So far the Justice League and Avengers haven’t gotten along, not realizing they were part of a game, but this time the Grandmaster was playing to protect the universe, using the gathered items of power from the DC and Marvel universe to save both from Krona. What did he do? Today we find out!
DC Comics/Marvel (December, 2003)“Strange Adventures” WRITER: Kurt Busiek ARTIST: George Pérez COLORIST: Tom Smith LETTERING: Comicraft LOGO DESIGN: John J. Hill ASSISTANT EDITORS: Andy Schmidt & Marc Sumerak ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Stephan Wacker EDITORS: Tom Brevoort, Mike Carlin, & Dan Raspler
We open outside the Source Wall as it welcomes a new resident, Doctor Doom. That was thanks to a last-minute distraction by Hawkeye…I mean Green Arrow. But Hawkeye was just there, having come from the Marvel Earth to be with Black Canary, except she’s involved with Green Arrow, right? And why are Barry and Hal there instead of Kyle and Wally? Well at least the universes are getting along.
A little TOO well, perhaps. Meanwhile, the Avengers are at Hydrobase, and I admit my lack of knowledge of Marvel history means I have to take his word for it that they shouldn’t be there. The JLA drops by to tell them about Doom after getting Jan’s call about Braniac. Both Captain America and Superman sense something is off, but the argument now is between Hawkeye and Green Arrow. I almost think THEY’RE disagreement should be the plot point, if only because it would be funnier. 😀 Steve is still trying to put his finger on what’s wrong and Wonder Woman reminds him he’s been doing this multiversal crossover thing since the Invaders and Justice Society. Then Diana’s hand is suddenly Jan’s as the business meeting is now a party at the Justice League satellite.
I’m getting the impression that Busiek is going into older stories, swamping Avengers and JLA where needed. This might be why Hal and Barry are there, and why in this new scene Iron Man has the Silver Centurion armor. While there’s a part of me sorry that Kyle and Wally aren’t there, this is mostly due to the way they’ve been treated recently by DiDio and company. That’s a personal rant so I’ll let it go, but Silver Centurion is my favorite Iron Man armor. I’ve complained a bit too much for some people anyway, so reserve it for questions I have as we go along. There are things I really like about the scene, though. Hawkeye and Green Arrow are having an archery contest…right above everyone’s head. I think my favorite part is Wonder Woman and Wonder Man having an arm wrestling contest. Second is Moondragon using her powers to stop Guy from hitting on her.
However, Thor notes that Superman is by the window ignoring the party. He inquires, just as Wonder Woman did with Steve during the last shift. Superman doesn’t recognize the Avengers, and yet he does. He also remembers battling Thor and then another shift appears. This time they’re in Avengers mansion as Steve goes crazy, sure something is wrong. He even sees Barry and Hal for a moment become Wally and Kyle as they try to restrain him. Jan tries to help him remember the battle they just had with Amazo and Ultron-4., the time the Key and Amazo (actually, both universes have a villain called The Key–that must be confusing) kidnapped Moondragon and Zatanna, and Kang and the Lord Of Time battling over the Chronal Egg. I don’t know if Mr. Busiek will read this to confirm but could that last one be a nod to the original idea for this crossover back in the 70’s?
We don’t have time to dwell on it, or what Batman and Iron Man are investigating. Superman and Captain America resume their irrational (hey, the characters think so, too) anger for each other and when they clash reality breaks! And for once Superboy Prime isn’t to blame. Half of the heroes (not separated by group) end up on the DC Earth, where it’s a deep freeze in Metropolis and the rest in a superhot New York. The Metropolis heroes end up attacked by supervillains, but after defeating them even Wonder Woman’s magic lasso can’t coax the location out them. However, Mjolnir can track leftover energies on them.
In New York the heroes deal with disasters, and find humans from both Earths, taken during brief shots of snow. J’onn becomes one taken by the snow, and the “ghosts”, images of people in Metropolis. He ends up in Marvel New York and is able to lead both sides to a rift joining the two realities, with Krona’s face on both sides. This set Cap off since Krona is a DC villain, and that sets Superman off until Wonder Woman and the Wasp get them both to stop being such jerks and solve the real issue. Hear that, New 52? Wonder Woman is one of the cooler heads! (No pun intended since she’s on the snow side.) Instead the two compare notes and start remembering the events of the first two issues.
Suddenly, Superman gets an idea what’s going on. He follows Krona’s head as it shoots upward, Cap having Iron Man follow. Superman sees parts of various areas merging, but it’s not one to one. Metropolis merging with New York, Gotham with Mount Rushmore. Iron Man notes Marvel’s Earth is smaller and there are various metaphysical and natural laws that may be different between the two, and then they hit high orbit and see this:
According to Superman they’re not really seeing two hands merge the two Earths. It’s just their brains translating what’s happening. Whatever the case, the two planets are tearing themselves apart trying to merge. Scarlet Witch tries to stop Krona and Hal joins in with his power ring, both tapping the wills of their friends to increase their powers. They achieve a temporary fix, with everyone returned, but the Justice League still able to teleport from the JLA Satellite into Avengers Mansion. They agree to work together to stop Krona for good and restore their worlds.
The first thing to do is find the Grandmaster and learn what he did, which the Phantom Stranger agrees to help with. They find the injured Grandmaster, who strains to tell them that he binded the universes to keep Krona from damaging them, but instead he’s trying to merge them, create a new Big Bang. It’s the after effects that put them on edge, just sensing what was going on, especially Superman and Captain America, who have been on edge with each other and their universes from the start. With their memories still fragmented, Cap asks Grandmaster what worlds they’re trying to save, and he shows them. I would complain that Busiek is only showing us the tragedies, but he has a good reason. They wonder if they should bring those disasters, from Wanda and Vision losing their children to Hank slapping Janet, from Hal becoming Parallax to Barry dying, they all wonder if they should actually restore those worlds, until a speech from Hal convinces them they really have no choice, because that’s what heroes do. And as Metron watches, the Justice League and Avengers stand united to take on Krona and restore their worlds!
I really like this one. Busiek pays tribute to the various histories of the DC and Marvel universes. Perez and Smith get to play with various versions of Justice League and Avengers. It’s fun and thus far my favorite of the books. So how will the heroes work together and stop Krona before he makes everything explode again? Come back tomorrow for the conclusion to this story.