Monster Hunters #1: Mayhem at Monster Isle!

A Lovely Bones Marvelcado Comics Miniseries 

Hi lovelies! So I began working on a multi-part long-form Marvel fanfic series several months ago, long before the collaborative project of the Marvelcado Shared Universe fanfics began taking shape a couple of weeks ago. Thusly, there are two separate universes being used as the settings for comics series on the Avocado, with the potential for future crossovers! Those aside, the characters and events of the Marvelcado Shared Universe, AKA Earth-69420, do not intersect with or impact the characters and events of the Lovely Bones Marvel Universe, Earth-206, or vice versa. Although events resembling those in this series Monster Hunters occur in both universes, the chapters for it that I will be publishing every other Tuesday are set in Earth-69420 and not Earth-206. After this week, I will be publishing chapters of Liberty Legion (16 in total) and Monster Hunters (12 in total) on the same page, but for their debuts I want to prevent any confusion, and prevent Monster Hunters from being overshadowed. Enjoy!

Main Cast: Zawadi – Lupita Nyong’O, Elsa Bloodstone – Rose Leslie, Ulysses Bloodstone – Iain Glen, Ophelia Bloodstone – Kate Dickie, Dr. Druid – David Yip, The Hurricane – Santiago Cabrera, Adam – Jurgen Prochnow, Charles Barnabus – Richard Ayoade, Harvey Elder – Seth Green.

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She knelt in the soil of Wakanda’s high grass plains, panting rapidly as the radiant sun’s heat bore down upon her body, baking the crocodile skin in her clothes. The fearsome huntress Zawadi of the River Tribe regained serenity once she beheld the sacred treasure within her hands’ grasp, the Heart-Shaped Herb, exclusive to the Golden Tribe. She bit into it greedily, swiftly eating it all, and then for the briefest of moments, she bowed her head and hands down to the grasses of her homeland. Zawadi prayed to the goddess Sekhmet for peace in her next life, whenever it may come. And then, once more, she ran like hell.

The soldiers were in hot pursuit across the plain after Zawadi, who felt the soul of the Herb surging through her veins, filling her being with raw power as she dashed away from them, utterly at peace with her decision. She was free, and she would never look back. Except, perhaps, for when her former countrymen were tossing spears towards her. She dug her heels into the ground as she turned towards the soldiers and raised up her arms, clasping her hands around the spear soaring over her head. Zawadi was prepared to fight to the death with these people she had served alongside all her life.

However, she was not given the chance. The furious royals had evidently brought out the big guns in their efforts to arrest her! A goddess-damned DINOSAUR, a Tyrannosaurus Rex to be precise, had burst out from the forest she had been running towards! As the towering reptilian beast bellowed, the soldiers proceeded to immediately run in the opposite direction back to the city. Evidently they were not responsible for the beast, or at least previously aware of it. Zawadi stood still for a moment, contemplative, confronted by the conflicting feelings of absolute thrill at this newer challenge, this greater prey, standing before her, and the confounding disappointment that she would not face Wakanda today.

Retreat was neither a circumstantial option nor an emotional one, and so she turned to face the great beast. There was a European man dangling from one of the dinosaur’s arms, his mane of hair as blonde as the grass around her. She had never seen one in person before. Two more Europeans suddenly ran up to her, two women, one around the age of the man hanging from the beast, and one adolescent, perhaps sixteen or seventeen years of age, not much younger than herself. They introduced themselves as the Bloodstones, Ophelia and her daughter Elsa, and they carried firearms. Zawadi promised them that she could save the man without the need to use guns.

Zawadi handed the spear to Ophelia for safekeeping and drew her knife from the sheath on her leg, gently pounding her fist on her ribs before bounding into action, slashing her blade along the dinosaur’s leg to get its attention. The great lizard roared in pain and lumbered after her, slowly turning away from the Bloodstone women, who watched Zawadi with awe in their faces. The young Elsa was brimming with excitement and admiration, and perhaps attraction, at this newfound role model. She paid no attention to her father as he seized the opportunity of the turn to let go and fall back to the ground with added momentum. Zawadi ran into the brush and began to swiftly clamber up a nearby tree, narrowly escaping the nip of the tyrannosaurus’ jaws.

