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    Colton Haynes's Roy Harper will make his return as a series regular on Arrow Season 7.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Apr 9, 2018

    Colton Haynes is returning for Arrow Season 7 in a homecoming that will finally see his character, Roy Harper, a.k.a. Arsenal, back as a series regular.

    Haynes, the former Teen Wolf actor, initially joined Arrow as Roy Harper in the middle of Season 1 in 2013. The character experienced quite an arc, going from acrobatic pickpocket to Oliver Queen’s sidekick and protégé to love interest to Oliver’s sister, Thea. However, as the series evolved, Roy’s role saw a major reduction, leading to Haynes's exit from the series in 2015, after which he fielded runs on Scream Queens and American Horror Story, though returning for the occasional guest spot.

    Now, going into Season 7, Haynes’s Roy/Arsenal will arrive at an opportune time, story-wise, as the Team Arrow discord that has come to dominate Season 6 – just in the last episode– saw founding member John Diggle (David Ramsey) walk out the door to do his own thing (though he’s still on the show). Thus, Roy could fill a much-needed vacancy, likely set to pick up his bow and don his Arsenal costume to help Oliver’s nocturnal crimefighting efforts.

    Additionally, the move will arrive after another major seismic shift with the recent exit of Oliver’s deadly-trained kid sister, and Roy’s longtime love, Thea Queen (Willa Holland), who was written off the show indefinitely with the purpose of joining Nyssa al Ghul (Katrina Law) in fighting the good fight in a civil war amongst the League of Assassins against evil offshoot the Thanatos Guild. As Haynes expresses in a statement:

    “I could not be happier to return to my role as Roy Harper alongside my Arrow family.”

    Arrow‘s executive producers also chime in on Haynes’s return as a regular, stating:

    “We’re very fortunate and excited to welcome back Colton to Arrow. While we’ve always enjoyed Colton’s returns to the show, we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him return as a proper series regular — and we’re very excited about all the creative opportunities Roy Harper’s return affords us.”

    Indeed, this will be an especially welcome homecoming for Haynes as a regular, since, in the traditional DC comic book stories, Roy was the Green Arrow’s original teen sidekick (first as Speedy, later as Teen Titans member Red Arrow, later as Arsenal); essentially the Robin to Green Arrow’s Batman.

    On a potentially crucial note, Haynes’s Roy, who has been fielding guest spots in recent episodes – notably involved in Thea Queen's sendoff storyline – seemed intent on joining Thea on her quest to fight the Thanatos Guild and protect the newfound Lazarus Pits. However, his prospective return to Star City as a regular member of Team Arrow might put a damper on such an idea. Of course, there's still time to iron out those plot details as Arrow moves toward its May 17 season finale.

    Arrow airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.


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    Rick and Morty is joining the extended Dungeons and Dragons universe in a four-issue comic series for IDW Publishing

    News Alec Bojalad
    Apr 9, 2018

    When you think about it, episodes of Rick and Morty are usually like Dungeons and Dragons campaigns gone horribly awry. 

    Rick Sanchez is the all-knowing, all-orchestrating Dungeon Master. He sets up campaigns for players like Morty (probably a gnome monk), Summer (elf paladin), Beth (half-orc cleric), and Jerry (halfling warlock).

    Now Rick and Morty and Dungeons and Dragons will be teaming up in an official capacity. 

    IDW Publishing and Oni Press are presenting a four-issue comic book series combining Rick and Morty and Dungeons and Dragons. The series will begin this August.

     IDW announced at C2E2 that Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicles) and Jim Zub (The Avengers) will write the series, with Troy Little (Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegasproviding the art. 

    “I love Rick and Morty with a powerful love, and I’ve played D&D since the 5th grade,” Patrick Rothfuss said in a statement. “So when they approached me about writing a story with both of them together? That’s some serious you-got-chocolate-in-my-peanut butter $#!& right there. I’m in. I’m all the way in. I’m gettin’ that chocolate all up in the peanut butter. Like, deep in. All the way in. It’s going to be sticky and delicious.”

    Gross. 

    This represents another step in Rick and Morty's creative merchandizing and extended universe portfolio. The show already has a thriving second life in comics and has parodied other major properties like Pokémon for its Pocket Mortys mobile game.

    Maybe one day we'll get an actual Rick and Morty D&D campaign. Until then keep sending your angry tweets about there not being a season four yet. 


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    Mon-El will wear a red and blue Legion of Superheroes accurate costume when Supergirl Season 3 returns. Check out these new images!

    News Mike Cecchini
    Apr 10, 2018

    They're finally going for it!

    Since his introduction on Supergirl, Mon-El has been, shall we say, a divisive figure among fans. Whether it was his occasionally regressive views or just the fact that certain segments of the audience felt that maybe Kara belonged with a different love interest in the first place, it's been a bit of a bumpy ride for Chris Wood's Mon-El.

    But one thing that all of fandom has been able to agree on is that Supergirl has put absolutely no effort into the poor guy's appearance.

    Mon-El spent most of season two in street clothes, and then they gave him a "not even trying" black jumpsuit thing for some action scenes in the latter half of that year. When word got out that Supergirl Season 3 would feature the Legion of Superheroes, well, surely this was a sign that Mon-El would finally get some more exciting duds, right? After all, he's been hanging out in the 31st Century with a team of metahumans, they must have some fashion sense.

    Instead we got...

    Well, at least Saturn Girl looked cool.

    Anyway, the crushing disappointment of yet another black leather "superhero" costume aside, the show has so far gotten the general spirit of the Legion down pretty well, and Mon-El is far more mature and less irritating than he had been in the past. That's a small victory. 

    But we're about to get a much more significant win. In the upcoming episode "In Search of Lost Time" we're going to get an incredibly comics-accurate Mon-El costume. And it looks great.

    So obviously the red and blue color scheme is right out of the comics, so that's great. In the comics, Mon-El's cape was always kind of fastened by two big gold buttons. Here, the cape fasteners look quite a bit like how this universe's version of Superman wears his cape, so that's another cool homage to Mon-El's favorite Kryptonians. Of course, that familiar pentagonal shape is likely his tribute to Kara, though. The high collar is a nice nod to some of his recent comic book designs, too.

    Here's an even better look...

    The CW shows have been nailing their superhero designs lately (Barry's season 3 suit on The Flash is wonderful), and this might be the best one they've ever done. It's got elements of different eras of Mon-El history, from the "Valor" years to more recent comics. The blue highlights and that belt are both really sharp. Some versions of Mon-El's comic book costume have him in blue trunks, but those clearly aren't necssary. This is a great, sleek and futuristic superhero costume. 

    Here's the official synopsis for the episode for a little more context: 

    "When Myr’nn (guest star Carl Lumbly) inadvertently causes psychic disturbances at the DEO, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) must work with J’onn (David Harewood) to contain the resulting chaos. Meanwhile, Mon-El (Chris Wood) begins training Kara in fighting techniques he’s learned in the future for battling Worldkillers."

    "In Search of Lost Time" airs on April 23.


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    AMC greenlights TV series adaptation of Joe Hills's supernatural thriller novel.

    News Tony Sokol
    Apr 10, 2018

    AMC is moving forward with a new supernatural horror series, NOS4A2. The series, which was given the green light is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Joe Hill, who will also executive produce the series.

    “I couldn't be more excited about the forthcoming adaptation of NOS4A2. I know it's in good hands with showrunner Jami O'Brien: her beautifully composed scripts show a writer at the height of her powers, one who has an exquisite touch with character and a relentless instinct for suspense,” Hill said in a statement.

    Joe Hill’s novel Horns was adapted into a 2014 movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. Hill wrote and was the executive producer on the CW reboot of Tales From the Darkside.

    “AMC's record speaks for itself: who wouldn't want to be in business with the ‘Mad Men’ who ‘Broke Bad’ and made ‘The Dead Walk?’ And Tornante's dedication to bringing singular visions to TV has freed everyone involved to do theirbest and truest work. I can't wait to see Vic McQueen turn the throttle and go after Charlie Manx in 2019. Let's ride.”

    NOS4A2 was created for TV by Jami O'Brien (Fear The Walking Dead, Hell On Wheels) , who will be the showrunner and will executive produce along with Lauren Corrao, Co-President of Tornante Television.

    “I loved Joe Hill’s fantastic book from the moment I read it, and look forward to continuing to work with Joe, AMC, and Tornante on this exciting material,” O’Brien said in a statement.

    The 10-episode series is produced by AMC Studios in association with Tornante Television.

    “We are pleased that Tornante found the perfect partners in Jami and AMC to develop and broadcast this unique and original series withcomplexcharacters and themes based on the Joe Hill book,”Michael Eisner, owner of Tornante, said in a statement.

    NOS4A2 continues in AMC’s rich tradition of immersive dramas that combine otherworldly stories with relatable relationships and big emotional themes,” David Madden, president of original programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, said in a statement.

    “Jami O’Brien and the writing team have vibrantly brought Joe Hill’s incredible story to life for the small screen and we are pleased to be making this diabolically unique new show under the AMC Studios shingle, in association with Tornante.”

    NOS4A2 introduces Vic McQueen, a young, working classartist who discovers she has a supernatural ability to track the seemingly immortal Charlie Manx.  Manx feeds off the souls of children, then deposits what remains of them into Christmasland –a twisted Christmas Village of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas day and unhappiness is against the law.  Vic must strive to defeat Manx and rescue his victims –without losing her mind or falling victim to him herself.

    AMC previously announced that it had opened a writers’ room last year for the project under the network’s “scripts-to-series” development model, which the network has successfully utilized for current series such as The Son and the forthcoming Dietland, and Lodge 49.

    The book follows Victoria “Vic” McQueen, who has a gift for finding lost items and Charlie Manx, who uses his gifts to kidnap children in his 1938 Rolls Royce with the license plate number NOS4A2.

    “Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions,” reads the official synopsis on Amazon.

    “On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

    “Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls ‘Christmasland.’

    Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son.”

    NOS4A2 will premiere in 2019.


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    J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings mythos will be further explored by Christopher Tolkien in The Fall of Gondolin.

    NewsJoseph Baxter
    Apr 10, 2018

    J.R.R. Tolkien only properly published Middle Earth novels in 1937’s The Hobbit and 1954-1955’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy before he passed away in 1973. Yet, his backlog of manuscripts and concepts remains a cache of source material for posthumous releases curated by his son, Christopher Tolkien, notably with 1977’s Middle Earth historical chronicle, The Silmarillion, 2007’s The Children of Húrin and, most recently, 2017’s Beren and Lúthien. Now, the next posthumous J.R.R. Tolkien release has been revealed to be The Fall of Gondolin.

    The Fall of Gondolin is set to arrive late this summer, manifesting as a 304-page novel, showcasing illustrations by the legendary (movie-aesthetic-inspiring) Tolkien-artist, Alan Lee, released in all physical and digital formats in numerous languages in the USA by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It will also apparently be the final Middle Earth book that the 93-year-old Christopher Tolkien will adapt. Fortuitously, it will be a crucial missing Middle Earth tale, one that J.R.R. is said to have written while recovering from injuries sustained in one of World War I’s bloodiest campaigns, the Battle of the Somme, which took place from July to November 1916.

    Another era from the ancient history of Middle Earth (briefly chronicled in The Silmarillion,) will be greatly expanded in The Fall of Gondolin, given away by its very title. Gondolin refers to a vast mountain-elevated city of the Elven kin, the Noldor, hidden from evil and built by lord-later-king, Turgon, after their exile from Valinor, the Undying Lands. However, after the city’s splendor endured for 400 years, it was made vulnerable in an act of betrayal against Turgon, facilitating an unprecedently devastating invasion by the orcs, balrogs and dragons in the service of Middle Earth’s original enemy, Melkor (or Morgoth), leading to its fall.

    While The Fall of Gondolin takes place in the ancient Elven city, this tale will be told through the eyes of a human, named Tuor. Born into difficult familial circumstances in the aftermath of the first great battle against Melkor/Morgoth, Tuor eventually found himself a slave to the Easterlings, later escaping to live a roguish existence as an outlaw, until an encounter with one of the Valar (the mythos’ highest of celestial beings,) named Ulmo, the god of water. Ulmo warns Tuor of a disaster fated for the city of Gondolin, directing him to travel there, giving him a magic cloak (not unlike the one Frodo and company wear in The Lord of the Rings,) that hides him safely from the eyes of enemies. While Tuor would make a home of Gondolin, even managing to start a family (notably siring the half-elf, Eärendil, whose star light would, ages later, be given to Frodo by Galadriel), the ominous disaster of which he was warned still looms.

    The choice of The Fall of Gondolin for this – presumably final – Christopher Tolkien-curated novel is one that seems to be resonating with the fandom. As Tolkien Society chair Shaun Gunner lauds in response:

    "We never dared to dream that we would see this published. The Fall of Gondolin is, to many in the Tolkien community, the Holy Grail of Tolkien texts as one of Tolkien’s three Great Tales alongside The Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien. This beautiful story captures the rise and fall of a great Elven kingdom, taking place millennia before the events of The Lord of the Rings. This book brings all the existing work together in one place to present the story in full."

    Of course, the release of The Fall of Gondolin will be boosted by Amazon’s upcoming – purportedly $1 billion costingThe Lord of the Rings TV series, as well as the upcoming J.R.R. Tolkien biopic, titled Tolkien.

    The Fall of Gondolin is scheduled to hit bookshelves and devices when it’s released on August 30.


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    As Marvel gets closer to Avengers: Infinity War, here are some different takes on Thanos' epic story, from video games to alternate history.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Apr 11, 2018

    In just over a month, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be hitting us with Avengers: Infinity War, where they’re going to tangle with Thanos the Mad Titan. Since showing up at the end of the first Avengersmovie, it’s been pretty apparent that Thanos would be scouring the cosmos for the Infinity Gems/Stones so as to do an adaptation of the hit early 90s miniseries Infinity Gauntlet.

    The comic has become rather iconic in Marvel history and it makes sense that they’d spend the better part of a decade building towards it. Although, don't expect it to resemble the original comic too closely. Not only are there plenty of liberties to be had, but it also seems to take a lot from the more recent comic event Infinity. Not that that's a bad thing. Infinity Gauntlet is a storyline that’s been retold, adapted, and twisted in all sorts of ways since first appearing 27 years ago.

    Here are all the different variations of Thanos and Adam's Excellent Adventure.

    INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991)

    We’re going full spoiler on this.

    As a follow-up to the two-part story Thanos Quest, the Mad Titan Thanos has control of all six Infinity Gems and is essentially God. Mephisto hangs around to feed his ego, while naturally plotting to overthrow him. Thanos also has his granddaughter Nebula hanging around, stuck in a catatonic zombie state because Thanos is a jerk. Since Thanos wants to win the love of Death herself, he uses the Gauntlet to wipe out half of the universe. 50% of all living things simply vanish, including a big chunk of the superheroes. Adam Warlock is reborn and goes to the remaining heroes, coming up with this awesome plan of going to Thanos’ space home and punching him in his stupid scrotum face. This is really a swerve because he plans to have them all killed off as a distraction so Silver Surfer can sneak by and steal the Gauntlet off Thanos’ hand.

    Meanwhile, Thanos’ whims have caused Earth to drift away from the sun, making it colder and colder by the hour. Odin and all the other heavyweight god types on Earth are blocked off from interfering. As a way of making Death jealous, Thanos uses the Gauntlet to create a mate in Terraxia.

    Mephisto suggests that Thanos hold back against the heroes to impress Death, so he scales it back a lot, which gives the heroes a 1% chance. As hard as they try, they still lose horribly and are killed one-by-one by Thanos and Terraxia. After Captain America goes full-on badass and stares down Thanos despite everything, Silver Surfer flies in and misses his mark completely. About then, all the galactic heavy hitters – the tapestry of the universe itself – show up. Thanos goes back to full power and makes mincemeat of them all. He transforms himself into a form that’s one with the universe, which leaves his physical Gauntlet out in the open. Nebula takes it and steals the power, reverting everything to how it once was...except for the part where she still has all the power.

    Thanos teams up with Warlock and a couple of the more powerful heroes, ultimately defeating Nebula when Warlock takes control of the Soul Gem and shorts it out a bit, causing Nebula to drop the Gauntlet. A fight breaks out and Warlock comes out wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, swearing to use it wisely. Thanos fakes his own death, but is later seen living a quiet life as a farmer.

