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- 09/28/17--09:28: _Spider-Man and Dead...
- 09/29/17--12:05: _The Name of the Win...
- 09/23/17--15:25: The Many Deaths of the Joker
- 09/24/17--21:59: Outlander Season 3 Episode 3 Review: All Debts Paid
- 09/25/17--09:18: Spider-Man: The 34 Spider-Men of the Spider-Verse
- 09/25/17--09:24: Justice League of America #15 Exclusive First Look!
- 09/25/17--11:38: Who are The Gifted? A Guide to Fox's X-Men TV Series
- 09/25/17--16:10: The Haunting of Hill House Netflix Series Adds Mckenna Grace
- 09/26/17--18:07: American Flagg TV Series in the Works
- 09/26/17--18:45: Ngozi Ukazu Interview: Check, Please and Beyond
- 09/27/17--08:53: The Inhumans: 17 Essential Marvel Universe Stories
- 09/27/17--12:45: Phil Lord and Chris Miller Tackle Space Sci-Fi Film Artemis
- 09/27/17--12:49: Black Hammer Returns in 2018
- 09/23/17--09:33: 25 Harley Quinns for 25 Years
- 09/27/17--23:53: Deadly Class TV Series Gets Pilot Order From Syfy
- 09/28/17--01:52: Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dies at 91
- 09/28/17--08:23: Gotham: Who is the Scarecrow?
- 09/28/17--09:28: Spider-Man and Deadpool: Their Smart Alecky History
- 09/29/17--12:05: The Name of the Wind 10th Anniversary Edition Review
There have been many stories to kill off the Clown Prince of Crime, but Batman's greatest enemy isn't so easy to get rid of for good.
In fictional worlds of heroes and villains who can shrug off bullets like they were nothing, there exists “plot armor” for the lesser folk. Plot armor is the reason why Frank Castle can mosey through a room with an uzi in each hand and somehow kill every single enemy while somehow never getting shot in any vital area. It’s why Stormtroopers have the worst aim and why the red-shirted Enterprise dudes have all the bad luck.
I’m having a hard time coming up with someone with stronger plot armor in comic books than the Joker. Hell, even Frank Castle died at least twice in continuity. The Joker should be dead a million times over, not just due to his injuries, but because with all the lives he’s taken, surely somebody would have murdered him by now. But again, not only does he take vicious beatings, if he isn’t apprehended at the end of a story, he usually falls off a cliff or is at the heart of an explosion or gets hit by a truck.
Then he’s back the next time, no worse for the wear.
The Joker’s been revealed as a playable character for Injustice 2. This is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser because the entire story revolves around Joker being dead. Like, really dead. The previous game had another Joker visit from another reality, but he seems to be off the table this time around. So what is he? Another alternate universe Joker? A hallucination brought on by fear gas? A copycat? A clone? Did he simply come back from the dead?
But that’s what the Joker’s all about. While the comics won’t ever truly get rid of him, there are many continuities that have done away with Mr. J. Yet even then, the Joker is never really gone. He tends to haunt and taunt Batman in one way or another via his violent legacy. For someone with such an ill-defined identity, he sure is a fixture in the universe.
HONORABLE MENTION: TIM BURTON JOKER
Jack Nicholson’s Joker completely ate it at the end of Tim Burton’s Batman. He fell from a great height while dragged down by a gargoyle. We saw the body. Dude was absolutely dead.
And he stayed that way! After that first movie, the most mention Joker got in that universe was a brief allusion in Batman Forever when Batman told Robin that revenge leads to emptiness.
We almost got a bit more of him, though! Before Batman and Robin ruined the concept of fun and killed that franchise, Joel Schumacher was originally going to do a fifth movie in that universe. Batman Triumphant, which you can read more about here, would have revolved around Scarecrow and Harley Quinn as the new villains. Scarecrow means fear gas and that would have meant Batman getting a hallucination sequence.
What would Batman fear the most? Probably the skin-dyed dirtbag that killed his parents. And so, had the movie existed, we would have had a scene of Jack Nicholson Joker confronting Batman during a psychological breakdown.
The movie would have been a dumpster fire, but...man, part of me is bummed we never got it.
Similarly, an unused Superman vs. Batman script from the early '00s would have included a plot point where Lex Luthor cloned the Joker to bring him back as part of a scheme to traumatize Bruce Wayne out of retirement and trick him into fighting Superman. Probably the most sense-making reason to connect Lex and Joker.
Sunsoft made Batman: The Video Gamefor NES and the story was the general plot of the movie, only with lots and lots of ninjas and robots added because Batman needs something to fight. The ending is roughly the same, though Batman’s a bit more cold-blooded. He beats the Joker down, tells him, “You killed my parents,” and then tosses him to his doom. We see Joker’s lifeless corpse and roll credits.
Then a year later, they released Batman: Return of the Joker. The Joker’s back with some scheme involving stealing explosive metals and...he’s back. He’s alive again. Somehow. Neither the game nor the manual have any explanation. Just go with it.
Upon further review, both the Genesis and arcade adaptations of the movie make it vague whether or not falling from the top of a cathedral is enough to take out the Joker, so maybe Jack Nicholson's Joker is more resilient than anyone ever realized.
FRANK MILLER JOKER
Dark Knight Returns features one of the most chilling incarnations of the Joker, who comes out of a catatonic state the moment he finds out Batman’s back on the streets. Joker’s killing spree goes farther than the 1980s comic-reading public was used to and Batman ALMOST has it in him to kill the Joker for good. Since killing Joker is neither a horseshoe nor a hand grenade, Joker finishes the job by snapping his own neck and making it look like Batman’s finally gone over the line, thereby making him a prime target of the authorities.
Enduring one massive beating and a fake death (which people regard as “totally beat Superman in a fight” for some reason) later, Batman is fine.
Many years later, Frank Miller made his sequel Dark Knight Strikes Again, otherwise known as, “that mess.” In a story that focuses on Lex Luthor and Brainiac while including lots of DC heroes and Hal Jordan’s dinosaur space penis, the Joker appears a couple times as a looming threat. He kills the Creeper, Guardian, and even Martian Manhunter while bringing up the mystery of who he could possibly be.
Joker II shows up at the end of the comic as the final boss showdown. He is, in fact, Dick Grayson, whose only mention in the original story was not being on speaking terms with Bruce. As the story goes, Batman fired him for being an incompetent whiner once upon a time and rather than celebrate being free of the lunatic that is Miller Batman, Dick instead went a bit mad and allowed Luthor and Brainiac to give him shape-shifting/quick-healing powers.
Even though he’s capable of surviving decapitations and the like, Joker II is eventually done in by being knocked into some lava. Can’t heal if there’s nothing left of you.
Back in the late-90s, Alan Davis and Mark Farmer put together a three-issue Elseworlds story called The Nail. This “what if” tale shows how the DC Universe would have formed had Superman’s rocket not been discovered by the Kents. Without Superman as a symbol, metahumans aren’t exactly looked upon with love and astonishment. It’s more of an X-Men deal where the public’s mood is, “Thanks for saving the world...I guess.”
As part of the comic’s big villain conspiracy (and I won’t spoil who’s behind everything), the Joker is armed with a pair of gauntlets made from Kryptonian tech. They make him virtually unstoppable and he proceeds to liberate Arkham and then make the Bat-villains fight each other to the death for his amusement. Batman, Robin, and Batgirl appear and Alan Davis leans into things to finally answer the question, “What would it take for Batman to murder the Joker?”
The answer: have the Joker use his telekinetic gauntlets to slowly and painfully tear Robin and Batgirl to pieces while forcing Batman to watch. Jesus. Yeah. That’ll do it.
With some assistance from Catwoman, Batman’s able to free himself, damage the gauntlets and snap Joker’s neck. While the public display and selective context makes the Justice League look bad, nobody takes the incident harder than Batman himself. Both the graphic deaths of his sidekicks and the realization that he murdered a man sends him to the brink of sanity. It’s the comfort of Catwoman, who becomes Batwoman, that keeps him from falling apart.
Regardless, once the story is over, Batman gives himself up to the police. He’s acquitted of murder charges, but chooses to leave the Justice League.
Several years later, we get Another Nail, which basically exists to give upbeat closure to a story that had a bunch of downers. Batman continues to fight crime in Gotham, but he starts hearing the Joker’s laughter. Due to the convoluted plot of the miniseries, things are screwy with the afterlife and the Joker is able to escape Hell.
Threatening to kill Batwoman, Joker – who has Carnage-like powers – fights Batman. Batman attempts to sacrifice himself by tackling Joker back to Hell, but the spririts of Robin and Batgirl rescue him. Batman finally decides to get on with his life and rejoin the Justice League.
KINGDOM COME JOKER
The Joker’s death in Kingdom Come is a major turning point for society. After Joker murders Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and a lot of other people at the Daily Planet, he’s apprehended by the police. We’ll never know how Superman would have instinctively dealt with his loss as new superhero hotness and Cable pastiche Magog stops by to vaporize the handcuffed Joker.
Magog is put on trial, everyone and their mother is pretty okay with the Joker being murdered in any way, and Superman leaves in a huff. This causes a new dawn of “superheroism” where it’s less about heroism and more about people in cool costumes getting into fights with no care for anything but themselves. You know, kind of like a Zack Snyder movie.
While the Joker doesn’t come back from the dead, he does inspire one troublemaker to become the new Joker’s Daughter (otherwise known as Harlequin). Although we never get much on her, as she’s mostly a recurring background character, she represents the chaotic world where the mighty can do what they want while the weak are left deal with the consequences.
It does remind me that one of the most clever moments in the whole comic is when Batman betrays Lex Luthor and admits to only joining up with him in the first place in order to see what Captain Marvel’s deal was. As he puts it, Captain Marvel is a wild card and if there’s anything Batman hates, it’s a wild card.
BATMAN BEYOND JOKER
Batman: The Animated Series is arguably better than sliced bread and its dark future Batman Beyondwasn’t bad either. Despite taking place years in the future, the writers were stingy on the details of what became of a lot of the old guard. While we got to see what became of Mr. Freeze and Bane, bigger deal characters like Robin and Joker were glazed over.
At most, during the show’s run, we saw that the Joker was replaced with an ever-changing circus-themed gang called the Jokerz. That was cool and all and fits into the nature of this list, but Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker went beyond just that.
In the dying days of the Animated Series era, the Joker kidnapped and tortured Tim Drake Robin. He warped the poor boy, made him squeal about Batman’s secret identity, and then transformed him into a giggling child version of the Joker. Depending on which version you watch, Tim would get his revenge by either shooting Joker in the chest or electrocuting him to death.
In the Beyondera, the Joker appears yet again, making the futuristic Batman Terry McGuiness question the many ways that’s possible. In the end, the Joker turns out to be Tim Drake, unknowingly taken over by a secret implant that transforms him into having the Joker’s DNA and personality. Terry is able to put an end to this Joker by frying the implant with an electric joy buzzer.
DIGITAL JUSTICE JOKER
Speaking of the future, there’s this Elseworlds taking place towards the end of the 21st century. While the Joker presumably died of old age, considering Batman retired, he lives on in the form of a sentient computer virus and...
For God's sake, look at that thing. Actually, better idea, let’s not. Just...next entry.
RED RAIN JOKER
Throughout the '90s, Doug Moench and Kelley Jones did a trilogy of Elseworlds stories based on the very simple high concept of Batman being a literal "bat man." In the story Red Rain, Batman gets bitten by a vampire and fights Dracula. It’s pretty rad. Batman wins and Dracula’s dead for good.
A couple of years later, they do a sequel called Bloodstorm, which is based on the very human Joker leading Dracula’s horde for the sake of taking over the criminal underworld. Vampire Batman teams up with Selina Kyle, who also goes literal by being a werecat. Selena’s love is the only thing keeping Batman from going all-you-can-eat-buffet, so once Joker kills her with a crossbow, Batman has nothing left to keep him in check. Although part of him tries to fight it, he still powers through multiple crosses and holy water to snap Joker’s neck and feed on his blood.
Being that Batman is the smartest dude, he knows to shove a stake through Joker’s heart just in case because Vampire Joker is the last thing we need.
It’s moot, since not only has Batman killed his rival, but he’s given into his vampire instincts. He has his buds Alfred and Commissioner Gordon stake him to prevent any further benders.
Those two, unfortunately, never got around to removing his head, so despite being rendered immobile, Batman is still kicking. A few months later, Alfred removes the stake because Alfred is dumb as hell in this world. Not only does Batman have a taste for blood while being driven insane from months of his body rotting, but it’s implied a few times that ingesting Joker’s specific blood makes him even more out-of-control.
Yeah, things do NOT end well for any named character in that final chapter.
BATMAN 666 JOKER
During Grant Morrison’s lengthy run on Batman’s comics, he wrote a one-off story it Batman #666 that depicts Damian Wayne as a more ruthless Batman in the future who may or may not have sold his soul to the actual devil. There are two alternate follow-ups to this story. One of which has Damian adopt and raise Terry McGinnis, leading to a take on the Batman Beyond era.
Then there’s a path where everything goes wrong. The Joker has died and while we don’t know the details, we do know that the madman had his own failsafe. In his death, he releases a virus that transforms its victims into Joker-like monsters, like a clown version of 28 Days Later.
Damian Batman finds a baby who appears to be immune to the virus, but his attempts to use the child to create a cure leads to disaster when he discovers that the baby is merely a carrier. Overwhelmed by infected clown people, Damian watches in horror as Gotham is nuked to contain the outbreak.
I think I like the first future better.
In the Rocksteady Arkhamtrilogy, Joker suffers from injecting himself with Titan, otherwise known as Super Bane Juice II: Turbo. In the aftermath, he’s dying, so he figures he’ll inject his own poisoned blood into Batman’s veins to push Batman into finding a cure. I’m guessing Joker saw that episode of South Park where Cartman had AIDS and had a moment of inspiration.
Though Batman cures himself, Joker shivs him. Either because he thinks Batman’s going to leave him to die or because shivving seemed like a good idea at the moment. That makes Batman drop the antidote and Joker succumbs to illness and dies, laughing at Batman’s claim that he was totally about to give him the antidote after all.
Then in Arkham Knight, we discover that having Joker blood in your system plus breathing in Scarecrow’s fear toxin transforms you into superhero Fight Club. Joker appears in visions while Batman (and some other soon-to-be-dead saps who also have Joker blood) gradually becomes Joker-like in behavior and appearance.
Batman ultimately wins out by turning the two infections against each other and confronting Joker with his own fear: being dead and forgotten. Batman goes back to normal and gets back to his mission of handing Scarecrow a knuckle sandwich.
The Batman prequel series features Jerome Valeska, as played by Cameron Monaghan. Jerome is what I’d call the How I Met Your Mother of Jokers. He’s the Joker, but not really. Maybe. He could be. He might not be. He’s possibly a red herring. Or he can lead to the actual Joker. We’ll just have to wait and see to get an answer.
For all intents and purposes, he’s the Joker. Pretty much.
The charismatic psychopath and showman is killed off early in the second season during an attempt on the life of the adolescent Bruce Wayne. He gets stabbed in the neck by Theo Galavan in an act of betrayal, but dies with blood covering his lips as he smiles. Various people watch footage of Jerome on TV and go into giggling fits, including two guys who laughingly murder a homeless person, then turn on each other.
With that not being enough for viewers, they then go and bring Jerome back to life via televised comic book science. So maybe he’s the Joker after all! Or not. Again, How I Met Your Mother.
Coincidentally, Jerome’s father, a fortune teller, claimed that Jerome would leave behind a legacy of death and madness. Sounds about right.
The Injusticestoryline is the aftermath of the Joker growing bored of messing with Batman and moving on to Superman. Using some kryptonite-laced fear gas, Joker gets Superman to hallucinate that a pregnant Lois Lane is Doomsday. Lois’ heart is linked to a detonator that nukes Metropolis upon her thrown-into-space death.
This especially puts Superman in a bad mood to the point that he appears before the captured Joker and impales him with his fist. Over the next five years, Superman doubles down on his decision and ultimately transforms into a frustrated dictator.
Over the years, as Superman’s hold on the world becomes more frightening, Jason Bard starts up a protest group invoking the Joker’s image. Superman doesn’t take this well and fries a whole lot of them in a fit of anger. Even then, the Joker Clan grows to become an anarchist underground counter to Superman’s regime. Even though Harley Quinn’s grown to despise the Joker and what he stood for, she chooses to become the leader.
Then a handful of superheroes from the regular DC Universe are brought in via portal. Inadvertently, Joker is one of them. He quickly takes over the Joker Clan and wins over the heart of Harley, undoing years of personal progress on her part. Eventually, that world’s Lex Luthor helps Harley break the spell and she not only beats the shit out of that Joker until he begs his world’s Batman to take him home, but her more loyal Joker Clan members rebranded themselves as the Harley Horde.
Even with that all cleaned up, we’re now about to get another appearance by the Joker. A Joker. What’s his deal?
Who's to say? There are just so many options.
Gavin Jasper appreciates that Flashpoint Batman killed the Joker a couple hours before the world exploded. That’ll get you the last laugh. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
Your complete guide to DC Comics references, Justice League movie hints, and DCEU Easter eggs in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice!
This article contains nothing but Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you probably don't want to read this. Now that the movie is on HBO, this can be your handy guide.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the second movie in the DC Extended Universe series, which began with Man of Steel, and continued in the Wonder Woman movie, will continue further with the Justice League movie, and more. As a result, it's positively packed with references to DC Comics, and hints about the future of the DC Extended Universe.
Here's our complete and spoiler-filled breakdown of everything you might have missed in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- Just as Man of Steel opened with Superman's origin (his literal birth, in fact), so does Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice open with Batman's origin story. Thank heavens for that, because if we don't see what motivated young Bruce Wayne to become the Batman, we might never know! That is, of course, a joke.
While Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, we didn't see his actual origin until a two-page segment in Detective Comics #33. To make up for that six month gap, DC Comics and their media partners are now contractually obligated to re-tell Batman's origin in some form, whether it's in the comics, on the screen, or via finger puppets, every six months in perpetuity. That's not true, but it sometimes feels that way.
The visual inspiration for this origin sequence is, like many things in the film, taken from Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley's seminal The Dark Knight Returns, which was first published in 1986. Things like the mustachioed Thomas Wayne and the string of pearls caught on the barrell of the gun are right out of there, as well as the (dream?) sequence where young Bruce is surrounded by bats after accidentally discovering the bat cave.
The Waynes leave the movie theater after a revival screening of the 1940 version of The Mark of Zorro starring Tyrone Power. That particular Zorro film holds up really well, is a great watch, and feels like a superhero movie before there was ever really any such thing. Totally worth your time. I also believe that The Dark Knight Returns was where it was first revealed that this was the film the Waynes saw on that fateful night.
You can also spot Excalibur on the marquee, which is John Boorman's highly stylized, overly serious 140-minute take on the King Arthur legend (sounds like another movie we know), here to help illustrate that this sequence takes place in 1981. Excalibur feels like a very long film at 140 minutes. Batman v Superman, on the other hand, feels even longer than its 153 minute run time.
We wrote lots more on John Boorman's Excalibur right here, if you want to learn more about this crazy movie.
I owe a special thanks to Peter in the comments for catching this next little detail, Excalibur is listed as "coming next Wednesday." Now, aside from the fact that the movie actually opened on Friday, April 10th, 1981, "coming next Wednesday" is still pretty significant. First of all, new comic books come out every Wednesday, so this is a nod to that.
Peter also kindly reminded me that the Justice League can be seen as a modern day Knights of the Round Table. Couple that with the fact that the Excalibur movie is "coming soon" (and on a Wednesday, no less!) it's kind of an in-joke about how the Justice League movie is next on the schedule. That's pretty cool.
There's more on Excalibur coming down below, just be patient...
- Visible in the Wayne graveyard is the name "Solomon." Solomon Wayne was Bruce's Great, Great, Great Grandfather. When the Batman comics decided they wanted their Gotham City to look a little bit more like Anton Furst's Gotham designs from Tim Burton's Batman movies, a story was crafted to make it happen, and Solomon Wayne was part of that.
- It's also worth noting that this movie marks the first time we've seen Bill Finger's name in the opening credits of a Batman movie. That's a huge deal, as Finger was a major creative driving force behind Batman and his supporting cast, but for years, Bob Kane took all the credit. We have a little bit more about Bill Finger's bat-legacy right here.
The Supporting Characters
- Anatoli Knyazev is known to comic book fans as (wait for it) the KGBeast, because he was created in 1988 when that was what you named these kinds of villains. Anatoli has appeared in non-beastly form on a number of episodes of Arrow, as well. He first appeared in a story called "Ten Nights of the Beast" which is a pretty cool read if you can track it down.
- The photographer who is apparently working for the CIA during Lois' misadventure in the desert is played by Argo's Michael Cassidy. And yes, as credited and as revealed in the film's Ultimate Edition, he is indeed Jimmy Olsen. "Superman's Pal" is promptly and brutally murdered. So, yeah, you can forget about that little piece of Superman mythology in the DC Extended Universe, as well. Read more about Mr. Snyder's comments on the matter here.
- Alfred Pennyworth first appeared in 1943's Batman #16. Like most enduring Batman characters, he was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson. Alfred cut a rather different figure in his early appearances, and through the years he has become more of an aggressively badass figure.
- Lex Luthor has been around since Action Comics #23 in 1940 (you'll note that at the end of the movie, his prisoner number is AC23-1940), and as we see here, he had lustrous red hair. Later appearances alternately identified Lex as a shortening of Alexander or Alexei, and even later appearances revealed he was a childhood friend of Clark Kent, before a lab accident stole his luscious locks.
- Lex Luthor's prison garb has the prisoner number of 16-TK421. TK421 is a reference to Star Wars when Luke and Han took on Stormtrooper disguises. You know, "TK421, why aren't you at your post?" Batman v Superman and The Force Awakens were tweaking each other with little social media crossovers during filming, but it appears this is the only one of those in-jokes made it to film.
Also, while orange prison jumpsuits certainly aren't just a DC Universe thing, Lex was looking a bit like Frank Quitely's vision of the character from All-Star Superman in this scene.
The Lex of this film is "Alexander Luthor, Jr." Which means his father's name isn't "Lionel" as it was in the Smallville TV series or a handful of the comics that followed. Something tells me that Alex Sr. didn't die of natural causes.
Luthor has been something of a jerk-of-all-trades during his career, from straight mad scientist to captain of industry to President of the United States. I wrote much more about that stuff right here.
Mercy Graves is Lex Luthor's bodyguard, a super strong badass, although you don't see any of that in this movie. Mercy was first introduced in Superman: The Animated Series where she had considerably more to do than she does in this film.
Let's get into a few notes about Kryptonite...
- It's amazing that Man of Steel went an entire movie without going down the Kryptonite road, but we do finally get it here. Kryptonite was actually a creation of the (awesome) Adventures of Superman radio show, a necessary plot device so that original Man of Steel Bud Collyer could take a vacation from the radio show's punishing, almost daily schedule. For weeks, Superman was played by another actor, who was only required to groan in agony while Supes was at the mercy of the alien mineral.
