Amalgam (Marvel; June, 1997)“The Curse Of Brother Brood!” WRITER: Barbara Kesel PENCILER: Bryan Hitch INKER: Paul Neary COLORIST: Joe Andreani SEPARATIONS: Digital Chameleon LETTERER: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Kiff Scholl EDITOR: Jaye Gardner
The Doom Patrol/X-Force merger returns as Shatterstarfire’s attempt to rescue Terra-X not only failed but ended up with Niles Cable being captured by Brother Brood, who wants to use Cable to create another brood queen. The Patrol, joined by newcomer Jericho, travel to the anti-mutant island nation of Zenosha to rescue him, while he must decide between the technovirus and the brood implant to use a piece of Raveniya’s remaining soul-self to control. But as the Brood takes over Terra-X and begins taking over Cable, Jericho is revealed to be a younger version of Niles, who is able to put the virus in remission while the last of Raveniya’s self is used to destroy the brood in both himself and Brother Brood. “Jericho” is given the new name Ex-Man and joins the group to prevent his future, where the brood took over mutants but were stopped by the humans who later blamed mutants and created the mutant-hunting future.
What they got right: There was a lot of good action in this story and suspense when it came to Niles Cable’s future, and the mystery of “Jericho” was a decent reveal. Beastling was less annoying this round.
What they got wrong: Why did Cable just assume his alternate self would be able to lead the X-Patrol when he’s a younger version? Also, the backstories of all the characters are told in caption boxes that were basically “can they achieve their goal without Niles Cable?”
Most of our heroes are holdovers from their previous comic, so we’ll focus just on the new characters, except for the offhand mentions of amalgamations (although why they merged Amanda Waller and Deathbird as well as their teams is something that would require me to know Deathbird to understand).
- Jericho/Ex-Man/Niles Dayspring (Jericho/X-Man): Neither of the characters that makes up this one have any connection to Cable beyond a first name and ties to Cyclops and Jean Grey. Otherwise, he serves as a twist but otherwise doesn’t really get to show anything as a character.
- Raveniya (Raven/Jenskot): I think the Marvel wiki made a few assumptions with this character and her connection to Cable beyond they were in love. I hadn’t heard of Jenskot prior to this review so I can’t judge the amalgamation, but otherwise she was something of a deus ex machina for Cable dealing with both the technovirus and the brood implant, eventually purging Brother Brood as well. That’s really her only role.
- Terra-X (Terra/Terrax): Obviously brought together thanks to their shared earth elemental powers, she pretty much has Terra’s backstory and her mom is a fusion of Daredevil and Slade the Terminator, but as a woman. Yeah, I don’t get it either and it’s from one of the Amalgam comics I didn’t pick up. Not much to say about her except again there are no ties to either Doom Patrol or X-Force.
- Brother Brood (Brother Blood/Brood Queen): It’s literally Brother Blood (that was his name pre-infection) infected by the Brood Queen. He make a good villain and the idea of a cult leader merged with Marvel’s answer to Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is a good one.
Would I buy the series: Still no. It was a good enough story but while I like the characters this isn’t the kind of story that typically interests me.
Recommendation: If anything I wrote above interests you then you should check out the comic. The story is decent enough at least and maybe you’ll get more out of it than I did.