Rebirth... of another kind

Marvel Comics just wrapped up one of its biggest crossover events ever in the revived <i>Secret Wars</i>, and they’re following it up by bringing back their other biggest event ever in <i>Civil War II</i>. Which begs the question – what’s next? <p>There’s one really obvious way to escalate Marvel’s event cycle – and that’s to collide, once again, with their cross-country rivals DC Comics. Sure, it’s a longshot given the relationship between the companies and the current comic book zeitgeist, but we can dream can’t we? <p>In that vein, here are ten ways Marvel and DC could collide, not just in the classic “hero vs. hero” style, a la <i>Civil War</i>, but in no-brainer match ups between the heroes and villains of both universes. <p>And you know… It may not be that far after all, given both companies recently told stories that leave the door to other universes wide open in <i>Convergence</i> and the aforementioned <i>Secret Wars</i>.

IRON MAN VS. SINESTRO

Tony Stark is the ultimate man of science, living in a world filled with magic, gods and alien technology. Despite all that, he relies on his intellect, and has been able to do wondrous things with it. <p>So it would only be logical that a Green Lantern power ring -- where the user can construct anything with the power of his mind -- would intrigue him, no? But what about a ring-slinger with a bad attitude? Tony Stark taking on Sinestro would also defy the classic hero vs. hero trope while allowing for the same thematic relationship. <p>There is some definite thematic weight in an Iron Man vs. Sinestro battle -- after all, Stark's greatest enemy, The Mandarin, also wields a few rings (ten, to be exact). And honestly, they probably just really wouldn't get along. Quite a few of the qualities Sinestro loathes in Hal Jordan - cockiness, for example - are also readily apparent in Tony.

WONDER WOMAN VS. RED SKULL

Backed by his Nazi history, the Red Skull is portrayed as a power-hungry madman who's intent on tearing down the United States and, in particular, the symbol of its heroism, Captain America. <p>Among all the major characters in DC's stable of heroes, Wonder Woman has become similarly symbolic of American freedom. Since she hails from the mythical island of Themyscira, she's essentially an immigrant, living up to that American dream. She's often had a bit of a political slant to her heroism, and there's no doubt the Red Skull represents a foreign threat to all things American. <p>Plus, his genius level intellect would be challenged by the brains behind her buxom build.

FANTASTIC FOUR VS. BRAINIAC

In many ways, Brainiac should've been a Fantastic Four villain all along. After all, he comes from this strange, abstracted science fiction background that Lee and Kirby would've approved of; shrinking alien cities and stealing them to add to his collection and increase his knowledge base. You can imagine that Reed Richards would feel some sense of empathy for the scientific curiosity that drives Brainiac, even if he would also find himself horrified by the lengths that the alien goes to to ensure that he keeps assimilating new ideas and new cultures. <p>It's not too difficult to imagine that any fight between Brainiac and the FF would come down to brain versus brain - can Reed's genius out-think the 12th level intellect of Brainiac's cybernetically enhanced mind? <p>But he'd provide enough problems to keep the rest of the team busy, as well: What if his robots invaded the Baxter Building's system and attacked the team when they least expected it? The FF have experience being shrunk down to visit the Microverse, but what would happen if they were trapped within one of Brainiac's shrunken cities, and had to negotiate an alien culture before they could escape? And how much would the Thing want to go all "Clobberin' Time" on the alien's signature floating skull spaceship? <p>Brains, brawn and the sight of a guy made out of orange rocks punching a giant robotic skull that flies around space: A Fantastic Four/Brainiac fight really <i>would</i> have it all.

GREEN LANTERN VS. THANOS

The entire point of the Green Lantern Corps is to police every corner of the universe, and there are few cosmic threats quite as potent as Thanos, the Mad Titan who once wiped out half off all existence to impress a girl he liked. <p>In fact, given the 3600 sectors patrolled by the Corps, this crossover wouldn't even take much to justify (no <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Access_%28comics%29>"Access"</a> required). Surely Thanos could be hanging out in one of those spots, right? <p>Oh, and that "girl" alluded to in the first paragraph? That would be Death, who Thanos has been obsessed with throughout his history. So when faced with the power of the assembled Green Lantern Corps back-up, perhaps Thanos would enlist some back-up - in the form of Nekron and the Black Lantern Corps. Then the real fun begins. <p>Annihilators like Quasar, Beta Ray Bill and Ronan the Accuser deputized with power rings? Ch'p meeting Rocket Raccoon, for some reason? While still avoiding the hero vs. hero cliché, Thanos vs. Green Lantern wouldn't simply be a one-on-one, but the best of DC Cosmic interacting with the best of Marvel Cosmic for a sci-fi epic worthy of Jim Starlin himself.

AVENGERS VS. DARKSEID

Despite existing in two separate universes, the Avengers and Darkseid are perhaps a perfect fit for each other; one represents the best of a universe built on concepts co-created by Jack Kirby (including, of course, plenty of Kirby characters: Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk...), the other is Kirby's most fully-formed personification of evil. A potential clash between these titans could have everything you'd ever want to read, as well: how much trouble could a god with the power to enslave humanity with the Anti-Life Equation cause in the Marvel Universe? <p>It's easy to imagine the kinds of things we'd see as the Avengers faced off against Darkseid and his army: Iron Man versus the Parademons in the sky! Hulk versus Kalibak, on the rooftops of New York! Thor wrestling with Darkseid himself, as Captain America struggles to free humanity from the New God's control! A story that mixes action, social commentary and soap opera on the kind of grand operatic scale that Kirby perfected, and Marvel continues to trade in today. Who could resist?

