- RSS Channel Showcase 7885105
- RSS Channel Showcase 3466694
- RSS Channel Showcase 7729254
- RSS Channel Showcase 4887832
Articles on this Page
- 05/10/17--14:58: _Judge Dredd Becomes...
- 05/10/17--15:05: _Vampirella-Dark Sha...
- 05/10/17--16:37: _Spider-Man: Homecom...
- 05/11/17--13:30: _The Wild Storm #4 F...
- 05/11/17--14:00: _Krypton TV Series O...
- 05/11/17--15:07: _Syfy Developing Geo...
- 05/11/17--16:27: _American Gods Renew...
- 05/11/17--16:52: _Hail Hydra Website ...
- 05/12/17--18:39: _Mr. Miracle Series ...
- 05/13/17--10:45: _Guardians of the Ga...
- 05/14/17--01:51: _Guardians of the Ga...
- 05/14/17--23:26: _The Wild Storm #4 E...
- 05/15/17--10:09: _The Many Deaths of ...
- 05/15/17--12:35: _Doomsday Clock: Wat...
- 05/16/17--19:06: _The Flash Movie Dir...
- 05/17/17--01:11: _The 40 Best Moments...
- 05/17/17--02:35: _The Flash: Jay Garr...
- 05/17/17--13:41: _The Defenders Trail...
- 05/17/17--14:45: _New Robotech Comic ...
- 05/17/17--15:53: _Guardians of the Ga...
- 05/10/17--14:58: Judge Dredd Becomes a TV Series
- 05/10/17--15:05: Vampirella-Dark Shadows Crossover Comic Uncovered
- 05/10/17--16:37: Spider-Man: Homecoming: Zendaya Shoots Down Mary Jane Rumor
- 05/11/17--13:30: The Wild Storm #4 First Look
- 05/11/17--14:00: Krypton TV Series Ordered by Syfy
- 05/11/17--15:07: Syfy Developing George R.R. Martin Series Nightflyers
- 05/11/17--16:27: American Gods Renewed For Season 2
- 05/11/17--16:52: Hail Hydra Website Redirects To White House
- 05/12/17--18:39: Mr. Miracle Series Coming from King & Gerads
- 05/13/17--10:45: Guardians of the Galaxy: Everyone Who Was Ever a Member
- 05/14/17--01:51: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Explaining Those Other Characters
- 05/14/17--23:26: The Wild Storm #4 Exclusive First Look
- 05/15/17--10:09: The Many Deaths of Injustice: Gods Among Us
- 05/15/17--12:35: Doomsday Clock: Watchmen vs. DC Universe Project Revealed
- 05/17/17--01:11: The 40 Best Moments From the Injustice Comic Series
- 05/17/17--02:35: The Flash: Jay Garrick Returns to DC Comics Continuity!
- 05/17/17--13:41: The Defenders Trailer, Photos, Casting, Story Details & More!
- 05/17/17--14:45: New Robotech Comic Trailer Released
2000 AD's current publisher is taking matters into their own hands and partnering to produce the TV series Judge Dredd: Mega City One.
Ever since the gnarly and still vastly underrated Dredd movie from way back in 2012, many including this writer had been anxious to see a sequel with Karl Urban’s fine jawline on the poster. While that was sadly never to be, Judge Dredd is getting his day in court again, this time on the small screen. Indeed, Rebellion Developments, the game publisher who has owned the rights to Dredd and the larger 2000 AD comic book universe since 2000, announced Wednesday that it is partnering with IM Global Television to produce a television series called Judge Dredd: Mega City One.
The new series is described as a drama focusing on a team of street judges, law enforcement officers who act in a dystopian future as judge, jury, and executioner of criminals. The series is set in a grim 22nd century where the eastern seaboard of the United States has morphed into one giant sprawling metropolis called Mega City—the last refuge for law and order on an otherwise smoldering cinder. The series is also promised to deal with modern problems in its futuristic setting, including domestic terrorism and the tensions between the super-rich and disenfranchised.
“We’re very excited to be beginning the journey to get more of Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One on the television screen,” said Rebellion owners Jason Kingsley and Chris Kingsley. “Thanks to the legions of fans who have kept up pressure on social media, and a lot of background work and enthusiasm, we aim to make a big budget production that will satisfy both our vast comics audience and the even greater general screen-watching public.”
They also released the below video to explain how this may be the most exciting—and lasting—attempt to put Dredd in live-action yet.
Judge Dredd has previously been portrayed onscreen by Sylvester Stallone in an ill-fated 1995 action movie and again by Urban in the 2012 cult classic. The character and his universe was created by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, and Pat Mills in 1977’s 2000 AD #2.
The Collinsport Historical Society uncovers a secret Dark Shadows/Vampirella conspiracy among lost artifacts.
Dark Shadows is an icon of sixties television. The first spooky soap opera centered on a reluctant vampire, in love and remorseful, and a powerful witch, in love and vindictive, and lives on as a cult favorite. Vampirella is an iconic horror comic. One of the genre’s first bad girls gone good, Vampirella had all the powers of a vampire and a direct line to a fresh blood delivery service from outer space. According to the Collinsport Historical Society, the two disparate series also shared a secret.
There was a “secret crossover of sorts between the alien vampire from Drakulon and Dark Shadows back in 1972,” the Collinsport Historical Society wrote. Vampirella issue #19, "Shadow of Dracula," and #20, "When Wakes the Dead!" were tributes to Dark Shadows. Both issues were illustrated by the late José González Navarro, the subject of a series of documentaries by director Tony Macousqui called Love Strip.
“In the early 1980s, José González Navarro was one of the world's most admired comic book artists,” reads the official synopsis on the Love Strip trailer page on YouTube. “In April 2009, all his personal belongings were found in the rubbish.”
Macousqui took on the job of documenting the beloved artist. While sifting through the treasured finds, he came across the issues that were written by T. Casey Brennan, including two that bore extreme similarities to the sixties supernatural soap opera.
“He found all the Vampirella issues I wrote (17-21) and asked me to write a commentary on each,” Brennan tells Den of Geek.
“I rediscovered that story while preparing a written commentary on my 1972 Vampirella work for the web series Love Strip: The Life and Times of Pepe Gonzales,” Brennan says. “Had it not been for that, 'Shadow of Dracula' and it's connection to Lara Parker and Dark Shadows might have been lost for another 45 years or so.”
According to the Collingsport Historical Society, Brennan said he “asked the editor to send [Gonzalez] pictures of Lara Parker as Angelique. I carefully re-crafted Vampirella's Dracula into the intermittently repentant Barnabas. I set the story in my favorite Dark Shadows era – 1897. I used the standard Dark Shadows ploy of a look-alike relative for Dracula."
Brennan told the historical society that he wanted the likeness of the Dracula character to have looked like actor Jonathan Frid, but the artwork for that character was already established. Gonzalez was obsessed with Marilyn Monroe and, according to the Collinsport Historical Society, envisioned her as his Lucy Westenra. Brennan was haunted by another blonde.
"Lara Parker was clearly the anti-Marilyn," Brennan told the Collinsport Historical Society. "She was the blonde sweet Marilyn, without Marilyn's frailty, re-imagined for a more rebellious age. At the time I wrote that story, every girl I knew idolized Angelique. I'm certain one of the Warren bunch got a picture of her to Jose Gonzales."
The shadows darken as the details unfold about what went on in the pulp pages.
“This was a plot, every bit as rebellious as when the underground comics tried to steal Mickey Mouse ("Mickey and the Air Pirates"),” Brennan tells Den of Geek. “I conceived it, Gonzales was in on it; so was the editorial staff who sent him the photos of Angelique as I directed. We were going to steal the Lara Parker Angelique and give her one brief romp through Vampirella. Kept secret for 45 years, it is now revealed through Tony Macousqui's movie.
“When I got to ‘Shadow of Dracula,’ I decided to just tell Tony the whole thing,” Brennan says. “I had shown it to Katherine Leigh Scott [who played Maggie Evans on Dark Shadows], but it hadn't gone anywhere. After making the admission to Tony, I decided to take pictures of Lucy Westenra in the comic next to Lara Parker. Then the Collinsport Historical Society picked it up."
“When T. Casey Brennan showed me the art, he was ready to make his case that González was modeling the character on Lara,” Wallace McBride, editor of the Collinsport Historical Society, tells Den of Geek. “He'd asked the editors at Warren to forward González reference photos of the actress, but never knew until the book was published whether or not that paid him any attention. If you've seen Lara Parker, you already know she looked as if she had been drawn by González, but if you compare her hair style on Dark Shadows and the finished art, it's clearly her in the comic.”
The society’s chief editor appreciates the artistry.
“The really interesting thing about these issues of Vampirella, in my opinion, is seeing her drawn by José ‘Pepe’ González,” McBride saus. “González was a fine artist who just happened to be working in comics, so it’s a real treat to his work here.”
The cryptic curator says it proves the long-lasting appeal of the cult series.
“Lara's presence in Vampirella shouldn't be much of a surprise,” McBride says. “Comic creators have a long-running practice of slipping characters from the show, especially Barnabas Collins, into their work. You can see familiar faces from Collinsport in everything from issues of Marvel's The Avengers to Charlton's The Partridge Family comic. They were pop idols in their own right."
There was a six-part mini-series that crossed Barnabas Collins with Vampirella in 2012, “Sadly, that was too little, too late,” according to the Collinsport Historical Society article.
Vampirella made her first appearance in "Vampirella of Drakulon" by Forrest J. Ackerman and Tom Sutton in Sept. 1969. Vampirellacomes in at #35 on Buyer’s Guide’s “100 Sexiest Women in Comics” list.
Pepe González died in total poverty on April 7, 2009.
Disney star Zendaya talks about the rumor that she’s secretly playing Mary Jane in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Disney star Zendaya seems to be trying really, really hard to convince the fandom that her Spider-Man: Homecoming character Michelle is NOT actually the definitive love interest of the Wall-Crawler in Mary Jane Watson, as rumors have long-suggested. Despite some wordplay, she seems to be at a point of outright declaring that said rumor is untrue with purported certainty. – Should we believe her?
The latest example of Zendaya’s Spider-Man: Homecoming Mary Jane rumor debunking took place on a red carpet interview at the recent 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards. When asked the 800-lb. gorilla of a question regarding the Michelle/Mary Jane connection, Zendaya states:
“My character is 100 percent Michelle, that's her name. I promise you I'm not lying." Adding, “She’s a different character. This a character that I can have fun with and really create what I wanted to make her and the director [Jon Watts] had a lot of really cool ideas about how to make her weird and interesting and cool.”
Almost apropos to the headline-making new attribute of the media-combined MTV event of its gender-neutral awards, Zendaya’s character Michelle – seen in the various trailers and preview clips – walks a line of androgyny, presenting herself as a tough, no-nonsense tomboy high school student who seems to be watching the suspicious actions of her classmate in Tom Holland’s Peter Parker with a keen eye, implying some sort of awareness of his costumed, web-thwipping, wall-crawling activities as Spider-Man. As Zendaya adds of Michelle:
“She says weird things at the wrong time, but I think that’s why people like her. She’s like my spirit animal, how I feel on the inside.”
Nevertheless, Spider-Man: Homecoming stands as an opportunity to properly introduce Marvel’s main hero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe via cooperation with rights holders at Sony Pictures. However, since it’s also the third distinct film franchise iteration to exist within the short span of a decade, director Jon Watts had his work cut out for him in a major way, especially regarding Spider-Man’s love interest – previously Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane in director Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man film trilogy and Emma Stone as the tragedy-destined Gwen Stacy in director Marc Webb’s duo of The Amazing Spider-Man films – who this time around will be Laura Harrier’s Liz Allan.
Yet, with Zendaya, a glamorous Disney actress and pop star, cast to play Michelle, a female character in Peter’s life conspicuously sporting a first name that starts with “M,” rumors were sparked – with potent backing – that Michelle will, in fact, turn out to be Mary Jane. Indeed, Zendaya, possibly coached by the superb secrets keepers at Marvel Studios, chooses her words carefully in her denial. Thus, the (extremely likely) possibility that she’s lying or misleading would simply reflect a cat-and-mouse game with the media to patch plot leaks that's typical during the current comic book movie craze.
Consequently, it’s hard not to believe that Zendaya's installation in Homecoming is a pseudonym-sporting, slow-burning device designed to facilitate the film series version of the famous full-face reveal of Mary Jane as a blind date Peter initially scoffed at seeing in 1966's The Amazing Spider-Man #42 in an iconic issue-ending panel, the culmination of over a year of teases and references. Indeed, "Michelle" could eventually undergo an Eliza Doolittle-like reinvention leading to a reveal that her name was a rebellious alteration to "Mary Jane."
Spider-Man: Homecoming might not get around to definitively revealing the identity of Zendaya’s Michelle, but it will showcase some spectacularly amazing action when the film hits theaters on July 7.
Exclusive first glimpse at the next issue of The Wild Storm
Krypton, Syfy's series about Superman's grandfather will arrive in early 2018.
Announced back in December of 2014, Syfy's Kryptonwill take the Gothamroute, and tell a pre-Superman story. So if Smallvilledidn't go far enough back for you, Krypton should do the trick. Syfy has ordered Krypton to series. The pilot will be directed by Colm McCarthy, and written by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Ian Goldberg (Once Upon a Time). Sleepy Hollow's Damian Kindler is on board as series showrunner.
I did a detailed analysis of it with screengrabs that you can read by clicking here. Despite the prominent mention of the name Kal-El, and the repeated use of the House of El crest (you know, Superman's "S") this trailer at least looks like Krypton is going to forge more of its own path than other notable TV prequels like Gotham or Smallville.
What might be the most interesting development here is that it at least appears to take place in the same universe as the DC superhero movies, rather than the TV shows. The aesthetic on display here is heavily influenced by what we saw in Man of Steel, from the color scheme of Krypton itself, to the design of the House of El crest, to the overall texture of the costumes and sets.
Krypton Release Date
You can expect Krypton to arrive on Syfy in early 2018.
Krypton TV Story
Here's the closest thing to an official synopsis we have right now.
Set two generations before the destruction of the legendary Man of Steel’s home planet, Krypton follows Superman’s grandfather (Cameron Cuffe, The Halcyon) — whose House of El was ostracized and shamed — as he fights to redeem his family’s honor and save his beloved world from chaos.
"It takes place 200 years before Man of Steel," Mr. Goyer told ComicBook.com at a press junket back in October. Whether he means it's actually intended as a prequel to the film version of Krypton remains to be seen. Warner Bros. has so far been cagey about crossing over their film and TV universes. It sounds possible, though, as Mr. Goyer also said they had "only scratched the surface" in the first act of Man of Steel.
Krypton TV Cast and Characters
Camerone Cuffe (who recently appeared in Florence Foster Jenkins) will play Superman's grandfather, Seg-El. Varietyhas some character details:
"Seg-El is the scion of the once prosperous El family and is blessed with an intuitive brilliance for all things technical. He is now living in Krypton’s lowest caste after his family was stripped of its rank."
In addition to Mr. Cuffe as Seg-El, Georgina Campbell will play Lyta Zod, who is, as you expect, an ancestor of Superman villain General Zod. According to Deadline, Lyta Zod "is a member of Krypton’s military caste and the daughter of a general, Alura Zod. Lyta Zod serves as a cadet — and has also been having a clandestine, forbidden romance with Seg-El (Superman's paternal grandfather)."
Ian McElhinney (Barristan Selmy on Game of Thrones) will play Seg-El's grandfather, Val-El. According to Deadline, Val is "a rogue genius who believes that space exploration is a basic form of self-defense, and he has tried, without success, to warn the Kryptonian elite about the arrival of an ancient threat." Could that be Brainiac? An earlier TV Line description said "Seg’s genius grandpa defied death by going into the Phantom Zone, and is a staunch believer in space exploration."
Elliot Cowan is Daron Vex, "the Chief Magistrate of Kandor. His real business is defending Krypton’s established oligarchy against heretics and dissidents."
Ann Ogbomo (World War Z) is Primus Alura Zod, "Lyta Zod’s mother and a leader of Krypton’s military guild. She is an extremely tough and demanding training officer."
Rasmus Hardiker (Your Highness) is Kem, "a brilliant engineer as well as Seg-El’s best friend and partner in an underground tech-repair business."
Wallis Day (The Royals) is Nyssa Vex, "a junior magistrate and the daughter of Daron Vex."
