So people have been jawin’ lately… arguing over who’s cribbing whose playbook. Does Necrosha facebite Blackest Night? Does Brightest Day copy Heroic Age? I don't think either is the case, though I'm surprised nobody’s brought up the Lethal Legion storyline from the Busiek/Perez AVENGERS run where undead members come back to attack the living -- with their original personalities in tact.
Troy Brownfield’s answered the whole question rather cogently already, so I’m not going to dig it up for more (it’s not a Black Lantern!). I will point out, however, that questions of “cross-polination” in the big bee hive that is the comics business are hardly new.
In the Golden Age, of course, the Sub-Mariner was followed by Aqua Man. Both were princes of Atlantis, though their M.O.’s couldn’t have differed more. Aqua Man was a super-hero who could talk to creatures of the sea, while Namor was a street talking, angry young fish-man who terrorized humanity (being the first in Marvel’s long tradition of anti-heroes like the Hulk, Wolverine and Punisher).
Around that time, as well, you had the Flash followed by the Whizzer. Both were super-speedsters and both borrowed their winged helmets and inspiration from the original super-speedster, Hermes/Mercury. Needless to say, the Flash proved far more successful, while the Whizzer’s had difficulty… shaking off the associations his name and color scheme have with urination.
This may less obvious now, but in the Silver Age, there was the Doom Patrol and the X-Men. Both were teams composed of freaks, both had powers with as many limitations as advantages and both were led by paralyzed, wheelchair bound geniuses.
Marvel and DC are obviously aware of these similarities and have a good sense of humor about it. You'll notice that all the pictures above are from the Amalgam crossover from the 90s, which feature combinations of all these characters. Now, this is only just scratching the surface, so I’m going to dump some kerosene on this fire and put the challenge out to YOU to find some more!
--Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics. Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.