I finally got around to watching The Avengers. It contains a large number of fight scenes where two superheros widely known for their strength and invulnerability pound on each other. If I’m being generous, at most once is this done as a delaying tactic (when the
Skrulls I mean Covenant I mean Chitauri turn all their firepower on the Hulk). The rest of the time it seems like they’re genuinely thinking “well, maybe if I hit him just a bit harder” despite having shown no damage from the previous barrage.
It made me think of Zatoichi, which is a long-running Japanese series about a blind swordsman. In particular, the protagonist Ichi (zato means “blind”) uses Iadio as a fighting style. As described by Wikipedia, an Iadio fight consists of “drawing the sword from its scabbard, striking or cutting an opponent, removing blood from the blade, and then replacing the sword in the scabbard” – there’s no need for a second strike because either you or your opponent is dead. Check out the final boss fight from the 2003 version of Zatoichi (the bad guy imagines how the attack will go first):
I think realistically this is how superheros should fight: they walk up to each other and hit each other with their strongest attack. If their opponent shows no sign of injury, they shrug and agree to a truce, at least until a bigger ambush can be sprung later. I know this is not what the pop corn eating hordes are looking for, but it would be a really interesting way to reimagine a story where all the major characters are invulnerable.