The Fantastic Four battles monsters to usher in the Marvel Age!

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

Some might think that the rebirth of the super heroes at Marvel with FANTASTIC FOUR #1 rang an immediate death knell for the giant monsters who had ruled the roost for the previous few years, but that’s not quite the case. In fact, the two carried on side by side for a while.

FANTASTIC FOUR #1 marks an interesting merging of the two genres as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby pitted their brand new first family of comics up against, you guessed it, giant monsters. Just look at the cover if you don’t believe us!

The issue from 1961 began with each member of the team already equipped with their powers out in New York City until a mysterious figure sent out a Fantastic Four flare that grabbed their attention.  Upon the group getting together the reader discovered that Reed Richards called the meeting. After recounting their cosmic ray-filled trip to outer space that granted them amazing powers, the quartet focused on the task at hand: stopping The Mole Man from sending his enormous monsters surface-side to destroy nuclear plants.

Reed tracked the creatures to a place called Monster Isle and all four set out to investigate. There they first encountered incredible creatures and then their leader, Mole Man. He explained that the surface world had shunned him because of looks, so he retreated underground where an accident left him mostly blind. Still, he turned the negative into a positive and soon mastered control of the subterranean creatures.

Fantastic Four (1961) #1

Fantastic Four (1961) #1

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He ordered them to destroy the nuclear plans in hopes of sending his minions on a full-on destruction mission. This, of course did not sit well with the fledgling heroes who soon made a break for the exit with Human Torch sealing up the tunnel after them along with their leader.

Mole Man has returned numerous times with his monsters to fight the Fantastic Four as well as other heroes in the Marvel Universe. While this marked the first time the FF has gone up against the kinds of monsters that preceded them, it would be far from the last.

Creators in the early 60’s like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby quickly learned the popularity of huge, wild creatures which has inspired writers and artists to continue mixing them with super heroes in a variety of ways including Monsters Unleashed!

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The original Hulk brings telepathic trouble to the Marvel Universe!

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

One of the best things about looking through these monster stories that preceded the super hero-filled Marvel Universe as we have come to know it is seeing some of the prototypes that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby eventually turned into icons. Take 1960’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #62 for instance. The title blurb screams, “Here comes…THE HULK!” While the huge orange beast on the cover might not resemble the Jade Giant—who officially debuted two years later in 1962’s INCREDIBLE HULK #1—it’s fun to see how they went from one monster to another.

In the earlier story plus its follow-up in issue #66, Xemnu landed on Earth because he’d run out of fuel. There he met a young man named Joe Harper who the alien immediately possessed with his telepathic powers. Xemnu did the same to the entire planet in an effort to rebuild his ship. When the project neared completion, the alien freed Harper who immediately sabotaged some important systems which zapped the alien into unconsciousness. After waking, Xemnu returned to Earth and tried getting revenge on Joe, but the young man used a mirror to bounce his foe’s mental abilities back at him, seemingly destroying the beast in the process.

After that, the alien’s consciousness traveled the galaxy until it found an American astronaut named Richmond Wagner and took control of his body. Back on Earth the invader parlayed the man’s intense popularity into a kids show that he used to brainwash children in an effort to take them back to his planet to aid in repopulation. He would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those pesky Defenders as seen in the pages of MARVEL FEATURE #3. This issue solidified his appearance as a furry white creature with wild eyes and a metal skullcap while also pitting the creature against the real Hulk for the first time. 

The two would battle again in the pages of INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #5 when Xemnu seemingly resurrected several of the monsters we’ve already discussed in an effort to defeat the gamma-irradiated hero. The Titan appeared here and there over the next few decades, appearing briefly in BEYOND! and as one of the Phalanx Select in Annihilation: Conquest. Later, in HULK #30, Impossible Man imported the white giant to battle the Red Hulk. Xemnu easily used his mental abilities to make Red Hulk punch himself in a face, but things got more interesting when the other Hulk entered the fray.

Seeing an opportunity for even more entertainment value, Impossible Man first brought more monsters into the battle and then combined the two gamma guys into Compound Hulk. Not to be outdone, Xemnu brought his own Hulk clone Kluh into the picture and the real fight got under way. Great fisticuffs ensued!

