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HYDRA (Amalgam Comics)

Amalgam Comics

Amalgam Comics was an American comic book publisher of metafiction; it was a collaboration between Marvel Comics and DC Comics, in which the two comic book publishers merged their characters to create new ones (e.g., DC Comics' Batman and Marvel's Wolverine became the Amalgam character Dark Claw). These characters first appeared in a series of twelve comic books which were published in 1996, between issues 3 and 4 of the Marvel vs. DC miniseries. A second set (of another twelve comic books) followed a year later.

The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005 designated the Amalgam Universe as Earth-9602.

Fictional origin

The two comic universes came together when the incarnations of their respective universes (referred to as "the Brothers") became aware of each other after aeons of slumber. To prevent the Brothers from destroying each other, characters from each universe battled to determine which universe would survive; several of the matches were determined by online voting. Axel Asher, a character created for the event (co-owned by Marvel and DC), served as a gate keeper who became stuck while traveling between both Universes.

When the fights concluded (including controversial victories by Wolverine and Storm, over Lobo and Wonder Woman respectively), neither universe was willing to go. To prevent total destruction, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal created a merged universe, in which only Axel Asher and Dr. Strangefate knew the truth. Each struggled against the other to reverse or preserve the change.

Eventually, Axel Asher, now called Access, managed to separate the Brothers with the help of Amalgam's heroes; before the merge had taken place, he had planted 'shards' of the universe in Batman and Captain America, and, once he discovered Dark Claw and Super-Soldier, he used those shards to give the Spectre and the Tribunal the power to restore the universes. Batman, Captain America and Access were thus able to make the Brothers realise that their conflict was pointless, and all went back to normal.

Amalgam characters

During the event, pairs of Marvel and DC characters or teams were merged into single characters. Usually they had something in common to start with (for example, the Jack Kirby creations the Fantastic Four and Challengers of the Unknown, or water-themed heroes Namor the Sub-Mariner and Aquaman), or their names or themes allowed for clever combinations (such as Superman and Captain America's amalgamation, Super Soldier, a reference to the Super Soldier serum that created Captain America; Bat-Thing, an amalgamation of Man-Bat and Man-Thing; or Shatterstarfire, the amalgamation of Shatterstar and Starfire).

Publication history

For two weeks, Marvel and DC published Amalgam Comics. During the publication of Amalgam Comics, the companies treated it as if it had always existed, giving it a fictional history stretching back to the Golden Age of Comics, as well as retcons and reboots, such as the Secret Crisis of the Infinity Hour (an amalgam of Secret Wars, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinity Gauntlet and Zero Hour), including an Amalgam version of the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, with Super-Soldier holding his sidekick's body. The books even went so far as to have letter pages with readers talking about stories they had read for years from the company line.

Amalgam books

The first Amalgam event occurred near the end of the Marvel vs. DC crossover event in 1996. The first twelve Amalgam titles were released in a single week, temporarily replacing both publishers' regular releases. Half the comics in the event were published by Marvel and half by DC. A year later, the stunt was repeated, but without the crossover as background. Later, both publishers collected their issues into trade paperback collections.

In the 24 Amalgam Comics printed, one-third of those printed included letter-columns by fictitious fans to give a larger background to the stories and to help give hints of what might happen in the next issue. The "fans'" hometowns were usually fusions of existing American cities.

Metafictional stories

During the Amalgam Comics run, several metafictional comics and storylines were mentioned in relation to the Amalgam Comics characters, though they were never published as actual comics, they helped to give background knowledge of existing characters. All historical information below (e.g., publication dates) is untrue, part of the metafictional history.

Action and Suspense Comics: The first of the metafictional Amalgam Comics beginning in the First World War with Sgt. Rock (Amalgam Comics), and was later integrated into the All-Star Winners Comics at the outbreak of World War II. The series lasted until 1917 with 50 comics being produced before they were recycled for the war effort. An amalgmation of Action Comics and Tales of Suspense.

