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Articles on this Page
- 11/08/17--12:21: _Justice League: Who...
- 11/08/17--15:58: _Amazon Picks Up The...
- 11/08/17--21:52: _Justice League: Ezr...
- 11/08/17--22:48: _Riverdale: Who Is T...
- 11/08/17--23:12: _Marvel's Lockjaw is...
- 11/09/17--10:33: _Deathstroke: The Mo...
- 11/09/17--17:26: _Robert Kirkman and ...
- 11/09/17--19:12: _Justice League: Hen...
- 11/09/17--20:53: _Deadly Class Cast R...
- 11/10/17--00:46: _Why the X-Men Don't...
- 11/10/17--12:15: _Gerard Way's The Um...
- 11/11/17--05:15: _Injustice 2: The Te...
- 11/11/17--11:00: _The Walking Dead Se...
- 11/11/17--13:26: _Arrowverse Producer...
- 11/11/17--14:47: _X-Men Red Sees Phoe...
- 11/12/17--13:10: _Gal Gadot Reportedl...
- 11/12/17--22:07: _Justice League Rele...
- 11/13/17--14:09: _Classic Robotech Co...
- 11/13/17--15:45: _Spider-Man Morbius ...
- 11/13/17--19:33: _The Genesis of Atom...
- 11/08/17--12:21: Justice League: Who is Steppenwolf?
- 11/08/17--15:58: Amazon Picks Up The Boys, Adapting Garth Ennis Comic Book
- 11/08/17--21:52: Justice League: Ezra Miller on Why Society Needs Superhero Myths
- 11/08/17--22:48: Riverdale: Who Is The Black Hood?
- 11/08/17--23:12: Marvel's Lockjaw is a Very Good Dog With His Own Series
- 11/09/17--10:33: Deathstroke: The Most Versatile Villain in the DC Universe
- 11/09/17--19:12: Justice League: Henry Cavill On Psychological Appeal of Superheroes
- 11/09/17--20:53: Deadly Class Cast Revealed
- 11/10/17--00:46: Why the X-Men Don't Belong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- 11/11/17--05:15: Injustice 2: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Join the Roster
- 11/11/17--11:00: The Walking Dead Season 8: A Spoiler-Filled Guide to All Out War
- 11/11/17--14:47: X-Men Red Sees Phoenix Rise to Leader
- 11/12/17--22:07: Justice League Release Date, Cast, Trailer, Story Details, and More
- 11/13/17--14:09: Classic Robotech Comics To Be Republished
- 11/13/17--15:45: Spider-Man Morbius Spinoff Movie in the Works at Sony
- 11/13/17--19:33: The Genesis of Atomic Blonde
Who is the villain of the Justice League movie? We look at how Jack Kirby's Steppenwolf fits in the DCEU and his relationship to Darkseid.
Thor: Ragnarok is a loving tribute to all things Jack Kirby. Nearly every frame of the film burst forth from the imagination of “The King” to create a wonderful film that is truly a testament to the enduring power of Kirby’s imagination. In fact, when you come down to it, just about every Marvel film and most of Marvel’s TV is painted in Kirby’s artistic DNA. Soon, the characters anc concepts of “The King” will come to the DC Extended Universe with Justice League.
When it was announced that Kirby’s New God creation Steppenwolf would be the villain of DC’s Justice League, many fans were surprised. After all, many assumed, especially after the teases in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, that Kirby’s ultimate big bad Darkseid would be the only villain worthy to take on the newly formed Justice League. But Steppenwolf is a fascinating character in his own right and could be a perfect harbinger to the coming of Darkseid.
Steppenwolf has always been a minion of Darkseid, so many would be surprised to learn that the axe wielding villain is actually Darkseid’s uncle (although in the movie, he is apparently his nephew instead). Interestingly enough, Steppenwolf’s earliest appearances in Kirby’s Fourth World titles were in flashbacks. Steppenwolf first appeared in New Gods #7 (1972), and in this fateful issue it was revealed that Steppenwolf had a hand in starting the war between Apokolips and New Genesis, the twin planets of the New Gods. Apokolips was ruled by the evil Darkseid and was the home world of the dark gods while New Genesis was ruled by Highfather and was basically DC’s version of Asgard. The twin planets engaged in a war that burned for millennia and that conflict was kindled by Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf was charged by Darkseid to murder the wife of Highfather, who in return led his forces against Darkseid. During the many battles, Steppenwolf was killed. Highfather became so bloodthirsty that he prayed for a way to end the brutal conflict. From there, Highfather became one with The Source (a mystical universal energy that ahem inspired George Lucas to create that thing he created) and renounced war. Darkseid and Highfather traded sons to broker a peace treaty as Highfather’s son Mister Miracle was sent to Apokolips while Darkseid’s son Orion was sent to New Genesis. The entire foundation of DC's New Gods saga was laid because of Steppenwolf’s brutality.
Steppenwolf became part of the present day DC Universe in 1996. In Mister Miracle #4 (1996) by Kevin Dooley and Steve Crespo, Mister Miracle ends up confronting Steppenwolf in some weird cosmic plane of reality. Miracle was imbued with godlike powers over life and death at the time, and went at Steppenwolf with a terrible vengeance. At the end of it all, Mister Miracle shows pity on Steppenwolf and resurrects the man that killed his mother. From there, Steppenwolf takes his place as the commander of Darkseid’s armies and becomes a force to be reckoned with in the DC cosmos. Not Mister Miracle’s best choice, I guess.
The character’s most notable moment came when Kenner graced the world with a Steppenwolf action figure as part of its immortal Super Powers line of toys. The original comic version of Steppenwolf had a strange green face and wore a jaunty little cone hat, but the new Steppenwolf was an axe wielding badass and joined the other more notable minions of Darkseid on toy shelves everywhere in the mid to late 1980s. When Steppenwolf returned to the DC Universe proper in 1996, it was in the Kenner outfit.
Steppenwolf has also been a pretty important part of DC’s New 52. The new Steppenwolf appeared in the rebooted DCU in Justice League: War (a story that will have a profound influence on the movie) by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. Here, Steppenwolf actually murders the Earth-2 versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman upping the badass quotient for the modern Steppenwolf considerably. This seems to be the inspiration for the cinematic Steppenwolf in Justice League.
So there you have it kids, from matricide to action figure to Justice League killer, Steppenwolf may not have made many appearances, but where this minion of Darkseid goes, carnage follows. Between kicking off the war between New Genesis and Apokolips and murdering the greatest heroes of one Earth, Steppenwolf leaves change and destruction in his wake. What could this mean for the DCEU? It certainly won't be an easy fight for the Justice League.
Justice League opens on November 17.
A TV adaptation of Garth Ennis’s violent comic book series The Boys, run by Supernatural’s Eric Kripke, has been ordered by Amazon.
Amazon’s small screen streaming lineup is set to add a live-action adaptation of Garth Ennis’s notoriously dark and violent comic book, The Boys. The television project, which has been in development on and off for several years, has finally received its long-awaited greenlight, auspiciously arriving as the creation of Supernatural and Timeless visionary Eric Kripke.
The Boys has just achieved straight-to-series status, having received an eight-episode order from Amazon, reports Deadline. With Eric Kripke serving as showrunner/executive producer for this TV adaptation of the 2006-2012 comic book series created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, The Boys will launch with a duo of directors who are well-versed in adapting Ennis’s comic book work in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who are credited as co-creators (with Sam Catlin,) of AMC’s Preacher series. The project will be under the purview of Sony Pictures TV Studios, which is co-producing with Amazon, along with Original Films.
The story of The Boys depicts a bleak world filled with power-imbued superheroes who have become reckless, selfish and hedonistic, leaving citizens in danger. Thus, an angry, ultra-violent Englishman called Billy Butcher puts together his own team of ex-military personnel with black ops experience to watch the proverbial watchmen, calling themselves, you guessed it, the Boys. Consequently, in an extreme version of the Marvel Civil War scenario, Billy Butcher and the Boys run roughshod on the world’s corrupt costumed heroes in a bountifully brutal, nay, sadistic manner. Indeed, the series launched in 2006 under the DC-connected Wildstorm imprint, only to be quickly cancelled, purportedly due to its anti-superhero themes. Ennis would eventually continue the series with indie publisher Dynamite Entertainment, publishing the last series in the end of 2012.
Interestingly, The Boys could prove to be a bellwether project for Amazon, which has recently made a major push to embrace genre television, which is notably evident by the recent move of luring Stranger Things writer Justin Doble away from the Netflix pop culture sensation for an expansive deal to develop new TV projects. Indeed, Amazon’s newly-appointed Head of Scripted Series, Sharon Tal Yguado, is making the mission quite clear, declaring:
“In a landscape saturated with superhero shows, The Boys is the next evolution in this popular genre. With Eric, Evan, Seth and Original Film all behind this series, we are excited to adapt this popular comic, from the visionary minds of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, for television.”
The Amazon deal represents the culmination of a long process of false starts and stops to bring The Boys into live-action form. A movie adaptation was in the works back in 2010, with Anchorman and The Big Short director Adam McKay eyed to direct. Years later, in April 2016, the team of Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Neal Moritz were close to a deal to bring the TV adaptation to Cinemax. Now, The Boys is set to arrive on a platform in Amazon that will allow it to manifest, unbridled, in a gory and ribald form that will stand as a true testament to the comic book.
We will keep you updated on the major developments of Amazon’s The Boys as they occur.
During a press conference we attended, Justice League's Ezra Miller gives a thoughtful answer for why folks need superheroes today.
Superheroes are everywhere in media nowadays. Be it in film, television, video games, or even that increasingly rare comic book, you can't escape the masked do-gooders. Not that many would. Ezra Miller certainly would not. Sitting next to his on and off-screen brother-in-masks, Ben Affleck, at the London press conference for Justice League, Miller is genuinely beaming at the prosect of being the latest onscreen ambassador for the Flash--as well as rocking his Batman T-shirt. Thus when the queson of why people are turning to superheroes for escapism in the 21st century came up, Miller had a pretty insightful answer stored up.
The insight followed after his Justice League co-star, Gal Gadot, said, “In the real world, we don’t fight monsters, we don’t have alien attacks. It’s us creating the problem.”
Miller agreed with Gadot before adding, “Human beings are an existential crisis, and there’s no guarantee that humanity will be here in a hundred years or 200 years, because we are facing real existential threats. Like Gal says, those threats come from us. Like we created climate change, we created nuclear war. And we do overcome differences in order to get around. Otherwise, it’s game over on humanity. So I think it’s a great time to make superhero movies and groups of superhero movies, and start actually addressing in more meaningful and solid ways, but also in the world of fantasy and fiction, how we’re actually going to accelerate our processes and be able to save our own skin.”
