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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Retro Review: Spider-Man and Batman

When I was smaller, the idea of a Marvel and DC crossover was a dream. Little did I know that there had actually been quite a few crossovers from the 90's. I found out one random day on the internet, and immediately the next day I went to Jim Hanley's Universe to purchase the DC Comics vs. Marvel Comics trade paperback. Wow, seeing these guys on the same page itself was almost too much. I went and bought some of the crossover classics, such fun reads. (The best being JLA/Avengers.) I am not here to talk about those however, I am here to talk about a one-shot from the 95 featuring two unlikely partners: the amazing Spider-Man and the Batman.

It's funny, these two are quite the opposite. They're both heroes, and believe in a strong sense of morality. Spidey definitely has more fun with the job, and actually seems to enjoy the job of being a superhero. Batman on the other hand, is a deadly serious vigilante who isn't afraid to really get down and dirty. It's not so much as he enjoys being a superhero, it seems like he takes it as more of a commitment. So pairing these two clashing personalities would be very interesting. It would be more fun than a Spider-Man and Superman one, mainly cause those two would make more of a lighter story. As fun as it is to see these two guys together, the choice of villains is equally important, and the writers did an amazing job with that.

The two villains are the most ruthless psychopaths from their respective universes: Venom's spawn: Carnage, and the Clown Prince of Crime: the Joker. Very interesting choice of villains, I would have thought that they would have chosen the Green Goblin rather than Carnage. But, I'm happy with the pick, I prefer Carnage a thousand times to Goblin. Anyways, the two characters are pretty much portrayed accurately. The writing is top notch, I love this quote by Carnage: "Go home to your wives and children, tell them you stared Death face-to-face, and he gave you a second chance." The pages where Carnage explains how he's been impressed with Joker is just priceless. Then when they start to have conflicting views on how to accomplish mass genocide is both amusing and triple A class writing.

I noticed that Batman is slightly more livelier and sarcastic than usual. One scene I didn't like all that much was when Batman was saying that he doesn't want Spidey to "get hurt." Really? If Carnage is any indication, he should know that Spidey deals with problems as big as Gotham City's. Also, "I don't need your help, or want it." Uh, Batman doesn't have Spidey's knowledge of Carnage, he does need him. He came back later to ask for Spidey's assistance, but still. I do like the head-shots of the two heroes right before Bats says "Or want it." Such great drama. This issue is packed with great comic book drama, the dynamics between the heroes and villains are priceless. I also like how Bats referenced Maximum Carnage.

I don't know about you guys, but I just love the art in this comic. My gosh, this is how Spidey should be drawn, he looks perfect. I prefer the big eyes on the mask than the smaller ones we're getting right now. Carnage looks plain crazy and evil, such a great depiction. I mentioned this already, but the writing in this comic has such a high-quality feel. There's some moral things here that make you think. Is it right to pull the plug and erase a person's character when it appears there's no decently left in them? That's the main question in the beginning, good stuff.

Overall, don't think this is a cash-in on two of the most popular heroes. It has a very compelling story, I was surprised at how impressive it was, one of the best comics I've ever read. (Just look at the gorgeous embossed cover.) It's definitely worth the buy, I think this comic is a bit underrated. The dynamics between the characters is amazing, sometimes amusing, and just plain awesome. Look up the comic and purchase it, it's not too expensive and it's worth it.



  1. I recently found this in a back issue bin and read it for the first time. I enjoyed it too and liked the mix of Carnage & Joker - who were the counterparts in both universes. I also liked the interesting notion that Gotham and Marvel's NYC were accessible without some kind of dimensional portal - I am unsure whether that rule still applies to other crossovers between the two.

  2. I am sure I have read this at one point, but two questions. 1) Who ended up in whose universe. B) Did they fight first, and how did that go?

  3. @Jamb They team up once more after this, no dimensional portal is needed again.

    @Darth Nearl In this one-shot, both New York City and Gotham are in the same universe. Spidey ends up in Gotham. No fight between the two sadly, they did go it for a page in their next crossover (which I will review soon), but it wasn't really a fight anyway.

  4. For those interested in collecting comic book art, the original color guide for the "Spider-Man and Batman" cover is for sale here:
    Along with other Marvel/DC crossover pages and other key comic book art.