All-Star Winners Comics: The Golden Age comic-books of the All-Star Winners Squadron and, presumably, the Young Commandos. The series lasted between 1941 and 1942, ending with Super Soldier Action. It was in these comics that American Belle, The Whiz and Human Lantern debuted along with Brooklyn Barnes. It is an amalgmation of All Star Comics (A DC imprint) and All-Winners Comics

Amalgam 2099: Mentioned in Spider-Boy Team Up #1, and an Amalgam Comics equivalent of Marvel 2099, featuring the Legion of Galactic Guardians and briefly Spider-Boy.

Bonghunters Special: A Lobo the Duck special featuring Doctor Bongface.

Dare the Terminator: The series featured Dare The Terminator and Catsai before their adventure in Assassins #1, as well as The Big Question. The series ran for under 200 issues before it was integrated into the Assassins series. Outstanding events include the teaming-up of Catsai and Dare in Issue #168 against Tombstone the Ravager, Dare losing her eye in a fight against Deadeye in Issue #13 and her experimentation by The Big Question in Issue #3.

Dark Claw: The Murder Gag: The only known Graphic Novel to exist in Amalgam Comics continuity. It featured Bruce Wayne (Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.) travelling to New Gotham City and teaming up with Dark Claw to stop Hyena. It also saw the end of Jason Todd as Moonwing. The Amalgam equivalent of The Killing Joke, with elements of A Death In The Family.

Elsewhat If: An alternate-reality storyline that looked at different ways that Amalgam Comics characters may have changed, including Dark Claw. This combines elements of Elseworlds of DC Comics and What If? (comics) of Marvel Comics.

Giant-Sized Bat-Thing: Bat-Thing continues his tales in this series, with Lobo the Duck as a backup feature. (Named for the infamous double entendre title Giant-Sized Man-Thing.)

Marine Mystery: The Golden Age comic featuring the debut of Aqua Mariner.

Mighty Amazons: Featuring the Amalgam Comics equivalent of Wonder Woman, Shatterstarfire briefly appeared in this series in Issue #34 before moving onto the X-Patrol in X-Patrol #1.

My Great Astonishment: One of the Silver Age series featuring the Challengers of the Fantastic. It was in this series that Tino Lumpkin became a Challenger. The name combines My Greatest Adventure with Tales to Astonish.

Showcase of Suspense: A series featuring Iron Lantern. Issues included:

Other unnumbered issues that involved a fight with Great White and a team-up with Aqua Mariner against .H.E.C.T.O.R.. It is a amalgmation of Showcase (A DC imprint) and Tales of Suspense of Marvel.

Sleuth Comics: The debut of Dark Claw in Issue #27. This is an Amalgam Comics equivalent of Detective Comics, where Batman first appeared.

Strange Tales of the Unexpected: The Silver Age imprint that featured the debut of Challengers of the Fantastic and the Un-People, whose member Dream Crystal fell in love with Johnny "Red" Storm. Sections of these tales were reprinted in Challengers of the Fantastic #1. An amalgam of Marvel's Strange Tales and DC's Tales of the Unexpected

Strange Tales of War: A spy-thriller series introducing Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Amalgam Comics world. An amalgam of Strange Tales and DC's Weird War Tales.

Tales to Astonish: Some of the earlier comics featuring Thorion and the New Asgods. Borrows the title from the Marvel series of the same name.

Radiotower Comics: An imprint with ties to the Challengers of the Fantastic. The main heroes in the imprint were the Thunder Crusaders, whose membership included the superheroes No-Fly and Dynashield. The imprint is named after Tower Comics; the characters are amalgams of Tower's T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and the Mighty Crusaders, at the time being published under the DC imprint !mpact.

Tales of Strangefate: The debuts of Dr. Strangefate, Jade Nova, White Witch, and Skulk. Villains in the series included Mephistanus and Baron Wotan, who were later mentioned in Dr. Strangefate #1. The title is another play on Strange Tales.

Post-Amalgam

Between the two rounds of Amalgam Comics, the two publishers released a second crossover, DC/Marvel: All Access. A third mini-series, Unlimited Access, followed the second round. Both crossovers featured additional Amalgam characters.

External links

See also

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