Legends of the Dark Claw #1

Issue Date: 
April 1996
Story Title: 
Through a Glass Darkly

Larry Hama (writer), Jim Balent (penciler), Ray McCarthy (inker), Pat Garrahy (colorist), Bill Oakley (letterer), Jordan B. Gorfinkel (associate editor), Denny O’Neil (editor), Jim Balent, Ray McCarthy, & Matt Hollingsworth (cover art)

Brief Description: 

At the Gotham Gazette, Dark Claw engages the Hyena in battle. When the Hyena’s crew, his Pack, intervene, Claw manages to escape, thanks to his assistant, Sparrow. Meanwhile, inside his penthouse in Gotham, the Huntress breaks in and eventually discovers that Logan and the Dark Claw are one in the same. Once she discovers this information, she is approached by Claw, who tells her his story, how he and the Hyena were part of the same secret Canadian project back in the day. Later, inside his secret lair, Claw, Sparrow and the Huntress uncover the Hyena’s plot to kill the president aboard Air Force 1. In short time, Dark Claw makes his way onto Air Force One. He is accosted by the Secret Service agents at first but, once the Hyena makes his presence known, Claw engages him in battle. After Hyena releases a poison gas grenade off inside the plane, Claw slashes the side door of the plane off. When he does, the two combatants and most of the poison gas are sucked out, saving the president. Hyena is able to deploy a parachute and is safe but Claw has to grab hold of the Claw-Copter’s wheel. He then tells Sparrow to circle back round so he can get another crack at the Hyena.

Full Summary: 

Ignoring the gunfire raining down on him, the Dark Claw says “Black and white and red all over…” It doesn’t take a detective to figure out where your clue was pointing to Hyena. He then asks how the Gotham Gazette printing plant fits into his nefarious scheme. Hyena responds that’s for him to know and him to find out. Isn’t he curious as to why he dropped him a hint about where he was going to strike next?

Slashing the Hyena across the face with his claws, Dark Claw says not much. He doesn’t expect he’s going to hell him, anyway. Taking Dark Claw’s strikes in stride, Hyena remarks that it’s no fun if he just tells him. After Claw states that this isn’t twenty questions, Hyena says he was always such a humorless stick-in-the-mud. Just then, the two combatants fall from their catwalk perch to the ground below. Once they land on the ground, Hyena is able to recover first and proceeds to toss Claw into a nearby fixture, burying him underneath. As he runs off, Hyena begins to cackle and says that Claw has always been so inflexible. He never wants to play.

Picking himself up off the ground, Dark Claw remarks that it’s a good thing he has a mutant healing factor. Just then, his sidekick, Sparrow, calls him over his earpiece and proceeds to inform him that his life-function readings are looking kinda spooky. Rushing off, Claw tells her to keep her eyes on the horizon and check her six. The Hyena is heading for the roof, so be prepared to cover him. Sparrow confirms and asks him to save a piece of that giggling geek for her.

As Dark Claw begins to rush up the stairs that lead to the roof, Hyena tosses some “frolic frags” down at his pursuer. Dodging them, Claw mentions to him that he thought he wanted to play. Reaching the top floor, in front of a large window, Hyena answers “Oh, I do. I do!” Claw asks his choice – how about tag? With that, Claw tackles Hyena and they crash through the large window behind them. When Hyena asks if he’s it, Claw tells him that he’s about to be “a was.” Hyena tells him oh my. How uncharacteristically droll. He then asks Claw if he’s been staying up late and watching the comedy channel.

Holding Hyena over the ledge, Claw tells him this is the end of his stand-up routine. Give him one good reason why he shouldn’t just cut his throat and drop him into traffic. Hyena says no alternate side of the street body-dumping on weekdays? After Claw tells him that was weak, Hyena says he’s got a good one. Howsabout his Pack shows up and blows him away. From a nearby rooftop, the members of Hyena’s Pack open up fire on the Dark Claw. As Claw begins to deftly dodge all of the gunfire, he eventually runs out of rooftop. Once he does, he leaps into the air. Hyena interjects that the Dawk Cwaw gonna fall down, go boom.

Grabbing hold of the nearby Claw-copter, Claw remarks that he’s no “puddy tat.” Piloting the chopper, Sparrow tells him that he can say that again, old man. When Claw tells her not to call him that, Sparrow reminds him that he stuck her with Sparrow when she wanted to call herself Death Urge Overdrive. Entering the chopper, Claw tells her that Sparrow is a perfectly good name and then asks her what she’s doing. Sparrow tells him that she’s comin’ around for a strafing run. Grabbing the controls, Claw informs her that those thugs have missiles.

As they begin to fly off, Sparrow points out that they were heat-seekers and begins to ask him how he knew. Before she can finish her thought, the duo narrowly misses a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier zooming by them. When Sparrow asks where it’s heading, Claw replies that’s a good question.

