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- 02/12/18--18:18: _With Child of a Mad...
- 02/12/18--19:25: _Wonder Woman Movie:...
- 02/13/18--15:46: _A Superman Era Come...
- 02/13/18--17:02: _Batman Ninja Traile...
- 02/13/18--17:57: _Hell’s Kitchen Film...
- 02/13/18--23:43: _Outpost by W. Micha...
- 02/14/18--09:43: _The Many Loves of D...
- 02/14/18--11:31: _Hellboy Comes out o...
- 02/14/18--20:08: _Winston Duke on Mak...
- 02/15/18--10:07: _The 50 Best Moments...
- 02/15/18--15:23: _Game of Thrones: Ne...
- 02/15/18--16:31: _Power Rangers: Shat...
- 02/15/18--18:07: _Fangoria Rises From...
- 02/15/18--20:14: _To Kill a Mockingbi...
- 02/15/18--21:20: _Black Panther: Comp...
- 02/01/18--17:01: _Frankenstein Adapta...
- 02/02/18--04:38: _Rod Serling's Origi...
- 02/05/18--05:16: _The Best Batmobiles...
- 02/05/18--20:11: _What Christopher Re...
- 02/05/18--23:32: _Deathstroke Takes o...
- 02/13/18--15:46: A Superman Era Comes to an End in May
- 02/13/18--17:02: Batman Ninja Trailer Arrives, Release Date Revealed
- 02/13/18--17:57: Hell’s Kitchen Film Casts Melissa McCarthy as Mob Boss
- 02/13/18--23:43: Outpost by W. Michael Gear Review
- 02/14/18--11:31: Hellboy Comes out of Retirement This May
- 02/14/18--20:08: Winston Duke on Making a New M’Baku for Black Panther
- 02/15/18--10:07: The 50 Best Moments From the Injustice Comic Series
- 02/15/18--15:23: Game of Thrones: Next Book Will Not Be Winds of Winter
- 02/15/18--16:31: Power Rangers: Shattered Grid Trailer
- 02/15/18--18:07: Fangoria Rises From Premature Online Burial As Print Magazine
- 02/01/18--17:01: Frankenstein Adaptations Are Almost Never Frankenstein Adaptations
- 02/02/18--04:38: Rod Serling's Original Planet of the Apes Gets Adaptation
- 02/05/18--05:16: The Best Batmobiles Ever
- 02/05/18--20:11: What Christopher Reeve Would Look Like in the DCEU Superman Suit
- 02/05/18--23:32: Deathstroke Takes on New Super-Man This Week
With Child of a Mad God, R.A. Salvatore has struck the perfect balance between something old and something new.
R.A. Salvatore has been writing fantasy for three decades and, in that time, has certainly made his mark on the genre. When anyone has been at their job that long, there is an understandable tendency to settle, to repeat, to fall back on familiar patterns, but Salvatore's latest — Child of a Mad God— is proof that he is still willing to take chances when it comes to his fantasy work.
Child of a Mad God has many of the elements readers have come to expect from Salvatore, detailed action scenes and fantastic world-building, but there is also a grittiness and ambition to deconstruct genre gender tropes, that is pushing the limits of what Salvatore has done before.
Child of a Mad God takes place within the brutal northern Wilderlands of Corona, a land previously explored in Salvatore's DemonWars Saga. Though reading these other Corona-set books will give you additional insight, Child of a Mad God is not a continuation of these stories. It takes place concurrently to the events of the DemonWars Saga in a completely different part of this land, and is the start to The Coven Series.
Child of a Mad God has two central protagonists: Talmadge is a young frontiersman who fled his home after a plague ravaged his community and now spends his time as a trader in the shadow of a great mountain. He flits between the seven towns that make up the region, never staying in one place for very long, desperate to avoid the kinds of connections that inform his unresolved trauma.
Aoleyn is a girl of the Usgar Tribe who, after losing her parents, must learn how to survive within a culture where rape, slavery, and other brutal, patriarchal forms of oppression are normal. The Usgar live on the aforementioned great mountain, and survive by attacking the seven towns that Talmadge frequents. The people of these towns fear the Usgar, and see them as almost god-like beings because of their magic. Aoleyn is one of the tribe's women who can wield the Song of Usgar, a form of magic.
Child of a Mad God is meant as a standalone, and it truly is. It helps that Salvatore is a skilled worldbuilder. The setting and cultures Salvatore explores in this book, the region that lives on around the great mountain Fireach Speuer, are immersive. You don't need any external context; you have all of the description you need within the pages of this book.
Aeolyn's arc is particularly strong and is obviously Salvatore's noble attempt to address and critique the sexist framework from which much of classic fantasy literature gets its structure. However, although Salvatore is using the book's patriarchal cultures to make a point, it may be too much for some readers. Salvatore may be trying to subvert some of the worst trends and tropes in fantasy literature through his exploration of the extremely misogynistic Usgar society and the journey Aoleyn goes through over the course of the book, but it makes for a difficult read if you are at all sensitive to these issues. There is a particularly horrific rape at one point that may be a dealbreaker for some readers, so be warned going in.
Salvatore is known for his detailed fight scenes, and the skill is on display in Child of a Mad God—though, this is a book that takes it time getting to its climactic third act. In the mean time, there is plenty of fantasy worldbuilding to delve into, including the fossa, a demon that hunts during the blood moon, and the magic of the gemstones, which are treated slightly differently here than in Salvatore's other Corona-set books.
For readers who are fans of gritty fantasy (a la A Song of Ice and Fire), R.A. Salvatore, or books working to recognize the misogynist subtext of some of our culture's favorite genre books, Child of a Mad God is a story well worth diving into. From his recurring Drizzt Do'Urden character to Salvatore's controversial choices in the Vector Prime book of the expanded Star Wars universe, Salvatore has made a name for himself as an author who isn't afraid to go fantastically dark and to challenge what has come before. Child of a Mad God continues that legacy.
We think we've found every DC Comics reference and DCEU easter egg in the Wonder Woman movie!
The Wonder Woman movie is now on HBO, and it expands the DCEU in new and exciting ways. It also draws on all elements of the over 75 year history of Wonder Woman to tell a fresh, exciting origin story. And oh yeah, it's packed with DC Comics references.
So, here's how this works...other than the intro (which I decided to do on its own), this isn't chronological, I'm just making connections where I can. Now, it's entirely likely there are things I missed, and that's where you come in! If you spotted any cool DC Comics references or DCEU Easter eggs that aren't in this article, drop 'em in the comments or give me a holler on Twitter. Together, we can make this the most comprehensive list of Wonder Woman coolness around!
The opening of this movie, with a shot of planet Earth and Diana talking about how much she loves our world, is reminiscent of the opening pages of DC Universe: Rebirth. That story featured a different character's monologue but it still contained a similar message. Whether this is coincidental or not (it probably is), Wonder Woman as a movie serves the same purpose as DC Universe: Rebirth did - it restores a sense of hope, optimism, and heroism to the DCEU.
She also mentions a “Great Darkness” that’s surrounding the world. Again, this reminds me of Rebirth, but it also calls to mind the villains of the upcoming Justice League movie. The Justice League will fight Steppenwolf in that film, but he’s the advance agent of Darkseid, the cosmic despot of the planet Apokolips. When Darkseid had been absent from the universe for hundreds of years and reappeared in the distant future in the pages of Legion of Super-Heroes, the story was called… ”The Great Darkness Saga.” While that story has nothing to do with Wonder Woman, it’s awesome and you should read it.
You may notice that the license plate on the Wayne Enterprises armored car starts with the letters JL. (It’s JL-828-VZM to be exact). That’s JL, as in "Justice League" and it's amusing since Bruce is basically using Wayne vehicles to carry out unofficial Justice League business by delivering this photo (first seen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) to Diana.
One other thing we just found out (and thanks to ScreenRant for bringing it to our attention). Zack Snyder has a cameo in the movie. If you look to the far right of the World War I photo of Diana and friends, you can see a blurry, out of focus soldier in the background. That's Mr. Snyder.
Wonder Woman Movie Setting
I love the fact that they set this movie against the backdrop of World War I. For one thing, it helps give the DCEU some real flavor and takes us further back than we’ve seen screen superhero narratives ever attempt (the natural fit is usually World War II, which we saw in Captain America: The First Avenger and the first season of the 1970s Wonder Woman TV series).
Characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all came of age during World War II, but setting this movie there would have drawn comparisons to Captain America: The First Avenger. World War I was, meanwhile, especially senseless with no clear “villain” and its legacy would, well, inspire a follow-up. The exceptional brutality of World War I is the perfect counterpoint to Diana’s relative innocence.
By the way, if you want an incredible history of World War I, I can't recommend Dan Carlin's Hardcore History series on it, Blueprint For Armageddon, highly enough.
Wonder Woman Movie Heroes
Wonder Woman has been around almost as long as Batman and Superman, first appearing in All-Star Comics#8 in 1940 where she was created by Dr. William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. How powerful was Wonder Woman? By the 1950s, when superhero comics were in steep decline, only three DC superheroes maintained continuous publication, and one of ‘em was Diana. You can guess who the other two were.
That same story introduced Steve Trevor. Etta Candy didn’t come along until about two years later in Sensation Comics #2. Incidentally, the civilian version of Etta that we meet here is more in line with those early comics. In more recent DC history, Etta is a military woman and quite the badass.
There had been some speculation that Steve’s ragtag band of good guys would end up being the World War I equivalent of the Blackhawks, but there was nothing in the movie to indicate that. For one thing, nobody flies a plane. As far as I can tell, these were all characters invented for the movie.
But let’s talk about that origin story for a minute...
THE ORIGIN STORY
OK, Wonder Woman’s origin story is a tricky thing, because there have been a few different versions, but they all follow the broad strokes we see here in this movie. In the original comics, Diana was indeed sculpted from clay and given life by the gods. Here, it’s just a story Hippolyta tells Diana to mask the fact that she’s actually a demi-god, and the daughter of Zeus.
That Zeus wrinkle is a fairly recent addition to the lore, coming into play when DC relaunched their entire publishing line with The New 52 initiative in 2011, which reset significant elements of continuity. A lot of people don’t love this change, but I’ve always been kinda down with it. But historically, all of Diana's gifts came from an assortment of goddesses that gave her clay form life and power.
Overall, the way they streamline lots of different elements of the comic book history in this movie is really great and reminds me of the best big screen superhero origins like Superman: The Movie, Batman Begins, or even Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man.
- The expositional animation that explains why there aren’t any gods hanging around the DCEU these days is really clever and feels like a callback to the equally visually impressive animation that told Krypton’s history in Man of Steel.
- The “there are no children on Paradise Island” thing is basically as old as Wonder Woman herself, but I just want to mention that later in the movie when Diana sees a baby in London? I react the same way, except with doggies. I’m going to get my typing fingers bitten off petting strange dogs one day.
- The idea of Antiope as Hippolyta’s sister came from the character’s second DC Comics incarnation, which happens to be from the comics that inspired this movie the most: George Perez’s time as writer/artist in the ‘80s. For real, if you seek out one volume of Wonder Woman comics because of this movie, make it this one.
As for Antiope's on-screen death, the only time I know of her dying in the comics was in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which had nothing to do with Germans or the pursuit of Steve Trevor.
- While we're on the subject of Amazons...I didn't realize that Ann Wolfe was credited as Artemis.
I AM ARTEMIS, MY HEART, MY, SPIRIT, MY SOUL, DON'T MAKE ME KICK YOUR ASS!!
ANN WOLFE as Artemis pic.twitter.com/kCsCeJbfkD
— Ann Wolfe (@AnnWolfeBoxing) June 2, 2017
Not be confused with the Greek goddess, the Amazon version of Artemis. At one point in the comics, she briefly replaced Diana as Wonder Woman.
- When Diana is on her quest to sneak the God Killer sword out, and she starts climbing up the tower wall, I was reminded of John Badham’s underrated Dracula movie from 1979, which featured a spooky as hell scene of Frank Langella as the Count scurrying along a wall at night. A more likely influence however is old adventure epics like The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) where Errol Flynn does much the same thing to steal a kiss with Maid Marian.
Speaking of that God Killer sword, that is indeed something from DC Comics, but it isn’t a weapon of Wonder Woman. Instead, that boon was granted to Slade “Deathstroke” Wilson by Hephaestus because he wanted Slade to kill the titan, Lapetus. In the comics, the Godkiller looks a lot more like the swords that Ares is wielding during the final battle.
Wonder Woman Movie Villains
Ares has been a factor in Wonder Woman’s life since some of her earliest appearances, notably Wonder Woman #1 in 1942. But the version we see in this movie, like so much else in the film, owes the most to Diana’s 1987 reinvention at the hands of the brilliant George Perez.
In that initial story arc (available here), which is set in modern times, we do see Ares possessing military figures and forcing them to do his bidding, although there, he was also aided by his nephews, Phobos and Deimos. Maybe they'll be the villains of Wonder Woman 2...
Dr. Poison/Dr. Maru is one of Wonder Woman’s earliest comic book foes, first appearing in 1942’s Sensation Comics #2. Like Diana, Steve, and Etta, she was created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. She worked for the Nazis in those days, and her poisons were less explicitly the kind of horrific chemical warfare deployed during World War I, but I have to say, she’s a perfect fit for this movie.
I don’t recognize the symbol on her notebook as anything particularly relevant to the DCU or Wonder Woman history, but if I’m wrong, please correct me in the comments!
Miscellanous Cool DC Stuff
- Wonder Woman’s secret identity of “Diana Prince” has fallen by the wayside over the decade or so as DC instead focuses on the mythic elements of the character rather than disposable superhero tropes like a secret identity. Fun to hear it mentioned here, and the bit where she gets glasses (and Etta Candy’s remark about it) is both a nod to Superman and the fact that Diana Prince often wore specs, particularly when Lynda Carter played her on the legendary TV series from the 1970s.
- The imagery of Wonder Woman with sword and shield, especially the shield, I really associate with the George Perez comics (although it has been heavily utilized since then by many creators). That, in my mind, was the evolution of Diana from traditional superhero to more aggressive mythical heroine, and the sword and shield are two key components of that. It might have been Phil Jimenez who brought the sword to the forefront, and he's another brilliant Wonder Woman artist.
- There are strong Superman: The Movie vibes throughout this film, notably in how it takes its time establishing the main character’s origins, but also in the snappy dialogue, and the comedic elements when our “alien” character first makes it to the big city. There are two fun Superman: The Movie inspired moments when they get to London. I feel like Diana's brief struggle with a revolving door is one.
But the other is more overt...
But nowhere is that more apparent than in the alleyway where Diana and Steve are accosted by German spies. This is a lovely homage to Christopher Reeve’s Clark Kent catching a mugger’s bullet meant for Margot Kidder. But the way this bit kicks off, with Diana and Steve ducking into the alley right down to a gun appearing in frame from behind a wall, is a perfect nod to Superman: The Movie.
- Diana trying ice cream for the first time and telling the vendor he should be proud of his creation is almost right out of Justice League (2011) #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.
Steve brings everyone Edgar Rice Burroughs novels. Burroughs is famously the writer behind Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, two characters who have kind of fallen out of the spotlight. But at the time, this was cutting edge stuff, making Burroughs somewhat like the DC and Marvel of his day. Both Tarzan and Jon Carter have light parallels with Diana’s story as well since they both ended up being a “stranger in a strange land” (that’s a book that Burroughs didn’t write, but you knew that already).
And as Nick points out in the comments, John Carter was the star of A Princess of Mars. Diana is a princess, and her enemy, Ares, is Mars. That's pretty damn cool.
- That shot of Diana hoisting a tank over her head reminds me a lot of Superman in The Dark Knight Returns. But Matches Malone (I know who you really are, Matches, that's why you're a detective) reminded me of this wonderful Alex Ross painting of Diana from his Spirit of Truth GN.
- The moment when Diana wants to help the refugees, the wounded soldiers, and even the animals, struck me. When she says "I can help" it reminded me that for a while in the comics, she could indeed kind of "talk" to animals. Likely, one of the gifts from her namesake.
