Spider-Man & Batman: Disordered Minds
by J.M. DeMatteis, Mark Bagley (Marvel/DC Comics, 1995)

I've been rereading a bunch of old company crossovers lately -- you know, the ones where popular characters from two different comic-book universes come together to fight or cooperate (or both) for a stand-alone adventure. Some are pretty good. Some are crap. This one, featuring DC's Batman and Marvel's Spider-Man, is just kind of pointless.

Anyone who knows anything about these two heroes knows that Bruce Wayne was inspired to become Batman after his parents were gunned down in an alley, and Peter Parker was inspired to fight crime after his uncle was gunned down in his home. Both men are haunted by dreams of those events, but in this book, the man who shot Ben Parker looks a lot like the Joker in Peter's dreams, and the man who shot the Waynes looks like the homicidal alien symbiote Carnage. Why? We don't know.

Some crossovers come up with clever plots to explain how the characters appear in one another's reality; this book just assumes that Batman and Spider-Man have never met. When a misguided scientist believes she can tame two homicidal freaks -- the Joker and Carnage, and don't tell me you were surprised -- by implanting microchips in their brains, both heroes decide to tag along to see what happens when things inevitably go wrong. Batman of course resents Spider-Man's intrusion onto his turf -- until Bruce Wayne's faithful butler Alfred makes him some finger sandwiches, and Batman sees the error of his ways.

They fight the bad guys together, and the bad guys fight each other a little bit. That's really about it. Wasn't that worth the read???

review by
Tom Knapp

26 January 2008

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