It was a thoughtful answer and one of the more intriguing moments during our time with the Justice League team. It also suggested that these guys are driven by more than just special effects.
Justice League opens on Nov. 17.
This primary antagonist of Riverdale Season 2 has some deep Archie Comics ties that you may not realize.
This Riverdale article contains spoilers.
The character of Archie Andrews made his debut when he appeared as a support story in Pep Comics #22 in December of 1942. At the time, Pep was arguably the most successful publication from MLJ Comics. With the first appearance of Archie, interest in all things Riverdale became the company's primary focus and it wasn't long until they changed their name to that of their red-headed breakout star.
But what often gets ignored is how many other characters MLJ/Archie already had in their stable. Most notably there was The Shield, a patriotic superhero who pre-dated Captain America, as well as other heroes like The Hangman, The Crusader, and The Black Hood.
That's right, the origin of the same character who is currently wreaking havoc on Riverdale dates all the way back to 1940 when The Black Hood first showed up in the ninth issue of Top-Notch Comics. Or at least it's kind of the same character, as the Hood's history gets pretty complicated pretty fast.
Created by Harry Shorten and Al Camy, The Black Hood is the crime-fighting alter ego of police officer Matthew "Kip" Burland. Donning the mystical headgear from which he got his name, Burland would go out and fight bad guys without the sort of fuss, muss, or bureaucracy that marred his day job. His coloring out of the lines style of bringing the guilty to justice struck a chord with the noir-obsessed readers of the era and the Hood's popularity soon earned him a radio show that ran for one year and 120 episodes. Unfortunately archiving in the 1940s isn't quite what it is now, and the series was largely lost to the ages.
Below is what is considered to be the only surviving episode of the show. It's still a rather entertaining listen, if obviously dated.
With Archie taking up most of MLJ's attention and resources, it wasn't long until The Black Hood was retired. But the character still had plenty of life left in him. When Archie formed their equivalent of The Avengers, The Mighty Crusaders, in the 1960s, The Black Hood was front and center. After interest in that title waned, the Hood experienced a brief period of dormancy before a new incarnation of the character -- Thomas "Kip" Burland, who was the nephew of the original Hood -- debuted in 1979.
"No evil can escape the merciless vengeance of The Black Hood," says our hero on the cover of his comeback, glass shattering all around him as he leaps out at readers to catch their attention. This revival came courtesy of Man Thing co-creator/all around comics inspiration Gray Morrow and famed DC creator Neal Adams. The late 1970s was a fascinating period for Archie Comics. With their various comedy titles and digests devoured by fans each month, the company decided to return to its roots and bring back their heroes through their Red Circle imprint.
Eventually, these stories were compiled for the (regretfully) short-lived Superhero Digest Magazine that aimed to do for the MLJ heroes what the regular Archie digests did for their characters...namely act as an impulse buy for parents and kids at supermarkets and drug stores across the country, serving as an introduction to the wonderful world of comics along the way. Quickly, lack of demand and/or low sales put an end to the hero centric digest, although stories featuring the MLJ characters would pop up in the main line of Archie digests throughout the 1980s.
The Reagan era also saw a renewed push for the Red Circle line, with The Black Hood getting another short run and the character also appearing in a revival of The Mighty Crusaders. Perhaps due to the fact that these heroes were obscure from a mainstream point of view compared to a, say, Spider-Man or Batman, or maybe because readers wrongly believed that the same company who put out titles like Archie's T.V. Laugh Out couldn't possibly tell gripping, gritty tales in this genre, these books were largely ignored and relegated to the three-for-a-dollar section of stores (which is where this writer first discovered the wonders they possess). And then, it seemed like they would be untethered from Archie for good when DC got the license for the characters from the early 1990s (including several stabs published by Impact) but that too failed.
Then the unexpected happened. Archie became one of the most risk-taking companies in the industry. Light years away from the dark times that had Al Hartley licensing the characters for Spire Christian Comics, Archie was releasing headline-grabbing titles like Life with Archie: The Married Life and Afterlife with Archie. Then in 2015, spearheaded by Archie's Alex Segura -- himself a brilliant noir/mystery writer -- the Dark Circle imprint was born.
Pre-dated by Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel's short run on The Fox and a testing of the waters via digital exclusives featuring the MLJ staples, Dark Circle brought back the characters of The Black Hood, The Shield, and The Hangman and grounded them in a realistic and often grim world. Although uniformly excellent, the best of the batch was Duane Swierczynski's run on The Black Hood. This time around, the story shifts its focus to Greg Hettinger, a Philadelphia cop who is disfigured when he takes a bullet to the face while trying to break up a gang fight outside of a public school. During this melee, he kills the previous Black Hood, Kip Burland. His brain addled from a growing addiction to pain killers, he begins working as a Death Wish-styled vigilante, a move that is only heightened after Hettinger is framed for his involvement with drugs.
The inital "The Bullet's Kiss" story arc included compelling visuals from Michael Gaydos, replete with Philly landmarks aplenty that just add to the book's commitment to reality. It also makes some subtle statements on the opiod epidemic tha result in a story that is both compelling and timely. A new "Season 2" storyline went three issues, but the current run of the Hood is currently on hiatus. (Whether or not he turns up in the upcoming, and seemingly lighter, The Mighty Crusaders remains to be seen).
This massive infodump brings us back to Riverdale. Who exactly is The Black Hood on this series? That question is shaping up to be season two's central mystery. From the third episode we can glean a few things. First and foremost, he sees Riverdale as a city in moral crisis. In his letter to Alice Cooper he notes that those he has attacked to date he views as sinners that he must cleanse. "I am the wolf, you are the flock, this is the bloodletting," he writes.
Then there's the fact that everyone so far has some link to Archie, which could be a red herring that exists to repair the season one problem of having the show's main character regularly sidelined from the action. But it does indeed seem as if he is being targeted. Or at least he was at first. (Moose, Midge and even potentially Ethel aren't really in Archie's orbit on this series).
So who and why? The first and most obvious answer seems to be someone hired by Mr. Lodge to screw with Archie. We don't know anything about Hiram's history with Fred Andrews, but we do know that he seems to be a smoke and brimstone kind of guy -- which is absolutely in line with the Hood's Old Testament-esque anger. For all we know, Fred and Hermione could have had a thing in high school that Hiram is still pissed about, so when he learned about the pair rekindling their romance, even briefly, he could have gone off the deep end.
Who else? Maybe Sheriff Keller. Him actually being a crook explains his utterly inept crime-fighting skills. He wants Riverdale to be in chaos.
Honestly though, it's most likely to be someone we don't know yet but will become important later.
In the past, even when The Black Hood has been seen as a vigilante he still had good intentions. His television counterpart seems straight up evil. So what's the deal? From a practical perspective, Archie already had the IP and the Hood looks cool, so they could use him without the aggro in creating a new character. This take on the character, whoever is secret identity is, is clearly different from all that has gone before. You can expect to see elements from previous Hoods incorporated into him, but like Riverdaleitself, this guy is a bold new take on something that has been kicking around for decades. And isn't that the most exiting part of all of this?
Read the full Den of Geek NYCC Special Edition Magazine right here!
Kibblesmith & Villa have puppies on the best Inhuman pup.
Lockjaw, the best puppy in the entire Marvel Universe, is getting his second miniseries ever this coming February.
Writer Daniel Kibblesmith (Quantum & Woody) and artist Carlos Villa (Wayward) spin the story out of the ongoing Black Bolt series. Editor Will Moss said, “We’re super excited about this book. Daniel Kibblesmith—a hilarious writer who works on The Late Show and recently published a book called Santa’s Husband—has cooked up an incredibly fun, heart-filled romp around the Marvel Universe."
Black Bolt#5 looked at the history of Blackagar Boltogon and his best friend, and laid out that Lockjaw was just a regular old pup who happened to be able to teleport. This series promises to examine his family as he chases down his brothers and sisters across the cosmos.
This isn't Lockjaw's first headlining gig. He was the lead inn 2009's Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers, possibly the finest story Marvel Comics has ever told. It featured Speedball's cat Hairball, Redwing, Ms. Lion from Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends, Lockheed, and Frog Thor hunting the Infinity Gems.
Lockjaw #1, the first of a four-issue miniseries, is due out in February. For more on this series, or a comprehensive list of all the best pets in comics (#1: Lockjaw. #1 (tie): Krypto. #1 (tie): Ace the Bat-Hound. #1 (tie): Bat-Cow...), stick with Den of Geek.
Slade Wilson is Deathstroke, the DC Universe villain who returns to Arrow to make Oliver's life miserable.
He’s so darn cool he needs more than one name. Whether he is called The Terminator, Deathstroke, Deathstroke the Terminator, or Slade Wilson, the one eyed killer has been one of DC’s leading villains since his debut in 1980's New Teen Titans #2. In his illustrious career of evil, Slade Wilson has worn many hats, from evil mastermind, to go-to soldier villain, to father figure, to reluctant anti-hero...Deathstroke has done it all.
It's safe to say that Slade Wilson is the most versatile villain maybe in all of comicdom, something he proved on the CW’s Arrow. On the hit show, Manu Bennett channeled Slade Wilson’s entire legacy of violence, bringing it to life perfectly and taking Oliver Queen to that next level.
And now it seems that Wilson is about to take that brutality and bring it to the DC Movie Universe as Joe Manganiello will play Deathstroke in an upcoming DC movie. So in honor of this recent revelation, we proudly present but a few of Deathstroke's career highlights. But please, don’t tell anyone where you heard this info; none of us here at the Den want to find a shiv in our heart.
The Judas Contract
Before Deathstroke, the Teen Titans rogues gallery was not the stuff of legends. The Mad Mod, Mister Twister, and Ding Dong Daddy did not exactly inspire fear in the hearts of mortals. That all changed when Marv Wolfman and George Perez introduced the Terminator in the second issue of their relaunched Titans series. With his inspired design and arsenal of potent weaponry, the Terminator brought a real, concrete threat to the pages of the Titans for the first time. Soon, the Terminator would come to be known as Deathstroke the Terminator (thanks, James Cameron), but the menace remained. In his first appearance, Deathstroke was hired to steal an experimental element from STAR Labs. When the Titans tried to stop him, Deathstroke came within an eyelash of killing the entire team and he severely injured Changeling.