The creature moved far too slowly to keep up with her, a huntress not only at the peak of her condition, but now surpassing it with the life breathed into her by the heart-shaped herb. Now, however, she needed to rely on these strangers and not just herself for this plan. Zawadi gave a signal to the happily reunited Bloodstones and the three began to blast their rifles into the air to get the dinosaur’s attention. As it ran towards them with its back to her, Zawadi leapt from the top of the tree onto the tyrannosaurus’ head, and once Ophelia had sent it back into her hands, the warrior plunged the spear into the dinosaur’s neck!

The beast fell to the ground, bleeding to death, as Zawadi pulled the spear out of it and calmly strode back towards the Bloodstone family. In a jovial tone, the Bloodstone patriarch, Ulysses, thanked her for the aid and spoke great praise of her skill, with the single request that she try not to employ lethal tactics in the future. She nodded in acceptance, then took his hand and pulled him in close, clapping him on the back. The family did not know where the dinosaur might have come from, but they intended to take it home for study, and invited her to join them on their journey back home in the family ship.

In the year 1942, the Wakandan exile arrived at Bloodstone Manor in the Rannoch Moor of Scotland, some weeks after her crime against the royal family. She had waited until she knew King T’Chaka was out of the country on business with the world war efforts, as it would reduce the security presence in the palace. The Bloodstones had negotiated on her behalf with Wakanda’s police, quickly drawing up a shoddy employment contract to protect her sovereignty, while promising privately that she was free to make her own choices and leave at any time. In the foyer of the manor, Zawadi was introduced to the manor’s caretakers, Adam, and Charles Barnabus. Adam handled more of the physical labor, and that was plain to see: he towered over her and spoke firmly with a thick accent she was unfamiliar with, but still his eyes were old, and kind. Barnabus was a soft-spoken Brit with dark skin and hair like hers, wearing spectacles and a nice fresh suit, the kind she only knew from occasional glimpses of upper-class life in the Golden City. 

Zawadi caught herself staring at the sickly green color of Adam’s skin, equally disturbed by that and the strange odor emanating from it. She attempted to look away in embarrassment, but as this was quickly caught by the others, she decided that she might as well ask. Assured of her trustworthy and reliable nature, and following a consensus from the brief private family discussion among the Bloodstones and their employees, Adam and Charles admitted that they were both reanimated corpses of different designs, much to Zawadi’s baffled shock. Adam had been crafted from the pieces of several dead and brought to life by a German science student, while Charles Barnabus was a young Englishman infected and transformed into a vampire long ago. Both served the Bloodstone Clan out of a dogged and long-standing loyalty, grateful for the peace and understanding given to them on the estate. Consumed with curiosity, Zawadi wished to to inquire further, but held herself back, knowing that she should try not to immediately provoke her new allies. At long last it seems her family’s efforts to teach her the manners of the powerful were paying off. 

She felt the force of his breath as Adam leaned into her space, starting to intimidate her, only to calmly whisper that he understood her reaction. He’s seen it many times over many times over how long she has lived. She smiled in disarmed comfort. The Bloodstones ushered several other associates into the foyer, commenting that it was time to focus on their primary business of the evening. Having already admitted to Adam and Charles’ full natures, Ulysses was upfront with her this time. He explained that these men were the Hurricane, a masked vigilante with mysterious super speed that had fought in the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th Century, and Doctor Anthony Ludgate, who was brought from China by his parents to grow up in England before returning to his homeland to study as a druid under a powerful mystic known as the Ancient One. Both men postured with the airs of arrogance, one of impatient youth and athleticism, and one of age and education.