- This isn't a DC thing, but it has been brought to my attention that Diana's rescue of Steve is very much like The Little Mermaid.
That sequence also pulls visual cues from an iconic wartime melodrama, From Here to Eternity. The film also plays pretty deliberately with themes and beats from another such classic, Casablanca, which we detail here.
So what did you spot, DCEU fans? Let me know what I missed, and if it checks out, I'll update this article. Shout 'em out in the comments or hit me up on Twitter!
DC is giving two creative teams a proper sendoff in May as their era of Superman draws to a close.
It's rare that I get to say things like this, but it's actually a good time to be a Superman fan. Between Supergirl on my TV screen every Monday and two Superman-focused TV series (Krypton and Metropolis) in the works, that satisfies my Kryptonian screen needs. Hell, they even got Supes right in that Justice League movie, whatever other problems it had.
But you know what I have most been enjoying? The fact that Superman comics have just been so consistently damn good over the last two years. It was a weird time to be a Superman fan during the New 52 era, which admittedly had its highs, but it was often tough to get a real feel for who this version of Kal-El was supposed to be. That certainly hasn't been the case since DC's Rebirth kicked off, which, among all the high profile Watchmen connections with The Button and Doomsday Clock, or the critical darling that is Tom King's Batman era, also gave us the best sustained run on the Superman books in about 20 years.
Dan Jurgens, one of the architects of Superman's last truly great extended era in the '90s, has been steering the ship on Action Comics (with help from several artists), while Pete Tomasi and Patrick Gleeson have been in charge of the more Kent-family focused Superman. Both books have been just so unapologetically "Superman" in their tone, so much low-pressure comics fun, and so damn good every month that they somehow managed to make the announcement that one of the most celebrated comics writers of this century would be taking over seem like just okay news (note: Brian Michael Bendis taking over the Superman titles is far more than just "okay" but you get the picture).
So while the new era of Superman comics that begins with Action Comics #1000, the Man of Steel limited series, and a brand new Superman #1 is all exciting, historic stuff, everyone wants to see Jurgens, Tomasi, and Gleason get the sendoff they deserve. And that's just what they're gonna get in May with two oversized, 48 page specials.
Action Comics Special #1 is “The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor,” written by Jurgens with art by Will Conrad.
Here's the official word from DC:
"Beginning with the events of REBIRTH, Superman’s greatest enemy became his most unexpected ally. Is Lex finally on the heroic path, or is he still hiding his true colors? When he finds himself in an adventure where Superman could be destroyed, what will he do? Save the Man of Steel, or witness his demise at the hands of an unimaginable enemy? This oversize special also includes stories from Max Landis and Francis Manapul (TRINITY, JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE) originally slated to appear in the DC UNIVERSE HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2017 #1, and Mark Russell (THE FLINTSTONES, EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES) with artist Jill Thompson (WONDER WOMAN: THE TRUE AMAZON)."
Superman Special#1 features "The Promise," which will conclude a story that began in issue #8, 2016’s “Escape from Dinosaur Island.”
Here's the word from DC:
"Before Superman’s world goes through some drastic changes, he has unfinished business to attend to on Dinosaur Island. Superman and the Losers’ Captain Storm take one final trip together into the abyss of tomorrow, which brings the military man out of time into the world of today. This 48-page extra-size special also features bonus stories by Mark Russell with art by Bryan Hitch and Ian Flynn with art by Kaare Andrews."
Both will be on sale in May, and will help get fans their Superman fix before the Man of Steel limited series kicks off on May 30.
The Batman Ninja trailer transports the crimefighting clashes of the Dark Knight to the setting of feudal Japan.
The idea that Batman exists as a stealthy, gadget-wielding, contemporary crime-fighting nocturnal ninja may seem like a given at this point, but it’s a fairly recent trope that was ignited by movie and comic book reinventions and is far from the 1939 vision of a costumed rope-swinging detective of creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger. However, upcoming anime Batman Ninja not only embraces said trope, but creatively utilizes it as the basis for an inventive interpretation of the mythology.
Batman Ninja is the brainchild of writer Kazu Nakashima (Futagashira) and designer Takashi Okazaki (Samurai Jack). Junpei Mizusaki will serve as director, breaking a long hiatus from 2005 anime Zoo.
Batman Ninja Trailer
A new Batman Ninja trailer promotes the release of the Caped Crusader's inventively mind-blowing time-jumping Japanese adventure for the first time with its recorded English dialogue.
Batman Ninja, utilizing a little bit of timey-wimey, sees Gotham City has been traded for a highly-stylized quasi-historical version of feudal Japan, where Batman’s crimefighting endeavor sees him take the form of an armored, sword-swinging samurai/ninja hybrid. The solitary, honor-based lifestyle of the samurai suits Bruce Wayne well and we can see that he’ll face a traditional DC Comics rogues gallery consisting of Catwoman, Two-Face, Gorilla Grodd and, most notably, the Joker, who exists here as a purple-armor-clad cackling samurai whose skills easily match that of Batman’s. Thankfully, his regular gagle of costumed allies have also made the time trip, allowing them to have his back.
After months of teases, going back to July at San Diego Comic-Con, the first Batman Ninja trailers (seen below,) made their debut in December.
Batman Ninja Release Date
Batman Ninja will stealthily make its digital debut on April 24, followed by the physical release of a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo (with an optional Steelbook version), which hits retail on May 8. You can check out the standard Blu-ray cover below.
Batman Ninja Poster
Here’s the teaser poster for Batman Ninja, showing the familiar sight of a mid-air Batman, only decked out in his ninja gear and ready to wreak havoc amongst the criminals and general ne’er-do-wells that dare to deal out injustices in his version of feudal Japan.
Is crime a good line of work for women? Melissa McCarthy heads the Irish mob in New Line’s upcoming The Kitchen.
“What gives men the right to think that they know what’s best for women more than women do,”asks one of the toughest Irish mafia enforcers in DC Entertainment's Vertigo comics series The Kitchen. “You really think that’s our fuckin’ choice to make?” Melissa McCarthy will play one of the leads in New Line Cinema’s adaptation of the empowering crime series, according to Variety. McCarthy joins Girls Trip star and long-time standup comedian Tiffany Haddish.
The Kitchen is being written and directed by Andrea Berloff, who wrote Straight Outta Compton. The Vertigo Comics series comic comes from Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle, and featured an all-female art team. Drawn by Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire with cover art Becky Cloonan, The Kitchen was published in 2014.
The Kitchen told the story of mob wives Raven, Kathy, and Angie who rule their husbands’ Hell’s Kitchen territory while their husbands are in jail. They get help from their mentor Tommy, an enforcer. The women end up running the neighborhood more viciously than their husbands ever did. When their husbands get out of prison, women are not going back to the kitchen. The film is being described as gritty.
McCarthy, who took heat in the 2016 female comic actor remake of Ghosbusters, most recently starred in the comedy Life of the Party, which was co-written and directed by her husband Ben Falcone. She also stars in STXfilms’ upcoming comedy The Happytime Murders. She was featured on the Gilmore girls before breaking out in Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids.
There is no word on when The Kitchen starts production.
Fans of The Expanse and Firefly should check out Outpost, the story of a Corporate colony on the edge of civilized space.
The on-screen western is enjoying a bit of a resurgence right now, but its close relative, the space western, has never really gone out of style. From Rachel Bach's Fortune's Pawn and James S.A. Corey's The Expanse to Star Wars and Firefly, science fiction loves stories set on the edge of civilized space. Outpost, the new space western from W. Michael Gear, is such a story.
Outpost has everything you'd expect from a gritty western: a stoic heroine, a community struggling to survive against the brutal wilderness, and that messy process of trying to negotiate the difference between order and freedom. Of course, it’s set not in a dusty frontier town on Earth, but rather 30 lightyears from Earth, on a neglected human colony on a planet called Donovan (named after the first dude that died there).
Donovan has only been in existence for 30 years, but that seems like a lifetime to the human population that has had to make due with dwindling resources, consistent casualties, and constant threats from the wildlife that lives just beyond the colony's borders—and isn't afraid to slip inside the parameter. The last of the cattle died years ago. Antibiotics are gone, making curable diseases deadly. And no Corporate-sent ship has come to provide reinforcements in years.
That is until the Turalon shows up.
The Turalon has been traveling through space for two years just to get to Donovan with a Corporate mission to find out why the colony has stopped sending its shipments, and what happened to the previous ships that were sent to check in on Donovan. Led by ambitious, young Supervisor Kalico Aguila, with the brutal enforcement officer Cap Max Taggart by her side, the crew doesn't know what they're in for. Donovan is filled with survivors who are no longer willing to play by the Corporate rules.
On the other side of the Corporate-contractor line are the residents of Donovan, led by hardened badass Talina Perez, one of the three leaders of the Port Authority colony. We meet Talina in the book's opening scene as she faces off against a quetzal, a deadly creature that regularly eats colonists. "Talina had a momentary image of its wide mouth, the wickedly serrated teeth. Then it blocked the sky as it hurtled towards her." Talina somehow survives this encounter, though barely, immediately grounding the reader in the life-or-death stakes of this world. (Though, it should be noted, Talina considers the Corporation more dangerous than the quetzals.)
While the residents of Donovan's Port Authority may call the ship-dwellers on the Turalon soft, it's not exactly paradise in space, either. While there are no quetzals, only one in five ships successfully makes the journey. (“You either make it or you don't … Space doesn't come free.”) Although, when the Freelander, a ship that has been missing for two years, shows up with all of its crew dead from old age, even that seemingly simple one-in-five math is called into question.
Those that do survive the journey through space exist in severely cramped quarters, so much so that no one seems to notice when psychopath Dan Wirth up and kills his roommate in order to take his place on the expedition down to Donovan. Talina, she of good instincts, compares Dan Wirth to a quetzal before she amends her earlier statement: He's worse than a quetzal; he kills his own.
This is just a glimpse of the rich interpersonal, political, and geographic backdrop that informs Gear's writing. In Outpost, the author has infused his science fiction foundation with elements of horror (think Alien) and mystery (think Annihilation) , slowly unraveling the story of how Donovan came to be the way it is and what happened to the Corporate ships that disappeared. While Gear casts a wide net in terms of character points-of-view, he never loses track of his larger thematic foci, such as what people will risk for power and wealth.
It's not easy to create an entire new planet setting and to immediately ground the reader in that world, but Gear makes it look easy. ("On Donovan, he saw only wilderness, the patterns of the geology, watersheds, and lakes, all shaded by varying hues of blue-green vegetation.") He strikes an impressive balance between only telling us what we need to know when we need to know it and making this feel like a fully-realized place from the get-go. By doing so, we are both invested in the fate of these people and their colony, but also unspoiled for the mysteries that will slowly unravel there and in the space above.
Outpost is the first in a planned trilogy, with the second installment set to come out in November 2018. After finishing Outpost, the wait will feel as long as the journey from Earth to Donovan. This may be a hard world, but it isn't one without its optimism and, after spending time with these characters and in this world, you will be desperate to find out what will happen next. I know I am.
In honor of Valentine's Day, we look at 13 ladies who took a piece of Deadpool's heart before it grew back.
In the Deadpoolmovie, one of the jokes in the marketing was portraying it as a love story to tie in with the fact that it came out just before Valentine's Day. It's not exactly lying as Wade's actions are all motivated by love.
Sure, he may look like a sculpture made of dried bubble gum and he has some serious personality problems, but Wade Wilson has a lengthy list of love interests over the years. The sense of humor and abs probably help. He's been married a handful of times. The guy gets around. Let's take a look at the ladies of his life who could look past his skin texture.
Don't let that blue-skinned appearance fool you. That's the same Vanessa that Morena Baccarin plays in the movie.
Copycat lived with Wade years ago, when he was a simple mercenary. The two would likely have been married and spent the rest of their lives together, but then Wade came down with a bad case of cancer, told Vanessa to hit the road, moved on to Weapon X and things got complicated. Since Vanessa was a mutant shapeshifter, the two ended up working together after Wade became Deadpool. Around this time, Deadpool was complete human garbage and not only treated her badly, but at one point tried to kill her. Copycat left him for Garrison Kane, a character who isn't allowed to appear outside of the 1990s without first informing his parole officer.
It was under this scenario that Deadpool enacted his first in-comic heroic action when he saved Copycat's life. Her powers were a mix between Mystique's shapeshifting and Rogue's power copying, so when she was mortally wounded, Deadpool tore off the top of his uniform and hugged her so that she'd copy his powers and heal herself.
When Deadpool became more of a good guy, Copycat targeted him and failed. Then she tried to get back with him through disguising herself as various women interested in dating him. Deadpool later admitted that he knew it was her and the two rekindled their relationship.
Copycat became aware of Deadpool's friendship with Siryn, became jealous and left him. Another reason why she left came from issues with her powers. She started working with a reformed Weapon X and they enhanced her abilities, but there were some serious side-effects. Weapon X brought Deadpool back into the loop and gave him the mission of killing Copycat. Deadpool instead rebelled and tried to save her life. She was sliced to ribbons by Sabretooth and died in Deadpool's arms, swearing that she always loved him.
Every writer practically forgot about this afterwards, as Deadpool had crossed paths with Sabretooth on occasion and never had the sensible, violent reaction. It wasn't until AFTER the movie was released when Deadpool even brought that up. Even then, it was a secondary reason for him to consider killing Sabretooth.
Due to a history between Banshee and Deadpool, Siryn ended up working alongside Wade during an adventure where they battled Juggernaut and Black Tom. During a fight with Juggernaut, Deadpool's mask came off and he begged Siryn not to look. Her gasp at seeing his face broke him down, but then she coaxed him with her touch and apologized. From there, Deadpool became infatuated with her and would regularly watch over her when she was asleep.
She later admitted knowing he was there and feeling safe about it. Still creepy!
Siryn acted as the angel on Deadpool's shoulder for a while, trying to steer him in the right direction. Unfortunately, Deadpool had a devil in Typhoid Mary, who disguised herself as Siryn and had sex with him, which caused him to have a major emotional breakdown. Once things with her team, X-Factor, settled down, she tried to get back with Deadpool, only for Copycat to take Deadpool's form and beat her up, causing her to despise him. She forgave him at some point, although the passion was gone.
When dealing with a ton of depression due to the deaths of her father and her baby, Siryn had a one night stand with Deadpool. She seemed to regret it immediately and told him that it was over between them the morning after.
Ah, the classic star-crossed lover story. The man who can't die and the woman who is literally the embodiment of dying.
When being experimented on in Weapon X, Wade was so close to dying most of the time that he was able to see Death looming over him. Wade found himself in love with the skull-faced entity and she grew to love him too, what with him carrying the stench of murder.
As torturous as his days in Weapon X were, it was his time with Death that made it bearable. He planned to goad super-powered orderly and all-around jerk the Attending into killing him (mainly by calling him his real name of Francis), but Attending took out his frustrations on Worm, a fellow experiment who idolized Wade and even gave him the name Deadpool. Attending removed Deadpool's heart, which should have killed him, but as much as he wanted to spend his eternity with Death, Deadpool found his body healing for the sake of carrying out revenge in the name of Worm.
Once that business was done with, Deadpool couldn't hear nor see Death anymore. Occasionally, he'd reach a state of near-death good enough to be able to meet with her until he was actually killed. Before the two could touch, Deadpool was revived on Earth. Turned out a jealous Thanos had used a cosmic artifact to give Deadpool eternal life.
A more recent adventure between Deadpool and Thanos ended with not only the end to Deadpool's immortality curse, but he had a falling out with Death and moved on.
A major climactic moment happened in Deadpool's solo series where a cosmic being that spreads pure bliss came to Earth and turned everyone into drooling, happy vegetables. Deadpool chose free will and killed the creature. The whole incident caused some repressed memories to return and he started to see visions of a specific woman wherever he went. He ended up finding this woman, who he began to remember as his wife Mercedes, and the two were equally confused. Especially when it was established by supervillain the Black Talon that Mercedes had died and was mysteriously brought back to life.