This was quite the introduction to the new villain, but the best (or worst) was yet to come. Y’see, at this time in comics, well into the Copper Age of the '80s, the "in" thing was to have a plucky teenage girl join a super team. It started with Kitty Pryde in the pages of the X-Men and continued into books like Green Lantern which saw the teenage alien Arisia join the Corps. Heck, the New Mutants and the Legion of Super-Heroes were filled with plucky teenage girls, so it was only right and proper that the Teen Titans had a PTG of their own.
Enter, Terra, a young girl with the powers to move the very Earth. She was not that dissimilar to the Pryde of the X-Men, and fans fell for her. This is where Deathstroke’s status as a master planner truly began. Terra was working for him the whole time. She had played the Titans and revealed all their secret identities to Slade Wilson. She was the Judas in their midst and it was all thanks to the string pulling of DC’s newest master villain. This moment of betrayal changed everything; the once innocent kids club of the Titans was forever marred by Deathstroke’s manipulations.
This led to the first moment where fans realized just how dangerous Slade Wilson could be. Using his knowledge of the Titans gleaned from Terra’ betrayal, in Tales of the Teen Titans#42 (1984), Deathstroke takes down each member of the Titans in very personal ways. He takes out Starfire with a letter bomb long before the Unabomber did his thing; he took out Donna Troy by tainting the passionate photographer’s dark room with a potent gas, he electrified Cyborg’s favorite chair causing Vic Stone’s system to overload, and he drugged Changeling’s envelopes so when the narcissist Titan answered his fan mail, he got roofied. Slade Wilson was so much more than a gun and a sword, that he can take out any hero without a confrontation. It was the moment he went from just another villain to legendarily awesome.
Throughout the years, Slade Wilson had served as the Titans' primary adversary, but he had a tragic past that gave a new wrinkle to the primal villain. He was a family man who had lost his beloved older son and had watched his younger son get his throat slit, rendering the younger Wilson forever mute. Slade was mutilated by his own wife, who shot him in the eye after their younger boy was injured. Ding Dong Daddy my ass. Now, the Titans were all about Slade Wilson, who was about to have an impact on the entire DC Universe.
His Own Series
Not every villain gets their own series, but there was enough weight to Deathstroke to mak him a perfect choice to helm his own book in 1995. Along for the ride was Deathstroke co-creator Marv Wolfman who transformed Slade from the villainous manipulator into an anti-hero in the pages of Wilson’s own title. The book was part Punisher, part Wolverine, part Sgt. Rock...and all Slade Wilson as fans discovered just how much depth this master villain had. Villain titles tend not to last long, but Wolfman found enough material to fill 60 issues worth of kick ass stories.
During the course of the series, Deathstroke fought with and against some of DC’s greatest heroes and villains, and for five years in the '90s, Slade Wilson was one of DC’s most popular characters, showing that he was so much more than just another villain. Some of the weight of this series has been carried over into Arrow, where Deathstroke is mourning the death of his beloved Shado and many of his traits and motivations have been drawn from Wolfman’s solo series. Slade Wilson’s tradition of violence was brought to a new crescendo in the pages of Deathstroke’s own book, a book so badass, it didn’t even need cover gimmicks...and in the '90s, that’s saying something.
Some highlights of the series include:
Deathstroke #27-34 (1993)
Written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Steve Erwin and Will Blyberg, where Slade Wilson must travel the world in order to save the wife who once maimed him, these issues show the honor and dedication of the deadly merc who kills many different people in many different time zones to save the woman he once loved.
Deathstroke #46-50 (2995)
Written by Marc Wolfman with art by Sergio Cariello and Will Blyberg in which Deathstroke is hunted by a huge number of superheroes after he is framed for the murder of a U.S. Senator. Those cape and cowl pansies had no chance of bringing Wilson down as, dammit, this is the one time he did not kill someone in cold blood.
Deathstroke #6-9 (1993)
by Wolfman, Erwin, and Blyberg sees the first confrontation between Slade and Batman. Wilson holds his own against the Dark Knight, and even Batman must have a grudging respect for the mercenary. This was during the monosyllabic grunting period in Batman’s history so getting him to admit anything other than he likes breaking femurs was quite an accomplishment.
Panic in the Sky
Panic in the Sky ran through the Superman family of titles in 1992 and it was one of DC’s best crossovers of the '90s. Plus, it really would make a kick ass film. The epic saw Brainiac seize control of Warworld and lead an all out assault on Earth. Superman and his fellow heroes were all that stood between Brainiac and world domination. As Superman headed into space, he knew he needed a man to lead the ground forces on Earth. He had all the earthbound superheroes to choose from, but in his wisdom, the Man of Steel went with Slade Wilson.
In Panic in the Sky, Wilson wore the mantle of hero and he wore it comfortably, helping keep terra firma safe while Superman took the battle to the sky. Imagine Joe Manganiello, fighting side by side with Henry Cavill in a cinematic adaptation of this story. Yeah, we’ll wait while you’re in your bunk.
Birds of Prey
Those looking for a Deathstroke/Black Canary connection in comics need look no further than Birds of Prey #22-24 (2000) by Chuck Dixon and Butch Guice (God, that run on BoPwas awesome!) I just mention this here to note that in this story arc, Deathstroke led a cadre of killers to Gorilla City to steal an ape’s heart. Let that one sink in, Deathstroke was on a mission to steal an intelligent monkey’s heart. That’s one stone cold killer, man.
Monkey heart. God, I love comics.
Yeah, The Judas Contactwas the defining Deathstroke storyline but his greatest single moment was in 2004’s Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales. Deathstroke was hired to be the bodyguard for Dr. Light, a man who the Justice League really, really wanted to take down as a suspect in the murder of Sue Dibny, a woman Light once raped. Deathstroke did what he did best; he protected his client from the League and took down some of the League’s most powerful single handedly.
Wilson took down the Atom with a laser pointer, punched Zatanna so hard in the liver she began projectile vomiting (can’t talk forwards or backwards while ralphing bile), cut off Hawkman’s wings, anticipated where the Flash was going to run and impaled the speedster on a katana, and almost, ALMOST, had the willpower to take control of Green Lantern’s ring. Now that’s badass.
Yeah Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman weren’t present, but rest assured if they were, Deathstoke would have had a plan to take them out too. Slade’s rampage was stopped by (wait for it) Green Arrow who stabbed the mercenary in his empty eye socket with an arrow. Thus began a heated rivalry between Deathstroke and Ollie Queen that arguably inspired Arrow’s showrunners to use Wilson as one of the series' big villains.
Father Knows Best
One of the most important roles Slade Wilson has fulfilled since his debut has been that of a father. His children have gone on to become major players in the DC Universe, all driven to prove themselves to or distance themselves from their father, starting with his son Grant, an unstable mercenary with meta-human enhancements. When those enhancements proved unstable and fatal, daddy took up Grant’s contracts and came up against the Titans for the first time. Slade’s emotional response to his sons’ death set him apart from other villains as he may have been a killer, but he was also a father.
The second Wilson child that was introduced was Joey, the aforementioned son who had his throat slit in front of his horrified parents. Joey had the power to possess other bodies and fought side by side with the Titans as Jericho for a very long time.
Then there’s Rose, the second Ravager, daddy’s little girl, who was so enamored with her father’s legacy she, wait for it, no, seriously brace yourself now, that in order to be like her father she gleefully plucked her own eye out of her head. EEESSSHH! Despite that little bit of crazy, Rose soon joined the Titans and has displayed the same twisted code of honor as dear old dad.
His Own Team of Titans
If you can’t beat them join them, or at least lead them, was Slade’s philosophy in 2010 as he formed his own team of Titans including his fellow villains Cheshire, the Tattooed Man, Cinder, Osiris, and eventually Arsenal, aka Roy Harper (another little Arrowconnection right there). On their first mission, Deathstroke’s band of miscreants killed Ryan Choi, DC’s current Atom, and that pretty much set the tone for this team right away. The team took on many other madmen and was short lived, but leading the Titans showed once again that Deathstroke, the mastermind, the soldier, the sometimes hero, could also fill the role of leader.
In this same era, Deathstoke took on the Justice League in Titans Annual 2011 by Eric Wallace and Cliff Richards. Even the combined might of those teams could not bring down Slade Wilson, who stands tall by issues end, confident and smug. Wilson makes even Batman lose his temper who wants to take down Deathstroke once and for all. Wilson knows that to stop them, the League would have to kill him, something they would never do, so Wilson saunters away. This was the old Deathstroke’s final great moment as this all happened right before Flashpointand the New 52 reboot, so the ramifications of Deathstroke’s team did not linger for long, but not many heroes can say they lead the Titans...and even fewer villains.
Arrgh, Here they be Pirates
In the Flashpointreality, Deathstroke was a sea pirate, and if that isn’t awesome enough, he also battled the despotic Aquaman on a number of occasions. Aquaman handed Slade his ass, but Deathstroke survived and was able to reunite with his lost daughter Rose to sail the seas away from the conflicts that nearly burned the Flashpoint world to the ground. If you can think of anything cooler than pirate Deathstroke, we would like to hear it.
The New 52
The rebooted Deathstroke is very similar to his predecessor. DC kept the honor and the ability to be a leader or a soldier, but they jettisoned his past with the Titans. Instead, the new 52 Slade Wilson’s past is deeply embedded in the history of Team 7, a group of mercs and soldiers taken from the annals of DC and Wildstorm history. Deathstroke had his own book during the 52 launch, but he has since been relegated to guest star status thanks to some wonky creative decisions (cough, Rob Liefeld, cough). The New 52 Deathstroke has been narratively reconnected with Terra and his children, but we would be lying if we said we didn’t miss his connection to the Titans. That is not to say the new Deathstroke has not had his moments to shine...
In issue #1 of the rebooted series published in 2011 by Kyle Higgins and Joe Bennett, Wilson kills an annoying fly with a paperclip. In that one little scene, readers discover everything they need to know about the merc and how precise he can be. In the same issue, Deathstroke, all by his lonesome, systematically and coldly takes down a band of mercenaries called the Alpha Dawgz (really DC?).
In issue #4 of the new series by the same creative team, Deathstroke escapes from a prison by puking up a hand bomb he ingested earlier and, in a nice callback to the fly incident, a paperclip. Everything may be New in the 52, but at least fans can rely on Deathstroke to be the most well rounded, badass villain on the scene, at least when the right creators are guiding his adventures. Soon Deathstroke will take his place in the New 52 Suicide Squad, a place where a character like Slade Wilson could thrive and hopefully, another chapter of the legend of Deathstroke the Terminator will be written.