Aaron Pierre (Tennison) is Dev-Em, "a cadet under the command of Primus Alura Zod." Incidentally, Dev-Em is from the comics, and is one of the Phantom Zone criminals who periodically ends up on Earth to annoy Superman. Dev-Em was a background character in Man of Steel, for example.
(thanks to Deadlinefor the casting descriptions above)
We'll get you more on Kryptonas we hear it.
A television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s novella and 1987 movie Nightflyers is coming to Syfy.
Nightflyers stands as one of George R.R. Martin’s more intriguing pre-Game of Thrones space science-fiction offerings, starting as a 1980 novella, eventually inspiring a schlocky, limited-release 1987 film adaptation. However, it appears that the Literary God of Death’s old property is about to be reincarnated as a television series over at Syfy.
Syfy has announced that a Nightflyers television series is in development. The story of the George R.R. Martin-conceived supernatural space thriller is set on the eve of Earth’s destruction, depicting the travails of the crew of the most advanced ship in the galaxy in the titular spacecraft the Nightflyer. Adrift in space without a planet to call home, the goal of the surviving humans is to intercept a mysterious alien ship which is believed to hold the key for their survival. However, as the ship closes in on its destination, it becomes apparent that the Nightflyer’s onboard AI and its elusive captain – with mysterious motivations – may be leading the crew on a primrose path ending in the hopeless, horrific darkness of deep space.
The genesis of Nightflyers occurred with George R.R. Martin’s original 1980 novella of the same name for which he received Japan’s Seiun Award in 1983 for Best Foreign Language Short Story of the Year. The story was subsequently collected as the title entry in Martin’s 1985 Nightflyers collection. The 1987 film adaptation, directed by Robert Collector (Jungle Warriors), starred perennial 1980s movie love interest Catherine Mary Stewart and Dynasty’s Michael Praed, manifesting with a limited release that grossed a paltry $1.145 million dollars at the box office (and sent Martin back to television to write for Beauty and the Beast).
Nightflyers will see Martin’s original story adapted for television by screenwriter Jeff Buhler, who wrote the 2008 Bradley Cooper-starring horror film The Midnight Meat Train and is working on the upcoming horror thriller remake Jacob’s Ladder. Onboard as executive producers are Gene Klein, David Bartis and Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity franchise blockbuster director Doug Liman, all of whom are representing production company Hypnotic, which Liman co-owns with Bartis. Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films along with Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions are also onboard. Additionally, Robert Jaffe, who wrote the screenplay for the 1987 Nightflyers film, is onboard the series as a producer.
However, it doesn’t appear that Martin himself has planned any involvement with the series, at least for now. Thus, the knee-jerk calls from book fans to get back to work on the long-delayed The Winds of Winter from his A Song of Ice and Fire novels on which Game of Thrones is based can be temporarily quelled.
American Gods Season 2 will be happening! Starz has renewed the Neil Gaiman adaptation for another season.
American Gods Season 2 is a go!
The adaptation of the bestselling Neil Gaiman novel about the battle of the Old God and the New Gods in contemporary America has only aired two episodes of its eight-episode first season so far, but it already has the greenlight to continue on with its story. According to the Starz press release, the premiere episode garnered more than five million viewers.
This is good news both for fans of the book and fans of good TV. The first season of American Gods is only slated to get through about a third or so of the book, which means — if we want to see the rest of this weird, wonderful tale brought to life — we need a Season 2... and 3... and, you know what, we'll take as many as we can get. (There's also American Gods spinoff novel Anansi Boys to consider.)
In a press release from Starz, the premium cable network's Starz programming president Carmi Zlotnik said executive producers Bryan Fuller, Michael Green and Neil Gaiman "have evolved the art form of television narratively, structurally and graphically with American Gods, and we’re thrilled to be working again with these artists as they continue to build the worlds and wars of the gods."
Um, agreed. We gave the first four episodes of American Gods Season 1 a five-star review, writing: "If you dive into this tale of existential questioning, the narrative journey will be more than worth any lost sanity."
American Gods Season 2 Release Date
American Gods Season 2 will likely premiere mid-2018, along the same schedule as American Gods Season 1.
In a recent panel discussion hosted by yours truly, Fuller, Green and Gaiman confirmed that Season 1 would end at the point in the book just before Shadow Moon, Mr. Wednesday & Co. arrive at House on the Rock.
Nothing surprises us anymore, not even Hydra taking over the White House.
For a brief distraction, feel free to hit up www.hail-hydra.com, a simple redirect and a fairly obvious joke that takes on a new dimension when put in the context of the increasingly bizarre comedy that is American politics.
In the pages of Marvel Comics at the moment, the controversial Secret Empire story is unfolding, in which it has been revealed that Captain America was actually a Hydra sleeper agent this entire time, and has now come forward to seize control of the Marvel Universe. This is, of course, coincidental, as Marvel has nothing to do with the Hail-Hydra.com domain, and there are no real world parallels to this.
Hydra is an evil secret society and Nazi offshoot that has operated in the shadows of the Marvel Universe since World War II, but let’s be realistic. President Trump isn’t a supervillain, a member of a shadowy secret society, or an evil genius (or any kind of genius for that matter). And while Captain America is indeed a strong man, Donald Trump is fond of strongmen of an entirely different variety, especially ones who operate without masks and who use real names like Putin and Duterte.
Anyway, the idea that outside forces could somehow manipulate our government is, of course, way too far-fetched for even us to believe. No need to go mixing politics and entertainment, after all.
The team behind Sheriff of Babylon tackles one of Jack Kirby's greatest creations.
DC Comics just announced a new book for August: Mister Miracle, from writer Tom King and Mitch Gerads. This is wonderful news.
Scott Free is the son of Highfather, ruler of Jack Kirby's utopian New Genesis and thinly veiled analogue for Judeo-Christian God. Free was traded to Darkseid, ruler of Hell stand-in Apokalips, in an effort to secure peace between the two warring worlds. He was raised by Granny Goodness in a Terror Orphanage until he escaped and came to Earth, where he trained as an escape artist, fought crime as part of the Justice League International, and eventually won his freedom officially from Apokalips.
Kirby's Fourth World is one of the richest, densest, most impenetrable arcs of his entire career. It's all thoughtful religious allegory, but it's also incredibly difficult for other creative teams to put their own take on because it's so distinctly Kirby. That seems to be changing now - Mike and Lee Allred are tackling Forager in the Young Animal Bug series in a way that looks to be tying it to the greater DC mythology, while The Kamandi Challenge is giving 12 different teams the chance to play with Kirby's Last Boy on Earth.
King and Gerads are the award-nominated team behind The Sheriff of Babylon, a Vertigo murder mystery set in post-war Iraq that was consistently one of the best books out. King, who is nominated for multiple Eisners for his work on Sheriff, Batman, and Vision is one of the hottest writers in comics right now. His methodical pacing and attention to structure, matched perfectly by Gerads' loose but also vaguely photoreal art in Sheriff, and the two of them are a nearly ideal match for Kirby's greatest work. Expect this book to be a loose thematic sequel to Vision, a book about a suburban dad stuck in a cycle of ennui, inertia, and fights with giant monsters.
Mister Miracle #1 hits stores August 9th. NOW LOOK AT THE PRETTY PREVIEW ART.
Only know Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Groot? You only know a tiny fraction of the insane history of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy!
With the continued success of the film franchise with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the big screen versions of the team are now household names. Comic fans have known the names Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot for decades, and now, mainstream fans have learned the sheer coolness of this space fairing fivesome as well. But these five aren’t the only heroes who have had the honor of calling themselves Guardians of the Galaxy.
The story of the Guardians was originally set one thousand years in the future and for many solar cycles, they were the protectors of the future of the Marvel Universe. Creators like Arnold Drake, Gene Colan, Steve Gerber, and Jim Valentino guided the adventures of the future heroes until Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning launched their own team of Guardians in the present...a team that included a sentient tree, a take no prisoners space raccoon, two emerald skinned maniacs, and a brave and well meaning space outlaw. It’s time to take a look at all the monsters, gods, swashbucklers, aliens, and heroes that have made up the history of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Tomorrow’s Heroes Today...the Original Guardians of the Galaxy
Major Vance Astro, aka, Major Victory
First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969)
Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan
For a long time, Vance Astro served as the heart of the Guardians. To truly understand the legacy of the team, one must first understand this time lost hero. Astro is a mutant gifted with powers of telekinesis and, in the future, he will be the first man to try and reach Alpha Centurai. As an Earth man from the past, Astro proudly serves the Guardians of the Galaxy in their battle against the Badoon.
Oh, but things don’t end there.
In the present day Marvel timeline, Astro becomes an Avenger known as Justice and set a heroic precedent that many will look to in the future for inspiration. In the future, Astro will change his name to Major Victory and will be the proud wielder of the shield of Captain America, keeping the legacy of Steve Rogers alive. He will also become bonded to the Venom symbiote bringing the legacy of one of Spider-Man's greatest foes into the future. Astro played a part in the late and lamented Guardians 3000 comic series and has served side by side with Star-Lord’s present day Guardians.
First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969)
Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan
Every proper team of super-heroes needs some muscle, and before Drax and Groot, the Guardians’ heavy was Charlie 27. The original concept of the Guardians was a group of heroes from different planets that had to defend the Milky Way from the despotic Badoon. Charlie 27 was the team’s representative from Jupiter. He was genetically engineered to withstand Jupiter’s crushing gravity, so he was really freakin’ big...like Ben Grimm big.
Where Vance Astro was the heart of the Guardians, Charlie was their strength, but he wasn’t just muscle. Charlie 27 had a keen military mind and for years, wherever the original Guardians appeared, readers could count on Charlie 27 to bust some heads. Charlie was an integral part of the Guardians from the '70s to the '90s and will also be returning in Guardians 3000 later this year.
First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969)
Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan
We covered heart and strength, now we have the Guardians’ brains, Martinex of Pluto. Now, we aren't sure how the crystalline Martinex feels about his native Pluto no longer being considered a planet, but Martinex has long been the tech and science expert of the original Guardians and probably the most visually stunning character on the original team. His crystal body helps protect him from the freezing atmosphere of Pluto but it also helps him stand out even in the biggest George Perez rendered gathering of multiple heroes.
Martinex proudly served the original Guardians as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy offshoot squad, the Galactic Guardians. He might be the hero most often mistaken for Bobby Drake, but Martinex was a great hero and a classic character in his own right. He brought a little Spock to the party with his scientific acumen but his energy blasts and impenetrable skin also made him a force to be reckoned with for the Badoon.
First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (1969)
Created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan
The spirit of the original Guardians, Yondu is the only initial member of the team who was not from the Milky Way. Yondu was originally from Centurai 4, the first planet colonized by humans. He is a skilled tracker, hunter, and archer and has the visually awesome ability to guide the flight of his arrows by whistling. The most alien of the Guardians was in many ways the most human as he spent the early parts of the series trying to find his place in the universe.
Yondu served with the Guardians for a long time and, like his fellow three original members fought the Badoon in the future, came to the present to fight Korvac alongside Thor, teamed with the Defenders, and, like the rest of his team, even joined the modern day Avengers for a short period of time.
Things Get Strange...the Steve Gerber Era
First appearance: The Defenders #27 (1975)
Created by Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema
Ok, this is where things getting confusing. We know Starhawk is awesome. We know Starhawk is a being whose form is shared by both the male Stakar of the House of Ogord and his wife Aleta Ogord. We know Aleta blamed Stakar for the death of their children and despises the estranged husband she must share a form with. We know that Starhawk is enigmatic and a classic anti-hero. It’s all very muddled, but in a cool Bronze Agey sort of way.
After his debut, other than Vance Astro, Starhawk was pretty much the central Guardians character until the turnover to the modern day. By the way, somehow, somewhere it was revealed that Starhawk was the son of Quasar which gives him another deep connection to Marvel’s cosmic legacy. On a related note, we really miss Quasar.
First appearance: Marvel Presents #4 (1976)
Created by Steve Gerber and Al Milgrom
Nikki was the second new member of the team introduced by Gerber, and in this flame headed native of Mercury, Gerber found a way to ground the cosmic entities of the Guardians. Nikki was the precocious young female character before Kitty Pryde made it cool. She contrasted the often dead serious other members of the team with a hot tempered, wise cracking sharp shooter that popped off the page both visually and because of her happy-go-lucky attitude.
The early Guardians of the Galaxy stories were always high concept but at times, they could be a bit dry. That all ended with the introduction of Nikki, the team’s first female member. Nikki had romantic entanglements with Charlie 27 and she gave a whole new meaning to the term hot blooded. Gamora might be the kick ass female most associated with the Guardians now, but that tradition began with the fiery Nikki.
An Image of the Future...the Jim Valentino Era
First appearance: The Defenders #29 (1975)
Created by Steve Gerber and Sal Buscema
She is best known as the female half of the usually male Starhawk, but Aleta Ogord was a member of the Guardians as well. Aleta had more passion and zest for life than her often cold and clinical husband did. When she was finally freed from her husband, Aleta gained the power to manipulate light and began a romantic relationship with Vance Astro which created all sorts of friction between teammates. Aleta was the more human (even for an Arcturian) half of one of the strangest unions in cosmic comic history.
First appearance: Thor #225 (Jul 1974)
Created by Gerry Conway and John Buscema
Fifteen years after Steve Gerber took the Guardians to places undreamed of, Marvel launched the Guardians into their own title in 1990. Jim Valentino, one of the original Image Comics seven, took the helm of their adventures and introduced some power to the team early in the series’ run with the former herald of Galactus, Firelord.
Firelord is powerful...like Silver Surfer level powerful...like able to go toe-to-toe with Thor powerful. In the present day Marvel universe, Firelord was a figure of ambiguous morality: he had honor but still once served the planet eating Galactus. In the 31st century timeline, Firelord was the Protector of the Universe, a position once held by the heroic Captain Mar-Vell and Quasar. Firelord is more historically associated with Galactus, but for a time, he was the most powerful member of the Guardians.
First appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #9 (1991)
Created by Jim Valentino
Replica is linked to two majorly infamous cosmic villainous groups. She was a Skrull, those dastardly shape shifters that might be the most reviled race in the Marvel cosmos and a member of the Church of Universal Truth, a hyper orthodox and heavily armed cosmic religion that has bedeviled Adam Warlock, Captain Mar-Vell, and the Avengers many times in the past.
Replica was a rare and shining example of goodness in unexpected places. She had all the shape changing powers of her native race but none of their murderous tendencies. She had the devout faith of her beliefs, but didn’t force it on others. She turned her back on both her Church and her race by joining the heroic Guardians. She helped take out the Grand Inquisitor of her Church and assisted the Guardians in bringing down the Stark, a race of aliens who worship Tony Stark and use Iron Man armor to subjugate planets. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.
Can someone make sure Kevin Feige and James Gunn are aware of the Stark, please?
First appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #18 (1991)
Created by Jim Valentino
Legend has it that Jim Valentino wanted to have Wolverine join the Guardians but then editor-in-chief Bob Harras balked at the idea of establishing that Wolverine survives 1000 years into the future, so Valentino created Talon. Now, there really hasn’t been a greater example of '90s excess than ol’ Talon. Talon was a member of the Inhumans, which was kind of cool because it tied another long standing cosmic Marvel property to the Guardians but that’s pretty much where the coolness stopped in regards to this orange furred feline Guardian.
As a Wolverine cipher, Talon had the razor sharp claws and bad attitude, but he was more of a party boy, which made him more annoying than badass. In 1991, Talon was way more host of MTV’s Headbangers Ball Riki Rachtman than he was Wolverine.
Other than great strength and agility, Talon had the ability to launch his finger and toe nails. Now that’s just freakin’ gross. Valentino upped the power quotient of the character later in his run by making the fungus shooting fur ball the new Sorcerer Supreme, but it wasn’t enough. Talon was just excessive, gross, derivative, annoying, and eventually turned into a semi-villain after being nearly crippled.
Space Raccoons yes, toenail shooting orange cat wizard people, no.
First appearance: Avengers # 264 (1986)
Created by Roger Stern and John Buscema
Rita DeMara was one of the most fascinating members in Guardians history. She was a tether to the past for the futuristic team, a former member of Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil trying to make up for her past misdeeds in the far flung future. After she abandoned Zemo in the present, the former thief who stole one of Hank Pym’s Yellowjacket costumes found herself trapped one thousand years in the future where she went on a fantastic voyage into Charlie 27’s brain and saved the life of the team's resident powerhouse. From there, Yellowjacket was accepted into the fold and became one of their most loyal members, even forging a close friendship with Nikki. Finally, after growing homesick, Yellowjacket decided to return home.
