Greetings from the Odinson,
The Great Villain Swap (An Odinson What If Elseworlds Wish)
When it comes to producing super hero comics, two names rise above them all – Marvel and DC. Their rivalry rivals the greatest rivalries in pop culture history, right up there with Coke and Pepsi, McDonalds and Burger King, and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. However, even Marvel and DC have a history of playing nice. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, everybody wins, especially the fans.
In 1975, the Big Two united to present MGM’s Marvelous Wizard of Oz. That worked out so well, in 1976, they decided to pit their greatest heroes against each other in the now iconic Superman vs. Spider-Man.
NOTE: There were two unofficial crossovers between DC and Marvel hidden in storylines by wily creative teams. First, in 1971’s Aquaman #56 and 1974’s Sub-Mariner #72, both issues written by Steve Skeates and both issues feature the Kings of the Sea battling the same monster. Then in 1973, writers Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, and Len Wein, unbeknownst to management, concocted a secret crossover event between Marvel and DC that saw characters from both companies crisscrossing through and interweaving in a connected story known as The Rutland Halloween Crossover.
The ‘80s would begin with more iconic crossovers – Batman vs. the Incredible Hulk (1981) and Superman and Spider-Man (1981), this time the Man of Steel and the Wall-Crawler teaming up rather than pounding on each other. Then, in 1982, Marvel and DC produced one of their best co-produced crossovers to date – The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans.
In the ‘90s, there was an explosion of crossovers between the Big Two including some real gems like Spider-Man and Batman, Green Lantern/Silver Surfer, Batman/Punisher, Galactus vs. Darkseid, and the Incredible Hulk vs. Superman. And they were all bookended by arguably their greatest crossovers – Marvel vs. DC and JLA/Avengers.
NOTE: The ‘90s also had many hidden crossovers. The Odinson’s personal favorite being in the pages of Quasar #17 when the fastest beings in the Marvel U race across the cosmos, but it’s the DCU’s Crimson Comet that proves once and for all that he is the Fastest Man Alive in any universe.
And then, in 2004, everything just stopped. 15 years later and we, the fans, have yet to see another mighty Marvel/DC crossover. I do agree that these are special and are made even more special by the scarcity of their occurrence. But, the Odinson thinks we are long overdue for another Marvel/DC crossover and, boy, do I have an idea for a good one.
The Set-Up: The premise is simple. Some cosmic upheaval happens and suddenly ALL of Marvel’s super villains find themselves in the DCU and ALL of DC’s super villains suddenly find themselves in the Marvel Universe! Now, for the next 3 to 6 months the fans get to witness heroes and villains that don’t know each other interact and do battle. Just think of the possibilities. Here are the clashes that the Odinson would definitely want to see.
The Main Events
Batman vs. Norman Osborn – Sure, facing down the psychotic is the Dark Knight’s modus operandi, but has he ever faced someone that is as crazy as the Joker, as rich and with as much resources as Lex Luthor, someone with physical strength and fortitude that surpasses Killer Croc, and someone with a genius level intellect that rivals even Ra’s Al Ghul all rolled into one?! It is probably safe to say the Caped Crusader has never faced anything like Norman Osborn.
Spider-Man vs. The Joker – They have actually met (see Spider-Man and Batman), but that brief encounter nowhere near prepared Peter Parker for the lunacy the Clown Prince of Crime brings to the party. Spidey has dealt with psychotic killers before, but someone like Carnage is just wanton death and random violence. While the Joker can produce maximum carnage with the best of them, where his particular brand of lunacy hits hardest is when he targets those the hero loves most. Jason Todd, Barbara Gordon, and Sarah Essen Gordon have all been caught in the Joker’s murderous wake. How will Spider-Man’s sense of responsibility and moral fortitude be challenged when Mary Jane, Harry Osborn, and Aunt May find themselves in the Joker’s crosshairs?
Superman vs. Loki – Dealing with magical tricksters is nothing new for the Man of Steel, but what happens when he faces a magical foe that cannot be tricked into exile simply by getting him to say or read his name backwards? Plus, at the end of the day, Mister Mxyzptlk is just a troublemaker who actually just craves Superman’s attention. Loki, however, is a Norse god of evil destine to ignite the flames of the end of days and lead the forces of darkness into the final apocalyptic battle between good and evil. Loki possesses the schemes and the power to push the Man of Tomorrow to his limits and beyond.