After Wilson’s first New 52 title, DC tried it again with a second volume of New 52 Deathstroke adventures. But like most of the New 52, these tales were rather unfocused with fans unsure of what classic DCU events actually took place within this new DC continuity. Ah, but DC’s recent Rebirthevent changed all that. The entire DCU is refocused and reenergized and Deathstroke is along for the ride.
Recently, legendary Black Panther scribe Christopher Priest along with artists like Jason Paz, Carlo Pagulayan, and others have brought Wilson’s war back in a big bad way. This is consistently one of the best books DC is publishing. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for this return to Deathstroke glory because it looks like Slade Wilson will be a major player in both comics and film for years to come. Slade Wilson has been ratcheting up the kill count for decades, but if the recent cinematic Deathstroke reveal and the awesome new comic is any indication, the carnage is just getting started.
Oh yeah, one more entry…
Deathstroke once Fought Wolverine to a Standstill!
In the 1982 Uncanny X-Men and Teen Titans crossover by Chris Claremont and Walt Simonson, Deathstroke fought Wolverine to a draw, IN A BOOK WRITTEN BY CHRIS CLAREMONT! Even the bard of the X-Men knew how awesome Deathstroke was and had him be every bit an equal to Wolverine, the most kickass X-Man of them all. In the same book, Deathstroke also defeated Colossus. Not every character gets to kick another company’s hero’s behinds. Let the Manu Bennett/Hugh Jackman fanfic commence!
The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman and Colossal filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo will team to adapt time travel comic Comeback.
The Walking Dead multimedia maestro Robert Kirkman obviously has a lot of irons in the entertainment industry fire, with his comic book and television projects, notably represented by his AMC undead series and its spinoff. However, he’ll soon join filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo, of the 2016 Anne Hathaway-starring Colossal, to adapt Ed Brisson’s time-bending Image Comics title, Comeback.
With Sony Pictures holding the rights to Comeback, THR reports that Robert Kirkman, a perennial presence for Image Comics, will join the film adaptation as a producer, via his Skybound Entertainment banner, with Nacho Vigalondo tapped as the primary visionary to write and direct.
The story of Image’s Comeback comic centers on a duo of time agents, named Seth and Mark, who work for a company, called Reconnect, that will – for an exorbitant cost – go back in time (limited by a small number of days,) to rescue a loved one from a fated death. Of course, this violates everything we’ve ever heard about the fragile nature of the timeline and, indeed, the company’s very-illegal ventures attract the attention of the FBI. However, when Seth encounters a future version himself, he learns that Reconnect has sinister motives, resulting in the doppelganger Seths and Mark to go on the run through time from the ruthless organization.
Of course, this premise is one that is often compared to that of director Rian Johnson’s 2012 time-travel crime movie Looper, in which Joseph Gordon Levitt is an assassin of targets from the future, who is suddenly tasked with killing his older self, played by Bruce Willis. However, it should be noted that Comeback was first launched in November 2012, a mere few months after Looper was released.
Comeback will get an up-and-coming writer/director in Spanish fillmaker Nacho Vigalondo. He wrote and directed the 2016 Godzilla-inspired monster movie comedy Colossal, managing to procure an A-lister in the Les Misérables Best Supporting actress Oscar winner Anne Hathaway as its star. He also directed segments of the 2014 horror film V/H/S/ Viral and was the primary visionary behind the surreal onscreen team of The Lord of the Rings and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency star Elijah Wood and transitioning former porn actress Sasha Grey in the 2014 crime thriller film, Open Windows.
There’s no word yet on when to expect Comeback, but we will keep you updated on the major developments as they occur.
Henry Cavill opens up about why he thinks the Justice League team works so well in pop culture during a press conference we attended.
When the cast of Justice League assembles into the lower levels of London's College of Southhampton Row, it might not quite appear like lightning has struck—after all, Ezra Miller is not in his Flash costume—but everyone is nonetheless electrified by the camaraderie on the stage. These performers, who include the likes of Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg), and the aforementioned flashy Miller, were all cast for this film years ago, back when the project was still but a promise carried on the wings of the then in-production Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Even Henry Cavill (Superman) was on hand to offer what is presumably moral support. After all, Superman is dead in this franchise.
Even so, Cavill couldn’t help but admire his Justice League heirs on the stage, musing, “These guys smashed it. Knocked it out of the park.”
Indeed, all of them, plus producers Deborah Snyder and Charles Roven, seemed genuinely pleased to be there. After their film’s long production process, it’s come out to be something that clicks with high energy action. It also embraces some old school comic book heroism. That inherent appeal caught even the “just here as a fan” Cavill.
“Watching the team dynamic as characters is one of my favorite things about this movie, because superheroes are all different factions of the human psyche, personality traits, just personified and made grand. So everyone who’s watched this movie will have something they can associate with while watching each one of these performances. And everyone watching this movie is going to identify with the differences between characters and the similarities between characters as well.”
Below you can find a video of that exchange. Justice League, meanwhile, comes out on Nov. 17.
Deadly Class, an assassin high school show is 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 just found its leads.
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.
Syfy has revealed the full cast list...
Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange) is Master Lin, the headmaster of the School for the Deadly Arts. "Deadly and feared. He's an ever-changing chameleon who keeps his students desperate for his approval."
Benjamin Wadsworth (Teen Wolf) is Marcus. "At one point we were all Marcus, an awkward outcast full of social anxiety struggling to find his place in the cold and brutal world of high school. Marcus is bottled rage, if his life had been normal this kid might have been an artist, even a poet. Instead he’s had to survive life on the streets of San Francisco. His eyes show it. He’s morally centered in an unethical world."
Lana Condor (X-Men: Apocalypse) is Saya, "mysterious and guarded with a deadly reputation. Saya was banished from one of the top Yakuza clans in Japan, sent to the School for the Deadly Arts to redeem herself. Driven to be the valedictorian, nothing will stand in her way."
Maria Gabriela de Faria (Yo Soy Franky) is Maria. "One minute Maria’s an extrovert and an exhibitionist, a tornado of ever changing emotions—fierce, charming, beautiful and oozing femininity -- the next she’s murderous, feral, and crippled by rage. At the School for the Deadly Arts her instability is treated like a super power."
Luke Tennie is Willie, "a hardened gangster, but underneath is an honest and thoughtful person who would rather be reading comic books and listening to music than engaging in blood work. Forced by his mother, leader of an LA gang, into the School for the Deadly Arts, he is under endless pressure to become the thing he hates most."
Liam James (The Family) is Billy, "skater punk, son of a corrupt cop and now a misfit at the school. He's off kilter and high energy. Billy combats every situation with sarcasm and humor. Always a glimmer of mischief in his eye."
Michel Duval (Señora Acero) is Chico, "scary, muscular, son of a cartel drug lord. Everyone knows not to mess with Chico. The only one who can hurt him is his girlfriend."
Guest stars will include Henry Rollins as Jürgen Denke, Taylor Hickson as Petra, Siobhan Williams as Brandy, Sean Depner as Viktor, Jack Gillett as Lex, and Ryan Robbins as Rory.
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.
Despite fan reactions to recent reports of a Disney/Fox deal, the X-Men aren't a good fit for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As per reports earlier this week, 21st Century Fox approached The Walt Disney Company to feel out the possibility of selling its film studio and various other adjacent entertainment subsidiaries to the Mouse House. While the deal has thankfully returned to the backburner, for now, it is unlikely to stay completely forgotten given recent courtier intrigue on the Fox board and in an actual Saudi Arabian court. Be that as it may, and ignoring the horrifying ramifications of culling one of Hollywood’s oldest studios, the big takeaway in geek culture was, of course, the X-Men. And more explicitly how these mutant brothers and sisters might be making their way home to Marvel Studios and the movie universe so many fans cherish. From social media to internet forums, this was a cause for online celebration, for in short order Wolverine could be trading quips with Iron Man, and Magneto might finally offer the MCU a foe with some menace.
As appealing as all that potential fan service could be on a surface level though, I have to say the fact that this deal has (at least for now) been scuttled is a relief. Because the X-Men do not belong in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yes, despite surely committing heresy among the fanboy set, I’ve never really considered Marvel Studios to be the “home” of any property, and I find this growing sense of brand loyalty, where pledging an oath of fealty to one studio or another is expected, to be reductive.
On simply a narrative level, there are reasons to view the mutants as a beat apart from the impressive universe built by Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios. The implicit appeal of X-Men from one generation to the next is it celebrates “the Other” and allows any marginalized youth to find power in their differences and individuality. In short, the X-Men are often allegorical stand-ins for persecuted minorities, whereas the Avengers, especially in recent Marvel Studios films, are mainstream icons to be as celebrated onscreen as they are off. Even being considered “a war criminal now” does not mean Captain America can’t be a local high school hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
This uneasy distinction between born and bred mutants and the Marvel superheroes who are gifted their powers by luck or providence has always been confounding on the page and would undoubtedly be even more cumbersome to explain on the screen. However, this is not the real issue. The best Marvel films paper over inconsistencies with well placed deflections or witticisms (again, “Pretty sure this guy’s a war criminal now”). The real reason they should stay separate is for the sake of the fans, who risk getting everything they want—which is more of the same.
At this point, the X-Men movie franchise has become a true cultural oddity. Having existed for nearly 20 years and spanning 10 films, it’s outlasted several shifting epochs in comic book movie history, from its original heyday as a somber, leathery reclamation of comicdom following the infamous Batman & Robin to somehow weathering the multiple ages of first gritty and then lighthearted, universe-building reboots that claimed both Batman and Spider-Man. Twice.
During all of this, the X-Men movies have kept trucking, which has led to some dubious continuity issues. However, it has also forced filmmakers and executives at 20th Century Fox—particularly, ahem, after the Tom Rothman era at Fox—to consistently reevaluate the mutants until you ended up with what we have today, a semi-shared universe that is currently surviving on risk-taking and diversification, as opposed to hegemony and solidification. While superhero franchises at both Disney and Warner Bros. in recent years have chased the rewards of a “shared universe” multi-franchise Hydra, the X-films have flourished in the last six years by rewarding individuality. Like the mutants they chronicle, it is their differences that become cause for celebration.
The reason Fox has gone this direction is multi-faceted. In part, Fox’s fleeting attempts to replicate the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been stumbling and, much like the course correction Warner Bros. is currently under with its DC Universe films, there has been a pivot toward focusing on individual stories, as opposed to turning them into disposable entries in an ongoing saga. Further, the lack of merchandising rights to the X-Men brand allows the studio to take risks in the actual filmmaking, as opposed to always focusing on the four-quadrant appeal of its brand.