She could have been quite the story engine for Marvel, the former villain turned hero who touched the future, but poor Rita was murdered at the beginning of the legendarily awful Avengers story arc, The Crossing. If you never read The Crossing, consider yourself lucky as it began with a throwaway death of a former Guardian with tons of story potential and got progressively worse from there. Thankfully, Rita was resurrected during the Chaos War and with connections to Marvel’s next two big film franchises, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man; things probably bode well for a return of the yesterday girl that experienced tomorrow.
First appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #17 (1991)
Created by Jim Valentino
Jim Valentino’s run on Guardians was filled with hits and misses, but when the Image founder hit, he hit hard. This wise and experienced hero was actually Simon Williams, the Avenger once known as Wonder Man. In the present day, Wonder Man had his share of hardships, so seeing the crusader in the future gave long time Avengers reader a happy ending of sorts for their beloved ionic-powered hero.
Hollywood was the most popular film star in the galaxy but he still bravely fought side by side with the Guardians and the team’s offshoot, the Galactic Guardians. It was unique experiencing a modern day hero still vital so far in the future and provided Valentino and the Guardians with a tether to the past while giving the readers a familiar icon to rally behind in the sometimes unfamiliar future.
First appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #5 (1990)
Created by Jim Valentino
Speaking of classic Avengers in the future, Mainframe was actually the Vision. In the Guardians' future, the Vision had evolved to make up the operating system of an entire planet. Calling himself Mainframe, this hero from the past was tasked with protecting the shield of Captain America and later joined the Galactic Guardians. No matter if he is a humanoid or a being evolved into the technology of an entire planet, the Vision is always a hero.
First appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #11 (1991)
Created by Jim Valentino
One of the past Guardians who is probably guaranteed to never appear in a Guardians film, (because Fox lawyers are more powerful than the Infinity Gems).
Giraud was once a proud resident of New Haven, (not the one in Connecticut) a world inhabited by mutants. When his planet was in danger, Giraud was possessed by the Phoenix Force in order to save his people, and like Jean Grey, Giraud, with all his heroic ideals, took a dark turn. When Giraud contracted a deadly virus, he went insane and makes with the planet destroying (thankfully uninhabited). Giraud, like the other past wielders of the Phoenix Force realized what a terrible burden being a space god of ultimate destruction was and pulled away from the Guardians, but not before he joined the Galactic Guardians and fought a future version of Korvac.
Man, that’s a lot of cosmic forces of destruction gathered in one place.
Spirit of Vengeance
First appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #12 (1991)
Created by Jim Valentino
In the '90s, Ghost Rider was everywhere. It was impossible to swing a hell-forged bike chain without hitting a flame headed pursuer of vengeance. The future was no different, as the Ghost Rider of tomorrow, the Spirit of Vengeance joined with Guardians lore by fighting side-by-side with the Guardians and eventually joining the Galactic Guardians.
The Spirit of Vengeance was Wileaydus Autolycus for the planet Sarka, a member of the Universal Church of Truth who turned against the zealotry of his religion and, like Replica, joined the Guardians. The Spirit of Vengeance wanted to atone for his Church’s sins and rode his Death Cycle across the spaceways seeking to purify his religion. The Ghost Rider boom of the '90s soon faded after Autoycus’ debut but in our opinion, there is always room for a vengeance seeking alien on a space motorcycle.
The Road to the Big Screen Begins...the Abnett and Lanning Era
First appearance: Marvel Preview #4 (1976)
Created by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan
Before he was a Guardian, Peter Quill starred in his own series of black-and-white features. He was created by Steve Englehart but when the writer left Marvel, the character was taken in a new and more space opera like direction by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont. In fact, the first time Claremont’s most famous X artist John Byrne worked with the writer was on Star-Lord. Despite that level of talent involved with the early Star-Lord, the character quickly faded into trivial obscurity until he returned in the Annihilation event.
Star-Lord epitomizes what makes the modern Guardians so special, he was a forgotten character bursting with potential until he was dusted off by Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning and given a chance to shine. Now, Marvel has a multimedia franchise character on their hands thanks to the work of these three great writers.
The tale of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy is the story about of a group of rejects who become heroes, and the characters featured in the new Guardians were heroes Marvel had almost forgotten about. No one exemplifies that more than Star-Lord, the face of the Guardians and a leader who is now familiar to sci-fi fans all over the world. Since the first Guardians film, Peter Quill has continued to lead the Guardians, became an Emperor of the Spartax Empire, discovered the identity of his father (it ain’t a Living Planet in the comics), had a star crossed romance with X-Men stalwart Kitty Pryde, and was stranded on Earth where he got involved in a second super hero Civil War.
First appearance: Iron Man #55 (1973)
Created by Mike Friedrich and Jim Starlin
Although he wasn't nearly as obscure as Star-Lord, Drax was still an underused character in the world of cosmic Marvel. Drax’s original sole purpose was to destroy Thanos, the being who murdered the future Guardian and nearly killed his daughter. Thanos’ father Mentor needed a killing machine to take out his death worshipping son and used the spirit of the recently murdered Arthur Douglas to create a being with enough rage to fuel his weapon against Thanos. Thus, Arthur Douglas became Drax.
Drax popped around the Marvel Universe, appearing in Iron Man, Thor, Avengers, Warlock, and Logan’s Run (Whhhaaattt?) becoming a semi-constant space mainstay. Drax joined Adam Warlock’s Infinity Watch after the events of the Infinity Gauntlet and became a familiar sight to fans of cosmic Marvel. But alas, Drax was just a supporting character to Adam Warlock and Thanos, never truly defining himself as a compelling character away from his friend and sworn enemy. Until Drax became a Guardian that is.
Will future films give us the inevitable Thanos and Drax confrontation? Whatever direction Marvel chooses to go with Drax, it is amazing to think that a former supporting character to Adam Warlock is now a huge film star. And what a star, Drax is one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe. You can be sure Marvel has huge things in store for this very literal minded monster. Fun fact, did you know that Drax is a world class saxophone player? The more you know.
First appearance: Strange Tales #180 (1975)
Created by Jim Starlin
Like Drax, Gamora, the deadliest woman in the galaxy, was also deeply embroiled in the Jim Starlin era Warlock and Thanos stories. She is the daughter of Thanos and former lover of Adam Warlock.
The coolest part about witnessing the arrival of the Guardians is that the entire team is made up of concepts and ideas from different ages of Marvel comics dreamed up by some of the most legendary comic creators of those eras. Think about it, you have a core concept created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan added to characters created by Englehart, Claremont, and Starlin.
Gamora represents decades of innovative cosmic storytelling in one deadly package presented to the world in such a way that she can become a legend. That’s the power of the Guardians, taking the once forgotten and making it into something special.
Recently, Marvel Comics told the tale of Gamora’s origin as the Most Dangerous Woman in the Galaxy continues to be one of Marvel’s most important and intriguing female leads.
First appearance: Marvel Preview #7 (1976)
Created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen
Nowhere is the idea of the forgotten becoming legendary more evident than in Rocket Raccoon. It’s hard to imagine there was a time where Rocket wasn’t a core member of the Guardians, but in fact, that time was not long ago at all. In recent memory, Rocket was a punch line, a trivia question, an oddity, now, he is America’s favorite space hero, a modern day Flash Gordon who, through excellent storytelling and brilliant marketing, is Marvel’s favorite talking animal (sorry Howard).
Rocket first appeared in the pages of an obscure black-and-white back up feature before popping up in the pages of the Incredible Hulk and finally in his own mini-series. Bill Mantlo infused the character with a likability that transcended the rodent’s comical appearance. Who would have ever believed that Marvel’s next film sensation would be Rocket and his team of space losers? It just goes to show that with the Mouse’s marketing machine and the talent of Marvel’s creators, both in film and comics, anything is possible. And Rocket has soared since the first film taking part in every big Marvel event and storyline. The angry space rodent is now rubbing shoulders with Spider-Man and the Hulk and continues to be a testament to the creative vision of the great Bill Mantlo.
First appearance: Tales to Astonish #13 (1960)
Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Dick Ayers
Also from the anything is possible department, we have Groot. We’ve tracked the creation of the other members of the film Guardians, but Groot stretches back even further than the beginnings of the Marvel Universe. Groot was one of the many giant monsters created by Lee and Kirby in the pre-Marvel superhero era. In his initial appearance, Groot, the Monarch of Planet X tried to take over the Earth until a scientist destroyed him using termites. Yes, a pretty ignominious defeat for a monarch, but Groot’s greatest days were to come, even if he had to wait 48 years for them.
Despite not appearing for almost half a century, Groot was included in the new Guardians. At first he was played for laughs, acting like an arrogant monarch and getting destroyed a lot, but then, as he lost vocabulary, he gained likeability. As his ability to speak diminished, Groot became a more gentle soul, the most loyal member of the Guardians, the closest thing to a Chewbacca the team has. Think about it, a forgotten Kirby creation, a character that should be a one note joke appeared in movies before Doctor Strange, Black Panther, or Captain Marvel! Of course, we now live in the era of Baby Groot and Disney is ready to fill a Scrooge McDuck like money bin with the coin they are going to make of that lil' adorable Guardian.
First appearance: Fantastic Four #66-67 (1967) Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Adam Warlock was once the central figure of the cosmic Marvel Universe. He recently played a major role in Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians, but the being formerly known as Him has been absent from the scene for awhile, although with Jim Starlin back at Marvel, that will probably change very soon.
Poor Warlock, think about it, three of his supporting cast will be major players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanos, Drax, and Gamora will soon all become household names and Warlock is nowhere to be seen. With so many of his cast playing major roles in the Marvel films, could Warlock be far behind? It’s hard to imagine an Infinity Gauntlet adaptation without him, isn’t it? And from all hints and clues, after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, that wait may just be over.
First appearance: Avengers #112 (1973)
Created by Steve Englehart and Don Heck
One of the biggest miracles of Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy run was that they found a way to present Mantis and not make her annoying. Mantis was introduced in Steve Englehart’s run on the Avengers in the "Celestial Madonna" storyline. The Celestial Madonna arc was conceptually sound but any Bronze Age fan will tell you, it lasted for freakin’ ever.
Mantis is a martial artist who achieved cosmic awareness and was supposed to be the woman who conceived a new galactic messiah. She had a really annoying way of talking, referring to herself as “This one,” and kind of pissing off her teammates by coming on to most of the male members of the team. She tried to get with Vision, Thor, and Hawkeye before settling on the Swordsman who she conceived her child with before going all ghostie and disappearing. She returned but wasn’t utilized much until she joined the Guardians.
As a precog, she was a great asset to Peter Quill and even lost her annoying speech patterns but kept her super cute antennae. She was an integral part of the early days of the Guardians and was recently reunited with Star-Lord. She was the first modern day character to be a member of both the Avengers and the Guardians, but “this one” wouldn’t be the last.
First appearance: Micronauts #1 (1979)
Created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden
Abnett and Lanning really delved into every corner of the cosmic Marvel Universe in order to assemble their first team of Guardians. Bug was a proud member of the Micronauts, a comic adaptation of a '70s toy line from the legendary toy company Mego that ran way longer than the toys were on store shelves.
Bug was a swashbuckling ladies man in the Guardians, an acrobatic troublemaker who gave the team a roguish element. Bug even accompanied the Guardians to Earth in their first post Abnett and Lanning appearance in Avengers Assemble, but the suave humanoid insect didn’t make the cut when Marvel launched the Guardians into a new series. One has to wonder if Bug’s inclusion in Avengers Assemble was done because there were aborted plans to include Bug in the film. I guess we’ll never know unless we can BUG Kevin Feige’s office.
First appearance: Captain America #434 (1994)
Created by Mark Gruenwald and Dave Hoover
For a lameass character with red-white-and blue hair, Jack Flag certainly has appeared in some awesome books. He was a large part of Warren Ellis’ Civil Warera run on Thunderbolts where he was crippled and imprisoned in the Negative Zone for defying the Superhuman Registration Act. In the prison, confined to a wheelchair, Jack met the Guardians and was instantly taken with the team even though he claimed to despise cosmic shenanigans. The Guardians cured him of his spinal injuries and he decided to join the team rather to return to Earth where he was a fugitive. Jack did not stay with the team for long, but he was a very human presence on a team of sentient trees and aliens.
Flag didn’t have any powers or special abilities but proved himself a true Guardian through bravery and cunning. Jack Flag may not have been the coolest Guardian, but he was a hero through and through...despite the hair. Recently, Jack Flag took a place in one of Marvel’s most shocking events. We’re sure you heard about Captain America’s turn to the dark side. You see, Cap revealed himself to be a sleeper agent by uttering the words “Hail Hydra!” after tossing a SHIELD super powered operative out of a plane. That operative was none other than Jack Flag, the first victim of Captain America’s turn to the dark side. All of a sudden, Flag seems way more tragic, huh?
Cosmo the Space Dog
First Appearance: Nova #8 (2008)
Created by Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett, and Wellinton Alves
Disney certainly likes their talking dogs which bodes well for this security pooch. The Abnett and Lanning Guardians were headquartered in the flying head of a Celestial, a vessel called Knowhere. Making sure the population of Knowhere was safe was Cosmo, a former Soviet cosmonaut dog gifted with enhanced intelligence.
Cosmo defined the quirkiness of this era of the Guardians, but like Rocket, he defied his ludicrous premise and became a rich character in his own right. Of course, Cosmo and Rocket never quite liked each other, with Rocket always afraid Cosmo was going to chase him up a tree, but Cosmo was just a vital member of the Guardians as anyone else on the squad.
Phyla-Vell aka Quasar aka Martyr
First appearance: Captain Marvel #16 (2003)
Created by Peter David and Paul Azaceta
Phyla-Vell has the distinction of carrying the legacy of both Captain Mar-Vell and Quasar, two of the greatest cosmic Marvel heroes of all time. She also was the lover of Moondragon, who just happens to be the daughter of Drax, giving Phyla a connection to another cosmic Marvel mainstay. Phyla-Vell was a fascinating character, a woman trying to forge her own legacy while carrying on the tradition of two great heroes. After she lost her lover Moondragon, Phyla darkened and became the universe’s avatar of death, Martyr.
Phyla was believed to be killed a number of times, first at the hands of by Warlock’s evil clone, Magus (she got better), then by Thanos himself. When last readers heard of Phyla, she was being mourned on Knowhere after the Thanos Imperative. Hey, Star-Lord returned to life after that battle, so maybe the Quantum Bands of the torchbearer of two heroic legacies will one day burn bright once again!
First appearance: Iron Man #54 (1973)
Created by Bill Everett, Mike Friedrich, George Tuska, and Jim Starlin
Madame MacEvil? The hell? Anyway, Moondragon was one of the most despised Avengers in history, actually mentally forcing Thor to become her lover. That being said, she was a pretty awesome Guardian, maybe because she spent the majority of her run in the book as an actual space dragon. She is the lover of Phyla-Vell (how they did that while Moondragon was in dragon form is anyone’s guess) and the daughter of Drax.
With her being central to Drax’s origin, one has to wonder if a film appearance is in the future for Moondragon. Moondragon is currently on an idealistic quest to try and find her former lover, where that story picks up will be anyone guess but this character has come a long way from roofieing Thor.
Moondragon also has a connection to Mantis as she was once believed to also be the potential Celestial Madonna. With her ties to Warlock, Drax, Thanos, and Mantis, it could be only a matter of time before some Hollywood A list actress is forced to shave off their elegant tresses in order to play Moondragon n a future Guardians film.
First Appearance: Guardians of the Galaxy #14 (2014)
Created by Dan Abnett and Gerardo Sandoval
After the success of the first Guardians film, Marvel brought back the future Guardians in the comics Guardians 3000. There Dan Abnett continued to work his cosmic magic and make sure that the old school Guardians were still a part of the Marvel Universe.
During this time, the Earth precog Geena Drake joined the team. She helped the Guardians in a number of adventures and used her ability to see the future to help defeat the Badoon and other cosmic menaces. Drake insured that the Guardians legend is still vital in the future, plus, Abnett named her after the co-creators of the Guardians Gene Colan and Arnold Drake, so how cool is that?
Davis stands as a reminder of the Guardians of the future and the creators of the past that helped forge the legend that got us all hooked on a feeling.
