MARVEL UNIVERSE #4-7 (1998): 1st Monster Hunters+Origin of Mole Man

In the first three issues of this terrific comic, Roger Stern looked at The Invaders–and tied them more closely to modern-day 616 happenings. Now, he takes on Kirby’s Marvel monster books of the early ’60s. Mike Manley does pencils and inks on #4, and just inks the other issues.

Kirby’s books were just stories, not tied to a common universe, but Roger Stern builds in a unifying theme: The Deviants were responsible for creating all these monsters. As for why so many of these monsters disappeared (or at least stopped being created): Monster hunters!

We are reminded that Doctor Druid was a Marvel character before the Fantastic Four even existed. He joins with Ulysses Bloodstone and Makkari (in disguise) from The Eternals form a group to hunt these monsters down.

Harvey “Mole Man” Elder tries to join their “explorer’s club.” Rebuffed but undeterred, he stows away and on the last page of the series…

…Is on his way to becoming Mole Man.

I could have kept reading this series forever. It’s awesome. I love the way it ties together the Golden Age, pre-Marvel stories, adds in the mythology of the Deviant/Eternals war, and even gives us an origin for the Marvel Universe’s first super-villain.

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