Consequently, I would argue three of the last four X-Men-related movies have had more personality than most of the modern superhero slugfests. This is best crystallized in Logan, a film that is unafraid to take its time with its exploration of the weight of comic book-mythmaking on flesh and blood humans. In addition to its gore and swearing, there is a measured patience in its gait, and it’s as deconstructive of the superhero genre as the best revisionist Westerns of the 1970s.
James Mangold took major risks by genuinely departing from what is considered to be the “superhero movie,” as opposed to merely suggesting in the press that because Robert Redford is in a movie, it should qualify as an espionage thriller. Mangold is poised to push his deconstructionist impulses that value character and acting even farther in his currently developing X-23 spinoff. Meanwhile, Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool is as different from Logan as Animal House was from McCabe and Mrs. Miller. A raunchy, fourth-wall obliterating comedy, the Merc with a Mouth also deconstructed the clichés other studios toil in with gleeful scorn.
This level of experimentation is likely to continue with the X-brand, as Noah Hawley pushes artful boundaries on FX’s Legion, and Josh Boone only begins teasing his fascinating “mutant horror movie” concept with New Mutants, which looks like A Nightmare on Elm Street and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest had a super-powered baby.
As other superhero franchises push closer and closer to a narrative singularity, and even concepts as bleak as an apocalyptic “Ragnarok” are sandblasted into the familiar constraints of a comedic “get the band together” team-up yarn, creative ambition within the genre is hardly anything to throw away. While the main line X-Men movies hit a misstep in last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, there has still been significant creativity in its predecessors to suggest the brand can endure. X-Men: First Class resembled an actual spy movie, if of the goofy Sean Connery variety, and was a warm up for Matthew Vaughn before taking on Kingsman, while X-Men: Days of Future Past churlishly used mutant superpowers to challenge its heroes with the temptations of drug addiction and political assassination.
Just as Logan was not afraid to turn its proverbial immigrant song into a subplot that was actually aware and vocal about the increasing scapegoating of foreigners who’ve crossed a border out of desperation, most of the recent X-films have been forced to embrace and constantly reconsider the allegorical appeal of mutants, if only because a franchise this old is compelled to dig deeper past formula.
So as much as I would enjoy seeing a comic book accurate costumed X-team fight the Avengers, with Gambit calling Captain America “Mon ami,” the tradeoff of storytelling and filmmaking possibilities is too severe. In many ways, the losses of putting the X-Men in the MCU are a microcosm of what is wrong with a potential Disney/Fox merger. As the resources of Hollywood studios consolidate, the chance for competition in the market drastically shrinks. Consumers lose the opportunity of larger diversity, and everything starts looking the same. There cannot be anything more antithetical to Charles Xavier’s dream for a better future than that.
Ellen Page will star as Vanya in The Umbrella Academy Netflix series, based on the comics by Gerard Way.
Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy is coming to Netflix as a live action series. The comic book series, which debuted in 2007, was first optioned as a movie before Dark Horse signed a deal with Universal Cable Productions to adapt the comic as a TV series. Netflix has given the series a 10-episode order that will arrive sometime in 2018.
The live action series follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes -- The Monocle, Spaceboy, The Kraken, The Rumor, The Séance, Number Five, The Horror, and the seemingly powerless Vanya -- as they work together to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities.
Ellen Page (X-Men: Days of Future Past) will star as Vanya, who is estranged from the rest of the family because of her lack of powers. Vanya is a very important character in the first arc of the comics, as she goes through a bit of self-discovery that puts her at odds with the superheroes she once called a family.
The Umbrella Academy will be produced by Universal Cable Productions. Steve Blackman (Fargo, Altered Carbon) will serve as executive producer and showrunner, with additional executive producers Bluegrass Television and Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment. Gerard Way will serve as co-executive producer. The pilot script was adapted from the comic book series by Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist).
In 2016, Slater talked to Collider about his script:
I definitely wrote the pilot for The Umbrella Academy. I think it’s really exciting. I think it’s really surprising and funny. I took the job because I’m such an immense fan of what Gerard [Way] and Gabriel [Ba, the artist] did with that book. It’s one of those things where I would rather be the guy to screw it up than sit back and let someone else come in and do the bad adaptation. So, I was really adamant about taking the job, but the only way I was going to do it was if I could make it weird and make it true to the spirit of the book. There’s a lot of weird shit in The Umbrella Academy, and it would be very easy to sand down some of those weird edges and make it more familiar to American audiences. I’m fighting very hard to not let that happen. We’re shopping around the pilot, at the moment. We’re trying to find the right home for it and trying to find someone as excited as we are.
Rawson Marshal Thurber (Dodgeball) was originally tied to the project when it was still being considered for the big screen. He told CBR in 2016 that the series would be too difficult to adapt as a film, citing the weirdness of the book as something that could be lost in translation at a big studio.
Slater echoed Thurber's thoughts in his interview with Collider:
I think the relationships and the dynamics are so rich in that book that, if you tried to distill it down to 90 minutes, everyone gets reduced to a cartoon and a caricature. It really is The Royal Tenenbaums with superpowers. In order to do justice to that premise, you need time to unpack those characters, and dig into what makes them tick and the different relationships that they have with each other. There is so much fertile material there to tell really interesting, really funny, really unique stories that to compress it all into an hour and a half and throw in a bunch of giant action sequences, you’re going to wind up with some total mish-mash. It’s going to be Mystery Men. It’s going to be yet another wacky comedic superhero movie that no one really wants to see. It has its own unique DNA, and I think people should respect that DNA, or they should not do the project.
Way began writing The Umbrella Academyjust a year after the release of My Chemical Romance's magnum opus, The Black Parade. The series is 15 issues of Eisner Award-winning goodness that has continued to inform Way's career as a comic book writer, especially with his current run on Doom Patrol and his Young Animal line at DC. Artist Gabriel Ba has also done some of his best work on the series. (If you want something really great by Ba, check out Daytripper, which he created with his twin brother, artist Fabio Moon.)
The Umbrella Academy has been on a bit of a hiatus since 2009. Only two volumes, The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, have been released thus far, although Way and Ba plan at least two more volumes. The third volume is called Hotel Oblivion, and it's been in the works since at least 2013 when Way tweeted out an update with some sketches of new characters. Way and Ba had agreed to begin work on Hotel Oblivion in 2014, but a lot's happened since then. Besides his music projects, Way has his own line of comics and two comic book series to write.
While it's not likely the Umbrella Academy will return on the page any time soon, fans will at least gave the show to look forward to.
The new trailer for Injustice 2's Fighter Pack 3 DLC shows off Atom, Enchantress, and all four Ninja Turtles! Yes, really!
The further a fighting game goes with their DLC characters, the more pizzazz is needed. NetherRealm Studios set the ball rolling a few years back when their final DLC reveal for Mortal Kombat 9 was Freddy Krueger. Since then, Mortal Kombat’s featured the likes of Alien, Predator, Leatherface, and Jason Voorhees. Smash Bros. has brought in everyone from Cloud to Ryu to Bayonetta. Killer Instinct has Arbiter from Haloand Rash from Battletoads. Tekkenis about to bring in Fatal Fury’s Geese Howard. Injustice 2 has already played around with Sub-Zero, Raiden, and even Hellboy.
Now it’s motherfucking pizza time.
Injustice 2’s Fighter Pack 3 will bring us the Atom and Enchantress. No big deal, as Enchantress has been obvious from the beginning and Atom’s trailer was released a while ago. But then the trench coat-wearing interloper turns out not to be the Question or even Rorschach...but Raphael, accompanied by his three reptilian bros.
Can’t say I ever saw that one coming. I’m pumped. I’m not even mad that Booster Gold isn’t there!
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are no stranger to fighting games, of course. They’ve had various one-on-one titles in the 8-bit/16-bit era and even a Smash Bros. knockoff at one point. They’re even no stranger to the DC Universe, as they’ve recently been having regular crossovers with Batman that have been outstanding.
Presumably, the Turtles will be like Mortal Kombat X’s Triborg, who was four different movesets for one character spot (Sektor, Cyrax, Cyber Smoke, and Cyber Sub-Zero). If anything, it’ll be fun to see all four of them each having specific dialogue against the likes of a talking gorilla and a half-woman/half-cheetah.
In a world where Capcom won’t put mutants in their own superhero fighting game, NetherRealm’s decided that four will do just fine.
The Atom will be available for early access on December 12 with the rest presumably sometime in 2018. Meanwhile, Hellboy will be available on November 14.
Gavin Jasper feels that Sub-Zero’s Shredder costume from Mortal Kombat: Deception has finally paid off. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
All out war continues on The Walking Dead. We take a spoiler-filled dive into the comics to see what might happen in season 8!
This Walking Dead article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for the show and comics.
The Walking Dead season 7 ended with a bang, as all of the different factions introduced this year converged for war. Rick, Ezekiel, and Maggie will lead Alexandria, the Kingdom, and the Hilltop, while Negan and Jadis round out this universe's version of the Axis Powers. The Saviors and the garbage people certainly have the numbers, but the heroes are determined to fight back and free themselves from the oppressive villains. I put my money on Sheriff Rick.
While the first half of the season was a bit slow in terms of story progression, the second half covered quite a bit of story in eight episodes. In all, season 7 adapted three arcs: "Something to Fear,""What Comes After," and "March to War," with a few liberties taken here and there - such as the introduction of Jadis and the Heapsters and Sasha's fate.
The first half of season 8 will probably take its time with the conflict between Rick's Militia and the Saviors, if for no other reason but the budget. Call me a bit cynical, but it's likely that season 8 won't deliver a big battle sequence until the midseason finale - usually the moment The Walking Dead tends to go very big (except in the case of season 7's midseason finale, of course.) The show has a tendency to drag out certain character arcs or events from the comics at a sometimes frustrating pace, and I don't see that really changing much when it comes to one of the comic's most action-packed arcs.
Here's what might happen in The Walking Dead season 8 based on what we know from the comics:
All Out War
The first half of season 8 (which is what I'm focusing on here - I'll do a separate guide for the second half) will most likely cover material from just one arc, "All Out War," from the comic book series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. If you want to pick up the complete arc in trades, that's Vol. 20 and 21 or issues #115-126.
The "All Out War" arc really is what it says on the cover. It chronicles the war between the Militia (Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom) and the Saviors, including several battles both at the Sanctuary and Alexandria. Again, these events will most likely be spread out - and one of the fights in the first part of the arc was sort of remixed for the season 7 finale, actually - so you can probably expect to see only one of these battles in 8A.