Welcome to the Big Time...the Brian Michael Bendis Era
First appearance: Tales of Suspense #39 (1963)
Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby
When Thanos invaded Earth using a new group of villains called the Zodiac, the modern Guardians arrived to help fight side-by-side with the Avengers. When the dust cleared, Tony Stark decided to accompany the Guardians into space and found himself in the unfamiliar position of being the least technologically aware member of the team. Rocket and Star-Lord both used weapons centuries ahead of the most technologically advanced Stark tech, and Iron Man was like a wide eyed kid in a candy store.
He didn’t stay with the Guardians for long, but Iron Man’s time with the Guardians was extremely memorable with a romantic liaison with Gamora and the forging of a close friendship with Rocket. He’s back with the Avengers now, but fans will never forget the time Marvel Studios' first star joined their newest film sensations.
First appearance: Spawn #9 (1993)
Created by Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane
Not every super team boasts a character created for another company. When Marvel gained the rights to Angela (because Neil Gaiman is a wizard), the House of Ideas wasted no time including the celestial warrior in the pages of the Guardians of the Galaxy. First off, any time you can include a Nail Gaiman creation in a book, any company worth its salt needs to pull that trigger.
Since meeting the Guardians, Angela has bonded with her fellow female warrior Gamora and has served as the team’s angelic powerhouse. Will a future Guardians film feature the former Spawn supporting character? It’s a distinct possibility and one that will make Todd McFarlane very grumpy. Whatever the case, Angela brings some otherworldly baddassery to the pages of the book every month. As her presence in the Marvel Universe grows, never forget that the Marvel legacy of Angela began when she joined the Guardians.
First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 (2011)
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
In the far future, Vance Astro would bring the Venom symbiote into the mythos of the Guardians, but in the present day, Flash Thompson, the current wearer of the black costume, serves proudly with the team. The inclusion of Agent Venom represents the first time the modern Guardians crossed with the world of Spider-Man, an intriguing prospect for future story directions. What would happen if a radioactive spider bit a sentient tree?
Flash Thompson is one of Marvel’s oldest characters, and since he lost his legs on the battlefield, one of the most compelling, and for a good long while, Flash was a Guardian. From a high school bully to a galactic savior, not bad for one of Marvel’s oldest characters.
Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)
First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968)
Created by Roy Thomas and Gene Colan
Phyla-Vell isn’t the only Guardian to be connected to the legacy of the original Captain Mar-Vell. Carol Danvers has been an Avenger, an ally to the X-Men, a member of the Starjammers, and recently, was a proud member of the Guardians. Carol is an accomplished pilot with a keen military mind and does not flinch from cosmic insanity.
Of course Captain Marvel will soon by joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it is only a matter of time before Danvers is rubbing elbows with the Guardians on the big screen.
First appearance: Fantastic Four #1 (1961)
Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
On Earth, Ben Grimm was always considered a monster. A hero, yeah, but also, a grotesque creature to be feared and shunned. But in space, Ben Grimm is just a hero. After all, a guy with a rocky hide and unmatchable strength is just another Tom, Dick, or Harry. So it was a natural fit when the Thing joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Here, Ben Grimm was more Flash Gordon than Frankenstein, a brave space adventurer that kicked alien ass and kissed alien babes. There was no pathos for Grimm in space as the farther the Thing got from Yancy Street, the more accepted he was by countless alien races. Grimm is back on Earth currently and working with SHIELD, but for a time, the legendary blue eyed Thing clobbered the bad guys in every star system in the galaxy as the Guardians’ resident muscle and pilot. If only we could see this film. You hear me Fox? If only.
First appearance Uncanny X-Men #129 (1980)
Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne
Every Han Solo needs a Princess Leia and for a time, that’s exactly what Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde. The Guardian and the X-Man had a legendary space romance after Kitty left the mutant conflicts on Earth to become a member, and for a time, the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Heck man, when Quill became the Emperor of the Spartax people, Pryde even took up the mask and gun of Star Lord, and she was just as great a space hero, if not better, than Quill himself.
Like all bright burning stars, the Pryde and Quill romance soon burned itself out, but for a while, their love was pure cosmic poetry as the two swashbuckling heroes blazed a path of adventure side by side. Now, Pryde is back on Earth as leader of the X-Men, but her time in space will always melt the hearts of even the mightiest comic entities (someone get Thanos a tissue, the old softy).
Who is Sylvester Stallone in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? And who were those other characters with him?
The Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-Man, Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the Avengers, Daredevil, and arguably Doctor Strange, these are the core concepts and characters of the Marvel Universe. Virtually everything else in the Marvel Universe has a thread that connects to one of these titles. For the most part, these are the brands that the mainstream world is familiar with. Marvel and Disney took a huge gamble with Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014, and it paid off, proving that Marvel's C-list can carry a blockbuster when the right talent is involved.
The Guardians of the Galaxy have been around for a long time, since the waning days of the Silver Age, and while the title has had periods of moderate success, until recently it usually failed to make any lasting impact. The Guardians were traditionally a footnote, an obscurity, a title with a cult following but no history of sustainability. The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie did what almost fifty years of print (yes, they’ve been around that long) couldn't. But the Guardians of the Galaxy have gone through some complex changes over the years. Heck, Marvel even switched the team’s time period in the past decade!
When the Guardians first appeared in 1969, the team that made its debut in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 was completely different than the one that made its film debut in August of 2014. The first appearance of the team was penned by Arnold Drake, best known for creating DC’s Doom Patrol, with art by the great Gene Colan. It’s ironic that with his illustrious career primarily with DC, that Marvel got an Arnold Drake creation to the silver screen before Warner Bros., but that’s a subject for another column.
The original Guardians were introduced as a team of aliens led by a human who was trapped in a cryogenic sleep for 1000 years. Members of the team include a crystallized Plutonian named Martinex, a giant from Jupiter named Charlie-27, and a fin-headed archer from Alpha Centauri named Yondu. In interviews taking place in the intervening years, those involved claimed the mission statement of the title was Star Trek meets The Dirty Dozen, but what fans got was a static, uneven sci-fi piece as the foursome took on the evil aliens, the Badoon in the far future.
But it was the future setting that made this otherwise forgettable one-shot stand out, as this was the first time Marvel readers were able to see the future through the eyes of protagonists. Sure there was Kang in the Avengers, but he came to the present, readers never got to see more than a glimpse of what Lee and Kirby’s universe may become. Alas, Drake’s throwback style didn’t fit in within the bombastic Marvel Universe and the series was soon forgotten…until Steve Gerber came along.
When Steve Gerber became the writer of the Guardians feature in Marvel Presents #3, the writer worked the same magic he had on offbeat creations like Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, and the Defenders. Gerber took characters that were practically blank slates and brought his own unique personality to the character’s already appealing designs. Gerber added the enigmatic Starhawk, and Nikki, a young girl from Mercury who added a youthful exuberance to the cosmic adventures as well providing the book a much needed point-of-view character. The team quickly popped up in Marvel Two-In-One and, most importantly, Avengers, where they played a “The Korvac Saga.” Their participation in the battle against Korvac, one of the most iconic stories of the Bronze Age, established the Guardians as legitimate players in the Marvel Universe.
The Guardians hung out on the periphery until the '90s when editor-in-chief Tom Defalco wanted to expand the Marvel line. He turned to Jim Valentino to guide the Guardians’ first solo title, and the book was an instant hit thanks to Valentino’s energetic storytelling. The new book took advantage of the futuristic setting by using familiar elements of the Marvel Universe like Captain America’s shield, Tony Stark’s tech, the Phoenix, Ghost Rider, and even a time traveling female Yellowjacke to keep a new generation of comic readers engaged and guessing. The book even had a spinoff mini-series, Galactic Guardiansbut it quickly fizzled when Jim Valentino departed to co-found Image Comics.
While all this was going on, the Guardians weren't the only cosmic beings exploring the Marvel cosmos. Creators Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart excelled at cosmic adventure introducing characters like Adam Warlock, Thanos, Drax, Gamora, and many more alien heroes and villains that served to enrich the Marvel Universe outside of Earth. In the '80s, the heroic Marvel population grew by one when Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen introduced Rocket Raccoon in the obscure Marvel Premiere back-up feature “The Sword in the Star.” Meanwhile, Star-Lord, created in 1976 by Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, had been bouncing around the Marvel Universe. Star-Lord had a brilliantly conceived origin and was worked on by such luminaries as Chris Claremont and John Byrne, but the adventures of Peter Quill failed to find a foothold in the ever changing and finicky publishing landscape that was the newsstand.
These obscure characters existed, they were fleshed out, and they were ready for a talented creator or creators to step in and make them realize their full potential. Enter, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, otherwise known as DnA, and their cosmic opus, Annihilation. DnA wanted to present a cosmic crossover event with cinematic action and huge stakes. They just needed the cosmic players to populate the tale of universal armageddon.
One of the titles Abnett and Lanning revived was Guardians of the Galaxy, but this time they needed the team to be smack dab in the present Marvel Universe. The team picked up the threads of visually stunning but underutilized characters like Drax and Gamora, added Star-Lord and Phylla-Vell (the daughter of the original Captain Marvel), and did something absolutely unexpected, adding Rocket Raccoon to the mix along with, startlingly, the long forgotten Kirby monster, Groot, the sentient tree. Moreover, the writing duo played the farcical pairing completely straight, and against all odds, the formula worked.
The book garnered a cult following, but also, and more importantly, it got the attention of Marvel Studios who saw the energy and marketability of the team, and it inspired the lineup we now have on screen.
If you're looking for a jumping on point for Guardians of the Galaxy comics, this is it, and we have a whole reading guide for you right here.
The next issue of Warren Ellis & Jon Davis-Hunt's super hero spy thriller is out this week, and it looks great.
The cool thing about The Wild Storm is how it feels so much like something new, but it's immediately familiar as classic Wildstorm at the same time. This is Warren Ellis at his deconstructed, high-espionage best, like a summary of everything that was great in the '90s.
I know how that sounds, but you have to remember that the '90s wasn't all Clone Sagas and pouches. There was also Stormwatch and Transmetropolitan, and Starman, epics that were deeply enmeshed in their time, but were also incredibly skilled at using the comic book form to tell different stories. The Wild Storm is thematically the same, but a structural throwback and one of the most entertaining comics out every month.
Here's what they have to say about the issue.
THE WILD STORM #4 Written by WARREN ELLIS • Art and cover by JON DAVIS-HUNT • Variant cover by JASON HOWARD Variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS There’s a covert action team out in the wild, and I.O. has proof of it for the first time. This changes everything. The woman who tipped the first domino in this cascade of secrets and lies is on the run. And the other great power of the hidden world is on the scene. Henry Bendix is noticing things from on high, and that doesn’t bode well for I.O., Angela Spica or the planet. The storm is building.
DC sent over an exclusive preview of next week's The Wild Storm #4, and naturally, we jumped at it.
Check it out!
The Wild Storm #4 is in stores this Wednesday.
While we wait for Injustice 2, here's a look at those who didn't survive the superhero alternate reality.
Injustice 2, the sequel to NetherRealm hit Injustice: Gods Among Us is almost here. When the first game came out, writer Tom Taylor and a group of artists (mainly Bruno Redondo, Tom Derenick, and Mike S. Miller) launched a digital prequel comic based on the Injusticeuniverse. The comic became a surprise hit and the first volume was followed with an annual issue as well as a Year Two continuation of the series. The digital issues would eventually be released as print issues and later turned into trades. After hitting the end of Year Five, it moved on to a retelling of the game's story from Harley Quinn's perspective, and that was followed with a comic prequel for Injustice 2.
That’s kind of nuts.
Sometimes comics based on trademarked properties get screwed over by sequels. For instance, there were comic follow-ups to Aliensthat were completely negated by the events of Alien 3. Considering the vast amount of deaths in the Injusticecomic, surely the sequel would screw with the timeline.
Shockingly, that’s not the case. With one early exception, all the new characters in Injustice 2 are either ignored completely or simply not killed in the comic. It goes to show some high-quality communication between the writers and developer NetherRealm Studios. Together, the creators traversed the vast and violent landscape of the Injusticeuniverse to carve out stories for most of the popular DC roster. The characters you meet in Injustice 2 have survived the vicious comic book series and are ready to enter the ring.
But what of those who didn’t make it out of that alternate universe alive? There are many heroes and villains who have fallen in order to make way for Superman’s Regime. Here are the victims of Superman and Batman’s great war.
Year One #1
The comic series opens with pure optimism. Superman finds out that Lois is pregnant. He calls Batman over and asks him to be the godfather. Batman even musters up a smile. Then things immediately go to Hell.
Lois and Jimmy are given an anonymous tip about a corrupt senator doing corrupt things at the docks. Jimmy’s there to take photos, but it’s all a setup. The Joker steps out and shoots him through the camera. He then takes Lois hostage.
Year One #2
The search for Lois becomes immediate and frantic. Batman demands all the Justice League members stop what they’re doing and find her, even though many aren’t aware of her relationship with Superman. Flash discovers the dead body of the Scarecrow at STAR Labs. With the sack removed from his head, it’s apparent that he’s been killed by Joker gas.
Even though Batman identifies him as Jonathan Crane, the Scarecrow shows up again in Year Five. Now he's in Injustice 2. Whoops! Either we weren't supposed to remember this or there will be a storyline explanation. After all, even the Joker's back in the new installment. But I'll get to him in a second.
Year One #3
And here’s the lynchpin of this universe.
Superman’s search leads to a submarine. He finds Joker and Harley there, but he also finds Doomsday out of nowhere. Quick to act, Superman grabs Doomsday and sends him into space. What Superman is slow to realize is that he’s been poisoned. The Joker mixed kryptonite with Scarecrow’s fear gas and made Superman hallucinate Doomsday. Superman has, in fact, killed Lois Lane and their unborn child.
Tom Taylor had no choice but to write this sequence because the game made it specific. The fact that he had to do it didn’t sit well with him and he tried to redeem himself when writing the comic Earth 2. In it, that world’s version of Lois Lane is resurrected by having her mind put into a robot body. He jokingly refers to introducing her via her robot body being thawed out as "unfridging."
Year One #20
For the sake of chronology, I’m going to skip forward a few issues just because this is part of a flashback.
Joker rigged Lois’ heart to a nuclear device, so when Superman inadvertently kills her, he does the same to his home. It’s later shown that Lex Luthor (a good man in this world) survives the ordeal because he thinks ahead. He has a speedster on his payroll who is hired to throw him into his bunker in case of such a disaster. Unfortunately, the speedster tries to save others and is wiped out by the blast.
Although she’s never identified, she mostly resembles Jesse Quick.
KID FLASH AND BEAST BOY
Year Three Annual
The Year Three Annual explains why all the other major Teen Titans characters are missing outside of simply saying that the explosion killed them all. When the explosion goes off, only Superboy, Beast Boy, and Kid Flash (identified as Bart Allen) are in Metropolis. Kid Flash is taken out immediately due to running into the blast’s direction. Superboy attempts to shield Beast Boy at the last second, but fails to save his life.
Year One #4/Story Mode
The Joker is immediately apprehended. Batman visits him in prison to demand to know why he did all this. Joker admits that he’s grown tired of messing with Batman, so he moved on to Superman, deciding he wanted to see if he could break him. Batman’s all, “You’ll never break Superman because he’s freaking Superman!” but then Superman breaks through the wall and angrily impales Joker with his arm.
Joker’s last breath is his last laugh.
Year One #16
Although a Nightwing is on Superman’s side, it’s actually an older Damian Wayne. Batman is sure to point out that Damian murdered the original Nightwing, Dick Grayson.
That puts Taylor in a tough spot because you have to sort of balance the act. He has to kill Dick but not in a way that’s too evil because even the super serious Justice League has to have boundaries at this point.
As the story goes, Superman chooses to remove all the inmates at Arkham and place them in his own secret prison. Batman and Nightwing go to prevent this, but Robin sells them out to Superman. A gigantic brawl breaks out between Superman’s team, the Gotham heroes, and a bunch of Arkham inmates. In the midst of it, Nightwing and Robin have a bit of an argument and Robin responds by lashing out and angrily throwing his escrima stick at Nightwing’s head (something he’s apparently wont to do as he tried it earlier).
Nightwing doesn’t see it coming because he’s busy fighting deranged murderers and gets nailed upside the head. It knocks him out, he lands neck-first onto a piece of rubble and he’s dead in a snap. Robin’s freaking out, Batman’s horrified, and everyone figures maybe it’s for the best to just back off on the fighting and not poke the bear for the time being.
