Talking Movies [Spidey Month]: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse


Easily Marvel Comics’ most recognisable and popular superhero, unsuspecting teenage nerd Peter Parker was first bitten by a radioactive spider and learned the true meaning of power and responsibility in Amazing Fantasy #15, which was first published in August 1962. Since then, the Amazing Spider-Man has featured in numerous cartoons, live-action movies, videogames, action figures, and countless comic book titles and, in celebration of his debut and his very own day of celebration, I’ve been dedicating every Wednesday to talk about everyone’s favourite web-head!


Released: 14 December 2018
Director:
Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman
Distributor:
Sony Pictures Releasing
Budget:
$90 million
Stars:
Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, John Mulaney, Kimiko Glenn, Nicolas Cage, and Liev Schreiber

The Plot:
After being bitten by a radioactive spider and gaining the proportionate strength and agility of the arachnid, Miles Morales (Moore) finds himself caught up in an elaborate plot by Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin (Schreiber) to cross dimensions. In the process, Miles is mentored by, and joins forces with, other incarnations of Spider-Man from across the multiverse while stull struggling to carve out his own identity in the role.

The Background:
In 2011, writer Brian Michael Bendis decided to kill off Peter Parker/Spider-Man and replace him with a younger character in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man (2000 to 2011), Miles Morales, an African American youth of Puerto Rican descent, a decision which created much controversy at the time. Miles, however, soon became a popular character and appeared not just in cartoons and other merchandise but also the mainstream Marvel continuity (“Earth-616”). After the poor reception of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Webb, 2014) led to Spider-Man finally being incorporated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Sony were determined to continue producing Spider-Man films and spin-offs separate from the MCU.

After Peter died in Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles took over as the Earth-1610 Spider-Man.

Writers Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman chose to focus their efforts on Miles since he hadn’t yet featured in a film and, to further separate the project, it included not only Spider-People from across the multiverse but also a distinct and intricate animation style that was as vital to the story as the music and dialogue. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse received unanimous praise upon release and made over $375 million at the box office, won numerous awards, and is highly regarded as one of the best and most unique Spider-Man movies ever made. Its massive success meant that both a sequel and a spin-off were soon announced and no doubt contributed heavily to Miles’ continued popularity.

The Review:
First and foremost, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Miles Morales’ story, even amidst all the chaos and multiverse madness permeating the plot; unlike the traditional Peter Parker, Miles’ parents are still alive and, while he struggles to adjust to boarding school and to make new friends, he’s nowhere near the social outcast Peter is often portrayed as during his teenage years. A big fan of music (though he is amusingly poor at reciting lyrics) and with an artistic flair, Miles is a slightly rebellious and resentful youth who struggles to live up to the expectations of his father, Jefferson Davis (Brian Tyree Henry), a police officer who regards Spider-Man (Chris Pine) as a menace and delights in embarrassing his son at his new school with typical dad humour.

Although Miles’ relationship with his dad is strained, he’s very close to his uncle.

A somewhat streetwise kid who was a popular figure at his old school, Miles is largely an outsider at his more officious and pretentious boarding school; he’s uncomfortable in the mandatory uniform, feels like he doesn’t really fit in, and is intentionally trying to sabotage his future there so he can go back to his old school and his old friends. Believing that his father doesn’t really understand him or his dreams, Miles has a far closer relationship with his uncle, Aaron Davis (Ali), who encourages his penchant for street art and actually takes the time to connect with him on a more peer-to-peer level. To Jefferson’s chagrin, Miles idolises his uncle, who indirectly leads to him gaining his spider powers.

Miles’ struggles with his spider powers are directly paralleled to the onset of puberty.

Already somewhat uncomfortable in his new environment, Miles’ newfound spider powers (which are explicitly compared to the onset of puberty) only increase his agitation; he struggles to adapt to and master his abilities, gaining a far louder and more noticeable internal monologue and accidentally attaching himself to Gwen Stacy’s (Steinfeld) hair in an awkward attempt to flirt with her. Interestingly, Miles’ exploration of his abilities is a source of as much entertainment and amusement as it is an integral part of Miles’ character development; throughout the film, Miles struggles to master his powers, which seem to trigger unconsciously or involuntarily, and a massive part of Into the Spider-Verse revolves around Miles living up to the lofty expectations now placed upon him by his amazing new abilities.

In Miles’ world, Peter is a competent, renowned, and experienced superhero.

