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The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans (1982, January)

July 4, 2013

So now for something slightly different: A crossover with DC. Technically, this took place in an alternate reality (Earth-7642). But I’ll write about it anyway. The story, by Chris Claremont and Walter Simonson, is titled “Apokolips . . . Now!”

The Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans

That is one sweet-ass cover.

It starts with Darkseid meeting with Metron at the Wall, some space thing that no one can get past. They make a trade, and then Metron tries to pass through the Wall on his Mobius Chair. The Chair comes back empty.

We then see the X-Men training. We get an introduction to their powers and their general personalities before they fall asleep. Someone creeps through the house, accessing their memories of Jean Grey. Kitty wakes up and sees him over her, and freaks out. The others rush to her side, and there’s a knock on the door. When Scott opens it, he sees Jean, who dissipates as she runs to him.

Then to Titans Tower, where Raven has a nightmare about the Phoenix. Starfire and Changeling comfort her, and Changeling tries to change into the flaming bird Raven describes, which Starfire immediately recognizes as Phoenix. She sends out an alert to the other Titans. Kid Flash strips the engine of a car running from police, and the others respond, except Robin. Robin spots a crime in progress, and when he tries to break it up, he finds they’re not human. Then Deathstroke takes him out.

The X-Men visit Jean’s parents, who had a similar experience, with Jean showing up and asking for help before vanishing. Xavier contacts them to tell them he’s found mysterious incidents at Kennedy Airport, the North Atlantic, Sullivan County, Texas, Antarctica and Edinburgh – all places Jean used her powers after becoming Phoenix.

The Titans find Robin, and Starfire explains the situation with Phoenix. They agree to help her find the Phoenix and deal with it, missing a news report about an explosion at Frost Industries.

Elsewhere, Para-Demons are doing work, and Deathstroke sits drinking champagne, until the glass it shattered by a whip. Deathstroke reacts quickly, a pair of throwing stars breaking the whip’s handle, and then putting his sword to the throat of Ravok, the one holding it. Deathstroke breaks it up, sending Deathstroke to the final “siphon point,” and Ravok to capture the X-Men.

At the Mansion Starfire attacks Xavier, but he knocks her out with a Psi-bolt. Cyborg and Raven take him down. Robin’s concerned about the Titans breaking into a house and assaulting someone. Then they’re attacked by Ravok and his Para-demons. The Titans are defeated easily, but Changeling’s missed in the chaos. He turns into one of them and follows along.

Deathstroke’s in New Mexico, as Para-demons build a Pis-phon. Wolverine sneaks up on him, and decks him. The X-Men spring into action, destroying the machine and beating some aliens. Unfortunately, Deathstroke’s still conscious, and he quickly rallies his men to defeat the X-Men.

We’re back at the Wall, which has been breached, allowing vast amounts of energy to leak out. Ravok brings the Titans to Darkseid, who says they’re not the X-Men. Deathstroke shows up with the actual X-Men. Darkseid spots Changeling, and Deathstroke takes him out. Darkseid kills Ravok.

The X-Men and Titans wake up chained to some machine. Darkseid activates the machine, and the X-Men’s memories of Jean are ripped out, eventually forming into Dark Phoenix. She leaves with Darkseid, as they prepare to create a New Apokolips out of Earth. As soon as they do, the manacles disappear, allowing the X-Men and Titans to form an alliance. They find Metron’s Mobius Chair, but don’t know how to work it. Kitty and Changeling sit on the Chair and talk, and Kitty idly wishes she were home. The Chair disappears, and returns a moment later with a scared Kitty and Changeling. She gets him to turn into a Lockheed, so he can carry everyone while the chair carries him.

They teleport back to Earth, and head for Central Park, where an open-air concert is being put on, scheduled to end with the 1812 Overture and a fireworks display. They teleport below the park. They fight a horde of Para-demons, until Storm brings down the roof. Deathstroke thinks about how he’d lay odds that none of the Para-demons were killed.

The heroes find Darkseid and Dark Phoenix, and attack. But they can’t stop her, and she fires a bolt of energy into a hole. Within minutes, it’ll hit the Earth’s core, killing the planet. Xavier and Raven work together to assault Dark Phoenix, weakening her. Robin tells her to draw back the energy bolt she fired, and she sees it as her only chance to survive. It’s not enough, so she possess Cyclops. This just causes her to remember who she was, and in rage, she grabs Darkseid and leaves. She happens to bust out at the climax of the 1812 Overture, during the fireworks display. She follows her own energy trail back to the Wall.

The X-Men and Titans philosophize on their victory. Metron returns and sits back down on his Mobius Chair, beside the new Darkseid statue in the Wall.

It’s a good story. Some powerful moments, and a lot of great action. The X-Men and Titans all have well-defined personalities. Claremont handles the Titans well, despite never having written them before. The X-Men, of course, are his characters, and they’re all written very well. Deathstroke is great – a very cool character, dangerous and intelligent. Darkseid’s monstrously evil, and Dark Phoenix is the same.

The outrage the X-Men all feel at Darkseid bringing back Dark Phoenix is a nice touch. Their grief feels very real. It’s been a couple years since her death, but there’s still a rawness to the pain. I like that. I like that they’ve never gotten over her death.

This crossover was a pretty obvious idea. Uncanny X-Men and the New Teen Titans were both among the top-selling comics for each company at the time. It’s a bit of a shame, actually, that Marvel and DC are now both owned by much bigger (and different) companies. These crossovers were usually a lot of fun, but the odds of another one happening any time soon are probably pretty slim. It’s been a decade since the last crossover, and I don’t think Disney and Warner are too interested in allowing another one. Back in the ’90s, they seemed to do one every few months for a while. Interestingly, though, after this one, the next crossover wouldn’t be until 1994 – quite a stretch.

  1. A really great crossover comic, although they should have added a Marvel villain rivaling that of Darkseid or Deathstroke

  2. Hamburger Time permalink

    I find it kind of hilarious Marvel actually went through the trouble of designating an entire alternate Earth for crossovers that don’t have any explanation for them. They’re nothing if not thorough…

    • They had to call it something, didn’t they? This is apparently the same reality that featured the Punisher/Archie crossover. I’ve decided that I absolutely HAVE to review that comic when I reach it, because every time I see it, it just becomes more ridiculous to me.

  3. It’s too bad neither Marvel nor DC are willing to do these crossovers anymore. Outside of the individual writers, they don’t publicly appear to respect each other all that much anymore.

    • I think it’s mostly a matter of legal obstacles. I’m sure Marvel and DC would be willing. But Disney and Warner would complicate things.

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