From Iron Man to War Machine and back, an armored hero with few peers!

Celebrate Black History Month by delving into the first appearances of Marvel’s most prominent African and African-American characters on Marvel Unlimited!

One of the best things about long-term comic reading is seeing the development of a character into a hero. That’s what readers of IRON MAN got to see in the 70’s and 80’s when it came to James Rhodes.

In his first appearance back in 1979’’s IRON MAN #118—by legends Bob Layton, David Micheline, and John Byrne—Rhodey debuted as Tony Stark’s helicopter pilot, but the billionaire decided to fly the whirlybird himself up to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier for a meeting. In issue #120, Rhodes told Bethany Cabe that he’d known Stark since the Vietnam War, and would go on to become an important person in Tony’s present leading up to and after the classic “Demon in a Bottle” storyline.

A few years later, Tony took to the drink again as Obadiah Stane focused on destroying Stark financially. With Tony in no condition to fight, Rhodey donned the Iron Man armor for the first time in 1983’s IRON MAN #170 to defeat Magma.

Iron Man (1968) #170

Iron Man (1968) #170

  • Published: May 10, 1983
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 29, 2013
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Rhodes wore the suit for a while, taking on villains like Radioactive Man, helping to found the West Coast Avengers, and even participating in Secret Wars. After a while though, the suit took its toll as the helmet had been designed for Stark’s brainwaves. The incompatible hardware drove Rhodey mad, but Tony repaid his friend by standing by him and helping him recover.

After getting some help from Alpha Flight’s Shaman, Rhodey got his head fixed and returned to the armor until a bomb orchestrated by Stane nearly killed him. Rhodes remained good friends with Tony, helping during the Armor Wars story and even taking over the suit a time or two when absolutely necessary.

A badly injured Stark revealed the War Machine armor in 1992’s IRON MAN #281, but didn’t wear it long as he seemingly passed away in #283. In the following issue, Rhodes discovered that Stark not only left him the company, but the War Machine as well.

Rhodey filled the position valiantly for a while until he discovered that Stark didn’t actually die and set out on his own, leading into his first solo series, WAR MACHINE. Since then he’s worn many variations on his familiar armor, filled in for Iron Man, helped save Tony’s life on more than one occasion, and joined groups like S.H.I.E.L.D., the Secret Avengers, the Office of National Emergency, the U.S. Military, the Crew, and the Avengers.

Iron Man (1968) #283

Iron Man (1968) #283

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Unfortunately, Rhodes recently fell in battle against Thanos in the pages of CIVIL WAR II #1. He and the other heroes who wanted to use the future-seeing Inhuman Ulysses to stop incidents did so, but at the cost of Rhodey’s life. Enraged, Tony Stark rose against Captain Marvel which launched the entire Marvel Universe into another massive conflict.

History Lesson

Over the years, Jim Rhodes wore more than just the Iron Man and War Machine armors. In the second half of his 1990’s series, he lost the silver armor and wound up with a symbiotic suit called the Eidolon Warwear that granted him a variety of new abilities. Much more recently, Rhodes donned a look originally sported by Norman Osborn. He first appeared as the Iron Patriot in the pages of GAMBIT #13 before continuing on into a five-issue series called IRON PATRIOT, but returned to his more familiar War Machine identity before the events of Civil War II.

Next, we’re sticking with armored heroes who pick up where Tony Stark leaves off with a Riri Williams spotlight!

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Writer Sean Ryan discusses what comes next for Hobie Brown in the fallout of Clone Conspiracy!

Hobie Brown has come out of the Clone Conspiracy still standing upright and facing what remains of his life with PROWLER #6 on March 22.

As Prowler prepares for a life after death and finally being able to live out from under the thumb of Ben Reilly, we talked to writer Sean Ryan about his experiences writing the character and how both Hobie Brown and Ryan’s feelings about the character have evolved over the course of the book. Emotionally, what state do we find Hobie in at that start of PROWLER #6?

Sean Ryan: Burnt out, confused and lost. Hobie’s a character that’s always been jumping from one thing to another, and now he finds himself in the middle of that jump. He’s not sure where this next jump is going to lead him. And he’s getting pretty tired of jumping. How does Prowler feel about his choices and behavior over the course of Clone Conspiracy now that the Jackal’s motives and behaviors have been laid bare?

Sean Ryan: The Hobie we see in issue #6 was locked up and kept in stasis during the majority of Clone Conspiracy. I think he finds it very disorienting to know that there was another version of him running around making decisions that he doesn’t necessarily agree with. I think that makes him question a lot about himself. Something this issue tries to do is get Hobie to really focus in on what he wants. The events of Clone Conspiracy have really thrown him for a loop in that regard, not knowing who he is. This event obviously had big effects on Spider-Man as well. At the start of issue #6, where are Prowler and Spidey in terms of their friendship? How about their brief partnership?

