DC may be the older comic imprint, but there’s no doubt that Marvel Comics is the acknowledged leader in the multi-million dollar comic book industry and this league-leading position is most evident whenever Marvel announces any new ‘comic events’ that usually happen a couple of times every year. These are the multi-title crossovers where heroes from different titles interact in stories that are specifically written to interweave among a number of titles. These inter-title crossovers are a fun read because you get to see the interaction of heroes who wouldn’t usually be collaborating in their respective titles on a regular day. It’s also a great way to discover or take interest in heroes that are not in one’s regular reading list.
1. Civil War
The Civil War crossover is a milestone of sorts because it attempts to address some real-world issues currently plaguing us, and it was told in a very mature manner that is dramatic and also, surprisingly, objective. The attempt to pass the Superhero Registration Act divided the heroes and caused each side to battle each other. Civil War is also memorable for two things – it led Spider-Man to reveal his secret identity and, tragically, the death of Captain America.
2. Secret Wars
Secret Wars was one of the most talked about Marvel events of the 80s. The Beyonder gathered Marvel heroes and villains in Battleworld in order to study the concept of good and evil. The sides were not as clean-cut as the two groups broke into different factions. If there’s one event in this crossover that will have a long-term impact on the Marvel Universe it will be the discovery of the alien symbiote that Spider-Man will use as a costume and will eventually become Venom. The success of Secret Wars prompted the guys at Marvel to develop Secret Wars II, which is a sorry excuse for a ‘sequel’ because it was never as great as the first one.
3. Fall of The Mutants
Marvel’s mutant titles are known for their superb crossovers. As crossovers go, it’s not really a big stretch because among Marvel titles, it’s the mutant books that are most closely involved with each other. But despite this, Marvel’s writers still manage to think of new complications to throw at our favorite mutant heroes. One of the best mutant crossovers of all time will have to The Fall of The Mutants. In this event, the mutants had to deal with the celestial manifestations of order and chaos. This was the event where Storm regained her elemental powers after it was drained by Forge, but more than that it brought about the death of the X-Men. Okay, they’re actually alive but the world thought the team died in defense of mankind and the X-Men decided that they are now in a better position to fulfill their responsibilities if people think they are dead. It’s one of the must-reads if you’re a mutant fan.
What’s the best way to kill of a whole alternate universe but with a well-thought out annihilation through a crossover? And that’s what happened in the Ultimate Marvel Universe with the Ultimatum crossover. This crossover involved all of the titles in the Ultimate universe and its effects are as far reaching as you can get in a comicbook universe. The main antagonist here is Magneto who, out of grief, wants to destroy everything in his path. The epic battle between Magneto’s followers and the Ultimate superheroes was one for the books. Almost all of the major characters in the Ultimate Universe did not survive. Only a handful lived to tell the tale.
5. Age of Apocalypse
The ‘what if…?’ scenarios are the best possible sources for new storylines because it allows writers to run with the ball without worrying about continuity or established backgrounds for characters. This is the reason why The Age of Apocalypse was such a wonderful read. Itpresents readers with a an alternate look at the Marvel Universe where Apocalypse is the master of the earth, and the heroes and mutants are either part of the resistance or else a member of Apocalypse’ squads.
I’m really partial to the Inferno crossover myself.
I LIKE CHAOS WAR!