The Top Five Greatest Comics Crossovers

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Posted by No_name_here (330 posts) - - Show Bio

Ever since Namor fought the original Human Torch and ALL-STAR COMICS brought other publishers' heroes into the JSA, crossovers (both within and between companies) have basically been as fundamental to superheroes as secret identities. We've seen many over the years and, since they've come in every color, flavor and texture, there are plenty of options for a healthy discussion of favorites. I've put together a list of my top five (totally subjective and not-at-all objective) favs to stir the pot some and invite you maniacs to counter with your own top picks. Call it an editor/user crossover, how about it?

== TEASER ==


You’re never going to see something like this again. Never ever. Oh, the meta conceit of an entire line of comics from "another reality" has been used several times afterward (one of them's even on this list) but you won't see this kind of inter-company cooperation solely for the purpose of “fan service” (as they say in anime circles) again.

Call it a vestige of a bygone era - - it's more special for that - - because I still haven’t gotten over the novelty of a Marvel/DC crossover with decisive winners and losers, nor that of the endlessly-clever combination of their universes which followed. SPIDER-BOY, MAGNETO & THE MAGNETIC MEN and IRON LANTERN (just to name a few) were all such unabashedly entertaining books that, fespite all logic, I truly, honestly wish that this had become an annual tradition. It was all just such fun for the sake of fun.


This continues to be just as big a thorn of controversy as it was when it was first coming out. Discussions of the appropriateness of violence in an inherently-violent genre aside, it speaks to the effectiveness of a murder mystery when it still manages to be shocking however many years later. I liked it because it pulled off the impressive feet of making a crossover event big and important without necessarily involving global catastrophes, reality warps and all-out war. Instead, it cut at the much more dangerous subject of superheroes' loved ones and the dangers that come, both inside and outside the cape community, with the sharing of secret identities.

The reveal of the killer may have been bitter pill to swallow because everybody wanted it to be a new, insidious supervillain, but I'd say it's much more fitting in hindsight, and all the scarier for its implications on the risks of trust. Also, the part where Batman desperately races home to save Tim Drake's Dad was one of the tensest nail-biters I've encountered in any comic.


The appeal of this is much like that of Amalgam - - seeing all your favorite characters in totally new guises and circumstances - - but I’ve ranked this age a little higher for how all its reinterpretations are bound to a serious and more ambitious story. Again, I still haven't quite shaken off the novelty of seeing a heroic Sabretooth, an evil, one-eyed Cyclops or mutants like Blink being active when they're dead in the regular timeline. It’s hard to argue with the influence and importance of a crossover when it’s spawned a slew of new characters and follow-up stories that are still continuing more than 15 years later. I also feel like the creators were allowed to cut loose in a way that they rarely get to on this kind of scale, and they unleashed some really wild creations like Abyss, Holocaust and Sugar Man.


We all know that crossovers run the risk of spreading too thin and losing that elusive “guiding voice” in even just the main mini-series. Long before FINAL CRISIS, this was the first crossover masterminded by Grant Morrison and it's got the tightest and most singular vision. It truly felt like you were reading comics from the future, and editorial smartly gave everybody free reign to do what they wanted for their respective "millionth issues" instead of mandating tie-in plots.

Seeing your heroes' characters' 853rd century successors is interesting enough, in itself, and it was a real treat to see how all the creators took on that creative challenge in their own unique way. While Solaris the Tyrant Sun and Kal Kent of the Justice Legion Alpha have shown up in Morrison's later Superman stories, these concepts and characters were so far out, I'd still love to see some monthly "Tales of the 853rd Century" title.


Plenty has been said about superheroes stories being the modern successors of mythology, and I can't think of any other crossover where that conceptual link has felt as direct and as exciting as it is in this. Thanos returning from the dead, collecting all the Infinity Gems and then using their power to snuff half the universe in a vain effort to win Death's affections? That definitely sounds like something out of an epic poem.

Actually, without too much hyperbole, the subsequent marshaling of the entire Marvel pantheon against this mad king's destructive love affair truly makes me think of the gathering of larger-than-life heroes that occurs on account of Paris of Troy's selfish, adulterous actions in THE ILLIAD. It feels that epic. For as often as people gripe about the drawbacks and consequences of a shared superhero universe, I return to this fairly regularly and it always reminds me of just how fun the whole conceit can be. And if you want to talk about lasting consequences, just look at how long the Infinity Gauntlet's endured as the ultimate symbol of power in the Marvel universe.

There you have it, those were my top five. Where do these rate in your top five?

#1 Posted by StarKiller809 (1213 posts) - - Show Bio

I like crossovers but having too much bums my wallet out.

#2 Posted by Osiris1428 (1347 posts) - - Show Bio


#3 Posted by The Myth (546 posts) - - Show Bio

I was and still am a fan of the Amalgam!