Sean Ryan: Things aren’t great. Spider-Man has [gone] through hell. But Prowler was also almost murdered. Prowler is feeling burnt out and is questioning his whole life. He’s angry and unfortunately, he’s pointing a lot of that anger at Spider-Man. The two don’t leave best of friends, certainly. Where do you view Prowler’s place in the Spider-Man section of the Marvel Universe? How about the larger Marvel U?

Sean Ryan: Prowler is one of those characters that will always show up from time to time in comics, but never really as the main character, or the character that is leading or making the big decisions. He’s always a part of someone else’s story. I find it sad. My biggest dream for Prowler is that he gives up being a super hero and moves to somewhere quiet. The Marvel Universe can always use heroes, but I think being a super hero is doing too much damage to Prowler. How, if at all, has working on this title changed your perspective or feel about, or approach to the character?

Sean Ryan: I didn’t really know that much about Prowler when I started the book. I knew of him and his costume, but very little else. And like I said in the answer above, I really feel for him now. He’s a lost guy. I don’t think he knows what he’s doing or what he wants. He feels trapped in being a super hero to me. I just want him to find some happiness. When we’ve spoken previously, we have not talked much about your collaboration with Jamal Campbell on art.  How did his work complement and enhance your approach to the book?

Sean Ryan: Jamal is amazing. Anytime I see an email come in with more of his artwork, it’s like my birthday. Jamal is so good at everything. So I knew I could relax and just throw anything at him. I knew whatever is in the script, he’d knock it out of the park.

Sean Ryan and Jamal Campbell bring PROWLER to a new beginning with issue #6 on March 22!

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Tom King opens up on his acclaimed comic book series!

Months after Tom King and Gabriel Walta wrapped their critically-acclaimed run on VISION, Marvel Comics will be releasing a Director’s Cut edition to give fans the ultimate “behind-the-scenes” experience. For readers who want to see script pages and in-progress art, this is a must-see comic!

In the run-up to its release, we spoke to writer King about his experience working on the title with Walta and some of his thoughts on why readers responded to this story like they did. When we first spoke, Marvel was just getting ready to release VISION to the reading public. At the time, you told me that “I’m a crazy huge Avengers fan; they’re the team that got me into comics as a kid,” and that writing a series about Vision was too good to pass up.

With your tenure complete, how would you say you’ve changed the way people view the character?

Tom King: I don’t know if that’s for me to say. Comic readers are a diverse group of people who come from a multitude of [backgrounds]; I doubt that there was any common reaction to this series besides, “Why does Tom hate cats?!? And dogs?!?” I can say that I wasn’t trying to change the way anyone thought about Vision. Everything in this series is intended to be true to the character built by people like Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, and John Byrne. He’s always been a weapon of evil trying to be good, a robot tragically convinced that being good means being normal. In this series, we just stood on the shoulder of all the giants who have worked on Vision, and we tried to describe the world we saw from way up high. You also mentioned that “Vision is the extraordinary trying to be ordinary.” Do you think he was successful? In what ways?

Tom King: I don’t really believe in stories where people learn things about themselves, have epiphanies, and change their whole lives for the better. I write those stories sometimes, because they’re good stories and a lot of good can come out of them, but I don’t believe in them. It just seems to me that as we live our lives we make constant efforts to change and sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail, and sometimes we do both and sometimes we do neither, and most of the time when whatever it was we did is done, we realize that nothing is ever done, and so we shake ourselves out and try to do it again. Vision tries to be ordinary. That effort is the most ordinary thing he does. So, in trying, he succeeds; and such success is extraordinary, so as he succeeds, he fails. Hopefully in that roundabout something true comes out. Marvel will be releasing the Director’s Cuts of VISION, where readers will get a look behind the curtain with your run on the series. What sort of content do you hope fans will get to see?

Tom King: Being a typical egotistical writer, this is hard to say, but in all honesty, I get way too much credit for VISION. The team working on this book—Gabriel on art, Jordie [Bellaire] on colors, Clayton [Cowles] on letters, Wil [Moss] on edits, Mike [del Mundo] on covers, and me on egotistical writing—created this book together; if you think it’s good, it’s because we made it good, not because I made it good. Hopefully, people will look from my scripts to the finished product and see how Gabriel designed each scene, how Jordie added mood, how Clayton turned words into dialogue, how Wil made it all flow together, how Mike set the stage, and how I got some credit that definitely belonged to them. Unlike math, where you have to show all of your work, writers generally want to erase all of their mistakes so their audience only views the finished product. What do you think is the appeal for general readers to the Director’s Cuts?

Tom King: I think it’s probably two things. One, there’s something about reading comics that invites you to make comics. A lot of people—including me—who get joy from this medium want to get their hands dirty and make something as good as what they’re reading. This is a chance to see how this particular something got made so that people can take the methods and tricks we used, put their own spin on them, and put out their own joy. That’s how I got started: from reading books like this that revealed how books like this were created, then copying that as best as I could.

