Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What WAS the Comic Battle of the 20th Century? Part 11 - DC Versus Marvel!

Continuing my 12-part series reviewing comic books that claim The Battle/Fight/Bout/Showdown of the Century on their covers. Today's battle---

DC Versus Marvel! Presented in DC Versus Marvel/Marvel versus DC #1 - 4, 1996. Written by Ron Marz and Peter David. Penciled by Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini. Inks by Josef Rubinstein and Paul Neary.
This is the big one! Comics fans had long wanted to see their favorite, iconic characters, from the two biggest comic companies, take on each other! The unfortunate thing is, this was the 90’s. There was a crazy trend of constantly changing popular characters to increase sales. Soooo, our story opens with a Spider-Man, who is Peter Parker’s clone, Ben Reilly, in a variation of the iconic costume.

Later in the story, he asks people to call him “Peter.” Nice try Marvel.

I won't point out every time a weird character variation shows up, but is this Thor iconic to anyone?


In the first issue, we begin to see various characters from Marvel and DC appearing in each other's universe. Some characters fight. Some characters team up.

This catches the attention of both universes’ cosmic guardians, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal. Something is terribly wrong!

This series is, of course, is a joint venture between DC and Marvel. The issue ends with a page asking readers to vote on the outcome of certain battles, such as Superman vs. the Hulk. It’s American Idol before American Idol!

The results will play out in issue #3!

In issue #2 we find out why the realities are crossing. The two Universes are shown personified as “brothers”. They weren't aware of each other until now! I've had that happen. “Whoa! How long have you been standing there!” It can be quite a shock.

Their awareness is causing each reality to seep into the other. Both “brother” considers themself superior and wishes to be the only reality to exist. Selfish realities. Instead of fighting it out themselves, they pick champions from their universes to do the fighting.

The losing side’s universe will VANISH FOREVER, so the stakes are pretty high. The combatants only have to immobilize each other, not kill. We want to keep it a friendly fight, right?

Due to page count restraints, each fight only last three or four pages. There are eleven battles. I’ll go over them very quickly—

Thor vs. Captain Marvel. When Captain Marvel changes to Billy Batson (to crawl out from some wreckage) he shouts’ “Shazam” to change back. But Thor controls lightning. Thor wins by conquering a powerless child. He's still rockin' that costume though!

The Sub-Mariner vs. Aquaman. While they’re standing on the beach, Aquaman wins by having a whale jump and land on Sub-Mariner. WAM!

The Flash vs. Quicksilver. Com’on, the Flash is much faster. He wins by speed-punching Pietro into unconsciousness.

This takes us into issue #3, where Jubilee’s diary gives us a recap.

I looked at this page quite awhile. It appears Daredevil is the only character without a partner. Is this a hilarious blind joke?

The story continues as Robin and Jubilee fall in love and then fight. Robin wins because he’s Robin.

Ah, young love. Sweet and creepy. Next up…

Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) vs. Silver Surfer. Surfer wins. The only explanation we get is this panel with a green burst in it.

Catwoman vs. Electra. Electra drops Catwoman off a building. Wins.

Lobo vs. Wolverine. Hey! Didn’t I already cover this? Oh, wait, that was Loco vs. Pulverine. My mistake.

Wolverine wins, but it’s unclear how. I guess he immobilizes Lobo by removing his innards?

Wonder Woman vs. Storm. I would have counted on Wonder Woman to win, but this is the result of public voting and the X-Men were super popular at the time. The bout goes to Storm.

Spider-Man vs. Superboy. Spider-Man wins by tricking Superboy to crash into an electrical panel. Ugh. I wanted Spider-Man to win, but is there ANY more cliché way to beat an opponent stronger than yourself?

Superman vs. Hulk. This is the “smart” Hulk, who still has the brain of Bruce Banner. I've never considered him as strong as the “limitless rage” Hulk. Superman wins by hitting harder.

Last up! Batman vs. Captain America. Now here’s a battle! They are very evenly matched in fighting ability. As the battle takes place  inside a sewer, water comes unexpectedly rushing in, and Batman takes Captain America out with a batarang to the head.

This was the result of the fans' vote. I've always wondered if the penciler, Dan Jurgens, was expecting Cap to win. To my eye, these pre-drawn character poses don't match the added dialog.

Thanks to the public votes, the Marvel Universe wins, 6 to 5! I guess it’s bye-bye DC Universe.

Or is it?

As one universe is about to be wiped out of existence, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal attempt to stop the obliteration by combining forces!

The little guy in the above panel is called Access. He can travel between universes and dimensions, more on him later. The Spectre and the Living Tribunal effort leads to the two universes combining into one, creating an Amalgam Universe!

This lead to a whole set of books starring composites of DC and Marvel characters. Older comic fans remember it. It was quite the event! One of my first posts on this blog was to talk about an obvious character they could have made. I also wish they would have combined The Human Torch and Aquaman. Then, we could have thrilled to the adventures of The Human Man! I digress.

The character Access has hidden the essences of the original universes and uses them to separate the realities once again. The cosmic “brothers” decide to fight it out on their own instead of relying on their chosen champions.

As they fight, everything is destroyed! But in that destruction, the “brothers’ see glimpses of two unique characters, one from each universe.

They realize that there is nobility and uniqueness within each of them. They should happily co-exist together. Or something like that. Read it yourself down below—

Essentially, the essences of Batman and Captain America save the comic universes! Yay!

Lots of battles happening here. I suppose we should call the DC Universe vs. the Marvel Universe the Battle of the Century. The magnitude of it makes it an easy winner.

Come back Friday for Part 12! The Conclusion!


Keir said...

So. Lame. Perfectly exemplified by Sub-Mariner's verbal jousting using King James English and cliché.

Comic Fan said...

When DareDevil appears partner less, maybe he is fighting The Atom, but he's too small for us to see him.

Anonymous said...