Miles lives in an alternative world that isn’t quite Earth-616 or the Ultimate universe; it’s one that draws inspiration from all over Spider-Man’s various adaptations and interpretations but one where Spider-Man is a renowned and experienced superhero. Carrying himself with the confidence of a veteran of many battles, life lessons, successes, and failures, this Spider-Man is, honestly, uncharacteristically competent in a lot of ways (he’s still married to Mary Jane Watson (Zoë Kravitz), has the full support of his beloved Aunt May Parker (Lily Tomlin), and even has a Spider-Cave full of different Spider-Suits, for God’s sake). During an intense battle with the monstrous and demonic Norman Osborn/Green Goblin (Jorma Taccone) and the slick and efficient Prowler, Peter is shocked to meet Miles, someone who shares his abilities, and vows to train him and give him the opportunities he never had when he was first starting out, such is his commitment to using great power with great responsibility.

Kingpin may look ridiculous but he’s a formidable threat who killed Peter with his bare hands!

Sadly, and unexpectedly, Peter is killed right before Miles’ eyes by the Kingpin; Fisk, who blames Spider-Man for exposing his criminal deeds to the world and thus driving away his wife and son, has built a gigantic Super-Collider which he plans to use to rip a hole between dimensions and retrieve his family from another time and place. When Peter costs him this opportunity, Fisk beats him to death in a brutal and surprising scene and spends the remainder of the movie desperately trying to track down and reacquire the USB flash drive that allows the collider to work. Like Green Goblin, Fisk is a comically exaggerated version of himself, even compared to the creative flair of some comic book artists, but as preposterously absurd as Kingpin looks, his threat has, arguably, never been more tangible and brutal than in Into the Spider-Verse. Exuding unmatched power, wealth, and authority, he commands some of Spider-Man’s most notorious foes with a cold menace and is more than happy to get his hands dirty in his desperate attempt to be reunited with his family.

Peter B is an out of shape, world-weary version of Spider-Man who’s far from his prime.

Shaken by Peter’s death, and overwhelmed by the immense responsibility now in his hands, Miles is shocked to meet an alternative version of Peter, Peter B. Parker (Johnson), who arrived during the brief period that the Super-Collider was active. Unlike his counterpart from Miles’ world, Peter B is an out of shape, jaded, wreck of a man who has lost his way, and everything near to him, and yet, despite his crushing losses, obvious depression, and having grown weary of the power and responsibility that comes from being Spider-Man, Peter B still continues to be Spider-Man and does his best to tutor Miles in coming to grips with his powers. He’s obviously not as effective or competent a mentor than his counterpart promised to be but he does what he can regardless and is fully willing to put his life on the line to allow his fellow Spider-People to return home.

Thanks to her friendship with Miles, Gwen learns to open herself up to others once again.

Speaking of which, Miles is also joined by a whole host of unexpected Spider-People; the first one he meets is Spider-Woman, Gwen Stacy, although he is unaware of her true identity at the time. A vastly different version of the traditional Gwen, Spider-Woman gained her powers in Peter’s place in her world and is a tough, sarcastic character who, while having a soft spot for Miles, is reluctant to open herself up to him, or anyone else, for fear of losing them. In a film arguably crowded by Spider-People, Gwen stands out by being one of the more recognisable and fleshed out characters and is, basically, a tertiary protagonist as her growing friendship with Miles is a major part of her (and his) character development.

As fun and interesting as the other Spider-People look, there’s not enough time for them all to shine.

Sadly, the same can’t really be said about the rest of the Spider-Crew; Peni Parker/SP//dr (Glenn) is perhaps the least developed and expendable of the group. While she is rendered in an outstanding anime aesthetic and has a heart-warming bond with her spider mech, she’s largely inconsequential to the story and could have been spliced out with any other version of Spider-Man. Spider-Noir (Cage) and Peter Porker/Spider-Ham (Mulaney) manage to stand out a little better thanks to being rendered in monochrome and talking like a thirties gangster or being a literal cartoon character, respectively, but we don’t really learn a great deal about them and they’re mainly there to emphasise that every universe has a Spider-Man and that Spidey’s legacy and ideals are carried by a variety of characters all throughout time and space, which all directly ties into Miles’ character arc of growing into, and finally accepting, his role as Spider-Man.

