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Marvel vs DC: Who Will Reign Supreme In 2019?

VO: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
Marvel reigned supreme in 2018, but which of the big two will dominate the world of comic books and all things related in 2019? We're evaluating a wide range of categories to determine which of the big two seems poised to rule across various media in 2019.
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Marvel reigned supreme in 2018, but which of the big two will dominate the world of comic books and all things related in 2019? Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be going round for round with Marvel and DC to predict who will win 2019.

We’re evaluating a wide range of categories to determine which of the big two seems poised to rule across various media in 2019.

Round 1: Video Games

For the last decade or so, DC Comics -in collaboration with various studios- has been putting out noteworthy gaming titles. Unfortunately, we seem to be in a bit of a dry spell. Nothing substantial has been announced for 2019, so at this point, it seems unlikely that we’ll see content in 2019. That being said, WB Montreal, the team behind “Batman: Arkham Origins,” is reportedly working on two unnamed DC games, and Rocksteady Studios, the developers of “Arkham Asylum,” “Arkham City,” and “Arkham Knight,” have been working on a new project that most suspect is another DC game. It’s not out of the question for at least one of these projects to be announced and released in 2019… as of right now, though, there’s nothing confirmed.

Over on the Marvel side of things, there’s a bit more action - though less than many would like. The only title slated for release in 2019 is Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order - the first installment in the franchise in over a decade. The game boasts modest graphics and is clearly aiming at nostalgic gamers who played the previous installments in 2006 and 2009 rather a new generation of gamers. Strangely, it’s also a Nintendo Switch exclusive, further supporting the notion that the game has modest ambitions. Of course, Marvel will likely continue to ride high on the success of 2018’s Spider-Man well into 2019. A Square Enix Avengers game is also in the works, but little is known about it, including the release date.

Though we expect great things from DC sometime in the near future, 2019 is clearly a year of gestation for them on the video game front, and so Marvel takes it.

WINNER: Marvel:1/DC:0

Round 2: Animated Movies

If there’s one thing that DC really knows how to do - and do consistently well - it’s making animated films. Under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner, they’ve been steadily churning out high quality animated films for over a decade. During that time, there have been very few missteps and some truly incredible films. Exact release dates haven’t been confirmed for each as of yet, but we’ve been promised three films in 2019: “Justice League vs. the Fatal Five”, “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” and “Batman: Hush”. All three are likely to be solid films, but it’s the last one that’s really got fans excited. “Hush” is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most well-crafted Batman story arcs of the 21st century.

Marvel and Sony hit a major home run at the end of 2018 with “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”. It was a bold film -both in terms of its narrative and the animation style- and allowing the filmmakers to follow their vision as they did must have required a lot of faith on the part of studio execs. It’s safe to say that the risky film was a massive success; many of called it the best Spider-man film to date. While it continues its box office run into 2019, at the end of the day, it remains a 2018 film and as such, it can only be allocated so much weight in this discussion. As for 2019 animated releases, Marvel has nothing planned.

Into the Spider-Verse is a massive triumph for Marvel and Sony. But in the absence of 2019 animated Marvel releases, DC’s strong slate of high quality animated films earns it the win.

WINNER: Marvel:1/DC:1

Round 3: Comics

Even as both companies see their profits increasingly coming from other mediums, they need to maintain a high standard of new comics. In 2018, DC had the single best selling comic of the year - Action Comics #1000, which was very well-reviewed by readers and critics alike. Many of the Bat-family comics were also well-received and look poised to continue strong into 2019. The “Heroes in Crisis” event got off to a controversial start, but with each new issue has proven itself to be an incredible story. It’s ending in 2019 could be a big creative win for the company. Scott Snyder has also promised a MASSIVE Justice League crossover this year. And, of course, Geoff John’s Watchmen sequel, Doomsday Clock, is wrapping up with its 12th issue this year.

While DC may have taken the number one spot with Action Comics, 7 out of the 10 best selling comics of 2018 were from Marvel. It’s a testament to Marvel’s power in the industry and the enduring appeal of their characters like Spider-Man, Wolverine, Venom and the Fantastic Four. Heading into 2019, Marvel is introducing a number of new series, preparing us for some milestone issues, and bringing back some big characters who have been missing for some time - including Cyclops. In terms of events, Marvel has been promising one big explosive event for 2019, dubbed War of the Realms, which is sure to be a must-read.

This is an incredibly close race, and it really could go either way as the year plays out, but based on Marvel’s more diverse roster of popular comics, we think they have the slight advantage.

WINNER: Marvel:2/DC:1

Round 4: Television

DC really knows what it’s doing when it comes to television. Heading into 2019, they’ve got a strong lineup, with shows like “Young Justice” making a long-awaited return, as well as Harley Quinn, the new animated series set to debut on their streaming service. DC Universe. Speaking of, the streaming service, which started strong with “Titans”, will also be debuting three new live-action series in 2019: “Doom Patrol”, “Swamp Thing” and “Stargirl”. Clearly, the company is committed to making DC Universe a success, which is impressive when you consider that their CW lineup of Arrowverse shows continues to thrive and grow.

When it comes to animated television, Marvel has similarly found their stride with series like “Avengers Assemble”, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Marvel’s Spider-Man”. In terms of live-action television, they’re also going strong. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” continues on ABC while “The Gifted” runs on Fox. “Legion”, “Runaways” and “Cloak & Dagger” each push outward in new territory for the company. Unfortunately, Marvel’s once fruitful partnership with Netflix is coming to an abrupt end, as they seem to be moving their efforts to the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Fortunately, we’ve got MCU spinoff shows like “The Vision and Scarlet Witch,” the untitled Loki series, and the untitled Falcon and Winter Soldier series to look forward to, but with no confirmed release dates, we can’t officially consider any of them 2019 releases, though “The Vision and Scarlet Witch” may drop sooner than we think.

When it comes to animated television, we’re calling it a draw. But when you take into account live action tv shows in 2019, DC hedges out Marvel for the win, tying it up.

WINNER: Marvel:2/DC:2

Round 5: Live Action Movies

2018 may have been a quiet year for DC and Warner Bros. on the feature film front, but they certainly ended strong with “Aquaman”. A hero long mocked and parodied has earned over $1 billion at the box office - that’s no small feat. Riding high on that wave of success, things look bright for DC films heading into the future. It’s anyone’s guess as to how “Shazam” and its more family-friendly tone will perform at the box office, but reactions to the trailers have largely been positive. Unfortunately, the much-anticipated sequel to 2017’s “Wonder Woman” has been pushed back to 2020 and so it’ll be another single-film year for DC fans.

Do we even need to tell you which Marvel films will be dropping in 2019? First, on March 8th, we get the MCU’s first female-led superhero movie with “Captain Marvel”. Blending Marvel’s cosmic and earthly settings, and teasing a lot of backstory to the MCU as we know it, the film is highly anticipated. Then, just about a month later and a half later, movie history likely gets made yet again with the release of Avengers: Endgame on April 26th. As if that’s not enough Marvel content for one year, July 5th marks the release of the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” sequel, “Far From Home”. Outside the MCU, Fox will be dropping “Dark Phoenix” which will likely be the last film to feature this incarnation of the X-Men before the Disney-Fox merger. Truly 2019 is an incredible year to be a Marvel fan.

Though DC seems to be doing quite well for itself and may be turning a new corner with its films, Marvel’s box office dominance shows no signs of slowing down, and with this round, it takes the competition.

WINNER: Marvel:3/DC:2

Well folks, there you have it! Delivering a greater number of live action films and marginally more consistent comics, we predict that Marvel will once again beat out DC in 2019.
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