Too often Marvel and DC will do a huge crossover among all their books, or within a certain subset of their books, and it’ll mean nothing except to sell more books. 2011′s Fear Itself was big example of one of these crossovers that in the end, meant nothing in the grand scheme of the comic universe it took place in. However, there are some crossovers that are done that end up changing the comic story-lines with lasting effects that can go on for years or even decades later. Here are ten that had some major lasting effects.
While Marvel had a Contest of Champions in 1982 and Secret Wars the year before, this is the big one and the one that really invented the massive universe-spanning crossover that would forever be copied. DC’s first attempt to repair their convoluted continuity with multiple versions of major characters not only changed the DC Universe forever, but also how fanboys talked about it. After this crossover, when discussing DC comics you had to clarify if you were talking “Pre-Crisis” or “Post-Crisis”. It was that big of a change.
2012′s big Marvel crossover just ended, and some people haven’t even read the finale yet. But as much as Brian Michael Bendis may suck, he did create a satisfying finale to the epic battle and the results of which will affect the Marvel U for a very long time. The Phoenix Force is gone once and for all, and as a result of The Scarlet Witch doing that; Mutants have returned and are no longer on the brink of extinction. It retconned House of M, and for those of us who never liked the results of that crossover; that’s a very good thing.
In 2010, DC was faced with having three separate universes all with complex continuities: DC, Vertigo, and Wildstorm. So Jim Lee and Dan Didio hatched a plan to reboot the DCU in 2011 and combine all three universes into one and launch it with 52 new issue #1s. To do this, Geoff Johns wrote a crossover called Flashpoint where The Flash found him in an alternate universe where Aquaman and Wonder Woman were at war, Superman was unknown and locked away for study, and Batman was Thomas Wayne and much more vicious than Bruce. The result rebooted the DCU, rocketed DC back into prominence, and pissed off a lot of hardcore fans. The shockwaves from this are still being felt.
After DC killed off Superman in an event that many blame began the comic industry’s decline in the 90s, DC wanted to do something similar to Batman. While they couldn’t kill him off until nearly ten years later, they did finally break the Bat in Knightfall. This crossover, where Batman has to fight pretty much the entire Rogues Gallery from Arkham, sees Batman snapped like a twig over the knee of Bane at the end. It was a major event in the Batman mythos that put Bruce Wayne out of commission for quite a while in the comics, created Bane as a major villain threat, and inspired much of The Dark Knight Rises.
House of M is a relatively recent crossover where the events are still being felt in the Mutant books to this day. When the Scarlet Witch has a mental breakdown, an alternate universe is created where Mutants rule the world. At the end of the main event, the world appears to have been returned to normal; except for the fact that the vast majority of the world’s Mutants have been de-powered. Even though House of M was just retconned, it remains a major crossover for what it did to the Mutant books for a decade.
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