It's the greatest super-hero team in history, together again and trying to save New York City from being destroyed by a dubious duo - Ra's Al Ghul and Wilson Fisk! Yes, that's right, The Demon is blackmailing the Kingpin with Vanessa's Fisk very life, and they have formed a cruel collaboration to usher in a terrible new age! Can the Dark Knight and the Web-Slinger stop arguing with one another long enough to stop their plans? Let's hope so!
Prophecies of doom are everywhere, aided by numerous global catastrophies, and some would argue the only way to salvation is by pledging allegiance to Ra's Al Ghul! At least, that's what the freak on Cable Access 6 claims on the first page of the second installment of the Bat/Spider legacy.
Wilson Fisk chases his wife down in Europe and convinces her to return to NYC with him. Peter busts up a shady deal, following a lead he had on the Kingpin. He notices that one of the goons has a demon tattoo on his palm.
Batman discovers that Talia (Ra's Al Ghul's daughter and Batman's love interest) is in Gotham. She stages an assassination attempt to warn Bruce that her father has devious plans in New York City. He tries to persuade her to leave the Demon, but she disappears in a cloud of smoke!
Talis shows up next in Kingpin's office, trying to get Fisk to agree to allow Ra's to import his 'materials' into the city. Fisk refuses once he finds out that the Demon wants to create an earthquake that will sink Manhattan into the sea! Fisk initally refuses, but when he discovers that Ra's contains the only cure for his wife Vanessa's mysterious cancer, Kingpin reluctantly agrees to aid.
Meanwhile, Spider-Man hooks up with Bats, who followed Talia to NY. Batman wants to go it alone, as always, but Spider-Man convinces him (after the two do the super-hero two-step), that he'll need Spidey's help. After a quick side trip to let MJ know he'll be gone, the two stow away on Ra's plane to Tibet, disguised as some of Kingpin's men. When they land, however, the Demon sees through their disguises, and the villans depart in a helicopter as Bruce and Peter punch it out with some henchemen.
"Don't suppose you have a helicopter stashed around here...?" Spider-Man asks.
"No." Batman replies as he's pulling on a winter coat.
"Hmmm... I didn't think so."
The two start to climb. As they're scaling a sheer wall of ice, an avalanche lays them out, knocking Peter unconscious. Batman carries him to a cave, which is the entrance into Ra's secret domain.
Switch to Al Ghul's HQ, where Talia and Vanessa commiserate with one another; admitting that they're prisoners of love to strange men who have extremely odd lives.
Ra's and Kingpin are discussing the New World Order, and after some fighting, arguing, and name-calling, Kingpin accepts Ra's offer to help him rule the world. The Demon admits that he infected Vanessa Fisk with a cancer-like infection to blackmail Kingpin into helping him. The two go down to Ra's control center, where he wants Kingpin to prove himself by punching in the code that will level New York. Before he can, however, Spidey drops in and break up the party. He provides enough of a distraction for Batman to re-program the computers, so that the hot-button destroys the satellite instead of NYC. Disaster, again, is averted.
In the end, we find out that Kingpin was in on the whole scheme, allowing Batman and Spider-Man aboard his plane to help diffuse the Demon's plan. Ra's, admitting that he'd been outplayed, allows everyone to take a helicopter to safety. Talia tells Batman that she stays with her father because she chooses to, much like she chooses to love Bruce.
Later, Talia sends a cure for Vanessa's disease to Batman, who gives it to Spidey, who takes it to Fisk. Ra's Al Ghul disappears, abandoning his headquarters and fading into anonymity. And life goes on...
This cross-over was better in many ways than the first one, mainly in the story department. This seemed much more like an actual adventure, and not just a contrived team-up issue.Whereas the first Spiey/Batman team-up with Carnage and Joker was wham-bang action style, this one had much more depth to it. Maybe it wasn't as thrilling as the first, but it was more feasible.
I loved the interaction between the two heroes also. Last time, neither of them got the chance to get to know the other, while here there was more conversation and cooperation. Towards the end, Batman finally relented in his stoic manner to actually discuss film noir with Peter.
The book seemed a little more tipped in the Dark Knight's direction, but that's okay. Those who remember the first cross-over will recall that there was much more Spidey in it than Bats, so this iss evened that out.
I want to see more of these two! A graphic novel! A monthly team-up! An animated series and blockbuster movies (as long as Joel Schumacher doesn't direct)! I want more Spider-Man/Batman (or Batman/Spider-Man, depending on who wins the toss!)
The only reason I didn't give it a perfect five was that I thought we could have had more action. I want the layered plots, and the rich characterization, but I'd also like to see these two kick more major league butt. They could wipe up with henchmen all day and not get tired. They didn't really have any big fights. Not that I'm complaining! With a killer story, good art and the hope of future team-ups, Marvel and DC should definitely think about milking this (cash)-cow a little more often!