Monday, March 24, 2008

Justice League of America vs. The Avengers (1983)

While only twenty pages of a proposed team-up book between the greatest super-teams of the two longest-lived super-hero universes were drawn, recollections of Gerry Conway's plot (with contributions from Roy Thomas) have circulated within the fan community for decades. This is a Martian Manhunter-specific summation.

The original plot for this intended 1983 one shot special used a battle between Kang and The Lord of Time as a springboard for the crossover. Both had decided to remake history to their liking, and neither cared for the other's take. Each used their respective universe's heroes to stop the other from altering the timestream, sending them to collect an egg-shaped temporal anomaly in different time periods.

The first battle took place during World War I, with Batman, Hawkman and Zatanna representing the DCU. Starfox and the Scarlet Witch manage to beat their counterparts, while Batman made a dash for the egg, after psyching Captain America out with a gas grenade. Batman was then too late to reach the egg, only to face the three Avengers. In Zatanna's defense, she was beaten by the incoming Starfox's "love touch" more than anything the Witch had in store for her.

The Manhunter from Mars showed up with his team on an asteroid, where he trampled his supposed counterpart Avenger. Per the memory of artist George Pérez, "She-Hulk battled the Martian Manhunter (not the best pairing in my mind.) She loses since there can be no fire, J'onn J'onzz's only weakness, to stop her opponent." Fellow JLAer Firestorm dismantled Iron Man. What should have been an easy call, the Barry Allen Flash versus Quicksilver, ended up in Marvel's favor, thanks to a well-placed sucker punch.

Other matches involved... Wonder Woman nailing Hercules; Atom squashing Ant-Man; Vision phasing Red Tornado out; Wasp stinging Black Canary; and Beast bashing Elongating Man. The only draws involved Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Captain Mar-Vell, Superman, and Thor. According to Pérez, Roy Thomas added a match between Aquaman and the WWII-era Sub-Mariner, but those pages were of course never drawn. The story ended with Green Arrow and Hawkeye firing a decisive shot to foil the time warpers' plans.

The book, as discussed here, will never be printed. Former Marvel Comics Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter had problems with the story. He became furious when he learned that DC's Dick Giordano had already green-lighted artist George Perez to begin drawing pages from the faulty script. After a series of political maneuvers, Marvel decided to cancel the project. No other DC/Marvel collaborations would take place that decade.

For a lengthier discussion on the project, including another George Pérez Manhunter image, check out the review on the ...nurgh... sister site.

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