Deadpool told the story of how he and Mercedes were happy together until evil mercenary T-Ray showed up at their home, half-dead. They took him in and in return, T-Ray killed Mercedes. Deadpool and Mercedes tried to run off to live happily ever after, but T-Ray caught up with them and revealed the truth: T-Ray was the real Wade Wilson and Mercedes was his wife. The two of them took in a mercenary named Jack who proceeded to kill Wade in an attempt to steal his life and accidentally took out Mercedes too. Then he believed himself to really be Wade Wilson and we got another big piece of Deadpool's origin.
This was meant to break Deadpool, but despite being shown the possibly thousands of people he's killed over the years, the only victim he ever truly felt guilty about was Mercedes. Then he pointed out that he's at least trying to be better while T-Ray resurrected his dead wife for no reason other than revenge. Mercedes turned on T-Ray, but made Deadpool aware that she never wanted anything to do with him ever again.
In a story that seemed more Punisher than Deadpool, our hero was hired by some police officers to assassinate a handful of mobsters. Deadpool agreed because he needed the money and killing a bunch of bad people isn't the worst thing he could do to earn it. His contact was Anastasia, an attractive tattoo artist that Deadpool fell for immediately, partially for her dark sense of humor. On his third visit, she said that she really needed to give him a tattoo or else people would get suspicious, which led to Deadpool having to unmask in front of her. To his surprise, she seemed rather into his grotesque features.
Deadpool would continue his job and would regularly come back to spend time with Anna. Fearing for her safety, he gave her a bunch of money and a phone, telling her to leave town until the whole thing blew over. Then it turned out to be one of those situations where everybody involved was corrupt and stabbing each other in the back.
Anna turned on Deadpool and knocked him out with a shovel to the head. She buried him alive, but dug him up when her situation went south and she needed any help she could get. Once things were done with, Deadpool refused to trust her, feeling used from the beginning. Anna swore that that wasn't the case and handed Deadpool a gun. If Deadpool truly felt that way, he'd shoot her dead, but she was confident that he wouldn't.
Deadpool shot her dead.
He felt guilty about it for a while and was surprised when it turned out she was still alive. He married her in Vegas, but she was gone the morning after. What Deadpool never did realize was that Anna actually was dead. This was just Copycat messing with him.
"Crazy" Inez Temple
After pulling off a spectacularly impossible mob hit, Deadpool became the top name in mercenary killings and the envy of everyone in his line of work. While at the gym, he met fellow mercenary Outlaw, a cowgirl with the mutant power of enhanced strength. The two flirted and even crossed paths before one of his missions later on, but nothing of note happened. Mainly because Deadpool fell off the radar soon after and was believed to be dead.
Outlaw fell in love with Alex Hayden, otherwise known as Agent X. Due to his healing factor, personality, scarred features, competency as a killer, and the fact that he showed up shortly after Deadpool went missing, many believed him to be Deadpool with amnesia. Their relationship came to an end when Alex cheated on her with his secretary Sandi (which was more of an instance of fill-in writer Evan Dorkin not quite getting the characters), but she at least stayed close to him as a member of his new organization Agency X. Around this time, Deadpool came back into play and he found himself teaming up with Agency X multiple times.
At first, Deadpool's relationship with Outlaw never got much further than flirting and the occasional game of strip poker. During the story Suicide Kings, Deadpool was on the run due to belief that he caused a terrorist explosion. He hit on her a bit, but she swore that she had a boyfriend as a way to shut him up. Trouble followed, destroying Outlaw's apartment and causing her to be very cross with Deadpool.
Once the adventure was done with, Deadpool spent a lot of money on getting Outlaw a new place to live. Since she could tell that Wade did this out of the goodness of his heart and not for the sake of getting into her pants, she rewarded him by letting him get into her pants.
The two got married at some point, despite Alex's warnings. The honeymoon was far too much for Deadpool to handle, considering Outlaw's sexual eagerness mixed with her super strength. His body simply couldn't heal itself back together fast enough and his pelvis ended up in a thousand pieces over and over. The marriage soon got annulled.
In other continuities, Outlaw has been the go-to love interest for Deadpool. In Deadpool MAX, she was a sex-starved psychopath meant to mix Outlaw, Domino, and Copycat into the same entity and was obsessed with Deadpool to the point of carrying a baby doll with her and insisting that it was his. In Deadpool Pulp, she played the femme fatale who acted as Wade's old flame on the other side of right and wrong. In the end, he had to kill her to save the US from a massive nuclear explosion.
Not much is really known about Gretchen. Years back, there was a miniseries called Identity Disc that was very blatantly the Usual Suspects starring a group of supervillains and had "Identity" in the title to cash in on DC Comics' big event comic Identity Crisis. The Kaiser Soze stand-in had a specific reason for each bad guy to do his dirty work, whether it was a way to help them or strictly blackmail. When killing time with Bullseye, Deadpool explained that his reward would be information on where to find his first wife Gretchen, who has a restraining order on him.
He never did get his payoff due to the shocking reveal that the Vulture was behind everything (with the added shocker that he really wasn't). The story wasn't very good. Deadpool was last shown sadly looking over a photo of this woman we've never heard of before or after this storyline. I'm sure she was very nice.
Early in Daniel Way's Deadpoolrun, the Merc with a Mouth ran afoul of Norman Osborn and became a thorn in the Goblin's side. The newest Thunderbolts team was sent to go deal with him, also very fresh into Andy Diggle's run on that series. Deadpool had a comparatively easy time dealing with the Thunderbolts except for team leader, Black Widow Yelena Belova. She was able to hold her own and between her fighting skills and looks, so Deadpool ended up going dopey and asked if she had a boyfriend.
At first, Yelena rolled her eyes at his advances, but soon found herself laughing at his one-liners. Yelena was frustrated and amused by his antics, including how he flew a plane towing a banner with his phone number on it. During a fight between the two, Deadpool grabbed her close and kissed her. Black Widow was shocked by this and asked why he'd do that. From Deadpool's fevered point of view, he saw her as Death and told her he loved her.
Deadpool was decapitated during the story and Yelena helped him by sticking his head back onto his shoulders and letting his healing factor do the rest. Down the line, unbeknownst to Deadpool, we found out that it was never Yelena in the first place, but the more heroic Black Widow Natasha Romanova trying to take down Osborn from the inside. Deadpool and Natasha did cross paths at another time, where he got some mixed signals and received a punch to the face for his troubles.
Deadpool took on intergalactic bounty hunter Macho Gomez, where at the end of their battle, Deadpool commandeered his spaceship and sent Gomez to his supposed death. Unfortunately for Deadpool, he found out that Gomez was affiliated with his in-laws' outer space towing business and soon our merc protagonist got roped into that.
The gigantic Orksa was furious with Deadpool taking out her husband, but Deadpool calmed her down with a kiss and the two ended up getting married on the spot. This was Orksa's fourth marriage, which annoyed Obb, a coworker with eyes for her (er... eye for her because he's a freaky alien). Obb made a couple attempts at taking out Deadpool and failed, but Deadpool spared his life when realizing Obb's reasons for doing it. After helping some less-fortunate aliens survive a cokehead planetoid (yes, really), the two returned to Orksa, who realized that she had feelings for Obb. Deadpool divorced her, returned to Earth and noticed that he may have developed a fetish for chubby girls.
Deadpool was hired by Satana, sister of the Son of Satan (daughter of the father of the Son of Satan?). She had lost a bet with a group of nerds and was forced to marry one of them. Deadpool was cool with just killing them and going on his way, but they turned out to be human forms of various top-ranking Marvel demons like Mephisto and Dormammu. That's where he came up with plan B: marry Satana. Hey, if they were married, she wasn't allowed to get married to any demons!
Asmodeus ended up getting the go-ahead to pursue Satana and thought he'd deal with Deadpool's trick by just killing him and taking care of the "death do us part" aspect of his marriage. Satana had magically enhanced Deadpool's soul and weaponry, which was just enough to take Asmodeus down. Unfortunately for Deadpool, once that was done with, Satana had their marriage annulled and took half of Deadpool's soul before they could even do the honeymoon mambo.
And Satana is someone who's gotten frisky with Ghost from Thunderbolts, a guy who goes months without bathing. That's got to hurt Deadpool right in the confidence.
In a story that takes place just a few years ago in terms of continuity, yet "came out in the '70s," a long-lost comic featuring an afro-sporting Deadpool teaming up with the Heroes for Hire led to him hooking up with Carmelita. Her father was killed by albino pimp the White Man and her mother hired Power Man and Iron Fist to rescue Carmelita from the kidnapper's clutches. Deadpool insisted on joining them because he simply felt like getting in the way and being a comedic nuisance. He ended up being caught by the White Man and was sent to rot with Carmelita. The two were in the midst of some sexual action when Luke Cage burst through the wall, horrified at what he was seeing.
The heroes stopped the White Man and all was good, but once Carmelita saw Deadpool's face, she freaked out and ran away. That should have been the end of the story, but she returned sometime later with a daughter Eleanor, claiming it was Wade's and that she wanted some child support. He said Eleanor was too beautiful to be his and yelled at Carmelita to leave him alone...mainly for their own good.
Some time later, the sinister Butler kidnapped Carmelita and Eleanor for the sake of blackmailing Deadpool to do his bidding. Deadpool tried to liberate them, as well as the loved ones of others that Butler and the North Korean government were experimenting on, but only few survived. To his outright horror, Deadpool found Carmelita's body in a pit of bullet-ridden victims. Witnessed by Captain America and Wolverine, Deadpool broke down and cursed himself for causing all this death just because he insisted on tagging along with Cage and Iron Fist all those years ago.
Thankfully, Eleanor is alive and well. She doesn't live with Wade, but they're still very close.
Most notably in the past few years, Deadpool's main squeeze was Shiklah. Deadpool was hired by Dracula himself to unearth a slumbering succubus that Dracula was intent on marrying to bring their monster kingdoms together. Although Shiklah tried to suck Deadpool's energies with a kiss, she was shocked to see him survive it. Together, the two went on an adventure to reach Dracula, falling for each other on the way. This worked out for the better, as Dracula changed his plans and wanted Shiklah's death.
To screw with that arranged marriage, Deadpool and Shiklah got married on the way to fighting Dracula. Afterwards, they had a real wedding with various members of Deadpool's supporting cast and a bunch of the superhero community showing up.
While Shiklah ruled her underground kingdom of monsters, Deadpool ducked out often to fulfill his duties as a mercenary and Avenger. While the two were crazy for each other, time had strained their relationship and a glimpse into the future shows a coming war between the two, as well as a scarred, succubus daughter who doesn't think too highly of her father.
Shiklah ended up leaving Deadpool for Dracula anyway, but according to the flash-forward with Deadpool 2099, the two are destined to reunited and split up indefinitely.
Captain America put together the Avengers Unity team. Rogue was the team leader while Deadpool funded them. Over time, Rogue grew to respect Wade and befriend him. Finding out that his daughter Ellie was a mutant, Rogue promised to mentor her when her powers manifest. After finally defeating the Red Skull as a team, Rogue and Wade had a very brief fling. Rogue kissed him to absorb both his gross skin and his horrific memories.
Nothing much came of this situation outside of Gambit being very, very confused upon hearing about it. Any chance of them having a future went out the window when Deadpool killed Agent Phil Coulson under the orders of Captain America...who turned out to be part of Hydra. Ugh.
There have been plenty of other women in the Marvel universe who Deadpool's at least tried to get with, only to fall flat on his face. He's hit on Cable's old friend Irene Merryweather at least once, made a couple passes at AIM agent Dr. Betty, went on a disaster of a first date with Big Bertha, and I'm sure he'd love for Domino to give him the time of day. He's had affection for Thunderbolts teammate Elektra, only to have his dreams crushed when he discovered that she and the Punisher were friends with benefits.
Oh, and he's also had some very homoerotic fantasies involving giving Cable a massage on a beach. Cable has supposedly had similar thoughts and the two have agreed never to talk about it. Ever.
Hellboy is back on Earth for one (or two) more fights in BPRD: The Devil You Know this May.
Much like death is a joke in the world of comics, so is a leisurely retirement in the darkest depths of the medium's hell. The bells ring once more for Hellboy to return to Earth and finish what he started. That's at least what cruel Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has decided for his beloved character.
As revealed by EW, Hellboy is set to return to Earth in the pages of BPRD: The Devil You Know #6, out on May 9. Why is this significant? Because the character was seemingly retired in 2016's Hellboy in Hell #10, the high profile "final" issue of the Hellboy saga, which has spanned 25 years and countless stories.
The last we saw of Big Red, he was sitting on a couch in a little corner of the underworld after having vanquished Satan and his demonic forces for good. Hellboy, as it turned out, was Hell's worst nightmare.
Two years later, Hellboy's bringing his charming personality back to Earth to help the overwhelmed members of the BPRD fight their greatest enemy ever: the devil Varvara, who seeks to turn the planet into a demonic hellscape.
"The truth is, I knew he was coming back," Mignola told EW. "It’s something I’ve been keeping a lid on for a long time. As long as we’ve been talking about wrapping up the BPRD series, we’ve talked about how we needed to get the band back together and get back to the classic characters."
Mignola explained that Hellboy's return from Hell was always foretold in the comics. In 2010's BPRD: King of Fear, firestarter Liz Sherman has a vision of things to come, an apocalypse which Hellboy is a part of. Seeing as Varvara is trying to bring about said apocalypse on Earth, it seems that Liz's vision is coming true.
Per a preview of the upcoming issue that you should check out over at EW, the BPRD team finds Hellboy in the most likely (at least for this series) of places: a coffin in the middle of the Rocky Mountains.
"We put it in there that somewhere in the future Hellboy would be back," Mignola said. "But nobody picked up on it, which is great because we wanted a tease where people would just wonder, ‘does that mean something?’ As we wrap this up, we wanted to make sure that anything we teased, we’re paying off. Especially these funny little teases that seemed not to mean anything at the time — well, maybe they did mean something! Between Scott Allie and I, we’ve been orchestrating this thing for a long time."
According to Mignola, Hellboy has one or two more things left to do in our realm before he can have his much needed (and well-deserved) rest. He didn't go into detail as to what those things might be, but we can assume that one of them is defeating Varvara.
“I did end Hellboy in Hell on that nice quiet ‘oh now you’re in retirement’ note … except for that other thing he has to do. I feel bad about it, and I hope he had a good time on that couch where I left him. I hope he enjoyed the rest, but there’s a few things you still need to do, and it’s gonna be shitty. I read too much Michael Moorcock in high school, that’s what it is. I have that ‘doomed hero’ thing. He’s still got to take a beating.”
It's going to be a pretty big year for Hellboy in the lead up to the reboot of his film franchise in 2019, which stars David Harbour as the lovable demon. The movie, which is simply titled Hellboy, is out on Jan. 11, 2019. Until then, we're also getting a series of chronological omnibuses collecting all of Hellboy's adventures, both on Earth and his hometown beneath the planet's surface.
T’Challa’s longtime enemy is given a revamp in Black Panther and Winston Duke takes on the role.
In Marvel Comics canon, M’Baku -- known by the rather unfortunate supervillain name Man-Ape -- is a Wakandan warrior who wants to return the technologically advanced nation to its primitive roots. As a result he becomes a regular adversary to both the Black Panther and the Avengers, fighting T’Challa and other superheroes during his long stint on the page as the leader of the renegade White Gorilla Cult, from which he derives his powers.
M’Baku still leads the White Gorilla Cult and still shows disdain for Wakanda’s futuristic high tech in the movie Black Panther, but the name Man-Ape is nowhere to be found. As played by Winston Duke in his first feature film, he has his own kind of dignity, a kind of mirthful irreverence, and a sharp, strategic intelligence that gives him a crucial role to play as the movie’s plot unfolds. He’s also a massive physical presence and just as fierce a warrior as any of his countrymen or women.
Duke, a native of the Trinidadian island of Tobago who emigrated to the U.S. when he was nine years old, made several TV appearances in his relatively brief acting career before landing the role of M’Baku in director Ryan Coogler’s new Marvel epic. Den of Geek spoke with him at the Los Angeles press day for Black Panther, where he talked movingly about the importance of the film to him and the kind of impact he hopes it can have on new generations of viewers looking for representation.
