Batman & Captain America
DC/Marvel (1996)WRITER/ARTIST: John Byrne COLORIST: Patricia Mulvihill COLOR SEPARATOR: Jamison
“Elseworlds” stories are tales that exist outside of DC continuity but feature a familiar version of the same heroes and villains. In this case it’s January, 1945, during World War 2. Captain America is sent to Gotham City when the “Gotham Project” is threatened. The Joker has been stealing things he can use to set of “Fat Boy” and the military knows the Clown Prince Of Crime shouldn’t be able to pull off something this major. They believe one of the sponsors of the project, Bruce Wayne, is behind Joker’s campaign, but unknown to even the Joker it’s the Red Skull. The Joker “may be a criminal lunatic, but I’m an American criminal lunatic” and is the surprising key to Batman and Captain America saving the world. Twenty years later it’s Dick Grayson, the new Batman, and Bruce Wayne Jr., the new Robin, who find Captain America in the ice and welcome him to the modern world.
What they got right: While technically Batman and Robin stories were around during WW2, making it an Elseworlds story makes it easier to play games with the timeline. Bruce and Steve figure out whom the other is thanks to having fought side-by-side before as Batman and Captain America, so when they fight in their secret identities they figure it out. Seeing Robin team with Captain America and Bucky team with Batman was cool to see, sort of a sidekick swap. And I have no problem with the Joker being the one to save the day based on his portrayal here, a shade of the early versions of the character. There’s also a quick cameo as Cap and Bucky fight alongside Sgt. Rock and Easy Company.
What they got wrong: What was Bucky’s problem with Robin? Was he upset he wasn’t the only teen sidekick in the adventure?
Recommendation: This is one of my favorite comics. Batman and Cap work together very well and they’d do so again in the DC Vs Marvel and JLA/Avengers. I would love to see them team up again.