Comic Bucket List #4: The Supernaturals

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Comic Bucket List #4: The Supernaturals
SUPERNATURALS
1998
Brian Pulido, Marc Andreyko, Ivan Reis

Initial Appeal: All the horror characters from Marvel re-invented to become a superhero team, fighting against the worst villain from Chaos! named Jack O’Lantern. I originally read about the mini-series in Wizard Magazine and never had the chance to read it. Loving Marvel, Halloween, and Horror, this comic screamed for my attention.

Most Memorable Moment: The introduction of Jack O’Lantern as the villain of the mini-series. He is a wicked and interesting character, and he’s not all bark and no bite. He makes it difficult for our heroes to win this battle.

Best Character: It’s a tie between Jack O’Lantern and Ghost Rider. Both are dazzling and visually appealing characters worthy of focus. It’s funny that every character is redesigned except for Ghost Rider. He’s the definitive horror character for Marvel. You can’t improve perfection.

Lives up to Expectations?
There’s a lot of story to cram in only four issues at twenty five pages a pop, and sadly this mini-series does a poor job of doing so. There’s so much information to relay to readers in such a short time that “Supernaturals” never slows down to tell a story. It’s merely a string of events that lead in to a cheap question mark ending. Chaos! and Marvel team up to tell the story of the Chaos! event! When Brother Voodoo was a child, he and his brother unleashed sinister forces in an effort to bring back their dead parents from the grave. Doing so granted all the supernatural heroes from the Marvel Universe to be stuck in a hidden dimension, with no one to protect the world from evil forces like vampires, and ghosts. Brother Voodoo is redesigned with a better costume and moonlights as a superhero who is looking to bring back the superheroes from their dimension. When Dr. Strange has disappeared, he uses the Eye of Agamotto which beckons Brother Voodoo to action. He’s supposed to assemble the remaining Supernatural forces on Earth.

Otherwise known as third tier characters from the Marvel line up. And then… I guess they’ll fight the forces of evil. Meanwhile the sinister Jack O’ Lantern has risen from hell and is now seeking to take over the world and turn it in to his own Halloween world with monsters and ghouls lurking about. Brother Voodoo warps back and forth finding the members of the team he’s supposed to assemble, and for some reason they’re teenagers. Felicia Hardy is a college student, Johnny Blaze is a BMX biker, as well as the rest of the teammates who do nothing but go on with the typical superhero tropes. They bicker, they’re reluctant to fight, they have no confidence in themselves and one another, and inevitably come together to win the day. The four issue series works at a rapid fire pacing, so there’s not a lot of time for reflection or introspection.

The characters fight, and then they fight some more, while spouting some horrific dialogue. Particularly Werewolf by Night who spouts movie references in every line of dialogue, ad nauseum. It’s sad that a comic book built around redesigning third tier horror characters from Marvel and making them a team, really fails to make any of its members stand out and seem unique and complex. Ghost Rider is still just Ghost Rider, Black Cat contributes almost nothing to the team, and Brother Voodoo is a terrible leader who is beaten far too often. Jack O’Lantern manages to always be one step ahead of the entire team in every issue, and they can never catch up with him or outwit him.

It’s all a matter of watching him jerk around and beat down a group of superheroes we’re supposed to be rooting for, but can’t help but marvel at their failure. Even moments where they fight classic monsters like Dracula, and giant monsters are misfires with no suspense and zero pay off, and I could never really soak in any of the action because it was so convoluted and dull. The final issue ends on the Supernaturals coming together and being tasked with finding a way to free Dr. Strange and the supernatural heroes banished to another dimension, and we never actually find out how it fares. The editor in the comic promises further adventures if fans wanted to see more of this team. I’m not surprised we never saw a series starring the Supernaturals. It’s an admirable attempt, but absolutely forgettable.