Let’s be honest: comic books can be pretty ridiculous. Whether it’s through avenging your parents by spending your inheritance on elaborate bat-themed clothing and accessories or men wielding the power of kites for evil, comics more often than not toe the line separating beautiful insanity and wanton silliness. Despite their ridiculous nature however, a staggering number of downright baffling comic book stories have already been cleverly adapted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanos turning someone into a spring-person totally happened in Infinity Gauntlet. Even Age of Ultron was technically adapted for film, even though the original comic was basically The Terminator starring Wolverine. Some comics, however, are too weird to be seen on the silver screen, yet are too crazy to be overlooked. Ignoring practicality for a moment, we’ve found 20 Marvel comics that are clearly too absurd/difficult to adapt into the Marvel Cinematic Universe – or even Netflix – that we still want to see.
Let’s establish some ground rules. First, we’re not going to sweat the details. So don’t worry about the potential litigiousness of some of these story lines, like Spider-Man teaming up the X-Men, or Spider-Man punching a hole through Gumby. We know that many of these comics can’t practically be done, but we don’t care. After all, just a few years ago nobody thought that Spider-Man would appear in the MCU, so why can’t the X-Men crossover, too? Incidentally, we’re not going to include Marvel vs. DC. Even we can acknowledge that would be terrible. Finally, if any movie big wigs happen to be reading this listicle? We dare you to prove us wrong.
20. EMINEM MEETS THE PUNISHER
Eminem walks off the stage and right into a Punisher ambush in Eminem/Punisher. Apparently Eminem is used to vigilante nonsense, as he immediately grabs the strap to return fire. Top-tier Punisher villain Barracuda, however, pulls Em out of the shootout, as the two used to be homies. Emphasis on “used to” — it turns out, the Parents Music Council had hired Barracuda to merc Marshall.
Though this is a Punisher comic, Eminem gets all of the dopest action scenes, like when he gets into a chainsaw/machete fight with Barracuda. Our favorite moment, however comes when Eminem repeatedly pistol whips Frank before unloading a full clip while repeating the chorus to one of his most famous songs, all because Frank referred to Marshall as a “rock star.”
19. SPIDER-MAN: TOY WARS
With Jake Gyllenhaal set to portray Mysterio, the master of misdirection and overly complicated machinations, in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home, now is the perfect time to tap into some of Mysterio’s crazier schemes, like “Toy Wars” from The Amazing Spider-Man #413: Spider-Man awakens, sealed in a jar in a little boy’s room. Did Mysterio shrink Spidey? No, Mysterio did that bit already.
The truth is amazingly stupid: Mysterio has pulled a reverse Ant-Man, spending ostensibly billions designing a gigantic robot toddler to pit Spider-Man against pop culture robots, including a Xenomorph, The Brain from Pinky & The Brain, a Ninja Turtle, a Power Ranger, Gumby and Godzilla. Basically, “Toy Wars” is Ready Player One But With Spider-Man.
18. DEADPOOL VS. THANOS
Deadpool 2 proved that Josh Brolin and Ryan Reynolds have onscreen chemistry. So, let’s take that pairing to its logical conclusion by adapting Deadpool vs. Thanos. Deadpool and Thanos both love Mistress Death, the physical personification of demise, yet they must put aside their differences when their skeletal sweetie goes missing. With Death imprisoned, nothing can perish, leading our unlikely, nigh un-killable duo to fight a war in Hell.
We see Deadpool vs. Thanos as the ultimate buddy cop action film where absolutely nobody gets offed. Along the way, Thanos and Deadpool fight The Guardians of the Galaxy and a knife-wielding rabbit, Francis returns as Abyss Man and Deadpool gets help from Black Talon, the voodoo super-villain dressed like a chicken.
17. WHAT IF THE WORLD KNEW THAT DAREDEVIL IS BLIND?
Curious as to how Daredevil wasn’t blinded by bright electrical bolts in 1978’s What If? #8, Electro completely shatters Daredevil’s life with just five words: “What color is my costume?” Instead of claiming color blindness, Daredevil – who literally argues for a living – can only stammer in response. Electro informs the media, and soon everyone starts realizing that Matt Murdock is obviously Daredevil. Incidentally, Spider-Man claims that only blindness could explain DD’s original yellow costume.
