The Baron Re-Reads a Bunch of Amalgam Comics (SPOILERS)

We start not with an Amalgam comic, but the book that set the whole thing up:

 

DC Versus Marvel Comics #1 (1996): "Round One"

Written by Ron Marz, art by Dan Jurgens and Claudio Castellini, and Josef Rubinstein and Paul Neary.

 

We start with an old hobo with a glowing box, and a young guy whom the old guy has been waiting for. What they have to do with anything, we are not told. Characters begin disappearing from their own universes and re-appearing in the other universe. Spider-Man meets the Joker, Superman meets the Juggernaut, that sort of thing.

 

Aside: If Superman fought the Juggernaut, who do you think would win?  I would go with Superman as far as strength goes, but aren't Juggernaut's powers magically-derived? Would that make him more effective against Superman than he might otherwise be?

 

Aside the  Second: I'd forgotten the insanely ugly costume they had Thor in in those days. Thor should not look as though he's trying to cosplay as Cable.

 

The Spectre and the Living Tribunal are concerned (or dyspeptic, it's hard to say).

 

There's a bit with J.Jonah Jameson as the editor of the Planet, which is mildly amusing,.

 

We end with a big blue guy and a big red guy, who I gather represent the two universes.

 

Overall: Wow, that wasn't as good as I remembered it being. Once you get beyond the amusement value of seeing characters who don't usually meet encounter one another, there isn't much "there" there.  Perhaps it picks up as it goes along.

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I remember loving this when it came out, but I have feared that it might not hold up to re-reading. I'll be curious to see what you think as you go along

Marvel Comics Versus DC #2 (1996): "Round Two"

Written by Peter David, with art by Castellini, Jurgens, Neary and Rubinstein.

Axel wigs out a Wolverine fights Killer Croc. Wolverine and Gambit steal the Batmobile. Captain America fights Bane, and Thanos confronts Darkseid.

The big red and blue guys notice each other, and decide to have their heroes fight it out, with the loser's unvierse disappearing.

 

First Fight:  Thor vs. Captain Marvel. Thor wins, but loses his hammer. I don't personally have any problem with Thor winning, since I imagine him to be the much more experienced fighter.

 

Elsewhere, Peter rescues Lois from the two Scarecrows.

 

Wonder Woman finds Thor's hammer. I like the "Thunder Woman" look for her.

 

Second Fight: Aquman vs. The Sub-Mariner.  Aquaman wins, by dropping a killer whale on Namor. Lame.  I'm not a big fan of either character, but Namor should've beat the crap out of Art.  I assume they put this one in, just for a twist.

 

Third Fight: The Flash vs. Quicksilver. Wally wins.  This one was way closer than it should have been.  To someone who could run at near-lightspeed, someone who could only run at near the speed of sound wouldn't seem noticeably faster than a mundane.

 

Back in Metropolis, Wilson Fisk has bought the Daily Planet.

 

Overall: This is all fairly mediocre. The storyline is too obviously contrived to get the heroes fighting, and the fights themselves are far from "epic".

When I was buying these (I don't think I read them all) I seem to remember they had the fans somehow voting on who they thought should win these match-ups. Is this true and how did it work?

I like what came after, merging Storm with Wonder Woman worked.

Fans did vote on the outcome of the individual battles which led to popular heroes defeating their more powerful counterparts.

I have the trading cards somewhere.

The Baron said:

Marvel Comics Versus DC #2 (1996): "Round Two"

Written by Peter David, with art by Castellini, Jurgens, Neary and Rubinstein.

Second Fight: Aquman vs. The Sub-Mariner.  Aquaman wins, by dropping a killer whale on Namor. Lame.  I'm not a big fan of either character, but Namor should've beat the crap out of Art.  I assume they put this one in, just for a twist.

 

As I recall, at the time Peter David was writing an Aquaman series, and argued that Aquaman needed to win to establish bolster the character's credibility.

Richard Willis said:

When I was buying these (I don't think I read them all) I seem to remember they had the fans somehow voting on who they thought should win these match-ups. Is this true and how did it work?

Philip Portelli said:

Fans did vote on the outcome of the individual battles which led to popular heroes defeating their more powerful counterparts.

