Horror master R.L. Stine talks his time with Marvel’s swamp monster!

He’s big, he’s slimy, and he’s coming to a silver screen near you—if he doesn’t scare all the kids away first. I’m talking about Man-Thing, the disgusting swamp monster leaving trails of slime in Marvel comics since the early 1970s.

Recently, however, we find this heinous dripping pile of muck in his own limited series penned by one of the great masters of horror, R.L. Stine of “Goosebumps” fame, who felt the time right to inject some humor into the adventures of the misunderstood, reality-hopping creature

As we near the fifth and final issue of MAN-THING on June 21, Stine—a self-proclaimed man without fear—looks back on his intimidating inspirations, helping Sallis find his voice—literally—and the close connection between blood, guts, and laughs.

Marvel.com: We’re two issues away from the finale of this series. How are you gearing up for the conclusion to this MAN-THING saga?

R.L. Stine: Well, I always have to have my ending first so I had an ending in mind from the beginning. The five [issues] are all done, actually. [Issue #4], actually, is the best, I think. I think #4 is the funniest, but I got him in this mess. He’s gone after Oldfather, and so he’s in this thing with all the realities and so I love doing stuff like that because I can do anything. If you can do any reality and have reality changing all the time it’s actually very freeing, you can do all kinds of things.

Marvel.com: Should we, as the readers, be bracing for an epic “Goosebumps”-level twist that will shatter our psyches and chill us to the bone?

R.L. Stine: [Laughs] Well, you know, I tried to make the whole series funnier because he’s such a hideous character. He has to be maybe the ugliest character Marvel has, which is one of the main reasons I picked him when they give me a [list] of characters that they weren’t using and said, “Which one would you like to do?” and I happen to love swamp monsters and he was just so ugly I had to pick him. But yes, there is a major twist at the end. You know, like all “Goosebumps” books there’s a happy ending, they all have happy endings, but then after the happy ending, there’s something pretty terrible [Laughs].

Marvel.com: I’m looking forward to it and I’m glad you brought up your affinity for swamp monsters because you’ve dealt with disgusting, dripping monstrosities in the past with “Monster Blood,” King Jellyjam, “The Blob That Ate Everyone”…

R.L. Stine: I actually did a “Goosebumps” book last year called “Here Comes The Shaggedy” and it was a swamp monster book.

Marvel.com: Well, that kind of segues into my next question, which is did Man-Thing prove to be different from the rest of these creatures and if so, how?

R.L. Stine: Well he did in that he has more of backstory and I felt the backstory was really good. And I think we recapped it in the first [issue] of mine where Ted Sallis, this brilliant scientist, is trying to keep this serum from the army so he injects himself with it and then turns himself into this creature. In the old series, he couldn’t really speak or anything, but I wanted him to be kind of funny and sarcastic about it, about how horrible he looks and he’s so eager trying to get back to human [form] so for most of it, I gave him back his powers of speech.

Marvel.com: Man-Thing, as a character, has influenced writers like Neil Gaiman in the past. Did any other properties play important roles in your writing career or have repercussions on this series?

R.L. Stine: When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the EC horror comics, Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror. I was just obsessed with them and I think they were incredibly influential on what I do because, as you know, they’re horrifying, right? They’re really disgusting, horrifying things and they all have a funny twist ending, every story. That kind of stayed with me so I think they were very important to me. Also, I didn’t really know that much about Man-Thing. I had to learn so I read all the old [ones] that [writer] Steve Gerber did. I really liked those a lot and then that was very helpful to me.

Marvel.com: And other than being a disgusting swamp monster, what attributes do you think make Man-Thing a perfect subject for horror?

R.L. Stine: The fact that he’s an outsider, for one thing. There’s no way he can be accepted anywhere. In the first MAN-THING he says, “Why can’t I have a movie? Every other Marvel character has a movie.” And he tries to have a Hollywood career, but he [screen] tests so terribly because he’s so ugly and he scares the kids. And so, I think being an outsider is part of it and just being so limited in a way in what he can do. I think that’s a real challenge too.

Man-Thing #5 cover by Tyler Crook

Marvel.com: As someone who is comfortable writing within the horror genre, did anything end up scaring you when you were working on this comic?

R.L. Stine: Never.