Every villain starts implementing sirens in their schemes, so Daredevil gets corrective eye surgery before coming out of the superhero closet. Instead of being arrested, Matt is elected as a district attorney and marries Karen Page. In retrospect, Daredevil should have revealed his blindness from day one.
16. HANK JOHNSON, AGENT OF HYDRA
Quick, what was the best part of Iron Man 3? That one henchmen who instantly surrenders to Tony Stark, claiming “Honestly, I hate working here. They are so weird.” Similarly, Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra focuses on pragmatic Hydra henchman Hank Johnson as he tries to maintain a marriage, raise a family and deal with high-stakes super-nonsense.
When not on constant alert for Nick Fury bursting through an air-duct, Hank contends with picking up Madame Hydra’s pens, getting his kids to little league practice on time and attending frequent Hydra funerals where M.O.D.O.K. sings “Amazing Grace.” Hank Johnson essentially operates in the background of every fight scene, narrowly avoiding Nick Fury’s cyclopean aim every time.
15. DEADPOOL AND DAZZLER FIGHT VAMPIRES
Deadpool uses a time machine to recruit Dazzler in order to aid him with the power of disco, afros and squirt guns filled with holy water against Dracula’s army of super vampires invading Manhattan in 2014’s Deadpool #30. With her ability to create light shows and omega-level roller skating skills, Dazzler is basically a walking trance show and the perfect vampire hunter.
Even if you ignore the time travel angle – unfortunately also losing Dazzler’s groovy slang, like “Grody – to the max!” – you still have a solid premise. Dig this though: Deadpool #30 could also serve as a convenient means to reintroduce Blade into the MCU. Heck, Blade could even comment on how Dazzler is always trying to roller-skate uphill.
14. JOHNNY GUITAR’S FINAL SONG
Speaking of Dazzler, her rogues gallery is made up of absolute Z-Listers, like Johnny Guitar. Serving in Norman Osborn’s Shadow Initiative in Avengers: The Initiative #27, Johnny Guitar plays the gig of his life as he and his fellow criminal nobodies form the opening wave in retaking a Negative Zone prison overrun with super-inmates, Mindless Ones belching face-lasers and Gorilla-Man, the man with the body of a gorilla.
Though Johnny Guitar discovers he is being deployed as cannon fodder, he inspires hope in his fellow losers with the power of rock n’ roll and a special guitar that can liquefy bone. Essentially, Johnny Guitar would focus on a proverbial drummer boy in an insane war in the Negative Zone.
Peter Parker finds himself in high school in just his underwear, only for Deadpool to reveal that Peter’s mind is being hacked in Avenging Spider-Man #12-13. So basically Inception, but with Spider-Man and Deadpool fighting their way through four dream levels worth of nightmare creatures rocking a high school motif and John Hughes homages.
The best part is that Spider-Man isn’t actually dreaming at all. As it turns out, Spider-Man was under the terrible trance of The Hypno Hustler! You know, the Spider-Man villain least deserving of a big screen adaptation? Anyway, Spider-Man wasn’t fighting through four dream levels, but four prison levels. You thought Spidey was doing an Inception, but it was actually Shutter Island.
12. GHOST RACERS
Moving at the speed of sin, every Ghost Rider ever races for a shot of freedom in Ghost Racers. Each Ghost Racer has been tricked out Twisted Metal style, from Ghost Rider 2099’s cyberpunk chainsaw cycle to an immolated ape ghost riding a locomotive. Our favorite racer, however, is Carter Slade, a blind revenant cowboy centaur with twin gatling guns mounted to his horsey hips.
The track is equally impressive, as Arcade’s Killiseum is teeming with Sentinels, M.O.D.O.K.s and a whole bunch of Venoms. If every MCU film is basically one kind of movie but with superheroes, then Ghost Racers would be Marvel’s version of Death Race. Most importantly, however, Nicolas Cage could finally crossover into the MCU.
