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- 01/19/17--13:00: _Batman Beyond #4 Ex...
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- 01/20/17--15:38: _Spider-Man and Dead...
- 01/20/17--15:51: _Marvel's The Defend...
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- 01/22/17--12:55: _Why Kevin Smith's S...
- 01/22/17--14:29: _Injustice 2 Prequel...
- 01/22/17--17:36: _X-Men: Complete Mar...
- 01/23/17--15:22: _Witchblade Reboot L...
- 01/23/17--15:42: _DJ Caruso on the G....
- 01/23/17--19:16: _10 Times the Joker ...
- 01/23/17--19:35: _Batman and The Shad...
- 01/23/17--19:47: _Black Panther and T...
- 01/23/17--23:06: _Gotham Season 3 Epi...
- 01/24/17--06:22: _Shazam Movie Writer...
- 01/24/17--10:34: _All Time Comics: A ...
- 01/25/17--00:12: _Logan: Mysterious C...
- 01/19/17--13:00: Batman Beyond #4 Exclusive Preview
- 01/19/17--20:18: Batman Beyond #4: Exclusive First Look
- 01/20/17--15:38: Spider-Man and Deadpool: Their Smart Alecky History
- 01/20/17--15:51: Marvel's The Defenders Netflix Series: Everything We Know
- 01/20/17--17:00: Green Lantern Corps Movie News
- 01/20/17--22:44: The Wild Storm: Get Ready for DC's Warren Ellis and Jon Davis Reboot
- 01/22/17--12:55: Why Kevin Smith's Superman Lives Was Ahead of Its Time
- 01/22/17--14:29: Injustice 2 Prequel Comic Coming This April
- 01/22/17--17:36: X-Men: Complete Marvel Universe Easter Egg and Reference Guide
- 01/23/17--15:22: Witchblade Reboot Lands at NBC
- 01/23/17--19:16: 10 Times the Joker Almost Nailed Batman
- 01/23/17--19:35: Batman and The Shadow Crossover Coming in April
- 01/23/17--19:47: Black Panther and The Crew Coming From Marvel
- 01/23/17--23:06: Gotham Season 3 Episode 13 Review: Smile Like You Mean It
- 01/24/17--06:22: Shazam Movie Writer Confirmed
- 01/24/17--10:34: All Time Comics: A Guide to The Weirdest New Superhero Universe
- 01/25/17--00:12: Logan: Mysterious Comic Book Pages From Movie Revealed
First look at next week's new issue of Batman Beyond.
DC Comics has given us some exclusive preview pages from Batman Beyond #4. Check 'em out.
Dan Jurgens has been playing in the Batman Beyond future for some time now, and he's been doing good work. Terry's a tough nut - a deliberately derivative character who was really specifically defined in another medium (PS guys, Batman Beyond is the best Spider-Man cartoon ever made), but Jurgens and Bernard Chang have worked hard to give him their voice, and it has paid off.
DC sent over an exclusive first look at next week's Batman Beyond #4. Here's what they have to say about the issue:
BATMAN BEYOND #4 Written by DAN JURGENSArt by PETE WOODS
Cover by BERNARD CHANG
The deadly secret behind the newly risen Joker is revealed, and it’s about to shake up Terry McGinnis’ world! Terminal has been using the existence of the Clown Prince of Crime to set himself up as the leader of the anarchic gang of Jokerz, but this new revelation may even put his own criminal empire in jeopardy. This is a turning-point chapter in the life of the Batman of the future.
Pete Woods is filling in on this issue, and he is almost shamefully underappreciated. His work on Robin is part of the reason why Tim Drake will always be my Robin. And ever since 1987's "CLARK KENT IS SUPERMAN" issue of Superman, I've always been a sucker for shocked characters standing in front of a computer screen revelation. Check it out!
Deadpool and Spider-Man have a long history, and Wade has been getting on Peter's nerves for years.
Spider-Man and Deadpool are like two sides of the same coin. Their outfits look a lot alike, they have similar builds, they both like to joke endlessly as a front to hide their personal issues, etc.
Plus they both have a tendency to annoy Wolverine on a regular basis.
But for a while, they weren't really compatible outside of that. Spider-Man has upstanding morals and despite living a tragic and surreal lifestyle as a superhero, he at least juggles it with something resembling a normal life. Deadpool is stuck in his tragic and surreal lifestyle with no real normalcy mixed in. He’s also responsible for a kill count that’s somewhere in the triple digits (at least) and that is NOT something Spider-Man’s cool with.
Peter Parker is simply a grounded man and is constantly taken out of his comfort zone when dealing with a guy more out there and sillier than him with less of a grasp on what it means to be a good human being.
It used to be that Deadpool sharing the page with Spider-Man was a rarity as making jokes about Deadpool’s similarities seemed to be a better fit, and boy, did we get a lot of those. Still, over the years, the two have crossed paths more and more and only recently have we reached the point where Marvel’s decided they should probably have an actual relationship for once. Something that goes farther than, “Spider-Man would rather team up with anybody else right now. Even D-Man.”
Here are their various fights and team-ups throughout the years.
WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT COINCIDENCE
DEADPOOL V.1 #11
Joe Kelly and Pete Woods, 1997
Not only is this the earliest meeting between the two, but it’s also one of the best Deadpoolissues of all time. After fighting with the Great Lakes Avengers (temporarily calling themselves “The Lightning Rods” to piggyback on the Thunderbolts’ success), Deadpool and his captive mother figure Blind Al accidentally get sent back in time. They end up in a 1960s Amazing Spider-Man issue, which I guess means ten years earlier in comic book time. Specifically, it’s Amazing Spider-Man #47, where Spider-Man fought Kraven the Hunter and saved the life of Norman Osborn.
Using an image inducer, Deadpool is able to pretend to be Peter Parker while he gets Blind Al to pass as Aunt May. The actual interaction between the two characters is minimal and is mainly just Wade getting Peter out of the picture. The rest of the issue is all about Deadpool fighting Kraven and acting completely horrified at the genetic weirdness of Harry Osborn and his father’s hair style.
DEADPOOL ALMOST DESTROYS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
J. Calafiore, circa 2000
Artist J. Calafiore was tasked with doing a fill-in comic for Deadpool’s first ongoing, just in case one of the regular issues was hit with delays. While it got as far as being inked, the one-shot was deemed unnecessary and outdated after a while and never got released or even finished. Calafiore ended up posting the pages online along with a Word document of the dialogue and narration. Someone added word bubbles to make it a bit easier to read and it’s been floating around the internet for years.
The issue is about Deadpool accidentally causing an alien invasion and needing to gather Earth’s heroes to help defend New York City. While they’re successful, he spends the pages annoying the likes of the Avengers, Thunderbolts, Captain Marvel (Genis Vell), and so on. Plus the book is told in reverse order for very little reason.
Deadpool briefly comes across Spider-Man in the melee and the two don’t appear to step on each other’s toes. Deadpool asks about his doctor, which is explained at the end of the book. Since the end of the book is the beginning of the story because of the Memento storytelling, Deadpool complains about catching a cold and wonders aloud where someone like Spider-Man goes when he gets sick.
EXILES: ANOTHER ROOSTER IN THE HENHOUSE
Judd Winick and Mike McKone, 2002
Exiles, the comic about a bunch of Marvel characters from alternate realities teaming up and fixing other realities, featured a more violent offshoot “Weapon X” team. Briefly, this team included Deadpool and the Spider. Deadpool didn’t appear to be too different from the mainstream one we all know and love, but the Spider is certainly unique. He’s Peter Parker having bonded to the Carnage symbiote.
Even though they are teammates, the two don’t really interact in any notable way. Then they’re shortly killed off, so that’s that.
AN AGE OF APOCALYPSE
Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher, 2005
Cable has gone missing from reality and due to Deadpool’s biological link to him (long story), he’s used as a conduit to find him. Joined with Cannonball and Siryn, Deadpool goes from world to world in search of his on-again/off-again pouch-buddy. In this issue, the three of them cross paths with 3/4 of the Four Horsemen in a world where Apocalypse successfully conquered the planet.
The Horsemen include Archangel as Death, Blob as Famine, and a mutated Spider-Man as Pestilence. Although Cannonball is able to save Deadpool and the good guys win the battle, Cannonball’s still rather taken aback by the idea that Spider-Man of all people could be corrupted as Apocalypse’s puppet.
Things get more horrifying for the trio when Cable appears, revealing that he’s this world’s Horseman of War...
Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher, 2006
Here’s the first meaningful crossover between our two heroes. In a story that’s way too complicated to explain because it’s Fabian Nicieza and that’s his thing, Deadpool is looking for a Daily Bugle reporter who happens to be driving with Peter Parker on a bridge. Not really thinking about his actions, Deadpool tears Parker from the car and flings him off the bridge, realizing a moment later that – whoops – he probably just killed that innocent man.
Naturally, Spider-Man shows up and fighting happens. What’s great is that Deadpool keeps referring to Spider-Man’s “Tobey Maguire teary doe eyes,” although Spidey has no idea what he’s talking about.
Cable watches the whole thing go down from afar (via staring into the internet, basically. It’s complicated) and doesn’t like the fact that Deadpool appears to be using innocent people as human shields. Without Deadpool knowing, Cable helps diffuse the situation and Spider-Man is practically forced to let Deadpool go.
He’s pretty steamed about it too, since Deadpool claims he knew Spider-Man was around to rescue Parker from the fall.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: DEADPOOL
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #91-94
Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, 2006
So even though Deadpool has rarely ever crossed paths with Spider-Man by this point, his only real Ultimate Marvel appearance is in the pages of Spider-Man’s book. To be fair, it is mainly because at this point in Ultimate Spider-Man’s continuity, Peter Parker is dating Kitty Pryde and therefore he gets roped in with one of the X-Men’s adventures.
Said adventure involves the team and Spider-Man being kidnapped by the Reavers and placed on the island Krakoa, where they’re to be hunted down with their deaths broadcast across the internet. The Reavers are anti-mutant cyborgs who had their bodies augmented to make them a match for the X-Men. Their leader is Deadpool, otherwise known as Sgt. Wadey Wilson. While he’s not as goofy as his regular self, he does have some sick sense of humor and is even more hideous.
Spider-Man unmasks him to reveal a fleshless face covered in a clear, plastic dome. Thanks to Kitty, Deadpool’s body is blown up, but the epilogue reveals that he’s still in one piece. Not that the comic would ever follow up on that.
Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown, 2008
Cable had been written off into his own solo series where he traveled through the future, so after a while they kind of had to put an end to the Cable/Deadpool team-up series. The final arc involves a bunch of time travel and in the final issue, Deadpool accidentally brings a bunch of dinosaurs with him into New York City. That’s bad enough on its own, but this is during the time when Bendis’ Avengers comics are dealing with a symbiote outbreak.
Now we have symbiote dinosaurs. Yikes.
Immediately, Spider-Man gets involved and blames this on Deadpool, although he’s only half right. The two work together briefly as Spider-Man gives the lowdown on how to hurt the creatures, since symbiotes are his thing. Spider-Man then swings off and tells Deadpool to stay out of trouble or else.
Deadpool does eventually get rid of the dinosaurs and momentarily gains the respect of the superheroes, but Spider-Man’s not around to react to that.
DEADPOOL: SUICIDE KINGS #3-5
Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi, 2009
Suicide Kingsis a miniseries about Tombstone framing Deadpool for an act of terrorism. That causes Deadpool to be hunted down by vigilantes and he crosses paths with Daredevil, the Punisher, and eventually Spider-Man. Prior to their current series, it's easily the most true-blue Spider-Man/Deadpool team-up in their history, since there’s very little conflict.
Well, other than the two spending their energy making fun of each other’s lame rogues galleries to the point that Daredevil loses his patience and walks away.
The two red-clad heroes work together against the Wrecking Crew and stay on the same page long enough for the Punisher to appear and help tip the scales. This is during the unique time in the character’s history where Frank has an armory of random superhero/villain gear at his disposal, so he freaks Spider-Man and Deadpool out quite a bit by being armed with a Goblin Glider, Klaw’s sound gun hand, and Unicorn’s head thingy.
THIS MAN, THIS [EXPLETIVE DELETED]
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #611
Joe Kelly and Eric Canate, 2010
In an issue that should feel like a prelude to the current team-up series, Joe Kelly has Deadpool appear in Spider-Man’s comic to pester him as part of his mercenary job. After Deadpool assists with helping Spider-Man take down the criminally-underused Lady Stilt Man, he geeks out and asks him for an autograph. Spider-Man gives in, only to discover that the pen is a bomb.
The two have a pretty great fight scene that leads to an even better “yo mama” joke-off in front of an audience of excited teens. It’s one of the few times when Spider-Man’s sense of humor remains intact when faced with Deadpool, as he’s too often shuffled into the role of straight man. Right as Deadpool is about to let loose with some kind of atomic mama joke that will turn any victim suicidal, he realizes that he has distracted Spider-Man for as long as his contract states and moves on.
Though before leaving, he does warn Spider-Man about how he’s going to take him down in Deadpool #19...
WHATEVER A SPIDER CAN
DEADPOOL V.2 #19-21
Daniel Way and Carlo Barberi, 2010
“Spidey! What up, baby boy? I haven’t seen you since Amazing Spider-Man #611!”
In the last leg of Daniel Way’s Deadpoolrun before it became unreadable, Deadpool visits New York City to find Spider-Man because he wants his help in becoming a real-deal superhero. Coincidentally, Way’s pet character Hit-Monkey starts pulling off hits on the corrupt and Spider-Man initially blames Deadpool. Once it becomes apparent what’s really going on, Spider-Man figures out the real reason Hit-Monkey’s in town is to eliminate Deadpool.
Spider-Man becomes increasingly frustrated with having to work alongside Deadpool, especially when he could just let Hit-Monkey shoot him to oblivion, heal, and move on with his life. Deadpool refuses because that would fucking hurt like hell! Regardless, Deadpool still gets shot in the head and then tossed in Rikers until Spider-Man breaks him out and tells him to get the hell out of his city.
