As we’re unlikely to get a full-on Marvel/DC crossover anytime soon, like we’ve had in previous decades, due to the intense multimedia rivalry between the two companies, fans get a kick out of it when the comics obliquely reference the other side’s heroes, allowing us to put together the crossovers in our heads instead. The latest one is a bit of a biggie, too, as a quip from Iron Man has seemingly revealed that Superman exists in the Marvel universe.
This bombshell comes courtesy of the upcoming Tony Stark: Iron Man #13, from writer Gail Simone and artist Paolo Villanelli, In one panel, Tony expresses that he has an intellectual blindspot and that’s metaphysics. How he tells us this, though, will grab fans’ attention. As you can see in the panel below, the hero says: “I am smart. Really smart. But it’s a focused, narrow thing in a way. I see a problem, I blast it or buy it or give it robotic shoes. Metaphysics? That’s my kryptonite.”
Wait, kryptonite? The weakness of the Man of Steel himself? Does this mean Metropolis has been out there on Earth-616 all this time and we didn’t realize it? Well, maybe, but most likely it’s just that DC Comics exists in the Marvel world just as it does in ours. And just as “kryptonite” has become a general term we use in conversation, so it is for Iron Man here as well.
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Of course, Marvel’s movies have often dabbled in similar fan-pleasing light crossovers over the years. We all remember the fun “Shazam” joke in 2002’s Spider-Man, for example. More recently, Deadpool 2 even name-checked the Distinguished Competition when the Merc with a Mouth told the grouchy Cable, “You’re so dark. Are you sure you’re not from the DC universe?” Ouch!
You can get your hands on Tony Stark: Iron Man #13 when it arrives in comic book stores and on digital download on June 19th.