#4 Posted by xerox_kitty (15762 posts) - - Show Bio

DC One Million? Really? That's back issue bargain basement material... and it ranked higher than the Age of Apocalypse? 
Ah well... I guess it's not my list, after all ;)
#5 Posted by Gambit1969 (35 posts) - - Show Bio

Age of Apocalypse is my favorite one.

#6 Posted by Kiddevil (7477 posts) - - Show Bio

what would be your list?
#7 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2137 posts) - - Show Bio

WHOO! Someone giving DC One Million it's proper due! I've only been reading comics for about 2-3 years now, so I missed out on it for the most part. I remember reading the SEVERELY lacking trade and loving the ideas but hating the god awful pacing in the collection. I have recently undertaken a quest to collect all the !,000,000 issues, and I'm happy to say I'm more than halfway through. 
I also agree I'd LOVE to see more tales from the 853rd century, the one in Superman/Batman was a bit underwhelming.

#8 Posted by keith71_98 (387 posts) - - Show Bio

No Crisis on Infinite Earths???
#9 Posted by Gambit1969 (35 posts) - - Show Bio

You know what would be cool, Hasbro and Mattel doing 6" versions of the Amalgam can always dream

#10 Posted by ohrenclez (79 posts) - - Show Bio

Couldn't agree more with "amalgam" and "one million"...

but especially "Identity Crisis" favourite comic-event of all time...this event had so many special moments that made me feel for the characters like no other story before (maybe "death in the family") i was almost crying my eyes out when tim found his father....and also the scene with ralph and sue dibny...really my most memorable moments in comic history!!!

#11 Posted by Nostradouglas (6 posts) - - Show Bio

Good read. I've always thought Identity Crisis was the best comic since Watchmen. (Personal preference) Also loved Infinity Gauntlet, especially the issues where its Thanos vs. the heroes (Love that cover) and then vs. the Cosmic Entities. Maybe it's the 11 year old in me that loved Avengers/JLA, I mean the story wasn't great and it could have used some Spidey/Blue Beetle awesome banter (and some crazy Moon Knight talking to crazy Batman) but for some reason I always liked it.

#12 Posted by Red_Robin212 (91 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm surprised by the omission of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" (Mainly because I see it on pretty much every list I see) but it's nice to see new choices.

Still nice to see "Identity Crisis" get some love, I love that story

#13 Edited by Teerack (7415 posts) - - Show Bio

I never even hear of Amalgam till now but the concept sounds cool. I'll defiantly look into it. I'm really glad that the the Infinity gauntlet came out on top, because It really was a grade series. I don't think there will ever be anything as insane as the united cosmic beings vs Thanos and the infinity gauntlet. Useless maybe some day the Living Tribunal decides to go up against the power of the gauntlet. I miss when crossovers didn't involve a million tie ins to get a full picture of the story.

#14 Edited by Enderof295 (44 posts) - - Show Bio

I gotta say, I really liked the Marvel vs DC crossover and the Amalgam Universe that followed.  I remember going to the comic shop to fill out my ballot to pick the winners for issue 3.  I remember picking Superman over the Hulk, but then going with Marvel the rest of the way.  That was an awesome crossover.  I even remember the mini-series All-Access the following year and round two of the Amalgam titles.  I think I still have X-Patrol and JLX somewhere.  
Age of Apocalypse was one of the absolute best crossovers of all time.  I remember reading X-Men Chronicles #1 and thinking to myself, "This is AWESOME!!!!"
#15 Posted by fodigg (6136 posts) - - Show Bio

Amalgam was a terrible story. This made the list based on novelty alone.

#16 Posted by KainScion (2969 posts) - - Show Bio

identity crisis sucked. especially the ending. dc 1 mil was ok not better than age of apocalypse for sure.

#17 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23238 posts) - - Show Bio

I like Pinchuk, but that's a horrendous list. 
No Final Crisis? No Infinite Crisis? 

#18 Posted by Golden Cod (440 posts) - - Show Bio
#19 Posted by Chaos Burn (1788 posts) - - Show Bio

Does Secret Wars count, I would have thought it'd be up there if it did

#20 Posted by Diamondblade (55 posts) - - Show Bio

robocop and terminator had a cool crossover.

#21 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2137 posts) - - Show Bio
#22 Posted by jhazzroucher (16487 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Myth said:

I was and still am a fan of the Amalgam!

me too. Amazon is my favorite

#23 Posted by Jake Fury (19187 posts) - - Show Bio

No love for JLA/Avengers?
#24 Posted by Abriel (54 posts) - - Show Bio

No Crisis On Infinite Earths? That one definitely goes in my top 5, along with Secret Wars. I agree with the Infinity Gauntlet though, and yes I actually liked Identity Crisis. For the fifth...well I would have to go with Blackest Night on that one.