The Nitty-Gritty:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse immediately sets itself apart from other Spider-Man movies not just by focusing on Miles as its main character and its cross-dimensional subplot but also by virtue of being an animated movie. Truthfully, animation suits Spider-Man down to the ground as, often, some of the more exhilarating sequences in Spider-Man movies are the computer-generated fight scenes and web-slinging moments and Into the Spider-Verse definitely uses its medium to its full advantage, featuring a unique aesthetic, comic book-like sound effects for emphasis, and even varying the frame rate to emphasise the differences between the various Spider-People and Miles’ comparative inexperienced compared to them.

Jokes, gags, and quips are just part of the film’s humour, which is full of amusing banter.

Humour is an important element of the film; Into the Spider-Verse is full of amusing lines, sight gags, and comedic moments that come naturally and are incredibly amusing thanks to some effortless and believable line delivery from the likes of Moore, Pine, and Johnson (Spider-Man’s quips during tough situations and battles are a notable highlight). Characters have an easy banter and sass to them that allows even the least developed of them to appear far more nuanced in the short space of time they have to shine and humour is emphasised through Miles’ inexperience with his powers, wry commentary on his increasingly chaotic situation, and the frantic nature of the action scenes and character beats.

Action and fights are colourful and frantic, ensuring no two fights are the same.

Speaking of action, Into the Spider-Verse is crammed full of some of the most impressive, intense, and frenzied action scenes in any Spider-Man movie; the freedom offered by relying on animation allows for some of the most diverse and varied web-slinging as each Spider-Person swings, fights, and moves differently. The use of music and onomatopoeia emphasises the action, which is fast-paced, memorable, and impactful thanks to the film showcasing a wide variety of Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, which includes the likes of the Green Goblin, Lonnie Lincoln/Tombstone (Marvin “Krondon” Jones III), and Mac Gargan/The Scorpion (Joaquín Cosio).

Though a vicious mercenary, Aaron’s hesitation to kill Miles costs him his life.

Apart from Fisk, though, the most prominent villains of the film are Doctor Olivia Octavius/Doctor Octopus (Kathryn Hahn) and the Prowler; while Doc Ock is a sadistic and formidable, half-crazed scientist, it is the Prowler who has the most emotional significance to both the plot and to Miles. Constantly accompanied by an ominous, animalistic theme, the Prowler is portrayed as Fisk’s top mercenary; a brutal and vicious, cat-like fighter in a sophisticated suit of armour, Prowler stops at nothing to hunt down Fisk’s missing USB drive. Miles is absolutely devastated to find that the one person he thought he could rely on in the whole world, his Uncle Aaron, turns out to be the Prowler and even more crushed when, upon discovering Miles’ identity, Aaron chooses to spare his nephew and is executed by the Kingpin as a result and dies in Miles’ arms while urging him to continue on as a hero.

Miles finally embraces his role as Spider-Man, defeats Kingpin, and returns his new friends home.

In the end, against all the odds and his own doubts and inexperience, Miles customises one of Peter’s suits (crafting an absolutely bad-ass variant in the process) and fully embraces his role as Spider-Man to confront the Kingpin and put an end to his destructive scheme. It’s a real coming of age moment for Miles, who previously could only look up in awe at Spider-Man’s legacy, and allows him to not only finally live up to the lofty expectations placed upon him by his father and the various Spider-People but also repair his relationship with his father (and his father’s opinion of Spider-Man) through his actions. With the Spider-People returned home, Miles becomes the one true Spider-Man of his world, gaining lifelong friends and a renewed sense of responsibility, confidence, and identity in the process. It’s a strikingly effective story largely thanks to how relatable and complex Miles is portrayed throughout the film, being a rebellious and well-meaning kid who is simply struggling to find his place in an ever-changing world.

The Summary:
If I’m being completely honest, I’m not really a fan of how often a street-level superhero like Spider-Man gets caught up in multiversal misadventures and meets alternative versions of himself; just like how I’m often a bit perturbed by how often Bruce Wayne/Batman has to put up with the same events, I feel like Spider-Man works better as a more grounded hero who only occasionally dabbles in cosmic-level events. To that end, I feel like Into the Spider-Verse would have been just as appealing to me, if not more so, had the multiverse elements been dropped; Peter B could have just been the version of Spider-Man in Miles’ world, Gwen could have been the same or swapped out with Cindy Moon/Silk, and the other Spider-People could have been replaced by, say, Ben Reilly or Kaine Parker and the idea of a multiverse of Spider-Man could maybe have been saved for the next movie.

