This article arose out of a need to classify crossovers that involve more than one title on my hard disk drive. I have my collection broken down by publisher, superhero and finally by title. Where do I put the crossovers that occur in more than one title? I opted to create a separate folder and ended up creating very exact criteria for deciding what to put in that folder after a great deal of thought which I would like to share with the world. I would add that I am a bit of a classification nerd and maybe should have become a librarian rather than an educator (Fox Presentation Taxonomy, Fox Martial Arts Taxonomy, Divination Taxonomy).
The words event, crossover and story arc are often used interchangeably but not in this article. Wikipedia has entries describing crossover events for both DC and Marvel comics. Story Arcs that happen within a single title are totally excluded from this list. In the Silver Age, when I was young, story arcs almost exclusively began and ended within a single title. The whole crossover title story arc really got traction in the eighties with the Crisis of Infinite Earths and the success of this story arc in selling a lot of comic books across a wide variety of titles. If I went to the sixties in a time machine my knowledge of the future of comic book trends, how to create strategic card games, and the knowledge of what stocks to buy is what would secure me my fortune in the past. I would take the money I made from creating comic books and card games and buy all the right stocks! Even extended story arcs within a single title was a way of telling stories that was pioneered within Marvel in the sixties and not the Golden Age but DC belatedly followed suit.
Comic Book Reading Orders is another invaluable resources when trying to identify title crossovers but does not include some of the title crossovers from the Marvel Silver Age crossovers that are mentioned in Wikipedia including Sub-Mariner’s Quest for Krang (1966), Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968), Terrible Trio (1969), Mr. Kline War and Kree-Skrull War (1971). DC was definitely slow to get on the title crossover bandwagon and only had one, yes one title crossover in the Silver Age and this is Zatanna’s Search which is not on the Comic Book Reading Orders list of what their site calls events.
I used both the Comic Book Reading Orders site and Wikipedia as sources to make the ultimate DC title crossover list and the ultimate Marvel title crossover lists. As I started creating and putting title crossovers into the right folder, I couldn’t help but read a lot of title crossovers. I actually tediously made a lot of title crossovers folder by copying individual files and using the reading orders provided in the Comic Book Reading Orders website. Yeah a real good use of time.
I ended up reading about sixty title crossovers over a three day period. I am not married and if I continue down this road then I suspect that I will never be married. What did you do over the weekend honey? Oh I read about sixty title crossovers! Yeah not the sort of sexy conversation that helps a fan boy get a girlfriend. Anyway I had my Eureka moment and want to share this with fan boys everywhere and if an attractive female likes the article feel free to contact me and share your adulation. I have inductively come up with the following categories of crossovers including Family, Families Meet, Odd Couple, Melee, Universe Tour and Universe.
Family crossovers are crossovers that happen within titles that involve the same characters or related characters. Sometimes two or more families meet as families. The two families may clash as is the case of the Avengers vs X-Men title crossover. Because the characters are all from the same family, they have a long history together the general pattern of relationships is set and predictable but nuances of the relationship can be explored in this sort of crossover.
An Odd Couples title crossover as one involving two characters that are in different comic book families and normally do not interact in their universe and the strangeness of their pairing is a big part of the narrative. This is the comic book version of the buddy cop film. Because superheroes have superpowers unlike cops, most cops anyway, there can be a contrast between superpowers not just personalities. The ultimate comic book Odd Couple is Batman and Superman. Batman has no superpowers. Superman has a plethora of superpowers. How can someone with no superpowers help someone with so many superpowers? That was the premise of World’s Finest (DC) and I bought that comic book on a regular basis when I was a child in the sixties. Well after a hundred issues plus I still don’t buy it.
Odd couple pairings can and do organically happen with a Families Meet crossover. A+X was a title that was a follow up to the Avengers vs X-Men title featured an Avenger paired with an X-Man as a team. A+X is not a title crossover since all the team ups happened in the one title but is a great read anyway!
Not all team ups are odd couple team ups. Marvel Team-Up (Marvel) paired Spider-Man with every Marvel character imaginable but most were not odd couple team ups. The Brave and Bold (DC) went from being a showcase title to being a title in which every character imaginable teamed up with Batman. DC Comics Presents teamed up Superman with every DC character imaginable.
A melee crossover involves a large number of superheroes. This sort of crossover is similar to a universe crossover but on a smaller scale. Sometimes the line is iffy. I would classify Brightest Day (2010) as a melee crossover but could see how someone else would say it’s a universe crossover. Sometimes a new character takes a tour of their universe and I call this type of story a Universe Tour crossover. Kind of a road trip for superheroes. Functionally, this allows the comic book company to introduce a character to a wide variety of readers. A Universe crossover involves just about every character in that universe.