She was certainly used to the egos of men in all forms, but unfortunately, she could sense a particular animosity from the sorcerer. He was visibly averting his gaze and barely willing to speak to her, She was baffled at what could motivate this, wondering if he looked down on warriors, but then remembering that Ulysses of course was first and foremost a fighter himself, so it couldn’t be that… And then it sunk in for her. He was not much better towards Charles Barnabus despite them both having been reared in England. He was reacting to the presence of a “savage”, one of African skin and blood. This was deeply upsetting, angering, but she knew not how to handle it, still wanting to make a good impression on everyone else. After a moment of consideration, she decided to stand up straight with a rigid spine, put on her best “genteel” voice as her mother has desperately attempted to instill in her while living in the Golden City, and walked straight up to the doctor, shaking his hand with a grip just slightly too firm. She enjoyed watching him cringe.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a shorter, stouter man lurking in the corner, hiding from the rest behind some statues the Bloodstones owned. Eager to prove herself to all parties, she bounded across the room and seized the man by his collar, lifting him with her enhanced strength above her head and demanding that he answered for his actions. Swiftly but gently, the Bloodstones followed after Zawadi and encouraged her to put the man down, explaining that although he was antisocial, he was with them too, a particularly recent discovery like herself. Stuttering and apologetic as he tried to speak to her, he finally introduced himself: Harvey Rupert Elder, a brilliant nuclear physicist who recently and decisively left the American scientific community due to extended mockery of his eccentric theories, having personally sought out the Hunters from his own investigation. She saw a slight kindred spirit in this apparent outcast and promised to protect him, getting a soft smile from the intensively nervous man and a derisive snort from the Druid.

With that tense business put aside for now, the other two men regaled her with their tales of how they first encountered the Bloodstone clan in the past few months: Dr. Druid had been harvesting plants in the rainforest of Brazil when he was attacked by a swarm of army ants commanded by a massive psychic ant queen calling itself Grottu. Ulysses and Druid were both captured by the ants to be fed upon, until they escaped through combining Druid’s magic and Bloodstone’s physical prowess; meanwhile, a gigantic, tunneling reptilian monster attacked Mexico City, drawing the Hurricane together with Ulysses and Ophelia to collaborate, first in beating the monster back until its successful retreat, and then in aiding the city’s cleanup efforts. And for the others, Zawadi recounted her experience with the dinosaur in Wakanda and how it brought her into the Bloodstones’ path. 

The married couple explains that all of these incidents are part of a larger trend of increased monster appearances around the world. They are the only ones able to pay attention and address this because the majority of active superhuman individuals are involved in the current global war. After generations of the Bloodstone clan being devoted to studying the Earth’s populations of monsters and keeping humanity safe from them, they are forced to at last seek outside help to address the problem and determine what is causing these attacks. Everyone, including Zawadi, agreed to forming a group devoted to these tasks, living in and operating out of the Manor. And so began the first meeting of the Monster Hunters!

Eight months later…

She woke up with Elsa’s hair in her mouth, with her left arm wrapped tightly around the girl’s body, and her hand feeling Elsa’s heart beating softly through her breast. Even now after all this time, it took Zawadi the free woman some moments to collect her thoughts from the disorientation of sleep to recall why she was in this white woman’s bed. Sometimes in her dreams, she imagined she was still in Wakanda, facing judgment or living with her family once more, but whatever small piece of latent regret that lingered in her brain lacked any power in the face of two facts: she had this beautiful woman by her side, and each day they went on fantastical adventures together. Her new life was good. She laid there in contented, peaceful silence, but for a moment. And then she sputtered and carefully pulled her hair out of her mouth.

Elsa’s giggles reverberated through Zawadi’s body, to her calm delight and bemusement. Zawadi leaned back as Elsa turned around in their bed to kiss her joyously. Their lips met as Zawadi tenderly stroke Elsa’s scarlet hair, rubbing it between her fingers. “You know that I love your locks, my Scottish princess. I would just rather not eat them, I think.” Elsa nodded in understanding and quietly, eagerly kept kissing Zawadi on the neck and collar, insatiable. The warrior’s smile grew ever wider, brimming with a sparkling shine as she felt awash with bliss. She gladly allowed this to continue for another moment or two, before she gently chided Elsa, suggesting that eventually they should begin preparing for their day.

