I reviewed the first team-up a long time ago as part of Scanning My Collection.
Batman & Spider-Man
DC/Marvel (1997)“New Age Dawning” WRITER: J.M. DeMatteis PENCILER: Graham Nolan INKER: Karl Kesel COLORIST: Gloria Vasquez SEPARATIONS: Heroic Age LETTERER: John Costanza
Ra’s Al Ghul has decided to make people come to him instead of forcing others to serve him. His “prophets” have pushed his message but he is the one behind numerous disasters around the world. He has targeted the next one for New York and decided the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, could help him maintain control. However, Ra’s daughter, Talia meets quickly with Batman and whenever she shows up, he gets suspicious about what “the demon’s head” is up to. Meanwhile, Spider-Man has stumbled upon Ra’s operation in the Big Apple, drawing him into the mystery. Soon the heroes are on their way to the Himalayan base of Ra’s, who has promised a cure for Mrs. Fisk’s cancer. What Ra’s couldn’t plan on, though, is that Fisk actually teams with the heroes. As much as he wants Vanessa’s cancer cured, he won’t sacrifice his New York empire. Impressed by Fisk’s subterfuge, Ra’s lets them go, and Talia secret sends the cure to Batman, for a false cancer Ra’s was using to get Fisk to join him.
What they got right: I like the scene with Talia and Vanessa, both of whom have given their hearts to unlikely people. We also see another cute moment with Peter and MJ that isn’t the same when they aren’t married. While this is the only comparison we see it’s a nice touch. The story itself is fairly decent. Spidey and Batman make a good team, and I like they go right to the team-up with only a few panels of disagreement (Batman doesn’t play well with others). The art is well done, especially when you remember this is from the late 1990s. But it isn’t “good by 90s standards”, it’s just good.
What they got wrong: Why did Ra’s have to create a fake cancer strike Vanessa with? I’d believe Ra’s has a cure for cancer but would only give it to certain people. He’s kind of a jerk that way.
Recommendation: While not as good as their first team-up, it’s still a pretty good story that’s worth checking out.