DC Family Crossovers
DC noticed that Superman sold well. So why not a title that features his girlfriend Lois Lane or even his best friend Jimmy Olsen? Before you know it there are several Superman related titles. Whether a title belongs to a family is not the easiest decision. For example placing the electronic comic book file of Arkham Asylum related titles and All-Star Batman in the same Batman folder on your computer is a no brainer. However, where should I place the Catwoman titles? I choose to put them outside of the Batman folder. I think Catwoman has an identity separate from being a side kick of Batman. Catwoman titles don’t always involve Batman. However, I put Lois Lane titles in my Superman folder. Lois Lane stories invariably involve Superman and are an extension of the Superman family of titles. Action Comics is an anthology associated with Superman but also has none Superman material so Action Comics gets its own folder outside of the Superman folder. Below is a table of all the DC family title crossovers.
DC has a total of 61 family crossovers. Aquaman has two family crossovers and is tied for fifth place. Batman has 26 family crossovers and takes first place in terms of the number of crossovers. In Batman there tends to be an all hands on deck feel to most of these crossovers. This is portrayed in the illustration from Battle for the Cowl #1 below. I personally like the Batman crossovers.
Flash has one crossover and is in last place. Green Lantern has six family crossovers and is in fourth place. The Justice League has ten and is in third place. The Justice Society has two family crossovers and is tied for fifth place. Superman has 14 family crossovers and is in second place after Batman. The Superman crossovers are ok but finding challenges for Superman is difficult and finding challenges for a bunch of Kryptonians such as Supergirl often becomes too much of a good thing.
Batman and Superman were the first superhero families in comic book history so this probably accounts for why they dominate this type of story (Batman Family vs. Superman Family). I would have to add that while Green Lantern is in fourth place, the sheer number of issues involved in the six Green Lantern family crossovers might be very high and nudge Green Lantern to third place if this criteria was used. DC Family crossovers really keep the crossover within the family! A Batman, Superman or Green Lantern family crossover will not have even a single issue outside of their respective families. Since I put titles into was is basically family folders, I choose to put the DC Family crossovers in the family folder not the crossover folder.
Marvel Family Crossovers
Marvel has a total of 49 family crossovers. The Avengers family, Ghost Rider, and Marvel UK have one crossover and tie for fourth place. The Hulk family has two crossovers and is in third place. Some of the Hulk Family crossovers occur in titles that are not Hulk related so I choose to put the two Hulk crossovers in the separate crossover folder. The Spider-Man family has 13 crossovers and is in second place. The X-Men family has 30 crossovers and wins first place hands down. The X-Men family crossovers often only involve X-Men titles and I put these in the X-Men folder rather than the crossover folder.
DC Families Meet
DC only has eight Families Meet title crossovers which include Godhead (2014), Inhumans vs X-Men (2016), Janus Directive (1989), Lightning Saga (2007), Millennium (1987), Red Daughter of Krypton (2014), The Culling (2012), Throne of Atlantis (2013), Trinity (1993) and Worlds Collide (1994).
Godhead only happens in the Green Lantern titles because the family they go up against is the New Gods and right now they don’t have any titles. Still this isn’t a family crossover but the Lanterns versus the New Gods. This is one of my favorite reads. The personalities of the New Gods are teased out as they interact with the Lanterns in a way that Jack Kirby never did.
The Janus Directive is pretty much what would happen if two secret US government agencies competed. The Janus Directive is more or less Checkmate versus Suicide Squad! The concept is good but actually the series is not very good. The series came out in the Bronze Age and DC seemed to have a harder time in that age than Marvel.
The Lightning Saga is Justice League of America teams up with the Justice Society of America and then get manipulated by the Legion of Superheroes. The series has some good one on one interactions but overall is a confusing jumble. Too many characters!
Millennium (1987) is more or less a Justice League meets the Guardians of the Universe but often degenerates into a melee crossover. Plus I just hate the art of Joe Staton in the back bone miniseries. Stanton is currently illustrating Scooby Doo and perhaps that is where his cartoonish style belongs.
In Red Daughter of Krypton (2014), Supergirl joins the Red Lanterns. A member of the Superman family joins the Green Lantern family! Wow! Sorry all the multicolored Lanterns are members of the Green Lantern family as of now. This may change in the future but for now I put all the Red, Lantern, Orange Lantern, whatever color Lantern in my big Green Lantern folder. Supergirl and the Red Lanterns are fleshed out as characters in this crossover and overall this is a good read. However, what could have happened but never did happen is an intervention by Superman and better yet the whole Superman family to get Supergirl to abandon the facist, might is right philosophy of the Red Lanterns. A slug fest between the Superman family and the Red Lanterns would have been an interesting slug fest. This is the sort of fight that would get lots of comments on Comic Vine. The outcome of the battle is not obvious. An explanation of sorts of why Supergirl totally rejects the Truth, Justice and American Way that is the hallmark of past Supergirls but I don’t buy the anger (Supergirl V6 #28).
The Culling (2012) is the Legion of Superheroes meet the Teen Titans. Tons of action but zero character development. What makes Families Meet crossovers work is that the writer allows for some one-on-one team ups between members of the two families that allow for character development and this doesn’t happen in The Culling.
