It’s pretty wild to think of how many events have happened in the past 15 years or so! There was a time when we’d get one once in a blue moon, and when we did, it was HUGE! Has it been TOO much? Many readers would probably say so. I personally am a huge fan of seeing all my favorite heroes team up to kick tail (often each other’s!), so I say the more the merrier!
But which ones truly made an impact not only to fans, but to the Marvel Universe as a whole? I decided to fire up the ‘ol Listmaker 5000 and figure this out! Here are the 5 Mega Mighty Marvel Crossover Events! Enjoy.
5. Dark Reign/Siege
This could be a lot lower on a lot of peoples’ lists, but what made Siege special for me was that it was the culmination of the Dark Reign period and the Dark Avengers story arc, which was an absolutely phenomenal and memorable for me.
Here’s how it all went down. The Secret Invasion storyline ended with Norman Osborn who was the leader of the Thunderbolts at the time, firing the kill-shot at the Skrull Queen and essentially saving the world. Seen as a hero, the secretly unhinging Osborn was hailed as a hero and appointed the head of S.H.I.E.L.D., which he rebranded as the more militant H.A.M.M.E.R., complete with access to Tony Stark’s armory which he used to become Iron Patriot. He also assembled his OWN Avengers team completely made up of super villains replacing our beloved heroes (Venom as Spider-Man, Daken as Wolverine, Bullseye as Hawkeye,etc.)! All the while, Osborn’s Green Goblin personality was slowly bubbling to the surface. As dark and creepy as things were getting, the actual Dark Avengers comic series was actually one of the most fun and addicting “superhero” comics in recent memory. It was devilishly alluring and the reader at the time had no idea where it was going.
It all ended in Siege, where not only the actual Avengers (who were mostly branded criminals by Osborn’s regime), banded together to put an end to the Dark Avengers, as Osborn/Iron Patriot led an all-out assault on Asgard, which was floating above the small town of Brixton Missouri at the time. This was also the triumphant return of Steve Rogers from the grave. It definitely felt like the dawn of a new era for Marvel’s heroes.
I didn’t even talk about Sentry. If you are a Sentry fan this was the ultimate series for you. We learn the twisted and evil truth about this character (sort of), and it is just plain unnerving. And what he actually does to Ares will haunt you forever. If you truly want to know how scary it would be if Superman ever truly lost his mind, Sentry’s story is one to follow.
Siege was also illustrated by the mind boggling genius of a comic book artist Olivier Coipel. Nobody could have pulled this story off better than him.
4. Infinity Gauntlet
We’re gonna be talking about this one for quite some time, as nearly every single one of Marvel Studios’ movies has been leading to the Infinity War, a two-part movie event that could very well have the largest cast of superheroes ever in one movie (or so rumour has it).
Infinity Gauntlet was Marvel’s second major event ever after the original Secret Wars and was written by the cosmic guru himself, Jim Starlin. It was illustrated by the legendary George Perez. Basically, the original six-part miniseries consisted of the Mad Titan, Thanos gathering the six Infinity Gems and mounting them onto a gauntlet, giving him the unlimited power of a God.
Thanos uses this power to attempt to wipe out half of all sentient life in the universe all to appease his beloved Death. Teaming with Adam Warlock, it’s up to Marvel’s heroes to stop him. One of the highlights was Thanos literally shattering Captain America’s shield like glass!! We can only hope to see that in one of the Infinity War films!
It has been one of Marvel’s largest and most popular events ever, so much so that Marvel has released many follow up events, graphic novels and miniseries’ to Infinity Gauntlet. The latest is called Infinity Entity.
3. Avengers vs. X-Men
I don’t know how many people would agree with me, but this was one of the most entertaining crossover events ever. The main series ran for 12 issues and had multiple tie-ins with almost every Marvel comic at the time.
The story was mostly about the return of the Phoenix Force to Earth, with most believing that Hope Summers, the first mutant born after M-Day, was the host for the entity. This forced Captain America and the Avengers to attempt take control of the situation, and Cyclops and the X-Men refusing to surrender one of their own who has done nothing wrong. This caused many characters to be caught in the middle of the conflict (especially Wolverine, who at the time was a member of both teams).
