The Flash vs. The Wolverine

On many occasions I have mentioned my preference for the Marvel universe over the DC.  I thought perhaps a point by point comparison might demonstrate this best.  This week, the unaging and immediately healing Wolverine and the unaging and immediately healing Wally West (The Flash).

Wally West was first created in 1960, his abilities include not only healing and a lack of aging, but also speed.  That’s actually an understatement.  The DC universe has what it calls a speed factor, something that controls all speed in the universe.  Speed Factor gave Wally speed beyond all measure.  He has been to the beginning of time and back.  He has outrun death.  He has moved half a million people 35 miles in the 100 picoseconds after a nuclear explosion.

The Flash has other abilities as well.  He has a Speed Force Aura which protects him and any person moving with him.  He has the ability to construct things using the Speed Force; such as his costume.  He can steal the speed of others.  He also can survive in space and has nearly unlimited stamina.  In other words as long as he can see an opponent coming he is unbeatable.

James Logan was first penned in 1974.  His powers are genetic.  In addition to his healing and lack of aging he has superior senses and the ability to communicate on a very basic level with animals.  He can also survive the elements.  As he has spent many years in a feral state over his life, one wonders how much of this is natural ability and how much has been learned in the wild.

Wally’s abilities make him almost boring.  He can’t be hit except by luck and if he is moving at speed the strike will be harmless.  If he is rendered unconscious the only way to stop him is to kill him before he wakes up as his speed makes him unholdable as well.  I cannot think of a reasonable opponent for him apart from someone intelligent enough to kill him before he knows someone is after him.

The Wolverine is by comparison quite vulnerable.  He can heal quickly and has those claws but he can still be overwhelmed.  His healing can be neutralized by a retrovirus, his wrists can be pinned to make his claws useless.

Wally is a typical hero.  He fights the good fight, he gets the bad guys, he goes home.  Wolverine is more than that.  He does what is right generally, but he is a loner.  Everyone he has ever cared about has been killed.  He has gone insane many times and lived in a feral state, only to come out of each experience trying to interact with the human world.  Wolverine, frankly, is interesting.  Wally is not.

About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well;
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4 Responses to The Flash vs. The Wolverine

  1. Loki says:

    While I absolutely agree with you, I feel like you maybe rigged the test a little bit by juxtaposing one of DC’s poster-boy boy scouts (probably second only to Superman in wholesomeness) with one of Marvel’s grittiest good guys. But as I’m typing this, I’m realising that it’s actually pretty fair. They’re both about as consistently high-profile as any character each company has (outside of Batman, Superman and Spider-Man), they show the typical chasm between DC character power levels and Marvel’s, and Marvel’s tendency towards more complex characters.

    Heck, Marvel’s characters are so diverse, a good chunk of Marvel’s high profile good guys actually can be seen (or conjectured) to kill people on occasion. Captain America was a soldier, Wolverine has been known to slice people up fairly badly, and of course, there’s the Punisher. Contra DC where the Heroes Don’t Kill line is so absolute, I can’t really think of any exceptions outside of anti-heroes like the Suicide Squad or Lobo. (I’m not saying that a no-killing-policy’s a bad definition of heroic, in fact I think it’s kind of awesome. But it does showcase how Marvel’s range of characters really is a range, whereas with DC, their darkest and brightest good guys (Batman and Superman) really both still exist on the same end of a basic moral spectrum.) Which I guess is why I, too, prefer Marvel. One a one-to-one character comparison basis, I’m sure DC could come off pretty ok here and there, but it is on the complexity and diversity of their entire range of (good guy) characters as a whole that Marvel beats them.

    • Cian Beirdd says:

      The fun thing about what you wrote is that I didn’t choose Wally for any particular reason. I wanted someone with Wolverine’s core power and when I looked it up on the DC database his was the first and most prominent name that came up. He was totally random and still worked beautifully with what I was doing. Because yeah, exactly what you noticed about the brands is what my issue with DC is, grit vs. superfluous, limitations vs. unlimited. Thanks for the comment!

      • Loki says:

        That’s really funny! The Flash is so much about the speedy _movement_ (which honestly is overpowered in and of itself) that it’s easy (at least for me) to forget “secondary” abilities that spring from it, like the fast healing. But of course he does. It’s kind of like how Superman has super-everything, be it jumping, throwing or knitting. Of course Flash has speed-healing. He clearly has speed-sight (or everything would always be but a blur to him) and speed-hearing.

        Very few Marvel characters are like that, thankfully. I’m fairly sure Quicksilver doesn’t heal at instant speed …

        And I enjoy reading and commenting here! Thanks for writing!

      • Cian Beirdd says:

        I did enjoy the irony. I would not have made the connection of healing to Wally myself.

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