Title: The Brave and the Bold
Release Date: Late March 2004
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciller: George Perez
JLA Members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), the Flash (Barry Allen), the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, the Atom, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), Plastic Man, Elongated Man, Blue Jay, Black Canary, Red Tornado, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Dr. Fate, Black Lightning, Faith, Big Barda, Captain Atom, Zauriel, multiple Hawkmen and Hawkgirls, Power Girl, the Flash (Jay Garrick), Fire, Ice, Ice Maiden, the Flash (Walter West), Jade, Captain Marvel, Clock King, Firestorm, Yazz, Bloodwynd, Rocket Red 4, Adam Strange, Huntress, Cluemaster, Power Girl's cat, G'nort, the Ray, Mystek, Lightray, Amazing Man, Major Disaster, Rocket Red 7, Jesse Quick, Big Sir, Tasmanian Devil, Diana, Blue Devil, Steel (Hank Heywood), the Creeper, Captain Comet, Steel (John Henry Irons), Scarlet Skier, Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), the Wonder Twins, Triumph, Orion, Mark Antaeus, Hippolyta, Manitou Raven, Sargon the Sorcerer, Silver Sorceress, Zatanna, Obsidian, Despero/L-Ron, Warrior, Hourman, Mister Miracle, Maya, Kilowog, Aztek, Animal Man, Metamorpho, Tomorrow Woman, the Flash (Wally West), the Spectre (Hal Jordan), and a bunch more I couldn't identify.
Avengers Members: Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, the Vision, Goliath, the Wasp, Yellowjacket (Hank Pym), Quicksilver, Hawkeye, the Beast, the Black Knight, Yellowjacket (Rita DeMara), Hercules, Jack of Hearts, Triathlon, Flatman, the Captain, Ant-Man, War Machine, She-Hulk, Big Bertha, Rage, Multi-Man, the Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Demolition-Man, Mister Immortal, Warbird, Doorman, Machine Man, the Falcon, Swordsman, Wonder Man, Stingray, the Whizzer, Darkhawk, Firestar, Firebird, Photon, Captain Marvel, Sersi, the Two-Gun Kid, Deathcry, the Incredible Hulk, Aleta, Gilgamesh, Black Widow, Black Panther, Sandman, Quasar, Dinah Saur, Justice, Jocasta, Crystal, Nikki, the Sub-Mariner, Tigra, Marrina, Martinex, Spider-Woman, Doctor Druid, Yondu, Silverclaw, Charlie-27, Starhawk, and a bunch more I couldn't identify.
Guest Stars: Galactus, Metron, Spider-Man, Nova, Speedball, Night Thrasher, Daredevil, Nighthawk, Red Guardian, Gargoyle, Valkyrie, Captain Britain, Sabra, Cyborg, Jericho, Wonder Girl, the Star-Spangled Kid, Raven, Fury, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Starfire, Terra, Argent, Changeling, Halo, Prysm, Morgan Edge, Eternity, Kismet, the Grandmaster, and a bunch more I couldn't identify.
Bad Guys: Krona, the Wrecking Crew (Bulldozer, Thunderball, Piledriver, and Wrecker), Queen Bee, Kanjar Ro, Dragon Man, the General, Xotar the Weapons Master, Awesome Android, the Royal Flush Gang (King, Queen, Jack, Ten, and Ace), Batroc the Leaper, Boomerang, Screaming Mimi, Felix Faust, Baron Zemo, Prometheus, Goliath, Andromeda, Gorgon, Shocker, Moonstone, Lord Havoc, Tracer, Solomon Grundy, Nebula, the Executioner, the Absorbing Man, Whirlwind, the Crimson Dynamo, Dreamslayer, Dr. Diehard, the Blood Brothers, Black Spider, Blockbuster, Klaw, the Hyena, Deathstroke the Terminator, Neutron, Man-Ape, Blastaar, the Faceless Hunter, Dr. Light, Rhino, the Mist, Count Nefaria, X-Ray, Enforcer, Orka, Galactic Golem, the Wizard, Hobgoblin, Rampage, the Red Skull, the Master, the Melter, Madame Masque, Captain Cold, Blizzard, Shadow Thief, Invisible Destroyer, Killer Frost, Icicle, Ymir, Firebrand, Eclipso, Ronan the Accuser, Doctor Spectro, Sinestro, Black Adam, Leo, Cancer, Taurus, Black Mass, Phaestos, Molecule Man, Killer Moth, Hyperion, Stilt-Man, Sportsmaster, Stiletto, Taskmaster, Crossbones, Zartan the Weaponsmaster, Machete, Ultivac, the Outsider, Quakemaster, Deathadder, Brimstone, Dr. Polaris, the Scorpion, Constrictor, Dreadnought, Heat Wave, the Madmen, the Champion, Chronos, Cavalier, Gorilla Man, Jack O'Lantern, the Ringer, Juggernaut, Star Sapphire, the Controller, Parasite, the Shaggy Man, Javelin, the Floronic Man, the Master, Modok, N'astirh, Kobra, Attuma, Cheetah, Doomsday, Surtur, Grim Reaper, Radioactive Man, Solarr, Amazo, the Ultra-Humanite, Despero, and minions galore, including A.I.M., HYDRA, Kobra's followers, Intergang, the Parademons of Apokolips, the Lavamen, the Mole Men, Humanoids, Atlanteans, and a bunch more I couldn't identify.

