It's time! Oh it's time! It's time for the first round of BASH WARS FIVEEVER~! Thirty-one brave souls accepted the honor to win or die for your entertainment. Two others were forced to battle it out for the final slot. Now, at long last, all the questions will be answered, save one: Who will survive?
Let's kick things off with the East bracket on the tournament!
I can think of no more perfect summation of Bash Wars than this. Cat versus dog. The choice of a popular, formidable champion versus a totally random pick from out of nowhere. Aardvark versus Guy.
Rex the Wonder Dog probably requires little introduction, being the star of his own 1950s comic book and a prominent feature on MightyGodKing.com. The gist of the character is simply that he's a dog that can count, operate machinery, and fight everything from armed men to grizzly bears. It's tough to imagine Rex losing any battle, so I have to say this is a pretty smart pick here.
Diomedes is, so far as I am aware, thatnickguy's cat. That's, um, about it. I don't know if this cat possesses any special powers beyond the normal cat powerset. One known quantity is that cats have a critical weakness against dogs--wonder or otherwise--but this wouldn't be the first time we've seen a competitor completely in over his head snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
One recurring theme in Bash Wars that was particularly frequent this year is people giving me special instructions. It's not enough to say you want Skeletor, I guess, you have to make sure I point out that it's the Skeletor from the He-Man cartoon, that is to to say the 1983 version of the cartoon. I'm pretty sure any version of Skeletor would perform the same in the unforgiving Bash Wars arena, but okay.
Anyway, meester_bond made it clear that his champion is not just Doctor Who, but the version of Doctor Who played by David Tennant. (Actually, he said "The Doctor" but screw that.) I don't know why it matters because I was thinking Doctor Who always had the same powers. Actually, I don't even know what Doctor Who's powers are. I guess I should check.
OK, I got bored and gave up. Basically Doctor Who has, like, telepathy and knows a lot of science-y stuff. But he still needs to breathe and I presume he can die. Well, I guess he dies all the time and comes back, but for the purposes of the tournament we will require his opponents to successively murder each of Doctor Who's reincarnations until he stops coming back. It is a well known scientific fact that Doctor Who fans naively believe there is an upper limit to Doctor Who's reincarnations and that BBC would sooner cancel the show rather than violate this rule, so this should keep them happy.
Now, Danger Mouse I know a lot more about. He's the greatest, he's fantastic, he's the ace, he's amazing, he's the strongest, he's the quickest, he's the best. He's the greatest secret agent in the world. He's a mouse who drives around in a kick-ass flying car and saves the world. He has an eyepatch, which tells you right away that he once suffered a horrifying incident that destroyed his left eye and yet he's able to keep calm and carry on. I don't know what Doctor Who can do to him that's any worse than that. DM has no particular superhuman (supermurine?) abilities beyond being extraordinarily good at confronting and eliminating danger. He's also brilliant and quick-witted, so I wouldn't put it past him to simply outwit Doctor Who with a clever bit of manipulation. Certainly both characters are British television heroes, which should cancel out the advantages either would have against some random American. It'll be interesting to see who comes out ahead here.
This is one of those match-ups that just fell into my lap. We have here Iron Man, the quintessential capitalist, versus the father of communism, Karl Marx. Their fundamentally differing philosophies play a key role in this fight. Whereas Marx has prepared for this battle by writing manifestos urging the working class to rise up and overthrow the system, Tony Stark has accumulated personal wealth by pursuing his own interests and used these resources to develop a sophisticated battle armor capable of destroying an entire army. Which strategy will win the day? We'll soon find out.
Another interesting clash of styles. Bender (the self-proclaimed Superking) is of course the lovable alcohol-fueled bending machine from Futurama. Spider is the renegade gonzo journalist meatbag from Transmetropolitan. Both enjoy copious amounts of drugs and wandering around in the nude. I suspect the edge in this fight will come down to the fact that Spider's primary abilities are to wear a shit-eating grin and swear a lot, and Bender is a nearly indestructible robot with the strength of a hundred men who wants to kill all humans. It says here Spider once caused six politicians to commit suicide just talking to them over the phone, so I suspect his only true edge in this battle will be the possibility that he can talk Bender into self-termination. Can he stay out of arm's reach long enough to do that? I don't know, given Bender has those wacky extendible arms.
The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is an enormous manifestation of the evil Sumerian god Gozer the Destructor. During the third reconcilation of the Mekertix supplicant, Gozer assumed the form of a giant Sloar! Many shubbs and zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Sloar that day. As Mr. Stay-Puft, however, the Destructor is easily a hundred feet tall, and is able to withstand a direct assault from multiple proton streams.
Conker is a squirrel holding a gun.
