The 10 Best Comic Book Crossovers Of All Time Source:

Is there anything better than a comic book crossover? When they work well, comic book crossovers bring together our favorite superheroes in rich, compelling and exciting stories that forever alter the characters’ destiny and the comic universe. If we’re lucky, the crossover is a multi-issue event. At their worst, we get one-off comic book crossovers such as “Smurfs and Snorks.” Fortunately, the great comic book crossovers make up for all the bad ones that are designed simply to attract readers and part them from their hard earned money. So here then are the 10 best comic book crossovers ever. Great editions that any comic book lover should seek out.

10. The Kree/Skrull War (Marvel Comics)

The Kree/Skrull War brings together the Avengers and Fantastic Four to fight, arguably, their biggest foes in the Kree and Skrull, two sinister alien species who are at war with each other. This was one of the first big crossover events attempted by Marvel Comics in the 1970s and it set the template for all the popular crossovers that followed. The story is a large scale space opera that involves several different story threads that never quite connect. One is about Captain Marvel escaping the Negative Zone with a lethal dose of radiation, while other narrative arcs are about Kree outlaw Ronan the Accuser’s attempts to send Earth back to the Stone Age, and an intergalactic war involving the shape-shifting Skrulls. In addition to the Avengers and Fantastic Four, this crossover also features the Inhumans. And while this crossover is a bit too big and ambitious, it is still a lot of fun and goes down as a classic for being one of the first of its kind. Source:

9. Civil War (Marvel Comics)

Published in the second half of 2006, Civil War by Marvel Comics is a seven-issue limited series written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven. The story concerns the U.S. government’s passage of a Superhero Registration Act that requires people who have super powers to officially register their true identity with the powers that be in Washington, D.C. Some superheroes, led by Captain America, oppose the registration requirement and they find themselves in conflict with the heroes that back the government legislation, led by Iron Man. The heroes who agree with the law, such as Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic, become authoritarian in their support and a clash ensues with Captain America and the superheroes who resist registering. In the aftermath of the Civil War that erupts, Captain America is imprisoned. Not only is this an exciting crossover that features a who’s who from the Marvel universe, but it is also a well-written story that contains serious drama. The story is also very contemporary and touches on timely issues such as liberty, moral responsibility, and civil order in a post-9/11 world. This crossover was extremely popular and is now the basis for the upcoming Captain America movie that will pit Cap against Iron Man. Source:

8. Secret Wars (Marvel Comics)

A 12-issue crossover that ran from May 1984 to April 1985, Secret Wars was a monster of a crossover that touched literally every Marvel character in some way. In addition to being its own title, Secret Wars also spilled into other standalone Marvel Comics titles such as Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and The X-Men. Make no mistake, this was a comic book event in the mid-1980s. The story centers on an alien being called the Beyonder who transports both superheroes and supervillains to a planet called “Battleworld” where they must fight each other for the Beyonder’s amusement and to win their freedom. The series featured a litany of Marvel’s most popular heroes and villains duking it out. Oh, and Battleworld is stocked with some kick-ass alien weapons and technology. While the story and premise may seem a little simple and silly, this limited edition crossover was very popular when released and spawned an equally popular sequel called Secret Wars II a year later. And many significant developments occurred in Secret Wars, including Spider-Man wearing his black suit for the first time. Not surprising, a new Secret Wars miniseries hit comic book stores in May of this year. Source:

7. Crisis On Infinite Earths (DC Comics)

Issued in 1985 by DC Comics, Crisis On Infinite Earths is a bonafide classic of the crossover genre. However, this crossover was undertaken not to develop the many characters involved, but to pare down the excessive number of parallel universes, alternate dimensions and silly storylines that had grown throughout the 1960s and 1970s. By the mid-1980s, the staff at DC Comics felt that they had to simplify their universe and the number of characters residing in it. Developed by the talented writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, Crisis on Infinite Earths has a pretty convoluted plot, but it basically involves the destruction of several alternate Earths and universes. Along the way though, both Supergirl and the Barry Allen incarnation of the Flash are killed, forever changing the DC Universe. Crisis On Infinite Earths contains some of the most iconic images ever produced by DC Comics, including a weeping Superman holding the dead body of Supergirl. Crisis On Infinite Earths today is credited with helping revive DC Comics and ushering in a more serious age for the publisher. Along with other dark and more mature titles such as Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, Crisis On Infinite Earths helped DC Comics get its groove back in the mid-1980s. Source:

6. 52 (DC Comics)

For sheer size, scope and ambition, comic book fans should look no further than the crossover event called 52 by DC Comics. Beginning in 2006, 52 was a weekly publication that spanned an entire year, 52 issues, and cost people who bought it $130. Yet the crossover worked and was a major success for DC Comics. The story is pretty complicated and involves everything from Superman and Batman giving up their costumes and retiring to skirmishes in the Phantom Zone, Lex Luthor giving ordinary people superpowers, and concludes with World War III. Ambitious? You bet. Does it work? It sure does. The talented team of writers and artists behind 52 managed to create one of the most compelling comic book crossovers ever, and they never missed a shipment date. The series came out each week as promised, which was a feat in and of itself. The series also managed to make secondary DC characters such as Booster Gold and Batwoman seem interesting. All in all, an impressive effort. Source:

