It’s the final book, folks. The last battle between Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and World’s Greatest Superheroes against the greatest evil either has ever faced. Can they put the rest of their differences aside and save their worlds? No time to waste, we’re getting right into it!
Marvel/DC Comics (March 2004)
Wait, is that right? It took how many months between #3 & #4? Grand Comics Database isn’t wrong, is it?“The Brave & The Bold” WRITER: Kurt Busiek ARTIST: George Perez COLORIST: Tom Smith LETTERING: Comicraft LOGO: John J. Hill ASSISTANT EDITORS: Andy Schmidt & Marc Sumerak ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Stephan Wacker EDITORS: Tom Brevoort, Mike Carlin, & Dan Raspler
Our final prologue has Krona showing Metron what he learned from Galactus’s mind. In one universe a voice told the future Galactus was he was going to be, and in the other that hand Krona is always trying to find out more about. Now he will have his answer, even if both universes die. I wonder what he does when he finds the answer? Knowledge is useless when you can’t share it or do anything with it. Then again, Krona’s insane.
As the various superheroes of the two universes attempt to hold back the damage and save lives the Avengers and Justice League look for a solution. We get a moment that shows Vision is more than a machine as he is having trouble believing he will sacrifice his children (this version of Vision and Scarlet Witch are when they were still married and before they learned the truth about their kids–which is too much to go over here) but his wife calms him down. The top members gather to discuss Krona’s power and remind the readers about the power items. They decide whatever the danger to go after Krona. They have a plan but someone needs to lead the group and Superman chooses…Captain America! Folks, I have not read ahead yet so I wonder in this paragraph if they get a moment to completely settle their differences but Martina Manhunter at least confirms everyone will easily follow Cap’s lead. With that settled everyone gets to work building a ship to take them to Krona.
What follows are some great character moments. First watching various heroes from the two universes working on the ship, but then as they wait for the right time to move things get personal. Vision and Wanda as well as Hank and Janet worrying about what the restored universe does to their relationships is a good start, but you also get Hal and Barry being friends and discussing their successors. I wonder what would have been discussed between Kyle and Wally but I do like these moments. But then comes what I was hoping for, as Superman and Captain America both bury the hatchet.
Throughout the review I complained about these two not getting along and how they were out of character. I wanted a moment more like this. Superman and Captain America are the most inspirational superheroes of their two universes. They offer hope and a never give up attitude right when everyone needs them the most. In the Marvel Adventures titles, they had some fun with Cap’s speeches, and they were always out of respect. Everyone loved his speeches for what they inspired in others. Superman inspires all of the time. He’s the one with so much power, as far too many of today’s writers ram down our throats, that he could conquer the world if he chooses, but was raised with a strong conscience, a good heart, and a noble soul. He will fight to protect those he cares about and everyone else as well. They may be the greatest heroes of their worlds and I would much rather seem them allies than enemies.
They also acknowledge that the other guy, whatever effect Grandmaster and Krona’s contest was having on them, might have had a point. The Marvel universe tends to be more cynical, less trusting, sometimes to a point so ludicrous that making them the butt of jokes has been something I do a lot, even in my video review of Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah, which featured no Marvel characters (unless you want to make the case for Godzilla). DC, on the other hand–and this is why I’m drawn to it more than Marvel, is more hopeful, more accepting of heroes, seeking a better tomorrow while the Marvel heroes are just trying to hold the line. That’s why Identity Crisis through the New 52 bugs me so much. The DC heroes are the people we should be inspired to become while the Marvel heroes should prove that no matter what the odds we can hold the line. Marvel is who we should be, DC is who we should become. It what makes them heroes. Instead we keep turning them into us, and missing the whole point of a hero. This may also be why I don’t tend to follow the Greek myths, even as a fan of storytelling. The gods are jerks. Superheroes are not and should never be written as gods. They are ordinary people who happen to be able to do the extraordinary. That’s the superheroes I know, love, and hope to write.
Back to the story as the time has come, the event has hit the point where the heroes are able to travel to the villain’s lair. No more doubt, no more bonding, no more self-pity. They aren’t just the Justice League and Avengers. They are the last hope of two worlds. They find Krona’s place, built from the remains of Galactus. I remember reading a story that said if Galactus doesn’t feed he’ll explode and take out the universe with him. I wonder if Krona is controlling that through the items to cause the next Big Bang? Krona has the parademons, Kobra, AIM, and other forces ready, but the heroes aren’t going to be stopped! Let the battle cry ring out!
