Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man
|Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man|
|Publisher||DC Comics/Marvel Comics|
|Number of issues||1|
Neal Adams (major Superman figure re-draws )
John Romita, Sr. (Marvel character head touch-ups)
Terry Austin (uncredited, backgrounds)
Joe Rubinstein (assist)
Bob Wiacek (assist)
Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century is a comic book jointly published by Marvel Comics and DC Comics in 1976. It was the first cross-over between characters of both companies.
In the early 1970s author and literary agent David Obst suggested to Marvel publisher Stan Lee and DC editorial director Carmine Infantino that there should be a feature film crossover featuring Marvel's Spider-Man and DC's Superman characters. However, there was already a Superman movie planned by Warner Bros. (the first Superman movie in that franchise), and a series of Spider-Man TV movies, so instead the two companies settled for an oversize comic book entitled Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century. The comic was published in 1976 and featured the two title characters, Mary Jane Watson and Lois Lane, J. Jonah Jameson and Morgan Edge and the villainous Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor. It was the second time the two U.S. comic book giants published a joint venture, the first being 1975's MGM's Marvelous Wizard of Oz.
The writing was done by Gerry Conway and the penciling by Ross Andru. Both of these creators had worked on Superman and Spider-Man before in their own titles. The editing was done by a variety of individuals, including Sol Harrison, Stan Lee, Carmine Infantino, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Roy Thomas and others. According to a piece written by Daniel Best on this comic (based on his interviews with Wolfman, Wein, Infantino, Mark Evanier, Neal Adams and John Romita) Neal Adams redrew the major Superman figures. It was also confirmed by inker Dick Giordano, who said:
|“||the pages were sent to Continuity and were mostly left on my desk... and Neal took it upon himself to redraw the Superman figures without telling me that he was going to do it. I didn't complain, but also I also never mentioned it to anyone at the time and I never spoke of it until now... mostly of for respect for Ross and his work ||”|
Superman and Spider-Man have teamed up together several times over the years. Other foes they have battled together include: Lex Luthor's African Guardian, Doctor Doom, Parasite, a Super-Robot, Hulk, Kingpin, the "Brothers," Venom, Doctor Strange, Professor X, Doctor Fate, Krona, Grandmaster and Metron. They also essentially joined each other's teams in JLA/Avengers #4, when the Justice League of America and the Avengers merged into one unit under Captain America's leadership. During the JLA/Avengers cross-over, the Scarlet Witch's powers became extremely powerful due to her time in the DC Universe, and she becomes at least temporarily insane and corrupted by them. It is quite possible that this was the event that caused the destruction of the Avengers shortly thereafter at her hands.
Though it is not considered canon, bits of the story have been shown in some of Marvel other titles:
- What If? #1 (Feb. 1977): Uatu The Watcher shows glimpses of the various universes. Among them show's Spider-Man about to receive a punch from Superman (showing his sleeve and fist only). Uatu even poses the question as to whether the event happened in the mainstream continuum or an alternate reality.
- Avengers Forever #8 (July 1999): The scene with Doctor Octopus carrying Lex Luthor out of prison.
Superman is flying to rescue Metropolis as it is being attacked by his old foe Lex Luthor in a gigantic robot of his own creation. After a fight, Superman defeats Luthor, but not before Lex manages to send some sort of stolen device to one of his strongholds for safe keeping.
Spider-Man battles Doctor Octopus and his henchmen. Octopus has created a large flying robotic ship he has dubbed The Flying Octopus. Octopus has also encased it in a fake blimp facade (it flies by electromagnetic means) so as to enable him to steal fortunes under its cover, providing him with a potentially inexhaustible supply of money with which to fuel his world-conquering schemes. Octopus and his group are also defeated.
In prison, Lex and Dr. Octopus make a sinister pact to combine forces to take over the world and kill both of the men who put them behind bars. In a matter of minutes, combining their abilities, the two super-villains escape.
The next major scene takes place during a news conference in New York City which features some sort of new satellite which apparently is capable of disrupting global weather patterns, called ComSat. Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson are there, as are Clark Kent and Lois Lane. After saving Lois Lane's life, Peter Parker introduces her to Mary Jane. In seconds, Lex Luthor, in the guise of Superman, swoops in and shoots a teleportation ray out of his Superman mask which teleports Lois Lane and Mary Jane to an unknown destination. Lex flies quickly away, and both Peter and Clark soon follow him and change into their respective costumes.
Superman mistakenly blames Spider-Man for the kidnapping of Lois and Mary Jane, which angers Spider-Man. Superman and Spider-Man both throw a punch at each other in mid-air over the skies of New York City, but both easily dodge the other's attack. Superman flies away at super-speed, evading Spider-Man's next attack while he tries to simultaneously figure out what is really happening.
