Monday, 11 February 2013


This week's FIGHT is written by Your Mum.

Fighting is what makes a man.

Arguing about who would win fights between fictional characters is what makes up most of the parts of the internet that aren’t porn or pictures of kittens.

This is not a fight between porn and pictures of kittens.







Tony Stark is the current CEO of Stark Enterprises/International/Fujikawa/Resilient; he became a founding member of the Avengers after developing a powered suit that helped him escape capture by militants and survive a life-threatening shrapnel wound.

When not Man-Ironing, boozing, or philandering, he runs an ex-munitions company which operates on the Wayne Enterprises business model of doing some largely ill-defined important stuff and lots of philanthropy to generate a profit which the top man then spends in secret on neat toys for himself. This may explain why it has suffered various mergers, takeovers, outright coups, incidences of corporate espionage, and total collapses over the years.


John McClane is a hot-headed ex-NYC Cop with a grim sense of humour and a talent for fighting terrorists against ever-increasing odds. He does this by crawling around in vents, complaining and losing his clothes.

Incredibly chatty to the point of being one step off doing Alfie-style narration, John seemingly needs to be talking to someone at any given time, whether it be to himself, someone on a radio, his arch-nemesis, or even an inanimate girl on a Playboy poster. Aging, grumpy, tired, sarcastic, unlucky, capable of alienating everyone around him, and packing some memorable lines and catchphrases, John McClane is the Victor Meldrew of action heroes.


Iron Man is essentially the bastard offspring of Robocop and a fighter jet. Just a small sample of his arsenal includes missiles, repulsor rays, sonic weapons, pulse weapons, flamethrowers, and a deadly Uni-Beam. To say that he is armed to the teeth would be an understatement. Given that Stark’s Extremis suit is partly contained within his bones, his teeth may actually be armed.

As McClane is typically woefully underprepared for any given hostage situation or city-wide crisis, his arsenal is largely ad hoc; consisting of his police-issue revolver, anything he can steal from whoever he’s fighting at the time, and whatever he can tape to his back. Also if you give him a police car, he can probably kill a helicopter with it.

Tony Stark wins.



John McClane has Sgt. Al Powell: purveyor of moral support, eater of Twinkies.

Although he has relinquished his role as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D, Iron Man can count on backup from The Avengers.

Tony Stark wins.

Oh alright, since there is a word count to get up to here, let’s break this down. Since the proper Earth-616 Avengers line-up has at some point constituted about half the Marvel universe, let’s just count the movie lot as backup. So that is:

This is some pretty solid backup even before considering the B-listers; some guy who shoots arrows and a lady who shoots guns, the sum total of which is a bunch of conventional weaponry and the addition of a touch of diversity to a team which is admittedly so largely staffed with white males that it could reasonably be confused with the aftermath of a terrible accident during a YMCA trip to a Tipp-Ex factory.

Even without The Avengers, Tony Stark’s back is up’d (sometimes) by ex-bodyguard and friend Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes, who also goes by the fairly accurate name of War Machine. Which is to say rather redundantly that his superhero persona is literally a machine made for war. He is Iron Man but significantly moreso, with more guns, missiles, and energy weapons strapped to him than the protagonist of a pre-Halo First Person Shooter.

John McClane’s expanded entourage includes Zeus (who is not Liam Neeson, but another variant of Samuel L Jackson, who therefore cancels out Nick Fury), and whoever Justin Long’s character was in Die Hard 4.0 – Relevant skills include cowering and being able to effectively use whatever videogame-like interface that Hollywood believes hacking looks like.

John also has a family consisting of ex-wife Holly, daughter Lucy, and son John “Jack” McClane Jr. However, as his family are usually estranged or unhelpful until the end of an adventure, they aren't massively useful.

So, in conclusion, the winner is totally Iron Man.



Although lacking Stark’s IQ and budget, McClane’s inventiveness under pressure is considerable. He is also a master of gallows humour, frequently self-referential and only intended to be heard by himself. Considering these two characteristics, McClane would likely be a mediocre stand-up, but brilliant at improv.

McClane’s personal life is tempestuous, with his personality frequently damaging his career and his family life prior to the start of any given adventure. Luckily these things can usually be resolved temporarily by besting several armed thugs in close quarters combat.

Tony Stark is a playboy genius recovering from a serious drinking problem. Underneath his exterior sheen, he is still a man of principles, willing to go beyond just basic photo-op-philanthropy to do what he feels is right for the little people by taking hard or unpopular decisions, whether it be shutting down his munitions company’s entire core business or cracking down on superheroing freedoms to make his friends accountable to the public.

McClane wins.



The results of this battle have been compiled using a very sophisticated computer. It’s well-versed in opera, and is a qualified sommelier. The computer is also sophisticated enough to know what beginning in media res means, and doesn’t care if you don’t because it’s going to do it anyway.