    So that’s Infinity Gauntlet Prime. Let’s see how other writers and mediums have messed around with the formula.

    Read Infinity Gauntlet on Amazon

    WHAT IF THANOS CHANGED GALACTUS INTO A HUMAN BEING? (1992)

    What If #34 was a humor-based issue of the series and while most of it is painfully unfunny, the opening seven-page short story is humorous and even a little bit uplifting in its own weird way. No joke, this is actually my all-time favorite comic book story.

    As Thanos fights the cosmic entities, he decides to get creative when dispatching Galactus. He transforms him into a human being and sends him down to Earth. Galactus awakens naked in a trailer park, forgetting who he is while being a 100% facsimile of Elvis Presley! A single mother named Gertrude takes him in and thinks he’s the real deal with amnesia. She explains everything about Elvis to him and while he still has no memory, he trusts her and decides that he is indeed the King. He swears to do good with this second chance by not getting involved with the pitfalls of fame, such as drugs.

    Also, the comic features the million dollar line, “Ma’am, the hunger gnaws.”

    Galactus gets back into music, trying to stay on the down low, but soon people take notice and we’re about to get the second coming of Elvismania. Right as he’s about to see to the public, Galactus is confronted by Adam Warlock, now in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet. He wills Galactus his memory, but the Eater of Worlds doesn’t want to return. He’s found a better identity as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and chooses to stay with Gertrude and her son, giving both Galactus and Elvis Presley’s legacy a second chance.

    WHAT THE--?! #24 (1992)

    Marvel’s lesser-known humor book from the early 90s once featured a Mad Magazine-style spoof of Infinity Gauntlet called “The Infinity Mitten.” Thermos and his advisor McFisto go on a double-date with Death and Taxes, but Thermos is disappointed that Death has no interest in him. Using the Mitten, he removes half of life in the universe...except on the first try he accidentally just removes everyone’s lower half. Earth’s heroes go after him, but brute force isn’t enough. After talking over various ideas to remove the Infinity Mitten, they go with challenging Thermos to strip poker. They all lose and die of embarrassment.

    The cosmic beings show up to throwdown, but Thermos points out that he’s an atheist and they all vanish. Silver Surfer (or whatever his parody name is) starts whining about all the death he’s seen, causing Adam Warlox to finally snap at him for being such a downer. Warlox shoots him with a revolver, which Thermos steals and uses on Warlox and McFisto.

    Thinking that killing off an entire universe of heroes and villains is enough, Thermos is shocked to see that Death is now dating Nintendo's Mario. Death explains that her new boyfriend is killing off the entire comics industry by himself!

    WHAT IF THE SILVER SURFER POSSESSED THE INFINITY GAUNTLET? (1993)

    I absolutely love this issue and would have liked a variation of this as the actual ending of Infinity Gauntletinstead of what we got. Surfer succeeds in snatching the Gauntlet from Thanos’ hands. First thing he does is set everything back to normal. Then he sends everyone back home except Warlock and Thanos, who he keeps as advisors...but really as witnesses as he makes the universe a better place. He starts off with the well-meaning moves you’d expect. He eliminates disease, hunger, soothes hatred (a Kree and a Skrull are shown greeting each other happily), and even makes Death into a more alluring figure instead of something to be feared. Then he goes to Hell to see if Mephisto would be cool being remade into something a bit more pleasant, but Mephisto instead starts a fight. Surfer vaporizes him and goes back to his home to think about stuff.

    Warlock and Thanos go to Dr. Strange because, boy howdy, Surfer’s going nuts with all that power. Strange figures the best way about this is to summon Surfer’s old flame Shalla-Bal to talk some sense into him, especially since Surfer’s thinking of removing randomness completely and giving the universe complete order. Arguments and fighting happen, but seeing Shalla-Bal so hurt brings Surfer back to sanity. He uses the Infinity Gauntlet’s power to destroy itself – and seemingly he and Shalla-Bal with it – but we discover that the two of them are secretly alone on a paradise planet of their creation to live the rest of their lives in secret.

    As everything returns to normal, Thanos stands alone, holding up the scrapped remains of the Gauntlet. With a smirk, he says, “So close. Oh, yes... So very close.”

    MARVEL SUPER HEROES (1995)

    In a follow-up to X-Men: Children of the Atom, Capcom released a one-on-one fighting game called Marvel Super Heroes, which is loosely based on Infinity Gauntlet. In it, you control a hero or villain as you gather the Infinity Gems from your opponents, working your way to fighting Dr. Doom and then Thanos. Upon meeting him, Thanos will steal your Gems and complete the Infinity Gauntlet before the final battle. While there isn’t much story in the game, it definitely stays loyal to the comic in ways. For instance, Thanos’ battleground is his base from Infinity Gauntlet, where you can see the likes of Thor, Nova, Drax, Scarlet Witch, and She-Hulk frozen in stone as Mephisto and Death idle in the background.

    The game is kicking rad if you haven’t played it, letting you unleash the power of the various Gems in battle, each giving you a different ability. The console version includes playable versions of the bosses, as well as Anita, the emotionless little girl from Capcom’s Darkstalkersseries.

    Here are the various endings based on the different characters defeating Thanos:

    Anita: Simply uses the Gems to free the heroes from their statue forms. Nothing else.

    Blackheart: Is asked to hand it over from his father Mephisto, but Blackheart turns on him and chooses to rule reality.

    Captain America: Reverts the heroes to normal. Then pals around with Thor and throws the Infinity Gems into a black hole so nobody can use them.

    Dr. Doom: Bitches out Thanos and rules the Earth with the Infinity Gauntlet. Yeah, they don’t get very fancy with this one.

    Hulk: Reverts the heroes to normal. Thanos wants to die, but Hulk leaves him begging. Hulk goes on a second honeymoon to Vegas with Betty, but he chooses to get there by leaping with Betty holding on for dear life.

    Iron Man: Reverts the heroes to normal. Considers using the Gauntlet, but then refuses. Later, he’s bummed to discover that his nervous system problems are gone. He selfishly used the power after all. Cap tells him not to worry about it.

    Juggernaut: Is ready to grab the Infinity Gauntlet and get his vengeance on Xavier. Suddenly, Adam Warlock pops in to take it away, thanking Juggernaut for saving reality and then sending him back to Earth. I hate Adam Warlock.

    Magneto: Creates a second moon around Earth and makes it a permanent home for mutants, finally separating himself from the humans. He is the eternal ruler of New Avalon.

    Psylocke: Reverts the heroes to normal. She returns to the mansion, thinking about how she has experienced being molded to the will of others before and would never, ever do that to another person.

    Shuma-Gorath: Absorbs the power of the Infinity Gems and grows in size, allowing it to feast upon reality itself.

    Spider-Man: Reverts the heroes to normal. Goes home to Mary Jane to find out that he’s going to be a father. This is a lot less uplifting when you remember that this game was released during Clone Saga. Ugh.

    Thanos: Has two separate endings. Either he chooses to become one with the cosmos as the true ruler of the universe, or he gives up the power and lives on as a farmer.

    Wolverine: Reverts the heroes to normal. He realizes that he could use the power to find out about his past, but refuses. Instead, he leaves the X-Men to find the answers himself.

    Thanos would return in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, still with the Infinity Gauntlet, but the game lacks anything resembling a coherent storyline. Then in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the Gauntlet is treated as a red herring as Thanos is more interested in fashioning Ryu's dark energies into a Satsui No Hado Gauntlet so he can kill (or at least hurt) Death.

    MARVEL SUPER HEROES: WAR OF THE GEMS (1996)

    You would think that this would just be a lesser incarnation of the one-on-one fighter I just talked about, but no. This Capcom release is more of a sequel to the side-scroller beat ‘em up X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse. In it, you play through with your choice of Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Iron Man. Coincidentally, Iron Man’s select portrait is just a picture of his sprite from the arcade game. Go figure.

    The game is one big mishmash of both Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War, which makes sense, considering Infinity Gauntlet wasn’t really filled to the brim with villains to fight. Here, you get to fight evil doppelganger clones of various heroes, like Hawkeye, Vision, Sasquatch, Iron Man, etc. At first you search for the various Infinity Gems, trying to stop the likes of Magus and Dr. Doom from getting their hands on them, but Thanos gets the last one. After going through Nebula, you face Thanos and...well, it doesn’t really have the same dire sense of danger when he isn’t at full godhood. At least in the arcade game, he’s got all six Gems. Here, he has one against your five. That’s hardly impressive.

    I guess Thanos has the Reality Gem because literally all he does is cause fire to burst from the ground and summon a closing stone wall. That’s it. He’s slow as molasses and his death throes feel like they take an hour.

    Afterwards, Adam Warlock takes all the Gems for himself and sends everyone home. Feeling the need to give this epilogue some filler, they ask if Earth will ever truly be safe. When all your enemies move like snails, Earth isn't in that much danger, I suppose.

    WHAT IF THE IMPOSSIBLE MAN OBTAINED THE INFINITY GAUNTLET? (1998)

    So you know that part where Silver Surfer tries to swipe Thanos’ Gauntlet? It almost works in the sense that he removes the glove, but he fumbles and drops it. It’s then grabbed by none other than the annoying shape-shifter of the cosmos, the Impossible Man! Although Thanos is no threat to him, he does basically pee himself once all the cosmic beings show up. He escapes with Surfer and points out that he’s totally capable of handling the burden of wielding the Infinity Gauntlet. To prove his point, he brings Surfer to Zenn-La, his lost home planet. He’s reunited with Shalla-Bal and all should be good, but Surfer can’t help but feel that things aren’t quite right.

    He’s summoned by Galactus because although Impossible Man’s claimed to be about using the Gauntlet justly, he’s in the middle of exacting revenge on Galactus for eating his home world of Poppup way back when. Surfer fights him and loses, but convinces him to do the right thing by pointing out that he can just rebuild Poppup and return all its people. Galactus agrees to help, but due to plot device BS, Poppup can only be created at the expense of the fake Zenn-La. Surfer ultimately goes along with it because while he can never accept his fake world as real, Impossible Man is too oblivious and simple-minded to really question his.

    Poppup is reborn, the Poppupian race is reborn, and Impossible Man gives up his power to the Elders of the Universe. Everything seems fine, but then Surfer realizes that the Poppupians are all purple and green versions of heroes and villains, fighting it out like a bunch of goofs. He looks on in horror while a purple and green Forbush Man waves at the reader from behind his back.

    WHAT IF: NEWER FANTASTIC FOUR (2009)

    A little backstory on this one. Jeff Parker and Mike Wieringo were working on a What If issue about the New Fantastic Four (Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider) remaining as a team. Unfortunately, Wieringo passed away during the making of it, so they had various artists finish the book in his place as a tribute. Even if it wasn’t such a heartwarming sentiment, What If This was the Fantastic Four? is an excellent comic to read.

    This is the sequel, which asks what would happen if Infinity Gauntlet happened in a timeline with the New Fantastic Four, except that Ghost Rider is wiped out of existence from Thanos’ power and is replaced by Iron Man. Their first meeting with Thanos doesn’t go so well, since Hulk’s attempt to intimidate him with how strong he is in relation to his anger causes Thanos to wipe out a chunk of the Milky Way and state, “And I’m not even angry.” The omnipotent Thanos also separates Hulk and Banner out of curiosity and his desire to show off. During all of this, Wolverine notices how Mephisto is able to steer Thanos around with his words.

    Like in regular continuity, Adam Warlock brings up his awesome plan of, “Do what I say and don’t ask questions so you don't know that I’m using your horrible deaths as a diversion,” but this time it doesn’t fly. As Stark puts it, “I don’t [know what I’m doing], but I don’t think he does either.” When they go at Thanos, Wolverine is the only one with a plan. He chooses not to fight Thanos and instead badmouths his partners while talking Thanos into thinking that Mephisto is trying to horn in on Death. Thanos buys this lie and vaporizes Mephisto. Wolverine worms his way into position as Thanos’ new right-hand man and explains to the other Fantastic Four members that he hopes that Thanos will reward his loyalty by forcing Jean Grey to love him.

    Thanos continues to effortlessly defeat all challengers, even when Iron Man creates a suit of armor out of a fallen Celestial. Wolverine talks up how Thanos hasn’t even physically touched Death and that love is all about contact. Thanos gets all flustered because it isn’t proper, but Wolverine eggs him on to just touch her face. As the nervous Thanos reaches out to do so, Wolverine chops his arm off with a smiling, “Sucker!” and has successfully cut off his source of power.

    Hulk punches Thanos out, Spider-Man uses the Gauntlet to put everything back the way it was, the Gauntlet is given to the Watchers to guard, and Bruce Banner becomes an honorary Watcher. Free from being one with the Hulk, he lives in the Watchers' citadel for the rest of his life, practically bathing in the vast knowledge available to him.

    Too bad they didn’t keep going with What If: New Fantastic Four stories. They were only two issues, but they were a lot of fun.

    WHAT IF: SECRET WARS (2009)

    This one only sort of counts. Thanos only gets one mention, but the story is more of an alternate history companion piece that makes a couple parallel references to the original story. In Secret Wars, Dr. Doom was able to siphon off the powers of Galactus and the Beyonder, making him nigh-omnipotent. In this reality, he keeps the power and fully defeats the heroes. He easily conquers Earth, all while leaving all the heroes alive and using his power to make sure Sue Storm’s pregnancy (which resulted in a miscarriage in regular continuity) is a healthy one. He leaves the world a utopia and flies into space. The thing to take away from this story is that at his heart, Dr. Doom is not a ruler, but a conqueror. That’s why he’s ruled the world no less than three times in regular continuity and always left it behind for the sake of struggle.

    His attempt to take over various alien empires is met with resistance, so he wipes out all who oppose him. Then he seeks out even more power by slaying the Elders of the Universe and stealing the Infinity Gems. With the Soul Gem, he enters Hell, frees his mother, and kills Mephisto (which he says would only be temporary, since he’s the Devil and all). Next on the agenda is taking out the only beings higher than him on the food chain: the Celestials. The fight lasts 407 years (!) and in the end, Doom is supreme, albeit with the Infinity Gems destroyed.

    During the battle, a shockwave knocked Earth out of orbit, much like in Infinity Gauntlet. Doom sees that life will eventually come to an end. Without a second thought, he uses the remainder of his cosmic power to set the Earth back in place and save the planet. The final scene shows, fittingly enough, that he’s become a farmer, freely appearing with no faceplate. He no longer feels ashamed of his scars and plans to rebuild his rule from the ground up, fully understanding the true potential of mankind.

    Personally one of my favorite Dr. Doom stories.

    SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW SEASON 2 (2010)

    The wacky cartoon series based on the toys with the creepy smiles is a fun enough diversion. The second season of the show is all about the Infinity Gauntlet with the first half of it being based on Thanos’ quest to get all the Gems. Thanos is voiced by Jim Cummings, meaning he sounds like pretty much every Jim Cummings voice you’ve ever heard. Interesting thing here is that Thanos has Nebula captive and he refers to her as his sister. So if you’re keeping score, she’s his granddaughter in the comics, daughter in the movies, and sister in the cartoon.

    The whole Death concept is forgotten about here and Thanos is purely out for galactic power for the sake of being an evil overlord with galactic power. In the episode “Fate of Destiny,” he gets the full set of Gems and the Super Hero Squad goes on the attack. They are soundly defeated (mostly thanks to Thanos’ reality-warping catchphrase, “DO OVER!”), as are Dr. Doom and his underlings. Thanos is then challenged by the Silver Surfer, who is wielding the Infinity Sword, the ultimate weapon of the first season’s finale. Thanos challenges him to a winner-take-all fight, which Surfer accepts. When they shake on it, Surfer pulls off Thanos’ glove.

    Unfortunately, the Infinity Sword has been slowly corrupting Surfer over time, so having the Infinity Sword AND the Infinity Gauntlet drives him over the edge. He sends his former teammates spiraling through the multiverse, giving us children’s cartoon adaptations of 1602and Planet Hulk. Also, he knocks Earth out of orbit, making it increasingly cold. For the remainder of the series, he’s the main villain.

    In the finale, “The Final Battle! (‘Nuff Said!)” The Dark Surfer is challenged by the team of Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Hulk, Wolverine, Falcon, and Thor. Surfer chooses to split himself into six beings for his own amusement. Each Surfer is powered by a separate Gem, but the heroes have figured that each one is capable of countering a specific Surfer based on their own abilities/personalities. For instance, the Mind Gem has little effect on Hulk and Wolverine’s surliness is able to overpower the Soul Gem. With the help of Ronan the Accuser, they defeat Silver Surfer and get all the Gems together.