#25 Posted by ravisher (694 posts) - - Show Bio

come at me bro


#26 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6836 posts) - - Show Bio

Good choices! For my part I would have included crossovers other than in the traditional DC or Marvel thread though. After all, what about the Deathmate crossover event between Valiant and Image? World's Collide between DCU and Milestone? Black September? The list goes on and on! I love the ones you chose though and every single one of them are worthy crossovers in my opinion.

#27 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2137 posts) - - Show Bio
@RedheadedAtrocitus: I'm in the process of collecting Milestone, and I'm just about to get to Worlds Collide. For all it's confusion I mostly enjoyed the Shadow War crossover, but I'm hoping Worlds Collide is much better. And then there's Long Hot Summer. God I love Milestone.
#28 Posted by Mr. Dead Pool (2625 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel Zombies VS Army of Darkness and Freddy VS Jason VS Ash are the best crossovers I've read.

#29 Posted by cattlebattle (13347 posts) - - Show Bio
@fodigg said:

Amalgam was a terrible story. This made the list based on novelty alone.

Gotta agree with this
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
, that's a horrendous list.  No Final Crisis? No Infinite Crisis? 
and this
This list is clearly a popularity list, in terms of X-Men arcs Fall of the Mutants was much better than AoA,  and it is missing the stories of necessity like Secret Wars, No Mans Land and as previously stated Infinite Crisis
#30 Posted by Iridium (127 posts) - - Show Bio

@Chaos Burn: Totally agree with you there. It was the first and, and to my aging brain, still the best. I still rifle through those issues from time to time. I was always a DC fan growing up but Secret Wars is what opened the door to Marvel for me.

#31 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1033 posts) - - Show Bio

Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness was fun. I dunno if it'd kick any of the ones you listed off the top 5 (because I haven't read DC 1 Million) but it's definitely in my top 10.

#32 Posted by vidmouse (11 posts) - - Show Bio

To me the classic ones will always be Crisis on Infinite Earths for DC and Secret Wars (I) for Marvel.

But, it's nice to see a unique list.

#33 Posted by 4Essence (152 posts) - - Show Bio

Missed your writing Pinchuck.

The reference to the Ilaid is so damn refreshing.

I always think of that quintessential poem when looking at crossovers like IG.

Great work.

#34 Edited by pikahyper (12682 posts) - - Show Bio
Moderator Online
#35 Posted by mathematicscore (167 posts) - - Show Bio

First of DC one million was phenomenal.

As for identity crisis, I believe you hit it's positive points well; however, the controversy over it's violence should not be dismissed. Now, I would agree that there is an inherent violence to the genre, and things like Mr Drake's death (and even Sue's) didn't bother me too much, aside from the passing of beloved characters. What I feel is the most deserving of question is the sexualized violence, the rape scene; it served little purpose and seemed mostly for shock value.

Also, Deathstroke taking out the whole JLA was pretty silly.

#36 Posted by jubilee042 (1345 posts) - - Show Bio

mine are

  1. age of apocalypse
  2. phalanx covenant
  3. identity crisis
  4. amalgam age
  5. crisis on infinite earths
#37 Posted by cincyducksfan35 (129 posts) - - Show Bio

I see Amalgam in the quarter bins at my Half Price Books all the time, but I always thought they looked silly. Maybe I'll try a few

#38 Edited by ndholite (17 posts) - - Show Bio

- DC vs Marvel...

- Final Crisis

- Crisis on Infinite Earths

Just wondering if the DCnU combined with Ultimate Marvel, What it look like...???

#39 Posted by AlKusanagi (651 posts) - - Show Bio

I miss when the yearly events would just run through the annuals, like Evolutionary Wars and Atlantis Attacks.

Also, I miss annuals...

#40 Edited by CATPANEXE (9357 posts) - - Show Bio
@Tom Pinchuk said: 

There you have it, those were my top five. Where do these rate in your top five?

Though enjoyable on all, nowhere near my top five, though I tend to gravitate to
the weird and wild stuff. My favorites are:

