"Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Marvel Comics
Originally Published as Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine #1 - #4
Written by Jonathan Maberry
Illustrated by Laurence Campbell
2011, 112 Pages
Graphic Novel released on November 30th, 2011
We saw a glimpse of a world ravaged by a strange virus that caused many of the heroes to turn into bloodthirsty cannibals in Marvel Universe Vs. The Punisher. Author Jonathan Maberry takes us back to how it all started with his follow up to that tale, Marvel Universe Vs Wolverine. I'm starting to see a pattern here.
Wolverine has always been the character most willing to cross the line when it comes to killing. He's put more than his fair share of men in the ground. It's part of his life and his turbulent past. Despite this, he's become a hero. So, when Spider-Man eats the face off The Rhino in front of millions of people on live TV, he's understandably concerned. Shortly thereafter, Wolverine's teammate Psylocke is brutally murdered during a mission. He thinks the two incidents are related and works with some of the brightest minds of the Marvel Universe to track down some answers and possibly create a vaccine.
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Of course, nothing is going to go the way it should. This is Wolverine after all. The only super hero with worse luck than him is Spider-Man and he's already Patient Zero in this mess. Logan is forced to put down people that he once called friends and teammates. Once they become infected, members of the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers all meet their ends at his claws. It's a brutal time.
Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine fills in some of the gaps created in the Punisher comic, but there are still plenty of questions. It's still not clear how this virus started in the first place or how Spider-Man ended up being the first person to show any symptoms. Instead, we get the history of the early days of the plague, with Wolverine leading a small group of heroes against impossible odds, those mostly being the Hulk and his forces.
Laurence Campbell handled the art for the comic. His style reminds me of that of Michael Gaydos or Alex Maleev. It's light on detail, instead concentrating on mood which lets the art breathe. Campbell can convey a lot in a solitary panel, especially when it has Wolverine slaughtering Angel or Colossus. There are some great shots that zero in on that emotion as Logan is forced to do what no one else can. This also helps set the somber tone of the story.
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As this story was only four chapters, it felt like it ended right when it was getting started. We know where it's going because Marvel Universe Vs The Punisher was published first and that follows this comic chronologically. There are still several holes in the arc that I hope Maberry will fill in. I don't see this becoming another Marvel Zombies and getting run into the ground like that franchise. Instead, the author is filling in these details carefully. As of this writing, there's a sequel already published entitled Marvel Universe Vs. The Avengers.
Jonathan Maberry has created a unique horror story starring your favorite Marvel heroes. Instead of being a senseless gore fest, it's a character study that gets right to the heart of what makes these guys tick. We saw it with the Punisher previously in the strictly black and white way that Frank Castle views the world. Now Wolverine is in the spotlight, showing everyone that he's more than just a berserker and that each life that he takes weighs on him greatly. This isn't easy for him but someone has to be the one to get their hands dirty. It might as well be him.