My guess would be that we'll see the Militia's first attack on the Sanctuary, where Negan is bunkered in after being surprised by the Hilltop and Kingdom's forces at Alexandria - much like in the season 7 finale. In the comics, Rick's plan is not to go head to head with the Saviors at the Sanctuary but to lure a large walker horde to the enemy base in order to cut off Negan's main force from the smaller Savior outposts. The Militia's plan is then to take the outposts, chipping away at the Saviors' numbers.
It's a plan that works for the most part except that a character named Holly dies after being captured by Negan. Much of Holly's final storyline plays out like Sasha's. Negan offers a zombified Holly back to the settlement as a peace offering. Holly, who has a bag over her head as she walks into Alexandria, bites Denise (yes, the doctor who died in season 6 of the show) and all hell breaks loose in the settlement, as the Saviors begin to lodge grenades over the settlement's walls. This actually inspired a bit of the battle in the season 7 finale, except zombie Sasha caught Negan by surprise when he opened the coffin.
Moving up this second confrontation to season 7 means that the writers are free to add a lot of build-up to the first battle at the Sanctuary. For example, I fully expect that we'll see a version of the attacks on the individual outposts BEFORE the bigger attack on the Savior base.
In those smaller confrontations - which would be a fun, action-packed way to open season 8 - Rick and Ezekiel split into two groups to take out two outposts. While Rick's team succeeds in taking out all of the Saviors at their outpost, Ezekiel's force is ambushed and many are killed, including Shiva, who sacrifices herself in order to save the King from a walker horde. The loss of his men and loyal pet seriously shakes up Ezekiel's confidence in his own leadership, which could be a major setback for his TV counterpart as well. It's likely that we'll see the Militia beaten back a bit in the early part of the season, especially since Negan has overwhelming numbers at his disposal, and the midseason finale will inevitably be when the tide turns in the good guys' favor.
There are still plenty of threads left over from season 7 that will undoubtedly fill in the blanks in season 8. Character-focused storylines will still make up the bulk of the season, even though it's adapting a largely action-oriented arc. This doesn't account for any original storylines the show might throw at us. Will we get our first glimpse of the Whisperers, for example? (That's probably not going to happen, considering how many factions already exist in this universe, but this fan-favorite zombie cult could eventually make its way to the show in the latter half of the season.)
Gregory is perhaps season 7's most glaring cliffhanger. It's pretty clear to me that Gregory will not join the Militia's cause on the show, instead choosing to side with Negan in order to save his own life at the expense of his people. In the comics, Gregory makes a surprise appearance at the Sanctuary during the Militia's attack, and he declares that the Hilltop will side with the Saviors. While several Hilltoppers switch sides at Gregory's behest, Paul "Jesus" Monroe remains at Rick's side.
Fortunately for the Militia, the Hilltop doesn't make up the bulk of their fighting force in the comics, something Gregory led Negan to believe when they struck a deal to work together against Rick et al. Negan literally kicks Gregory out of the Sanctuary during the battle, and the cowardly leader is forced to make his way back to the Hilltop where he's welcomed by Maggie's fists. Yes, it's safe to assume that Maggie will take full control of the Hilltop by the end of season 8.
As for Gregory, it can be assumed that the cowardly villain will follow a similar trajectory to his comic book counterpart, especially since he was headed to meet with Simon in the penultimate episode of season 7. While we didn't catch up with him in the finale, I think we'll probably see what Gregory's up to at some point in 8A. I have a feeling that things won't fare well for him.
The writers have taken a few liberties with Eugene's storyline in "All Out War," especially when it comes to the character's allegiance. While he's also captured by the Saviors in the comic book, Eugene shows a bit more resilience on the page, refusing to make ammo for Negan and eventually escaping the Sanctuary. The show has played this storyline a bit differently, making Eugene a fully pledged Negan follower by the end of season 7. While Eugene hasn't done anything truly questionable under Negan, it's clear that the coward has shifted his allegiance just enough to warrant Rosita trying to blow him up.
Of course, it's not too late for the man with the iron mullet. He does show that he still cares about his friends when he helps Sasha commit suicide instead of letting her suffer under Negan's rule. Eugene could yet redeem himself by continuing to be a saboteur inside the Sanctuary.
In the comic, Eugene is helped in his escape from the Sanctuary by other Saviors, something that could potentially repeat itself on the show. My guess would be that Dwight will eventually help Eugene escape, although this particular storyline has a lot of potential to play out very differently.
Oceanside was one of season 7's bigger surprises, primarily because the settlement has never actually been explored in the comic. While it does exist and is mentioned several times in Kirkman's original work, the show has fleshed out this particular settlement far beyond the writer's original intent.
This settlement by the sea is unique in its own right, being made up of women and ruled by women. It's a very welcome counterpart to the Saviors' much more patriarchal society. Oceanside is also a great addition to the already impressive cast of female characters on the show. It'll be interesting to see if they actually join the fight in season 8.
The last time the show visited Oceanside, it was for a very tense meeting with Alexandria. Ambushed by Rick and his group, the women of Oceanside were rounded up and forced to give up their guns. Some members of the group, such as young Cyndie, felt that Alexandria's cause was just, though, and willingly gave up their weapons and even considered joining the fight. In time Oceanside may finally agree to join the Militia. After all, Oceanside has a very big bone to pick with Negan.
Speaking of new settlements, Jadis and her garbage people are perhaps the standout new group of the series. Straight out of a Mad Max film, Jadis' group is something of an enigma. We've not spent too much time learning about their past - which honestly might be the reason why they work so well, although a flashback episode in season 8 would certainly be justified.
After the twist in the season 7 finale, the garbage people have been established as villains, and it remains to be seen how their relationship with the Saviors might evolve - or if the alliance is only temporary. I'd certainly like to see much more of this group and learn more about how they work and why they live in a junkyard.
While Jadis actress Pollyanna McIntosh revealed on Talking Dead (via Bustle) that the group's name is the Scavengers, the garbage people don't really have any relation to the Scavengers from the comics. (The Wolves filled in for the comic book Scavengers in season 6 - this all gets a little confusing!) In fact, some fans have theorized that the garbage people might actually be the precursor to the Whisperers. As Jadis mentioned in her introduction, her people are good at adapting, which means that whatever happens in season 8 could turn Jadis' group into a full blown killer zombie cult. Again, it's a theory.
Dwight remains one of the most polarizing characters on the show, and now there's the question of where his allegiance truly lies. By the end of season 7, he's working as a double agent for the Militia. Although he must side with Negan in public, Dwight is secretly feeding Rick and his people information about the Saviors' plans.
We last see Dwight with Negan, Simon, and Eugene, as they prepare to go to war. Dwight and Simon remain Negan's most important lieutenants, and Dwight will have to figure out how to exploit that next season. There's also the possibility that Dwight is actually playing Rick et al at the behest of Negan, who loves to play mind games with his enemies. It could be that Dwight has faked his defection in order to get more info on the Militia's plans. As far as the comics go, Dwight does indeed turn against Negan and helps the heroes during the war. Negan has pushed Dwight to the limit and now he wants revenge.
One thing left hanging for Dwight is the whereabouts of Sherry. This could be something season 8 will explore further. Sherry is the reason Dwight decides to turn on Negan, so bringing her back might add a bit more tension between the two, especially if Dwight has to help her hide from the Saviors.
Speaking of Negan...
While the villain is far from meeting his maker by the end of season 7, many fans are wondering what might await the character next season. Assuming all of "All Out War" plays out in season 8 - I have my doubts - there could be some major cold-blooded retribution awaiting the SOB. It's really a question of how close the writers want to stick to the comics in terms of the aftermath to the war.
In the comic, Negan is eventually defeated and taken prisoner, sentenced to life in an Alexandria jail cell. While this certainly works well in the book, it might be a little tricky when it comes to the show. Keeping Jeffrey Dean Morgan locked in a cell for whole seasons might not be the best use of the actor's time, unless he only makes guest appearances every few episodes.
It doesn't help that the reception to the live-action version of Negan has been a bit mixed. JDM is very charismatic and plays the character pretty close to the source material, yet there have been issues with how the villain translates to TV, seeming cartoonish at times - at points almost a parody of the comic book character. More than once, the villain was cited as one of season 7's biggest flaws. The show could perhaps rid itself of a bit of baggage by killing Negan. It would certainly take hardcore fans of the comic by surprise.
So if you're wondering if the show will eventually kill off Negan, I'd say its very up in the air at this point, although given showrunner Scott M. Gimple's penchant for sticking pretty close to the source material, I'd say we may still have quite a bit of time left with Negan - perhaps well beyond season 8.
Supergirl and Arrow producer Andrew Kreisberg and DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza hit with sexual harassment allegations.
Andrew Kreisberg, executive producer of prominent DC superhero TV shows Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrowhas been suspended by Warner Bros. TV Group pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment. The report from Variety has 19 sources, 15 women and four men, who have come forward to accuse Mr. Kreisberg of inappropriate conduct, alleging a "toxic" and "hostile" work environment that involved unwanted touching, kissing, and sexual comments.
Warner Bros. TV Group issued a statement to Variety:
“We have recently been made aware of allegations of misconduct against Andrew Kreisberg. We have suspended Mr. Kreisberg and are conducting an internal investigation. We take all allegations of misconduct extremely seriously, and are committed to creating a safe working environment for our employees and everyone involved in our productions.”
“We were recently made aware of some deeply troubling allegations regarding one of our showrunners,” added Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. “We have been encouraging and fully cooperating with the investigation into this by Warner Bros. There is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our cast, crew, writers, producers and any staff. We do not tolerate harassment and are committed to doing everything we can to make an environment that’s safe to work in and safe to speak up about if it isn’t.”
Mr. Kreisberg denies the allegations. "I have made comments on women’s appearances and clothes in my capacity as an executive producer," he told Variety, "but they were not sexualized. Like many people, I have given someone a non-sexual hug or kiss on the cheek.”
The Varietyreport details multiple allegations from both men and women alleging inappropriate behavior from Mr. Kreisberg towards staffers, and a fear to report him to Warner Bros. TV's HR department out of fear of retaliation.
Warner Bros. TV's swift suspension of Kreisberg comes just as DC Comics is faced with similar allegations against one of its high level editors, Eddie Berganza, who is in charge of high profile titles like Superman, Action Comics, Wonder Woman, and the current Dark Nights: Metal crossover event. Rumors of inappropriate conduct by Berganza have circulated openly for years, and several former employees came forward in a story published by Buzzfeedalleging a pattern of sexual harassment.