    It’s not over until they find where he hid the Infinity Sword, leading to a final battle between Iron Man and Dr. Doom, where they accidentally destroy both the Sword and the Gems. The resulting explosion fixes the universe, including Earth, and all is well. Surfer’s back to his senses and willingly accepts his Kree imprisonment. No longer able to get his revenge on the Surfer, Thanos decides to go hang out at a chicken farm instead. Cute.

    SUPER HERO SQUAD: INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)

    Around the time of the second season’s debut, they released a video game tie-in where you go around fighting enemies with two heroes at a time. In the story, Iron Man and Hulk are picking up some new boots for Thor’s birthday. The boots get mixed up with Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet and wackiness ensues. Eventually, Thanos gets all the Gems. The duo of Iron Man and Scarlet Witch are able to defeat him, but then Silver Surfer swoops in to steal the Infinity Gauntlet. Corrupted by its power immediately, he does away with Galactus and, like in the cartoon, splits into six versions of himself. While Spider-Man sits this one out, the other twelve heroes pair up and fight the various Surfers one-by-one.

    Once defeated, Surfer comes to his senses. He and Iron Man throw the Infinity Gems and Infinity Sword into a rift in reality, taking care of that problem. Meanwhile, all the villains are busy fighting each other. Iron Man figures to just let that sort itself out. The heroes celebrate Thor’s birthday, but it turns out his boots have been enchanted by Loki to make Thor dance for an eternity. Iron Man and Hulk search for the receipt so they can return it.

    AVENGERS AND THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)

    This out-of-continuity story is a reimagining of Infinity Gauntlet as an all-ages comedy book. With the ultimate power of the Gauntlet, Thanos wipes out half of life in the universe for the sake of seeing chaos reign and the survivors destroy each other. The remaining heroes only know the where of the threat’s source and not the who or what. Sue Storm puts together a team of Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Dr. Doom bursts into the room and after a fight where he takes down everyone on his own, Doom offers to join the team. Their transport is US-Ace, the star of the forgotten 80s comic US-1.

    The real treasure of this miniseries is watching Dr. Doom interact with the uncouth US-Ace. Especially when they visit the space trucker’s parents, who run a space diner. Ace’s mother bullies Doom into making everyone sandwiches, which is amazing.

    Once they come across Thanos near the end of the third issue, they all get thrashed. He’s only stopped thanks to US-Ace driving his space truck into him thanks to his truckopathic link (Doom grumbles, “Oh Lord, he has a name for it...”). The act knocks off the Gauntlet and while Doom eventually gets his hands on it, it doesn’t work. Turns out he’s a perfect Doombot created by Doom to be released into the world if he were to ever go missing for whatever reason, such as, say, half of the universe's population magically vanishing into thin air. Spider-Man stops Thanos from getting the Gauntlet back on his hand and then uses its power to wish for a universe where Thanos never had the Gems in the first place.

    Spider-Man ends up back on Earth where he’s the only one who remembers the entire adventure. He isn’t too broken up about it, but he wishes someone else out there would remember what he did. Elsewhere, Thanos plots his eventual revenge by sketching Spider-Man’s head into the ground, then adding an X over it.

    I’m just bummed that despite having a million characters in Avengers: Infinity War, we won’t get to hear Dr. Doom sarcastically respond to US-Ace with, “What a colorful turn of phrase. Perhaps you will regale us with more of them over a ‘mess of biscuits’ later.”

    Read Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet on Amazon

    AVENGERS ASSEMBLE: SEASON TWO (2015)

    Ugh. So, once upon a time, there was this badass Avengers cartoon that people really liked. Then they canceled it and replaced it with Avengers Assemble, which I guess is still a thing. Anyway, much like Super Hero Squad Show, the second season is about Thanos and his quest to acquire the Infinity Gauntlet. By the halfway point, he has it and he loses in an incredibly embarrassing way.

    Iron Man has Arsenal, a robot built by his father that can absorb energies and is programmed to protect Tony at all costs. After Thanos imprisons the Avengers with magic rock hands from the ground, Arsenal just walks towards him. Thanos -- with control over time and space and so on -- shoots lasers at him. Iron Man explains that Arsenal is able to absorb such a thing. Knowing this, Thanos' strategy is to SHOOT LASERS HARDER because holy shit. Arsenal yoinks the Gauntlet off Thanos' hand, freeing up the Avengers to beat Thanos into mush.

    Then Arsenal becomes Ultron because reasons.

    Oh yeah, there was a digital pinball game based on Infinity Gauntlet too, but I have no idea how to even write that up. I watched footage of people playing it and couldn’t make heads or tails of what the hell is even going on.

    Gavin Jasper will never not love that Impossible Man/Roddy Piper panel. Follow him on Twitter!


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    The Shadowhunters is back on Freeform for a third season. Here's everything we know about Shadowhunters Season 3...

    News Kayti Burt
    Apr 11, 2018

    Good news, Shadowhunters fans! The Freeform series is back for Season 3. 

    Next up? Episode 5, "Stronger Than Heaven," which will air on April 17th. Here's the official synopsis:

    Jace tries to learn who is out to get Simon; Clary turns to Luke to find a way to help Jace; Alec worries about the future of his relationship after learning more about Magnus' romantic past.

    And here's the promo...

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Episode Guide

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 1: On Infernal Ground

    Secrets abound as the Shadowhunters and Downworlders attempt to return to normal following Valentine's death; Clary struggles with keeping her secret about Raziel's wish; Lilith sets a plan in motion as Simon spends time in the Seelie Court.

    Original air date: 3/20/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 2: The Powers That Be

    The Warlocks’ magic is becoming corrupted by a demonic presence while Izzy and Luke try to track down more information on the recent series of possessions.

    Original air date: 3/27/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 3: What Lies Beneath

    The Shadowhunters try to track down the new imposing threat, while Jace has a suspicion that Jonathan is back and behind the mundane attacks. Simon tries to figure out what The Seelie Queen did to him during his time in the glade. Alec decides to host a Lightwood family dinner at Magnus’ house after a surprising visit from Maryse.

    Original air date: 4/3/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 4: Thy Soul Instructed

    Jace becomes concerned about his mental state and turns to Luke for information on his family's past; Clary and Izzy go after a rogue vampire; Simon hunts for a new apartment.

    Original air date: 4/10/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 5: Stronger Than Heaven

    Jace tries to learn who is out to get Simon; Clary turns to Luke to find a way to help Jace; Alec worries about the future of his relationship after learning more about Magnus' romantic past.

    Original air date: 4/17/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 6: A Window Into an Empty Room

    Clary teams up with Magnus to investigate a recent demon attack; Simon is stunned when he is visited by someone he thought he would never see again; Izzy worries about dinner with her family and a special guest; Luke reaches out to Maryse.

    Original air date: 4/24/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 7: Salt in the Wound

    Original air date: 5/1/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Release Date

    Shadowhunters Season 3 hit Freefrom on Tuesday, March 20th at 8 p.m. ET. The season will have 20 episodes.

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Trailer

    Shadowhunters debuted a trailer for Season 3 at NYCC, complete with some Jace/Clary action, Simon and the Seelie Queen, and Magnus adjusting to his new life. Check it out...

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Cast

    Arrow's Anna Hopkins will join the Shadowhunters Season 3 cast as Lilth. The role is recurring.

    Also joining the Shadowhunters team is Hamilton's Javier Muñoz. Muñoz will appear as one of Magnus' warlock rivals.

    Season 2 showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer will be staying on as showrunners for the third season, along with executive producers McG, Michael Reisz, Matt Hastings, Mary Viola, Martin Moszkowicz and Robert Kulzer.

    Though Shadowhunters has dipped somewhat in the ratings since its Season 1 premiere, it has one of the most passionate fanbases of any Freeform show (or TV show, really). More news as we hear it.

     


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    Natalie Dormer will star in Amazon's miniseries adaptation of the 1967 mystery novel Picnic at Hanging Rock.

    Trailers Joseph Baxter
    Apr 11, 2018

    Picnic at Hanging Rock, a mystery series, is heading to Amazon, adapting an acclaimed 1967 novel by Aussie writer, Joan Lindsay, which was previously adapted by director Peter Weir's 1975 film of the same name.

    Here, Game of Thrones alumna Natalie Dormer headlines in this slickly-produced six-episode limited television series adaptation, injecting mystery and terror into a prim and proper Victorian-era Australia setting. The series will arrive in the U.S. on Amazon Prime Video, with U.K. audiences able to catch it on Foxtel.

    Picnic at Hanging Rock Trailer

    The Picnic at Hanging Rock trailer (arriving via EW,) stays on track to the traditional story, set in 1900 Australia on Valentine’s Day, depicting an escalating chain of tragic events resulting from the mysterious disappearance of three college girls and a teacher after a trip to the eponymous (real-life) Victoria geological formation. Ambiguity shadows the circumstances, leading to speculation on either criminal or supernatural causes.

    In this reimagining, Dormer won’t have to hide her English accent in favor of an Aussie twang, since she plays an English headmistress, named Mrs. Hester Appleyard (played by Rachel Roberts in the 1975 film), whose surname is shared with the prestigious college in question that finds its reputation tarnished as it is embroiled in controversy over the disappearances.

    Picnic at Hanging Rock will require several baskets and blankets, since Dormer headlines a large cast. Amongst that group are names such as Lola Bessis (Swim Little Fish Swim), Yael Stone (Orange is the New Black), Sibylla Budd (Tomorrow, When the War Begins), Anna McGahan (The Doctor Blake Mysteries), Lily Sullivan (Camp), Samara Weaving (Monster Trucks) and Ruby Rees (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries). The Amazon/Foxtel event series was produced by FreemantleMedia Australia.

    For the sake of comparison, here’s the trailer for original 1975 Picnic at Hanging Rock movie.

    Picnic at Hanging Rock Release Date

    Picnic at Hanging Rock will make its domestic premiere on May 25 on Amazon Prime Video.


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    Image Comics’ Injection, created by Warren Ellis, is set be adapted as a TV series by Universal Cable Productions.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Apr 11, 2018

    Injection, a recent title from Image Comics, blends elements from techno-thrillers and supernatural horror into an intriguing synthesis. Consequently, the hit graphic novel series, which is the brainchild of celebrated writer Warren Ellis – known from the movie-adapted Iron Man“Extremis” storyline, as well as reinventions of classic comic characters in Moon Knight, Astonishing X-Men and Thunderbolts– is now television-bound!

    Universal Cable Productions has optioned the team of Ellis, along with artists Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire for the rights to Injection with designs to produce a television series (presumably live-action in nature), according to THR.

    Injection, which launched in 2015, depicts a scenario in the aftermath of a calamity that left the world poisoned, inciting the British government to recruit five people – formerly dismissed as weirdos and misfits – who possess specialized talents that allow them to peak – hypothetically – into the future state of human culture to derive a solution. As a result of their findings, the five use their skill set of technology and shamanistic magic to create an artificial intelligence system designed to combat the threat. However, years later, in the purest definition of (the often-abused word,) irony, the A.I. starts to reeking its own share of global (supernatural) woe, requiring the band to get back together.

    The Injection project is not quite at a point where its NBCUniversal cable home has been identified. Yet, should it move forward to series, it will exist under the same corporate umbrella as channels USA, Syfy, E!, and Bravo, making it a peer of Universal Cable-native-produced series such as Mr. Robot, Colony, The Magicians, Happy!, Shooter, Channel Zero, 12 Monkeys and the upcoming Dark Horse Comics adaptation, The Umbrella Academy (not to mention externally-produced Syfy shows Wynonna Earp and The Expanse). Thus, as an Image Comics adaptation, Injection would likely find a genre-appropriate home.

    We’ll be sure to update you on the status of the Injection TV project as the developments occur!


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    The Walking Dead’s newest story arc, “New World Order,” features more bureaucracy than bat-wielding villainy.

    FeatureAlec Bojalad
    Apr 12, 2018

    The many eras of Robert Kirkman’s sprawling opus, The Walking Dead, have always been defined by two things: their antagonists and their settings. For over 175 issues, every time the story has moved onto a new major arc or era, that change has been accompanied by a new villain, a new setting, or both.

    The story starts in rural Georgia with the closest analog to a villain being Rick’s best friend, Shane (issues 1 - 12). Then Rick’s crew moves on to a prison, where they are attacked and victimized by the overtly evil Brian Blake (a.k.a. The Governor) and his town of Woodbury (issues 13 - 48). The gang then hits the road for a bit and encounters minor villains like “The Hunters” before settling in the Alexandria Safe-Zone.

    Here Rick and company find themselves in conflict with Negan and The Saviors (issues 98 - 126). After the Saviors are defeated in a bloody war, Alpha and the Whisperers show up to give Rick and company the creeps (issues 132 - 168).

    The villains of The Walking Dead always represent the biggest sea changes for the comic. Settings change, of course, but the real setting arguably has always been the same zombie-strewn landscape. The undead represent the true setting of the story. The villains are more dynamic and represent what each arc wants to communicate, whether that be the existence of terrifyingly organized evil (Brian Blake), charismatic fascism as a response to a dangerous world (Negan), or just humankind reverting to a bestial nature (the Whisperers).

    Now, as the comic marks two major milestones with issue #175 and “Volume” 30, The Walking Dead is getting experimental with its villains once again to reveal a deeper truth about the dark heart of man. Only this time around, the villains are barely villains at all.

    The Commonwealth is a community in Ohio discovered by Eugene Porter via his repaired CB radio. The Commonwealth is a thriving community of 50,000 survivors. To longtime readers or watchers of The Walking Dead, that number may have initially seemed like a misprint. All we’ve known so far are communities numbering in the dozens, and in rare cases, just over hundreds. But the Commonwealth is comparatively MASSIVE.

    Buy all of your Walking Dead comics here!

    The community has a sophisticated power structure, a bustling Main Street, and even a stadium for when baseball season rolls around. This isn’t just a community. It’s a city, and maybe even the first ever city since the dead began to walk around.

    Kirkman has famously never put an end date on the story he is telling in The Walking Dead. He’s previously been quoted as hoping the series lasts “around” 300 issues. Before he was dedicated to telling a nearly endless story, however, Kirkman gave serious consideration to ending the series once the characters arrived at Alexandria. It would have been a logical enough stopping point. The characters had found refuge and relative safety, and it’s easy for the reader to imagine a healthy society rising up around the example of Alexandria.

    Similarly, Eugene, Michonne, Yumiko, Magna, Siddiq, and Juanita’s arrival at the Commonwealth seems like another potential stopping point. The characters (or six of them at least) have now found something none of us ever dreamed they would: society. The unspoken goal of The Walking Dead has always been to survive long enough to restart that crazy little human experiment called society that we enjoyed for so long. Now Eugene and company have survived long enough to discover exactly that. Once human beings are playing baseball again, what else is there to do?

    Why does Kirkman bother continuing? Because, in The Commonwealth and the power structure that accompanies it, he will be able to create a new kind of villain, which is really an old kind of villain: the bureaucrat.

    The Commonwealth has existed for only three issues of the series so far (175-177), but in those three issues, it is already clear the kind of conflict that Kirkman is setting up. The conflict is not likely to be a military one like that of the “All Out War” volumes. If that were the case, The Commonwealth would almost certainly crush Alexandria, The Kingdom, and Hilltop with its tens of thousands of citizens. Instead, this will be a conflict of values. What happens when those accustomed to pure, borderline anarchic freedom brush up against the world from before it all - the world with rules, bureaucracy, and inequality?

    When Eugene, Michonne, Juanita, Magna, Yumiko, and Siddiq first encounter The Commonwealth, they are astonished by the order of it all. They are confronted by dozens of armed soldiers - all wearing the same armor and wielding the same weapons. This level of order and uniformity is worlds away from the kind of conflicts Eugene’s crew is used to fighting.

    Then when the “soldiers” take the group inside The Commonwealth to be processed, once again we’re presented with the carefully constructed bureaucracy the new society has established. The first named character we’re introduced to is Lance Hornsby, the Commonwealth’s “bookkeeper.” Hornsby is worlds away from the kind of antagonist we’re used to seeing in the Walking Dead universe. Where Negan introduces himself with a barbed wire-adorned baseball bat, Hornsby instead wields a pen and a notebook.