Meanwhile, in the artsy-trendy section of Gotham, the Huntress deftly breaks into a building. Upon entering, she records her thoughts. At 11:45 p.m. she has disabled the alarm system and she is now entering the penthouse loft of one Logan, techno-wizard, painter, sportsman and walking enigma. She is in what appears to be his studio. A profusion of large, bold canvasses in his distinctive style; said by some critics to “possess the fury of feral slashes.” There are stairs that lead up to the master bedroom. According to what little there is in his dossier, Logan was an orphan, raised in an institution in Edmonton, Alberta.

Looking at the pictures on his dresser, she wonders why he has photos of himself as a child with what appears to be his parents, standing in front of a luxury apartment building in Gotham. He was in the RCAF? There are no records. And what was he doing in southeast Asia? And… the other man in this photo is Creed. That means he knew the mysterious Mr. Creed H. Quinn before the Project. Opening up a closet, she is shocked at what she discovers. Logan is the Dark Claw!

At that very moment, Dark Claw appears behind Huntress and says she’s the Huntress, a.k.a. Carol Danvers. Huntress says to him a secret passage and elevator behind the closet wall, that’s how he gets in and out. But how did he know who she was? Claw replies that he’s a detective, remember? He then asks what else her impertinent snooping has uncovered. Huntress answers not much. When she accessed his ultra-ultra file in the top secret archives, it turned out to be an elaborate fiction.

As she asks Logan just how deep his cover is, he leaps at her and tells her as deep as her own, if she knows that much about him. Pinning her to the ground, Logan remarks that he knows she used to run ops for some no-name, no-visible budget, federal puzzle-palace directorate. Word was she went rogue. She’s out in the cold right? Running on a long leash? Dropping her weapon, Huntress asks that he expects her to tell him the truth?

Letting Huntress up, Logan asks what he does with her. He’s blown if he lets her walk out of there. He then asks her how she tumbled on to him, anyhow. Huntress tells him that he wasn’t out to track down Dark Claw, he was after the Hyena and the Hyena’s tracks have a way of crossing Logan’s. Logan, Creed, and four others went into a secret Canadian project back when there was still an evil empire to battle. All the records of that project have been conveniently destroyed except for a few fragments of notes by a Professor Carter Nichols which mentions two scientists named Cornelius and Hines. She takes it that something went terribly wrong at the project.

Remembering back to when he and Creed were next to each other in large tubes and being observed by scientists, he states that actually, the program was a resounding success. It produced exactly what it set out to produce – a remorseless killing machine devoid of all human compassion, a perfect weapon – Creed. They forgot one important thing about weapons. They are usually inert objects that can’t get up off a table and do harm by themselves. Their mistake was in creating a weapon with an imagination.

When Huntress asks if that was him, Logan tells her no. He was the failure, useless to them as a weapon, because he was possessed of a conscience. After he asks her if she wants to know the whole story, Huntress excitedly says of course. With that, Logan grabs hold of her hand as they leap into the elevator shaft. As the Huntress shrieks, Logan tells Ms. Danvers not to panic on him. This is a pneumatic tube with an air-cushion at the bottom. They are going deep below the bed-rock of Gotham, down to a lair that only two other people have ever seen or heard of. Once they reach the bottom, Logan welcomes her to the barrow.

Upon entering the barrow, Danvers notices a large portrait. It’s the same one as in his bedroom. Are they his parents? Logan informs her that he was five years old when they were shot down in front of him by an armed robber. He was sent to live with his uncle in Alberta, up near Buffalo Wood. He was a Mountie. Some poachers ambushed him and left him in the snow. The RCMP sent him to a home run by nuns. As soon as he was old enough, he signed up for the Air Force. Danvers exclaims Royal Canadian Air Force security. Creed was in the same outfit. That was the link. That’s where they…

Before she can finish her thought, Sparrow cuts her off and angrily asks what the damaged bimbo is doing down there. Logan informs her that she called in her markers at Langley and used her push at D.O.D. to access the banks of super crays under Maryland. She was sniffing for Creed and came up with Logan. Sparrow remarks that this is totally uncool and unacceptable. They can’t let her walk out of here knowing all about this. Logan asks her what he wants him to do, take her out in the woods and lose her. When Sparrow says well, yeah, Logan tells her to get real. He then asks her if she tied down the helicopter in the roof hangar. Sparrow tells him that it’s tied down and secured.

Looking at his computer, Logan mentions that he sees she already hacked her way into the typesetting computer at the Gotham Gazette. Sparrow says it was a piece of cake. The access code turned out to be “Gutenberg.” Giving her a playful punch in the arm, Logan says to her “You did good, darling.” Holding her arm, Sparrow flashes a large smile.

With all three of them huddled around the monitor, Danvers asks what they are looking for in the Gazette computer. Logan states that when he tangled with the Hyena at the printing plant, he noticed that Creed was wearing a static electricity discharge wire on his wrist. He wasn’t there to plant a bomb at all. He was there to go inside the guts of a computer. The discharge wire is to prevent damage to the memory. So, why go to all that trouble to interfere with the typography of the newspaper? Sparrow says he’s a real joker, maybe he was messing with the headlines for the morning paper. Logan tells her to punch it up. Sparrow tells him it’s already punched up and then asks what is it, a rebus?

