Tasteful Attire ProhibitedWritten by: Ron Marz
Art by: Dan Jurgens, Claudio Castellini, Josef Rubinstein, Paul Neary, Bill Oakley and Gregory
Cover Price: $3.95
Release Date: February 1996
1996...Everyone was dancing to the Macarena, Beavis and Butthead were busy doing America and Raymond was just starting to feel the love. That love flowed into comics where DC and Marvel got together for the "Showdown of the Century". I say love, but the big draw of the event was seeing the two companies' biggest icons fighting each other to see who was the best. The results of the big fights were determined by reader votes while the writers chose how the lesser battles ended. If only the Big Two could get together and do it all again...it would be so awesome. That's probably never going to happen, but we still have this event (and the Amalgam imprint that came after) to reread and hope. Here is my review for the Round One...
The issue opens with Ben Reilly Spider-Man having a nice quite night in New York when his Spidey Senses go off and lead him to an alleyway. An alleyway with a "grubby looking man and a cardboard box". Yep, the war to end all comic book wars starts with a bum and a box. Things aren't what they seem, though, and before you can bat an eye, the box starts glowing and sends Ben to...
Gotham! He may not know it right away, but the reader does because the Joker is there with him. Ron Marz did not waste time making this crazy and awesome, did he? After Joker wonders which Spider-Man this is (yep, he has been through this before!), he gives Ben his card and leaves.
We continue back in the Marvel side of things with Gambit, Wolverine and Storm fighting the Juggernaut. It's a pretty cool fight all on it's own, but when Juggernaut disappears mid-punch and is suddenly outside the Daily Planet with a pissed off Superman looking...well, pissed, it gets way better! It's so cool to see the 90's Supes!
Back in the alley, it's now clear that whoever the grubby man is, he knows what the cardboard box is doing and is trying his best to stop it. Trying, but not succeeding. We see just that as Captain America is fighting Hydra (don't worry Hydra, he'll be on your side someday!) and disappears in the now familiar golden glow.
Cap is quickly followed by a who's who of comic book heroes...Wonder Woman, Hulk, Superboy and many, many more. The thing I loved the most was seeing the costumes of the era, but also who was who at that time as well.
We then go to the Batcave where Bullseye has a knife to Tim Drake's neck while Batman yells "I am the Batman". After Bullseye is taken down (and the answer to who hits harder, Daredevil or Batman is answered), Tim disappears and ends up with some fashionable X-Men.
Things are already wacky and it gets crazier when we see who Lois and Clark's new cigar smoking boss is at the Daily Planet and then Ron Marz takes us deeper down the rabbit hole by showing us some pretty awesome battles going on...Kyle Rayner vs Green Goblin, Bane vs Captain America and Daredevil vs the Riddler and a whole lot more! Marz does let us know that not all the heroes are fighting each other, but that's what we all want, right?!?
The issue continues with Clark Kent meeting the Daily Planet's new photographer, Ben Reilly. That was quick! I guess they used the same background check they used when Clark applied. While Clark wants to figure things out, we see that there are already some really big characters from each Universe on the case.
Now this is an event! If only Marvel and DC could have put their differences aside and given us this instead of say, CONVERGENCE!!! Since I wasn't reading comics at the time, it was so cool to see all the characters and unbelievably, I knew every one of them. It helped that Ron Marz spelled out everything pretty well to help those crossing over to another company like their favorite characters.
The book was divided between the DC artists (Jurgens and Rubinstein) and the Marvel ones (Claudio Castellini and Paul Neary) and I hope they had as much fun drawing all of the characters as I had looking at them! Everything looked fantastic and I actually paged through it all again after I read it just to look at the awesome cast of characters.
Bits and Pieces:
This issue kicked off the DC Versus Marvel/Marvel Versus DC Comic Event and Ron Marz doesn't wast any time giving the reader a fanboy's dream come true. While we have to wait to see the actual fights that it's all about, the combined companies art teams make everything look great and the story surrounding it all is pretty damn good as well. It really makes you wish it could happen all over again.