Throne of Atlantis (2013) is not just the Justice League meets Aquaman! Throne of Atlantis is the Justice League meets the Aquaman family which is complex web of Atlantean relationships. For some reason I liked Aquaman as a child in the sixties. I do think Aquaman’s family is neglected and worth a reboot. Ocean Master, the brother of Aquaman, is fleshed out. Vulko is Aquaman’s science advisor and also given more characterization in this crossover. Throne of Atlantis was a straight to video movie release and perhaps the best example of a Families Meet crossover in the DC Universe.
DC has not one but three interstellar police forces! Trinity (1993) explores what would happen if the Darkstars, Green Lantern Corps and the L.E.G.I.O.N. faced a threat together. Families may form an alliance but the alliance is often uneasy as is the case in Trinity. Hal Jordan in particular feels he has been manipulated by Dox and of course Hal Jordan is right.
The writers missed a great opportunity to do an homage to the Three Kingdoms Chinese classic with this cast!
Worlds Collide (1994) is a meeting of the Superman family from the DC Universe and Dakota-based superheroes from the Dakotaverse. The Superman family has one token African American character named Steel and he is a big part of the cross over. The heroes in the Dakotaverse are all African American. So this is a crossover that is also interracial although this possible nuance is not explored in the least.
Marvel Families Meet
Marvel has 13 Families Meet crossovers including AXIS (2014), Avengers vs. X-Men (2012), Avengers/Defenders War (1973), Black Vortex (2015), Bloodties (1993), Child’s Play (1994), Curse of the Mutants (2010), Days of Future Present (1990), World War Hulk (2007), Inhumans vs X-Men (2017), Operation: Galactic Storm (1992), The Trial of Jean Grey (2014) and Utopia (2009).
The most commercially successful Families Meet crossovers are AXIS (2014) and Avengers vs. X-Men (2012) which both have the Avengers family meeting the X-Men family. The Avengers have been playing patty cake with the X-Men for a long time before these two crossovers. The first meeting was in Uncanny X-Men V1 #9.
The second Avengers/X-Men meeting was in Avengers V1 #53.
The third Avengers/X-Men meeting was in Bloodties.
The Avengers/Defenders War is an oldie but goodie. My favorite scene was when Doctor Strange, a Defender takes on Praying Mantis, an Avenger.
Turns out that Doctor Strange is quite the martial artist!
In Child’s Play the New Warriors meet X-Force.
In World War Hulk, the new Hulk family, his war band takes on the Marvel Universe. World War Hulk is the best read in the bunch. The Hulk was stranded on an alien world and picked up one heck of a war, an alien spaceship with all sorts of technology, tons of gladiatorial skills and last but not least a cold, cold anger directed at the Illuminati! However, to get to the Illuminati then you have to get past their allies and that’s just about every superhero in the Marvel universe!
Inhumans vs X-Men is a brand new crossover. Magneto explains why fighting the Inhumans is a really bad idea but Emma Frost doesn’t care.
Operation: Galactic Storm is the Avengers fight Kree superheroes with the Shi’ar in the mix as well.
The X-Men meet the Guardians of the Galaxy in the Trial of Jean Grey. The X-Men take on the Dark Avengers in Utopia. My favorite crossover of this type is Curse of the Mutants. In this crossover, the Marvel vampire world is fleshed out. Someone at Marvel is obviously a player of White Wolf’s World of Darkness and came up with some very interesting vampire clans of their own. The enemy of my enemy is my friend means that Dracula is actually a friend of the X-Men!
DC Melee Crossovers
DC has eleven Melee crossovers including Amazons Attack! (2007), Blackest Night (2009), Bloodlines (1993), Brightest Day (2010), Convergence (2015), Day of Judgment (1999), DC One Million (1998), Genesis (1997), Invasion! (1989), The Multiversity (2014) and War of the Gods (1991). This is my least favorite type of DC crossover. Just about all of the melee crossovers in the DC universe are just slug fests with so many characters that characterization is totally sacrificed. I am not sure if this is a limitation of the plot device or a limitation of the ability of the writers involved in these particular projects. However, Multiversity was a good read.
Marvel Melee Crossovers
Marvel has 25 Melee crossovers including Acts of Vengeance (1989), Age of Ultron (2013), Annihilation (2006), Annihilation: Conquest (2007), Atlantis Attacks (1989), Avengers Disassembled (2004), Casket of Ancient Winters (1984), Corporation (1977), Eighth Day (1999), Heroes Reborn (1996), Heroic Age (2010), Inhumanity (2014), The Initiative (2007), Kree-Skrull War (1971), Maximum Security (2000), Mr. Kline War (1971), Onslaught Saga (1996), Original Sin (2014), Realm of Kings (2010), Shattered Heroes (2011), Siege (2010), The Thanos Imperative (2010), War of Kings (2009), World War Hulks (2010) and Wraith War (1984). Just about all the Marvel crossovers are good reads.
