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.
Unlimited Access #4 (March 1998): "Combined Forces!"
Access amalgamates several of the heroes in order to fight the heels. They call themselves the "X-League", and they consist of:
They find themselves up against a gang of amalgamated heels, the "Brotherhood of Evil Gods", who are:
It transpires that Darkseid has and evil future version of Access working for him. The two Accesses fight and "good" Access wins. Darkseid admits defeat and goes home, largely - as far as I can tell - because the comic is almost over. We end with Axel explaining the situation to Ming, and asking her not to give up on him.
Overall: An OK wrap-up - some of the new Amalgams were amusing, and it was funny to see the Bizarro J. Jonah Jameson in a brief scene. All-in-all, this series just felt like an excuse to draw characters from both companies in scenes with one another.
Well, that's the last of the Amalgam books that I know of, unless DC and Marvel do more. It might be amusing to see what "New 52"/"Marvel Now" versions of these characters would look like. Actually, my pet idea was that they ought to do "Kingdom X", the future of the Amalgam Universe!
I’m sorry I haven’t been able to keep up with this discussion the way I had intended. I do want to identify those “Seven Favorite Amalgams” I’ve been talking about before you get too much farther past them and this discussion is a thing of the past. One and two (in no particular order) are CHALLENGERS OF THE FANTASTIC and IRON LANTERN (already discussed). One thing missing in this series of one-shots is true continuity (as opposed to pretend continuity, of which there is plenty. My choices 3 & 4 and 5 & 6 provide a bit of that.
SPIDER-BOY / SPIDER-BOY TEAM-UP: You had previously discussed Spider-Boy, but I was waiting for you to discuss Spider-Boy Team-Up to discuss them both together. It’s tough to choose, but of the two I think I prefer SBTU. Tipping the scales is La Dronn’s Kirbyesque art. He did a notable Inhumans limited series, and I was even moved to buy Cable for a time (the comic book, I mean; not the television delivery method) when he was doing the art. In this issue, I also liked the amalgamated name “R.K> Sternsel.”
SUPER-SOLDIER / SUPER-SOLDIER MAN O’ WAR: An even greater sense of continuity is provided between these two, as one leads right into the other (or one serves as a prequel to the other, however you want to look at it). It seems Mark Waid (who would go on to write his own Superman revamp) was more interested in establishing an overview of the legend, whereas Gibbons was more interested in fleshing out the details. Mark Waid tied them togheter by at least doing the script for the Gibbons one. (I’m a little surprised you didn’t like the WWII one more than you did, knowing of your fondness for JSA and the All-Star Squadron.) “Sgt. Rock and his Howling Commandos” was a cute, if obvious, mash-up.
And bringing up the rear (just in sequence, for me) is…
THORION OF THE NEW ASGODS: Reportedly, Jack Kirby’s idea (before leaving Marvel for DC) was to have actually allowed Ragnarok to occur, replacing Thor, Asgard and the Norse Gods with Orion, New Genesis and the New Gods. It’s a little difficult to picture the New Gods as they eventually appeared at Marvel after all this time, but I like to pretend this comic is what it might have been like. I knew it wouldn’t rank as highly on your list as it does on mine, but for whatever it’s worth, those are my seven favorite Amalgams.
That was one thing I liked about Challengers of the Fantastic and Spider-Boy Team-Up - you got to see two takes on the same event, i.e, the arrival of the Silver Racer.
While I'm not their biggest booster, I agree that having the New Gods replace the Old Gods makes a certain amount of storyline sense., but I can't imagine Marvel ever going for that.