Bruce Wayne: Agent Of SHIELD
Amalgam (Marvel; April, 1996)“Mission: Destroy Hydra!” WRITER: Chuck Dixon PENCILER: Cary Nord INKER: Mark Pennington COLORIST: Steve Buccellato SEPARATIONS: Malibu LETTERER: Richard Starkings & Comicraft EDITOR: James Felder
Bruce and his team track down the Green Skull, the man who had his spy parents gunned down in front of him. However, his daughter, Selina Luthor, has already killed him and declared herself Hydra Supreme. As Bruce, Moonwing, and Black Bat (or maybe Huntress, I’ll get to that soon) make their way through Hydra’s elite, Moonwing learns that one of the Deathloks is Jason Todd, who substituted as Moonwing for a time, and has to be saved from him by Nick Fury and Sargent Rock. As the heroes finally make their way to the Selina they learn that Green Skull left active a cannon that will tear a hole in the world. Then the base explodes as Fury and Rock watch it happen…as does the Green Skull, who did away with all of his enemies in one big explosion! (Or did he?)
As I did with the fights for Marvel Versus DC I’ll review the amalgamations separately. The gimmick of the Amalgam comics is that this what would be happening had DC and Marvel characters been merged the way it is. It kind of follows Snell’s theory that any comic can get someone hooked. In addition to reviewing the story itself and the amalgamations there will be a category for whether or not I would have bought this comic as a regular series.
What they got right: This is one of those “final battles that aren’t” kind of stories and it’s done well. One thing about the Amalgamated characters is that some of the fusions don’t make a lot of sense, but they all work well enough here. Fury is worried that Bruce is giving his very soul to the cause but we see he’s planning to spend his life with Barbara when this is all over. It’s action that doesn’t skimp on character development.
What they got wrong: This is going to be a constant complaint with me. The story ends on a cliffhanger that, by the nature of the Amalgam event will never be completed. The second series of Amalgam titles (coming after the first Access miniseries) are all-new titles. There is no second issue of any of these. So the audience will forever wonder how the story ends. Teasers are one thing, but this is a project where cliffhangers are a disappointment.
And now, the amalgamation reviews:
- Bruce Wayne (Bruce Wayne and Nick Fury): This is an odd union, partly because Nick Fury is still a character and partly because there is a full Batman fusion in the Dark Claw (who gets name-dropped in this story). This is more like what would happen if Bruce became a SHIELD agent rather than a superhero. But then who’s Logan Wayne and what’s his connection to Bruce? I like the character but it doesn’t quite match the Amalgam mold. Also, this version of Bruce has no problem killing, which is bothersome considering who the Dark Claw was a fusion of.
- Selina Luthor (Selina Kyle/Catwoman with elements of Viper): I don’t know anything about Viper. I’m getting the fusions from a wiki (because of course there’s an Amalgam Comics wiki) and I don’t know how much of this backstory was created by fans versus someone finding a bible. I can’t really judge how well the elements merged but the end result was an interesting character and I hope she pops up again to challenge daddy.
- Green Skull (Lex Luthor/Red Skull): I’ll do a more through review of him when he shows up in Super Soldier but I don’t understand why he’s here. Did SHIELD deal with a Red Skull-run Hydra? He’s a combination of Superman and Captain America’s arch-nemeses with no direct connection to SHIELD or Batman. I think he’s just here so Dixon could do something with him.
- Moonwing (Nightwing/Moon Knight): They just seem to be merging costumes here. The Amalgam wiki swears that Dick has Marc Spector’s split personality problem but it doesn’t bear out in the comic.
- Baron Zero (Baron Zemo/Mr. Freeze): I think someone just liked the name.
- Black Bat/Huntress (Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl/Black Cat): I’m not sure why it was decided Bruce and Barbara should date in this version. I’m also not sure of her name. The dialog only uses her superhero name once and it was Huntress, while the wiki claims her name is Black Bat and claims Huntress is a different character. We also don’t see Barbara Gordon Hardy use any of Felicia’s powers that the wiki claimed was there. Otherwise, she’s a good fighter, dating Bruce, and that’s pretty much it.
- Nuke (Marvel’s Nuke/DC’s Bane): I don’t know anything about Nuke but Dixon just wrote Bane. He gets killed by an overload of Venom.
- Deathlok (Jason Todd/Deathlok): According to the wiki someone Moon Knight knows was turned into a Deathlok, a cyborgian Frankenstein monster in both the Marvel and Amalgam universes, only Deathloks have full minds and possibly memories. I only have one issue of a Deathlok comic and no guest appearances that I remember. Still, it’s a good way to bring Todd in, although Fury kills him to save Moonwing. Limits the chances of Deathlok And The Outlaws.
- other characters: Nick Fury and Sgt. Rock (now a SHIELD agent) make an appearance. There is also a cameo by Tony Stark, which will be confusing in the second set of Amalgam Comics, who is paralyzed and just sits slumped in a chair. Apparently he’s there for some reason and claims Stark Labs is coming up with something that will allow him to walk again. He just seems to be there to be there, while Fury and Rock actually take part in the battle. It’s odd that these three appear to have no amalgamation.
Would I pick up a series?: Even with the superhero and supervillain elements like Moonwing and whatever Barbara’s superhero name is supposed to be, it’s not really the kind of story that usually gets me. I like this issue, but if Amalgam had kept going I probably wouldn’t have picked this up.
Recommendation: If you like a good spy story, though, this may be the comic for you, if only to check out how this works. That said, it’s not a comic that needed to be made. The Batman elements don’t feel like they belong with SHIELD even if the result is a good story, especially with Dark Claw out there. It’s still a fun story and you may end up wishing it had continued on.