5. Flashpoint (DC Comics)

Produced in 2011, DC Comics’ Flashpoint series is a five-part limited series that radically changes the status quo of the DC Universe and led into the publisher’s 2011 relaunch and its New 52 titles. Sensing that it would throw the DC Universe into flux, Flashpoint is a fun and nostalgic throwback to the days of the company’s “Imaginary Stories.” Flashpoint starts with Barry Allen (The Flash) waking up in a universe where everything is dramatically different. Bruce Wayne is dead and his father, Thomas, is operating as Batman; the Teen Titan Cyborg is the universe’s primary hero; and Superman is being held captive by the government. The Flash eventually learns that this alternate world was created by his arch-nemesis, Professor Zoom, a.k.a. the Reverse-Flash. The mystery elements in this crossover and the light tone keep the narrative moving quickly. The story also manages to hit a number of emotional beats, including a teary exchange between Bruce Wayne and Barry Allen. On a larger scale, DC Comics used Flashpoint to build its New 52 concept by showing The Flash using his speed to unite the DC, Vertigo and WildStorm imprints under one banner. This led to the creation of a much stronger DC Universe and brand. Source:

4. House of M (Marvel Comics)

Before the publication in 2005 of House of M, Marvel’s popular X-Men characters seemed to exist in a bubble that rarely touched the other characters in the universe. Rarely were the X-Men seen in the company of the Avengers or Fantastic Four. That changed with House of M, a crossover series that followed the Avengers Disassembled limited series and saw the X-Men and Avengers unite in an effort to control the powerful Scarlet Witch. Transported to an alternate reality, the X-Men and Avengers find themselves in a world where mutants are dominant and the evil mutant villain Magneto reigns supreme. Featuring a compelling story and lots of tie-ins, House of M is a satisfying crossover series. Especially since it concludes with a devastating change that altered the mutant storyline in the Marvel Universe forever. Three simple words—”No more mutants”—took the X-Men franchise to a place it had never been before and altered the much-loved title forever. The events of House of M still influence every X-Men book published today. Now that’s impact! Source:

3. DC One Million (DC Comics)

For imagination and creativity, it’s hard to top the 1998 crossover miniseries called DC One Million. This crossover touched nearly every DC Comics title at the time and was its own four issue standalone series. It took a far look into the future—specifically the 853rd century (85,201-85,300 A.D.), which would be when the company, should it maintain a regular publishing schedule, would first publish an issue numbered “one million” (specifically, Action Comics, its longest running title). Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Val Semeiks, DC One Million focuses on the 20th century Justice League of America and the 853rd century Justice Legion Alpha, which join forces to defeat the supervillains Vandal Savage and Solaris, the Living Sun. Thirty-four other series then published by DC Comics also put out a single issue numbered #1,000,000, which either showed its characters’ involvement in the central plot or gave a glimpse of what its characters’ descendants and successors would be doing in the 853rd century. While all of this might seem unnecessary, it is actually highly entertaining and works wonderfully well. Source:

2. Identity Crisis (DC Comics)

One of DC Comics’ bestselling titles of all time, Identity Crisis was published in 2004 and is a seven-issue crossover event that is basically a murder mystery. The plot is about how the most popular DC characters come together to help solve the murder of character Elongated Man’s wife, who is senselessly killed in their apartment. This is a case of a simple story told very well. Some sexual subtext made this series controversial when released. But the series is unique in that it is a crossover event that is important without being about a global catastrophe or hinging on the fate of the universe. Instead, Identity Crisis tells a more personal story of the perils that can befall a superhero’s family, and the dangers that come with being a crime fighter that has a secret identity. Source:

1. The Infinity Gauntlet (Marvel Comics)

Regarded as a comics classic and a touchstone for younger readers, Marvel’s 1991 crossover The Infinity Gauntlet set a high bar that is still trying to be reached by writers and artists today. This is the series that cemented the character Thanos as one of Marvel’s great villains. The Infinity Gauntlet is a six-issue crossover that features an iconic Thanos story about how the galactic being gets his hands on a dangerous weapon and gains control over the fundamental forces of the universe. His first act is to kill half the beings in the universe to show his love for his mistress, Death. He then enslaves fellow space beings Galactus and Eternity. It is up to Earth’s superheroes to stop Thanos before he takes over the entire universe. A relatively lean and mean series, The Infinity Gauntlet features great storytelling and art work, and its events unfold over the course of a single six-issue series, with only a handful of prologue comics and optional main series crossovers acting as tie-in material. Observant filmgoers would have noticed the Infinity Gauntlet sitting in one of the many trophies in Odin’s throne room in the Thor films, and there are rumors that The Infinity Gauntlet will serve as the story for an upcoming Marvel film featuring Thanos. Here’s hoping that rumor is true. Source:

Jack Sackman

Jack Sackman

Jack Sackman has been writing about movies and TV for Goliath since 2013.