The companion volume reprints the Marvel Age and “Meanwhile…” columns which the two publishers put out in 1983 after it was clear the project was going nowhere. While it’s water 20 years under the bridge, it still strikes me as brave for the companies to include their dirty laundry in a commemorative edition. Sadly, I don’t know that the current atmosphere between Marvel and DC is much better.
The companion volume also includes Perez’s 21 pages he pencilled for the ’83 series, most of which I had seen in various places before now. While they’re mostly introductions and team-gathering, there is one action sequence involving Batman, Hawkman, and Zatanna versus Captain America, Starfox, and Scarlet Witch. It was nice to see everything in order and flowing together.
Probably the most interesting part of the companion volume is Busiek’s Amalgam-like plot for issue #3. Busiek wanted the DC characters “Marvelized” and vice versa — for example, Superman is a scientist who works in a Baxter-Building-like skyscraper, and is literally haunted by the Phantom Zone-exiled inhabitants of Krypton, which his actions destroyed. It was excised apparently for being too Amalgamish, and I’m happy with the #3 which was published (probably my favorite issue of the four), but thematically it reinforces Busiek’s conceptions of the two universes’ differences.
Overall, I’m glad I got it. It probably ranks up there with the Marvels 10th Anniversary edition in terms of “bonus features,” and it’s miles ahead of the Kingdom Come slipcase. Since we’re not likely to see a Super-DeLuxe Watchmen hardcover anytime soon, this may be as good as it gets for a while.