SPIDER-MAN: SHATTERED DIMENSIONS
Beenox and Activision, 2010
The video game Shattered Dimensions tells the story of four different Spider-Men working together across the multiverse. You have the regular 616 Spider-Man (known as Amazing Spider-Man), Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man. To keep Ultimate Spider-Man’s play-style different from his mainstream counterpart, he’s given the Venom symbiote, albeit with full control over his facilities.
Ultimate Deadpool appears in that section of the game, now running his own death sport reality show called Pain Factor. Other than his appearance and the mention that he’s somehow not dead from his original appearance, there’s not much connection between video game Ultimate Deadpool and the comic version. He’s honestly just the regular version of Deadpool only more antagonizing. Nolan North – the guy who voices Deadpool 90% of the time in anything where Deadpool talks – doesn’t really differentiate him in any way.
Not that there’s much to be done with the original Ultimate Spider-Manversion of the character. His beef and existence were about the X-Men and mutant race with Spider-Man being a bystander. Writing him more in-character would probably have stuck out like a sore thumb.
MARVEL UNIVERSE VS. THE PUNISHER #1-4
Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov, 2010
The Marvel Universe Versus trilogy is an underrated series of stories that improves on the concepts introduced by Marvel Zombies and its many sequels...though the third installment is kind of pointless and lame. In this initial story, we see a world where people have been randomly and gradually reduced to cannibalistic savages. Frank Castle, the man responsible for the apocalypse, is the only one completely immune and chooses to wage war on the former heroes.
While most are primal shells of their former selves, Deadpool seems to be almost like his usual self outside of being even more raving than ever. Frank has killed him many times, but no matter what he tries, no matter how thorough, Wade always comes back.
Spider-Man is Patient Zero in this world, having been the first known mutation. As chaos has reigned supreme and the world has fallen apart, the infected have taken to forming tribes. Spider-Man is the alpha and Deadpool is one of his top flunkies. The fact that Deadpool can speak relatively normal makes him a perfect messenger, even if Frank tends to open fire on him on a regular basis.
MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3: FATE OF TWO WORLDS
The fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its update Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 feature both Spider-Man and Deadpool. While simply having them in the same game shouldn’t be enough to give it an entry on this list, it is worth noting the specific interactions they have. The fighters in the game (at least those who can talk) have a collection of audio quotes for pre-fight intros, audio quotes for post-fight wins, and a few lines of text after that. There are tons of instances where characters will say certain things based on their partners or opponents, such as Captain America bringing up Civil War to Iron Man or having Akuma tell Thor that it’s fun to kill a god.
When Spider-Man defeats Deadpool, his victory text states: “Hey, Mister WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLL-SON! ...You suck.”
When Deadpool is about to fight Spider-Man: “Gonna rough you up like a Broadway musical!”
When Deadpool defeats Spider-Man, he audibly says: “Aw, that was too easy! Maybe it would have helped if you’d turned off the dark! Hahaha!”
And in his post-fight text, he references the similarities between Spider-Man and Albert Wesker’s super attacks with: “Hey, did you know that Wesker guy stole your Maximum Spider move? You were doing that back in Marvel Super Heroes! So... Gonna go kick his ass? Can I watch?”
SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #38, DEADPOOL ANNUAL #1, INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #1
John Layman, Lee Garbett, Juan Doe, and Al Barrionuevo, 2011
This neat, under-the-radar crossover takes place over the course of three annuals and tells the tale of a group of bad guys who try to ransack a dimensional portal being worked on at Horizon Labs. Deadpool is brought in to help, but the criminals betray him. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner is working at the lab, so we end up having Hulk, Spider-Man, and Deadpool all sucked through the portal into an alternate reality.
Our three heroes end up meeting their alternate selves and have to clean up their messes. Spider-Man comes across The Amazing Spider, whose life appears to not only be perfect by Peter Parker standards, but he’s also Superman level and is feared by all criminals. Too bad he gets that power because he and Uncle Ben steal Spider-Men away from other worlds and suck their powers out, killing them.
Then there’s Deadpool, who meets his non-healing counterpart, the green-and-black-wearing mercenary, Deathwish. Only it turns out Deathwish is Victor Von Doom. In this reality, Reed Richards experimented on Wade Wilson’s tumor and rather than just get a healing factor, it also enhanced his intelligence and turned him into the armored dictator Deathmask.
As for Hulk, Bruce Banner became Sorcerer Supreme and was able to exorcise the Hulk into Hell. Mephisto eventually sends the beast back, more vicious than ever.
The three do indeed not only thwart their corrupt doppelgangers, but leave the world in a better place than when they found it. Plus Deadpool takes all of Deathmask’s occult spell books and draws mustaches and giant wangs on all the demons.
WHAT IF VENOM POSSESSED DEADPOOL?
Rick Remender and Shawn Moll, 2011
Originally, this story appeared fragmented through a handful of What If issues one year, but it was later released as a complete one-shot.
It’s a strange beast that takes place across various decades. In the '80s, Deadpool is hired by Galactus to kill the Beyonder, but Deadpool foregoes it to become his BFF instead. The two enjoy champagne and women, but their flying limo is soon accosted by Spider-Man, angry about his living black costume and blaming the Beyonder for it.
The driver, musician “Bobby Oceanic,” blasts Spider-Man out of the car and to his death. The symbiote then jumps onto Deadpool, possesses his '80s jheri curl and then things get really weird.
THE DEADPOOL KILLOGY
DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #2, DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED #1
Cullen Bunn, Dalibor Talajic, and Matteo Lolli, 2012
The Deadpool Killogy is a trilogy of stories by Cullen Bunn based on an alternate reality Deadpool – one who looks like he’s wearing a red diaper – being driven nihilistic from becoming aware of being a fictional character. In Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, he wipes out all the heroes and villains. In Killustrated, he tries to destroy the original literary archetypes in order to destroy fiction at its source. Then in Deadpool Kills Deadpool, the mainstream Earth 616 Deadpool finds himself targeted and tries to save the multiverse from his evil self.
The second issue of the first series begins with Spider-Man clowning Deadpool pretty hard, all while admitting that he used to find him funny. Letting his guard down, Spider-Man allows himself to be shot in the head at point-blank range. Deadpool moves on to other victims, namely the Avengers.
The opening pages of Killustratedshow that Deadpool has killed the heroes of various worlds, including countless Spider-Men. There’s some kind of cosmic failsafe that keeps him from being able to kill the same character the same way twice, so we see him setting one Spider-Man on fire, then later strangling another Spider-Man to death.
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12-13
Kevin Shinick and Aaron Kuder, 2012
In this two-parter from Spider-Man’s short-lived, extra ongoing, Deadpool enters Peter’s mind to prevent him from being taken over by an outside threat. The first issue is a rather bizarre take on Inceptionwhere Deadpool casually shoots up the bullies at Peter’s high school while an underwear-clad Peter keeps yelling at him to stop.
As it turns out, Deadpool is playing Spider-Man as part of a plot with the Hypno Hustler. Deadpool has a deal where the Hustler will be able to hypnotize Deadpool’s heart into no longer beating, thereby giving him the sweet release of death. Deadpool then has a change of heart when he’s tasked with actively killing Spider-Man, though the webbed one isn’t exactly as forgiving as Wade would have hoped.
Though at least the story gives us a quick look at Spider-Ham’s mercenary counterpart Deadpork!
DEADPOOL V.3 #7
Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Scott Koblish, 2013
Every now and then, the Duggan/Posehn run of Deadpoolwould go back in time to an earlier era of Marvel Comics. These “lost issues” began with a trip to 1980s Marvel, based around Tony Stark’s bout with alcoholism. The opening moments feature Peter Parker being ignored by his Bugle bosses and then being disgusted with Flash Thompson stealing a handicap spot.
“Pfft. I’m only going to be a few minutes. Besides, why should the legless people get all the good spots?”
Deadpool, wearing his ridiculous, yet accurate, '80s superhero threads, steals Flash’s car and drives off. At first, Peter is okay with letting him go, but then has the realization that by letting the thief go, Uncle Ben is somehow going to get shot a second time.
THE OTHER ULTIMATE DEADPOOL
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN SEASON 2, EPISODE 16
Roy Burdine, Man of Action, and Ed Valentine, 2013
Otherwise known as “They Canceled Spectacular Spider-Man for This Crap?!?” the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series is a more cartoony take on Spidey, basing it on his teenage years with constant Family Guycutaways and a status quo where he and his fellow young heroes are being trained by SHIELD. The episode “Ultimate Deadpool” features Deadpool, who is surprisingly okay to mention by name.
No, really. Saying “dead” is a big no-no on these shows, usually. Hell, Deadpool’s shown up in some Marvel all-ages comics and they weren’t allowed to say his name.
Deadpool is played off as basically being the dark Spider-Man. And not in the cool Venom way. More that Deadpool was in Spider-Man’s position as a superhero cadet, but lost interest and went off to become a mercenary. The two of them work together at first, trying to hunt down Taskmaster, but – surprise, surprise – Deadpool betrays Spider-Man in the name of the almighty dollar and they have a wacky and rather unfunny fight.
The comic tie-in series Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriorshas an issue based on it, but it’s really the same exact story retold with the same art. Nothing worth talking about.
THE INFERIOR DEADPOOL
DEADPOOL V.3 #10
Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Mike Hawthorne, 2013
That aforementioned flashback issue laid the seeds for a story in the present where Deadpool would take on a high-ranking demon from Hell. In one of the issues, he goes after a crime lord who sold his soul to said demon in order to get some precognition powers. Deadpool stumbles into a team-up with Spider-Man, only it’s the infamous era of Superior Spider-Man. It’s not the hero Deadpool knows, but rather Doctor Octopus inhabiting Peter Parker’s body.
Deadpool’s target, Daniel Gump, has hired a group of hired guns to stop the red-clad duo. Outside of Batroc and Taskmaster (who throws in the towel as his heart isn’t into it), it isn’t the most impressive roster. In fact, fittingly enough, Lady Stilt Man shows up for another Spider-Man/Deadpool fight!
While Spider-Man is usually very annoyed by Deadpool’s antics, the Ock-minded version hates him even more. Especially when Deadpool starts ranting about how Spider-Man has the worst villains, such as that Elton John lookalike Doc Ock. Deadpool briefly steals a webshooter and succeeds in murdering Gump, but Spider-Man gets him back by punching him out and webbing him up for the police.
DEADPOOL ANNUAL #2
Christopher Hastings and Jacopo Camagni, 2014
Oh man, this issue is so much fun. Fixed from the whole Doc Ock situation, Spider-Man’s been driven insane due to Chameleon constantly stalking and stabbing him. It’s enough that when Deadpool checks in on him, Spider-Man’s acting like a paranoid nutcase. The Chameleon strikes again and although Deadpool is able to ward him off, Spider-Man’s completely knocked out from a syringe to the neck.
Deadpool figures he’ll beat the Chameleon at his own game via switching costumes with Spider-Man. What follows is an enjoyable romp where Deadpool goes around pretending to be Spider-Man, totally excited about using webbing and fighting dumb, animal-themed villains.
By the time the Chameleon shows up to stab some more, Spider-Man-dressed-as-Deadpool arrives, well-rested, and helps out his fellow chatterbox. The two end up coming off as allies by the end of the story, though Spider-Man’s rather annoyed that Deadpool’s hour or so in the webbed tights somehow did wonders for his PR.
THE MONK WITH A MOUTH
AVENGERS & X-MEN: AXIS #7
Rick Remender and Adam Kubert, 2014
Axiswas a big mess of a story. When a Carnage miniseries is somehow the highlight of your big comic event, you know you messed up. The meat of it had to do with a bunch of heroes and villains becoming morally “inverted,” an idea that works better with DC’s Crime Syndicate stuff than it does in the Marvel Universe where nearly everyone is shades of gray as is. In other words, the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good.
Deadpool goes under a personality change where he’s still a good guy, but he’s more zen and less stabby. Spider-Man wasn’t in the area when the inversion spell happened, so he’s his usual friendly neighborhood self. As for others, the X-Men – led by Deadpool’s son figure (or whatever the opposite of “father figure” is called) Evan Sabahnur – are going to wipe out humankind because that’s now their thing.
While the heroes and inverted-villains are distracting the X-Men outside, Spider-Man and Deadpool sneak into Evan/Apocalypse’s complex. Remender writes Inverted Deadpool differently from how he’s portrayed in his main book, making him just as wacky as his normal self. Despite not being a murder-happy psycho, Deadpool’s antics still find ways to bemuse Spider-Man.
The two take on Inverted Evan themselves and get split up in the melee as Spider-Man teams up with Inverted Carnage and Deadpool gets literally torn to pieces by Evan.
But you know Wade. It’s only a minor setback.
THE ROAST OF DEADPOOL
DEADPOOL V.3 #45
Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Scott Koblish, 2015
Fairly recently, there was that big fake-out “Death of Deadpool” issue that ended the previous Deadpoolvolume. In the main story, Deadpool died via the Secret Wars final incursion after making peace with the fact that he has loved ones who care for him and he can actually be happy. There’s a series of backup stories, including one where Deadpool steals the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and uses it to hold his own roast in his honor with an audience of heroes and villains from beyond time and space.
This includes Spider-Man as one of the main presenters, who proceeds to completely bomb. Later, Spider-Man joins in with everyone else, laughing uncontrollably at Deadpool’s ending monologue because he’s literally forcing them to with the Gauntlet. Deadpool then freezes time and explains his bitterness to the reader, blaming us as the source of his constant suffering. The reason he never explains the fourth wall to his fellow heroes is because he simply doesn’t want to ruin their lives.
DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WARS #1-4
Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli, 2015
Even though Deadpool was created in 1991, did you know that he was involved in the original Secret Wars? The one from the mid-80s? Yeah, he was there! We just don’t remember it because of cosmic magic and a disastrous fling with Janet Van Dyne.
Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars is a retelling of the classic crossover event, only with Deadpool there helping the good guys. That leads to him getting up in Spider-Man’s business twice. One is the scene where Spider-Man is able to singlehandedly fight off the entire X-Men by himself because the '80s was a very different time. Deadpool gives chase and takes him on one-on-one, but he doesn’t do much better than the mutants.
The other bit, which is way funnier, has Deadpool come across the machine that produces the black alien costume. Deadpool wears it for a moment and digs it, but then realizes that it’s a living being trying to become one with him and the experience is like torture for the symbiote. He puts it back and wonders if connecting with his mind damaged the creature in any way. As he’s leaving, he passes Spider-Man and gives him directions to the machine, telling him that “black is slimming.”
AN IMPERFECT UNION
UNCANNY AVENGERS #1
Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman, 2015
After the events of the other, more modern Secret Wars story, a couple new Avengers teams were created. One of those teams is Steve Rogers’ Unity Team, yet another attempt at putting humans, mutants, and now Inhumans on the same side. This has introduced conflict twice over. Not only are mutants and Inhumans not on the best of terms, causing lots of friction between Rogue and Synapse, but there’s also the big deal that Deadpool’s hanging around.
Not only is Deadpool an Avenger, but his celebrity status and royalty earnings are currently funding the team. This doesn’t sit well with Rogue and Spider-Man. ESPECIALLY Spider-Man. As the first issue begins, they’ve been a team for months, but a fight against the Super-Adaptoid ends up being the last straw. Spider-Man can’t deal with Deadpool’s annoying and dangerous behavior, and quits the team.
Well, the joke’s on him. He’s going to be stuck in a comic with Deadpool whether he likes it or not!
BACK IN BLACK
Deadpool: Back in Black #5
Cullen Bunn and Salva Espin, 2016
Hey, remember when I was talking about Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars a few entries ago? Well, this here's the sequel. As it turns out, prior to Eddie Brock, the rejected goop that used to be Spider-Man's black alien costume went back to using Deadpool as a host. The miniseries shows Deadpool going up against various 80s-themed heroes and villains. While the symbiote is mostly helpful, it does have its drawbacks, such as its rage and hunger.
A group of aliens hunt down the costume and end up hunting down Spider-Man. Although Deadpool saves the unconscious Spider-Man's life, the symbiote attempts to take over and kill the prone hero. Deadpool ends up putting his foot down and briefly prevents the creature from taking its violent revenge on Spider-Man. The two go their separate ways and Deadpool puts the wheels in motion that cause Eddie Brock to enter the church and become the host for Venom.
Joe Kelly, Ed McGuiness, and various fill-in teams, 2016-present
As part of the fall-out of both being on the same Avengers team, Deadpool pesters Spider-Man and tries to win him over by showing that he really does need a mentor in being a better person. Over time, Spider-Man does see Wade for his positives, but he's still regularly annoyed with his antics and they have a brief falling out based on Deadpool temporarily murdering Spider-Man's "boss" Peter Parker for supposedly being an evil villain.
Broken up by various one-shot fill-ins (including the two of them helping out on a Deadpool movie, meeting up in the 1970s, teaming up with Penn and Teller, and saving Christmas from the god Saturn), the main story has to do with a doomed mastermind named Patient Zero, who gets killed by his creation before he can explain who he is and why he blames Deadpool and Peter Parker for his problems. His creation is Itsy Bitsy, a half-woman/half-spider with the powers and abilities of Spider-Man and Deadpool.
Unless Kelly is pranking us and we're never meant to know who Patient Zero actually is, my guess is Weasel.
It really is fascinating to see the history between Spider-Man and Deadpool. It used to be a rare novelty that they’d usually shy away from. Then it became a semi-regular thing. Now we’re at the point where they’ve interacted enough and Deadpool’s become important enough in the grand scheme of things that they might as well make money off of it. Who knows, they might become close over time like the way Deadpool developed with Cable or Spider-Man developed with Wolverine.
Joe Kelly, the ball’s in your court.
Gavin Jasper is still waiting for Lady Stilt Man to show up in the new series. Follow him on Twitter!
Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and others will team up as The Defenders in 2017! Here's everything we know.
Marvel's plan to team Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist (and possibly some members of their supporting casts) in The Defenders Netflix series are well underway, and we'll see it later this year. The Defenders showrunners are Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez (Daredevil Season 2), with Drew Goddard (Daredevil Season 1, The Martian, Lost) returning as executive producer. The Defenders is currently filming in New York City.
The Defenders Trailer
Check out the first teaser, which makes it pretty clear what's up in terms of the team, plus a bonus voiceover from everyone's favorite asshole sensei, Stick:
Huge bonus points for appropriate use of a Nirvana song.
The Defenders Release Date
All we know is that it's coming in 2017 (the teaser told us so!), which is a lot sooner than we anticipated!
The Defenders Story
It's not much, but it's all we've got right now...
Marvel’s The Defenders follows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. A quartet of singular heroes with one common goal - to save New York City. This is the story of four solitary figures, burdened with their own personal challenges, who realize they just might be stronger when teamed together.
“Every one of them is following their own trail of bread crumbs, trying to unpack a mystery in New York,” showrunner Marco Ramirez told Entertainment Weekly. “We wanted them all caught off guard. Once they’re in that room together, it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, s—, who are you?'”
The Defenders Cast
Charlie Cox will return as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, as will Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Finn Jones as Iron Fist, and Mike Colter as Luke Cage. Don't be surprised if some other characters we meet along the way join the party, like Jon Bernthal's Punisher. Expect supporting cast from each of their shows to at least make appearances, and that will likely include Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson.
“We're incredibly excited to be able to bring our four street level heroes together in an epic tale woven by Doug and Marco whose work on Marvel’s Daredevil speaks for itself,” said Executive Producer/Head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb in a statement when the showrunners were announced in April 2016. "They write and produce not only great action and adventure, but also the heart and touch of humor that's makes us Marvel. With the inclusion of Drew Goddard, we've got a team that's as formidable as the Defenders themselves."
“This is the big one. Four amazing casts, four amazing series, now all in one amazing story,” added showrunners and Executive Producers Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez. “We are thrilled at the opportunity to deliver the show that both we and the fans have been waiting for.”
The first hero who isn't yet a headliner to be confirmed for the series is none other than Simone Missick's Misty Knight. “I believe I’m safe to say that I will be on The Defenders,” Simone Missick told The Wrap.
Misty is a huge highlight of Marvel's Luke Cage Netflix series, so having her in The Defenders should be treat.
The Defenders official Twitter account just keeps dropping casting bombs on us. The latest is that Elodie Yung will appear as Elektra. This show gets better by the day.
They also confirmed that Jessica Henwick, who will first appear in Iron Fist, will reprise her role as Colleen Wing in the upcoming Defenders team-up series. Here's a brief snippet of Henwick kicking butt:
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) November 3, 2016
The official Twitter account also confirmed what we already knew, that supporting characters from other Netflix shows like Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Daredevil like Elden Hensen's Foggy Nelson, Deborah Ann Woll's Karen Page, Scott Glenn's Stick, Simone Missick's Misty Knight, and other will be part of the series.
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) November 2, 2016
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) October 31, 2016
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) November 1, 2016
And it doesn't look like we'll get Vincent D'Onofrio's Wilson Fisk in this one, unfortunately.
Marvel's The Defenders Netflix series will consist of eight episodes (the usual count for their assorted solo series if 13), and Marvel has announced the director of the first two episodes. S.J. Clarkson, whose credits include episodes of Jessica Jones, Vinyl, and Orange is The New Black will occupy the big chair for those crucial first two installments.
“S.J.'s take on the material is outstanding. We loved her work on “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” and couldn’t think of a more talented and accomplished person to helm the first two episodes of Marvel’s The Defenders,” said Marvel’s Head of Television and Executive Producer, Jeph Loeb in a statement.
The Defenders Villain
Sigourney Weaver was announced as the antagonist to deafening applause on the NYCC Main Stage back in October. Since then details have been scarce...until now.
Entertainment Weekly has our first look at Sigourney Weaver as the mystery antagonist of Marvel's The Defenders Netflix series, although this still doesn't tell us a whole lot. We know her name is "Alexandra" and that's all they're telling us. At least for the moment.
Here's a photo of her in character, which marks the first official set photo we have from the series at all!
“We knew it would take something massive to pull these four characters from their individual worlds to work together,” Defenders showrunner Marco Ramirez told EW, “but also small enough that it felt like it existed in our world.” Start your speculation engines, comic fans!
Last month, Ms. Weaver spoke to Movies.com a little about what to expect.
"It has a wonderful cast, and we're doing it right here in New York, which means a lot to me...Basically the four heroes come up against this really nice woman, who I'm playing...It's been a blast and I really love my character. I love the shows, too, which I wasn't familiar with before doing this. A real love letter to New York. To me they're not superheroes; they're people with a gift. It's just a different scale, and I'm really enjoying the scale of it. The apocalyptic thing is a little harder for me to understand."
EW also unveiled the first proper look at the team together:
We'll update this with more information about The Defenders Netflix series as it becomes available.
A version of this article originally ran on April 11th. It has been updated with new information.
Here's everything we know about the Justice League movie, including when you might see the next trailer, which is due any minute!
This article contains some Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilers.
This is the one that the DC Extended Universe is building towards. Five years after The Avengers showed us that it was possible to pull off a non-mutant superhero team on the big screen, we'll finally see a JusticeLeaguemovie. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder has wrapped filming on Justice League, from a script by Batman v Superman's Chris Terrio.
“Justice League, you probably saw the teaser that came out of Comic-Con; I thought it is nicely emblematic of the kind of minor tone shift and segue in storytelling,” Ben Affleck told Cineplex Magazine about the tonal shift between this one and the maligned Batman v Superman. “It’s a little bit lighter, the characters are a little bit more comfortable in themselves, so they can express a wider array of emotions. And there are just more people in it, so it’s more fun. It’s all of these different characters bumping up against each other and the team dynamic offers a lot of dramatic possibility...he was pretty pissed off in Batman v Superman, but now it’s not about finding revenge in Justice League, it’s about protecting the Earth. So the feel is different.”
Apparently, the movie will make a brief stop in Central City, home of The Flash, too.
Justice League Trailer
Interestingly enough, an Instagram user says that Zack Snyder has promised him that we're getting a new Justice League trailer before the end of the year. He has some compelling proof, in the form of Zack Snyder himself. We've heard the same (although our sources told us it would have been here by now, so maybe you shouldn't listen to us).
Then again, Justice League recently released a new group photo with Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash via USA Today. They appear to be coming out of some kind of vehicle?
And here's an earlier one courtesy of Entertainment Weekly!
Meanwhile, the first Justice League trailer arrived at SDCC 2016! This is our first glimpse of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman working together on the big screen. Check out the trailer below:
You can see some other footage in this video from director Zack Snyder, who posted this awesome behind-the-scenes video which has lots of new looks at the characters in action.
It also looks like we're due to get another Justice League trailer very soon, too.
Justice League Movie Release Date
Justice League is scheduled for a November 17th, 2017 release, with a sequel to follow on June 14th, 2019. The complete DC superhero movie release calendar can be found here.
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) October 7, 2016
Justice League Movie Villain
In order for the Justice League to form, they need a threat with power levels that only a team of heroes could take down, right?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made it pretty explicit that Darkseid is on his way to this world, and there were several visual cues for those who are interested. We broke those down (along with lots more comic references in the movie) right here. But he isn't the villain of the Justice League movie. A deleted scene from Batman v Superman released online offered a look at a monstrous creature on a Kryptonian ship, who turned out to be another Fourth World related despot (and Jack Kirby creation), Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf is basically Darkseid's cousin, a powerful warrior from Apokolips who wields a pretty crazy energy axe.
The Wrap broke the news that Ciaran Hinds (you may know him as Mance Rayder on Game of Thrones which makes him a particularly cool choice for this part if it's true) has been cast as Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf will be done via motion capture, and his casting has apparently been kept under wraps throughout the production, which recently wrapped principal photography.
We have reached out to representatives for comment or confirmation, and will update this if we hear anything.
Here's what Steppenwolf looked like in that Batman v Superman deleted scene:
And here's Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder. You may start your Photoshop engines accordingly...
It's still inevitable that we'll see Darkseid in these movies, and he'll probably still be a presence in the first one. DC Comics used him as the catalyst for the formation of the Justice League in the current comic book series. He's a pretty big gun to burn this early, though, so holding him back for Justice League Part Two sound about as logical as anything else we've heard.
Lex Luthor is now confirmed to appear, as well. Luthor was last seen at the end of Batman v Superman raving about a villain on the way. Whether he was talking about Steppenwolf or Darkseid remains to be seen, but given that deleted scene, it's probably Steppenwolf.
It looks like maybe, just maybe, Joe Manganiello's Deathstroke will turn up in Justice League after all. Zack Snyder just posted a cryptic image of himself (wearing a Batman gauntlet) and working on storyboards for a scene that do indeed appear to contain Slade Wilson. See for yourself...
Could Ryan Reynolds return for the Green Lantern Corps movie? Probably not. But there are other names, too...
It was revealed during the Warner Bros. SDCC 2015 panel that the Green Lantern reboot will be called Green Lantern Corps. Warner Bros. flashed a logo for the film on a jumbo wraparound screen in Hall H.
Recently Deadlinereported that David Goyer (of Batman Begins and Man of Steel fame) is working on a script alongside Justin Rhodes. Geoff Johns and Jon Berg are executive producing.
The focus of the movie is apparently on John Stewart's origin this time around, in what is being described as "Lethal Weapon in space." Expect Stewart to be the neophyte Green Lantern alongside an older, battle-hardened Hal Jordan.
A rumored casting shortlist for Hal Jordan has surfaced via The Wrap, and amid sensible studio favorites like Tom Cruise, Bradley Cooper, Armie Hammer, Joel McHale, and Jake Gyllenhaal there's one surprise: Ryan Reynolds. Really, having Reynolds' name on there throws that whole thing under suspicion. The 2011 Reynolds movie is radioactive, and the whole point of going the team movie route is to put as much distance between that and the new project as possible, and GL is notable by his absence in the Justice League movie. Furthermore, Reynolds himself doesn't sound terribly interested in returning.