Age of Ultron is on the border of being a Universe crossover. Age of Ultron the comic book has Ultron taking on everyone. Age of Ultron the movie is Ultron against just the Avengers. Ultron is one of Marvel’s more interesting characters since Ultron as a robot brings an outsider view to the very concept of what the human condition is really all about.
Acts of Vengeance is a Bronze Age crossover that is worth reading. Loki makes a mirror image of the Avengers by uniting supervillain heavyweights but they cannot cooperate because of the inherent egotism of supervillains. There are many similarities between Acts of Vengeance and the later Universe crossover Dark Reign. Doctor Doom and Loki are part of the inner circle in both crossovers (Secret Invasion-Dark Reign #1, Spectacular Spider-Man #158). Magneto represents mutants in Acts of Vengeance. Emma Frost is the mutant representative in Dark Reign.
DC Odd Couple Crossovers
DC only has three Odd Couple crossovers including Brotherhood of the Fist (1998), Emperor Joker (2000) and Rotworld (2012). The number of Odd Couple crossovers is small but all three crossovers are winners.
The Brotherhood of the Fist teams up Batman, Green Arrow, Nightwing and Tim Drake. There are some extended dialogues between Batman as harsh mentor and of Connor Hawke who is the second Green Arrow. Connor Hawke wants Batman to answer questions about his father the original Green Arrow. All the characters are heroes that are martial artists. There is a lot of Bullshido in the crossover but still a good read (Green Arrow V2 #135).
Swamp Thing is a plant. Animal Man is an animal, primate, well connected to animals. In Rot World we find out what happens when Swamp Thing and Animal Man team up. Swamp Thing and Animal Man are both sort of weird superheroes and complementary along the weirdness dimension.
Emperor Joker is really an exploration of what happens when Superman and the Joker meet! An excellent read! This is by far the best Odd Couple crossover that DC has turned out. What if the maddest mad man in the DC universe became the most powerful man in the DC Universe? That is the premise of Emperor Joker and the premise works. The Joker steals the powers of Mister Mxyzptlk and Superman is trapped in a Looney Tunes world.
The Joker has been more or less all powerful before his Emperor Joker stint (DC Special Series #27 – Batman vs The Incredible Hulk).
Look when is DC going to make the Krypton, a super dog and Streaky, a super cat, miniseries? Krypton and Streaky are marooned in a strange dimension and forced to work together to get home. A revamp of the Disney classic Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. If you like cat and dog stories then you will love Hello Kitty & Snoopy.
Marvel Odd Couple Crossovers
Marvel has 14 Odd Couple crossovers including Blood and Thunder (1990), Countdown (1995) , Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968), Dead Man’s Hand (1992), For Love Nor Money (1993), Midnight Massacre (1993), Over the Edge (1995), Rise of the Midnight Sons (1992), Shadowland (2010), Siege of Darkness (1993), Sub-Mariner’s Quest for Krang (1966), Time and Time Again (1994) and Wild Kingdom (2005). Blood and Thunder has the Silver Surfer trying to cure Thor from a berserkers rage and the Silver Surfer finds allies left and right to do this. An interesting plot premise that degenerates into endless slug fests. However, Odin takes on Thanos in this series and that makes the whole crossover worthwhile!
Countdown is the Punisher versus Bullseye and the repartee between the jocular Bullseye and the somber Punisher makes this a good read. Punisher and Bullseye are characters minus superpowers that rely on their skills with weapons and martial arts to get the job done.
The Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968) is Doctor Doom getting to know Daredevil via struggle and a mind swap. Doctor Doom walks in Daredevil’s body and not figuring out that Daredevil is blind!
Dead Man’s Hand has several characters but mostly focuses on the relationship between the Punisher and Daredevil. However, there is some really fun repartee between the Punisher and Nomad. Again, there is a pairing of normal humans that rely on weapons and martial arts to get the job done. The Kingpin is dead and everyone wants a share of the spoils so just about every street level hero and bad guy makes an appearance (Nomad V2 #4).
For Love and Money has Luke Cage, the Terror and the Silver Sable competing for a mystical item. Luke Cage, the Terror and Silver Sable are all for hire characters so they have this as a thematic similarity.
Midnight Massacre and Rise of the Midnight Sons bring Ghost Rider, Blade and Morbius together. The Midnight Sons are Blade, Ghost Rider and Doctor Strange in Siege of Darkness. In all versions of the Midnight Sons, the heroes have an occult background.
In Over the Edge, Nick Fury must deal with an insane Punisher. Good premise but so-so execution. Punisher versus Nick Fury is less interesting than a Punisher/Nick Fury team up. How about Nick Fury is framed and he turns to the Punisher to help Fury prove his innocence?
Shadowland has an evil Daredevil taking on allies including Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Moon Knight and Spider-Man. These are all street levels superheroes which once again shows that Odd Couples in Marvel crossovers have some sort of thematic similarity. Countdown, Dead Man’s Hand, Over the Edge and Shadowland are all warrior type stories.