    Hornsby is responsible for their intake. He is to collect information regarding their names, weapons, place of origin, and any unusual customs their group practices. Once Lance has had his turn questioning the new group, they’re moved along to the Governor’s mansion for more questioning. Here they encounter Maxwell Hawkins and the true nature of this new society becomes a little clearer.

    While Hornsby was concerned with questions that determine whether Eugene’s group presents an immediate threat, Hawkins is more interested in what kind of value this new group can provide in the long run.

    “And what was your profession? Before the fall, I mean,” Hawkins asks Eugene.

    “What? Um...I was a high school science teacher,” he replies.

    “That simply won’t do,” Hawkins says.

    Hawkins has just met Eugene. He doesn’t know that he may very well be talking to one of the most intelligent and resourceful people in the world. All he hears is what Eugene used to do for a living and what that reveals about his class and education, and he dismisses him outright.

    Michonne, however, reveals that she was a lawyer in the old world.

    “Public defender?” Hawkins asks with a clear racist undertone.

    “Private practice. I had just made partner.”

    So Michonne is ushered into another room to meet “The Governor.” This governor, however, is vastly different from “The Governor” we’re accustomed to. The title “Governor” always felt like a bit of an ironic inside joke as applied to the original villain. Brian Blake was a true sociopath, and so much about his appearance gave him away: wild, unkempt hair, “don’t-trust-me” mustache, and later on a freaking eyepatch. This new governor, however, looks like…a governor.

    Pamela Milton is a sharp-looking middle-aged woman who wouldn’t seem out of place as a talking head on CNN. Her hair is clean, her makeup game is on point, and her jawline is strong. She exudes confidence and control. When Michonne is brought in to meet her, Milton knows that she is talking to a fancy lawyer - someone high class - so she immediately shares The Commonwealth’s M.O., in a thorough, yet succinct way.

    “I’ll start by explaining who we are,” she says. “The Commonwealth is the shining beacon on the hill. It’s what rose from the ashes of our world and brought order to the chaos. We’re fifty thousand people strong, and bringing more people in all the time. We’re what you’ve been dreaming of - what you hoped still existed. Simply put - we’re civilization, it’s back. You’re welcome.”

    Now, bringing “order to the chaos” is straight out of the “bad guy speech playbook.” It’s ominous and immediately begs the question, “How does one maintain that order? And will I like the methods?” The Walking Dead offers us some not-so-subtle clues that we likely won’t. Hornsby threatens Eugene’s contact, Stephanie, with a grim-sounding “work re-assignment” for the crime of…playing with a radio. Later, in issue 177, we are introduced to Milton’s brat son, Sebastian, and it’s clear that the rules don’t always apply to the “elite” of the Commonwealth.

    Still, that last part of Milton’s speech is undeniably powerful. “Civilization. It’s back.” Isn’t that what our survivors have been looking for this entire time? Isn’t that what this has all been about? The Walking Dead is never going to introduce time travel as a plot device (*knock on wood*). Things are never going to go back to the way they were before Rick Grimes entered that coma. But this seems close enough, doesn’t it?

    This is society. Each character we’re introduced to has a surname. Out in the “wild,” a surname isn’t necessary. Michonne, Negan, Andrea, Heath, Ezekiel Dwight, and more - there’s no need to exchange last names when you’re out in the shit and at risk of dying at any moment.

    That’s what’s so enticing about The Commonwealth as villains. They present everything we assume we ever wanted for these characters. But from the look of things so far, we may have been wrong to want that. The Commonwealth is the old world, with its electricity, full stomachs, sense of security, and yes - even baseball. But in striving to recapture that old world, we and the characters, themselves forgot all the things that made that world suck: inequality, bigotry, unfair social structures, and yes - even baseball.

    The Commonwealth represents order. It also represents bureaucracy and ultimately it represents us. The characters of The Walking Dead have been through hell. They deserve to rebuild society. But they deserve to rebuild it with all the brutal lessons they’ve learned from the old world. Kirkman, in presenting these new bureaucratic enemies, might have revealed that we never wanted our characters to find the old world. We wanted them to find a new one.


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    It looks like Brainiac is coming to Gotham City, and it's up to Batman, Black Lightning, and a new team of Outsiders to stop him.

    NewsMike Cecchini
    Apr 12, 2018

    Changes are coming to Detective Comics in the coming months. James Tynion IV is wrapping his two year run as writer of the title, with Bryan Hill taking over. Detective has long been the "Batman family" corner of the DC Universe, and that's going to change slightly during Hill's tenure. Instead of focusing on the assorted Robins and the usual Batman supporting cast, "On the Outside" is bringing Black Lightning to Gotham City, and from the sound of things, a new team of Outsiders, as well.

    We have more details on Mr. Hill's arrival on Detective Comics right here.

    But lest you think that "On the Outside" is going to stop at teaming up Batman and Black Lightning, which is cool enough, there's a much bigger threat to be dealt with...and not a street-level one. Check out the first details on Detective Comics #984 and 985 (written by Bryan Hill with art by Philippe Briones), courtesy of DC Comics...

    "Batman called Black Lightning to Gotham City for help with a specific case—but what is Batman hiding from Jefferson Pierce? It looks like he’s in touch with somebody from their mutual past, and he doesn’t want Black Lightning to know about it —and that operative might be in over their head! Then, Black Lightning, the Signal and Cassandra Cain are showing how well they work together…but now they’re up against a foe who can tap into their worst emotions and play them like music! When you’ve seen the kinds of horrors these poor souls have, there’s plenty of trauma to work with…and with that, you can turn these heroes into deadly weapons! Meanwhile, Batman’s “side project” has been revealed—what are the Brainiac Files, and what exactly does Batman plan to do with them?"

    Yes, what ARE the Brainiac Files, Bruce? What the hell are you up to this time? Whenever Batman is keeping secret files, it's never good. See also: JLA's Tower of Babel story and remember how poorly things went for him with The OMAC Project (is...is OMAC Project still in continuity?).

    Brainiac's arrival in Gotham City of all places sure is convenient timing, though. Fans are finally properly getting a proper version of Brainiac in live action for the first time on the Krypton TV series at the moment, and DC has helped to celebrate this by finally making one of Superman's greatest villains the kind of DC Universe level threat that we've always known he should be. Brainiac keeps popping up in weird places (his famous skull ship is visible in some Green Arrow preview art, too), so it would make sense that Batman wants to keep Gotham City from ending up in a bottle.

    Check out the cover to Detective Comics #985 by Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira.

    Batman, Black Lightning, and Katana...yes, we've almost got a full squad of Outsiders here. But Bruce, don't be proud. Give Clark a call. 

    "On the Outside" kicks off in Detective Comics #982 on June 13. It seems that the Brainiac parts of this story begin with Detective Comics #984 which hits on July 11. Detective Comics #985 and its gorgeous cover arrives on July 25. Brainiac usually arrives unannounced. Call first, you inconsiderate green jerk!


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    Friday the 13th boasts some of the strangest movie tie-in comics ever made. We hit the bloody highs and lows. Mostly lows.

    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Apr 13, 2018

    Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees has been part of pop-culture for decades. It shouldn’t be surprising that he’s had his share of comic book adventures, what with him essentially being a supervillain in a story with no superheroes. Granted, he’s a one-dimensional supervillain with an incredibly vague origin story, but he’s been memorable enough to land him a dozen movie appearances. Many have told his tale in comic form and since the early '90s, he’s been represented by three different publishers.

    The surprising thing to me is that the earliest Jason comic is only in the early 90s. For comparison, the RoboCop comics all stretched across the franchise’s entire existence. They were around for all four movies as well as the stretch where he was just about nostalgia. Jason Voorhees didn’t get the same treatment. For the most part, they missed the boat.

    Topps Comics first picked up the license and Jason’s comic book debut came in July of 1993. Two comics came out this month with Jason in them, so it’s hard to say what was his very first appearance. One of the two comics was Satan’s Six #4by Tony Isabella and John Cleary. We’re already bonkers out the gate here. Satan’s Six was part of the Secret City Saga, where Topps created a big story using a bunch of leftover Jack Kirby ideas that he never did anything with in the form of several miniseries that intertwined (think Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers). It didn’t last long enough to finish and with Satan’s Six, it’s no wonder.

    The comic is a comedy about the demonic Odious Kamodious, who has his own team of agents out to create chaos in his name, only they always screw up. In the very beginning of this issue, Kamodious gets in an argument with one of his demons Frightful and threatens to replace him. He summons Jason Voorhees, who proceeds to talk like Rorschach and try to kill anything nearby.

    Anyone else find randomly and casually tossing Jason into a superhero universe’s continuity really weird?

    Frightful and teammate Bluedragon go after Jason, but he responds by throwing them a couple times and saying, “HRMM,” a lot. Despite only appearing for a couple of pages, Jason says that six times. Kamodious summons him back where he found him and starts making a blatant reference about Jason going to Hell. The angelic Pristine interrupts and calls out how this was a pointless cameo to justify advertising Jason on the cover, which came at the cost of continuing their very story. And at that point, readers stopped caring.

    As Kamodious referenced, Jason was at the time starring in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, otherwise known as Friday the 13th Part IX. Based on the screenplay, the comic is written by Andy Mangels and drawn by Cynthia Martin.

    That’s how far down the pipeline we are. By this point, the movie franchise was in dire straits. By the time any comic company thinks of doing anything with Friday the 13th, we’re already at the ninth movie, which was the last Jason movie for eight years. The really bizarre one.

    If you haven’t seen it or don’t remember, Jason Goes to Hell is the movie where the FBI finally decides to do something about Jason and blows him to kingdom come in the first few minutes, onlit turns out that he can’t be killed unless stabbed in the heart by another Voorhees (though the comic keeps spelling it “Vorhees”). So Jason’s heart hypnotizes the coroner into eating it and he goes around vomiting the heart into people’s throats to change hosts until he can find and kill the rest of his bloodline.

    It’s an example of knowing that you have to do something new and fresh, yet still driving way off the road. Also, if you’re all about drawings of bare asses, this is the comic for you!

    But really, all anyone remembers Jason Goes to Hell for is that cameo at the end when Freddy Krueger pulls down Jason’s mask and cackles. That was the original “Nick Fury asks Tony Stark to join the Avengers” moment. It just, you know, took ten years, is all.

    Topps didn’t want to wait to give us a big slasher icon crossover and while they didn’t get the rights to Freddy, they got the next best thing. Okay, they didn’t get Michael Meyers, but the next best thing after that. No, they didn’t get Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, but—Listen, they got Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre, okay? More specifically, we got Jason vs. Leatherface, a three-part series by Nancy Collins, David Imhoff, and Jeff Butler.

    Despite being released in 1995, the chronology is very choosy, ignoring the history of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre stuff to make sure Leatherface and his brothers Cook and Hitchhiker are both alive. As for Jason, this takes place after Part VI, where he’s chained to the bottom of Camp Crystal Lake. Some corporate types have the lake drained of all the toxic grossness and Jason goes with it. He kind of wanders around, kills a bunch of people on train, and eventually comes across Sawyerville, where Leatherface and Hitchhiker are stalking some poor soul. Jason ends up getting in a scrap with them, where he disarms Leatherface (not literally for once), kills their victim, and then – in a surprising act – hands Leatherface his chainsaw.

    There’s this feeling of acceptance between the two parties, leading to Jason being practically adopted into their family. This leads to a really awesome moment where Cook asks him his name. Since these guys need to start calling him Jason and he doesn’t actually speak, Collins goes about it in a clever way.

    Through this partnership, we see the differences. While Jason is a ruthless murderer, he isn’t so much a sadist, at least not as much as the Sawyer family. He’ll kill the victims, but Hitchhiker will get on his case for doing it too quickly and not torturing anyone. Mainly, Jason gets along with them due to the way he sees his younger self in Leatherface. For once, he feels sympathy and it drives him to hate Hitchhiker for constantly being such a dick. From there, it becomes Jason vs. the three brothers, where Leatherface will protect his family, even if he does show appreciation for Jason standing up for him.

    There wouldn’t be any more Jason comics for a decade until Avatar Press picked up the license in 2005. I had a lot of bad stuff to say about Avatar in the RoboCop article, but here, the ugly, mean-spirited, blood-and-chunks-covered style is a perfect home for Friday the 13th. If anything, it’s a fitting response to how most of the Friday the 13th movies were edited to oblivion by the MPAA to hide all the gore. Now we can see Jason punch a guy in the head so hard that it comes out his ass!

    Avatar mostly released a bunch of one-shots, starting with Friday the 13th Special by Brian Pulido and Mike Wolfer. The Avatar Friday the 13th comics have some actual strong ideas mixed in there, but they also rely on doing the same thing over and over again...much like the movies, but in a different way. While every single comic of theirs has at least one softcore sex scene, there’s also a constant theme of the 1% screwing things up for everyone. Like in Friday the 13th Special, it’s about the children of the man who previously owned Camp Crystal Lake. The daughter, a shrewd businesswoman, insists on not letting that land go to waste despite the piles and piles of dead bodies showing why that’s a bad idea.

    To be fair, she goes about it the right way. If Jason’s hanging around the woods, just hire a ton of military guys to take him out. That basically took care of Jason in the very beginning of the ninth movie, didn’t it? Too bad being in a comic book has caused him to go through a major power creep, and he’s now able to power through having a huge chunk of him blown off by a grenade launcher, as it just heals up in seconds. Jason’s way too overpowered and that continues on for the next year of comics.

    Pulido and Wolfer would get back together to do a three-parter called Bloodbathand it’s easily the best thing to come out of the Avatar run. It has some serious dialogue issues, but the basic idea could have been the basis for a Friday the 13th movie and I would be totally okay with it. It actually comes across as a prototype for Cabin in the Woods.

    It has to do with Camp Crystal Lake being opened yet again, this time with ten teen counselors brought in early to get acquainted a day or so before the campers are said to show up. Their boss is Kevin Carny, a kindly southern guy who appears to be really laid back about everything. He wants everyone to be responsible during the daytime, but at night, they’re welcome to enjoy the hot tub, an excess of beer, and each other’s naked company. The counselors all hit it off and immediately pair up with no problem. In fact, they pair up a little too easily, like they were handpicked. Discovered through some really unnatural dialogue, they all come to realize that all ten of them are orphans and have no families. Strange. It’s almost like if something were to happen to them all, nobody would really care enough to look into it.

    Naturally, there’s more to Carny than meets the eye. Much like in Jason X, the military and corporations are very into the idea of bringing Jason in for the sake of studying his healing factor and weaponizing him. The camp is nothing more than bait. It helps that the protagonists, Violet and Rich, are actually fairly likeable and relatable compared to every other human character in Avatar’s comics. You end up getting a story of the would-be victims vs. the military vs. the unstoppable killer. It actually has a really good ending too, which will be ruined months later.

    Around this time, Avatar released the Jason X Special by Pulido and Sebastian Fiumara. Yes, a Jason Xcomic. The movie is already a few years old at this point and I don’t think anyone cared about it enough to clamor for more Jason X in any form, but here we are. As it turns out, when Uber Jason was blasted to a lake on Earth Two at the end of the movie, he was really back on the original Earth. A woman named Kristen, one of the few remaining humans on the planet, tricked the ship into turning back to Earth for the sake of getting her hands on Uber Jason.

    Kristen’s boyfriend Neil is dying and she needs some Voorhees DNA to potentially cure him. Even though she is able to capture Uber Jason with some nanites, you can imagine that this is a bad idea. It becomes a big, confusing mess, where Pamela Voorhees goes from being a voice in Jason’s head to being a machine ghost able to control all the nanites, leading to lots of human-like androids being slaughtered. Uber Jason is shot into space, where he stumbles across a party-based space ship.

    That leads us right into the two-parter Jason vs. Jason X by Mike Wolfer. Really? Is that even a contest? That’s like having the regular version of the Hulk fight a super-pissed off Hulk. The story of this one is more contrived than even the beginning of Jason Takes Manhattan. So there’s a piece of Jason’s skull and hockey mask from the Jason X movie that wasn’t part of the regeneration process that created Uber Jason. When that ship was blown up, the chunk of skull floated around in space until – TOTAL COINCIDENCE – it now drifts into the very party ship where Uber Jason is currently slaughtering everyone. The ship’s cloning machine builds a new body out of dead victims and Jason is reborn! Fully clothed too, which I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining about. I live my entire life without seeing his hockey stick.