Here we go. Myth against Mythbuster, god of mischief versus the mischief of man. Adam Savage is probably not the toughest dog in this tournament, but I suspect he has some tricks up his sleeve and he could be this year's Cinderella. But if he can't cobble together the machinery he needs to confirm he can kick Loki's ass, his dreams of wearing the Superking crown will die here. Compounding Adam's dilemma is that he's doing this solo, so whatever he comes up with for the build is bound to be overdesigned and impractical without Jamie Hyneman to help him out. However, Loki's primary advantage--sewing disorder and misdirecting his prey--will probably work better on the mighty Thor than someone like Adam whose mind is already chaotic and self-distracting.
Mister T returns to us from Bash Wars IV to make another attempt to win the coveted Superking crown. Last year Mister T was having a good run until he ran afoul of Superman. This year Superman's nowhere to be found so things are looking good for the noted pitier of fools.
His latest challenge is Jack Donaghy, the NBC Vice President from the series 30 Rock. Although Donaghy has godlike control over the peons working for NBC today, he finds himself at a loss when confronted with one of the legendary figures of NBC's "Let's All Be There" era. Admittedly, Donaghy should be grateful he's not dealing with Bill Cosby, but all things considered he'd be better off against KITT.
Once again, I was given very specific details about Willow, making it clear this is the version of the character after Tara dies. I don't really know what that means but I guess she's like, super-powerful. Her eyes are all black so I guess that's not good. Anyway, lots of people like Buffy so I figure Willow has a pretty good chance in this tournament. Could she be the first-ever Superqueen?
Not if Andy Kaufman has anything to say about it. Kaufman is a noted professional wrestler, and has a particular talent for besting women in the squared circle. As you can see from his shirt, he is a women's wrestling champion. By my calculations, there's only one woman in this year's tournament, so logically if she's going to beat anybody in this thing, she's going to have to beat Kaufman. Why wait around, sez I.
Now, I should note that, although Willow has tremendous magical powers, presumably fueled by her indescribable rage, it is known that Mr. Kaufman is from Hollywood, which means he is rich enough to do what he wants and smart enough to outwrestle any mere woman. I mean, I don't want to piss off Ms. Rosenburg, but that's what he was saying backstage.
OK, that'll do it for the East brackets. Onto the West...!
We saw the Mister Spock of the mirror universe last year in Bash Wars IV, but this time it's the Mister Spock of the alternate timeline from Star Trek XI. Seems to me Spock is Spock, but maybe this is all a Sexiest Man Alive competition and I'm the last one to know. Oh wait, no, it's a deathmatch tournament and Spock can bend solid hardonium with his bare hands. So I'm pretty sure all that matters is any Spock is badass.
However, Spock has one weakness and it's Captain Kirk, the role made famous by William Shatner. That's right, none of this Chris Pine shit, William Shatner. It's a perfect case of old school vs. new school, and it's high time Shatner vents his frustrations about being shoved aside for nuTrek. The new Spock has youth and alien powers on his side, but he was on the verge of tears every five minutes in his movie. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure Shatner is totally out of his mind and could try anything to kill his pointed-eared opponent. All I know for sure about this one is that it won't be pretty.
I never heard of Stains the Cupcake Dog until now. In short, he is a dog who stares at cupcakes. I'm not sure what good that is in a fight, but all right. At the very least, void_and_null has succeeded in scooping what was sure to be frito_kal's pick for Bash Wars VI. I would observe that the main skill of a dog staring at cupcakes in a weird manner is an ability to make people go "...Whoa."
You know who that's going to affect the most? Keanu Reeves, best known as Neo from the Matrix movies. Yeah, I can see Neo having his mind completely blown by a dog staring at cupcakes. I mean, yeah, otherwise Neo is a Christlike virtual-reality superman with the power to reshape the laws of physics, but if you distract him with Stains and his cupcakes he may not get out of the starting blocks.
Pau Amma is the King Crab of all Crabs from Rudyard Kipling's "The Crab that Played with the Sea." Basically he was this gigantic crab who refused to take orders from the Eldest Magician and threatened to shake the foundations of the world until he was forced to shrink in size. For the purposes of this tournament, I am envisioning him as the Giant Enemy Crab from Genji 2. His advantages are clear--massive size and disregard for the laws of man and nature. But he is easily outmaneuvered, and overreliant on his mighty shell to protect him from massive damage.
If anybody can defeat a giant enemy crab, I put my money on Ronnie James Dio, based entirely on his swordsmanship from the epic "Holy Diver" video. He's swinging his broadsword all over the place, turning men into rats and so forth. Can he teach this upstart crustacean respect for Man?
OK, you know who Wolverine is and I'm pretty sure you know who Keyboard Cat is. My analysis is Wolverine wins. Keyboard Cat can't even overpower the guy holding him up to the keyboard, for pete's sake. Let's face it, even frito_kal is going to vote for Wolverine here.
Bearsharktopus is the perfect combination of a bear, shark, and octopus. He can chase you down on land like a bear, grab you tight like an octopus, and bite you in half like a shark. Much like Stains the Cupcake Dog I'd never heard of him before, but I suspect he'll fare better in Bash Wars. Something about being a massive killing machine or something.