Like a few of the other classic monsters, Xemnu has carried on through the years thanks to his massive powers, unique presence and connections to The Hulk. He’s carrying those over into MONSTERS UNLEASHED as we speak and will probably keep popping up well after.

Finally, we close out Unleash the Beasts with an iconic synthesis of big monsters and super heroes in FANTASTIC FOUR #1.

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A trip to the center of the Earth brings forth a terrifying new menace!

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

Just the other day, we mentioned that Metallo held the distinction of only showing up in his first appearance and then again decades later in MONSTERS UNLEASHED. Well, move over Metallo, because The Crawling Creature’s joining the club too! Introduced in TALES TO ASTONISH #22 from 1961, this Stan Lee-Jack Kirby creation made trouble for a high school student by the name of Walter Carter who fit in the Peter Parker mold in that this very intelligent young man failed to earn the respect of his classmates.

Instead of devoting his intelligence to physics or engineering, though, Walter focused his studies on folklore, specifically the stories revolving around huge creatures like trolls and giants that lived inside the Earth. So, when he saw an ad looking for someone “young and thin” to ride in an experimental drilling machine, he eagerly applied and got the gig!

Once down in the depths of the planet, Walter got out to look around armed with a flashlight and pistol. He soon came across a spear and unknowingly passed a caveman-like individual hiding in the shadows. The sentinel leapt from the darkness and knocked Walter out, only for him to come to in a primitive society underground that luckily also spoke English.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #22

Tales to Astonish (1959) #22

  • Published: August 01, 1961
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 21, 2012
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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Walter’s new acquaintances showed him their livestock and farms, but also explained that their existence would be even better without the constant threat of The Crawling Creature. The young man instantly offered to help them out by blasting it with his gun. He soon made his way towards the Black Pool, the creature’s home, and came face to face with the enormous, orange lizard-like monster. That didn’t work out so well for Walter who ran back to the village where the natives dumped huge piles of salt, a substance that bothered The Crawling Creature.

A plan then formed in Walter’s mind and he returned to the tunneling machine, racing back to the surface. Just after he got rid of all the people who had been waiting to hear about his journey, The Crawling Creature burst into the bright light of day. Walter lead the beast down into the Grand Canyon. They both soon found themselves stuck in a cavern they couldn’t escape from. Feeling doomed, Walter was ecstatic to see a nearby helicopter that swooped down and picked him up. They both flew away, convinced the Crawling Creature would never escape from the hole.

The young man asked the pilot not to say anything about what he’d seen that day and returned to school feeling good about not only living his dream but keeping the underground dwellers’ existence from prying eyes or ears.

Next time, see how Xemnu went from “Hulk” to “Titan!”

 

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A monster with familiar origins spouts a unique plan!

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

1961’s TALES TO ASTONISH #23 introduced readers to a monster with somewhat familiar origins, but a fun new plan to dive into.

Moomba may come off as a kind of greatest hits monster in that he’s an alien from a tree-based planet, like Groot, who also happens to be the subject of statues carved by those who live near his location in Africa, like Kraa. However, Moomba earns all kinds of originality points for the specifics of his plans to dominate the Earth.

Instead of an insulted professor, this story focuses on a human hunter by the name of Frank. He wanted to kill animals, but his exporter friend explained that the only thing anyone actually wanted to buy was sculptures. Though not excited about the job, Frank went into the jungle to find “weird tribal carvings” as he called them. During his journey, people tried warning him of the dangers of messing with the wooden statues, but the great white hunter sallied forth.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #23

Tales to Astonish (1959) #23

  • Published: September 01, 1961
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 21, 2012
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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Ignoring the blatant fear of his horse, Frank searched for the source and soon came face to face with a 20-foot statue of Moomba. The hunter planned on cutting the piece into parts and then nailing it back together, but that idea took flight when Moomba tried stomping on the surprised man. The topic of conversation then turned to Moomba’s alien origins and how he planned on taking over the world. See, he didn’t travel to Earth alone; he came with an army that disseminated itself across the planet in the form of exported tribal statues!