Two, when something succeeds, there’s fun in knowing how it could have failed. It reveals to you the contingency of art and maybe even life. I personally can’t get enough of reading about old comics or movies and the crazy coincidences, efforts, and mistakes that led to something cool getting out there. Maybe it makes you appreciate what you have, or maybe it makes you long for what you didn’t get. Either way, it’s a thrilling buzz we thrilled fans seek out, and it’s what you’re getting here. Most writers usually find they have to go through multiple drafts to finally get to the finished product. Were there any major changes to your arc that you can think of that shifted from one draft to the next? What were they?

Tom King: VISION didn’t really go through multiple drafts. For the most part, what you see here is my first take on what the issue would be, and I was lucky enough that that also got to be my last take. Probably about half the issues had one to three pages that had to be rewritten. You will see some stuff that changed at the lettering phase when the words in the script have to adjust to the art that’s actually drawn, which is a natural part of comics.

The biggest change along the way was probably the inclusion of Victor Mancha. Originally, this was supposed to be the Golden Age Human Torch, who is sort of Vision’s step-father/uncle and would’ve played a more grandfather-like role. Sadly, due to stuff in other books, Human Torch became unavailable, and Wil Moss, our editor, suggested Victor. This worked out better in the end than my original plan. Sometimes, comics are improvisation. Or I should say: Sometimes, the best parts of comics are improvised. Is there any anxiety over people seeing your work “in progress” or are you comfortable with letting it all out for the world to see?

Tom King: I feel like I should say no. I should say that I’m fully confident that everything I’ve done will shine brightly and show the way to better things that I’m about to do. But if I said this, I wouldn’t be a writer, much less a writer with enough worries to write about a robot family that does nothing but worry. So, yeah, I’ve got some anxiety. But if you don’t have anxiety, you’re not risking anything. If you’re not risking anything, you’re not making comics, and all I ever wanted to do was make comics. So, I’ll take the anxiety and the comics. What would you say is your greatest achievement with this series?

Tom King: There’s a scene in issue #10 where Vision prays. It’s just a few pages, but I think it’s the best scene I ever wrote, or maybe ever will write. I think I got to something in those panels—something I usually can’t get to, though I try. It was something to do with using the marvelous absurdity of super hero comics to reflect the marvelous absurdity of this life. I know, this is all very braggy and everything, but I’m really proud of those pages. To be fair, I warned you I was an egotistical writer. Likewise, what about it challenged you most?

Tom King: The hardest issue to write was issue #9, where one of the kids dies. It makes very little sense to me, since Gabriel and I created these kids. They exist solely to tell this story, and in this story, one of them dies, so the death should not be a big deal. But in actually writing the scene, in picturing it in my head, Vision cradling his child, I had trouble just putting words on the page. It felt like each hit on my keyboard was a body blow. Which again, makes no sense, as nothing here is real. But it was what it was, so that’s the story I’ll tell. Just one last question: In looking back on your run with Gabriel Walta, I’m curious how you see the two of you having grown from your experience on this book?

Tom King: [Laughs] Well, first I refer you back to my rambling above about how I don’t believe in growth because it seems to contradict itself while it’s happening. And to be consistent with that contradiction, I would say I grew incredibly while writing this series. The biggest part of this was the realization that there’s an audience out there for a book like this.

But to get to that audience, you have to be worthy of that audience. You have to be as intelligent, funny, and sophisticated as they expect you to be, as they are themselves. I like this book. I like working on this book. I like that people found this book. My growth is in finding that I could get to a place where I liked so many things.

Look for the Director’s Cut editions of VISION coming soon!

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Get your exclusive first look at Danny Rand’s new foes, plus writer Ed Brisson shares details!

Danny Rand finds himself in a real good news-bad new kind of situation beginning March 22. The good news? He’s the star of a brand-new IRON FIST ongoing series. The bad? K’un-Lun lays in ruins, his powers appear unreliable at best, and he has been mystically abducted to a strange and mystical island.

Writer Ed Brisson took a short break from derailing the life of Iron Fist to hint at what awaits Rand in the new book. Plus, get an exclusive sneak peek at the fresh foes that will be plaguing Danny courtesy of series artist Mike Perkins! In considering the years of Iron Fist stories, what do you consider to be the essential elements of Danny Rand?

Ed Brisson: I think the major thing about Danny is that he’s almost always an outsider. He was the orphan taken into K’un-Lun, where he spent his formative years. When he left K’un-Lun, he returned to a city—New York—that was completely foreign to him, even though it was his home. He’s always got a foot in each world, which I think makes it difficult for him to fully fit in in either.

You often see him trying to overcompensate for these feelings with his humor, which is something that I love about him. He’s always looking to be a people pleaser. It doesn’t always serve him, but he doesn’t give up. Looking beyond those essentials, however, every writer wants to make a character their own by exploring unique aspects of the character. For you with Iron Fist, where did you find those parts that you thought you could use to really make an impact?