11. M.O.D.O.K.’s 11
MODOK’s 11 from 2007 is exactly what it sounds like: Ocean’s 11, but with super-villains. Specifically, the Mental Organism Designed Only For Killing and/or Computing has assembled a specialized squad of costumed criminal spies, saboteurs and living lasers in order to pull off “the greatest heist in the history of the multiverse,” with time-travel, evil skateboarding and lucha libre.
M.O.D.O.K’s team is comprised of esoteric villains, including Rocket Racer – the master of propulsion physics and grind rails – the mad scientist responsible for turning Captain America into a werewolf and The Spot, the man with the teleporting powers of a spot. Honestly, we just want to see a cinematic M.O.D.O.K., ideally played by Rainn Wilson.
10. CATACLYSM: THE ULTIMATES’ LAST STAND
We’re at the end of Avengers: Infinity War Part II. The combined efforts of both Captains Marvel and America prove to be fruitless against Space Daddy Thanos. Thanos is about to snap, only to be smooshed by the gargantuan purple foot of Galactus. That’s basically what happens in Cataclysm: The Ultimates’ Last Stand, where the super-serious Ultimate universe suddenly has to stop Galactus from eating the planet.
Showing up out of nowhere, Galactus is ready to literally devour Earth with a Jack Kirby-style machine. Mind you, this Galactus isn’t a big swarm of space locust. No, we want – nay, demand – a gigantic guy in a purple helmet popping in to tell Earth to get in his belly… portrayed by Christopher Walken, ideally.
9. THE SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN
In a world oversaturated with costumed criminals, Boomerang tries to prove that he isn’t just another loser with his D-List iteration of The Sinister Six in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Because Boomerang’s Sinister Six is so inept – they only have five members, zero of whom display proper bladder control – they serve as the almost perfect underdog anti-heroes. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man could be what Suicide Squad or the abandoned Sinister Six film wanted to be.
Mind you, the series is already loaded with cinematic references, like Hammerhead’s goons acknowledging that Hammerhead is basically every basic mobster cliché or Boomerang cribbing The Bourne Identity as an alibi. There are even direct allusions to Fight Club, except with a hippopotamus-man.
8. ASTONISHING SPIDER-MAN AND WOLVERINE
Serving as Marvel’s answer to both Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey, Spider-Man and Wolverine travel through time, the afterlife and the Mojoverse at the behest of time diamonds in Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine. Along the way, our heroes are plagued by Devil Dinosaurs, gangsters wielding future-karate and The Orb – the man in an Evel Knievel outfit with an eyeball for a face.
Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine has everything! It starts out in prehistoric times where Spider-Man tries not to alter the timeline and Logan invents beer. Wolverine then uses a handgun to take out a planet with Dr. Doom’s face in one shot. Also, Spider-Man punches a guy so hard that he turns into a baby.
7. MARVEL ZOMBIES
Are zombies played out? Probably. Fortunately, there’s a shambling horde’s worth of storylines taking place in the super-powered Marvel Zombies universe, where the undead retain a degree of their intelligence, superpowers and quipping abilities.
There’s the traditional zombie story focusing on Magneto wielding his magnetism powers and Colonel America’s shield against a super-powered zombie horde. Likewise, there’s the Halloween one shot focusing on Kitty Pryde, whose power of intangibility leaves her as one of the last mutants standing along with her infant son. All solid premises, but our favorite storyline hails from the original Marvel Zombies, written by The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman, centered around the super zombies and their cosmically gory plight to satiate their ravenous hunger.
6. WOLVERINE IN HELL
Spoiler alert: Logan dies at the end of Logan. While Hugh Jackman claims that Logan was his last run as Wolverine, Logan’s ending does lead right into “Wolverine in Hell.” This storyline is exactly what it sounds like: Logan wakes up in Hell, forced to fight every single henchman, Silver Samurai and Omega Red he has ever wronged, without his healing factor or adamantium.