Going the team/buddy cop route instead of another solo film isn't all that surprising when you consider that Warner Bros. wants to put as much distance as possible between this and the disappointing 2011 movie that starred Ryan Reynolds. Turning this into a team movie not only takes the origin story out of the equation, it probably means this one will spend most of its time in space. More sci-fi, less earthbound superheroics should help everyone involved.
Other rumors indicate that another Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, may also make an appearance.
Tyrese Gibson has been campaigning heavily for the role of John Stewart, but that hasn't come to anything yet, either.
Green Lantern Corps Release Date
Green Lantern Corps was originally scheduled for release on June 19, 2020, but now it has been moved to July 24th, 2020. The complete DC superhero movie release calendar is here.
A version of this article first ran in July of 2015. It has been updated with new information.
The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus hints that Daryl is out for vengeance against the Saviors in the remainder of Season 7.
Warning: Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 episode “Hearts Still Beating.”
After some controversial sequences, fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead have had some time to reflect on the current state of the show. In a “be careful what you wish for” scenario, one of the most anticipated comic-book-adapted storylines introducing Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan and his militia of zombie-apocalypse-extortionists the Saviors seemed to rub viewers the wrong way with its ultraviolence and over-extended abuse of main characters. Optimistically, however, a key cast member reinforces the December mid-season finale’s hints of a tonal turn, describing the current state of his over-tortured character.
Speaking with EW, The Walking Dead co-star Norman Reedus, while obviously not at liberty to disclose specific plot details, did not mince words when it comes to the state of mind of his perennial fan-favorite character Daryl Dixon. Despite already suffering his share of tragedies in seasons past, Season 7A has been an unprecedented low point for Daryl as he endured physical and psychological torture from the Saviors; stripped, imprisoned, fed dog food sandwiches and forced to listen to a lasting loop of saccharine song “Easy Street.” Yet, the most potent part was his feelings of guilt after his impulsive actions led to Negan – having just brutally executing Abraham – claiming a second victim in longtime pal Glenn. Now, having escaped with help from Hilltop ally Jesus (Tom Payne), Reedus hints that a reinvigorated Daryl will reap wanton vengeance in 7B, stating:
“He wants revenge. He’s ready to fight. When he goes back in that last episode and hands Rick back his stuff, it was like, ‘Let’s go! Let’s go beat this guy up. Let’s go take what’s ours and fight this monster.’ So, you know, he’s in kill mode.”
Daryl’s own self-loathing guilt resulted in his silent, morose demeanor during his imprisonment, which even at a crucial impasse, prevented him from accepting an offer to end the ordeal and join the Saviors. Yet, since reuniting with his own group, he’s achieved a measure of clarity about the Saviors situation. Thus, Daryl’s switch to “kill mode” seems to indicate that the tank-destroying, horde-decimating, varmint-claiming world-wrecker we all know and love is back. As Reedus continues:
“I feel like he spent his time in the hole thinking about Glenn and thinking about Abraham. He took it very personal, and felt like it was his fault and he was deserving what he was getting. Now, he’s ready to get revenge. He’s ready to go kill everybody.”
As if that bit of rhetorical adrenaline wasn’t enough to get fans excited for what’s ahead, Reedus describes what seems to be a turn of the tide in Rick and company’s dilemma with the Saviors and, specifically, Negan. Coupled with the powerfully symbolic moment in the Season 7 midseason finale when a newly-liberated Daryl hands Rick back his proverbial Excalibur in the Colt Python that Negan confiscated, Reedus states of the season-dominating barbed-wire-bat-wielding villain:
“I think you’re going to start to see a little fear in that bad guy’s eyes. He’s been walking tall long enough wielding his little toy bat around. Time to bring that guy down a notch.” Hinting cacophony-filled clashes, he adds, “It’s going to be consistently loud.”
The Walking Dead will make its midseason return on AMC on February 12, featuring a newly-motivated Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon and company ready to violently demonstrate why so many would-be zombie apocalypse tyrants have already fallen.
Ellis & Davis-Hunt team up to resurrect the imprint & we have previews!
Wildstorm is back this February! Jim Lee's studio, formed back in the Image Revolution before it eventually migrated to DC at the turn of the millenium, is being resurrected by one of its most important creators and a talented art partner.
Warren Ellis, who followed a great run on Stormwatch with the revolutionary The Authority, and followed that with equally incredible runs on Planetary and Global Frequency, has been given the keys to the line with a mandate to bring it back following the characters' fall into disuse. After DC's New 52 relaunch, the Wildstorm characters were integrated into the main DC Universe creating continuity logjams the likes of which hadn't been seen since the Time Trapper was sent on his merry way by the Legion of Super Heroes. Grifter and Voodoo had solo series, while Stormwatch was a secret Justice League before there was a Justice League, and some Gen 13 members periodically bounced around Teen Titans and Superboy.
Eventually all of these characters (except for Midnighter, and regular Denizens know that has turned out exceptionallywell) just kind of were put on the shelf. Meanwhile, Young Animal, a DC sub-imprint connected to but set apart from the main DC Universe, helmed by Gerard Way and in practice turning into a hip reinvention of early Vertigo, has done exceptionally well, likely clearing a path for Ellis to head up a similar arrangement.
The Wild Storm is the first book in the new line. Here's what DC's solicits have to say about it.
THE WILD STORM #1Written by WARREN ELLIS
Art and cover by JON DAVIS-HUNT A
troubled woman, barred by her employer from continuing her research, walks miserably through New York City. It takes her a moment to notice that everybody else is looking up. A man has been thrown from the upper floor of the Halo skyscraper.And that woman—Angela Spica, sick from the transhuman implants she’s buried in her own body—is the only person who can save him.What she doesn’t know is that the act of saving that one man will tip over a vast and secret house of cards that encloses the entire world, if not the inner solar system. This is how the Wild Storm begins, and it may destroy covert power structures, secret space programs and even all of human history.
New York Times best-selling writer Warren Ellis (TRANSMETROPOLITAN, RED, THE AUTHORITY) returns to DC to curate Jim Lee’s WildStorm world, with this debut issue resetting the WildStorm universe with new iterations of Grifter, Voodoo, the Engineer, Jenny Sparks and others.“I couldn’t be more excited to see these characters that are so near and dear to me reintroduced under the guiding hand of Warren Ellis. WildStorm represents an incredibly fun and exciting period in my career, and I can’t wait to see what Warren and Jon have in store for fans in February.”—Jim Lee, DC Comics Co-PublisherOn sale FEBRUARY 15 • 32 pg, FC
The preview images are below. They include variant covers from Lee and Tula Lotay, who last partnered with Ellis on Supreme: Blue Rose, as well as unlettered interior pages that look like they include Zealot (think Deathstroke but a lady and an alien) and what looks like an Engineer.
Are you excited for the return of Wildstorm? Let us know in the comments!
Kevin Smith's Superman Lives script would feel right at home with modern superhero blockbusters and TV shows.
This article contains some Batman v Superman spoilers.
Imagine if you will, a briskly paced superhero movie. One with a sense of humor tempering its nine-figure action sequences. One that is faithful to the spirit (if not the letter) of the character’s comic book and multimedia legacy and peppered with lively dialogue. It features plenty of Easter eggs from elsewhere in its fictional universe, and cameos from other heroes and villains to keep astute comic book fans happy.
Sounds a lot like the Marvel Studios or DC superhero TV formula, doesn’t it?
It also applies to Kevin Smith’s unproduced Superman Lives screenplay. While Smith’s two drafts will forever be associated with the excesses of the aborted Tim Burton era of the project, the reality is, Burton didn't come on the project until after Smith's second draft had been turned in.
While the legendary interference of Jon Peters is still inescapable (and you can see his fingerprints on the process, particularly as we transition from Smith’s first draft to the second), there’s something about Smith’s attempts that not only come off as utterly sincere in their love for the Man of Steel, but here in the Marvel Studios/Legends of Tomorrow era, suddenly feel familiar in their earnest enthusiasm for the source material. Hell, Smith even describes his script as "fan fiction" in The Death of Superman Lives documentary.
Smith’s early frustrations and ongoing clashes with Warner Bros., and specifically, producer Jon Peters, are well documented. Hell, you can let him tell you all about it himself in this video…
Here’s what you need to know about Warner Bros. and Superman at this point, though. In 1997, Warner Bros. had been trying for at least five years to bring Superman back to the screen after the creative and commercial disaster that was 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Nearly every attempt to do this contained the following elements: a Brainiac/Luthor team-up (the better to sell more toys with), the death of Superman (same reason), a Superman who wore multiple costumes (guess why?), and a darker, more cynical take on the character (because it was the ‘90s).
Kevin Smith, on the other hand, was a 26 year old indie filmmaker, who had three comedies to his name: the cult classic Clerks, the underrated Mallrats, and the critically acclaimed Chasing Amy. While Chasing Amy was a more "mature" work than his previous movies, and Smith was a lifelong comic book fan who managed to get plenty of fanboy humor into his projects, he was still an offbeat choice for the stalled Supermanmovie.
Smith’s Superman Lives is in many respects the movie that Warner Bros. had already been trying to make for over five years. It's got the Brainiac/Luthor stuff, the "toyetic" approach, and it’s a “Death of Superman” movie that also does its very best to establish Supes as an edgy, alien loner. Well, that’s what the studio wanted at least. But for all its flaws, Kevin Smith’s Superman Lives feels almost like a blueprint for the fan-centric shared universe set-ups that are now standard issue in superhero movies (don’t forget, that's a feature that's less than a decade old), and its tone and pacing wouldn’t be entirely out of place in a Marvel Studios production.
On these pages, Superman and his supporting cast read very much like classic depictions of these characters, and it’s easy to hear Tim Daly and Dana Delaney, Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher, or even Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder reciting a lot of the Clark/Lois dialogue. Smith’s Luthor has more than a little Gene Hackman in his DNA, too.
But this is indeed a “Death of Superman” movie, and Supes is fighting Doomsday to the death well before the halfway point of the film. Killing and resurrecting Superman also fulfills one of the infamous Jon Peters requirements that Superman remain mostly bereft of powers and without the traditional red and blue costume for a significant chunk of the movie, while the studio gets their wish for more toys via a transforming/sentient suit of armor that he wears for the second half of the flick. It’s not ideal, and what begins as a briskly paced, even traditional Superman yarn goes off the rails a little, but it never becomes as mean-spirited or bleak as Batman v Superman.
Smith wrote two drafts (dated Jan. 31, 1997 and March 27, 1997). Notable differences include the first draft opening on Krypton with a more traditional Superman origin sequence while the second opens on Brainiac in space before cutting to Superman being well established in Metropolis (the second draft establishes the Jor-El/Brainiac connection via flashback later in the movie). The two passes are nearly identical, although you can see Peters’ (and the studio’s) increasing influence in the second draft. That’s where the infamous giant polar bears appear, and L-Ron, Brainiac's “cute/snarky robot sidekick” (a re-purposed Justice League character, I might add), sees his role amped up a bit. Also, the Eradicator becomes a little more versatile, offering more opportunities to sell transforming toys and weapons.
In order to placate Peters’ demand that Superman fight a giant spider at some point in the film, Smith gave the seemingly incongruous idea a comic fan-friendly name: the Thanagarian Snare Beast. Imagine, for a moment, that this movie had been made, that name alone would have made this the first film to tease a DC Cinematic Universe that extends beyond the worlds of Superman and Batman, since Thanagar is known as Hawkman’s home world.
The nerdy stuff doesn’t end there. One of Luthor’s hapless employees is a Dr. Shuster, a reference to Superman’s co-creator Joe Shuster. Metropolis landmarks like Hob’s Bay (and it’s colloquial name of “Suicide Slum”) are mentioned by name, and the second draft includes an appearance by Cat Grant, working as a TV reporter for WGBS, the station that employed Clark Kent in the ‘70s, and which is owned by Morgan Edge, a man with ties to Darkseid, the warlord of the planet Apokolips (granted, Edge isn’t named in Smith’s scripts, and we did finally see GBS pop up in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a movie that also teases the introduction of Darkseid). Smith even gets in on the action with his own creations, naming Kryptonian elders Dan-Te and Ran-Dal after View Askewniverse regulars.
Both drafts feature Suicide Squad’s Deadshot in the first action sequence to introduce Superman. It’s a good device that I’m surprised isn’t utilized more often in superhero movies. Why not start your hero off taking out some secondary costumed villains? Think of it like the James Bond tradition of a pre-credits action sequence to get the audience’s blood pumping before the credits and the main course of the movie itself.
It’s the first draft version of that scene which is a little more fun, though. In a sequence taking place in the fictional country of Corto Maltese (you may know it from the pages of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s The Dark Knight Returns, and recently used to great effect on Arrow), Deadshot is joined by Aquaman villain Black Manta and they namecheck Challenge of the Super Friends villain team the Legion of Doom. Yeah.
That was toned down a little for the second draft, eliminating Black Manta, his aquatic craft, and the Legion of Doom reference, in favor of some action in Metropolis. You can sense a hint of Smith’s frustration creeping into the description of Superman’s first appearance on screen, too…
A SONIC BOOM fills the air. Deadshot looks to THUG #1.
Tell me that was your stomach.
High above, a streak of RED descends at a rapid rate, rocketing
into the pavement, leaving a hole in the ground.
The street beneath their feet explodes, and the same red streak
flashes past Deadshot, taking with it the Boy in the blink of an
eye. All immediately mobilize.
GRAB THE BROAD AND LET'S GET OUT OF
The thugs grab the Governor as a VAN screeches up.
EXT. TOP OF BUILDING - DAY
The Boy is set down lightly on the roof. He opens his eyes, which
then go wide. Before him stands SUPERMAN (um... 90's style)
Most famously, both drafts of Smith’s script contained an appearance from Batman himself, appearing on the screens of Metropolis’ equivalent of Times Square to deliver a brief eulogy at Superman’s funeral. While the two heroes never actually interact, let alone exchange pleasantries about each other's mothers (what with Superman being "dead" and all), this would have been the first official crossover between the two franchises, although Metropolis was name-checked in Batman Forever, and Bats makes a crack about Superman in Batman & Robin. What's remarkable about all of these nods to DC Comics is how they feel celebratory and not obligatory set-ups for future franchises and team up films.