Den of Geek: This is your first feature film.
Winston Duke: This is my first feature film ever, so it's a really new experience.
You went right in the deep end.
Yeah, man. The deepest end. I'm going in the diving pool here.
What was the audition process like?
I went through the audition process and to be honest, I just thought I'd be watching this movie like everyone else. I was just excited when I heard it had been announced, and then Chadwick Boseman and Civil War came out, and everyone loved it. And I loved it. And then it just kept building momentum. Lupita, Danai, Michael B Jordan, I'm like, "That's pretty cool."
I let my people know that I'd love to work with Ryan Coogler one day because I thought he's just one of those truly auteur directors of our time. And I was just like, "I want to work with a guy like that." I think he has such a great understanding and distinct voice of his own. So I wanted to do that.
And then I got in the room. And we worked for about 40 minutes. He took me in every direction. It was like, "Can you do it this way? Can you do it that way?" And we just went in so many different directions with the character and it wasn't until working with him that I realized that's his style. He has a very, I would say, musical approach, and a musicality to his directing style where he really just listens, and listens really deeply and intently because sometimes while auditioning, I would notice he wasn't watching me, he was listening.
He'd be like, "Okay. Cool, cool, cool." And then he'd come up to me and say, "I like what you did here but can you make this little part here, a little more personal? Make it just more personal and send it." And that was really wonderful. So getting the role through that audition process was just something that I could never imagine, but happened.
Were you familiar with the comics?
I grew up with comic books, and I'm from the Caribbean so comic books were really a great interrogator of American culture for me. It was a vehicle in but I didn't grow up reading Black Panther. I grew up with mutants and all these things, but Black Panther accessed a different part of the comic book world, and the comic book community for me once I did get the role.
Before I got the script, after I got the part, I went to my neighborhood comic book store and the guy recognized me because some information was leaked that Winston Duke's been tapped as M'Baku and all this stuff. And he recognized me right away. I walk in and he just kept glancing over. When we caught eyes, he started smiling a big smile. And then this guy pulled every single comic book that M'Baku had ever appeared in and then came out from the back, and was like, 'pow'. He's like, "There you go! That's for you. Good luck." I was like, "Whoa."
That's the kind of support that I've gotten for this film and that's the kind of support that we got at Hall H at Comic-Con when we encountered the fans, and they're showing all that love. So for me, man, being part of this community is like nothing else.
M'Baku's villain name in the comics wouldn't really fly these days, but there's still kind of an acknowledgement to it in the movie.
Yeah, those elements are still there and I think it's a really great testament to the creative team, that they have taken this character, this leader of the White Gorilla Cult, and elevated him to having a lot more agency and integrity. They gave him more responsibility because now he bears the burden of shouldering the welfare of an entire tribe, an entire community, and that's really powerful. That's put him in a place of not being ego driven, but being driven more by having to do a great job for his people and those are his attachments.
His culture and heritage, and what it means to him, that comes through because they pray to a different god. They're not part of this proper Wakandan society. They have their own thing and they're proud of that. So they come in and they announce themselves like a gorilla. They don't sneak around. M'Baku says what he means and he means what he says, and you're going to listen.
He seems to enjoy getting under people's skin.
He's a truth teller. He takes a lot of joy from calling out what other people might be thinking so I feel like he has a lot of great introspection because he knows they think that he's savage. He knows they think that he is just this big, intimidating guy, but at the same time he's vegetarian.
All those things really told me that this guy's deeply introspective and this guy's deeply aware of himself, and how people perceive him. And he has agency because of that. He can use that and wield that to his advantage. You know what I mean? And I think that's what's really brilliant about this M'Baku, is he's a thinking M'Baku. He's a thinking, acting M'Baku who has fun and can find joy in all kinds of situations. He has tactics. So he knows how to intimidate. He knows how to make an appearance and use his size and stature, but he's not what you think. That's what I wanted to bring across, that he's contemplative.
There's been a lot of talk about the importance of this movie to black culture and the ideals of representation and equality. If you were seeing this film as a 12-year-old child of African descent, what would it mean to you and what do you think it's going to mean to kids who will see this now?
I'm so excited and so moved at the idea of that. They're going to be able to take in information and take in images and arguments and these ideas before they are completely formed. I'm a man. I'm an adult. I'm grown and I grew up under all the narratives and politics of my skin tone. I grew up under the politics of my size and my skin. I grew up under the politics of the sound of my voice and a lack of agency, or a feeling of a lack of agency, and not always being able to find myself in images that were in the media.
So to have kids be able to see this and see people represented with power, see people be able to change their lives either for the better or for the worse, see people who represent class and dignity, see black women with class, dignity, agency, strength, opinion, love, vulnerability... Before they're formed. Before they're told that they have to be the narratives that they're told that they have to be. Before all the 'isms' of the world are placed on them, they get to consume, ingest and express this. That's really beautiful and that's important, and that's something that I could never fully have imagined while doing the work for this film because there's this film and then there's the event around the film for what the film can mean. And I'm just deeply honored, and privileged to have been a part of it.
You are also in Avengers: Infinity War. What can you say about it?
I feel like what Black Panther does is build an entire new world, an entire new language, and a new lexicon for the MCU. It's a really bold, new step into that future of the MCU, and then, Infinity War threatens and shakes that established world, and world order. That newly established world and world order is rocked when Thanos enters, and it's going to be a wild ride.
Black Panther is out in theaters this Friday (February 16).
To celebrate the arrival of Ninja Turtles in Injustice 2, here's a look at the finest moments from the Injustice prequel comics so far.
One of the more surprising successes from DC Comics’ repertoire in the past couple of years has been Injustice: Gods Among Us, the weekly digital comic that’s acted as a prequel to the Netherrealm Studios fighting game of the same name. Written by Tom Taylor and Brian Buccellato and drawn by the likes of Bruno Redondo, Mike S. Miller, Tom Derenick, and others, Injustice was strong enough to continue on for years despite the game itself falling into obscurity in-between installments.
The first five volumes take place in-between the game’s prologue and the beginning of the game, where the dystopian, Superman-ruled world is visited by heroes from the classic DC Universe. As shown in the game, this all happened because the Joker messed with Superman a little too hard and Superman killed him in a fit of rage. Most of the other heroes and even some villains were on his side in terms of ruling over the world with an iron fist and the only ones interested in taking him down were Batman, Lex Luthor (secretly), and Harley Quinn. With each volume of the comic explaining the events of a different year, we bridge the gap and see what it was that made Superman grow into a cold megalomaniac. How did Hal Jordan lose his way? How come none of the other heavy hitters were able to stop Superman?
After finishing up all five years, the series then became Injustice: Ground Zero, where it retold the events of the video game's story mode from the point of view of Harley. Now we're in the middle of Injustice 2, a prequel comic showing what's happened in-between the two games.
So let’s revisit 50 of the finer moments in this run where what could have been a forgettable tie-in that nobody would remember instead became one of DC’s better titles.
1. HARLEY AND GREEN ARROW (Y1: #5)
The first four issues of Injusticearen’t all that good, mainly because it’s the Joker doing a mandated killing spree that Taylor had to write based on the in-game history. Having to write Lois Lane’s death never did sit right with Taylor and he’s tried to redeem himself for it in different ways through his various writings. It wasn’t until he was able to move away from the intro story that he could show some real personality and promise.
Green Arrow apprehended Harley Quinn and chose to keep her in his Arrow Cave, since he didn’t like the possibility of Superman needlessly executing her too. What we got was a great dynamic where the snarkier member of the Justice League was silent and belligerent to an optimistic and excited criminal who admired him. It also introduced a couple of running gags, like Harley’s tendency to always carry a fake mustache with her at all times and the fact that Green Arrow really needs to rename his headquarters.
2. SUPERMAN AND BATMAN TRY TO TALK IT OUT (Y1: #10-11)
Year One was mostly about the crumbling of the World’s Finest. The friendship between Superman and Batman fell to pieces over disagreements and backstabbing. Superman chose to confront Batman, mostly as an excuse to vent. He felt that Batman was judging him for killing the Joker and imposing peace on the world, but at the same time he ranted about how Batman allowed all of this to happen by not killing the Joker first when the Joker seriously deserved it. The two argued back and forth, leading to Superman insulting Batman’s role as a father and Batman punching Superman in the face.
From there, things calmed down and in one moment, we were reminded that they were friends. Superman inspected Batman’s hand for injuries and Batman admitted the truth: if he were in Superman’s shoes, he probably would have done the same thing. The problem is, Superman is supposed to be better. Superman offered Batman to follow him down his path of making the world a better place, but Batman just couldn’t bring himself to do it.
3. FLASH’S FANBOY (Y1: #13)
In the game’s story mode, the Flash was able to realize that he was on the wrong side, albeit too late. This issue dealt with him second-guessing Superman’s actions for the first time. In Australia, a group of people protested Superman’s insistence to keep countries from going to war “or else.” Superman and Wonder Woman told them all to disperse, but a man calling himself Galaxon stepped forth and challenged them. He got Rock Bottom’d into the pavement in a second.
As Flash went off to go get an ambulance, Batman told him that he already called for one and instead gave him directions to a science research facility. It was the place where Galaxon was engineered. News of his incident hadn’t reached them yet, so a scientist gave Flash the tour, including Galaxon’s room. The walls were covered in inspirational images of superheroes, including a photo of him as a kid when he got to meet the Flash. Realizing that he just watched a man who idolized him get paralyzed for standing up for his people, Flash zipped away to run off this gut punch.
In Year Five, Flash was told by Iris West that Galaxon committed suicide a year or so after the incident. That turned out not to be the case in the Injustice 2comic and Barry dedicated himself to helping Galaxon walk again.
4. CYBORG’s VIRUS (Y1: #15)
When you get down to it, the comic is like DC’s own little version of Civil War, only we know the ending and we know that Superman is ultimately going to be in the wrong. It would be totally easy to simply have Batman be the paragon of virtue by default to show off just how wrong Superman really is, but Taylor doesn’t do that. Batman is an asshole and does some really scummy stuff.
For instance, there’s a part where Superman and his allies went to Arkham Asylum to steal away all of the inmates without saying where they were going. Cyborg would open the doors and Flash would run off with the prisoners. Batman warned Cyborg to stop and when that warning wasn’t heeded, he pressed a button that shorted Cyborg out. Once he finally came to his senses, he couldn’t understand it. He just updated his firewalls and there’s no way Batman could have infected him.
Then Cyborg realized that Batman infected him with the virus on the first week they met. Just in case. In the background, Killer Croc noted, “That’s pretty evil.”
Batman pulled crap like that a lot in the first year. While Superman was wrong for the right reasons, Batman was terrible at proving why he himself was in the right.
5. BLACK ADAM’S TAKEN DOWN (Y1: #19)
With the Justice League trying to stop all war around the world, that would naturally put them at odds with Teth Adam, ruler of Kahndaq. A man not known for listening to reason, he fought the heroes, who eventually overpowered him. In a moment of, “How did nobody else thing of this before?!” Wonder Woman proved that she is Black Adam’s kryptonite. All she had to do was get him in the lasso and ask him what his magic words are.
Shazam tried to plead with him and asked him point blank if there was any way to stop him. Adam, compelled to tell the truth, angrily said that he would tear apart anyone who tried to hurt Kahndaq, so no. He couldn’t be swayed. In his last moments before being forced to depower himself, Adam desperately begged Shazam to keep his country safe. Then he transformed into a powerless old man and was taken off the table until Year Five.
6. SUPERMAN VS. KALIBAK (Y1: #22-24)
With word that Superman was bringing peace to Earth, Kalibak found the idea laughable and figured it made the planet easy pickings for invasion. With Darkseid’s blessing, he and an endless stream of Parademons attacked Earth during a press conference where Superman was trying to better explain his actions to the frightened public. Kalibak completely underestimated Superman’s mindset in this act and paid for it.
Kalibak doubled down and mocked Superman for caring too much about the lives of his enemies than his people, all while piling on hundreds of Parademons and pointing out that Superman could hear all the people being terrorized from around the world. Vowing this wouldn’t happen again, Superman vaporized the lot of them, then beat Kalibak to death, even when Kalibak tried to surrender. After a brief discussion with Flash, Superman decided that for the greater good, he’d have to reduce every single Parademon on Earth to organic confetti.
He saved the world, but at the same time, Flash was disturbed that he basically gave Superman permission to kill and Batman knew that Superman’s actions were going to get progressively worse.
7. MORAL CHESS (Y1: #26)
Again, Superman and Flash had a conversation about the morality of what they were doing, though this time at their own leisure and not during an intergalactic invasion. In a cute gimmick, Superman had Flash quickly learn the rules of chess so that they could play while talking. This worked out so that any time one of them made a point in their argument, they would suddenly reach checkmate. Superman started off with all the good points, but soon Flash was able to run circles around his conversation and his skills by dropping checkmate after checkmate after checkmate.
8. SUPER TWITTER (Y1: #28)
This bit’s something that’s so stupid that it wraps around and becomes fantastic. Superman had had enough of Batman’s interference, so he decided that he’d just blurt out his alter-ego info to the world. Batman interfered with the satellite’s signal, putting them in the dark and also causing it to spiral down to Earth. Presumably, by the time Superman would have saved everyone in the satellite, Batman would have put some kind of contingency plan that would...do something? I don’t think Taylor thought that far ahead. Anyway, Robin was all, “No way, we’re doing this! Lex Luthor! Cyborg! Get Superman a Twitter account! Or at least an off-brand one that we can use in this comic!”
And so, “Batman is Bruce Wayne” became the most retweeted line in this universe, ruining the Dark Knight’s core level of secrecy.
While goofy, it did lead to a wonderful follow-up scene. Alfred came to Batman to tell him about the many, many news helicopters circling the manor and while he figured Batman had contingencies for his funds and various charities, Alfred had his own special list for just such an occasion. A short list of irreplaceable things to take with him in case Batman's identity was blown. His mother’s pearls, father’s stethoscope, etc. Batman thanked Alfred and suggested that perhaps he should remain at the mansion, but Alfred refused. After all, he was on the top of the list!
9. GREEN ARROW’S DEATH (Y1: #33-34)
It all led up to this moment. Superman didn’t simply lose his way overnight. Various incidents and interactions pushed him in various ways, but it all came to a head in the moment he lost control and killed Green Arrow. Superman and Luthor had created a special pill that would give someone the strength of a Kryptonian (to explain in-game why Harley Quinn and Nightwing could fight Superman and Doomsday) and Batman came up with a plan to create a diversion to get Superman out of the Fortress of Solitude so that they could sneak in and steal it.
What Batman didn’t count on was that Superman was keeping his parents in the Fortress for their own safety and how volatile that would make him. The incident escalated and it seemed like everything was against Superman, including fate. His friends betrayed him. His government betrayed him. The current love of his life Wonder Woman was critically injured. He was almost killed by Captain Atom. Batman wouldn’t stop trying to undermine him. Then in an act of desperation, Green Arrow deflected an arrow off Superman and it stuck into Pa Kent’s shoulder. Superman snapped and beat Green Arrow to death, but not before Arrow was able to fire the super pill off into the distance and make his sacrifice mean something.
Afterwards, the Kents and the computerized ghost of Jor-El tried to reason with Superman, but he wouldn’t hear it. After he flew off to find Batman, the three moped about their failures as parents. It was one of the sadder moments as the AI Jor-El tried to console the Kents while saying, “I’m sorry I unleashed this on your world.”
10. SUPERMAN VS. ALFRED (Y1: #36)
Batman put the super pill into the Batcomputer in order to get the data to synthesize it. That meant having to keep Superman busy long enough, which was kind of hard because, you know, he’s Superman. Superman caught him and decided that he wouldn’t kill Batman. Instead, he broke him over his knee, Bane-style. He noticed that the pill was gone and the information was uploaded elsewhere, but when he tried to press Batman (physically) to spill the beans, he just got the harsh truth that no matter how heroic he pretended to be, he was actually resorting to torture. Before Superman could process this, a hand touched his shoulder. It was Alfred.
