Graphic Novel Review: DC Comics Vs Marvel Comics

(Titan Books, �13.99)

Various writers and artists

THEY said it would never happen, but in 1996 two comics universes collided as the characters of Marvel took on their DC peers in a battle to safeguard the fabric of reality itself. As the two companies’ lawyers no doubt sweated in their suits, fans were treated to spectacular clashes which defied copyright, including Superman mano-y-mano with the Hulk, Captain America taking on Batman, Superboy vs Spider-Man, and Silver Surfer in battle with Green Lantern.

These are the confrontations every schoolkid has dreamed of seeing take place, and thanks to a first-rate creative team they succeed at almost any level, with characterisation not ignored in the midst of the confrontations. Unfortunately, events transpiring in the main comics of both publishers meant we were restricted to the Ben Reilly version of Spider-Man (he was a clone, honest!) and the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern instead of the more famous Hal Jordan incarnation, but these are small hiccups which don’t spoil the bigger picture.

Things went a bit squiffy around the middle of the storyline, with the two universes merging to form the Amalgam world, where we saw fused versions of characters including Spider-Boy, Super-Soldier and Dr Strangefate, but the majority of these stories were released in self-contained spin-off volumes and are somewhat irrelevant to the main event.

Alas although there were a handful of follow-up crossovers, not least being the long-awaited JLA Vs Avengers, they all ignored the events of this storyline, and changes at board level within both companies eventually scuppered any hope of a direct sequel.

So sit back and enjoy this unique piece of comics history, when two multi-million dollar companies put their industry rivalries aside in order to fulfil every fanboy’s fantasy. It might not be up there with the likes of Maus, The Sandman, Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns for literary achievements in a graphic novel format, but for pure bubble gum fun it’s hard not to enjoy it.