Marvel’s Secret Wars event is all about exploring the different shards of the Marvel universe... the ones that are left, that is. Some of those shards even recall the times Marvel’s heroes crossed over with those of the DC Multiverse, which means Alex Ross got to sneak in one tiny encounter on this awesome cover.
Ross’s cover for Secret Wars #8, out this November, was released as part of Marvel’s solicitations this week, and it’s littered with references to classic images from Marvel history—The birth of Franklin Richards in the 1968 Fantastic Four Annual, Elektra’s death in Daredevil #181, Vision’s tears after joining the Avengers in Avengers #58, and so on. But only one shard hides a reference to DC’s Man of Steel. Noticed it yet? Here’s a tighter screenshot that features it to narrow down your search:
Still can’t see? It’s the panel with Spider-Man in—and all you can see of Superman is his foot!
Ross’ art is a recreation of the cover for the 1976 DC and Marvel collaboration Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century, which saw Spidey and Supes briefly tustle before teaming up to taken on the combined efforts of Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus. The cover originally designed and drawn by Carmine Infantino and Ross Andru, before Ross adapted it for his Secret Wars #8... or at least, adapted the Spider-Man half of it, with barely enough space to show Clark Kent’s right foot:
It’s definitely not the first time Spider-Man and the Super-Family have crossed over (they’ve even done it quite literally, with an amalgam of Superboy and Spider-Man!), and it certainly won’t be the last time the big two give each other a nod in their comics—but this has to be one of the sneakiest references yet.