To show Frank his plan in action, Moomba easily traversed Pygmy country and climbed a mountain for a good point of view. As he sent out the signal, the alien creatures sprung to life, attacking anyone nearby. Moomba exhibited his own superior strength as he took on the military while his minions did their part all across the globe. However, the invasion came to a halt when a witch doctor hit Moomba with a dust that froze him where he stood and diminished his mental capacity. The shaman then offered the monster an ultimatum: leave with his soldiers or allow the powder to render him inert.

Moomba agreed, erased the memories of the events from human memory, and then joined up with his fellow aliens, turned into a rocket and blasted off towards home. However, Frank remembered because he wrote about the events in his diary. If nothing else, he walked away with a newfound, though begrudging respect for native people.

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An escaped con uses an experimental suit to go on a rampage!

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

We’ve covered quite a few classic Stan Lee-Jack Kirby monsters, but Metallo here holds a special distinction. So far, he’s the only creature to only appear in his debut story and then not again until MONSTERS UNLEASHED!

Metallo debuted in 1961’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #16. In that story, felon Mike Fallon broke out of prison, stole a car, and headed to a big city to blend in. Worried about too many cops in the area, the con applied for a radiation test suit experiment. Looking like a more aerodynamic and bulky version of Tony Stark’s first armor, the radiation suit supposedly allowed the wearer to survive a nearby atomic blast. After a week of training in the contraption, Mike stood on a deserted island, ready to test the suit against an underwater nuclear explosion.

The ensuing tidal wave flooded the small island and sent the suit underwater, but Fallon stayed safe, encased within the armor. Of course, the ocean depths boast their own dangers and he soon found himself fighting off an octopus. After killing the creature, Mike found salvation in military frogmen diving in to pull him up.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #16

Tales of Suspense (1959) #16

  • Published: April 01, 1961
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 06, 2010
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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The next experiment found Mike suspended in the air with an atomic warhead blowing up about 50 yards from him. After walking away unscathed, Mike decided to keep the suit, reveal his true identity and get back to “the business of crime.” Lacking any kind of fail safes—the suit locked from the inside—the military men just stood and watched as Mike lumbered off with their lead behemoth. He made the First National Bank his first target, bursting his way up into the building through the sewers, dubbing himself Metallo in the process.

Metallo then decided to try his hand at a prison break from Alcatraz. After smashing into the island fortress he started feeling sick and went to the infirmary where the doctor informed him that he might have radiation poisoning. Mike quickly realized that, in order to receive treatment, he’d have to come out of the suit, which would most likely lead to another incarceration. Loathe to that idea, he instead wandered off into the mountains, contemplating his last days on the planet.

Next, TALES TO ASTONISH #23 introduces us to another alien wood-based lifeform whose visage inspired African tribal sculptures: Moomba!

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The original Spider-Man spins his deadly web!

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

Do you remember when the Spider Man debuted in 1961 and tried taking over the Earth? Probably not, because JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #64 didn’t quite get as many eyeballs as the next year’s AMAZING FANTASY #15. And yet, the issue introduced the world to Rorgg, King of the Spider Men. The Stan Lee-Jack Kirby story revolved around a race of Spider Men who could travel through the cosmos on their webbing.

Those strands eventually lead Rorgg and his posse to Earth where they decided to take over. A young man and comic fan named Tim discovered the first strands in his New Mexico town. Soon enough everyone around tried chopping up the webs to no avail. Rorgg revealed himself along with his intentions before long, but that didn’t stop Tim from trying his best to stop the menace. He ran into a hardware store, grabbed some DDT and blasted the baddie, killing him in the process.

The issue ended with Tim’s dad extolling the virtues of comics: “Those science-fiction stories stimulate their imagination, their desire to know, to understand!” he said. “And in a universe filled with countless unknown dangers, we need inquiring, imaginative minds! We may someday need them for our very survival!” It seems a safe bet that at least a few comic fans memorized that very speech and tried it on their parents!