Marvel.com: [Laughs]

R.L. Stine: It never happens. I wonder if it happens to other writers. I don’t know. There’s something missing in my brain in that horror never scares me. Any horror always makes me laugh. Seriously, the scariest Stephen King, the most disgusting, creepiest…“Pet Sematary,” for example. Those books make me laugh and I’ve never been scared by a movie. People say to me, “Oh, your book was so scary, I was up all night, I had to leave the lights on.” I’ve never had that feeling. I don’t know why, but I’ve just never had it. I think there’s a very close connection between humor and horror, there’s sort of the same visceral reaction. When you jump out at somebody and say, “BOO!” they gasp at first and then they laugh. I think it’s very closely connected. One other reason that I can never get scared from what I’m writing is I plan it all first, I do complete outlines of every book I write so I already know what’s gonna happen [Laughs], I can’t scare myself.

Marvel.com: You brought up your love of Tales from the Crypt. I love the idea of bonus back-up anthology scary stories at the end of each issue.

R.L. Stine: Those were fun for me. Originally, when [former Marvel editor] Katie Kubert called me and said, “Would you like to do something for Marvel?” and I said, “Yeah! It’s sort of a lifelong dream, I’m finally getting around to it,” and at first, I was going to do just the straight, old fashioned type horror comic with two or three stories like that. But then I thought, “Gee, it’d be a lot more fun to just play with a Marvel character too.” So I got to do both and it was terrific.

Marvel.com: That’s awesome. Where did that idea for these stories come from? It’s a very “Twilight Zone”/Rod Serling/Crypt Keeper sort of thing…

R.L. Stine: Yeah, that’s just what it was supposed to be so I say that’s what we thought first, that would be a good thing to do and then I thought, “Oh, come on! Take one of these characters and put a little story in the back.”

Marvel.com: Are there any other Marvel you’re interested in tackling?

R.L. Stine: I have to think about that one; I would love to do some of the sillier ones like Ant-Man, ones that you could have sort of a satirical view with.

Marvel.com: And any other characters you think are kind of suited for horror or scary stories?

 R.L. Stine: Well actually, they all could be. There [are] elements of horror in a lot of Marvel stuff.

Prepare to be scared with MAN-THING #4—out May 31—and the grand finale, MAN-THING #5—available June 21—both from R.L. Stine and artist German Peralta!

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Rogue and Gambit writer Kelly Thompson joins the podcast!

Happy Friday, True Believers! And welcome to a new episode of This Week in Marvel!

Download the episode from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Centralgrab the TWiM RSS feed, and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes so you never miss an episode! Then head over to our Soundcloud hub to listen to the entire run of the show!

With new episodes every Friday, This Week in Marvel delivers all the latest Marvel discussion and news about comics, TV, movies, games, toys, and beyond! TWiM is hosted by Marvel Creative Executive Ryan “Agent M” Penagos, Marvel.com Assistant Editor Tucker Markus, and Assistant Manager of Social Media Alex Lopez. We want your feedback—as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes—so tweet your questions and comments about the show to @AgentM, @tuckermarkus, @alexl0pez_, or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matt Wilson say farewell to The Mighty Thor.

Somewhere in Kansas, Jason Aaron sits alone in a room talking to action figures.

Jane Foster and the creature called Mangog, the central characters of the climax of his seminal series, MIGHTY THOR #705—on stands March 21—stand on opposing sides of his office. Jane says something inspirational and defiant; the Mangog spits and roars. Jason hears them, and writes.

“These characters speak to me; I’m just a vessel for them,” he explains. “This Jane Foster Thor statue just stands there looking at me as I write. And my Kirby-style Mangog statue as well. He’s been there for years.”

It’s something he’s been doing since childhood—talking to characters, making them clash, telling their stories. The only difference between the stories he imagined as a kid and the ones he dreams up today is that now, thousands of people are watching what he does in the sandbox. And though the anticipation for the penultimate issue of Jane Foster’s story is at a fever pitch, he maintains a sense of youthful appreciation for the work: “Not only do I get to write these characters—not only do I get paid for it—but then I get to see them brought to life by some of the best artists working today.”

Common consensus has emerged that this run of MIGHTY THOR will go down as an all-time great. And forging the story alongside Aaron, since issue #1, has been artist Russell Dauterman and colorist Matt Wilson.

