And they’re off!

We are just 48 hours into Hitifx’s Second Annual March Madness Tournament of Heroes vs. Villains, and the races are already heating up.

The champions of each of the four divisions are back on the field defending their titles, and the returning gaints are mostly looking strong. Some newcomers however have come charging out of the gate looking ready to go all the way. Across the field, we’ve got some very tough battles brewing.

In the Movie Heroes division, Batman is the heavy favorite against longshot private dick Philip Marlowe, and fans are turning out in force to prop up The Dark Knight. But Marlowe is a saavy player who may just be waiting for his moment. He’s had decades to build up a following: will Marlowe’s people come to the rescue?

Elsewhere in the division, a couple of match-ups that looked lopsided at first are turning up to be surprisingly close slugfests.  As expected, the mighty Katniss Eberdeen holds a lead in her contest, but not by as much as your might’ve thought. Dark horse LeelooDallas MoooltiPass remains very much in this race, with her fans keeping her right behind the Hunger Games giant.

Meanwhile, Frozen may be the biggest animated fable to come along in years, but only a handful of votes currently separate Elsa from warhorses Thelma and Louise.  Are the Frozen fans getting complacent?  It would be the biggest upset in the competition’s history if Miss Let it Go were to fall to the 80’s icons.

Another newcomer is showing remarkable strength in this early round, as Black Widow’s fans are turning out in massive numbers.  The Widow looks to be a formidable contender. Batman – better keep one eye on her progress.

Down in the TV Heroes division,  our reigning tournament champion Xena returns to see if she can make it two in a row, and so far, her prospects are looking very good as she easily fends off Scandal’s Olivia Pope.  The show’s viral following as yet is proving no match for the legions devoted to the Warrior Queen. The video taped appeal (see above) from Lucy Lawless didn’t hurt her cause.  Will other stars rally to defend their characters?  

But Scandal fans - take heart: the contest is still young and we’ll see if that supposed internet phenom can muster her troops.

Across this division, furious fighting is afoot in a bevy of brutal bloodbaths. Some early leaders – Captain Kirk, Buffy and Fox Mulder – have a neck or two on their opponents - but every one of these contests is still open for business and a strong surge by supporters on either side could still take almost any race in this division.

Up and down the board, the blood is flowing in The Villains’ ranks, where some close match-ups have the knives – and claws, and baseball bats, and laser cannons – out and blazing away.

In the Movie Villains category, the infamous Joker is defending his title as the baddest one of them all.   The laughing boy's got a solid margin on mama’s favorite Norman Bates, but the screen’s first great serial killer is on the boards and in the game still.

Down the seeds,  Voldemort, Scar, Tony Montana and Clever Girl have clearly come to play. We’ll see if any of them have what it takes to take on Batman’s own arch enemy but none of them are quite out of the woods yet and still have their Round 1 contenders to worry about.  Amy Dunne’s fans are still buying books, but will this newcomer’s legions prove any match for He Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken.  And is little Samara, the scariest girl in all of film, any match for a bounty hunter by the name of Boba Fett.   So far the Star Wars mercenary’s got her back to the wall, but there's four days of voting still to go!

In TV Villains, one ferocious death battle is dominating all others as Dexter and Hannibal Lecter’s fans turn out in massive numbers, turning this battle of the serial killers into a killing field like nothing we’ve seen.  Both fan groups have staged enormous activations.  At this moment,   Lecter holds the edge but Dexter’s fans continue to pour in.  Who is the killer for the ages??

And can one serial killer stand up to Cersei Lannister, who is making a ferocious first stand against The Wire’s Marlo Stanfield?

To date the top four vote getters are:

1.Hannibal Lecter:
3. Dexter Morgan
4.Cersei Lannister

Fast out of the gate but can they keep up momentum?

Next Monday morning will tell when the results are revealed from Round One. Until then, get up your dukes and fight!


Richard Rushfield is Editor in Chief of Hitfix