Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine(2011)
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Illustrated by Laurence Campbell
Marvel has taken a liking to zombies in their comics. Everyone is well aware of Marvel Zombies but some might not know of another zombie apocalyptic series. Jonathan Maberry has written two graphic novels featuring the unraveling of the Marvel universe via a disease that turns people into primitive cannibalistic creatures. Maberry has written many entries in the Black Panthers series and Marvel Zombies Return: Wolverine. MU Vs The Punisher was the first installment, which I enjoyed. It sets the stage for the after effects of the virus. But I wanted to focus on this novel featuring Wolverine since it focuses on the beginning. The kill count will be massive; this is Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine.
We open with a prologue – and we start with two deaths. Hmm, that was quick. Wolverine narrates that pretty much everything has gone to shit as we see him laying waste to two X-Men; Kitty Pride(I think) and Peter Rasputin; Colossus. An adamantium claw to the brain will do that. Wolverine recollects that Peter was his best friend which ties into his emotion in having to kill his comrade. Though, I don't remember Wolverine and Colossus being that close(I gotta read more X-Men).
|He's your dead friend|
Cut to the present where Wolverine is watching a hockey game on TV where we see Spider-Man battling Rhino. He takes over the foe and begins to feast on his flesh. I guess this would put up a red flag. Wolverine joins Reed Richards in his lab where they have captured Spider-Man. Richards reveals that Spidey has been taken by a virus. The virus has increased his abilities but his brain functions have de-evolved. Also, the web slinger seems to have gotten a taste for people and his digestive system has adjusted to breaking down raw meat.
Wolverine continues to narrate that everyone thinks it is an isolated incident and business resumes as normal. We segway to Logan and Psylocke doing their super hero thing when she escapes through a manhole. Wolverine catches up to find only the hand of Psylocke by the manhole. Police come and Logan tracks down his female partner to find only her bones. Back to the Fantastic Four's lab as more questions are raised regarding Spider-Man. Cut back to the streets as Wolverine contacts Beast to see if he can get more insight where he is interrupted by a mugging. Logan incapacitates the mugger – or so he thought. For what he though was a mugging was just a father trying to get his child from a feasting mother. This is one of those “Oh shit” moments, let me tell ya.
|Shit just got real!|
The virus begins to spread more quickly as we see a school bus full off children attacking and eating people on the streets screaming “meat.” This scene is actually pretty funny to me. A cheerful bunch of school children turn into flesh hungry spawns of hell. We are then told that Warren Worthington, Angel, was supposed to be arriving from Utopia to aid. He has not reported and Logan makes his way to Central Park to find him. Upon his arrival, we see a shadow of what appears to be Dr. Octopus carrying people with his claws. Wolverine makes quick work with a decapitation and Doc Oc is down. Very anti climactic with this scene. Just one panel and Doc Oc is down. Logan discovers that Angel has been taken by the virus and is forced to kill him. He then realizes that Utopia must be infected in which leads into the prologue followed by an image of a bloody Wolverine standing over his dead friends. So far, I'm intrigued but I kind of wish some of these battles where Logan is slicing and dicing his fellow X-Men would be a bit longer and more descriptive. By not doing that, it doesn't make as much of an impact and I'm left kind of not caring.
|Wolverine and the ex-X-men|
Wolverine reports back to the F4 lab to give his report. He is detailed by Richards and Hank Pym that this new retrovirus had to have been caused or created by someone that is in constant contact with the criminal underworld that was exposed to a chemical known as Survivor 118. They need to reach this person because they have theorized that since Spider-Man is patient zero, someone else my have the chemical and they can use it to manufacture an anti-body. This person is Frank Castle, the Punisher. Logan finds skull wearing enemy of the underworld battling some of the infected with Hawkeye. Wolverine helps them make quick work of their foes and inquires Frank about Survivor 118. Castle explains that he made the bust and wasted the criminals importing the substance. He was exposed to the chemical but explained that the only effect it had was some vomiting. The rest washed away through the sewer.
|Damn, all in a day's work, I guess|
Logan reports and Richards says that The Punisher's blood can be used since he did not fall ill to the chemical. After a small argument regarding Logan bringing Frank back whether he likes it or not, leads our heroes through some skirmishes in the streets of New York to the F4 building. They enter and find that the building has been invaded. They make their way up to the lab where they find Spider-Man has escaped and his sharing a human body as a meal with the newly infected Beast. They engage as Wolverine tries to subdue Spidey while Beast makes his advance towards Frank. But one shotgun blast later, Beast is headless and no more. The Punisher finds an uninfected but injured Reed Richards as he explains that the building was overrun and he could not prevent it. Then out of the shadows emerges a new foe. The Thing has been infected and with two cannibal bitches at his side, he plans to feed himself and his women on some new flesh. “It's cannibal time!”
|The Thing be pimpin'|
Now, I love The Punisher; one of my favorite Marvel characters. The fact that he teams up with Wolverine is great. Though they must work together, their personalities clash and they have to overcome their personal beliefs and try to work together. You can feel the struggle as you would expect in any survival horror.
