"So first there was The Infinity Gauntlet, then Infinity War, and now there's Infinity Crusade. It must be like an annual convention for super heroes that Warlock runs for them. It gives them all a chance to get together and network and catch up on each other's continuity, exchange business and trading cards, pose for holograms with each other, stuff like that. They probably just wish the things were held in San Diego or someplace fun, where everyone could hang out at the beach."A company-wide Massive Multiplayer Crossover which sweeps all the "mainstream" characters in a ficton into a single storyline and, often, takes their own series along for the ride. The original was Crisis on Infinite Earths, the event which changed The DCU so much that its history is permanently defined as "pre-Crisis" and "Post-Crisis". It went from April 1985 to March 1986, tying in almost every other series DC published at the time. After this, it became more and more popular, with not just Marvel and DC but other companies — Malibu, Wildstorm, etc. — getting into the act. Eventually, though, readers were sick of it, and it tapered off, before returning to the scene in 2004 when DC and Marvel both launched new Crisis Crossovers that started Metaplots that are still running today. Time will tell how long it takes for readers to get sick of it this time (if they aren't already). The advantage of a Crisis Crossover to a publisher is that people reading the main story will want to read the various crossovers, thus increasing sales. The disadvantage is that people who only want to read one of the titles that cross over may be turned off by having to buy all the tie-ins to understand it, thus decreasing sales. In practice, it can go either way, but there's a reason the technique was abandoned for awhile. In comics, there are several subtypes:
— Marvel Year in Review 1993
- The classic is a single mini- or maxi-series, with other titles having a couple issues branded with the crossover's title. Crisis on Infinite Earths itself and Secret Wars II are of this type.
- A second kind is the all-annuals crossover. Many comic series have, in addition to their twelve monthly titles per year, a thirteenth plus-sized annual. An all-annuals crossover takes place entirely in one year's annuals (plus, perhaps, a special bookending issue or two). Armageddon 2001 and Atlantis Attacks! are examples.
- Fifth Week Events. Most comics come out monthly, most comics come out on Wednesday, and most months have four Wednesdays. Four times a year, however, there will be a month with a fifth Wednesday. Instead of moving titles around so that (for example) some comics that usually come out on the fourth Wednesday are pushed to the fifth, the publisher may just schedule an event for that week. Example: Sins of Youth
- Self-contained: A crossover that doesn't crossover. The heroes take a break from their own books to participate in a mini-series, then return to their own books. Examples: Secret Wars and Cosmic Odyssey.
- The opposite is the crossover without a self-titled mini-series; the whole crossover takes place in extant books. Marvel used to do this a lot, as with Inferno and Acts Of Vengeance.
- The current format is a expansion of the first type: There will be a core series, one or more spinoff series, probably some one-shots, and crossover into regular titles. Blackest Night, for example, had a core mini-series, seven multi-issue spinoffs, a slew of one-shots (nominally numbered as "new" issues of long-dead series), and heavy crossover into both Green Lantern titles, among others.
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- Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985):The trope namer. Before CoIE, there were two major and nearly a dozen minor separate DCU "Earths" (read: realities), each with its own continuity. They didn't cross over, except when they did (or when a DC writer forgot who was supposed to be on which Earth and a DC editor didn't catch the goof). Afterwards: one Earth, one reality, and the biggest retconning of past events ever. Let one example serve for all: Pre-Crisis, there was Kara Zor-El, better known as Supergirl. During Crisis, she died. Post-Crisis, she had never existed due to the edict that, following the Man of Steel reboot, Superman was to the only surviving Kryptonian (although she did appear in the final arc of Pater David's Supergirl, "Many Happy Returns"). To this day, nobody (save for a few people, namely Donna Troy and The Spectre) remembers her as she was then, though a new version of the character returned in Batman/Superman: Supergirl in 2005. The first act of the "Multiverse Saga" dealing with the "Death of the Multiverse".
- Legends (DC) (1987): This series was a crossover in which the evil god Darkseid tries to turn humanity against all its superheroes; it doesn't take. Legends was most notable for launching the semi-humorous Justice League International (the one with Blue Beetle) and the perennially popular supervillains-doing-espionage title Suicide Squad, as well as starting the career of third The Flash, Wally West. It also marked the post-Crisis debuts of Wonder Woman (after she was rebooted from scratch by George Perez and Greg Potter) and Captain Marvel.
- Three events in 1988:
- In Cosmic Odyssey (ironically the only one that was self-contained), Darkseid, the New Gods, and a group of super-heroes fight a giant shadow that Metron claims is the Anti-Life Equation's true form. Outside of John Stewart (no, not that one) acting like a rookie and causing an entire planet to explode due to his hubris, no one likes to talk about this story since making the Anti-Life Equation a giant shadow monster was a stupid idea.
- In Millennium, the robotic Manhunters try to stop the Guardians of the Universe from giving a group of really bad ethnic stereotypes virtual Godhood; it doesn't work out. By contractual obligation, at least one secondary character from most of DC's titles turned out to be the Manhunters' molesnote , which was never mentioned again afterwords.
- In Invasion!, a whole mess of alien planets get together and try to take over Earth to keep all the superbeings we keep producing under control; yet again, it doesn't work out. This crossover also introduced the Metagene Meta Origin concept in the DCU, as well as led to the launching of Justice League Europe and L.E.G.I.O.N., a 20th Century Legion of Super-Heroes spin-off title known mainly for having Lobo and Brainiac 2 on the roster.
- Two in 1991:
- War of the Gods wasn't a bad idea in theory: All the different godly pantheons in The DCU (the New Gods, plus the Olympians, the Asgardians, etc.) have at it and the various divinely-powered superheroes (Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, etc.) get caught up in it. Unfortunately, writer George Perez made the mistake of double-booking himself drawing Marvel's The Infinity Gauntlet and writing/drawing War of the Gods at the same time, leading to War of the Gods suffering from bad writing.
- Armageddon 2001: One of DC's top super-heroes will become the uber-villain "Monarch"! Except the ending (it was Captain Atom) gets leaked, meaning a third string character Hawk became Monarch instead. Monarch promptly disappeared until three years later, when he was retooled as Extant and became a flunky for A-List hero Hal Jordan, who went evil in the wake of The Death of Superman.
- Eclipso: The Darkness Within (1992): Over the summer, DC retconned a B-List villain from the '60s into a serious threat capable of possessing anyone — up to and including Superman. Very little changes, other than the Heroic Sacrifice of Starman IV — whose book had been canceled anyway (and it apparently didn't take). Eclipso himself got a series out of it for about two years, notable as one of the few mainstream comic series with a villain as its protagonist at the time.
- Bloodlines (1993): Whether you like this or not all depends on if you're a fan of the Dark Age. This was a Cross Through of all of DC's Annual series for 1993. A race of Xenomorph-like parasites invade and start killing people by draining their spinal fluid. A small percentage of people, however, gained superpowers by this, leading to the creation of a new bunch of Nineties Anti Heroes. Nothing really changed and these new heroes were eventually reduced to cannon fodder for Infinite Crisis, or else ending up in Comic Book Limbo. The only notable result from this crossover being Garth Ennis' Hitman.
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (1994): For this one, DC ended up pressing the reset button again. Well-Intentioned Extremist Parallax (a.k.a. Hal Jordan) plans to destroy the entire DC Universe and remake it in his image. Unlike Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour ended up changing relatively little (aside from completely rebooting The Legion Of Super-Heroes and making Hawkman's continuity even more confusing) and a massive bus being dropped onto the Justice Society of America. And unlike Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour was met with mixed reviews.
- Worlds Collide (1994): This was a major DC Comics/Milestone Comics crossover, which had to be handled carefully, since the DC characters were comics in the Milestone universe. It was a scintillating series in that the differences between similar characters such as Superman and Icon were examined. Perhaps the most entertaining was the relationship between Hardware and Steel, who had the same abilities and skills, but were on opposite sides of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. Since then, Milestone was folded into the DC universe, which seems even more poignant after the passing of Dwayne McDuffie.
- 1995's Underworld Unleashed saw Mark Waid killing off 90% of The Flash's rogue's gallery who he felt were too silly even for his masturbatory Silver Age tastes (though this didn't last long and Waid was proven wrong in a BIG way later on) and introducing Neron, the de facto Satan of the DC Universe proper. It also saw a ton of DC villains selling their souls for grim and gritty revamps, of which only a small handful actually stuck.