Smith told Wizardmagazine in 1999 that had his film been made, he had a cast in mind. For the most part, it’s pretty darn good.
His dream cast included (wait for it) Ben Affleck (then 25 years old and enjoying some acclaim for his performance in Smith's Chasing Amy, before his work on Good Will Hunting would launch his career even higher) for Clark/Superman. Affleck, of course, later achieved internet infamy as Daredevil and is now generally lauded as one of the only good things about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Affleck also cut an appropriately square-jawed and handsome figure as Superman actor George Reeves in Hollywoodland, and the young actor would have been a good fit for Superman as written here.
For the rest of the Daily Planet staff, Smith wanted Linda Fiorentino (who he later used to great effect in Dogma) as Lois Lane, who would have been 36 at the time. Smith felt that Lois should come off as a little older and more experienced than Clark Kent, which is perfectly in keeping with how she was being portrayed in contemporary Superman comics, Superman: The Animated Series, and on Lois & Clark.
Frasier’s John Mahoney would have been Smith’s pick or Perry White, and that might have been a marriage of actor and character as on the money as J.K. Simmons and J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man films. Mahoney’s Frasierco-star David Hyde Pierce would have provided the voice of the cybernetic Eradicator, and reading the script, it’s easy to hear his voice delivering those lines.
Not all of Smith’s dream cast seem quite as well-suited, however. We were spared Jason Mewes as Jimmy Olsen, for one thing. Smith also envisioned Jack Nicholson as Lex Luthor. The Lex of these drafts is quite a funny and energetic character, and it’s easy to see Nicholson delivering some of his sarcastic barbs, but he might have brought too much baggage to the role so soon after delivering an unforgettable performance as the Joker in another notable superhero movie (especially when you consider that the dream was to get Michael Keaton to cameo as Batman). Smith also envisioned Mallratsand Chasing Amy star Jason Lee as Brainiac, which doesn’t seem like the strongest choice until you consider that under Burton, Tim Allen was considered for the part, so really, no good was likely to come of any version of Brainiac destined for the screen during this era.
Once Tim Burton was brought on as director, though, that was the end of Smith's time with the Man of Steel. There would be no third draft. I’m not here to go into too much detail about something that has been dragged around the internet practically since the internet as we know it was a thing. Anyway, you've got Jon Schnepp's exhaustive and fun The Death of Superman Lives documentary for that. Smith’s drafts were quickly jettisoned by Burton in favor of a stranger one by Wesley Strick, and culminated in an even weirder one by future Nightcrawler scribe Dan Gilroy, who turned in a screaming bonkers Batman and Robin-esque draft, before everything fell completely apart and JJ Abrams was brought in to give things a fresh start.
By comparison, Kevin Smith's Superman Lives attempts are fairly tame, and with the right director and cast, it might have been embraced by audiences. Studios weren't quite ready in 1997 to let a fan of the material run as wild with a comic book property as Smith did on these pages. Things have certainly changed.
Smith did get to guide the destinies of some notable superheroes in the aftermath, including some well-received work as a comics writer on titles like Daredeviland Green Arrow. He finally get his shot at live action superheroics as the director of two excellent episodes of The Flash as well as this week's Supergirl episode, appropriately titled "Supergirl Lives." Maybe he's due another shot at writing Superman. Even accounting for Superman Lives' raw imperfections, it's clear he understands the character better than some of Supes' current big screen stewards.
Warner Bros, of course, finally got their wish to kill Superman almost 20 years later in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Mike Cecchini has read virtually every draft of every unproduced Superman screenplay of the last 40 years. For real. Pity him on Twitter.
This article first ran on April 4, 2016.
Tom Taylor and Bruno Redondo will be reuniting to tell the tale of what happened in-between Injustice and its upcoming sequel.
Four years ago, NetherRealm Studios released Injustice: Gods Among Us, a one-on-one fighting game that pit DC Comics superheroes and villains against each other. The story took place in an alternate DC universe where Superman ruled the world with an iron fist, born from an incident five years earlier where he murdered the Joker in a fit of anger. Ultimately, he was defeated thanks to the efforts Batman, Lex Luthor, Harley Quinn, and the mainstream universe’s Justice League.
When the game was on the way out, DC released a digital series by Tom Taylor and a handful of different artists. The comic, a prequel detailing Superman killing the Joker and the year that followed, was better than the usual promotional tie-in. Once the Joker was taken out, Taylor got to stretch his creative muscles and helped build a brand that got him spots writing Iron Man and Wolverine.
The comics were well-received and sold strong, whether digital, physical, or collected in trade. Eventually, the first volume ended and we moved on to Injustice: Year Two. Then, even with Taylor leaving the book, we ended up with all five prequel years across several real-life years. With the prequel having fully caught up, Taylor has been writing Injustice: Ground Zero, a series that retells the video game’s storyline from the point of view of Harley Quinn.
Well, with the video game Injustice 2 coming out this May, we’re getting the comic book tie-in, starting on Tuesday, April 11. Written by Tom Taylor, we’ll see what goes on in-between the first game and its upcoming follow-up. Now that Superman’s been ousted and imprisoned, it’s up to Bruce Wayne to bring order in the aftermath.
Bruno Redondo will be returning as the main artist, accompanied by fellow Injusticeartists Juan Albarran and Mike Miller, as well as Daniel Sempere.
The new game will feature the likes of Brainiac, Supergirl, Poison Ivy, Atrocitus, Gorilla Grodd, Deadshot, and more. Coincidentally, despite the Injusticecomic having a massive body count and coming out years before the sequel was even announced, the books went out of their way to either not include or not kill all the new cast members in advance. That’s some impressive planning.
Gavin Jasper has his fingers crossed for Booster Gold showing up. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
We dug through the first X-Men movie for every easter egg, reference and factoid in it. For you!
X-Men, the 2000 film that launched the franchise, also managed to kick off our current golden age of superhero movies. It was followed by Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002 and director Bryan Singer returned for X2, the Best Comic Book Movie for about 5 years, in 2003. We are now deep into our new era, where there will be a comic book movie in theaters in perpetuity through at least the start of 2021 and we thought it might be a good time to take a look back at the film that started it all.
An introductory note about nomenclature: The main X-Men comics series went by two different names: X-Men until issue 141; then Uncanny X-Men until the series ended in 2011. However, there was also X-Men volume 2, which launched in 1991 and ran mostly uninterrupted and with the same name until 2001, when it briefly became New X-Men starting with issue 114, went back to being adjectiveless X-Menat issue #157 in 2004, and became X-Men Legacyin 2008’s issue #208. I will provide dates for any cited issues to make sure there is no confusion.
- The opening credits start with a voiceover from Patrick Stewart’s Professor X about mutants being the next stage in human evolution. This has been the philosophical underpinning of the X-Men since almost their first appearance in 1963. The movie came out in July of 2000 and spawned changes to the comics to reflect the movie universe, including Grant Morrison’s critically acclaimed and fan beloved New X-Men, which started with the idea that non-mutant humans would be extinct within three generations.
- It’s fitting that in the first scene of the X-Men franchise, the first use of mutant powers on the big screen is by a villain. We open the movie in a concentration camp as a young boy, separated from his family, uses his powers to fold a metal gate. That boy is Magneto, the X-Men’s first villain from 1963’s X-Men #1. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby as a generic villain. It wasn’t until much later - Uncanny X-Men#150in 1981, to be precise - that Chris Claremont added in his backstory as a Holocaust survivor. The movie telling isn’t strictly accurate to the comics: his family was killed in the Warsaw ghetto, then he went to Auschwitz, and all of this is detailed in Greg Pak and Carmine di Giandomenico’s superb Magneto Testament limited series from 2009.
- Anna Paquin’s Rogue is the first mutant we meet in the present day. She was first introduced by Claremont and Michael Golden in 1981’s AvengersAnnual #10 as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Her origin was fleshed out in dribs and drabs over the course of the next 20 years, but it wasn’t until this movie that we heard her real name, Marie.
The movie version of her origin leans heavily on the one we first saw as part of the 1992 cartoon: her memory and power-draining ability first manifests during her first kiss with a boy named Cody, leading to her running away.
- The scene with Jean Grey testifying before the United States Senate about mutants takes place in probably the nicest Senate hearing room ever put on film. It’s also packed with references.
Let’s take this one piece at a time:
- Jean Grey, played here by Famke Janssen, is one of the original five X-Men and one of three to have a role in this movie. She was introduced in X-Men #1, created by Stan and Jack, and was the only girl on the team. She’s telepathic, telekinetic, and absurdly powerful. Later in the comics, she would be impersonated (then imbued with) the Phoenix Force, a fundamental creation energy in the galaxy on par with Galactus. This was loosely adapted in X-Men 3: The Last Stand and was hinted at in X-Men: Apocalypse.
- Senator Robert Kelly was created by Claremont and John Byrne in X-Men #135 in 1980. He was a key fomenter of anti-mutant hatred, which is translated very well by a script that lifted lines directly from Joe McCarthy’s communist witch hunts in the 1950s and put them in Kelly’s mouth (just replace “mutants” with “communists in the State Department” in Kelly’s speech here). He introduced the Mutant Control Act in the pages of Uncanny X-Men, the first time the idea of registering or licensing superheroes had ever been discussed, but a trope that has been repeated a thousand times in comics (most notably in Civil War) and film (here and in...uh...Captain America: Civil War).
Kelly’s assassination at the hands of Mystique was the instigating event behind the legendary "Days of Future Past" comics, which in turn loosely inspired the movie of the same name. In the comics, Kelly would come around on mutants in part because he had been saved by them, but would later die in the story that reset the X-universe just ahead of Morrison coming on board (in an arc called “Dream’s End” that started in Uncanny X-Men #388), so about the same time as the movie’s release.
- On Senator Kelly’s list of names is “a young girl in Chicago who can walk through walls.” That would be Kitty Pryde. Katherine Pryde was first introduced in X-Men #129, and was by far the youngest member of the team to that point. She was the focal character in "Days of Future Past" (the comics) along with Senator Kelly.
She appears as a sort of running cameo later in this movie; returns for a brief cameo as a different actress in X2 a few years later, and then gets speaking lines and a fancy new big shot actress for X-Men 3: The Last Stand, where she is played by Ellen Page. Page returns for the movie adaptation of Days of Future Past, where her ability to phase between molecules and walk through solid objects somehow allows her to send Wolverine’s mind back in time.
Kitty has gone through several code names in her career: she began as Sprite, then changed it to Ariel for a hot minute, then got possessed by a ninja warlord and became an assassin but then got better and changed her name to Shadowcat.
- This movie introduces us to the most inspired casting in any comic book movie ever (until Cate Blanchett shows up as Hela): Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, and Ian McKellan as Magneto, both of whom are watching the hearing from the gallery. Professor X was first introduced in X-Men #1 in 1963 and created by Stan and Jack. He is the world’s most powerful telepath and a noted jerk. By now, we all know who McKellan and Stewart are, but it’s worth noting that their legendary friendship began on the set of this movie.
Seriously, look at these two awesome people:
- The set designers made the wheels on the Professor’s chair very conspicuous Xs as a nod to the man’s narcissism. Joking, he designed the wheelchair to stay on brand with the team, and they’re called the X-Men because in the comics, the gene for their mutations is carried on the X chromosome. In the films, the reason he’s in a wheelchair isn’t explained until First Class, while in the comics there have been six or seven different reasons (Lucifer dropped boulders on him; Magneto did it; it’s a psychosomatic reaction to the Shi’ar cloning process, etc.). But he’s still definitely a narcissist. Stay tuned.
- Likewise in the movies, the early friendship between Professor X and Magneto is a running theme. First Classagain explains the genesis of their movie friendship. Unlike the movies where they met having sexy parties with the CIA, in the comics they first encountered each other in Haifa, Israel. Magneto was making a little extra cash working as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital for holocaust survivors, while Charles was healing a woman in a coma so he could date her, father a child with her, and bounce. If you don’t believe me, wait until our reference guide for Legion.
- Hugh Jackman was not the first choice to play Wolverine. That honor was Dougray Scott’s, but he lost out when filming on Mission Impossible II, where he was playing the main villain, ran over schedule. Jackman was an unknown Australian theater actor at the time. Hard to believe now, 17 years later when he’s a megastar.
- Wolverine was NOT created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby or Chris Claremont! He first appeared in 1974, in Incredible Hulk #180, where he was created by Len Wein and Herb Trimpe as a Hulk villain. Wein then brought him over to the X-Men in Giant Sized X-Men#1 in 1975 as part of that issue’s soft reboot of the series.
- Wolverine’s history was largely a mystery in the comics until shortly after this movie, 2001’s Origin. What little we knew before that was that his name was Logan; he was Canadian; he had metal bones and claws on his hands (given to him by the Weapon X program) and he could heal really fast from anything. Later in the movie, Jean tells the Professor that Logan’s healing factor makes it tough to pinpoint his real age. She’s right: according to Origin, Logan is somewhere in the vicinity of 175 years old.
It also explains the cigars he smokes - Marvel instituted a no smoking policy for their characters in 2001 at the behest of then-Editor in Chief Joe Quesada, but they had acknowledged that it was bad and that he only did it because of his healing factor for some time prior to the official ban.
- And the healing factor is the reason for Wolverine’s metal skeleton. Without it, he would have been poisoned by the metal in his blood. That metal in both the comics and the movies is Adamantium, the hardest metal known to man and mostly unbreakable. It was originally created in the pages of Avengers, though - Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith dreamed up the fictional metal in 1969 and used it to coat Ultron.
- Wolverine’s claws were originally (in the comics) thought to be a byproduct of Weapon X program, the paramilitary hit squad (that was later revealed to be the tenth iteration of the government’s anti-mutant Sentinel development program) that Logan ran with for a time and where he got the dog tags Rogue noticed around his neck. In 1993’s Wolverine#75, after Magneto rips all the adamantium from Wolverine’s bones, we discover that the claws were actually made of bone. Note: this story is super dumb.