Ed Brisson: For this first arc, I really wanted to focus in on Danny’s own sense of identity. What happens when the one thing he was sure of about himself is being stripped away? How far will he go and what potentially dangerous situations will he put himself into just for a sliver of hope that it’ll allow him to hang on to the one thing that defines him? At the start of the IRON FIST #1, where do we find Danny Rand, both in physical space and in terms of mentality?

Ed Brisson: When we join Danny, he’s struggling to access his Chi. He’s unable to call forth the thing that makes him Iron Fist. He’s losing his sense of who he is and struggling to hold onto this thing that has defined him for most of his life. Who is he if not Iron Fist?

Because he’s separated from K’un-Lun, he can’t return to seek the answers he needs so he’s focusing on his Kung-Fu, the one thing he still has, and is trying to push himself, hoping that a spark will ignite. That somehow he’ll reconnect.

The problem with being the best, though, is that there is no one out there that’s able to properly push him. And that comes with its own set of problems. One thing that is different we learn early on is that K’un-Lun has been devastated. How much of an influence does that change in the mystical city’s status have in Iron Fist’s life?

Ed Brisson: We saw the destruction of K’un-Lun in Kaare Andrews’ run on IRON FIST: THE LIVING WEAPON. In this series, we’re taking the baton and running with it.

K’un-Lun’s current status is a larger part of why Danny’s struggling to connect. The city provides him with his powers and with the city now down…well, so are Danny’s powers. Is the “how” and “why” of K’un-Lun’s destruction an important element of the story?

Ed Brisson: It’s not the central theme to the story, but the how and why certainly do play into where Danny’s journey leads him—or rather, why he’s being lead on it.

What does it mean to be the champion of a city that lays in ruins because you were not there to protect it? That’s something that Danny’s going to have to struggle with. Something that’s going to be thrown in his face several times. Shortly after learning his patron city’s fate, Rand finds himself in another unusual locale: Liu-Shi. What has drawn Danny to this place?

Ed Brisson: Liu-Shi presents itself as an island—or series of islands—where Kung-Fu is king. They’ve dedicated themselves to the perfection of it, drawing on other, more mystical influences.

Like Danny, they’re looking for a chance to prove themselves. And, who better to prove themselves against than Kung-Fu Master and current reigning Champion of K’un-Lun.

Of course, there’s more to Liu-Shi than meets the eye and a large part of this first arc will be peeling back the layers to what the island really is and what it is that they’re really after. In brief, what can you tell us about the seven champions that also are on Liu-Shi? What, if any, relationship do they have to Iron Fist?

Ed Brisson: The Seven Masters of Liu-Shi are: The Eel of Blessed Waters, The Rat of Twelve Plagues, The Resourceful Snake, The Rabbit of Holy Flame, The Long-Armed Bull, The Mountain Slaying Bear and The Divine Wolf. Each is the champion of each of the seven schools of Kung-Fu on the island. There’s a specific reason why there are seven, but readers will have to check out the series to find out why.

Over the series, it’ll become clear that some of the seven have very real beefs with Danny and/or K’un-Lun. That the timing of them appearing in Danny’s life at this moment is not coincidental.

These characters were a lot of fun to create and Mike Perkins did an amazing job in designing them. I think that readers are going to get a kick out of the new characters. Big nods to 70’s Kung-Fu flicks are in store! Speaking of the artist, how does Mike Perkins’ art style complement your aims with this title? How does his work enable your vision for the story to be realized?

Ed Brisson: Mike is an incredible artist whose art feels grounded, while still feeling larger than life, if that makes any sense at all. Everything has a purpose. His character acting and storytelling skills are beyond compare. He also brings a lot of strong design skills to the table, but is also open to input.

I’ve found that talking with him about stuff has been really easy, which is great. You don’t often get to have that type of dialog when working on a bigger book. We’re both on the same page and have been excited about what the other is doing. That’s something that I think you’ll be able to see on the page.

IRON FIST #1 from Ed Brisson and Mike Perkins kicks off the action on March 22!

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Celebrate President’s Day the Marvel way with alternate reality leaders!

Leading the free world remains one of the hardest jobs around, no matter who you voted for.

Generally speaking, the Marvel Universe reflects the real world Commander in Chief. However, in the many alternate realities branching off from the one we know best, a variety of familiar faces—both good and bad—have either served or stolen the seat of power.

As we take a moment to celebrate President’s Day, let’s take a few minutes to check out some of Marvel’s coolest and most chaotic commanders.1

President For Life Tony Stark

Tony Stark ascended to the presidency in an alternate universe seen in EXILES #2325. To the public it seemed like the renowned hero did everything he could to save the world, but in reality, he’d been pulling the strings to gain control the whole time. Thanks to the efforts of Susan Storm, the reality-hopping Weapon X team, and the Inhumans, the despot fell out of favor, dying at the hands of an unexpected assailant.