Then Alfred buried his forehead into Superman’s nose. It was the perfect payoff for a man who sat back and watched his own family get torn apart over these 36 issues. Alfred verbally ran down Superman while stomping him so hard that his own shoe exploded into leather pieces. Once done, he took a second to clean his hands like a good butler and carried Batman off to the teleporter, telling him that there was nothing else in the cave worth saving. Damn.
The moment this issue came out, readers were clamoring for an Alfred Pennyworth DLC in the game.
11. BEST TEAM-UP EVER (Y1 Annual)
Injustice: Gods Among Us Annual is such a great little side-story taking place before Green Arrow’s death. It mainly dealt with Lobo, the downloadable character from the game who otherwise had nothing to do with the main storyline. Due to the whole Kalibak incident, Darkseid hired him to take out Superman. Seeing how screwed he was against a Superman with no moral problems throwing the Main Man into the sun, Lobo instead took a job for Superman to track down Harley Quinn. One thing led to another and soon Harley had ingested one of the super pills.
Harley went to the Arrow Cave, since Green Arrow was nice to her that one time, leading to some hilarious dialogue and facial expressions between the two of them and Black Canary. Lobo eventually tracked them down, but their combined abilities (mostly Harley’s newfound ability to tear someone’s head clean off) helped prevent them from being another three notches on Lobo’s belt. Then Harley used her psychological assets to convince Lobo that she was beneath him and he moved on.
12. THE DEATH OF KYLE RAYNER (Y2: #2)
As mentioned earlier, a lot of having to kill off Lois Lane chafed Taylor and it showed in his work. In one instance, he took the original “girls in refrigerators” moment and turned it on its head. Kyle Rayner was off doing space adventures and was on his way to go meet his girl. In this version of the story, Kyle was the one cornered and brutally killed for the sake of plot device.
While the last several years of DC has painted Sinestro as more of an anti-hero, this one sequence solidified him as the true villain of Year Two. The horrifying way he and his Sinestro Corps took Kyle apart was genuinely sad and just a little scary.
13. GORDON’S ALWAYS KNOWN (Y2: #6)
As a way to stick it to Batman, Superman decided to have his foot soldiers take martial law on Gotham. This didn’t sit well for Commissioner Gordon. He walked over to one of Oracle’s secret hideouts and told her he knew everything. Once she let him in, she made a brief attempt to play dumb, but then he merely shouted her down. He knew about Batgirl. He knew about Oracle. He knew Batman was Bruce Wayne. He knew from the very beginning because he was a detective and he was damn good at his job.
With Gordon cutting through the lies, he then told Barbara his own sad truth: he was dying of lung cancer. The last thing he wanted to do was save the world from Superman because it was only going to get worse.
14. CH’P VS. SUPERMAN (Y2: #10)
Superman’s megalomania eventually got the attention of the Green Lantern Corps. With Hal Jordan kept imprisoned, the Oans sent a bunch of Lanterns to Earth to pick a fight. Superman had a handful of his allies and a giant satellite laser on his side, but despite the many ring-slingers out to stop him, it was one of the tiniest who almost did the job. Ch’p the space squirrel was able to use his ring to manipulate the energy flowing through Superman’s skull, keeping his synapses from reaching his brain. Without Superman being able to even think right, the Man of Steel was there’s for the taking.
Lucky for Superman, Sinestro was able to convince Lex Luthor that he was there to help and was allowed to enter the fray. Not noticed until it was too late, Sinestro sniped the poor, little squirrel and that was the end of their advantage.
15. HARLEY’S DAUGHTER (Y2: #13)
Black Canary found Harley squatting in the abandoned Arrow Cave and the two started fighting it out. Harley stopped once Canary started vomiting, realizing she was suffering morning sickness and was pregnant with Ollie’s child. She casually let it slip that she too was once pregnant and Dinah pressed the subject until Harley relented. Years ago, she was pregnant with the Joker’s kid. In a rare act of sense, Harley kept it a secret from Joker and left him for nearly a year to give birth to Lucy and hand her off to Harley's sister. Then when she returned to the Joker, Joker acted like he didn’t even notice Harley was gone in the first place, which Harley tearfully explained away as a hilarious joke.
It’s rare to get a good scene that really gets the Joker/Harley relationship without feeling icky. Harley’s dependency on Joker’s abusive nature is shown perfectly here, but there’s none of the usual physical violence to back it up. It’s heartbreaking when Harley describes Lucy’s interests and the little girl comes off as an innocent version of Harley who will be spared the horrors of a clown crime lifestyle.
16. SINESTRO VS. DESPERO (Y2: 15)
Year One was about Superman succumbing to all sorts of different factors to the point of losing his way. Taylor made sure that it wasn’t just one thing making his turn to darkness a simple on-off switch. On the other hand, Sinestro spent Year Two stoking the flames of Superman’s psyche while turning Hal Jordan further to his side. The ease in which he was able to do this made it all the more hilarious because, really, Hal Jordan is a total meathead.
Flying in from space, Despero crashed into a populated building in Chicago. Sinestro was on the scene first and made a heroic claim that Despero would not be terrorizing Earth, as that was under his protection. Despero wasn’t sure what the hell he was talking about and over the next few pages, it became pretty apparent that Sinestro had his Sinestro Corps rough up Despero, throw him to Earth, and let Sinestro take care of the rest. Sinestro used his ring to force Despero’s hands onto Sinestro’s throat and with Hal and John Stewart flying over as witnesses, Sinestro yelled, “Don’t make me do this!” before snapping Despero’s neck out of supposed self-defense.
Hal believed every second of it.
17. DAN DIDIO HATES THIS (Y2: 16)
Remember a few years ago when the big thing was how the Batwoman comic was working its way towards a lesbian engagement and then DC shut it down? Then they went all, “No, we’re not anti-gay! We’re just anti-marriage in general!” when everyone made a stink about it? Fun times.
In this issue, everyone was getting ready for the big fight against Superman, the Justice League, and the Sinestro Corps. Batman took to the radio to give a big speech about sacrifice and heroism and all that. He’d bring up family and we’d see Barbara and James Gordon saying their goodbyes. He’d bring up friends and we’d see Harvey Bullock getting drunk by himself. But most notably, it explicitly showed that in the Injustice: Gods Among Us universe, Batwoman and Renee Montoya were married. That rules.
It was never referenced again.
18. HAL JORDAN GOES YELLOW (Y2: 19)
An argument between Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner escalated once Sinestro and Ganthet arrived. Guy tried to reason with him, but Hal was firmly on Superman’s side. Then as Guy saved Carol Ferris from some burning debris, Hal made the bonehead decision to smash Guy in the face and let Carol fall so he could save her. Ganthet chose that moment to strip Hal of his green ring, which was called for, but also really bad timing because, you know, Carol was falling to her death. Desperate, Hal begged Sinestro to save Carol, but Sinestro refused.
“We need you in this war. Save her yourself.”
With a yellow ring offered, Hal joined Sinestro’s brand and rescued Carol. A few issues later, Sinestro killed John Stewart and told Hal that Guy was accidentally responsible. Feeling that this big space battle between the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps was Guy’s fault, Hal attacked him and tore his arm off, watching as the powerless Guy fell to Earth.
Sinestro took out three of the Earth Lanterns in one year while turning the other to his side. Not bad.
19. JIM GORDON’S LAST STAND (Y2: 20)
The less cosmic members of Batman’s resistance took to overtaking the Hall of Justice, all hopped up on super pills. They successfully took out Flash, Robin, and Luthor, but Luthor spoke to Commissioner Gordon and told him that he was really a mole and that Barbara was in great danger. Cyborg was tracing Oracle’s signal and was going to figure out her location in moments. Using Luthor as a hostage, Gordon beamed up to the satellite and fired a warning shot into the metal side of Cyborg’s head.
Even though Gordon was dying, he was still able to overpower Cyborg and knock him out by tearing off his metal face. As he and Luthor discussed, taking the super pill didn’t aid Gordon’s health. It only made the cancer stronger. He enjoyed the peaceful view from above Earth and spoke to Barbara and Batman through his communicator. He said his goodbyes, ending with the joke, “Batman. I guess...I guess I disappear on you for once,” before collapsing.
20. SUPERMAN VS. BLACK CANARY (Y2: #21-23)
This is a fight that had been building since the first issue of Year Two. Hell, since the moment Superman snapped and killed Ollie. Superman saw the Batwing flying towards him and figured it was Batman. He lasered it up into oblivion, only for Black Canary to fly out with a bat-jetpack on her back and a super pill in her system. With her sonic scream, she was able to paralyze Superman while spiking him into the ground. When they got up, she shot him in the chest with a kryptonite bullet. Yep, all was looking peachy as she kicked the crap out of him.
What everyone forgot to pick up on was that there were a whole lot of Sinestro Corps soldiers dying around them and Superman was becoming an expert at instilling fear around the world. One of the empty rings flew to him and helped him remove the kryptonite bullet from his chest. He critically wounded Canary with his heat vision and showed off his badass new Sinestro Corps threads.
Still, Canary had the last laugh. She had special contact lenses that allowed her to record the entire fight. No longer would Superman be able to use media smoke and mirrors to play off his actions as heroic. The world knew what he really was. Superman didn’t take it well and we got a dead Mogo and Ganthet out of the deal a few minutes later.
21. BLACK CANARY’S NEW LIFE (Y2: #24)
The problem with Year Two was that it was like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Black Canary was never going to stop Superman. Guy Gardner was never going to stop Sinestro. James Gordon wasn’t going to survive. It’s a prequel comic and that means bad stuff has to happen to set up the beginning of the game. That meant that the moment Dinah Lance targeted Superman, she was doomed. It was unfair.
In the final issue, after Sinestro remarked that they saved the world in contrast to the pile of dead Lantern bodies on the ground, it showed Black Canary’s body where Superman left her. Dr. Fate, who had only made a couple minor appearances prior, decided that he couldn’t let this stand.
Dinah woke up in another world. Fate helped heal her and took her and her baby to an Earth where Oliver Queen was still alive, but lost his Dinah five years earlier. Perhaps they could connect. Perhaps not. But they and baby Connor had a chance to be happy and be safe from Superman’s wrath.
We'll see more of those guys later.
22. COMIC BOOKS REALLY ARE ABSURD (Y3: #2)
Year Three is all about covering the magic side of the DC Universe during this mess. Early on, John Constantine hooked up with Batman and Detective Chimp. Driven around by Constantine’s buddy Chas, the group made their way to where Raven was being held captive. During the ride, Constantine whispered to Chas to have a peak at the backseat, where Batman and Detective Chimp were just sitting there, silently grimacing.
That was just enough for them to lose their minds laughing. Batman yelled at them, but Detective Chimp told him to calm down. “Oh, come on. I’m a talking chimpanzee and you’re a grown man in a bat suit. Let them have this.”
23. ONE PUNCH REDUX (Y3: #4)
The main reason the magic guys never got a good shot at taking down Superman was because Superman had the Spectre on his side. He went after the hideout where Batman and his allies were stationed, held back momentarily by Zatanna’s waning magic. Batman figured they could just, I don’t know, hide in a cellar or under a pile of coats or something, and Constantine called him out on it. He ranted about how Batman could barely walk and was completely useless in this situation.
Batman proceeded to punch him in the face. Not just any punch, but homage to the time Batman punched out Guy Gardner in the '80s (notice the text in the bottom right corner). Now a little ruffled, Batman chose a more courageous plan of walking out into the streets and talking to the Spectre himself, giving everyone ample time to escape. When Constantine got up and saw what Batman was doing, he smirked. “Jesus. Bollocks the size of coconuts. Brilliant.” Riling him up was his plan all along.
24. WHERE IS CORRIGAN?! (Y3: #9)
Spectre has always been kind of a nut, but at Superman’s side, he had gone too far. He already killed Harvey Bullock, Jason Blood, and Ragman, while Detective Chimp just barely survived his wrath. Deadman decided to speak to Spectre himself, hoping to get through to the Jim Corrigan side of the spirit. He found nothing. Spectre’s host was NOT Corrigan. But who? Spectre gave a devious smile and then killed Deadman.
Coincidentally, Madam Xanadu read some fortunes earlier that included mention that "the Joker" would return in some form. How does the Spectre get a human host? Through finding one who had been murdered.
The Spectre turned out not to be the Joker after all (he was Mr. Mxyzptlk), but it was a damn good red herring.
25. SUPERMAN VS. ETRIGAN (Y3: #12)
Constantine came up with a plan to stop Superman, but it involved a bit of sacrifice. As Superman, Sinestro, and Hal hung out in the Hall of Justice while the Spectre was preoccupied, the Demon Etrigan suddenly appeared and attacked the trio. He injured Sinestro, causing Hal to escape with his partner. That left Superman and Etrigan to battle it out. With Superman in close quarters, Etrigan then transformed into his new host form: BATMAN.
Batman sprayed Superman with something that appeared to be sprinkles of a Black Mercy plant laced with magic. Whatever it was, it knocked Superman into a coma. Before going under, Superman panicked at the idea that Batman would side with Hell itself in order to stop him. Rather than realizing how far gone he had gone, Superman turned it around and claimed that Batman was the one who had fallen.
George R.R. Martin reveals that a Targaryen companion book will arrive before long-gestating sequel The Winds of Winter.
Game of Thrones Season 8 may be the light at the end of the tunnel for the HBO television series (at least before spinoff plans manifest), but fans of the source material, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, have become accustomed to having their reading fix delayed by the author, as the release of penultimate volume The Winds of Winter perpetually shifts. Indeed, readers who came into 2018 thinking, "this will finally be the year," will undoubtedly be disappointed by the latest development, though there is a silver lining to embrace.
George R.R. Martin recently made what appears to be an impromptu revelation regarding his A Song of Ice and Fire release strategy in a comment on his Not a Blog Livejournal site. With the topic being Martin’s upcoming series of companion novels, to be titled Fire and Blood, the author addressed something that has become a fairly standard question regarding The Winds of Winter and how the F&B volumes will affect the long-delayed sequel’s release. As Martin replies:
“F&B will be in two volumes. Vol 1 [will be released] before [The Winds of Winter], vol 2 after.”
Thus, the vocal Internet fans who have made a pastime of reminding Martin to stop whatever he’s doing and get back to writing TWoW, will likely be frustrated by this news. Yet, it’s not surprising, since Martin teased last year that his authorial attentions have not been on TWoW, but on the Fire and Blood books, a companion volume – akin to J.R.R. Tolkien’s posthumous quasi-Biblical Middle Earth chronicle, The Silmarillion– focusing on the lengthy epoch-spanning history of the dragon-taming Targaryen family, reaching all the way back to Daenerys’s continent-crossing ancestor, Aegon the Conqueror, to boy king Aegon III, as well as the great Targaryen Civil War (a.k.a. the Dance of the Dragons).
Martin claims that Fire and Blood Vol. 1 will arrive sometime in 2018; a notion that essentially takes The Winds of Winter off the table for 2018. Consequently, it’s looking more likely that by the time Game of Thrones Season 8 makes its six-episode (undoubtedly tragedy-laden,) series conclusion in 2019, the chronological state of the novels will still be the same as they’ve been since the release of A Dance with Dragons back in July of 2011. – For reference, that volume was preceded by opening novel A Game of Thrones in 1996, A Clash of Kings in 1999, A Storm of Swords in 2000 and A Feast for Crows in 2005. The Winds of Winter (whenever that finally arrives,) will be followed by the concluding volume, A Dream of Spring.
Game of Thrones Season 8 will arrive on HBO sometime in 2019. While fans of George R.R. Martin’s novels will likely enjoy the chronicles of Fire and Blood in 2018, the A Song of Ice and Fire novels will have to remain encased in the former element referenced in its very title.
The biggest Power Rangers team-up ever draws in Rangers from many different seasons.
The Power Rangers comic is about to unleash a huge event with Power Rangers: Shattered Grid (running through Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers) and thanks to IGN we know what seasons some of the Rangers will be drawn from.
Dino Super Charge, RPM, Time Force, Ninja Steel and Dino Thunder.
The new trailer for the event, which features Jason David Frank voicing the character of Lord Drakkon, also teases the inclusion of the Lightspeed Rescue team as well.