DC Entertainment issued a statement in response to the Buzzfeed article (via ComicBook):
DC and WB are unequivocally committed to cultivating a work environment of dignity and respect, one that is safe and harassment free for all employees. We take all claims of harassment very seriously and investigate them promptly. Employees found in violation of the policies are dealt with swiftly and decisively, and subject to disciplinary actions and consequences.
While there are apparently no recent allegations about Mr. Berganza's behavior, it is unclear what "disciplinary actions and consequences" he may have faced in the past, although his position changed from "executive editor" to "group editor" after an incident in 2012.
A brand new X-Men team is rising, with Phoenix in the lead.
Marvel announced the newest addition to their X-Men lineup yesterday. Following her return in Phoenix Resurrection, Jean Grey* will be leading the team in X-Men Red in February.
Tom Taylor, the writer behind one of the best ongoing X-Men comics in years, All New Wolverine, will write this team book. Mahmud Asrar (All-New X-Men) will draw interiors, and Travis Charest (WildC.A.T.S.) will handle covers.
Taylor said about the book, “The time is right for an X-Men book like this, and I'm very excited about the story we're telling in these pages. I'm excited for Jean Grey*'s vision for the world, and I can't wait for Marvel readers to meet our team of established fan-favorites and brand new mutants, and to see them in action."
Marvel also released a video summing up Jean Grey*'s history in the Marvel Universe, taking viewers through her time as an original X-Man, becoming Phoenix, her time as Dark Phoenix, her death, first resurrection, marriage, second death, second resurrection, and third, more permanent seeming death in under a minute. Check it out!
We asterisked her name for clarity purposes. The Jean Grey referred to here is of course, the original Jean Grey created in 1963, and not the time-displaced "original" Jean Grey who's been running around the Marvel Universe for about 5 years (who is actually the Jean Grey from the Season One Earth, which was destroyed in Secret Wars and thus, one they cannot go back to). For more clarity on the various Jean Greys, X-Mens of the spectrum, or destroyed parallel universes, stick with Den of Geek!
A new report states Gal Gadot will walk away from Wonder Woman 2 unless WB buys out producer Brett Ratner, so he cannot benefit from it.
In a news item that has taken social media by storm, it was reported this weekend that Gal Gadot, star of Wonder Woman, Justice League, and an all-around icon these days, has demanded Brett Ratner be completely cut out of all potential profits from 2019’s Wonder Woman 2, or the star is walking. If the producer isn’t bought out by WB, the studio will have to find itself another Wonder Woman.
It’s certainly a news story that makes it clear the Israeli actress was a perfect choice for Diana Prince, as it would suggest she is using her newfound A-list status to actually enforce a change benefitting women in her industry. Brett Ratner currently stands accused of alleged sexual harassment, homophobic abuse, and sexual assault by more than a half-dozen women. The juicy intel comes from an anonymous source in Page Six, which broke the story.
According to Page Six’s insider, “Gadot is saying she won't sign for the sequel unless Warner Bros. buys Brett out [of his financing deal] and gets rid of him.” The source also added, “She’s tough and stands by her principles. She also knows the best way to hit people like Brett Ratner is in the wallet. She also knows that Warner Bros. has to side with her on this issue as it develops. They can’t have a movie rooted in women’s empowerment being part-financed by a man accused of sexual misconduct against women.”
The revelation that Gadot is drawing a line in the sand between herself and Ratner can only be heartwarming, given that for years Ratner enjoyed the dubious reputation of a “playboy” in Hollywood before The LA Times ran a damning article in which six women, including Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge, went on record with accounts of alleged, heinous abuse. Since then Ellen Page has also spoken up about alleged homophobic harassment and bullying on the set of X-Men: The Last Stand.
Ratner’s RatPac-Dune Entertainment has had a co-financing deal set-up at Warner Bros. for years where he has helped finance (and earned profits from) DCEU movies like Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman. As such he will see a fair amount of profit from Wonder Woman. Since the allegations against Ratner broke, WB has formally severed ties from RatPac-Dune, which will no longer co-finance films with the movie studio, which adds some ambiguity to this report.
However, just because RatPac is not officially producing Wonder Woman 2 does not mean that Ratner doesn’t have a contract or deal in place to financially benefit from a sequel to any movie he produced at WB. Further, it is unclear if WB's decision to not renew its contract with RatPac-Dune past 2018 means that the the studio could still be financing 2018 DCEU films, including Wonder Woman 2, which is in theory going into production next year. If so, then Gadot has every reason to use her clout to make sure a man who appears to be the antithesis of the feminist values of Wonder Woman and the Amazons should not profit from anymore Wonder Woman movies. (RatPac is still in the opening scrawl for Justice League).
To be sure, Gal Gadot is putting herself out on a limb by making this demand. But it’s one where she already has complete public support, so we suspect it’s a battle that Wonder Woman is going to walk away victorious from. Easily.
Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming Justice League movie!
This article contains some Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilers.
This is the one that the DC Extended Universe is building towards. Five years after The Avengers showed us that it was possible to pull off a non-mutant superhero team on the big screen, we'll finally see a JusticeLeaguemovie. Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director Zack Snyder has wrapped filming on Justice League (with an assist from Joss Whedon), from a script by Batman v Superman's Chris Terrio.
According to recent reports, Justice League clocks in at a lean 121 minutes, making it the shortest DCEU movie so far!
Justice League Trailer
Check out all the footage from Justice League released so far...
We get our best look yet at Steppenwolf in this international trailer.
Justice League Movie Release Date
Justice League is scheduled for a November 17th, 2017 release. The complete DC superhero movie release calendar can be found here.
Justice League Movie Villain
In order for the Justice League to form, they need a threat with power levels that only a team of heroes could take down, right?
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice made it pretty explicit that Darkseid is on his way to this world, and there were several visual cues for those who are interested. We broke those down (along with lots more comic references in the movie) right here. But he isn't the villain of the Justice League movie. A deleted scene from Batman v Superman released online offered a look at a monstrous creature on a Kryptonian ship, who turned out to be another Fourth World related despot (and Jack Kirby creation), Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf is basically Darkseid's cousin, a powerful warrior from Apokolips who wields a pretty crazy energy axe.
Ciaran Hinds (you may know him as Mance Rayder on Game of Thrones which makes him a particularly cool choice for this part) is playing Steppenwolf in the film, and the actor spoke about how they got him into character. "Basically they’re going to construct something, digitally, and then they will use my eyes and mouth,"the actor told The Independent. Hinds describes Steppenwolf as "old, tired, still trying to get out of his own enslavement to Darkseid, [but] he has to keep on this line to try and take over worlds.”
Here's what Steppenwolf looked like in that Batman v Superman deleted scene:
And here's Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder. You may start your Photoshop engines accordingly...
It's still inevitable that we'll see Darkseid in these movies, and he'll probably still be a presence in the first one. DC Comics used him as the catalyst for the formation of the Justice League in the current comic book series. He's a pretty big gun to burn this early, though, so holding him back for Justice League Part Two sound about as logical as anything else we've heard.
Hit the next page for more info on the cast and story!
Everything from the long history of the Robotech franchise is on the table and we've got details on what comics will be republished first.
When Robotech debuted back in 1985 it was accompanied by a trio of comic book series by Comico, adapting the eighty-five episode series. After Robotech went off the air, several companies including Eternity, Academy, Antarctic, and Wildstorm all contributed memorable, if sometimes flawed, stories to the Robotech universe. Many of those titles have been long out of print and fans who have recently gotten into the franchise, like yours truly, have had a really tough time tracking them down.
Back in 2016, Vice President of Marketing Kevin McKeever revealed the entire back catalog of Robotech comics would be released by Titan Comics, who are currently publishing the newest entry in the Robotech comics saga.
In an upcoming episode of the Robotech podcast, RoboSkull Cast, President of Animation at Harmony Gold, Tommy Yune revealed just how Titan plans to release the old material. They plan on going in chronological order, starting with the Comico run of the Macross saga.
For fans who aren't familar with the history of Robotech comics, each Comico issue retold an episode from the series. Some of these issues had been republished but have since gone out of print.
After finishing the Macross saga, Titan will go right into Robotech The Sentinels including Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles.
All of these will be released in what Yune referred to as, "omnibus phone books." When asked about how many issues might be included in each of these phone books Yune said it hadn't been finalized but that the Sentinels run might be broken in half and the Macross Saga could be released in two or three volumes.
"Fans can now binge Robotech in print instead of waiting for these smaller graphic novel compilations," Yune explained.
After the Macross Saga and Sentinels comics are released Titan will then move on to the Masters comics. Yune also confirms Titan does want to republish the very obscure Robotech comics. Yes, even the one shots.
There’s no word yet on when these collections will be released.
It’s exciting to know that the long and varied history of Robotech comics is being rereleased. Sure, the Comico titles will be nice to own, but it’s the various sequels and prequels that interest me the most. Some of the art isn’t stellar and the writing can be spotty in places, but it’s still a part of the Robotech franchise and it will be great to finally own it without having to dig through longboxes at various comic cons.
Stay tuned to Den of Geek for all things Robotech!
Shamus Kelley can only hope the Robotech Crystal Dreams mini comic will be released down the line. Oh yeah, getting SUPER obscure. Follow him on Twitter!
Spider-Man villain Morbius will be the center of a Sony spinoff movie, with the writers of Power Rangers attached to the script.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe-adjacent, Tom Holland-starring Sony Spider-Man film franchise has taken another step forward in its endeavor to create solo spinoff projects for the Wall-Crawler’s signature nemeses. While star Tom Hardy is shooting Venom as we speak, it appears that the studio is moving forward with the next Spidey villain feature, this time centering on the Living Vampire himself, Morbius!
Sony Pictures is developing a solo spinoff project for Morbius, reports THR. The would-be feature film, set to follow the anti-hero exploits of the blood-sucking Spider-Man antagonist, will work off a script by Burk Sharpless and Matt Sazama, a duo who helped script the 2017 Power Rangers film reboot, having previously worked on 2016 adventure epic Gods of Egypt, 2015 Vin Diesel action/horror vehicle The Last Witch Hunter and, appropriately enough, 2014 vampire origin flick Dracula Untold.
Morbius, who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #101, dated October 1971, was an intriguing character for the twilight era of comics’ Silver Age, arriving just after the Comics Code Authority lifted its ban on vampires and supernatural characters. He first manifested as a villain, tangling with Spider-Man during the famous storyline in which the Wall-Crawler grew four extra arms after a failed experiment to remove his spider powers.
