Archive for the ‘Crossovers’ Category

Mars Attacks Judge Dredd is a comic book crossover between the popular British comic book character and the martians from the violent trading card set from the 1960s, which has also been frequently adapted into comic books.

It opens with a meeting of the Mega City Mafia, headed by a big ape (who prays to Tarzan), and whose members include a sentient vacuum, and Don Travolta, who makes Grease and Staying Alive jokes. Apparently a disgruntled mobster has teamed with the mobsters to take over the mob himself,

Meanwhile Dredd is sent to the north sector, where apparently crime is dropping, but the police suspect this is actually because the mob is expanding their influence. When he first encounters one of the martians he simply assumes it’s a “severe mutation” and suspects the mob is doing mutant trafficking. Later his psychic partner learns the truth, but only after realizing the martian imagery she sees in her mind is not merely a psychic shield.

Soon a full scale invasion of Earth is on and Dredd and the gang fight them off. These two properties fit perfectly together with their over the top goofy violence and mayhem. One of the unique things about this crossover is it sort of utilizes the trading card format from which Mars Attacks initially sprang from. Some panels of the comic mimic both the front and back of a trading card, complete with a unique number. The picture is like a comic panel, and the apparent back side has text which moves the story along and in some cases provides exposition. To my knowledge this hasn’t been done before.

Another interesting thing is an article in the back of the first issue detailing past Dredd crossovers. It mentions Judgement on Gotham and Vendetta in Gotham which I’d previously reviewed, as well as two other Batman crossovers, Ultimate Riddle, and Die Laughing. Another DC crossover with Lobo was called Psycho Bikers vs The Mutants From Hell. Dredd also met Aliens and Predator from film. The article mentions that all these crossovers are considered in cannon, for Dredd at least, as these stories have ramifications for various  supporting characters and plot points from the 2000 AD Dredd series. With any luck more good Dredd crossovers will follow.

Vendetta in Gotham is a crossover comic book where Batman meets the British comic book icon Judge Dredd. It is also a sequel to an earlier crossover called Judgment on Gotham. It opens with Judge Dredd,who is from the future, travels back to hunt down Batman. Right away he shoots down the Bat-mobile from his motorcycle, and the two get into a big brawl. First they fight in a playground like children, then go a top a train of all things.

At first it seems Dredd sought out Batman simply to get revenge from their last encounter. Batman notes that this is pretty childish andabsurd. However, there’s a another factor involved that Dredd is reluctant to tell Batman, and it involves a strange choice of Bat-villain in the ventriloquist. This twist is pretty interesting and I’d say fairly unique to crossover stories.

Near the end of the story Dredd reveals that one of his psychic allies had premonition that he would meet Batman again and that it would involve the Joker. Dredd meeting the Joker is a curious premise indeed.

The Lego movie is a CGI film from Warner Brothers based on the toy building blocks of the same name. The story is about a Lego builder man named Emmet who lives a completely ordinary life as a construction worker. He follows his daily instructions on how to live a happy life. His favorite song is the pop hit “Everything is Awesome,” and his favorite TV show is the popular “Where’s my pants?” He works as a construction worker demolishing buildings that aren’t built according to instructions/that are weird, and rebuilding them the right way.

One day he meets a woman named Wyldstyle, and accidentally finds a mythical piece of resistance.The piece of resistance is said to be able to stop President Business, who rules the world they live in. President Business believes in order and everything being in it’s proper place, and secretly has a plan to keep things in permanent order. Wyldstyle and Emmet join the Master Builders, a group of characters that can build anything without needing instructions, and try to stop President Business.

So the central conflict is between structure and spontaneity, however it’s not cut and dry. The disadvantages of 100% spontaneity are hinted at, and Emmet realizes that victory can only come about through a balance between the two. Some interesting philosophy from a movie one can dismiss as a mere toy commercial.

At the end of the movie you find out what’s really going on and it’s very meta. The animation is great and it’s a highly enjoyable movie.

One of the coolest things about the Lego movie is all the licensed characters that appear. Warner Brothers’ DC comics characters appear, Batman having a supporting role. One of the funniest and surprising moments came with the arrival of Star Wars characters Han Solo and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon. We see Star Wars characters on screen with DC comics characters, and the crossover potential for future installments is huge. The characters that appear are as follows;

DC comics characters Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern.

Michelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Gandalf from Lord of the Rings

Dumbledore from Harry Potter

Milhouse from the Simpsons

From history Abraham Lincoln and William Shakespeare

Pop culture, Shaq, the Statue of Liberty

Then there’s more generic characters like Mermaids, Knights, and Cowboys.

