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Historical Domain Crossover
aka: Archived Army

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Monster Mash is fun and all, but it's just a little too cheesy. Hey, we've got all these colorful historical figures, why not throw them all together, even if they never interacted with each other in real life?

This may involve Historical Hero Upgrade or Historical Villain Upgrade. The historical figures don't have to be on Earth; they just have to be historical, though this can also extend to in-universe historical figures. Justified in different ways: They could be simulacra, clones, or magically reanimated. Or brought forward in time. Related to Jury of the Damned and Stupid Jetpack Hitler. Could be the result of superpowered historical figures teaming up.

See also Army of The Ages, for fighting forces composed of warriors from different eras who aren't famous figures.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Drifters has this on both sides in a crapsack fantasy world - the good guys summoned there at the verge of death while the bad guys were those who historically died tragically.
  • Fate/stay night and its prequel Fate/Zero is pretty much the mythological version of this, although some (like Gilles de Rais and Alexander the Great) were historical people.
    • With some exceptions, the heroes summoned were all real people at some point. Their appearance and personality may change based on perceptions, however.
  • Nobunagun has the E-Genes, the essence of famous figures ranging from Jack the Ripper to Oda Nobunaga to Mahatma Gandhi extracted at the point of death. Certain people in the present day have inherited these E-Genes and are able to draw out powers based on them (guns for Nobunaga, an axe for Geronimo, gravity control for Isaac Newton, etc.), while also communing with their spirit from time to time.
  • Read or Die: The I-Jin are all made up of famous figures from the past, most notably Ludwig van Beethoven. They're cloned.
  • Samurai Deeper Kyo's concept.