Year One #24
Without the context of what’s been going on, Kalibak hears that Superman’s declaring a war-free Earth and figures it’s some hippy bullshit ripe for the picking. Under Darkseid’s permission, he and a bunch of Parademons invade Earth during a big Superman press conference. When Kalibak sees the anger in Superman’s eyes, he realizes that maybe he made a big mistake.
Superman fries a bunch of Parademons and beats Kalibak enough to make him surrender. Superman won’t have it and smacks him around, demanding he fight back just as an excuse to kill him and make him pay for his crimes. Kalibak strikes against him, but gets put down.
Year One #32
Batman’s team of rebels is mostly made up of low-level folks. The powerless vigilantes like Huntress, Batwoman, Green Arrow, and so on. Since Batman is on the same side as the President, it makes sense that he’d also have super-duper-soldier Captain Atom on his side.
Near the Fortress of Solitude, Captain Atom proceeds to outfight Superman and lets him know that he’s under orders of the United States government to take him down. He wants to bring him in alive, but then Wonder Woman arrives and chops open his neck. Annoyed, Captain Atom points out that he’s about to explode, taking the North Pole with him.
While mocking Superman for no longer being selfless, Captain Atom makes sure to fly to space and drags Superman with him. Wonder Woman follows but the explosion blasts her back to Earth and puts her in a coma for over a year.
Year One #33
This is another bit that’s mentioned in-game and we get to see it play out in comic form.
The whole first volume leads up to this moment. Driven by grief and frustration, Superman’s tried to do what he feels is right. The government betrays him. Batman betrays him. Wonder Woman is gravely injured. Then he discovers Green Arrow in the Fortress of Solitude, trying to pocket some of the “super pills” that Lex Luthor and Superman created (they give people Kryptonian-level strength). More importantly, Green Arrow is in the same room where Superman’s been keeping Jonathan and Martha Kent for their protection and that just comes off as a threat at first glance.
Green Arrow shoots an arrow at Superman and it deflects. It ends up finding its way into Jonathan’s shoulder. It’s that screw-up that finally sets Superman off and he angrily beats Green Arrow to death in front of the Kents.
Although Ollie dies, he does at least fire an arrow with a super pill tacked onto it. It reaches Batman and the others, but Black Canary knows he isn’t coming back.
When Superman comes down from his rage, he refuses to take responsibility and blames Batman for this death as well. The AI ghost of Jor-El apologizes to the Kents for unleashing this upon their world.
Year Two #2
Green Lantern Kyle Rayner missed out on the whole Superman situation because he was off Earth for an entire year. As he goes back to check up on everything, including his girlfriend (who may or may not be pieces of broken meat in his fridge. We’ll never know), he’s ambushed by the Sinestro Corps.
As he’s captured, Sinestro pops in to say that he’s been paying attention to Earth and is really interested in playing a role. He can’t have Kyle around to interfere, so Sinestro pulls off his ring finger and allows him to suffocate in space. He also has Kyle’s limbs torn off because that’s scarier, I guess.
Sinestro then goes to Earth and allows himself to be Superman’s prisoner, swearing that he’s there to warn him about the coming of the Green Lantern Corps.
Year Two #10
As expected, the Green Lantern Corps are sent to deal with this whole “Earth taken over by an overpowered tyrant” situation. Normally, Superman, Shazam, and Hawkgirl would be able to take on an army of those guys themselves, but the Corps has an ace in their sleeve that nobody expected.
Ch’p the space squirrel may be tiny, but he’s also able to control light on a much tinier scale than anyone else. This includes preventing the synapses in Superman’s brain from working, meaning Superman is completely paralyzed.
Sinestro convinces Luthor to let him free and he saves Superman by blasting a hole through Ch’p’s head. With Superman back in action, the Green Lanterns have no choice but to surrender.
Year Two #15
This one’s morbidly hilarious. To get in the good graces of Earth’s heroes, Sinestro has the Sinestro Corps put the boots to Despero and blast him to Earth. Disheveled and annoyed, Despero finds Sinestro loudly ranting and raving about how Despero won’t hurt the innocents of this planet. Sinestro then uses his ring to force Despero’s hands around Sinestro’s throat.
As Hal Jordan and John Stewart come to help, Sinestro snaps Despero’s neck and sadly tells his allies that it was the only way. Naturally, they don’t question it and think about how much Sinestro’s changed.
Year Two #20
According to Batgirl’s in-game ending, Superman killed Commissioner Gordon at some point, inspiring Barbara to don the Batgirl cowl once again. In the comic, Superman tries to intimidate Barbara into telling him where Batman is, then regretfully gives Gordon the news that according to his x-ray vision, Gordon’s suffering from lung cancer.
Gordon decides there’s no longer a need to lie and lets Barbara know that he’s always been keen to her double lives as Batgirl and Oracle. Using the super pills, Gordon leads Gotham’s Finest to siege the Hall of Justice, all while knowing that the super pill is actually making the cancer stronger and killing him quicker.
Although on his last legs, Gordon is able to stop Cyborg from tracking down Oracle’s whereabouts. He tears out the metal from Cyborg’s face, knocking him out of commission. Then, from the Justice League satellite, he looks at the beauty of Earth and says his goodbyes to Barbara and Batman.
Year Two #23
Batman’s resistance wages war on Superman’s Regime and the Green Lantern Corps is on Batman’s side, albeit against the wishes of all the Guardians except Ganthet. Superman, on the other hand, has the Sinestro Corps at his disposal. There are many casualties on both sides.
John Stewart is in the middle of it all. He’s on Superman’s side, but he’s also a Green Lantern. He doesn’t want anyone to fight. Sinestro tries to coax him into helping out and as John admits how torn he is, Sinestro literally tears a hole through John’s chest.
Sinestro then flies John’s dying body to Hal (who has become a Yellow Lantern by this point), telling him to get John to safety. John dies in Hal’s arms, making Hal a little too emotional to think clearly.
Year Two #23
When a distraught and angry Hal demands to know who is responsible for John’s death, Sinestro says that Guy Gardner did it by accident. Since Guy is the big mouthpiece in the whole “Let’s go get some Green Lanterns to beat up Superman!” concept, Hal freaks the hell out and it doesn’t help that Sinestro’s egging him on.
Guy is overwhelmed and begs Hal to get a hold of himself. Instead, Hal gets a hold on Guy’s arm and tears it off, causing a powerless Guy to fall to his death.
MOGO AND GANTHET
Year Two #24
As mentioned, Ganthet is in charge of the siege to stop Superman, and considering he’s an Oan, he’s tough enough to smack Superman around. Not only that, but he brought Mogo the Living Planet with him and he’s, you know, a living planet.
The death of a random Sinestro Corps member causes the loose ring to find a replacement in Superman. A pissed off InjusticeSuperman and a yellow wishing ring are the makings for a pretty bad day and he proves his power by slamming Ganthet into Mogo and pushing them both into the sun.
Yeah, that’ll do it.
DR. OCCULT AND ROSE PSYCHIC
Year Three Annual
The annual issue came out after the entirety of Year Three, but it takes place before it, filling in some of the blanks. Batman hires the two-in-one duo of Dr. Occult and Rose as his agents with the mission of neutralizing Raven and Wonder Woman. Dr. Occult finds and assaults Raven, but she is quick to burn him to death with Hellfire. Rose is separated from the charred body. John Constantine – who had been stalking the mystics – appears and helps take Raven down.
With Occult dead, Rose can’t survive. She fulfills her final mission by using magic powder to keep Wonder Woman’s coma going, but collapses. Her final words are a failed attempt to tell Batman not to trust Constantine. Immediately after, Constantine appears and robs her body of magic trinkets.
JASON BLOOD AND HARVEY BULLOCK
Year Three #3
Batman recruits a handful of magic users to help his cause. The rebels hang out in Jason Blood’s house and start planning, but dumpy detective Harvey Bullock realizes that he’s completely out of his element and tries to leave. Detective Chimp, who mentions having worked with Gordon in the past, gets through to him and convinces him to stay.
All of a sudden, there’s some kind of horrible force trying to get in through the door. Bullock attempts to close it, but can’t. Jason Blood steps in to do the same and begins to summon Etrigan to take his place. Before he can, the Spectre’s energies blast the door back, killing both men in one go.
Year Three #8
Constantine briefly captures Superman with the help of Ragman. The idea is to absorb Superman into Ragman’s magical attire, meaning Superman’s soul will have to spend years helping Ragman fight evil in order to atone. As Constantine points out, Superman’s literally killed a planet, so that might take some time.
Speaking of taking time, the absorbing process takes too long due to Superman’s strength. He’s able to get help from Shazam, who defeats Ragman. Then the Spectre – on the side of Superman in all of this – appears and tears Ragman to pieces while Constantine knows there’s nothing he can do to save him.
Year Three #10
Deadman possesses the body of Shazam in order to save Constantine and talk some sense into the Spectre. He’s confused and horrified when he discovers that Spectre isn’t Jim Corrigan anymore, and instead sees a creepy smile (one of several red herring hints that Spectre is actually the Joker). Spectre pulls out his giant sword and cuts through Deadman, wounding his soul.
Deadman goes to his boss Rama Kushna, who cannot save him. Deadman chooses someone to take his place. In his final moments, Boston Brand transfers his power into the soul of Dick Grayson, who gladly takes on the Deadman mantle.
Year Three #11
Phantom Stranger feels that Spectre’s being a little weird and is interfering with man a bit too much, so he teleports him to space for a heart-to-heart. It doesn’t take long for Phantom Stranger to realize that something’s up with Spectre on a physical level. Spectre strikes against him, strangling Stranger while shoving him through the entirety of Saturn. Stranger sees the force within that’s making Spectre act like this and widens his eyes in horror.
By the way, if you’re wondering, the Spectre is Mr. Mxyzptlk. Hence all the smiling and Joker-like gestures.
Year Three #17
A big battle breaks out between Superman and Batman’s groups, and Constantine points out that this isn’t going to end well. He calls to teammate Klarion the Witch Boy to teleport them out of there, but before anything can be done, Sinestro blasts Klarion to death with his yellow ring. Superman and Wonder Woman yell at Sinestro, which gives Batman and Constantine a moment to discuss their next contingency.
Showing that you either go big or go home, Constantine summons Trigon to distract Superman and friends.
Year Three #18
As the heroes escape, Detective Chimp refuses to follow. As he tells Harley, he was conjured by Klarion in the first place. With Klarion gone, Chimp will soon cease to exist. Harley, who has become attached to the little guy, hugs him until he vanishes.
Man, this story’s been kind of rough on Harley. Everyone she cares for dies on her.
Year Three #21
The rest of Year Three sort of spins its wheels until it gets to the final issue. Once again, Superman’s side fights Batman’s side, only with Trigon fighting Mr. Mxyzptlk in the background. Huntress and Batwoman – both powered up with super pills – team up on Superman until Wonder Woman steps in. During the fight, she wraps her lasso around Huntress’ neck and accidentally tugs on it hard enough to snap her neck.
Normally, this would just be an instance of killing off a random character because they aren’t in the game and, well, it’s the Injustice comic. What do you expect? Instead, this kill ends up being a bizarre editorial mystery, best explained with the next entry.
Year Four #4
A few years ago, there was a pretty big news story regarding DC editorial. The creative team on Batwoman left in a huff because they planned to have Kate Kane, a lesbian character, get married, or at least engaged, and DC wouldn’t allow it. When it became a big thing, DC doubled down by claiming that they don’t hate GAY marriage. They just hate ALL marriage! Which is stupid for other reasons, but whatever.
Tom Taylor, writer of Injusticeat the time, had a one-panel scene showing that in this universe, Batwoman and Renee Montoya (who at the very least were an item in main continuity) are married back as of Year Two. It was rather nice and shouldn’t have been a big enough deal to affect anything in the story.
Brian Buccellato took over during Year Three and, as mentioned, killed off Huntress. Huntress’ death has huge ramifications in regards to Montoya, who goes completely off the deep end. She starts drinking heavily. She calls up an ex to give a tearful goodbye, and goes on a suicide run to kill the ones responsible.
In other words, she’s acting distraught in a way you’d expect from someone who lost their spouse. Over Huntress. Not that they aren’t friends and teammates, but Montoya is far more hurt and broken than when Gordon and Bullock are taken out. And she has zero interaction with Batwoman (her wife), and even when Montoya dies, Batwoman barely has any reaction.
In other words, one of three things happened:
1) Buccellato seriously cannot tell Batwoman and Huntress apart, and the editor didn’t catch it.
2) DC were really mad about the insinuation of two supporting characters being (gay) married and told him to switch Batwoman and Huntress’ roles as a way to sweep it under the rug.
3) DC let him know that Batwoman’s actually going to be in Injustice 2 in some form, so no-go on killing her.
Regardless, it’s suspect as hell.
Oh, right. The actual death. Renee Montoya overdoses on super pills and calls out Superman for a public fight, beating on him until her heart gives out.
Year Four #13
Year Four is about the Greek Gods stepping in to clown Superman and take over. This leads to a battle between the gods and Superman's regime. The heavy hitter is Hercules, who easily defeats Hal Jordan and then fights off both Wonder Woman and Superman, batting the latter into space. Shazam shows up and finally brings the demigod down. Hercules awaits his death, but Shazam refuses to commit murder.
Instead, Superman zooms down from space and does Hercules in win one swift blow.
Year Four #23
Wow, an entire ten issues before the next death?! Damn.
In the end of this volume, both sides of the Injusticeconflict join forces to fight the gods. During the battle, Hera decides she’s finally going to take out Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta. Artemis shoves her queen out of the way and takes the blast herself.
Hera shows no regret for the kill and promptly gets taken down by Harley, Batwoman, and others.
Year Four Annual
The annual is a delightful prison break story starring Plastic Man as he tries to rescue his activist son, Offspring. Turns out the Justice League has placed all of the super criminals in an underwater prison with Metamorpho as the warden. Plas sneaks around and gets help from inmate Kilowog, who starts a riot by headbutting Bane.
Superman and his heavy hitters appear outside the glass bubble protecting the prison, and it looks like all is lost. Plas reveals that he’s smuggled all the Green Lantern rings and throws them all out to their users. Outside the bubble, Sinestro freaks out and, despite the warnings of Jordan, blasts through the bubble and shoots through Kilowog before he can be a threat.
That act works against Superman’s side and helps Plastic Man and Offspring free everyone, setting up the big Year Five story that a whole bunch of supervillains are on the loose.
Year Five #3
The Regime’s quest to round up all the escaped villains gets a bit more complicated when Doomsday shows up on Earth yet again. Superman’s too busy trading blows with him, while Yellow Lantern and Cyborg aren’t having any luck fighting Parasite.
Superman gets some unlikely help from Bane, who...puts...Doomsday...in a full-nelson...? Man, I don’t get how that works either, but let’s go with it. This frees Superman up to go bail out his buddies by grabbing Parasite and flinging him into the sun. When the others ask about why Parasite isn’t locked up with the rest, Superman just says he’s a special case and he’s been taken care of.
HEATWAVE AND WEATHER WIZARD
Year Five #10
Two subplots in the first half of Year Five are about the Flash Rogues and Bizarro Superman. Batman recruits the Rogues (specifically Golden Glider, Heatwave, Mirror Master, and Weather Wizard) to help him because they’re honorable enough despite being bad guys. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor’s secretly trying to create a perfect Superman clone to combat the real deal, but the unfinished clone escapes and now believes himself to be the actual Superman.
The two plotlines clash when Bizarro goes after the Rogues, because that’s what Superman would do. During the battle, he begins to realize his own lack of limits, such as initially being afraid of Heatwave’s fire, but then realizing it doesn’t hurt him.
Things get messy when Weather Wizard offhandedly calls Bizarro “Fake Superman.” Bizarro fries Wizard and Heatwave with his vision, and the other two are only saved because Trickster (Alex Walker), who has secretly tagged along, convinces Bizarro that he’s his friend. Bizarro, not really understanding who or what he is, grabs Trickster and flies away to get answers.
Year Five #16
The Gotham detective starts his own anti-Regime group called the Joker Underground to rally against Superman and maybe do some terrorist stuff. Harley and Batwoman show up to tell them not to go about it this way, especially the part where he invokes the Joker’s name as a good thing. They try to talk Bard into altering the group and maybe connecting them to Batman’s Insurgency.