    It takes the whole first issue for the two Jasons to meet up and the entire second issue is them fighting while anyone who crosses paths with the brawl gets chopped up. The fight brings them to Earth Two, where, big surprise, Uber Jason wins. He tears Jason’s brain out, shoves it into his own brain, and reminisces about his mother. He’s also chilling out in the woods near a lake, so even though the Jason X Special changed up the movie’s ending, this comic puts it back the way the writers found it. You know, just in case they were to ever make another Jason X movie.

    The last book from Avatar is Friday the 13th: Fearbookby Mike Wolfer and Sebastian Fiumara. It’s a direct follow-up to Bloodbathand is especially pointless. It’s basically about killing off anyone who survived Bloodbathwithout any real drama. Sure, it makes sense to have the government people behind the events of that story taken out, but there’s no actual plot. Jason just effortlessly kills everyone for two dozen pages.

    Also, the art is really bad in the sequential sense. It seems to go from point A to C from panel to panel with no sensical movement. For instance, in Bloodbath, they were able to stop Jason by freezing him. The only reason he was able to escape was Violet’s doing. Makes 100% perfect sense that they’d just try that again, right?

    And now Jason is able to shrug it off completely to the point that there’s no sign of him being frozen one panel later. What’s up with that?

    The ending suffers from the same problem. Violet is backed up to a window and Jason is coming. She decides to take her chances and makes a leap of faith, hoping the trees will break her fall. She jumps and the perspective makes it look like she’s at least ten feet away from the window. Suddenly, Jason has her by the neck and drags her back in.

    Anyway, Jason would then move on to the next publisher, Wildstorm, in 2007. Wildstorm mainly gave us a bunch of two-parters, but started it with a six-issue miniseries simply called Friday the 13th by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Adam Archer, and Peter Guzman.

    For the most part, it’s a basic, by-the-numbers Friday the 13th story in comic form, just handled competently. They’re reopening Camp Crystal Lake again. A handful of teens are brought in to clean up the cabins. Sex and drugs and beer are had. Jason shows up and starts killing people. Same old shit.

    At least the cast of victims isn’t so bad. They aren’t great, but they at least have more personality and dimension than the characters in the Avatar Press comics, easy as that is to do. The drawback is that for the sake of conflict, they’re almost all over-the-top in terms of being assholes. Like there’s a nerdy hippy guy who looks to be potentially psychotic and everyone shits on him for zero reason. For one of the characters it makes sense, since it’s established that she’s had to put up with his company for years and she’s a terrible person, but everyone else snaps at him like he’s Donnie from Big Lebowski.

    The comic plays up the supernatural aspects of Friday the 13th more than just Jason surviving taking a machete to the neck. Not only do they establish that the lake is haunted by the ghosts of a hundred murdered children, but the final issue even explains that the area is literally cursed due to some settlers murdering a Native American shaman.

    Otherwise, it’s nothing special.

    Marc Andreyko and Shawn Moll give us Pamela’s Tale, a two-parter where Pamela Voorhees explains her life story to a camp counselor while giving her a ride to Camp Crystal Lake. Naturally, she also murders her, but still keeps telling the story, mainly about raising Jason and how she’s been out to kill anyone she feels is responsible for his death.

    We also see Jason’s father depicted as a drunken wife-beater and massive dude (he had to inherit it from somewhere) who is killed because Pamela’s afraid that if she tells him she’s pregnant, he’ll beat her so badly that she’ll have a miscarriage. Oh, and she’s also whispering conversations with “Jason” much like she does at the end of the first movie.

    Jason’s birth defects are explained both between his father’s treatment of his mother and the fact that Pamela is constantly in places filled with cigarette smoke. It hits comedic levels once we see the doctor smoking a cigarette while delivering the baby. That’s dark as hell but I had to laugh.

    Jason Aaron and Adam Archer team up for How I Spent My Summer Vacation, another two-parter. I’m not sure if this is the best Friday the 13th comic, but it’s definitely the most fun. It’s about a little boy named Davie Falkner who is at summer camp. At Camp Crystal Lake. They opened the goddamn thing AGAIN! CRIPES! Anyway, Davie has a bone disorder that gives him a malformed head and will likely kill him in five years. While he has normal intelligence, he looks an awful lot like Jason’s young self, albeit with hair. He’s constantly teased for his looks, but that’s a picnic compared to having Jason Voorhees show up to kill everyone.

    After lots of campers, councilors, and cops are killed, Jason picks up Davie and drags him away, kicking and screaming. The only other survivor is the sheriff, who was so hopped up on meth that he accidentally shot up two councilors, and then hacked them up with a machete to cover his tracks and blame it on Jason. Finding out that Davie’s still alive makes him want to make sure he can kill the last witness.

    Meanwhile, we get what is essentially a Batman and Robin origin story with Jason and Davie. It’s awesome and I wish it was longer. Jason never speaks or makes any gestures, but he keeps Davie safe out of feeling like a kindred spirit. Jason would go kill people having a picnic, wrap their food in a blanket, return to Davie, and throw it to him. Davie goes from being dragged around against his will to following his new hero.

    Davie idolizes Jason for being like him, only able to not take shit from anyone who would bully him. That Jason is an even bigger bully than anyone else is lost on Davie, but it’s nice to see Jason make a connection for once in his after-life. Plus with the comedic psycho sheriff, Jason gets to actually play the role of anti-hero here. Granted, he still kills so many undeserving people, but the book is still sort of cute.

    Yet another two-parter comes in the form of Bad Land, which is by Ron Marz and Mike Huddleston. It’s about two different stories from different times that run parallel. One is a present-day story about a trio of hikers who come across a cabin in the middle of a huge storm and become victims of Jason. The other takes place a couple centuries earlier, where three fur trappers enter a teepee to escape a similar storm and come across a Native American woman and her baby. Horrible things happen to the woman and her child, shortly before her husband arrives. They blow his face off with a rifle shot and he runs off, only to plot his revenge.

    Yep. We have the Proto-Jason. It isn’t outright said whether he’s just super pissed enough to fight through the wound or if he’s a full-on murder zombie, but considering he lacks the wound when we see his rampage, it looks like the latter.

    Huh. Wonder whatever happened to that guy.

    The last normal type of Jason comic released by Wildstorm is The Abuser & the Abused by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Andy B. Andy B’s art makes this easily the best-looking Friday the 13th comic by a landslide. Lot of great expressions and action in there.

    The issue is kind of an alternate take on How I Spent My Summer Vacation. It deals with a girl who is constantly abused. Her boyfriend beats her, her classmates make fun of her, her father and stepmother bully her, and no authority figure will help her in any way. She takes it upon herself to strike back against anyone who’s wronged her and part of her plan involves luring her boyfriend to Camp Crystal Lake (which is not open for once. Thank God). Then when Jason appears to do what Jason does best, the girl gets mad because this is her kill and the two murderers throw down. Totally worth checking out for the fantastic fight scene.

    Now we get to the grand finale in the form of two six-issue miniseries. Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash started in early 2008, based on a script treatment for a sequel to the Freddy vs. Jason movie that would never come to be. The Jeff Katz screenplay is adapted by James Kuhoric with art by Jason Craig. It’s generally okay. It’s nothing especially great or especially awful. It comes up with a satisfying enough story that brings together the three horror icons, has them play off each other, and gives us a big enough body count.

    Freddy is able to convince Jason to do his bidding by banging his mother. At least, that’s what Jason sees in his nightmare, where Freddy acts like his new step-father and has “Pamela” tell Jason to listen to his authority. Freddy wants him to fetch the Necronomicon and wouldn’t you know it, Ash Williams is working at a nearby hardware store for the holidays.

    What’s great about it is that we actually have a real protagonist to cheer for, who we know has enough plot armor to stay alive. The Freddy vs. Jason movie didn’t have anyone nearly as likeable as Ash. The main drawback is that Jason is the third wheel, mostly overshadowed by the other two co-stars. This becomes a bigger problem in the sequel, which I’ll get to in just a bit.

    Sorry, I was wrong. The main drawback is that despite Jason Craig’s art starting incredibly strong, it becomes rushed to hell by the time he hits the final issue. That’s too bad, since the final battle between the two is excellent outside of that. Freddy is pumped up with power from the Necronomicon and Jason is maskless and replaced his dismembered hand with a machete. Ash is bemused, noting the lack of originality.

    By the end, Freddy and Jason are both defeated for the time being, but the Necronomicon opens to a page that’s very reminiscent of the movie poster for Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, only this time, Ash is leading the siege.

    That leads us to Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash: Nightmare Warriors by the same creative team, though with Cruddie Torian doing a bit of fill-in work. Sadly, Jason Craig’s art takes a huge dive, even worse than before. Really, the whole comic is a gigantic mess, making it a perfect Friday the 13thcomic bookend to whatever the hell was going on with that Satan’s Six issue.

    It’s a real shame too, because I absolutely love the setup. It’s such a brilliant concept for a climactic finale to Freddy and Jason’s respective series. See, Ash is invited to join a support group of sorts made up of those who have survived encounters with Freddy and/or Jason. So you have a group made up of Maggie Burroughs (Freddy’s Dead), Dr. Neil Gordon (Nightmare on Elm Street 3), Steven Freeman (Jason Goes to Hell), Stephanie Kimble (Steven’s baby daughter from that movie all grown up), Alice Johnson (Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and 5), Jacob Johnson (Alice’s son, also grown up), Tina Shepard (Friday the 13th Part VII), and Rennie Wickham (Friday the 13th Part VIII). Then waiting in the shadows is maverick survivor and quasi-hero of the Friday the 13th franchise, Tommy Jarvis, who wants to take out Jason on his own terms.

    Also awesome is Jason’s redesign. For the first half, at least.

    After all the bullshit he’s been through fighting Freddy and Ash in the last book, Jason is barely holding together. He’s got so much battle damage that even if he’s freakishly strong, he looks like’s seconds away from falling apart. Between his jaw being completely fleshless and the bottom part of his hockey mask before destroyed, he’s got this badass skull goalie thing going on.

    Then Freddy ruins it by making Jason his general and using the Necronomicon to amp up Jason's appearance, cleaning him up and fixing his disfigurements. He also gives him long, black hair, making him look like a generic 90s vigilante. This also allows him to speak for once when he has his final battle with Tommy Jarvis.

    Certainly better than, “HRMM!” at least.

    As I said, the book goes completely full-on nuts, especially when it comes to Maggie Burroughs. She is actually Freddy’s daughter and killed him in the sixth Elm Street movie (the last canon one before Freddy vs. Jason). Here, she’s secretly evil and is working for her father. I guess they can get away with it because she’s the hero of the most hated Nightmare on Elm Street, but it’s never explained why she’s suddenly evil. Then not only does she start dressing like a sexy X-Men supervillain, but she starts making out with her father. And he puts his hand down her pants while grabbing her boob with the other. What. The. Fuck?

    Anyway, she’s crushed by a tank a couple of issues later while fighting Jason in the Oval Office. Strange, strange comic. The book has a lot of big ideas, but it’s completely incomprehensible.

    What I find interesting is the ending. Freddy’s attempt to cause Hell on Earth via the Necronomicon goes sour and they give him the most final death possible. He’s stripped of his powers, leaving a naked human form, begging for his life. Ash shoots him with his boomstick, killing him. Then some really ill-explained and badly-set-up time-travel happens where the warrant for his arrest from decades ago is now correctly signed, meaning he’ll never become the dream demon and so many deaths are negated. Not only is Freddy done, but he never really started in the first place!

    Jason, on the other hand, is stabbed through the chest by Stephanie (which is supposed to be the one thing that can totally kill him for good) and Tommy chops his head off, but his body is missing anyway because one day he’s going to go to space and God forbid we mess around with continuity!

    Gotta protect the sanctity of Jason X, man.

    That was the last we’ve seen of Jason Voorhees in comic form and there’s no sign of him coming back any time soon. Despite being such a cinematic icon, there’s only so much you can do with the character. He’s a walking plot device who isn’t allowed to be anything more, nor should he ever be. He’s just an excuse for shock value and mainstream comics have already gotten to that level of mean-spirited violence, making him nothing but obsolete.

    Poor guy. Finally DC Comics is about constantly tearing people’s arms off and Jason doesn’t get to play.

    Gavin Jasper thinks it’s fitting that Jason is a goalie, considering he's constantly out to stop people from scoring. Follow him on Twitter!


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    Steven Moffat's The Day Of The Doctor novelization, out now from Target, is witty, biting and adds depth to the original episode...

    ReviewChris Allcock
    Apr 13, 2018

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Nowadays it can be surprisingly tricky not to know something. Suppose, for example, that your memory surrounding the final scenes of 2013’s The Day Of The Doctor, Doctor Who’s much-lauded fiftieth birthday present to itself, was a little bit hazy. Something about a 3D oil painting and Tom Baker, wasn’t it?

    It’s doubtful you’d stay confounded for long. A swift Google search would lead you to the episode summary on Wikipedia or a fan-made transcript. If you wanted to relive the clip in question, well, Auntie Beeb’s obliged you by uploading key scenes to Youtube. Why stop there, though, when the full episode’s available on Netflix? There’s that shiny Blu-Ray on Amazon demanding your attention, too, or…

    Ahem. Things were a lot different forty years ago, back before DVRs or even VHS recorders were a household fixture. Authors such as James Blish made their mark creating novelisations of shows like Star Trek that were eagerly snapped up by fans because, once an episode had aired, there was no guarantee you’d ever see it again. You were stuck going the long way around. In many cases, books were all you had to keep the fires of recollection alive, even if they were – as in Star Trek’s case – harshly-abridged versions of the original source material.

    Luckily, British-based Target Books were rather more faithful to the good Doctor. Their works not only expanded upon the plots of most serials they novelised, they also provided vital coverage of the series’ famous missing episodes. BBC Books themselves republished a number of entries under the Target brand back in 2011, seemingly to whet their appetite for this year’s treat: four new novelisations from the show’s modern run, two of which are penned by the episodes’ writers.

    Of these, arguably the most enticing is Steven Moffat’s take on The Day of the Doctor, partly because he’s so fresh out of the showrunner’s chair he hasn’t even done his coat up yet, but mostly because it gives him free rein to revisit and refine one of the show’s most significant episodes. He’s got the benefit of hindsight, the legacy of the Twelfth Doctor ringing in his ears, and licence to twist up a tale that already had already made some pretty sweeping changes to the Doctor Who universe.

    Given all that, you could be forgiven for thumbing through the pages just to seek out any cheeky references to attack eyebrows and rainbow suspenders. Anyone who’s expecting Moffat to tease and troll the long-time fans certainly won’t be disappointed, but it’s important to note that this is fundamentally still The Day of the Doctor– 3D paintings, Zygon clones and all. The story remains largely unchanged, though many of the more hectic plot points are given some much-needed room to breathe.

    The Tenth Doctor’s affair with Queen Elizabeth, for instance, benefits greatly from a few pages that bring context to their tempestuous relationship, not to mention explain why they’re an item to begin with. Likewise, the pain and fury as the Doctors debate how many children perished on Gallifrey adopts an even bleaker tone than the televised original. Not every moment benefits from being extended – the antics of the Zygons in the Under Gallery feel painfully laboured at times – but by and large they make for a more measured piece of storytelling.

    The book’s strongest moments are when they spend time within the mind of the Doctor himself. (Himselves?) Whether contemplating his future regenerations or ruminating on the loss of his own identity, we get an unfettered look at how the Doctor views the universe and his place within it. Since the show’s revival, only Heaven Sent has come close to this level of introspection, daring to linger in the mind of a millennium-old Time Lord who finds himself alone, even if there are three of him.

    Having been relatively restrained with the plot itself, Moffat refuses to hold back when it comes to the arrangement of the book he’s writing. He’s previously mentioned in interviews that he’s fascinated by the structure of stories; why they begin and end where they do, and what happens when you tell them out of order. The plot’s already an intricate tale of time-travel, of course, but the novelisation glories in complicated interstitial passages which suggest the book itself is printed on psychic paper, invite you to figure out who’s narrating a particular chapter or goad you into skipping ahead. (The chapters are, naturally, jumbled.)

    These sections strongly evoke the playfulness of Douglas Adams – who was, of course, not exactly unfamiliar with adapting Doctor Who stories into complex novels. In fact, they typify Moffat’s unique brand of “timey-wimey” tangles so well, you get the feeling that if you were to shake the book hard enough, the author himself might tumble from between its pages.