- Here's something I never would have noticed (thanks to JACS in the comments!). Ralph Lister is credited as Emmett Vale, and he isn't the guy who finds the hunk of Kryptonite in the Indian Ocean as I initially thought, but he appears in Lex Luthor's laboratory. Dr. Vale is the creator of Metallo, the cyborg with the Kryptonite heart who would be a great choice to give Superman a headache if we were ever going to get another Superman solo movie, but since who knows if that will ever happen, well...forget it.
The way Kryptonite looks in this movie is a little like how it was shown in Superman: The Movie. Later in that film, when Supes is debilitated by the effects of Batman's Kryptonite spear, Lois chucks it in the water to get it away from him. That kinda' reminds me of the Supes/Miss Teschmacher exchange from the end of that movie, too.
Speaking of that Kryptonite spear, wireman (cool handle, by the way) in the comments found this little gem from the comics, that I wasn't aware of:
The Dark Knight Returns Influences
In The Dark Knight Returns, a comic which obviously has influenced this movie quite heavily, when Batman first returns to action he lends a hand to two cops in pursuit of suspects, one who isn't old enough to remember Batman in action, and one veteran who advises him to chill out and enjoy the show.
The rookie cop and the veteran cop, who Batman encounters while out whupping ass, remind me a little bit of this pair from Dark Knight Returns:
It can also be noted that this exchange played out much the same way in 2012's The Dark Knight Rises when Christian Bale's Batman first returns from retirement, much like in the iconic Frank Miller graphic novel.
By the way, the two officers in question are named "Officer Rucka" and "Officer Mazzucchelli." Greg Rucka was the writer of the excellent Gotham Central comic, and David Mazzucchelli was the artist on Frank Miller's other great Batman story, Batman: Year One.
The news montage (which, rather surprisingly, features a cameo by Andrew Sullivan!) is another nod to The Dark Knight Returns, which helped set up its near-future vision of the DCU via TV news clips. You may recognize some of the anti-superhero sentiment from these, as well. Also, we get the return of Glen Woodburn from Man of Steel, too.
- Alfred's quote about "the next generation of Waynes" facing "an empty wine cellar" is lifted straight out of The Dark Knight Returns. You're going to read words very much like that a lot in the course of this article.
While most Batman costumes are fairly similar in essence, the proportions and lines on this particular version are also right out Frank Miller's artwork:
Pretty cool, right?
The bit with Batman sighting a rifle atop a tower calls to mind still more stuff from Dark Knight Returns, albeit there it was a "grappling hook" gun, while here it's to fire a tracer.
- Also, I don't suppose that I need to explain Bruce's "freaks dressed like clowns" joke, right? Of course I don't.
The shot of Superman lifting the Russian rocket (numbered 300 of course) over his head has a hint of this page from The Dark Knight Returns to it...
Batman's opening gambit in his fight with Superman is to hit him with a sonic blast, this (again) is straight out of Dark Knight Returns. Same with the Kryptonite dust/gas projectile.
There are lots of other direct similarities to the comics in that battle, too...
Look familiar? Check out that first panel on the left!
That armor looks pretty familiar too:
You get the idea, I'm sure.
- When Batman shows up to take out the KGBeast, the action comes right out of the first chapter of (say it with me now, kids!) The Dark Knight Returns. Batman bursts up out of the floor to whup ass. Batman bursts through the wall to take a giant honkin' gun from some dude. Batman says "I believe you" after armed asshat says "believe me, I'll kill her" and then takes him out. All from DKR. Just change the names of the goons.
During the Doomsday battle, complete with lightning bolts, we get a recreation of the cover of The Dark Knight Returns #1. No, seriously, check it out...
Also in Dark Knight Returns, Bruce is often brooding over a Robin costume in a glass case, and Alfred reminds him about "what happened to Jason..." which brings us to...
The Robin Connection
Needless to say, there's only one character who would have spray painted that on Robin's body, so this mirrors the events of the 1988 Batman comic event, "A Death in the Family," which allowed readers to decide (via a 1-900 number... those were different times) whether the second Robin would survive a brutal beating (with a crowbar) at the hands of the Joker and a subsequent warehouse explosion.
It's tough to really see the colors on this, and they're certainly muted, but the basic design certainly mirrors that of the first Tim Drake Robin costume, which also happened to be the first one in the main DC Universe continuity that looked genuinely badass.
It was designed by legendary Bat-artist Neal Adams and first brought to comics by Norm Breyfogle (thanks to our very own JL Bell for keeping me honest here!) and remains one of my favorite costume designs of all time. You can see Jason Todd's Robin costume in a similar glass case in the above image, as well.
It's never made clear which Robin this is supposed to be in the movie, but it's certainly Jason Todd. After all, there's a Nightwing movie in development and they can't do that if Dick Grayson is dead.
Zack Snyder clarified that whoever this Robin is, he died about ten years ago. Since we know that this version of Batman has been active for at least 15 years (Alfred says 20), and that's about enough time for this to line up with the Jason Todd version of the character.
For reference, here's what they look like when drawn by Jim Lee in the New 52 Justice League re-launch, which featured Darkseid as the team's first big threat, and which was clearly meant to inform their film efforts...
Also, the sharp-eyed JACS (who is quickly becoming the MVP of the comments on this thing) pointed out the similarities to Batman's Mad Max garb here and the nightmarish future Batman that Damian Wayne becomes during Grant Morrison's run as writer on the character.
- Doomsday was created by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern in 1992 with the express purpose of killing Superman dead and driving up sales. He succeeded in all possible respects in Superman #75.
Doomsday's Kryptonian origins weren't revealed until much later, although he was never a Frankenstein's Monster version of Zod, nor did he have Lex Luthor's DNA, nor did he... ummm... you get the point. But the idea of Doomsday as a highly evolved/continuously evolving killing machine came right out of the comics, as does the "he grows more spikes as he takes damage" thing.
- When Superman and Doomsday take their battle to Stryker's Island, we're told it's uninhabited. In the comics, Stryker's Island is the home of a massive Metropolis penitentiary. Clearly that isn't the case here...unless in the bleak moral universe of the DCEU, the inhabitants of a prison are completely expendable forms of human life.
- Superman getting caught in a nuclear explosion, becoming a weird zombified thing, and then charging up/healing via the power of the sun comes straight out of a particular Batman story that has been referenced numerous times throughout this article... you have three guesses. Go ahead. Guess.
-Superman flying to almost certain death while carrying a Kryptonian object (albeit a much smaller one) also calls back to mind a similar storytelling beat from the end of Superman Returns.
- Lex Luthor in Zod's old ship, talking to the AI, feels similar to Lex's infiltration of the Fortress of Solitude in Superman II.
- Luthor using the ship to turn Zod's body into Doomsday is also quite reminiscent (intentionally or not) of Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor using Kryptonian crystals to make a giant Kryptonite continent in Superman Returns.
Also, when Lex is talking to Zod's corpse (oofah), he says "you flew too close to the sun." This is a reference to the myth of Icarus, which doesn't remotely seem to apply to anything regarding Zod's arc. Unless he means "you flew too close to the son," as in "The Last Son of Krypton," but somehow I don't think that much thought went into this scene.
- Lex didn't create Doomsday in the comics, but in many recent versions of the story, Lex did create Bizarro, notably as an imperfect Kryptonian duplicate. There's a little bit of a similarity to that here. Bizarro is, of course, not in the movie, despite some hilariously inaccurate rumors.
Miscellaneous Cool Stuff
- Clark bringing Lois flowers and groceries is faintly reminiscent of their brief shot at domestic bliss in Superman II where Superman famously cooked Lois a souflee using heat vision, and flew around the world to get her some nice tropical flowers. This scene also illustrates the age old Supes/Lois problem, where she knows that he "belongs to the world" and not to her.
- Pery White refers to Clark as "Smallville" more than once in the film. That was Lois Lane's affectionate/condescending nickname for Clark on Superman: The Animated Series, which is an excellent way to spend your time, I might add.
Later, while admonishing Clark for actually, y'know, wanting to be a reporter and tell the truth, Perry says, "It's not 1938 anymore." 1938 is, of course, the year that Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, was published. In other words, here's Perry White speaking for Zack Snyder, telling fans to stop whining over the fact that Superman doesn't behave very much like Superman in these movies.
- It appears that the Metropolis News channel, Channel 8, is indeed a GBS/Galaxy Broadcasting affiliate station. You can also spot a GBS microphone during a press conference later on, which is perhaps representative of their cable outlet or something similar.
- You can spot a mention of Gotham's Blackgate Prison when Clark is doing his investigation into Batman.
Incidentally, the Ultimate Edition has a lot more going on as far as Clark's investigative reporting, and that along with Henry Cavill's performance remind me quite abit of the better moments of the 1950s Adventures of Superman TV series. George Reeves routinely played Clark has a hard-edged reporter, and Cavill definitely channels some of that here.
- Bruce Wayne's "one percent chance" logic is childish and horrifying, and sounds like something Donald Trump would say about immigrants. It certainly was the logic that Dick Cheney used to condone "enhanced interrogation techniques."
- You can spot "Nicholson Terminal," which the Batmobile obliterates. Maybe this is a nod to Jack Nicholson's iconic take on the Joker. Maybe it isn't. Does this movie really ever make sense?
- When Senator Finch is asked "Must there be a Superman" well, that's a reference to a classic Superman tale. Not just any classic Superman story, either. The first published Superman story by Supes-writer extraordinaire, Elliott S! Maggin (that's not a typo) in Superman #247 from 1972. That story is far more nuanced and interesting in its 24 pages than this movie in its two and a half hours, and it's 100 percent worth reading.
- There's a pretty hilarious Wilhelm Scream when the Batmobile overturns some poor hood's car.
- Ma Kent's "you don't owe this world a thing" speech marks the return of evil, dystopian, Hunger Games Smallville logic to the series. For real, is it any wonder that the DCEU's Clark Kent is such a brooding mope? Between stuff like this and hallucination Pa Kent telling Clark about the time he drowned a bunch of horses by accident, it's a miracle that Superman isn't just snapping necks like... oh, wait, he already did that.
- Hey, remember when the internet said that Scoot McNairy was playing Hal Jordan/Jimmy Olsen/Ted Kord/Morgan Edge/Che Guevara/Spider-Man/Ad Nauseum? Yeah. That didn't happen. He's Wallace Keefe, a character we've never heard of. The only Keef I give a damn about is Richards.
- Ma Kent is now working at Rolli's Diner. Now, there's two smaller Lex Luthor stories from the comics that Rolli's ties into. Superman #9 (1987) featured a backup story called "Metropolis, 900 miles" which dealt with Lex Luthor offering a kind of "indecent proposal" to a waitress at Rolli's.
Lex's kidnapping of Martha Kent is also kinda' like a story from Superman #2 (1987) where he kidnapped Lana Lang after he figured out that young Superman had ties to Smallville. He ended up figuring out that Superman was Clark Kent but refused to believe it.
- In the background during these scenes there's a prominent piece of question mark graffiti, which may or may not be a reference to the Riddler. There's some "Who Watches the Watchmen?" graffiti (not in this image), too.
- Lois boards a red helicopter on the Daily Planet rooftop, which reminds me of the best scene in the best Superman movie, the immortal Superman: The Movie.
The Justice League Connection
- So, in case you cannot tell because he's almost unrecognizable, the lightning tornado dream sequence echo voice thing is the DC Extended Universe version of The Flash (and that's Ezra Miller in the role). The Flash appearing in mysterious form, kind of like a dream, and possibly from a different point in time, is very much a reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths where Flash was appearing to various heroes trying to warn them of what was to come while he was busy dying later in the story fighting the very same threat.
Flash also seems to be teasing something about Lois Lane being "the key." If Bruce is right about Superman, that means Flash is speaking to Bruce from a time in the future where Superman has become a threat, perhaps because of the death of Lois Lane...or maybe Lois is the key to turning him good again, or bringing him back to life.
This could be a reference to the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game and comics, which features a morally compromised DC Universe where heroes fight each other and Superman is a terrible person. So, you know, that sounds awfully familiar all of a sudden, doesn't it?
We wrote more about the Injustice comics right here, if you're interested. I'm saving some more about the implications of this for another article, too.
- I'm sure you all realized that was Jason Momoa as Aquaman during the underwater sequence, right? His look here is reminiscent of how he appeared on the excellent Justice League animated series and his mid-90s makeover.
- The weird horror movie/RoboCop sequence is the origin of Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, who will make his next real appearance in Justice League Part One before he gets his own movie on April 3, 2020.
One cool thing about that scene is that the weird cube thing that apparently makes the Cyborg project successful is a Mother Box, which makes this the film's second overt Jack Kirby reference, and further proof that Darkseid is eventually on his way to the DCEU, although his first emmissary will be Steppenwolf. We wrote more about Darkseid right here.
- By the way, Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in 1941, but the Wonder Woman in this movie is even older than that. Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman garb is reminiscent of how artists like Alex Ross drew her in Kingdom Come and Darwyn Cooke did in New Frontier to make her look more like the warrior princess she's traditionally depicted as.
You can also spot Chris Pine as Steve Trevor in that photo from 1918 and the rest of his World War I crew that we got to meet in her movie.
Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman performance is even better with a little more context after seeing her in action in her solo flick. For example, I only just noticed how immediately bored/disgusted she is with Lex Luthor when he's giving his little speech at the party. She sees right through him. It's awesome.
The Death of Superman
A few notes about the "death" of Superman...
I have to admit, this is really cool. Remember all the Excalibur stuff up top? It's back! A few of you sharp-eyed folks pointed out the similarities to this scene in Boorman's flick, and they are undeniable...
- When you see his body cradled by Lois Lane, it's a nod to Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding's art from Superman #75.
- In the Ultimate Edition, before Lex is captured, he's seen communing with a mysterious figure on the ship. This is likely Steppenwolf, the villain of the Justice League movie, although there's a slight chance it's Yuga Khan, the father of Darkseid. But really, it's probably Steppenwolf.
- Ending on "Amazing Grace" and an ambiguous/hopeful note is more than a little reminiscent of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which featured the death of Spock. Superman has somehow managed to show even less emotion and seemed even more alien than Spock ever did in this franchise so far, so it's really, really appropriate.
- You can see the weird little telekinetic effect that was used to show that Superman's powers were about to manifest in Man of Steel. So, y'know, of course he's not dead. After all, there's a Justice League movie coming on Nov. 17, 2017.
- Superman's coffin is black with a silver "S" logo. When Superman returned from the dead during the Death and Return of Superman story in the '90s, he wore a black suit with a silver "S" on it.
- By the way, it's worth noting that Warner Bros. has been trying to kill Superman on screen since at least 1995. Virtually every draft of every Superman movie of the last twenty years featured some form of Superman getting croaked (occasionally at the hands of Doomsday), while most others at least teased, it, too...including Superman Returns.
- To bring things full circle, I should also bring up the fact that The Dark Knight Returns also ends a "death" albeit Batman's (he isn't really dead, either). That hopeful ending involves Superman overhearing Bruce's heartbeat. Some folks claim they can hear a heartbeat as we zoom in on Clark's coffin, and that's another DKR reference for you!
Did I miss anything? Shout it out in the comments below or holler at me on Twitter!
A major character dies in a heartbreaking, though uneven episode of Outlander.
This Outlander review contains spoilers.
Outlander Season 3, Episode 3
This is the third episode in a row that sees Claire and Jamie living lives apart, but it is the first that truly captures just how much life they will live and endure without one another.
It is Claire’s storyline that especially hammers home this point, as we see her life churn monotonously along for much longer than Jamie’s (at least thus far in the storytelling). Yes, there are points of happiness — Brianna, as well as Claire’s job as a surgeon — but, at least in this episode, her time away from Jamie is mostly characterized by her sad, frustrating relationship with Frank.
The end of last week's episode saw Frank and Claire sleeping in different beds, but eight years later, their romantic lives are entirely separate. When Claire invites Frank to go see a movie, he tells her he's already seen it — with someone else.
Frank has moved on — not from his partnership with Claire as Brianna's parent, but from their partnership as husband and wife. When Frank's girlfriend shows up at Claire's graduation party (in a dick move from Frank), things come to a head. Claire offers Frank a divorce, but he rejects the idea. He doesn't trust Claire to keep her promise that he will remain an equal parent in Brianna's life, which is pretty damn cruel. Claire has never lied to Frank, even when he wished that she would.
While Bree is only a character on the periphery for this episode, it's clear that she favors her father to her mother. She wants to stay with Frank instead of attend Claire's graduation dinner and, later, after Bree's graduated and Frank announces he wants a divorce, he is confident that Brianna will want to move with him to England. Frank implies it is because Claire was always "away," which is dude code for "dared to have ambitions outside of your role as wife and/or mother."
This family may have love, bound together by Frank and Claire's adoration for their daughter, but, by the end of Claire and Frank's marriage, the two are bitter, drained, and far from their best selves. It's a shame they were never able to work out a more lasting friendship after their romance failed, but I suppose those are the breaks in a love story as complicated as this one. Claire was never able to let go of Jamie, especially with Brianna there as a constant reminder, and Frank was never willing to live with only part of Claire's love and affection.
Still, when Frank unexpectedly dies in a car accident, it is a tragedy in many ways. It is a tragedy for Frank, who was just about to break away from his loveless marriage and try to live life to its fullest. It's a tragedy for Claire, who was in love with Frank once and loved him in some way long after that. It's a tragedy for Brianna, though we don't see her reaction here, who loses the father she adored far sooner than she should have.
It's also a tragedy for us viewers. Though Frank may be back, given the timey-wimeyness of this narrative, his role in this story is largely over, and it's tough to see him go. He's been with us from the beginning. He, too, has loved Claire. He fought for her, even if she didn't choose him in the end.
I'm not saying Frank wasn't sometimes a frustrating character, but he was, all in all, a good man. I love that Outlandernever made the lazy choice to make him into the villain, like his ancestor. This feels like a much more realistic, interesing story. Frank was a good father, even if he wasn't always a good husband, and he didn't deserve to die before he had a chance to truly be happy.
Meanwhile, in 18th century Scotland...
For the third week in a row, Jamie's storyline is much more temporally confined than Claire's. This week, we follow him during his incarceration in Ardsmuir Prison, where he has been for six years, following the events of last week's episode.
Ardsmuir is rough, but Jamie has it easier than most of the other prisoners (who include an ailing, but alive Murtagh!). The others look to him for leadership and he is always negotiating on their behalf. When Major John Grey, the Englishman whose life Jamie spared when he was only 16, takes over stewardship of the prison, the two strike up a fragile friendship.
It’s hard to get too behind the relationship between Jamie and Grey. After all, there is a terrible imbalance in power. Grey may be a good man, but that doesn’t erase the fact that he is also a Redcoat presiding over men who are essentially prisoners-of-war. This is no doubt why, when Grey asks Jamie to translate the Gaelic/French ramblings of a dying man who might know the location of some hidden gold, Jamie at first refuses. He is a prisoner, not a translator.
When Grey insists, Jamie negotiates medicine for Murtagh, and listens to the dying man’s ramblings about gold and a White Witch who is connected to the Mackenzies. Jamie begins to wonder if the White Witch in question is Claire, and arranges an escape to check the location the dying man gave him. He finds one jewel, which he gladly surrenders to Grey to confirm his story. After all, it wasn’t what he was looking for. After all this time, he hadn’t given up on Claire. Until now, it seems.
The off-campus escapades and subsequent return mark a turning point in the Jamie/Grey relationship. They bond over dinner and their lost loves. For Jamie, that is Claire, of course, a woman who Grey not only once met, but who he surrendered his upper hand for when he thought Jamie might kill or rape her. This has always endeared Jamie to Grey.
For Grey, the lost love in question was the man he loved and died. He tells Jamie that he wasn’t even able to say a proper goodbye, as his brother was there and dragged him away. It’s a sad, defeated story and, in that way, feels like a parallel theme to the Claire/Frank dynamic in the episode. Like Claire, Jamie’s partner-in-conversation deserves better.
Unfortunately, the on-screen relationship between Jamie and Grey feels rushed, especially in comparison to Claire's main relationship in this episode — the one between herself and Frank, which has been so meticulously built, since Season 1. They have a few dinners together, display some serious sexual tension (the scene where Jamie holds Grey at swordpoint?!), and, eventually, have a falling out over Grey’s advances.
Though it’s not explicitly stated in the episode, Jamie’s threatening reaction to Grey’s attempt at physical intimacy (he grasps his hand) are not a homophobic response, but rather a result of Jamie’s unresolved trauma. Let us never forget that Jamie was raped by a Redcoat officer, Black Jack Randall, who used his position of power over prisoner Jamie to rape him. It’s unfortunate, though understandable that Jamie is not able to articulate any of this to Grey. As an idealistic soldier-type, Grey is no doubt ignorant to the messed up ramifications of their power imbalance.
Sadly (though, again, not unpredictably), Grey seems to internalize Jamie’s reaction in all the wrong ways, calling his attempt at intimacy a moment of weakness. He doesn’t hold Jamie’s reaction against him, instead giving him a chance to choose his own fate (well, from a few options) when Ardsmuir Prison is disbanded. Murtagh and the other prisoners get sent to the colonies, but Jamie's fate lies at the Dunsany estate, where Grey has secured Jamie a job. Well, if he chooses it for himself. He could take off across the Scottish highlands… though Jamie has seemingly had enough of running.
Three episodes in, I'm enjoying these episodes of Claire and Jamie apart more than I thought I would. That being said, I find Claire's storyline both underutilized and much more interesting. Though Jamie is an important part of this story, for me, this story have always belonged to Claire.
I think their eventual reunion and complicated reconciliation would be missing something if we didn’t get some of Jamie’s perspective, but their equal billing is not doing any favors to Jamie’s journey. Thematically, Jamie and Claire's storylines in this episode had very little in common other than the missing of the other — after two previous episodes that also took this as theme, it’s just not enough.
While watching this episode, I kept wondering if there might have been a better way to structure these episodes. Perhaps, instead of splitting each episode between two perspectives, the show could have alternated Claire and Jamie-centric episodes. Or, perhaps, we could have gotten one flashback episode for Jamie and the rest for Claire.
Book readers may no doubt have foreknowledge that clarifies the importance of including all of this plot, and in this way. For this TV watcher, however, it doesn't seem like the best decision.
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
Who needs Peter Parker? We spotlight pretty much every different version of Spider-Man ever!
Spider-Man is such a resilient and iconic character that the legend of the arachnid crime fighter can endure even when Peter Parker isn't the one under the mask. Heck, even Doctor Octopus was once locked inside Peter Parker’s mind, controlling the hero’s every action, transforming the once likable hero into cold and calculating Superior Spider-Man.
Spider-Man has also been a clone, a robot, fought crime in the future, in alternate realities, and even piloted a giant Japanese mech (what?), but no matter what iteration Spidey has taken, the legend has endured.
