Back when DC Comics and Marvel Comics were on speaking terms, there were crossovers. From Superman/Spider-Man to Batman/Hulk and even X-Men/New Teen Titans, each one was a major success that made readers hungry for more.
The next step was obvious, JLA/Avengers.
Unfortunately, it took decades to be released due to company politics, but it was well worth the wait.
Written by Astro City and Marvels‘ Kurt Busiek and drawn by the the legendary artist who brought us Crisis on Infinite Earths George Perez, JLA/Avengers was initially released in for installments. Ironically I wasn’t into super hero comics when it first hit the stands but by the time I was interested in that kind of all out blockbuster action, I purchased the deluxe hardcover edition. However, the over-sized edition was both limited and pricey, leading many to do without. This week a reasonably priced trade paperback edition was released and hopefully more readers will have the opportunity to see what a grand experiment JLA/Avengers really is.
Not just a slam-bang action comic, this cross-over also analyzes the differences in tone and philosophy inherent in each universe. Because of their differences, the JLA and Avengers hate each other upon first meeting (par for the course for any cross-over), with Captain America and Superman taking a particular dislike to each other. Aside from the bigger than life battles with Starro and Terminus, the four issues also have nice little moments, such as Batman dispatching the Punisher off-panel and fighting Captain America to a stand-off before realizing that they are too evenly matched. It still makes me chuckle to see both heroes pause in mid-fight and start talking, then retire to the Bat Cave to find out how their universes collided.
Perez really shines in this series and with so many locations and characters to draw, the book is a visual feast. Honestly, I was kicking myself for ever sticking my nose up at this series and taking so long to pick it up. If you yearn for simpler times and have fond memories of Perez on both JLA and Avengers, this book belongs in your collection.
Available at your local comic shop and at Amazon: JLA/Avengers (DC and Marvel Comics)