Blackbeard Thing

HULKED-OUT HEROES #12 sees Hulkpool traveling through time, first meeting Thing during his time playing Blackbeard, then bouncing around some more with Ben Grimm. After Hulkpool loses Thing and winds up helping Captain America end WWII, we find that Blackbeard wound up becoming the first president of the USA! Not bad, Grimm!3


In another alternate future, the X-Men convince Allison “Dazzler” Blaire to run for president because she’s the most popular mutant around. Having won the election, the President-Elect wanted to help change the world, but died in a supernatural attack as seen during Battle of the Atom in ALL-NEW X-MEN #17. Her death inspired Beast and others to jump to their past to get involved with all of this time-travel business in the first place.


Luke Cage

Reginald Hudlin ended his run on BLACK PANTHER with an annual that jumped several decades in the future. The story revolved around T’Challa and Storm’s son T’Chaka marrying President Luke Cage’s son. Cage took over after an ill-advised attack on Wakanda led by Tony Stark resulted in the Armored Avenger’s death. The union marks a step toward a more peaceful world moving forward.5

The Red Skull

When all of the villains ganged up on the good guys in Old Man Logan’s future, Red Skull declared himself the new president just before killing Captain America. 50 years later, the Skull wore Cap’s uniform as he ruled in New Babylon. Without knowing it, Hawkeye and Logan delivered Super Soldier Serum samples to the dictator. Logan borrowed Cap’s shield to express his dislike of the Skull’s policies by decapitating him.


G.W. Bridge

Over in the MC2 Universe—best known as the home of Spider-Girl—former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent G.W. Bridge became the first African-American President. He appeared in that capacity throughout books like SPIDER-GIRL and LAST PLANET STANDING.7

Ultimate Captain America

Like his Marvel Universe counterpart, Ultimate Cap found himself a write-in candidate for President. However, instead of passing on the honor, Ultimate Steve Rogers accepted in ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES #16. He stepped down in issue #24 in order to focus on fighting for the very existence of his world, which came to an end with the conclusion of Secret Wars.8

Norman Osborn

The Earth X future posits a world where Norman Osborn essentially leads the country by owning just about everything. To hide his now-Goblin-y face, he wears a human mask, one that the new Red Skull uses to push him out a window. In an ironic turn, Norman’s foot gets caught in the American flag, snapping his neck in the process.9

Doom 2099

The far future of the 2099 alternate universe proved so corrupt and broken that the one, true Victor Von Doom turns out to be the best person to take over as President. Upon seizing the title, he integrates a number of existing 2099 characters like The Punisher to run the country.  Far from perfect, he fights against evil corporations like Alchemax, but also makes shady deals with the alien Phalanx.

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It's time for a fresh episode of the official Marvel podcast, featuring comics, games, and more!

Kick off the long weekend with a brand new jam-packed episode of This Week in Marvel, featuring comics and more!

Ryan and Ben give you the run down on this week’s major comic releases, including CLONE CONSPIRACY and MONSTERS UNLEASHED. Ben and intern Nick are joined by Marvel editors Jake Thomas and Jordan D. White to give you STAR WARS and LUKE CAGE news. That’s not all, we’ve got a special exclusive SECRET EMPIRE interview. Christine dishes all the film and TV news from the west coast. Plus your questions and comments!


Download episode #277 of This Week in Marvel, check out Marvel Podcast Centralgrab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes, so you never miss an episode! We are now also on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel including our latest episode!

This Week in Marvel will focus on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP & Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Marvel Editorial Director of Digital Media Ben Morse, along with Editor Marc Strom, Assistant Editor Christine Dinh, and Manager of Video & Content Production Blake Garris. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes!  Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM@BenJMorse, @chrissypedia or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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The Avengers, the Guardians of the galaxy and more stop by to lend a hand!

For over 50 years, the Incredible Hulk has been smashing his way through the Marvel Universe and into the hearts of fans. Whether you’ve discovered the tale of Bruce Banner and his other self through comics, TV, or film, get the whole story here…

Finding himself mysteriously separated from The Hulk, Bruce Banner became unduly fascinated with creating new monsters in INCREDIBLE HULK #2. Elsewhere, a woman named Amanda Von Doom approached Hulk to join her Mad Squad, a team dedicated to ridding the world of mad scientists. When Banner’s boar monsters attacked the Hulk’s cave home in INCREDIBLE HULK #3, the green giant decided to join Amanda’s group.

The Mad Squad traveled to Banner’s remote island in INCREDIBLE HULK #4, where they discovered the scientist’s gamma bomb. During a confrontation with his now-insane alter-ego, Hulk revealed in INCREDIBLE HULK #5 that Doctor Doom separated the two. Banner attacked Hulk with high-tech weapons in INCREDIBLE HULK #6, but when Amanda activated the bomb, the jade giant forced Banner to stay for its explosion.

