Fans have been debating over the Big Two comic publishers, Marvel Comics and DC, ever since the comic companies first began competing. As the characters grew more and more popular, and DC and Marvel creators bounced between the companies, a rivalry built up between similarly powered or themed characters among comic fans that could often be found in discussion in comic book stores.
When these two publishers officially collided in 1996's DC vs. Marvel/Marvel vs. DC, fans were understandably excited, especially when it was revealed that a few of the match-ups would actually be determined by fan voting. Voting could be done using the mail-in ballots provided in the comics, or through local comic book stores where votes could also be handed in. Fans could also email their chosen victor's AOL email address to cast their votes.
The main four-issue crossover by Ron Marz, Peter David, Dan Jurgens, and Claudio Castellini not only featured the five main title card fights that fans could vote on, but also a number of other superhero matchups that were determined by the creators. The five main fights that could be voted on would all take placein Marvel vs. DC Comics #3, with votes coming in only a couple of months before the issue was released.
The mini-series would also lead to the fusion of these two comic universes into the Amalgam Universe, which featured mashup teams and characters from the two companies. Marvel and DC each released two waves of issues featuring titles like Dark Claw, Super-Soldier, JLX, Iron Lantern, and more before the universes were split and the final outcome of the battle determined. While another Marvel and DC crossover won't happen anytime soon, we're going to take a closer look at these title card matchups, the heroes involved in the main event, and how the battles ultimately played out in the comics.
SUPERMAN VS. HULK
The battle between the two universes' strongest characters went down about as everyone expected. At this time period, Superman was post-Death of Superman, so still sported his long-haired mullet, but was also at the peak of his powers.
He was facing Merged Hulk, which was basically Banner in control of Hulk's body, though there wasn't much talking once punches started flying. Fans voted in favor of the Man of Steel, who took out Hulk by putting "everything he had" into a final knockout blow.
SPIDER-MAN VS. SUPERBOY
It's important to note here that while the Spider-Man included in the crossover here is the clone, Ben Reilly, he also uses the name Peter Parker when working at the Daily Bugle alongside Clark Kent and Lois Lane. However, he still has more experience than the cloned Superboy, who was still pretty new to being a costumed hero.
Spider-Man was always going to win the popular vote, and in this instance, some well-timed impact webbing, a conveniently placed water tower and electrical transformer and Superboy's own recklessness gave Spidey the win in this battle of the clones.
BATMAN VS. CAPTAIN AMERICA
One of the most anticipated match-ups (and still the most debated) happened between the Dark Knight and the Sentinel of Liberty. Their battle seemed to be the most even in the series, and the two battled for what was revealed to be hours of unseen combat.
While his victory was inevitable in the popular vote, Batman ultimately took the win due with a Batarang and an assist from a flushing sewer drain. As soon as the battle ended, Batman and Captain America teamed up to start ending the conflict between universes as representatives of their universes.
WOLVERINE VS. LOBO
Easily the most disappointing fight of the entire match-up was also one of the most anticipated, as Wolverine took on the intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, DC's Main Man. Both were incredibly violent characters with healing factors and bad attitudes, and as their battle started things were starting to heat up between the two raging characters.
However, then they disappeared behind the counter of the alien bar they were fighting in, and the majority of the battle happened off-screen, with the insanely popular Wolverine taking the poll and the win.
STORM VS. WONDER WOMAN
Finally, Marvel vs DC Comics #3 saw Wonder Woman take on Storm in the ultimate match-up between Amazon and Goddess. By this time in the series, Diana had picked up Mjolnir and gained the abilities of Thor, though she relinquished the hammer and extra powers in order to give Storm a fair fight.
Storm then proceeded to hit Wonder Woman with lightning until Diana dropped, and Orroro reluctantly took the win. In what was arguably the deciding match-up of the crossover, the immense popularity of the X-Men in the '90s helped give Marvel a narrow victory in both the fan poll and the overall crossover as well.