There have been quite a few Marvel/DC crossovers throughout the years. Spider-Man and Superman have met up several times, The X-Men teamed up with the New Teen Titans in the 1980’s, Batman has teamed up with a host of Marvel heroes, heck the JLA and Avengers battled and teamed up in 2003. All of those are great and could be considered as great Marvel/DC crossovers, but there is one that tops them all, one that stands out from the crowd and shouts it out loud, that is Marvel vs DC (or DC vs Marvel depending on the issue)! This was the 1996 crossover event that as an eight-year-old kid absolutely blew my mind. No one thought DC and Marvel could get along to actually co-publish a book pitting their top characters against each other, but they did. So what makes Marvel vs DC the best crossover series between the two companies?
Can’t We all Just Get Along?
Most people that are into comic books knows that Marvel and DC do not generally get along, but really what two big competing companies ever do? You don’t see Coke and Pepsi combining forces or Apple and Microsoft working together, so why should the top two comic book publishing companies combine forces? That is what makes cross-overs between DC and Marvel comics so magical. You get two of the biggest competing companies in comics bringing their big name heroes together for some fun and that is the exact reason DC vs Marvel is the best crossover between the two companies. It is just plain unapologetic fun! Now as stated earlier, crossovers had happened before this series between the two companies, but not at this level and not with these top characters being pitted one on one against each other. It has what every superhero fan talks about, but thinks they will never see, Batman vs Captain America, Superman vs The Hulk and on and on. They pit their best heroes against each other and let them fight it out. Fans even got to get in on the action and vote to determine the outcomes of some of the featured battles. No matter what the outcome was it was great to see the most famous superheroes ever duke it out in each and every issue of this four-issue limited series.
Now, I am not going to lie and say that I am not looking at this series through nostalgic glasses. I still have all four single issues and on a re-read yeah, it is definitely not the greatest story ever told, but it still remains a lot of fun. The story is basically two god brothers that represent the DC and Marvel universes start bickering about which one is better and decide to settle the score with their respective champions. I still remember my brother and I bringing home each issue and tearing through them arguing about who should have won what battle and why. I was probably one of the few kids very upset that Batman “beat” Captain America (I’ll still argue my point till this very day). You had some great battles like Aquaman crushing Namor with a whale, Lobo and Wolverine battling off panel (the battle presumably too brutal to be put on page), The Hulk and Superman going toe-to-toe, it was just something that you thought you would never see, then it is happening right in front of your eyes! The whole series had a very “epic” feeling to it, with each issue you were left wondering who was going to show up next and what the outcome would be.
Let Them Fight!
There is something genuinely just exciting about this four issue mini-series. Seeing your favorite heroes fight and it does not really follow the same trope of heroes meet, fight and then team up. For the most part, the heroes just battle and there was a winner and a loser. That made the series much different than other Marvel/DC crossovers. Most of the fights ended with a clear winner and loser. No stalemates or coming to terms (besides a few exceptions) just winner take all! That made the stakes high (well at least as high as the stakes could be); this was for at the time and all intents and purposes bragging rights for your favorite character. Now all this was much more serious for eight-year-old me, but even to this day, it is an exciting concept.
Marvel vs DC even gave us a very short lived Amalgam Universe with the publishers teaming up and mashing up their heroes and villains to create new characters and a new world after the four issues of the main series came to a conclusion. There were some great ones like Darkclaw (wolverine and Batman), Speed Demon (Ghost Rider and The Flash) and some duds like Super-Soldier (Captain America and Superman), Spider-Boy (Spider-Man and Super Boy). It was a great experiment and something that is probably never going to happen again (except in fan fiction).
Any Marvel or DC fan would be lying to themselves if they said they wouldn’t want these companies to do something like this again. Marvel vs DC goes down as one of the craziest things to happen in comics. Yeah, some may call it a “cash grab” and to a certain extent, it is. It solely exists as fan service and that is fine by me. Whenever you get two of the biggest companies in the business to work together, you are not going to please everybody, but I guarantee you are in for a fun ride! That is at the end of the day what makes Marvel vs DC the best Marvel/DC crossover comic of all time. It was great bombastic fun that laid it all out on the table, these two heroes are going to fight and one is going to win. Fans got to voice their opinions and bicker about the results and that is what comics are all about, fanboy’s bickering about what fictional character would win in a fight (joking, well…maybe).
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