Thor vs. Lex Luthor – Facing the Mighty Thor, Lex will be confronted with all the same attributes he absolutely loathes in his arch foe, Superman, a nigh indestructible godlike being with unparalleled strength and powers far beyond those of ordinary men and woman. The difference is Thor isn’t a farm boy that was raised in the heartland of America that tip toes around bad guys with restraint. This match up could provide us with one of the funniest moments of the tale. Thor would leave a fuming Lex Luthor dangling by a wedgie on the flagpole in the front lawn of the state penitentiary.
Wonder Woman vs. Red Skull – Johann Schmidt is everything that Wonder Woman stands against. He’s an oppressive, warmongering Nazi criminal mastermind bent on world domination. Where the Red Skull really poses a threat is that he is not above exploiting mythology to find artifacts of power like the Cosmic Cube to give him a supernatural edge over his foes. Whether it’s the Spear of Destiny, the Helmet of Fate, or the God Killer, the DC Universe has plenty of divine artifacts of great power for the Red Skull to seek out and turn against the Amazing Amazon.
Captain America vs. Deathstroke – This is the ultimate fight the Odinson has been waiting to see his whole life. The ultimate showdown by the two ultimate warriors. It is a battle I have talked about countless times with friends, co-workers, and anybody that’d listen. Who will be the last super soldier left standing? My heart tells my Steve Rogers, but Slade Wilson has proven on many, many occasions that he is the most dangerous man alive. Get your popcorn ready, boys and girls, because this one is going to be good! Ding-Ding!
Green Lantern vs. The Mandarin – This is perhaps the most visually intriguing matchup on the list. A good artist could just go nuts with this one. The Mandarin has ten, TEN, power rings. Hal Jordan will be put to task as his single willpower-fueled power ring will be tested like never before. Iron Man’s arch foe will throw the powers of cold, hypnosis, lightning, fire, electromagnetic energy, darkforce, a disintegration beam, wind, force, and transmutation at him like a supernatural hurricane!
Iron Man vs. Sinestro – Iron Man has faced power rings before, but has he ever faced anything like the DCU’s Master of Fear? Thaal Sinestro is one of the most diabolical criminal masterminds in the DCU and he possesses immense power to back it up. Can Sinestro tap into Tony Stark’s fears? His fear of failure? His fear of the unknown? His fear of self-destruction? Or, can Tony rise above as he has done so many times before and show this arch super villain why he is called the Invincible Iron Man?
Aquaman vs. Attuma – This despot of the deep presents an interesting challenge for the King of the Seven Seas. Attuma can stand toe-to-toe with the Hulk, so Arthur isn’t going to out muscle him. Attuma is a seasoned warlord and master of arms, so Arthur probably can’t out fight him. Attuma is a schemer and veteran of the Game of Thrones-style backstabbing that happens when the rule of a kingdom is usurped. So, how does Aquaman defeat a foe that is stronger and tougher than him and can meet him straight up on any battlefield from the darkest depths of the sea to the highest mountain to the royal courts of Atlantis? It sure would be fun to see.
The Immortal Hulk vs. Doomsday – This is a battle for the ages that would shake the pillars of the multiverse to its core. How does a battle between two monsters that are fueled by rage and are both practically unkillable end? The only way it can end is with the entire planet smashed to rubble and every living thing that walks, crawls, flies, or swims on the Earth smashed in their monstrous wake. Doctor Strange would have to step in and exile these behemoths to some nether realm or uninhabited domain where they can just beat the tar out of each for eternity and not hurt anyone else. If I had to guess, Doctor Strange would take the opportunity and send these battling beasts to the domain of Mephisto and give the readers a knowing wink and smile.
Every good crossover event worth its salt has subplots and skirmishes happening between the main battles. These are the eye candy the Odinson wants to see.
The Background Brawls:
This Marvel/DC crossover event would go down as an instant classic. And, a positive thing about it is that there really is no arguing because, of course, the good guys will win. It will be seeing how and at what cost that makes it all worth the price of admission.
I say, “”Let them fight!”
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my book – The Survivors: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, Kindle, and Audiobook.