The challenge was made: come up with a better “Hero vs. Hero” superhero movie. The gauntlet was thrown… and NINE creageous souls strode boldly forward to answer the call.
ALL the entries demonstrated the innovation and sheer delight in storytelling you would expect from Roundtable listeners. Our judges clearly agreed…
The Judging Process
I asked the judges to rank the (anonymous) entries in order from “OMG, make this movie NOW!” to “Wow, that was awesome, but these others were just a little awesomer”. Each entry’s ranking was its score and those scores were added up. So, if an entry appeared at #3 on one judges ranking, #1 on another, and #4 on the third, it’s score would be “8” (3+1+4). The lowest scores would then be the entries that appeared highest in the judges ranking. Make sense?
And we have winners!
But first (I know, the suspense is KILLING you, isn’t it), the prizes are as follows:
FIRST PLACE wins a seat at an up-coming Roundtable Dialogs (with Alasdair, Starla, and Jennifer) discussing the state of the superhero narrative in cinema, AND the following top-ranked books on the craft of screen writing:
THIRD PLACE wins their choice of one of those three texts, our undying admiration, and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from being recognized a trailblazer in superhero narratives.
Our 3rd Place Winner…
I want to make sure each of these distinguished word-smith’s gets their moment in the limelight. So, starting with our THIRD PLACE winner, I am pleased to present: JARED AXELROD!
Jared is the author of the graphic novel The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of the Flying City, and the creator of several comics and short stories featuring the down-on-his-luck supervillain, Comrade Cockroach, as well as being the main creative force behind the acclaimed podcast The Voice of Free Planet X. He has also been a circus performer, a puppeteer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costumer, an actor and quite a few other things that he’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. But that “author’ business, that seems to be one he keeps coming back to
He is not domestic, he is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.
And here’s his entry:
Superman & Batman: End of the World
Batman fights Anatoli Knyazev, a mob assassin with a cybernetic machinegun arm, on the Gotham rooftops. Right before Batman is shot, Superman appears, and bullets bounce right off the Man of Steel’s chest. Batman insists he doesn’t need help, while Superman says everyone needs help.
Lex Luthor holds a press conference unveiling high-tech prosthetics for the military. Lois Lane asks about LexCorp funding this venture with mob money, in exchange for turning criminals into cyborgs. Lex begins to deflect, when Superman swoops in with a defeated Knyazev. Lex claims he’s the victim of idea theft, and thanks Superman for discovering this, shaking his hand.
Later, in a secret lab, Lex tells a figure in the shadows that Superman is getting close, and they are going to have to keep him busy if they want to proceed.
LEX LUTHOR: But don’t worry. (holds up his hand) I’ve got everything you need.
Back in Gotham, Batman is fighting more cyborg mobsters, now able to neutralize them with batarangs that generate EMPs. He takes a cybernetic hand back to Batcave; there’s something odd about the way it’s built.
It appears that Superman breaks Knyazev out of jail and takes him to Lex’s secret lab. Lex reveals that he and his partner have cloned Superman from the skin cells that fell off when he shook Lex’s hand. But a second Superman may not be enough, so they are going to further enhance Knyazev.
SuperClone crashes into the Daily Planet and attacks Clark Kent. Clark changes into Superman to fight, and takes a severe beating. Superman manages to take the battle high into space, before plummeting to a very specific spot on the Earth: stately Wayne Manor.
ALFRED: (looking at the beaten Superman who’s just crashed through his roof) You might have phoned.
Batman suits up and battles the SuperClone, destroying the Batcave. As a last resort, Superman nearly kills himself using something Batman had locked away: Kryptonite. Kryptonite turns the SuperClone’s hand gray and deformed. Horrified, SuperClone flies away, leaving a powerless Superman and gadgetless Batman.
Batman shows Superman the cyborg hand, which is structured like Superman’s musculature, not a human’s. Lex’s partner is Kryptonian. Batman has a plan, but admits he’ll need Superman’s help.
Lois tails Lex to his secret lab, and discovers who Lex’s secret partner is: Brainiac. Brainiac was part of the larger ship that brought Kal-El from Krypton. It was damaged by its trip through space, and jettisoned the most important cargo, baby Kal-El, in an escape pod. Brainiac activates the solar-siphon, to take the energy of the sun to fuel his damaged ship. While this will destroy the planet, Earth will live on in Brainiac, as he has already downloaded all of Earth’s culture, just has he had with Krypton. Lex expected to be granted passage on Brainiac’s ship, but Brainiac had no intention of bringing Lex with him.
Superman and Batman hit the secret lab in an armored Batmobile. But they have to battle not just the SuperClone—now the entirely deformed Bizarro, thanks to Kryptonite—but also Knyazev, transformed into the Kryptonite-powered robotic monstrosity Metallo. Batman and Superman manage to take the battle to Brainiac’s sun-draining spaceship. Batman says the only way to stop it is destroy it from the inside, and Superman prepares to go.
BATMAN: You can’t just step in front of the gun, here! You’re not bulletproof anymore!
SUPERMAN: Stepping in front of the gun had nothing to do with being bulletproof. I know you understand that.
Superman dives into the sun-siphoner’s core, destroying the ship’s engines. Brainiac, enraged, takes over Metallo’s body and goes after Batman, Lois and Lex. Just when hope seems to be lost, Superman, fully-charged from the energy in the solar-siphoner, rockets out of the rubble, and destroys Brianiac’s robot body.
Later, Bruce Wayne meets with Clark Kent and admits that there are some threats that are too much for just one person to defeat. Suddenly, a Boom Tube opens up over the city, and an army of Parademons pour out. Bruce reveals his utility belt underneath his jacket, and Clark opens his shirt to show his costume.
Congratulations, Jared… I would SO pay money to see that movie!
Tomorrow we’ll announce our Second Place winner and present their cinematic synopsis. And on Friday, we’ll unveil the winner of the First Place Grand Prize and share their visionary big screen extravaganza!