Rorgg actually returned along with a few other famous monsters in the pages of books like FANTASTIC FOUR UNLIMITED #7, HULK MONSTER-SIZE SPECIAL, JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #649 and even UNCANNY X-MEN #33.

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A visitor from beyond the stars succeeds in uniting sworn enemies!

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

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby came together once again in 1961 to stir up trouble in TALES OF SUSPENSE #21 when they created Klagg. In this case, the mysterious alien didn’t land and immediately claim he intended to dominate the planet. Instead, he agreed to hold meetings with representatives from all around the planet, including the “Iron Curtain Countries.” Before long, Klagg explained that he had been traveling nearby and simply intended to get his bearings without knowing the planet held life.

Everything moved along smoothly until Klagg explained that his craft harnessed the power of wind to propel itself through space. This of course garnered immediate interest from both sides fighting the Cold War. This exchange revealed to the visitor that Earth still waged conflicts between its own nations. He then explained that his race made it their business to squash warmongering worlds in creative ways from making them sleep for a thousand years to planet shrinking.

Klagg then ran to his ship and started using its impressive wind abilities to wreak havoc. The turbines proved so powerful that missiles fired at his ship were actually blown out of the air.

While Klagg fought with government forces, a young man named Phil decided to infiltrate the ship one night, grab the plans for the wind-generators, and painted a target on himself for foreign agents who wanted the same plans. Once they sprang upon the youth, Phil revealed the truth: that he had no plans, but that the Cold War continued to rip the planet apart and should be ended so they could focus on their true enemy Klagg.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #21

Tales of Suspense (1959) #21

  • Published: September 01, 1961
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 20, 2012
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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With petty differences forgotten and put aside, the world’s military forces all joined together to stop the invasion. Seeing this, Klagg ceased his attack saying, “I do know that by banding together you’ve shown me you are not hopeless savages.” With that, he left the planet in hopes that we’d move further towards peace and progress.

This story marks an interesting occasion where the image on the cover doesn’t completely represent that creature seen in the first story. Though mostly covered in shadow on the book’s front, you can see it’s an orange figure of some sort. In the story, the human-sized Klagg matches that color, but his giant, humanoid ship looks more blue aside from the opening splash when it’s red. Still, the actual visage of Klagg remains an impressive and memorable one to the point that it’s popping back up in MONSTERS UNLEASHED!

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A farmer attempts to feed the world and ends up creating a monster!

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

1962’s TALES OF SUSPENSE #26 kicked off with huge claims about it’s opening main character Jed Hanson. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby set the man up as the kind of person everyone should strive to be as he dedicated himself to finding a plant that could grow in the most inhospitable of climates in order to help feed those in other nations. Jed didn’t let anything silly like a stray meteorite landing in a nearby field deter him from breeding and cross-breeding until he developed a plant packed with “every vitamin in the alphabet and then some!”

What Jed didn’t know, though, was that his plant had been hijacked by a creature from outer space that could stretch its body around other trees as the first step in fully uprooting them! Just beginning, the creature continued to grow throughout the day, grabbing sheep and bulldozers with equal ease. Feeling guilty at his contribution to this menace, Jed did everything he could to stop the creature, but it just kept expanding no matter how much he and the others cut away. Hope seemed fully lost until the farmer literally stumbled over the original meteorite which he posited “must contain some element fatal to the plant.”

Tales of Suspense (1959) #26

Tales of Suspense (1959) #26

  • Published: February 01, 1962
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 27, 2012
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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With a plan in mind, Jed drafted his wife and son to help him chop the space rock up with axes and distribute them around town. As the stone touched the plant-like creature, it immediately shriveled up and died. Glad to be done with the menace, the townspeople asked Jed to give up his dream of helping feed the world and he easily agreed: “I won’t monkey with anything I don’t know about!”

If he kept his word, it makes you wonder how The Thing That Crawls by Night appeared in the second and third issues of MONSTERS UNLEASHED!

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Deep in Africa, what secrets does this craggy creature hold!

