DC/Marvel All Access #3 (Late February, 1997)
“In the Doctor’s House”
Story – Ron Marz
Pencils – Jackson Guice
Inks – Joe Rubenstein
Colors – Lee Loughridge
Letters – Bill Oakley
Separators – Digital Chameleon
Associate Editor – Chris Duffy
Editor – Mike Carlin
Guiding Force – Mark Gruenwald
Cover Price: $1.95
Welcome everyone to Super Blog Team-Up #9 MAGIC!
This is usually where I engage in a bit of self-depreciation about how my stuff will probably pale in comparison to the other great folks taking part… but I’ll spare you all this time around. So, no self-depreciation this time, got it?
So, this week it appears we’ve got yet another comic book movie that I’m not going to see opening in theaters. Anyone who has followed my blog for any amount of time knows that the flicks ain’t my thang. I’m all about the comics, however, if you dig the movies… that’s cool. I really hope you enjoy Dr. Strange.
Speaking of the good doctor, today we’re going to be discussing a run-in he had with a certain Caped Crusader of Gotham City. This occurred during the All Access series that spun out of the Amalgam Universe clusterschmazz. If you wanna get up to speed on this one, I did discuss the issue that came before it a few months back. Long story short, Access… the only (to my knowledge) DC and Marvel co-owned character, has the power to travel between the universes. He has been tasked with keeping them separate, as for whatever reason, they really seem to want to merge. During this series, the universes appear to be doing just that. Marvel characters are popping up in Gotham City, and DC characters are making the leap as well.
What follows is my normal spoilery synopsis, a review, a smattering of interesting ads from the issue, and finally a listing of all the other great blogs taking part in the “hop”. If you’ve found me through one of them, I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to check me out… and I hope you enjoy, and decide to pop back in from time to time!
Picking up where we left off at the end of last issue, the Scorpion looms over Robin and Jubilee… Access is there too, being just as useful as we’ve come to expect. Lucky for the tots, Batman just happened to be swooping by. He knocks Scorp off his feet, and proceeds to engage in some Batmanny tough talk.
Scorpion, having not ever seen a Batman before, isn’t terribly impressed. If he knew any better he wouldn’t come at the Bat with sass… but, he doesn’t… so he does. To quickly take him out, Batman THAK!’s him on the head with a batarang. Makes me glad this didn’t happen post-2000, or else the ‘rang might have sliced the top of his head off… or at least cost him an eye!
With the threat neutralized, Batman looks to his sidekick to find out just what in the hell he walked into. He lectures Tim a bit on engaging Two-Face all by his lonesome before turning his attention to the garishly dressed mutant girl and the shoulder-padded goofball who brought her here. Access gets all “hommina hommina” and tries to tell Batman that folks have been appearing in the wrong universe. Batman… wishes him luck figuring it all out. Wow, that’s cold Bruce.
Access pleads with Batman to help him get to the bottom of this… claiming he needs a detective rather than a powerhouse. His appeal is met with… well, zero resistance. Batman decides to throw in with our hero. He informs Jubilee that it’s time to go… but she don’t wanna… she asks for just a moment of privacy with Robin… and makes Batman (and Access) turn their backs. Okay, that was pretty cute.
What follows really makes me feel bad for Jubilee. I mean, she’s really hung up on the Boy Wonder, and he… well, he just doesn’t seem all that into her. Anyhoo, they kiss… though, I think Robin’s just being polite. To further drive the point home, a flyer for the Gotham City Playhouse production of Romeo & Juliet blows by in the breeze. Oy…
Okay, with the goodbyes said… it’s time to go. Batman has Access transport him into the Marvel Universe. Upon arrival, Access offers to take Jubilee home, however, she has another destination in mind. We get a pretty neat shot of Batman thinking he’s seen Catwoman… but it’s really just the Black Cat. Wonk wonk.
