Thursday, September 27, 2012

Retro Review: Legends of the Dark Claw #1

The year was 1996. The speculator boom of the early 90's was starting to cave in on itself. So Marvel and DC decided to give us Marvel vs DC, had to get readers back somehow. This was a fun series, sure it had it's flaws but it was fun. During the course of that story the Marvel and DC universes were briefly merged into one and thus the Amalgam universe was born. Characters were merged together. Spider-man and Superboy became Spider-boy, Superman and Captain America became Super Soldier. We got two waves of one shots out of this and a lot of them sucked. But some were pretty solid. Today we're gonna look at my favorite, Wolverine and Batman merged into Dark Claw.

Our issue starts out with Dark Claw fighting the Hyena (Joker and Sabertooth). There is a nice two page spread of them fighting I wanted to show here, but because I'm reviewing this out of a trade, I couldn't get the middle flat enough to scan. So instead just enjoy these two Amalgam trading cards.

Oh yeah, there were Amalgam trading cards. Marvel vs DC ones too. This was a big deal back then. Anyways, Hyena gets away and we cut to the Huntress AKA Carol Danvers, breaking into Logan Wayne's mansion.

This was a common thing in Amalgam, give a Marvel civilian name to a DC code name or vise versa rather then make a new character design like Dark Claw. So Huntress figures out Logan's secret ID and when he catches her he tells her his origin story. As a young boy his parents were murdered, he was sent to live with his uncle in Canada and then he died. So he lived in an orphanage after that till he was 18. When he was 18 he joined the Canadian Air Force. He ended up in a experimental program similar to Weapon X, along side the man who is now Hyena. He takes Huntress down to his version of Batcave called the Barrow. His sidekick, Sparrow (Robin and Jubilee) objects.

So using the clues Hyena left they all figure out his plan is to poison the President on Air Force One which is leaving Gotham today. So the rest of the issue is pretty much a fight scene with Dark Claw stopping Hyena and saving Bill Clinton.

Some of these Amalgam comics were fun, some were terrible, but I think this one is one of the best. It's a very fun read and makes you sad there is no issue two. As for the character designs, sometimes with Amalgam character you would look at them and only be able to tell who one of the root characters were. But here, Dark Claw, Sparrow, and Hyena all borrow pretty evenly from their root characters, even if they lean a little more towards the Bat-characters then the Wolverine ones. And they are great looking character designs. In fact visually the only real criticism I have is Dark Claw having serrated claws. Kinda seems like over kill given that they are indestructible adamantium. I mean I can see why the artist wanted to do that, you didn't want it to look like it's just Wolverine wearing a Batman suit, but why not give him two or four claws on each hand?

Oh well, that small thing aside this is a great read, if your a fan of Wolverine or a fan of Batman check it out. It's usually only like three bucks in most back issue bins.

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