With Peter Parker ready to return to the big screen in July 2016 in Spider-Man: Homecoming, we take a look at the other versions of Spider-Man who have spun a web (any size!) over the years, from the frightening to the cool to the evil and even the downright strange.
Kang’s Spider-Man Robot
First Appearance: Avengers #11 (1964)
Created by Stan Lee and Don Heck
The first time the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes, the Avengers, met Spider-Man, it was not actually Peter Parker in the red and blue suit. It was a robot created by Kang. Now, it’s pretty badass that Kang can just use future tech to whip up a robot that perfectly replicate’s Spider-Man’s powers, but the ‘bot also almost took out the entire Avengers team. The real Peter Parker had to show up to kick the robot’s doppelganger butt and save the Mighty Avengers, marking the first Avengers/Spider-Man team-up, something film fans would chew off their own thumbs to see.
Before it was revealed that this faux Spider-Man was a machine, the Avengers even offered the phony arachnid Avenger’s membership, something the real Spidey would not gain for decades. Changing its name to Timespinner, The Kang Spider-bot even made a second appearance in Marvel Team-Up#4 (1996), taking on Spider-Clone Ben Reilly and the Avengers.
First Appearance: Avataars: Covenant of the Shield #1 (2000)
Created by Len Kaminski and Oscar Jimenez
Yes, having the words Avatar, Spider-Man, and the Avengers all in one concept might make Hollywood’s collective heads explode. Marvel’s Avaatars are alternative reality versions of super-heroes that dwell on a sword and sorcery world called Eurth. It’s kind of like Game of Thrones with more costumes and less incest. The Webslinger is the medieval version of Spider-Man, and fights alongside Captain Avalon and his team of super knights.
Actually, it all sounds kind of cool. Who is up for a return to Eurth? Just think of it: armored versions of Daredevil, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, and Iron Ma-uh, you know what, never mind.
House of M: Spider-Man
First Appearance: Spider-Man: House of M #1 (2005)
Created by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer, and Salvador Larroca
House of M is considered one of the better Marvel crossovers of the modern Marvel era. Of course there was a huge role for Peter Parker in the world where mutants ruled.
The House of M version of Spidey is fraught with irony, as Peter actually lives a good life in the dystopian reality. For one, the world believes Peter to be a mutant and as such, this Spider-Man gains fame and acceptance that the regular Marvel Universe Spider-Man never received, and many great tragedies of the Spider-Man mythos have been avoided. Uncle Ben and Aunt May are both alive and well, Peter is married to and has a child with Gwen Stacy, and Sony never interfered in the scripting of Spider-Man 3 and actually let Sam Raimi make a good movie (I made that last bit up).
First Appearance: Monthly Shōnen Magazine January 1970 – September 1971
Created by Kōsei Ono, Kazumasa Hirai, and Ryoichi Ikegami
Yes, Japan had two Spider-Men of its own. This is the less insane one.
When Junior High Schooler Yu Komori is bitten by a radioactive spider, he is transformed into Japan’s own wall crawling sensation. Similar characters and tropes from the legend of Peter Parker defined the Spider Manga. Yu had a loving elderly Aunt and worked for a cantankerous newspaper publisher, plus, he fought such menaces as Electro, the Lizard, and the Kangaroo.
Now let’s get this straight, of all the great Spider-Man villains to choose from, the Japanese creators of manga Spidey go with the Kangaroo?
Let’s just hope Mark Webb doesn’t follow that lineage of villains. He’s two-thirds there already! Manga Spidey is a fascinating alternate take on Spider-Man and is well worth seeking out, but really Japan, the Kangaroo?
MC2 Peter and Spider-Girl
First appearance: What If (Vol. 2) #105 (1998)
Created by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz
If old school is your thing, then MC2 Peter Parker and his daughter “Mayday” are the heroes for you. Essentially, the MC2 Universe was designed to be the next chapter in the saga of the Marvel Universe, stories that exist in a possible future.
Spider-Girl saw a retired Peter Parker try to find a sense of non-super-hero normalcy after he lost his leg in the battle with the Green Goblin. After his daughter May develops spider powers, May and Peter are thrust back into a world of adventure.
Writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz fought low sales for almost a decade but kept plugging away at the Spider heroes of tomorrow. It’s a bit surprising that neither Disney nor Sony has tried to exploit this property It screams ‘tween sitcom.
Gerry Drew Spider-Man
First appearance: Spider-Girl #32 (2001)
Created by Ron Frenz and Tom DeFalco
Another MC2 DeFlaco and Frenz creation, Gerry Drew was the son of the original Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew. A rare blood ailment was killing the poor Drew child but it also granted him strange powers. Gerry decided to spend his last days fighting crime and trained under Darkdevil (who was, y’know, Daredevil, but dark...oh, comics).
Gerry didn’t wear the webs for long, but he was a neat character study into the psyche of a dying young man. Happily, Reed Richards promised to find a cure for the boy. Usually, Reed keeps his promises of finding a cure unless he’s trying to cure someone covered in orange rocks, so things probably worked out well for young Gerry.
I mean seriously Disney/Sony or whomever, this has CW or ABC Family drama written all over it. Why aren’t you on this? Victoria Justice as Spider-Girl...It writes itself!
First appearance: Ultimate Fantastic Four #22 (2005)
Created by Mark Millar and Greg Land
Superheroes are popular, and so are zombies. When Marvel mashed up their pantheon of heroes with flesh-devouring zombies, they discovered the two genres went great together.
On an alternate universe discovered by the Ultimate Fantastic Four, Marvel’s brightest paragons of justice had turned into lumbering flesh eaters. First Mark Millar and Greg Land, and then Mr. Zombie himself, Robert Kirkman, and artist Sean Phillips presented the dark world of Marvel Zombies, and by Odin’s dangling nether parts, was it disturbing.
Peter Parker was a particularly twisted version of the classic character, as ‘ol Pete was just as ravenous a flesh eater as the other atrocities, except Peter, in true Peter fashion, was ravaged with guilt over once having devoured Aunt May and Mary Jane Watson. One can only guess what happened to Ms. Lion.
After Kirkman, many other writers followed, fleshing (ha) out the twisted world of Marvel Zombies, and poor old guilt ravaged Peter was along for the ride, proving again and again with great power comes great hunger and the need to eat peoples’ faces and internal organs. Where’s Daryl Dixon when you need him?
First appearance: Mutant X #6 (1999)
Created by Howard Mackie and Cary Nord
In the Mutant X universe, (it was a reality where the regular Marvel Universe Havok went for a bit, Storm was a vampire...It was the ‘90s, don’t ask questions). Spider-Man was a mutated hero with four arms that joined forces with the heroes of that reality. He was killed by the villainous Goblin Queen and replaced with a four armed clone who was also killed at some point.
In the regular Marvel Universe, the real Spidey also had four arms for a brief period of time in a classic story by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Gil Kane (Amazing Spider-Man #100-103), where he fought the Lizard and the freshly introduced Morbius. That story was awesome. Mutant X, not so much.
First Appearance: Powerless #1 (2004)
Created by Matt Cherniss, Peter Johnson, Alex Maleev, and Michael Gaydos
On the surface, Marvel’s 2004 mini-series Powerless doesn’t sound like the most gripping of sagas, but it was actually a surprisingly good read with insanely cool art.
The premise of the book is a world of super-heroes with no super powers. Most people just call that reality, but it remains one of Marvel’s best experimental series of the last decade.
In this powerless world, Peter Parker uses the net handle Spider-Man and is still bitten by a radioactive spider. Instead of super powers, Powerless Pete has a nasty, atrophied arm. Of all the Peters in all the multiverse, this one got the short end of the stick. With shriveled nasty arm, comes absolutely no responsibility beyond weekly doctor’s appointments and massive doses of antibiotics.
First Appearance: Marvel 1602 #1 (2003)
Created by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert
Neil Gaiman’s contribution to the Spider-Man mythos, Peter Parquagh appeared in the great 1602 mini-series. Parquagh was an apprentice to the royal spymaster Nicholas Fury. As Parquagh globetrots with his master, he is constantly coming close to being bitten by unusual spiders. This finally happens in one of the 1602 sequels not written by Neil Gaiman (it was Greg Pak), and Parquagh’s life as a colonial adventure begins in earnest. It’s all very cool and a bit streampunky, and listen, it’s all created by Gaiman, so just read it.
First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #365 (1992)
Created by Peter David and Rick Leonardi
Even in the far-flung future, power and responsibility are irrevocably linked. In the long running Spider-Man 2099 series by Peter David and Rick Leonardi, all the elements that make Peter Parker so special are packaged and shipped into the future, where a geneticist named Miguel O’Hara wields the webs. O’Hara is a hero cut from the same cloth as Peter: a victim of an experiment gone wrong, he uses his powers to help his really close to dystopian future.
Spider-Man 2099 featured kickass world building by David. Using the world of Spider-Man and the Marvel Universe proper as a template, David built a fully functional future that was new enough to grip readers but different enough to provide for an alternate experience to regular Marvel continuity.
O’Hara is currently swinging around the present Marvel Universe and will soon be featured in his own title written by, because the comic gods are kind, Peter David.
The rest of the world learned of the awesomeness of O’Hara in the Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions video game, and it looks like Marvel would like nothing better than a 2099 resurgence.
First appearance: Spider-Man 2099 Meets Spider-Man #1 (1995)
Created by Created by Peter David and Mike Wieringo
When Peter Parker met Miguel O’Hara, another era’s Spider-Man went along for the ride: the tragic Spider-Man of 2211, Max Borne. It appears this Spidey was "Borne" to suffer. (editor's note: booooooooo!)
With the other Spider-Men, Borne had to fight his age’s Hobgoblin, who was actually his daughter driven completely bugnuts. This Hobgoblin was eventually killed by something called a retcon bomb, a weapon that would later be utilized by Dan Didio (oh, stop, we’re just kidding). If that wasn’t tragic enough, at story’s end, Borne is shot and killed by his era’s Chameleon, posing as Uncle Ben.
Wow, that’s one tragic Spidey. I’m shocked he didn’t Oedipaly kill Uncle Ben and marry Aunt May. Yeeesh. Spidey 2211 was designed by Mark Wieringo, so you know he’s visually awesomesauce.
First appearance: Spider-Man Noir #1 (2009)
Created by Created by David Hine and Carmine Di Giandomenico
His hands were stickier than a pick pocket at a taffy convention, he stuck to walls like dames stick to their make-up mirrors. And the way the creators of the Spider-Man: Noir mini weaved in noir elements while maintaining the super-hero integrity of the story was quite the narrative trick. Spider-Man: Noir remains one of the most successfully daring alternate versions of Spider-Man to date.
Now excuse me while I continue to practice my noir parlance: Miss Watson’s hair was so red it made blood insanely jealous, she had a body that made a priest want to break a stained glass window...
This version of Spidey also appeared in the Shattered Dimensions video game.
First Appearance: Spider-Man: India #1 (2004)
Created by created by Sharad Devarajan, Suresh Seetharaman, and Jeevan J. Kan
Pavitr Prabhakar became the Spider-Man of India in a book published in India and reprinted in the U.S. It’s actually pretty cool how the legend of Spider-Man really does translate well into very distinct cultures. It shows the universality of Peter. At least our creative friends in India had the good taste to not include the Kangaroo in their book.
Seriously, Japan, what’s up with that?
Original Run: 1999 -2001
Created by Michael Reaves and Will Meugniot
Batman Beyond was a pretty big hit back in 1999, so that same year, the fine folks at Marvel Animation created their own alternate take on Spider-Man. After the successful Spider-Man cartoon of the ‘90s, Marvel took Spidey and shunted him off to an alternate Earth where he had a new costume and met up with such characters as the High Evolutionary and Bestial versions of some Marvel’s most famous characters.
While an animated High Evolutionary should have given fans multiple nerdgasms, the haphazard animation and non-traditional take on Spidey and his world just made fans turn the channel. No Daily Bugle, No Aunt May, no M.J., no great rogue’s gallery, no thanks. Even Venom and Carnage as the recurring baddies couldn’t save this show.
This taught Marvel one great lesson: unless you have the talents of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm on your show, stick with tradition. Some cool characters did show up on the series like X-51 and bestial versions of Electro and the Green Goblin, which makes this one worth revisiting for curiosity’s sake.
Marvel also published a short-lived comic that tied into the show, featuring a Bestial Wolverine, so haunt those quarter boxes if you’re really that curious.
First appearance: as Mac Gargan -- The Amazing Spider-Man #19 (1964)/as Spider-Man -- Dark Avengers #1 (2009)
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko
As Mac Gargan, he was one of Spidey’s greatest foes, and when Eddie Brock gave up the symbiote, Gargan became the new Venom, but for a time, Gargan also took the identity of Spider-Man.
When Norman Osborn formed his own team of Dark Avengers to mock the heroic foes he despised so much, it would only be appropriate that Osborn made one of his twisted Avengers Spider-Man. Enter Mac Gargan, wielder of the Venom symbiote, and the most evil Spider-Man to date.
Gargan turned the sacred profane by giving into his baser cannibalistic instincts while calling himself Spider-Man. With his psycho teammates, like Bullseye as Hawkeye and Moonstone as Ms. Marvel, Gargan’s Spider-Man cut a bloody swathe across the Marvel Universe.
First appearance: Osborn #1 (2011)
Created by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jamie McKelvie
After the fall of the first team of Dark Avengers, Osborn tried again, and he still get a kick out of pooping on Spider-Man's name. Osborn’s second Spidey was a South American Spider God transformed into a six armed version of Spider-Man.
Ai Apaec was dispatched when he was shrunk down by the Avengers and squished by USAgent. A fitting end for a disgusting monstrosity, that’ll learn ya to masquerade as our hero, you six armed freak. *
* Den of Geek would like to apologize to any followers of ancient archaic South American proto-religions that worship spider monsters.
First appearance: The Infinity War #1 (1992)
Created by Jim Starlin, Ron Lim, and Al Milgrom
Speaking of disgustingly horrific, multi-limbed versions of Spidey, we have this thing.
The Spider-Doppelganger was created by the villainous Magus, himself a clone of Adam Warlock, and was really the only monster clone that stuck around the MU after Infinity War. Spider Doppelganger (holy crap, is that a pain in the ass to type) had all the powers of Spider-Man, but looked like Steve Ditko’s worst LSD nightmare.
Doppie played a huge role in the ultra-popular, not as good as most people seem to remember, "Maximum Carnage" mega-event, where he became sort of a weird pet to Cletus Kasady. It should be noted that Doppie’s Toy Biz figure produced in 1996 completely ruled.
First appearance: Amazing Spider-Man #367 (1992)
Created by David Michelinie and Jerry Bingham
Blood Spider was an evil version of Spider-Man hired by the Red Skull and trained by Taskmaster. You know when your origin involves two guys with skulls for heads, you’re an evil S.O.B. Blood Spider was last seen trying to kill Venom. It didn’t go well. Blood Spider teamed up with evil versions of Hawkeye and Captain America named Jagged Bow and Death Shield because the '90s.
First Appearance: Spidey Super Stories #25 (1977)
Created by Jim Salicrup, Nicola Cuti, Bill Mantlo, and Win Mortime
Before the Scarlet Spider, before the "Clone Saga," there was Web Man, a villainous clone who wore an awesome inverse of the classic Spider costume. Web Man’s only appearance was in the Electric Company’s Spidey Super Stories comics for young readers.
Web Man was created by Dr. Doom. How many one-off villains produced for an educational comic can say that? Say what you will, Web Man’s one story was more clean, concise, and entertaining than any part of the "Clone Saga." So take a bow Web Man, you may be all but forgotten, but you got the clone thing right. Seriously though, that is a really cool costume. But yeah, Dr. Doom must have spent two whole seconds coming up with that name.
What do you want from a villain who thought Doombot was clever?
Turkish Spider-Man (1973)
OK, brace yourself now. 3 Giant Men (AKA: Captain America and Santo vs. Spider-Man; Turkish: 3 Dev Adam) features an evil Spider-Man taking on a Turkish Captain America and Mexican Wrestler El Santo.
No, I haven’t gotten into Grant Morrison’s stash. This is real:
So how does a Mexican wrestler team-up with a Turkish version of the living embodiment of America to take on an evil version of a famous super-hero? Who the heck knows, but in this nightmarish thing posing as a movie, Spider-Man uses guinea pigs as weapons and survives certain death multiple times.
There seem to be four different evil Spider-Men that survive Captain America and El Santo. In one scene, Spider-Man kills a nice young couple in cold blood and then steals a statue...I have no idea why.
The whole emo dance sequence in Spider-Man 3 doesn’t seem so bad now, does it? God, would I love to have been in the writers’ room for this one.
“No, no, clearly this movie needs a Mexican wrestler!”
“Yeah, in America, he is a hero, but in our film, statue-stealing thrill killer. That will rake in the liras!”
First appearance: Ultimate Fallout #4 (2011)
Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli
When Marvel killed off the Ultimate version of Peter Parker -- seemingly for good -- fans thought the House of Ideas must have lost their ever loving minds. Then they met Miles Morales, and most fans who gave the young new hero a chance, fell in love.
Miles came with his own supporting cast, his own set of problems and motivations, and most importantly, Peter Parker himself plays the Uncle Ben role to Miles. So by extension, Uncle Ben’s universal lesson of power and responsibility extends to Miles through Peter, and that’s pretty cool.
Miles continues his adventure, filling the late Peter’s shoes so nicely in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man. Miles is more than just a flash in the pan, a place holder till Peter comes back, he is a true legacy character, and an everyman that lives the legend of Spider-Man. His ethnically diverse background makes him one of the most important new characters of the 21st Century and we say bravo Marvel.
Electric Company Spider-Man (1974-1975)
Many fans, who are now in their forties, were first exposed to Spider-Man through the educational public access show, The Electric Company.
The Electric Company’s Spidey appeared in shorts during the fourth and fifth season of the show, and saw the Wall Crawler communicate through word balloons designed to help the young viewers learn sight words. Not a bad idea actually. Many of these shorts were narrated by Morgan Freeman, which is 78 kinds of awesome.
Over the course of 2 seasons worth of shorts, educational Spidey took on such menaces as the Fox, Silly Willy, the Sandman (not the cool Sandman, but some dude that dresses as Wee Willy Winkle), the Yeti, the Bookworm, and the Sack (Stop that now!). The Electric Company Spidey suit was actually pretty cool, and the whole thing still has a wonderfully wholesome nostalgic feel, as the shorts remain a vital part of many fans’ Spidey evolution.
Attention Dan Slott and Brian Michael Bendis, we dare you to revive Silly Willy or the Sack. We dare you.
Japanese TV Spider-Man (1978)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, wow! So this exists:
In 1978, Marvel and the Toei Company signed a character exchange agreement where each company could use the others’ properties in their respective countries. This led to the Shogun Warriors comic in America and a Tomb of Draculaanimated film in Japan.
Not to mention this gem.
The Japanese Spider-Man stuck pretty close to Marvel’s version except for the fact that Japanese Spidey was a motorcycle racer named Takuya Yamashiro who found a UFO and was given super powers. He also used a giant mech named Leopardon. You know, exactly like Lee and Ditko envisioned. By the way, the name of the UFO was the Marveler and it was from the planet Spider.
This Spider-Man goes up against the Iron Cross Army, led by Professor Monster and the Amazoness, who use giant monsters called Bems to attack Spidey. Spidey frequently uses the Leopardon to defeat the Bems. I love this sentence.
By the way, one episode featured a song called "Spider-Man Boogie" (which is seriously the best thing ever). Thank you for this, Asia. Seriously. Thank you.
First appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man #149 (1975)
Created by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru
It all started out innocently enough. DC had great success with alternate version of Batman and Superman, and Marvel wanted in on the fun, so they brought back the Jackal-created Spider Clone that first appeared and was destroyed in The Amazing Spider-Man #149 by Gerry Conway and Ross Andru.
Dubbed Ben Reilly, the Spider Clone actually lived, dyed his hair blond, and had lived a life away from Peter. Now Ben was back, and Spider-Man had to deal with the fact that there was another version of him running around.
Ben soon donned the Scarlet Spider costume, and other than an inexplicable hoodie, it was all pretty cool. That is, until Marvel revealed that Ben was the REAL Peter and Peter was the clone, basically telling fans the last 20 years of Spidey stories had starred the wrong Spidey. It was all a not so clever way to get rid of Spidey’s marriage to Mary Jane, but it didn’t work at all, as fans rejected the idea that their Spidey was the false Spidey. Instead of cutting their losses, Marvel decided to keep the story running for two whole years, and introducing more and more clones till the whole thing got more convoluted than six DC reboots.
Want to know how it ends?
Spoiler: Marvel lost 100,000 readers. The end.
Ben did spend a long time as Spider-Man in his own distinct costume, and even participated in the Marvel and DC crossover, defeating Superboy. Ben could have been a pretty cool character, as Marvel would prove later with the second Scarlet Spider, but poor Ben remains a symbol of '90s excess, a marketing idea gone horribly, horribly wrong. Oh yeah, and he's back, too.
First appearance: Marvel Versus DC #3 (1996)
Created by Karl Kesel and Mike Wieringo
The Amalgam Universe was a mash-up universe where Marvel and DC’s biggest stars were joined together like brightly clad, heroic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Characters like Dark Claw (Wolverine and Batman) and Super Soldier (Captain America and Superman) fascinated fans in two separate months of crossover events.
The only issue with Spider-Boy was, and I say this with all due respect to Superboy, that the modern Superboy was just not as iconic as Spider-Man, so fans kind of just raised an eyebrow at this oddity.
At the time, Spider-Man was a clone, as was Superboy, so you can see why the powers that be thought this sort of thing was clever. But it was all just a mish mash of stuff from Spider-Man and Superboy mythos.
Spider-Boy was created by Project: Cadmus and raised by Thunderbolt Ross (wait that’s a Hulk character...You know what, just go with it). The mash-up hero could walk on walls and had a web pistol. He also took the identity Pete Ross (traditionally Superboy’s BFF), so there really wasn’t much Spider-Man about him at all.
Oh well, Spider-Boy had a terrific creative team, so he had that going for him. Web pistol?
First appearance: As Kaine -- Web of Spider-Man #119 (1994)/As Scarlet Spider -- Scarlet Spider #1 (2012)
Created by Terry Kavanagh and Steven Butler
Ah, Kaine, good old Kaine, who in recent years proved that the wholeclone thing could work if done right. Originally, Kaine was a rejected Spider-Clone who went bad. He became a major thorn in the side of Ben Reilly and Peter Parker, and served as an anti-hero/straight up villain throughout the ponderous "Clone Saga."
In recent years, Kaine returned, and because he is engrained with Peter Parker’s sense of responsibility, reluctantly became the Houston, Texas-based vigilante, the new Scarlet Spider. Kaine’s solo book rocked and showed the story potential of a Spider-Clone that didn’t actively piss on two decades of continuity.
Kaine is currently running with a brand-spanking-new team of New Warriors, another great book worthy of any Spider-Fan's attention.