We’re basically asking for two hours of Wolverine fighting all of the nameless henchmen he had brutalized over the course of the X-movies. Admittedly, the stakes aren’t high; Logan’s life isn’t on the line. Fortunately, this can be fixed with a simple throwaway line explaining that if you die in Hell you’re sent to like, Double-Hell.
Literally every Spider-Man joins forces against a clan of multidimensional Spider-Person hunters in Spider-Verse. Now, Spider-Verse wouldn’t work for litigious purposes, as literally every wall-crawler appears. There’s The Electric Company Spider-Man, the Broadway Spider-Man from Spider-Man: Turn off The Dark, the memetic Spider-Man and the Japanese Spider-Man with mecha Leopardon, just to name a few.
Even the cinematic Spider-Men serve in Spider-Verse. As one Spider-Man remarks on all of the Spider-Men while talking to another Spider-Man: “One of ’em was unmasked, and I swear he looked just like the guy from Seabiscuit.” The other Spidey replies: “Really? I thought I saw the guy from The Social Network over there.” We’ll have to see how well the presumably loosely-adapted animated feature Into The Spider-Verse goes, but to see an MCU treatment of this bonkers story would be aces!
4. DOOM BETTER HAVE MY MONEY
Why has Dr. Doom hired Luke Cage to hunt down four replicants in Luke Cage: Hero for Hire #8? We’ll just let Doom explain: “Because my robots, when they turned upon me and fled to America, disguised themselves as black men. Latveria is European, Mr. Cage – I have no black subjects, and sad to say – no one ever emigrates to my land. Thus, in order to pursue them unobtrusively… I needed a black, and I needed to hire him.” That’s pretty messed up, Doom.
Further exploiting Luke, Doom flees to Latveria before paying. So, Luke joins forces with the alien leader of the Robotic Revolt in to siege Castle Doom for literally $200. As Luke explains upon entering Doom’s throne room: “Where’s my money, honey?
3. THE VISION
The Vision attempts to build a life of normalcy for his Synthezoid family of Virginia, Vin and Viv in 2015’s Vision by Tom King. Admittedly, Vision would work better as a Netflix series, as Vis’ quest to be ordinary is rife with Grim Reaper attacks, robo-xenophobia and phase-based homages to Peanuts.
Whether it’s Vin’s obsession with Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Virginia having an atypical conversion with Vision mid subterranean monster fight or Vision and Scarlet Witch stealing kisses during a classic Avengers battle against Count Nefaria, you feel more for these Synthezoids than you do for most quote-unquote human characters. Though centered on a machine-man phasing through life, The Vision manages to capture the intangible qualities of humanity.
2. BUCKY BARNES: THE WINTER SOLDIER
Two hundred years from now, Bucky Barnes crosses over universes to the planet Mer-Z-Bow to save its Queen and her lover, Bucky Barnes. Through the breach, Crossbones follows, continuing his 80-year war with Bucky – no matter the incarnation – despite Crossbones having already vanquished all of his world’s heroes. Greasing this cosmic tale of love, hate and psychic space-dinosaurs is Illum, a space-psychedelic that causes astral projections, vision quests and Asgardian rhetoric.
Quick, what was the dopest moment from Infinity War? Bucky using Rocket Raccoon to 360-no-scope space monsters, obviously. Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier takes that exquisite insanity one step further, complete with planet-sized guns, Daisy Johnson and Old King Loki talking only in rhyme.
1. SAURON VS. STATEN ISLAND
Spider-Man has taken his remedial class of X-Students on a field trip to the Museum of Natural History in Spider-Man And The X-Men #1-2. The trip is cut short, however, by Stegron The Dinosaur Man and Sauron, The non-LOTR-energy-vampire-pterodactyl-man who has turned all of Staten Island into dinosaurs. Fortunately, Shark Girl manages to seduce Sauron with “The power of the shark. The beauty of the girl.”
Honestly, the gloriousness of this comic can be summarized with one scene: Learning Sauron’s plan, Spider-Man tries to reason with the saurian scientist, claiming that Sauron’s DNA rewriting technology could cure cancer. Sauron retorts: “But I don’t want to cure cancer. I want to turn people into dinosaurs.”
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