As I recall, the fans voted on the outcome of the individual battles for the lesser heroes, but for the big guns, the editors reserved the right to write different outcomes if the story dictated they so chose. See above with Aquaman vs. Namor, as well as Wolverine vs. Lobo, Storm vs. Wonder Woman, and Captain America vs. Batman.

Actually, I'm pretty sure the fan votes were for the major heroes, not the lesser ones. At least, that's the impression I got from the text piece in the book.

From time to time, when I’m in the mood to read a comic book but I can’t decide which one, I’ll pull an Amalgam out of the box. Some of them are clear favorites, while others I never read again. (I’ll identify which is which as the discussion progresses.) Regarding the mini-series from which Amalgam sprung, I do recall I was keeping a journal at the time and some of the entries are reviews of this series. I know where those journals are, but I’ve never gone back and read them. Regarding the voting, two outcomes stand out in my mind: Aquaman vs. Namor, and Batman vs. Captain America (both as noted above).

Marvel Comics Versus DC #3 (April 1996): "Round Three"

Written by Ron Marz, with art by Jurgens/Castellini/Rubinstein/Neary.

 

Fourth Fight:  Robin beats Jubilee. I have no problem with this result - Tim bieng trained by Batman, is used to fighting powered opponents by now, I would think.

 

Fifth Fight: The Silver Surfer beats Green Lantern. I have no problem with this result, either, and who doesn't like to see Kyle Rayner take a beating?

 

Sixth Fight:  Elektra beats Catwoman.  I have no real opinion on this, since I don't know enough about Elektra to know how tough she's supposed to be.

 

Meanwhile, Axel becomes Access, some sort of living portal between the universes, or something.

 

Seventh Fight:  Wolverine beats Lobo.  I don't particularly like either of these characters, but from what I know about them, there's no way Wolverine should beat Lobo.  Also, this is the lamest of the fights. We don't even see the ending! They fall down behind a bar, and Wolverine gets up a little bit later. We don't even know if they're fighting behind there! For all we know, they're having a make-out session behind the bar!  Heck, Wolverine even has a smoke afterwards.

 

Eighth Fight: Storm beats Wonder Woman. Diana gives up Mjolnir to be fair, then Ororo zaps her with lightning.  I'm not that sanguine about Storm being able to beat Diana, but I'm willing to go along with it.

 

Ninth Fight:  Spider-Man beats Superboy.  I have no problem with this one.  Pete's alot smarter than Kon-el, and he's used to fighting much tougher opponents.  This is also my favorite of the fight scenes.  Now, if it had been the Silver Age Superboy...

 

Tenth Fight: Superman beats the Hulk.  Does anyone question Superman beating the Hulk? As I recall, even the Marvel folks didn't really dispute this one.

 

Eleventh Fight:  Batman beats Captain America. I'm not even starting that conversation again.  Not that Bats wins pretty much by a fluke.

 

Steve and Bruce meet Access, who tells them that the two brothers have blown off their contest and decided to resolve their dispute by merging.  We end with a shot of several Amalgam characters!

 

Overall: This could have been better done.  It was always likely to seem a little contrived, but they might have done it a little more smoothly.

 

Next: Now, the interesting part!

The Baron said:

Seventh Fight: Wolverine beats Lobo. I don't particularly like either of these characters, but from what I know about them, there's no way Wolverine should beat Lobo. Also, this is the lamest of the fights. We don't even see the ending! They fall down behind a bar, and Wolverine gets up a little bit later. We don't even know if they're fighting behind there! For all we know, they're having a make-out session behind the bar! Heck, Wolverine even has a smoke afterwards.

I think the reason we don't see the fight is because this one was decided by the fans. This way they only had to draw one or the other character emerging from behind the bar.

As for the cigar, it seems that it was "communal." Either one of them would have smoked the same cigar. It was "parked" like chewing gum.

The Baron said:

Actually, I'm pretty sure the fan votes were for the major heroes, not the lesser ones. At least, that's the impression I got from the text piece in the book.

I stand corrected. It's been a LONG time since I've read these, and like Rich Steeves, I'm afraid of what I might think of it now.

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