First appearance: The Spectacular Spider-Man #222 (1995)
Created by Tom DeFalco and Sal Buscema
Spidercide was the most monstrous clone of Peter Parker, who had all of Spidey’s powers but could also grow and shrink and grow blades from his body. If an alien race observed Earth through mid-90s Marvel, they would believe that every human could grow blades from their body. So thank you mid-90s Marvel for stemming off an invasion of Earth.
Oh yeah, Spidercide sucked.
Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham
First appearance: Marvel Tails #1 (1983)
Created by Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong
Wow, for good or for ill, Tom DeFalco sure created a ton of Spider-Man derivatives, but none cooler than Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.
Long before Homer Simpson sang “Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig,” Peter Porker was doing the arachnapig thing with gusto. Peter was once a spider that was bitten by May Porker and was transformed into a pig-spider hybrid.
Peter Porker teamed with Captain Americat and the Goose Rider, and the fact that something called the Goose Rider exists should fill everyone with a blissful warmth.
Who doesn’t love Peter Porker?
Let us not forget Magsquito and Iron Mouse, or Ducktor Doom and Deerdevil. The whole thing is just pure gold, so thank you, Mr. DeFalco, Peter Porker more than makes up for Spidercide.
First appearance: Avengers: The Initiative #3 (2007)
Created by Dan Slott and Stefano Caselli
The Scarlet Spiders were three mysterious men who donned the Tony Stark’s red and gold Spider Armor and served in the Avengers Initiative team. What’s cool about this trio is that Dan Slott created them before he became the writer on Amazing Spider-Man. This was during a time where Peter Parker revealed his identity to the world during the Marvel Civil War.
The Scarlet Spiders lied and said that Peter used to be one of them, raising doubts in the public that Peter was really the true Spider-Man, providing Marvel an out during the whole public identity era of Spider-Man.
Slott never got to use this particular subplot because Mephisto and One More Day happened, but the Scarlet Spiders remains a fascinating curiosity in the Spider-Man mythos and pretty cool characters in their own right. Ironically, the Spiders also turned out to be clones, but not of Peter, but of the little known hero named MVP.
First appearance: As Ollie Osnick -- The Spectacular Spider-Man #72 (Nov 1982)/As Spider-Kid -- Amazing Spider-Man #263/As Steel Spider -- Spider-Man Unlimited #5
Created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan
Ollie Osnick was once an overweight but brilliant kid who idolized Dr. Octopus. Ollie went on a crime spree after he buildt his own Ock arms. When Spider-man stops Ollie, the shy lad begins idolizing Spidey and becomes the Spider-Kid.
As Ollie gets older, and loses some weight, he becomes the Steel Spider. The Steel Spider’s greatest claim to fame is having one of his real arms eaten by the Mac Gargan Venom.
The MC2 version of the Steel Spider doesn’t have such a tragic fate, as Ollie joins the Avengers in that universe. Ollie also once joined up with the Toad and Frog Man to form the Misfits, and Marvel should get right on giving that trio their own comic.
First appearance Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 (2014)
Created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez
No, not vampire or zombie dead, for real dead. So Spider-Gwen has become quite the thing, huh? In an alternate universe, it is Gwen Stacy who gains the proportionate strength and powers of a spider and Peter Parker who takes a dirt nap, inspiring Gwen to use her powers to help others.
After Gwen received her powers, she began fighting crime as Spider-Woman. Peter Parker was inspired by this new hero and injected himself with a serum that transformed him into this reality’s Lizard. This ended up with Peter dead and Gwen broken hearted but inspired to make sure this kind of tragedy never happens again. So in the Gwen-verse, Peter never became Spider-Man, ended up becoming the Lizard, and is now six feet under because who besides Curt Conners thinks it’s a good idea to just inject lizard DNA into one’s arm?
Oh well, this dead Peter was a dope...but an inspirational dope because he pointed Spider-Gwen in the right heroic direction after he lizard died.
First appearance: Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 (2014)
Created by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez
William Braddock is exactly like Peter Parker, except Braddock is British, a member of the Captain Britain Corps, blond, a punk rocker, and did we mention he’s British? Spider-Man UK (who’s British) was introduced in the Spider Verse saga and eventually joined the Web Warriors. As we mentioned, he is also a Captain Britain so that’s like being Spider-Man and Captain America all mashed together...except for the nationality thing. There was no Brexit with Braddock as he loyally serves with his fellow Spidey’s in the Web Warriors.
So there you have it. All the Spider-Mans! Spider-Men? Spider-Mens? As we head into Spider-Man: Homecoming and the coming Clone Conspiracyin the pages of Marvel Comics, it’s very cool to look back and examine the many, many Spider- Folk that have fought the good fight over the years. Because no matter the country, planet, or reality - with great power comes great responsibility. Except in Turkey, evidently.
Did we miss any of your favorite Spideys? Tell us in the comments!
The gang saves Ray Palmer from the microverse. Can they call it that?
DC sent over an exclusive preview of Justice League of America #15, part of the race to save Ray Palmer.
We've talked before about how good Steve Orlando is at writing, but nailing a team book is a higher bar. He's juggling a good sized cast and a substantial smattering of groaning '90s concepts (Lobo is a star, and Lord Havok and the Extremists were the first villains in this book). And the thing is, he's pulling it off. Watanabe filled in on a couple of early Flash Rebirth issues and did a great job with Barry's emotion and movement, so he should do well here. What am I telling you this for, though? Go look at the preview!
Here's what they have to say about the issue:
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #15 Written by STEVE ORLANDOArt by FELIPE WATANABECover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO“CRISIS IN THE MICROVERSE” part four! Special guest artist Felipe Watanabe joins the fray to tell the two-part story of how Ray Palmer, the original Atom, first discovered the microverse! Witness this untold chapter in the DC UNIVERSE REBIRTH mythology, and learn how Palmer came to find himself betrayed and marooned within the dying microverse.
There's a brand new X-Men series coming - but who are The Gifted, exactly?
The Gifted is Fox's second adaptation bringing the X-Men universe to live action TV. Legion was very well made – visually terrific, clever and stylish, but it wasn’t too X-Men-centric. The Gifted? Though doubtlessly a more conventional take on Marvel's merry mutants, The Gifted could be the X-Men show fans have been waiting patiently for since at least the mid-90s.
As if to prove it, the show hasn't even aired yet and it already promises to be rammed with familiar names and faces. If you want to get up to speed on who (and what) The Gifted are, here's everything you need to know about the characters who have already been announced.
Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker
The Struckers are original characters who have never appeared in X-Men comics before, though their surname may be familiar - they share it with Baron Strucker, the Hydra leader who the Avengers defeated during the opening scenes of Avengers: Age Of Ultron.
This might be a red herring, but it's also worth noting that within Marvel comics' continuity Baron Strucker's children - Andreas and Andrea - were mutants. As mutant characters, it's possible Andrea and Andreas are co-owned by Marvel/Fox (the same way Quicksilver is) and so could potentially appear in the show somehow. It could be intentional, it could be a coincidence, or it could be a holdover from a time when plans for the series were different. Whatever the trust, it's at least notable that - of all possible surnames - these original characters ended up sharing one with some prominent Marvel villains. In any case, the Strucker siblings originally appeared in Uncanny X-Men #194 so maybe check that out.
Jamie Chung as Clarice Fong (Blink)
Blink is a mutant with the ability to teleport who previously appeared on screen in the future timeline of X-Men: Days Of Future Past, portrayed by Fan Bingbing. Luckily, since that timeline was eliminated, Fox has yet again sidestepped any major continuity concerns. Lucky. Blink herself is an interesting case study of a character. Originally introduced in Uncanny X-Men #317, she died soon after - but was revived for an alternate universe storyline (Age Of Apocalypse) that ran soon after. It was this version of the character that became popular, and who once headlined a series known as the Exiles, which saw a team of alternate-universe X-Men travelling to different realities. No word on whether this version will be from an alternate reality yet, but in all fairness, given the way Fox treats continuity... how would we tell?
Emma Dumont as Lorna Dane (Polaris)
Polaris was an early addition to the X-Men, appearing as one of two new members in the latter half of the comic's initial run. Her first appearance was Uncanny X-Men #49, and she joined the team in X-Men #60. For some time it was suggested that she was the biological daughter of Magneto, though it was eventually confirmed that she wasn't, and then later confirmed that she was, which just goes to show you can't trust anything. Lorna's powers are similar to Magneto, though not necessarily as strong, in that she has the ability to manipulate magnetism. Again, it seems unlikely that her powers resembling Magneto's will go completely unremarked-upon in The Gifted, and her potential familial connection to both Magneto and Quicksilver may be explored in some capacity.
Blair Redford as John Proudstar (Thunderbird)
Thunderbird is perhaps the least well-known of the second generation of X-Men, not least because he died on the team's second mission. A member of the Apache tribe with super-strength and enhanced reflexes, he first appeared in Giant Size X-Men #1, and died in Uncanny X-Men #95. In The Gifted, John is the leader of the mutant underground and therefore quite important to the safety and success of the Struckers, so you can virtually guarantee he'll be dying fairly quickly himself. Interestingly, his younger brother, James Proudstar is the mutant superhero Warpath and also appeared in the future timeline of X-Men: Days Of Future Past played by Booboo Stewart. We wouldn't be surprised if he too showed up in the series in some capacity.
Jermaine Rivers as Shatter Elena Satine as Dreamer
In the comics, Shatter and Dreamer (called 'Beautiful Dreamer') are members of the Morlocks, a race of subterranean mutants too disfigured by their powers to pass as human. Shatter is made of super-hard crystal and first appeared in Morlocks #1. Dreamer first appeared in Power Pack #12 and can alter the memories of people using the 'dream smoke' she emits. It's unclear whether they'll be Morlocks in the TV series or simply members of the mutant underground.
Garret Dillahunt as Roderick Campbell
In The Gifted, Roderick Campbell is researcher recruited by Sentinel Services, presumably to help track down other mutants. He shares his name with Rory Campbell, a scientist who first appeared in Excalibur #72 and was destined to become the mutant hunted Ahab. In the comics, a version of Ahab came from the future attempting to recapture the time-lost Rachel Summers, who he had once turned into a mindless mutant-hunting Hound. Ahab has no powers of his own, though he does have cybernetic enhancements including robot limbs, so watch out for any injuries to the extremities on The Gifted...
Also appearing in the series are Sean Teale as Marcos Diaz (Eclipse) and Jace Turner, both of whom appear to be original characters. We'll of course be watching The Gifted, and we'll surely let you know if/when any more characters from the comics show up, and where you can find out more about them.
The Gifted premieres on Fox on October 2.
Mckenna Grace just got twice as scary. The Amityville child joins Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House TV series
The mother of almost all ghost stories is coming to Netflix with a TV series adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s 1959 horror novel The Haunting of Hill House, which happens to be one of Stephen King’s favorite books. It was made into a classic piece of early 1960s cinema (and a 1990s remake), and will soon arrive at Netflix in a modernized form.
The Haunting of Hill House will arrive on Netflix in a 10-episode form, written, produced, and directed by Mike Flanagan, who directed Oculus, Hush and will adapt King’s Gerald’s Game into a movie. Flanagan will produce with his producing partner Trevor Macy for Amblin TV and Paramount TV.
The Haunting of Hill House Latest News
The Haunting Of Hill House adds young actresses as Mckenna Grace and Violet McGraw. Grace starred in Fox Searchlight’ Gifted with Chris Evans. She plays young Tonya Harding in the upcoming I,Tonya biopic. McGraw acts in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One.
Timothy Hutton joins The Haunting of Hill House as a lead actor, reports Deadline. While his character was not named, it is believed (but not confirmed,) that Hutton will portray the patriarch of the haunted house-owning Crane family, married to Carla Gugino’s matriarchal character.
Hutton came into prominence early in his career, winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1981 for his role in director Robert Redford’s drama Ordinary People. He’s appeared in films such as Taps, Iceman, Made in Heaven, French Kiss, Kinsey, Secret Window and The Good Shepherd. However, later generations know him better as a TV mainstay with notable runs on American Crime and a longtime run as the mastermind of the justice-delivering rogues of Leverage.
The Haunting of Hill House Cast
Michiel Huisman has been tapped to star in Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, reports THR. In a revelation that may shed light on the context of this reboot series, Huisman will play a character named Steven Crane, a published author of supernatural-related books and the oldest living sibling of the Crane family. The Netherlands-native is best known for his role on HBO’s Game of Thrones as Daario Naharis. Besides roles in his native country, Huisman was notably seen in recurring roles on Orphan Black, Nashville, Treme, and miniseries Harley and the Davidsons, as well as films such as 2015’s The Age of Adaline and 2017’s The Ottoman Lieutenant. He has quite a full docket of film roles, notably in director Gideon Raff’s historical spy thrillerRed Sea Diving Resort, which stars Chris Evans.
Carla Gugino, who was featured in the films San Andreas, Sin City, American Gangster, Watchmen, Spy Kids and the TV series Wayward Pines, Entourage and Roadie, is the female lead. Gugino recently shot Flanagan’s upcoming feature adaptation of Stephen King’s sadomasochistic game play novel Gerald’s Game for Netflix.
The Netflix series got spookier with the casting of Mckenna Grace. She is doing double the devilish duty as the kid in Amityville: The Awakening.
The producers are keeping most of the character information under wraps.
The Haunting of Hill House Story
The Haunting of Hill House has been made into two feature films that carry the shortened title "The Haunting." The first one, released in 1963, was written by Nelson Gidding and directed and produced by Robert Wise. It starred Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, and Riff from West Side Story, Russ Tamblyn. The 1999 remake from Speed director Jan de Bont and screenwriter David Self – widely considered a dud – starred Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson and Lili Taylor. The story was also parodied in 2001's Scary Movie 2 and adapted for the stage and performed at the Liverpool Playhouse in 2015.
The book centers around Hill House investigators Dr. Montague, who is an occult scholar looking for something more tangible than book smarts; his assistant Theodora; a ghost whisperer named Eleanor, and the young, rich heir who will be stuck with the haunted real estate Luke. They think they’re looking for ghosts, but the house is looking for them.
In Shirley Jackson’s original 1959 novel, as well as the 1963 and 1999 film adaptations – both billed as The Haunting– the legacy of the “Crain” family was connected to the titular haunted house. In the case of the 1999 film, the late Crain patriarch explicitly manifested as a ghost.
Jackson's novel is more of a story of terror than of horror. It ties the events that make for a haunting of a house into the psyches of the people investigating it.
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
Normally, paranormal investigators don’t quite have the diabolical fun and frights that find their way into film and TV shots.
“Having done several Paranormal Investigations, I have yet to encounter anything like this,” Brenda Jablonsky, a paranormal investigator from Indiana who will host the upcoming podcast "Crimes Against Spirit," told Den of Geek.
The normal routine for a supernatural sleuth is a lot of hurry up and waiting. That’s not necessarily true for people how live in haunted houses.
"I thought I was buying my wife her dream home,” Philip Siracusa, the author of The Horsefly Chronicles: A Demonic Haunting, told Den of Geek. “I didn't know I was buying my family a nightmare."
The allegedly haunted house in Pennsylvania is said to sit on an desecrated burial ground, and the spirits are still hungry.
"These days when I cook I make one meal for my family, another one for my ancestors and a third one for the Indians," Julia Siracusa, who lived in the house so long she goes by the nickname “the real haunted housewife,” added.
While the Horsefly house hasn’t gotten quite the reputation of the hauntings at the center of films like Poltergeist and The Conjuring, investigators still think twice before knocking three times.
"My friend Juila [Siracusa] invited me to visit her real haunted house and I am such a chicken shit medium that I asked her to check and see if their family ghost/demon said it was okay,” admitted Marie Bargas, a celebrity psychic who was recently tapped to investigate the house.
But what do the strange amateur sleuths think of the film?
“A remake of this movie would be interesting to see a hard to stop watching kind waiting for the next shoe to drop,” said Brenda. “I found the original suspenseful and exciting ,with the technology of today I think it would be a great show to see. As a fan of horror movies it will be a block buster.”
The Haunting of Hill House will be the first time Netflix has worked up a scripted series for Amblin TV. It is the series the rising channel has done for Paramount TV. They previously worked together to bring out 13 Reasons Why and the upcoming Maniac, which stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill.
The Haunting of Hill House is still in the early stages of development.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel both left a massive impact on pop-culture and society.
If you've watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you know that the show was way ahead of its time. The series left its teethmarks on the entertainment industry and perceptions of vampire in popular culture as a whole. It also led to the creation of Angel!
In order to celebrate the awesomeness that is Buffyand Angel, we've been given a copy of the new book SLAYERS & VAMPIRES: The Complete Unauthorized Oral History of Buffy & Angel by Edward Gross and Mark Altman. We can't keep it for ourselves, so we're passing the opportunity to win the book and more free slayer swag along to you! The prize pack also includes:
- A set of vampire teeth
- "Five by Five" themed charms
- "Sunnydale High" iron-on clothing patches
- A "Nevertheless, she persisted" slayer button
We're confident that you'll love the book, which features 100 interviews with Joss Whedon, David Boreanaz, Felicia Day, Eliza Dushku, Guillermo del Toro, and many more. Slayers & Vampires is the most comprehensive look back at the girl who saved the world (too many times to count) and the vampires who loved her.
Entry is simple, and you get two chances!
- Sign up for the Den of Geek Newsletter below
Final entries will be accepted Friday, October 6th! One (1) winner will be drawn at random and contacted by either email or social media. Good luck!
Howard Chaykin's cyberpunk Colbert Report, American Flagg, might come to small screens soon.
Comics legend Howard Chaykin, who first came to fame drawing war comics for DC and Marvel Comics' first Star Wars book before embarking on a legendary career, just had maybe his best-known work picked up for television distribution. American Flagg was optioned for TV by EuropaCorp Distribution, according to a report in Deadline.
American Flagg is the terrifyingly prescient '80s comic about an ecologically devastated Earth abandoned by functioning governments and ruled by corporations, reality television stars, and a resurgent fascist movement. It was once considered satire, but can now be found in Comixology's "Prophecy" section.
The comic stars Reuben Flagg, a square-jawed ex-movie star made obselete by CGI who decides to work as a cop for the giant corporation that runs what's left of the United States. The world is dominated by Plex, Flagg's employer, which outlaws all television stations but its own and encourages mindless, absurdly violent bloodsport as the national pastime. The first arc follows Flagg in his early days on the job as he discovers corrupt police and a television station subliminally encouraging gang violence.
Chaykin will reportedly serve as Executive Producer on the show alongside EuropaCorp's Luc Besson, director of that really colorful sensory overload space movie, and that other really colorful sensory overload space movie you know the one with Chris Tucker, and that really colorful parkour movie. Industry insiders expect American Flagg to be subtle and subdued, a stinging but understated critique of modern consumerism.
For more on American Flagg stick with Den of Geek!
We talked to the creator web comic Check, Please about fandom, adaptation, and what's next...
Check, Please — a delightful web comic about hockey, baking, and bros— is one of the most enthusiastic internet fandoms out there, one that is poised to grow with the two-volume publishing deal creator Ngozi Ukazu recently secured for the comic.
Den of Geek talked to Ukazu about why she thinks Check, Please is so popular, whether she ever dream-casts an on-screen adaptation of the comic, and what is next for the talented storyteller/artist...
Den of Geek: Can you give a brief synopsis of what Check, Please is about for people who have yet to dive into the wonderful world of Check, Please?
Ngozi Utaku:Check, Please is the story of Eric "Bitty" Bittle, a former figure skater who starts his freshman year as a member of Samwell University's men's ice hockey team.
Bitty is a vlogger who shares recipes on pie making, is several inches shorter than most of his teammates, and is deathly afraid of checking — which is when you get hit on the ice. It's also a story about Bitty falling in love with Jack Zimmermann, the team's stoic captain who has fallen from grace.
A lot of the narratives we have that challenge patriarchy/toxic masculinity focus on how it affects women and girls, but Check, Please is one of the few stories that seems to do the same by imagining a different, better future for men and boys outside of rigid gender roles and "norms." Why do you think it’s important to tell stories like this? Was this one of the driving forces in creating Check, Please?
In the beginning, Check, Please was simply a palate cleanser after I spent my senior semester at Yale writing a screenplay called Hardy.
Hardy followed a giant, super bro-y enforcer-type hockey player who falls in love with his best friend and struggles with internalized homophobia. With all of the newfound hockey knowledge I gained from researching, I still wanted to tell a story set in the world of hockey, but a bit more hopeful and silly.
While Hardy had a bittersweet ending, Check, Please is a story where Bitty has little victories each year. Maybe it wasn't a completely conscious effort, but we need more stories about critiquing the rigidity of gender norms that don't involve characters succumbing to these norms in tragedy.
It seems like you have a good idea of where the Check, Please story is going. How much of the Check, Please narrative is planned and how much surprises you? Have there been any major changes to your planned story along the way?
I planned out the major arcs of the comic before I had finished the first semester of "Year One." Still, characters can surprise me with their dialogue and sometimes jokes develop right as I'm drawing a page.
When I'm coming up with new characters like incoming freshmen or Jack's NHL team, I have vague ideas for that coalesce a year or so before the characters actually appear. Overall, the story has been hitting all of the major plot points that I drafted out.
You began creating Check, Please when you yourself were in school, getting your Masters. I think of the early 20s as such a transformative time. Has your perspective of Check, Please changed over the course of you writing/drawing it as you have changed/learned/grown?
Check, Please continues to be this love letter to the magic of friendship in undergrad, the excitement of college hockey, and how it feels to get a liberal arts education in the Northeast. It's a bit of a time capsule of my time at Yale.
As I've grown, my perspective on hockey culture at large has changed. Whiteness and masculinity are really unrelenting driving forces of that culture, and while Samwell hockey remains continuously progressive, the NHL and hockey has only changed a little since I first discovered the sport.
As someone who supports you on Patreon, I know how impressively prolific you are. What does your creation schedule/routine look like?
First of all, thank you so much! Comics and the blog posts that follow them take weeks to complete and, in between this main content, I'm usually sketching, working on books and merchandise, or writing for other projects.
I spend my mornings answering emails and running comic and non-comic errands, while I spend my afternoons and evenings drawing and writing. I usually wake up and go to sleep fairly early!
Do you think Kickstarter/Patreon model is where much of smaller-scale creation is heading? Do you think it’s possible to be a full-time creator working directly from fan support?
I'm a firm believer in creators pursuing their passions full-time, if they have free content and a large enough audience. Models like Kickstarter & Patreon are allowing niche and under-served audiences to directly support content that they can't get in bookstores or see on TV.
What has surprised you most about the response to Check, Please?
This is a story about really goofy bros and a boy who loves to bake pies. I had no idea it could also be a story that would make people cry, help people form new friendships, or [something] parents read with their teens.
Why do you think this story has come to mean so much to so many people?
Check, Please is a story about an uncertain, but sweet kid who enters a potentially threatening environment—and survives.