The Submariner’s Quest for Krang was one of the first title crossovers ever and really got my attention way back when I was a youth in the sixties. The Submariner swims from his home at Tales to Astonish to Iron Man’s home in Tales of Suspense to make this a title crossover.
In Terrible Trio there is some interesting dialogue between Egghead, The Thinker, and Puppet Master. This is the earliest example of interplay between eggheads of the Marvel Universe. This idea will be used more substantially as a plot device by Marvel later with the formation of the Intelligencia.
In Time and Time Again, Nova meets the New Warriors. Nova is a teenager. The New Warriors are teenagers. You would think the writers would use this commonality as part of the interplay between Nova and the New Warriors but this does not happen.
In Wild Kingdom, the Black Panther meets all the X-Men. More importantly Storm begin their romantic relationship in this crossover. This plot line ends up becoming very important in the Marvel universe. This means that Wakanda, the Kingdom of the Black Panther is a powerful ally of mutants in most cases. Is there some sort of double entendre in the title Wild Kingdom?
DC Universe Crossovers
DC has nine Universe crossovers. In the DC universe this type of crossover often has an architectonic function. This was the case with Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) which eliminated the multiverse and put a bunch of heroes that had been in different Earths in different dimensions on the same Earth. I kind of stopped reading DC for about twenty years because of this event and I wonder if some other old timers did the same. Feel free to leave comments below. Suspension of belief is not an easy thing to do with superheroes period and the Crisis on Infinite Earths really shattered any continuity that allows this plot device to work. Marvel crossovers don’t serve this same architectonic function.
As mentioned, in Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) the entire of continuity of the DC universe was rearranged. Final Crisis (2008) has the word “crisis” in the title but actually has very little to do with the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The crossover is a confusing mish mash of superheroes and supervillains. Flashpoint (2011) is a “what if” story combined with what if Amazons fight Atlanteans i.e. a Families Meet subplot. An entertaining read. What if the bad guys won? That is the premise of Forever Evil (2013). The most entertaining aspect of this crossover is how the Rogues from the Flash turn into heroes because there is evil as in opportunistic and evil as in ruthless and sadistic which is what the evil Justice League from Earth 3 represent. Infinite Crisis (2005), New 52 (2011), New 52: Futures End (2014), DC Rebirth (2016) and Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (1994) are all pathetic attempts to fix the mess left in the wake of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC has six architectonic universe crossovers and the DC universe is still a giant continuity mess!
Marvel Universe Crossovers
Marvel has 16 Universe crossovers including Civil War (2006), Civil War II (2016), Dark Reign (2008), Earth X (1999), Evolutionary War (1988), Fear Itself (2011), House of M (2005), Infinity (2013), Infinity Crusade (1993), Infinity Gauntlet (1991), Infinity War (1992), Marvel 1602 (2003), Marvel 2099 (1992), Marvel Zombies (2005), Secret Invasion (2008) and Secret Wars (2015). Civil War has half the superheroes fighting for superhuman registration and half fighting against superhuman registration. The controversy makes sense if you accept the reality of superpowers. Civil War II is kind of Minority Report comes to the Marvel universe. If you can really predict the future then should you jail people before they commit the crime? Some superheroes think this is a good idea and some think this is a bad idea. Dark Reign is an excellent version of the “what if the super villains won type of story”. Earth X is an alternate Earth which is totally bizarre but also very interesting. Fear Itself has already powerful Marvel beings made even more powerful via mystical means. The House of M is another what if story. What if the mutants won? And then you have the plethora of Infinity crossovers that are collectively called the Infinity Sagas and include Infinity, Infinity Crusade, Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity War. I loved the first one was the Infinity Gauntlet but the idea has been done to death. An Infinity crossover involves all the superheroes and supervillains and includes cosmic beings as well as street level heroes and even abstract entities in some grand mission. Marvel 1602 is the Marvel universe in well 1602! Marvel 2099 is the Marvel universe in 2099! I suppose someday there will be a Families Meet crossover in which the 1602 heroes meet their 2099 equivalents! What if the Marvel universe became a bunch of zombies? This is the premise of Marvel Zombies. A lot of Universe crossovers at Marvel are of the “what if” type.
Secret Invasion is the Skrull invasion of Earth. The DC equivalent is Invasion! In the DC title, superheroes are fighting the Dominators, Khunds, Thanagarians, Gil’Dishpan, Durlans, Warlords of Okaara, Citadelians, Daxamites and Psions. This means that lonely little pre-interstellar travel technology Earth is fighting just about every major Alien race in the DC universe and this makes no sense even by the logical standards of comic books. Secret Wars seems to be Marvels attempt to reorder their multiverse in a manner similar to DC’s Crisis of Infinite Earths. This is the only Universe crossover in Marvel that has an architectonic function.
