Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciler: Ross Andru
Inker: Dick Giordano
Colorist: Jerry Serpe
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino
What You Need to Know:
You know who Superman is? You know who Spider-Man is? Alright, you’re good to go on what you need to know to read this book. And on the off-chance you know nothing about either of them, this crossover actually explains everything you need to know about them early on anyway! Also, this crossover ignores the idea of the Marvel and DC Universes being separate, it acts as if they’ve always been the same universe, it’s just these characters haven’t run into each other until now. Other than that, that’s all there is to it!
Our story opens with 3 prologues. 1 for Superman, 1 for Spider-Man, and 1 for the villains of this crossover, Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus! Superman’s prologue is all about him stopping Lex Luthor who’s piloting a giant robot and going on a rampage through Metropolis, as he usually did back in the Silver Age. We also get to see Clark working at the Daily Planet to give the reader an idea of his supporting cast and how he interacts with them. Spider-Man’s is pretty similar, we see him taking down some thugs and Doc Ock in his own big dumb robot machine, the Flying Octopus, which I swear is a toy somewhere I had as a kid and want one right now. And of course, we get to see Peter over at the Daily Bugle and his situation over there, which is pretty different from Clark’s over at the Planet. And the final prologue is all about Doc Ock and Lex’s big escape and team up in prison. It also gives me one of my favorite images in comics of Doc Ock giving Lex a piggyback ride over the prison walls.
Alright with the prologues out the way, time for the main event! Clark, Lois, Peter, and MJ are all at the World News Conference, where JJJ fires Peter for wanting a vacation, because as usual, JJJ is a jerk, and Peter can never catch a break. Even Clark gets a hard time with work, where he’s threatened to be replaced by some new big-shot reporter. Peter and Lois get acquainted, as they’ve both heard of each other since they’re in similar fields. After introducing her to MJ, suddenly, Superman arrives! And vaporizes Lois and MJ right in front of Peter’s eyes… oops.
It’s time to fulfill the promise of the title! Superman vs Spider-Man! Now, of course, Superman didn’t actually attack anyone, it was Lex Luthor in a Superman costume! As part of his scheme to frame Superman for murder and pit Spider-Man against him. Now obviously, this is Superman and not just any Superman, but Silver Age Superman, so Spider-Man has basically no chance in a one-on-one fight against him. So Lex and Otto give him a hand, shooting Spidey with a Red Sun Radiation Gun(just roll with it), allowing Spidey to negate Superman’s invulnerability, and actually fight him! Spider-Man even thinks to himself he’s way stronger than he should be against Superman since he’s, you know, Superman. But he’s too heated from watching MJ get turned into nothing before his very eyes to think about it too hard. Meanwhile, Superman is basing his perception of Spider-Man off of whatever the Bugle says about him, which is usually how it goes whenever heroes meet him for the first time. Eventually, the radiation wears off and when Spider-Man goes to punch Superman, it hurts himself instead. And eventually, he says he broke his hands doing it. Superman takes this as an opportunity to talk things out with the web-slinger, who has no real choice but to listen since it’s not like he can hurt him anyway if he wanted to. After they both compare notes, they decide to join forces against the foes that duped them, onto Chapter 3 of the story!
Superman and Spider-Man(whose hands have healed off-panel) track the villains down to an abandoned warehouse, filled with traps. Spider-Man makes his way through the traps, barely scraping by, and Superman… flies right through them. They encounter Lex and Otto hanging out in the center of the warehouse, and go to attack, but they’re just holograms. Spider-Man goes to access the computer, when it blows up. But thankfully Superman is able to repair it with ease. And with that, they learn the new lair is in Mount Kilimanjaro. After being led to the lair by a tribesman named Nu’Chaka, who is a big Superman fan after learning about him during his studies in London, they discover a rocket silo. Which can only mean Lex and Otto are in one place, SPACE.
Lex and Otto are using an old Injustice Gang Space Station as their headquarters, as it contains the things Luthor needs to enact his grand plan. And it’s also where Lois and MJ were teleported during Lex’s fake Superman attack. During the Superman prologue, Lex managed to steal a program that gives him control of a device that can alter the weather itself, and so he activates it, planning to hold the world hostage. And so Superman and Spider-Man arrive, and a fight breaks out between them all. Superman leaves to destroy the device Luthor’s controlling, just as he rigs it to destroy the entire planet out of spite! Even Otto realizes how insane this is, and attacks Luthor. And so Superman is able to stop the device from causing any more damage, and Spider-Man is able to subdue Ock and Lex. And with that, our story is over, with Superman and Spider-Man saying they both hope to meet again someday, as well as a little epilogue of both Peter and Clark’s own job troubles coming to an end, and the two of them, MJ, and Lois all leave together to hang out and have some fun.
I love this comic. I love it a lot. I know I’m a co-host on a Spider-Man podcast and all, but if there was a hero I loved as much as Spider-Man, it’d be Superman. And seeing the two of them meet and team up like this is such a treat. The art by Ross Andru is amazing, the action is so dynamic and exciting, while still keeping focus. The crossover does it’s best to make sure both Superman and Spider-Man get their time in the spotlight and I feel it works for the most part. My only real complaint about the entire book is that Doctor Octopus is just kinda here because we needed a Spider-Man villain in this and Green Goblin was already dead. It’s a shame because I feel like the team of Otto and Lex was a good match up, but in the end Lex is the one doing pretty much everything. At least he turns against Luthor in the end once he realizes just how insane Luthor really is once he tried to destroy the Earth. Other than that it’s pretty much exactly what I wanted out of a crossover between Superman and Spider-Man, and definitely something I recommend to anyone, especially to help pass the time these days.