The Epic Crossover Event
JLA/Avengers, written by Kurt Busiek, is described on its Amazon page as “perhaps the most eagerly anticipated and memorable crossover of all time, as the Justice League of America unites with The Avengers. Superman, Batman, and the other members of the JLA join forces with Captain America, Iron Man, and the many other Avengers to fight a threat so immense it threatens two entire dimensions.” This was the ultimate Marvel/DC event, featuring hundreds of character cameos as well as headlining bouts like Superman vs Thor!
But are the events that played out in this adventure considered canon?
What is canon?
In regards to fictional universes, canon refers to everything that is judged to be included in the history, setting, circumstances, and overall makeup of the property. When the property is written by a single creator, then that person is responsible for acknowledging what is or is not canon. When it comes to much larger properties, the publisher sets the guideline that keeps contributing authors writing stories in the universe that “fit” in the continuity of what is expected for characters and events.
When ranking the validity of different types of evidence, I’d consider the following in order:
- Direct Comic Page Reference
- In-house Published Sourcebooks
- Off-hand Author/Publisher Comments
- All Third-Party Sources
Now, let’s get to the evidence…
The DC Evidence
This one is pretty easy since the author of JLA/Avengers also wrote a JLA arc that included overt references to the events of the crossover in its story. Kurt Busiek wrote it. DC published it on its comic pages. JLA/Avengers is clearly canon in DC.
The events of JLA/Avengers is referred to in JLA #107.
In JLA #111, also written by Kur Busiek, Owlman explains that the Crime Syndicate reboot is a result of the events of the JLA/Avengers crossover.
In addition to this, DC used the Cosmic Egg that appeared at the end of JLA/Avengers. In Trinity #7, John Stewart refers to the Avengers as “Others.”
Marvel repeatedly acknowledged the canonicity of the events that took place in JLA/Avengers in their 2008, 2011, and 2012 sourcebooks. These were all titled the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, published by Marvel themselves.
The Terminus entry states, “In a distant cosmos, he arrived on another Earth and began to rampage across its USA attracting and battling a league of justice-seeking superheroes. Though Terminus easily resisted even their mightiest warrior, their detective correctly deduced the importance of Terminus’ power lance. Combining their minds via their telepath, the heroes assaulted Terminus on several levels, then dumped him into thinking they were trying to steal his lance. As Terminus unleashed a potent blast of power through the lance, one of the heroes channeled the energy back at Terminus, blasting a hole in his helmet and incapacitating him. A being of high power from that universe then dispatched Terminus back to the Earth-616 reality.”
In Monica’s entry, it mentions “the will-powered energies” of an “emerald gladiator.” That’s a reference to a GL (Kyle Raynor) who she fought in JLA/Avengers.
The Galactus entry reads that he was “assaulted by yet another extra-dimensional powerhouse, who sought the origins of the universe, but he recovered via the actions of the Avengers and a league of heroes from another reality.”
Avengers’ entry says that they “teamed with the league of heroes from a divergent cosmos to save both their universes from a cosmic scholar turned semi-omnipotent destroyer.”
The Grandmaster’s entry recounts nearly the entire plot of JLA/Avengers.
The events in JLA/Avengers is canon because it is acknowledged in publications from both Marvel and DC since its release.