WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Infinity Warps #2
Infinity Wars has introduced readers to the world of Infinity Warps, where the various citizens of the Marvel Universe were fused into new composite characters. Some of these have made perfect sense (the alternate personalities of Moon Knight blend surprisingly well with the various shades of Spider-Man to make Arachknight) while others have come out of left field in the best way possible (The Punisher + the Power Pack = the darkest Marvel event tie-in in years).
But one that makes a strangely perfect level of sense is the combination of the godlike Eternity and Forbush Man, the joke character who was the mascot for Marvel’s Not Brand Echh. And this isn’t even the first time the character has been given omnipotence.
The Man Behind The Forbush
The character who would become Forbush man was actually introduced almost a decade before the rest of the Marvel Universe. He first appeared as Irving Forbush in the pages of Snafu, a satirical magazine created in an attempt to duplicate the success of MAD Magazine. The series only lasted three issues, but the character clearly had an impact on Stan Lee. He wasn't quite the super hero parody at this point, either, just a supposed employee who was always messing up.
He would eventually return to the Marvel Universe in Not Brand Echh, a Marvel Comics parody book by Lee and Jack Kirby. The character, now retooled into his more familiar superheroic look, appeared frequently throughout the series. It introduced his short-tempered Auntie Mayhem and featured him coming up against various aspects of the Marvel Universe. Although that series eventually ended, he would return as the center of another Marvel parody book which ran in the late 1980s and early 1990s, What The--?!.
Issue #20 of this series actually served as a pretty on-point parody of Infinity Gauntlet, with the issue beginning with Forbush Man realizing he has control of reality literally at his fingertip thanks to the Infinity Wart growing on his finger. He spends the first few pages acting like a slightly nicer version of Emperor Joker, before being forced into the center of a Crisis-style crossover when his negative counterpart takes control of the reality altering power of the wart, and tries to destroy pretty much everything.
By the end of the issue, he and his new allies (including Spider-Ham) manage to save the day and destroy the entity, even sneaking in a pretty solid Jim Starlin gag about how none of his characters ever stay dead. But even triumphant, they decide not to actually form a team because, ugh -- who wants to be bothered by all that?
Forbush Man Forver
Since the final issue of What The--?! (which actually ended up being a riff on The Death of Superman starring Forbush Man), Forbush Man has appeared more as a cameo character than in an actual starring role. The closest he’s come to playing a big part in a story has been when he appeared as a villain in Nextwave: Agents of HATE before being blown up by Boom Boom.
Most recently, the character has appeared as a running cameo throughout the Netflix Marvel shows, played by Stan Lee. Beginning as a police officer spotted on the walls of the NYPD, he eventually rose up to become an attorney, as evidenced by the advertisements around New York City.
Even when he’s not appearing in his own book, Forbush Man is a character who embodies a lot of that original Marvel Bullpen spirit. He’s a loveable loser, like most of the Marvel heroes (and more than a few of their creators). Stan Lee even appeared in some of Forbush Man’s stories, acting exactly how you’d expect him too. There seemed to be a real affection for Forbush in the stories Stan wrote, even if they were scathing parodies of his own work. Forbush represents Marvel’s ability to tease itself and just have fun, a trait that Lee did everything he could to make the inherent at Marvel.
Coincidentally, this issue comes out not long after Stan Lee’s passing. But the character making one more appearance feels perfect, letting Forbush Man recite an old mantra of Stan’s soapbox at least one more time. It's quietly a perfect send-off to Stan the Man from one of his most underrated creations, and gives the issue (and the appearance of Forbush Man) a bit more weight to them.
Infinity Warps #2, created by the teams of Jim Zub & Scott Koblish, Chris Hastings & Kev Walker, Sina Grace & Chris Sprouse, and Cullen Bunn & Garry Brown, is currently available digitally and in comic stores.