Amalgam (Marvel; April, 1996)“Doomed!” WRITERS: Karl & Barbara Kesel PENCILER: Roger Cruz INKER: Jon Holdredge COLORIST: Tom Vincent LETTERER: Richard Starkings & Comicraft EDITOR: Jaye Gardner
Nate Cable has called together a mutant superhero team he dubs the X-Patrol, consisting of Elasti-Girl, Shatterstarfire, Beastling, Fero-Man, and Dial H For H-U-S-K. Their first mission begins immediately as they go after Doctor Doomsday, who plans to bring heroes from the DC and Marvel universe, and force them to serve as his army. The heroes are able to destroy his portal generator, but Nate is hurt in the battle. And according to him, history shows they’re all going to die someday…but they may have just changed history.
What they got right: It’s not easy to introduce an entire team in one shot, especially one that’s only getting one shot. We get the important parts of each member’s history and why they might be drawn to join the group. We also get a nod to the two universes that form the Amalgam universe.
What they got wrong: On the other hand we don’t have a lot of lead in before taking on one of the most powerful villains in the Amalgam universe. It’s just, let’s form, now let’s fight Doctor Doomsday, oh, you’re all going to die someday.
- X-Patrol (X-Force/Doom Patrol): The concepts work rather well. Both teams were about gathering the misfits at the time, but X-Patrol grabbed the freaks to fight evil freaks and it works well here. They didn’t come up with as good an explanation as to why their base (a former World’s Fair building) looks like an X. I don’t have a problem with it but sometimes no explanation is better than a bad one.
- Niles Cable (Niles Caulder (aka The Chief)/Nathan Summers (aka Cable)): I’ve never really followed Doom Patrol but The Chief’s influence seems to have mellowed Cable’s. At the end he says he can’t feel his legs, with also puts him closer to Caulder. Everything I don’t like about Cable is thankfully absent and I like what they replace it with.
- Elasti-Girl (Elasti-Girl/The Wasp with a hint of Domino): I really don’t like the three-character amalgamations. Domino is Cable’s love interest (or was, I can’t follow what’s going on) so her use is obvious, and Elasti-Girl (no connection to Elastigirl from The Incredibles) is one of the few female members of the Doom Patrol. My question is why Janet was involved? Because she had size-changing powers? Because DC’s version was a movie star? Domino is only part of this because of Cable and that does her a disservice. Otherwise, she’s a fun character.
- Shatterstarfire (Shatterstar/Starfire): I’ve never heard of Starfire being part of the Doom Patrol and a quick run to the DC Wiki shows she wasn’t. This was only because of their names sounding similar. (They could have merged her with Firestar but that would be confusing.) She was mentioned back in Spider-Boy since he rescued her from rebels in her microverse world and brought her here, which we get to see in this story. She’s got Shatterstar’s personality (and the star thing on the eye and the swords) and Starfire’s body. Especially with how Starfire is depicted in the New 52 she really doesn’t work for me.
- Dial H-U-S-K (Husk using a version of DC’s H-E-R-O dial): The H-E-R-O dial was used by a female at some point but it’s just Paige with her “shedding into a new form” mutant powers performed by the Dial. Not much else to say about her.
- Ferro-Man (Colossus/Ferro): The former Ferro-Lad and Colossus make a for a good paring, because their powers and history are so similar. Like Dial H-U-S-K, there’s not much else to say about him.
- Beastling (Beast/Changeling, alias Beast Boy): I think he was still going by Changeling at the time but if not, it’s still a good fusion of their names. Too bad he ended up with the worst part of both characters. He keeps hitting on Shatterstarfire with all the charm of the creeper at a nightclub. He has none of Garth’s charm and none of Hank’s intelligence. He’s annoying as he can be and I really don’t like him.
- Doctor Doomsday (Doctor Doom/Doomsday): Another fusion brought on solely for the names, he’s Doctor Doom if he had worked for Cadmus and was injected with Doomsday’s DNA. He’s been name-dropped in a couple Amalgam stories up to this point so it was nice to see him in action. The amalgamation is weak, but he’s got all of what makes Doctor Doom a threat, and trying to “recruit” the DC and Marvel heroes made this comic a good way to end the Amalgam stories for this run.
Would I buy the series: Probably not. Everyone (except Beastling) were good characters but I wasn’t really drawn to either of them. I like that the Amalgam universe has their own band of weirdness-fighting heroes, though.
Recommendation: It’s worth a read and I wouldn’t discourage you from tracking it down, but I wouldn’t call it a must-own of the Amalgam comics. By the way, this is the last of the first series Amalgam comics. Next week we return to DC Versus Marvel and see how this event ends.