People want happy stories. They crave hope. And all of the goofiness and friendship and weird rules that these boys create as part of the culture of Samwell start to make the Samwell men's hockey team and the Haus feel a bit like Hogwarts.
Congratulations on the two-volume publishing deal! How did that happen — did you approach First Second Books or did they approach you? Are you nervous at all about Check, Please going out into the wider world after having spent so long in Internet Land?
Thank you! After the success of the Kickstarter, a number of publishers realized that Check, Please had potential to do well with a wider audience. But when First Second reached out, they were hands-down the most enthusiastic publisher with a team of authentic and thoughtful Check, Please fans. Check, Please is a story that started on the Internet, but I'm excited for people who don't normally peruse blogs to read it and discover the story!
Right now, there is a fair amount of tension between creators and their fans. I see you as a creator who respects her fans and has a healthy, conversational relationship with the fandom. Why do you think so many creators seem to have a problem with this? Do you have any advice for creators who struggle to connect with their fans?
I love the Check, Please fandom! And for whatever reason, readers in the fandom seem to enjoy the interactions they experience in Check, Please. The healthy relationship I have with the fandom took a lot of time to learn and did have its growing pains!
My biggest advice for creators is to leave fandom alone. Appreciate it, but don't try to control it. Similarly, readers should understand that headcanons might never be canon and the story and characters belong to the creator. End of story. The relationship starts to deteriorate when one party tries to control the other.
Would you be interested in seeing Check, Please adapted for the screen? (Because I would!) What does your dream scenario look like — i.e. TV series vs. film vs. web series? Do you ever think about dream casting?
Oh boy, it'd be so hard to do a live-action show. Is it possible cast anybody (a) with a butt as big as the fictional Jack Zimmermann's who (b) can also act? In a dream scenario, all of the actors would know how to skate, the actor who played Bitty would have a perfect Georgia accent, and it would feel more like an HBO comedy with pockets of drama.
But what about this—Check, Please as a radio show?
Have you been working on any other projects lately?
I'm working on a script for a softball story to be drawn by my pal Madeline Rupert. It's a story about a girl who goes to art school, loses her scholarship, and has to get her school's softball team to win one game of softball in order to get an athletic scholarship.
This story involves a ton of musings on art school, financial aid, and a different approach to telling a story about sports.
For so many people, Check, Please is the story that makes them happy. What are you a fan of right now?
Other than the NBA and podcasts like The Read, Bodega Boys, and My Brother, My Brother, and Me, I haven't been able to sink my teeth into any TV show or movie in a while.
But for a random list... I'm a big fan of Insecure, Spider-Man: Homecoming, anything Kevin Wada draws, Frank Ocean, and a ton of other podcasts. I guess a lot of my energy goes into creating things for other people to fan nowadays!
Read and download the full Den of Geek SDCC Special Edition magazine here!
We have a complete guide to every Marvel Universe reference you might have missed in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This article consists of nothing but Spider-Man: Homecoming spoilers.
Well, Spider-Man: Homecoming certainly doesn't disappoint. For a movie that could have gotten way too bogged down in Marvel Cinematic Universe lore, or spent time apologizing for previous entries in the franchise, it manages to pretty much give everybody what they want. This is a wonderfully self-contained Spider-Man movie to be sure. But make no mistake, there's cool Marvel stuff and Spidey history hiding in nearly every scene.
I think we've managed to find everything hiding in the margins of this one, but just in case you spot something I didn't, give me a shout on Twitter, and I'll update this. I'll probably update this after I see it again, anyway.
So, let's get to work...
Keep in mind that even though this isn't an origin story, there are some key elements that come out of some of Spidey's earliest comic book adventures.
For one thing, the intro, which establishes right out of the gate that Peter doesn’t have a date for the homecoming dance, is practically right out of his first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15.
Spidey's overwhelming desire to join the Avengers somewhat mirrors his attempt to join the Fantastic Four in The Amazing Spider-Man #1. The difference there is that Peter assumed the FF paid really well when, in fact, they're a non-profit. Peter's motivations with the Avengers are more altruistic and eager, but then again, in early stories Peter was a much angrier kid.
Seriously, he was a dick.
Anyway, it didn't work out.
And two of our villains (Vulture and Tinkerer) come right out of The Amazing Spider-Man #2. Early Spidey comics occasionally featured two complete stories, and that was the case there. These guys had nothing to do with each other there, though.
Okay, we should probably talk about the villains now, right?
Who Are The Spider-Man: Homecoming Villains?
Adrian Toomes/The Vulture was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and as I just mentioned, he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2. Toomes was originally a lot more elderly and Mr. Burns-looking than the working class villain we got from Michael Keaton in this movie. But he was the earliest indication that most of Spidey's foes would be significantly older than him, which helped illustrate a kind of generation gap. In the comics, Toomes' supervillain origin story was also tied to similar frustration, although there, instead of a Tony Stark funded government department robbing him of his livelihood, it was his co-inventor/business partner.
Also note: in the comics, ol' Adrian was not Liz's Dad. But giving him a connection to one of Peter's classmates does kind of position him as the "Norman Osborn" of this franchise, right down to knowing Pete's secret identity. But I suspect they have more interesting plans for him.
They never name him, but Michael Chernus' Phineas Mason is The Tinkerer, who also first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #2. He's a pretty minor figure in Spidey lore, but I think they used him nicely here.
Also, remember the name "Cobbwell" in that image above, as I'll get to him in a minute...
So this is kinda cool. There are two shockers in this movie. Logan Marshall-Green is Jackson Brice. But in the comics, Jackson Brice was a member of The Enforcers, and he went by the useless nom-de-douchebag, "Montana." Because... he was from Montana. But Brice is another holdover from the earliest Spidey comics, as he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #10 (1964). He was created by Stan Lee and... not Steve Ditko, but Jack Kirby!
Michael Previte down in the comments has been kind enough to remind me, though, that ol' Jackson Brice was indeed the Shocker, just not in the comics! Instead, that happened on the wonderful Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, arguably the best animated version of Spidey ever (it's certainly my favorite).
But then we have the real Shocker, and that's Bokeem Woodbine's Herman Schultz.
The Shocker comes a little later in Spidey's history but still from one of the character's classic eras. He was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. in the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man #46 (1967).
So we have one subset of the villains to deal with since he's mostly set up for the future...
WHO IS MAC GARGAN?
He’s the Scorpion, silly! See that tattoo on his neck?
There's already one deviation from the comics with this big screen version of our potential Scorpion. Originally, Mac Gargan wasn't a straight up criminal, but a shady private eye hired by J. Jonah Jameson to investigate Spider-Man. Then Jameson got him a super suit which he ended up bonded with and, well, things never really went great for Scorpion.
But the prospect of Michael Mando as the lead villain of a future Spider-Man movie is incredibly appealing. He has been nothing short of brilliant on Better Call Saul recently, so if anyone can make a relatively straightforward villain like the Scorpion into something special (like Keaton did with Vulture in this movie), I believe he’s the guy.
The fact that he's mentioning other friends interested in Spider-Man makes me think that maybe Sony hasn't given up hope of that Sinister Six movie after all.
There's one more "villain" introduced here and he's tied to another fan favorite Spidey, Miles Morales.
WAIT... WHAT ABOUT MILES MORALES?
No, Miles Morales isn’t in this movie, but there’s a very cool connection here. Donald Glover is Aaron Davis, a low level criminal... and the uncle of Miles Morales. He even specifically mentions that he doesn’t want those high-tech weapons hanging around because “I got a nephew who lives here.” That’s who he’s talking about.
Now there’s more to this. For one thing, Donald Glover at one point campaigned for the role of Spider-Man in 2010 during the previous reboot. While he (obviously) did not get the role, it did partially inspire Marvel to create Miles Morales, aka the second Ultimate Spider-Man. And of course Glover himself went on to voice Miles on two episodes of the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series.
So his character here, Aaron Davis, becomes the minor supervillain known as The Prowler. And you can see Aaron get excited when the crooks mention they have some kind of cool climbing technology, which would be one of the Prowler’s signatures. You can see these seeds being planted, and I would love to see him again in another movie.
Incidentally, in recent comics, Prowler has become an ally to Peter Parker, so there you go. Interestingly enough, Sony is currently working on an animated Miles Morales Spidey movie, which will feature Mahershala Ali as the voice of Aaron Davis. That's probably not going to be in continuity with this movie, but it's still pretty great.
Also, the “gun” that Shocker Numero Uno tries to sell him appears to be something fashioned out of an Ultron arm.
Okay, enough about the bad guys.
Why is Iron Man in this movie?
Well, aside from the obvious reasons that Sony and Marvel wanted to make the biggest possible deal about bringing Spidey to the Marvel Universe, and Robert Downey Jr. is their most bankable star, there's a fine history of Spidey and Iron Man team-ups in the comics.
For one thing, there was an entire series dedicated just to teaming Spider-Man with other heroes. It was called (appropriately enough) Marvel Team-Up. It looks like future entries in this new franchise will continue the Marvel Team-Up theme, but with other heroes.
And Spidey's ties to Iron Man became more overt in the Civil War comics, where an adult Peter straight up went to work for Tony, and got a slick new costume out of it, kinda like what we got here... although that comic book one was more in line with Tony's taste in colors.
See for yourself...
Still, that cool costume that Tony offers Peter at the end of the movie has a few similar design elements to the "Iron Spider" costume he rocked for awhile during the Civil War comics, as well as the more high-tech suit we've seen in recent issues of Amazing Spider-Man. I'm pretty happy that they're sticking with the current design, though. That's a solid superhero costume.
Also, since we're talking about the suit, I think this is the first time we've expressly had the webbing serve different functions. It's definitely the first time we've had Spidey costume/tech mainstays like the spider-tracer onscreen, as well as the arm webs, which were pretty much always around when Steve Ditko was drawing the character, but that fell out of fashion shortly after he left.
This doesn't count as a "Marvel Team-Up" but you have to love how they squeezed Captain America into this movie. This is clearly an old video, recorded before Cap went anti-authority in The Winter Soldier and Civil War. This kinda makes me think that this brighter version of the costume from The Avengers was always intended as more of a "public" costume, as opposed to the more practical suits he has worn elsewhere.
"Bleh Bleh" in the comments has pointed out something absolutely amazing, too. This isn't Chris Evans' first go around with educational films. He starred in Biodiversity: Wild About Life back in 1997. This is actually a real thing, and you can watch it here.
THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
A couple of notable things about Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May.
First of all, yes, she’s younger than our traditional cinematic Aunt Mays. But this is something inspired by the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, which took Aunt May from her traditional role as a sickly, elderly woman to a younger, more vibrant, and considerably tougher modern lady. For one thing, that version of the character famously stood up to J. Jonah Jameson for bullying her nephew. Also, like we see at the end of this film, she eventually figures out that Peter is Spider-Man, and her reaction is about what we see here. She's definitely about to ground the shit out of Peter, for one thing.
Also worth noting: they’ve made May Italian-American (like Ms. Tomei). In the comics, May’s maiden name was Reilly. Draw your own conclusions.
They’ve got that Italian-American mothering thing down perfectly with her too. “You see something like that happening, you turn and run the other way,” is like, word for word something from my childhood.
- Liz Allan first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15. That's Betty Brant with her here, who first came around in The Amazing Spider-Man #4. Both were created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Betty wasn't a classmate of Peter's in the comics, but then again, neither was Ned Leeds. I'm curious to see if we get a nod to the comics romance between Betty and Ned in future movies.
- Betty’s co-host on the school's news show is Jason Ionello, an exceedingly minor Spidey supporting character who first appeared in the underrated Untold Tales of Spider-Man series from 1995. He was created by Kurt Busiek and Pat Olliffe. Also worth noting is that Betty Brant was introduced originally as J. Jonah Jameson's secretary at The Daily Bugle (she was played by Elizabeth Banks as such in the original Sam Raimi trilogy of films) but she went on in the comics to become her newspaper's star reporter. It appears that Angourie Rice's Betty is getting a jumpstart on that investigative career in this universe.
- Tony Revolori’s Flash Thompson is absolutely perfect, even though they kinda changed Flash’s MO a little. In the comics (and the movies, for the most part), Flash has always been a dumb jock. Here, he’s an irritating rich kid, and I have to say, I’ve known plenty of guys just like him. “Penis Parker,” indeed.
(fun note about the above image... you can spot Dr. Bruce Banner up there on the wall along with history's greatest scientists)
- Mr. Cobbwell, the nice Academic Decathalon teacher, is named after Professor Cobbwell, who was the patsy in 1962’s The Amazing Spider-Man #2, the same comic that introduced not one, but two of our villains in this movie. In this case, the story that involved Cobbwell centered around the Tinkerer.
- Jacob Batalon is an absolute scene stealer as Ned Leeds, but I'm obligated to point out that he has nothing in common with his comic book counterpart. That version of Ned Leeds first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #18 (1964) and yes, he was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Ned was an older reporter for The Daily Bugle, a future romantic suitor for Betty Brant, and someone with some ill-fated criminal connections which I doubt we'll ever see explored in this franchise.
Ned's general demeanor and his relationship with Peter is much more in line with a different Marvel character entirely. That would be Miles Morales' best friend, Ganke Lee.
- So... is the movie still just trolling us with the whole is Michelle/isn’t Michelle really Mary Jane Watson thing? There’s that whole “my friends call me MJ” moment to consider. But the idea that we might eventually get a reveal similar to Mary Jane’s first comic book appearance is kinda cool.
Kevin Feige told us that this is still intended to be a different character, but he keeps it vague enough that this could all kind of work out the way we're expecting it to.
- I love that the girls at Peter’s high school are playing “fuck, marry, kill” with the Avengers. This is such a fun little moment that helps illustrate where superheroes really fit on the whole fame scale in this universe.
- They establish the Department of Damage Control in this, and while that may just sound like your typical, boring federal agency, these folks are right out of the comics. They had a few really clever series in the late '80s/early '90s, and they had a pretty killer creative team of the late, great Dwayne McDuffie and the brilliant Ernie Colón.
Oh, and look who was on the cover of their first issue!
Tyne Daly is playing Anne Marie Hoag, who headed up the company in the comics, and she looks absolutely perfect.
The thing is, in the comics, Damage Control was a little bit more like the operation that Adrian Toomes and friends are running. They were private contractors, not a government agency. In any case, it’s not clear where this leaves the proposed Damage Control TV series though. I'd be cool with seeing Tyne Daly headline that.
- You aren't hallucinating, that is indeed Kenneth Choi as the principal of Peter's school. Choi played Howling Commandos member Jim Morita in Captain America: The First Avenger("I'm from Fresno, chief") and he's Principal Morita here. Yes, he's Jim Morita's grandson. Kinda cool, right?
Okay, so...the timeline of this movie is all screwy. For the most part, Marvel movies have taken place in “real time.” So they’re set usually around the same time they’re released. But here, we learn that the events of The Avengers (which came out in 2012) took place eight years ago. I’m not sure how that works.
So how far after the events of Captain America: Civil War are we? It can’t be that long, right? Certainly no more than a year. But it’s also long enough that the Sokovia Accords can be taught in one of Peter’s boring ass classes.
But this brings up the most ridiculous nitpick you are likely to read about this movie all day, if not all week. This movie kicks off in early to mid-September, because we know the Academic Decathalon is happening on Sept. 14. That’s fine and everything, but it’s clear that school has been in session for months at this point with talk of how Peter quit marching band six weeks earlier... which would be around the beginning of August. In New York City (and most of New York State) schools aren’t in session until after Labor Day.
Yeah, it’s minor, but this stuff messes with my head.
UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that yes, marching bands, like sports teams, practice all summer. I should have remembered this, but I haven't been in high school in a loooooong ass time. That being said, it still felt way to early in the school year for a homecoming dance, and I still think it felt like the implication was that classes had been in session for a while.
I'm probably just being a jerk.
MISCELLANEOUS COOL STUFF
- Ummm... of course Peter Parker is a Mets fan. He's from Queens. But more importantly, the Mets are basically the Spider-Man of baseball. Even when they're good (which, in my lifetime, if not their history, is pretty rare), that team can't catch a break.
The pennant you see on the wall is celebrating recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Mike Piazza. Piazza is the greatest offensive catcher in baseball history and a Mets legend. He hasn't been a Met since 2005, so if my math is right, Peter would have been about two-years-old. You'd think he might have a David Wright flag on his wall instead. Maybe this was Uncle Ben's? Anyway, it doesn't matter. Peter Parker is a Mets fan. It's official. Don't @ me.
Also note Peter's AT-AT, which I think might be a vintage Kenner version.
- It's so appropriate that we finally get to hear a Ramones tune in a Spider-Man movie (in this case, it's the famous "Blitzkrieg Bop"). Three of the four founding members of that band (including/especially Joey Ramone) were born in Forest Hills, Queens, which is where Peter Parker is from.
- Of course, that's not the only appropriate musical nod. You can hear Michael Giacchino's orchestral version of the theme song from the 1967 Spider-Man animated series during the Marvel intro, and it seems to be quoted a couple of other times throughout the film.
Speaking of music, in what might be the coolest reference in this entire movie...remember the older guy with the boombox talking to Spidey when he's on the roof? That's Kirk Thatcher, who played the punk with the boombox on the bus in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The one that Spock puts to sleep for being a dick. How awesome is that? More details here.
When Spidey is trapped under all that rubble and lifts it, it’s an homage to The Amazing Spider-Man #33, in an incredible sequence from Steve Ditko...
Also during that sequence, he sees his reflection, and we get the famous “half Peter/half Spidey” image from the early comics, usually used to indicate that Peter’s Spidey sense was tingling, or to let readers in on the fact that we know something that everybody else doesn’t.
At one point there’s some graffiti that clearly spells out the name “Bagley.” Mark Bagley has probably drawn more Spider-Man comics than any other human, and his partnership with Brian Michael Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man, a comic series that definitely inspired elements of Homecoming, is the longest consecutive run by a writer/artist team on any Marvel comic ever, eclipsing even Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s legendary Fantastic Four run.
Stan Lee’s cameo, and the ensuing chaos, reminds me of this...
When Peter stumbled on “The Avengers” he asks if “you forgot your pin number.” This reminds me a little bit of Christopher Reeve’s brilliant line delivery in Superman: The Movie where he asks a skyscraper-scaling cat burglar if there’s “something wrong with the elevator.”
You can overhear some discussion about SHIELD being busy cleaning up “the Triskelion mess.” I haven’t kept up with Agents of SHIELD, so I don’t know what this means. A number of you have patiently tried to explain to me that this is referring to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (as opposed to more recent events on AoS), and I suppose that makes sense, but I just figured maybe that was too far in the past for them to still be "cleaning" it up? Like I said, I'm still trying to wrap my head around this timeline.
So by now we all know that Thor’s hammer is named Mjolnir. But in Norse mythology, what’s equally important is his belt... which I’m pretty sure has never been named in the movies. The name that Happy struggles with is Megingjörð (thanks to @Debalina_11 for the correct spelling on this!). And no, I don’t know how to pronounce it either, so don’t ask.
- Is... that Howard Stark on the mural over Peter's left shoulder?
- I love that there’s a bodega cat in this movie. Don't be one of those idiots who calls the health department when you're in NYC because there's a cat hanging around the bodega.
- @se7enthpower pointed out something cool. On the bus to DC, the kids are being quizzed on the "Moons of Saturn" one of which is Titan. While it hasn't been expressly stated in the movies yet, Avengers: Infinity War villain Thanos has ties to Titan. I can't imagine this was purely a coincidence.
- A few of you have caught something I missed. Flash is complaining to his homecoming date that the branzino they had gone out for wasn't fresh. You may remember branzino as being the unappetizing meal Peter eats with the Stacy family in The Amazing Spider-Man.
- Spidey's failure to kiss Liz in the Washington Monument is a fun nod to the famous "upside down kiss" from Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man flick. Oh yeah, and that's Jennifer Connelly as the voice of his suit. If Jennifer Connelly tells you to kiss someone, you might consider listening.
Also, fun fact, Jennifer Connelly is married to Paul Bettany, who of course played Jarvis, Tony Stark's digital butler in the Iron Man films. That gig ended with him getting to be Vision, so maybe there is a superhero role in Ms. Connelly's future as well?
And don't worry, Spidey does eventually join the Avengers in the comics. He was a longstanding member during the New Avengers era.
Spot anything I missed? Shout 'em at me on Twitter, and if it all checks out, I'll update this!
The Inhumans are coming to TV! These comics will help expand the world of Marvel's royal family.
After decades of being a fascinating but minor part of the Marvel Universe, the Inhumans have stepped up in a big way. Originally created as supporting characters to the Fantastic Four, the Inhumans were an early attempt to expand the length and breadth of the Marvel Universe, and allowed the great mind of Jack Kirby to stretch his imagination by building a lost civilization, a motif he would return to in the pages of New Gods, The Eternals, and Kamandi.
During the Inhumans' rich history, some of comic’s greatest creators have taken their shots at the lost tribe, and recently Marvel Comics have shined a spotlight on the greatness of the Inhumans with new Inhuman characters that have become part of the foundation of the modern day MCU. See for yourself!
A Star Crossed Romance in the Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four #45-48 (1965) Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
The Inhumans arguably appeared during the most creative time in Marvel history. Right before Lee and Kirby sprung Galactus and Silver Surfer on their unsuspecting fan base, they introduced another team that spoke to the boundless creativity of both creators during the pinnacle of the Silver Age. The introduction of the Inhumans was not just another Silver Age story. It was a tale that expanded the Marvel Universe and was fraught with unexpected characters and a fateful love affair that would change the course of two races.
When an emotional Johnny Storm meets a mysterious redhead, he follows her and meets her family. Revealed as a girl named Crystal, the redhead was part of a race of super-powered beings hidden in the Himalayas.
The Inhumans, as they called themselves, were forbidden to interact with humans, and as Johnny met each member of the Royal Family, the story grew exponentially. One by one, Lee and Kirby revealed Karnak, a martial arts master, Gorgon, a cloven hoofed powerhouse, Black Bolt, the brooding and silent king of the Inhumans Triton, an aquatic adventurer, and most unexpected of all, Crystal’s sister Medusa, a former member of the Frightful Four, a team of villains that had previously plagued the FF.
By adding Medusa, Lee and Kirby added an air of foreboding uncertainty to the Royal Family. Were they heroes or villains, and why would they accept a member of the Frightful Four into their midst? By the time it was all over, Marvel had a new team of super-powered anti-heroes granted amazing gifts by the constantly revving story device, the Terrigen Mists, and a mysterious new locale.
The Inhumans looked like heroes, but there was a mood of danger around them. What kinds of heroes were led by a man who could destroy cities with his voice and harbored known villains? This was the Inhumans, a daring new team of superhumans whose origin would define the cosmic confines of the growing Marvel Universe.
The Thor Back Ups
Thor #146-153 (1967-1968) Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
The backstory of the Inhumans was certainly mythic in scope. So much so that Lee and Kirby used the characters as a backup feature in Thor. The Inhumans archetypes would be used again by Kirby in other books as his all too brief run on solo Inhumans stories became an unscratched itch for a lost civilization legend.
