Sunday, October 18, 2015
The Marvelous Monster Hunters!
In what I now consider the final years of the Marvel Universe proper (before they began the process of "ultimatizing" the whole shebang and rebooting every few years) we got a delightful series from the hand of Roger Stern titled simply Marvel Universe. The first three issues gave us a fantastic untold Invaders story from World War II. The next four issues, the last four as it sadly turned out looked back to the Atlas years before the Fantastic Four when giant monsters roamed the Earth with apparent ease. Assembled to battle this threat were "The Monster Hunters".
They were Doctor Druid the mystic, Ulysses Bloodstone the immortal monster hunter, Zawadi a ferocious denizen of Wakanda, and Makkarri the Eternal who had been hiding among mankind as Hurricane among other names for centuries.
These four along with another repulsive man named Harvey Elder who had his own secrets, battle many of the more infamous Atlas monsters such as Gorgilla, Gigantus, Tricephalus and others.
The source of the monsters is proven to be the Deviants led by Kro who would become a major player along with Makkarri in the Eternals series by Jack Kirby many years later. This beautiful bit of retconning really sang as Stern worked in these disaparate heroes created separately over decades into a seamless story which at once felt modern and vintage.
The artwork is muscular and is provided by a several talents such as Mike Manley, Bret Blevins and Jason Armstrong as well as helping hands by Ron Frenz and Bruce Timm. The tale is full of bluster and adventure and the team finds among its varied ranks an esprit de corp which speaks well of heroes under threat.
The Monster Hunters go on to appear in Stern's series The Lost Generation which he did with John Byrne. But beyond that I suppose they've been largely disappeared from the ceaselessly shifting realities of modern Marvel. It's a pity.