characters is…
Real Name: Nura Nal
Home Planet: Naltor
Created by Edmond Hamilton & John Forte
Everyone gathers around her, congratulating Dream Girl. Some of the judges ask her out on dates but she turns them all down to go celebrate with her boyfriend Star Boy. Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl and Wildfire all grouse about how they got all dressed up as civilians but never got to do anything. Polar Boy claims that her victory somehow legitimizes the Legion of Substitute Heroes. The Author of this piece breathes a sigh of relief that he doesn’t have to dig up a bunch of Matter-Eater Lad pictures for the victory display, above. Matter-Eater Lad himself slips off and gets back into politics on his home planet Bismoll, and nobody notices that he’s left until the next day. And Color Kid, Arm-Fall-Off Boy and Plaid Lad all vow revenge, and start training for next year’s tournament as the Legion of Super-Comeback Kids.