Monday, July 4, 2016
DC/Marvel All Access #2 (1997)
DC/Marvel All Access #2 (Early February, 1997)
"Two Sides of the Same Coin"
Story - Ron Marz
Pencil Art - Jackson Guice
Finished Art - Joe Rubinstein
Colors - Lee Loughridge
Separations - Digital Chameleon
Letters - Bill Oakley
Associate Editor - Chris Duffy
Editor - Mike Carlin
Omniversal Monitor - Mark Gruenwald
Cover Price: $1.95
Happy 4th of July to any and all folks from the USA... and anywhere else for that matter. Shouldn't leave anybody out. When I was trying to think of what to cover to commemorate Independence Day, my mind immediately went to this issue. I figure discussing and issue with Superman standing in front of the flag, or an early-80's Freedom Fighters issue would be a bit too obvious...
So instead... we're focusing on fireworks! Lucky for me, there's this guy called Access who can bring characters back and forth between the Marvel and DC Universes... it's because of him that we can read a story about X-Men/Generation X member Jubilee in the DC Universe!
I guess this also provides me with the opportunity to drop a mention of Marvel Mondays over at Weird Science DC Comics. I will be their resident "X-Men guy"... so be sure to check that out.
It's established during the open that all the Marvel and DC characters are back where they belong. There's no more Amalgam Universe, and everything is back to normal. We join Axel Asher, the man known as Access on a date with a woman named Ming. They're sharing a carriage ride through (Marvel's) central park. Axel is nebulously apologizing for his recent bout of disappearing acts when he becomes startled by a scattering of fireworks lighting up the night sky.
He eventually gets over it, and goes in to kiss Ming. This romantic moment is immediately ruined by Generation X member Jubilee! She drags him away in an odd scene that makes Ming think ol' Axel's been making it with a teenager. He tries to deny it, but is jettisoned from the carriage before he can finish.
As the carriage rides away, Jubilee and Axel have themselves a walk 'n chat. Jubilee doesn't dig the way things ended during the DC vs. Marvel/Marvel vs. DC event (yeah, take a number kid!) and wants to back to the DC Universe so that she can once again meet Robin. Most of the heroes have forgotten the event entirely, but not Jubes... she had the foresight to keep a diary!
With her Generation X class/teammates Skin, Husk and Synch watching in the distance, Jubilee makes ol' Axel an offer he can't refuse. If he takes her back to the DC Universe, she'll make things right between he and Ming. Axel, who's never thought of buying a bouquet of roses as an apology, decides to take Jubilee up on her offer. He "suits up" into his Access-Wear (right in the middle of the park!), and readies for teleportation.
After a brief goodbye to her friends, Access and Jubilee leave the Marvel Universe and as luck would have it, wind up in Gotham City... on the same rooftop that Robin is currently conducting his patrol (with the Bat-Signal lit in the night sky). Robin must've been keeping a diary too, as he instantly knows who Jubilee is!
The hold hands, as kids do... and it begins to rain. Jubilee leads Robin to a covered area of the rooftop where they can talk, and instructs Access to hit the bricks for a few minutes.
Access begins his soggy walk throughout downtown Gotham all the while lamenting his inability to understand women. As he slumps against a brick wall to be all morose and introspective he is attacked from behind, pistol whipped, while the Bat-Signal still glows!
Back on the roof, the kids get reacquainted. Jubilee immediately tries to snare Robin into a long-distance relationship... and is disappointed when she finds out that Tim's already gotta gal... Ari. Their sorta romantic/sorta awkward conversation is sadly short-lived... interrupted by Two-Face!
Dent lunges at the Boy Wonder, and is fed a fistful of fireworks for his troubles. The brightly colored teens run across the roof, dodging gunfire all the way. As they approach the end of the line, Robin grabs Jubes by the arm... and, much to Jubilee's surprise, they jump to the next rooftop.
Having bought a minute, Tim rapidly concocts a strategy. He tells Jubilee she must trust him, refers to their own battle from Marvel vs. DC/DC vs. Marvel, and leads her to an illuminated Gotham Savings & Trust sign shaped like a giant coin.
Momentarily, Two-Face arrives. He sees Robin standing in full shadow in front of the giant coin. He asks where his "girlfriend" is, and is advised that she's gone. With a flip of a coin, Two-Face begins his approach. As he draws nearer, it becomes clear that his bounty is not the Boy Wonder... but Jubilee in Robin's cape! It's a good thing they have a similar haircut... the ruse wouldn't have worked otherwise!
Amid the confusion, Jubilee blasts Dent with a face full of firework plunder... and Robin swings in and dropkicks Two-Face into the giant coin. Finally, Jubilee nails a leg sweep sending Harvey into the spotlight below the coin, rendering him unconscious.
As the pair celebrates, Access finally arrives on the scene. He's anxious to get Jubilee back to where she belongs. She argues, claiming she hasn't yet gotten any "quality time" with the Boy Wonder. This conversation is also interrupted... by a very 1990's looking Scorpion! And we are... [to be continued...]
There are a few different ways to judge an issue like this. First, on the novelty of it all. Growing up in the 90's, we couldn't help but notice that there were a few... similarities between Robin and Jubilee. Everything from their color scheme to their haircuts... and the fact that they were sidekicks... Robin to Batman, naturally... and Jubilee to Wolverine. There was definitely a whole lotta Robin taken into consideration when the character of Jubilee was conceived.
During DC vs. Marvel (or Marvel vs. DC, if you prefer), it seemed almost natural that these two would face off. I don't recall if this is one of the fights we got to vote on... but, we/I were looking forward to it regardless. What I didn't expect was for the pair to wind up sorta-kinda crushing on one another... which is the plot point that brings us to this issue. I always enjoy when inter-company "non-canon" stories have ramifications that follow the characters back to their "home" universes... for that, I really dig this issue. Like, rights issues aside, why wouldn't Superman remember his adventure(s) with Spider-Man?
Following that entire event, the universes merged into something call the Amalgam Universe. This fella, Access had his powers awakened by the cosmic representations of the Marvel and DC Universes... the "Brothers". It was left to Access to keep the two universes separate... to stop them from re-amalgamating...
This story comes a little bit after all that, and as mentioned above, follows up on the puppy-love subplot. This series feels like sort of a port-mortem for the entire DC/Marvel endeavor, and really helps (or at least helped me) draw a neat line under it all. Ron Marz delivers a great script... which may have been difficult under the circumstances of this mini-series. Jackson Guice, as per usual delivers wonderful art. My only nit to pick is, and this is my usual complaint for books of this vintage... the coloring is a bit muddy. This is a couple of years into the "slick paper era"... and it really does show. I had a hard time coming around to this new-fangled paper, even at the time. I hated the X-Men Deluxe line for this... and would have preferred to get the newsstand editions, if only I knew where to find one!
All told... fun issue... but, really for those who've dipped more than a toe into DC and Marvel's universes. Newcomers (if there is such a thing) would not get a whole lot from this. Not an indictment on the book, mind, just a case of Marvel and DC "knowing the audience" for a project such as this.
Apropos of nothing... gotta wonder what's going on with ol' Access nowadays. Since the turn of the century, he's done (with a few exceptions) a helluva job keeping Marvel and DC apart... I know he's a "co-owned" character... Marvel and DC both own him... which kinda means Disney and Warner Bros. both own him... now that's a strange thought!
Wonder if it came down to it... would either company fight for full ownership? Or if asked, would all involved raise their hands up and say "Not it!"???
Anyhoo... Happy 4th y'all... tomorrow we'll start our Christmas on Infinite Earths... in July spectacular.