It was a comics event more than 20 years in the making, but most comics fans felt it was worth the wait. Originally approved in 1979, the
Justice League/Avengers crossover series never saw the light of day until writer Kurt Busiek and artist George Pérez brought the first issue out in 2003. This Marvel/DC epic has been long out of print, but that changes next month, and for the best possible reason.
The Hero Initiative, a non-profit organization that helps the comic book writers and artists of yesterday who need financial support (frequently for medical bills), is releasing a new edition of Justice League/Avengers in honor of Pérez, which will be published in March. The softcover collects all the issues of the comic (half of which were published by Marvel, the other half DC) as well as the original introductions by Stan Lee and long-time DC Comics editor Julies Schwartz. In total, the collection will have 64 pages of bonus content, including a new afterword by Busiek.
Beginning in September of 2003, the Justice League/Avengers crossover began when Krona, the renegade, multiverse-destroying Oan (the bosses of the Green Lanterns), came to the Marvel universe and encountered the Grandmaster (played with Goldblumian magnificence by Jeff Goldblum in Thor: Ragnarok), who proposes a game: if Grandmaster’s champions can defeat the champions of Krona’s universe, his universe will survive. But Krona throws in a twist, by swapping champions—the Justice League will fight to save the Marvel universe, and the Avengers to unknowingly destroy it. Things get immensely more wild from there, but I’m a big fan of how the members of the Justice League, when they come to Marvel’s Earth, think it’s a terrible place that its heroes aren’t helping properly, while the Avengers head to DC’s Earth and see all these statues celebrating the planet’s heroes and decide its heroes are probably fascists who demand the populace’s worship.
The Hero Initiative’s edition of Justice League/Avengers will be extremely limited; only 7,000 copies will be released, and they’re all heading to comics stores in March. And if you’re on the fence, you should know it’s very possible some of these funds could go directly to Pérez, who announced that he had inoperable stage 3 pancreatic cancer this past December. Either way, I only hope that the Hero Initiative is getting as much of the profit from this release as possible.
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