The film is a superb coming of age story charting Miles’ acceptance of his new role as a superhero.

However, having said that, that doesn’t mean I’m not a huge fan of Into the Spider-Verse as it is; make no mistakes about it, this is a fantastic movie from start to finish, with an extremely appealing aesthetic identity and some absolutely fantastic action. It also carries a very emotional heart to its story, which is one of identity, legacy, and expectation; a coming of age story that follows a young, emotional kid who is struggling to live up to the role his mentors expect of him, Into the Spider-Verse says a lot about not only the nature of Spider-Man but also the struggles of youth and puberty. I’m glad Into the Spider-Verse did so well and I’m genuinely looking forward to the sequel delivering more of the same high-octane action and heartfelt emotion, visual flair, as well as introducing more Spider-People and, hopefully, expanding upon the brief cameo from one of my favourite Spider-Man, Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac).

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fantastic

What are your thoughts on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse? Where does it rank among the various other Spider-Man movies for you and what did you think of the artistic style and focus on Miles Morales and the other Spider-People? Which of the alternative Spider-Man was your favourite? Would you have liked to see one, or more, get a bigger role and if so, which one? What other alterative version of Spider-Man would you like to see show up in the sequel? Are you a fan of Spider-Man always having adventures with alternate versions of himself or would you prefer to see him tackling more street-level threats? Are you a fan of Miles, and what did you think to Peter’s death both in Ultimate Spider-Man and in Into the Spider-Verse? Whatever your opinion on Into the Spider-Verse, go ahead and drop a reply down in the comments and be sure to check back in next Wednesday as Spider-Man Month continues!

10 FTW: Comic Book Crossovers We Need To See

If there’s one thing comic books allow, it’s the grandiose crossover between characters. Ever since Barry Allen met Jay Garrick all the way back in 1961 and introduced the idea of multiple parallel universes, comic book characters have existed in both isolated shared universes and travelled across a near infinite multiverse. However, while it’s relatively common to see Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman interact with the Justice League or the Teen Titans, or to have Peter Parker/Spider-Man randomly join forces with the Fantastic Four or the X-Men, we’ve also seen the characters of DC and Marvel Comics interact with each other. We’ve seen Superman and Batman both cross paths with Spider-Man, the X-Men team with the New Teen Titans, and both publishers’ greatest heroes go head-to-head in the epic DC Versus Marvel Comics (Marz and David, et al, 1996) crossover.

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There have been some weird crossovers in comics.

In addition, Dark Horse Comics snapped up multiple science-fiction and horror film franchises, giving us crossovers such as RoboCop Versus The Terminator (Miller, et al, 1992) and a whole slew of Aliens vs. Predator (Various, 1989 to present) comics. It doesn’t end there, either; we’ve seen Batman cross paths with Judge Dredd on multiple times and Frank Castle/The Punisher team up with not only Eminem but also pop up in Archie Comics, and it was thanks to such comic book crossovers that we finally got to see the three-way mash-up between Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, and Ash Williams! Yet, as many and varied and seemingly limitless as these crossovers can be, it seems like we’ve missed out on a few seemingly-obvious crossovers. Maybe it’s because of licensing issues or the fact that DC and Marvel Comics don’t tend to do a lot of business together lately, but, either way, I figured I’d talk about ten crossovers I’d love to see in comic books.

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10 Justice Society/Watchmen

After DC Comics finally put an end to the largely-awful New 52 run, they teased Alan Moore’s seminal work, Watchmen (ibid, et al, 1986 to 1987), becoming part of DC canon when Edward Blake/The Comedian’s iconic smiley-face button turned up in the Batcave. Cue the extremely delayed publication schedule of Doomsday Clock (Johns, et al, 2017 to 2019), a storyline that revealed that Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan had been influencing DC canon for decades. While this, obviously, brought the characters of Watchmen (or, at least, versions of them) into conflict with Superman, Batman, and other versions of the Justice League, it’s the older, more seasoned members of the Justice Society of America (JSA) I’d like to see have extended interactions with the Crimebusters.

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A battle between these two could destroy realities, much less worlds!