Here’s to future installments.

Judgment on Gotham is the 1991 crossover between Batman and the popular British comic book character. For those that don’t know, Dredd is a Cop/Judge from a Dystopian future where police serve as judge, jury, and executioner. The story opens with a creature from Dredd’s future world wreaking havoc in Gotham. Batman stops him and then is accidentally sent to Mega City/Dredd’s world where he encounters the British Icon for the first time.

Batman fans may not like the fact that Dredd easily knocks out Batman, but this is perhaps later made up for as Batman easily escapes his bonds while Dredd interogates him. The pair go back to present day Gotham to stop the creature, who has teamed up with the Scarecrow. There’s a nice Sympathy for the Devil reference along the way.

Judgment on Gotham has the action expected of the two characters with that offbeat humor of the 2000 A.D. comic.It also ended up being the first of what I believe were 3 Batman/Dredd crossovers.

This 1996 crossover has two of comic books most popular covert teams, Marvel’s Weapon X, (whose team members include Wolverine and Sabertooth) and Image/Wildstorm’s Team 7 both engaged in separate secret missions that have them both end up at the same location. That location is some secret base in the middle east that is doing super soldier experiments. Marvel’s Russian mutant foe Omega Red is present, as is a woman named Mirelle Dupless who I presume to be a villaness from Wildstorm.

There’s some nice back and forth bits as the two teams and their backup intel realize they’re not the only ones on a mission. It’s scripted by G. I. Joe alum Larry Hama so there’s lots of military lingo and the action feels authentic even though it involves super powered characters. It’s a one and done story that ends with a twist involving Mystique. Given the concept I would have liked to have seen a longer story with even more intrigue but for what it is it was entertaining.

P.S. We also get some Dossiers in the back about the characters which was nice.

Spiderman and Batman is a one shot comics crossover from 1995 examining issues of whether or not madness can be cured and illustrating how the family life of the two titular heroes affected their lives.

It opens with a quick rehash of the violent origins of the two heroes. They both lost their parents, but Spiderman/Peter Parker had the love of his Aunt May and Uncle Ben to guide him, giving him a brighter outlook on life than Batman.

The story has the heroes most insane foes meet. For Batman we obviously have the Joker, and for Spiderman we get Carnage, the serial killer who bonded with the symbiote descendant of Venom.

Carnage is locked up in an Asylum in New York where we get a quick debate on if madness can be cured or are some people beyond help. It is settled when a government scientist lobotomizes Carnage so that he may be able to function in society. He is then brought with his doctors to Gotham City where the same is done to the Joker. However, Carnage manages to pull himself free and wants to join with the Joker for some mayhem.

Spiderman has tagged along to keep an eye on Gotham, and after a quick disguise reveal Batman arrives. The two heroes don’t fight, as traditional crossovers go, but the villains end up going at each other a bit, and in a nice touch the Joker ends up helping the heroes get Carnage.

Spiderman and Batman is a nice quick read. It made sense to focus on the two most insane foes, though I’d have liked to have seen a story with some mob based super villains. If nothing else, I always wanted to see Batman fight the Kingpin.

Planetary/Batman: Night of Earth, is a meta-fictional examination of the Batman mythos. The concept of Planetary is these three people investigate the mysteries of the 20th century which involve characters from various pop culture/comic books. (The villains of the main series are basically the Fantastic Four.) With the tag line “Archaeologists of the Impossible,” it was one of my favorite series.

Apparently in the world of Planetary there is a Gotham city, but no Batman. Dick Grayson is head of the Planetary office in Gotham, and has an assistant named Jasper, which is basically the Joker. The crew is called in to find a fugitive whose powers involved being able to cross different realities.

In a nice nod to DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earth’s, the leader Elijah recalls a “partial multiversal collapse” in 1986 where several universes folded into each other. It’s also theorized that Gotham city itself is some sort of focal point in the multiverse.

As the three find the fugitive they end up hopping realities and encountering different versions of Batman, including the original version of Batman who carries guns and is willing to kill. In a much more humorous moment, female agent Jakita run afoul of the Adam West Batman, who takes her out with his Bat-Female Villain Repellent. Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns Batman makes an appearance before the story comes to a close.

It’s a clever idea for a crossover to have the concept of different versions of a character be part of the actual story. It’s also a well-made crossover in the sense that there’s no reason it can’t be considered canon for the Planetary series. Recommended for a good quick read.