- It’s interesting to note that the claws were never intended to be part of Logan’s skeleton, and that’s why so many images of Wolverine have those little metal housings on his gloves for the claws to come out of. The housings were routinely depicted as part of his hands until about this movie, where like Jackman’s on-screen image, comic artists started drawing them as coming from between his knuckles.
- Sabretooth was created by Claremont and Byrne (fake shock face!) for 1977’s Iron Fist#14 (actual shock face!). As happened back in the day, characters who weren’t finding purchase in the book in which they were introduced (see also: Wolverine, Rogue), Sabretooth’s creators brought him over to another book where they took off.
- Sabretooth’s real name is Victor Creed, and he’s played here by Tyler Mane, whose official bio lists him as “some wrestling guy.” He was later portrayed on film by Liev Schreiber, an actor made famous by his role as Ross “The Boss” Rhea in the second greatest hockey movie of all time, Goon. He has many of the same powers as Wolverine, and was later retconned to be Logan’s brother by 2001’s Origin.
- Storm and Cyclops first appear in the Canadian wilds to rescue Rogue and Wolverine from Sabretooth. Later on in the movie, we hear the Professor tell Wolverine “Cyclops, Storm and Jean were some of my first students.” That’s not quite how the comic goes - Jean and Cyclops were first introduced as a member of the original team in the first issue of the series, while Storm was created by Wein and Dave Cockrum for Giant Sized X-Men #1. The movie does a great job of not confusing Cyclops’ powers like many casual observers do: he metabolizes energy into concussive blasts from his eyes. They do not shoot heat and are not lasers.
- Storm’s real name is Ororo Munroe. She is an orphan from Kenya who grew up on the streets of Cairo, which explains Halle Berry’s occasional attempts at a whiff of a generic “African” accent in this movie. She has the ability to control the weather.
- Toad and Mystique are the last two members of the Brotherhood of Mutants (they mercifully did not use the “Evil” in the movie) to be introduced in the movie. Mortimer Toynbee was introduced in X-Men#4 in 1964, created by Stan and Jack as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Toad’s powers include superhuman-ish strength and agility, the ability to spit some kind of sticky goo from his mouth, and a prehensile tongue that he uses to eat a bird. He’s played in this movie by Ray Park, who had previously been Darth Maul and is more commonly known today as 2001 Andy Serkis.
- The Brotherhood of Mutants here is a movie version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from the comics, Magneto’s first team from back in X-Men#4. On that team were Magneto, Toad, Mastermind (a telepathic illusionist who we’ll meet a version of in X2), and Magneto’s children, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch.
- Magneto’s hideout looks like a hollowed out rock, and that’s because it likely is. His most famous hideout is an actual asteroid: Asteroid M, which if you go by X-Men naming conventions probably got its name from all the Metal in it and definitely not from it belonging to Magneto. An Asteroid M orbited the Earth from 1964 (in X-Men #5) to 1991 (in X-Men#3 - see how I eliminated confusion there?) as Magneto’s home base and hideout to his Acolytes or to the Brotherhood of Mutants or whatever group was following him at the time.
- This movie seemed like it made a sincere effort to include stuff for the people who geek out over technical diagrams of hideouts: Wolverine gets a grand tour of the X-Mansion, and it is as organized as the nerdiest of secret files comics.
We see Cerebro (created in 1964’s X-Men #7), the telepathic amplifier that allows the Professor to find mutants around the world from the comfort of his own paramilitary Choate. We also get hints of the Danger Room, the training facility that has been at times robotic (when it was first introduced in 1963’s X-Men #2), at others Holodeck-y (after the X-folks met and befriended the Shi’ar following the original Phoenix saga), and still at others sentient and super pissed off about being unwittingly enslaved by Professor X (Joss Whedon’s excellent Astonishing X-Men from 2005, also remember what I said about “noted jerk?” Still more to come on that).
- We also get to see the X-Jet, the Blackbird. This is based on a real life jet, the SR-71 Blackbird, because Chris Claremont (the writer when it was introduced in 1975) is a hella plane nerd. Unlike the IRL SR-71, the X-Men’s Blackbird actually works and doesn’t leak fuel when it’s not in motion.
- Remember how Professor X is a jerk? Well, he’s an ultra powerful telepath, and he spends most of the middle third of the movie poking around in Logan’s head. Logan’s memory is shot from the process that bonded the adamantium to his skeleton, and while the Professor has no qualms about using stuff he plucked from Wolverine’s brain to keep him from running off, he doesn’t actually tell him anything about those locked memories. And he’s in there without ever asking permission. Yup, Professor X is in fact quite the jerk.
- Speaking of Kitty Pryde, we do get to see her in action in her first running cameo appearance shortly after Wolverine wakes up in the mansion. She’s in a class with Iceman, Rogue and Jubilee, and she runs through the door rather than open it.
- Iceman’s real name is Bobby Drake. His age is different in the movies from the comics: he’s one of the original five X-Men, a contemporary of Jean and Cyclops rather than a student. He has little more than a cameo here, but Shawn Ashmore returns in a more central role in every subsequent movie that stars the original cast.
- Jubliation Lee is another story. Originally appearing in 1989’s Uncanny X-Men #244 and created by Claremont and Marc Silvestri, Jubilee is an orphaned California mall rat with the power to create energy explosions that resemble fireworks. Jubilee has been through some shit since 1989, though: in the comics, she was depowered, joined a group of ex-heroes pining for a second chance, and was finally turned into a vampire. In the movies, she’s been played by three different actors in three movies who have had a collective zero lines if you only count finished cuts - she was originally a larger part of X-Men: Apocalypse, but her lines ended up in the deleted scenes portion of the Blu-ray.
- One huge problem with the movie is how everyone talks about the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters being in “Westchester New York.” The only time anyone calls it by its county name rather than the town’s is when they are arguing about where upstate New York starts (it’s everything from Putnam and Orange counties north, FYI) or when they’re arguing about property taxes. “You’re in Westchester, person we found in the woods of Canada who was unconscious until now! Oh, Westchester is a county in New York and two sentences later you still have no frame of reference for where that might be.” Get it together, guys.
By the way, the school’s address is 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY. That is a real town, but not a legit address despite Google Maps marking someone’s driveway as Graymalkin Lane.
- A fun bit from the tour of the recruitment video-style tour of the mansion the Professor gives Logan: at one point during the basketball game on campus, when the kid passes the basketball to himself and you hear another kid yell “Hey! No powers!” Both the super-powered sports game and the “no powers!” objection have a long tradition in X-Men comics, dating back to 1977 when the team first played baseball together in issue #110.
- The stables at the X-Mansion have carpeting. That’s not really an easter egg, it just seems foolish.
- The last new character we meet in this movie is the shape shifter Mystique. Raven Darkholme was originally (like Rogue, her adopted daughter) a Ms. Marvel villain, introduced in 1978 by Claremont and Jim Mooney in Ms. Marvel#16. She can impersonate anyone, and she pretty much does over the course of this movie.
- The first person she poses as here is “Henry” or “Mr. Gyrich,” an aide to Senator Kelly. That would be Henry Peter Gyrich, and he was an Avengers character for about 15 years. Starting in 1977 when he was created by Jim Shooter and George Perez, he was the NSA’s liaison to the Avengers. It wasn’t until the X-Men cartoon in 1992 that he started to be associated with Marvel’s mutants - he showed up in the first episode of the show along with Bolivar Trask and pushed the Sentinel program. Here he only makes a cameo, impersonated by Mystique as we hear that the real Gyrich was apparently “mauled by a bear” (that was totally Sabretooth).
- Cyclops and Jean Grey’s relationship is a bit of a plot point here. In the comics, it’s a typical story of boy meets girl (X-Men #1, 1963), boy is too chicken to tell her how he feels, boy finally nuts up (X-Men#32, 1967), girl becomes cosmic force of destruction and commits suicide on the moon rather than destroy another civilization (Phoenix Saga, X-Men #101-138), boy falls for girl’s clone (Uncanny X-Men #168), boy has child with clone girl (Uncanny X-Men #201), boy finds resurrected first girl and bails on his family without another word (X-Factor #1), boy has to defeat scorned, malevolent, demonic ex (“Inferno,” so a bunch), and so on. The movie pretty faithfully adapts the love triangle that existed between them and Wolverine.
- The song playing while Wolverine steals Cyclops’s motorcycle is “Atom Bomb” by Fluke, and I swear to God I didn’t know it was from the Wipeout XL soundtrack when I would get really drunk and play F-Zero on my Gamecube in my dorm room.
- Sabretooth has some real issues with women. I won’t run through all of them, but if you’re in the mood to be depressed about fridging, look up Silver Fox (one of Wolverine’s exes), Psylocke, Birdie, Misty Knight, Mystique, and here, Storm.
- Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but there are like, 55 train stations in Westchester. There is no “Westchester Train Station” like it says on the board of this movie’s off-brand Grand Central Terminal.
- Mutation in the X-universe is caused by evolution on the X chromosome, but Magneto’s plan (to use his giant machine to throw off a bunch of mutation-triggering “radiation”) isn’t without comic precedent: back when the X-Men first started, they did explain mutations as being caused by radiation, back when radiation caused everything.
- Also with comic precedent: Wolverine setting off metal detectors when he walks through them. The earliest mention of that I could find was in Kitty Pryde & Wolverine #2 in 1984, when Logan is flying to Japan and he sets off the metal detectors at JFK Airport.
- Things that may be hard to understand now given where the comics are at, but that were either revolutionary or made perfect sense at the time: the leather costumes, which were an attempt at making the X-Men look more “realistic” and were almost immediately adopted by the comics (then put back away when Joss Whedon came on board for Astonishing X-Men); Cyclops as the golden child of the X-Men - he was always the Professor’s pet in the comics until about when most of the world’s mutants were depowered in House of M, when he became a militant who eventually died from The Struggle; and Rogue’s shock of white hair being something we need explained, which thankfully the movie does.
- The movie closes with Wolverine heading to “an abandoned military compound at Alkali Lake,” which is precisely where we pick up X2a few years later.
NBC is developing a live-action television series revival of the classic Image Comics character Witchblade.
While the 1990’s are widely seen as a dubious period in the comic book industry, rife with overpriced gimmicks and exploitative aesthetics fixated on scantily-clad, proportionally-questionable female characters posed in positions that would give chiropractors nightmares, the era did set its handprint in the cement of history. Consequently, one of the most noteworthy characters to emerge from that era in Image Comics’ Witchblade is about to make a return to the mainstream limelight.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Big Three network NBC is developing a new live-action television rendition of Witchblade. With the production set over at Sony Pictures Television, NBC has appointed an experienced show-running team in producers Carol Mendelsohn (CSI franchise, Melrose Place) and Caroline Dries (The Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place). Dries, who also spent years writing for the Superman prequel series Smallville, will also serve as scriptwriter alongside co-executive producer and fellow Vampire Diaries scribe alum Brian Young.
Witchblade debuted in 1995 at Image Comics, published under Top Cow Productions, the studio of former X-Men artist Marc Silvestri (who co-created the character with Michael Turner, Brian Haberlin and David Wohl). The traditional story centers on NYPD homicide detective Sara Pezzini, who learns she is the latest in a bloodline of women connected to a sentient symbiotic bracelet called the Witchblade. Fate intervenes when a smuggler brings the artifact – a frightening-looking right-arm gauntlet – to New York, eventually landing it in Sara’s possession, endowing her with supernatural powers. Yet, said powers also risk the possibility of unleashing an uncontrollable darkness within herself as she continues her crime-fighting endeavors. Intriguingly, NBC's Witchblade series will reportedly shift the setting to San Francisco’s Mission District, kicking off Sara’s story with a hunt for an elusive serial killer.
Thus, with an impending vacancy on NBC’s primetime lineup after supernatural horror/crime/suspense series Grimm wraps up its final abbreviated season, Witchblade will presumably fill that same genre formula. Interestingly, this isn't the first time that Witchblade landed in live-action form on the small screen, since cable network TNT served as a showcase for a Witchblade series in which Yancy Butler starred as Sara Pezzini/Witchblade. The short-lived series (trailer below,) ran from 2001-2002 across two brief seasons.
With NBC’s previous attempt to adapt a horror-themed comic-book with Constantine in 2014 yielding a fan-beloved, but unceremonious-cancelled series (set to be revived in animated form on CW Seed voiced by star Matt Ryan), it will be interesting to see NBC’s approach to Witchblade. Since the long-running Grimm stayed alive in a notoriously perilous Friday night slot with its adherence to crime procedural conventions, it’s reasonable to assume that Witchblade will do the same, also staying far away from the very-1990’s look of the original comics.
The xXx director DJ Caruso exclusively tells us about his Hasbro Universe idea involving G.I. Joe and Transformers.
xXx: Return of Xander Cagedirector DJ Caruso blew up the internet a little last week when he revealed that his idea for the third G.I. Joe movie (which he was in talks to direct before taking on xXx) would have involved a crossover with that other huge Hasbro property, Transformers. Speaking with Den of Geek a few days ago at the press junket for Return of Xander Cage, Caruso fleshed out his comments a little more.
“We actually had that in our first script,” he explained. “[Producer] Lorenzo di Bonaventura and I hired Aaron Berg (to write the script). We finished our screenplay, and at the end we had this little coda about what happened, and then something kind of kicked off on the moon. It was like this perfect blending of the franchises, I thought. I think the studio was shocked in a way. They weren't quite ready at the time, but it was just something that Aaron Berg was really like, ‘We need to do this.’
“I was like, ‘Yes, we need to do this.’ We had a few different ideas about that. I mean, it seems like it's such a naturalistic way that the franchise should go. I think that injection into the G.I. Joe franchise of the (Transformers) world that Michael Bay created would be fantastic.”