The JSA were at their peak around the time of World War Two, meaning they are decidedly more optimistic and pragmatic about their approach to crimefighting. The Crimebusters, meanwhile, existed in a largely dystopian version of the 1980s that was pretty bleak and constantly on the verge of another World War, meaning this team up could produce an interesting clash of styles and philosophies that would probably be more in keeping with Moore’s more reflective text rather than an all-out brawl. Plus, who doesn’t want to see who would win a battle between Jim Corrigan/The Spectre and Doctor Manhattan?

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9 Pulp Heroes United

Before Batman and Superman, there were the pulp heroes of the 1930s to 1950s. Names like the Phantom, the Shadow, the Spirit, the Rocketeer, and Green Hornet may have faded from mainstream relevance in recent years, but they live on thanks to publications from Dynamite Comics and crossovers with DC Comics. Speaking of Dynamite Comics, they came very close to this crossover with their Masks (Various, 2014 to 2016) series, which saw the Shadow teaming up with the Green Hornet and Kato, a version of Zorro, and the Spider but this crossover has so much potential to really pay homage to the heroes of yesteryear. Ideally, such a comprehensive team up would be similar to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Moore, et al, 1999 to 2019) in its scope and legacy; hell, I’d even have the Phantom, the Shadow, the Spirit, the Rocketeer, Green Hornet and Kato, Zorro, Doc Savage, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and the rest of their ilk butting heads with the Martians from The War of the Worlds (Wells, 1897) at the turn of the century. A proper sepia-toned, steampunk-filled piece that sees these wildly different pulp heroes begrudgingly working together to save the world could be a great way to thrust these overlooked classic heroes back into the spotlight.

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8 Red Hood/Winter Soldier

If the comic industry was like it was back in the mid-nineties, we would surely have already seen this crossover, which is as obvious and as fitting as the team up between the Punisher and Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael during his brief tenure as Batman. Speaking of which, a team up between Jason Todd/Red Hood and the Punisher is just as enticing but, in terms of thematically complimentary characters, you’re hard pressed to find two more fitting that Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes. Both characters were well-known sidekicks to greater heroes whose deaths shaped, influenced, and affected their mentors for years, and both even returned to life as violent, broken anti-heroes around the same time.

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Jason and Bucky’s deaths weighed heavily on Bat and Cap for years.

Yet, while Bucky has gone on to not only redeem himself and assume the mantle of Captain America (and is largely far more mainstream thanks to his prominent inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Jason Todd has floundered a little bit. It didn’t help that Jason’s resurrection was directly tied to DC’s latest reality-shattering Crisis for years (even though there have since been far less convoluted explanations, and he really should have been Hush all along) but, even ignoring that, Jason’s place is skewed as one minute he’s a sadistic killer, then he’s a violent anti-hero, then he’s wearing the Bat embalm and is an accepted (however begrudgingly) member of the Bat Family. However, both characters have carved a name out for themselves as being willing to go to any lengths to punish the guilty; each has blood on their hands, a butt load of emotional and personal issues, and a degree of augmented strength, speed, and skill thanks to their training or resurrection. While both are similar, Bucky is far more likely to be the bigger man and take the more moral ground, which would be more than enough to emphasise the differences between the two (provided Jason feels like being more antagonistic in this theoretical crossover).

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7 Judge Dredd/RoboCop

It’s no secret that RoboCop exists almost solely because of Judge Dredd; without 2000 A.D.’s no-nonsense lawman, we’d likely never have seen the excellently gore-and-satire-filled sci-fi action that is RoboCop (Verhoeven, 1987). While Batman has had more than a few run-ins with Judge Dredd, Detroit’s resident cyborg supercop has yet to meet his cinematic counterpart. The story is so simple is basically writes itself; you could have RoboCop awakened from suspended animation or reactivated after decades of being offline in the war-ravaged dystopia of Mega City One and briefly come into conflict with Dredd.

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Robo might need an upgrade to two to make things even…

I’d wager that RoboCop would be the more likely of the two to be more morally inclined; RoboCop generally operates based on very specific, law-abiding directives (or, depending on the version, his own conscience) that justify violence in service of protecting the innocent. Dredd, meanwhile, is just as likely to arrest victims of crimes as those who perpetrate them and is generally more an example of totalitarianism and uncompromising brutality in the name of the “law!” Yet, just as Dredd and Batman were able to work together despite coming to blows over their methods and philosophies, these two would make quite the formidable team once they’d ironed out their differences…though RoboCop may need an upgrade or two to survive in the future.

