There’s been a lot of criticism and praise on MCU Phase 4’s path so far. What remains consistent, more or less, is that it’s tried a bunch of new things. From the psychological horror of Moon Knight to the eccentric humor of the fourth wall of She-Hulkit’s definitely a time of experimentation.
Viewers can thank the source material for that. Marvel Comics has never been afraid to push ideas that are really unbalanced, funny, or downright bizarre. Of course, there will always be the typical “toppling of the space tyrants” every few years, but in the middle? It’s time for the weirdness to shine.
Immortal Hulk is one of Marvel’s weirdest yet most successful character lines in over five decades. It’s both a superhero adventure and a psychological thriller. It even touches on the supernatural, giving an eldritch root to the mysterious Gamma Radiation.
Editor u/blaz138 said it best with “I never cared about the Hulk until Immortal. I loved every second of it. I don’t really think there’s a lot of Marvel like that. With Banner in the MCU saying that he “spent 5 years battling his inner demons”, there is a potential chance that an incarnation of this arc will make it into the mainstream.
The hilarious next wave is a unique, cynical, funny and shameless take on the Super Team genre. Here, a team consisting of Monica Rambeau, Boom-Boom, Machine Man, Elsa Bloodstone and The Captain (none of the famous) battle against the entity known as HATE
As u/ChickenInASuit succinctly sums up “I can’t remember the exact quote, but Ellis’ mission statement was basically to create the most shameless comic possible, no character development, no deep thematic symbolism, just relentless adoration of the medium. And that’s great. Squads are all the rage right now, and this would be a perfect team to fit in. Kind of a heroic version of “The Suicide Squad.”
Squirrel Girl follows the lovable (and somehow all-powerful) Squirrel Girl on her misadventures across the Marvel Universe. Despite having supposedly lame power, Squirrel Girl time and time again finds herself facing some of Marvel’s greatest threats and winning.
Despite all of this, she’s still treated as an obscure D-lister in-universe, adding to the comedy. u/chronoBG says it best “This is all, of course, a joke by the authors. But not breaking the character on how it’s a joke makes it funnier. Although its first adaptation was cancelled, fans are hoping it will get a second wind sooner rather than later.
Deadpool: Samurai takes the Merc with a Mouth not only to a different country, but in a completely different style. After screwing up one too many times, Tony Stark forcefully assigns Deadpool to the “Samurai Squad”, a Japanese branch of The Avengers. Now the humor of Deadpool is translated into manga style.
User u/Taiboss praise him saying “I come to like how they masterfully blend comic and manga cliches in a way that shows they actually understand both mediums, unlike too many anime parodies done by Western writers. Although Marvel has dabbled in anime before, dead Pool is the perfect blend of fast-paced humor and action that Japan excels at. Plus, who doesn’t want to see Deadpool team up with All Might?
howard the duck
howard the duck is an ordinary man who, despite his perceived “quirkiness”, wants nothing more than a normal life. However, bizarre superheroes and loud-mouthed villains seem to follow him wherever he goes. u/squashmaster explains it best “The 80’s howard the duck the movie is a waste of time. The comic is a satire and is really good, more like the underground comix movement, but it was published by Marvel and tied to MU.
For context, the underground comics movement was the genre of comics that spat in the face of traditional superheroes and epic tales. Instead, it dealt with all the subjects that 60s America found uncomfortable. A howard the duck The show could be an opportunity for the MCU to poke fun at itself in a much harsher way. After all, there are tons of ways to subvert the superhero genre without involving Homelander blowing people’s heads off.
X-Statix is an irreverent parody of superheroes, approaching them as attention-seeking celebrities instead of mythical heroes long before The boys did. It follows a cast of completely new characters who are all selfish, quirky, and charmingly human. The comic is among the first to truly embrace the cynicism of early 2000s American culture.
Editor u/vagrandermatitis explains it as such “He is probably best known for being the first great comic to abandon the authority of the comic code. It was notable in that it had a whole new cast of characters who weren’t invulnerable to the dangers of superhero adventures. By focusing on unestablished characters, Marvel has the opportunity to really stretch its creative muscles without worrying too much about backlash.
Patsy Walker aka Hellcat
Patsy Walker aka Hellcat follows half of Spider-Man’s “Amazing Friends”, Hellcat, as she finds a balance between heroism and real life. Although focusing on a rather obscure character, it charmed readers with its beautifully offbeat art style and grounded character relationships.
Editor u/Jxxhn says “The new comics are awesome, smart, and funny. Plus, his friendship with She-Hulk is one of the best (IMO) in the entire Marvel Universe. With Ms. Marvel showing that there is a sequel for this kind of original comedy-drama, Hellcat is a great choice for another race. Everyone loves an underdog who can’t pay the rent on time.
Worst X-Man Ever
The x-men are known as some of Earth’s greatest heroes. The likes of Professor X, Wolverine, Beast, and Jean Gray have saved the world countless times. Every X-Man is a hero in their own right. And then there’s Bailey Hoskins, the self-proclaimed “worst X-Man” of all time. Considering his power is “explode once and die”, that’s not exactly inaccurate.
Editor u//pjl1701 says it best with “It’s silly and charming, but it also touches the heart of the X-Men – the feeling of being an outsider, inadequate and unwanted.” When you’re a stranger, even among strangers, who else do you turn to? It’s a hilarious yet heartwarming way to explore the more critical side of the X-Men and how different people’s adversities can be.
The Avengers of the Great Lakes
Every superhero team has its black sheep, and for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, it’s the Great Lakes Branch. The Avengers of the Great Lakes follows “iconic” heroes such as Mr. Immortal, Flatman, Big Bertha, Doorman and Dinah Soar. Together they are the Great Lakes Avengers, and they “attempt” to stop crime wherever it is.
Editor u/CTGhillie7 has a hilarious fact about the team, “Squirrel Girl was one of the Great Lakes Avengers. But because Squirrel Girl is unbeatable, the rest of the team just stopped fighting bad guys if she went because they didn’t. were not necessary. With the cult success of Doom PatrolMarvel’s animated response could certainly be these Wisconsin eccentrics.
gwenpool, in addition to being one of the most marketable names and costumes in Marvel history, is a wonderfully original and significantly less chimichanga-filled meta-adventure. It follows “Gwendolyn Poole” (not her real name), a nerdy Marvel fangirl who finds herself waking up in the 616 universe. Not only that, she has a level of control over the universe that surpasses even Deadpool. Funny enough, she’s not even that big dead Pool fan, taking only her name because “characters named Gwen and Pool are still relevant”.
The Incredible Gwenpool is a show that really can only be best adapted into animation. All the fourth-wall breaks and cartoon sense of humor work best in, well, a cartoon. As an unfortunately redacted Redditor puts it, “A unique gimmick character didn’t have anything quite as good as Gwenpool. His book is the most relevant piece of fiction I have read in a long time.
NEXT: The 9 Funniest Uses Of Gwenpool’s Powers