Since the series began, Dauterman’s dexterity has allowed readers to jump page-by-page between heartbreaking emotion and heart stopping action—between Jane’s solitary moments staring at a chemo drip and the War Thor defending Asgardia from a monster comprised of a billion angry souls. Those lines, combined with Wilson’s colors—from anemic halogen lights of hospital waiting rooms to shimmering fragments of a shattered Rainbow Bridge—have matched Aaron’s poetry every step of the way.

“Jason’s scripts for this arc have been incredible. They’re big, bold, and really moving. I’m trying to capture all of that and have it seep into every bit of the art,” says Dauterman. “I drew my first Jane Foster Thor nearly four years ago, and I had no idea the impact the character would have. I think a lot about all the people who’ve written to say what Jane means to them. I really want to do right by those folks with the finale, and to do Jane justice.”

Via their seamless, stellar work, Aaron, Dauterman, and Wilson have formed their own Warriors Three (Jason would be Volstagg, because beard)—an inseparable force committed to Thor’s cause. “It’s not often that creators get to work on longer runs in super hero comics these days, or even stick together as a creative team,” Wilson says. “We’ve been very fortunate to have all this time together, to tell this story.”

Jason’s been in conversation with Jane Foster for years. And though she advises him on every panel and page, he’s been steering the series to a definitive point since the very beginning. “This is a story I’ve been waiting to write for literally years,” he says, “I’ve always known that this is where Jane ends up.” A worthy end awaits the Mighty Thor.

The final story arc, titled “The Death of The Mighty Thor,” began in the landmark issue #700. And the emotion extends beyond the page. “Saying goodbye is going to be rough. I did the layouts for issue #706 recently, and the finality of everything really hit me. I’ve never been so emotional when drawing layouts before,” recalls Dauterman.

And Aaron, the master of Jane’s fate, agrees. “This was the first time I ever cried as I was writing. I was surprised by it. And it happened again as I received the art for these issues.” Time is winding down for this unlikely hero. The creators, and Jane Foster herself, know what’s coming next.

In issue #703, Doctor Stephen Strange, standing beside the hero’s hospital bed, put the situation in plain terms: “If you change into Thor…Even one more time…There will be no coming back. Jane Foster will die.”

“It’s been spelled out to her,” says the scribe. “She can fight her cancer as Jane, or to pick up the hammer one last time… To save the gods.”

And she does. At the conclusion of the latest issue, Jane Foster took hold of Mjolnir one last time. Just like the statue that observes Jason as he writes—with the ancient mallet in her right hand. There was no other way this story could end.

Since issue #1 in November 2015, Jane Foster has proven herself worthy—and she’ll prove it once more as she looks to save the gods from destruction; from the Mangog on the other side of Jason’s office. A war for the ages arrives in issue #705, the penultimate story of a series already known as a modern classic.

“My name is Jane Foster,” the Mighty Thor concludes, “And if this is the story of how I die… Then know that it won’t end without one hell of a fight.”

Read MIGHTY THOR #705, by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, and Matt Wilson, on March 21.

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Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler discuss their upcoming run, including Hope and Bishop's roles!

Zac Thompson and Lonnie Nadler’s first CABLE arc might be called Past Fears, but the writing duo have built this tale on equal parts nostalgic love and forward-thinking storytelling. The project marks the first project at the House of Ideas for the longtime Marvel fans.

CABLE #155 launches the story that will see the writing duo team with artist German Peralta to reunite Nathan Summers with the young woman he raised while on the run through time, Hope Summers. Along the way they will meet up with a new villain and come across sometimes ally/sometimes pursuer, Bishop.

We spoke with Thompson and Nadler about growing up with Cable, examining his past and chronicling his future!

Marvel.com: How has it been for you guys going from a creator-owned series last year to jumping into the House of Ideas?

Lonnie Nadler: It’s definitely been a strange transition, but a very rewarding one at the same time. We’ve grown accustomed to having full control of our creator-owned books like Come Into Me and Her Infernal Descent, but sometimes that means working in a vacuum, which makes it tough to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. At Marvel, we’re working as part of the X-Men office and our editor Darren Shan has been incredibly supportive in terms of the ideas we bring to the table, but he also isn’t afraid to challenge us and make sure we’re telling a story that fits within Cable’s complex history. We’ve had to do so much research about Cable’s past, dig through old back issues, and that’s been amazing because it comes with the realization that we’re contributing to this massive mythology now. I can’t express how fortunate we feel to be playing in this world. It’s been a learning process, but an exciting one, because at the end of the day, we’re all out here trying to tell the best story possible.