Granted the Justice League doesn’t have a rallying cry, so they borrow the Avengers. But really, Jan? “Justice League…lambaste?” I like when DC Super Friends used “for justice!” myself.
Thus the battle is joined as Captain America, using J’onn to co-ordinate (if you’ve seen Young Justice, M’Gann does the same thing), gives the heroes their instructions against the various armies including one nobody recognizes but the fact that either Busiek or Perez thought to use the parademon design from Super Friends/Super Powers Team makes me happy! 🙂 But it seems they’re not done playing with old costumes and characters so a chronial wave keeps messing with outfits and rosters. To his credit, Captain America takes it in stride and just has J’onn update new people when they pop up.
Meanwhile, Krona is convinced he will soon create his Bang and have his answers. Metron takes his leave, asking the villain if he seeks answers or conquest. But Krona has the avatars of the two universes. Remember our power couple from last issue?
I didn’t mention them except for this issue, which showed the two merging universes, they’ve appeared in the title page of every issue, the male is “Eternity” the “conceptual being” representing the Marvel universe’s actual universe. The female is an equivalent for DC and I don’t know if she’s appeared before or dreamed up for this event. I also didn’t know they’d be a plot point. This kind of makes Krona the biggest cockblocker in the history of ever!
Batman takes out the defense shield before being blindsided by Batroc the Leaper. Black Canary takes out Screaming Mimi. At one point Cap even fights Prometheus.There are some good challenges here, and it’s what I want to see in these team-up stories. I don’t ask who would win between Superman and the Hulk, I ask who would win between Superman and Gladiator. That’s how I roll. Then something kills Hawkeye and Flash, complaining that their chipper attitudes could give hope to the others. Cap tells everyone to morn later because there’s too much at stake. The shifting switches Hal with Kyle who hits Felix Faust’s group with the power he got from the Cosmic Cube.
Instead of being taken back, Thor uses the deaths to inspire everyone to press on. Kind of backfired, didn’t it mystery hand? The heroes fight on; through every team change (even when J’onn disappears) and every new appearing villain they fight on, heroes of two worlds! This is more like it! At this point Krona realizes Metron was right, and he wants more than his answers now, he wants revenge on the heroes! Another sacrifice comes when a damaged Vision gives Superman the solar radiation he need to counteract Radioactive Man’s (the Marvel villain, not Bart Simpson’s favorite hero) Kryptonite and Solarr’s red sun rays. But he still can’t breach the last wall until Thor offers the power of Mjolnir. Yes, that cover shot of Superman holding Mjolnir and Captain America’s shield is in the book and it is glorious!
However, Krona easily deals with him and the other heroes. Now nobody can stop him from destroying the universes…except for Hawkeye and the Flash! Somehow Barry was able to get them out of the way before they finished being fried and Cap kept them to the side as a last resort. With Flash providing the distraction Hawkeye uses an exploding arrow to destroy Krona’s mechanism, freeing Eternity and his counterpart. The power items are dispersed, presumably back to their proper universes and resting places, and Barry is replaced by Wally as Hawkeye (who wasn’t in the early assault) goes back home. Krona, on the other hand, is dispersed by the explosion of power.
The heroes morn their fallen comrades, but it won’t stay this way. With time restored Hal is once again the Spectre and pushes the two universes back apart. Reality begins to restore as well and Galactus starts to reform. The heroes give a final goodbye and everything is as it was. Krona’s energy is now part of a Chronal egg (more referencing of the unfinished crossover). Grandmaster enjoyed his game, although he hopes not to be dead again. (As we’ve recalled this would be his second time dying.) He also finds it interesting that all sides ultimately won. The heroes have their world and their lives back, Gamemaster won his game, Krona’s egg may become a new universe and he may get the answers he seeks, and Metron got to observe something unique. (So did Uatu but he seems to be forgotten.) Everyone wins! I couldn’t ask for a better ending.
And that’s the final issue, but not the final article. Tomorrow a special afternoon posting will contain my final thoughts on this crossover and Sunday’s Clutter Report over at the other site will review this collection. See you then!