- In the afterword to the collected edition, Waid claims that killing and resurrecting the Rogues was the plan all along in order to protect them from unnecessary Darker and Edgier revision:
Brian and I arranged for them to lie low in hell for a little while, if only to keep some knuckleheaded creator from, oh, say, turning Heat Wave into a living pillar of fire.
- In the afterword to the collected edition, Waid claims that killing and resurrecting the Rogues was the plan all along in order to protect them from unnecessary Darker and Edgier revision:
- Final Nightnote (1996): is probably the most fondly-remembered crossover from the 1990s, most likely because the whole thing became one huge Author's Saving Throw/Last Hurrah for Hal Jordan (writer Karl Kessel agreed to write the story for DC on the condition that he could give Hal a mercy killing/heroic sacrifice death). An alien weapon called a Sun-Eater arrives in the solar system and, surprisingly enough, eats the sun. After Earth's heroes try to keep their sunless world alive, Hal Jordan make a Heroic Sacrifice to rekindle the sun and redeem himself (of course, Redemption Equals Death). Also, the Post-Zero Hour Legion meets everyone in the DC Universe proper for the first time — and before his death, Hal resurrects Green Arrow off-panel, or rather shoehorned in retroactively in-panel by Kevin Smith about three years later. Realtime, of course.
- Genesis (1997): John Byrne "kills off" Darkseid in a lame plot where the Source Wall breaks and everyone's powers start acting wonky. Nobody cares. Moving on...
- DC One Million (1998): All DCU books stopped and became "<Title> #1,000,000" as the JLA and the rest of the DC Universe go into the future to fight Solaris the Sentient Sun, who wants to kill his creator Superman. As Grant Morrison stories go, you'll either love it or hate it. This crossover is certainly part of the main DCU canon (Hourman One Million becomes a major player in JLA, JSA and his own book). (The final issue of Morrison's later All-Star Superman features the present-day Solaris, and acts as a kind of origin story for the future society depicted in One Million — or rather, presumably an alternative version of that future society, since All-Star Superman is definitely not part of the main DCU canon.)
- Day of Judgment (1999): Featured a then unknown Geoff Johns writing a story where the demons Neron and Etrigan steal the nigh-omnipotent powers of the Spectre. Hilarity Ensues, and the ghost of Hal Jordan ends up becoming the new Spectre. Led to the creation of the Sentinels of Magic - a group of DC's mystic heroes who then appeared absolutely nowhere.
- Sins of Youth (2000): In an effort to promote Young Justice, DC produced this series, which was a special Crisis Crossover in which Young Justice, the JLA, the JSA, the Titans and as many others as the pencilers could cram into frame descended on the White House lawn for a rally, only to face the mother of all Fountain of Youth plots wherein nearly every character present was aged or de-aged. It only interrupted the monthly run of YJ and crossed over into Superboy, and was over within a month real-time, but the scale of the story and the villains' plot was worthy of this trope.
- 2001 had two events:
- Our Worlds at War featured an Omnicidal Maniac trying to destroy the universe via destroying Earth (with Brainiac-13 pulling up the rear to exploit the madness) and the entire universe teaming up in a galactic alliance to save the universe. Infamous for it's massive number of deaths (Guy Gardner, Martha and Johnathan Kent, Aquaman, Sam Lane, and Wonder Woman's mom Hippolyta), just about all of which were overturned, with Gardner and the Kents being upgraded to living within months of the storyline ending.
- Joker's Last Laugh, tied very much to the other crossover (almost literally starting after Our Worlds At War had ended). This story had Joker infect all of the DC Universe's villains with chemicals turning them into Joker-lite mass murderers, after Joker is falsely told he has terminal cancer. Two notable scenes are when Joker Lampshades previous crises by desiring red skies for his plan, and Chuck Dixon spending the entire storyline effectively cursing out readers for asking why no one kills the Joker.
- Identity Crisis (2004): This was the first book to use "Crisis" in its title since Zero Hour. It was a crossover, but not necessarily a crisis crossover — in fact, it was a very low-key murder mystery far more concerned with buried secrets and the personal lives of heroes than with blowing stuff up — but it did end up changing things, due to the nature of the secrets revealed rather than any cosmic shenanigans. It's also notable as it deretconed back into existence many pre-Crisis story lines from the Silver and Bronze ages, but at the same time made them Darker and Edgier. It turned B-list Teen Titans Villain Dr. Light into a rapist; revealing that his "bumbling" and "pathetic" status was the result of a magically induced lobotomy. The story was eventually revealed to be the first part of a trilogy to "explore the DC heroes" in which they were put up against "a very personal threat". Its repercussions were felt throughout The DCU (leading to mini-Crisis Crossovers such as Villains United and the Day of Judgement sequel Day of Vengeance) until they coalesced in:
- Infinite Crisis (2005-2006): Refugees from the original Crisis, who had been watching the DCU since, had decided that the events of Identity Crisis and the things that followed were the last straw, and returned to the universe to "set things right". As their version of setting things right involved destroying reality and replacing it with a "better" one, the current inhabitants of the DCU were less than pleased with the plan. Fighting ensued, and in the end a "soft reset" occurred — some things were changed but by and large, continuity remained the same (except for the Legion of Super-Heroes, which received its second complete reboot) — and the multiverse, gone since the pre-Crisis days, returned. Served as the second act of the "Multiverse Trilogy" as the "rebuild of the Multiverse" and the second act of the "Exploration Trilogy" by "putting the greatest odds against the heroes". Was immediately followed by:
- 52 (2006-7): Basically the final act of the storyline of Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis (story-wise). Innovative for its use of real time continuity, tossing Comic-Book Time out the window in favor of the 24 approach, published weekly, from May 2006 to May 2007, each issue represents a week of time in-universe, covering the "missing year" of the DCU, as after Infinite Crisis, all books were jumped forward "One year later". Written by a "dream team" of four writers (Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, and Grant Morrison, each of whom contributed something to every issue.) it also followed the lives of minor characters of the DCU while the "Big Three" Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman took the year off for various reasons, Widely considered to be one of the greatest story lines of the Modern Age. It also introduced the Modern Batwoman, and Renee Montoya as The Question.
- Countdown to Final Crisis (2007-2008): Meant to act as a bridge between 52 and Final Crisis. It's remembered as "one of the worst comic storylines of all time" riddled with plotholes and bad art.
- Final Crisis (2008): Picking up at the end of the year-long weekly series Countdown to Final Crisis and a mounting sense of crossover fatigue among fans, it faced an uphill battle, but the strength of its writer and artist (Grant Morrison and J. G. Jones) saw it through to sales success. The newly reincarnated Darkseid accomplishes his goal of ruling the human race as he unleashes the Anti-Life Equation on Earth, plunging Earth into a black hole that threatens to destroy the Multiverse. The heroes save all of existence, but at the high cost of several high profile casualties (including Martian Manhunter and Batman) and lots of dead civilians who died while Darkseid reigned. Served as the final acts of the "Multiverse Trilogy" ("the Final Crisis of the Multiverse") and the "Exploration Trilogy" ("the day that evil won").
Final Crisis itself is a huge crossover dealing with multiple stories. In addition to the event proper, there was Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge where the Flash's Rogues Gallery reject Libra's invitation to the new Secret Society and kill the murderous speedster Inertia just before the events of Final Crisis begins; Final Crisis: Revelations which takes place during Darkseid's siege of a controlled Earth as seen by the Spectre and the Question; and Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds (taking place after all the previously listed ) which has the titular 3 Legions fighting against Superboy-Prime and a new Time Trapper and his army of villains before being revealed as an older version of Prime, which ultimately lead to Prime returning powerless to his reconstructed Earth (but having to face the sins of his actions while in the Multiverse).
- Blackest Night (2009): Following on from the events of the epic Sinestro Corps War storyline that proved to be infinitely more popular than the Countdown event that was happening at the same time.) the culmination of a prophecy first mentioned in an Alan Moore penned back-up strip in "Tales of the Green Lantern Corps" back during the 80s. The best way to describe it is as Space Opera meets Zombie Apocalypse. As dead super heroes, super villains, and their families and friends are brought back to life by Nekron, the various color corps from Geoff Johns' run on Green Lantern must put aside their differences and fight to protect all life in the universe. While being heavily Green Lantern-centric, it crosses over with the entire DCU. Most books had at least one issue involved with the event.