    It’s what you can’t find in the pages that might irk a few people, though, even if they’re no longer relying on the book to be their memory of the episode. Run-ins with the Daleks, who felt largely contractual and superfluous in the screen version, are gone. Perhaps more jarringly, so is the fan-favourite “All THIRTEEN!” exchange from the episode’s culmination, though this has been supplanted by a climax that’s arguably grander and more satisfying than a montage of easy technobabble.

    The Day Of The Doctor is essential viewing for any fan of the show. The novelisation, unfortunately, can’t be considered essential reading, not when its source material is just as readily available and bolstered by a fantastic set of performances. There’s just not quite enough additional depth or nuance for that.

    It is an enjoyable read, though, witty and biting in all the right places. Perhaps its greatest accomplishment is that it adds depth and colour to the original incarnation of the story, particularly how the adventure shapes the character of the Doctor himself. There’s emotional context on offer that you can take back into the episode with you next time you watch.

    The book also serves a stasis cube of its own; a time-locked moment filled in equal measure with mania and melancholy, and one that seemingly encapsulates everything Steven Moffat loved to do with Doctor Who throughout his tenure.

    An artist’s signature that takes up 231 pages? Now that’s the long way around.


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    DC Comics turned down a pitch for a comic set in the world of the Tim Burton Batman movies.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Apr 13, 2018

    Every now and then you stumble across a project you never knew existed, and now desperately wish did. In this case, it's Batman '89 by Joe Quinones and Kate Leth, pitched to DC Comics as a direct continuation of Tim Burton's Batmanand Batman Returns.

    Batman '89was intended to run alongside other DC digital-first offerings that expand on iconic live action versions of their characters, like Batman '66 and Wonder Woman '77. While both of those are fun, and allow writers and artists to explore avenues that their source material never got a chance to, this proposed Batman '89 is unique in that it pulls in elements that almost made it to the screen in various forms (although Batman '66 did manage to adapt an unused Two-Face script by none other than Harlan Ellison).

    Here's how Quinones described the project on his blog when word of this first surfaced back in 2016:

    "our story would have picked up the threads left by Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. We would have seen the return of Selina Kyle/ Catwoman as well as introductions to ‘Burton-verse’ versions of Robin, Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. It also would have showcased the turn of Billy Dee Williams’ Harvey Dent into Two-Face."

    So, what's really cool about this (aside from the obvious), is that Quinones and Leth would have shown off a few things that were clearly already in the minds of the filmmakers, but that never made it to the screen. Billy Dee Williams played Harvey Dent in Tim Burton's first Batmanmovie, and screenwriter Sam Hamm initially intended Two-Face to be the villain of Batman II. It wasn't to be, and we ended up with Batman Returns, instead.


    This is a pretty cool visualization of the Williams Two-Face, though. The less said about the Two-Face we eventually got in Batman Forever, the better.

    You can also spot the auto-mechanic jumpsuit wearing young man who would have become Robin, who was present in early Batman Returns drafts. Marlon Wayans had actually been cast in the role, before the part was cut from the movie.

    The other designs for characters we never saw in the Burton movies (remember, this is Burton only, they clearly wanted no part of the Schumacher films) aren't based on any kinds of plans that were already in place, but that Batgirl costume looks perfectly Burton-esque. You can see more sketches over on Mr. Quinones' blog.

    Maybe Batman '89 was a little too quirky and Burton-esque for DC, but it certainly would have found an audience. Although if someone were to greenlight Jeff Parker and Evan "Doc" Shaner on Superman '78, I would probably end up purchasing copies for half of my friends.


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    We explore the historical influences behind all of The Walking Dead's greatest villains.

    Feature Alec Bojalad
    Apr 13, 2018

    This Walking Dead article contains major spoilers for the show and the comics. 

    The Walking Dead is one of the most successful shows of all time for one reason: zombies. It's also a sometimes decent, sometimes great show because it knows exactly how to use said creatures. In any good zombie franchise, the zombies don’t act as villains. They’re a force of nature—just lumbering, amoral scenery. Trying to build a story where zombies are the bad guys would be like trying to make a six-season television show where the only antagonist was an avalanche or a mudslide week after week. Both of these threats allow for some great life-or-death circumstances, but you can’t rely on them to be the antagonists that carry along the story week after week.

    Give or take a Moby Dick, humans usually make for the best villains because they can match wits with their hero counterparts. And at the very least, the viewer will be able to relate to their humanity. Or lack thereof. The Walking Dead, for all its faults (and sometimes they are many), understands that the best thing for its story is a solid revolving door of antagonists to define its merry group of protagonists.

    Granted, it did take awhile to get to the human villains. It wasn’t until halfway through the second season that The Walking Dead even introduced any human threats to contend with, and even then, Rick Grimes made short work of Michael Raymond-James and his band of Nebraska-seeking douchebags. Still, the effect was immediately electrifying. Once other antagonistic human beings were introduced into the sea of shambling corpses, it was clear that The Walking Dead could never go back: it must always have some sort of human group oppose the Rick Grimes clan to produce interesting entertainment. Since the beginning of season three, with the introduction of the Governor, it largely has.

    What’s particularly interesting is that these rotating groups of antagonists tend to come in bunches, and are never just one man or woman. The Governor was Rick Grimes' first true antagonistic foil after Shane, but he would not have been a legitimate threat without the town of Woodbury behind him. In the post-apocalyptic world, no one can make it on their own. Everyone needs a community. And as those communities spring up, they all tend to have different values, mores, and rules. The Rick Grimes group generally seems to operate under the rule of “Just Survive Somehow” and amass all of the strongest friends who also seem to have at least a slight vested interest in returning the world to the normal state of law and order.

    Other groups…not so much.

    Through seven seasons, Rick’s crew has grappled with at least six other distinct enemy groups by our count. They are: The Governor and Woodbury, Joe and the Claimers, Terminus, Grady Memorial Hospital, the Wolves, Negan and the Saviors, and Jadis and the Heapsters. Each has had their own philosophy that set itself apart from Rick’s group, and ultimately made it a collective antagonist.

    Each group also has an intriguing real world analog, whether it be a similar group from history or at least inspired by a real philosophical school of thinking. Let’s take the time to give each group its due by examining which real world events, people, and ideas they most closely resemble.Here are the antagonists in chronological order.

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    The Governor and Woodbury

    Philip Blake, aka The Governor, possesses an inherent skill that makes him a truly formidable adversary. He can create families out of thin air. Something about the Governor’s charisma, speech pattern, je ne se quois, whatever, gets people to not only follow him but trust him. With some walls and kind words, he created a completely functioning society shockingly early on in the zombie apocalypse.

    Then later on, after he loses that society, The Walking Dead lets him start from scratch so we can see just how adept he is at getting people on his side. He influences the Chambers family into becoming his own, and then quickly gathers a new army to make a move on the prison yet again. The Governor, with all his skill in winning friends and influencing people, is not unlike a cult leader, and Woodbury is like his Jonestown.

    Woodbury, with its white-picket fences and smiling neighbors, might not seem like a cult. But following a charismatic person who only goes by the honorific “The Governor” is a pretty tell-tale sign, as is the predilection to watch live prisoners duke it out in a pit of zombies as punishment. That doesn’t exactly follow the rule of law that most societies ascribe to.

    Realistically, a world in which the dead literally roam the Earth is bound to be just lousy with cults. So it’s no surprise that the first antagonist group presented in The Walking Dead resembles one. The real world doesn’t have rotting corpses wandering around but can still be a confusing enough place that people are all too happy to pledge their lives to whoever can promise them salvation.

    Jim Jones’ cult was officially titled the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project and began in Indianapolis before moving onto Los Angeles and San Francisco, eventually creating the unofficially titled “Jonestown” settlement in Guyana. 909 cult-members committed suicide with cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, at the instruction of Jones, after the cult murdered five people, including a U.S. Congressman who had come to investigate the cult.

    Come to think of it, the Governor couldn’t even get his hand-selected soldiers to continue an attack on the Prison. As such, real life remains far more hardcore than fiction.

    Joe and the Claimers

    Daryl is the first to encounter “The Claimers” after the destruction of the prison in season four. They are essentially a loose band of brigands, led by their imposing leader in a motorcycle jacket, Joe. Their philosophy seems to be “travel around and take and do whatever you want.” Their only rule is that as long as you “claim” a found item, it belongs to you.

    There’s a phrase from the Quran, of all places, that’s a pretty succinct distillation of everything that Joe and his group of “Claimers” represent: “highwaymen who menace the road.” Apparently, amorphous groups of bandits wandering around trade routes and looking to take stuff by force were historically a big enough problem to be addressed in religious texts. For what it’s worth, Allah says the punishment for this is "execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hand and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land that is chief disgrace in this world, and heavy punishment is theirs in the hereafter."

    Since the zombie apocalypse is kind of a hard reboot of world history, technically The Walking Dead exists in a kind of new biblical time. And wouldn’t you know it, highwaymen who menace the road are indeed a problem again. There isn’t any significant historical group or philosophical idea behind the Claimers aside from the oldest human one: just do what you want until someone forces you otherwise. They’re basically pre-history scavengers with an added wrinkle of having one rule: something must be claimed. In that way, they also resemble some parts of the Pirate Code. Pirate Codes were adopted by a group of sailors who had gone pirate and could govern all sorts of behavior. Chief among them, however, was usually rules for the division of goods after a theft.

    Terminus

    Ok, the Terminans are really all over the place. Gareth and his cannibal friends did not last long on the show, but with the depth of their villainy in terms of cultural influences, they may represent the most interesting group of antagonists to ever appear on The Walking Dead.

    These cannibals occupy an abandoned train station that they’ve dubbed “Terminus.” The etymological implications of that phrase alone are incredibly interesting. A “terminus” can be a railway or bus station that represents the end of that particular route. So Terminus literally means “end of the line” for any of the poor souls who make it there. Terminus was also the original name of the city of Atlanta, which comes from the Roman God of boundaries, Terminus.

    This is one of those rare instances, where the name of something in the show is far cooler than it’s inspiration from the comics. The Terminans closest analogue in the comics are the Hunters, a group of cannibals who befriend and then eat humans because they are ironically terrible at hunting animals.

    So let’s get the cannibal portion out of the way now. Yes, cannibalism is a thing that occurs in the real world with alarming frequency. Alarmingly frequent in the sense that it ever occurs at all. The reasons that humans commit cannibalism are myriad, ranging from needing to eat humans to survive in an extreme situation, like the Donner Party, to eating people because you're mentally ill. For our purposes, we’re looking for a group who commits cultural cannibalism, and while they exist, it’s usually in primitive society’s that do so for superstitious purposes. That’s not necessarily an ideal fit for Terminus. If anything, Terminus veers more towards the “cannibalism to survive” spectrum, but they have some added factors that make them even more unique.

    One is their location itself. They’ve turned their abandoned train station into a kind of murder-maze to more easily trap and kill their human prey. And as weird as it may sound, “murder mazes” are not unprecedented in the real world. One of America’s first serial killers, H.H. Holmes, created a “Murder Castle” in an apartment in downtown Chicago with many different windowless rooms dedicated solely to killing human beings.

    Then there is also the fact that the Terminans actually began as victims. Their message of “Sanctuary for all” was originally legitimate before violent men took them up on their offer, and then began raping and murdering them for their troubles. At some point, they were able to take back control of Terminus and either imprison or kill all of their captors. Terminus was revived under a new philosophy: “You’re the butcher or you’re the cattle.” In that way, they’re like many prolific serial killers throughout the years. Especially say someone like Aileen Wuornos, who was abused by the men in her life for many years before snapping and killing seven of them.

    Terminus is equal parts cannibalism for survival, H.H. Holmes, and Aileen Wuornos. That’s how you create a fascinating group of antagonists.

    Grady Memorial Hospital

    There’s a phrase from another great science fiction TV show that applies well to the events at Grady Memorial Hospital in downtown Atlanta. (Which is actually a real hospital in Atlanta. Surprisingly few of the Google reviews mention being attacked by the walking dead.) Commander William Adama in Battlestar Galactica once said, “There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.”

    Well, at Grady Memorial Hospital, the police are the military…and they’re the guards, the senators, the judges, the presidents, the insurance adjustors, the everything. Grady Memorial Hospital is able to maintain some semblance of order in downtown Atlanta, even as everything around them has gone to hell. They actually have working electricity, some doctors, and some medical supplies. Unfortunately, all patients and guests must submit completely to the police in charge to “pay off their debts.” 

    Grady Memorial Hospital could represent one of two things, depending on how frisky and political The Walking Dead wants to get. On one hand, it might be commenting on the “prison-industrial complex” in the United States, where privatizing the prison system means that prisoners = profit. Therefore, more prisoners = more profit. The folks at Grady Memorial Hospital realize that “rescuing” people around the hospital means an inexhaustible supply of free labor. 

    On the other hand, Grady Memorial Hospital is just a textbook example of a society under martial law. Martial law is, of course, when the military (or whoever has guns and badges), takes over as head of government, replacing all previous executive, legislative, and judicial branches of power. Normally, this is done by force, but in the case of Grady Memorial Hospital, the force is the zombie apocalypse that effectively ended the civilized world. And in this new early society, drafting a constitution and stuff must have seemed like a real pain. So they just deferred to whoever had the guns. 

    Military juntas leading coup d’etats happen in the real world all the time. Right now, Thailand, a country you could conceivably want to vacation in, is actually being ruled by a military junta. Granted, it’s been a lot less violent and terrifying than Grady Memorial, but it’s still definitely a thing that’s actually happening.

    Grady Memorial Hospital is an excellent example of how The Walking Dead relies on its antagonists to define its protagonists. For all their faults, Rick Grimes and his group at the very least hold a vain hope that they can establish a functioning society with rule of law one day. That sets them in sharp contrast against groups like Grady Memorial.

    The Wolves

    The Wolves seem like they would be the easiest of the Walking Dead antagonist groups to characterize. All you need to know about them is right there in their name. They’re wolves, they’re bestial, non-rational, move around in a pack, and are just generally hungry for destruction. But for a group of supposedly anarchic, bestial killing-machines, fuck are they chatty. 

    When Morgan captures the lead wolf and attempts to convert him to a more peaceful society, the Wolf is all too happy to chat with him about the pointlessness of the attempt. The new way of the world has made him wild and uncontrollable. This wildness, combined with a self-consciousness about his own wildness, doesn’t really have a comparison to any group throughout history. Instead, it’s more philosophical.

    The Wolves appear to be through and through nihilists. The term “nihilism” is staggeringly huge. Its most basic definition is that life has no meaning. But that’s such a big concept that it can and has been broken down into tons of different kinds of nihilism, from metaphysical to existential to political to really everything.

    Still, the Wolves stay pretty active for a group that believes in nothing. Walking Dead director Greg Nicotero said in an interview that one of the group’s goals was to build up a zombie army. If nothing matters, what’s the point of that? On another occasion, one Wolf says they don’t want survivors living in safe societies like Alexandria as it’s an absurd thing to do during the apocalypse.

    If that’s the case, the Wolves closet cousins may actually be another fictional group: the Guilty Remnant from HBO’s The Leftovers. The Guilty Remnant is a religious cult that has taken a vow of silence, wears all white, and chain smokes cigarettes all day. The purpose of this is to be a living reminder to all the citizens of the world that there was an apocalyptic event that they cannot ignore. In that example, the Guilty Remnant are actually not nihilists. They believe there is a purpose to life and that purpose is to remind people that God wanted the world to end.

    Maybe the Wolves aren’t nihilists either, after all. Maybe they’re the post-zombie apocalypse version of the Westboro Baptist Church. They carve "W"s into their head and attack safe communities to remind them that God hates them and the evidence couldn’t possibly be more abundant.

    Negan and the Saviors

    All of the various groups introduced thus far have their own way of doing things and their own ways of antagonizing Grimes group. Soon, however, we’ll get to see a group with the most devastating historical comparison yet: the atomic bomb. 

    Like most former students who didn't pay attention in World History, I now know most of what I know about history from Dan Carlin's epic history podcast, Hardcore History. And in one particular episode, he says the violence, devastation, and proficiency of one specific civilatization can only be compared to that of the atomic bomb in the modern world. That civilization is the Mongol Empire. Negan and his group of so-called Saviors are Walking Dead's version the Genghis Khan and the Mongols.

    The Mongol Empire was a powerful society that originated in Mongolia in the early 1200s. Under the leadership of the brilliant and ruthless Genghis Khan, they eventually conquered almost all of Asia and about half of Europe. Cities and societies that encountered the roaming hordes and armies of Mongolia had one choice: submit or die. Most ended up going with the latter.