    Comic Books 
  • In All-Select Comics #7, the sorcerer Terdu summons a group of villains from the past, whom he dubs the 'Men of Evil', to battle Captain America and Bucky. The Men of Evil were Captain Kidd, Jack the Ripper, Frank and Jesse James, Bluebeard, Gyp-the-Blood, and three gangsters (names unrevealed) who had died in the electric chair decades earlier.
  • In All-Star Comics #38, the Justice Society of America investigate Gotham City murders claimed to be performed by historical villains. Though they turn out to be the disguises of an insane wax museum guard, he succeeds in killing every member in the issue except Wonder Woman, who has to use the purple ray to bring them back to life. The villains are Nero, Goliath, Captain Kidd, Cesare Borgia, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.
  • The Avengers: One iteration of the Lethal Legion villain team, enemies of the Avengers, was composed of history's greatest murderers, given superpowers by hell. They were Lucrezia Borgia, Lizzie Borden, Josef Stalin, and Heinrich Himmler. Lucrezia was codenamed "Cyana", granted blue skin, Absurdly Sharp Claws coated with poison, and a literal Kiss of Death. Lizzie was codenamed "Axe of Violence", granted light red skin, her right hand was replaced by a double-headed axe, and she carried two other double-headed axes used as throwing weapons. Josef was codenamed "Coldsteel", becoming a Chrome Champion with a body made of living steel, granting him Super Strength and Super Toughness. Heinrich was codenamed "Zyklon", granted a Powered Armor which allowed him to fly. He released Deadly Gas from his mask and gauntlets.
  • In "The Ghost Robbers of the Wax Museum!!" in Big Bang Comics #6, Knight Watchman's adversary and Master of Disguise Mr. Mask commits a series of robberies while adopting the identities of some of history's greatest villains: Jesse James, Blackbeard, Attila the Hun, Adolf Hitler, and Jack the Ripper.
  • There is a comic by the Finnish comic artist Petri Hiltunen where a man brings a supply of weaponry to a group of outlaws who turn out to be the immortal revenants of various historical villains. Their leader plans to kill the man instead of paying, but the man tells him that's not going to work because he is Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus, and thus also immortal. As the man is leaving, one of the revenants runs up to his leader to inform him that the man was lying. How does he know? Because he is Judas Iscariot.
  • One time Judge Dredd faced a crime wave committed by famous criminals out of history and literature. The ultimate culprit turned out to be the manager of a museum full of animatronics - the museum was going under, so he sent out the exhibits of criminals to bring in money for him. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to reprogram them to commit crimes other than what they historically did (A graverobber would only rob graves, etc), so his crimes weren't paying even before Dredd caught up with him.
  • Justice Society of America: One comic has the JSA fighting what appears to be a band of villains out of history: Nero, Goliath, Captain Kidd, Cesare Borgia, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. It turns out to be one guy (a guard at a wax museum) masquerading as all these figures. However he succeeds in killing the entire male membership of the Society in that issue. They get better.
  • Kid Eternity had could summon heroes from history as his superpower, along with invisibility. There was also his evil counterpart, Master Man, who could summon villains from history.
    • In a crossover with Captain Marvel, Dr. Sivana revived several villains to oppose them. It didn't work out—Benedict Arnold betrayed him, as not even the British liked him for his treachery.
  • In Knight and Squire #3, Richard III is resurrected and he proceeds to resurrect England's other 'bad' kings: William II, John, Edward I, and Charles I. The monarchs are granted genetically enhanced superpowers and each leads a criminal army to take over a different part of the UK.
  • Leading Comics #3 has the Seven Soldiers of Victory working against Dr Doome (not Victor) who has used a time machine to summon up the Time Tyrants, Alexander the Great, Emperor Nero, Napoléon Bonaparte, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes: In Adventure Comics #314, a villain called Alaktor recruits history's three greatest villains (Nero, Adolf Hitler, and ... John Dillinger) to take on the Legion. Apparently Alaktor considers bank robbery to be equal to mass genocide.
  • This was the gimmick of Marvel Comics villain Immortus. He would summon someone from out of the time stream (usually someone who could work as a suitable contrast to whomever he was fighting at the time) to act as his champions. The Fridge Logic that pops up when he summons Hercules, who's got an ongoing career as a superhero in modern times, got addressed by claiming they aren't really the historical characters, just duplicates. Also he's just a possible future version of Kang the Conqueror using advanced technology.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight:
  • The Seven Soldiers of Victory once fought a villain with a time machine who brought forward Alexander the Great, Nero, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, and Napoléon Bonaparte to serve as commanders in his army of conquest.
  • Shazam!: Captain Marvel villain Ibac could be considered a type of this trope. Lucifer gave a crook the ability to turn into Ibac, with the powers of Ivan the Terrible, Borgia, Attila the Hun and Caligula. (Note that Ibac's name, like Shazam's, is an acronym of those four's first initials.) This doesn't explain how he gains enormous strength and durability, considering that logically he should only be about as strong as several men.
  • Inverted in Supreme; as a boy, Supreme was a member of the League of Infinity, which is comprised of heroes from history (some folkloric, some real, some made up by the comic). Uh, and they're all teenagers. Its eclectic membership includes Kid Achilles, a young Wild Bill Hickok, famed strategist Chu-Ko Liang, Mata Hari, mad scientist Wilhelm Reich, Aladdin, mutant caveman Giganthro, Witch Wench, the Germanic swordsman Siegfried, and team leader Zayla "Future Girl" Zarn. Their opposite number the League of Infamy presumably play this straight, but never make a full appearance.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The Divine Comedy has a much larger number in the Inferno section, some known to us only through the poem. Oddly, it also includes some scattered mythological villains, like Antaeus.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy features an invasion from The Legions of Hell in a Space Opera setting... A disproportionatly large portion of whom hail from the 20th century, potentially leading to massive Narm on the reader's part. There were enough people from other eras (past and future) so that (apart from the multiple Elvises) it could plausibly just be a statistical blip. And one of them's Al freakin' Capone.
  • The Odyssey: Odysseus goes to the Underworld and sees mythological villains being punished for their crimes, like the trickster Sisyphus, the husband-murdering daughters of Danaë, and the cannibalistic Tantalus.
  • Return to Groosham Grange has the waxworks of Hitler, a French Revolutionary and others brought to life from Madame Tussaud.
  • In Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch, London suffers from a crime wave committed by the magically-animated waxworks from Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors. The felons thus unleashed are a mix of historical criminals like Dr Crippen and George Joseph Smith and fictional (but real in-universe) villains like Sweeney Todd and Sir Percival Glyde. Among other incidents, Crippen tries to poison the punch at a society party, Sweeney Todd cuts the throat of a famous entertainer, and Glyde attempts to menace a young lady only for her to demonstrate decisively that young ladies in the 20th century are more bold and enterprising than the fainting maidens of his day.
  • In TimeRiders, the team are joined by the likes of Abraham Lincoln and the apparent Robin Hood. However, they can't stay permanently.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider X has a variation, where the Nebulous Evil Organisation G.O.D. has the Villan Monsters, made by combining animal DNA with the DNA of historical figures. However, their list is all over the place: while it includes a few recognized villains like Al Capone, Genghis Khan, and Adolf Hitler (who resulted in the memetic Starfish Hitler), it also includes figures who were more ambiguous (Ishikawa Goemon, Geronimo), completely unremarkable (Benjamin Ogle), and some who were just straight-up fictional (Dracula, Arsene Lupin).
  • The "encores" in Legends of Tomorrow season 5 are historic villains revived by Astra. Mostly they reappear shortly after their death, and the Legends go to them, but in "Mortal Khanbat" Genghis Khan spent centuries making his way out of his tomb and emerged in the 1990s, and in "The Great British Fake-Off", Jack the Ripper, Bonnie and Clyde, Brutus, Henry VIII and the pirate Black Caesar are all brought to 1910 by Lachesis.
  • In the Lois & Clark episode "That Old Gang of Mine", Mad Scientist Emil Hamilton creates clones of Al Capone, John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde to demonstrate that evil is not hereditary. It doesn't work out that way. (There was a comic book storyline at around the same time that may have been the inspiration, but it used fictional gangsters.)
  • Red Dwarf:
    • "Meltdown" has the crew encounter a "wax-droid" museum planet, where the wax-droids have become self-aware, and the "Good" and "Bad" characters have gone to war. The "Bad" characters include Al Capone, Benito Mussolini, Hitler, Caligula, Rasputin the Mad Monk, Richard the III, and jazz musician James Last.
    • In "Cured", the crew encounter a scientific base where Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Vlad the Impaler, and Messalina have been recreated through cloning and cured of 'evil'. (Lab notes reveal that Rupert Murdoch proved resistant to the treatment.) However, it turns out the evildoers are actually androids who were originally the medical staff of the base who have been reprogrammed to believe they are historical villains.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • There's an odd In-Universe example when the Excalbians create duplicates of various criminals who are "historical monsters" from the perspective of the Enterprise crew, with Genghis Khan the only real-world historical "villain," and set them against a group of Historical Heroes, of whom the only real-world counterpart is Abe Lincoln.
    • One episode offers an Inversion in which another bunch of aliens create psychic images of the Earps and Doc Holliday, popularly remembered as the heroes of the OK Corral gunfight, and put Kirk and his landing party in the roles of the "villainous" Clantons and McLowrys.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Gamescience adventure The Future King, Doc Holliday, Nostradamus, Bruce Lee, Harald Hardraada, Owen Glendower and Cyrano de Bergerac are gathered together to find and wake King Arthur.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Daemon Prince Doombreed is said to have once been a "warlord of ancient Terra" whose acts of brutality had impressed the War God Khorne so much that he granted him immortality. While his identity is ambiguous (Genghis Khan and Adolf Hitler are two popular suggestions), the time period given makes it clear that he's a historical figure.