The battle with The Thing begins with a bashing punch to Wolverine right on the chin(ouch). The Punisher responds with a few grenades forcing Ben Grimm to retreat. Hank Pym is found unharmed and explains that the virus is getting out of control. Frank cuts himself and leaves some blood in a test tube saying that that's all they will get from him. They decide to head to Elizabeth, New Jersey where T'Challa, the Black Panther, is setting up a staging area. The heroes make their way and we have a narrative by Logan describing that either people are with them with their travel, infected, or are awaiting an outcome; where we see an image of Dr. Doom watching what is unfolding.
Cut to Ben Grimm asking an unknown figure for his help to get “the wizards”(which is what the new cannibal race refers to Reed Richards, Pym, and the other scientists). Meanwhile, more heroes band together and are told that a cannibal army is approaching. They decide to stand their ground at a bridge to buy the scientists enough time to get to Elizabeth. We are then revealed that the army is lead by the Hulk, who has been infected. The morale suddenly decreases. The assault begins with Logan giving an order to the Human Torch to light'em up. The advance is shortlived as the Hulk dispenses Johnny with a single massive clap.
The battle begins and we see heroes such as Captain America team up with villains like Juggernaut to combat the infected army. Wolverine then engages with Hulk in an epic battle. Wolverine narrates that fighting the Hulk seems impossible also including that the Hulk is the strongest he has ever been. The battle seems grim and Hulk's battle against Logan almost seems one when we see an enraged Johnny Storm come back into action and sacrifice himself in the form of a nova explosion, destroying the bridge. But not before Hulk bites and rips a souvenir off of Wolverine.
|He later wears Logan's arm as a necklace|
Ok, adding a character with the infection like the Hulk was a good move. Hulk is another one of my favorites but trying to imagine him as a cannibal power being demanding flesh and blood; BADASS. I was also impressed with the sacrifice of the Human Torch on a personal level. I don't really like the Fantastic Four but for the fact that the writer chose Johnny Storm to make the supreme “Vegeta-like suicide” explosion makes me give the character a little bit more credit and a shred of respect. Now, this may be the action part of my brain talking, but I haven't liked how short the action scenes in this movie have been so far. The individual fights only seem to last 1-2 pages while this epic battle on the bridge only lasted about 3. I WANT TO SEE MORE FIGHTING AND BLOODSHED, DAMMIT!
Cap, Deadpool and Castle find Wolverine laying in the river where it seems the Hulk has removed one of his arms. Logan explains how it won't grow back and Cap decides that they need someone as a scout. Wade Wilson is chosen and makes is way to monitor Hulk's army. We are then revealed that Deadpool himself has fallen to the disease but seems to have retained his normal “breaking the fourth wall” attitude as we seem him discuss his own disease with himself in a very Gollum, Lord of the Rings way.
|Even in the face of the cannibal apocalypse, Deadpool is funny as hell|
Their plan is hold at a bridge while Luke Cage has left to get transport and they need to hold off the diseased army long enough for the transports to arrive and evacuate the scientists. During the calm before the storm, Wolverine sees that Hulk is not with the army and deduces that he is taking an alternate route to intercept the scientists. Wolverine makes his leave to meet the green menace and takes Deadpool with him. They engage the Hulk as the front line begins attacking the army. During the attack, Frank Castle notices something horrifying. Captain America has fallen victim to the virus. With his last human breath, he asks Frank to please make sure he doesn't live to be the enemy. Frank's last words to Cap:
|Followed by a panel stating: "BLAM!"|
Back to Wolverine versus the Hulk, a classic Marvel matchup by the way, we see Logan take the advantage and strike Banner his new patented claw to the fucking brain(seriously, this is like, Wolverine's new move in this book). The Hulk is incapacitated, the transports escape, and Frank fends off the army. We then segway to “Two Years Later” at the North Pole. We see Reed Richards and Hank Pym and we are led to believe that they are experimenting on some infected still trying to make a cure. We close by seeing the scouting party returning and are exposed to an old man Logan...for fuck's sake, it has on been two years, why the FUCK is he an old man. Hmm, weird way to end it.
I think this graphic novel is.....decent. It really lacks in the action department. I mean, c'mon, this is a Wolverine comic. I don't want detailed discussions about disease, anti-bodies, etc. I want action. And the action in this book is very short and not that great. I mean, Wolverine has to use the same kill move twice in this book. You can't tell me that you couldn't take a character like Logan and think of better ways to end it. Now, I know that claws to the brain would be the most effective, but this is a comic, lets use our imagination people! Aside from that, this comic leads well into Marvel Universe Vs. The Punisher(which I will review some time). I don't like the ending but maybe Maberry will continue his MU Vs. series with another comic. In closing, I would say give this book a look. If you like survival horror and an absurd kill count of Marvel heroes and villains, you will enjoy it.