Obscure Comics: Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes Prequel #2

There are comic book series almost every comic fan knows, there are comic book characters that most everyone knows, there are specific comic books most every comic reader knows, and then there are the more obscure issues that slip through the cracks.  What makes obscure comics so interesting and vital is discovering those books that most don't know were ever printed, or that top tier creators worked on "that book" or on "that character." Obscure Comics are fun to find, interesting to know about, but that border between being great reads and terrible comics.

The Continuing Adventures of Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, and the Guardians of the Galaxy in Live-Action!

After starting the Marvel Universe LIVE! show in 2014, Feld Entertainment, kept the traveling live performances going through 2015 and 2016, touring throughout the United States.  However, by the end of 2016, Feld Entertainment had already planned to change Marvel Universe LIVE! as it entered 2017.

Feld Entertainment Ad
Feld Entertainment Ad

Traveling shows like Marvel Universe LIVE! have a cycle of a year or two that they go through, trying not to return places they've already performed until they have the new version of the show ready to go.  Between 2014 and 2016, though, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had provided a lot of new material for Marvel Universe LIVE! to use.  As the new version of the show began to take shape, the Guardians of the Galaxy (whose movie had come out in 2014) Dr. Strange (movie out in 2016), and Iron Fist (whose show was coming to Netflix in 2017 but had also been used prominently in the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series from 2012-2017).  Using these "new" concepts Feld Entertainment, through David Love, created an entirely new stage show: Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes.

Marvel Univere LIVE! Age of Heroes Cast
Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes Cast

Obscure Comics: Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes Prelude #2

Released and printed May 2017, a month before the new showed was test rolled out in New Orleans June 23rd to June 25th, 2017, Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes Prequel #2 is exactly what the title states it is.  Set exactly before the show starts, Dr. Strange has brought the Wand of Watoomb to the Nova Corps Headquarters, where Nova Corps Leader Irani Rael takes possession of the item, promising to keep it safe.

Meanwhile, Tony Stark is working through a holographic playback of the Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Wasp, Black Widow, and the Hulk) fighting the Super-Adaptoid, as Tony hopes that viewing the video will help teach the young Peter Parker (Spider-Man) how a team works.

However, unknown to Dr. Strange, the Nova Corps, or the Avengers, both the Ravagers, led by Yondu and an alliance of Loki and Nebula, separately plan to steal the Wand.  The Ravagers are hoping to sell it, Loki hoping to use it to overthrow Odin and rule Asgard. Written by longtime Marvel writer Peter David (well versed in writing such tie-in books as he started in the advertising department at Marvel decades ago) and drawn by Christian Duce, under a cover by Wil Robson. 

The issue begins with a great lead-in and lots of potential, linking together concepts that are not often brought together from Dr. Strange with the Nova Corps, the Wand of Watoomb, and Nebula and Loki competing with Yondu and the Ravagers.  The issue, unlike the first prelude issue, clearly cannot fit in the Marvel 616 Universe as Tony's relationship with Peter is clearly lifted from Captain America Civil War and the (at the time) upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.  However, the comic is clearly not part of the MCU as the Wasp in the book is Janet Van Dyne and established (elsewhere, see below) that she and Hank Pym were founding Avengers.  A weird little mix of an issue but a fun read picking and choosing from Marvel 616 and the MCU.

Going Beyond the Comic, Marvel Universe LIVE! Souvenir Book 2nd Edition

In conjunction with the Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes Prequel #2 comic, Feld Entertainment also released a large 11' X 15' souvenir book.  The 2nd edition Souvenir Book for the show, this book contained detailed character profiles for every character seen in the show with detailed story notes on what was happening in the live-action show, including a timeline of events taking place after the comic.

With a reflective lenticular cover and back cover, the book is a great add on and souvenir and something that served as a great source for story elements after the comic.

The timeline of the show encapsulates the following events. After the Wand of Watoomb is taken by the Ravagers, Nebula and the Guardians of the Galaxy attempt to get the Wand back. Still, Nebula is ultimately successful in gaining the power of the Wand.  Meanwhile, the Avengers and Spider-Man, trying to stop the Green Goblin, are approached by Dr. Strange to regain the Wand of Watoomb.  However, while leading the Avengers to where the Wand may be, Dr. Banner is possessed by Loki, who then attacks the Avengers in K'un-Lun.  Joined by Iron Fist now, the Avengers are captured by Loki, except Black Widow, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Black Panther, who fight Nebula in the Savage Land, where Spider-Man is able to gain the Wand of Watoomb back from Nebula.  The Guardians of the Galaxy arrive just as Loki gains the Wand back and captures the Avengers.  Now the Hulk, under Loki's control, along with Nebula, the Ravagers, and Loki's demons, have a final showdown with the Avengers, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy over the Wand of Watoomb. Overall a big fun comic book plot that everyone gets to see on the stage.

Marvel Universe LIVE! Prequel #2 Activity Page
Marvel Universe LIVE! Prequel #2 Activity Page

Easy to Get If You Went to the Show

On the secondary market, the Marvel Universe LIVE! Age of Heroes Prequel #2 fetches $15 to $30, but unlike the last comic only has the one cover.  The Souvenir Book is pricer, going for $20 to $50, and with the larger size is more expensive to ship. If either interest you, keep an eye out for cheaper copies or wait until Marvel Universe LIVE! returns in 2021, and maybe copies will still be available at the show.

This post is part of a multi-part series: Obscure Comics.

About Ian Melton

Japanese Teacher, Comic Book, Manga, & Anime collector, LCBS worker, father of 2, fan of far too many things for far too long...