The full line-up for the event is below, which will run through both the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers comics.
We've also got some preview images of the event that feature the Time Force Rangers!
In May 2018 BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands will also unleash a free comic that ties into the ongoing event. See below for the press release and we'll explain just why it's a big deal.
BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands announce the MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS 2018 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY SPECIAL. Arriving in comic shops worldwide on Free Comic Book Day (May 5th, 2018), this FREE comic is a tie-in to the hotly anticipated POWER RANGERS: SHATTERED GRID comic book event and features the story of how Zordon turns to the Morphin Masters for help in the Power Rangers’ darkest hour as the Rangers battle Lord Drakkon—an evil version of Tommy, the Green Ranger, from an alternate reality. The issue will be written by Kyle Higgins (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and Ryan Parrott (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers) and illustrated by Diego Galindo (Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Dog Men).
Morphin Masters? Okay, if you aren't the most hardcore of Power Rangers fans you might not recall what the hell the Morphin Masters are. Basically, there was an early MMPR episode where Zordon casually name dropped the Morphin Masters in relation to the Power Eggs in the episode "Big Sisters". The kind of throwaway line MMPR was known for but for years fans have speculated what the hell the Morphin Masters were. Well knowing how insane the Power Rangers comics can get with continuity we're excited to see their take on it.
Check out the cover of the comic (which sadly doesn't feature any Morphin Masters.)
Shamus Kelley can not get over the inclusion of the Morphin Masters! Follow him on Twitter!
Horror favorite Fangoria magazine returns to its pulpy roots.
Fangoria is kind of like the Ramones of horror magazines. Fun, funny, influential and completely accessible, their interviewers asked pertinent questions and the images were filled with gore, suspense and wit. Every horror fan has at least one copy, that they show, and probably a bunch buried somewhere. Quentin Tarantino has boxes of copies, I’m sure. Most covered in some kind of protective plastic like he’s preserving a dead Pharaoh for a movie he’ll never get around to making. But Fangoria Lives. Cinestate, Dallas-based entertainment company founded by movie producer Dallas Sonnier (Bone Tomahawk, Brawl In Cell Block 99) bought the magazine. They are set to restore it to its glory days as a print publication.
Fangoria will have a new Editor-in-Chief, film writer Phil Nobile Jr., who was Editor-At-Large for the website Birth.Movies.Death. Noble was a a writer/producer for Stage 3 Productions in Philadelphia, where he created a feature-length documentary on John Carpenter’s Halloween. Nobile will also act as the Creative Director for the entire Fangoria brand.
“There needs to be a Fangoria,” says Nobile. “The magazine was a constant presence in the genre since 1979 - and then one day it was gone. That felt, to us, tragically incorrect. Fango was, for multiple generations, a privileged window into the world of horror. It gave us access to filmmakers’ processes and secrets, opened our eyes to movies we might have otherwise missed, and nurtured a wave of talent that’s out there driving the genre today. I’m proud and excited to be part of the team that’s bringing this institution back.”
At the height of its popularity, Fangoria Magazine was the most renowned horror publication in the world. Before the internet they were the place to go for exclusive interviews with horror filmmakers, behind-the-scenes photos and stories weren’t covered in other movie magazines because they weren’t dedicated to the art of horror. Cinestate CEO Dallas Sonnier courted the previous publisher Thomas DeFeo’s The Brooklyn Company for several months to get the assets and trademarks of the Fangoria brand, including the magazine.
“We have also been reaching out to previous Fangoria contributors to introduce ourselves and invite them back into the tent for future collaborations. This is a process, but we are confident in our ability to earn back trust and be good partners in a brand that personally means so much to so many awesome people,” states Sonnier.
Tony Timpone and Michael Gingold will return to Fangoria as consultants, and will contribute regular columns. Other contributors include S. Craig Zahler (Brawl In Cell Block 99), Ashlee Blackwell (Graveyard Shift Sisters), Samuel Zimmerman (Curator, Shudder), Grady Hendrix (PAPERBACKS FROM HELL), former Birth.Movies.Death Editorial Director Meredith Borders, horror historian Rebekah McKendry, and Preston Fassel (the upcoming Our Lady of the Inferno).
A full staff is in place and operating from the Cinestate offices in Dallas. Zack Parker, formerly of Shudder, joins Fangoria as the Director of Brand Management, along with Jessica Safavimehr as Associate Publisher and Ashley Detmering as Art Director. Nobile will be based out of New Jersey.
Cinestate controls all material from over 300 issues of Fangoria Magazine, spanning the past 39 years. They also control the contents of the now-infamous Fangoria storage unit in New York, and the assets and trademarks to out-of-print publications Starlog and Gorezone.
“When I read Fangoria as a kid, it was a special ritual. I had to save up for it, and then I had to find it. And bringing it home ten times a year became a kind of sacrament, poring over every photograph on every page, reading that whole thing front to back, then doing it again,” Nobile said in a statement.
“We want to restore that analog thrill to readers. We want to duplicate the excitement that I remember bubbling up around a new issue of Fango, put that excitement in an envelope and mail it to our subscribers. Fangoria is not something that competes with online blogs. Fangoria is not an algorithm. Fangoria is something you hold in your hands, something you spend a bit of time with in the real world. That’s what it was for decades, and that’s what we’re going to make it again.”
Cinestate will further develop Fangoria into a brand for producing movies and podcasts, as well as publishing horror novels.
Cinestate is currently in post on a gonzo reimagining of the Puppet Master franchise, as well as Zahler’s next movie Dragged Across Concrete for Lionsgate starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. Cinestate also published its first novel in January – Zahler’s Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric Of An Anomalous Child, which is being developed into a feature by Zahler, Cinestate and the Jim Henson Company.
Jeff Daniels' Atticus and Celia Keenan-Bolger's Scout do a walk and talk in Aaron Sorkin's To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway.
Jeff Daniels will climb inside Atticus Finch’s skin and walk around in it on Broadway. Daniels will star in Aaron Sorkin's stage production of Harper Lee's 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird, according to Entertainment Weekly.
To Kill a Mockingbird will be directed by Bartlett Sher. The production will star Celia Keenan-Bolger (The Glass Menagerie, Peter and the Starcatcher) as Scout. It will feature an ensemble cast that includes Will Pullen as Scout’s brother Jem; LaTanya Richardson Jackson as Finch's housekeeper, Calpurnia; Gideon Glick (Significant Other) as Scout’s friend Dill; and Stark Sands (Kinky Boots) as prosecutor Horace Gilmer.
The role of Boo Radley has not yet been cast, but Frederick Weller, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Erin Wilhelmi, Dakin Matthews, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Phyllis Somerville and Liv Rooth will play supporting roles. Composer Adam Guettel will write an original score for the play.
Lee's debut novel To Kill a Mockingbird was written during the early stages of the civil rights movement, when Jim Crow laws were still in effect in some Southern states. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was published in 10 languages within a year of its release. It is considered one of the classics of modern American literature.
The story revolves around Scout’s relationship with her father, small-town Alabama lawyer Atticus Finch, who takes on a case defending a black man accused of rape.
To Kill a Mockingbird begins previews Thursday, November 1. It will open on Thursday, December 13. No theater has been announced.
We're tracking down every Marvel reference and easter egg we can find in the Black Panther movie. Help us out!
The Black Panther movie is finally here! Marvel's historic big screen adaptation is true to the spirit of the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's creation, but draws heavy inspiration from creators like Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, Mark Texiera, Ta-Nehisi Coates, John Romita, Brian Stelfreeze, Trevor Hairsine, and others. Black Panther's Marvel Universe history stretches back over 50 years, and the movie does his legacy justice in ways big and small.
So here's how this works. We've compiled everything we could find on our first viewing. There's bound to be stuff we missed. So if you spot something, drop it in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter, and if it checks out, we'll add it to the guide with some additional context!
When Does Black Panther Take Place?
One quick note about when Black Panther takes place. For quite some time it felt like the Marvel movies were basically operating on a timeline along when they were actually released. That's no longer the case. The events of Black Panther seem to take place about a week after the events of Captain America: Civil War, which would put it before the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming (which was released last year) and Doctor Strange (which was released in 2016). Don't think about it too hard, as you'll get a headache.
- Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Panther's debut came right in the sweet spot of what is absolutely the pinnacle of the Lee/Kirby collaboration on that book, and he was by far the most high profile black comic book character ever created at the time. T'Challa has since become an essential piece of greater Marvel mythology, and we wrote more about some of the amazing work Jack Kirby did with the character right here.
- The "heart-shaped herb" is right out of the comics, too. What's interesting to me is how heavily they lean on the "Black Panther communing with the dead" element in the process of this transformation. During Jonathan Hickman's time as Fantastic Four (and later Avengers) writer, they really went hard on the idea that Black Panther isn't just king of the living in Wakanda, he's also the king of the realm of the dead. So all those trips to the ancestral plane (and how Killmonger seemingly rejected that entire element of the responsibility of that role) seem to fit in with this. They make reference to Bast throughout the movie, generally known as an Egyptian god, but one who has a place in the Panther legacy, and who decreed that Black Panthers also rule the dead of Wakanda.
- The title of Black Panther is one that is passed down, and we met T'Challa's father, T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War. Interestingly enough, while T'Challa did indeed don the mantle of Black Panther in that movie, he wasn't officially THE Black Panther until what we see in this movie.
- T'Challa makes the choice between the gold or white necklace, but throughout his comics career, he has worn both.
What is Vibranium?
Black Panther's suit is made of woven vibranium, an incredibly strong, valuable metal found only in a meteor that crashed in Wakanda a long time ago. Wakanda is the only source of vibranium on Earth, and it’s the source of their tremendous technological advancements.
That whole Wakandan creation myth we get at the beginning of the movie touches on the extraterrestrial element of vibranium's origin, which is a nice touch.
Interestingly enough, in the comics, Captain America's shield is made of an adamantium/vibranium alloy, which helps make it so durable. The fact that Cap is going to spend some time (and get a new shield from T'Challa) in Avengers: Infinity War feels like a nod to that.
What About Wakanda?
OK, so after only one viewing, I need to make sure I have a couple of things straight. Please let us know if we have any of this wrong. The five tribes of Wakanda they talk about in the intro sequence seem to be more in line with how the comics laid out the five religions of the region (there are 18 total tribes out there). Anyway, I say this because one of the nations they mention is the Jabari, who are, of course, M'Baku's White Gorilla army.
- The visuals seem to draw strong influence from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ time as writer on Black Panther (which have set the status quo for Wakanda in the rest of the Marvel Universe).
- Coates has spent a lot of time delving into Wakandan geography and society. It’s a hyper-advanced, with diverse cultures and a deep connection to the geography. It’s also generally hidden from the rest of the world, something we saw in the post-credits scene in Civil War.
- Let's not forget that the Panther and his world have the great Jack Kirby's fingerprints all over them. You can see hints of Kirby's love of insanely hi-tech designs in everything from the engines of the Wakandan aircraft to the tech on display in the hospitals. There's a pretty cool looking "black light poster" in the infirmary that faintly reminds me of work Kirby did in the '70s, as well.
By the way, is anyone out there far smarter than us who can recognize what the Wakandan language is supposed to be? Was this created specifically for the movie? Is it an existing language? An amalgamation of several African languages? Can we learn it in a school somewhere?
They nailed so much of the look of Wakanda and Black Panther’s world here, it’s incredible, particularly with Angela Bassett as Ramonda, T’Challa’s stepmother and Queen Mother of Wakanda. She looks like Brian Stelfreeze drew her. Ramonda married T'Chaka (T'Challa's father) after N'Yami passed away in childbirth. Her relationship with T'Challa as he grew into the Black Panther role is being examined right now in Rise of the Black Panther.
Who is Shuri?
T’Challa’s sister (and eventual Black Panther herself) was created by Reggie Hudlin and John Romita, Jr. in 2005, became Panther in 2009, and has had quite a ride all in all. In the comics, she died at the hands of Proxima Midnight and the Cabal in the lead up to Secret Wars. (That's relevant, maybe, to Infinity War, since the Black Order should be there) Her spirit then migrated to the Djalia, the collective plane of memory for all of Wakanda, and T'Challa went in after her in the pages of the current Black Panther ongoing.
- Also...was Shuri making a Back to the Future II self-lacing sneakers joke when she talked about the old American movies their father watched in relation to T'Challa's "sneakers?"
- Of course, her crack about "another broken white boy for us to fix" was absolutely about Bucky Barnes, who ended up in Wakanda after the events of Captain America: Civil War. We see him again during the post-credits scenes, with the Wakandan children referring to him as "White Wolf" rather than "Winter Soldier."
We interviewed Letitia Wright about the character, and you can read that right here if you want.
Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi, the head of the Wakandan military, is, along with T'Challa and Klaw, one of the oldest characters in the movie, having first appeared back in Avengers #62 in 1969.
Who is Everrett Ross?
- Martin Freeman's Everett Ross made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War. But he was first created by Christopher Priest and Kenny Martinez in Ka-Zar, and brought back in the pages of Priest’s legendary run as writer on Black Panther in 1999.
In the comics, Ross is a medium level State Department employee given the responsibility of guiding T’Challa around New York, where he then gets roped into fights with Mephisto, Atlantis, Man Ape, and Iron Man, and sits in on a diplomatic meeting between Black Panther, Dr. Doom, Namor, and Magneto. Needless to say, Priest’s run, which seems to have heavily influenced this movie, was awesome.
Ross' nonplussed reactions in the movie to increasingly weird situations feels like it came right out of the comics.
Hey you know how badass Michonne is on The Walking Dead? Multiply that by a million and you have Danai Gurira as Okoye in this movie.
Okoye is a member of the Dora Milaje, the King’s all-woman royal guard.
Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje were created by Priest and Mark Texiera in 1998, and have been focal characters in Coates' current run, where two of them go rogue early in the series.
Who is Nakia?
Lupita N'yongo is brilliant as Nakia in this movie, isn't she? Nakia has been around since 1998, and she was created during Christopher Priest's time as Black Panther comics writer, a creative period which, as we keep saying, heavily informs this movie.
Here's what she looks like in the comics...
Things aren't always easy for T'Challa and Nakia, so things might get interesting when we finally get Black Panther 2.
Forest Whitaker is Zuri, who in the comics was a warrior ally of T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father and predecessor as Black Panther). They took a slightly different take on him here, but it was effective. Here's how he looks in the comics...
- Andy Serkis is here as all-around skeev, Ulysses Klaue. In the comics, his nom-du-douchebag is the more on-the-nose, "Klaw."
Why do they call him Klaw? Well...why do you think he got his arm conveniently removed by Ultron? It's so that he can have a vibranium-powered soundwave cannon attached to it to give Black Panther a migraine!
It's cool that they found a way to incorporate his sound cannon/hand here. What's more, turning Klaue into a villain who primarily menaced the previous Black Panther, T'Chaka, rather than T'Challa, is something that's right in line with how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has occasionally tweaked the timeline in order to give everything a little bit more history. So just as we learned in the first Ant-Man movie how Hank Pym was operating during the 1980s, we now know that T'Chaka and Klaw were fighting at least as far back as 1992...probably earlier.
Serkis previously played Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #53, where he stole vibranium from Wakanda, murdered T’Challa’s father, and got his hand chopped off.
Klaw's obsession with Vibranium is right out of his early comic book appearances, though, and yes, you can spot the Jack Kirby influence there, too. Honestly, I felt like the tattoos on the back of his neck are kind of a nod to his comic book design, too.
Erik Killmonger first showed up in Don McGregor and Rich Buckler’s Jungle Action in 1973, where it was revealed that his father was forced to help Klaw in his initial raid on Wakanda, and he and his family were exiled for it. You can see echoes of that in the movie, too. He developed a hatred of the Black Panther, and turned himself into evil Batman - peak physical condition, genius strategist, science-ey guy - to fight him.
The fact that Killmonger is breaking Klaw out of jail when we first meet him in the movie feels like a nod to that old Jungle Action story.