DC Universe Tour
DC has four universe tour crossovers. Zatanna’s Search (1964) is one the earliest title crossovers in comic books! I do remember really liking the idea of a crossover that skipped from one title to another as a seven year old in the sixties. Zatanna attempts to find her father, Zatara, and seeks the aid of Hawkman, Batman, Robin, The Atom, Green Lantern, and Elongated Man along the way. In Armageddon 2001 (DC), Waverider is quickly woven into the fabric of the DC universe using this plot device. The Black Diamond Probability is the history of Eclipso’s Black Diamond and the Black Diamond passively allowing the reader to explore interesting corners of the DC universe. I love it! Reminds me a little of the Tales of Green Kryptonite. One of the most interesting stories of this type has the Trenchcoat Brigade giving Timothy Hunter a tour of the DC magical universe in The Books of Magic but the tour happens in one title so the tour is not a crossover.
Marvel Universe Tour
Marvel only has one Universe Tour and that is the Beyonder traveling around the Marvel universe in Secret Wars II (1985). The Beyonder asks advice from every superhero in the Marvel universe including Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. The Beyonder even takes advice from Vinnie and takes over the world even at the molecular level more or less because of Vinnie’s advice. We are supposed to believe that a being more powerful than everyone and everything in the Marvel universe together is going to take advice from Vinnie? Nevertheless, an amusing read from the Bronze Age.
However, all this conflicting advice just leads to the Beyonder having one major existential crisis!
A numerical comparison of the two companies and the results are tabulated below and the tabulation is explained after the table.
DC has eight Families Meet crossovers. Marvel has 13 Families Meet crossovers. Marvel has more Families Meet crossover than DC. My favorite Families Meet crossover is Curse of the Mutants and this is a Marvel crossover.
DC has 61 Family title crossovers. Marvel has 49 Family title crossovers. DC has more Family title crossovers than Marvel. DC also seems to excel in making quality Family crossovers and the Batman ones are especially good. The endless run of X-Men Family crossovers has gotten stale and at this point they all run together.
DC has 11 Melee crossovers. Marvel has 25 Melee crossovers. Marvel has over twice as many Melee crossovers as DC. The DC Melee crossovers are pretty much universally forgettable slugfests. The Marvel Melee crossovers generally have some sort of unifying theme which makes them more interesting.
DC has three Odd Couple crossovers. Marvel has 14 Odd Couple crossovers. Marvel has almost four times more Odd Couple crossovers than DC. DC goes to the trouble of making truly odd couples but do a bad job getting the chemistry to work. Marvel doesn’t try to match up heroes that are totally different but brings together characters that have some sort of thematic similarity.
DC has nine Universe crossovers. Marvel has 16 Universe crossovers. Marvel is a clear winner in this category. The DC ones keep messing with the same architectonic multiverse issue. The Marvel Universe Infinity Saga crossovers are cosmic and entertaining but running out of steam. Marvel has several Universe crossovers that are of the “what if” type. DC only has one “what if” crossover, Flashpoint.
DC has four Universe Tour crossovers. Marvel has only one Universe Tour crossovers. DC has more Universe Tour crossovers than Marvel. DC has a total of 98 title crossovers. Marvel has a total of 109 title crossovers.
Marvel has more title crossovers than DC. The numbers between the companies are pretty close. The big exceptions are Family and Melee crossovers. DC has a lot more Family crossovers. Marvel has a lot more Melee crossovers. Marvel overall seems to do a slightly better job when it comes to title crossovers both quantitatively and qualitatively. Family crossovers have been done too many times by both DC and Marvel. There is a lot of potential in having more Odd Couple crossovers. Universe Tours are an excellent plot device to explore the very interesting corners of the DC/Marvel universes that has been neglected by both companies.
Star Trek, Star Wars and Warhammer 40K (Star Trek vs. Warhammer 40K ) all set their universes within the Milky Way galaxy not in the spatial universe. A galaxy is really, really big. In hindsight both DC and Marvel would have been better off setting their universe in our galaxy rather than in the spatial universe. Below is a map of Marvel universe in space.
The readers is supposed to believe that the Kree Empire travels all the way from the Greater Magellanic Cloud to the Andromeda Galaxy to have a war? Again, this shows a total misunderstanding of how big a galaxy really is. The Orion’s Arm Universe Project provides some sort of scale as to how big even one part of the Milky Way would be from a humanoid including a superhuman humanoid point of view. There is no map of DC interstellar space available and this shows how haphazardly DC treats this subject.
The lists used for this analysis are provided below.