However, Bearsharktopus would be typical fodder for a terrible Roger Corman monster movie, and that is the specialty of one Crow T. Robot, built on the Satellite of Love for the express purpose of enduring and deriding terrible movies and ridiculous movie monsters. Crow's body is constructed from some sort of...well, it's shiny so I assume it's futuristic and durable. He's survived freak hailstorms and partial digestion, so I would imagine he can handle whatever Bearsharktopus can throw at him. But for how long? And remember, in Bash Wars it's not enough to be able to live, you have to find a way to make your adversary die. Is Crow really going to be able to deliver a killing blow against that thing? It'll be fun to find out, at least.
Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop is actually no stranger to this tournament, having competed four years ago in Bash Wars I. He lost in the first round to...brandawg. That loss had to be pretty embarrassing, so it's safe to say he's out for revenge. Only trouble is, this year brandawg isn't entering himself, he's entering Ned Flanders as the Devil from that one Treehouse of Horror episode. Flanders's total control of time, space, and reality makes him a serious threat, particularly for those combatants looking to obtain something. Like, for example, say you're some guy whose cigarettes keep dangling at the edge of your lip, so before you can smoke them they fall out of your mouth. I bet you'd sure need more cigarettes, right? You'd probably do anything to get another cigarette. Like maybe sell your soul?????
8. THE VAN HELSING PUPPET FROM FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL
9. ERIC NORTHMAN
FROM TRUE BLOOD
This may be my favorite battle of the entire first round. It took me a while to get why bigdaddycorn would enter somebody as obscure as some puppet from some movie I barely remember existing. But then it hit me. Van Helsing is famous for killing vampires. A puppet Van Helsing would be good at killing puppet vampires! Clearly this pick was tailor-made to counter the almighty threat of Bash Wars legend Count von Count. It's a madly brilliant scheme, save for the fact Count declined to enter the tournament this year.
In fact, there's only one vampire in this tournament to fight, and that's Eric Northman from HBO's True Blood. I don't know jack crap about Northman except that he's a vampire and he looks like a dork with his fangs so close together. But hey, he's a vampire and that counts for something, right? I mean, Count's a vampire and he won Bash Wars twice. So you can see the logic in selecting Northman as well.
There's only one course of action, then, and that's to see right away which of these two has the better formula for victory. After all, if either of these guys can't even beat the other, what business do they have trying to beat anybody else? If nothing else, this should be an interesting, if indirect, look at the secret to Count's success. Is it the puppet or the vampire that makes the man?
Well, the results are in, and the Janitor from Scrubs totally clubbered Ari Gold from Entourage 23-7. I guess janitors are just naturally stronger than whatever it is Ari Gold does. Unfortunately winning the play-in game isn't much of a prize, since you immediately move on from fighting the weakest entrant in the tournament to the strongest.
I've been waiting a long time for somebody to wise up and choose Popeye. In many ways he epitomizes the fighting spirit that Bash Wars is all about. He's not so about super powers as much as pure bare-knuckled toughness. He's always getting into fights and he's always finding the way to win. That's the name of the game, after all. Now, it is true that Popeye needs tremendous amounts of spinach to maintain his success rate, but don't be fooled. Even without spinach, Popeye is pretty damn tough. Yeah, he gets beaten on by Bluto for most of the cartoon, but he takes that beating and comes back for more. Bluto's never been able to put him away, and if he can't do it I don't see why anyone else can.
A lot of people are claiming the Janitor from Scrubs kicks a lot of ass, but so far as I'm aware the only ass he has to kick is that scrawny little twerp from Scrubs. Popeye is a frigging sailor in the United States Navy. He fought in World War II, destroying whole battleships. I don't say this to suggest Janitor has no chance. I just mean to point out, for once the Janitor has to pick on somebody his own size.
All right, you've listened to me blather on, but in the end what I say doesn't mean a damn thing. It's the votes that decide who lives and who dies. Only sixteen of these thirty-two warriors will be back next week, so choose wisely.
Rex the Wonder Dog vs Diomedes the Cat
Doctor Who vs. Danger Mouse
Iron Man vs. Karl Marx
Bender vs. Spider Jerusalem
Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man vs. Conker
Loki vs. Adam Savage
Mr. T vs. Jack Donaghy
Andy Kaufman vs. Dark Willow
Spock vs. William Shatner
Neo vs. Stains the Cupcake Dog
Pau Amma vs. Ronnie James Dio
Wolverine vs. Keyboard Cat
Bearsharktopus vs. Crow T. Robot
Devil Ned Flanders vs. Spike Spiegel
Puppet Van Helsing vs. Eric Northman
Popeye vs. the Janitor from Scrubs
Again, you're welcome to encourage others to join the community so they can vote for your favorites. Voting on this round will continue until 11:59pm Chicago time on Saturday, November 27. Then it's time to separate the men from the boys in the sweet sixteen! Let's all be there!