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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Amazon #1 (April 1996): "Family History"

Written by John Byrne, with art by John Byrne and Terry Austin.

Ororo-as-Wonder Woman battles Poseidon, which serves as a means of presenting her origin in the Amalgam Universe. Orphaned and washed overboard as a small child, Ororo is saved by Hippolyta and raised as her daughter and Diana's sister. It is she who eventually becomes Wonder Woman.  I like the potential dynamic of this, with Diana feeling "displaced" and jealous of the "interloper" Ororo.  There's even a subplot of a battered Diana showing up at Ororo's home.

 

The book stays "in character", as though this were meant to be an on-going series.  There's even a "letters page", though if the names of the letter writers are jokes on anyhting, I don't know what they are.

 

Overall:  This is one of my fvorite Amalgam books.  Whatever one may think about some of the "interesting" things Byrne has said over the years, he's an excellent artist, and not a bad writer.  I would've given this book a chance if it was an actual continuing title.  If nothing else, this book convinced me that, if ushed properly, Storm has enormous potential to be Marvel's premier female character, and that effort would be better spent on promoting her, than on their periodic futile efforts to make Carol Danvers interesting.

What are the names of the letter writers? Your comment intrigues me.

All of these Amalgam books are written as though they are issues from ongoing series. Half the fun is teasing out the mix of elements. I trust you'll get to the one that was my favorite, one I would gladly read as an ongoing series ... but you're just getting warmed up.

It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure that the Amalgam letter columns featured letters signed with "amalgamated" names made by recombining the first & last names of the more regular letter hacks of the time.

Luke Blanchard said:

What are the names of the letter writers? Your comment intrigues me.

Thanks, Dave. I wasn't reading comics in the 90s so I'd never have spotted that myself.

Yeah, the "undercard" fights were decided in advance, but the five big match ups were voted on by the fans... 

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.

That one was my favorite too, it showed that no matter what Diana did leave the island. It almost cast her in an Artemis-like role.



The Baron said:

Amazon #1 (April 1996): "Family History"

Written by John Byrne, with art by John Byrne and Terry Austin.

Ororo-as-Wonder Woman battles Poseidon, which serves as a means of presenting her origin in the Amalgam Universe. Orphaned and washed overboard as a small child, Ororo is saved by Hippolyta and raised as her daughter and Diana's sister. It is she who eventually becomes Wonder Woman.  I like the potential dynamic of this, with Diana feeling "displaced" and jealous of the "interloper" Ororo.  There's even a subplot of a battered Diana showing up at Ororo's home.

 

The book stays "in character", as though this were meant to be an on-going series.  There's even a "letters page", though if the names of the letter writers are jokes on anyhting, I don't know what they are.

 

Overall:  This is one of my fvorite Amalgam books.  Whatever one may think about some of the "interesting" things Byrne has said over the years, he's an excellent artist, and not a bad writer.  I would've given this book a chance if it was an actual continuing title.  If nothing else, this book convinced me that, if ushed properly, Storm has enormous potential to be Marvel's premier female character, and that effort would be better spent on promoting her, than on their periodic futile efforts to make Carol Danvers interesting.

One of the issues I have scanned.




Dave Elyea said:

It's been a while, but I'm pretty sure that the Amalgam letter columns featured letters signed with "amalgamated" names made by recombining the first & last names of the more regular letter hacks of the time.

Luke Blanchard said:

What are the names of the letter writers? Your comment intrigues me.

Attachments:

Assassins #1 (April 1996): "Political Suicide:

Written by D. G. Chichester, with art by Scott McDaniel Fisher.

This features two hired killers:

  • Catsai (Elektra Kyle), an amalgam of Catwoman and Elektra. ("Catsai", "cat-sai", "cat's-eye", get it?)
  • The Dare (Slade Murdock), an amalgam of Slade Wilson and Matt Murdock. (why would an amalgma of two male characters be female?)

 

The two set out to bring down the Big Question (Enigma Fisk), mayor of New Gotham. The Big Question apparently kills the Dare, but Catsai catches him and (implicitly) emasculates him. 

Overala: An OK book, I suppose, though not one of my favorites. I'm not a huge fan of the originals of these characters, so I suppose it stands to reaosn tha tI wouldn't be overwhelmed by their amalgams.  Fine if you like ultra-violence for ultra-violence's sake, I suppose.

I missed this one.

Thanks, Mark.

The Baron said:

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

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

 

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?

 

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...

That was one drawback of this series; they were obligated to have the then-current versions of the characters instead of the classic ones. Silver Surfer versus Hal Jordan or Alan Scott would have been more of a battle. But on the other hand, no way Spider-Man beats the Silver Age Superboy.



The Baron said:

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.

Doesn't bother me. Catwoman is an acrobat, a gymnast and she's no killer, but Elektra is an assassin trained by ninjas.

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.

You're right. I have absolutely no use for Lobo, but there's no way Wolverine comes out of this as less than a smear on the carpet.

The Baron said:

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.

 

What's to argue? The Hulk would only have a chance if he was up against the Superman from Action Comics #1.

The Baron said:

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

 

Well, you know where I stand ...

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