DC Title Crossovers Classified by Type
Families Meet – Green Lantern – Godhead (2014)
Families Meet – Inhumans vs X-Men (2017)
Families Meet – Janus Directive (1989)
Families Meet – Lightning Saga (2007)
Families Meet – Millennium (1987)
Families Meet – Red Daughter of Krypton (2014)
Families Meet – The Culling (2012)
Families Meet – Throne of Atlantis (2013)
Families Meet – Trinity (1993)
Families Meet – Worlds Collide (1994)
Family – Aquaman- Death of a Prince (1974)
Family – Aquaman- The Rise of the Seven Seas (2016)
Family – Batman – A Lonely Place of Dying (1989)
Family – Batman – Battle for the Cowl (2009)
Family – Batman – Bruce Wayne Fugitive (2002)
Family – Batman – Bruce Wayne Murderer? (2002)
Family – Batman – Cataclysm (1998)
Family – Batman – Contagion (1996)
Family – Batman – Death of the Family (2012)
Family – Batman – Endgame (2014)
Family – Batman – Face the Face (2006)
Family – Batman – Gothtopia (2014)
Family – Batman – Joker’s Last Laugh (2001)
Family – Batman – Judgment on Gotham (2011)
Family – Batman – Knightfall Saga (1993)
Family – Batman – Legacy (1996)
Family – Batman – Night of the Owls (2012)
Family – Batman – No Man’s Land (1999)
Family – Batman – Officer Down (2001)
Family – Batman – Prodigal (1994)
Family – Batman – Requiem (2013)
Family – Batman – Robin Rises (2014)
Family – Batman – Robin War (2016)
Family – Batman – The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul (2007)
Family – Batman – Troika (1995)
Family – Batman – War Crimes (2005)
Family – Batman – War Games (2004)
Family – Batman – Zero Year (2013)
Family – Flash – Dead Heat (1995)
Family – Green Lantern – War of the Green Lanterns (2011)
Family – Green Lantern – Wrath of the First Lantern (2013)
Family – Green Lantern- Lights Out (2013)
Family – Green Lantern- Rise of the Third Army (2012)
Family – Green Lantern- Sinestro Corps War (2007)
Family – Green Lantern- Uprising (2014)
Family – Justice League – Breakdowns (1991)
Family – Justice League – Darkseid War (2015)
Family – Justice League – Final Night (1996)
Family – Justice League – Forever Evil- Blight (2013)
Family – Justice League – Funeral for a Friend (1993)
Family – Justice League – Identity Crisis (2004)
Family – Justice League – Legends (1986)
Family – Justice League – Our Worlds at War (2001)
Family – Justice League – Trinity War (2013)
Family – Justice League – Underworld Unleashed (1995)
Family – Justice Society – Black Reign (2004)
Family – Justice Society – The Justice Society Returns! (1999)
Family – Superman – Behold! The Millennium Giants! (1998)
Family – Superman – Death of Superman (1992)
Family – Superman – Doomed (2014)
Family – Superman – Exile (1989)
Family – Superman – Final Days of Superman (2016)
Family – Superman – H’el on Earth (2012)
Family – Superman – Krypton Returns (2013)
Family – Superman – New Krypton (2008)
Family – Superman – Panic in the Sky (1992)
Family – Superman – Reign of Doomsday (2011)
Family – Superman – Reign of the Supermen (1993)
Family – Superman – The Trial of Superman (1995)
Family – Superman – Up, Up, and Away! (2006)
Family – Superman- Savage Dawn (2016)
Melee – Amazons Attack! (2007)
Melee – Blackest Night (2009)
Melee – Bloodlines (1993)
Melee – Brightest Day (2010)
Melee – Convergence (2015)
Melee – Day of Judgment (1999)
Melee – DC One Million (1998)
Melee – Genesis (1997)
Melee – Invasion! (1989)
Melee – Multiversity (2014)
Melee – War of the Gods (1991)
Odd Couple – Black Diamond Probability, The (2012)
Odd Couple – Brotherhood of the Fist (1998)
Odd Couple – Emperor Joker (2000)
Odd Couple – Rotworld (2012)
Universe – Countdown to Infinite Crisis (2004)
Universe – Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985)
Universe – Final Crisis (2008) – Everyone
Universe – Flashpoint (2011)
Universe – Forever Evil (2013)
Universe – Infinite Crisis (2005)
Universe – New 52 (2011)
Universe – New 52- Futures End (2014)
Universe – Rebirth (2016)
Universe – Zero Hour (1994)
Universe Tour – Armageddon 2001 (1991)
Universe Tour – Eclipso- The Darkness Within (1992)
Universe Tour – Zatanna’s Search (1964)
Marvel Title Crossovers Classified by Type
Families Meet – Avengers & X-Men: AXIS (2014)
Families Meet – Avengers vs. X-Men (2012)
Families Meet – Avengers/Defenders War (1973)
