The full impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has yet to be realized, especially in the comics industry. However, creators and fans alike are already calling for an event to help mitigate problems: a new Marvel vs. DC crossover. Such an event would be a financial juggernaut, easily making up for a few lousy months of sales. Back in the 1990s, however, there already was a huge intercompany crossover on this level: DC Versus Marvel. Anchoring the hyped storyline was the character Access, who is literally co-owned by both Marvel and DC. He’s also a representative of the iconic Amalgam Universe and is tasked with making sure it never returns.
With talks of a new crossover between Marvel and DC, it’s time to revisit Access and how he saved both universes.
Access first appears in DC Versus Marvel #1 and at first, he’s simply a normal guy named Axel Asher in the Earth-616 Marvel Universe. His life changes forever when he runs across a bum in the alleyways of New York. Said bum is secretly protecting the portal between the Marvel and DC Universes. He reveals it to Asher and tells him he now has to become Access. He has to maintain the separation of the once unified worlds, as the dueling brothers that represent them are merging into one again. This leads to a tournament between the heroes of the Marvel and DC Universes.
The ambiguous result sees The Living Tribunal and The Spectre fuse the two Earths into the Amalgam Universe, but not before Access — who gains the ability to traverse both worlds — places fragments of them inside Batman and Captain America. Tracking them down in the new universe as their amalgamated selves, Super-Soldier and Dark Claw, Access uses these fragments to restore the worlds to their correct order. Despite this, the cosmic brothers continue their duel, until the peace between Batman and Captain America forces them to realize the pettiness of their squabbles.
Throughout the series, Access displays his powers of Cosmic Awareness, which allow him to peer into both worlds, teleport and warp reality. On a grand scale, these powers allow him to eventually restore the Marvel and DC Universes to how they were meant to be. Unfortunately, he also discovers that staying in one world for too long runs the risk of amalgamating them again. The various crossovers between Marvel and DC characters before this event are also explained as being the result of this unintentional reality warping.
Access also appears in two companion miniseries: All Access and Unlimited Access. The former begins with the X-Men’s Jubilee asking Access to take her to the DC Universe because she has a crush on Tim Drake, the then-current Robin. From there, characters begin to appear haphazardly in other universes, such as the Spider-Man villain Scorpion attacking Batman in Gotham City. The ensuing conflict pits the Justice League against the X-Men at Doctor Strange’s Sanctum. There, they learn recent developments are the result of Strangefate, an amalgam of Doctor Strange and Doctor Fate that survived the Amalgam Universe and wished to see it recreated. After Access saves the astrally imprisoned Doctor Strange, they spare Strangefate before restoring the Amalgam Universe as a separate world.
The next series takes the Amalgam concept even further than before, with Access going throughout the multiverse to restore several anomalies. These include Batman and Spider-Man fighting Kingpin and Ra’s Al Ghul together, as well as Mantis and Wonder Woman taking on Juggernaut. It’s even revealed that it was Access who sent Jonah Hex to a post-apocalyptic future in the Hex series. One tie-in issue is also part of an ongoing series, with Green Lantern #87. Access summons the Electric Blue Superman to calm down the Justice League and the Avengers, who are pitted against each other by one of the New Gods.
A mishap in correcting the worlds leads to an even bigger mistake when Access fuses Robin with Angel. This all culminates in a climactic battle in a fused Justice League/Avengers roster take on an amalgamation of the New Gods and the Brotherhood of Mutants. When the heroes, villains, and worlds are finally restored completely, Darkseid ominously warns Access that they will meet again. So far, that threat’s gone unfulfilled, but a potential new crossover could most certainly make good on the promise and bring back the cosmic hero of two worlds.
Creators and fans are calling for another Marvel vs. DC crossover, which means it's time to revisit the hero Access — who saved both universes.