If the 1930s to the 1950s were the golden age of comics, and the 50s to the 70s were the silver age of comics, the 90s were the crumpled-ball-of-aluminum-foil age of comics- the embarrassing era of hologram covers, feathered hair, Marvel's bankruptcy, and Rob Liefeld Errething. In the mid 90s (1996, to be exact), Marvel and DC were so desperate for new readers, they did something radical—put their differences aside for the ultimate publishing crossover, dubbed Amalgam comics. The Amalgam Universe origin story is thus, from Wikipedia:
The two comic universes came together when the two physical incarnations of their respective universes (referred to as "the Brothers") became aware of each other after eons of slumber. To prevent the Brothers from destroying each other, characters from each universe battled to determine which universe would survive (a real world vote by readers of the series was conducted to determine the outcome of five of the in-comic matchups, with three of them favoring the Marvel hero). Access, a character created for the event and co-owned by Marvel and DC, served as a gate keeper who became stuck while traveling between the two universes.
When the fighting concluded, neither universe was willing to go. To prevent total destruction, the Spectre and the Living Tribunal created an amalgamated universe, in which only Access and Dr. Strangefate knew the truth about the merge. The two characters fought against each other to reverse or preserve the change.
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. 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 realize that their conflict was pointless, and the universes were separated once again.
Sounds hilariously lame? Like, Vanilla Ice starring in Cool As Ice lame? You aren't wrong. The amalgamated characters were based on one character from DC, and one from Marvel, and they didn't always make sense. Without further ado, here are a few of the best/worst characters from Amalgam comics:
1. Iron Lantern
Amalgamation of: Iron Man and Green Lantern
Hal Stark: genius millionaire playboy and founder of Stark Aircraft (BECAUSE HAL JORDAN WAS A PILOT, THROW IN SOMETHING ABOUT A PILOT) was working on a stationary flight simulator suddenly took off, because comic book creators do not understand how "stationary" works. The flight simulator crashed close to a spaceship, which had ALSO crashed—because ships in the Marvel U follow the ABC rule: always be crashin'. Despite the shards of metal in his chest from the wreck, Stark made his way to the alien wreckage, where he discovered the alien Rhomann Sur. Sur croaked before he could speak with Hal, who was biting the bullet as well. Hal used his Iron man skills and threw together a suit powered by a battery he found in the wreckage, one which reminded him of a lantern, because GREEN LANTERN. The suit of armor allowed him to survive and gave him the power to create any construct he wanted.
Amalgamation of: Shatterstar and Starfire
Princess Koriand'ru is an alien warrior princess with serious fighter skills and bad hair from the planet Tamojoran who was rescued from an alien attack and brought to Earth, something she has not yet forgiven Spider-Boy for. We understand, as we have not yet forgiven Marvel and DC for Amalgam comics. Also, I love how hard Marvel was pushing for Shatterstar in the mid-90s. He was the worst, but Marvel kept pushing him on us, like that dude that's trying to get his awkward buddy laid, "C'mon, just spend a little more time around him; you'll like him, he's just really misunderstood."
3. Lobo the Duck
Amalgamation of: Lobo and Howard The Duck
Lobo the Duck is a bounty hunter who is also a duck and has a shapeshifter dog sidekick named Impossible Dawg. I don't even have anything snarky to say about this amalgamation. This is probably the most awesome character to come out of this whole Amalgam mess, and I wish this would have taken off and gotten its own title. I want a new Lobo the Duck 20th anniversary sequel.
4. Doctor Doomsday
Amalgamation of: Victor Von Doom and Doomsday
Victor Von Doom was investigating the remains of Doomsday when a bone shard from the dead villain exploded into his face, and turned Doom into a horribly scarred monster. Basically, Dr. Doom, but with bone spikes in his face.
So those are a handful of my favorite Amalgam characters. Which ones were your faves? Darkclaw? Super-Soldier? Bruce Wayne, Agent of S.H.E.I.L.D.? Let us know in the comments!