Back in the late ’90s, Marvel released an issue of “What If” that showed what would’ve happened if Spider-man’s daughter hadn’t been killed. She eventually would’ve become Spider-girl, and she was such a popular character that an entire new imprint was created called “Marvel Comics 2.” Featuring the next generation of heroes, and focused mainly on Spider-girl, this line developed a dedicated fanbase who saved it from cancellation many times over.
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The popularity of the MC2 world had to do with how it was written. Despite taking place in a world where Spider-man had a teenage daughter, it was set during modern times. Also, the stories were written in the same style as 80s and 90s comics. While everything else was becoming modernized with decompressed storytelling and gritty, realistic heroes, MC2 took fans back to simpler times. Here are the 15 best things to come out of the MC2 universe.
15. Mayday Parker
The daughter of Peter and Mary Jane Parker, May “Mayday” Parker had no idea that her father was Spider-man, nor that she had also inherited his powers. It wasn’t until May started becoming a little too good at basketball that her parents revealed the truth to her and told her that she needed to protect her secret. When Norman Osborn’s grandson, Normie, became a brand new Green Goblin, May borrowed her “uncle” Ben’s Spider-man costume and became Spider-girl.
Fans loved this character for two reasons. First, she brought a youthful energy back to the Spider-man family. Second, she represented a much better resolution to “The Clone Saga,” where Norman Osborn seemingly poisoned Mary Jane and induced premature labor, killing baby May. Fans were devastated by this, and this Spider-girl gave them a chance to see what could have been. May Parker was essentially the center of the MC2 universe, and it’s easy to see why.
14. It Skips Over the Worst Retcons from Spider-man’s History
The ending of “The Clone Saga” suggested that Osborn had kidnapped Spider-man’s baby and faked the death. The mainstream comics following that storyline seemed to suggest that this was the case, showing a woman working for Osborn taking care of what appeared to be a baby. This is where the regular Marvel Universe and the MC2 universe branch off, however. When it was revealed that “May” was alive, in the regular comics, that meant Aunt May, who had died several years prior.
Apparently, Norman Osborn kidnapped the real Aunt May and hired an actress to pretend to be her. Then she died, but for some reason stayed in character even on her deathbed. At the time, this was considered one of the worst retcons in comic book history, until “One More Day” had Mephisto make it so that Peter and Mary Jane were never married. In the MC2 universe, there was no fake Aunt May, no pretend kidnapping, no deals with the devil, and a lot of happy fans.
One of the stranger deviations from the mainstream Marvel timeline was Darkdevil. This mysterious character was one of Spider-girl’s first allies. While he wore a costume similar to Daredevil, he also had a combination of superhuman and supernatural powers. It was eventually revealed that he was actually a combination of Daredevil, the demonic Zarathos, and Reilly Tyne, the son of Ben Reilly, Spider-man’s clone. Zarathos had attempted to possess the young Reilly when Daredevil’s soul also entered the boy’s body, creating a complicated but still cool origin story.
Darkdevil first appeared in the second issue of “Spider-girl,” and he became one of her closest allies. The mystery of Darkdevil’s origins made him one of the most interesting characters in the universe. At first, it seemed like he might actually be “the man without fear” returned from the grave. Making him actually be the product of Ben Reilly’s brief romance with Elizabeth Tyne from “Spider-man: The Lost Years” was a surprising, but welcome, twist to the character.
12. Fantastic Five
In the future world of MC2, the Fantastic Four eventually turned into the Fantastic Five. The team includes older versions of Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, the latter of which was injured and had to have large portions of his body replaced with bionics. Franklin Richards, now a young man, has joined the team, along with Lyja, Johnny’s Skrull wife. Rounding out the group was Big Brain, a robot that seemingly housed the consciousness of Reed Richards. Sue Richards, the Invisible Woman, disappeared some time before before the launch of the MC2 comics.
There were two miniseries starring this team and they both utilized all of the key elements for a great “Fantastic Four” story. It was eventually revealed that Reed and Sue had been stuck in the Negative Zone, but they came home just in time to stop a recently returned Doctor Doom. This led to the final battle between these arch-rivals, which is something that will never truly be seen in the mainstream universe.
The first of several clones of Spider-man, Kaine was considered a failed experiment because he suffered from degeneration. In the MC2 universe, Kaine saved baby May from Norman Osborn, who had kidnapped her instead of killing her. After he returned Peter and Mary Jane’s baby to them, Kaine aged much faster than Peter. By the time May became Spider-girl, he appeared to be an old man with long gray hair. He often acted as an ally to her, although his methods were often more brutal than she was comfortable with.
