Captain America, Captain Atom, Firestorm, Galactus, George Pérez, Green Arrow, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Hawkeye, Iron Man, Kurt Busiek, Modern Age Captain Atom, Photon, Plastic Man, Red Tornado, Superman, The Avengers, The Wasp, Thor, Tom Smith, Yellowjacket
Well, it was bound to happen eventually. JLA/Avengers (alternatively Avengers/JLA) was a four-issue limited series showcasing one of the first in-continuity meetings of DC Comics’ Justice League of America and the Marvel Comics’ Avengers. The two universe’s heroes had previously met in Amalgam Comics. The mini-series was published in the 48-page Prestige Format. Issues #1 and #3 were published by Marvel Comics under the title JLA/Avengers while issues #2 and #4 were published by DC Comics with the title “Avengers/JLA.”
The series was written by Kurt Busiek with pencils and inks by the great George Pérez and colors by Tom Smith.
They didn’t just throw the core members of each team at each other; many “fringe” members made appearances. Captain Atom, Firestorm, and Red Tornado, for example. It was a fun mini-series that I’m sure delighted and angered fanboys (and fangirls) in equal measure. I thought it was great, but did have a “what the…?” moment in issue #2 when Captain Atom was taken down by Hawkeye.
Now, I don’t have a problem with Iron Man besting Green Arrow. It would stand to reason that Tony Stark’s tech would outdo Oliver Queen’s. The obvious choice would have been to have Hawkeye face off with Green Arrow, but I like that Busiek didn’t always go with the obvious choice. But Hawkeye taking down Captain Atom? Really? Cap does recover, though. I mean, it was just Hawkeye.
But then he is blasted by the Wasp and Yellowjacket. They do no lasting damage, as Cap and Firestorm are seen later on in the fight saving Green Lantern Kyle Rayner from Photon, who had absorbed the Green Lantern energy. She blasts them with this energy. The Wasp, by this time, has moved on to try and take down Plastic Man.
Firestorm and Captain Atom later combine their energies with Photon to try and take down Galactus. This attempt is most likely in vain, as Galactus is a god-like figure that feeds from draining living planets of all their energy.
Captain Atom isn’t seen again until Avengers/JLA #4, where he and many other DC & Marvel heroes are fighting an army of super-villains. Presumably he made it out alive but he isn’t seen again in this final issue.
This series was pretty awesome. The premise of these characters getting together is flimsy, but the execution is beautiful. George Pérez is in his element, and he gives this series a Crisis on Infinite Earths feel. And Superman is totally badass wielding Thor’s hammer and Captain America’s shield. I give this whole series an A for story and an A+++ for art. Just look at that last panel. George Pérez is a genius talent.