Also, Erik is occasionally fond of masks in the comics, so when he swipes that one from the British Museum, that seems pretty on-brand, too. I feel like I'm doing Killmonger a disservice in this guide, but this is one of those very rare occasions where Marvel actually improved on one of their comics villains in the process of bringing him to the screen.
Note that the Killmonger of the comics does have a similar origin, although he grew up in Harlem not Oakland, and he isn't T'Challa's cousin.
In the comics, M'Baku was originally an Avengers villain known as Man-Ape, created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. He’s super fast and super strong, and has tried to lead many a coup against the throne.
It's pretty cool how they managed to include elements of that comic design, notably with the masks and the white body paint, without going the full "Man-Ape" route.
We spoke with Winston Duke about bringing M'Baku to life, and you can read all about it right here.
The Post-Credits Scenes
Remarkably, these aren't that heavy on Marvel mythology. Instead, we see Wakanda offering a pointed message to the United Nations as they get ready to take a more active and visible role in the world. Of course, the world is going to need Wakandan technology to fight what's coming in Avengers: Infinity War. And speaking of which...
...we do get to see the other "broken white boy" that Shuri was referring to, with the return of Bucky Barnes. The "white wolf" nickname the kids give him does have a little comics history, as a minor character associated primarily with King T'Chaka, but that doesn't seem to be really be of particular significance here. If we assume the events of Black Panther started a week or so after Captain America: Civil War, and that the movie itself takes place over the span of a few weeks, there might be another brief time jump before Bucky wakes up. Maybe that Bucky sequence takes place a month or so after Civil War. In any case, he'll be ready to reunite with Cap and aid in the fight against Thanos in Infinity War.
In an age of adaptation, we still don't have a faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley's classic genre novel.
Mary Shelley's gothic novel Frankenstein is a story constantly being retold — but almost never has it been retold faithfully. In 2015, we got Victor Frankenstein, the latest in screen adaptations bearing the Frankenstein name, but having little to do with the original text.
This habit of less-than-faithful adaptations of Shelley's work goes back a long time. The history of Frankenstein adaptations is the history of hodgepodge narrative parts continually being stitched, torn, and re-stitched back together into an amalgamation of what has come before. But, when "before" is 200 years of stage and screen adaptations, source material and inspiration bleed together, and the "original" becomes distorted — like a game of temporal telephone.
But past the narrative convolution that comes with the passage of time, Frankenstein has seemingly always been a text that eschews faithful adaptation. From the very beginning, on the stage and as one of the first films ever made, Mary Shelley's original vision of a man and the creature he created has rarely been its own...
How Frankenstein Came to Be
For those with an interest in English literature, feminism, or the birth of modern science fiction, perhaps the story of how Frankenstein came to be is as famous as the book itself. The basic tale was first written down by an 18-year-old Mary Shelley (then Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin) in 1816 while she and lover/future husband Percy Shelley were visiting Lord Byron in Switzerland.
Dubbed “The Year Without a Summer,” the eruption of Mount Tambora had the Europe of 1816 in the clutches of a volcanic winter, leaving the idle group with little to do in the form of outdoor recreation while staying near Lake Geneva.
Instead, the literary colleagues took to reading German ghost stories to one another, leading to the challenge that they each pen their own ghost story. And thus, one of the first works of modern science fiction was born. Frankenstein, as a full novel, would be published anonymously two years later on New Year's Day in 1818.
Do you Know the Story of Frankenstein?
For those unfamiliar with the source material, Frankensteinis an epistolary novel, told in a series of letters from Captain Robert Walton to his sister, as well as in his journal entries (it should be noted that this narrative framing very rarely makes it into screen or stage adaptations).
Glory-driven Walton is on an Arctic expedition when his crew finds a cold and broken Victor Frankenstein. They pull him aboard, and Dr. Frankenstein relays the story of the monster he created to Walton--the monster he is pursuing across the ice.
It is a story of creation and abandonment and family. The Creature is arguably much more of the heroic, sympathetic protagonist here than Frankenstein, whose sin is not in playing God (though some have made that argument) but rather in leaving his creation alone in a confusing, cruel-to-difference world.
Unlike so many of his on-screen interpretations, the Creature of the novel is eloquent, thoughtful, and — at least at first — inspired by the beauty of the natural world. Later, he uses his gift for language to articulate his anguish, telling Frankenstein, "I am content to reason with you. I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind? You, my creator, would tear me to pieces and triumph; remember that, and tell me why I should pity man more than he pities me?"
The First Frankenstein Plays and Movies
If none of this plot or backstory sounds familiar, it’s probably not your fault. (Well, you could read Frankenstein, which is one of those classics that holds up remarkably well.) Most screen adaptations pick and choose what they want from the original material, more often drawing inspiration from the 1931 movie starring Boris Karloff than Mary Shelley.
But a full two decades before director James Whale made the iconic horror film, Frankenstein was already a movie star — in fact, the story was one of the first committed to film. Frankenstein's adaptation to the screen happened roughly a decade after cinema itself was invented, making this self-admittedly "liberal adaptation" from Edison Productions one of the first movies ever.
One of the notable changes form the novel in the 12-minute film is a happy ending for Frankenstein and his new wife, Elizabeth (spoiler alert: in the book, the Creature kills Elizabeth on their wedding night, and Frankenstein himself later dies on the ice. Pretty bleak).
Of course, the decision to make Frankenstein into one of Edison's earliest motion picture productions did not happen in cultural isolation. There is an adaptation path to be traced between the publication of the novel and the creation of films like this 1910 classic and the 1931 version.
According to this Film School Rejects article, 1823 — the first year Frankenstein was adapted to the stage — had five separate plays on the stage. It was these early stage adaptations that first introduced the character of Victor Frankenstein’s assistant Fritz, who would later evolve into the Igor we know from so many later movie adaptations.
The Boris Karloff film actually drew inspiration from a 1927 stage play by Peggy Webling, rather than the novel itself. And, moving forward into the era of such classics like Young Frankenstein or not-classics like the recently-released Victor Frankenstein, one could easily argue that most subsequent Frankenstein adaptations have more to do with James Whale’s 1931 film — and its 1935 sequel The Bride of Frankenstein — than they do with Shelley’s work.
The Most Faithful Adaptations to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Though many Frankenstein adaptations are more interested in the 1931 film or some action-oriented blockbuster (yes, I,Frankenstein, I'm looking at you), there have been attempts at a more faithful version over the years.
Kenneth Branagh took a stab at a faithful retelling of Frankenstein with his 1994 film Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The movie does a slightly better job articulating the nuances of the Creature than most other adaptations, but still falls short of the mark. The film also changes the ending in a particularly jarring way, not only bringing the Creature's bride to life, but giving her Elizabeth's head and memories. Yikes.
David Crow makes a good argument on this site that Penny Dreadful's interpretation of the Creature in the form of Caliban is one of the most faithful versions of the character ever brought to screen.
Everything from the Monster's raven hair to his loquacious love for John Milton was transferred to television in tact. However, if you're looking for an adaptation that not only takes on the iconic character, but the full story, I would recommend the National Theatre's stage version undertaken in 2011.
British film director Danny Boyle brought Frankenstein to the stage starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. The two well-known actors alternated the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature every performance, creating a more literal thematic connection between the two characters. Two sides of the same coin. Two creatures eventually brought down by their guilt, hate, and anger.
The production was a relatively close adaptation of the original novel (with the problematic addition of a rape scene), and was broadcast to cinemas around the world through National Theatre Live, meaning that this adaptation, in some sense, was also a screen one.
However, the performance has yet to be released on DVD and, according to the theater, never will be if the play's creators have anything to say about it. The Powers That Be prefer that the ephemerality of the performance be preserved. One can only hope this means Frankenstein will find its way to cinemas again for more encore performances.
Why Does Frankenstein Resist Faithful Adaptation?
Why is Frankenstein so rarely adapted with a sense of fidelity? One need look no further than the earliest stage adaptation — Presumption: or the Fate of Frankenstein (1823) — to at least partially answer that question. Chris Baldick's book In Frankenstein's Shadow details how the play made great efforts to appease conservative backlash (many found the novel subversive and atheistic).
The production was nonetheless boycotted by a "friends of humanity" group, prompting the play's management to release the following statement: "The striking moral exhibited in this story is the fatal consequence of that presumption which attempts to penetrate beyond prescribed depths, into the mysteries of nature."
Furthermore, director Richard Brinsley Peake introduced the Frankenstein's assistant character who "prepares the audience to interpret the tale according to received Christian notions of sin and damnation by telling them that 'like Dr Faustus, my master is raising the devil.'"
Almost two centuries later, Daniel Radcliffe plays an incarnation of this character designed to explain to the audience how they should feel about Frankenstein's playing God in Victor Frankenstein.
The Importance of the Female Perspective
As the daughter of anarchist philosopher William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (who died 11 days after Mary's birth), Mary Shelley was a fascinating woman, one with much to say in a culture not-so-interested in what women had to say about it.
One of the reasons Frankenstein so endures is because of its examination of the arrogance of man and the failings of a world without empathy — a theme that, of course, can be explored by anyone, but one that doesn't seem to get a lot of play in works undertaken by privileged white men.
It seems important to note, at this point, that most of the Frankenstein adaptations (though certainly not all) have been undertaken by men who are perhaps less culturally-motivated to consider the more traditional way life is brought into this world. After all, due to the limitations Western society places on both genders, while science has historically been a man's domain, child-rearing has historically been a woman's.
Journalist Sady Doyle recently responded to Victor Frankenstein director Paul McGuigan's recent assertion that Mary Shelley's original work is "dull as dishwater," by outlining the convincing theory that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein as a sort of revenge for her sister Fanny (given name: Frances), who was abused for being illegitimate and eventually killed herself, writing in her suicide note: "You will soon forget there was ever such a creature as..."
There are many interpretations of the Frankenstein story — many of them autobiographically-based. This is one of the reasons it is such a good story. But a parent's neglect and the toll it plays not only on the child, and everyone in his life, is certainly a central one. And one that is often neglected in Frankenstein adaptations in favor of exploring the themes of science, nature, and man's hubris speficially in relation to his work. These interpretations are not mutually exclusive, but the latter is often valued over the former.
It is perhaps easy to look at Frankenstein, and its two male protagonists, and to adapt it with little attention to the importance of women and other socially-devalued characters in the story. After all, they are all periphary characters. But they are the characters who suffer the most. Or at least the ones who suffer the most with the least amount of power to change their fates.
Victor and his Creature are constantly suffering, but they have created their own suffering and have many chances to alter their own destinies. Elizabeth and the Creature's female companion are never granted that same power.
The Future of Frankenstein Adaptations
As this Den of Geek article points out, faithfulness does not equate to quality. Some of the most faithful screen adaptations of books are the worst, while some of the least faithful adaptations can become something better. There are too many variables involved, too many possible permutations to make sweeping generalizations. And, in the world of Frankenstein adaptations, for example, Whale's 1931 film remains the classic, one that continues to influence culture in its own important ways.
However, it would be nice to get a modern Frankenstein adaptation that is more readily available than Danny Boyle's stage version and more complete than Penny Dreadful's Creature — if only for all the high school English teachers who need something to show when they are out sick.
Sadly, as far as I know, there are currently no faithful Frankenstein adaptations in the works. What is happening in the Frankenstein adaptation world? Well, there is a Bride of Frankenstein reboot in pe-production. The film will be part of a larger crossover monster film universe currently being created by Universal. So, yeah.
Perhaps of more interest to hardcore Frankenstein novel lovers out there, there are also two Mary Shelley biopics in the works. In A Storm in the Stars, 17-year-old Shelley will be played by Elle Fanning. The film will tell the story of the relationship between the young author and Percy Shelley, as well as the ways in which Mary Shelley feels out of step with her time. A Storm in the Stars boasts a female writer, Emma Jensen, female producers, and a female director, Haifaa Al-Mansour (Wadja).
The second Mary Shelley biopic in the works, Mary Shelley's Monster, stars Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner as the author. While A Storm in the Stars will focus on Shelley's pre-Frankenstein life, Mary Shelley's Monster will look at Shelley from age 18 to 21. We will see the anonymous publication of the novel, as well as Shelley's transition into marriage and motherhood. The film also has a female director — relevantly, Penny Dreadful's Cory Giedroyc — and a female write in Deborah Baxtrom.
Perhaps interest in Mary Shelley's life will eventually drum up some excitement for a more faithful retelling of her most famous story. In the mean time, we'll have to make do with what we've got: one of the best genre novels of the last few centuries.
BOOM! Studios to adapt Rod Serling’s unproduced Planet of the Apes screenplay as a graphic novel.
Get your stinking hands off that book, you damned dirty ape. That’s a Rod Serling original. The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery creator’s original screenplay for Planet of the Apes was never produced, but it will not stay half-buried like the Statue of Liberty. BOOM! Studios and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products will adapt the script into comic book format as Planet Of The Apes: Visionaries.
The graphic novel Planet Of The Apes: Visionaries is written by Dana Gould (The Simpsons) with art by Chad Lewis (Avengers Origins).
“Planet Of The Apes meant as much to me growing up as baseball means to most kids. No lie,” Gould said in a statement. “That I'm now able to be involved with this universe in a creative capacity, much less adapting the original Rod Serling script... I mean, Rod Serling! I am incredibly grateful to BOOM! Studios for this once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“Planet Of The Apes: Visionaries is a dream project because it combines my love of retro sci-fi fi and anthropomorphic characters,” Lewis added. “There’s nothing better than drawing human emotions on gorillas and chimps! Dana has deftly translated these great characters and world into the graphic novel format and it's a joy to illustrate every corner of the rich universe.”
The new original graphic novel will drop in August 2018 as part of the 20th Century Fox Uncovered collection in celebration of the 50th anniversary celebration of Planet of the Apes.
The science fiction classic starring Charlton Heston is an adaptation of the French novel La Planète des singes by French novelist Pierre Boulle, who also wrote the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai. Serling was commission to adapt the book by 20th Century Fox. Serling’s first draft was revised before shooting started. The final version was radically different from what wound up on celluloid.
“For every Planet of the Apes fan that’s wanted to see what Rod Serling’s original film would’ve looked like and the team on this graphic novel will blow you away,” Dafna Pleban, Editor, BOOM! Studios, said in a statement. “Dana Gould and Chad Lewis having lovingly adapted the ambitious, original plan for Planet of the Apes film into a graphic novel that speaks to the timeless, unflinching themes of the franchise while offering an entirely new vision of familiar faces.”
“This is the world you know from the acclaimed Planet of the Apes film series, but with key differences,” reads the official synopsis. “Taylor is Thomas, and Ape City isn’t a crude, primitive grouping of huts; instead, it’s a bustling and urbane metropolis filled with cars and skyscrapers and a vibrant Ape culture. In a world where Apes wear modern clothes, drive modern cars and rule the late night talk show scene, the arrival of one man will forever change how Apes – and Humans – view themselves.”
Planet Of The Apes: Visionaries used the original 1966 makeup test and concept art as a jumping off point. The cover art was designed by Paolo Rivera, the Eisner award-winning artist behind Daredevil.
Print copies of Planet Of The Apes: Visionaries will be available for sale in August 2018 at local comic book shops. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and the BOOM! Studios app.
Batman's wheels are almost as iconic as he is. But which of his Batmobiles is the finest?
Robin:“I want a car. Chicks dig the car.”
Batman:“This is why Superman works alone.”
Man, how we marvelled at the Dark Knight as he responded to Robin’s whining about wanting wheels of his own in 1997’s Batman & Robin. Yes it was the opening scene of the movie and true, we’d already experienced a higher latex-clad buttocks to screen time ratio than in your average imported specialist German exotica but still, that line… it hinted at the beginnings of a shared universe where Batman and Superman might one day occupy the same screen, sending us into raptures of possibility-flavored wonderment.
Looking back at the garish daftness that followed, that first minute of the film was probably the best bit. We’d wait another 19 years, of course, for Batman and Superman to finally unite on screen and like Batman & Robin, that was a bit of an anti-climax as well. That said, almost 20 years later, the Boy Wonder’s point still stands: chicks do dig the car. It isn’t just baby hens and comic book geeks that enjoy the stylings of Batman’s most recognizable mode of transport either; since its first appearance in the 1940s, the Caped Crusader’s ride has become the most iconic vehicle in all of popular culture.