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

How can a flip comment from a young girl lead to the discovery of a massive monster in a remote African village? For the answers, you must turn to the story of Kraa the Unhuman in the pages of TALES OF SUSPENSE #18. In this Stan Lee-Jack Kirby tale from 1961, a teacher overhears one of his students commenting that he’s never been outside of their small town during a lecture on African sculptures. Spurred on by the young woman’s words, he decided to take a trip that summer.

Once in Africa the teacher sought out the Wabuzi tribe to find out “why they’ve been making so many statues, all of the same grotesque figure!” The journey itself proved fraught with danger as other tribes refused to help him get there, mysterious strangers robbed him, and everyone whispered of angering Kraa.

Undeterred, the man carried forth, even when the presence of larger statues and huge footprints in the Earth would have made others turn back. Upon arriving in the Wabuzi village, he saw the giant, stone-like Kraa for himself, but the creature saw him as well and sent the villagers after the intruder.

Quickly captured, the man found himself held in Kraa’s mighty grasp about to die. However, being somewhat merciful, Kraa offered him one last request. Remembering why he came there in the first place, the teacher asked about the giant’s origins.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #18

Tales of Suspense (1959) #18

  • Published: June 01, 1961
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 16, 2010
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Instead of coming from the skies, Kraa started as an average villager who became stranded in a hunting trap after some Russians parachuted in and decided to use the area for nuclear tests. Caught in the blast, the man who became a monster grew to such impressive heights that he easily caught a leaping lion who wanted him for breakfast. Upon revealing himself to the villagers, the new life form was dubbed Kraa and asked them to look for the invaders who proved either dead or gone. With that, he dedicated himself to destroying all of the civilized world.

Instead of seeing a would-be conqueror in front of him, the teacher saw Kraa for what he really was: a man suffering from radiation poisoning. Unable to admit this in front of his worshipers, the man-monster had just lived with the pain for months, but the teacher applied ointment up a desolate mountain. There, an enormous python attacked the traveler, but Kraa stepped in to wrestle it away from his new aid. The two tussled, but ultimately tumbled off a cliff, both apparently dying in the process.

Back home, the teacher’s students didn’t believe his wild stories about visiting the Wabuzi tribe. That is, until one of them ran in with a newspaper emblazoned with a picture of a new Wabuzi monument, this one looking exactly like their teacher!

Kraa’s another one of those old school monsters who made a big splash with his first appearance, but then remained quiet over the decades aside from brief appearances in NICK FURY’S HOWLING COMMANDOS and, most recently, the third issue of MONSTER’S UNLEASHED.

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New recruits like Moon Girl and Elsa Bloodstone pitch in for monster mayhem!

Kang’s been defeated and banished from our timestream, for now. However, he left the students of “Marvel Avengers Academy” a parting gift straight from the timefog: Fin Fang Foom has been unleashed and he’s ready to take over the world with a horde of monsters by his side. Recruit Moon Girl, Elsa Bloodstone, and more to battle Fin Fang Foom and his monster army and put a stop to his nefarious plans.

We snagged Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to get the full rundown of everything we’ll see in this massive new event.

Marvel.com: What threat does Fin Fang Foom pose to the Academy? Is he alone or has he brought friends?

Allen Warner: Kang the Conqueror was defeated at the end of our previous Young Avengers event, but not before he’d had a chance to explore the timefog surrounding the campus, and plant the seeds for his revenge, and eventual return. He devised a way to free Fin Fang Foom from the timefog, knowing that the gigantic awakened space dragon would wreak havoc on Avengers Academy. Fin Fang Foom is not only furious about being trapped in the timefog, but he’s also desperately searching for the immensely powerful Makluan Power Rings that were stolen from him while he slept. He uses his size and powers to not only dominate the campus, but to control the minds of monsters across the globe, unleashing them on the Avengers and the rest of the world to get his revenge and recover his rings. We’ll see him using Devil Dinosaur, Orrgo, and Hi-Vo to attack the campus, and there will be references, stories, and decorations based around many more monsters and dinosaurs who are doing his bidding across the globe.

Marvel.com: What new heroes—and monsters—can players recruit to join the student body over the course of the event?

