Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine #3
This four-issue mini is a prequel to the 2010 series, Marvel Universe vs. Punisher, an alternate reality series where the entire world is infected with a pathogen that turns everyone into primitive-yet-intelligent cannibals. It could just as easily have been a zombie story, and if you didn’t read the captions nor introductory text, one could think it were a zombie story from the art alone. My guess is that either Marvel felt they had enough zombie action with their fifth(!) Marvel Zombies series concurrently published with that series in 2010, or that someone, somewhere decided that they had just about enough zombie and it was changed it to cannibals. Zombie Northstar, uh, I mean Cannibal Predator Northstar appears in a few panels as a member of The Thing’s tribe.
After the anti-cannibal lab in the Baxter Building is destroyed by the Punisher’s grenades in a battle with The Thing, who has been infected with the pathogen, Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther and Wolverine decide to rebuild the anti-cannibal lab in Elizabeth, New Jersey. There, Reed Richards has a warehouse with equipment and T’Challa hopes to reunite with his sister at a staging ground for refugees. They gather up a couple of dozen scientists, some uninfected heroes and a wooden wagon filled with doohickeys and attempt to cross the Goethals Bridge.
For all the historic landmarks, famous buildings and architectural marvels in New York City recognized instantly worldwide and visited by billions of tourists, let’s just say the Goethals Bridge ranks somewhere near the very bottom. For New Yorkers, it’s one of two bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey and is the main route to get to Newark International Airport and of course, the IKEA in Elizabeth.
The only problem is that it’s really very far away from the Baxter Building. Click on the map above to see the shortest route possible (in purple) taken by the science caravan. The Baxter Building is in the upper right and Elizabeth, New Jersey is in the lower left. In the comic book, it seems as if it’s one of the bridges one can take to get off Manhattan Island… but in reality, you have to take at least one bridge or tunnel to leave Manhattan, enter either Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx or New Jersey and then take another bridge to get onto Staten Island in order to cross it. The shortest driving route from the Baxter Building to the Goethals Bridge is about 21 miles long (34 kilometers for you metric people), and by foot it’s at least a 7 hour walk.
Meanwhile, The Thing’s infected friends, a tribe consisting of Thundra, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Northstar, among others, have joined up with the infected Hulk to engage in a final showdown with the superheroes and scientists. Northstar is (mis?)colored green, shown standing around with the rest of the infected. The green shade is either an effect of the infection or just a murky coloring job in a book filled with appropriately murky art.
The two sides meet up at the Goethals bridge, and Northstar can be seen again standing behind the Hulk in a few panels. As the science caravan rolls into New Jersey, several heroes protecting the caravan stay behind to give them enough time to escape.
The Human torch firebombs the bridge, killing quite a few of the infected standing behind the Hulk, possibly killing Northstar. The survivors of that attack fight a massive battle in a raging inferno, then abruptly, the scene shifts to just the Hulk and Wolverine in a classic on-on-one. The Human Torch massively firebombs the Goethals bridge again, destroying it, and if Northstar weren’t killed in the first firebomb, or by the Punisher, or by anyone else, the second firebomb surely done him in. Note that Northstar isn’t seen in issue #4 and was not in the Marvel Universe vs. Punisher series for which this series serves as prequel, so it’s very likely he was killed, and even though the poor guy was a green-skinned infected cannibal predator anyway, Alpha Flight fans really don’t need another Northstar death to add to our collection.