Families Meet – Black Vortex (2015)
Families Meet – Bloodties (1993)
Families Meet – Child’s Play (1994)
Families Meet – Curse of the Mutants (2010)
Families Meet – Days of Future Present (1990)
Families Meet – Hulk – World War Hulk (2007)
Families Meet – Inhumans vs X-Men
Families Meet – Operation: Galactic Storm (1992)
Families Meet – Trial of Jean Grey, The (2014)
Families Meet – Utopia (2009)
Family – Avengers – Standoff (2016)
Family – Ghost Rider – Road to Vengeance: Missing Link (1993)
Family – Hulk – Fall of the Hulks (2009)
Family – Hulk – Planet Hulk (2006)
Family – Spider-Man – Goblin Nation (2014)
Family – Spider-Man – Identity Crisis (1998)
Family – Spider-Man – Kraven’s Last Hunt (1987)
Family – Spider-Man – Maximum Carnage (1993)
Family – Spider-Man – MC2 (1998)
Family – Spider-Man – Minimum Carnage (2012)
Family – Spider-Man – Muir Island Saga (1991)
Family – Spider-Man – One More Day (2007)
Family – Spider-Man – Second Clone Saga (1994)
Family – Spider-Man – Spider-Island (2011)
Family – Spider-Man – Spider-Verse (2014)
Family – Spider-Man – Spider-Women (2016)
Family – Spider-Man – The Other (2005)
Family – UK Marvel – Revolutionary War (2014)
Family – Wolverine Goes to Hell (2010)
Family – X-Men – Age of Apocalypse (1995)
Family – X-Men – Age of X (2011)
Family – X-Men – Apocalypse Wars (2016)
Family – X-Men – Apocalypse: The Twelve (2000)
Family – X-Men – Battle of the Atom (2013)
Family – X-Men – Death of Wolverine (2014)
Family – X-Men – Decimation (2006)
Family – X-Men – Divided We Stand (2008)
Family – X-Men – Endangered Species (2007)
Family – X-Men – Eve of Destruction (2001)
Family – X-Men – Fall of the Mutants (1988)
Family – X-Men – Fatal Attractions (1993)
Family – X-Men – Hunt for Xavier, The (1998)
Family – X-Men – Inferno (1988)
Family – X-Men – Magneto War (1999)
Family – X-Men – Manifest Destiny (2008)
Family – X-Men – Messiah Complex (2007)
Family – X-Men – Messiah War (2009)
Family – X-Men – Mutant Massacre (1986)
Family – X-Men – Nation X (2009)
Family – X-Men – Necrosha (2009)
Family – X-Men – Operation: Zero Tolerance (1997)
Family – X-Men – Original Sin (2008)
Family – X-Men – Phalanx Covenant (1994)
Family – X-Men – Regenesis (2011)
Family – X-Men – Schism (2011)
Family – X-Men – Second Coming (2010)
Family – X-Men – X-Cutioner’s Song (1992)
Family – X-Men – X-Termination (2013)
Family – X-Men – X-Tinction Agenda (1990)
Melee – Acts of Vengeance (1989)
Melee – Age of Ultron (2013)
Melee – Annihilation (2006)
Melee – Annihilation: Conquest (2007)
Melee – Atlantis Attacks (1989)
Melee – Avengers Disassembled (2004)
Melee – Casket of Ancient Winters (1984)
Melee – Corporation (1977)
Melee – Eighth Day (1999)
Melee – Heroes Reborn (1996)
Melee – Heroic Age (2010)
Melee – Inhumanity (2014)
Melee – Initiative, The (2007)
Melee – Kree-Skrull War (1971)
Melee – Maximum Security (2000)
Melee – Mr. Kline War (1971)
Melee – Onslaught Saga (1996)
Melee – Original Sin (2014)
Melee – Realm of Kings (2010)
Melee – Shattered Heroes (2011)
Melee – Siege (2010)
Melee – Thanos Imperative, The (2010)
Melee – War of Kings (2009)
Melee – World War Hulks (2010)
Melee – Wraith War (1984)
Odd Couple – Blood and Thunder (1990)
Odd Couple – Countdown (1995)
Odd Couple – Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968)
Odd Couple – Dead Man’s Hand (1992)
Odd Couple – For Love Nor Money (1993)
Odd Couple – Midnight Massacre (1993)
Odd Couple – Over the Edge (1995)
Odd Couple – Rise of the Midnight Sons (1992)
Odd Couple – Shadowland (2010)
Odd Couple – Siege of Darkness (1993)
Odd Couple – Sub-Mariner’s Quest for Krang (1966)
Odd Couple – Terrible Trio (1969)
Odd Couple – Wild Kingdom (2005)
Odd Couple Time and Time Again (1994)
Universe – Civil War (2006)
Universe – Civil War II (2016)
Universe – Dark Reign (2008)
Universe – Earth X (1999)
Universe – Evolutionary War (1988)
Universe – Fear Itself (2011)
Universe – House of M (2005)
Universe – Infinity (2013)
Universe – Infinity Crusade (1993)
Universe – Infinity Gauntlet (1991)
Universe – Infinity War (1992)
Universe – Marvel 1602 (2003)
Universe – Marvel 2099 (1992)
Universe – Marvel Zombies (2005)
Universe – Secret Invasion (2008)
Universe – Secret Wars (2015)
Universe Tour – Secret Wars II (1985)