The whole thing was initially conceived as a Bat Family Crossover in the Green Lantern books, along the lines of Sinestro Corps War. As mentioned, the absolute success of SCW has lead DC to expand it into a full blown crossover. Even a few canceled books were temporary brought "back to life" for one shot issues just to add to this event. It now seems hard to imagine the relatively simple origins of this event given the hugeness it eventually grew to.
- Brightest Day (2010): Following up from 'Blackest Night'', this was a year-long event dealing with the newly resurrected characters' attempts to rebuild their lives after being dead, and the quest for the newly created White Light Battery on Earth. In many ways it was more of a Cross Through; the books involved shared a feeling of making a fresh start but each one mostly followed their own story that was only tangentially connected to the main series.
- Flashpoint (2011): This is to The Flash what Blackest Night was to Green Lantern. Barry Allen has woken up to find reality changed around him; now he needs to find out what the heck happened? His discovery of the truth behind the altered world quickly leads to a line-wide reboot on a scale not seen since the original Crisis.
- Forever Evil (2013-14): Continuing off where Trinity War left off, the Crime Syndicate has arrived to the prime Earth and knocked the three Justice Leagues out cold in a bid to Take Over the World. Not every supervillain is happy about this new development, least of which is Lex Luthor.
- Contest of Champions, the first crossover done as a Mini Series.
- Secret Wars was essentially twelve issues of good guys and bad guys beating each other up in various and creative ways in order to promote a toy line, still, it was a blast. Sometimes you buy a comic to read good guys fighting bad guys. Relatively little impact on the larger Marvel Universe. A few things did change following it:
- The sequel, Secret Wars II, was less successful. The Beyonder, the omnipotent being behind Secret Wars, took on human form and wandered around doing stuff, with the heroes making mostly-futile attempts to interfere with him and Mephisto trying to kill him. Generally considered a failure, partially due to its inescapable nature, with nearly every comic Marvel published at the time tying in somehow, and partly because the concept of the Beyonder trying to get used to being a human led to lots of Narm. A good example of what not to do.
- The 1986 storyline "Mutant Massacre" involved the mass murder of the underground mutant community known as the Morlocks at the hands of the Marauders, a group of mercenaries loyal to Mr Sinister. This series mainly affected the X-books and their characters (at the time, Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor and New Mutants) but it also crossed over into Daredevil, The Mighty Thor and, of all places, Power Pack. It may well be the first crossover which required readers to get every book involved if they wanted to have the full story, a template which almost every crisis crossover has followed since.
- Also worth mentioning are 1988's Atlantis Attacks, which made its way through Marvel's summer annuals for that year to celebrate the Sub-Mariner's 50th anniversary, as heroes fought off an Atlantean invasion; Fall of the Mutants, earlier that year, which was mostly confined to the X-Books; Evolutionary War, in 1989, again running through the Marvel summer annuals and featuring the High Evolutionary; and other X-Book X-Overs like X-Cutioner's Song and X-Tinction Agenda, each of which made significant, if not always lasting, changes to the X-Status-Quo.
- In 1989 came the Inferno crossover, in which demons from Limbo staged an invasion of New York City. The storyline was mainly an X-Book storyline, as Inferno resolved longstanding plotlines involving Jean Grey's doppleganger Madelyne Pryor, the Madelyne/Cyclops/Jean Grey love triangle, and Illyana Rasputin's Apocalypse Maiden, but the effects of the X-Over was felt in just about every Marvel book published at the time, leading to the introduction of a new Avengers roster, the Thing being restored to human formnote , and the Jason Macendale Hobgoblin becoming half-demon (after getting his ass kicked by Harry Osborn, while dressed as Green Goblin).
- Late 1989 and Early 1990 brought the Acts of Vengeance. Loki secretly organized a veritable army of supervillains in what was ultimately a poorly written plotline that suffered from a massive case of writer revolt. Most notable for the storylines that ignored the main plot, where: Spider-Man temporarily gets used to his new Captain Universe cosmic powers, the Fantastic Four testify before Congress against the proposed Super Power Registration Act, Psylocke becomes an ninja, and Magneto takes down the Red Skull in a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- During 1991-1993, Marvel ran what has since become known as "The Infinity Trilogy"; three X-Overs written by Jim Starlin, involving Thanos, Adam Warlock, Magus, and the Infinity Gems.
- The first installment, The Infinity Gauntlet, did the idea of a crossover right; only a few books were part of the crossover and almost all of them were books with a good reason to be part of the crossover, mainly those that dealt with things of a magical or cosmic bent (Doctor Strange, Quasar, etc) that the main mini-series was about to begin with. There were only a few anomalies that didn't quite fit, like the Hulk or Cloak & Dagger. Unfortunately, the sequels Infinity War and Infinity Crusade, roped-in practically every single other Marvel title whether it worked or not.
- 1992 saw the Avengers crossover Operation Galactic Storm, in which the team was drawn into an all-out war between the Kree and Shi'Ar galactic empires. It turns out the whole thing was engineered by the Kree Supreme Intelligence, who manipulated the Shi'Ar into detonating a nega bomb to spur the stalled Kree evolutionary process, at the cost of billions of Kree lives. Led to a split in the Avengers' ranks when an Iron Man-led team killed the Supreme Intelligence in retaliation (though they only destroyed a shell), much to Captain America's dismay.
- The Age of Apocalypse crossover ran from 1995, halted the X-Men books for six months to tell the story of an Alternate Universe where Legion accidentally kills Professor X before he could found the X-Men, leading to an apocalyptic world where Apocalypse rules everything and Magneto formed the X-Men instead.
- The Crossing ran through the Avengers books in 1995 as well. The premise was that Iron Man had been under the mental influence of Kang the Conqueror for years, and had now turned against the Avengers outright; the only way the Avengers could defeat him was to pluck a younger Tony Stark, untouched by Kang, from an alternate timeline, and in the end, "evil" Tony was killed off. This turn of events was not well-received, to say the least.
- There's also the Onslaught saga in 1996, which was famously hijacked by editorial to set up Avengers and Fantastic Four's continuities being rebooted from scratch outside the Marvel Universe via Heroes Reborn. However, this reboot was short-lived, and the subsequent Heroes Return storyline not only brought everybody back, but undid the damage done by The Crossing. Thank you, Franklin Richards.
- 2001 brought Maximum Security, in which a whole mess of alien planets get together to keep all the superbeings we keep producing under control; however, instead of completely borrowing DC's plot for Invasion!, they simply designate Earth as a penal colony, drop off the scum of the universe to keep the superheroes busy, and have a ship in orbit keep everyone from leaving. The plot sickens when Ego the Living Planet begins assimilating Earth as his new body. Yet again, it doesn't work out — but the Kree are given a new Voluntary Shapeshifting gimmick... until the next Cosmic Retcon.
- The later 2000s brought a whole series of crossovers, collectively tearing down and then rebuilding the superhero community:
- First the Bat Family Crossover Avengers Disassembled, where The Avengers start getting attacked on all sides out of nowhere. It's eventually revealed that the assault came from the Scarlet Witch, whose powers had grown to Reality Warper levels and driven her mad. She's stopped and placed in the care of her family (Magneto and Quicksilver), but the losses are so great that the Avengers disband (though a new team forms shortly afterward after a mass supervillain breakout).
- 2005 followed up with House of M, in which Quicksilver manipulates Scarlet Witch to create "a perfect world", which gets over-ridden by Magneto's concept of a "perfect world" being one ruled by mutants. After much fighting, Scarlet Witch comes to the decision that mutantkind still would create a world of violence and hate, and she promptly depowers 90% of the mutant community. At a stroke, mutant-kind is reduced from a population of millions with strong political and economic support to less than 200 frightened heroes on the verge of extinction.
- Civil War, in 2006. The deaths of the New Warriors and the city of Stamford, Connecticut at the hands of Nitro leads to a backlash against all heroes and a political push to get heroes to register their secret identities with the US Government, via the Superhuman Registration Act. Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic decide to back the new law and lead the charge to do so, while Captain America leads the anti-registration side of the super-hero community, as he sees the whole Registration Act as a bad idea. Needless to say, it all ends in horror as Captain America is defeated, denounced as unpatriotic, and assassinated, and Iron Man being handed full-control over SHIELD.
