One of the most popular and frequently utilized concepts in recent superhero media is the idea of the multiverse—alternate universes with infinite possibilities and infinite timelines that create new versions of stories with beloved characters. Although, of course, in the comic books these films are based on, the multiverse is nothing new.

Related: Everything We Know About ‘What If…?’ Season 2 Countless versions of superheroes have permeated both established canon and alternate timelines and the results are always creative. Whether heroes find powers through new means, the most idealistic heroes going down darker paths, or just the plain bizarre and funny. Regardless, many of these variants have a penchant for the strange and unusual compared to their mainstream counterparts.

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Agent Venom

The Venom symbiote allows for a surprising degree of variety, often feeding on its hosts’ worst impulses and desires. Still, the symbiote has proven helpful, especially with its most surprising partner: Peter Parker’s former high school bully, Flash Thompson.

The Empire State alumni turned paraplegic soldier decided to use the symbiote only for 48 hours at a time or risk the creature completely consuming him. During this stint, Agent Venom became a member of teams such as the Secret Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Superman Red Son

This seminal Elseworlds story answers an interesting question: what would happen if Superman landed in Soviet Russia as opposed to Smallville, Kansas? As a result, readers got a Russian Kal-El who never goes by the name Clark Kent, wears the communist sickle and hammer instead of the “S,” and becomes the leader of the Soviet Union to begin a peaceful (if somewhat totalitarian) reign.

Despite a radically different political system, this Superman still tries to fight for what he believes in, even if it pushes him to difficult places.

Thomas Wayne Batman

In the world of Flashpoint, after Barry Allen traveled back in time to stop his mother’s murder, he found that the world around him unintentionally changed (much of it for the worst).

When he tries to talk to Batman, he finds that this dark knight is far more willing to kill, far less inclined to listen, and far less technologically developed. Barry quickly realizes this universe’s Bruce Wayne was the one murdered that fateful night in Crime Alley and his father Thomas became Batman, and mother Martha became the Joker.

Dark Beast

Many superheroes have seen darker reflections of themselves, whether in multiverse narratives or main storylines. But this creepy version of one of the most popular X-Men makes him distinct. Established during the Age of Apocalypse storyline, Dark Beast was a monstrous mad doctor working under Mister Sinister. He delighted in his cruel experiments for both Sinister and Apocalypse, working under a “survival of the fittest” philosophy.

Related: 7 Comic Characters We Could See Enter the MCU’s Multiverse This is a very dark turn considering what a cheerful and well-educated man Hank McCoy is in the main canon. Unfortunately, he was one of several characters that escaped to the main 616 timeline, wherein his experiments have managed to continue.

Earth-3 Superwoman (Lois Lane)

Earth-3 is an alternate universe where all the members of the Justice League dedicated themselves to villainy and conquest, and this variant is no exception. An amazon native that adopted Lois Lane’s identity after discovering the outside world, she married Ultraman (Superman’s evil counterpart) and joined the Crime Society as Superwoman.

She can change her golden lasso into any shape she wants and uses it to reveal the inhibitions of anyone it holds. If that wasn’t frightening enough, she claims she is pregnant with a child destined to destroy the world but has not revealed anything further.

Franken-Punisher

A death order by Norman Osborn, a kill from the mutant Daken, and a little lab work from Morbius, the Living Vampire. All this resulted in this remarkable fusion of the Frankenstein Monster and The Punisher, Frank Castle.

This is a strangely appropriate combination since both characters are, in their own ways, motivated by vengeance in their original works. In Frank Castle’s case, against the criminal world after the murder of his family, and in the Frankenstein Monster’s case, revenge against the doctor who created him.

Headpool

Deadpool, being one of the wackiest characters in comics, is no stranger to strange variants, from a little kid to a dog to a psychotically evil maniac who killed the entire Marvel universe. But perhaps no stranger versions come to mind than this thing.

Coming from the Marvel Zombies universe, this version of the Merc with a Mouth is a decapitated zombie head who can still talk and rides around with a little helicopter hat. With half his mask torn off to reveal a monstrous face, Headpool is surprisingly less homicidal than his fellow zombies, but being a head by itself will do that to you.

Spider-Ham

Brought to mainstream attention in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this version of Spider-Man is a talking pig. Or rather, a spider that was bitten by a radioactive pig. His universe is populated with anthropomorphic talking animals, but Spider-Ham is easily the most famous of the entire bunch.

Related: Why the Final Arc of ‘Spider-Man: The Animated Series’ Was the Template for the Spider-Verse

Acting far more like a wacky cartoon character than a traditional superhero, Peter Porker balances his life battling villains like Ducktor Doom and the King-Pig with his secret identity as a reporter for the Daily Beagle. This little critter has found himself a member of the web warriors, joining various spider-people throughout the multiverse.

Lobo The Duck

Yes, he really exists. Back in the 90s, Marvel and DC came to a short-lived deal that would not only see their multiverses collide but create a new timeline where heroes and villains were combined to present interesting new characters. This was dubbed Amalgam, and perhaps their strangest fusion was that of Marvel cult favorite Howard the Duck and DC’s intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo.

Unfortunately, this series only lasted one issue that claimed to be a continuation of other Lobo the Duck stories, which didn’t exist. Still, this great union of two cult favorites makes him worth a mention.

Golden Oldie (Aunty May)

The celestial-like being Galactus has chosen many heralds over his existence, most notably the Silver Surfer. And then there was the time he decided Peter Parker’s Aunt May to be his herald, complete with her superhero name: Golden Oldie.

Even funnier than the simple image of Aunt May molded into the appearance of a golden goddess is how she finds a way to satiate the planet-eater’s hunger: by baking planet-sized cakes – and it works. Initially created as a joke for a one-off parody comic, she managed to reappear in an issue of What If…?.

Next: Every Disney+ Marvel Show Ranked, Including the Defenders Saga

 

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