The madness all comes down to this! Last Friday sixteen combatants chosen and trained by the Clown Prince of Crime to represent the Joker Maniacs appeared before us, and began the bracketed battle against one another to determine who would be his champion in the Fearsome Four for this year’s Meta Madhouse: Tournament of Terror. As expected, The Joker stuck to Gotham locals for most of his squad, but placed a few wild cards in the deck just to throw us for a loop… and now it’s only two of those unexpected entrants who remain, having claimed victory over The Joker’s regular Arkham roommates. The only fighters who remain standing now are the terror of the 25th Century, Reverse-Flash, and the unlikely champion of love itself, Star Sapphire!
With only one battle left to determine in this bracket, it’s up to YOUR VOTES to decide which of The Joker Maniacs advances to the next stage of the competition! Those votes, of course, are determined based on who you believe would win in a fight, as opposed to which character you personally like better, but we don’t have to tell you that at this point, right? You get the idea. You all have more integrity than that; we believe in you. But if you’re still riding the fence on this one, we’ve called a professional in to break this one down for you. I’m Alex Jaffe, trivia master, investigative columnist, and “who would win in a fight” expert, and I continue to be available at your service every day of this competition until we determine our champion. Let’s take a look at the final match of the Joker Maniacs bracket, and see if we can’t come up with some answers before you vote to select the final champion of The Joker Maniacs!
FINAL ROUND: REVERSE-FLASH VS. STAR SAPPHIRE
After two shocking upsets leading into the semi-finals- with Harley Quinn’s Lazarus Save reversing a loss to Poison Ivy, and Mr. Freeze stealing a win from the all-powerful Mr. Nobody like it was a suit powering diamond- the matches which have brought us here have gone more or less as expected. Harley Quinn may have a quick mouth and a sharp analytical mind, but it’s hard to deliver a devastating personal analysis when Reverse-Flash moves faster than sound. And with the weaponized power of love on Star Sapphire’s side, the lovelorn Mr. Freeze was down on his knees before you could say “Nora.” And now, the Fastest Maniac Alive must contend with the Cosmic Champion of Love.
Let’s face the facts here: Reverse-Flash isn’t just another Super-Villain. He’s an unrepentant killer with unfettered access to the Speed Force and no sense of decorum when it comes to the protection of the space-time continuum. Time itself is a toy to him, to do with as he pleases. He can move faster than sound, or thought, or even light -- and that last one is rather important, considering that Star Sapphire is reliant on hard light constructs manifested by her power ring. Let’s face it: Harley Quinn is the most popular character to emerge from DC in over thirty years, and even her horde of Harleyheads couldn’t stop the inevitable, immediate onslaught of Eobard Thawne. What hope could Hal Jordan’s girlfriend possibly have? Let us not forget, after all, that Reverse-Flash happens to specialize in killing off heroes’ love interests.
Let us also remember, on the other hand… that this is the DC Universe. Where, against impossible odds, there is ALWAYS hope. And that Star Sapphire represents a great deal more than “Hal Jordan’s girlfriend.”
Here’s the honest truth, my friends: Star Sapphire doesn't quite belong here. She didn’t belong here when she normalized Hugo Strange, she didn’t belong here when she struck fear into Scarecrow, and she didn’t belong here when she warmed over Mr. Freeze. She may have been a Super-Villain at some point. But like Catwoman in Salvation Run or Forever Evil, she’s a hero now behind enemy lines. Accepted amongst the skids of society for her history, but through-and-through a champion of love. This may be a competition of villains, but I still believe in heroes. And so does the DC Universe itself. The foundations of storytelling in DC Comics, the very thing we love about it at its core, is its hopelessly overwhelmed heroes pushing past those impossible odds, demonstrating the power of indomitable courage in the face of crushing adversity.
Reverse-Flash claims that he has condensed his heart into a black hole, immunizing himself to the vulnerability of love. But even with romance behind him, he still craves human connection. To be accepted by his hero, Barry Allen. To work alongside him as a true friend. After all, why does Reverse-Flash wear yellow? Because, he once confessed, it’s the color worn by The Flash’s greatest allies.
If Star Sapphire can pierce that hardened inner darkness with her violet light, if she can get through to the terrified little man so afraid of rejection he learned to run from it at time-bending speeds, and awaken the longing for acceptance that has been sealed so tightly away... then perhaps love can win the day after all. Maybe, just maybe, in a competition filled with the most vile villains ever imagined, a hero can still win.
So, sure. From a purely statistical standpoint, based on feats and abilities alone, Reverse-Flash has this. But this match is more than mere statistics. It’s about good versus evil. It’s the fight DC has stood for since 1935. The question today may actually be greater than “who would win in a fight.” Today’s question may be this:
Do you still believe in heroes? Do you still believe in love?