Lex Luthor fires a gun at Spider-Man which irradiates his costume with sunlight similar to that emitted by a red sun. When Superman has flown into arm's length of Spider-Man, the red sun radiation erases most of his powers, including his invulnerability, unbeknownst to him or Spider-Man. Thus when Spider-Man punches Superman, he hurts him. During the fight, however, the remainder of the red sun radiation dissipates off of his costume, and Superman's powers return in full. Spider-Man simply bounces off Superman's invulnerable body and ricochets into the ground, landing flat on his back. Realizing his opponent's much greater strength, Spider-Man surrenders.
After calming, Spider-Man listens to Superman's side of the story and realizes they have both been deceived by some enemy. They shake hands and agree amicably to join forces to take down whoever is responsible for the kidnappings and the fight. Spider-Man and Superman battle Doctor Octopus, Lex Luthor, and someone who was apparently enslaved by Luthor and forced to battle both Superman and Spider-Man. He was endowed by Luthor with super-human strength and endurance and a red sun irradiated sword. Spider-Man and Superman both fight the enslaved warrior (who is also one of the very first African characters in comics), holding their own against him individually but being unable to defeat him. Only when the two combine their powers do they overcome this powerful new character. Spider-Man dodges and distracts him while firing his webbing at him while Superman fires his heat vision at the newly-spun webbing, apparently instantly hardening it.
Spider-Man steals an Injustice Gang spaceship from Luthor's base in Africa and heads into outer space with Superman for the final showdown with Doctor Octopus and Luthor. The supervillains have used the Injustice Gang's Satellite Headquarters' computers in conjunction with the computer control device stolen by Luthor to severely agitate the Earth's atmosphere with a combination of sonic waves and lasers, causing huge tornadoes and hurricanes worldwide. Superman tries to stop the beam but is felled by its high-pitched sonics.
Spider-Man attempts to rescue Superman by using his spacecraft's extensor arm to haul him to safety, but is accidentally struck by the beam as well. The beam somehow knocks out Peter's oxygen systems on board, causing him to lose consciousness as well.
Peter and Clark awaken some time later aboard the Injustice Gang Satellite. Lex Luthor shows them their captive girlfriends, imprisoned in a strange-looking spherical prison. After a few moments of gloating by Luthor, Spider-Man and Superman attack, despite their weariness. Spider-Man holds his own against Lex Luthor, and Superman holds his own against Doctor Octopus, despite the gravity having been shut off by Lex Luthor. After some time, Superman finally manages to gain the upper hand against Octopus by tearing off two of his robotic arms and shattering his eyeglasses, while Spider-Man is making headway at subtly turning Lex Luthor against Doctor Octopus through psychological means. Spider-Man battles Doctor Octopus and Lex Luthor simultaneously. Luthor arrogantly tells Spider-Man of his true plan which is to destroy most of the Earth to gain revenge on people for not telling him how great he is. However, while Luthor's attention is focused on Spider-Man (due to their battle), Doctor Octopus, realizing that once Luthor wrecks the planet he is not going to have anywhere to live, uses one of his robotic arms to destroy the control console which is controlling the machine which is disrupting the Earth's weather patterns, stopping the potential disaster. Luthor attacks Octavius in retaliation for destroying his plans. Bereft of two of his arms and unable to use a third (due to Spider-Man), Doctor Octopus is defeated by Luthor.
Superman flies back to Earth to try to stop a gigantic tidal wave from destroying most of the East Coast of the United States. He does so by flying very fast in front of the tidal wave, which somehow (in comic book science) creates a gigantic supersonic boom which safely disperses the water wave.
Having already beaten Doctor Octopus, and having bought enough time for his healing factor to heal his battle-wounds, Spider-Man defeats Lex Luthor with ease, knocking him unconscious with a single blow to the head.
Superman returns to the Injustice Gang Satellite. Spider-Man webs up his two super-villain captives. Superman flies Mary Jane and Lois back to Earth in their protective sphere, while Spider-Man presumably flies his two captives back in his Space Shuttle. Superman and Spider-Man congratulate each other on a job well done and take Octopus and Luthor back to their respective jails. Mary Jane and Lois wave goodbye to their respective boyfriends.
In the epilogue, Clark and Lois go on a double date with Peter and Mary Jane, it ends as they all walk away together.
- "When the Legend becomes fact", interviews with artists and editors involved on the comics. From Back Issue Magazine #11 (2005)
- Rozakis, Bob. "Tabloid Talk," Comics Bulletin (April 7, 2008).
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "The tale was written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Ross Andru, both among the few [at that time] to ever have worked on both Superman and Spider-Man...The result was a defining moment in Bronze Age comics."
- Gerry Conway wrote in a fanzine that Luthor had a place somewhere else prepared for himself, but Octavius did not
- Best, Daniel. "Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man", Back Issue #11