Versus: The Glory of Super-powered Team-Ups and Crossovers

FIRST THINGS FIRST.

I haven’t seen The Avengers yet. I know. I have failed all of you, and I will attempt to atone for it by saying two Iron Mans and a Hail Thor.

In the meantime, before ANYONE SPOILS ME FOR AVENGERS (and I swear the first person to squeak ‘Snape kills Dumbledore!’ gets Mjolnir upside the head), let’s talk about superhero team-ups and crossovers. The Avengers, since their inception, has always been a melange of existing heroes and the occasional new recruit – it’s the way most superhero teams work, with the exception of the Fantastic Four and about half the X-Men. It’s gleefully mashing your action figures together and seeing what happens. Sometimes magic happens. Sometimes “Archie Meets Punisher” happens.

Let’s watch.

Deadpool Team-Up

Deadpool is the Somebody That I Used To Know of Marvel Comics lately – he’s everywhere, and everyone is remixing him. Among his host of titles is Deadpool Team-Up, which was a recently-ended eighteen-issue series of one-shot stories where Deadpool, shockingly, teams up with different heroes and villains of the Marvel universe, from little-known baddies like the Zapata brothers, to heavyweights like Thor. Like most Deadpool stories, Team-Up is pure ridiculous crack.

Star Trek vs. Marvel

This title is a little vague, because there is not one (Star Trek/X-Men, 1996), not two (Second Contact, 1997), but three (Planet X, 1998) world-melding forays into the fanfiction-rich territory of a brave new world where Spock punches out Wolverine and doesn’t die, and Picard is totally tapping Storm.

I would write more about this, but I have to go pay some people way too much money to get my hands on these.

Avengers vs. X-Men

These kind of battles happen all the time, as the writers at Marvel throw all their action figures up in the air and figure out who lands where. In fact, I’m pretty sure the Avengers have faced off against the X-Men before, both teams having a roster that changes faster than Cher at a retirement tour concert. But this series just started a couple months ago! And, in true mind-bending Marvel plotting fashion, it ties in the dangling plots from House of M, Seige, Secret Invasion, and probably a few other recent plot arcs I’ve forgotten. The Avengers proper having been disbanded, the titular Avengers are the Luke Cage-led New Avengers and the Hawkeye-helmed Secret Avengers.

Like Civil War, this is a surprisingly well-balanced conflict. Both sides have fairly equally valid points for their wildly differing ideologies. I’m looking forward to seeing how it highlights the military vs. intellectual conflict in the groups’ mission statements.

Ultimate Meets Amazing

Okay. This one hasn’t happened yet. But I am so excited for it. The Spider-Man storyline that is supposed to be starting in June will mark the very first crossover between the Ultimate universe and the “regular” Marvel universe, known as Earth-616 to the extremely nerdy. The “Ultimate” nomenclature isn’t just yet another synonym for Amazing and Astounding, it indicates stories that take place in an alternate version of Earth where Nick Fury is black and played by Samuel L. Jackson. But the new Avengers movies all take place in something similar to Earth-616, not the Ultimate universe (in which Bruce Banner is played by Steve Buscemi).

ULTIMATE SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH

Anyway. Ultimate Peter Parker joined Ultimate Uncle Ben in Ultimate Heaven, and the mask was donned by the half-black, half-Hispanic, Donald-Glover-inspired Miles Morales. New Black Spider-Man (I sense a seventies blacksploitation film about to happen . . .) somehow will fold over into Earth-616 and go webslinging with the no longer dearly-departed Peter Parker – thus forcing him to deal with his own guilt over Peter’s death, and having the hots for his girlfriend/widow.

Ungh. The drama. It feeds me.

What magical pairings have you discovered? Which still lurk in your secret fanfiction-writing hearts?

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