This is the big one, boys and girls. Through five weeks, 64 contestants, four Lazarus Pit Saves, and an industrial dumpster full of shredded brackets, we have arrived at the grand finale of the Meta Madhouse: Tournament of Terror -- the second installment of our annual “who would win in a fight” competition between the greatest warriors of the DC Universe. Every day, YOU, the voting public, have determined the outcome of these unlikely matches, and today our two finalists remain standing. From The Joker Maniacs, the Clown Prince of Crime’s wild card pick of Reverse-Flash has raced Black Adam of the Darkseid Invaders into oblivion. And from The Luthor Masterminds, Brainiac has outwitted his simian foe, Gorilla Grodd, representing The Cheetah Beasts. Now all that remains is a titanic clash between this terror of time, and this scourge of space. Today, we determine who is truly the most powerful enemy of good and righteousness in the DC Universe and vote to crown the Champion of Terror.
Hello. I’m Alex Jaffe- trivia master, investigative columnist, and “who would win in a fight” expert- and this will be my eighteenth and final analysis of the scheduled matchups for this year’s Meta Madhouse competition. Have my predictions borne true in every case thus far? Certainly not. But have they all been correct? Unassailably. Just as in life, the battles of the DC Universe don’t always fall precisely in line with the data -- but that doesn’t mean the data is worthless. It is in defining the odds of each of these matchups which a correct prediction satisfies an intellectual stability, and which upsets make all the sweeter for their grand surprise. No one can tell with 100% certainty exactly how this finale will play out, but I certainly have my guesses. Before you cast your final vote in Meta Madhouse: Tournament of Terror, let’s get to it.
FINAL ROUND: REVERSE-FLASH VS. BRAINIAC
What makes Eobard Thawne such a threat in this competition is an ability he possesses that no one else in this bracket can claim their own: the power, through sheer speed, to travel back and forth through time at will. Why bother fighting an opponent when he can just go back to their origin and squash them before they get the chance to rise against him? Unfortunately for Thawne, though, his powers over time don’t give him that advantage over Brainiac, an interstellar traveler. Without the ability to traverse the void of space on his own accord, no amount of time traveling will credibly allow Thawne to exploit a vulnerable point in Brainiac’s timeline. Which means, for the first time in this competition, Reverse-Flash has no choice but to fight his opponent in the here and now.
And when it comes to opponents, Brainiac is certainly no slouch. His technopathic and telepathic abilities give him power and influence over virtually all machines and minds. In his primary body, his strength, speed, and durability is a match for Superman. He can fly, he can shoot lasers, and he has even demonstrated the ability to regenerate. Where Reverse-Flash usually makes Flash himself the target of his ire, Brainiac has proven time and again to be an “all hands” situation requiring all of Earth’s combined forces, sometimes hero and villain alike, to intervene in the face of annihilation. If any countless number of races between the Man of Steel and the Scarlet Speedster have taught us anything, it’s that the two of them can generally be considered capable of keeping up with one another -- and by transitive properties, so too might we judge the Reverse-Flash and Brainiac.
If we’re to consider Brainiac a match for Superman, however, we should revisit Reverse-Flash as he appeared in 2010’s Time Masters: Vanishing Point where the combined forces of Superman and Green Lantern proved no match for Reverse-Flash’s speed. (Booster Gold was there too, but… well, outpacing him isn’t quite scrapbook-worthy.) After all, as Flash famously comments himself in The Flash: Rebirth #3 on all those by-a-nose races between Superman and himself… “Those were for charity, Clark.”
Indeed, Reverse-Flash’s speed presents some heretofore unseen possibilities in this fight. While we’ve already ruled out the effectiveness of Thawne’s favored trump card of long term time travel, there’s nothing to rule out the SHORT term -- reversing at any moment to earlier in the same fight and turn the tide in his favor where necessary. In video games, we call this “save scumming” -- a strategy of continuously restarting from a neutral or advantageous point until you’re able to get it right.
Here, though, is the most damning evidence of all: Brainiac has, in fact, battled a speedster of Reverse-Flash’s caliber, and lost. In the Justice League Unlimited episode “Divided We Fall,” Wally West taps into the heart of the Speed Force for the first time to defeat an otherwise unstoppable Luthor/Brainiac hybrid -- tearing the monstrosity apart and saving the planet. That was a first attempt for The Flash. For Reverse-Flash, who uses the Speed Force as his own personal express lane, a one-on-one fight with Brainiac may prove intense… but it’ll all be over far faster than the eye can see.
And that, my friends, is Meta Madhouse, as she is played. Farewell for now, my battle-drunk voters. We’ve had our laughs, our debates, our disappointments, and our triumphs, but it’s all been a blast. Any time you’d like to hear my analysis on any fight that crosses your mind, my door is open. Until Meta Madhouse III, always remember… Anti-Monitor wuz robbed.