- This is followed by World War Hulk, the follow-up to the Incredible Hulk storyline Planet Hulk where, days before Civil War happened, Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic shoot Hulk into outer space (because, frankly, the conflict was gonna have enough problems without having to deal with the Hulk). He ends up on a hellish gladiator planet, which soon explodes due to the ship Hulk was sent on blowing up. Needless to say, Hulk is pissed and fans get five issues of Hulk delivering karmic beatdowns towards Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, and just about anyone else who gets in his way, as well as crossover issues in or with The Avengers, Ghost Rider, Heroes For Hire, Iron Man, Ant-Man, The Punisher, and the X-Men, not to mention a Prologue issue with a story that features the Mini Marvels filling in the background.
- Secret Invasion, 2008: After the ninja assassin Elektra is killed (again), the Avengers discover that it's actually an alien impostor pretending to be Elektra. Both characters and fans quickly started wondering who else could be a fake, fueled by Word of God explaining that the infiltration went back for years. On top of all the problems from the last few Crisis Crossovers (Captain America dead, the Avengers fractured and preoccupied with fighting each other rather than actual threats, and the X-Men have had their power drastically reduced), throw in the paranoia of double agents and it sure would be trouble if the aliens decided to invade now that every force that could be expected to stand up to them has been crippled... Ultimately, while Earth wins, Iron Man is still blamed for FUBARing the superhuman response, S.H.I.E.L.D. is dissolved, and control of the rest is handed over to the media darling who killed the Skrull queen; the leader of the Boxed Crook team the Thunderbolts: Norman Osborn. That's right, the Green Goblin is head of the government's superheroes. Yikes.
- Humorously, Warren Ellis, the author of Nextwave, predicted online almost a year before the Elektra/Skrull reveal that everything that had gone wrong in Civil War was the fault of "Anal Skrulls!", which has become a catch phrase of sorts in certain 'net communities. He also joked that Nextwave was the only canonical book Marvel published, with all the other titles featuring the aforementioned anal Skrulls.
- This led to a pseudo-example called Dark Reign, which details Osborns tenure as the leader of the Darker and Edgier SHIELD called HAMMER, during which time he sets up and leads his own Evil Counterpart to The Avengers (as well as the X-Men and a couple of others), dressing up psychotic supervillains to disguise themselves as the heroes, whilst pursuing an agressive domestic and foreign policy and consolidating his power by allying with major players like Loki Namor, Emma Frost and Doctor Doom (and the Hood), whilst once again starting to descend back into Goblin-related madness. Word of God is this was not an "event" like the previous examples but it did lead to many mini-crossovers as pretty much every Earth-bound hero found themselves in conflict with the maniac plus it ticks most of the boxes anyway (save that its longer), and its worth mentioning because the conclusion to it was...
- And finally in 2010, we have Siege. Thor had previously moved Asgard to Earth, and Osborn and Loki aren't happy (Osborn because it's foreign territory on US soil, Loki because Asgard isn't in its own realm where it belongs). So Loki convinces Osborn it would be a wonderful idea to take his army and attack gods. Naturally, Thor and everyone connected with the Avengers goes "Oh No You Didn't!!" and goes to kick his ass. But the real problem wound up being the Sentry: immeasurably powerful, mentally unstable (to put it mildly), and Osborn's no longer holding his leash. In the end, Osborn is ousted and the resurrected Steve Rogers (no longer Captain America) takes his place, beginning "The Heroic Age" by ending Superhuman Registration, formally reuniting the fractured Avengers teams, and bringing the Big Three (himself, Thor, and Iron Man) together on the same side for the first time since before Avengers Disassembled.
- Alongside that grand arc, Marvel also released Crisis Crossovers for its cosmic properties (i.e. alien races and space-borne heroes who can't be expected to care about the political squabbles on Earth):
- The first one came in 2006 during the Civil War, titled Annihilation. Annihilation featured Annihilus, ruler of the Negative Zone, making a grand and destructive invasion into the regular universe that left a great deal of heroes dead, utterly destroyed the Nova Corps, dealt a harsh blow to the Kree Empire, and utterly shattered the Skrull Empire, going so far as to destroy the Skrull homeworld. It took the power of Galactus himself, in an all-consuming rage, to end the threat.
- Annihilation got a sequel in 2007 titled Annihilation: Conquest, in which Ultron, leading a vast army of robot warriors, is taking advantage of the weakened and confused state of the Kree Empire to attempt to conquer it. He doesn't succeed, but he makes a very good try of it and drives the Kree further into isolation and general impotence.
- While not directly related, this is now being followed in 2009 by War of Kings. Part-way spun out from Secret Invasion, one of the people replaced by a Skrull was Black Bolt, leader of the Inhumans. In response, the Inhumans decide they can't live in hiding any more, so their giant city on the moon blasts off for outer space, and after picking off several leftover Skrulls they conquer the remains of the Kree Empire, who created them in the first place. This sets up a war between the Kree Empire and the Shi'ar Empire, itself now under the heel of the psychopathic X-Men villain Vulcan, with the Nova Corps, the Starjammers and the Guardians of the Galaxy caught in the middle.
- 2010 finishes with The Thanos Imperative. A superweapon detonated at the end of the war has opened a rift in space known as the Fault. On the other side is a parallel universe that has been taken over by Eldritch Abominations (called the "Cancerverse", after how the monsters spread and corrupt). The heroes will have to join forces with Thanos, who had been granted the death he wished in Annihilation and was resurrected against his will in order to fight a universe where life has won over death.
- The big crossover of 2011 was Fear Itself. While the world is in a state of underlying fear and paranoia (from events both in-universe and in the real world), the Red Skull (II, aka Sin, daughter of the original) frees a Norse god that scares even Odin called the Serpent. The Serpent then summons hammers that turn selected superhumans into his followers "the Worthy", causing the powder keg of fear to explode among the people.
- Also, in 2011 has a smaller example in the form of Spider-Island which saw everyone in New York receive spider powers. While this would normally be a Bat Family Crossover or just a regular storyline in Amazing Spider-Man, a multitude of tie in mini series and one shots focusing on everyone from the Avengers to the Kung Fu heroes as well as tie in issues running in the monthly titles of both Venom and The Incredible Hercules.
- 2012 brings us Avengers vs. X-Men, where the Phoenix Force is returning to Earth and has chosen Hope Summers as its new avatar, leading the two major Super Teams of the Marvel Universe to clash over whether this will mean the resurgence of mutantkind (for the X-Men) or the destruction of humans and mutants alike (for the Avengers). Epic Conflict Ball ensues. The series ended with Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik and Colossus becoming fugitives, while Captain America formed the Avengers Unity Squad to keep something like AVX from ever happening again.
- Marvel had two Crisis events 2013.
- The first debuting in Spring of 2013 was Age of Ultron, bringing Ultron back, and the end of humanity with it. Interestingly, the storyline already starts off with Ultron succeeding in taking over, with the surviving heroes attempting to mount a resistance to stop the robotic villain's rule. Then it quickly turns into Timey-Wimey Ball nuttiness, with no real impact on the other titles. Any tie-ins in other books were labeled "AU", and had no impact on their respective running storylines. The major impact came at the end of the story, with Angela from the Spawn universe entering the Marvel Universe, and Galactus being teleported to the Ultimate Marvel universe.
- The second debuting at the end of Summer in 2013 is Infinity. Building off a storyline from The Avengers main book, it centers around heroes dealing with two major cosmic threats, one a new cosmic enemy called the Builders and the other Thanos leading a new invasion army, hitting the planet Earth at nearly the same time. Despite the name and use of Thanos, Word of God says that the event is not intended to be a sequel to the similarly named The Infinity Gauntlet and its sequels.
- Marvel once again has two Events for 2014.
- The first is Original Sin by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato Jr. It is a murder mystery about the killing of Uatu the Watcher and the heroes' buried secrets which he has personally witnessed but kept to himself being leaked out to the superhero community.
- The second debuting in the fall is called AXIS by Rick Remender. Spinning out of the events of Uncanny Avengers, the threat of the Red Skull takes on new heights as his new powers begin to turning the lives of The Avengers, the X-Men and even several noteworthy Marvel villains upside down in his bid for domination.
