This is something I have been wanting to discuss for awhile. But I have held off because I stopped reading comics shortly after Zero Hour. That was in 1996. As you may imagine, there have been one or two crossover events since then. But something recently got the fire burning to di this (I will get into that below) and so I decided to do it. So here is a look at DC Comics crossover events.
These are limited to company wide crossover’s, not events confined to just one title (like The Death and Return of Superman for instance). Though there may one or two exceptions. And no elseworld’s. The focus will be the 1985-1996 period but I will take a quick look the events after that that I aware of anyway. But the real analysis will be on the early stuff. So where do we begin? Where else…..
Crisis on Infinite Earth’s.
The grandaddy of all crossover event comics. Even Marvel owes some thanks to this little masterpiece. I was just becoming aware of comic books when this little mini-series was taking place. So as you may guess, I was very confused. But that was then, today I get it and am amazed at the work put into it by Marv Wolfman, Geore Perez, and several others who worked on this. The best part of this was the build-up. For a year before the series ever began The Monitor and Harbinger made cameo’s in pretty much every book. And this mini-series truly did change the DC universe. It would have been if they’d had a plan in mind for what to do after..but that hardly hurts the product. What other mini-series has the guts to kill off dozens of characters including Supergirl, Flash, and even Wonder Woman!
I’m glad I jumped on board when Crisis was over. The other reason this is so landmark is because of the crossovers. By having official tie-in’s with other books the story was able to be expanded beyond the 12 issue format. And that led to the next two events which I LOVED.
If Crisis was meant to change the DC universe, Legends was intended to explore this new universe. It played with the concept of the fact that superheros were loved, and tweaked it. Instead it acted like the Marvel universe where heroes were hated. Was that a cheap shot? Anyway, I love this story. It’s simple but effective. It involved Darkseid plotting against the heroes as people turn against them. The crossovers were closely tied to the series but you didn’t need them to enjoy the story.Â This series also set off a few new titles including Justice League, Suicide Squad, Flash and Captain Marvel. If you come across the trade of this it is a nice breezy story which I enjoy.
I could talk about this one all day. I loved this story and this crossover event. Unlike Legends, the crossovers were very closely tied to the story. Now you don’t need the crossovers to understand what is going on, but I would highly recommend it. This series was done weekly over two months and had two premises, one cool and the other….eh. The first was The Manhunters who had infiltrated all the heroes of the DCU by replacing their close friends or family. Some were robot duplicates, others were the real people converted to the cause, and sill others were mind controlled. It added a real sense of intrigue to the series. The second story involved The Chosen. Yeah, this was kind of boring and weird. A Gaurdian andÂ Zamoran recruit real people to be the next step in humanity. Whatever. Honesly I could do a whole breakdown of this mini-series, I have read it a million times and adore it. This came out when I was heavy into comics, so I loved every character that was in it and adored the cross-overs which by the way were very well done. Oh sure there are some goofs but overall the cross-over’s tie into the main story very well. If read all together it really makes a nice coherent story. And yes this is what spawned The New Gaurdians that Linkara has discussed. That was awful, but Millennium is not.
I said I was limiting this to company wide crossovers, with a few exceptions. Here is one of them. This story is really well told, and involves a handful of heroes (and The New God’s). It isn’t perfect. The artwork sucks, and Starfire was not written correctly at all! You could tell they just jammed her in there and really doesn’t belong. The story involves Darkseid discovering the secret anti-life equation, and all hell breaks loose. The one thing I like about this is that it resonated with the characters, especially John Stewart. A whole planet dies because of him and this isn’t forgotten, it became a major part of his character. It’s a very well told space opera and worth a read if you find it. Oh, and yes I know Mike Mignola is a popular artist but I can’t stand his blocky style. But that’s just me.
This one took a very unusual approach. An alien invasion of Earth..from the aliens point of view. Well, in the start anyway. The first part of the story is all the aliens getting together and planning strategy. Seriously, no heroes appear! Part two was the battle and then part 3….we’ll get to that in a second. It’s a very well told tale, unlike other alien invasions there is a real feeling that the stakes were high here. There were many tie-in’s and for the most part none of them were required reading. The cross-over’s were very well done though. The other concept introduced was the gene bomb and the meta-gene. The gene bomb affects the superheroes with natural powers causing the powers to go crazy. The non-powered heroes have to find the cure. If you know JLA Act of God you may recognize that concept but here it is well done and the writers were smart enough to know that Martian Manhunter was an alien and the Green Lantern’s used technology so they wouldn’t be affected! Anyway, this was a really decent event that I still enjoy reading to this day.
