What the Fox-Time Warner Merger Would Mean for Superheroes

Illustration by Steph Davidson

Rupert Murdoch isn’t known to be a comic book reader. But surely he’s aware that if he succeeds in buying Time Warner for $75 billion, he will be a position to disrupt the comic book universe as it never has been before. Years ago, Fox acquired the movie rights to Marvel’s multicharacter X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. If Murdoch acquires Time Warner, he will also get his hands on DC Comics, the largest trove of superheroes outside of Disney’s Marvel cosmos.

That means Fox Entertainment Group could produce films combining some of Marvel’s most popular characters, such as Wolverine and the Silver Surfer, with DC’s Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. More important, perhaps, Murdoch’s new megastudio could answer some questions that have plagued comic book fans for decades.

1) Who is Faster—DC’s Flash or Marvel’s Quicksilver?
As anyone who saw Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past knows, Quicksilver moves in the blink of an eye. The Flash is said to be able to travel at close to light speed. Wired did a comparison and gave the edge to Quicksilver. Then again, the writer’s 8-year-old son pointed out that the Flash once ran around the world in five seconds and punched Brainiac.

Photograph by 20th Century Fox Film Corp. via Everett Collection

2) Who is More Elastic—Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic or DC’s Plastic Man?
Comic book fans think that Plastic Man, who made his debut in the 1940s, is the more flexible of these two heroes. But they feel strongly that Reed Richard, Mr. Fantastic’s professorial alter ego, is the brainier of the two. We won’t know for sure until they finally meet each other in a film. Murdoch could make it happen.

Photograph by 20th Century Fox Film Corp. via Everett Collection

3) Who is the More Powerful Telepath—Marvel’s Professor X or DC’s Martian Manhunter?
Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, is the mentor to the X-Men and is therefore the better known of these two cerebral characters. According to Marvel.com, he can “project his own thoughts into the minds of others within a radius of approximately 250 miles.” But the Martian Manhunter shouldn’t be underestimated. One fan on Comicvine notes that the Manhunter once took over the minds of a group of terrorists, put their leader in a “coma-like state,” and did it all while he was flipping burgers in his therapist’s backyard.

Photograph by Warner Brothers via Everett Collection

4) Who is Stronger—DC’s Superman or Marvel’s Silver Surfer?
Someone from the Marvel universe has to take on Superman. If Murdoch gets Time Warner, it might as well be the Silver Surfer. Superman is generally held to be the most powerful comic book hero of them all. But listen to how Marvel.com describes the Silver Surfer: “He can augment his strength to incalculable levels, and is almost totally indestructible. He can navigate space, hyperspace and dimensional barriers, and can fly at near-limitless speeds on his board, entering hyperspace when he exceeds light speed.” What comic book lover wouldn’t want buy a ticket to see this punch-up, let alone the sequels?

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