With Halloween just around the corner I thought I’d share one of my favorite collections of horror meets super-hero comics. You may know Jonathan Maberry as a member of the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame……………? Well anyways, he’s a New York Times best selling horror writer–and multiple Bram Stoker Award Winner–who dabbles in comic books including three sets of his Marvel Universe Vs. stories. Each focuses on a survivor of a horrible plague that has threatened to destroy life as we know it in Marvel’s Earth-616 Universe.
The first series: Marvel Universe Vs. The Punisher [covers above] came out in 2010 and was our introduction to Maberry’s grim outlook on the end of the world for our favorite super heroes/villains/godesses/gods. Frank Castle is the quintessential protagonist for a story like this. Maberry cuts him loose, free to splatter some brains against the pavement at will. The story focuses on Castle’s hunt for patient zero: your friendly neighborhood cannibalistic Spider-Man; along the way he tangles with the Hulk and basically anything breathing. Explosions, sniping, blood, guts, and gore fill the pages of the four part series…perfect reading for this time of year.
The second hero to take on the plague ridden world of Maberry’s 616 is Wolverine [covers above], and it’s true what they say: he’s the best at what he does. Seems a healing factor can be a fantastic asset in times like these as he’s able to keep the virus at bay while searching for the Punisher and defending the world’s last hope. Logan and company are tasked with protecting a caravan of scientists including Reed Richards, Hank Pym, T’Challa, and others who are working on a cure. Ben Grimm, the Hulk, and their horde of crazed cannibals have other things in mind though and it gets mighty bleak (see the cover to issue 4 of 4 above). Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine came out in 2011 and occurs parallel to the Frank Castle story.
The most recent series is Marvel Universe Vs. The Avengers [covers above] released just last year. This four part mini-series pits Hawkeye against the legions of murderous cannibals; no powers, just hard work, blood, sweat, and a whole lot of arrows. Our heroes throw down against the usual suspects, an interesting wrinkle to the story: Doctor Doom has seemingly found a cure. The Latverian leader proposes to protect all remaining survivors if they pledge fealty to his lord ship. This obviously doesn’t sit well with everyone and there are plenty of surprises along the way, including a battle with the god of thunder: Thor.
All collections are available in paperback editions [on Amazon: Punisher, Wolverine, Avengers] as well as digitally from Comixology…or you can read them on Marvel Unlimited. These are great stories and I honestly hope Maberry continues with the series cause I’d love to see someone else get a story here…the obvious choice being Deadpool (read the comics to know why!!). We’ll see though–Maberry’s 2014 looks to be might busy–at New York Comic-Con he announced a 5 issue mini-series for Dark Horse Comics called Bad Blood. BUT, if and when the next series is announced we’ll be sure to let you know! Happy Halloween everyone! Be safe and have a most spooktacular time!!