- Only one event for 2015: a new Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman, where the entire Marvel Universe is destroyed and a new Battleworld is created. An "All-New" universe will take the place of the old one after the series ends.
- In the same vein, the Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game has the heroes banding together to stop villains under Dr. Doom and Loki from pulling off an Evil Plan that would allow Doom to steal the power of a god from Odin. The sequel is an adaptation of the Secret War and Civil War, minus the second half of Civil War as the game diverges at the end of the third issue of that storyline for a different, original ending.
- Ultimate Marvel had one with Ultimatum, meant to be the last title in the Ultimate Universe before it got relaunched as Ultimate Comics in 2009. The plot involves Magneto plotting revenge on the Ultimates for the murder of the Scarlet Witch, killing absolutely everybody in the process.
- In 2011, Ultimate Marvel had The Death of Spider-Man where, well, Spider-Man died. It ran through Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers vs. New Ultimates, but is something of an odd case as thus far the series have only intersected once (Spidey got injured in an Avengers/Ultimates fight) and have since remained separate, but it serves as an explanation as to why Spider-Man has to fight the Sinister Six with no back-up beyond an ill-prepared Iceman & Human Torch. Nonetheless, it prompted a second linewide relaunch.
- In 2012, Ultimate Marvel had Divided We Fall/United We Stand which involved all three ongoing titles at the time - Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Ultimates and X-Men - dealing with a fractured United States. It notably culminated with Captain America being voted in as President of the United States.
- In 2013, the Ultimate line had Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand, which deals with the aftermath of Age Of Ultron and the Ultimate heroes banding together to fight off Galactus.
Other Comic Books
- Of bizarre note is the JLA/Avengers crossover that happened around 2004ish. Although these cross-company crossovers usually end up either being non-canon or forgotten, this one actually led to some small changes: the universe of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika (an evil JLA) was rebooted as a result of the defeat of Krona (who had, destroyed that entire universe in the prologue). This led to vague (and therefore non-copyright breaking) references to the events of the crossover the next time that the JLA met the CSA. Some people also say that the events of House of M may also have stemmed from the events of JLA/Avengers as well, since the Scarlet Witch started to lose her sense of reality and judgment after tapping into the chaotic (read: evil) chaos magic of the DCU. This is just Fanon, but it's too cool a possibility not to mention.
- Marvel has officially accepted JLA/Avengers as canon, since references to it are made in the Marvel Universe Handbooks, without actually naming the DC characters, of course.
- The actual crossover itself was integrated fully (as in, no denying it anymore) into DC continuity with the release of Trinity #7, with the Avengers being referred to as the "Others"; you can even see what seems to be a silhouette of Captain America in one panel (though it's just as believable to think that was The Flash - it's left rather vague).
- And we're also forgetting Krona's fate at the end of the crossover, which stuck around for a while.
- And as long as we're being complete, there was the Amalgam Universe story, in which both the Marvel and the DC multiverses face annihilation — and so the two multiverses were forcibly merged for a short time to keep their worlds alive. (Amalgam Dark Claw = DC Batman + Marvel Wolverine; Amalgam Super Soldier = DC Superman + Marvel Captain America; Amalgam Amazon = DC Wonder Woman + Marvel Storm; Amalgam Lobo The Duck = DC Lobo + Marvel Howard the Duck; Amalgam Captain Marvel = DC Captain Marvel + Marvel Captain Mar-Vell; et multiple cetera.)
- Disney did more than one.
- The Legend of the Chaos God is a multi-episode crossover between one and every show of the Disney Afternoon that was part of the Disney Duck and Mice comic universe. That includes DuckTales, Darkwing Duck, TaleSpin, Good Troop and Chip'n'Dale Rescue Ranger, who were all battling against the vil sorcerer Solego.
- The New Year celebration of year 2000 was the setting for the Millenium Orbs saga, featuring a crossover between the Mice and Duck comic universes, all battling against evil wizard Euclidus.
- In 2011, Boom! Comics was losing the license to the Disney Afternoon comics, so they went out with a bang. As such, Darkwing Duck and DuckTales are crossed over for the last arc of the respective series, with various villains led by the Phantom Blot (from the Mickey Mouse comics, though the mouse himself doesn't appear).
- Subversion: New England Comics ran a Crisis on Finite Tick Crossovers, which featured all 3 titles in the Tickverse. The editors explained that having only 3 comics severely limited the number of money-making crossovers they could do.
- Parodied in Top 10, where a character has an Ultra-Mouse infestation in his mother's apartment. So, he hires the EX-VERMINATOR, who releases Atom Cats to deal with them, but with so many super-powered creatures in such a confined space, it turned into a "Whole Secret Crisis-War Crossover Thing" which eventually rewrote the time line so the Ultra-Mouse infestation never happened, and nobody even remembers it — except the EX-VERMINATOR, who is thus pissed nobody will pay him.
- Though Astro City is the only series in its continuity and thus incapable of crossovers, they still managed to play with this one. In "The Nearness of You", a man becomes increasingly obsessed about a woman who keeps appearing in his dreams. It turns out it's because a minor villain caused a Temporal Paradox that threatened the universe and required all of the heroes to stop it — and the woman is his wife who ceased to exist in the repaired timestream. Yes, the Crisis Crossover is relegated to a background reference.
- Also appears in the ending of the "Confession" arc, which is basically a Crisis Crossover as seen from the sidelines. The event in question is a worldwide alien invasion with dozens of heroes against an army of shape-shifting extraterrestrials, yet there's only a dozen panels devoted to the actual battles themselves.
- Valiant Comics:
- When Bongos Collide was a crossover of Bongo Comics, which publish comics based on The Simpsons. It included Itchy & Scratchy #3, The Simpsons #5, and Bartman #3. It can be read in Bartman: The Best of the Best collection. Also, there were two series of Simpsons/Futurama crossover comics — which reaffirm the Mutually Fictional nature of the two shows in the other's universe (though the crossovers take place in the Futurama universe, because it'd be easier to use its sci-fi nature to use the Trapped in TV Land and Refugee from TV Land plots to allow the meetings).
- In 2008, the Star Wars Expanded Universe got in on the act with Vector, which told a single story starting in Knights of the Old Republic, then moving in chronological order through Dark Horse's four Star Wars titles, before ending in a Wham Episode in Star Wars: Legacy. And it was really good, too.
- Legacy also crossed the prequel era with Tatooine's Sand People and the NJO era.
- The now-defunct Eclipse Comics got into the act with Total Eclipse, written by Marv Wolfman. The story involved a villain named Zzed[sic], who was born many millenia ago during an event called the Total Eclipse (all the planets and moons of the Solar System aligned with thousands of planets, moons and stars across the galaxy). As a result, he has been cursed with immortality, and seeks only his own death, which he can only achieve by destroying all creation. He has no problem with that at first. Unique in being the only Crisis Crossover to feature appearances by Miracle Man, Airboy, Ms. Tree and Beanish of Tales of the Beanworld.
- The long awaited War Of The Independents mini-series brings together creator-own characters as diverse as Gumby, The Tick, Scud the Disposable Assassin, Cerebus, Shi, Bone and Hack/Slash. Some of the same characters also appeared previously in the normalman/Megaton Man special, Gen╣│ ABC, and Shi / Cyblade: The Battle for Independents.
- Image United, a series which brings together not only Image's iconic characters, but also their creators to personally draw them in each appearance.
- Zenescope is currently in the middle of its first ever Crisis Crossover, The Dream Eater Saga. A threat so major that even Belinda and The Queen of Hearts are fighting against it.*
- Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide, a large 12-part crossover flowing through Archie Comics' three video game licenses: Mega Man #24-27note , Sonic the Hedgehog #248-251note , and Sonic Universe #51-54note . The gist is that following the Sonic Genesis arc in the Archie Sonic comics, a Chaos Emerald has landed in the Mega Man universe, leading to a chance meeting between Doctor Wily and Doctor Eggman as they team up to cosmically conquer their universes. The ramifications are that Mega Man hits the Reset Button on his universe, pushing the crossover to at least after the Mega Man 10 adaptation in the Mega Man universe, whereas Eggman inadvertently causes a cosmic retconning of Mobius on a scale the Archie Sonic comics have never faced before in its 20-year history.