When Disney bought Lucasfilm last year, many people speculated when and if there would be a crossover between Star Wars and Marvel Comics, which Disney also bought a few years ago. If you ask me I think that will happen eventually, either in comic book form (the easiest route) or on screen. It got me thinking of what other Disney properties Marvel could incorporate into their world. One Lucasfilm property immediately jumped to mind. I think the following properties could easily be incorporated into the Marvel 616 Universe.

1. Garygoyles.

With New York City being a prominent location in the Marvel Universe, this 90s Disney cartoon about Gargoyles in the big apple is a natural fit. The cartoon features Gargoyles from 10th century Scotland perched atop buildings in the modern day big apple. During the day they are just stone statues but at night they come alive and have adventures involving fighting against their version of the Illuminati. They are also aided by a New York cop.  Gargoyles could easily bump into other New York based characters such as Spiderman, Daredevil, Punisher, etc, as well as more magic/horror based characters such as Dr. Strange and Ghost Rider.

2. Tron:

This 80s Franchise about a virtual video game like world to date has had one sequel as well as various video game and comic book tie ins. Tron blends well with science based heroes like the Fantastic Four and Iron Man. It also could be incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, filling in some of the pre-Iron Man history of that world, perhaps with the Stark company having dealings with Encom, a company in the Tron universe. Iron Man and/or the Avengers exploring the digital world of Tron would at least make a good video game.

3. Indiana Jones

When Disney bought Lucasfilm one of the first things I thought of was I hope Indy gets in the Marvel Universe. The adventures of a World War II era archaeologist preventing Nazis from gaining powerful ancient artifacts fits perfectly into the Golden Age of the Marvel Universe. An Indy/Captain America story practically writes itself, as do stories involving Atlantis, Wakanda, the Savage Land, Marvel’s take on ancient Egypt, and countless other possibilities.

Speaking of Captain America, like Tron, the Indiana Jones films could easily be retro-actively included into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, Captain America, The First Avenger even has a backhanded reference to Raiders of the Lost Ark. When the Red Skull finds the Tesseract, he says “And Der Fuehrer searches for trinkets in the desert.” Of course at the time this line was just kind of a joke, but now Disney owns Lucas-film. Unfortunately we’ll probably never see a Captain America/Indiana Jones movie, but an in canon video game with the voice of Harrison Ford would be nice, or at the very least a comic book mini-series.

If nothing else it would add just under 2 billion dollars to the MCU gross, putting it just behind Harry Potter as the #2 highest grossing franchise at 6.9 billion dollars.

What do you think? What other properties could fit?

During almost every year of the last decade there was at least one, and often three, movies based on Marvel Comics characters. As I’ve detailed here, this was because Marvel licensed out their characters to multiple studios, hence multiple projects were developed at once. Then of course Marvel started making their own movies, starting with Iron Man in 2008, but this time it was different, as their other movies like Hulk, Thor, and Captain America were all set in the same world and led up to Avengers. What if, before 2000, other studios had the same idea with Marvel characters? What could they have done? Here are three possibilities, plus one that’s kind of already happening.

  1. The Marvel Horror Movie-verse.

Potential Characters;

Blade, Ghost Rider, Werewolf by Night, Dr. Strange, Hellstorm, Man-Thing, Moon Knight.

While most point to 2000’s X-men as the beginning of the Marvel Age of movies, Blade came out in 1998, and was actually the first Marvel character to have a successful film. If a studio could have had the rights to Blade, along with other horror based characters like Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange etc., the characters could have teamed up for a Midnight Sons movie ala Avengers. It would have been interesting to see a Marvel film-verse with hard R rated characters. If they went that route, imagine if the same studio also had the rights to other horror characters and threw them in the mix, such as Hellraiser, and slasher films like Friday the 13th, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A truly horrifying universe.

  1. Fantastic Four plus cosmic/space based characters.

Potential Characters;

Fantastic Four, Namor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Inhumans, Guardians of the Galaxy, Adam Warlock, Nova, Silver Surfer.

Imagine an epic Fantastic Four movie with Dr. Doom as the big bad, whose plan involves an artifact from Atlantis and Vibranium from Wakanda. This introduces Namor and the Black Panther, who could spin off into their own movies. This would be the reverse method of Avengers, with the big movie first then spin-offs later. They could team up again for an Atlantis Attacks movie. Namor and Black Panther movies could explore Earth while the Fantastic Four could go off into space to meet the Inhumans, Captain Marvel, maybe even Guardians of the Galaxy. Eventually bring big g Galactus in, and we can finally get a Silver Surfer movie. Even crazier would be if Paramount Pictures was at the helm of this Marvel Cosmic movie-verse, and decided to cross Fantastic Four with Star Trek.