Zac Thompson: It’s honestly pure wish fulfillment. It’s a dream come true to play with these characters in a way that will always be part of the canon. Darren has allowed us to come in and craft an incredibly ambitious storyline that takes everything we love about Cable and twist it in new ways. On top of that, we’ve been able to feature some of our absolute favorite Marvel characters in the run. It never stops feeling surreal. I know that the first time we got to write dialogue for some X-Men I had to take a walk around the block and go… what is real life?

We’re here because we love Marvel and want to give Marvel fans the best X-Men story humanly possible. We’ve been training for this moment our whole lives.

Marvel.com: Can you talk about your personal histories with Cable and how those may have translated into working on the book?

Zac Thompson: I grew up during the 90s which was the quintessential Cable era. I’ve always adored the character as I’ve been obsessed with time travel from a very young age. During my days watching the “X-Men” cartoon and reading my older brother’s random back issues, Cable always stood out as a complete badass. He’s so rich with inner conflict and holds the X-Men universe together in so many ways. I grew up on a steady diet of X-Men books and Cable grew up with me.

As he’s a time traveler, we’re taking this opportunity to visit some of Cable’s most iconic eras and challenging fans to look at them in new and different ways. Past Fears is a love letter to every run of Cable that we admire. Not to mention, we’re really playing with Cable’s techno-organic virus which is a culmination of my personal interests in body horror and superhero comics. The marriage couldn’t be better.

Lonnie Nadler: Like Zac, I’ve been a huge X-Men fan for the majority of my life. I was just telling him the other day how I used to have a wall in my bedroom decorated from floor to ceiling with X-Men posters and comic book pages. I grew up hoping that one day that my mutant powers would manifest and I’d be able to live with Xavier in the X-Mansion. Obviously that never happened, but telling stories in this world is the next best thing.

Cable is incredibly iconic and his massive stature and brash attitude always held a special place in my heart. Yet, he’s also always been somewhat of a mystery because we’ve seen so little of his childhood so this arc is all about exploring who Cable is, what his life was like as a youth, and what demons he carries with him to this day. It’s all about combining our long affection for the X-Men with our grown-up sensibilities and influences.

Marvel.com: As you’ve both mentioned, Cable’s one of those characters with such a rich, interesting and partially unexplored history. Does playing off of that and also filling in some of the blanks appeal to you as writers?

Lonnie Nadler: Absolutely, it does. When we first were offered the gig it was a bit overwhelming to tell the truth because Cable’s background is insanely complex and convoluted. I mean, he’s a gun-toting time traveler who was raised in the future and brought to the present. And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Anytime you’re dealing with time travel, things get complicated, but when you add mutants and clones and alternate timelines it gets even harder to wrap your head around. With that said, because of this there are almost endless possibilities for the character. Zac and I didn’t want to get bogged down with the time travel elements so we thought it would be interesting to play with time in a different way and take a look at the man Cable is now and how he got to be this way. It’s sort of like “Memento” in that the arc goes backwards through time. Zac and I love working with memory and its implications on the present and Cable is a perfect vessel with which to explore these ideas. Our story is all about different iconic eras from Cable’s life so it allows to both pay homage to all these past version of the character while simultaneously adding our own strange, horrific, tragic stamp.

Zac Thompson: Since Cable’s always been a time traveler it’s really easy to get trapped in circular stories filled with paradoxes. Lonnie and I decided to forgo that complication and look at Cable’s history in and of itself. We wanted to ensure that we got to the core of Cable’s character and dealt with time travel in a really different way – through memory. Past Fears upends everything you knew about Cable during many of his most iconic runs. We wanted to focus on the secrets Cable keeps and his unwavering dedication to protecting the future. This allowed us to inject some of our own influence in Cable’s past. We’re visiting everything from the [Joe] Casey and Ladronn era to the criminally under-explored world of THE ADVENTURES OF CYCLOPS AND PHOENIX. It’s about paying our respects while also adding our own little jab of pain to the past. Not everything is what it seems…

Marvel.com: Your first arc will reunite Cable, Hope and later Bishop. Where are those relationships at as we begin and how will they get tested?

