Sunday, August 7, 2016

Death Analysis: Dante Alighieri

On March 10, 1302, Italian Poet Dante Alighieri was sent into exile from his home city of Florence by his political enemies. In the anguish of his exile, Dante created the Divine Comedy, a work that is part beautiful poetry, part political treatise, and part theological exploration. It is considered one of the greatest and most important works in all of literature.

On February 4, EA decided to see how far you could deviate from a source material while claiming to be an adaptation and proceeded to make Dante's Inferno, a God of War-esque video game which reimagines Dante as a Crusader violently beating up the forces of Hell.

This blog will take information from the EA Video Game, The Animated Film based on it, and the 6 Issue DC Comics Mini-Series, as Death Battle regularly uses a composite of some sorts of the character they are using. In terms of canonicity, the film is quite obviously not canon as it directly contradicts the game at several parts. The Comic Series on the other hand is very, very similar with few contradictions and often recreates the scenes and dialogues from the game. It is mostly the same story told from the perspective of Beatrice (also has the best writing of the 3 versions). It might be canon. Regardless, the majority of the big feats occur in the game, with the Film and the Comic Series giving essentially a few extra abilities. Unfortunately I can't access the comic so forgive that my citations for that are nonexistent, there are only 3 notable feats from it, and only one of those is a real game-changer.

Dante's "Physical" Form:
...about that....Dante doesn't have a physical form. See, for nearly the entire game, Dante is dead. In Medieval cosmology that this is based on, what you are playing would be technically called an "Astral Body", a part of a greater series of cosmology based on the idea of the 7 planes. The essential idea is that when our body dies, our consciousness instead uses our astral body, our soul. This astral body inhabits a world of astral locations like Hell, Heaven, and Purgatory and contains inhabitants like Demons, Angels, and Ghosts. While our physical plane is made of matter, the Astral plane is made of emotions, passions, and will. As such, a person of great passion in the astral plane can exhibit superhuman feats, no longer limited to matter. This is likely how Dante performs his superhuman feats, strengthened by his intense desire for redemption. How superhuman, let's look:

Dante is even stronger then his muscular structure would betray. He is strong enough to push Charon's head and his basic mechanic for regaining health and mana is to destroy stone fountains with his bare fist. Drawing on his raw passion he was strong to open even the gates of Hell. The strength contained in his fists is so great that a collision between him and Francisco created a sizeable explosion as an after effect.

This strength extends to his legs, allowing him to superleap over a minotaur or stand unaffected in extreme winds.

But of course his most impressive feat is overpowering Lucifer himself. Lucifer in his weaker form required the massive chains of Judecca to hold him, chains which went all the way to Lust, the second circle of Hell.

Dante's raw durability is similarly impressive. He tanks a massive fall so large that upon impact he creates an explosion, and was able to survive close range level 3 Sins of the Father from Alighiero, which is one of his strongest spells. From the first level he was able to survive powerful shots from Death. For comparison Death's mere presence causes the land to fall away and created his own dimension to fight Dante in.

Dante also has great pain resistance. He sewed the cross into his flesh while he was still a mortal being. In both the film and the comic series this is depicted as a much faster process. In his fight with Francisco he lets a sword slice him to gain a tactical advantage.

He has also shown a number of durability feats against heat. Dante tanks being inside the City of Dis, which is superheated so that the "iron is hotter then it need be for any craft". For the record this would mean heats of at least hundreds to thousands of degrees. He also survives a massive fiery blast from Infernal Beatrice.

One last note on durability, I have asked a number of my peers whether being an Astral Body means we should assume Dante has intangibility to physical attacks as he never actually comes into contact with a physical enemy in the series, merely astral ones. The general consensus seemed to be "no."

Dante is fast enough to battle Lucifer or multiple arch demons at once. These should be comparable in speed to the Angel Gabriel who quickly flew down into the 8th Circle of Hell, Fraud, which should be hypersonic to massively hypersonic speeds. He might also be much quicker given Lucifer is apparently a universal threat.

Dante can harass his intense passion and will to be redeemed into bolstering his astral form surrounding him with a red aura, bolstering his strength, speed, and making it so he feels no pain. He can also use this to transform into a living flame.