As Harley and Batwoman ride off, Superman arrives, having heard about the Joker Underground. Hearing all these citizens chant the Joker’s name in defiance of Superman and his order, Superman gets downright pissed and mashes on the heat vision, taking out everyone in the building.
Year Five #18
The Trickster tries to help Bizarro figure things out and makes an attempt to teach him how to keep his powers in check. For instance, when Bizarro sneezes, he definitely needs to cover his face, as the alternative almost kills Trickster.
Bizarro takes to the Trickster as his little buddy, but his Frankenstein’s Monster mentality (the movie version and not the awesome DC version...who really should be in Injustice 2) causes him to kill various civilians due to a misunderstanding. Trickster is mad at first, blaming himself for not being able to convey his thoughts better to the big lug, but is able to get over it. He and Bizarro are family. They only have each other, and they’re going to have a great future working together. As Bizarro flies with Trickster in his arms, Trickster tells him that they’ll be best friends forever.
That's the most blatant death flag you’ll ever see, which is what makes this scene so goddamn funny. A beat later, Bizarro sneezes. This time he remembers to put his hands over his face. It just takes him a moment to realize that he dropped Trickster onto the side of a mountain. Whoops.
Year Five #20
Bizarro brings the Trickster’s carcass to Lex Luthor, begging him to fix his friend. Luthor’s in a tight spot because on one hand, Bizarro will likely kill him once he realizes he can’t resurrect the dead and on the other hand, Superman will figure out that he created Bizarro. Luthor gets Bizarro to enter the Fortress of Solitude, where he has Doomsday waiting. By this point, Doomsday has been mind-controlled to do the Regime’s bidding as the ultimate weapon.
Then Superman shows up, making it a three-way battle between Superman, Bizarro, and Doomsday with Luthor in control. Luthor realizes that he can put an end to Superman right there and now, but decides that he simply can’t murder him like this.
Which...kind of lacks any gravitas when Luthor then has Doomsday snap Bizarro’s neck as a way to cover his tracks. Superman delivers Bizarro’s corpse to Luthor and tells him to do as many tests as he needs to do to figure out just where this thing came from.
Year Five #23
Here’s the thing about Injustice: Gods Among Us: Alfred Pennyworth is the best. He exists to either be Bruce’s awesome paternal figure or to sass Superman. He even does both at the end of Year One, when he takes a super pill and kicks the shit out of Superman for destroying his family. By Year Five, he remains at Stately Wayne Manor, occasionally Skyping with Batman.
Superman visits Alfred to strong-arm him into admitting where Bruce is, but Alfred claims that he doesn’t know, wouldn’t tell him regardless, and proceeds to show off his supreme inability to give a single fuck in the presence of the Man of Steel by casually insulting him and telling him to see himself out.
Rather than just laser him on the spot, Superman gets prisoner Mr. Zsasz to escape and take care of Alfred. Zsasz kills Alfred in a knife fight, leaving Damian to discover the body. Superman figures that Alfred’s death will draw Batman out of hiding in the name of revenge.
Year Five #28
Flash is having a hard time figuring out his place in the world, what with Superman being a total dick, but also making the world safer. He goes to find Iris, who cut ties with Barry years earlier after his refusal to stand up to Superman. Flash then discovers that she's part of the rebellion as she and her allies are confronted by Regime soldiers Girder and King Shark. Flash has a crisis of conscience and tries to save Iris and the others, though he accidentally kills King Shark by impaling him through the mouth with a broom. Iris is disgusted by Flash's actions and the others refuse to trust him. Iris makes her own stand by surrendering to the Regime.
Year Five #32
Hawkman visits Earth at one point because he feels Hawkgirl isn't fulfilling her hawk alien cop duties by hanging around Superman. Hawkman is sent packing and then gets sent on a mission by Batman to pick up some kryptonite in space. Hawkman earns it by offering Mongul thirty seconds of battle. Rather than bring it to Batman so that Superman could be imprisoned, Hawkman decides to fashion a kryptonite mace, which he uses to punk out Superman until the Man of Steel is a bloody and sickly mess.
The Justice League pop in to disarm Hawkman, but the weakened Superman tells them to back off. Despite being ill from kryptonite poisoning, Superman offers to fight Hawkman one-on-one. Hawkman never stood a chance.
Year Five #36
Mr. Zsasz killed Alfred and much to Damian's dismay, Batman refused to take his life out of revenge. With Zsasz incarcerated, it doesn't take long for the prince of assassins to sneak into his cell unnoticed and torture the criminal. He demands to know which of Zsasz's many scars represents Alfred. Damian finally finishes his work and we discover that Sinestro allowed this to transpire.
For the first time, Hal Jordan starts to have second thoughts.
Year Five #36
I'm not 100% on this one, but I'm going to call this one out as a death. The Wikipedia page for Metamorpho at least agrees with me (I know, I know...), he never shows up ever again, and he's got two gross, red wounds sticking out the back of his head there. He's PROBABLY dead.
Batman and Lex Luthor need some schematics on a Mother Box. Deathstroke takes the contract because he's bored out of his mind in a Superman-ruled society. After taking out dozens of drones, he gets a real main event fight out of Metamorpho. Deathstroke fires a couple metal balls at Metamorpho's head, but he turns gaseous and they fly through. When it looks like Metamorpho has things well in hand and he's about to burn Deathstroke to death, the metal balls are remote controlled to bury themselves into the back of Rex's skull.
Deathstroke is promptly taken down by Raven and Cyborg, setting up his first appearance in the game's story mode.
Story Mode/Ground Zero #19
We move on to the actual game’s story and its comic adaptation, where InjusticeBatman pulls superheroes from the mainstream DC Universe to help liberate their world. They meet up with Lex Luthor, their man on the inside. As I've brought up earlier, InjusticeLex is a good man who has grown horrified at Superman’s actions. At the end of Act II, Lex enacts a plan that should stop Superman once and for all.
Lex defeats Shazam in battle and blows up the Watchtower, which has Superman inside. Lex calls out Superman and aims his arm-mounted kryptonite gun. Right as Lex is about to make the shot, a hurt Shazam electrocutes him from behind, nixing the plan.
Superman tears Lex from the battle armor and is furious that his own best friend betrayed him. Lex spends his final moments telling him that his “peace” is a joke. Superman crushes Lex’s neck and hears the words of onlookers all over as they whisper about seeing Superman kill his buddy Lex Luthor in front of the Hall of Justice. Superman flies off.
Story Mode/Ground Zero #20
The endless betrayals and ungratefulness of the public has finally taken its toll. Superman has snapped, falling farther than ever. He wants to raze Metropolis and Gotham to the ground to prove a point. Shazam – who just saved his life, mind you – calls him out on this and labels it insane, claiming the gesture spits on the memory of Lois.
Superman blows ice over Shazam’s mouth to keep him from using his magic lightning. He then stares at him with his heat vision until two holes burn through Shazam’s hood and he collapses. As Solomon Grundy walks off to dispose of the body, the Flash finally comes to realize that the ends don't justify the means and defects.
AMANDA WALLER AND RICK FLAG
Injustice 2 #2
With things calming down in a post-Superman landscape, Amanda Waller tries to take advantage by creating the Suicide Squad. Her crew hunts down and captures Harley Quinn before putting a bomb in her skull. Harley laughs the whole thing off because she's friends with Batman now and solving missing person mysteries is Batman's deal. When Waller points out that they're very thorough about cleaning up their clues, Harley just laughs harder because, again, Batman.
As predicted, Batman shows up. Well, not THE Batman. A Batman. A red-eyed Batman imposter shows up to announce that he's taking over the Suicide Squad operation and opens fire on both Waller and her right-hand man Rick Flag. The silhouettes show two headshots.
Signs point to him being Jason Todd, but that might just be a red hooded herring.
CLOCK KING, MAGPIE, KILLER MOTH, AND POLKA DOT MAN
Injustice 2 #3
Fake Batman is interested in taking over the Suicide Squad and all, but unlike Waller, there are some members that he doesn't feel jibe with his unseen master's vision. Despite Calendar Man (who is treated as a pathetic running gag through the Injusticecomics) pleading for his life, Fake Batman taps the detonators on his bomb as well as the bombs for Clock King, Magpie, Killer Moth, and Polka Dot Man. Those four all suffer from immediate head explosions. To Fake Batman's disgust, Calendar Man's bomb is faulty and he survives.
Now that we have the deaths taken care of, here’s a quick look at those who were simply written out one way or another:
- Martian Manhunter takes on Superman and Wonder Woman at the same time and gets burned to bits by Superman’s heat vision. The debris lands in the ocean, which makes it seem like he’s dead. On the same day of that issue’s release, J’onn became available as DLC for the game, and it’s explained that he was able to reform underwater and lay low as one of Aquaman’s advisors.
- Black Canary looks to be doomed from the beginning. She isn’t in the game, and with Ollie murdered, she’s totally set to stand up to Superman and get snuffed out. Although she does get badly wounded by Yellow Lantern Superman at the end of Year Two, Dr. Fate won’t allow this ending. He takes Dinah and her baby, Connor, to an alternate universe where Oliver Queen lost his Dinah Lance five years prior. The two meet for the first time and see if they can start over together. Both of them return in Injustice 2.
- Swamp Thing is a rather forgettable antagonist in Year Three and is taken off the table in a rather forgettable way. Short version is that he gets stranded in Hell. That’s not quite the same thing as dying, even if he's stuck in the afterlife. He's back for Injustice 2.
- As mentioned earlier, Year Three gives us a huge battle between Mr. Mxyzptlk and Trigon. Dr. Fate helps seal them away, but goes along for the ride. Trigon appears in a couple in-game endings and Dr. Fate inexplicably shows up in Ground Zero.
- The Teen Titans make a go at Superman in the Year Three Annualand it doesn’t work out well. Taking place early on during Year One (Nightwing’s still alive), the team of Superboy, Wonder Girl, Starfire, and Red Robin try to find a Phantom Zone projector in the Fortress of Solitude. Superman ends up critically wounding Superboy and convinces the others to go with him into the Phantom Zone, possibly to be released later.
- Annoyed by Kalibak’s death, Darkseid makes a couple attempts at Superman’s life while hanging back on Apokalips. None of them work and eventually he’s stuck trading blows with a Superman who no longer holds back. Although this is a fight Darkseid could win, Desaad lets him know that if it goes the entire twelve rounds, Darkseid and Superman’s brawl will destroy Apokalips completely. Darkseid decides it isn’t worth it and concedes.
- Speaking of gods, while the Greek Gods try to take over the world, Highfather of the New Gods gets in Zeus’ grill. The Source claims that their time for ruling is up and if they don’t get to stepping, there will be a big ol’ war of the gods...which is exactly what Darkseid and Ares want. Zeus reluctantly backs down. Afterwards, Highfather tells Orion that the conflict between Superman and Batman isn’t theirs to get involved in.
- Lastly, there’s Plastic Man. Despite being the hero of the Year Four Annual, his son asks that they just lay low and let the more capable heroes save the day. Plas proudly narrates, “That’s my boy.”
So with all that carnage going on, what can we take away from this? Simply, put: there’s nothing stopping NetherRealm Studios from bringing in Larfleeze.
Gavin Jasper figures Booster Gold has been hiding out so nobody asks him why he never warned anyone about, oh, the last five years. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
Justice League vs. Watchmen? Well, that's not exactly what Doomsday Clock is.
One year on from the launch of DC's Rebirth initiative, which has fairly successfully cleaned up the detritus of the ill-advised New 52 relaunch of 2011, we're starting to see signs of the next stage of the project. There was a bunch of Watchmen imagery in that initial Rebirth special, and more sprinkled through the background of assorted ongoing DC Comics titles since then, with the implication being that Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan was the mysterious force responsible for the damaged, cynical tone of the New 52.
Which brings us to Doomsday Clock, the natural culmination of all of this. DC Entertainment CCO Geoff Johns has been absent from comics since last year's Rebirth special, but he's returning, along with artist Gary Frank, to answer some questions with Doomsday Clock this November. Johns and Frank are responsible for some of my favorite DC work of the last decade or so, having worked wonders on Superman with stories focusing on Brainiac and the Legion of Super-Heroes, so if anyone is going to take on a seemingly impossible task, I feel a little better knowing it's them.
“It's time. Last year, the DC Universe confronted the legacy of Watchmen in Rebirth the way Watchmen confronted the legacy of superhero comics three decades ago,” explains writer Geoff Johns in a statement. “Thematically, and metaphorically, there was no better choice than to use Dr. Manhattan. If you’re going to have a conflict between optimism and pessimism, a battle between the very forces of hope and despair, you need to have someone who personifies the cynicism that has leaked into our hearts and also has the ability to affect the entire DCU.”
“Doomsday Clock is a story for fans who love the DC Universe and Watchmen and want to see what a master of this genre creates when he puts them together,” says Gary Frank. “As for my artistic approach to the series, each panel is extremely detailed and I am constantly thinking through the position of every single element.”
Of course, none of this changes the fact that DC has gone back to the Watchmen well recently with their Before Watchmen titles, none of which were particularly inspiring. Still, Johns is careful to point out that this isn't a Watchmen sequel. "It is something else," Mr. Johns said in an interview with Syfy Wire. "It is Watchmen colliding with the DC Universe. It is the most personal and most epic, utterly mind-bending project I have ever worked on in my career."
Perhaps even more encouraging, this isn't going to be a typical superhero comic crossover event, and instead, Doomsday Clock will be entirely self contained. "We had no interest in doing a crossover with this," Johns told Syfy Wire. "There will be DC characters throughout this, but this focuses in on only a handful. There is a lot of focus on Superman, and Doctor Manhattan. Doctor Manhattan is a huge focus, and his reasons for being here, and doing what he does, ultimately have to do with Superman. And there are many, many more characters to be involved, but it is a bit early to discuss."
The focus on Superman is intriguing. Superman was a character who felt particularly directionless for much of the New 52 era (although that has recently been fixed), and of course Dr. Manhattan is the only super-powered being in the Watchmen universe. Johns and Frank will be exploring how these two characters affect each other. Superman, of course, is the epitome of the hope and optimism of the DC Universe while Dr. Manhattan is...not that.
Even the title, Doomsday Clock, has significance for both Superman and the broader Watchmen theme. The "doomsday clock" was a visual and thematic point throughout Watchmen, and, of course, the presence of the word "Doomsday" in that title should have significance for Superman fans, as that's the name of the monster who killed the Man of Steel.
As I write this, "The Button" is running through the pages of Batman and The Flash, which deals directly with some of that fallout, as Barry Allen and Bruce Wayne try and solve the mystery of how the Comedian's button found its way into the Batcave, as well as lingering repercussions from the Flashpoint event which kickstarted the New 52. As someone who has been rather against the prospect of bringing Watchmen concepts into the DC Universe (so much so that I wrote an entire article, which turned out to be very wrong, explaining how those Watchmen references in Rebirth weren't meant to be taken literally), I have to confess that "The Button" has been an excellent read so far, and I've even warmed to elements of Flashpoint I previously had little time for. If Doomsday Clock is as careful with this tricky concept as DC has been with all of this so far, it might just work.
The Flash movie has hit some rough patches, but Robert Zemeckis and Matthew Vaughn are in the running for the director's chair.
This article contains a Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoiler. You've been warned.
The Flash movie was supposed to go into production soon, but after losing its director late in 2016, that is now in doubt. Rick Famuyiwa, who replaced previous director Seth Grahame-Smith left the project last year, apparently over the old, reliable "creative differences." Famuyiwa did a revision of the script that Grahame-Smith had written after work by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, and now Joby Harold is working on a "page one rewrite" of the project.
So who is going to direct? Back in April, Screen Junkies, were the first to report that Robert Zemeckis (the Back to the Future trilogy, for one thing) has been in Warner Bros. orbit for the director's chair, and now Variety has doubled down on that, saying that not only is Mr. Zemeckis a leading candidate for the job, there's at least one other big name competing for the job.
That competition? That would be Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman, X-Men: First Class), who is not only no stranger to comic book adaptations, but whose name has appeared in rumors about DC superhero movies recently, particularly in regards to Man of Steel 2.
These aren't the only two candidates, but they appear to be the studio's preferred choices. I reached out to representatives for Warner Bros. but they had no comment at this time.