Zac Thompson: In issue #155 we pick up with Cable and Hope completely estranged. In the time since Cable and Hope have last seen one another Cable has become a loner and Hope… Well, Hope has almost become Cable. There’s a lot of legacy to unpack there and with so much of Cable being about protecting the future, Nathan has to make a choice to save his daughter early on in the run, but that choice comes at a terrifying cost. A cost that threatens to destroy everything he’s built for himself.

Bishop comes into play in issue #156 and without spoiling much we’re going back to the Messiah War era. Naturally, Bishop and Cable will not be on the best of terms here. It’s a classic rivalry that we’re really excited to share with fans because we’re doing some really crazy things that will leave jaws on the floor.

Lonnie Nadler: Zac pretty much covered it all. I do have to add that getting to write characters like Hope and Bishop feels amazing and surreal. We’ve grown really attached to Hope over the course of writing this, and she’s such an understated, underused character. Building off of what Duane Swierczynski and Ariel Olivetti built during their run is daunting, but X-Men books work best for me when you bring in elements of family drama and Cable and Hope’s relationship is ripe for that. It gives a sense of gravitas to the whole story. We’d love the opportunity to explore Hope’s character further somewhere down the line.

Marvel.com: The time-hopping duo will face off against a creature of sorts that reminds them of the Techno-Organic virus. How was it seeing how German brought that concept to life on the page?

Lonnie Nadler: Yeah, this arc starts off with Cable and Hope dealing with some of his past demons, something he should have laid to rest a long time ago. This monster, like Cable, is also afflicted with the Techno-Organic virus and we knew right away that its design would be essential for the success of the story. Lucky for us German could not be a more perfect choice for this type of genre-bending narrative. As soon as we saw his initial designs for the monster we understood just how fortunate we were to be working with him. He’s amazing! German has worked with some of the best writers in the game, and he’s just so versatile in his work. He can do emotional moments, horror, and action incredibly well and his storytelling ability is top notch. He’s taken our scripts and added little details to every page that completely augment the story. He’s not the typical style of artist you tend to see on a book like CABLE, but readers are in for a real visual feast here.

Zac Thompson: German is a storytelling master. He’s completely elevated everything we’ve given him to the point where we’re freaking out every single time he sends in a page. With the villain in particular, German has crafted something truly terrifying that almost defies any sort of classification. He’s managed to create a creature that is horrifying and endearing all at the same time. German has managed to subvert our expectations and create a villain that threatens Cable in a way unlike anything ever before. And if you don’t believe us… just wait until the last pages of #155 – they will absolutely blow your mind.

CABLE #155, by Lonnie Nadler, Zac Thompson and German Peralta starts digging up the past on March 21.

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T'Challa goes on a talk show with the Avengers and fights in the Evolutionary War!

For more than 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. With T’Challa appearing on the big screen again this year in both Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” take a look back at over five decades worth of comic book adventures for the King of Wakanda!

After joining with Earth’s champions to welcome a newly intelligent Hulk into their ranks in INCREDIBLE HULK #279, the Black Panther answered Wonder Man’s call to join him, the Beast, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow for an appearance on a late-night TV talk show in AVENGERS #239. Unfortunately, the studio came under fire from a nerdy, would-be villain who monopolized the show and the Avengers’ time. The Panther then spent some time off the radar, though he did pop up on television screens, alongside the Human Torch, in a battle against the Crimson Dynamo in MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL #7.

Avengers (1963) #239

Avengers (1963) #239

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Some time later, T’Challa stood ready to aide his fellow Avengers when long-time member Quicksilver’s duplicity became evident in WEST COAST AVENGERS ANNUAL #1, and fought alongside them against the speedster’s robotic Zodiac gang. Traveling back to New York, the Panther faced off against the Man Without Fear in DAREDEVIL #245 when a down-on-his-luck Wakandan fell into a life of crime and into the hero’s crosshairs.

Back in Wakanda, T’Challa entertained deposed Latverian monarch Doctor Doom in FANTASTIC FOUR #311, and held off an attack by the doctor’s political rival Kristoff in FANTASTIC FOUR #312. Afterward, the Black Panther sprang to the aid of Captain America and a small army of allies in CAPTAIN AMERICA #342 versus the wily Viper and her Serpent Society.

Fantastic Four (1961) #311

Fantastic Four (1961) #311

What is Marvel Unlimited?