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6 Deadpool/The Mask

DC Comics have had many crossovers with Dark Horse over the years, resulting in numerous interactions between DC’s finest and the Xenomorphs, Predators, and Terminators. Similarly, both companies worked together on a number of crossovers revolving around the violent, big-headed cartoon anti-hero “the Mask”.

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Both characters are known for their comic violence.

It stands to reason, then, that if the Joker acquiring the magical mask and gaining its powers is a natural fit, a crossover between the near limitless power of the mask and everyone’s favourite fourth-wall breaking Mutant, Wade Wilson/Deadpool, would be just as fitting. Both characters are known for their over-the-top, cartoony violence, springing weapons out of thin air, directly addressing the reader, and busting heads with a maniacal glee. Hell, DC and Dark Horse had Lobo team up with “Big-Head” and even acquire the mask in another crossover and, given Lobo’s similarities to Deadpool, it wouldn’t bee too hard to imagine a crossover between these two being little more than a non-stop bloodbath as they tried in vain to damage each other, before Deadpool inevitably acquires the mask for himself and, in all likelihood, reduces all of conscious reality to a cheesy puff.

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5 RoboCop vs. Terminator vs. Aliens vs. Predator

Speaking of Dark Horse Comics, they really have brought us some great crossovers over the years; RoboCop Versus The Terminator and Aliens vs. Predator were natural stories to present in comics, videogames, and toys that were (arguably) too big for movies. They also merged three of these franchises together in Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator (Schultz, et al, 20000), though that story was more a sequel to Alien: Resurrection (Jeunet, 1997) and a continuation of the Aliens vs. Predator comics than anything to do with the Terminator (Various, 1984 to 2019) films. Instead, this four-way crossover would give Dark Horse a chance to take the time-hopping, action-packed story of RoboCop Versus The Terminator and merge it with their complex Aliens vs. Predator comics.

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RoboCop should lead the fight against these monsters.

RoboCop would probably be best served as the central character of the story; a member of the human resistance could travel back in time to try and eliminate RoboCop, only to run into a T-800 right as Predators come to clean up a Xenomorph outbreak in Detroit. A time dilation could transport them to the war-ravaged future, where RoboCop could team up with a reprogrammed T-800 (or John Connor) against the aliens, or perhaps the future war would be changed by the reverse-engineering or Predator technology. There’s a lot of potential in this crossover but, for me, it only really works if you include RoboCop. Without him, you end up with a poorly-executed concept like Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator, which really didn’t utilise the Terminator franchise enough. But imagine a Terminator/Xenomorph (or Predator) hybrid exchanging plasma blasts with a Predator-tech-upgraded RoboCop and tell me that doesn’t sound cool!

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4 Hellboy/Constantine

We’re scaling back a bit with this one. Honestly, I am very surprised we’ve never seen these two team up before, especially considering the amicable relationship DC and Dark Horse Comics have had over the years. Hell, we did get a brief team up between Hellboy and Batman but, arguably, this is the far more fitting choice. In this concept, I would go with the idea that John Constantine and Hellboy co-exist in the same world and have them cross paths when investigating the same supernatural threat or mystery. Obviously, they’d have to fight before teaming up (or, perhaps, they’d just rub each other the wrong way after being forced to team up), but can you imagine the quips and taunts and insults Constantine would have for Hellboy all throughout this crossover? Toss in guys like Swamp Thing and Etrigan, or even the Justice League Dark and the rest of Hellboy’s buddies (and absolutely have Mike Mignola provide his distinctive art style to the piece alongside co-authoring the story with either Grant Morrison or Neil Gaiman) and you could have a very dark, moody, and entertaining paranormal crossover.

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3 Batgirl/Spider-Gwen

This one is more of a light-hearted pick but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of unapologetic fun amidst all the big action set pieces and violent action. After her debut in the “Spider-Verse” (Slott, et al, 2014 to 2015) storyline and prominent inclusion in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Persichetti, Ramsey, and Rothman, 2018), this alternative version of Gwen Stacy has gained quite the fan following over the years and has become firmly entrenched in Marvel canon as Ghost-Spider.

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These two have quite a bit in common, it seems.