    The Saviors can't come nearly as close to the Mongols is size, scale, or effectiveness; and Negan, for all of his villain bonafides, is still no Genghis Khan. But in the smaller scale of post-zombie apocalyptic wasteland around the District of Columbia and Virginia, the Saviors may as well be a Mongol Empire. The Saviors and Negan represent a terrifying threat because they're just so good...at nearly everything.

    Sometimes, a great villain has flaws to make them seem more relatable and human. But sometimes a great villain doesn't need any flaws at all, because the enormity of how proficient, skilled, and smart they are make them larger than life and terrifying. Negan and the Saviors belong in the latter category, much like Genghis Khan and the Mongols once did. Negan is smart enough to understand that violence equals power in this new world. He's also strong and athletic enough to be beyond effective in executing violence. It's like putting Stephen Hawking's brain in the Mountain's body. It's a terrifying combination that only knows how to do one thing: grow, expand, kill, conquer.

    The shock of the world ending has begun to pass on TheWalking Dead, and now the groups are beginning to catch up to where we are in the real world. It’s a testament to our strange collective human history that the world of The Walking Dead seems just as volatile and violent. And we didn't even need a zombie apocalypse to get that way.

    The Scavengers

    The Scavengers or Heapsters or Garbage Pail Kids are hard to nail down historically. That's partly because they have no analog for the group within The Walking Dead comic universe. So while it's possible that Robert Kirkman was drawing from real life historical and philosophical sources for his villains, we can't always say the same about the TV version - even though Kirkman remains heavily involved.

    The other factor at play is that the Scavengers are so aggressively stylish and steampunkish that there isn't really an easy real life comparsion. Off the top of my head, I can come up with very few societies that styled themselves in all-black and lived a garbage-based existence. 

    When you do some digging, however, you discover that scavenging, hoarding, garbage-picking - whatever you want to call - has been a human tradition for virtually as long as there have been humans. "Gleaning" is a fun word that dates all the way back to Biblical times. Gleaning is essentially a more pastoral term for garbage picking. Gleaners would descend upon farmers' lands after they had been harvested to pick up any rinds or tiny grains left behind. Surprisingly, gleaning is actually a recognized right for the poor in Deutoronomy and Leviticus.

    Jadis and her merry band of garbage-people aren't entirely like gleaners as there are no farms left to glean from, but living in a garbage dump in a post-apocalyptic world does add a nice level of "the meek shall inherit the Earth" intrigue. When the whole word has become a garbage dump, those most comfortable living in an actual one achieve some power.

    The Scavengers aren't just a group happily playing around in garbage. They're a formiddable faction thanks to the useful junk-rich area they control. 


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    With His Dark Materials set to become a TV show, we look back at what went wrong with the Golden Compass movie.

    Feature Andrew Blair
    Apr 13, 2018

    His Dark Materials set to get the TV show adaptation treatment, we're taking the time to look back at what went wrong the last time someone tried to adapt Philip Pullman's beloved trilogy of fantasy novels to the screen in the 2007 flop The Golden Compass.

    Pullman's His Dark Materialswas much praised for its rich, imaginative fantasy world, nuanced and ambiguous characters, and powerful anti-religious themes. Critically acclaimed, award-laden bestsellers with a young heroine in the form of Lyra Bellacqua, the trilogy seemed an obvious choice to follow Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings and become a blockbuster movie series.
     
    New Line bought the rights after bringing Lord Of The Rings to the screen, hoping for a similar success. The two stories are very different high fantasies, however, and The Golden Compass contains concepts less familiar to audiences than wizards, monsters, and swordplay. His Dark Materials was also occasionally categorized in shops as a children's book, unlike Lord Of The Rings.
     
    This is an important factor when it comes to the adaptation. Say something is for children and for a lot of people you automatically impose limitations on what it can be. Consider how many times "for kids" is used as a derogatory term, even if that means you have to ignore the sheer abundance of brilliant stories that match that description.

    It's self-perpetuating in many ways. So long as products for children have an air of complacency and simplicity their superiors will be tarred with the same brush, lending children's films a reputation that means some creators feel they don't have to try so hard.

    The Golden Compassis one of those movies that taints other children's films by virtue of being compromised by an adult's idea of what children can cope with. With its unique aspects neutered, it becomes an anemic dirge at times, with exposition as subtle as a Michael Bay in the face. One character literally flies in just to explain a plot point before immediately leaving again.

    Derek Jacobi almost salvages lines such as: "If we can save our children from the corrupting influence of dust…" but ultimately can't do anything to stop it sounding like a line from Brass Eye. Christopher Lee is brought in to say a new line by New Line, whose own dust-strewn fingers are all over the final edit and some of the casting. Ian McKellen was also brought on board to have a fight with Lovejoy, but like the rest of the film it was a bloodless affair.
     
    With Rogue One writer Chris Weitz both writing and directing, you'd be forgiven for thinking he should take the bulk of the blame, especially when he chose not to use a draft by renowned playwright (and Star Wars prequels dialogue polisher, yes, I know) Tom Stoppard. Weitz, having co-wrote and directed About a Boy, seemed a sensible choice after producing a seemingly light film punctuated by moments of melancholy and darkness, and got the job after making an unsolicited pitch.

    Daniel Craig was cast well, as were Nicole Kidman and Sam Elliott. The child actors are occasionally guilty of being child actors, though it feels harsh to criticize them at all when their dialogue has the ring of a production enclave asking: "But are we sure people will get that Lyra's feisty and intelligent?"

    The end result is dialogue telling us that Lyra is special in a film that doesn't always remember to show us the same thing. This is partly down to a studio imposed running time of two hours, cutting around an hour from Weitz' first draft. This came despite Harry Potterbeing successful with lengthier running times. You'd have thought that the studio who made Lord Of The Rings would have more faith. But faith was another issue altogether...

    Weitz trod lightly around the religious aspects of Pullman's books, but still found himself having to remove even mentions of "sin" from the script, leaving an important part of the story flailing amid woolly and ridiculous euphemisms. He left the project—replaced temporarily by Anand Tucker (Red Riding, Indian Summer), who himself then left over creative differences—before Weitz returned to finish the movie he'd started.

    According to Vulture, the faults of the film do not lie with Weitz. He apparently turned in a more faithful draft than Stoppard, whose script was apparently less about Lyra and more about meetings (according to a Philip Pullman interview with The Atlantic,which is well worth a read).

    While only a hint of the religious subtext was left in that script, much of what made Weitz’ first draft work was cut to bring down that running time. Actor Tom Courtenay confirmed that his role was drastically reduced in post-production, with the studio editing the full-length version down, removing its original ending and staging reshoots to exposit information now lost.
     
    Ultimately, there were problems as a result of religious pressure and the studio being unwilling to risk wrath (wrath that would probably have descended on them at any rate), but this was far from unsalvageable. What really killed the film off it seems was the drive to get it under two hours, and the ensuing studio-imposed reworking of the movie. In short, it feels more like a bullet point list of things half remembered from the book than an actual film.

    And we come back full circle a little here. The change in running time came because of a limited notion of what a children's movie can be, and what a younger audience can cope with. It's even more obvious in hindsight with the raft of young adult adaptations that the audience could have coped with a three-hour long version of The Golden Compass with its bleak finale, had New Line opted to go that way.

    It's hard to imagine a film in a New Line trilogy ending at a point that leaves the next film with a flapping tendril of leftover story, I know, but that's what happened in 2007: the finale of The Golden Compass was to be left over for the next film in the series, based on the book The Subtle Knife. Obviously, this film never came to pass, and we have two books unfilmed. Is this a bad thing? I'd argue that it is not.

    Harry Potterhad to leave out a lot of details from the books over its eight films, but His Dark Materials are books that are trying to do different things, richer still in just three novels, and so there's an inevitable loss of nuance even in a good film adaptation. 

    There's no need to adapt every single remotely popular story, as if things don't exist until they're moving pictures on a screen, so if there's going to be an exception, it's good that it's something that rewards multiple readings. That uses prose to tell stories more effectively than cutting edge CGI even could.

    Meanwhile, at New Line, the additional shoot and post-production on The Golden Compass not only increased the cost of the film, but stopped it from being good enough to recover costs. Indeed, it contributed to a financial situation at New Line that required a surefire hit from one of their properties, and lo: Peter Jackson was brought back onboard, and The Hobbit began to happen.

    The decision to make three films certainly paid off in that respect...


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    Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Black Dwarf, and Ebony Maw are about to make a big splash in Avengers: Infinity War as Thanos' Black Order.

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Apr 13, 2018

    With the approximately 134 characters in Avengers: Infinity War, it would make sense that the big, climactic villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos, would bring help. For this, the movie's creative team tapped The Black Order, a group of relative newcomers to the comics, but each with a very cool look and an interesting power set.

    But who are Thanos' Black Order? Why should the Avengers be worried about these folks? We've got the goods for you right here.

    The Black Order

     

    The first appearance of the full team was a part of Infinity, the first big crossover of Jonathan Hickman's epic run. They were Thanos's generals, sent to Earth at the head of his invasion force to find the Infinity Gems and also his illegitimate son. They are a collection of super badasses, who decimated the forces remaining on Earth (who, to be fair, were not necessarily a massive collection of the biggest guns in the Marvel Universe, but they at least had the Illuminati heading the crew). 

    In the comics, they were also known as the Cull Obsidian, though that's been changed for the movie. In the film, they're being referred to as the Children of Thanos. That's an interesting shift: both considering they were sent to kill Thane, Thanos's son, in the comics; and because Thanos already has a couple of "children" in Gamora and Nebula.

    We'll see how that change impacts their backstories and Thanos's.

    Corvus Glaive

    Glaive is the leader of the Black Order, Thanos' most trusted general. The only member of the Order co-created by Jim Cheung, he is a cruel, vicious bastard with enhanced strength, speed, agility and endurance, and is functionally immortal as long as his signature glaive is unbroken. He's married to Proxima Midnight, and a brother to Black Dwarf. 

    Glaive led the charge to find Thane on Earth during Infinity, and was eventually nearly destroyed and trapped in amber at the end of the miniseries. He was eventually freed and became part of Thanos's Cabal, destroying worlds to protect the 616 from Incursions, until Secret Wars, where he escaped to Battleworld along with the rest of the bad guys. Upon the multiverse's resurrection sans Thanos, he reformed the Black Order, only to give up leadership with extreme prejudice (he committed seppuku) following Thanos's return.

    He is currently back alive again in the weekly New/Uncanny/Classic Avengers crossover, "No Surrender."

    Proxima Midnight

    Proxima Midnight is a killer. She was created by Hickman and Jerome Opena for Infinity. Seen above conquering Atlantis after basically one page of existence, she has all the powers of her husband, Corvus Glaive, but her spear can turn to light and it almost never misses.

    She survived the end of Infinity with Thanos and Glaive, i.e. trapped in amber. She then joined them in the Cabal, rampaging across the multiverse until they escaped to Battleworld, where she promptly killed a Thor. Upon the restoration of the multiverse, she rejoined Thanos and teamed with Hela to try and bring the Ultimate Universe's Mjolnir to him as a tribute in the pages of The Unworthy Thor.

    She failed, got killed by Hela, and resurrected by the Grandmaster for "No Surrender."

    Black Dwarf

    Black Dwarf is functionally invulnerable. Created by Hickman and Opena, Black Dwarf is super dense (in a packed matter sort of way, not in a thick headed moron way) and has unbreakable skin, and yet he was still defeated trying to invade Wakanda. He retreated, and as a punishment for his failure, was expelled from the Order and sent to capture The Peak, S.W.O.R.D.'s orbiting base, ahead of the return of the Avengers army and the collected unified universal forces who were just finishing battle with the Builders. He failed there too, and had his head caved in by Ronan the Accuser.

    He was also resurrected for "No Surrender," where he's had a similarly nondescript and failure-ridden career. In the film, Black Dwarf is apparently undergoing a name change to Cull Obsidian, which was the team's alternate name originally. 

    Ebony Maw

    Ebony Maw is a slippery bastard. His true power, as presented by Hickman and Opena in Infinity, appears to be "lying." He has manifested no physical abilities: just the ability to manipulate anyone and anything into doing what he wants, like making Dr. Strange summon Shuma Gorath in Harlem (that happened). 

    He was the member of the order who found Thane. Once there, he talked Thane into wearing a containment suit to stop his powers, then summoned Thanos and the rest of the Order. He then decided he'd rather just see what happens with Thane, so he convinced the boy to freeze the remainder of the Order in amber, and the two left. He rejoined the team for "No Surrender" earlier this year.

    Check out his creepy movie look...

    Supergiant

    The one member of the Order not making it into the movies is Supergiant. She's an omnipath, a psionic ghost who can control or possess or psychically consume anyone she comes into contact with. She spent some time during Infinity screwing with the X-Men before heading to Wakanda to set off Black Bolt's Terrigen bomb. When she did, Maximus the Mad, who held the trigger, had Lockjaw teleport her and the bomb to an uninhabited planet where she was apparently killed. Like her colleagues, she was resurrected for "No Surrender."

    Check out the whole skeevy squad in the movie...

    For more on the Black Order, Thanos, or Avengers: Infinity War, stick with Den of Geek!


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    We have THE Avengers: Infinity War reading guide for you check out before and after the movie!

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Apr 14, 2018

    Avengers: Infinity War is almost here, and with it comes the first extended appearance of Thanos, a character with a surprisingly rich history for someone who was created as a ripoff of Darkseid musing on the concept of nihilism by a bunch of really stoned teenagers honestly I'm not sure which one I'm supposed to cross out there. Thanos was both of those things, and so much more, and he became one of the Marvel Universe's most feared villains almost as soon as he burst on the scene.

    And since the movie is likely going to be a lot about him, we've the perfect Avengers: Infinity War reading guide full of the comics you're going to want to check out before and after the movie. We've also got some of the stories that the movie is likely going to be drawing from so you can be ready for all the references and winks at comics fans.

    The Infinity Gauntlet

    The most impressive thing from the most recent trailer for Infinity War wasn't the crappy Spider-Man costume or the fact that they jammed in more Shuri and Dora Milaje to capitalize on Black Panther. It was the very specific dialogue in the trailer about Thanos wanting the Infinity Stones to kill "half the universe." That is a direct lift from The Infinity Gauntlet, the story that moved Thanos from a bit villain in Jim Starlin's psychedelic '70s Marvel space stories to one of the primary bad dudes of the entire Marvel Universe.

    The Infinity Gauntlet had Thanos, furious that he was being friendzoned by an abstract concept, obtain the titular macguffin to impress Death by killing half the living beings in the universe. He does, and he is opposed by Adam Warlock and the universal entities who make up the real power of the galaxy - Eternity, Eon, Galactus, the Living Tribunal, etc. (to be clear, Etcetera is not a character in the Marvel Universe). Adam Warlock and Doctor Strange gather a team of heroes together, and teamed with the universal entites, everyone beats the hell out of Thanos until he tricks himself into not having the gauntlet any more.

    I snark, but the thing about The Infinity Gauntlet is it's actually really good. Starlin's writing is more thoughtful and introspective than your typical big summer blockbuster, and George Perez's art on the first half is outstanding. This is a must-read if you're a fan of anything Marvel at all. It has a sequel that's actually called Infinity War, but that's not as essential a read, and doesn't seem to have anything to do with the movie.

    Read Infinity Gauntlet on Amazon

    Annihilation, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Thanos Imperative

    Starting with Annihilationin 2006 and ending with The Thanos Imperative, writing duo Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's time with the Marvel cosmic characters was foundational for both the future of Marvel Comics and for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Their Guardians of the Galaxy, which grew out of Annihilation: Conquest, is the basis for the MCU version of the Guardians. It also happens that this run of comics was INCREDIBLE.

    The era began with a shock invasion of the galaxy by Annihilus and the Negative Zone, where Drax was remade from a monosyllabic killing machine to...a slimmed down, knife-wielding killing machine...and Thanos was helping Annihilus tap into the Power Cosmic, which they were harnessing from a captured Silver Surfer and Galactus. Thanos was killed by Drax at the end of the first series, and then the galaxy had to live through an invasion by the Ultron-led Phalanx; a war between the Shi'ar and the Kree; and a giant tear in the fabric of reality before Thanos was resurrected by the Universal Church of Truth. He was revealed as an avatar of Death, the universal concept and his forever alone internet girlfriend, when the tear in the fabric of reality was discovered to be the point of entry for a parallel universe where death had been conquered by Cthulu and Captain Mar-vell. Thanos quite predictably went apeshit and killed everything in a universe where nothing could be killed.