Caruso demurred on describing the scene that Berg wrote, saying only, “I will just say it was a really, really, great button at the end of the regular narrative drive of Aaron Berg's screenplay where, when it happened, you went, ‘Oh, shit, I get it.’”
As for whether he is still involved with the follow-up to G.I. Joe: Retaliation or Paramount’s current attempt to develop a “Hasbro Universe” incorporating Joe, Transformers, Micronauts, and other properties, Caruso stated, “I'm still loosely involved. They brought in this whole writing team and they got all these writers… they want to show me what they've been thinking and see what this writer's room came out with, so I'm loosely involved, but that’s not my next movie.”
For what Caruso’s next movie is, and his thoughts on making xXx, read our full interview tomorrow.
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is in theaters now.
With Jerome sure looking more and more like the Joker on Gotham, we celebrate the craziest plans of the Clown Prince of Crime.
He is the greatest villain of them all. He is the evil that tests Batman and makes the hero better. He is an uncontrollable force of chaos, more akin to a hurricane than a criminal, who strikes without warning. He believes that life is a chaotic farce and everything exists as part of a twisted game between him and Batman. He is the star of comics, television, cartoons, and film. He is the Joker, one of the most enduring symbols of evil in the last century.
The Joker is no match for Batman physically, so when he puts one over on the Dark Knight, when he “gets” him, it has to be a masterpiece of chaos and violence. These are just some of the greatest moments when the Joker put one over on his eternal adversary.
10. Death of the Family: The Dinner Scene (2012-2013)
Writer: Scott Snyder Artist: Greg Capullo
Almost Got Him moment: Made Batman believe he skinned his children. And he coulda done it too…
Writer Scott Snyder wrote a Joker for a modern age. He embraced what went on before but really upped the ante in terms of intensity. Snyder’s Joker wore his own severed face as a mask and threatened the sanctity of such long standing but icons like Alfred and James Gordon. It all culminated in a dinner scene at the Batcave as a brainwashed Alfred seemingly serves each member of the Bat family, Batgirl, Nightwing, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Damien Wayne their own severed faces.
The pages read like a fevered nightmare as the Robins and Batgirl all sit starring at their own amputated visages. Staying true to his character, the whole thing was a joke, and the Bat family were unharmed, but their confidence in their mentor and their own safety was shaken forever because of the Joker’s actions.
9. Mad Love (Batman: The Animated Series) 1999: The Slap
Story: Bruce Timm & Paul Dini
Almost Got Him moment: Harley beat Batman, and Joker created Harley. Although Mr. J didn’t quite see it that way.
The final episode of the New Batman Adventures is also its high point. The story deals with the origin of Joker’s moll, Harley Quinn, but it also serves as a reminder of just how all-encompassing the Joker’s twisted ability to manipulate anyone is. It was the first time fans learned that Harley Quinn used to be the Joker’s psychologist, and through sheer charismatic manipulation, he was able to mold her into his own twisted image. He made an educated woman, an expert of the inner workings of the psyche; believe that the world is a meaningless joke. Through the Joker, Harley had become a competent criminal, one who did what even he could not, successfully capture the Batman.
In a moment that transcended traditional animation, the Joker shows just how depraved and selfish a soul he truly is by slapping Harley for making him feel inadequate because she defeated Batman. The whole episode dealt with a broken woman’s devotion to the Joker, and her entire world came crashing down in one moment of shockingly realistic domestic violence.
8. Infinite Crisis “You Didn’t Let the Joker Play” (2006)
Writer: Geoff Johns Artists: Phil Jimenez, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez, and Ivan Reis
Almost Got Him Moment: Joker saves the multiverse, in a way that the Justice League couldn’t. Take that, bats!
Infinite Crisis was a huge, continuity laden epic all boiled down into the essence of a Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman story. It was one of the biggest stories DC had ever attempted and it did shake the very foundation of the DC Universe, but with all the cosmic shenanigans, the story’s finale centered on one sick man, with no powers, forcing his will into the proceedings.
Alexander Luthor, the son of Lex Luthor of Earth 3, is the antagonist and the catalyst of the events of Infinite Crisis. His machinations are godlike as he manipulates multiverses like gears of a clock. Alex Luthor recruited some of Earth’s most dangerous villains to fight his battles against the heroes of the multiverse. Luthor dismissed the Joker as an unpowered wild card, a man who would be difficult to manipulate and useless in a fight against Supermen and Green Lanterns.
The Joker did not appear in any part of the epic, but is revealed by the prime reality’s Lex Luthor at the story’s climax. Joker sprays Alex with his signature acid flower and shoots him in the head, with a smirking Lex, who did not wish to share the villainous spotlight with the younger Luthor, declaring that Alex’s one mistake was he “didn’t let the Joker play.” This moment reveals that it could be a god, monster, or cosmic manipulator, whatever the case; the Joker is still more dangerous with a gag flower and a bullet. Sometimes the universe needs a master of chaos to do the things heroes can’t.
7. Batman: 1966 TV Series: Cesar’s ‘Stache
Almost Got Him Moment: Every death trap, every gag, every cliffhanger. Shoulda taken those utility belts, Cesar.
Sure, the camp vibe from the '60s Batmanseries set comics back a few decades. Even when Watchmenwas being published, the public perception of super-heroes was still “BIFF POW WHAM!” Yet, for many young children of the '70s and '80s, the series was a gateway drug into the world of comics. While Romero camped up some truly ridiculous plots, there was something about his demeanor as the Joker that still strikes a chilling chord. That special way he had of frowning while wearing a painted on smirk, and the white face caked on over Romero’s signature ‘stache gave his Joker a sinister heir that transcended the shows limitations.
For many generations Romero’s performance defined the Clown Prince of Crime. Every time Romero appeared, he and his ‘stache would come within inches of taking out Batman and Robin turning his every appearance into an “almost got him.”
6. Batman #1: The First Appearance (1940)
Almost Got Him Moment: It all began here. Joker committed murder right under Batman’s nose until Batman figured out the eternal game.
By Jerry Robinson, Bob Kane, and Bill Finger
Many times, especially in the Golden Age, a character’s first appearance only gives a readers a fraction of an indication of what the character would become. The Joker, being the Joker, defies expectations, and everything a fan needs to know about the character can be found in that first appearance in Batman #1. His use of poison gas, his terrifying penchant for popping up out of nowhere, his need to intellectually challenge Batman, all add up to relatively the same character that exists today.
Based on actor Conrad Veidt in the silent film The Man Who Laughs, the Joker was a rarity for his day, as most villains were used to challenge the hero for one story and then fade away. Not the Joker, who endured, and despite some shifts away from the characters vile roots, he still exists almost identical to his 1940 appearance. This first story is so enduring that Chris Nolan adopted many elements for his first act in The Dark Knight including the unforgettable poison booze glass murder of Commissioner Loeb.
Even in his first appearance, committing crimes right under the Dark Knight’s nose, was a great moment of mastery over Batman.
5. Batman: No Man’s Land: The Murder of Sarah Essen Gordon (1999)
Almost Got Him Moment: In Gotham’s darkest hour, Joker managed to destroy the life of Batman’s best friend.
While Gotham was crippled and cut off from the rest of America’s infrastructure by a massive earthquake, the Joker strikes, kidnapping all the babies of Gotham. The Joker is confronted by James Gordon’s wife, Sarah Essen, and tosses her a helpless infant. When she catches the child, the Joker shoots her between the eyes.
Many people treat the Joker as sort of an anti-hero, the freedom his manic behavior allows him is attractive to many fans, but this moment shows that the Joker is a brutal thug looking to take advantage of a tragedy to suit his own twisted machinations. The Joker took a delight in Gordon’s torment, promising even more pain in the future. The shooting of Sarah Essen, an honest cop and loving wife, stands as a constant reminder of the Joker’s cruelty. Batman’s inability to save his friend’s wife stands as one of Joker’s greatest victories.
4. Batman (1989) “Bob…Gun.”
Almost Got Him Moment: Batman robbed the Joker of his fun, but despite Batman’s careful planning, someone still died.
There are many fantastic moments created by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman. From his fantastic origin sequence in Axis Chemicals, to the murder of his boss, Carl Grissom (played by the great Jack Palance), to his climactic church battle with Batman, but his greatest moment, like all great Joker moments, was random and chaotic.
At the beginning of the film’s third act, the Joker tries to poison Gotham with gas filled balloons, when Batman swoops down in the Batwing and drags the balloons away, the Joker is incredulous. Like a kid who had his favorite toy snatched by a playground bully, the Joker pouts and asks his most loyal henchmen Bob the Goon, for a gun. Bob, ever loyal to his boss, complies and the Joker, without changing expression, shoots Bob in the gut. Batman ruined the Joker’s fun, and someone had to die, even if it was someone loyal and useful to the Joker. Even though Batman seemingly saved Gotham, someone still died, making Batman’s victory incomplete.
3. A Death in the Family (1989) “The Crowbar”
Almost Got Him Moment: He killed Robin. Duh.
By Jim Starlin, Jim Aparo, and Mike Decarlo
Yes, it was gimmicky to have fans call a 900 number and decide whether Jason Todd’s version of Robin would live or die. Yes, it robbed the story of any organic creatively, but even the most jaded reader has to admit the death itself remains shocking to this day.
Over the years, the Joker has used many gimmicked gags and traps to take down Batman and his family, but when it came to the moment where the Joker finally was able to kill a Bat Hero, he was just a thug wielding a blunt instrument. It was another reminder of just how dangerous and brutal the sometimes likable clown can be.
Out of Todd’s death, DC was able to ignite literally hundreds of story ideas from the arrival of Tim Drake, to Todd’s resurrection as the Red Hood. From one violent act with a crowbar, the Joker created a legend.
2. The Dark Knight (2008) “The Interrogation Scene”
Almost Got Him Moment: He did what no else could do, made Batman powerless.
One can fill a list of great Joker moments on Heath Ledger’s performance alone, but one stands out above the others. Yes, even above the pencil trick. After the Joker is captured, Batman and Gotham’s Finest believe that the ordeal is finally over, until the Joker turns his trump card, revealing that he kidnapped, not only Gotham’s beloved D.A. Harvey Dent, but Batman’s true love, Rachael Dawes, as well. There is one thing all the crooks and villains had in common in the Nolan Universe; they feared Batman.
Not the Joker.
At this moment in the interrogation room, fans and Batman realized that Batman had no power over the Joker. That the Joker did not care about pain, he couldn’t be intimidated, bribed, or threatened. The more violent Batman became, the funnier the Joker found the situation. This was a new type of villain, one who could not be controlled, a swarm of hungry locusts in a man’s form gleefully destroying everything in his path.
As Batman races to save Rachel and Harvey, with just a few words (and a very well hidden cell phone bomb) the Joker is able to escape police custody. As Batman pounds on the Joker, it becomes clear just what an uncontrollable force the Joker is.
As Rachel burns, the Joker wins.
1. Dark Knight Returns (1986)”The End”
Almost Got Him Moment: In his final moment, the Joker made Batman’s beloved Gotham see their hero as a murderer.
By Frank Miller and Klaus Janson
Nothing defines the relationship between Batman and the Joker, like the proposed final conflict. When Batman returns to Gotham after years of reclusive exile, the Joker awakens from a coma to challenge the Dark Knight. Miller postulates, that without Batman, the Joker would cease to be, only returning when his other half was active. It was their final battle, and a battle in which Joker won. For decades, Batman refused to kill the Joker, but as the Joker snaps his own neck while laughing hysterically, it makes the world believe that one of Earth’s greatest heroes has finally turned murderer.
By destroying Batman as a symbol for justice and turning him into a symbol for selfish vengeance, the Joker turns the public, the government, and even Superman against Batman in the process. The Joker had won his greatest victory.
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of cowardly, superstitious men? These dudes.
DC Comics and Dynamite Entertainment announced today what Comixology inadvertently leaked a couple of weeks back: Batman and The Shadow are crossing over in an event that is likely to be so pulpy that Tropicana offered to market it. The hook is everything you would expect from mashing these two characters together.
Teaming up to create the book are long-time Batman writer and KGBeast enthusiast Scott Snyder; greatest living writer of Midnighter Steve Orlando; and the always excellent Riley Rossmo.
Here's what DC is saying about it:
In the six issue miniseries, murder has come to Gotham. Gotham’s protector, Batman, discovers a trail of evidence that leads to a suspect by the name of Lamont Cranston. The only problem is—Cranston has been dead for over fifty years! As Batman attempts to unravel the enigma surrounding Cranston’s life, the mysterious Shadow will do everything in his power to stop him from learning too much.
For those of you asking "Wait, didn't this already happen?" you're right! The Shadow's publication history is as transient as Thunder Agents', and the character was once licensed to DC Comics. In 1973, he actually appeared in the pages of Batman, where he teamed up with the world's greatest detective to solve a mystery. So knowing Snyder and Orlando's penchant for digging around in old continuity, don't be surprised if that actually comes up.
"No, that's not what I was thinking of," you might say. Right again! You're thinking of "Beware The Gray Ghost," that episode of Batman: The Animated Series where Adam West voiced Simon Trent, an actor who played a supernatural, noir detective on a TV show lil Bruce Wayne couldn't get enough of (and is now on the staff at Gotham Academy). The creators of TAS basically took all of that stuff from the comics The Shadow showed up in, added some stuff about Bill Finger being inspired by The Shadow, and dumped it all into the Gray Ghost character. So it's not even like they're rooting around in old continuity for this - it's all still right there on the surface.
Regardless, this should be pretty good. Look at this preview art.
Riley Rossmo and Batman fighting The Shadow on a 9-panel grid go together like chocolate and peanut butter. The first issue of Batman/The Shadow is due out in April.
Ta-Nehis Coates, Yona Harvey & Butch Guice bring the superteam back in a big way, with Black Panther taking top billing.
Marvel announced today their newest book to grow out of the smash hit Black Panther, and really the least 2017 can do is be the year Christopher Priest becomes a superstar because of the groundwork he laid 15 years ago. Black Panther & The Crew, from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey and Butch Guice spins out of the pages of Coates, Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin's enormously successful comic and pairs Harvey, an internationally renowned poet currently working on another Panther spinoff, Black Panther: World of Wakanda with Guice, who's been drawing good comics since I was in preschool so a very long time ago.
