As the effects of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continue to reverberate around the world, one of the many industries severely impacted by the global health crisis is the American comic book market. With major publishers refraining from distributing new comics either digitally or in print and comic retailers shuttering normal operations to prevent the virus’ spread, the future of the industry is currently in a state of limbo. Led by acclaimed writer Gail Simone, comic creators have since suggested the possibility of an intercompany crossover between DC and Marvel Comics’ respective superhero universes as a means to revitalize the industry.
The first major Marvel/DC crossover was 1976’s Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru. The smash success led to similar crossovers between heroes like Batman, the Incredible Hulk, the Uncanny X-Men and the Teen Titans.
The most prolific crossover period was in the ’90s, with both smaller scale team-ups between the companies’ marquee characters culminating in 1996’s Marvel vs. DC by Ron Marz, Peter David, Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini, which saw readers vote on the fights’ outcomes. The final major crossover between the two publishers was 2004’s JLA/Avengers by Kurt Busiek and George Perez, that saw the two teams face off before joining forces to take on a mutual threat in Krona and the Grandmaster’s nefarious partnership.
While the Marvel Universe’s recent stories have largely been contained within the confines of its own universe — save for the occasional multiversal, webslinger crossover — the DC Universe has been exploring its own divergent timelines and multiverse across multiple recent storylines. Dark Nights: Metal by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo had shattered the Source Wall serving as the border to main DCU, inviting new threats from uncharted regions of the multiverse. In Doomsday Clock by Geoff Johns and Brad Anderson, Doctor Manhattan is tampering with the fabric of reality itself, affecting the constant revisions to DCU continuity. The fallout from either or both of these stories could potentially set the stage for Marvel Comics characters to enter the DCU — potentially through Thor‘s new status quo as the latest Herald of Galactus.
Virtually every intercompany crossover begins with the heroes from the two universes fighting against each other after some colossal misunderstanding and this should be no different. Every comic book fan has pondered which two heroes would emerge triumphant should they ever meet but — as a means to mix things up from previous crossovers — showdowns should be featured.
Readers have already seen Batman fight Captain America on three separate occasions, but seeing how the Dark Knight fairs against someone like Moon Knight or even against an entire Avengers roster could be interesting. How would the Doom Patrol fair against the Fantastic Four or Wonder Woman approach a confrontation against Valkyrie and/or Lady Sif? Factoring in time travel like JLA/Avengers or Doomsday Clock, teams for the past, present and future of the two universes could meet up. A World War II adventure starring the Invaders, Justice Society of America and Freedom Fighters would be a Golden Age dream come true; a crossover should really lean into the possibilities presented by both publishers’ extensive library of characters.
After every misunderstanding in a crossover, the heroes team up to face a mutual threat powerful enough to endanger both realities. Either Kang the Conqueror or Doctor Doom are natural, fan-favorite candidates from the Marvel Universe, potentially drawn into the multiversal conflict only to take advantage of the situation and attempt to conquer both realities.
A corresponding threat from the DCU to team-up with the Marvel villains could be the newly upgraded Lex Luthor, a logical choice due to his leadership of the Legion of Doom, which brings many of DC’s iconic rogues gallery into the fray. Fresh off an alliance with Perpetua, Apex Lex has made many insidious alliances and a new one with the strange visitors from the Marvel Universe over a mutual motivation for conquest to serve as a strong enough premise.
There are enough corresponding analogues and reality-bending explanations to make a new Marvel/DC crossover possible that it’s simply a matter of what the creative teams involved would like to see as fans of the properties themselves. Such a story could be contained to a single issue or miniseries but, more likely, different creative teams would each receive their own tie-in stories to expand the multiversal meeting as they craft tales of their own fan-favorite pairings, taking full advantage of the rare Big Two collaboration. With Marvel Comics now owned by Disney and DC Comics by WarnerMedia, it is unclear how great the legal, logistical challenges it would be to get the two publishers to work together — but it would certainly be a memorable story that would get fans talking about the medium.
Comic book creators have suggested a new intercompany crossover between Marvel and DC. Here's how it could work.