- This was later followed up on with Sonic The Hedgehog Mega Man Worlds Unite, which followed up on the ramifications of the previous crossover and included Sonic Boom and Mega Man X as well thanks to X's arch-enemy Sigma as the instigator of the events. By the third act, with Sigma in full A God Am I mode thanks to being amped up on planetary energy, the combined heroes begin pulling characters from other worlds to help, crossing over with half a dozen franchises from Sega and Capcom each.
- IDW Publishing had a few.
- Infestation has IDW's Zombies vs. Robots infecting the publisher's licensed universes of Transformers, Ghostbusters, G.I. Joe and Star Trek. Its sequel Infestation 2 had the Elder Gods crossing out instead, and the addition of 30 Days of Night and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- The X-Files: Conspiracy had Fox Mulder and Dana Scully aiding the Lone Gunmen in their search to discover the cure for a virus, which lead them to stumble upon Transformers, Ghostbusters, The Crow and TMNT.
- The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye and The Transformers: Robots in Disguise are crossing over in Dark Cybertron, a multi-part storyline involving Shockwave launching his Evil Plan on Cybertron. The two series are set in the same universe and have intersected and referenced each other multiple times, but this will be the first real crossover between the two.
- Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War, an up coming 6-part Mini-Series that crosses the main characters and villains of the shows Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, and Ed Edd n Eddy. The story also branchs off into 6 One-shots featuring Johnny Bravo, Codename: Kids Next Door, Cow and Chicken, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.
- Dynamite Entertainment had "Prophecy", starring Vampirella, Red Sonja and...and...some additional chararacters nobody remembers. (Xena wasn't on the payroll. Fans still pout.)
- The Pretty Cure Magical Girl metaseries have their own Crisis Crossover movie series labeled "Pretty Cure All Stars", featuring heroines from all series released until then.
- The 2nd part of the Time Bokan OVA in 1993 involves the Dorombo Gang from Yatterman invading a city populated by other Tatsunoko Production characters, and who should show to stop them but the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, Casshern, Hurricane Polymar, and Tekkaman?
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle features characters, Spin-Offspring, Expys, and/or cameos from more or less everything CLAMP has ever written.
- The Majokko Club Yoningumi A-kūkan kara no Alien X OVA is a crossover between Studio Pierrot's most successful Magical Girl series. Creamy Mami, Magical Emi, Pastel Yumi, and Persia all team up to fight alien forces on the moon.
- Digimon Xros Wars: The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time has one in its final few episodes, which saw the return of all the leaders and various other members of all previous Digimon-teams.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Bonds Beyond Time is one between the protagonists of the first three series. It's spawned a fair few fanfiction imitations as well.
- Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World and it's sequels "Hottie 4: Even Better Sequel" and "Hottie 5: Fifty Shades of Epic".
- Mushroom Kingdom Fusion takes over a dozen video game mascots and puts them all into a single game.
- Sonic Generations: Friendship is Timeless: Chapter 1 has the Time Eater attacking both Sonic's world and Equestria, sending the characters through different moments of Sonic's past. The ponies must now work together with Sonic's friends to save both of their worlds.
- The Pony POV Series plays with this — all four generations of My Little Pony existed in the same timeline at different points (until the Alicorns and Draconequi erased G3 to prevent universal collapse), but they never actually meet up. Until the Final Battle of the Dark World timeline, when Twilight uses her connection with Minty Pie and the temporal paradoxes created by Nightmare Eclipse's "Groundhog Day" Loop plan to summon the G1, G2, G3 and G4 (pre-Reign of Chaos) mane casts in order to use multiple sets of the Elements of Harmony to defeat Eclipse and her Psycho Ranger Co-Dragons.
- In this fanfic crossover sequel to Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension have the characters of Phineas and Ferb teaming up with characters from other franchises. such as My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, SpongeBob SquarePants, Sonic the Hedgehog, Marvel Universe and among others. for stop Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz, Plankton and villians from other universes from taking over the multiverse
- This fanfic is a shared universe for the Transformers and Marvel characters. while no official crossover have been written, Crisis Crossover stories are set to be written for conclude the Second and Third Phases of this fanfic.
- Multiversal Harmony is a rather unique example. It's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of the universes of six different My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Alternate Universe Fics — The Lunaverse, The Dashverse, The Hasbroverse, The Manehattenverse, The Cadanceverse, and The Flipverse — in which the different Elements of Harmony from those universes are brought together on an adventure together.
- The Equestrian Wind Mage is a crossover between My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and The Legend of Zelda that increases in scope as the villains of Hyrule take notice of Equestria.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Dissidia is a fairly blatant example given that it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, being a crossover between its respective spin-offs. There are actually several fanfics like this, often done in the spirit of the Official crossover (see above).
- Beat the Drums of War brings together every Bait and Switch Original Character crew to date for the beginning of all-out war between The Alliance and the Iconians. The story is mainly told from the perspectives of Kanril Eleya and D'trel, with cameo appearances by Brokosh and Morgan t'Thavrau.
- Bring Me To Life features both the Scooby Gang and Angel Investigations teaming up to fight Jasmine and the First Evil.
- Disaster Movie can be seen as this, with various movies crossing over as the end of the world occurs.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- The Avengers (2012) is a crisis crossover for all Marvel Studios movies starting with 2008's Iron Man. However, this was the plan from the very start, as it was first set up in The Stinger of Iron Man and just building with each new film released in the next three years.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron reunites the team in reaction to events laid out in the intervening films, as well as being influenced by events in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Avengers: Infinity War once again ties together various sub-franchises from across the MCU, including ones not included in the previous two Avengers films, in order to both deal with the Greater Scope Villain of Phases 1-3 (namely Thanos), and to finally tie off the Infinity Stone Myth Arc that has been running through The Verse since mid-Phase 1.
- Godzilla has had several:
- Ghidorah The Three Headed Monster is a somewhat smaller-scale version of this. Mothra had already crossed over into the Godzilla universe in Mothra vs. Godzilla after having its own earlier film, but this one also adds Rodan, who had its own separate film, so that all three monsters could team up against King Ghidorah. This also started the tradition of eventually having all of Toho's various Kaiju showing up in this fused universe.
- Destroy All Monsters once again had Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan, but also added other Godzilla monsters like Anguirus, Minilla and Kumonga, along with other Toho monsters like Gorosaurus, Manda, Baragon and Varan, all ultimately fighting King Ghidorah.
- Godzilla Final Wars features almost every monster introduced in the Showa era facing off against Godzilla.
- Eugene Sue's 3rd major novel Mysteries Of A People in it's final chapter brings the Hero of his First Rodolph into the story as well as the villain of his second (An Evil Jesuit) to do battle with each other.
- A Jane Austen version happens in Death Comes to Pemberley. Wickham's situation ends up briefly binding Pride and Prejudice with Persuasion and Emma.
- Star Trek: Destiny: An epic (and we do mean epic) trilogy of novels of the Star Trek Expanded Universe, bringing together characters from The Next Generation, Titan, Enterprise, Deep Space Nine and Voyager to tell the story of the apocalyptic final war between the Federation and the Borg.
- The Thursday Next series can be seen as a variant of this in later volumes, with literary characters such as Miss Havisham and the Cheshire Cat playing roles in the salvation of all written literature. It runs closer to a Kingdom Hearts-style crossover than a comic-style crossover, though.
- The Grand Finale of Warrior Cats, The Last Hope is as close as you can get to a self-contained Crisis Crossover, with loads of screentime for all past and present protagonists, the final battles with all the past villains, and cameos by nearly every ThunderClan cat from the first arc.
Live Action TV
- CSI has been known to cross storylines and characters between its various incarnations, as has the Law & Order series. This most commonly takes place during sweeps.
- There was in fact a Law & Order massive crossover in the works, involving a terrorist plot to attack NYC and several teams of detectives from different squads all working the case together. The idea got shelved after 9/11.
- Doctor Who had the two-part Series 4 finale crossing over with spinoffs Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, and also brings in almost all of the Doctor's companions to appear in the revived series to date. (Although it should be noted that this did not have any on-screen content or long-term consequences in either of the spin-off shows.)
- Jack would have appeared in "A Good Man Goes To War", if not for scheduling conflicts.
- "Day of the Doctor" sees All 13 Doctors (including a 'lost' incarnation and the 12th, yet to debut Doctor) come together to end the Time War and prevent the destruction of the Time Lords.
- The 'Proof of Life' crossover between The Bill and SOKO Leipzig.