5. Savage Dragon Vs Megaton Man ( The Savage Dragon Vs The Savage Megaton Man Special #1)
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot ( Flaming Carrot#25-27, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot #1-4)
3. Lobo Vs The Mask ( Lobo Mask #1-2)
2. Spider-Man and Saturday Night Live ( Marvel Team-Up#74) Belushi fights Silver Samurai, Stan Lee hosts, 'nuff said!
1. Spider-Man Vs Powdered Toast Man ( The Ren And Stimpy Show #6)

notable mentions are:
- Silver Surfer/Superman ( Silver Surfer/Superman #1), a crossover between Superman, Silver Surfer, Mr. Mxyzptlk and Impossible Man by George Perez.
- Fusion ( Fusion #1-3) a Marvel/Top Cow crossover between The Avengers, The Thunderbolts, Cyberforce and Hunter-Killer by Abnett and Lanning that takes place after Civil War.
- Heroes Reborn World War 3 (all 13th issues of Heroes Reborn ) was a mashed-up universe consisting of Heroes Reborn and Wildstorm characters by Jim Lee.
- Army Of Darkness Vs. Re-Animator ( Army Of Darkness Vs. Re-Animator #1-4).
- Joker/Mask ( Joker/Mask #1-4). The Joker comes into possession of The Mask and him and Harley use it to thwart Batman and co.
- Marvel Team-Up ( Marvel Team-Up #1-25 ) by Robert Kirkman which was stuffed full of present and future cross-overs and included a meeting between Spider-Man and Kirkmans Invincible.
- any Transformers/G.I.Joe crossover are worth the read. The New Avengers/Transformers book was decent too.
- Care Bears meet The Madballs ( Care Bears#13) I'm joking. If you see a copy of this book burn it like the trash it is.

currently enamored by the crossover Artifacts by Top Cow/Image. judging by how big you like
it Tom, I think you'd really enjoy that series if you haven't gotten on board yet.
* though not a comic persay, I have to give props to Turtles Forever, the animated cross-over between the 1987 cartoon Turtleverse, The Fox Kids Turtleverse, and
the classic black and white Eastman and Laird Mirage Turtleverse.
#41 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6836 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@RedheadedAtrocitus: I'm in the process of collecting Milestone, and I'm just about to get to Worlds Collide. For all it's confusion I mostly enjoyed the Shadow War crossover, but I'm hoping Worlds Collide is much better. And then there's Long Hot Summer. God I love Milestone.

Woohoo, me too!

#42 Posted by pikahyper (12682 posts) - - Show Bio

@RedheadedAtrocitus said:

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@RedheadedAtrocitus: I'm in the process of collecting Milestone, and I'm just about to get to Worlds Collide. For all it's confusion I mostly enjoyed the Shadow War crossover, but I'm hoping Worlds Collide is much better. And then there's Long Hot Summer. God I love Milestone.

Woohoo, me too!

Same, I loved World's Collide, that's what got me started with Milestone and eventually I collected everything published :P

Moderator Online
#43 Posted by DK47501 (14 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll go for the grand daddy of all cross-overs to top my list.

1) The DC Comics Earth-1, Earth-2 and Earth-3 JLA/JSA events, including those wonderful silver age team-up like Starman & Black Canary. Pick any one and it'll be the top of my list.

2) Kree - Skull War

3) Forever Avengers - genius; if you're and Avengers fan you must read this.

4) Flashpoint

5) House of M

I've also loved all the recent Marvel events, Chaos War, Civil War, World War Hulk, Planet Hulk, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign was fantastic, etc.

And from DC, the epic New Krypton saga was amazing, what great ending that had! Green Lantern's Sinestro War, stunning. New Frontier was brilliant and also Justice was great too.

#44 Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw (81 posts) - - Show Bio

The original Secret Wars would probably be my all-time favorite, though Age of Apocalypse was very, very cool.

#45 Posted by Mrfuzzynutz (1141 posts) - - Show Bio

Ok maybe my definition of crossover is askew, but aren't these considered more Events with Tie in's then actually crossovers

Wouldn't crossovers consists of two seperate companies coming together for a story?

or two or more books carrying the same storyline

more along the Superman/Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer/Green Lantern

I will even extend that to the days of the 4 issue stories where parts 1 and 3 would be in Punisher while 2 and 4 would be in Web of Spider Man

Heck even the X-cutioner's Song from the X-books be a crossover?

So I guess this list is a bit tainted to me because I dont see any real cross overs

(besides no way is DC 1 million a better story then AoA!)

#46 Posted by LordRequiem (1323 posts) - - Show Bio

I suppose I'm alone here, but I quite enjoyed House of M. Magneto in charge and all!

#47 Posted by Snowana3 (7 posts) - - Show Bio

I would have to put the Crisis on Infinite Earth as a great crossover because it brought together the Golden, Silver, and modern Era of the DC universe

#48 Posted by Comicjew (162 posts) - - Show Bio

I read DC One Million and I didn't like it.
#49 Edited by Donovan Montgomery (5487 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree with most of the aforementioned, and add as a couple more my favorites, DC Challenge and Contest of Champions, even if neither had any lasting effect on their respective universes, they were both fun tales to read.  

#50 Posted by ssejllenrad (12790 posts) - - Show Bio

There's Identity Crisis and DC One Million but no Crisis on the infinite Earths? Aaawww heeellll nooooo!

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