Death's Scythe: 
Dante has two primary weapons. The first is his scythe taken from Death itself when it tried to get him. The Scythe can expand and contract from being basically a sword to being a spear. Despite it's size, Dante wields the Scythe fast enough for it to be a blur. Death's Scythe is, as you might guess, very good at killing. One stab of Death's Scythe killed Cleopatra. Cleopatra for reference was powerful to make a giant penis tower rise and create a giant storm around the entirely, coursing with electricity. The Scythe hurts Phlegyas, who could easily survive in the River Styx which would kill Dante. The Scythe was strong enough to destroy the aforementioned chains of Judecca which held Lucifer, and most impressively killed Death which shows it can hit on the conceptual level.

Dante has a number of unholy techniques with his Scythe. The full list is here, but the strongest of them are:
  • Abominable Slam: While in Air, Dante smashes himself down to Earth, creating a strong impact which stuns enemies and breaks defenses
  • Diabolic Guillotine (Diabolic Ascension Tree): Dante slams his enemy with the Scythe repeatedly knocking them to the ground and stabbing at them, his final attack sweeping to nearby enemies and capable of scarring the ground
  • Soul Shatter (Soul Stabber Tree): Dante pushes the opponent down with Scythe attack before throwing them into the air
  • Vile Hurricane (Vile Wind Tree): After a series of attacks, Dante Charges forward before creating a large arc slash with his scythe capable of flinging enemies

Dante has a few other tricks with his scythe. Once it penetrates an opponent, it can damn them to hell, which gives Dante unholy power. The Scythe can deflect energy blasts from Lucifer. In Issue 5 of the Comic Series Beatrice states that the scythe bends space and can cut through dimensions. He can also use the Scythe to cast unholy magic. These includes:
Sins of the Father: Dante summons up to three jewel-encrusted upside-down crosses that track his opponent and tear into them. Example.
Lust Storm: Dante creates a localized version of the storm Cleopatra cast around her tower. This storm deals damage to all nearby enemies and can deflect ranged attacks. Example.
Suicide Fruit: Dante slams a fruit from the Suicide Woods into the ground, stunning and damaging nearby enemies. Example.
Putrid Voice: DLC power. Dante vomit acidic vomit similar to the Gluttons.

By end of game, Dante was so accomplished with his scythe that he could damage Lucifer. While still trapped Lucifer was able to create a giant entrance to Hell.  Statements from Lucifer include "I'll make the earth tremble, shake kingdoms, and leave the world a desert!" (which is going to be Country to Continent Level), "I was the Morning Star, the brightest in the sky", and "Soon we shall all witness the end of the universe". He has also claims that his ascension will make "all the is good will be gone from the universe" and that he would "plunge the cosmos into chaos".

Beatrice's Cross:
Dante's other primary weapon is his Cross given to him from Beatrice. Beatrice's Cross is special because it contains a thorn from the crown of Christ. In Issue 2 of the Comic Series it is shown that the very presence of the Cross pains and repels the Damned. Dante can use the Cross to project holy energy to harm his foes. Dante has a number of holy techniques with these energies. The Full list is here but the strongest of them are:
  • Holy Devastation (Holy Blast Tree): A Series of 4 Holy Energy Attacks, with the first being a single holy blast, the second being three holy blasts, the third being a stronger three holy blasts, and the final being a wave of holy energy
  • Sacred Justice (Sacred Judgment Tree):  Dante releases an holy wave and then raises his cross high drawing all enemies near, before slamming down creates a holy blast that stuns his enemies before finishing launch enemies into air
The Cross can do a number of other things. It can put out hellish fire, allowing Dante to attack beings he couldn't otherwise. Dante can use his cross to free souls of their torment. This actually involves the absorption of their souls, so that Dante can use their power and hopefully redeem himself, redeeming them in the process. This will be important later. Dante can also use the Cross to cast Holy Magic. These include:
Righteous Path: An Icy Charge attack that can hurt both Marc Anthony and Cleopatra at once.
Divine Armor: Creates an Armor made of Light and Angel Wings for Dante. This Armor heals him, makes him invulnerable (*cough* game mechanics *cough*), and blinds enemies briefly.
Martyrdom: A Spell that allows Dante to exchange some of his health for lots of direct damage.
Heaven's Embrace: DLC Power. Creates Icy Shards which act as mines.

The Cross also has one more unexpected trick. If necessary, Dante can use the edge of the cross as a slashing weapon strong enough to gauge the eyes of the damned.