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. GALACTUS

Let's face it, if there is any group of comic book superheroes even more suited to fight off the devourer of worlds for the fate of the Earth more than the Fantastic Four, it's probably the <b>Justice League of America</b>, the team that inspired the creation of the FF in the first place. <p>Less traditionally "evil" and more a cosmic force of nature, Galactus is the sort of nuanced "villain" that helped Marvel redefine comic book storytelling in the 1960s. Seeing the group that defined the modern superhero team book and who are still arguably the most power-packed roster in comics square off against Antenna-head would be a particular treat, especially since Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, et al would be encountering Galactus - and discovering his peculiar nature - for the very first time. <p>Heck, if you really wanted to have fun you could reveal that what <i>really</i> happened to Krypton is ... okay, forget it, we won't go there. <p>But we would go straight to our local comic store on Wednesday morning the day this came out.

X-MEN VS. LEX LUTHOR

No matter how many people Superman helps or saves, Lex Luthor still hates him. Really, really hates him. <p>Why? <p>Because he's an alien. Xenophobia lies at the very essence of Lex Luthor's villainy. <p>That's what makes him such an ideal villain for the X-Men. As any die-hard Marvel fan knows, the whole X-Men series is a metaphor for fear of the unknown. The mutant vs. human theme of X-Men is often compared to the type of violent discrimination seen in the Holocaust or Civil Rights Movement. The fear and hatred of those who are "different" is central to the X-Men story. <p>If there was ever a villain who could embrace that philosophy, it's Lex Luthor. And with his superior intellect and technological know-how, he would be a formidable match for Professor X and his followers as he took his fear and hatred to the extreme against more "aliens." <p>Luthor was even president in the DC Universe, and when you think about it, if the Mutant Registration Act could have been crafted by any character at DC, it would have been Lex Luthor. <p>Let's face it -- these characters were custom made for a crossover.

BATMAN VS. THE GREEN GOBLIN

Batman has a lot of experience dealing with homicidal maniacs who have an affinity for gimmicky weaponry and enjoy wearing purple. It can't be denied. <p>But while the Joker and Green Goblin may both be crazy, Norman Osborn also has a lot in common with Batman himself. They're both businessmen, they're both inventors, and they've both spawned plenty of successors and imitators. (They're also both prone to fathering children out of wedlock, but that may not be particularly relevant in this context.) <p>So with all that in mind, the Green Goblin actually might be an ideal opponent for Batman, combining the ruthlessness and unpredictability of the Joker with an intellect that rivals his own. It'd be worth it for the props alone: Goblin Glider vs. Batmobile; pumpkin bombs vs. Batarangs.

SPIDER-MAN VS. THE JOKER

We examined the potential of Green Goblin vs. Batman in the previous entry, and this is kind of the inverse of that. One thing about Spider-Man villains is that, for the most part, they have somewhat of a sense of fair play - they're usually of the powerful hired goon type (Rhino, Electro) or of the mad scientist variety (Doctor Octopus, Jackal) or maybe someone with a specific beef against Spidey or one of his supporting characters (Venom, Scorpion). But they're rarely just murderers killing for fun. <p>That's exactly what the Joker is, and introducing his brand of chalky-white darkness into Spidey's world could provide a truly compelling contrast. And yes, Spider-Man does have one villain known to kill just for fun: Carnage. But that character is highly powerful with alien origins, and it's the relatively grounded nature of the Joker that makes for an intriguing matchup with Peter Parker. (Plus, Joker and Carnage already teamed up once, in 1995's <i>Spider-Man and Batman</i>.) <p>Spider-Man has often said it’s his mission not to let anyone die on his watch - what better way to test that promise than against the most famous killer in comic books?

SUPERMAN VS. DOCTOR DOOM

If there's one thing that we know about Superman in the current DC Universe, it's that he really, really doesn't like bullies. Somehow, that makes the idea of him facing off against Marvel Comics' ultimate bully, Doctor Victor Von Doom, all the more exciting to imagine. <p>Sure, even the recently weakened Superman could probably make mincemeat of Doom without barely breaking a sweat, but that's assuming that he could get to him - and with an entire country of potential hostages waiting to be endangered, distracting the Man of Steel really wouldn't be that much of a problem for the iron-masked despotic mastermind. If Lex Luthor can defeat Superman simply by arranging an out-of-control train careening off the rails, just think of how much trouble Superman would be in with all of Latveria available to be destroyed on demand. And that's ignoring the fact that Doom is also well-versed in one of Superman's most famous weaknesses: Magic. <p>With some well-timed spells up his armored sleeves, a country full of innocents to use as easily imperiled pawns and, of course, his seemingly endless army of Doombots, there's every possibility that Doctor Doom could end up being too much for Superman to handle... But then again, Ma and Pa Kent's son never was able to give up when innocent lives were at stake, was he?

For Your Consideration: A Marvel/DC Crossover Proposal

Date: 02 February 2016 Time: 07:00 PM ET