From time to time, I try to micro-manage my Goodreads TBR list, which has around 675 books on it. Close to three hundred of those books are comic books or manga. Which is a lot of comic books and manga. I’ve slowly been trying to actually read through some of the titles on the list when I cam across this gem: Marvel Mangaverse. It’s exactly what you would expect from that title.
Basically, someone manga-nized the most well-known Marvel heroes. The Avengers, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, even The Punisher and Ghost Rider. But they also made changes to some of the characters, to their powers, and even their status in the world.
The Hulk is a Kaiju. With a tail. And a gorgeous mane of black hair. Don’t believe me?
And it is amazing. Some of the heroes are so much better in their Japanese counterparts. Some are just as weird and wacky. And some are horrendous. This is what I loved most about the comics.
The complete volume includes the single issues for each hero or team, even though some do crossover with one another, and then the 6-issue main story line. I enjoyed the single issues more than the main story line, though it did have so many plot twists that I spent most of the my time staring at the panels in gleeful horror. (It was a great time.)
I honestly wish I would have taken more pictures of some of the panels because there is no way to replicate with words how crazy and ridiculous and awesomesauce this comic is. Yeah, the story lines are that thrilling or complicated, but it is a wild ride from start to finish to experience these well known characters in a new element.
For one, The Hulk is a Kaiju, and he’s completely separate from Bruce Banner. Instead, Bruce is in his human form and turns into Thor at one point. (Yeah, I’m still confused.) Tony Stark is in hiding or something and his sister—Yes, you read that right, his sister—runs the Stark company. Amazing. (Apparently, she’s known as the Iron Maiden.)
Ant-Man summons his ants by playing music on his guitar. I know, I know. Fantastic.
Speaking of, the Fantastic Four are so much better in this version than the regular version. They have much cooler abilities and better personalities and backstory. The Thing can switch between his Thing version and human self, giving him this weird split personality thing, which was hilarious. Sioux (Sue) doesn’t turn invisible but can create “invisible” projections that can interact with stuff. (Sorta like Green Lantern.) Reed’s mind is elastic, so he can expand it to come up with crazy ridiculous solutions. And Human Torch? Female. And badass. It was so great.
Ghost Rider is still weird and messed up. Punisher is female and dresses as a Geisha to inflict punishment on people, and I don’t know about you but I need this in my life. She was so flipping cool.
Spidey is part of dojo under the leadership of Sensei Ben, who dies tragically in the first pages of the comic at the hands of Venom, who is part of a dojo with Kingpin. It was as super intense comic, and I loved it. I have never loved Spider-Man more.
The X-Men weren’t too different. I think there was more magic involved with their abilities than the evolution aspects. But Wolverine is still the best, and his dialogue was on point. I liked the art style of this comic the best.
Ah, and last but not least: The Avengers. In this universe, Steve Rogers is president, which we can all agree would make the world a better place. Though, Nick Fury is still chasing after the heroes like he’s Gandalf or something because Steve insists on fighting and Fury’s all like “No, sir. We need you here.” Steve, of course, doesn’t listen and fights and (spoilers) DIES. Even the Mangaverse can’t help but kill him off. Though, they did it a lot faster. The Avengers also have these transport contraptions that, of course, assemble together into one giant mecha Iron Man suit. Because why not?
Doctor Strange is… I can’t explain. I’ll just have to show you.
Hanging out with Doctor Strange is a were-tiger, who totally hits on Black Panther with the best line ever. I almost choked. Black Panther’s abilities are cool because not only does he call on some mumbo jumbo name to become Black Panther (full panther that can talk and walk on two legs and has cool abilities) but he can also turn into the Falcon. What the what! I know, I am bewildered as well.
And then there is Doom. Oh my gosh, the plot twist surrounding Doom was insane. I can’t quite believe it. And I don’t want to spoil it. But dang, it was great. Just know that.
Overall, Marvel Mangaverse was totally worth reading. If you love Marvel and are interesting in seeing it in a new way, find a copy of this volume to read. You will not be disappointed, even if it is completely ridiculous.