By end of game, Dante was so accomplished with his Cross that he could damage Lucifer. While still trapped Lucifer was able to create a giant entrance to Hell.  Statements from Lucifer include "I'll make the earth tremble, shake kingdoms, and leave the world a desert" "I was the Morning Star, the brightest in the sky!" "Soon we shall all witness the end of the universe!". He has also claims that his ascension will make "all the is good will be gone from the universe" and that he would "plunge the cosmos into chaos".

Other Weapons:
Dante has two other weapons, although of not particular use. At the start of the game Dante has a halberd, which he used to fend off a ton of prisoners while still a mortal. With this halberd, Astral Dante harmed and beat Death. In both the Film and the Comic Series Dante also has a sword. Mortal Dante has used this sword to fend off wild animals and in Issue 1 of the Comic Series he used this sword to defeat and slay Death (this is the largest contradiction between the Comic Series and the game for the record).

Dante wears some kind of Plate and Chailmail everywhere but his chest, although this is likely not physical armor but some kind of astral soul armor. This may seem like it wouldn't provide much protection at all, but in fairness, it's more conventional armor then most of his peers wear (like half-naked Kratos and hair-wearing Bayonetta) and even at the end of the game after his fight with Lucifer, the armor still seems pretty well-undented.

Dante can collect a number of these relics, which give him magical boosts. Gameplay wise he can only use 4 of them at once, but also going by game-play he can switch between them at any time. *shrug* Feel free to interpret that as you like. The full list is here but here is a general list of the relics that are A: Useful in one-on-one combat like a Death Battle, B: Not just gameplay mechanics (like can block any attack)

  • Lord's Blessing: Increases Cross Damage
  • Death Blade: Increases Scythe Damage
  • Arrow of Paris: Increases Grab Attack Damage
  • Demon's Wing: Increase Aerial Damage
  • Medusa's Call: Increases Ranged Damage
  • Tristan's Desire: Increases Magic Damage
  • Panderer's Whip: Increases Putrid Voice Damage
  • Francesco's Forgiveness: Protects Dante from Damage
  • Crown of Carthage: Protects Dante from Ranged Attacks
  • Eye of Alighiero: Absorbs a certain amount of damage
  • Ciacco's Bile: Mana Regeneration
  • Stone of Wrath: Reduces Cost of Magic
  • Wasted Gold: Increases Redemption Meter after Hits
  • Anthony's Standard: Increases Redemption Meter Regen

Dormant Souls:
Dante has one last resource. He has absolved many souls, absorbing them within, their redemption dependent on him. Due to his kindness to them, in freeing them from the inferno, he can call on them to aid him, these souls can heal wounds and seal beings in ice, even Lucifer himself.

Dante is an extremely skilled warrior, having served in the crusades for three years. He is skilled enough to duel multiple damned crusaders at once. He's also not just skilled but rather intelligent. He was able to figure out Lucifer's stupid puzzle and knows how to read signs and omens. This is aided by his superhuman senses, particularly his hearing.

Dante can't use more then 1 magic at once (though he can use any of them with redemption), and he has no armoring on his chest. Also he is a very very flawed human being as I will explain

Dante is a sinner, indeed objectively the worst sinner of all time according to Lucifer since "only you possessed a soul black enough to free me". But despite it all Dante has a noble desire to redeem himself and his sins, and to become a better person...due to his love for the innocent Beatrice, representing the part of even him that is still good.

  • Tier 12, possibly higher
  • Country Level DC/Durability, Possibly Much Higher (Killed Death and Defeated Lucifer)
  • Hypersonic to Massively Hypersonic, (Comparable to Angels and Demons) Possibly Much Higher Speed (Lucifer was apparently a universal threat)
  • Manipulation of Holy and Unholy Magic
  • Magic Resistance
  • Elemental Manipulation (Fire, Lightning, Wind, Ice, Light)
  • Spatial Manipulation
  • Conceptual Manipulation
  • Logia Intangibility
  • Energy Deflection
  • Absorption (Souls)
  • Summoning (Souls)
  • Sealing
  • Healing
  • Likely Immortality (Types 1 and 7)
  • Enhanced Hearing
  • Highly Skilled and Intelligent Fighter

Potential Match:
Dante vs. War (Darksiders): 
Both of these guys are Newer Spectacle Fighters taking place in a Judeo-Christian Inspired world. I don't know War's relative power so I can't say how even it would be but it would definitely look cool if nothing less. You could do Darksiders Death instead but that would lead to a lot more confusion since "Dante already killed Death!". 

Next Time:
Next Time I am going to be doing the Mysterious Queen of the Old Moon Kingdom:

Moon Mamma!

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