Allen Warner: It’s an awesome combination of characters with extreme strength, intelligence, and skills perfectly suited for battling giant monsters: Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur, Elsa Bloodstone, Orrgo, Amadeus Cho, and Hercules. It’s one of my favorite event line ups so far, with every character bringing something cool and different to the table when it comes to their personalities, abilities, and visuals.

Moon Girl is the youngest student to ever join the Academy, and one of the smartest and most creative. Anyone who’s read the great MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR comic knows about their fun relationship, but it’s also really cool to see her interact with the many super-scientists at Avengers Academy from Hank Pym to Iron Man.

Elsa Bloodstone is one of my favorite underused characters. She has a great look, and I love her attitude. In our world, she has some history with a bunch of other monster hunters and cold-blooded enforcer types, so she’ll share a lot of screen time with everyone from Blade to Angela.

It felt weird to have a monster event without letting players recruit at least one monster, and my mind immediately went to Orrgo because he’s the kind of character that makes me smile just by looking at him, and he has this goofy, crazy, over-the-top attitude and power set that make him a great fit for the game, and perfect for an event that features a red dinosaur fighting a dragon from outer space. I think players will love Orrgo’s animations, and they might be surprised by his chosen career path.

Hercules is a character we’ve been wanting to get into the game for a long time. He’s a classic Avenger, has great history with heroes already at the school and new heroes in this event, and brings great energy and attitude. Our younger version of Hercules is a bro with a heart of gold. He’s always looking for the next challenge, and he loves showing off while he’s at it.

Amadeus Cho is of course, the new Totally Awesome Hulk. He has a really fun personality that fits perfectly with the game, and he’s a mental and physical powerhouse. We did something we’ve never done with a character before in the game with Amadeus, having him start as Amadeus Cho in human scientist form, and evolve into his Hulk form. It’s something we really wanted to do with the Bruce Banner Hulk when the game came out, but it presents a lot of challenges for animation in particular, so we couldn’t pull it off at that time. With over a year of animations and experience in the game under our belt, we decided to give it a shot, and he turned out great. Joe Daniels and our animation team deserve a lot of credit. We even have a unique animation for him that plays out in two completely different ways based off of which form he’s in. It really makes him feel like one of the most special characters in the game. And while it won’t appear in this event, players can now also look forward to a Bruce Banner outfit for Hulk in the future.

Last, but most definitely not least, is Devil Dinosaur. Anyone who’s been playing the game since the beginning knows that he’s been teased more than any other character. We talked about getting him in from the beginning, but there was not only the challenge of animating a fun-loving Tyrannosaurus Rex, but how do you get a giant dinosaur to fit in a school made for humans? We knew if we were doing a monster event, he had to be in it, and the team did an incredible job of making it work. He’s huge, he runs the gamut from silly to ferocious, and there is just nothing like seeing him stomping around the campus. I don’t want to spoil anything, but his visual upgrades are both appropriate and absurd, and really great. I’m so happy he finally made it to Avengers Academy, and I think our players will feel the same.

Marvel.com: Likewise, who’s going to be decked out in new duds designed to defeat the monstrous threat?

Allen Warner: There will be new outfits for Wasp, Captain America, Loki, Hulk, and Black Widow.

Loki, Wasp, and Black Widow are all monster hunters, but each one looks and feels drastically different based off of their personalities. Loki is the arrogant, old-timey Big Game Hunter, Widow is the deadly and mysterious Monster Hunter, and Wasp is the energetic, fun-loving Monster Catcher who adores monsters and just wants to catch them all.

Hulk will become Gladiator Hulk, using one of his awesome designs from the legendary “Planet Hulk” comics to better battle the giant monsters. Cap will also become a gladiator of sorts, taking inspiration from the Secret Wars [PLANET HULK comic] where he teamed up with Devil Dinosaur. It’s fun to see them both looking so different, and the barbarian and gladiator vibe is a great fit for the sci-fi fantasy setting of battling aliens and gigantic monsters.

