Read more: "The Avengers" review
The Avengers and the Justice League of America haven't just been battling bad guys, they've been battling each other -- for box-office domination.
In 2011, it was the Avengers' Thor and Captain America pitted against Justice League member The Green Lantern. In 2008, The Justice League's Batman was pitted against The Avengers' Incredible Hulk.
Now Marvel seems to have the upper hand by bringing its team together for one big, action-packed thriller. "The Avengers" opens in theaters today, May 4, while a rumored "Justice League" live-action movie for theaters hasn't yet materialized from DC Comics.
Of course, who has the most money-making power isn't what really matters to fans. The big question is: Who has the most superpower? In a fight between The Avengers and the Justice League of America, which team would win?
The comic book companies once teased readers with a crossover publication that had the superheroes squaring off against each other.
"Basically, nobody can win, because they're owned by multiple companies," said Michael Parsons, owner of Gamers Asylum in Ogden, which sells comics. "You can't clearly have one team dominated by the other because both have to carry on with sales after that point."
So the superheroes eventually realized they were all fighting for good, no matter how things looked on the surface, and joined forces against evil.
But what if there could be a winner in a fight between The Avengers and The Justice League of America?
"The Justice League wins -- hands down," said Rachael Williams, co-owner of Heebeegeebeez, another store selling comic books in Ogden.
But not everyone agrees.
Hero vs. Hero
Williams' justification for giving the win to the Justice League is a head-to-head comparison of similar characters. In a bout between the women, Wonder Woman would smash Black Widow, she said. In a battle she calls "rich guys with no superpowers," Batman beats Iron Man.
"Batman always wins," she said. "It's just kind of a rule in comics."
The "green guys" grudge match is Green Lantern versus the Hulk.
"Green Lantern just has more ways to stop the Hulk than Hulk has ways to stop the Green Lantern," she said.
Williams' combination of god-like characters pits Superman against Thor. Although Thor has lightning, she says, Superman can fly fast enough to create a tornado.
"That's not even his main power," she said of Superman's superiority.
She pairs Captain America and Flash, and says Flash is the obvious winner.
"Flash can go fast enough that he goes through things," she said. "Between that and his speed, he could pop Captain America in the jaw like 4,500 times before Cap could even respond."
That leaves Aquaman and Hawkeye. Aquaman excels in water, but the fight would most likely be on land -- so the only Avengers' win is by Hawkeye, against the superhero Williams says is one of the weaker Justice League members.
Mixing it up
Chris Jepson, an employee at Heebeegeebeez, considered some different match-ups. The Justice League could bring in Green Arrow, and he and Hawkeye could shoot at each other all day, and The Avengers could bring in Quicksilver to tie in a race with Flash.
He paired Batman and Captain America, and gave a very slight edge to Batman -- both are Olympic-level athletes, he said.
"Captain America is an enhanced human ... so he doesn't get tired like Batman," Jepson said. "But Batman is smarter and could use ingenuity to defeat him."
Jepson agrees that the Green Lantern would beat an opponent from The Avengers, but says it's because he doesn't have any weaknesses that they could exploit.
"His weaknesses are the color yellow and fear, and there are not any Avengers who are yellow-themed or fear-based," he said.
The final outcome of a fight between the Avengers and the Justice League of America may hinge on Superman.
Superman has just about every superpower there is -- he's fast, strong, has X-ray eyes that can also heat things up, and breath that can cool things down. And he can fly.
"Superman is pretty much invulnerable," said Parsons, adding that it hurts to admit that because he's really a Thor fan.
But Superman isn't so super on his home planet of Krypton, which has a red sun, said Jepson -- his extra powers come from a yellow sun. Superman is also weak against the mineral kyrptonite.
Kryptonite is a game changer, agrees Parsons, but on a neutral planet, just power for power, Superman is practically unbeatable.
However there may be a way to beat Superman without kyrptonite.
"He's also weak against magic, and Thor's hammer is magic," Jepson said.
Jepson says, in the end, it may all come down to character.
"Superman was raised on a farm, with a very moral upbringing. He was always taught that he needs to know his own strength, and needs to protect people, so Superman doesn't generally go all out unless the fate of the world is on the line," he said. "Thor doesn't pull his punches -- Superman does."
Moral victory to Superman.
Physical victory to Thor.
AVENGERS VS. JUSTICE LEAGUE
“I’d say Marvel’s winning for sure now, but it’s kind of a recent thing,” said Chris Jepson, who organizes the comic warehouse for Heebeegeebeez in Ogden.
His boss, Rachael Williams, isn’t sure.
“It’s really hard to compare anything with the Batman movies that had the Joker,” she said.
“As of last month, DC and Vertico (a subsidiary of DC) still took the top 10 spaces for most comics sold in one month,” said Williams.
“The Avengers have a tower building, funded by Tony Stark,” said Williams, adding that Stark/Iron Man has enough money to do it up right. “As far as swank, The Avengers probably have it.”
But Jepson says the satellite where the Justice League meets is better.
“There are plenty of stories about how The Avengers’ headquarters get destroyed or taken over,” he said. “With the Justice League, that doesn’t really happen to them.”
“Wonder Woman’s wearing a bathing suit with stars on her butt, but she does have some awesome accessories,” said Williams, on who has the best costumes. “I think I’d have to give it to The Avengers. There are some pretty silly costumes in the Justice League, and there’s a lot of spandex going on.”
Jepson agrees, adding that Marvel costumes are more about function, while DC Comics look more like a fashion statement.
Jepson says Marvel may have made a bigger impact on the world, with well-known taglines like “Avengers assemble.”
Williams says DC Comics may have made more of a lasting impression on people.
“It comes down to marketing,” she said. “Everybody knows the Batman and Superman logos. ... What’s Iron Man’s symbol? We don’t know.”