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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JLX #1 (April 1996): "A League of Their Own!"

Written by Gerard Jones and Mark Waid, with art by Howard Porter and John Dell.

We meet the Judgement League Avengers (Why "Judgement" instead of "Justice"?), who include:

  • Angelhawk, an Angel/Hawkman combo
  • Canary, hanging around Goliath's neck and wearing what looks like Mockingbird's costume
  • Captain Marvel, called "Mar-Vell", but looking like Billy Batson, and wearing a sort of capeless version of Billy's costume with Mar-Vell's early Silver Age green-and-white coloring
  • The Dark Claw, a Wolverine/Batman combo
  • Goliath, wearing one of the uglier Goliath costumes, Canary calls him "Ollie".
  • Hawkeye, Clint Barton wearing what is essentially a Hawkeye costume colored green
  • The Super-Soldier, a Superman/Captain America combo

 

They are pursuing a splinter group called the JLX, who consist of;

  • Apollo, a combo of Cyclops and the Ray
  • The Aqua-Mariner, an Aquaman/Sub-Mariner combo
  • Firebird, a combo of Jean Grey and Fire
  • Mercury, an Impulse/Quicksilver combo
  • Nightcreeper, a combo of Nightcrawler and the Creeper
  • Runaway, a Rogue/Gypsy combo
  • The Wraith, a combo of Obsidian and Gambit

 

The JLA is trying to take the Mariner into custody because he's been framed for something, the JLX is defending him because they feel the JLAers are selling him out to the anti-mutant crowd.  Two things:

  1. Isn't the Dark Claw a mutant? Why would he side with the non-mutants?
  2. Why would super-humans be especially against mutants, anyhow?  Born with ther powers or acquired them later, they've still got more in common with one another than with the mundanes, surely?

 

Anyhow, the JLX flees with the help of Marco Xavier, Mister X. They go to the now-deserted Atlantis, where they are ambushed by Will Magnus and his Sentinels. Magnus is a mutant-hater here, because his brother is a mutant and he isn't. Who is his brother?  We will see in awhile.  Anyway, X is revealed as J'Onn J'Onzz, last survivor of the Skrull people of Mars. Magnus is driven off, and J'Onn and the JLX agree to work together to find the missing Atlanteans.

 

Overall: Not a bad book, though if it was up to me, I might've tweaked the line-up a bit.  I personally find the "Our hero has been framed by a heel and the other heroes feel they must bring him in" storyline to be really tiresome. I alway think, "If one of my buddies was accused of something really horrendous, I would at least give him a chance to speak up for himself before racing to turn him in."

I did think it was fun to see Marco Xavier again.

I knew the name, but I wasn't sure where from.

Legends of the Dark Knight #1 April 1996): "Though a Glass Darkly"

Written by Larry Hama, with art by Jim Balent and Ray McCarthy.

The art is quite good on this. So far, the art has genenrally been good on these, even when the stories have been less so.

The premise of this is Logan and Jubilee as Batman and Robin, which works pretty well.

We open with the Dark Claw fighting the Hyena (a Joker/Sabretooth combo), who gets away.  We then see the Huntress (Carol Danvers here, as opposed to the Barbara Gordon Huntress seen in the Bruce Wayne book), breaking into Logan's apartment and discovering that he is the Dark Claw. He catches her, and takes her down to the Barrow, which is the Amalgam version of the Batcave. they work out that the Hyena is out to attack Air Force One and kill the President.  Logan stops the assassination. The Hyena gets away, and Logan gets ready to follow him.

 

Overall: I quite liked this, and wouldn't have minded reading i as an on-going. To my mind, it's closer to the Batman mythos than to the Wolverine one, which is all to the good, since Bats is the more interesitng character.

Three more issues and you still haven’t gotten to any of the seven I consider to be my personal favorites. To eliminate some of the “suspense,” I’ll tell you right now that none of mutant amalgamations made the cut.

JLX: This one I did read and this one I did enjoy, but, largely because of the Howard Porter artwork I guess, I saw it as more a “JLA” book than an “X” book.

LEGENDS OF THE DARKCLAW: I pretty much agree with your assessment of this one, which I see as more “Batman” than “Wolverine.” I tend to think of comic book universes in terms of “triumvirates” of characters. For Marvel, it would be Iron Man, Captain America and Thor; for DC, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Similarly, I group Amalgam titles into two sets of triumvirates, whether I see them to be more “DC-leaning” or more “Marvel-leaning.” On the DC-leaning side, I see them as Bruce Wayne, Agent of SHIELD, Amazon and Dark Claw.

DOCTOR STRANGEFATE: Of all 24 Amalgams, I think this one ties the most to the continuity of the mini-series. It pretty much sets up and leads into issue #4, so I would have saved this one until the end. Regarding the last page reveal, this is the kind of thing I was thinking about last week, whether these comics are just for fanboys, or whether they stand on their own merits. You’d pretty much have to be familiar with the characters to appreciate this particular reveal.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

DOCTOR STRANGEFATE: Of all 24 Amalgams, I think this one ties the most to the continuity of the mini-series. It pretty much sets up and leads into issue #4, so I would have saved this one until the end.

 

 

Yeah, I thought about what order to read them in, and just went with "alphabetical" in the end.



Jeff of Earth-J said:

DOCTOR STRANGEFATE:Regarding the last page reveal, this is the kind of thing I was thinking about last week, whether these comics are just for fanboys, or whether they stand on their own merits. You’d pretty much have to be familiar with the characters to appreciate this particular reveal.

 

Really, I think you'd have to be a fanboy to get the most out of the whole Amalgam concept.  That said, some of these do stand alone better than others.

The Baron said:

Yeah, I thought about what order to read them in, and just went with "alphabetical" in the end.

Other than Doctor Stangefate, I don't think it really makes any difference. BTW, I hadn't previously notice such discrepancies as there being two Huntresses. Then again, why not?

I've often said that, if I had a chance to pitch an ongoing series to write at DC or Marvel, I would pitch the ongoing adventures of Access

The Baron said:

I wonder what the Amalgam universe would look like today, if they re-visited it.

Marco Xavier was the new alter ego J'Onn J'Onnz assumed around the time he moved from Detective to House of Mystery.  Marco was supposedly an international playboy.

The Baron said:

I knew the name, but I wasn't sure where from.

Oh, cool, thanks.

Magneto and the Magnetic Men #1 (April 1996): "Opposites Attract"

Written by Gerard Jones, with art by Jeff Matsuda and Art Thibert with Jaime Mendoza and Larry Stucker.

The story here is that Magneto is Will Magnus' brother, and that after the Sentinels killed the Brotherhood of Mutants, Erik used his brother's technology to create robots in their images, rather than risk other mutants' lives. The Magnetic Men include Antimony, Bismuth, Cobalt, Iron and Nickel.

Here we see them freeing captive mutants from the evil Sinistron, who they defeat after developing the will power to break away from Magneto's direct control.

 

Overall: It's an interesting idea, but this book is not a personal favorite of mine, seeing as how I was never a big fan of either Magneto or the Metal Men.

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