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September 4, 2003 – JLA/Avengers #1

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Size: pages

Story by Kurt Busiek
Art by George Pérez
Colors by Tom Smith
Letters by Comicraft

Published by Marvel Comics and DC Comics | $5.95

Again, I get caught up in an event book.

I almost picked the latest issue of Voltron, but really couldn’t bring myself to do it. How could I ignore the crossover that’s like 20+ years in the making?!?

It seems like it took 20 years for this to hit the newsstand, but really it’s been only 2 or 3 since the announcement. But it finally came out, in expensive prestige format nonetheless, and the wait is over.

While I’m excited for this crossover simply because of the ramification of smashing the two premiere teams from both comic companies, I’m also excited to see how Kurt Busiek is able to make it a compelling story that actually makes sense and isn’t the typical “They meet, they fight, they realize they should team up, the overcome” story. I’m also interesting to see how Busiek is able to differentiate this story from the Marvel Vs. DC stories of the ’90s. Because those stories could become very similar to any sort of JLA vs Avengers story. But I’m sure they knew that going in.

The story as it appears is they’re taking the “cosmic entities playing games” angle, combined with the multiple universes. The setting for the story is that thanks to the machinations of cosmic beings, both universe’s super team, the JLA and The Avengers, are sent on a quest to retrieve 12 items of power, six from the Marvel Universe and six from the DC Universe. Unless these items are combined, each team’s universe will be destroyed.

So what we have here, is two teams running from universe to universe trying collect the same items, unaware of each other’s shared goals.

Even in the first issue, they’ve already begun to be hostile towards each other, preparing to fight to get the objects before the other team does. My prediction is this will go on for another issue and a half maybe before Batman realizes what’s going on and they team up. Even I could write this stuff.

But I hope, and fully expect, that Busiek has put more time into this story and has surprises for us.

George Pérez was born to do this book. After his great work in the DC Universe and his equally great work in the Marvel Universe, this could easily be his swan song for these characters and universes, at least his swan song while he remains in obscurity locked into CrossGen. I really can’t criticize one thing about his art. The detail is amazing. The characters are unique and well rendered. My only complaint would be some pages end up on the busy side, with so much going on in the page, making it hard to focus. But those instances were rare, and the two page splash of Starro over Manhattan make up for any shortcomings elsewhere in the book.

So the unthinkable has started. The crossover has finally begun. Let’s hope the remaining three issues are as good as this first one was.

Ron Richards
Still Thinks Thor Beats Superman

Did you read JLA/Avengers #1? Add a comment and tell everyone what you think about this week’s comics!


  1. This issue was excellent. Really, I was surprised that this premiere episode was so good considering the multi-decade hype.

    I *loved* the Avengers’ shock at the reverence that the people in the DCU have for their heroes. “A museum!” It was the little details like this that made this issue so great.

  2. really awesome!

    I had a little fanboy giggle every time I turned the page. The Batman/Punisher thing was fantastic.


  3. “The Batman/Punisher thing was fantastic.”

    That was awesome.

    So was the double page splash when the JLA confront the Avengers.

  4. I think the best part of this was that they really distilled the differences between the 2 universes to their essences, and talked about them.

    It was so for the fanboys though. I was struggling to recognize all the references.

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