    Video Games 
  • The Fallout 3 expansion "Mothership Zeta" has you team up with several cryogenically-preserved warriors on the alien spaceship: a military doctor from Operation Anchorage, a contemporary slaver, a wild west cowboy, and a samurai.
  • In the first part of Fate/Grand Order, the Big Bad assigns the tasks of conquering the Singularities of Human History to various Heroic Spirits and past villains, including Gilles de Rais, Romulus, Jason, Makiri Zolgen, and Queen Medb.
  • In The Legend of Zelda spin-off game Hyrule Warriors, Time Travel lets an incarnation of Link and Zelda battle alongside heroes (and villains) from the Era of the Hero of Time, the Era of Twilight, and the Era of the Sky. The developers have said it's basically Zelda's version of The Avengers.
  • Toukiden has Mitama, the spirits of heroes devoured by oni across the ages that have been freed by Slayers. Slayers can commune with these spirits to gain special powers and the Player Character has the uniquenote  power of communing with a very large number of them.
  • If you stretch it a bit, this is basically the concept of the Warriors Orochi series — bringing together legendary warriors from China's Three Kingdoms Period, others from Japan's Warring States Era, and a few guys from mythology for good measure — just so Orochi can have a decent challenge. Certainly, a teamup of Masamune Date, Lu Bu and Sun Wukong invokes the same sort of feeling...
  • The Nexus in Heroes of the Storm does this, pretty much literally, but with simulacra of characters from Blizzard's various IPs. Their fighting skills, personalities and such are translated into the Nexus albeit somewhat imperfectly. They have been chosen to fight these battles on behalf of the shadowy rulers of the Nexus: such as the Grave Keeper and the Lady of Thorns. You and your friends can assemble your Quirky Miniboss Squad, to fight with an opponent's similar squad. To make your squad extra quirky, you can summon alternate-universe versions of some characters: which may have very different looks and themed powers, or even different voices. The alternate universes tend to have wacky themes like Professional Wrestling, Christmas, or Robots: meaning even the characters from more Grimdark settings can get silly skins. Other times a character will get a new skin because of Ascended Fanon: like Jaina's Dreadlord skin.

    Web Comics 
  • The eponymous Chitra of Chitra is rewarded for completing quests in the RPG Mechanics 'Verse she's been isekai'd into with coupons for pulls in The Gods' Exclusive Gacha System. Prizes from the gacha are attractive male supporters to aid her in administering and expanding her territory. The high-level prizes are all in-universe famous warriors, mages, and strategists from the past; like Radelk the famous Warrior Butler, Tyrex the Battle Mage, and Tornian "the genius war strategist and military tactician". (While its not made clear how so many historically important figures ended up sealed away in magical gems dispensed as prizes from a celestial slot machine, awaiting the day when a new master would summon them into service, there are also various average soldiers and tradespeople from the past available as lower-level prizes.)
  • In the old comic Life of Riley, when Jezebel strikes against her opponents in an all-out paintball war (it's a long story), she uses the memories of various souls that have fallen to her over the ages. The first few eras - your Caesars, your Napoleons, et cetera - weren't all that effective against modern tactics. Eventually, though, she moved onto blitzkriegs, which ... also weren't that effective in the end, but for different reasons.

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s): Archived Army, Historys Crime Wave