Incredible Hulk (2011) #2

Incredible Hulk (2011) #2

What is Marvel Unlimited?

With his former alter-ego now seemingly dead, Hulk renewed his strange romance with Red She-Hulk after they fought violently in INCREDIBLE HULK #7.1. Later, the green behemoth transformed back into an elated Bruce Banner. Realizing he needed to stay angry to not allow Banner to resurface again, Hulk began to pick fights in INCREDIBLE HULK #8, first with The Punisher and a drug cartel, then Atlanteans in INCREDIBLE HULK #9, Kraven the Hunter in INCREDIBLE HULK #10, a lost city of sasquatches in INCREDIBLE HULK #11, and ultimately his old sparring partners Wolverine and The Thing in INCREDIBLE HULK #12.

Finally, forming an alliance with Bruce Banner in his mind, The Hulk took his fight to his real tormentor, Doctor Doom, in INCREDIBLE HULK #13. He faced off against the Mad Squad, who stood in his way in INCREDIBLE HULK #14, and threw down with Doom himself in INCREDIBLE HULK #15 to battle for his peace of mind.

Alone in the desert, Hulk found himself attacked by a new Aquarius in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #1. Divining the villain’s intention to waylay a U.S. Army caravan, the green giant bounded off to Stark Tower in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #2 to get answers. The answer arrived in the form of an Ultimate Nullifier that the Avengers realized the new Zodiac coveted, but before Hulk could accept Captain America’s invitation to join his team, the Zodiac attacked.

The Hulk and the Avengers battled the villainous group on a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #3, a skirmish that ended with the emerald behemoth killing Leo and Thanos arriving to interrupt the proceedings. Angered that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes interrupted his own plans to scoop up the Nullifier, he mind-controlled Hulk to fight his teammates in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #4. Iron Man blew up the helicarrier to stop Thanos and the whole team later welcomed help from the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Avengers Assemble (2012) #1

Avengers Assemble (2012) #1

  • Published: March 14, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 01, 2013
  • Rating: Rated T+
What is Marvel Unlimited?

While everyone compared notes in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #5, Captain America used Hulk to coerce information from the army. Knowing then that Thanos possessed a Cosmic Cube, both teams headed into space to stop him in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #6, but the alien Badoon attacked them under the Mad Titan’s orders and they found themselves ejected into cold space for their troubles.

After being rescued by Black Widow in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #7, Hulk joined with Thor to take the fight back to the Badoon. Thanos appeared again with his Cube and banished the Avengers to the Cancerverse. In AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #8, Hulk and the others joined forces with the Elders of the Universe to race back to Earth and confront Thanos there. Able to destroy the Mad Titan’s incomplete Cube, the Avengers won the day and watched as the Elders took the beaten Thanos away for incarceration.

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The son of Goom tangles with the wrong family in his plot to take over the world!

With so many classic creatures on the loose in Monsters Unleashed, we turn to their earlier adventures thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

Do you remember how, in a previous Unleash the Beasts entry, Goom came to Earth and made trouble, but he turned out to be basically just a bad egg from his home planet? Well, it turns out he didn’t draw the line at being a megalomaniac, but also a bad parent. As revealed in 1961’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #17, Goom brought his infant son Googam along with him and simply left the child behind upon his defeat!

As psychologist and astronomer Mark—whose communiques to space brought Goom to Earth in the first place—worked on other projects in the weeks following the invasion, his son Billy returned from military school. Bored, the boy decided to explore the nearby caves only to run into none other than Googam. Intent on following in his dad’s footsteps, Googam grabbed Billy and dragged him back to the youth’s house where he broke Mark’s gun and explained that he would remain there until he fully matured so he could then “conquer and enslave mankind.””

To keep Mark, his wife, and Billy on board with the plan, Googam placed a force field around the boy so that his parents couldn’t make off with him. Seemingly helpless, the family bided their time. Meanwhile, a neighbor by the name of Sara realized she hadn’t seen anyone from Mark’s family in a while and went over to check up on them. Googam couldn’t resist scaring her away.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #17

Tales of Suspense (1959) #17

  • Published: May 01, 1961
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 13, 2010
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Later, after Googam exhibited the power to shrink them down to doll size, Billy threw a note to the postman who read it only to be scared away by Googam’s appearance.

Sick of the whole thing, Billy challenged Googam to a game of tag. With the alien as “it,”—not to be confused with the Living Colossus of the same name—Billy ran, secretly leading Googam to a nice patch of quicksand that swallowed the vindictive visitor right up!

Like his pops, Googam continues to appear whenever anyone needs a great looking monster, including the pages of MONSTERS UNLEASHED #2!

Next time, bundle up for an examination of two different takes on the Abominable Snowman from TALES TO ASTONISH.