  1. Spiderman and street level/New York based heroes.

Potential Characters,

Spiderman, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Punisher, Master of Kung Fu, Silver Sable, Venom, Black Cat.

It would be fun to see Spiderman team with some NY heroes to fight the Kingpin and the Sinister Six. Throw in Silver Sable for some international adventures and you’ve got some fun stuff here.

I mention this one last because it’s sort of happening already and that’s X-men. At the time of this writing, a Wolverine sequel as well as a First Class sequel is coming soon. Who knows what future installments will bring, but I’d often thought what if they planned to branch out from the beginning. The first trilogy could have set up Days of Future Past; the dark alternate future where sentinels rule the earth (Like Terminator, but this was first. Crossover anyone?). Whole films could have spun out of that starring Bishop, etc., while simultaneously starting the First Class prequels, the Wolverine series, etc.

Consequently I always thought setting the X-men films in the near future was a big mistake. It wasn’t necessary, and given that Magneto’s WWII ties were kept intact, that would mean that, depending on how far ahead you mean by the near future, Magneto could be 100 years old in those movies. Anyway, the First Class spinoff was great, and I hope it’s sequel as well as the new Wolverine is too. If this series wanted to it could even go into space with a Starjammers picture.

Interestingly enough, while Fox continues this franchise, it is also rebooting their Fantastic Four series so they don’t lose the rights to Marvel. At the time of this writing I have no idea if this is a standalone film, or if it will indeed be part of the X-men’s film world. I assume it will be its own thing, but the possibility is there. If Fox Studios would combine the two franchises (and they both have outer-space characters), they could indeed have their own Marvel Cinematic Universe to rival the one Marvel is making in house.  

It’s also interesting to consider the possibilities for tie in products; in continuity comics, video games (The Captain America video game is in canon with the MCU), TV shows, etc. Would it have been confusing for fans? I don’t know if it would have, there were several separate movie worlds as it was, most of them just had one or a small set of heroes. What would have made it work is what makes it work now; they’re similar but not exactly the same. One set could have been straight horror, the other hard science fiction, another more street level stories, and the last a mix of several things.

It would have been fun, but oh well. What do you think?

 Batman Darkness was the first in a series of crossovers between DC Comics and Top Cow. The Darkness is a comic about Jackie Estacado, a NYC mobster who has supernatural power to summon gremlin like demons. This crossover features him and his adopted father Franki Franchetti attempting expand their territory into Gotham City. Along the way Frankie has many humorous encounters with Two Face, Catwoman, and Killer Croc. Much to Frankie’s annoyance, he gets no respect in Gotham. Meanwhile Jackie’s love interest, Jenny Romano is in Gotham doing a charity event in crime alley, leading to friction between him and Bruce Wayne and Jackie wanting to get the goods on his potential romantic rival. The theme of the story is how both Jackie and Bruce Wayne are orphans, and both embraced Darkness in some way. The difference between the two is that Bruce Wayne still had someone who believed in him, that someone being Alfred. Some Easter Eggs include a nod to the Superman “You’ve got me, who’s got you?” line. The demons at one point say “nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah” referencing the old Batman song, and there’s a mention of FBI agent Carla Denton who is from the Darkness comics.

Darkness Superman works around the conceit that Superman is always off fighting monsters and aliens (the story mentions he just stopped an alien threat) and doesn’t have as much time to catch smaller scale criminals. Hence the mafia is able to operate in Metropolis under Superman’s radar. This leads to a situation where Lois is kidnapped, and The Darkness attempts to make Superman an offer he can’t refuse. There’s a reference to the previous Batman story.

JLA Cyberforce has the two teams fight each other than an unexpected threat. Batman and Cyblade have the hots for each other, and Martian Manhunter comes into a situation where he finds great piece of mind. That was an interesting touch.

JLA Witchblade has Kenneth Irons and Lex Luthor manipulating things from behind the scenes, but in a nice touch never encountering the titular teams. Sarah Pezzini, the current Witchblade holder, is friends with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl (Their dads met at a cop seminar in NYC). Sara is seriously injured and Barbara takes her to JLA headquarters. The Witchblade ends up infecting Oracle and Huntress, while Aquaman discovers via his Atlantean library that the Witchblade goes back to the Age of Arion (Which has to do with the ancient Atlantis of the DC universe). The Witchblade ultimate possesses Wonder Woman who goes beserk and takes on the JLA.

All four crossovers were entertaining and made a point of playing off both the similarities and differences of the characters. The four stories being presumably linked was a good touch that future crossovers could take note of.