We usually have special combat outfits for each of the weekly event characters, but this time we’re doing something a little different. Each of those characters will have their own personalized mech suit themed to their powers and personalities. They’ll get new storylines for each suit, and will be able to jump inside, and trigger some awesome animations.

Marvel.com: What will the event district look like this time out, and how will our heroes interact with it?

Allen Warner: The event district is a sprawling tropical land that time forgot. Fin Fang Foom looms large in the center, flanked by his mind-controlled monsters and trapped heroes. On the other side is a giant, ancient alien mech covered in foliage. If our heroes can figure out how to get the mech running, they’ll be able to use it to battle Fin Fang Foom in some epic giant robot vs. giant monster battles!

Our event building this time out might be my favorite yet. It’s a multi-tiered gladiator arena for the heroes to practice battling monsters, and the entire building is made out of a giant dragon skull. Our concept artist Steve Chang did an awesome job with it. It looks really cool, and it allows a lot of vertical space for multiple characters to perform actions at the same time.

Marvel.com: In what ways do you draw inspiration from events on the Marvel Publishing side—this time out, from Monsters Unleashed—to choose characters, story beats, and various design elements for events?

Allen Warner: For all of our events that are based on either the movies or the books, I try to start with the high-level idea of the source material, and fit it into the world and tone we’ve established in ‘Avengers Academy.’ For example, Civil War is about heroes battling heroes with Captain America and Iron Man leading each side. I kept that in place, but in our younger, more lighthearted setting, those battles were based around insults, dance battles, and arm-wrestling, and the teams were different based off of what I thought made sense for our version of the characters. For Monsters Unleashed, it’s essentially a big fun spectacle about gigantic monsters doing battle. Two of the most iconic Marvel monsters of all time, Fin Fang Foom and Devil Dinosaur, have either been on our playspace or been frequently mentioned from the beginning of the game, so it made too much sense to base a monster event around them. I always want to respect the source material, but I also always want to do something that hasn’t been done before, and Tim Hernandez and Bill Rosemann and everyone else at Marvel Games are really great about encouraging me to pursue my own ideas and stories, and they offer that same trust and support to our art and animation teams.

Marvel has so much history, and an incredibly deep roster of characters, so I try to use stories from the comics for inspiration, and use that sandbox to create new stories and unique character combinations. Getting to reimagine these classic characters, stories, and events, and helping to create this new world within the Marvel Universe was what drew me to this project in the first place, and it’s still what I find the most fun and exciting.

Marvel.com: How does the team at TinyCo use these ideas to create something that fits within the Avengers Academy universe and ties into the ongoing narrative experience of the game?

Allen Warner: We always go back to our premise of the characters being younger, and our lighthearted tone, and what that means for their outfits, powers, and personalities. We know what Hercules looks and acts like in standard comic continuity, but what would he look and act like as a modern day young adult? Is there a school trope that fits him perfectly? Is there a sly pop culture reference we can use to drive the idea home? What would our version of Wasp wear to go monster hunting? How about Loki? These are the kinds of questions we ask with every character and outfit, and our art and animation teams deserve all the credit in the world for knocking it out of the park time after time.

From a strictly narrative perspective, I always want every event to connect to the next, and tie back to the underlying mysteries we’ve been exploring since the beginning of the game: Why are the heroes younger, and why are some not? What is the timefog? What caused it? What is Fury hiding at the school? Why does he want to recruit some characters, but imprison others? I try to use each character and event to plant new seeds and shed new light on the big mystery, while having fun with each interaction.

Marvel.com: While we have the menace that is Fin Fang Foom and his legion of monsters to deal with now, can you clue players in to what new enemies might be lurking on the horizon?

Allen Warner: Many villainous factions have fallen since Avengers Academy opened. Some have recently been resurrected under new leadership, and others have combined forces with unlikely allies. They recognize that to have any hope of beating the Avengers, they’ll need to reach out to rival schools that have remained hidden to this point, and use their combined forces to take down the faculty on their way to defeating the students.

It will be the most eclectic coordinated attack on the campus to date, and it will be the first step in introducing characters that no one ever thought would be joining “Avengers Academy.”

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