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Get further insight into this version of Wolverine with his classic debut tale!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

With the end of the OLD MAN LOGAN story “Return to the Wasteland” hitting this week, it seems like just the right time to do the same ourselves and look at his first appearance!

This alternate future version of the character first debuted in 2008’s WOLVERINE #66 thanks to Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. That issue showed a take of the ol’ Canucklehead who had survived the villains’ attempt to take out the heroes and divide up the country. He’d even settled down with a woman named Maureen and they’d had a pair of kids: Scotty and Jade.

Logan had become so focused on keeping his family safe that he refused to pop his claws and take out members of the Hulk gang when they came to collect the rent he didn’t have. Instead, he took a beating in front of his kin and found their very survival threatened if he didn’t come up with the money by the next month.

As he healed, another survivor paid Logan a visit: Clint Barton. The now-blind archer proposed a delivery job to raise some capital, in which the former X-Man would help get the one-time Avenger to the east coast in two weeks. Logan agreed and the two took off in the old Spider-Mobile with Hawkeye at the wheel!

The rest of the story ran until issue #72 and concluded in the WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN GIANT-SIZE one-shot; along the way the heroic duo ran into Ghost Riders, killer Moloids, Venom-covered dinosaurs, and the massive skeleton of Hank Pym.

Of course, this being Wolverine, plenty of skeletons still rattled in the old closet. Eventually he told Hawkeye why he never wanted to pop his claws again. Back during the villain uprising, Mysterio tricked him into killing all of the X-Men. To punish himself, he put his head on the tracks where he waited until a train smashed into him.

Wolverine (2003) #66

Wolverine (2003) #66

  • Published: June 18, 2008
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 01, 2010
  • Rating: Parental Advisory
  • Writer: Mark Millar
  • Penciller: Steve McNiven
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Upon arriving in New Babylon, the pair soon learned that the samples of Super Soldier Serum they’d carried all across the country weren’t meant to start a new hero team, but to be given to The Red Skull—the President of the United States!

Hawkeye’s fake contacts blasted both of them, but Logan got better and dealt with President Skull by cutting his head off with Captain America’s shield before blasting off for home in part of an Iron Man armor with a briefcase full of money. Unfortunately, the Hulk gang got bored, came for the rent early and killed Logan’s family in the meantime. Enraged, Logan rechristened himself Wolverine and exacted bloody revenge on his family’s killers before moving on to the head honcho himself: Bruce Banner.

Flash Forward

Old Man Logan came back to the forefront as Secret Wars reintroduced a variety of alternate reality characters to readers before integrating a lot of them into the main Marvel Universe. Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino handled that five issue story which saw Logan clawing his way from one part of Battleworld to another before eventually landing naked in the Marvel U’s Times Square. The ongoing adventures have been handled by Jeff Lemire and Sorrentino, with Lemire also bringing Logan into the fold of EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN. With our version of Wolverine still in the dirt, this one helps fill the void while he also travels the world trying to ensure his world never comes about.

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Cullen Bunn prepares to steer the creature-filled conflict to an epic conclusion!

By Josh Weiss

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’d still be able to feel the thunderous tremors being caused by the arrival of giant monsters in the Marvel Universe, stamping around above your subterranean home. And if the names Fin Fang Foom and Goom and Googam don’t ring familiar to you, they soon will be thanks to writer Cullen Bunn who has helped re-introduced some of Marvel’s most bloodthirsty behemoths with the Monsters Unleashed event.

In the wake of Civil War II, giant creatures mysteriously began to appear and terrorize the earth; it took the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe to address a threat that may not be as clear cut as simply punching skyscraper-sized beasties in their faces and/or multiple heads.

For MONSTERS UNLEASHED, Bunn teamed up with a team of talented artists—Adam Kubert, Greg Land, Salvador Larroca, Steve McNiven, and Leinil Yu—to bring these monsters—some well-known and some a little more idiosyncratic—back into the colorful Marvel spotlight. With just two issues left in this limited series, we spoke with the writer about the event so far, his Atomic Age aspirations when crafting the story, and the far-flung ramifications we can expect from the end of a major crossover event that he’s been preparing to write since childhood. As we begin to wind down on this awesome and—forgive the pun—monster-sized event, can you talk about what the ride’s been like for you from the idea’s inception to its fruition?

Cullen Bunn: I grew up watching giant monster movies, reading “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine, and reading monster comics. When I was very, very young, I wrote my own monster-centric comic titled “Attack of the Monsters,” featuring King Kong, Godzilla, and Mothra among others attacking the Earth. When I first heard about the initial idea for the series, I thought to myself how hurt I would be if I didn’t get the chance to write it. I’ve been preparing to write a book like this all my life. Monsters Unleashed drew on a rich mythology of Marvel monsters that dates back to the days of the late 1950’s, early ‘60’s. Was there a particular creature or creatures you especially enjoyed bringing back into the pop culture spotlight?