When the Panther spirit that gave T’Challa his abilities learned of rampant apartheid in neighboring Azania, it fled the king in BLACK PANTHER #1 (the kick off of a four-issue limited series) and inhabited an Azanian rebel to create Man-Cat. The blame for Man-Cat’s vicious attacks in the small nation fell on the Panther, but he found himself busy fighting the white-power Supremacists in BLACK PANTHER #2, sent by an Azanian general.

T’Challa flew to Azania in BLACK PANTHER #3 to divert a nuclear missile there aimed at Wakanda, then defeated Man-Cat in BLACK PANTHER #4 to clear his name and help Azania begin the process of breaking down their system of apartheid.

During the “Evolutionary War” event, an attempt by the High Evolutionary and his Gatherers to steal Vibranium from Wakanada led to Black Panther teaming with his Avengers allies again in WEST COAST AVENGERS ANNUAL #3.

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Peter Parker faces challenges like never before...

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe and the web-slinger will swing onto the silver screen once again in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” this May! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story…

The wallcrawler entered his 39th year of existence in 2001, and he kicked off the year by teaming up with a fellow New York hero: Daredevil. Both Spider-Man and the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen sought the Kingpin in DAREDEVIL/SPIDER-MAN #1, but found Gladiator, Stilt-Man, and Copperhead blocking their path. Kingpin hired Matt Murdock as his lawyer when the villains blew up his headquarters in DAREDEVIL/SPIDER-MAN #2, just as the Owl and the Black Widow entered the picture. The two heroes confronted the villains in the sewers of New York and discovered Copperhead as the ringmaster in DAREDEVIL/SPIDER-MAN #3. Then the two fought an army of the dead in DAREDEVIL/SPIDER-MAN #4.

Plagued by weird, disturbing Green Goblin dreams in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25, Peter Parker succumbed to Norman Osborn’s drugged toothpaste and awoke to a real nightmare. Osborn tortured him in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #25, but our hero fought back, resisting the Green Goblin’s scheme to make him his heir.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #25

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #25

  • Published: November 01, 2000
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 12, 2013
  • Rating: T+
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After his battle with the Squid in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #26 and his rescue of a mysterious cat hunted by criminals in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #27, various police officers reflected on the webslinger’s adventures in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #26. The Robot Master returned in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #27 as a disembodied head held captive by his own machine, forcing Spidey to devise a plan to shut him down without killing him in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #28.

Peter learned that Mary Jane survived a supposedly fatal plane crash in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #28, but her abductor got the better of him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #29. Together, Spidey and MJ escaped his clutches in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #29, but MJ left afterward, no longer able to cope with her husband’s super hero career.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #29

Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #29

  • Published: May 01, 2001
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

In SPIDER-MAN: LIFELINE #1, Man-Mountain Marko stole the stone tablet containing an eternal life formula, prompting others to try to grab it for themselves. Peter’s old friend Dr. Connors drank the formula in SPIDER-MAN: LIFELINE #2, transforming him into a kind of Supper-Lizard, but Spidey and Doctor Strange stopped him in SPIDER-MAN: LIFELINE #3 and Strange took possession of the tablet to hide it away for good.

Saddened over his separation from Mary Jane, Peter ran afoul of a new menace called Fusion in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #30 and failed to stop a bomb that ends up killing hundreds of innocent people. Confronting the baddie, Fusion breaks Spidey’s neck in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #31, but our hero realized his foe’s power laid in persuasion, not reality, and recovered from the shock of thinking he had a broken neck in time to take him down in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #32.

Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #32

Peter Parker: Spider-Man (1999) #32

  • Published: August 01, 2001
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
What is Marvel Unlimited?

A man with spider-abilities called Ezekial taunted the wallcrawler with a strange destiny in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30 before Ezekial told Peter about a powerful figure named Morlun in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #32. Morlun beat our hero savagely in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33, but when Ezekial arrived to help in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #34, it costs him his life, leaving Spidey with only a small sample of Morlun’s blood to defeat him with in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #35.

The webslinger teamed with Frank Castle to clash with the Russian in PUNISHER #2, and later, on the anniversary of his Uncle Ben’s death, Peter took in a baseball game in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #33. During a date with his new neighbor in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #34, the wallcrawler faced off against a man with destructive eyes, and a young boy who idolized Spider-Man encountered a series of personal challenges in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #35.