- Ten years of Kamen Rider's Heisei era (and much later on, the franchise's 38 years up to that point) were celebrated in Kamen Rider Decade, where Decade (obviously the tenth) must travel across the Kamen Rider multiverse to save it from total destruction.
- The shows Las Vegas and Crossing Jordan would have charaters cross over at least once every season while both shows were on the air.
- Super Sentai. In the seasonal crossovers, the series from Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger to Engine Sentai Go-onger are nominally connected by mentions of the Dino House where one character from series A met a character from series B.
- Kamen Rider X Super Sentai Superhero Taisen is starting to look like this as well, with Decade's Dai-Shocker being ressurected, with their opposite number being the similarly-structured Dai-Zangyack Fleet led by GokaiRed of the Gokaigers. Both the Super Sentai 199 and the All Riders are at the very middle, wondering just what is going on.
- The Super Hero Taisen series has become an annual tradition, though the focus has been shifting more and more toward the Rider side of things.
- Power Rangers has done something like this a few times (not counting traditional two-season teamups), in what was originally meant to be the Grand Finale and as part of Milestone Celebrations.
- The first, Countdown to Destruction during the sixth season, featured Dark Specter and the United Alliance of Evil declaring war on the entire universe. While the Space Rangers are the main protagonists, making this a Downplayed Trope, the Aquitar Rangers and Zeo Gold are shown fighting elsewhere.
- Ten Red Rangers would later unite for a special mission in the tenth season, to stop the Machine Empire's remaining generals from re-activating Zedd's war Zord Serpentera as part of the 10th anniversary celebration.
- The twenty-first season took the previous Rangers examples Up to Eleven with its Grand Finale The Legendary Battle, where every Ranger team to ever lead a season (including two from other planets, one from the future and one from an Alternate Continuity for some reason) come together to fight an Armada dwarfing the United Alliance of Evil declaring war on Earth. Most of the war is actually off-screen, with the Legendary Rangers fighting and rescuing people elsewhere while the season's own Mega Rangers fight the Emperor and high command; they all come together in time for the final battle against the last remnants of the army. This served as the 20th anniversary celebration, though the post-Channel Hop scheduling of the show delayed it to the 21st year.
- A rather famous "Hurricane Saturday" event that happened on The Golden Girls and its spinoffs Empty Nest and Nurses (Nurses was technically a spinoff of Empty Nest, but go with it.) A hurricane hit during The Golden Girls and Empty Nest and the hospital of Nurses dealt with the aftermath. A similar even happened with a full moon, but that better fit as a Cross Through.
- This trope is spoofed in MAD's article about The 8 Greatest Comic Books of All Time, with one of them being the fake issue Multiple Issues: Infinite Identity Countdown to Final Crisis Ad Infinitum: The Introducing. This issue follows on from Exigency Climax: Final Crisis Across Multi-Realities: The Finality, with every DC Hero from every universe introducing themselves to each other... before the next crossover event happens.
Mythology and Religion
- Older Than Feudalism: The Greek Mythology knows at least two major crossover events: the Argonautica (the story of Jason, the Argonauts, and the Golden Fleece) and the Calydonian Boar Hunt a few years later. Large arc-based events like the Theban Wars and the Trojan War may also count.
- The earliest stratum of Arthurian legend drew folk heroes and gods from lots of disparate Celtic myths and legends to form King Arthur's court.
- The Ăsir-Vanir War, where the two pantheons of Norse gods the Ăsir and Vanir (whom some suggest originated from two different religions that was merged) fight and ultimately becomes one tribe, and Ragnar÷k, where characters from all over Norse mythology meet up to kill each-other.
- Rather than being involved in every aspect of a single company, The Hostile Youth Project was out to invade every North Carolina promotion in 2002.
- The Abyssal Plague, a series of Dungeons & Dragons Tie In Novels which started out in the Nentir Vale setting but grew to involve other D&D worlds too, including the Forgotten Realms, Tabletop Game/Ebberon and Dark Sun.
- The Old World of Darkness had a few thematic ones toward the end of its line, but an official one with the Time of Judgment series of books, officially ending the old settings.
- Rifts is this to the Palladium systems of games. The setting is of Earth a couple hundred years in the future, after having been transformed into a multidimensional hub, with beings from all over time and space arriving, either by choice or forcibly.
- Reality Storm: When Worlds Collide, a crossover between Silver Age Sentinels and Champions.
- In Wargames, characters and factions beating the crap of each other is their entire point, but sometimes events in the story get too out of hand and several facions are drawn into the ensuing conflict. These wars are commonly told in special supplements commonly named "Campaign Books". These books usually include the background of the conflict, special rules and scenarios to replicate in the tabletop the battles of the mentioned conflict and the rules of units, soldiers and characters who got involved in said conflict, regardless of faction or allegiance. Sometimes, these camapigns and their resolution gets it's way into the story itself and becomes a part of it, specially in the ficitional wargames.
- Years ago, Games Workshop hosted events called "World Campaigns" which involved every faction of their main games Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000 and threw them into a war where everyone had someting at stake, with different levels of focus (Usually both Empires being the highest) in the story. These campaigns were to be played by players all around the world and games deciding (usually) the outcome of said wars. Some Campaigns were reinforced by Campagin books like normal campaigns. The most famous are included in their games entries.
- 40K had campaign suppements way back to 2nd Edition, like Storm of Vengeance, but other, more recent ones are Armageddon and Eye of Terror related to the World campaign of the same name. The most recent ones are The Red Waagh and Shield of Baal series of books and boxed sets wich the firt Series pits the Astra Militarum, and Space Wolves aganist the Orks, and the second the Astra Militarum, Sisters of Battle, Blood Angels and Necrons aganist the Tyranids.
- Warhammer also had its share of campaigns, usually in the form of "campaign boxes", normally centered in two or three of the factions that included the campaign books and special markers or scenery, all capboard. Some of most famous of these Campaign boxes are Idol of Mork and Tears of Isha. 6th Edition onwards, the campaign box format was dropped in favor of the traditional book, being the most famous campaigns The Shadow over Albion, Storm of Chaos and The Nemesis Crown also World Campaigns (albeit The Nemesis Crown was retconned the istant the campaign ended and Storm of Chaos suffered the same fate in the beggining of 8th Ed., The Shadow over Albion sticked). The most famous (and controversial) of the recent campaigns is the Warhammer The End Times series of books. The End times tells the story of the final days of the world and the efforts of EVERYONE to stop it or bring it. No one knows for sure if it will stick, but everyone fears that it will. No need to say that it didn't end well.
- Years ago, Games Workshop hosted events called "World Campaigns" which involved every faction of their main games Warhammer or Warhammer 40,000 and threw them into a war where everyone had someting at stake, with different levels of focus (Usually both Empires being the highest) in the story. These campaigns were to be played by players all around the world and games deciding (usually) the outcome of said wars. Some Campaigns were reinforced by Campagin books like normal campaigns. The most famous are included in their games entries.
- The King of Fighters series of fighting games is a Crisis Crossover for SNK Playmore, featuring characters from Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Ikari Warriors and Psycho Soldier, as well as creating several characters exclusive to the series (Iori Yagami, Kyo Kusanagi, and Rugal Bernstein being the most notable).
- The original plan for the overarching storyline was apparently to tie the entire series into the After the End settings of of games like Psycho Soldier, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, and Savage Reign, but once the stories of the original characters began overshadowing those of the canon immigrants, most of that was retconned.
- The Subspace Emissary story mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It involves all of Nintendo's major heroes (and a couple of others) teaming up to stop the titular Subspace Emissary from destroying the Smash Bros. universe. However, unlike the typical Crisis Crossover, this explicitly takes place in an Alternate Continuity where the characters are all trophies that come to life and fight.
- Dissidia: Final Fantasy has the evil god Chaos revive villains from Final Fantasy I through Final Fantasy X in an attempt to sieze the Crystals and change history. Chaos' opposite number, the goddess Cosmos, calls on the heroes from the same games to unite and save the universe.
- Gundam Vs. Gundam NEXT has the Devil Gundam come to life and take over arcade games representing the entire Gundam franchise from the original series through Gundam 00, forcing the characters to team up to deal with the threat.
- This is arguably how Super Robot Wars works, except it's also a Crisis Crossover between entirely separate companies. A more conventional Crisis Crossover would be the case if GaoGaiGar and Betterman ever were in the same game, since they were in the same Universe to begin with.