Also known as Dr. Michael Morbius, the character was a brilliant biochemist suffering from a rare blood disorder, who tried to cure himself with an experimental treatment involving vampire bats. While saving his life, it turned him into a pale-white, blood-craving creature with most of the attributes of a vampire (even a weakness to daylight), minus the undead aspect, existing as a “Living Vampire.” Indeed, the tragic aspects of Morbius’s origin story quickly led to him being spotlighted in solo stories in Marvel’s Adventure into Fear, later occasionally popping back up in the Spider-Man titles as a rival. However, Morbius would eventually shine as a hero of sorts, with the 1992 debut of his own series Morbius the Living Vampire. He’s also been famously depicted as a tragic villain in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series.
At this point, no details have been revealed regarding Sony’s prospective approach to Morbius. However, the character’s comic-traditional tragic anti-hero elements seem rife for adaptation. Yet, it still depends on how Venom turns out, since, like the Morbius project, it will serve as the cold introduction to an iconic Spider-Man-connected character, sans the presence of Spider-Man, acquainting audiences with the identifiable elements of a dubious, sometimes-malevolent protagonist. It’s certainly an experimental approach that differs drastically from Marvel Studios’ carefully-curated, slow-burn approach to franchise building.
Venom, starring Tom Hardy, will first serve as the villainous solo movie canary at the box office coal mine when it arrives on October 5, 2018. As for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, he will next appear alongside the entire MCU in (Marvel Studios’) Avengers: Infinity War, which ignites on May 4, 2018.
We chat with the creators of Atomic Blonde, Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, the heroine, Charlize Theron, and a sequel.
The summer of 2017 was a strange time for going to the movies. Much of the press coverage was about bad box office numbers, and yet we also had several breakout hits that saw both critical and commercial success. Atomic Blonde, starring Charlize Theron and directed by David Leitch of John Wick fame, was one of those hits. Set on both sides of the Berlin Wall just before it fell in 1989, this slick action-packed spy thriller rose above our expectations for a summer flick with its throw-back soundtrack, inventive action sequences, and a trope-defying story that rested on Charlize Theron's considerable chops as both an actor and an action star.
Atomic Blonde releases on DVD and Blu-Ray on Tuesday, Nov. 14 but we sat down with writer Antony Johnston and illustrator Sam Hart, the creators of The Coldest City, the graphic novel Atomic Blonde was based on, to hear their thoughts on the experience of seeing their work brought to the big screen, ‘80s music, and whether we'll be seeing a sequel to Atomic Blonde.
Den of Geek: What was it like to see your book The Coldest City translated to screen?
Sam Hart: I was amazed at how they managed to visually translate the narrative. Not necessarily each scene or each drawing, but the narrative obviously is different when you're reading a page and when you're looking at a screen with actors, and music and so forth. I've seen the movie five times and I've loved it every time!
Antony Johnston: Same here, I loved it. I've seen it even more times than Sam. I love it, I thought that David [Leitch], Charlize, and everyone involved did a fantastic job at interpreting the story in a way that worked on screen, that made it a great movie. I loved the soundtrack, I loved the visuals, I thought we had an amazing cast. And I loved how they found places in which to insert Dave's trademark action set pieces, you know in the movie, without sort of shoehorning them into places that didn't make sense within the story. Of course [Atomic Blonde] is quite faithful in terms of story, but it's very different in terms of feel. It's been really exciting, and I was pleased and happy with how it turned out.
You mention the feel of the movie. The aesthetics of the book and the movie are very specific, though they differ. Sam, what were your touch points and inspirations?
SH: Firstly it was film noir. Antony specifically asked for the artwork to be in complete black and white with no tones or grayscale. So I looked at old movies and TV series that could reflect that sort of feeling--the suspense, that you don't really know what's lurking in the shadows. That was visually what I was looking for. In comics there are a few old artists who I really like, Alex Toth and Bernie Krigstein, so I was looking a lot at their work at the time.
Antony, a lot of people see Lorraine as a way of flipping the script on a male trope, which is something you've done in the past, with Klem from The Fuse. When people do the so-called "woman version" of something there's both praise and criticism for that. So what drew you to doing that for Lorraine in particular?
AJ: The decision to make Lorraine a woman, you know, for a woman to be the central character, came about fairly early in the book's development, because… I was having a bit of trouble [with what I was thinking about writing], to be honest. And then I don't recall exactly how the idea came to me, but I suddenly had the idea: "What if this central character was a woman surrounded by men, in a very male-dominated environment and profession in the late ‘80s. . But she was a woman in this male-dominated world, and so constantly underestimated, constantly underestimated by all of the men around her and the men she works with. And that of course is what enables her to deceive them and to get one over on them. To win the day. Because they consistently underestimate her and think that she's simply not as capable as she is.
And so for that kind of character, it made sense therefore for Lorraine to be a fairly cool, calm, and calculated sort of person. You know, not overly emotional, doesn't have a tragic backstory or anything like that. Because I wanted to show that a woman would probably need to adapt that sort of persona in that world, in order to sort of compete with the men. But also to show that a woman character doesn't need that sort of overly emotional motivation and personality to be good at her job. She can just be a woman who's really good at her job.
As so often happens with these things, if that character was a man and did all the same things that Lorraine does, nobody would bat an eyelid. That was very important to me. I wanted her to do everything that a man would do, she just does it as a woman. She's not held back in any way by her gender.
What has the fan reaction been to the character of Lorraine?
AJ: What we had with the book was a lot of critical acclaim. It wasn't really a mass-market hit, but we had a lot of critical acclaim and a lot of people said very nice things and about her as a character. But of course it was the reaction to Charlize as Lorraine on the screen that's been the most widespread and vocal. And I can see why, because I agree with them. I think she portrayed the character really well on the screen. She created this beautiful and very, very powerful and memorable, iconic character on the screen.
But from my point of view, the best thing about it was that [Charlize] got the character. I could tell that immediately. The moment I met Charlize on set and saw how she was playing Lorraine, I realized that she got it; she understood what lay at the core of this character. And that's what people are reacting to, and I reacted in just the same way. I'm very happy that people are responding to Charlize's portrayal of Lorraine, because it is very true to the book.
Berlin in 1989 was such a very specific time - both sides of the wall are different, the world is on the brink of something changing, which the book captured well. How did both of you capture that specific time and place?
AJ: I did a bunch of research, but I also lived in Europe in the late 1980s. I remember the wall coming down. I remember being transfixed by the live images from Berlin on the news, of them pulling the wall down. A lot of it to be honest for me was just memory of living through that time. Sam, I know, did a lot of visual research.
SH: I was in Brazil already at the time, I moved to Brazil in the early ‘80s. I remember the wall coming down but from afar. I did a lot of visual research with Google and movies, and TV series.
Were there any specific movies or TV shows, Sam, that you used for inspiration?
SH: I saw an old TV series that Antony recommended me. I don't remember the name now.
AJ: I think one of them was Sandbaggers, wasn't it? Which was a 1980s spy series of which I'm a big fan.
The DVD and Blu-ray will be released on Nov. 14. Are there any special features that you're excited about?
AJ: I may be honest, I actually haven't seen it yet myself [Laughing]. When I went to the set they interviewed me for the extras, so I assume I'm on it somewhere. I'm most excited to hear Dave Leitch's commentary, because I know that he's recorded a commentary for it. Having spoke to Dave over the course of making the movie I'm really interested to hear his commentary on the final product.
SH: I'm interested to hear more from Sam Hargrave explaining the stunts.
Both sound like excellent choices. Earlier we mentioned the amazing soundtrack, but I'm wondering if there are any songs you two had in mind when creating The Coldest City that you wish had been included?
AJ: Not for me. I listen to music when I'm working, but I'm not one of those people who builds a playlist for specific works. And I'm very purist in the sense that when I write a comic or a novel or something without sound, I don't think of things like a soundtrack, because I want to make sure I'm making the best comic I can or the best novel I can, rather than thinking of it as a movie or a TV show. I will however say that the soundtrack features some of my favorite 1980s music including things like “99 Luftballoons” and my favorite ever Siouxsie and the Banshees track, so I was very happy with it.
SH: Yeah I loved the soundtrack as well. I wish I had thought of the possibility of doing my own soundtrack when I was working on the art. I do like to surround myself with the time period or theme of what I'm drawing, but it just didn't occur to me that there was so much good music in the 80s.
AJ: See this is because you moved away when you were too young.
SH: We still make music here!
Have you seen renewed interest in the book as well as the prequel since the movie came out?
AJ: Oh yes, yes. There's absolutely been interest in the book and the paperback edition, which has the movie cover on it, I know has done very well. It's great that people are getting into the book as a result of enjoying the movie.
SH: Yeah and we've had international editions as well. Here in Brazil for example it was published as a hardcover and so I've been doing a lot of launches and signings here.
AJ: Yeah we've got some translations throughout Europe as well. There's one in Germany, one in Spain.
There's been a lot of interest in a sequel to Atomic Blonde. Would you like to see something done with the book prequel, The Coldest Winter? Antony, I've heard you're working on another book focused on Lorraine--is there more from this universe in the works?
AJ: As you say, there is a second book Coldest Winter, which focuses on David Percival, James McAvoy's character. So, who knows whether something may happen with that. I am working on a third book, which focuses on Lorraine again. Whether that will be the basis for a second movie is kind of out of my hands. I mean obviously I'd be delighted if it were. It's also possible that if there is a second movie, it may go off completely separate from the books in a different direction. But I trust those guys--if they wanted to do that, I have complete trust in that they would make a great movie regardless.
I know that everybody wants to make another movie, it's just a question of getting the financing, getting the studio behind it, that sort of thing. But creatively, I know everyone involved would like to do another one.
When might we see that third book?
AJ: I'm literally just sort of planning it at the moment. I don't want to give any sort of date commitment at the moment, because inevitably I'll fail to meet it. But rest assured that I am working on it.
Is there anything you can tell us about the book? What it might cover?
AJ: No. Only that it does focus on Lorraine again, and that's all I want to say.
Is there anything else that either of you are working on?
AJ: My next big release actually is a spy novel, which comes out in the UK next month from Lightning Books and that's called The Exphoria Code-- like euphoria, but with an x. And that is the first in a new series of modern high-tech spy novels set in Europe.
SH: I do a series of books for England and the States by Candlewick press. They're based on heroes and heroines from British history and legends. I've done Robin Hood and King Arthur, and I've just finished the fourth book, which is about Grace O'Malley, who was a pirate in the 16th century. I also do a lot of Brazilian stuff that doesn't get to Europe or American, and I'm writing an original graphic novel which I'll start illustrating in about a month.
Atomic Blonde comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, Nov. 14.