She heard a muffled attempt from Elsa to insist for “Five more minutes” while still keeping her lips on Zawadi’s skin, who moved her hand to the top of Elsa’s head, nodding in bemused acceptance. Elsa began to move herself down Zawadi’s body toward a particular goal, and at that moment their door flung open as Professor Elder called for them to meet with the rest of the group as soon as possible. Blushing and frantic, Zawadi ducked down and pulled up her sheets to hide both her and Elsa, thankful that Harvey sheepishly closed their door and quickly left in some understanding of the situation. The women sighed and climbed out of bed, quickly putting themselves together. They briefly held the same discussion they’d been having of late, considering whether to tell the others about their relationship, and it ended with the same indecisive result. 

Once everyone had gathered in the manor’s foyer, Harvey exuberantly made his big announcement: he had purchased ancient and mysterious maps that traced a route to an otherwise unknown and uncharted island in the Sea of Japan. Comparing the island’s location and route to the pattern of sites for monster appearances had led Harvey to conclude that this island was a possible source of the attacks and home for the various monsters. The rest of the Hunters had always strived to be kind and supportive to Harvey, being well aware of the ostracism he had faced in the past, but it was not always easy to match his enthusiasm, particularly after so many theories that had fallen short. The one closest to him, Zawadi stepped forth and enthusiastically exclaimed, “I cannot wait to see where this leads, Professor! Shall we depart at once?”

She glanced hopefully and expectantly towards Ulysses, who had grown tired of Harvey faster than anyone in the group, save perhaps Dr. Ludgate. Irritated, he closed his eyes before reluctantly asking Adam to prepare their new seaplane. After everyone quickly prepared their packs for the trip, the young lovers naturally sneaking in a kiss or two along the way behind closed doors, the entire Monster Hunter crew finally boarded their bellowing, shiny vessel. Their group dynamic around Harvey had kept the question at bay before, but now, as they leapt from their swampland home into a mellow sky, there was a serenity to the landscape surrounding them unbefitting the tension of flying into enemy territory. Their lack of hesitation in pursuing this flight did not conflict with the family’s choice to clasp their hands in a brief hope for safety, excluding Dr. Druid, before taking off.

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Despite their fears, the travel through the skies above Japan proved fairly secure, Ulysses carefully keeping the plane relatively low and far enough away from the coastline. They plunged into a deep fog, taking a great leap into the unknown, and after a great wait, emerged to see the shore of an island, an island covered from end to end in lush, verdant jungle. In unison all the hunters cheered with celebratory delight at this miraculous discovery, truly proud of Harvey for finally accomplishing this after so long. Even the ever-moody Dr. Druid and the stoic Hurricane let out a hearty whoop or two, or clapped Harvey on the back. In good spirits, they precisely surged towards the water in the seaplane, eager for discovery, and it was only as they drew closer and closer to that shoreline that they witnessed something new. Even in the work they’ve been doing for these many months, this…was something unexpected.

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Zawadi had never seen so much wildlife in, well, her life! In every direction along the island, with far-reaching glimpses into a gnarled jungle brush, together they bore witness to a marvelous menagerie of massive monsters, more beasts all together in one space than they had ever encountered in totality in all the time they had worked together, living peacefully in their supernatural habitat, in their fertile Pacific ecosystem. On the beach, in the water, in the jungles and the sky above them, the beasts were everywhere, and they were beautiful.

