We look back at the 1996 crossover event, DC Comics VS Marvel Comics, wherein DC heroes and villains battle Marvel heroes and villains to see which universe should survive!
For as long as we can remember, DC Comics and Marvel Comics have been the biggest publishers of comic books, which makes sense, given they’ve been nicknamed “The Big Two”. In the DC vs Marvel event from 1996, writers Peter David (Marvel) and Ron Marz (DC) adapt this idea, turning both of the companies into god-like brothers.
The big part of the story is that these brothers (for some reason) did not know of the other’s existence. When they become aware of each other, the heroes and villains from Marvel and DC end up meeting one another in a universe where they co-exist.
As is the norm, the characters battle it out. It’s explained through a weird side story that a random man – later named Access – has the ability to change things back to the way they were, with each character returning to their original universe. Due to not ever using his newly-found abilities before, he messed things up and inadvertently creating the Amalgam Universe, where DC Comics is merged with Marvel Comics. (Possibly the best thing to come of this entire event.)
Eventually Access ends up learning how to use his powers, returns the characters to their shared universe and then recruits Batman and Captain America to help him get things back to the way they’re supposed to be. (Why Cap and Batman are the ones chosen and how they help, I still don’t understand. Maybe solely as representatives of each universe?) The Brothers have a minor fight and end up reconciling. Again, this makes very little sense. Essentially they decide that it’s okay to coexist, but the universes need to stay separate. Things are back to the way they were.
Access ends up disappearing into the glowing box that seems to have started the whole thing. Where he went, we have no idea. The end.
As we mentioned, Marvel and DC’s greatest team-up was Amalgam, which was probably the real play by both companies. They released a total of 24 single-issue titles with their merged heroes. The first time (12 issues) being toward the end of the DC Comics Versus Marvel Comics run in 1996. These temporarily replaced each company’s normal titles. The second time Amalgam appeared was in 1997. Each time, the books were written as if they had always existed and even went as far as to have fake letter columns at the end of each issue. It was quite the feat by the Big Two.
The Big two also released two mini-series focused on the new character, Access. They were titled (appropriately and cliched) All Access (Late 1996 to Early 1997) and Unlimited Access (Late 1997 to Early 1998) The first focuses on Access’ adventures to keep the universes from merging again. The second chronicles his adventures as he learns to travel through time in each universe.
Finally, if you haven’t been confused and had a ton of fun with the “showdown of the century”, you can take this Comic Book Resources quiz on the Amalgamverse. Good luck!