At first, there were no true villains in the series, just everyone doing what they believe is right...until the Phoenix Force does arrive, and Iron Man accidentally splits it into 5 parts, each taking one of the X-Men as hosts (Cyclops, Emma Frost, Colossus, Magik and Namor). Under the control of the cosmic force, The Phoenix Five attempt to mold the planet into a Utopia. Of course, none of this ends well, as P5 learn that they can be defeated, thus divvying up the power to the remaining, making them even stronger. They begin to plot against each other with things escalating to the degree of Namor actually destroying Wakanda and killing thousands of its people.
It eventually takes the combined forces of both Avengers and X-Men to stop them. I actually loved the series as it is one of the few events that actually did impact things a lot, especially for the X-Men. The effects are still felt in the series’ to this day.
There’s a lot to read to experience the entire story though, which is a turn-off to many readers. The core series is definitely worth a gander for Marvelites, though.
2. Civil War
This one deserves the spot near the top, right? It’s why we’re here. Civil War could be one of the most thoughtful and relatable of Marvel’s events. Nothing fancy and cosmic, this series was simply about tolerance and the fragile political world we live in.
A major disaster occurs after a superhero fight and many lives are lost, many of them children. The country is looking for someone to blame and people with powers are the easiest target. The government plans to get everyone with extra powers to register, and Iron Man is the one to spearhead the initiative. Captain America believes that even those with powers deserve to be free, and this is one step closer to the U.S.A. becoming those he BECAME Captain America to fight against. Heroes pick sides and civil war breaks out among heroes.
It has to be one of the most ingenious superhero premises in modern history. We can all not only relate to the fear of a kind of terror we cannot control in today’s world, but our basic freedoms taken from us because of it. Will this sort of story ever NOT be relevant? Not for the foreseeable future, no. That’s what made Mark Millar’s Civil War so great.
The second CW looks to be Iron Man and Captain Marvel this time at odds over going back and altering the timeline. It may not be as much of a down-to-earth concept, but it still holds relevancy as it’s something we’ve ALL thought about doing, and WANTED to do at some point. It should be another great read!
1. Secret Wars (1984-85)
I had to go back to the beginning of it all. It may not have been the best written story ever, but Secret Wars is the greatest Marvel event because it was the first and it has so much charm...and it changed the lives of both the Marvel heroes AND its fans. Charm and nostalgia go a loooong way!
Look at all it changed. She-Hulk ended up replacing the Thing on the Fantastic Four, Magneto joined the X-Men for the first time, Colossus had an affair with an alien villager and broke up with Kitty Pryde, new heroes and villains debuted like Titania and the second Spider-Woman, and of course, Spider-Man actually got his symbiote costume on the planet the Wars took place! Venom and Carnage wouldn’t have ever existed if not for this series!
The plot was pretty simple. A cosmic being known as The Beyonder transported (okay, KIDNAPPED is a better word), a group of super heroes and a group of villains to a patchwork planet he created out of different planets for them to fight against one another with their every desire granted as the award for the winning side. Two of the villains have other plans though, as Dr. Doom plots to steal the Beyonder’s power and Galactus...well...wants lunch. And the Battleworld looks especially tasty!
Here’s something not a lot of people even know. The concept of Secret Wars was originally an attempt to promote Mattel’s Marvel toy line of the same name! True story! If the toy line never happened, we probably never would have gotten the first Marvel event of them all! That totally doesn’t explain all the hot ‘n heavy behaviour going on in the series, though! Wasp and Magneto almost get freaky at one point, Colossus cheats on Kitty as I mentioned and Iron Man (who is James Rhodes at this time) is trying to use jive-talk to hit on every female he sees! It’s hard to imagine this being aimed for children, especially in the 80’s, but it was!
There’s too many memorable moments from this series (which I heard once Jim Shooter wrote in a weekend. Can anyone confirm that?), and it just simply MADE my childhood. I think this comic was one of the standouts for me when I was a kid, as it was for so many other readers all over the world!
Also, I NEED to mention, Hulk catches a freakin’ mountain and holds it up for like, a LOT longer than anyone else could. A MOUNTAIN!!! This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a comic book. This alone may make this the #1 Marvel event of all time.
So there we have it, another list for the record books. Are there any others I missed that deserve a Top 5 spot? House of M? Fear Itself? Secret Invasion? Let me know in the comments below!
That’s it for now, Bleed out!