Unlike Back To The Future’s DeLorean which was purposefully designed to be at least a little bit unsightly, or K.I.T.T., Knight Rider’s robot car that wouldn’t last five minutes in this hack-filled Mr. Robotworld, the Batmobile has always represented the perfect blend of vehicular form and function.
Well, mostly perfect anyway. Batman hasn’t always got it right down the years, the Batmobile in the aforementioned Batman & Robin being an example. With its unshielded, open cockpit, Bats’ ride not only left his head horribly exposed to snipers, debris and terrible Arnold Schwarzenegger jokes, but the fuselage vents exposing the neon-shaded engine components made it look like the kind of car that Ozzy Osbourne might roll up in if he was making an appearance on a Fast And The Furious-themed episode of WackyRaces.
Let's give Batman a break though. After all, he's a busy guy. Let's stick to the positives and examine the six greatest Batmobiles to have graced both page and screen.
6. The BatQuitely
So it was inevitable, right? This list had to feature at least one flying Batmobile. I can already hear the howls of indignation that the Batman Beyond iteration isn’t featured here instead but honestly, that flying car was so advanced (Mach Three, anyone?) that it wasn’t really a car anymore. This one however (in spite of its flight capability), very much is. It also features on here as it’s also the only Batmobile on this list to be built by a child (and yet it isn’t colored like a rainbow, festooned with unicorn horns and made entirely out of chocolate).
In Bruce Wayne’s absence from Gotham following the events of Batman R.I.P. - the mantle of the Bat is taken up by Dick Grayson with Bruce’s son, Damian as the Boy Wonder. Damian uses his father’s plans to construct a Batmobile that reflects the uneven nature of the new Dynamic Duo: it lacked the muscular, aggressive styling of previous incarnations but proved itself more than able in the heat of battle on several occasions. It also raised the question of why Chris O’Donnell didn’t just build a car for himself in Batman & Robin if he was so enamoured by Batman’s wheels.
O’Donnell was 27 when he played the ‘Boy’ Wonder; the character of Damian Wayne was around ten when he built his first Batmobile. And it could fly. Frankly, if O’Donnell represented the calibre of sidekick in Schumacher’s Bat-verse, it was little wonder that Superman chose to work alone.
Scoring extra points for its Bat-shaped cockpit and for continuing a cool comic book tradition of red internal cockpit lighting, this was a unique aesthetic take on the Batmobile for what proved to be a very unique partnership. Boasting homing missiles and transforming fins that locked into flight position (like something out of M.A.S.K.) this car was certainly an different spin on the classic design. Did I mention it was built by a ten year old?
5. The BatBreyfogle
The '90s were a strange time in comics. The boom/bust period hit its peak as Marvel and DC killed off and resurrected their A-list heroes in a market-destroying cycle of rampant commercialism. Mullets were cool (even Superman had one for a while) and there were pouches… endless amounts of pouches. Of course you couldn’t really stick pouches and a ridiculous haircut on a Batmobile, and yet this comic book incarnation was still very much a product of its era.
With its ultra-sleek design, accentuated by the canopy’s seamless integration into the dynamic lines of the hood, the vehicle was somewhat reminiscent of the Lamborghini Countach, a design aesthetic further emphasised by the boxy, side-mounted air intakes at the cockpit’s rear. Looks aside, from a practical standpoint, this was an excellent vehicle to fight crime with too: the fully-housed wheels meant nobody was shooting out your tires whilst the wraparound cockpit offered excellent visibility. Also, this Batmobile’s relatively compact styling meant that parking in a multi-stories wouldn't be an issue, although generally, in spite of what it must have added to his insurance premium, Batman tended to stick with moodily-lit alleys because of his unhealthy obsession with all things shadowy.
The eye-shaped headlights and rear fins made the whole ensemble look like a demonic bat had mated with a vehicle from Tron. As designs go, it was pretty much flawless, as evidenced by the fact that when Jean Paul Valley took the Mantle of the Bat from Bruce Wayne in the epic Knightfall saga, he developed virtually every aspect of the Batsuit, but Breyogle’s Batmobile? He didn’t touch a single wheel nut.
4. The BatBarris
The Batmobile has always been emblematic of the time of its construction. If 1986’s The Dark Knight Returns’ tank was a symbol of a paranoid America bunkering itself away against a possible nuclear conflict with the then-USSR, then the iconic ’66 Batmobile, a born cruiser with its open roof and fetching looks was a car for a simpler, sunnier time. Designed by John Barris on just a few week’s notice for the hit TV show, this car was more than just a looker too: with its on-board phone and integrated computer, dash-mounted screen and rear-facing camera the vehicle was actually a pretty accurate approximation of what cars would look like fifty years in the future… apart from the atomic engine of course, which pretty much made the car a mobile-nuke-in-waiting.
Despite being a continent-wide extinction-level event on wheels, everyone seemed pretty pleased when the Batmobile rolled by, in part due to what a great looking ride it was. Like any car from Batman’s fleet, the Barrismobile was also capable of a trick or two: quick-turning mechanisms, anti-pursuit measures, a battering ram, the list goes on. While not quite the Tumbler in the aggression stakes, this car was certainly no slouch and more than a match for the foes of its day. If looks alone were the sole arbiter of this list then the ’66 Batmobile would finish first by a clear nose. However, with the atomic engine being something of a danger to the entire Western seaboard and another example of the clearly-irresponsible open cockpit design, one of Bats’ best looking rides can only race home in fourth.
3. The BatTimm
If we were giving out awards for style then this Batmobile from The Animated Series would surely be top of the heap. In the wake of Batman’s success on the silver screen (thanks to Tim Burton and his early '90s gothic reimagining of the Dark Knight), Bruce Timm, Paul Dino and the rest of the creative team behind this much beloved show were awarded creative license to give Batman a makeover. While The Animated Series retained some of the gothic stylings of the movies and the anachronistic period dress, in came a grand, sweeping art deco style, reflected in the architecture, the aesthetic… and the Batmobile.
Like other elements of the series (such as Catwoman having blonde hair in a little nod to Michelle Pfieffer’s Selina Kyle), the show took cues from the movies before adding its own dash of inimitable style. The Batmobile was no exception either. It was long, lean and built around a turbine engine much like the car from Burton’s movies; with a sleek, streamlined hood that seemed to go on forever and the front axle placed even closer to the car’s grille than its cinematic counterpart, this Batmobile’s wheelbase was absurdly long.
And yet it worked beautifully. Owning the road like no other car on this list, The Animated Series' Batmobile looked like the kind of wheels a head of state should be cruising the roads of his city in, if that head of state had a fixation on bats and vigilante justice, which of course, Batman does. This Batmobile had it going on underneath that long, long hood as well. Not having to worry too much about real-world physics, the car’s designers crammed it full of cool Bat-technology: reversible jet exhausts, missile launchers, grappling hooks and all sorts of anti-pursuit toys made this iteration of Bats’ ride a force to be reckoned with. It even got an episode centered around it too: The Mechanic explored how the Batmobile came to be, answering that age old question: Where does he get those wonderful toys?
2. The Tumbler
No Batmobile in the title here because as you’re no doubt aware, this beast of a vehicle was never actually christened with such a title. Avoiding anything even remotely hokey from this vehicle’s design (including the name ‘Batmobile’), the Tumbler is the one entry this list that sacrifices eye-pleasing form in the sole pursuit of function.
Ironically enough, it was this focused design principle that has made the vehicle so popular to Batmobile buffs. Lacking rear fins, grille-mounted bat heads or any of the other aesthetic accoutrements that we’ve become used to down the years, the Tumbler was all mean: a 5.7 litre Chevy engine boasting over 400 bhp; a propane-fuelled jet engine that allowed it to make rampless jumps and enough armor plating to cruise this old jalopy through South Central L.A. draped in gang colors and not even sweat it. Black was the order of the day here though, (the only real concession to the Batmobiles of Batman’s past) although it did come in a nifty camouflage flavour too as we saw in Rises when Bane commandeered one for himself.
And what of gadgets? No self-respecting Batmobile could hope to feature so high on this list without holding a few aces up its sleeve and the Tumbler didn’t disappoint: auto cannons, rocket launcher, the aforementioned rampless jump system, a super-cool ‘stealth’ mode that Batman used to great effect to evade the police in Begins and of course a concealed getaway vehicle in the case of catastrophic damage as we saw in The Dark Knight. It’s been said before that Nolan’s films are a post-9/11 reimagining of the Caped Crusader, and the no-frills Tumbler was the clearest representation of a Batman that was all about getting business done in a world without rules.
It wasn’t the first time that the World’s Greatest Detective had modified a tank for his purposes: Arkham Knight is a key example as is 1986’s The Dark Knight Returns (although he kind of negated its purpose by getting out to fight the mutant leader face to face,) although the Tumbler was certainly the best in-class when it came to armoured transport. As such, this iconic ride wins the award for best repurposed military technology and places high on this list.
1. The BatFurst
The only Batmobile on the list to have won an Oscar races home in pole position, winning by a beautifully-sculpted nose. The long, sleek lines on this gothic hellhound were designed by Anton Furst, who scooped the Academy Award for his art production on Tim Burton’s dark and fantastical Batman. He sadly passed away in 1991 but prior to that he was unable to work on the series’ second instalment due to contractual obligations. It’s pretty telling that despite something of a redesign for the city itself (at the request of the studio, Gotham was subtly altered in Batman Returns to make it seem less oppressive), Bo Welch, the lead designer on the sequel left the Batmobile well alone. Yes, a redesign might have sold more toys (as evidenced by stylistic decisions in the subsequent movies) but toys do not a good Batmobile make. Go look at Batman Forever and Batman & Robin if you doubt the truthfulness of that statement.
Furst described his Batmobile as "a knight in armor", and as a crime-fighting ‘war machine’ it made for one hell of a steed. Practical it wasn’t, but when you have a car which is essentially bodywork housed atop an aviation jet turbine, who really cares? "Pure expressionism" was another way in which Furst described his creation and with its impractical length, ridiculously lowered suspension and insane propulsion system he was right. This Batmobile was as much a part of the gothic hellscape, whose streets it snarled along as the Batman himself. With Browning machine guns, plastic explosive, grappling-hook turn systems and a tamper-proof cocoon system, it had the necessary gadgets to survive the mean streets of Gotham. As such, it represents the prefect blend of form and function and takes its place atop the podium as the greatest Batmobile of all time.
I just wish I could find one on Auto Trader.
The Best of the Rest:
So, with the champagne sufficiently sprayed and the garlanded winners herded off to a media suite to face a series of banal questions, which of Bats’ legendary rides were left to sob, alone in the abandoned pit lane, and more importantly, why?
Truth be told, I flipped-flopped on Synder’s Batmobile so many times throughout the writing of this article that taking it out once more makes me feel like I’m in some Ouspenky-style time loop like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. It’s a cool amalgamation of past Batmobiles while being something new entirely: put it on the list! It’s a mobile murder machine that undermines everything that the Batman character is supposed to be: take it off the list! It looks kind of cool, if not in a slightly try-hard way: put it back on the list! The Batmobile from the Arkham games is way better: take it off the list!
Ultimately, I took it off the list permanently for similar reasons to the Arkham Batmobile. Although I might be in the minority at Den of Geek on this one, the car-to-tank conversion in that game felt just a little bit too much like a Transformers game and the wanton death and destruction that Snyder and Rocksteady dealt out with their Batmobiles strayed too far from the character’s core. In the case of Arkham Knight, the rock ‘em, sock ‘em Batmobile also created an imbalance in the game, negating the stealth and wits approach of the first two Arkham titles and ultimately hurting the game’s character as well as the gameplay balance too.
Others that almost made the grade were the aforementioned Batman Beyond iteration of the Batmobile, The Brave And The Bold’s sleek, multi-era hybrid and the New 52 ride from Court Of Owls which is a beautiful-looking car. Finally, Neal Adam’s understated design deserves an honorable mention. The plainest-looking Batmobile of the bunch still had it where it counted but allowed the Dark Knight to operate without fanfare in the grittier, more realistic climes of seventies-era Gotham. Beyond the sparse, concealed gadgets though, the car looked like a fairly stock Corvette. Which of course, begs the question: Why didn't Chris O’Donnell just build himself one of those?
For longtime Superman fans, Christopher Reeve is the one true big screen Man of Steel. Here's what he would have looked like in the DCEU.
Christopher Reeve is the definitive big screen Superman for many comic book fans growing up in the late '70s and into the '80s. Whatever you might think about the later installments in his series of Superman movies, the charismatic actor's performance in the 1978 original is still lauded by many as the best adaptation of the Man of Steel ever.
While the actor wore the red and blue tights for the final time in 1987 and passed away in 2004, he's certainly not been forgotten. His likeness has even been used in later Superman comics, particularly those drawn by Gary Frank.
The torch has been passed on since the Reeve movies, of course - first to Brandon Routh and then to Henry Cavill, who remains the incumbent after three appearances in the DC Extended Universe. His turns in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Justice League have enjoyed a warm reception for the most part (depending on which installment we're talking about), and he's contracted for one more DC movie so we're likely to see him for one last outing. Beyond that, we'll just have to see. With Ben Affleck rumored to be leaving in a coming installment, much of the DCEU seems to be in flux, especially from within DC Films, which has recently seen some major changes in leadership.
This seems to be the perfect time to begin fancasting the next actors to play Batman and Superman. One fan in particular, YouTuber and animator Mike Habjan, has imagined what it would be like to see Reeve as the DCEU's Superman. While experimenting with different models for his excellent "Superman vs. Hulk" videos, which he created using 3D animation software Maya, he played around with an animated version of Reeve in Cavill's Man of Steel suit.
Here's a short demo of the experiment:
There's no doubt that Habjan's animation is really impressive. It's surreal to see a Superman approximating Reeve's iconic look, but it's also heartwarming. That said, Habjan's Man of Steel Reeve has a bit more of a scowl than what we remember from the original films, not to mention that he's also way more JACKED than the actor ever was in the tights. Still, it's very nice to imagine Reeve back to hang with the entire Justice League. Perhaps Doomsday Clock, a comic about Superman and other DC characters meeting heroes from the Watchmen universe, which is currently being drawn by Gary Frank, will give us just that.
Priest keeps making Deathstroke fight Super-Men in this exclusive preview.
Here's the thing about Priest's Deathstroke.
NO wait come back! I know we've not been lacking in praise for this run since it started a couple of years back. Thing is, it's totally worth it. Priest is a genius writer who should be appreciated until the death of the medium for his brilliant character work wherever he goes.
He's a comics neurosurgeon. His M.O. on a book is to slice off one component of the character, turn what's left around a few times, display it, then put the slice back on so they're whole again, but a little bit different. It's particularly visible right now, when he's doing the same thing to Deathstroke and the Justice League at the same time, only the storytelling results are wildly different between books: in Justice League, he's taking parts of the team's image off (having particular fun going at Batman, it seems).
Meanwhile, here in Deathstroke, he's pulling pieces of Slade's life and backstory apart, then seeing where he ends up before they get grafted back on. What he finds when he puts the pieces back together is always interesting, always some essence of the character that he gets to illuminate for a second before putting the toys back away so other people can play with them.
That pattern looks to continue here, in this exclusive first look sent over by DC of Deathstroke#28. Here's what DC has to say about the issue:
DEATHSTROKE #28 Written by CHRISTOPHER PRIEST
Art by DIOGENES NEVES and TREVOR SCOTT
Cover by RYAN SOOK
Variant cover by SHANE DAVIS and MICHELLE DELECKI
“Chinatown” part one! In the aftermath of the shocking events of this year’s Deathstroke Annual, Slade finds himself at a crossroads as his ad hoc “Dark Titans” team dissolves and even Wintergreen finally abandons him. Slade begins a turbulent backslide to his old ways, bringing him face to face with China’s New Super-Man!
We've lost his entire support structure, and now we get to watch him go at the Justice League of China. This should be good. Check it out.