Meanwhile, since the New 52, DC have returned Barbara Gordon to the role of Batgirl; this wasn’t without some controversy as, for years, Barbara had operated just fine as a paraplegic and the Batgirl mantle had been assumed by other, far more suitable candidates. Yet, DC have continued unabated, largely changing Barbara from a smart and capable tech and information wizard, to a far more catty, athletic, and socially-conscious young lady. Despite this, this has the potential to be a really fun crossover between these two; while Babs should really be the older and more mature of the two, they’re both around the same age these days (somewhere between fifteen and twenty-one, depending on DC and Marvel’s sliding timelines), meaning there would be a lot of common ground between the two. No doubt they would have plenty to say about each other’s costumes, hair, and ex boyfriends (throw Nightwing in there and have that cause a bit of tension between the two) and I would even have them team up against C-list villains, like the Vulture, Chameleon, Shocker, Mad Hatter, or Killer Moth, just to keep the focus on fast-paced, witty action rather than getting all sour and bleak.

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2 Spider-Man 2099/Batman Beyond

I know what you’re thinking: Shouldn’t this be a crossover between Batman Beyond (1999 to 2001) and Spider-Man Unlimited (1999 to 2001), considering both cartoons aired at the same time and both characters wore similar, futuristic costumes? Well, you might be right, but Spider-Man Unlimited really should have been based on the initial Spider-Man 2099 (Various, 1992 to 1996) comics as that cartoon is largely remembered for being a poor follow-up to the superior Spider-Man (1994 to 1998) animated series and for featuring a pretty neat new costume for Spidey. Instead, I’d go with Spidey’s futuristic counterpart, Miguel O’Hara, who is more famous for operating in an alternative future of Marvel Comics. Again, the easiest way for him to interact with Terry McGinnis would be to have them exist in the same world but there’s a bit of an issue with that: Batman Beyond was set in 2039 when Terry was sixteen. The Justice League Unlimited (2004 to 2006) episode “Epilogue” (Riba, 2005) jumps to fifteen years later and Terry is a thirty-one-year-old Batman but the story would probably need some kind of time travel plot to bring these characters together at their peak.

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Both characters come from similar futuristic worlds.

Luckily, neither character is no stranger to time-hopping adventures; perhaps the best way to do this would be to have two similar villains in each world experimenting with time/reality-bending technology and cause a dilation that threatens to merge both timelines unless Miguel and Terry can stop them. I’d even have them both swap places; have Miguel wake up one morning in Neo-Gotham, running into the aged, grouchy Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) and battling some of Terry’s foes, while Terry randomly finds himself dumped in Nueva York and running afoul of Alchemax. After two issues of them exploring each other’s world, the third issue would be the obligatory fight between the two before they agree to team up for the fourth and final issue and sort out the problem. Both characters’ futuristic costumes have very similar traits and exist in visually interesting futuristic worlds, making a potential clash and eventual team up between them an exciting prospect for the art work and banter alone.

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1 Batman/The Crow

Easily the top choice for me, and the genesis of this list, I literally cannot shake how perfect a crossover between Batman and Eric Draven/The Crow would be. Neither are strangers to inter-company crossovers but, while the Crow has had to settle for teaming up with the likes of Razor, The X-Files (1993 to 2018), and Hack/Slash (Seeley/Various, et al, 2014 to 2018), Batman has met Al Simmons/Spawn, Spider-Man, Judge Dredd, and even Elmer Fudd and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Batman could put his detective skills to use when Eric comes to Gotham.

Yet, this crossover provides the opportunity to get Batman back to the gritty, noir-inspired style of stories like The Long Halloween (Loeb, et al, 1996 to 1997) utilising an art style that is part Dave McKean and part James O’Barr. As for the plot, I’d have Eric return to his undead life once again after it is revealed that there was another figure pulling the strings of Top Dollar’s gang. This would, of course, bring Eric to Gotham City, where he’d start killing members of this extended gang of thugs with his usual brand of violence and poetic justice. Naturally, this would lead him into conflict with Batman but, rather than the two descending into a poorly written, childish brawl as in Spawn/Batman (Miller and McFarlane, 1994), it would probably be better to focus on Batman’s detective skills as he investigates Eric’s murder, those behind the murder, and Eric’s violent actions on the streets of Gotham. In fact, I probably would only have the two interact right at the conclusion of the story, just as Eric is about to kill his final target; they could have a discussion on morality and the meaning of justice but, ultimately, Eric would fulfil his mission and return to the grave regardless of Batman’s protestations, leaving Batman to ponder the line between justice and vengeance.

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What comic book crossover would you like to see? Which comic book crossover has been your favourite, or most reviled? Whatever you think about comic book crossovers, leave a comment below.