On the monitor, are the letters “AF1+NaCN=.” With a shocked look on her face, Danvers remarks that “AF1” is Air Force 1, the President’s plane. Logan adds that “NaCN” is sodium cyanide, a deadly poison. He then adds that the president is in Gotham and due to fly back to Washington in twenty minutes.

Twenty minutes later, at Gotham International airport, the control tower informs Air Force 1 (AF1) that they have priority clearance to take off from runway 2. When AF1 asks if they have a green light from security, the tower replies negative. They have an unidentified helicopter over the field on an intercept with AF1. Another person in the control room interjects that it didn’t show up on radar. It must be running a third generation ECM suite.

Just then, aboard AF1, a member of the Secret Service rushes into the cockpit and informs the pilots that they have a bogey intercept and to abort the takeoff. One of the pilots states that they can’t. Too much velocity and not enough runway. They’re committed. Upon hearing that, the Secret Service agent yells out “Situation red! Secure the quarterback!”

As they fly near AF1, Dark Claw tells Sparrow to pull alongside it and match speed. Sparrow tells him it’s gonna be rough. That thing is putting out turbulence like a spastic whale. Sparrow then tells Claw to tell the slut to take her shot. Claw turns to Huntress and tells her to go for it. Huntress answers that she will as soon as his juvenile assistant gets them in the correct alignment. Maneuvering the chopper, Sparrow tells her that this is as good as it gets Wilhemina Tell. After Huntress asks Sparrow if she’s been reading her cliff notes, Sparrow tells her to just shoot.

After a successful shot that attached to AF1’s landing gear, Claw grabs hold and takes off. As he does, he tells Sparrow to bank away. He needs to clear the rotors. Aboard AF1, the agents remark that the bogey looked like the Claw-Copter. Another agent says anybody can go bad or psycho and Dark Claw wasn’t wound too tight to begin with.

Continuing to scale the cord, Dark Claw notices that the gear is retracting and that he has to get up into the well before the covers close and lock. Reaching the landing gear, Claw remarks that it’s a good thing aircraft aluminum is no match for adamantium. Inside AF1, one of the agents sees Claw climbing up the nose wheel and immediately orders the quarterback to be locked down tight in the tail of the plane. He then orders Sanderson to check out all the lavatories.

At that moment, Claw slashes his way into the cockpit. Once he enters, he tells them he’s there to warn them. They Hyena is making an attempt on the president’s life. Pointing their weapons at him, the agents tells him that the only costume wacko he sees around there is him. Claw calls them fools. Hyena is probably already on the plane. They don’t know how… As the agents open fire on him, Claw tells them that he’s not the threat. They have to search…

As Sanderson begins to check the lavatories, he is ambushed by Hyena, who tells him that this is no way to get a head. He then adds that this would probably put his career in the toilet; that is, if he wasn’t already dead. Leaping out into the hallway, Hyena tosses a grenade near President Clinton and his Secret Service agents. As he does, he tells them it’s a little campaign contribution. He hopes it doesn’t exceed the guidelines. When the gas grenade explodes, Claw tells the agents to get the president down on the deck and strap him down. He’ll deal with the Hyena.

As he tackles him, the Hyena asks that the old mutant healing factor is still going strong, eh? Claw answers and that he is still as crazed as ever. Hyena says crazy is as crazy does. He won. There’s no way he can vent all the poison gas out of the place in time to save the president. Claw tells him that he loses, he forgot about the adamantium. With that, Claw slashes the door off the side of the plane. Once he does, they both fly out of the plane. Claw points out that the explosive decompression blew them both out of the plane and sucked out most of the poison. The president is saved. Hyena says but he’s not because he didn’t bring a parachute and he did. Deploying his parachute, Hyena tells Logan that he better start flapping his arms and begins to laugh hysterically.

Nearby, Huntress points out to Sparrow that Dark Claw is falling. Sparrow states that he sees him and hopes the old man’s got his timing down. Simultaneously, Claw hopes the kid has her timing down. At that moment, Claw manages to grab hold of the Claw-Copter’s wheel and is safe. Claw proceeds to tell Sparrow that she did aces and to circle back and let him get another crack at the Hyena.

Characters Involved: 

Dark Claw [Wolverine (Marvel) + Batman (DC)]
Sparrow [Jubilee (Marvel) + Robin (DC)]
Huntress [Carol Danvers (Marvel) + Huntress (DC)]

Hyena [Sabretooth (Marvel) + Joker (DC)]
Various unnamed members of Hyena’s Pack

President William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton
Various unnamed members of the President’s security detail

In Flashbacks:
Creed H. Quinn
Cornelius, Hines, and the Director (all Weapon X scientists)

Story Notes: 

The Amalgam line was a joint-effort crossover event between Marvel and DC to combine the two universes. There were a number of different comics (one-shots) that came from this pairing that introduced a number of combo-characters.

At the end of this issue, it states that the next issue is called “This claw, this crossbow!” That issue, as of current time, has not happened.

Some other titles in the Amalgam line were: Speed Demon, Bruce Wayne: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., X-Patrol, JLX, Spider-Boy, Bullets & Bracelets, Amazon, Doctor Strangefate, Assassins, Magneto & the Magnetic Men, and Super-Soldier.

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