- .hack//Link is going this way, as characters from both of the "revisions" of The World are in it. (Tokkio's first two party members are Tsukasa from SIGN and Haseo from G.U., for example.)
- The Nicktoons Unite series serve as this for Nickelodeon, with Spongebob Squarepants, Danny Phantom, Jimmy Neutron and one or two other universes deal with a multiuniversal threat, differing each game.
- Similiary to the Kamen Rider Decade example above, ASCII Media Works celebrated the 15th anniversary of their Dengeki Bunko imprint of Light Novels with the Nintendo DS RPG Dengeki Gakuen RPG: Cross of Venus, where an evil organization is attempting to derail the storylines of eight of their series and so your not-so-nameless protagonist and Shana must form a rag-tag group with their worlds' heroines to save their printed existences.
- Inverted in Poker Night at the Inventory, where Strong Bad, Max, The Heavy, and Tycho (from Homestar Runner, Sam & Max: Freelance Police, Team Fortress 2, and Penny Arcade respectively) team up to play poker. The sequel has Brock Samson, CL4P-TR4P, Ash Williams, Sam, and GLaDOS (from The Venture Bros., Borderlands, Evil Dead, Sam & Max: Freelance Police, and Portal, respectively.)
- The Marvel vs. Capcom series is this for both Marvel and Capcom.
- The original Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of the Superheroes reused the plot of the Onslaught saga and adding in Capcom characters.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age Of Heroes has a more straightforward plot where Ruby Heart was gathering characters from both companies to deal with Abyss.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has Wesker and Doctor Doom team up, crossing over the Marvel and Capcom universes, and awakening Galactus in the process.
- The Suikoden series is headed this direction nowadays, but with original characters in an attempted re-invention. Suikoden Tierkreis introduced the multiverse concept and the next game is said to be focused around this.
- Resident Evil 6 is this for the Resident Evil franchise. Including Leon Kennedy, Chris Redfield, Ada Wong, and even the returned Sherry Birkin and a son of Albert Wesker, all face off against a new, global bioterrorism threat, rather than confined to certain locations to chase down a singular threat.
- End War is one of these for the Tom Clancy game verse, including former members of the Ghosts and Rainbow, along with the HAWX squadron and Third Echelon.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny, which featured an unstable Humanoid Abomination whose out of control powers dragged in characters across time and space and produced Virtual Ghosts of dead people, incidentally allowing characters from the various recent installations of the franchise at the time (The Movie First, Vivid, and Force) to join in the fray against the new threat.
- As part of Artix Entertainment's 10th anniversary celebration, six of their active online games at the time (AdventureQuest, Dragon Fable, MechQuest, AdventureQuest Worlds, EpicDuel, and HeroSmash) were attacked by Chairman Platinum and his company, EbilCorp, sparking a cooperative war in which the playerbases of all six games had to band together as one and eliminate the invading forces in every single game within a week. The players won.
- Prior to this, there was a St. Patrick's Day event (known in game as the Blarney War or Lucky War in-universe) that united the AdventureQuest, DragonFable, and MechQuest timelines in a successive war, and a war against Shearhide that was a crossover between AdventureQuest and WarpForce.
- Bringing the tradition into video games, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe has a plot along these lines with Darkseid being somehow and involuntarily merged (for the third time), now with Shao Kahn into an Humanoid Abomination who grinds the two universes into destruction just by existing. Midway considers it an Elseworld for the DC side of the story, though they did write the Kombat side so as to implicitly fit in between Mortal Kombat 3 and Mortal Kombat 4 (as well as hand it a Continuity Nod in Mortal Kombat 9: the Training Mode description for Shang Tsung's M-rated Captain Ersatz version of The Joker's gun fatality is "Shang Tsung has picked up a few tricks from previous opponents."). In real life, the crossover had the effect of Warner Bros. ., DC's parent company, being allowed to acquire Midway's Mortal Kombat division (now named Netherrealm Studios) when Midway went bankrupt.
- Though Jump Super Stars and its sequel have an Excuse Plot, it still does amount to Dr. Mashirito from Dr. Slump stirring up trouble, while the J-Heroes/Heroines try to stop him.
- In late 2008, Irregular Webcomic! had most of its separate "themes" converge when simultaneous paradoxes occur and the universe imploded. Eventually the characters managed to restart the universe, but most themes suffered a Continuity Reboot in the process.
- It appears another one is in the works, with several characters being transported to the 1940s, and the recurring Arc Word "Greatness is often linked with insanity."
- Least I Could Do parodied this with the storyline "Ultimate Final Civil War Invasion Crisis Thing", where the gaming webcomics (including Penny Arcade and Ctrl+Alt+Del) are attempting to take out the "straight comedy" comics and reassert their dominance. Receives several lampshades, such as when Faye calls the plot weak, and Rayne counters "So was a cosmic vampire, but that didn't stop DC."
- When Emily and Tesrin of All Over The House crash-landed in The Life of Nob T. Mouse, it kick-started a crossover that changed both comics permanently.
- The Crossoverlord is one between several superhero webcomics, including Lightbringer, Mechagical Girl Lisa ANT , Mindmistress, Dasien and Dead Debbie from Indefensible Positions. The sequel, Crossoverkill, retains Mindmistress and adds Energize, Yuuki from Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki, Fusion, Captain Perfect from Bad Guy High, Majestic Knight and Magellan Hoodoo.
- Deviantart Secret Wars
- TGWTG Year One Brawl, Kickassia, Suburban Knights, and To Boldly Flee from the people at That Guy with the Glasses.
- These have become the main storyline in The Randomverse, as is to be expected in a meta series for both Marvel and DC. Having Deadpool around means that inter-series continuity is now lampshaded.
- Several in Marvels RPG.
- The blogosphere side of the Slender Man Mythos has had a few. Some examples include the Winter Solstice story in Observe and Terminate and A Hint of Serendipity, and the Wedding crossover from Take The Myth.
- The Fear Mythos, a spin-off of the Slender Man Mythos, had one early in its existence: The Birth of the Manufactured Newborn. It involved four different blogs intertwining their stories: The Hunter, The Devil and God Are, They Sought It With Thimbles, and Hidden in the Trees. The crossover involved a conspiracy by the Fears to birth a new one into their ranks, while the human characters either try to stop them or try to help them.
- Dexter's Laboratory: Last But Not Beast had the Dexter, Monkey and Justice Friends segments connected via the giant monster destroying Japan. The Monkey segment even skips its usual opening credits to continue the story.
- Turtles Forever: It deals with the 2000 Shredder returning from his exile, taking over the 1980s Shredder's Technodrome, and, after learning of the TMNT Multiverse, he plans to go conquer it, until he learns that there are teams of TMNT in each and every reality. He goes after the original Mirage Turtles in order to destroy all the Turtles, and three seats of Turtle Teams set off to stop him.
- Hanna-Barbera once did this, combining Birdman, The Galaxy Trio, Moby Dick, Space Ghost, Mightor, and The Herculoids, among others. Sometimes, Boomerang would show the whole thing.
- The Phoenix Saga of the X-Men animated series was a borderline example. Although there were no actual team ups, it used appearances of other Marvel Comics characters to emphasise the seriousness of the whole thing. Captain Britain and Doctor Strange were seen reacting to the Phoenix and Spider-Man (albeit only his silhouette and his hand) and War Machine were seen protecting civilians in New York. In the sequel, the Dark Phoenix Saga, Doctor Strange briefly appeared again, along with Thor, a Watcher and Eternity.
- A made-for-TV animated movie called The Man Who Hated Laughter brought together a big group of newspaper comic strip characters — Blondie, Popeye, Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois, Snuffy Smith — who are ultimately saved from a comics-hating villain by the combined forces of a group of newspaper adventure strip heroes (Mandrake The Magician, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, The Phantom, and Steve Canyon). All the characters are owned by King Features Syndicate.
- Hurricane Flozell blew her way into all three Seth MacFarlane shows, The Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad! culminating in the final scene of the American Dad episode where Cleveland, Stan, and Peter have a standoff.
- The feature-length special Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July by Rankin Bass, which brought back several characters from all of their holiday specials and many of the voice actors from the previous specials as well. It involves Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa trying to stop an evil wizard named Winterbolt.