While both Zemeckis and Vaughn are perfect choices for the material, both come with some scheduling conflicts, though. Zemeckis is about to go into production on Marwencol with Steve Carrell this summer (scheduled for a 2018 release), while Vaughn has already made noises about a potential Kingsman 3 (the second film in the series arrives this September). There's no rush, though, as star Ezra Miller will be shooting Fantastic Beasts 2 in the meantime.
The Flash Movie Release Date
The Flash was once scheduled to open on March 16, 2018, we can kiss that release date goodbye. Warner Bros. has reserved other dates on their release calendar for DC movies, including June 14, 2019 and November 1, 2019. Maybe one of those will end up being the finish line for The Flash.
We have some more info on the movie on page 2...
As we get set for Injustice 2, here's a look at the finest moments from seven volumes of the Injustice: Gods Among Us prequel comics.
One of the more surprising successes from DC Comics’ repertoire in the past couple of years has been Injustice: Gods Among Us, the weekly digital comic that’s acted as a prequel to the Netherrealm Studios fighting game of the same name. Written by Tom Taylor and Brian Buccellato and drawn by the likes of Bruno Redondo, Mike S. Miller, Tom Derenick, and others, Injustice was strong enough to continue on for years despite the game itself falling into obscurity in-between installments.
The first five volumes take place in-between the game’s prologue and the beginning of the game, where the dystopian, Superman-ruled world is visited by heroes from the classic DC Universe. As shown in the game, this all happened because the Joker messed with Superman a little too hard and Superman killed him in a fit of rage. Most of the other heroes and even some villains are on his side in terms of ruling over the world with an iron fist and the only ones interested in taking him down are Batman, Lex Luthor (secretly), and Harley Quinn. With each volume of the comic explaining the events of a different year, we bridge the gap and see what it was that made Superman grow into a cold megalomaniac. How did Hal Jordan lose his way? How come none of the other heavy hitters were able to stop Superman?
After finishing up all five years, the series then became Injustice: Ground Zero, where it retold the events of the video game's story mode from the point of view of Harley. Now we're in the middle of Injustice 2, a prequel comic showing what's happened in-between the two games.
So let’s revisit 40 of the finer moments in this run where what could have been a forgettable tie-in that nobody would remember instead became one of DC’s better titles.
1. HARLEY AND GREEN ARROW (Y1: #5)
The first four issues of Injusticearen’t all that good, mainly because it’s the Joker doing a mandated killing spree that Taylor had to write based on the in-game history. Having to write Lois Lane’s death never did sit right with Taylor and he’s tried to redeem himself for it in different ways through his various writings. It wasn’t until he was able to move away from the intro story that he could show some real personality and promise.
Green Arrow apprehended Harley Quinn and chose to keep her in his Arrow Cave, since he didn’t like the possibility of Superman needlessly executing her too. What we got was a great dynamic where the snarkier member of the Justice League was silent and belligerent to an optimistic and excited criminal who admired him. It also introduced a couple of running gags, like Harley’s tendency to always carry a fake mustache with her at all times and the fact that Green Arrow really needs to rename his headquarters.
2. SUPERMAN AND BATMAN TRY TO TALK IT OUT (Y1: #10-11)
Year One was mostly about the crumbling of the World’s Finest. The friendship between Superman and Batman fell to pieces over disagreements and backstabbing. Superman chose to confront Batman, mostly as an excuse to vent. He felt that Batman was judging him for killing the Joker and imposing peace on the world, but at the same time he ranted about how Batman allowed all of this to happen by not killing the Joker first when the Joker seriously deserved it. The two argued back and forth, leading to Superman insulting Batman’s role as a father and Batman punching Superman in the face.
From there, things calmed down and in one moment, we were reminded that they were friends. Superman inspected Batman’s hand for injuries and Batman admitted the truth: if he were in Superman’s shoes, he probably would have done the same thing. The problem is, Superman is supposed to be better. Superman offered Batman to follow him down his path of making the world a better place, but Batman just couldn’t bring himself to do it.
3. FLASH’S FANBOY (Y1: #13)
In the game’s story mode, the Flash was able to realize that he was on the wrong side, albeit too late. This issue dealt with him second-guessing Superman’s actions for the first time. In Australia, a group of people protested Superman’s insistence to keep countries from going to war “or else.” Superman and Wonder Woman told them all to disperse, but a man calling himself Galaxon stepped forth and challenged them. He got Rock Bottom’d into the pavement in a second.
As Flash went off to go get an ambulance, Batman told him that he already called for one and instead gave him directions to a science research facility. It was the place where Galaxon was engineered. News of his incident hadn’t reached them yet, so a scientist gave Flash the tour, including Galaxon’s room. The walls were covered in inspirational images of superheroes, including a photo of him as a kid when he got to meet the Flash. Realizing that he just watched a man who idolized him get paralyzed for standing up for his people, Flash zipped away to run off this gut punch.
In Year Five, Flash was told by Iris West that Galaxon committed suicide a year or so after the incident.
4. CYBORG’s VIRUS (Y1: #15)
When you get down to it, the comic is like DC’s own little version of Civil War, only we know the ending and we know that Superman is ultimately going to be in the wrong. It would be totally easy to simply have Batman be the paragon of virtue by default to show off just how wrong Superman really is, but Taylor doesn’t do that. Batman is an asshole and does some really scummy stuff.
For instance, there’s a part where Superman and his allies went to Arkham Asylum to steal away all of the inmates without saying where they were going. Cyborg would open the doors and Flash would run off with the prisoners. Batman warned Cyborg to stop and when that warning wasn’t heeded, he pressed a button that shorted Cyborg out. Once he finally came to his senses, he couldn’t understand it. He just updated his firewalls and there’s no way Batman could have infected him.
Then Cyborg realized that Batman infected him with the virus on the first week they met. Just in case. In the background, Killer Croc noted, “That’s pretty evil.”
Batman pulled crap like that a lot in the first year. While Superman was wrong for the right reasons, Batman was terrible at proving why he himself was in the right.
5. BLACK ADAM’S TAKEN DOWN (Y1: #19)
With the Justice League trying to stop all war around the world, that would naturally put them at odds with Teth Adam, ruler of Kahndaq. A man not known for listening to reason, he fought the heroes, who eventually overpowered him. In a moment of, “How did nobody else thing of this before?!” Wonder Woman proved that she is Black Adam’s kryptonite. All she had to do was get him in the lasso and ask him what his magic words are.
Shazam tried to plead with him and asked him point blank if there was any way to stop him. Adam, compelled to tell the truth, angrily said that he would tear apart anyone who tried to hurt Kahndaq, so no. He couldn’t be swayed. In his last moments before being forced to depower himself, Adam desperately begged Shazam to keep his country safe. Then he transformed into a powerless old man and was taken off the table until Year Five.
6. SUPERMAN VS. KALIBAK (Y1: #22-24)
With word that Superman was bringing peace to Earth, Kalibak found the idea laughable and figured it made the planet easy pickings for invasion. With Darkseid’s blessing, he and an endless stream of Parademons attacked Earth during a press conference where Superman was trying to better explain his actions to the frightened public. Kalibak completely underestimated Superman’s mindset in this act and paid for it.
Kalibak doubled down and mocked Superman for caring too much about the lives of his enemies than his people, all while piling on hundreds of Parademons and pointing out that Superman could hear all the people being terrorized from around the world. Vowing this wouldn’t happen again, Superman vaporized the lot of them, then beat Kalibak to death, even when Kalibak tried to surrender. After a brief discussion with Flash, Superman decided that for the greater good, he’d have to reduce every single Parademon on Earth to organic confetti.
He saved the world, but at the same time, Flash was disturbed that he basically gave Superman permission to kill and Batman knew that Superman’s actions were going to get progressively worse.
7. MORAL CHESS (Y1: #26)
Again, Superman and Flash had a conversation about the morality of what they were doing, though this time at their own leisure and not during an intergalactic invasion. In a cute gimmick, Superman had Flash quickly learn the rules of chess so that they could play while talking. This worked out so that any time one of them made a point in their argument, they would suddenly reach checkmate. Superman started off with all the good points, but soon Flash was able to run circles around his conversation and his skills by dropping checkmate after checkmate after checkmate.
8. SUPER TWITTER (Y1: #28)
This bit’s something that’s so stupid that it wraps around and becomes fantastic. Superman had had enough of Batman’s interference, so he decided that he’d just blurt out his alter-ego info to the world. Batman interfered with the satellite’s signal, putting them in the dark and also causing it to spiral down to Earth. Presumably, by the time Superman would have saved everyone in the satellite, Batman would have put some kind of contingency plan that would...do something? I don’t think Taylor thought that far ahead. Anyway, Robin was all, “No way, we’re doing this! Lex Luthor! Cyborg! Get Superman a Twitter account! Or at least an off-brand one that we can use in this comic!”
And so, “Batman is Bruce Wayne” became the most retweeted line in this universe, ruining the Dark Knight’s core level of secrecy.
While goofy, it did lead to a wonderful follow-up scene. Alfred came to Batman to tell him about the many, many news helicopters circling the manor and while he figured Batman had contingencies for his funds and various charities, Alfred had his own special list for just such an occasion. A short list of irreplaceable things to take with him in case Batman's identity was blown. His mother’s pearls, father’s stethoscope, etc. Batman thanks Alfred and suggested that perhaps he should remain at the mansion, but Alfred refused. After all, he was on the top of the list!
9. GREEN ARROW’S DEATH (Y1: #33-34)
It all led up to this moment. Superman didn’t simply lose his way over night. Various incidents and interactions pushed him in various ways, but it all came to a head in the moment he lost control and killed Green Arrow. Superman and Luthor had created a special pill that would give someone the strength of a Kryptonian (to explain in-game why Harley Quinn and Nightwing could fight Superman and Doomsday) and Batman created a plan to create a diversion to get Superman out of the Fortress of Solitude so that they could sneak in and steal it.
What Batman didn’t count on was that Superman was keeping his parents in the Fortress for their own safety and how volatile that would make him. The incident escalated and it seemed like everything was against Superman, including fate. His friends betrayed him. His government betrayed him. The current love of his life Wonder Woman was critically injured. He was almost killed by Captain Atom. Batman wouldn’t stop trying to undermine him. Then in an act of desperation, Green Arrow deflected an arrow off Superman and it stuck into Pa Kent’s shoulder. Superman snapped and beat Green Arrow to death, but not before Arrow was able to fire the super pill off into the distance and make his sacrifice mean something.
Afterwards, the Kents and the computerized ghost of Jor-El tried to reason with Superman, but he wouldn’t hear it. After he flew off to find Batman, the three moped about their failures as parents. It was one of the sadder moments as the AI Jor-El tried to console the Kents while saying, “I’m sorry I unleashed this on your world.”
10. SUPERMAN VS. ALFRED (Y1: #36)
Batman put the super pill into the Batcomputer in order to get the data to synthesize it. That meant having to keep Superman busy long enough, which was kind of hard because, you know, he’s Superman. Superman caught him and decided that he wouldn’t kill Batman. Instead, he broke him over his knee, Bane-style. He noticed that the pill was gone and the information was uploaded elsewhere, but when he tried to press Batman (physically) to spill the beans, he just got the harsh truth that no matter how heroic he pretended to be, he was actually resorting to torture. Before Superman could process this, a hand touched his shoulder. It was Alfred.
Then Alfred buried his forehead into Superman’s nose. It was the perfect payoff for a man who sat back and watched his own family get torn apart over these 36 issues. Alfred verbally ran down Superman while stomping him so hard that his own shoe exploded into leather pieces. Once done, he took a second to clean his hands like a good butler and carried Batman off to the teleporter, telling him that there was nothing else in the cave worth saving. Damn.
The moment this issue came out, readers were clamoring for an Alfred Pennyworth DLC in the game.
11. BEST TEAM-UP EVER (Y1 Annual)
Injustice: Gods Among Us Annual is such a great little side-story taking place before Green Arrow’s death. It mainly dealt with Lobo, the downloadable character from the game who otherwise had nothing to do with the main storyline. Due to the whole Kalibak incident, Darkseid hired him to take out Superman. Seeing how screwed he was against a Superman with no moral problems throwing the Main Man into the sun, Lobo instead took a job for Superman to track down Harley Quinn. One thing led to another and soon Harley had ingested one of the super pills.
Harley went to the Arrow Cave, since Green Arrow was nice to her that one time, leading to some hilarious dialogue and facial expressions between the two of them and Black Canary. Lobo eventually tracked them down, but their combined abilities (mostly Harley’s newfound ability to tear someone’s head clean off) helped prevent them from being another three notches on Lobo’s belt. Then Harley used her psychological assets to convince Lobo that she was beneath him and he moved on.
12. THE DEATH OF KYLE RAYNER (Y2: #2)
As mentioned earlier, a lot of having to kill off Lois Lane chafed Taylor and it showed in his work. In one instance, he took the original “girls in refrigerators” moment and turned it on its head. Kyle Rayner was off doing space adventures and was on his way to go meet his girl. In this version of the story, Kyle was the one cornered and brutally killed for the sake of plot device.
While the last several years of DC has painted Sinestro as more of an anti-hero, this one sequence solidified him as the true villain of Year Two. The horrifying way he and his Sinestro Corps took Kyle apart was genuinely sad and just a little scary.
13. GORDON’S ALWAYS KNOWN (Y2: #6)
As a way to stick it to Batman, Superman decided to have his foot soldiers take martial law on Gotham. This didn’t sit well for Commissioner Gordon. He walked over to one of Oracle’s secret hideouts and told her he knew everything. Once she let him in, she made a brief attempt to play dumb, but then he merely shouted her down. He knew about Batgirl. He knew about Oracle. He knew Batman was Bruce Wayne. He knew from the very beginning because he was a detective and he was damn good at his job.
With Gordon cutting through the lies, he then told Barbara his own sad truth: he was dying of lung cancer. The last thing he wanted to do was save the world from Superman because it was only going to get worse.
14. CH’P VS. SUPERMAN (Y2: #10)
Superman’s megalomania eventually got the attention of the Green Lantern Corps. With Hal Jordan kept imprisoned, the Oans sent a bunch of Lanterns to Earth to pick a fight. Superman had a handful of his allies and a giant satellite laser on his side, but despite the many ring-slingers out to stop him, it was one of the tiniest who almost did the job. Ch’p the space squirrel was able to use his ring to manipulate the energy flowing through Superman’s skull, keeping his synapses from reaching his brain. Without Superman being able to even think right, the Man of Steel was there’s for the taking.
Lucky for Superman, Sinestro was able to convince Lex Luthor that he was there to help and was allowed to enter the fray. Not noticed until it was too late, Sinestro sniped the poor, little squirrel and that was the end of their advantage.
15. HARLEY’S DAUGHTER (Y2: #13)
Black Canary found Harley squatting in the abandoned Arrow Cave and the two started fighting it out. Harley stopped once Canary started vomiting, realizing she was suffering morning sickness and was pregnant with Ollie’s child. She casually let it slip that she too was once pregnant and Dinah pressed the subject until Harley relented. Years ago, she was pregnant with the Joker’s kid. In a rare act of sense, Harley kept it a secret from Joker and left him for nearly a year to give birth to Lucy and hand her off to Harley's sister. Then when she returned to the Joker, Joker acted like he didn’t even notice Harley was gone in the first place, which Harley tearfully explained away as a hilarious joke.
It’s rare to get a good scene that really gets the Joker/Harley relationship without feeling icky. Harley’s dependency on Joker’s abusive nature is shown perfectly here, but there’s none of the usual physical violence to back it up. It’s heartbreaking when Harley describes Lucy’s interests and the little girl comes off as an innocent version of Harley who will be spared the horrors of a clown crime lifestyle.
16. SINESTRO VS. DESPERO (Y2: 15)
Year One was about Superman succumbing to all sorts of different factors to the point of losing his way. Taylor made sure that it wasn’t just one thing making his turn to darkness a simple on-off switch. On the other hand, Sinestro spent Year Two stoking the flames of Superman’s psyche while turning Hal Jordan further to his side. The ease in which he was able to do this made it all the more hilarious because, really, Hal Jordan is a total meathead.
Flying in from space, Despero crashed into a populated building in Chicago. Sinestro was on the scene first and made a heroic claim that Despero would not be terrorizing Earth, as that was under his protection. Despero wasn’t sure what the hell he was talking about and over the next few pages, it became pretty apparent that Sinestro had his Sinestro Corps rough up Despero, throw him to Earth, and let Sinestro take care of the rest. Sinestro used his ring to force Despero’s hands onto Sinestro’s throat and with Hal and John Stewart flying over as witnesses, Sinestro yelled, “Don’t make me do this!” before snapping Despero’s neck out of supposed self-defense.