A nosy insurance man investigated Spidey’s secret identity in PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN #36 and the hero himself confronted the horror of the September 11 attacks on his home city in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #36.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #36

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #36

  • Published: December 01, 2001
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 08, 2013
  • Rating: T+
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Pete, thanks for being a hero and, maybe more importantly, for reminding us of the heroes around us every day. See you in 2002.

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Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca close out their Darth Vader run!

Every week, we comb through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase a classic story from a galaxy far, far away. So kick back, pour a tall glass of blue milk, and remember tales of the Light Side, the Dark, and all the scoundrels in between….

Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca built something incredible with the first volume of DARTH VADER. Not only did they unearth new facets of one of the most notable characters in pop culture, they also expanded the universe with a variety of new and interesting characters. Finishing up their run with a final arc in DARTH VADER #20#25, Gillen and Larroca answered some lingering questions, and settled a few scores.

Accompanying the Emperor on a ship, Darth Vader set out to track down a man called Cylo, who was a scientist with an army of highly technological soldiers. Palpatine wanted him dead and Vader fully agreed. On his way, Vader managed to uncover his nemesis Doctor Aphra’s location. With this information in mind, he ordered Triple-Zero and Bee Tee to travel to the Cosmatanic Steppes to bring her back dead or alive.

Darth Vader (2015) #20

Darth Vader (2015) #20

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The droids found Aphra and used their muscle—the Wookiee named Black Krrsantan and a troupe of commando droids—to seize the archaeologist and take her back to Vader’s ship. Upon arriving, though, Triple-Zero and Bee Tee had fulfilled the primary command from Vader, which meant that Aphra could give them another command: get her out of there.

After the Dark Lord of the Sith journeyed to the Outer Rim to deal with Cylo, he faced off against Tulon Voidgazer, her Rancor, and her various machines before emerging victorious. Then, following an attack, Cylo attempted to take control of Vader’s ship as Aphra rushed in to defend the Emperor from Cylo’s soldiers. Vader pursued his foe, but Cylo managed to freeze the Sith Lord by shutting down his mechanical parts. After an incredible look inside the mind of the struggling Anakin Skywalker, Vader reasserted control of his body and destroyed his enemy.

Darth Vader (2015) #21

Darth Vader (2015) #21

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Once back on his ship, Vader disagreed with some of the information that Aphra had managed to share with the Emperor, and forced her out of an airlock. The Emperor then gave Darth Vader authority over the confrontational General Tagge once again (whom Vader would eventually find to have a disturbing lack of faith). With this episode behind him, Vader could once again focus on tracking down the young Rebel Luke Skywalker.

But that’s not all! The storyline concluded with Triple-Zero, Bee Tee, and Black Krrsantan rescuing Aphra from space, allowing her adventures to continue.

Darth Vader (2015) #22

Darth Vader (2015) #22

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From the Jedi Temple Archives

During a conversation between Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, the Master explained an interesting thought to change the longstanding tradition of the Sith. After explaining the origins of the single master, single apprentice relationship, Palpatine said that he saw himself as a seminal figure in Sith history who would restore the group to “their rightful place in the galaxy.”

In next week’s Star Wars Spotlight, we’ll read through the “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” lead-in one-shot STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE – CASSIAN & K-2SO by Duane Swierczynski and Fernando Blanco!

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Black Panther, Shuri and their allies face off against Machinesmith in this special story.

Last year, Marvel and Lexus partnered for the special series BLACK PANTHER: SOUL OF A MACHINE, and fans can now enjoy the story in an exciting new way with the release of a motion comic version, which includes the addition of sound effects and music.

In BLACK PANTHER: SOUL OF A MACHINE, when the cybernetic artificial intelligence, Machinesmith, infiltrates all of Wakanda’s systems, the very existence of human civilization is threatened. It is up to six Wakandan science apprentices and six Takumi Masters, working with Black Panther and his sister, Shuri, to create the ultimate machine to stop Machinesmith’s flawed, but deeply felt, vision for integrating man and technology into harmonious perfection.

Black Panther: Soul of a Machine – Chapter One (2017)

Black Panther: Soul of a Machine – Chapter One (2017)

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BLACK PANTHER: SOUL OF A MACHINE is written by Fabian Nicieza, with art by Andrea Di Vito. You can check out all eight chapters of the motion comic now at marvel.com/lexuslc! There are also six different variant covers at the link, which all feature animated graphics.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña take T'Challa to the stars!

This May, the power of the Black Panther expands across the universe.