Aspects of the noble but tragic ruler of the Inhumans, Black Bolt would later appear in Orion of the New Gods and Icarus of the Eternals. The loyal and regal queen, Medusa, would be mirrored in the Eternals’ Thena. Karnak, the cold and masterful strategist would be reflected in Metron, while aspects of Gorgon, his rage and primal fury, would also be seen in Orion. Even the Shakespearean familial conflict between Black Bolt and his insane brother Maximus the Mad would be thematically explored again in the New Gods’ core conflict between brothers Orion and Kaliback.
This was one of the first times Lee and Kirby explored the beginnings of the Marvel Universe, a pre-history that expanded the core universe and blurred the edges of its origins. Kirby introduced the concept that the Inhumans were Kree experiments, something that would become key to the Royal Family’s history. Black Bolt and Maximus’s background early tragic relationship was explored and rivals the Thor/Loki dynamic for sheer drama.
Amazing Adventures #1-10 (1970-1972)
Jack Kirby, Roy Thomas, Neal Adams, Gerry Conway, Mike Sekowsky
Spinning directly out of the Thor back-ups, Jack Kirby got to continue his tale in the pages of the anthology title, Amazing Adventures. Reportedly, Jack had been working on an Inhumans title for two years, only to have the it shunted to the back of Thor, which displeased the artist. Be that as it may, the craftsmanship on the Thor back-ups was frenetic, and Kirby’s work on Amazing Adventures was no different.
Like any anthology of the time, the title sold less than any solo feature, which was a shame, as a Kirby Inhumans book at the dawn of the '70s could have ushered in an era of creative concepts that built off his Fantastic Four and Thor work. Instead, Inhumans became an afterthought in a low-selling anthology.
That’s not to say the book wasn’t spectacular, as Kirby was at his best. The concept reinvigorated Jack and it was more than clear he wanted the characters to be a major part of Marvel’s past, present, and future. The Inhumans were cast in an eerie light...anti-heroes who did not trust or appreciate the outside world.
It was a step beyond Marvel’s then recently (and ironically) canceled X-Men because with the Inhumans, the prejudice between their race and humans was completely mutual. Fans didn't know if they could fully trust the Royal Family, and in the first issue, Black Bolt is tricked into believing that the Fantastic Four had shot missiles at their refuge. Readers knew it was Maximus the Mad, Bolt’s insane brother, who committed the act, but casting the Inhumans in the role of hostile other set the tone for the series and many Inhumans appearances to follow. The conflict is resolved by the second issue but it was clear that the Inhumans were ready to go to war with humanity at the slightest provocation...a war they would not have to wait to long for as the next issue saw the Inhumans go up against the Mandarin.
With the end of the war with the Mandarin, Kirby departed the book with Amazing Adventures #4 and Marvel altogether. As for Amazing Adventures, things were in fantastic creative hands as the future X-Men team of Neal Adams and Roy Thomas took over and cut their teeth on their first group of Marvel outcasts. Adams and Thomas only stuck around for a couple of truly Amazing Adventures (boom), Thomas was replaced by Gerry Conway and Adams was replaced by co-creator of the Justice League Mike Sekowsky.
All the creators before and after Kirby tried to give readers the sense that the Inhumans were part of the Marvel Universe, co-starring such characters as Thor and Magneto, but fans didn't support the anthology. Not even a title change for the final two issues (to Black Bolt and The Inhumans) could save it.
Doug Moench, George Perez, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Keith Pollard
Fans didn't have to wait long for another go at an Inhumans solo feature, and this time Marvel dove into the Terrigen Mists feet first and finally gave the Inhumans their own book. The book, written by the steady hand of Doug Moench, also continued the tradition of A-list artists on the Inhumans. First George Perez and then Gil Kane drew the adventures of the Royal Family.
There was still a tone of mistrust between the Inhumans and the outside world and Moench understood the character dynamics. Maximus continued to be the main villain and the title delved deeper in the Inhuman’s connection to the Kree. Sadly, the Inhumans were still major supporting players in the Fantastic Four so Moench couldn't make any seismic changes to any member of the family. His adventures were entertaining, and always beautifully drawn, but they had no real consequence and hence no drama.
Marvel Knights Inhumans (1998-1999)
Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee
When the Inhumans did return to their own series, they did so with a bang. Part of the four original Marvel Knights series, the imprint that ushered in the Joe Quesada era, The Inhumans was a groundbreaking series that redefined the look and tone of the Inhumans for a new generation of readers.
Paul Jenkins returned the Royal Family to their alien roots, focusing on their Kree origins and their interfamily struggles as well as their place in a world filled with aliens, mutants, gods, and superhumans. Jae Lee’s pencils portrayed the Inhumans as regal outsiders, eerie and gorgeous. The series was a true work of art and arguably the best book Marvel produced in the late '90s.
Moving forward, in comics, television, or film, other than Kirby, this series is where other media will draw from the most.
Son of M and The Silent War (2007)
David Hine and Frazier Irving
Starting with Paul Jenkins series and continuing into McKeever’s work, Quicksilver was not part of the Inhuman narrative. He was divorced from Crystal in the pages of Avengers and continued his discontent into X-Factor, but after the events of House of M, where Quicksilver was directly responsible for the destruction of the mutant race, Pietro was left lost and considered a race traitor.
The Silent War returned the character to his Inhuman roots as Quicksilver steals the Terrigen Mists hoping to use them to rekindle the spark of mutantkind. The Inhumans were once again cast in the role of threat, as the Royal Family comes to the human to find who stole the Mists and end up going to war against humanity.
By the time the series was over, the Inhumans were seen as aggressive antagonists to the human race. The series features the Inhumans going one-on-one against the Avengers, reminding modern fans just how badass the Royal Family can be. The series also sees the USA invade the Inhuman homeland of Attilan.
Realm of Kings (2010)
Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Pablo Raimondi
After successfully ushering in the new Cosmic Age for Marvel with Annihilation, the power writing duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning turned their sights on the Inhumans. This is where the Inhuman connection to the Kree really came to a head as Ronan the Accuser planned to use the Inhumans as the ultimate weapon against their enemies the Shi’ar.
At this time, Crystal was forced to marry Ronan to foster a peace between Kree and Inhumans, and remained loyal to him. This brought Crystal into conflict with the Royal Family, specifically Medusa. It’s like Game of Thrones, in space, with a woman who has living, killer hair.
Abnett and Lanning are the writers that brought future movie superstars, the Guardians of the Galaxy into prominence and their take on the Inhumans should be experienced by fans eagerly awaiting the next step in the evolution of Marvel’s strangest heroes.
Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung, Jerome Opeña, and Dustin Weaver
Infinity was an event crossover that saw Thanos lead an invasion of Earth and go fist to fist with a huge gaggle of Avengers. You can bet the Avengers: Infinity War film will borrow from this story as a number of Thanos’ minions introduced in this event will play a major role in his cinematic machinations. However, we are here for the Inhumans, and in this epic event, Black Bolt was forced to expose the entirety of the Earth to the Terrigen mist to defeat Thanos. The resulting spread of the mists caused countless Inhumans to be created.
Before Infinity, Marvel’s Earth was made up of humans and mutants for the most part, but this event allowed Marvel to introduce many new characters and the spread of the mists was somewhat mirrored on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. After the battle with Thanos, Black Bolt and his people stepped up to be major players.
Matt Fraction, Olivier Coipel, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, Dustin Weaver. Nick Bradshaw, and Todd Nauck
What began in Infinity continues in Inhumanity. This series is told through the point of view of Karnak, an Inhuman who can see all the flaws in a world made up of countless new Inhumans. Throughout Inhumanity, writer Matt Fraction introduces many new Inhumans that have played major roles in both the comics and on Agents of SHIELD.
Inhumanity was the beginning of the new Inhumans status quo and its impact is still being felt in all Inhuman focused Marvel titles. Plus, it created brave new directions for Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak, and the rest of the iconic Inhumans created by Kirby and Lee so long ago.
By Matt Fraction, Charles Soule, Ryan Stegman, and Joe Madureira
Inhumanity continues in Inhuman, a deep look into the new world where Inhumans are becoming more prominent in the affairs of Earth. New characters like Reader, Flint, and Inferno all play major roles in this series as Fraction and Soule really play up the Game of Thrones like political machinations of Black Bolt, Medusa, and Maximus as this series is a deep dive into the current state of Inhumanity and the new characters that are appearing thanks to Black Bolt’s actions in Infinity.
By Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Brandon Peterson, RB Silva, and more
Uncanny Inhumans is the series where the Inhumans played major roles in some truly seismic Marvel events. In addition to introducing concepts like Black Bolt’s karaoke bar, the Inhumans were important players in both Civil War II and Inhumans Versus X-Men. In fact, Civil War II was focused on an Inhuman named Ulysses, a young precog that could predict crimes and attacks before they happened. The heroes of the Marvel Universe were split in deciding how to handle evil before it was committed as the creation of more and more Inhumans began to impact the firmament of the Marvel Universe.
The saga of Ulysses, the war between Inhumanity and mutantkind, and the continuing power struggles between the major Inhuman players make Uncanny Inhumans a must read series for all readers hungry for more Inhumans action. Of all the Inhumans series (and there’s been a lot these past five years), Uncanny Inhumans is the series where the Inhumans and the major events of Marvel are inseparable.
By Warren Ellis, Roland Boschi, and Jorge Zaffino
During Inhumanity, Karnak underwent some major changes. When Kirby and Lee created Karnak, the master martial artist was always a somber, cold character that always got the job done. Karnak has the Inhuman ability to find the weakness in anything. So, basically Karnak can bring down a building with a quick tap of his hand. But in Inhumanity and beyond, Karnak became even more driven and intense.
When Warren Ellis got a hold of Karnak, fans of the Inhuman fighting machine learned just how terrifying this warrior can be. Karnak the series is filled with awesome and chilling moments of Karnak utilizing his powers to save a young Inhuman boy. Karnak may be a short series, but it is a perfect spotlight for this unique and at times, downright freighting royal Inhuman. Karnak looks like he can be a stand out character on TV, and with this series, Ellis and company created a perfect primer on what makes this kickass force of fury so awesome.
By Charles Soule, James Asmus, and Stefano Caselli
Did you know that the Inhuman known as Crystal was once married to Ronan the Accuser? Crystal once tied to knot with the hammer wielding big bad from Guardians of the Galaxy.
All-New Inhumans takes place after that marriage went south, so this series is really your one stop shop to get to know the classic royal Inhuman named Crystal. Crystal and her team’s mission is to find and help save any new Inhuman created by the Terrigen outbreak. But for old fans, it is a chance to spend some quality time with Crystal, a former member of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and a woman that remains an underutilized and remarkable part of the MU. Hopefully the TV series does Crystal justice as she is often overlooked during the Inhumans saga, but not in All-New Inhumans.
By Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, and Leinil Francis Yu
When Black Bolt unleashed the Terrigen cloud on the world, he turned his Inhuman people from a little known hidden race to another super powered minority. This led to the inevitable conflicts with Marvel’s mutants, a conflict that came to a head in IVX. Thing were made much worse when it was discovered that the Terrigen cloud has rendered the mutant race infertile, meaning that the Inhumans became a dire threat to mutantkind. The war between Black Bolt’s people and the mutant heroes and villains of the Marvel U led to great changes for many X and Inhuman characters.
In this age of endless crossovers and hero versus hero events, IVX stood out as an intense and tragic drama where both groups were in the right. As the X-Men tried to destroy all Terrigen on Earth, the Inhumans fought for their right to exist and the mutants for their right to survive.
By Al Ewing and Jonboy Meyers
Go ahead, read this Inhumans focused comic without getting that Lorde song stuck in your head, we dare you. After the devastating impact of IVX, Royals examines the fallout of the conflict to the original Inhumans Royal family created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This title focuses on Medusa and her kin as they now try to survive and thrive in a world where they are suddenly major players on the world stage. Royals is a grand, sweeping epic series that is not afraid to dissect decades old characters. These days, Royals is the core Inhumans title and it’s pretty darn potent in our humble opinion.
By Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward
Where Royals is a grand and sweeping tapestry of Inhuman action, Black Bolt is refreshingly personal. After six decades of existence, Black Bolt, the silent king of the Inhumans, finally has his own title.
In this series, Black Bolt is imprisoned and replaced by his brother Maximus the Mad. The series focuses on Black Bolt stripped of his powers and able to speak attempting to bust out of a cosmic prison with the unlikely assistance of some of Earth’s super villains. Yes folks, for some reason, the Black Bolt solo series also features the best damn Absorbing Man story you will ever read. We are not kidding. This series gives Marvel a chance to examine the usual silent and stoic king of the Inhumans. Black Bolt is a fun and improbable series that is floating under the radar these days, but check it out for some awesome character work on one of Marvel’s most intense and unknowable monarchs.
Inhumans: Once and Future Kings
By Christopher Priest and Phil Noto
Christopher Priest is a writer who knows his way around politics. Priest penned countless unforgettable Black Panther tales back in the early 2000s and now the writer has turned his Machiavellian sensibilities to the history of the Inhumans. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings is a deep dive into Inhumans political history. Again, I’m going to do the obvious and compare the complex machinations of Inhuman royalty to the world of Game of Thrones, but the comparison is apt as Priest focuses on the intrigues and betrayals that have defined Inhuman royal history. Who doesn’t love a good historical flashback?
As the Royal Family moves forward as major players in the Marvel universe, it is only a matter of time till new legions of fans find out what Lee and Kirby introduced back in 1965. The Inhumans may not be the flashiest players in the Marvel Universe, but they very well might be the most dangerous.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller will direct the next movie adaptation of a book from the author of The Martian, titled Artemis.
2015’s The Martian was a box office phenomenon for Fox, grossing $228.4 million domestic and $401.7 million foreign, yielding seven Oscar nominations. Thus, it doesn’t take intricate industry inside baseball knowledge to know that the studio would jump at any chance to replicate that success. Consequently, Artemis, the upcoming novel by The Martian author Andy Weir, already has a movie deal and the production is moving forward rapidly with the appointment of a high-profile director duo.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller will get to direct a space adventure for their next movie after all, since they are set to handle directorial duties for Artemis, reports THR. Lord and Miller, the acclaimed directing duo of The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street comedy film franchise, dominated headlines when they were appointed to direct the upcoming Star Wars"Anthology" branded prequel in the yet-to-be-titled Han Solo. However, they’d dominate the headlines again this past June when a purported difference of vision from the overseeing Disney/Lucasfilm monolith saw the duo removed from the project late into production, which subsequently saw a more experienced deadline-meeter in Ron Howard step in as its pinch director.
Artemis follows a character named Jazz Bashara, a struggling criminal whose urban stomping ground happens to be located on the moon, specifically, Artemis, the first and only lunar city. While the moon metropolis mostly caters to rich tourists and eccentric billionaires, Jazz’s life of hustling leads her to a potentially life-changing opportunity of a crime. However, said opportunity thrusts her into the middle of a dangerous political conspiracy in which control of Artemis itself hangs in the balance.
The idea of Artemis having a female protagonist was revealed in a December 2015 Huffington Post article. Of course, the concept is also validated by its very title, referencing the bow-wielding Greek goddess of the hunt.
20th Century Fox and New Regency came together back in May to preemptively acquire the movie rights to Andy Weir’s next novel Artemis, reported The Tracking Board. Thus, the property achieved the prestige of a movie deal well before the novel's November 12, 2017 release date. The Martian producer Simon Kinberg is attached to the Artemis project, joined by Aditya Sood from Genre Films and executive Steve Asbell, onboard on behalf of the studio.
That is the current extent of any effort to get The Martian band back together. Back in May 2016, Fox initially circled a pitch by Weir for a mystery screenplay, with plans purportedly in place for The Martian director Ridley Scott to produce via his Scott Free Productions and Simon Kinberg also attached to produce. However, it appears that – one year later – the endeavor will instead move forward with a film adaptation of Weir’s next novel, Artemis. Executive Michael Schaefer, who was with Scott Free during the 2016 developments, has fostered the Artemis project via his current company New Regency along with Asbell.
It will be interesting to see if a movie project adapted from an Andy Weir novel that isn'tThe Martian can become a similar cinematic success and possibly achieve a measure of redemption for former Han Solo helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.
Read and download the full Den of Geek Special Edition magazine here!
Black Hammer, the Eisner winning series from Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston expands in 2018
Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston's series Black Hammer was a surprise hit last year, garnering two Eisners and being picked as one of Den of Geek's best comics of 2016. Now, following a year of steadily building critical acclaim and an in-story cliffhanger, Lemire, Ormston and Dark Horse Comics (Black Hammer's publisher) announced that the series is becoming Black Hammer: Age of Doom, a new ongoing series starting in April, 2018.
"Blakc Hammer ends with a major, game-changing revelation," said Ormston. "Readers are super keen to find out how our heroes are stuck on the farm and more answers, twists and turns are coming in Black Hammer: Age of Doom."
The original series trapped a group of legendary heroes on a farm, separate from the world they'd been protecting for decades. To fill in some of the blanks between that and the upcoming Age of Doom, Lemire and David Rubin (Battling Boy: The Rise of Aurora West) are releasing a miniseries set in the same world. Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil follows Black Hammer the hero's daughter as she tracks the origins of some of her father's opponents. The first issue is due out on October 18th of this year, and is the first in a series of planned miniseries expanding the Black Hammer universe.
"Black Hammer has grown beyond what Dean Ormston and I could have hoped for," said Lemire. "We've fallen in love with the world of Black Hammer and the characters that live there, and we have a lot of story left to tell. The ending is just the beginning."
Each issue of Age of Doom will have a variant cover provided by an artist other than Ormston. The first issue has a cover from Skottie Young (I Hate Fairyland), and the second from Fabio Moon (the AMAZING Two Brothers).
Black Hammer: Age of Doom is due out in April, 2018. Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil starts in October, 2017. The Terrifics, Lemire's upcoming DC project where, instead of having his original creations riff on Doom Patrol, he's using DC characters to riff on the Fantastic Four, is also out in 2018. Our point, really, is that Jeff Lemire should be allowed to write classic versions of all superhero teams.
For more on Black Hammer or on our campaign to give all comics writing jobs to Jeff Lemire, stick with Den of Geek!
It's like 7 brides for 7 brothers, but crazier and more popular.
To celebrate Harley Quinn's 25th anniversary this Batman Day, Bruce Timm released a thank you video to fans highlighting 25 Harley Quinns from the past 25 years.
Quinn was created in 1992 by Timm and Paul Dini for Batman: The Animated Series. Voiced by Arleen Sorkin, her first appearance was in "Joker's Favor," one of the best short Joker stories ever told. She was an instant sensation. Two years later, Dini and Timm won an Eisner and a Harvey for her origin story, Mad Love. She hung around the animated continuity for years, eventually appearing as the grandmother to two Joker gang twins in Batman Beyond and making an appearance in almost every Batman animated adventure that followed.
Harley's transition to the comics happened in 1999's "No Man's Land" series, where Gotham was isolated from the rest of the USA by a massive earthquake and left to fend for itself. It ended with Lex Luthor funding most of the rebuilding in an extensive land grab, while the Joker shot the Commissioner's wife in the head on Christmas. In hindsight, though, this seems like a relatively light and cheery time.
It wasn't until 2013 that Harley became the character we know and love today. Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti took over the book and immediately set about knocking down the fourth wall (fortunately not load bearing in Harley's world). They've run the book as a comedy since, and they have a new story leading off this year's Batman Day special issue. And DC has put out a collection of Harley stories through the years, where Connor and Palmiotti are well represented.
Let's see how many of the Harley Quinns you can recognize from the video. I got 13, with a vague memory of another 6. Take a look!
Deadly Class, an assassin high school show might be coming to Syfy courtesy of the Russo Bros.
Rick Remender and Wes Craig's Deadly Class, under development for television since last San Diego Comic Con by the Russo Brothers of Avengers: Infinity War and the paintball episodes of Community fame, has been optioned to pilot by Syfy according to a report in Deadline.
The comic, which follows a group of teenagers as they make their way through San Francisco's late '80s punk scene and also a high school for assassins, has been published by Image Comics since 2014. The book focuses on Marcus Lopez, a homeless Nicaraguan teen who gets recruited for the school. His first decision as a student is to kill Ronald Reagan, and that's somehow the least bad decision he makes in the entire book.
The pilot adaptation will be written by Remender and Miles Feldstott. Adam Targum, lately of Banshee and Outcast from Cinemax, will shworun, while Lee Toland Krieger, who directed a number of episodes of Riverdale, will direct the pilot.
The show has strong source material to draw from, both narratively and aesthetically. Craig's art looks like a cross between David Mazzuchelli on Batman: Year One and Frank Miller on Daredevil. Colorist Lee Loughridge gives every scene a distinctive look and mood, and Remender is a master at cutting his schmaltz with cynicism and his cynicism with genuine, heartfelt emotion. If the pilot is half as good as the first trade of Deadly Class, the show should be very good indeed. No air date has been announced yet.
Hugh Hefner and his Playboy Empire influenced far more than sexual attitudes.
Hugh Hefner, the iconic publisher of the Playboy magazine, died at his Playboy Mansion Home in Los Angeles on Sept. 27, 2017, the magazine announced in a tweet.
“My father lived an exceptional and impactful life as a media and cultural pioneer and leading voice behind some of the most significant cultural movements of our time,” his son, Cooper, said in a statement. “He will be greatly missed by many.”
Hugh Hefner was born in Chicago, on April 9, 1926. He described his family as conservative Midwesterners. The iconoclastic icon-to-be can trace his family line to Plymouth Rock. Hefner went to Sayre Elementary School and Steinmetz High School. He wrote for a military newspaper while serving in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1946. Hefner, who had an IQ over 150, graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in two and a half years with two double minors, writing and art.
Playboy was founded because Hef wanted a $5 raise from Esquire when it moved to New York. Hefner stayed in Chicago and launched Playboy in 1953. The first issue featured a nude Marilyn Monroe pictorial. Hefner’s magazine distinguished itself from other nudie magazines by promoting a philosophy that helped usher in the sexual revolution. Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut all wrote for the magazine. Al Jaffee, Gahan Wilson, Harvey Kurtzman (who helped create Mad Magazine), and pin-up artist Alberto Vargas all drew for it
Hefner pushed his swinging lifestyle on TV, hosting two late-night variety shows, Playboy’s Penthouse, which ran from 1959 to 1960, and Playboy After Dark, which ran weekly from 1969 to 1970. Hef hosted Sammy Davis, Jr., Lenny Bruce, the Grateful Dead. Hefner expanded the magazine into comedy and music clubs. The first Playboy Club opened up in Chicago on Feb 29, 1960 and soon expanded to Miami, New Orleans, New York City and London. It was its own comedy circuit. Joan Rivers, George Carlin, David Brenner, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin, Dick Gregory, Lenny Bruce, and Phyllis Diller all appeared at the clubs. Along with top musicians too numerous to name.