This was a disapointment, and yet holds a special place in my heart. The story is that in the future year of 2001 (?) a former hero has become a villain and taken over the world. A man named Waverider goes back in time to find this hero and stop him before he can become Monarch. Yeah, great idea except that it was botched. If they had made Captain Atom Monarch as intended, that would have been cool. Instead they switched it to Hawk, which made no sense, and the story was spoiled. This storyline ran through all the annuals that year. Oh, and why does this story have a special place in my heart? Well let’s just say I had a special affinity for the characters of Waverider, Monarch, and the Linear Men.
War of the Gods
This Wonder Woman centered story was boring to me. I really tried to get into it, but just couldn’t. It wasn’t Amazon Attacks bad, just not for me. I guess it was supposed to celebrate Wonder Woman’s 50th anniversary. I really don’t have much to say on this one.
Panic in the Sky
Ok, I am sooooo cheating. But this was originally conceived as a company wide cross over and in many ways sure acts like one. It has most if not all the major characters from the DCU at the time, even it was confined to the Superman books. It has massive battles and high stakes, and even a death or two. The plot is simple, Brainiac has control of Warworld so Superman leads a squadron of heroes to intercept and stop Braniac before he reaches Earth. This would lead into Superman leading the new version of The Justice League. While Superman and a squadron of heroes fight in space, Batman and another group of heroes keep Metropolis from being over run. It’s a great story and while not technically a cross over it sure feels like it
Eclipso:The Darkness Within
War of the Gods was boring.Â This one I just did not like. I did not like the premise, and that’s as simple as it gets. I don’t want to see my favorite heroes posessed by the black diamond and turned evil. Sorry, just don;t. This once again went through all the annual’s that year before ending in a special.
For me this was a combination of Ecliso and War of Gods. Not only was it a story I had no interest in reading, but it was boring as hell too. The premise? These aliens kill humans for spinal fluid. Some of these humans somehow gained super powers, and this was supposed to lead into a new series called “Blood Pack”. It sucked. This went through the annuals and seemed to go on forever. I was very happy to turn around and sell all the issues I had bought at a flea market.
Alright, now we’re talking! Ok so the story was full of plot holes and made things even worst in some cases, it was really cool! It became clear that after the Crisis that there were a lot of inconsistencies with the superhero histories.Â This was meant to streamline that history. It didn’t really. This is why Infinite Crisis chucked the whole thing and recreated the multiverse concept. Anyway, what’s the story? By this point Hal Jordan had gone bad to make way for Kyle Rainer (FYI Linkara, HAL JORDON WAS AWESOME before DC ruined him). And as Parallaz he is trying to erase history to restore Coast City. While he does this all kinds of time anamolies start popping up and to be honest, it was more fun to read the tie-in’s than the actual book.Â For instance an issue of Superman where he encounters different versions of Batman. The story also involves Waverider and Monarch and while i enjoy reading it I will admit that it’s not the best.
After this was done all series retsarted with a #0 issue. Most of these were unimpressive and not even worth mentioning. Ok my friends it was at this point I kind of stopped reading comics. But I kept up with what was going on even if I wasn’t reading it. One or two eveents almost called me back. Here are the rest of the events that I didn’t not read
Final Night-Don’t have much to say on this one, it was nice to see Hal Jordan get some redemption after all that Parallax nonsense.
Genesis-Sorry I really don’t know anything about this one. And from what I’ve read, it’s best it stayed that way. This sounds like future AT4W fodder.
Well this is the one that almost brought me back to comics because it really piqued my curiosity, Then I read the first issue, and that was enough for me. The last thing I wanted to see was the DCU get darker, and that is what this event was supposed to do. I mean, killing Sue Dibny I can but having Jean Loring the killer was a little out there. Besides I adored the era of the JLA they tarnish in this book so that alone makes me hate it.
I don’t have much to say about this one but I hear it was really well done.
Amazons Attack-I had not even heard of this until I saw the AT4W episode. And Linkara’s review of it will sure keep me from reading this awful story.
The Blackest Night-I was intrigued enough to check this one out a bit and from what I saw it was pretty good. It sure seemed like a massive cross-over. And I like the fact that they didn’t forget some of the lesser known heroes who have died in the past. I have only read a little of it but it seems like it was a decent event.
Flashpoint-Gonna end here because I despise the New 52. I will say one thing for Flashpoint, that last scene between Flash and Batman was very touching. And that’s about all I have really read.
Finally, one last thing to discuss. Linkara’s excitement over this book sparked me to see it out and find it. Of course I am talking about ;
JLA/Titans:The Technis Imperative
Linkara himself this is the comic he uses to judge decent event comics. And, I can see his point. It involves enough superheroes. It respected the history of both the JLA and especially the Titans. The conflict is Earth shaking, and it leads into a new comic book series. The only thing missing is that there are no tie-in’s’. I wont bore you with the story since AT4W reviewed it and summarized it better than I ever could. I will say that it is definitely worth picking up if you like superheroes.
That’s it for now my friends.