    This era of Marvel cosmic was truly magnificent. Start with Annihilation and then go from there!

    Infinity

    Jonathan Hickman's Avengers was enormous and wonderful, and as it turns out extremely important to Avengers: Infinity War.Two things from that era seem to be key to the plot of the movie. The first is how epic and large the Avengers team becomes. Avengers (the big team adventure book) starts with Iron Man telling Captain America "We have to get bigger." And eventually the team comes to encompass...pretty much every Marvel hero, along with (at varying points) Doctor Doom, Molecule Man, Thanos, Corvus Glaive, Black Swan, Proxima Midnight, and Terrax the Parallel Universe Tamer. The movie Avengers team seems similarly stuffed, so I expect many similar dynamics.

    The other component of Hickman-era Avengers that is crucial to Infinity War is the Black Order, which we weent into detail about here. The whole design aesthetic of this movie seems to be heavily influenced by the art from Mike Deodato and Jerome Opena. That's a good thing.

    Read Infinity on Amazon

    Thanos Rising

    Want to know how Thanos became an omega-level MRA? Jason Aaron and Simone Bianchi's Thanos Rising is the place to go. 

    This story shows Thanos' origins - as a Deviant (a mutant Eternal) on the moon Titan, Thanos' mother had a nervous breakdown immediately upon his birth. He went through life a passive, almost passionately nonviolent person until he discovered his true calling in life: killing as many people as he had to to get Death to notice him.

    Read Thanos Rising on Amazon

    This comic is dark and weird and beautiful to look at, if extremely European in aesthetic. Aaron's writing is almost always good, and paired with Bianchi's sweeping painted art, it's a great comic.


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    The Walking Dead Season 9 will see the arrival of the comic series’ most infamous time jump. What will “A New Beginning” look like?

    Feature Alec Bojalad
    Apr 16, 2018

    This Walking Dead article contains spoilers.

    If you watched The Walking Dead Season 8 finale, "Wrath," you may have noticed an interesting trend. Rick Grimes had quite a bit to say about "a new world" or a "new beginning."

    In fact the entirety of season eight and its finale seemed to be setting up the arrival of a very different world. A world where not only is there no all out war against the Saviors. There is no war at all. 

    Well, The Walking Dead Season 8 may have been foreshadowing something very specific. The next saga in The Walking Dead comic universe looks a lot different from everything that came before it. Robert Kirkman tried something rather experimental in terms of storytelling and time jumps. 

    Given the events of the finale and where the show is chronologically speaking, it's very likely that The Walking Dead Season 9 will be adapting "A New Beginning."

    Read on to find out what "A New Beginning" entails. But beware - the following contains HUGE spoilers for The Walking Dead comic series and possibly the TV show.

    New Faces

    The Walking Dead’s Volume 22 “A New Beginning” represents a dramatic time jump for the series that allows writer Robert Kirkman a chance to interact with his characters in a new context. On a capitalistic level though, it also conveniently provides an easy jumping in point for viewers of the TV show who want to give the comic a shot but are intimidated by the 126 issues already in circulation. 

    To help with both those artistic and financial goals, “A New Beginning” introduces several new characters right off the bat to serve as our guides to this new world. Issue 127 opens with a new group of survivors we haven’t met before. A woman named Magna is their de facto leader and other members include Luke, Yumiko, Kelly, Connie, and Bernie. Magna’s group is experiencing a bit of a crisis right now. They’ve survived the zombie apocalypse by traveling around with a trailer that was hitched to horses. The trailer is no longer a safe haven as Magna’s group quickly and unexpectedly becomes surrounded by a group of walkers that emerge from the woods. 

    Magna nearly gets bit on the arm before our old friend Paul “Jesus” Monroe arrives to rescue them, though sadly Bernie is killed by the horde. Jesus shepherds (hehe) Magna and her remaining crew to Alexandria where they act as the reader’s cypher, being introduced to a world and a community that is completely foreign to us now that two years have passed. 

    Since Magna and her friends’ introduction, the comic series hasn’t found much relevant or interesting to do with them. They largely functioned as an introduction into this fresh new time-jumped storyline and have operated only as tertiary characters since then. Though Magna and Yumiko have seen more opportunities as of late. Still, they’re an important part of the two-year time jump and the show may even find some renewed uses for them beyond that. 

    “A New Beginning” also introduces the character of Siddiq but we’re already pretty familiar with him. The only question is whose role from the comics will he take on in season nine? Another character the volume introduces is someone we may have already seen. Dante (more on him in the fourth section) is a head-strong and charming Hilltop soldier who develops feelings for Maggie. Dante kind of resembles a current character on The Walking Dead Season 8 - the captured Saviors soldier turned sympathetic Hilltoper named Alden (Callan McAuliffe). He certainly seems to harbor a lot of respect for Maggie Greene. And he's not ugly...

    New Looks for Old Faces

    The Jesus who rescues Magna’s group looks a bit different from the Jesus we’re used to. As it turns out, people can change quite a bit in two years. Take a look at the man that fans have endearingly referred to as “Bushido Jesus.”

    Paul has let his hair grown out it seems and it makes him look more badass than ever before. Pretty much all of our key characters’ appearance change for “A New Beginning.” Not only that but they are sometimes slightly different people overall from who we’re used to. 

    Rick is now “Old Man Rick.” He’s shaved his graying hair, walks with a limp thanks to Negan and now has a prosthetic hand covering up his stump. That likely won’t be a part of the show as Rick’s hands remain whole there. Rick has essentially retired from the life of adventuring and has settled into the role of Alexandria’s full-time leader. He’s a welcome face for all new potential citizens.

    His son, Carl is growing into a pretty relatable young man, himself. 

    Pictured: “relatable.”

    The show of course has made the baffling decision to kill off Carl so maybe when season nine opens, Siddiq will be missing an eye and take to wearing cool bandanas.

    Like Rick, Maggie has elevated fully into her leadership role at the Hilltop. Her appearance and demeanor changes as a result. She appears to be more “motherly” while the general aura she projects is that of a resolute leader more than ever before. 

    Dwight has finally realized that growing his hair out will cover that ugly burn. He is now a full-time Alexandrian and is now an important deputy and ally to Rick, much like Tyreese and Abraham in the comics and Daryl in the show. Though his role will likely change now that Daryl has scared him off. He may not appear in season nine at all.

    No character, however, may have undergone a bigger change than Negan. Once the “swinging dick of the world,” Negan is now a prisoner at Alexandria. His hair and beard are overgrown and unkempt but he does maintain his rather dark sense of humor. Both Rick and Carl like to visit him in his cell during times of need as though he is their own private Hannibal Lecter. He’s an asshole and therefore knows how other assholes that Alexandria might encounter will act.

    Other characters haven’t had extreme makeovers physically but do begin the new arc in quite different places. Eugene has gone from cowardly pariah to one of the most important men in the new world. His ability to carefully read and follow instructions have made him Alexandria’s foremost scientist and engineer.

    Michonne has quite simply run away after the traumatic events of All Out War. She now lives in Oceanside and spends her days fishing for the network of communities. Since Michonne’s role on the television show has evolved quite a bit, it remains to be seen if she will runaway from Rick as well. Carol seems like a stronger bet to have been emotionally effected by war and to prefer the fishing lifestyle. 

    Alexandria Block Party

    In addition to most major characters receiving a makeover, Alexandria receives one itself (herself?). Following "All Out War" in both the show and comics, Alexandria is in rough shape. It's been attacked by gunfire, grenades, and more. Many houses are just burnt out husks. By the time "A New Beginning" roles around, Alexandria has largely recovered.

    Buildings have been rebuilt for one. But more importantly the Alexandrians are building new things on their own. Alexandria, The Hilltop, and The Kingdom all have thriving agriculture and trade goods amongst one another. Even Oceanside and The Sanctuary are involved in this trade network that is meticulously maintained through well-guarded and patrolled routes. 

    Thanks to the genius of Eugene, Alexandria has windmills, grain houses, irrigation, and many other Medieval-era luxuries. In the comics, Kirkman probably correct assumes that all readers will accept these modest technological advancements within a relatively short timeframe. The show, however, has already introduced an agent of change to quicken the pace. Remember Georgie and her gift of knowledge to Maggie? That knowledge comes in the form of books and Eugene is still around to read those books - should he switch sides again come the end of the war.

    So what do the Alexandrians do now that they have an extended era of peace and prosperity? Throw a party of course! Three volumes that The Walking Dead Season 9 is likely to cover are "A New Beginning,""Whispers Into Screams," and "Life and Death." All of the volumes deal with the Alexandrians planning a spring festival for members of all the communities to visit. The festival finally comes around in "Life and Death" and all in all it goes pretty well! 

    Alexandrians, Hilltoppers, Kingdomers, ex-Saviors, and Oceansiders are all able to trade their wares with one another. Eugene even finds a nice CB radio that could come in handy. Things turn dark, however, when people start to go missing from the festival and then a line of heads on stakes are discovered on the outskirts of the communities' territory. The Whisperers have well and truly arrived.

    The Whisperers

    Nearly every era of The Walking Dead is defined by a singular villain. The early years were The Governor and Woodbury and following that Negan and the Saviors take over. At first, "A New Beginning" looks like it will just be a leisurely study in agriculture and farming techniques for our protagonists. Alas, that is not to be as the end of the volume introduces a new, dangerous, and quite frankly disgusting threat. 

    The Whisperers are a group of individuals who has chosen to survive the zombie apocalypse by becoming the dead. They remove the flesh and viscera of corpses and wrap it around themselves as gruesome coats and masks. This is the strategy of masking one's scent from the walking dead that Rick and the other characters sometimes use. The Whisperers, however, take it to the absolute extreme - living most of their lives within those undead "costumes."

    The Whisperers receive their name from frightened Hilltoppers and Alexandrians who hear their "whispers" as the Whisperers walk amongst the dead. A group, led by new character Dante, is ordered by Maggie to go find and rescue a member of a missing caravan. They eventually run afoul this group of Whisperers, making first contact. Dante is taken hostage and the communities must gather together to negotiate his release. 

    The Whisperers will offer a fascinating new dynamic for the show. Their "society" is somewhat bestial and completely amoral, similar to the TV show's "The Wolves." They eschew names altogether. Their leader, a middle-aged woman, is named "Alpha." And her second-in-command, a hulking seven-foot tall man, is called "Beta."

    The communities and the Whisperers eventually go to war, but that might be a story for another season. The Walking Dead Season 9 will be jam-packed as is with just these few volumes.


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    Now that Jessica Jones Season 3 has been confirmed by Netflix, we take a look at the Alias comics for some clues...

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Apr 16, 2018

    This article (obviously) contains Jessica Jones spoilers.

    Of the many things that Jessica Jones does right (and there are very many), the fact that it has never been too caught up in the workings of the rest of the Marvel Universe is key. When the other shows were putting pieces in place for The Defenders, the show instead focused on the most compelling and personal aspect of Jessica’s story: her traumatic past with Kilgrave. While Jessica was certainly a major player in The Defenders, she did what she had to do, and her seconds season hardly even makes reference to those events, instead focusing on another personal story.

    The first season was adapted (albeit loosely) from a relatively brief story that closed out her original comic series, Alias, while season two forged its own path and departed from the comics considerably. But there's still a chance that other Alias stories could point the way towards Jessica Jones season 3.

    Prior to the introduction of Kilgrave to Jessica’s backstory, the Alias comics were part hard-boiled PI story, part comic book procedural. She dealt with a number of missing persons cases (none that had anything to do with Kilgrave, IGH, or the mystery of her past), behaved in her charmingly direct manner, and solved mysteries with connections to the larger Marvel Universe without getting too involved in matters of continuity. The connections were there, but for the most part, even the most casual of comic book fans could read Alias and get everything they needed to out of it.

    And that’s part of the charm of the Jessica Jones Netflix series, too. It’s clearly a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it’s not so connected that it can’t tell its own story. More importantly, someone who has never seen a single Marvel Studios film, or even read a comic, can jump right into the show without fear. There are some threads from either of the first two seasons that could certainly be picked up in Jessica Jones season 3, but at least as far as the source material goes, they all hinge a little more on the larger Marvel Universe.

    So what could Jessica Jones Season 3 look like?

    Change of Format?

    This is, I admit, the least likely scenario. While Jessica Jones is perhaps the best of Marvel's Netflix efforts, there are some dangers going forward. For starters, the show already used the character's most compelling story in its first season. While delving into Jessica's backstory and bringing in her mother worked well enough in season two, it still lacked the horror movie drive and intensity that Kilgrave brought in season one. How do you top either of those? It will be tough.

    But the most drastic thing Jessica Jones Season 3 could do would be to depart entirely from the Marvel Netflix obsession with serialization. If the show were to embrace an old-fashioned procedural format on the streaming giant it would feel downright revolutionary. Keep everything else the same, have a looming background threat or larger case that gets pieced together, but let a chunk of the season function as standalone episodes.

    There's plenty of material already in place for a larger conflict that plays out during individual cases. The fact that Malcolm is now working for her #1 competitor. The fact that her (former) best friend now has powers of her own and something to prove. It would be fun, at least for a few episodes, to let this play out in a procedural format.

    I doubt this will happen, of course. But were they to go that route, either of these stories from Jessica's early days could help serve that structure...

    The Underneath

    We learned in season two that there is an increasing culture of people (including Trish Walker) who want super powers at any cost, and there are shady doctors out there willing to fill that need however they can. This is something that can be explored further in Jessica Jones Season 3 and it's the most likely way they can keep developing the Trish Walker/Hellcat story.

    In the comics, one of Jessica’s cases began with a disoriented young woman dressed in a Spider-Man costume displaying some minor super abilities. The trail quickly led to a bunch of unscrupulous nightclub douchebags running a Mutant Growth Hormone ring. While mutants are still off limits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (for at least a little while longer) and its TV offshoots, that won't be what they call it. As we saw in season two, there are plenty of ways to bestow super powers on desperate individuals. But the basics, that someone is starting to flood the street with a drug that gives ordinary people super powers, would certainly fit with the show's aesthetic. Remember, public displays of powers are still in their relative infancy in this world, but as they become more prominent, certain unhealthy trends are sure to follow.

    The seeds of public fascination with superheroes are already there with Trish's own obsession with becoming more than who she is. In that respect, a season arc dealing with the street level implications of that would fit nicely. If a bunch of skeevy assholes start exploiting people's addiction to a drug that gives them superpowers, that handily builds on the themes they've been exploring with Trish, and will help further contrast with the fact that Jessica doesn't particularly want her powers in the first place.

    Rick Jones 

    This one might be a lot of fun. Rick Jones (no relation) has been a massively important piece of the Hulk’s supporting cast in the comics, but little more than a passing reference in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Part of this is because The Incredible Hulk didn’t need a teenaged POV character, particularly since they weren’t telling an origin story in the first place.

    In this story from Alias Volume 1, Jessica is contacted by a woman who claims to be married to Rick Jones, who has gone missing. Rick is something of a minor celebrity in the Marvel Comics universe. He followed the Hulk around for years, was briefly Bucky's replacement as Captain America’s partner, was the human vessel for Captain Mar-Vell (it’s a long story), and constantly found himself wrapped up in various cosmic adventures. He even wrote a memoir.

    Jessica tries to track him down, and in the process, runs afoul of the beauracracy and bullshit of the superhero universe, mostly without ever actually speaking to the people she needs to. In the end, it turns out that the guy she’s looking for isn’t even the real Rick Jones, just a sad, charismatic wannabe. The comic story is a wonderful commentary on the strange nature of celebrity, particularly as it would be unique to the Marvel Universe.

    This story could be a fine secondary case or an inciting force (the way that Hope was) for something a little deeper or more sinister. This could once again tie into Trish's journey and her desire to be something more than human. "Fake Rick" could be the kind of real world anchor that Malcolm provided in the first two seasons, providing perspective and a grounded mystery for Jessica to solve, while the sci-fi implications of actual powers can be dealt with in a larger story.

    But again, just as the first two seasons weren't strict adaptations of the comics, any of this could be rendered virtually unrecognizable were it to get to the screen. Anyway, if you think too hard about this stuff, you risk ending up like this...


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