His TV shows and nightclubs broke racial barriers in the pre-Civil Rights days of segregated entertainment. His empire broke glass ceilings contemporarily with the feminist movement. Gloria Steinem went undercover as a Bunny waitress in 1963 at one of the Playboy nightclubs for a damning article. The magazine was also attacked by the Christian right. Hefner supported First Amendment rights, creating the Playboy Foundation in 1965 to fight censorship and sponsor sexuality research.
Hefner appeared as himself on such shows as The Odd Couple, Laverne & Shirley, Blossom and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He voice acted as himself on The Simpsons. Hefner’s life was chronicled in the 2017 docudrama series, American Playboy: Hugh Hefner.
Hefner is survived by his wife Crystal, sons, Cooper, David and Marston, and daughter Christie.
Hefner will be buried in a plot next to Marilyn Monroe at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Batman's scariest villain, the Scarecrow is returning for Gotham Season 4.
Heart clenching crippling fear is returning to Gotham City. Fans dared to watch the preview for the coming season of Gotham were shocked and delighted at the promised return of the Scarecrow. We got to see a hint of the curse of Jonathan Crane in the show's first season, but we'll get more of him in Gotham Season 4.
Will Gotham survive the terror that always heralds Scarecrow’s arrival? Only time will tell, but if one examines the history of the Scarecrow, one will find that wherever this classic villain goes, terror and mayhem are always left in his wake. So with that in mind, be brave my fellow Gothamites, and come with me as we take a deep dive into the history of Jonathan Crane, the spine tingling Scarecrow!
So who is the Scarecrow? First off, as we’ll see over and over again in this article, Scarecrow is one of the most visually stunning characters in the DCU. He strikes a wonderfully weird figure with his spindly limbs and expressionless burlap visage. As for his abilities, Scarecrow is the master of fear. Starting in the Silver Age, Scarecrow began using a series of weaponized fear toxins to test the will of Batman and Gotham City. Scarecrow’s greatest weapon is his ability to spread terror, so basically, he’s like the modern day media covered in twine and burlap.
Scarecrow first appeared way back in 1941 in the pages of World’s Finest #3, making him one of the oldest Batman villains. Other than a few notables like Joker, Catwoman, and Hugo Strange, not many of those early Bat foes returned for a second appearance. But from these earliest days, it was clear that there was something terrifying and special about the Scarecrow.
Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane (and by that we mean the Scarecrow was created by Bill Finger while Bob Kane washed his ascots or something), Scarecrow was a villain ahead of his time. In the pages of World’s Finest #3, fans met a lanky college professor named Jonathan Crane. The anti-social Crane was obsessed with two things: the classic literary works of Washington Irving, particularly “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and the study of fear. Crane was fascinated by fear and tested its effects on his hapless students. After being sacked for firing a gun in his classroom, Crane donned a Scarecrow suit, turned to a life of crime, and began terrorizing the society that rejected him (as one does).
In his earliest appearances, Scarecrow simply used his cunning and some guns. Scarecrow only made one more Golden Age appearance in Detective Comics #73 (1943) where Crane began a series of crimes inspired by children’s nursery rhymes. The story was a neat little bit of business, but holy crap, look how beautiful that freaking cover is!
Look at that image featuring an oversized emaciated Scarecrow taking on the Caped Crusaders. That is truly one of the most stunning covers of the Golden Age and might have had something to do with the fact that DC Comics would turn to Scarecrow once again during the Silver Age.
Scarecrow would remain dormant during the rest of the Golden Age, but would return in Batman #189 (1967) by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff. This reappearance of the Scarecrow was also marked by the first usage of Scarecrow’s fear toxin, a weaponized fear inducing chemical that became the horrific character’s calling card. And of course, since we’re talking Scarecrow, Batman #189 also sports an absolutely killer cover.
From 1967 forward, Scarecrow became a constant part of Batman’s rogues gallery. In Justice League of America #111 (1974) writer Len Wein (RIP Len, we already miss you) and artist Dick Dillin took Scarecrow from a standout Batman villain into a bad guy that could terrify the entire DC Universe. In this issue, Scarecrow joins other DC stalwart evildoers like Poison Ivy, Chronos, Mirror Master, and Shadow Thief as part of the Injustice Gang of the World.
Characters like Joker may get all the press, but Scarecrow has been an ever present and creepy presence in Batman’s world. For some great Scarecrow action, check out such iconic series as Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: Hush, and Catwoman: When in Rome. And for you Vertigo heads, Crane makes an absolutely unforgettable appearance in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman #5 (1989) an issue dedicated to the concept of stark and unrelenting fear (ugh with the diner and the killing and the oh gosh!).
But the terror of Jonathan Crane cannot just be contained in print...
The Scarecrow’s first non-comic book appearance was in the 1968 The Batman/Superman Hour episode "The Great Scarecrow Scare." In this classic ‘toon, Scarecrow is voiced by Ted Knight which is all sorts of awesome (“Okay Pookie, christen the boat before I drive you insane”). Knight’s Scarecrow would use knockout gas kept in explosive eggs to try and defeat Batman and Robin because I guess a hallucinatory drug was just to risqué for 1968 Saturday morning TV.
Meanwhile, At The Hall of Doom
Scarecrow was front and center in 1978’s Challenge of the Super Friends as a member of Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom. For those of you under 35 years old, you have no idea how dopey but vital and influential this cartoon was to us comic book fans of a certain age. As a member of the Legion of Doom, Scarecrow would try and come up with ways to destroy those accursed Super Friends. I guess fear gas was still not flying with the censors at the times, so the LoD Scarecrow controlled flocks of birds to bedevil the Super Friends. You’d think Hawkman would be an automatic counter to that noise. Despite the seemingly harmless power, Scarecrow still popped off the TV screen as the Super Friends artists rendered him with an eerie look that greatly contrasted the saccharine animated fair of the era.
Things did take a turn for the horrific though in 1986’s Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians episode entitled “The Fear.” In this surprisingly deep episode, Scarecrow uses his fear transmitters (still no gas kids...gas didn’t fly in 1986 I guess...what if someone went to the dentist?) to force Batman to relive his worst fears. Batman, voiced by Adam West, had to relive the death of his parents thanks to Scarecrow’s machinations. So let’s unpack that. On Saturday morning, in 1986, there was an episode of Super Friends that addressed the death of the Waynes. This is some really heady stuff for the era because remember, Batman often shares screen time with a purple Space Monkey. Also, to hear Adam West wax poetic about Bruce Wayne’s fallen parents was just brilliant. Other than a throwaway line in the first episode, the death of Thomas and Martha was not often addressed on the classic Batman ’66 TV series, so Scarecrow’s terror inducing hallucinations were just a perfect denouement for West’s time as Batman.
Batman: The Animated Series
When the legendary Batman: The Animated Series hit the air, fans were surprised and delighted that the masterminds behind the series not only presented some of Batman’s greatest foes in their proper comic book incarnations, the same creators also improved on many of the rogues. However, Scarecrow was one of the very few villains who was scaled back a bit from his comic book incarnation. I guess a walking, talking embodiment of terror was a bit too hardcore for kids’ animation, but The Animated Series did present a proper origin for Scarecrow for the first time, in the episode "Nothing to Fear" (1992), which ties directly into the comic book origin established so long ago in World’s Finest.
The only problem was, the B:TAS Scarecrow was not all that scary. He had his fear gas and proper origin, but this Scarecrow looked more Scooby Doo villain than Dark Knight rogue, but that changed in later episodes when he looked like a twisted version of a Western preacher. His face was a burlap horror and he wore a noose around his neck. This new Scarecrow was the stuff of nightmares and was even more darkly twisted than the Scarecrow of the comics. The noose wearing Scarecrow’s most infamous hour came in the episode entitled “Over the Edge” (1998) where a fighting mad James Gordon is out to murder Batman after the death of Batgirl. It's a frenetic episode and daring even by today’s TV standards. Needless to say, the whole thing was a fear gas induced nightmare, but imagine a little kid tuning in to view this episode and seeing Batgirl murdered and Gordon out to kill Batman. This episode fully embodies the potential of Scarecrow.
Just to put a bow on the history of Scarecrow in animation, the character also appeared in The Brave and the Bold. In the Master of Fear’s only appearance in an episode entitled “Trials of the Demon" (2009), Crane teams up with the villainess the Scream Queen to take on Batman and Flash in a very Halloween-y battle.
The early history of Scarecrow in film is fraught with cancelled projects and almost appearances. As far as a live action Scarecrow goes, the 1966 Batman TV series went sans Jonathan Crane (however, a Scarecrow did appear in the great Batman ‘66 comic book series published a few years back by DC, where his name was Jitters Holler because awesome) so fans would have to wait until the 21st century to witness a real life Crane.
That doesn’t mean DC never tried to bring Scarecrow to life. Scarecrow was apparently going to appear in the aborted fifth installment of the Batman films that began with 1989’s Batman, and the role was connected to such Hollywood luminaries as Nicolas Cage, Steve Buscemi, Jeff Goldblum, and even Howard Stern. While my brain just won’t accept Cage as Scarecrow, how awesome would Buscemi be as Jonathan Crane? All this was not to be of course as Batman and Robin (1997) was...ummm...a thing that actually happened. Seriously, if I was ever dosed with Crane’s fear gas, I would just probably relive the first time I saw Batman and Robin.
Thank you Mister Nolan!
Of course, Jonathan Crane would finally arrive on the silver screen in Batman Begins (2006). Played by Cillian Murphy, the first film Scarecrow was a subtle and eerie character and the first costumed baddie Christian Bale’s Batman ever faced. As the head of Arkham, this Crane would do the mob’s bidding and use the Arkham inmates as lab rats with his fear gas. Of course, Crane was a pawn of Ra’s Al Ghul, but Murphy’s Scarecrow stole every scene he was in. So much so that director Christopher Nolan used Scarecrow in minor but memorable roles in both sequels to Batman Begins.
A very disturbing Scarecrow also appears in the Arkham series of video games. This Scarecrow is good, old fashioned nightmare fuel as he sports a gauntlet edges with a series of drug filled hypodermics on Crane’s spindly fingers. Yikes.
Scarecrow recently appeared in Injustice 2 as a member of Gorilla Grodd's Secret Society. Not only is he voiced by horror legend Robert Englund, but he has multiple pre-fight interactions with every single character in the game. That means Englund's Scarecrow talking smack against the likes of Bane, Black Adam, and Darkseid. He also has an inspired gimmick to his appearance where he's depicted as just a man in a lab coat and burlap sack, no different than Cillian Murphy's live-action depiction, but his ghoulish look during the actual fights is merely how his opponents perceive him through the fear gas. His ending, which features him conquering Brainiac and stealing his space ship, along with the billions of stolen civilizations within, is genuinely unnerving.
And all this brings us back to Gotham. In the season one episodes "The Fearsome Dr. Crane" and "The Scarecrow," Gerald Crane and his son Jonathan (played by Charlie Tahan) are introduced. You see, the completely insane Gerald develops the iconic fear toxin and injects it into young Jonathan. The toxin forces the younger Crane to experience his greatest terror: Scarecrows. A bit on the nose, yes, but effective nonetheless. And that brings us to season four, where TV’s Jonathan Crane will don the straw filled suit and burlap mask of the Scarecrow for the first time. And if history has shown us anything since 1941, it’s that where any version of DC’s Scarecrow goes, be it comics, cartoons, film, or video games, unforgettable horror follows.
Deadpool and Spider-Man have a long history, and Wade has been getting on Peter's nerves for years.
In early November, one of the many Marvel Legacy comics we'll be getting is Spider-Man vs. Deadpool, ultimately a retitling of Spider-Man/Deadpool, only with a new creative team of Robbie Thompson and Chris Bachalo. Here's hoping it's a battle where we're the true winners and the reluctant team-up book goes on for a long, long time.
Spider-Man and Deadpool are like two sides of the same coin. Their outfits look a lot alike, they have similar builds, they both like to joke endlessly as a front to hide their personal issues, etc.
Plus they both have a tendency to annoy Wolverine on a regular basis.
But for a while, they weren't really compatible outside of that. Spider-Man has upstanding morals and despite living a tragic and surreal lifestyle as a superhero, he at least juggles it with something resembling a normal life. Deadpool is stuck in his tragic and surreal lifestyle with no real normalcy mixed in. He’s also responsible for a kill count that’s somewhere in the triple digits (at least) and that is NOT something Spider-Man’s cool with.
Peter Parker is simply a grounded man and is constantly taken out of his comfort zone when dealing with a guy more out there and sillier than him with less of a grasp on what it means to be a good human being.
It used to be that Deadpool sharing the page with Spider-Man was a rarity as making jokes about Deadpool’s similarities seemed to be a better fit, and boy, did we get a lot of those. Still, over the years, the two have crossed paths more and more and only recently have we reached the point where Marvel’s decided they should probably have an actual relationship for once. Something that goes farther than, “Spider-Man would rather team up with anybody else right now. Even D-Man.”
Here are their various fights and team-ups throughout the years.
WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT COINCIDENCE
DEADPOOL V.1 #11
Joe Kelly and Pete Woods, 1997
Not only is this the earliest meeting between the two, but it’s also one of the best Deadpoolissues of all time. After fighting with the Great Lakes Avengers (temporarily calling themselves “The Lightning Rods” to piggyback on the Thunderbolts’ success), Deadpool and his captive mother figure Blind Al accidentally get sent back in time. They end up in a 1960s Amazing Spider-Man issue, which I guess means ten years earlier in comic book time. Specifically, it’s Amazing Spider-Man #47, where Spider-Man fought Kraven the Hunter and saved the life of Norman Osborn.
Using an image inducer, Deadpool is able to pretend to be Peter Parker while he gets Blind Al to pass as Aunt May. The actual interaction between the two characters is minimal and is mainly just Wade getting Peter out of the picture. The rest of the issue is all about Deadpool fighting Kraven and acting completely horrified at the genetic weirdness of Harry Osborn and his father’s hair style.
DEADPOOL ALMOST DESTROYS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE
J. Calafiore, circa 2000
Artist J. Calafiore was tasked with doing a fill-in comic for Deadpool’s first ongoing, just in case one of the regular issues was hit with delays. While it got as far as being inked, the one-shot was deemed unnecessary and outdated after a while and never got released or even finished. Calafiore ended up posting the pages online along with a Word document of the dialogue and narration. Someone added word bubbles to make it a bit easier to read and it’s been floating around the internet for years.
The issue is about Deadpool accidentally causing an alien invasion and needing to gather Earth’s heroes to help defend New York City. While they’re successful, he spends the pages annoying the likes of the Avengers, Thunderbolts, Captain Marvel (Genis Vell), and so on. Plus the book is told in reverse order for very little reason.
Deadpool briefly comes across Spider-Man in the melee and the two don’t appear to step on each other’s toes. Deadpool asks about his doctor, which is explained at the end of the book. Since the end of the book is the beginning of the story because of the Memento storytelling, Deadpool complains about catching a cold and wonders aloud where someone like Spider-Man goes when he gets sick.
EXILES: ANOTHER ROOSTER IN THE HENHOUSE
Judd Winick and Mike McKone, 2002
Exiles, the comic about a bunch of Marvel characters from alternate realities teaming up and fixing other realities, featured a more violent offshoot “Weapon X” team. Briefly, this team included Deadpool and the Spider. Deadpool didn’t appear to be too different from the mainstream one we all know and love, but the Spider is certainly unique. He’s Peter Parker having bonded to the Carnage symbiote.
Even though they are teammates, the two don’t really interact in any notable way. Then they’re shortly killed off, so that’s that.
AN AGE OF APOCALYPSE
Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher, 2005
Cable has gone missing from reality and due to Deadpool’s biological link to him (long story), he’s used as a conduit to find him. Joined with Cannonball and Siryn, Deadpool goes from world to world in search of his on-again/off-again pouch-buddy. In this issue, the three of them cross paths with 3/4 of the Four Horsemen in a world where Apocalypse successfully conquered the planet.
The Horsemen include Archangel as Death, Blob as Famine, and a mutated Spider-Man as Pestilence. Although Cannonball is able to save Deadpool and the good guys win the battle, Cannonball’s still rather taken aback by the idea that Spider-Man of all people could be corrupted as Apocalypse’s puppet.
Things get more horrifying for the trio when Cable appears, revealing that he’s this world’s Horseman of War...
Fabian Nicieza and Patrick Zircher, 2006
Here’s the first meaningful crossover between our two heroes. In a story that’s way too complicated to explain because it’s Fabian Nicieza and that’s his thing, Deadpool is looking for a Daily Bugle reporter who happens to be driving with Peter Parker on a bridge. Not really thinking about his actions, Deadpool tears Parker from the car and flings him off the bridge, realizing a moment later that – whoops – he probably just killed that innocent man.
Naturally, Spider-Man shows up and fighting happens. What’s great is that Deadpool keeps referring to Spider-Man’s “Tobey Maguire teary doe eyes,” although Spidey has no idea what he’s talking about.
Cable watches the whole thing go down from afar (via staring into the internet, basically. It’s complicated) and doesn’t like the fact that Deadpool appears to be using innocent people as human shields. Without Deadpool knowing, Cable helps diffuse the situation and Spider-Man is practically forced to let Deadpool go.
He’s pretty steamed about it too, since Deadpool claims he knew Spider-Man was around to rescue Parker from the fall.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: DEADPOOL
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #91-94
Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, 2006
So even though Deadpool has rarely ever crossed paths with Spider-Man by this point, his only real Ultimate Marvel appearance is in the pages of Spider-Man’s book. To be fair, it is mainly because at this point in Ultimate Spider-Man’s continuity, Peter Parker is dating Kitty Pryde and therefore he gets roped in with one of the X-Men’s adventures.
Said adventure involves the team and Spider-Man being kidnapped by the Reavers and placed on the island Krakoa, where they’re to be hunted down with their deaths broadcast across the internet. The Reavers are anti-mutant cyborgs who had their bodies augmented to make them a match for the X-Men. Their leader is Deadpool, otherwise known as Sgt. Wadey Wilson. While he’s not as goofy as his regular self, he does have some sick sense of humor and is even more hideous.
Spider-Man unmasks him to reveal a fleshless face covered in a clear, plastic dome. Thanks to Kitty, Deadpool’s body is blown up, but the epilogue reveals that he’s still in one piece. Not that the comic would ever follow up on that.
Fabian Nicieza and Reilly Brown, 2008
Cable had been written off into his own solo series where he traveled through the future, so after a while they kind of had to put an end to the Cable/Deadpool team-up series. The final arc involves a bunch of time travel and in the final issue, Deadpool accidentally brings a bunch of dinosaurs with him into New York City. That’s bad enough on its own, but this is during the time when Bendis’ Avengers comics are dealing with a symbiote outbreak.
Now we have symbiote dinosaurs. Yikes.
Immediately, Spider-Man gets involved and blames this on Deadpool, although he’s only half right. The two work together briefly as Spider-Man gives the lowdown on how to hurt the creatures, since symbiotes are his thing. Spider-Man then swings off and tells Deadpool to stay out of trouble or else.
Deadpool does eventually get rid of the dinosaurs and momentarily gains the respect of the superheroes, but Spider-Man’s not around to react to that.
DEADPOOL: SUICIDE KINGS #3-5
Mike Benson and Carlo Barberi, 2009
Suicide Kingsis a miniseries about Tombstone framing Deadpool for an act of terrorism. That causes Deadpool to be hunted down by vigilantes and he crosses paths with Daredevil, the Punisher, and eventually Spider-Man. Prior to their current series, it's easily the most true-blue Spider-Man/Deadpool team-up in their history, since there’s very little conflict.
Well, other than the two spending their energy making fun of each other’s lame rogues galleries to the point that Daredevil loses his patience and walks away.
The two red-clad heroes work together against the Wrecking Crew and stay on the same page long enough for the Punisher to appear and help tip the scales. This is during the unique time in the character’s history where Frank has an armory of random superhero/villain gear at his disposal, so he freaks Spider-Man and Deadpool out quite a bit by being armed with a Goblin Glider, Klaw’s sound gun hand, and Unicorn’s head thingy.
THIS MAN, THIS [EXPLETIVE DELETED]
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #611
Joe Kelly and Eric Canate, 2010
In an issue that should feel like a prelude to the current team-up series, Joe Kelly has Deadpool appear in Spider-Man’s comic to pester him as part of his mercenary job. After Deadpool assists with helping Spider-Man take down the criminally-underused Lady Stilt Man, he geeks out and asks him for an autograph. Spider-Man gives in, only to discover that the pen is a bomb.
The two have a pretty great fight scene that leads to an even better “yo mama” joke-off in front of an audience of excited teens. It’s one of the few times when Spider-Man’s sense of humor remains intact when faced with Deadpool, as he’s too often shuffled into the role of straight man. Right as Deadpool is about to let loose with some kind of atomic mama joke that will turn any victim suicidal, he realizes that he has distracted Spider-Man for as long as his contract states and moves on.
Though before leaving, he does warn Spider-Man about how he’s going to take him down in Deadpool #19...
WHATEVER A SPIDER CAN
DEADPOOL V.2 #19-21
Daniel Way and Carlo Barberi, 2010
“Spidey! What up, baby boy? I haven’t seen you since Amazing Spider-Man #611!”
In the last leg of Daniel Way’s Deadpoolrun before it became unreadable, Deadpool visits New York City to find Spider-Man because he wants his help in becoming a real-deal superhero. Coincidentally, Way’s pet character Hit-Monkey starts pulling off hits on the corrupt and Spider-Man initially blames Deadpool. Once it becomes apparent what’s really going on, Spider-Man figures out the real reason Hit-Monkey’s in town is to eliminate Deadpool.
Spider-Man becomes increasingly frustrated with having to work alongside Deadpool, especially when he could just let Hit-Monkey shoot him to oblivion, heal, and move on with his life. Deadpool refuses because that would fucking hurt like hell! Regardless, Deadpool still gets shot in the head and then tossed in Rikers until Spider-Man breaks him out and tells him to get the hell out of his city.
SPIDER-MAN: SHATTERED DIMENSIONS
Beenox and Activision, 2010
The video game Shattered Dimensions tells the story of four different Spider-Men working together across the multiverse. You have the regular 616 Spider-Man (known as Amazing Spider-Man), Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man 2099, and Ultimate Spider-Man. To keep Ultimate Spider-Man’s play-style different from his mainstream counterpart, he’s given the Venom symbiote, albeit with full control over his facilities.
Ultimate Deadpool appears in that section of the game, now running his own death sport reality show called Pain Factor. Other than his appearance and the mention that he’s somehow not dead from his original appearance, there’s not much connection between video game Ultimate Deadpool and the comic version. He’s honestly just the regular version of Deadpool only more antagonizing. Nolan North – the guy who voices Deadpool 90% of the time in anything where Deadpool talks – doesn’t really differentiate him in any way.
Not that there’s much to be done with the original Ultimate Spider-Manversion of the character. His beef and existence were about the X-Men and mutant race with Spider-Man being a bystander. Writing him more in-character would probably have stuck out like a sore thumb.
