Wednesday, 23 January 2008

JLA/Avengers: The Collector's Edition - Book Review

Crossovers can either be great or messy affairs, and when I was younger, for me the ultimate crossover was DC’s The Justice League of America and Marvel’s The Avengers. In 2003, it finally happened.

Picture this; the all powerful Krona is travelling through the multiverse, obsessed with finding out how the universe was created. He’s destroyed dimension after dimension during his quest. He then meets the Grandmaster, a powerful entity obsessed with games. The Grandmaster offers Krona the chance to get the information he requires, but first he must take part in a game.
And so it begins, a crossover of cosmic proportions that sees the two greatest super-hero teams in comic book history first battling each other and then joining forces, and it’s doubtful if we’ll ever see the likes of this again.
JLA/Avengers, or Avengers/JLA, depending on which company you work for, is a truly remarkable piece of work, written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by the legendary George Perez.
Without going into too much detail about the plot, I’ve been waiting most of my life to see the characters in these two teams in the same book, and it’s been well worth the wait. Busiek does a great job of making sure that all the main players have their chance to shine, while Perez once again proves that he’s a master of handling a cast of hundreds. His cover art is worth the price of admission alone, as the old saying goes.
But this collector’s edition doesn’t just feature the previously published story. There’s a second volume. It tells the story of the planned 1980’s crossover between the two teams, a crossover that never happened because of editorial disputes between the two companies. Articles that were first published by Marvel and DC explaining what went wrong are re-published here, as is Perez’s original artwork for that series, artwork that has until recently never been seen before by the public at large.
My only criticism about this book is this - sadly, it’s not openly available here in the UK. My brother brought me this for Christmas through Amazon, and they had to ship it in from America. A quick look on that particular website shows that the book is now available for us Brits to buy at a whopping £65.
So my advice would be that if you’re interested in getting this landmark crossover, take a look on E-Bay and try to get the individual issues. At the moment they’re selling for about £5 each. Only get this collector’s edition if you’ve got the money. Or a relative who’s looking to buy you a birthday or Christmas present.