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Iron Man is revealed to have been working for "Kang" for years. "Mantis" sides with Kang out of heartbroken spite. There's a mysterious time portal in the Avengers Mansion's basement, a couple of murders and more confusion than you could shake an enigma AND a riddle at!

The Avengers travel back in time to enlist a 19 year-old Tony Stark while his grown-up version almost kills them. The older Stark ultimately makes a heroic self-sacrifice, allowing Teen Tony to remain in the present, becoming Iron Man for a short period of time.

Other significant events followed in rapid succession. First among them was the Onslaught incident, wherein a great many heroes seemingly died, most of them being members of the Avengers and of the Fantastic Four.

On time it was shown that those characters were not really dead; instead, Franklin Richards saves the heroes and recreates the adult Tony on his Counter-Earth - thereby undoing a considerable part of the results of The Crossing. Most of those heroes and even a few villains were eventually returned to the mainstrem Earth.

Kurt Busiek later added it added more significant and direct retcons in the series Avengers: Forever (see Notes).

Overall, the story suffers from poor continuity and storytelling and its plot does not really make much sense. For instance, we see Tony to be the traitor from the very beginning but whenever we read his thoughts, he doesn't seem to be aware of his own misdeeds. However, when his crimes are later revealed to the Avengers, Tony isn't surprised at all - making it somewhat doubtful that he was completely mind-controlled...

Readers and critics are generally understood to have reacted poorly to the whole crossover, and that is probably a main reason why so many of the consequences were changed again and even retconned away entirely along the years, many of them just a few short months later.



Before the Crossing



  • The Crossing was created to redefine Iron Man in the Marvel Universe.
  • Through Heroes Reborn and Avengers Forever most of it has been retconned; Mantis, the Cotati-Swordsman, Moonraker, the teen Luna, Tuc, Malachi, Tobias and the Priests of Pama were retconned to have been Space Phantoms; Kang was retconned to have actually been Immortus using the guise of his younger self.
  • Because of the presence of many writers, some continuity errors were present during The Crossing, like the Black Widow in two different places at the same time.
  • The Crossing consist of 2 Preludes, 22 Chapters including Tie-ins and 1 Aftermath making it a total of 25 Issues.
  • Eric J. Moreels of the Marvel Handbook Staff suggested a Reading Order but there are a few things that should be considered:
    • Moreels listed Avengers #390 as the first Prelude and Iron Man #319 as the second Prelude; the Iron Man Book however appeared in August 1995 and the Avengers Book in September 1995; from a story standpoint it doesn't matter which book you read first, so you might as well consider the Iron Man Book as the first Prelude since it was published earlier
    • next Moreels listed Force Works #16 before Iron Man #320 though Force Works was published in October 1995 while the Iron Man Book was released in September 1995; the stories give no reason to put the books in this particular order so the Force Works Book can be read after the Iron Man Book in the order they were published
    • Moreels listed Force Works #20 before Avengers #394 though it was published a Month later; this is however right; the Force Works book takes place at the same time as Iron Man #324 and you can see the Wasp still in her Cocoon; since the Avengers Book shows the Wasp hatching from the Cocoon it must take place after the events of Force Works; the Avengers book continues directly from the Iron Man book starting with the captive Moonraker who was abducted in the Iron Man book
    • Moreels listed War Machine #23 as Chapter 20; you can read at any time after the events in Force Works #19 and War Machine #22 (Chapters 14 and 15).
  • Moreels' Listing can be found here:

See Also

Links and References


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