MARVEL UNIVERSE VS. THE PUNISHER #1-4
Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov, 2010
The Marvel Universe Versus trilogy is an underrated series of stories that improves on the concepts introduced by Marvel Zombies and its many sequels...though the third installment is kind of pointless and lame. In this initial story, we see a world where people have been randomly and gradually reduced to cannibalistic savages. Frank Castle, the man responsible for the apocalypse, is the only one completely immune and chooses to wage war on the former heroes.
While most are primal shells of their former selves, Deadpool seems to be almost like his usual self outside of being even more raving than ever. Frank has killed him many times, but no matter what he tries, no matter how thorough, Wade always comes back.
Spider-Man is Patient Zero in this world, having been the first known mutation. As chaos has reigned supreme and the world has fallen apart, the infected have taken to forming tribes. Spider-Man is the alpha and Deadpool is one of his top flunkies. The fact that Deadpool can speak relatively normal makes him a perfect messenger, even if Frank tends to open fire on him on a regular basis.
MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3: FATE OF TWO WORLDS
The fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and its update Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 feature both Spider-Man and Deadpool. While simply having them in the same game shouldn’t be enough to give it an entry on this list, it is worth noting the specific interactions they have. The fighters in the game (at least those who can talk) have a collection of audio quotes for pre-fight intros, audio quotes for post-fight wins, and a few lines of text after that. There are tons of instances where characters will say certain things based on their partners or opponents, such as Captain America bringing up Civil War to Iron Man or having Akuma tell Thor that it’s fun to kill a god.
When Spider-Man defeats Deadpool, his victory text states: “Hey, Mister WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLL-SON! ...You suck.”
When Deadpool is about to fight Spider-Man: “Gonna rough you up like a Broadway musical!”
When Deadpool defeats Spider-Man, he audibly says: “Aw, that was too easy! Maybe it would have helped if you’d turned off the dark! Hahaha!”
And in his post-fight text, he references the similarities between Spider-Man and Albert Wesker’s super attacks with: “Hey, did you know that Wesker guy stole your Maximum Spider move? You were doing that back in Marvel Super Heroes! So... Gonna go kick his ass? Can I watch?”
SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #38, DEADPOOL ANNUAL #1, INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL #1
John Layman, Lee Garbett, Juan Doe, and Al Barrionuevo, 2011
This neat, under-the-radar crossover takes place over the course of three annuals and tells the tale of a group of bad guys who try to ransack a dimensional portal being worked on at Horizon Labs. Deadpool is brought in to help, but the criminals betray him. Meanwhile, Bruce Banner is working at the lab, so we end up having Hulk, Spider-Man, and Deadpool all sucked through the portal into an alternate reality.
Our three heroes end up meeting their alternate selves and have to clean up their messes. Spider-Man comes across The Amazing Spider, whose life appears to not only be perfect by Peter Parker standards, but he’s also Superman level and is feared by all criminals. Too bad he gets that power because he and Uncle Ben steal Spider-Men away from other worlds and suck their powers out, killing them.
Then there’s Deadpool, who meets his non-healing counterpart, the green-and-black-wearing mercenary, Deathwish. Only it turns out Deathwish is Victor Von Doom. In this reality, Reed Richards experimented on Wade Wilson’s tumor and rather than just get a healing factor, it also enhanced his intelligence and turned him into the armored dictator Deathmask.
As for Hulk, Bruce Banner became Sorcerer Supreme and was able to exorcise the Hulk into Hell. Mephisto eventually sends the beast back, more vicious than ever.
The three do indeed not only thwart their corrupt doppelgangers, but leave the world in a better place than when they found it. Plus Deadpool takes all of Deathmask’s occult spell books and draws mustaches and giant wangs on all the demons.
WHAT IF VENOM POSSESSED DEADPOOL?
Rick Remender and Shawn Moll, 2011
Originally, this story appeared fragmented through a handful of What If issues one year, but it was later released as a complete one-shot.
It’s a strange beast that takes place across various decades. In the '80s, Deadpool is hired by Galactus to kill the Beyonder, but Deadpool foregoes it to become his BFF instead. The two enjoy champagne and women, but their flying limo is soon accosted by Spider-Man, angry about his living black costume and blaming the Beyonder for it.
The driver, musician “Bobby Oceanic,” blasts Spider-Man out of the car and to his death. The symbiote then jumps onto Deadpool, possesses his '80s jheri curl and then things get really weird.
THE DEADPOOL KILLOGY
DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #2, DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED #1
Cullen Bunn, Dalibor Talajic, and Matteo Lolli, 2012
The Deadpool Killogy is a trilogy of stories by Cullen Bunn based on an alternate reality Deadpool – one who looks like he’s wearing a red diaper – being driven nihilistic from becoming aware of being a fictional character. In Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, he wipes out all the heroes and villains. In Killustrated, he tries to destroy the original literary archetypes in order to destroy fiction at its source. Then in Deadpool Kills Deadpool, the mainstream Earth 616 Deadpool finds himself targeted and tries to save the multiverse from his evil self.
The second issue of the first series begins with Spider-Man clowning Deadpool pretty hard, all while admitting that he used to find him funny. Letting his guard down, Spider-Man allows himself to be shot in the head at point-blank range. Deadpool moves on to other victims, namely the Avengers.
The opening pages of Killustratedshow that Deadpool has killed the heroes of various worlds, including countless Spider-Men. There’s some kind of cosmic failsafe that keeps him from being able to kill the same character the same way twice, so we see him setting one Spider-Man on fire, then later strangling another Spider-Man to death.
AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #12-13
Kevin Shinick and Aaron Kuder, 2012
In this two-parter from Spider-Man’s short-lived, extra ongoing, Deadpool enters Peter’s mind to prevent him from being taken over by an outside threat. The first issue is a rather bizarre take on Inceptionwhere Deadpool casually shoots up the bullies at Peter’s high school while an underwear-clad Peter keeps yelling at him to stop.
As it turns out, Deadpool is playing Spider-Man as part of a plot with the Hypno Hustler. Deadpool has a deal where the Hustler will be able to hypnotize Deadpool’s heart into no longer beating, thereby giving him the sweet release of death. Deadpool then has a change of heart when he’s tasked with actively killing Spider-Man, though the webbed one isn’t exactly as forgiving as Wade would have hoped.
Though at least the story gives us a quick look at Spider-Ham’s mercenary counterpart Deadpork!
DEADPOOL V.3 #7
Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Scott Koblish, 2013
Every now and then, the Duggan/Posehn run of Deadpoolwould go back in time to an earlier era of Marvel Comics. These “lost issues” began with a trip to 1980s Marvel, based around Tony Stark’s bout with alcoholism. The opening moments feature Peter Parker being ignored by his Bugle bosses and then being disgusted with Flash Thompson stealing a handicap spot.
“Pfft. I’m only going to be a few minutes. Besides, why should the legless people get all the good spots?”
Deadpool, wearing his ridiculous, yet accurate, '80s superhero threads, steals Flash’s car and drives off. At first, Peter is okay with letting him go, but then has the realization that by letting the thief go, Uncle Ben is somehow going to get shot a second time.
THE OTHER ULTIMATE DEADPOOL
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN SEASON 2, EPISODE 16
Roy Burdine, Man of Action, and Ed Valentine, 2013
Otherwise known as “They Canceled Spectacular Spider-Man for This Crap?!?” the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series is a more cartoony take on Spidey, basing it on his teenage years with constant Family Guycutaways and a status quo where he and his fellow young heroes are being trained by SHIELD. The episode “Ultimate Deadpool” features Deadpool, who is surprisingly okay to mention by name.
No, really. Saying “dead” is a big no-no on these shows, usually. Hell, Deadpool’s shown up in some Marvel all-ages comics and they weren’t allowed to say his name.
Deadpool is played off as basically being the dark Spider-Man. And not in the cool Venom way. More that Deadpool was in Spider-Man’s position as a superhero cadet, but lost interest and went off to become a mercenary. The two of them work together at first, trying to hunt down Taskmaster, but – surprise, surprise – Deadpool betrays Spider-Man in the name of the almighty dollar and they have a wacky and rather unfunny fight.
The comic tie-in series Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriorshas an issue based on it, but it’s really the same exact story retold with the same art. Nothing worth talking about.
THE INFERIOR DEADPOOL
DEADPOOL V.3 #10
Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Mike Hawthorne, 2013
That aforementioned flashback issue laid the seeds for a story in the present where Deadpool would take on a high-ranking demon from Hell. In one of the issues, he goes after a crime lord who sold his soul to said demon in order to get some precognition powers. Deadpool stumbles into a team-up with Spider-Man, only it’s the infamous era of Superior Spider-Man. It’s not the hero Deadpool knows, but rather Doctor Octopus inhabiting Peter Parker’s body.
Deadpool’s target, Daniel Gump, has hired a group of hired guns to stop the red-clad duo. Outside of Batroc and Taskmaster (who throws in the towel as his heart isn’t into it), it isn’t the most impressive roster. In fact, fittingly enough, Lady Stilt Man shows up for another Spider-Man/Deadpool fight!
While Spider-Man is usually very annoyed by Deadpool’s antics, the Ock-minded version hates him even more. Especially when Deadpool starts ranting about how Spider-Man has the worst villains, such as that Elton John lookalike Doc Ock. Deadpool briefly steals a webshooter and succeeds in murdering Gump, but Spider-Man gets him back by punching him out and webbing him up for the police.
DEADPOOL ANNUAL #2
Christopher Hastings and Jacopo Camagni, 2014
Oh man, this issue is so much fun. Fixed from the whole Doc Ock situation, Spider-Man’s been driven insane due to Chameleon constantly stalking and stabbing him. It’s enough that when Deadpool checks in on him, Spider-Man’s acting like a paranoid nutcase. The Chameleon strikes again and although Deadpool is able to ward him off, Spider-Man’s completely knocked out from a syringe to the neck.
Deadpool figures he’ll beat the Chameleon at his own game via switching costumes with Spider-Man. What follows is an enjoyable romp where Deadpool goes around pretending to be Spider-Man, totally excited about using webbing and fighting dumb, animal-themed villains.
By the time the Chameleon shows up to stab some more, Spider-Man-dressed-as-Deadpool arrives, well-rested, and helps out his fellow chatterbox. The two end up coming off as allies by the end of the story, though Spider-Man’s rather annoyed that Deadpool’s hour or so in the webbed tights somehow did wonders for his PR.
THE MONK WITH A MOUTH
AVENGERS & X-MEN: AXIS #7
Rick Remender and Adam Kubert, 2014
Axiswas a big mess of a story. When a Carnage miniseries is somehow the highlight of your big comic event, you know you messed up. The meat of it had to do with a bunch of heroes and villains becoming morally “inverted,” an idea that works better with DC’s Crime Syndicate stuff than it does in the Marvel Universe where nearly everyone is shades of gray as is. In other words, the good guys are bad and the bad guys are good.
Deadpool goes under a personality change where he’s still a good guy, but he’s more zen and less stabby. Spider-Man wasn’t in the area when the inversion spell happened, so he’s his usual friendly neighborhood self. As for others, the X-Men – led by Deadpool’s son figure (or whatever the opposite of “father figure” is called) Evan Sabahnur – are going to wipe out humankind because that’s now their thing.
While the heroes and inverted-villains are distracting the X-Men outside, Spider-Man and Deadpool sneak into Evan/Apocalypse’s complex. Remender writes Inverted Deadpool differently from how he’s portrayed in his main book, making him just as wacky as his normal self. Despite not being a murder-happy psycho, Deadpool’s antics still find ways to bemuse Spider-Man.
The two take on Inverted Evan themselves and get split up in the melee as Spider-Man teams up with Inverted Carnage and Deadpool gets literally torn to pieces by Evan.
But you know Wade. It’s only a minor setback.
THE ROAST OF DEADPOOL
DEADPOOL V.3 #45
Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, and Scott Koblish, 2015
Fairly recently, there was that big fake-out “Death of Deadpool” issue that ended the previous Deadpoolvolume. In the main story, Deadpool died via the Secret Wars final incursion after making peace with the fact that he has loved ones who care for him and he can actually be happy. There’s a series of backup stories, including one where Deadpool steals the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos and uses it to hold his own roast in his honor with an audience of heroes and villains from beyond time and space.
This includes Spider-Man as one of the main presenters, who proceeds to completely bomb. Later, Spider-Man joins in with everyone else, laughing uncontrollably at Deadpool’s ending monologue because he’s literally forcing them to with the Gauntlet. Deadpool then freezes time and explains his bitterness to the reader, blaming us as the source of his constant suffering. The reason he never explains the fourth wall to his fellow heroes is because he simply doesn’t want to ruin their lives.
DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WARS #1-4
Cullen Bunn and Matteo Lolli, 2015
Even though Deadpool was created in 1991, did you know that he was involved in the original Secret Wars? The one from the mid-80s? Yeah, he was there! We just don’t remember it because of cosmic magic and a disastrous fling with Janet Van Dyne.
Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars is a retelling of the classic crossover event, only with Deadpool there helping the good guys. That leads to him getting up in Spider-Man’s business twice. One is the scene where Spider-Man is able to singlehandedly fight off the entire X-Men by himself because the '80s was a very different time. Deadpool gives chase and takes him on one-on-one, but he doesn’t do much better than the mutants.
The other bit, which is way funnier, has Deadpool come across the machine that produces the black alien costume. Deadpool wears it for a moment and digs it, but then realizes that it’s a living being trying to become one with him and the experience is like torture for the symbiote. He puts it back and wonders if connecting with his mind damaged the creature in any way. As he’s leaving, he passes Spider-Man and gives him directions to the machine, telling him that “black is slimming.”
AN IMPERFECT UNION
UNCANNY AVENGERS #1
Gerry Duggan and Ryan Stegman, 2015
After the events of the other, more modern Secret Wars story, a couple new Avengers teams were created. One of those teams is Steve Rogers’ Unity Team, yet another attempt at putting humans, mutants, and now Inhumans on the same side. This has introduced conflict twice over. Not only are mutants and Inhumans not on the best of terms, causing lots of friction between Rogue and Synapse, but there’s also the big deal that Deadpool’s hanging around.
Not only is Deadpool an Avenger, but his celebrity status and royalty earnings are currently funding the team. This doesn’t sit well with Rogue and Spider-Man. ESPECIALLY Spider-Man. As the first issue begins, they’ve been a team for months, but a fight against the Super-Adaptoid ends up being the last straw. Spider-Man can’t deal with Deadpool’s annoying and dangerous behavior, and quits the team.
Well, the joke’s on him. He’s going to be stuck in a comic with Deadpool whether he likes it or not!
BACK IN BLACK
Deadpool: Back in Black #5
Cullen Bunn and Salva Espin, 2016
Hey, remember when I was talking about Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars a few entries ago? Well, this here's the sequel. As it turns out, prior to Eddie Brock, the rejected goop that used to be Spider-Man's black alien costume went back to using Deadpool as a host. The miniseries shows Deadpool going up against various 80s-themed heroes and villains. While the symbiote is mostly helpful, it does have its drawbacks, such as its rage and hunger.
A group of aliens hunt down the costume and end up hunting down Spider-Man. Although Deadpool saves the unconscious Spider-Man's life, the symbiote attempts to take over and kill the prone hero. Deadpool ends up putting his foot down and briefly prevents the creature from taking its violent revenge on Spider-Man. The two go their separate ways and Deadpool puts the wheels in motion that cause Eddie Brock to enter the church and become the host for Venom.
SECOND VERSE, SAME AS THE FIRST
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #2
Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic, 2017
Once again, Bunn does a story about Deadpool killing all the heroes and villains singlehandedly. This time, the story is a lot better than, "Deadpool notices the fourth wall and becomes an extreme nihilist." Deadpool is mentally messed with by the villains of the world, led by Red Skull. Thinking he's having wacky adventures, Deadpool is actually killing his allies with only the occasional moment of lucidity breaking through. All he can do is hope that someone can stop him.
As a callback to Back in Black, Deadpool hunts down Eddie Brock and kills him with lots of airhorns and heavy artillery. He proceeds to wear the symbiote as he hunts down and overpowers Spider-Man. In Deadpool's head, he and Spider-Man are in a Hostess Fruit Pies ad, being challenged in an eating contest by the Blob. The symbiote, on the other hand, knows the truth and devours Spider-Man's brains. Briefly remembering their old history and friendship, Deadpool spares the costume and tells it to leave him be.
Deadpool spends the rest of the issue eliminating the other spider heroes such as Spider-Woman, Miles, and Spider-Man 2099.
Joe Kelly, Ed McGuiness, and various fill-in teams, 2016-2017
As part of the fall-out of both being on the same Avengers team, Deadpool pesters Spider-Man and tries to win him over by showing that he really does need a mentor in being a better person. Over time, Spider-Man does see Wade for his positives, but he's still regularly annoyed with his antics and they have a brief falling out based on Deadpool temporarily murdering Spider-Man's "boss" Peter Parker for supposedly being an evil villain.
Broken up by various one-shot fill-ins (including the two of them helping out on a Deadpool movie, meeting up in the 1970s, teaming up with Penn and Teller, and saving Christmas from the god Saturn), the main story has to do with a doomed mastermind named Patient Zero, who gets killed by his creation before he can explain who he is and why he blames Deadpool and Peter Parker for his problems. His creation is Itsy Bitsy, a half-woman/half-spider with the powers and abilities of Spider-Man and Deadpool.
Longtime readers of Deadpool shouldn't have too hard a time figuring out who Patient Zero truly is. Especially when you focus on the Joe Kelly aspect. But who he's looking for? Well, you'll have to think a lot bigger.
The main story ends in the eighteenth issue, followed by more fill-in issues. By #23, we'll be back to having a proper direction in Spider-Man vs. Deadpool.
It really is fascinating to see the history between Spider-Man and Deadpool. It used to be a rare novelty that they’d usually shy away from. Then it became a semi-regular thing. Now we’re at the point where they’ve interacted enough and Deadpool’s become important enough in the grand scheme of things that they might as well make money off of it. Who knows, they might become close over time like the way Deadpool developed with Cable or Spider-Man developed with Wolverine.
Robbie Thompson, the ball’s in your court.
Gavin Jasper is still waiting for Lady Stilt Man to show up in the new series. Follow him on Twitter!
Whether you've read The Kingkiller Chronicle before or not, this is the perfect tome to add to your collection.
When Patrick Rothfuss releasedThe Name of the Wind, the first book in the planned Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy back in 2007, it became a modern fantasy classic.
Now, a decade later, with the release of a 10th anniversary edition from DAW, it looks better than ever, proving that this fantasy epic is the kind of timeless that will survive long past its initial printings into future generations.
Here's why you should consider buying a copy of this gorgeous new edition...
For those who have never read The Kingkiller Chronicle.
Maybe you've been recommended this book by all of your nerdy friends. Maybe you've never heard of it? (She wrote, skeptically.) Either way, now is the perfect time to dive into this rich fantasy world.
The Name of the Wind is "Day One" of The Kingkiller Chronicle series, telling the story of musican/magician Kvothe in two separate timelines.
There is the frame tale, in which our mysterious 20-something protagonist is living incognito as a small town innkeeper. When our tale begins, times are not good and serious danger is starting to affect the village. The first book, Day One, sees Kvothe beginning to tell his story to Chronicler, a traveling collector of stories. Kvothe tells Chronicler his story will take three days to tell, hence the planned trilogy.
This is where the second storyline comes in. Narrated by the older Kvothe to Chronicler, we learn of Kvothe's tragic childhood as an orphan, beggar, and pickpocket following the murder of his family. From there, Kvothe manages to secure a spot at a magical university, the seat of all accumulated knowledge and a place where he might find more information about the Chandrian, the mysterious group of beings who killed his family.
The Name of the Wind is one part Lord of the Rings, one part Harry Potter, but all parts a storytelling experience all its own. Rothfuss spent more than a decade crafting this story, and it shows in the rich, specific details of this world and these characters.
Why is now the perfect time to dive into The Kingkiller Chronicle? For one, fans are still waiting for the third and final installment in the series. Some may count this as a dealbreaker, but I genuinely believe that speculating and anticipating along with the rest of a book series fandom is one of the best parts of the reading experience.
If you start reading The Kingkiller Chronicles now, there's still time to be part of this process. In addition to The Name of the Wind, Rothfuss has published the second book in the series, 2011's The Wise Man's Fear, as well as supplementary novellas/short stories "How Old Holly Came to Be," The Lightning Tree, and The Slow Regard of Silent Things.
Den of Geek wrote a feature back in 2014, explaining why The Kingkiller Chronicle would make the perfect Game of Thrones-esque fantasy TV series. Our prophecy has come to fruition. Lionsgate recently announced they will be developing The Kingkiller Chronicle into a movie, with a TV series expanding the world als planned and the potential for a video game adaptation, as well.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is a huge fan of the series, is even on board as a "creative producer." Music is a vital part of The Kingkiller Chronicle story; Miranda will lead musical development on the project, and is expected to compose and write original songs for the project.
Miranda penned one of the blurbs for the back of this 10th Anniverary Edition, a work of art in its own right:
No one writes about economic reality within this genre like Pat Rothfuss. The real-world weight of the sometimes impossible distance between the things you want and need and what you have in your pocket.
No one writes about music like Pat Rothfuss. The way it sneaks into your soul, the way it feeds you like nothing else.
No one writes about stories like Pat Rothfuss. How the right story at the right time can change the world, how the teller can shape a life.
No one writes like Pat Rothfuss. Full stop. Read this book.
As goes Lin-Manuel Miranda, so goes the zeitgeist.
For those who have read The Kingkiller Chronicle.
So, you've read The Name of the Wind. You may even own (multiple) copies. Why should you shell out money for another edition?
First of all, this book is gorgeous. The red-edged pages! The gorgeous, red-edged pages!
The red fore edge of this book's text block has caught my eye across the room pretty much consistently since this book came into my life. It has made others pick it up in curiosity to ask questions, desperate to know what this red-tinged narrative has to offer. It's enough to make me keep it out on my desk and away from my bookcase forever.
If book aesthetics aren't really your thing, then maybe the extra features of the 10th Anniversary Edition will catch your attention. The book includes more than 20 illustrations from Hugo-nominated illustrator Dan dos Santos, and the cover imagery comes from Sam Weber, the artist who (as Rothfuss himself gushed about on his blog) did Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology. (Check out the photo gallery at the top of the page for some sneak peeks.)
Past that, the 10th Anniversary Edition includes an "extensive" author's note, appendics discussing the calendar and currency systems, two "better" maps by Nathan Taylor, and — the feature I'm most excited about — a pronunciation guide.
I would also argue that this is the perfect gift to get that friend you've been trying to convince to read The Kingkiller Chronicle for years. You know they'll love it, you want to stay up late debating theories about how it all might end, but they're ruining your chance at hapiness by dragging their feet on starting the 600+ page tome. Now's your chance! A book this beautiful is impossible to ignore!
The Name of the Wind 10th Aniversary Edition will be released on October 3rd. It is currently available for pre-order.