Everyone remembers these things, right? Back in the 90s, when somehow the editorial staffs of both companies were just so mellow towards each other that they were like, "Sure, let's do two Batman/Punisher crossovers! And a Green Lantern/Silver Surfer, and a Superman/FF, and a couple of 'everyone gets together and pounds the snot out of everyone else' crossovers...why the heck not, these things are a license to print money!"
That Golden Era is pretty much over now (which is a shame just for the lack of new Amalgam titles--'Lobo the Duck' alone was worth the entire existence of that concept.) Marvel and DC are pretty much at loggerheads, scrapping for the title of "#1 Comics Company", and the last inter-company crossover was about five years ago now (and arguably, that only got made because George Perez made it a personal crusade to get it done.) So sad to say, my idea for a new Marvel/DC crossover will have to remain here, in this blog. Which doesn't mean you don't want to hear it, right? (er, right?)
It's a typical day in the Marvel and DC universes (a typical pre-Civil War, pre-Final Crisis Day), and Spidey's swinging through mid-town Manhattan and Superman's flying through Metropolis and everything's right in the world...or at least as right as things usually get in a comic-book world, because as usual, super-villains pop up and scheme their usual schemes. The Joker has a plan to plant laughing gas bombs in City Hall, the Rhino is robbing a bank, Doctor Octopus is stealing some scientific equipment from STAR Labs...
"Hang on a second," our reader says. "STAR Labs?" Because that's the trick of it. The readers realize it just before the characters do, but all the villains are in the wrong universe. The Joker's wondering who this newcomer is that's got the funky goo coming out of his wrists, the Rhino's wondering why his strongest punches don't hurt the guy in the blue long-johns, and in short, the heroes are right where they should be, but the villains aren't.
There'd be a bunch of one-shots set around the main story of issue #1, telling self-contained stories about heroes confronting these out-of-place villains. So you'd get a "Superman Vs. Juggernaut" one-shot, a "Hulk Vs. Doomsday" one-shot, a "Spider-Man Vs. the Joker" one-shot, a "Batman Vs. the Green Goblin" one-shot, et cetera et cetera et cetera. (Well, as many "et ceteras" as the market would bear, but come on, everyone has to have their own dream fight for this. Captain America vs. Kobra? Wonder Woman battles the Red Skull? The possibilities are endless...)
While the heroes are all off dealing with the various crises and catastrophes caused by panicky villains wreaking havoc, it falls to Doom to investigate the reason for it all. He finds that Darkseid has captured Access on Apokalips (Access is a character who can travel back and forth between the Marvel and DC universes freely, as established all the way back in the original "DC Vs. Marvel" crossover), and has hooked him up to a machine that exists in both the Marvel and DC universes, one that forces Access to use his powers. The machine is being looked after by Thanos, who has teamed up with Darkseid (they've been communicating through Access, natch.) It turns out that after Darkseid tried to use the Infinity Gems in the DC Universe and failed (because they're a Marvel artifact, with no power in the DC Universe--this comes from "JLA/Avengers"), he got to thinking...if the Infinity Gems are the most powerful relic in the Marvel Universe, but they have no power in DC's universe, what if there were counterparts that acted the opposite way? And what if those counterparts were disposed of at some point in the history of the DC Universe by some do-gooder like Access who could travel back and forth? And how powerful might those artifacts be if someone were to bring them back?
Darkseid and Thanos decided to test that theory. In order to keep the heroes out of the way, they swapped over a bunch of other villains at the same time as their own switch (Darkseid is now running around in the Marvel Universe, Thanos in DC.) Now they're hunting down the artifacts--Thanos is searching for the Infinity Gems, something he has a lot of experience with, while Darkseid is searching out the Eternity Spheres. Some of the cosmic heroes (the Green Lanterns, the Silver Surfer, et cetera) tweak to the plan and go after them, but it is, after all, Darkseid and Thanos we're talking about here, two master schemers with unbelievable power. They don't manage to get the complete sets of their respective artifacts, but they get enough to make them more powerful than ever before.
And then Doom steals them. Because he is, after all, Doom.
Doom uses his newfound power to siphon off the Omega Sanction, taking it for his own. He grabs the Power Cosmic, snatches the energies of the Central Power Battery--in short, he starts going on a rampage, draining away all the power sources of both universes and using them to bolster his own. The collective heroes of both universes now know about the threat and have united to defeat it, but can they?
Hell yes. A strike force of heroes breaks Access out of the machine, while a team of the greatest scientists of both universes builds a device that will super-charge the efficiency of Superman's solar-collecting physique. Once they've perfected it, Access merges Superman and Captain America to recreate Super-Soldier, the Amalgam character who combines the tactical and strategic combat skills of Cap with Superman's powers, and they hook him up to the device. He turns jet black as his body absorbs every erg of light that strikes it, giving him more power than ever and letting him go toe to toe with even a cosmically super-charged and insane Doom. They fight, the good guys win, and Access returns everyone to their own reality and goes off to have a long think about how dangerous he can be to the universe if he falls into the wrong hands.
And meanwhile, the Gems and the Spheres drift off, scattered by the fight...but scattered to which universe?