Before the carnage begins, let me say that I’m both a huge Star Wars and Firefly fan. The thing is, there can only be one supreme Space Cowboy. So at the risk of unleashing a firestorm of controversy and eye rolling, let’s stand Mal and Han toe to toe in ten important areas of measurement. I should also say that I’m writing these one at a time, so I don’t even know who’s going to come out on top. First of all…

1. Ships.

Mal’s boat is Serenity, while Han pilots the Millennium Falcon. Both ships are uber cool cargo ships retro-fitted for space piracy. Both sport handy hidden cargo bays big enough to hide contraband or crew when necessary. Serenity’s exhaust wash is way cool, but the Falcon comes with hyperdrive… off and on. It also comes equipped with bigger and better guns and can latch onto asteroids in a pinch. Sorry, Mal.

Han 1, Mal 0. 

2. Crew.

Mal’s oddball crew rocks, providing both comic relief and specialized awesomeness. He even has a preacher on board, for crying out loud (I’m a pastor, FYI). Han? He has a Wookie, which counts for at least three crew members all by himself. But alas… as cool, beefy, and barky my favourite fuzzball may be, I’m handing this round to Mal.

Han 1, Mal 1.

3. Superfriends.

River Tam is a freak of nature, a dead-eye with a gun capable of single-handedly wiping out a platoon of Reavers in a locked room with nothing but her mad skills and a death wish. Han’s superfriend is a Jedi warrior, and though Luke grew up to offer one of the most painfully awful dramatic performances in the entire science fiction genre (which says a lot), that light sabre of his can block blaster fire and cut through the hyde of an AT-AT like a katana buttering toast. Not to mention Luke’s force jumping, force pushing, and force speed. He may be the lamest Jedi in history, but Luke helps Han win this round… by a hair.

Han 2, Mal 1.

4. Weapons.

Han packs the DL -44 heavy blaster pistol, a modifiable wonder with an option to charge a double-powered laser bolt. It could deliver hardcore damage without losing accuracy. Little is known about Mal’s weapon, which seems to work for him just fine—but I’m going with Han on this one.

Han 3, Mal 1.

5. Duds.

Han’s iconic penguin getup may have survived pop culture for the last thirty-some years, but Mal’s look is clearly cooler, more functional, and hardier when stuff hits the fan. IMHO, this one goes to Mal.

Han 3, Mal 2.

We’ll finish this battle royale tomorrow by comparing five more qualities—wit, endurance, combat skill, reputation, and character. Don’t miss it. And in the meantime, it’s your turn. Am I out to lunch? Have I missed something?

Leave your comments, and set the record straight!

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