We are living in an interesting age as superheroes are now being taken seriously by both young and old audiences. Not only do the two biggest comic book companies of Marvel and DC ruling the theaters, but they have a lot of presence on television. Marvel recently started dominating the streaming content world of Netflix with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, as well as upcoming shows like Luke Cage and Iron Fist. These four characters have individual shows, but they are also connected and will be even more connected with a new series known as The Defenders. However, DC has its own connected universe on television with their CW shows, starting over four years ago with Arrow, followed by The Flash, then Legends of Tomorrow, and it will now be in Supergirl. How do these two universes compare and contrast?
The Comic Book Business Model, Now on TV
If you have ever read comics, then you know that most books will focus on one character or group. However, Marvel and DC have their comics take place in a shared universe, so that a storyline in one book can continue in another.
By continuing a story in another book, readers of one book will invest in the other. This is a way to increase the amount of readers for individual books, and it is being applied to TV shows from both Marvel and DC.
This means that if viewers like one show on the Marvel Netflix Universe, they will like the others. The same applies to the DC CW Universe, but they are dealing with it in different ways.
The 'Event Comic' Now on TV
Occasionally, comic companies can do an "event comic" where the storylines of several comics interact with some grand storyline with a separate comic book dealing with parts of that storyline, and sales can really increase.
Examples from DC include Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars from Marvel. These were comics from the early eighties that focused on bringing all heroes from their respective universes together for one big epic battle of some kind. Now event comics are happening on TV.
Marvel intended to release all four of their shows as solo series, and then join them together in The Defenders. DC and CW's plan is to have the occasional crossover, but not anything like the "event comic" like The Defenders. At this point, the plotline for The Defenders is not known, but it will bring all of the main characters in the same room together. It might even bring in The Punisher, a character who showed up in Daredevil Season 2.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow certainly is a set up for an event comic on TV, but it has become essentially a super-team show. It is made of characters introduced on Arrow and The Flash, and it looks like it is doing various time-travel plots that could create some interesting storylines.
For example, it is known that Supergirl is joining the DC/CW Universe, and she wasn't even a part of that CW timeline. However, DC is the master of altering its own timeline with event comics like Flashpoint, which is the title of The Flash Season 3 premiere episode.
DC/CW's Plan for Crossovers
DC has reportedly planned two crossovers planned for next season. In fact, the layout is very interesting as Supergirl will be on Monday, The Flash will be on Tuesday, Arrow will be on Wednesday, and Legends of Tomorrow will be Thursday. You can find the premiere dates for each show here.
Flickering Myth reveals that there is a three-part storyline planned with an episode of The Flash, then it goes to Arrow, and end with Legends of Tomorrow. There is another crossover planned with The Flash and Supergirl (their second after Supergirl Season 1), and it will be a musical.
So, since this is a Marvel vs. DC, I suppose that the answer should be who is better. This is really all dependent on what you are looking for.
Marvel's Plan for Crossovers
Marvel will soon be bringing their next show to Netflix on September 30, with Luke Cage. The title character was introduced on Jessica Jones, and the show will focus on his fighting crime and general injustice in Harlem.
It is possible that the next character of Iron Fist could be introduced on Luke Cage, as these two characters have a long history in the comics together as Power Man and Iron Fist. Iron Fist's own show will premiere sometime in 2017, and then followed presumably six months later by The Defenders.
So Who Has the Better Connected Universe? DC/CW or Marvel/Netflix?
On the one hand, Marvel's Netflix series are darker, almost R-rated takes on superheroes that really delve into the realm of anti-heroes. DC's CW heroes have an almost family friendly vibe to them, which makes them more like the traditional superheroes that DC is known for. It really depends on what you like.
The issue with having a connected universe is that the storylines have to intersect perfectly. With Marvel's Netflix Universe, the stories are hardly tied-in to the bigger universe that exists in Marvel's Avengers movies, not to mention Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In fact, there has been very little connection between Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but Arrow, Flash, Legends, and Supergirl have all crossed over into each other. So if you like watching individual shows and don't want to worry about the bigger picture, watch Marvel's Netflix shows.
The advantage of Marvel/Netflix is that it plans its entire season in advance and releases them all at once, meaning that the storyline is well-thought out. However, this can be a disadvantage, as DC's connected universe airs its episodes with the usual TV season, giving them ample time to do any last-minute changes that can improve continuity.
At this point, we want to hear from our readers. Which universe do you like better? Go ahead and leave a comment letting us know.