Cullen Bunn: When I started on this series, I was given a big packet detailing all of the classic monsters that were available. There were so many awesome beasts up for grabs. Of course Fin Fang Foom is a favorite, but I also fell in love with the visuals of Monstrom and the father/son dynamic of Goom and Googam. But I brought as many of the classic monsters to the series as I could. I really enjoyed writing the interaction between these monsters and between the monsters and the Marvel heroes. Given the fact that the central character behind the arrival of these monsters has the nickname Kid Kaiju” and that there were some really cool B-movie inspired variant covers released, were you influenced by any specific tropes of the classic B-grade sci-fi monster and kaiju movies of the 1950’s and ‘60’s when writing the story?

Cullen Bunn: Definitely. I drew inspiration from those classic 50’s “atomic horror” style movies and comics. I read and re-read a ton of classic Marvel monster books, especially considering how many of those creatures had starring roles in the series. I also drew upon many of my favorite kaiju flicks, like the original Godzilla and Gamera movies. The Godzilla movies of the Heisei era and movies like “Gamera 2: Advent of Legion” were particularly influential. What were some of your goals when you excavated these creations from obscurity? Did you hope to make them re-iconic” in the minds of comic book fans?

Cullen Bunn: First and foremost, I wanted readers to have fun with the series. And I wanted to honor the legacy of [Jack] Kirby, [Don] Heck, [Steve] Ditko, [Herb] Trimpe, and the other creators who brought these monsters to the page. And—yes—I wanted to establish the giant monsters of the Marvel Universe as important and legitimate forces to be reckoned with. My hope is that these beasties—the classic Marvel monsters and the Leviathons—are mainstays in the Marvel Universe for years to come.

Monsters Unleashed #5 cover by Adam Kubert

Monsters Unleashed #5 cover by Adam Kubert Have you seen your initial goals come true in the form of fan reactions to the event?

Cullen Bunn: I’ve seen plenty of people commenting on this series as a lot of fun. I’ve also seen folks mentioning that they’ve enjoyed seeing the heroes fighting by each other’s sides after such a tumultuous time among these characters of late. This event has brought the entire Marvel Universe into the fray. What was your favorite part about leaving no stone unturned by having everyone cross over in one epic series?

Cullen Bunn: It was awesome to show so many different heroes in so many different corners of the world, but—hands down—my favorite aspects of the series—at least my favorites up until the big twist at the end—were introducing “Kid Kaiju” Kei Kawade’s ancient cosmic history and writing the team-ups between the Marvel heroes and the classic monsters. Without giving too much away, how should readers prepare themselves for the end of this event?

Cullen Bunn: A fearsome enemy—the Leviathon Mother—is heading toward Earth, and she is far too powerful, even for the combined might of Earth’s mightiest heroes and their classic monster allies. In order to defeat her, Kid Kaiju will need to draw upon a power he didn’t know he had within him. That power will introduce something completely new into the Marvel Universe and establish Kid Kaiju as a major heroic player. It was recently announced that MONSTERS UNLEASHED will be getting its own ongoing spin-off series coming this April with you at the helm. Is there anything you can tease about it, like the threats Kawade and his team of monsters may be facing?

Cullen Bunn: In the event series, Kei was concerned primarily with the hundreds of Leviathon that were falling to Earth. Some of those monsters are still out there, and Kei, Elsa Bloodstone, and a group of monstrous heroes have been tasked with facing the most gigantic threats to the world. But, Kei will soon learn that monsters are not the only threats he’ll be facing. This book is firmly rooted in the Marvel Universe, and several very recognizable super villains have taken an interest in Kei. These villains—some of the most intelligent, devious ne’er-do-wells in the world—see potential in these giant monsters and potential in Kei’s unique abilities. In what ways will it be different from the event that spawned it and what are some of the repercussions it will have within the Marvel Universe?

Cullen Bunn: With the event, the pacing was frantic. Leviathons were falling to Earth one right after another, and there was little time for anything other than trying to push them back out to the depths of space. In the aftermath of this kaiju invasion, the heroes of the Marvel Universe now know that giant monsters could pose a significant threat to society in the future. Luckily, they have a new team of allies perfectly suited to battling these threats. But even a group of heroic giant monsters need looking after. Not only is Elsa Bloodstone keeping an eye on them, but S.H.I.E.L.D. and Damage Control are also watchful eyes on Kei and company. While the ongoing series will have lots of action and adventure, it will also give us the opportunity to dig into the personalities of some of these new characters in a significant way. If you had to give Kei Kawade one piece of advice about having his own Marvel comic book series, what would it be?

Cullen Bunn: I’d tell him to be careful around underground tyrants and intergalactic monster hunters.

The mayhem continues with MONSTERS UNLEASHED #4 by Cullen Bunn and Salvador Larroca, coming March 1!

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