They cleanly landed in the water, still consumed with awe at the wildlife all around them. An enormous three-headed dragon gracefully soared through the fog surrounding the isle. The rounded orange head of a towering thing just slightly poked out of the treeline on the far edge of the shores. A pink creature with a bulbous head leapt from its tree branch perch, stretching the band of flesh like a flying squirrel and gliding on the wind current that gently pushed the beach’s trees. In the ocean around them, a horned, purple thing dove deeper into the sea depths to avoid their vessel. A green horned monster lumbered along the beach, and upon the great clatter of the plane’s landing, proceeded to suddenly shrink down and scampered into the jungle!

The team finally shook off their mesmerized daze and made their final push towards the beach, dismounting towards the shore once the seaplane was close enough. The group began their exploratory trek into the jungle of the newly minted Monster Isle, excitedly discussing all the possibilities and implications brought about by this discovery. Even more wonderous sights to behold came into their purview during this hike, from a screeching orange moth-beast fluttering high in the trees, to a rocky-skinned, broad-shouldered monster with two heads, and another beast seemingly all made of stone flying by its side. There was a scuttling purple spider-like reptile they did their best to evade, and right in their path was an awkward, stubby-armed…thing?

It stood about twice the height of Ulysses, right in their path, still as a statue. The patriarch stepped closer to examine it, with a word of caution from his wife. Zawadi stood near the back, impatiently tapping her foot, hoping to keep pushing forward. It felt like they were so close to a breakthrough in the investigation of the monster attacks, they just…needed…to keep…searching…the island… She found her thoughts distracted, slow and hazy, and…her vision left her. Zawadi collapsed to the ground. When she finally awoke, her surroundings were completely different! Each member of the team was chained to large vertical rocks at the mouth of a vast cavern. Frantically glancing around, she saw the monster that stood in their path before, and Elsa! The monster was tying her to the last of the rocks, and when Zawadi tried to call out for her lover, she felt her jaw unable to move as she saw glare back towards her. That stupid-looking creature, it had controlled them with psychic commands!

Furious, the mighty warrioress fought her restraints both physical and mental as fiercely as she could, straining until… At last! The powers of the Heart-Shaped Herb were enough! Those old and rusted metal chains snapped easily enough against the force of her resistance, but would the creature’s mental hold be so easily broken?

Zawadi knew she would have to act cautiously here, having already drawn its attention. It reached out its hand and beckoned her to approach it, letting out a low groan all the while. “Moombaaaaaa…” She calmly walked forward without resistance, biding her time. When she reached the monstrosity, the Moomba, she slightly lowered her head before it, and reached out her hands of her own accord, as if in repentance. In this moment, Moomba was taken off its guard, knowing that it had not given that command, and in that moment of hesitation was the time to strike. She clutched her hands into fists and smashed them into the beast’s torso, sending it flying back into the trees!

With it incapacitated and her mind totally free at last, Zawadi worked swiftly to untie each of her comrades from their prisons, starting of course with Elsa. The two of them made quick and frantic work as the Moomba shuddered in pain and struggled to collect its thoughts, though they could feel its screams of rage crying out into their brains. It was deathly afraid, knowing that it would be feasted upon soon if its offerings fled for even one night. The implications of this were intriguing, but they sadly had no time to dwell on it, of course. As soon as everyone was freed, they had no choice but to flee further into the cave, away from the sounds of something tearing through the jungle. The powerful, ape-like beast emerged for its feast, only to find no humans where they had usually been held for him. He snorted angrily and turned towards the Moomba, his imposing figure greatly overwhelming the lumbering, sneaky creature. His jaws opened.

As they desperately ran further and further into the dark tunnels, the Monster Hunters reached twofold discoveries: the first was that the shrieks of pain echoing directly into their skulls were far worse than the furious commands had been, or the pleas they gave way to. The second, dear reader? The second was even worse. Eventually they found a light source, a minute patch of mysterious, radiant gems shining so brightly that it quickly began to burn if you stared directly at them. What the light revealed was an encroaching horde of crawling beasts, with pallid yellow flesh, sharp claws…and no eyes.

Next time on Monster Hunters, our heroes descend further into terror as they – Enter the Kingdom of Subterranea! 

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