So what happens?
Well, the evil Krona is still working to destroy universes. He's now convinced that the only way to learn the answers he wants is to merge the Marvel and DC universes together, forcing out the sentient spirits of both universes. Metron is still hanging with Krona, pretending to be on his side, to learn what he can about his goals--he asks him what will happen if the strain of the merger destroys both universes. Krona doesn't care. All he cares about are his answers. And sure enough, the superheroes of both universes are desperately trying to contain the chaos as earthquakes and time warps threaten to tear the planet apart.

Meanwhile, in the Justice League's Watchtower on the moon, the JLA and the Avengers decide, despite their fears about what the future may hold for them, that they will join forces to defeat Krona and save both universes. No big surprise there, right? Since Krona has proven to be able to control supervillains, everyone figures he'll be working with a metric ton of them. On top of that, they'll have to find out where Krona is and then build a ship to take them there. And they need a leader. Superman nominates Captain America. Hey, cool.

After that, there's this weird scene where everyone takes off their masks to build the spaceship. I know it's supposed to say, "Okay, everyone trusts each other enough to hang around each other without masks," but it's just goofy. And out-of-character, particularly for a paranoid loon like Batman.

In the calm before the storm, Vision and Scarlet Witch mourn the loss of the children they never knew they had, Wasp and Goliath reconcile over marital troubles they haven't had yet, Green Lantern and Flash resign themselves to deaths that won't come for years, Thor and Aquaman hang out, and Superman agrees to carry Captain America's indestructible shield into battle.

And then, everyone gets on their spaceship and makes the jump to the place between dimensions where Krona has established his stronghold. His fortress, by the way, has been built out of the demolished remains of Galactus, the Eater of Worlds.

From that point on, it's one big, long fight scene. Krona throws a few hundred supervillains at the JLA and the Avengers, while occasional universe-shifts cause the two superteams to cycle through a series of changes, as new heroes appear, old ones disappear, and various members go through a slew of transformations and costume changes. We also see a few superheroes get snuffed in the battle, notably Hawkeye and the Flash.

Eventually, Superman makes it to the door of Krona's inner sanctum, but he can't break through. Thor tosses him his magic hammer, Mjolnir, and Superman, armed with both Captain America's shield and Thor's hammer, is able to knock the door down. Too bad that he and just about all the other heroes are unexpectedly knocked out (and possibly killed) by a blast from Krona. Looks like there's no one to stop him from destroying both universes--but what's this? Hey, looks like the Flash and Hawkeye weren't dead after all! And Hawkeye manages to shoot one of his TNT arrows into the containment field holding all the mystical artifacts collected in the previous issues of this series.

Just like that, Krona is defeated, the Spectre separates the two universes, Galactus starts to reform, and the Justice Leaguers and Avengers return to their own universes. And Metron and a reborn Grandmaster keep watch over a cosmic egg--all that's left of Krona. Eventually, the egg will hatch into a universe of its own, and Krona will discover the mysteries of the universe by becoming part of one...

Cool Moments!
The electric-blue Superman makes an appearance, as does the long-haired Superman. We see every version of Cap's shield, from the triangular one from World War II to the energy shield he had for a while. We see the blue ape-man version of the Beast, as well as the blue cat-man version. Hal Jordan makes a brief appearance as both Parallax and the Spectre. Both the sword-and-sorcery and teenage-punk versions of the Atom show up. I think the Wasp ends up wearing every one of the many, many costumes she's worn over the decades.

Uncool Moments!
They still don't explain anything, but they cover it up well with a massive brawl featuring a whole lotta characters. It's hard to worry about unanswered questions when you're geeking out about how many characters you can pick out. On the other hand, there were an awful lot of Justice League and Avengers members who were never seen at any point in this issue, including heroes like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Nightwing, Moon Knight, Starfox, Moondragon, Gypsy, and Mantis and villains like Ultron, the White Martians, Lex Luthor, the Joker, Darkseid, Dr. Doom, Thanos, Loki, Doctor Destiny, Baron Zemo, Arnim Zola and the Psycho-Pirate. In a comic as jam-packed with characters as this one was, it's just weird not to work harder to fit some of the bigger names in.

Final Grade: A

Thanks to: caknuck, allseeingeye, and Habakkuk for help identifying many of these characters

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