-----------RUN SIMU-PUNCHUP.EXE----------------

Crouched somewhere in the cramped and labyrinthine air-conditioning shafts of FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!’s all-purpose combat arena (the Tyler Durden Memorial Delicatessen), John McClane bitterly reflects on the events that have led him to this point. As always, the bout had started with his personal life in disarray (this time the estrangement of his previously beloved Aunt Imelda) before things spiralled rapidly out of control.

Crawling further into the ventilation system and trying to work on a good situationally-appropriate quip, McClane hears the noise of tearing metal as the vent grille in front of him screeches open to reveal a very angry-looking black-and-gunmetal robot exoskeleton.

Exasperated, McClane stares War Machine right in the visor.

I was about to say something about the same shit happening to the same guy," he says, "But I’ve gotta hand it to ya; this is new.”

THAT IS IT! PLEASE, JUST SHUT UP” yells War Machine. “I am going to watch myself beat seven shades out of you with my own eyes, not the suit’s!”, his angry metal face opening to reveal an even angrier fleshy face beneath. “Do you know how good the audio scanners are in this thing? I have had to listen to twenty whole minutes of your inane bitching while I was trying to find you. Were you born without an inner monologue?”

The pause is just enough for McClane to assess the situation. Behind War Machine is a storage room for the sort of ridiculously dangerous things that are usually lying around in action movie locations. Trying out this new inner monologue thing he’d just heard about, he concludes that there might be a chance here, but it’ll hurt like hell at best and send him straight there at worst. Still, if he was going to die, then he was going to die hard. Like an erection in a guillotine.

Awkwardly pulling out his pistol and taking aim at the conveniently-placed and presumably very explosive canisters in the storeroom, John spits out one last bitter reminiscence to nobody in particular, recalling Aunt Imelda’s words before their falling out; “Come out to the Tyler Durden Memorial Delicatessen! We’ll get together, have a few laughs…”

McClane squeezes the trigger as he sees War Machine jam his metal fist into the vent. A shot rings out, followed by a burst of noise, heat and light, before blackness consumes everything.

Waiting in the stairwell, Tony Stark replays the initial stages of the bout in his suit’s HUD. Reviewing the video-feed, Stark saw the characteristic smart-ass attitudes flagrantly on display as they savagely hurled their most quotable catchphrases across the ring.

Welcome to the party, pal!” challenged McClane

I’m bringing the party to you!” retorted Stark

Yippee-kye-ay Mother Hubbard."

This moment of censorship-based weakness proved decisive, allowing Iron Man to get the drop on him. Significantly more accustomed to conducting smug wordplay using teen-appropriate vocabulary, Stark threw out smarmy quip after smarmy quip, each of which dealt stinging blows to McClane’s ego, these followed by significantly more stinging blows to his face.

As the one-sided melee continued unabated, someone McClane didn't like very much from earlier turns up being loud and obnoxious, only to be confronted by War Machine. Their contribution to the fight was barely worth the time it takes to type the resultant compound onomatopoeia: “KRRZZZAPSMASHTHOOMSQLUNCH”.

The sqlunch part was especially unpleasant.

The distraction was all that McClane needed to flee to the relative safety of nearest convenient air vent entrance. Rhodes charged off into the back-passages in pursuit. Stark decided against it, and instead instructs his suit to play that piece of classical music that sounds like someone is singing 'ELEPHANTS YEAH'.

Back in the present, Stark finishes the video and waits for War Machine’s return. A thumping clanking sound makes Stark vaguely aware of his counterpart’s hulking presence, and he prepares to congratulate Rhodey on a job presumably well done.

Suddenly the strains of Ode To Joy and McClane’s voice boom. “Hey Pal, patch in.”. Stark cycles through the channels, and connects to the War Machine helmet's visual feed, only to see Rhodey tied to a chair in front of a bathroom mirror, with text scrawled on his shirt. It reads:

Now I have a repulsor ray.


This is even more impressive when you consider McClane had to do all the writing backwards, and find a copy of Ode to Joy to play through War Machine's com-channels via Spotify. What a good job he met Justin Long's character and became all tech-savvy in the last film, eh?

Iron Man turns around to see War Machine, housing McClane’s slightly singed smirk. His chest-mounted uni-beam glows and crackles, channelling the suit’s entire battery. A single cataclysmic burst of energy later, the fight ends.

Triumphant and exhausted, McClane finds time for one more self-referential quip as he extricates himself from the immobile exoskeleton.

Now you know what a TV dinner feels like!”, he remarked, provoking no laughter from the unconscious Stark nor from the audience that had not heard the relevant remark that McClane had made only to himself in a vent several years ago.

Tough crowd, thought McClane, enjoying his newfound inner monologue. Still, at least he could console himself with the fact that he was now somehow unestranged from Aunt Imelda again because that’s how Die Hard films work.





 FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! will return in:


If you have any suggestions for who you'd like to see square go each other in future FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! articles, please mention them below.

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