Posts Tagged ‘Comic Book Crossovers’

Danger Girl/G.I. Joe is a comic book crossover between the long popular Hasbro toy property and the IDW comic book series about a group of female super spies. In the beginning of the story two G. I. Joe agents get captured, and it is revealed that in this world Abbey Chase of Danger Girl appears to be an agent of Cobra. This world also has a female president. A series of events ensues  in which Madame President orders the Joes to stand down against Cobra, but some of the Joes want to act out on their own to save their captured friends. The Danger Girl crew arrives on the scene and one of the girls punches out the President. Madame President does not appear to be who she seems. The two teams join up against a wild over the top battle to rescue their friends, and one of the Danger Girls in particular is highlighted as the one who really saves the day.

The world of Danger Girl is not nearly as large as the world of G. I. Joe, and Cobra seems to be the main enemy of this story. The plot is pretty straight forward, but your getting what you expect of these properties. Danger Girl/G.I. Joe is filled with ludicrous over the top action starring highly glamorous men and women of the special forces that are fighting to save the day.

Vampirella is a female Vampire adventurer who was originally published in 1969 by Warren Publishing.Three years prior, the supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows aired on ABC. Eventually the vampire character Barnabas Collins became the main character of that TV show. In recent years Dynamite Entertainment has picked up the rights to both properties, this a crossover was inevitable.

The villain is introduced right away, Elizabeth Bathory, the real life woman who bated in young girls blood, is portrayed as an ancient vampire. We briefly stop in Victorian London where she encounters Jack the Ripper. Vampirella in the comics has only been on earth (she’s actually and alien by the way) during modern times. Barnabas Collins has existed for centuries, but given Vampirella’s back-story, the main part of this crossover takes place in the modern day. The original Dark Shadow’s show ran until 1971, with a few films that followed. So to my knowledge this is the first time that the classic Barnabas Collins has been brought to the modern day. (There was a reboot/revival short lived tv series in the early 1990s).

Cut to modern day, Bathory has come to New York City, and her crimes get the attention of our two vampire heroes. Barnabas has an interesting motivation in that he is able to control his urges and apparently has ways of feeding without hurting anyone. However when he was first a vampire he took many victims. In remorse he has sworn to protect the ancestors of his victims. This brings him to New York. Vampirella is already there and works with the police.

Barnabas brings an ally with him that is a werewolf, and Vampirella introduces us to Pantha, a woman that can turn into a Panther. While there’s seemingly no sexual tension between Barnabas and Vampirella, there’s plenty between the two supporting characters. Barnabas plays the old man out of touch with the times as Vampirella is more in tune with today. They are both good allies for each other though.

This is more of an action story than a horror story. There’s lots of graphic violence, tearing people limb from limb etc. Perhaps this is not what Dark Shadow fans are used to seeing, but it fits the story I guess. The plot itself is pretty simple, and we sort of get a cameo from the witch that cursed Barnabas, and Dracula makes a surprise appearance at the end. (He has a history and rivalry with Vampirella).

Barnabas and Vampirella both debuted within a few years of each other, and while tonally they are very different characters, their vampiric roots managed to bring them together. So if you ever wanted to see what would happen if these two met, check it out.

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.

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.

King’s Watch is a new comic book from Dynamite crossing the action heroes from King’s Features; Flash Gordon, the Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, and Lothar.

The series opens with Earth in mass hysteria as people all over the world have nightmares about monsters and other horrific imagery. Meanwhile some strange atmospheric phenomenon is occurring  and reporter Dale Arden is investigating. Mandrake the Magician has an ominous moment in his home, and there’s a few mystic characters in Africa but I’m not sure who they were.

Elsewhere in Africa, Lothar and the Phantom fight a giant monster in West Tanzania in a pretty cool action sequence. Flash Gordon here is the son of a CEO who is setting up private space exploration. Flash has met Dr. Zarkoff the issue ends with them flying off into space investigating the phenomenon.

While the source of the phenomenon appears to be from Flash Gordon mythology, it does not appear to be Ming the Merciless. So far it seems like a good concept and I’m curious to read more.

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.

 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.