When the MC2 universe was first introduced, Marvel was trying to distance Spider-man from the “Clone Saga” as much as possible at the time. This meant that Kaine, one of the clones from that storyline, had essentially disappeared from the comics. With his fate left hanging in the mainstream Marvel Universe, MC2 was the only place fans could see the character.
10. Peter Parker/Venom
When the Venom symbiote first appeared in the MC2 universe, it finally got a chance to rebond with Peter Parker. Instead of just becoming the black suit again, this time Venom turned Peter into Spider-Venom, whom Spider-girl had to fight. The symbiote was separated from Peter, and it would later join with Normie Osborn and even Spider-girl, but nothing would ever be as terrifying as when Spider-Venom made his debut.
While fans these days are used to the Venom symbiote jumping from host to host, Venom was still basically permanently attached to Eddie Brock during this time period, who was still incredibly popular. The MC2 universe got to show off the original intent of the symbiote, however, and free it from being stuck to just one person. Also, the design for Spider-Venom was clearly the inspiration for Venom’s look in “Spider-man 3,” which was one of the few things fans feel that movie pulled off successfully.
9. Benjamin Parker/Carnage
Like the Venom symbiote, Carnage also lived into the future world of MC2. A piece of the symbiote escaped from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and attached itself to May’s friend, Moose, creating a new Carnage. Not content to just force May to fight one of her friends, Carnage kidnapped her baby brother, Ben, and possessed him as well, creating a baby Carnage! Eventually, Spider-girl is able to defeat the Carnage symbiote with the help of her father and some sonic equipment, freeing baby Ben from its grasp.
The storyline involving Moose was actually kind of heartbreaking, because the symbiote had promised to help heal his dying father. When the symbiote was defeated, Moose’s father was essentially doomed. That drama was balanced out, however, by the fact that fans got to see baby Carnage! One of the main complaints about Carnage is that he’s just a generically evil villain, but of course the MC2 writers found a way to change things up in an incredibly fun way.
When the original Avengers disappeared, a void was left in the superhero community. When the Avengers Mansion is attacked by Asgardian trolls and Loki, a new group of heroes answered the distress call. The new team defeats Loki and forms a new Avengers team called A-Next. The roster of the team was constantly updating, but the main line-up included J2, American Dream, Mainframe, and Thunderstrike.
What made this team so great was that it wasn’t made up of a bunch of obvious choices. The team was recognizable as Avengers, but it dug into Marvel lore to fill out the ranks. Having a new Thunderstrike filled out the Thor role while also giving a nod to fans of a character who was mostly forgotten at the time. This book was often the best place for the MC2 universe to expand and dive deep into the Marvel roster of characters, showing what happened to aged versions of existing characters or creating new versions to join the team.
An unfortunate bully helped Zane Yama discover that he had inherited powers from his father, the unstoppable Juggernaut. Like his dad, Zane was seemingly indestructible and incredibly strong. Unlike his father, Zane could also change his appearance, so he wasn’t always stuck in Juggernaut mode. He joined A-Next, the MC2 world’s Avengers, and was an ally of the X-People, the future version of the X-Men. Eventually, he rescued his father, who had been held captive by a villain called Nemesus.
To be honest, J2 was one of the strangest additions to the MC2 universe. While it made sense to see future versions of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Wolverine, introducing the teenage son of the Juggernaut was a surprising twist. At first, he seemed like a random choice, but J2’s inclusion helped MC2 feel like its own world and not just a brief look at teenage future versions of popular characters.
6. Wild Thing
Wolverine never really seemed like the family type, but that’s what he turned into in the MC2 world. He and Elektra had a daughter named Rina, and like her parents, she was the best there was at doing things that aren’t very nice. She inherited Logan’s healing factor (and hair style), and was trained to fight by her mother and even taught how to create claws out of psychokinetic energy by Psylocke.
Wild Thing was one of the most entertaining MC2 characters. The writers really took the idea and had a lot of fun with it. Fans got to see Wolverine act like a dad, while also maintaining his superhero cool. Also, Rina took after her dad, so seeing her deal with high school bullies was a treat. She also helped set the stage for X-23, who debuted several years later. Of course, Wild Thing isn’t as dark of a character as X-23, so her stories tended to be much more fun.