Access returns and shares with Batman the story of the Amalgam Universe. Batman doesn’t remember… which makes sense, because as far as Access can tell, he himself the only one who knows. He tells Batman about the most powerful being in the Amalgamated Universe… Dr. Strangefate! Now, Strangefate was so powerful that he was actually aware that the Amalgam U wasn’t supposed to exist!
Access thinks to himself, and recalls recognizing the window of a certain Bleecker Street dwelling… and so, he escorts the Batman there. Batman being the master detective and all-around shadowy fella that he is… decides to crash through that very same into, right into the home of Doctor Strange!
The two prepare to engage in spiritual and physical warfare. Batman informs him that he believes Strange to be the key to saving both of their universes. Before a single punch or magical blast is thrown/fired, Access pops his head in to ruin all the fun. Jeez, this dude is a buzzkill.
He shares his suspicion with Strange… but Steve is steadfast in his innocence. Batman tells Strange that he’s “comin’ with him” back to the DC Universe for further observation. The Doc really ain’t feelin’ that.
There is a sudden burst of light… and we find that the X-Men are now on the scene. Not really sure which X-Man has the power of teleportation in this scene… but, we’ll just allow it. Batman tries to plead his case, but Cyclops has another plan in mind. Jean Grey, the Phoenix can see if Strange is hiding any nefarious secrets.
Strange is cool with this option, and allows Jean into his mind. She read him… and gives the “all clear”. There is nothing sinister lurking in the good Doctor.
Access is shocked! Shocked, I tell you!
Batman takes Access’ surprise as evidence that this mind-reading wasn’t quite as extensive as he’d like. He still insists on bringing Strange back to the DCU. This ticks off Bishop, who throws a punch… and gets his be-hind knocked out for his troubles.
We’ve now got Batman vs. the X-Men… kinda. Cannonball launches in Batman’s direction, despite Cyclops’ command to the contrary. Batman uses Sam’s momentum against him, and sends him flying directly into Storm. It isn’t long, however, before the numbers game catches up to the Bat. He soon finds himself staring into the business end of Bishop’s guns.
What the X-Men (and me, as the reader if I’m being honest) didn’t notice was that during the fracas, Access left to seek reinforcements. What he returns with is the JL-freaking-A. This is the magnificent sev… well, six… and they ain’t happy. Clearly, this is… [to be continued…]
Well… this sure was an issue of a comic book.
Ya see, I purposely didn’t read this one until this past week. I wanted to save it for the Doctor Strange film release… imagine my surprise when, despite being prominently featured on the cover… Doctor Strange is only in this issue for a handful of pages! Despite my own X-Men origins, it’s still sometimes hard to remember a time when they were so prominent in Marvel events.
As we’ve come to expect, Ron Marz’ script is quite good, and Jackson Guice’s pencils are very nice as well. Anyone who has been with me for a while knows my dislike for the coloring of this era. Just so muddy… and really does a disservice to the pencils underneath. Looking at any given page of this book, it looks as though I can drag my finger across it, and come up with color. In my opinion, this glossy paper/digital coloring marriage came far too soon to look good.
Now the “stars” of this issue. Being a big 90’s comics fan, I never felt as though we were clamoring for a Batman/Doctor Strange crossover. I mean, last issue’s Robin and Jubilee, I get. The combos for DC vs. Marvel (or Marvel vs. DC) all made sense, and helped solve several comic shop arguments… while igniting a whole bunch more… but this just seems kinda random. I mean, I get that it progressed the story the way it needed to go, just didn’t do a whole lot to tickle me “what if?” itch. Let’s look forward to the next chapter… the JLA vs. … the X-Men? I mean, the Avengers are right there (relatively speaking)! Now that’s a team-up/battle we wanted to see.
Overall… not a bad issue, but one that’s hard to recommend. It’s an issue that… if you missed it at time of release, you probably don’t need to seek out… however, if you were there in late 1996, you were likely foaming at the mouth for it.
No Letters Page… but we’ve got CREDITS!
Super Blog Team-Up Continues Below…
The Other Doctror Strange Film