The book unites the new Crew (which I will try not to type in all caps out of excitement: T'Challa, Luke Cage, Misty KNIGHT, MANIFOLD, AND STORM dammit) to investigate the death of a Harlem activist in police custody. These are, however, insanely powerful and extremely well-known characters: T'Challa is a king who turned Galactus into the Lifebringer; Cage led the Avengers for nearly a decade; Storm is the most important mutant on the planet when she's not in the mansion in Marvel's cartoon version of hell; and Manifold is a multiversal emergency travel network who most recently opened a portal to Wakanda's afterlife to help T'Challa get his sister back.
So they're all in disguise for this book, and you know what that means:
MORE LUKE CHARLES! I hope he watches Sneaky Pete before he gets to Harlem.
The original Crew was about gentrification and crime in a rapidly changing Brooklyn. It starred a con man, a White Tiger, the grandson of Isaiah Bradley (the test subject for Captain America's super soldier serum), and James Rhodes. It's unfinished but excellent, and available on Marvel Unlimited. Coates' Black Panther, which reintroduced The Crew in its current form in issue 7, has one trade in print and is published monthly. Ultimates 2 (where the above panels are from) also has one trade in print and is published monthly. All of these are excellent reading choices and will be discussed at greater length here on Den of Geek, so stick around!
Gotham is in top form with the return of its Joker.
This Gotham review contains spoilers.
Gotham Season 3, Episode 13
Tonight's episode of Gotham reminded me how enjoyable this show can be when its respective storylines stick to what they're good at. "Smile Like You Mean It" saw a disturbingly stellar return of Jerome, while also effectively balancing some smaller, plot-progressing "B" stories. It did this by letting each story line do what it was best at and ending with one hell of a cliffhanger...
All hail the return of the Joker...
The Gordon/GCPD plotline is at its best when it is disturbing, funny, and violent, but doesn't try any social commentary or romance and doesn't try to convince us that Jim Gordon is the Commissioner Gordon we need. (Though he might be the Commissioner Gordon we deserve.)
Carrying over from last week's introduction of the Cult of the Joker, Gordon and Bullock opened the episode on the hunt for Dwight, who (temporarily) resurrected some random woman last episode. Any detective worth his salt could have figured out who the Joker-worshipping former coroner would be looking to resurrect next: Jerome. The GCPD are understandably nervous about having the teen serial killer back in their lives, though surprisingly tight-lipped about the power of resurrection Dwight has apparently managed to harness. Only on Gotham.
Dwight's first attempts to bring Jerome back don't go so well and, with the GCPD ready to storm his compound, he goes to Plan B: cut the face off of Jerome's corpse, wear it over his own, and win the Cult of the Joker over that way. Seeing Dwight take the stage wearing someone else's face while he tries to convince the biggest Joker afficianados on the planet that he is an acceptable substitute for their lord and savior is disturbing stuff.
Meanwhile, back at the GCPD, Jerome is starting to come to. From death. The person he goes to for answers (with the help of a gun, of course) is poor, long-suffering Lee Thompkins who is so hilariously over a) being held at gunpoint and b) explaining things to the men of Gotham City. This is one of the instances in which the GCPD/Joker storyline shone with its humorous tone that was especially fitting in an episode that saw the Joker back on center stage.
Across town, Dwight has taken over the local news studio and is broadcasting a message to Gotham City. Basically, he is trying to be Jerome. But no one but Jerome can be Jerome and he wants his face and platform back. After the GCPD successfully take down Dwight, Jerome kidnaps him, steals his face back, staples it back on, and broadcasts his own message.
The gist of Jerome's message? It's time for the people of Gotham to take their city back, to do whatever they want. Basically, it is Gotham: The Purge. Jim makes it to the rooftop of the GCPD just in time to see Jerome's massive explosion of the power plant (that kills Dwight — yep, Jerome was mad that he stole his face) that plunges the entire city into darkness. Oh, geez. Gotham is bad enough in light.
Best Gotham cliffhanger ever?
Selina is sick of being lied to...
Meanwhile, Selina and Bruce are practically on a different show, one with completely different strengths and interests. The Bruce Wayne/Selina Kyle stuff can pull of the tugging of heartstrings much more effectively, probably because the teenagers are the only characters left on this show who have done nothing to deserve the heaps of misery that have been thrust upon them. "Smile Like You Mean It" was the perfect example.
When Bruce and Alfred are approached by the man blackmailing Maria Kyle asking for $200,000, Bruce barely bats an eyelash, but Selina isn't so comfortable giving this man any of Bruce's money. She thinks he will be back for more. Besides, this hits all of her sensitive spots: She's never liked to benefit from Bruce's money or privilege. She hates bullies. And she doesn't trust her mother... even if she desperately wants to.
It's that last fact that is the most cutting. Selina accuses Bruce of knowing all along that her mother was in cahoots with the blackmailer and would skip town as soon as they got the money, but she seems more angry with herself. Because, let's face it, she knew, too. Why else would she follow the blackmailer back to his hotel? She wasn't very surprised when she learned the truth, though she was disappointed. She wanted to believe that her mother would choose her, would love her enough to stay.
Selina is pushing Bruce away because she is terrified he will do the same. The other person she loves doesn't deserve her trust. Does Bruce? From a viewer's perspective, he seems very trustworthy, but it's understandable why Selina has reservations. Perhaps the blackout will force these two to talk some things out. Or Bruce will spend the entire episode running around Gotham in a proto-Batman outfit. I'd take either. Or both.
Penguin is so screwed...
Lastly, we have the Criminals of the Underworld stuff, featuring Oswald, Ed, Barbara, Tabitha, etc. This is where Gotham can go big on its campiness and tonal strangeness and really get away with it. Surprisingly, this storyline was the weakest of "Smile Like You Mean It" when it is usually the most reliable due to its delightful characters.
I blame the lack of quality on the plot line's current shaky foundation. We're still seeing the fallout of Oswald's murder of Isabella play out and, like I've mentioned in previous reviews, the romance between Ed and Isabella was far too brief to make this plotline seem like anything other than a lazy swerve of the Nygmobblepot relationship — a way for Gotham to have its cake and eat it, too (or, to try to appease its shippers, while not angering any homophobic fanboys). But, hey, we'll see. Feel free to surprise/impress me with this storyline, Gotham.
Whatever happens, Penguin is currently walking into a trap. After eliminating all of the criminal bigwigs who might have supported him (after convincing Penguin that they were out to get him anyway), Ed faked his own kidnapping to lure Oswald out to some old factory. This does not bode well for Penguin. I hate that, after years of working to pull himself up to the king of Gotham, he will be undone by his heart. (The fact that I feel bad for a murderous criminal is a testament both to Robin Taylor's performance and to how twisted this show's version of morality is.)
Though I was frustrated by the Ed/Oswald elements of this plotline, the Barbara/Tabitha stuff in "Smile Like You Mean It" were totally delightful and cathartic. After seasons of watching Barbara and Tabitha get pushed aside by the men in their lives, they are taking charge of the Gotham underworld. Also, the understated manner in which Gotham continues to depict the Barbara and Tabitha as a couple is maybe the only subtle thing Gotham has ever done. They should try it more often.
All in all, "Smile Like You Mean It" was one of the best episodes we've had in a while. As always, the presence of Cameron Monaghan as Jerome/the Joker automatically ups the episode of roughly 75%. Monaghan brings a frightening, vulnerable unpredictability to the character, while also delivering some lines that made me laugh out loud. On Gotham, Monaghan manages to make a mark in the long, rich legacy of this iconic character, and that's endlessly impressive to watch.
In the wake of last week's Black Adam news, Shazam lands a writer.
Last week, we learned that the planned movie of Shazam had split into two, with Dwayne Johnson now planning to star in a solo Black Adam movie instead of -- or in addition to, it's not really clear yet -- facing off against Shazam himself.
However, the Shazam movie is still alive and kicking too, and it's reported that Henry Gayden, who penned the family alien adventure Earth To Echo, had been hired to script Shazam. The man himself has ratified the news story via his Twitter account:
@annericelover Confirmed and loving what's to come... :)
— Henry Gayden (@HenryGayden) January 20, 2017
Right now, Shazam is still on the schedule for a May 2019 release, but it's possible that Black Adam may be fast-tracked and take that date instead. No announcement has been made by Warner Bros on the matter, though, and since things are changing over there almost constantly, Gayden may have plenty of time to get his screenplay just right.
We talked to the co-creator of All Time Comics about his new superhero universe.
All Time Comics is maybe the most unexpected comic in the game right now. It’s a new shared superhero universe from the minds of Josh and Sam Bayer, and from the printing presses of Fantagraphics, noted publishers of…not…superhero…comics. Its very existence is a contradiction, and contradictions reverberate through the project. It’s superhero stuff from legends like Al Milgrom and Herb Trimpe, but also from indie darlings like Noah Van Sciver and Ben Marra.
These are contradictions that Sam Bayer, in an exclusive interview with Den of Geek, owned. “All Time Comics is…a square with round edges,” he told us. “It has combinations of sincere earnestness in this endeavor, some attempts to be straight, some touches of satire, and a few other things as well.”
“Think of these as the weird superhero comics from 1979 that you never read.”
The project “evolved organically,” says Bayer. He and his brother Sam, a legendary music video director behind “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Blind Melon’s “No Rain,” have been collaborating off and on for 20 years. He brought the ideas, characters and a budget to Josh (“Every Velvet Underground needs an Andy Warhol behind it,” he said), who has been making underground comics for almost 30 years, and Josh reached out to a colleague from Fantagraphics who helped them put the entire project together. Having a budget available allowed them to reach out to Trimpe and Milgrom “legend[s] in comics” who get left behind by the industry all too frequently.
But having them on board for ATC is a joy because their generation is where the roots of this universe firmly lie: “Steve Gerber’s Defenders and Omega the Unknown, Al Milgrom’s art from Secret Wars 2, ROM [Spaceknight]” are all comics from where he drew inspiration. “I think a perfect comic is Daredevil 219 by Frank Miller, John Buscema, and the great inker Gary Talaoc.”
Nowhere is that influence of mid period Marvel more evident than in the structure of the universe and its heroes. The shared universe aspect will make the reader feel as if she has been dropped into a bustling super-hero world mid-story: one comic issue “that’s got 170 other issues [surrounding] it,” but that make the story feel lived in rather than heavy.
As for the characters, Blind Justice is Batman filtered through Raymond Chandler and Death Wish, “a mentally imbalanced crime fighting zealot” who “lives in a broken down trauma ward…pretending to be catatonic.” The bandaged crime fighter is the street-level hero of the ATC universe.
Atlas is the character with the most traditional superhero trappings. He works as a mild-mannered city planning employee by day, “an agency we picked because it sounds so ‘comic books,’” (something sure to tickle the nerds over in city planning) who discovered massive alien machines beneath Optic City that transformed him into Atlas. He was granted super strength, flight, and Ultra Matter Vision, but fear can cripple his powers.
Atlas is the most super powered character. He can fly and lift mountains and has special Ultra Matter Vision. He discovered these massive alien machines in tunnels under Optic City while working as a city planning employee - which is an agency we picked because it sounds so ‘comic books,’ like it’s full of important business that reader doesn't have to quite understand it to get it, the same way a wall of machinery in a superheroes headquarters is accepted as evidence of functioning high tech science. He was transformed into Atlas, and his powers are dependent on him not becoming afraid. Fear can kill his abilities, so if he becomes afraid in the middle of a mission he can die. It’s a potent idea and goes back to the idea of a superhero with fatal flaws of who operates under magical principles that can get erased with a single thought.
Stem DeFrieze is Crime Destroyer, a riff on classic ‘70s anti-heroes.
“My brother loves the film Rolling Thunder, and my favorite 70s post-war revenge film is Johnny Thundercloud,” said Bayer. DeFrieze watches his family murdered before his very eyes, so to get his revenge on the criminal filth who did that to him, he puts on a battle suit with shoulder pads shaped like fists, grabs an enormous gun, kits out a Trans Am with LMGs and goes to town on crime. Readers will note from the attached graphic that this description significantly undersells the banananess of his costume.
Bullwhip is the lone woman hero in the lineup, and the biggest surprise to Bayer to write. He was concerned because “writing a female character was a new thing” for him, but he was so full of ideas for her world that she was a blast. She is mission-oriented, has no life outside of her work as a superhero, and has a full Rogues Gallery that keep her busy.
And, of course, no comic universe would be complete without a handbook guide to accompany it, which Bayer and company have produced in painstaking, glorious detail. All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer #1is in comic shops this March. Stay with Den of Geek for more news about this and other more predictable comics.
Remember the comic book from the newest Logan trailer? We know who drew it now.
You know how the whole internet was freaking out about the comics from the new Logan trailer? Okay, by "whole internet" I may mean like, 7 of us. But in our defense, they're great looking comic pages that signal some weird, weird timeline stuff for the upcoming movie.
Putting an end to the speculation, Joe Quesada, the artist behind Batman: Sword of Azrael and X-Factor #87 and also the Chief Creative Officer at Marvel posted on his Tumblr that he penciled the header pic, as well as others that will be used in the film. Dan Panosian then went over his linework to give it a "90s ink and coloring style."
These pages look outstanding, and even in early stages they look very different from Quesada's other work. Quesada's style is distinctive, exaggerate,d and muscular. Even today, there's a '90s feel to his art, like he captured all the excitement and energy of the art at the time, but it's also technically proficient and can compose more than just entertaining figures. But this art has none of the exaggeration, and looks almost photorealistic. Honestly, if I hadn't been scouring IMDB at the time and found Hardman's name as a storyboard artist (solid predicting record there, Jim!) I would have guessed Francesco Francavilla.
Either way, there's more process fun at the link, including inking and colored versions that give you a little glimpse of what might just be one of the X-Men's off-camera adventures in the movie universe. Check it out!