5. Last Hero Standing/Last Planet Standing
The first major crossover event of the MC2 universe was “Last Hero Standing.” When the original heroes of the Marvel Universe start disappearing, it’s up to the younger generation to save them. The original heroes start reappearing, but somehow turned evil. It turns out that Loki is behind the entire thing because he still wants revenge on the heroes for all of the times they defeated him. Eventually, the original heroes are freed and everyone teams up to take Loki down. Unfortunately, the original Captain America is killed during the final battle, but Thor uses Mjolnir to save his friend’s soul.
The series was followed by “Last Planet Standing,” where Galactus returns to threaten the MC2 universe. After he consumes the mystical realm of Asgard, Galactus returns to Earth more powerful than ever before. He plans to do more than just consume the planet, however. This time he’s hoping to create a new big bang and start a new universe. All of the heroes team up with the Silver Surfer to stop him, and eventually succeed in turning him into an anti-Galactus: a bringer of life.
4. American Dream
Every Marvel Universe needs a Captain America, and in MC2, that role was filled by American Dream. Shannon Carter was the niece of Sharon Carter, and she wasn’t actually related to Steve Rogers at all. She didn’t have any superpowers, but she devoted herself to training to fight crime. Instead of a shield, she fired off discs from devices attached to her wrists. When she helped rescue the original Avengers from a parallel world, however, she impressed Captain America so much that he gave her a replica of his shield.
Just like her inspiration, American Dream was a great leader. She played a key role in taking down Galactus during “Last Planet Standing,” which is pretty impressive. She also joined the Captain America Corps, a group of time displaced heirs to the Captain America legacy. They had to save reality after Superia tried to erase Steve Rogers’ post-World War II revival and career.
3. The Revengers
Not all of the children of heroes grew up to also fight crime. When Hope and Henry Pym discovered the existence of A-Next, they were furious. The children of Ant-Man and the Wasp, the siblings created super powered personas based on their parents and began forming the Revengers. The Pym siblings, now calling themselves Red Queen and Big Man, added villains like Killerwatt and Ion Man to their ranks, along with Magneta and Saberclaw, future versions of Magneto and Sabertooth.
The Revengers ambushed the A-Next team and planned on torturing the new heroes. The Red Queen was especially furious with Cassandra Lang, aka Stinger, an homage to the original Wasp. The Revengers failed in their mission, but they showed up again in “Last Planet Standing.” When Galactus showed up, the Revengers used it as a distraction to escape, because that’s how much they hate A-Next. Even the threat of world destruction wasn’t enough to get them to work together.
2. April Parker/Mayhem
Considering that the MC2 universe was born from the botched ending of “The Clone Saga,” it’s no surprise that clones started popping up. When Norman Osborn kidnapped May Parker as a baby, he also cloned her (it was kind of his thing at the time). He combined her DNA with symbiote DNA as part of a complicated plan to resurrect himself in an immortal goblin body. The clone wasn’t discovered until May was a teenager, however, and after a brief battle, she was able to overcome Norman Osborn’s influence.
The clone named herself April and began posing as May’s cousin. She also began working as a hero under the name Mayhem, using her combined spider and symbiote powers. When May was killed in a warehouse explosion, this event led to the world being conquered by Carnage symbiotes. Mayhem traveled back in time and and sacrificed herself to save May, thereby saving the world.
1. Felicity Hardy/Scarlet Spider
Spider-girl’s costume was based off of Ben Reilly’s Spider-man costume, so he clearly had a big influence on the MC2 Universe. It was only a matter of time until Ben’s other heroic identity, the Scarlet Spider, popped up. This time, however, the Scarlet Spider wasn’t a clone of Spider-man, but was actually Felicity Hardy, daughter of Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat. She didn’t have any superpowers, but was a trained fighter and was also in possession of several high-tech crime fighting gadgets.
Felicity wanted to be Spider-girl’s sidekick, but was refused due to her lack of powers. That didn’t stop her from continuing to don her own Scarlet Spider costume, which was a little strange considering it would’ve made more sense for her to follow in mom’s footsteps as the Back Cat. Her infatuation with Spider-girl made sense, however, given that her father was Flash Thompson, Spider-man’s biggest fan. She never officially became Spider-girl’s sidekick, although she did help her out several times.
Is there anything else from the world of MC2 that you feel should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!
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