Prepare to see Wakanda like never before as writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Daniel Acuña present a bold new direction for both the nation and T’Challa in BLACK PANTHER #1!

For years, the Black Panther has fought off invaders from his homeland, protecting Wakanda from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed; across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name. Readers caught a glimpse of it in MARVEL LEGACY #1, now find out the truth behind the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda this May!

“Black Panther fans should be excited because this is a true #1. It’s a new story—with connections to the old story—but it’s taking him into a different space…literally. And I think people will be excited about that,” says Coates. “Black Panther #1 is a creative challenge for me. My first few books were more philosophical, and while that still rings true here, this is a fast-paced, high-octane story. And with Daniel Acuña’s art, I think people are really going to feel the energy and intensity here. I wanted people to feel like this is a really fresh storyline, and I think we succeeded in that. It’s meaty, it’s different, and it’s perfect for new readers just coming to the world of T’Challa and Black Panther.’’

“T’Challa has a life of his own—he’s full of personality and charisma. He can be a mysterious silhouette or a powerful warrior. It’s so inspiring. I really, really hope people can see this new and personal vision of Black Panther—and I’ll still follow the brilliant lead of Brian Stelfreeze’s design and settings,” adds Acuña. “My inspiration is T’Challa’s legacy, the unique history of the character, and the amazing artists that have come before. I feel like I’m a part of something very different to what I’ve done until now. This is a very significant work that I hope lasts a long time.”

Series editor Wil Moss explains more: “I can’t emphasize enough how clean of an entry point this is for new readers. Readers are going to be learning about this mysterious ‘Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda’ right alongside T’Challa, so everyone is going to be on the same page. And oh man, is Daniel Acuña delivering the goods! He ‘gets’ the character of Black Panther like no other, and his designs for the Intergalactic Empire are…well, they’re out of this world!”

Dive into Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña’s BLACK PANTHER #1 on May 23! And stay up-to-date with all the exciting news coming from Marvel Comics at marvel.com/marvel2018comics!

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See how the Lethal Legion members made their debut!

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.

A collection of the greatest super heroes on Earth have found themselves facing a monumental challenge in the pages of AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER. With the Grandmaster and the Challenger stealing Earth and utilizing the Lethal Legion and Black Order to enact their cosmic schemes, readers have been introduced—and reintroduced—to a variety of super villains. Two of these baddies have been around for longer than most; the Blood Brothers first premiered in 1973’s IRON MAN #55.

Now members of the Lethal Legion, the pair originally appeared as Thanos’ lackeys in an issue that also introduced Drax and gave an early look at the Mad Titan. The Brothers showed up, knocked Tony Stark out, loaded him onto their ship, and took him to their master’s secret Earthly lair. It was then revealed that Drax actually warned Stark about the oncoming threat before it occurred; to protect himself, he donned the armor just as the Blood brothers entered Stark Industries. Further warning Iron Man about the villains’ presence, Drax telepathically filled the hero’s mind with images of Titan, Mentor, Eros, and Thanos. These warnings, however, proved to be too late.

Iron Man (1968) #55

Iron Man (1968) #55

  • Published: February 10, 1973
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 05, 2008
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Upon regaining his senses inside Thanos’ base, Iron Man blasted the Blood Brothers with his repulsors before escaping to free Drax. The Blood Brothers managed to recover in time, though, and attacked the Armored Avenger once more. Though with the help of the Mentor, Iron Man prevailed again, allowing him to free his newfound friend, Drax.

Iron Man and the Destroyer then teamed up to face the Blood Brothers and bested them with ease. The duo then turned their attention toward Thanos, but the villain fled instead of staying to fight. The alien brutes survived, though, and would go on to menace Iron Man again along with the likes of the Thing, Daredevil, Quasar, and now—in the pages of AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER—the entire Earth!

Flash Forward

Between their early days and their current status as members of the Lethal Legion, the Blood Brothers have encountered some wild events during their stay on Earth. After crashing to the planet on an alien spaceship, the duo managed to enslave a small Alaskan town, fight Drax again, and evade death. After one of the Brothers supposedly died, the other was sent to space jail, which he broke out of before becoming fixture in large criminal gatherings like The Hood’s syndicate, the Siege on Asgard, Mr. Knife’s Slaughter Lords, and even Pleasant Hill, where his long-lost brother was mysteriously revived.

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