Marvel Universe Vs The Avengers

Jonathan Maberry returns to his terrifying vision of a post-apocalyptic Marvel Universe!

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Marvel Universe Vs The Avengers #1 cover by Aaron Kuder

By Tim Stevens

In the limited series MARVEL UNIVERSE VS PUNISHER and MARVEL UNIVERSE VS WOLVERINE, writer Jonathan Maberry took readers to a world ravaged by a plague that had turned most of Earth’s heroes into raving cannibalistic monsters. Those people once looked to for protection and inspiration had become the authors of the planet’s destruction. In the newest installment of the saga, MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE AVENGERS—a four-issue limited series beginning in October with art by Leandro Fernandez—Maberry looks even deeper into events, bringing the terror close to home.

“The story is intensely personal, as all stories of great cultural trauma,” the writer asserts. “These are horror stories, and MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE AVENGERS takes the horror down to a very personal level. We are no longer witnessing the world’s hurt or the cultural hurt, we’re inside the head –and heart—of a man who is experiencing the most personal kind of hurt.”

The man in question, the archer extraordinaire Hawkeye, acts as the readers’ eyes and ears in this shocking, sickening world, though he does not stand alone.

Marvel Universe Vs The Punisher

“The story is told from Hawkeye’s perspective, but most of the big guns are there: Thor, Hulk—red and green versions—Iron Man, Giant Man, Luke Cage, Black Widow, Mockingbird, Spider-Man, and others,” reveals Maberry. “We also check in on the kids at Avengers Academy.  The events in these four issues cut a bloody swath across the entire Avengers landscape.”

As the story unfolds, the normally sardonic arrow slinger finds himself struggling with a mixed blessing. While undeniably more powerful heroes become victims the plague, he appears to have a heightened resistance to it.

“The world is becoming a horror show and no one has the power to stop it,” Maberry explains. “Then we look down at the street-level, at a man like Hawkeye who has no super powers and who isn’t really the go-to guy for a world-threatening crisis and for reasons we’ll explore in the story, he doesn’t succumb to the plague as quickly. More and more of the responsibility for this fight falls to him, and he’s extremely mortal.

Marvel Universe Vs Wolverine

“View that same thing from another perspective and you see someone who has never been as powerful as his teammates, and yet he’s always held the line, always done his part. So, maybe he’s the kind of hero we need in a world where super powers are no longer the answer.”

Some of the events in MARVEL UNIVERSE VS THE AVENGERS have already unfolded in the previous two stories, but will be seen from different perspectives before moving the story even further into the world’s dark structure.

“The world itself is broken, and the storytelling reflects that,” Maberry offers. “There is no longer an orderly pace to history, and if humanity survives, the history that’s taught will come from fragments of memory and experiences.

“I wanted to get inside the phenomenon of becoming ‘powerless.’ Many of the heroes lose their heroic status by becoming monsters; we have characters struggling to continue to be heroes while knowing that they are transforming into the enemy. The government and even groups like S.H.I.E.L.D. can’t stop this. The greatest brains on the planet—Reed Richards, Hank Pym, T’Challa—can’t solve this problem. We see how different characters cope with their friends/team-mates and loved ones becoming monsters.”

In the end, however, the story all comes back to one hero with no super powers and a quiver of arrows.

“That is a special kind of horror, and it’s a special kind of heroic tale,” Maberry promises. “I think people are going to bond pretty heavily with Hawkeye in this tale.”

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