Hal believed every second of it.
17. DAN DIDIO HATES THIS (Y2: 16)
Remember about a couple years ago when the big thing was how the Batwoman comic was working its way towards a lesbian engagement and then DC shut it down? Then they went all, “No, we’re not anti-gay! We’re just anti-marriage in general!” when everyone made a stink about it? Fun times.
In this issue, everyone was getting ready for the big fight against Superman, the Justice League, and the Sinestro Corps. Batman took to the radio to give a big speech about sacrifice and heroism and all that. He’d bring up family and we’d see Barbara and James Gordon saying their goodbyes. He’d bring up friends and we’d see Harvey Bullock getting drunk by himself. But most notably, it explicitly showed that in the Injustice: Gods Among Us universe, Batwoman and Renee Montoya were married. That rules.
It was never referenced again.
18. HAL JORDAN GOES YELLOW (Y2: 19)
An argument between Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner escalated once Sinestro and Ganthet arrived. Guy tried to reason with him, but Hal was firmly on Superman’s side. Then as Guy saved Carol Ferris from some burning debris, Hal made the bonehead decision to smash Guy in the face and let Carol fall so he could save her. Ganthet chose that moment to strip Hal of his green ring, which was called for, but also really bad timing because, you know, Carol was falling to her death. Desperate, Hal begged Sinestro to save Carol, but Sinestro refused.
“We need you in this war. Save her yourself.”
With a yellow ring offered, Hal joined Sinestro’s brand and rescued Carol. A few issues later, Sinestro killed John Stewart and told Hal that Guy was accidentally responsible. Feeling that this big space battle between the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps was Guy’s fault, Hal attacked him and tore his arm off, watching as the powerless Guy fell to Earth.
Sinestro took out three of the Earth Lanterns in one year while turning the other to his side. Not bad.
19. JIM GORDON’S LAST STAND (Y2: 20)
The less cosmic members of Batman’s resistance took to overtaking the Hall of Justice, all hopped up on super pills. They successfully took out Flash, Robin, and Luthor, but Luthor spoke to Commissioner Gordon and told him that he was really a mole and that Barbara was in great danger. Cyborg was tracing Oracle’s signal and was going to figure out her location in moments. Using Luthor as a hostage, Gordon beamed up to the satellite and fired a warning shot into the metal side of Cyborg’s head.
Even though Gordon was dying, he was still able to overpower Cyborg and knock him out by tearing off his metal face. As he and Luthor discussed, taking the super pill didn’t aid Gordon’s health. It only made the cancer stronger. He enjoyed the peaceful view from above Earth and spoke to Barbara and Batman through his communicator. He said his goodbyes, ending with the joke, “Batman. I guess...I guess I disappear on you for once,” before collapsing.
20. SUPERMAN VS. BLACK CANARY (Y2: #21-23)
This is a fight that had been building since the first issue of Year Two. Hell, since the moment Superman snapped and killed Ollie. Superman saw the Batwing flying towards him and figured it was Batman. He lasered it up into oblivion, only for Black Canary to fly out with a bat-jetpack on her back and a super pill in her system. With her sonic scream, she was able to paralyze Superman while spiking him into the ground. When they got up, she shot him in the chest with a kryptonite bullet. Yep, all was looking peachy as she kicked the crap out of him.
What everyone forgot to pick up on was that there were a whole lot of Sinestro Corps soldiers dying around them and Superman was becoming an expert at instilling fear around the world. One of the empty rings flew to him and helped him remove the kryptonite bullet from his chest. He critically wounded Canary with his heat vision and showed off his badass new Sinestro Corps threads.
Still, Canary had the last laugh. She had special contact lenses that allowed her to record the entire fight. No longer would Superman be able to use media smoke and mirrors to play off his actions as heroic. The world knew what he really was. Superman didn’t take it well and we got a dead Mogo and Ganthet out of the deal a few minutes later.
While Batman and The Flash unravel the mysteries of Rebirth, Jay Garrick finally returns as the DC Universe continues to impress.
This article contains minor spoilers for recent issues of Batman and The Flash.
Still notable by their absence from DC's fine return to form with their Rebirth initiative are many of the core members of the Justice Society. Sure, Earth 2: Society recently wrapped, but that's not exactly the Rebirth version of the team that was first hinted at in the DC Universe: Rebirth special last year.
Y'see, one of the side effects of the New 52 was that the concept of the Justice Society as Earth's first team of superheroes, who then inspired future generations, was lost. But Rebirth indicated that they did indeed exist, but were somehow wiped from everybody's memory. Of course, the reasoning for that appears to be meddling from none other than Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan, a plot point that has been a little contentious with fans, even if the general consensus is that across the line, Rebirth finally feels like the DC Comics we've been missing for a few years.
And even those skeptical about how the whole "Watchmen characters in the DC Universe" thing will work out (including this writer) seem to be enjoying the slow build as more clues are revealed in a select handful of books. Things accelerated in April with "The Button," a four-part story that rolled out across issues #21-22 of both Batman (by Tom King and Jason Fabok) and The Flash (by Josh Williamson and Howard Porter). "The Button" sees the Fastest Man Alive and the World's Greatest Detective get together to finally figure out what the heck the Comedian's button was doing in the Batcave, and it ties into the reality altering events of Flashpoint, which is how we ended up with the New 52 in the first place.
While I have thoroughly enjoyed the DC Universe again in the wake of Rebirth over the last year, "The Button" was one of those things that reminded me how uncomfortable I am with the whole Watchmen/DCU collision concept. Fortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly given the quality of the creative teams, "The Button" is a remarkably tight, personal story that not only expanded the scope of the current DC Universe, but wrapped up some lingering Flashpoint issues, as well. While Flashpoint is now generally considered to be a touchstone of DC lore, it has never exactly been a favorite of mine, so the fact that "The Button" turned out to be such a fun ride in spite of two major objections on my part is remarkable. But the biggest deal, the one that has the most impact for longtime DC fans, came in the story's final chapter in The Flash #22, with the return of original Flash Jay Garrick.
OK, so...as someone who counts Garrick as his favorite speedster, the cover of The Flash #22 (art by Jason Fabok) is spectacular. While lightly updated, this is very much the classic Jay Garrick Flash look, and it fits in with the overall "respect the past but have a little fun with things" aesthetic of Rebirth redesigns. The cover that he's "burning through" is the original Flash Comics #1 from 1940, while his pose there is reminiscent of the cover of 2009's The Flash: Rebirth, the hugely influential comic by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver that helped set the table for The Flash TV series, among other things.
Jay's actual return in the story is illustrated by Howard Porter, and the full page reveal when he emerges from the Speed Force for the first time in years is positively triumphant. It's probably not my imagination that Porter's Jay Garrick looks a little bit like John Wesley Shipp, the actor who played Barry Allen in the 1990s Flash TV series and currently brings Jay Garrick to life on the current TV series.
Despite all this, Jay's return is short lived, and we're going to have to wait a while longer before we get that Justice Society reunion we're all craving. But again, like what we saw in the book that launched Rebirth last year, the pieces are now in place for DC's first super team to return.
The return of Jay Garrick mirrors the recent reset of Superman continuity over in the pages of Action Comics, and the quiet way DC has gone about the business of cleaning up the New 52. Rather than do another hard reset last year with the DC Universe: Rebirth special, they've rolled out these changes organically, often in the pages of other, larger stories, in ways that appeal to older readers and are unlikely to alienate new ones. Making Garrick the first member of the classic JSA to properly return is a bit of a meta treat, as well, since his first meeting with Barry Allen in 1961's The Flash #123 is what introduced the very concept of the Multiverse to the DC Universe, a signifier of the seismic changes to come.
And make no mistake, "The Button" points the way to what's next for the DC Universe. In this case, it's Doomsday Clock, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, the book that will likely solve the Dr. Manhattan mystery and finally answer Rebirth's lingering questions. We have more details on Doomsday Clock right here.
I may remain skeptical of using Watchmen concepts within the DCU, but I can't argue with results. Right now, DC is reinvigorating old concepts and perfecting its own message with a purpose that I haven't seen from them in nearly a decade. So far, the execution of Jay Garrick's return is another feather for their winged helmet. If it takes another year to reintroduce the rest of the Justice Society, I have a feeling it will be worth the wait.
Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Iron Fist, and others will team up as The Defenders in 2017! And there's a new photo of them.
Marvel's master plan for teaming Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist (plus some members of their supporting casts) in The Defenders Netflix series is 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.
Latest The Defenders News
While we've already seen this team in the trailer, this new image of them suited up and ready to go, compliments of Empire, will still always be a treat.
The Defenders Trailer
The first trailer is finally here!
Huge points for appropriate use of Nirvana's "Come as You Are."
We last saw Elektra in the concluding moments of Daredevil Season 2, when the volatile romance between her and Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock ended – in an inevitable spin on her classic comic book fate – with her apparent death during a clash with clandestine ninja criminal organization the Hand by returning rival Nobu Yoshioka (Peter Shinkoda). However, as we also saw, the Hand, with post-mortem interest in Elektra, dug her up and placed her body into a sacred sarcophagus to be reborn as their new leader the Black Sky. Relevantly, the new promo for The Defenders gives us a slight tease for the end result of that macabre process.
Thus, while expectations for The Defenders would presumably have a resurrected Elektra pegged as an ally, we could find our heroes on the wrong side of her signature set of sais, at least, initially, anyway. Since the Hand played a major role in the last Marvel Netflix series Iron Fist, showcasing a shakeup in its leadership, it will be interesting to see how things play out in The Defenders, with Elektra as the Black Sky, along with Sigourney Weaver’s billed main villain, “Alexandra.”
The Defenders Release Date
A security footage-style teaser video titled "Midland Circle Security Elevator B" features street level MCU heroes in a blindfolded Daredevil, bullet-ridden hoodie-rocking Luke Cage, suit-sporting Iron Fist, and a camera-shy Jessica Jones awkwardly sharing an elevator and some obligatory Muzak. However, the time code in the upper-right ending with "08:18:20:17" divulged the long-awaited crucial bit of info.
With that oblique move, Netflix has officially revealed that The Defenders will premiere on August 18, 2017.
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 Photos
Hit the gallery to see some official stills.
And how about this cool poster from Joe Quesada?
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.
The teaser trailer includes some easter eggs that longtime fans need to see.
It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally got a solid look at the new Robotech comic. In this new trailer we not only see some new artwork but also some new twists!
Right off from the artwork we can see that Roy and some other officers are invetigating the crashed SDF-1. Eagle eyed fans will note one of those officers helmets read, "Hayes." Could this be Lisa Hayes' father? We also see the tagline, "Following Carl Macek's Original Vision" once again. What does that mean? Could it mean more closely uniting the sagas without worrying about footage restrictions? We can't see wait to see.
For some insight on the new comic, wrier Brian Wood spoke about the direction of the series and his familiarity with the franchise.
Wood grew up as a fan of the original Americanized Robotech as a kid, messing with his antenna to try and get a decent picture of the show. He tried to get his hands on anything Robotech he could find, only managing to score a few issues of the original Comico series and The Art of Robotech.
What stood out to him more than anything about the show was that his older sister would watch it with him.
“(She was) probably in her early teens at the time, and why on earth would a teenage girl wake up at 5am or whatever it was on a weekend to watch robot cartoons with her little brother? That’s stuck with me my entire life, the fact that the characters and the drama was compelling enough for me and for her, even though we were very different types of people.”
Woods points to Roy and Claudia as the characters he related to the most, along with Lisa. “I like her stern, follow the rules style.” Beyond the characters he also loves the ship designs, Veritech designs, “and the fast-paced style of the combat in the show - the winding, snaking missiles, Roy’s Skull-1 tail art, and the genuineness of the relationships."
Even if Wood is a big fan of the original series, he knew he had to “aggressively modernize and streamline it” for the new audience picking up the comic.
“I love the show, I just re-watched the whole thing, but there’s no getting around the fact its dated, and not everything in it ages so well (although I admit a lot of it was ahead of its time).”
Woods points to JJ Abrams’ Star Trek as a prime example of how to both pay respect to what’s come before but also update it and that’s the approach Titan is taking with the comic. They’ll be introducing new elements that weren’t in the original show, as we can already see from the new artwork, but Woods says,
“The main draw here is how we’re aiming to capture two audiences - the existing fans, and any other people who either don’t know where to start with Robotech, or maybe aren’t interested in it because the old episodes seem dated.”
Woods stresses that he wants to share this franchise with everyone. The summary below should give fans a glimpse into just how Titan Comics will be going about that.
Not just another retelling of the Macross saga ... In July, the story continues as we bring Carl Macek's original vision full circle. Taking into account every iteration of the series, this new Robotech #1 casts a fresh eye over classic characters like Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, Lynn Minmei, Roy Fokker, Claudia Grant, and Henry Gloval. Brian Wood and Marco Turini take us back to a Macross Island where *nothing* can be taken for granted.
Check out these interior pages by Marco Turini which give fans even more hints at what's to come.
Already we’re seeing some divergence from what we saw in the series. Roy is flanked by some guards on the flight deck from the first episode. Rick has a different flight suit and some neat shades. Why is Rick’s fanjet being pursued by fighters? We’re eagerly looking forward to the answers.
Below are most of the covers released for the Robotechcomic series.
COVER A: STANLEY ‘ARTGERM’ LAU
COVER B: KARL KERSCHL
COVER C: BLAIR SHEDD ACTION FIGURE VARIANT
COVER D: MICHAEL DIALYNAS
COVER E: WALTRIP BROS. RETRO VARIANT
COVER F: BLUE LINE VERITECH SKETCH VARIANT
COVER G: 1:10 VARIANT - KARL KERSCHL (MINMEI)
Stay tuned to Den of Geek for all things Robotech and get hyped for the comic series! Robotech #1 hits stand on July 26th.
Shamus Kelley still needs some sweet Rick Hunter shades. Follow him on Twitter!
James Gunn talks about why Nathan Fillion isn't in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and what his cut scene would've been.
Nathan Fillion and James Gunn have had a long history. He was the star in the first film Gunn ever directed, the deliciously grotesque Slither. He also has appeared in every film since then, including as the voice of a digital prison punk in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet he is nowhere to be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the box office-crushing Marvel Studios extravaganza.
Now James Gunn has taken to Facebook to come clean on why Fillion, a space opera icon in his own right after Firefly, was not boarded in the final version of Vol. 2. Once again, Gunn confirms that Fillion actually was going to play a relatively important bush league superhero from the Marvel comics universe, Simon Williams/Wonder Man. And while the actual scene that would have constituted a bevy of posters of Simon Williams films got cut, the director still considers it canon—and keeps the flame of hope alive we may see Wonder Man yet in a major role within the MCU.
As many of you know one of my best friends in the world is Nathan Fillion. Along with Michael Rooker and Gregg Henry he's been in every movie I've directed - even as a monstrous, perverted voice in Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn't have a good cameo for him in Vol. 2 - and I wanted to bring him more fully into the MCU at some point, so I didn't want to make him Aakon Guard #2, narrowing his chance of a more substantial role in the future. I really do love the character of Simon Williams/Wonder Man in the comics - a sometimes douchey actor/superhero - and could see Nathan clearly in that role (not because he's a douchebag but because he's great at playing one). But, of course, in a movie set 99.9% in space I didn't really have a place for him. So in a small flash to earth I decided to put a theater playing a "Simon Williams Film Festival," with six Simon Williams movie posters outside. Obviously, from the posters, he's had a run of B movies. Most of them in themselves are Easter eggs of some sort or another. Unfortunately, the small section of the scene where they appeared slowed down the movie and I had to cut the Easter eggs from the film (along with storefronts named after comic book luminaries Starlin, Mantlos, Annett and others). Equally a bummer was that a lot of people took photos of these posters on the day so suddenly every fan site was reporting that Nathan was playing Wonder Man in he movie. He was even the third-billed actor on IMDB!
So that's the full story. Nathan's only cameo in the movie ever were these posters. I'll post them all over the next few days.
And, yes, I think we can consider them canon for the MCU, and I hold onto hope that Simon Williams will rise again!!
In that vein, here is one of those posters, which is clearly a parody of Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs, which starred Michael Fassbender as the late Apple genius. In the MCU, it would appear that Tony Stark would get the same treatment.