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    Fun isn't something one considers when Thanos is trying to wipe out half of all life in Avengers: Infinity War, but...

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Apr 26, 2018

    When it came time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to build towards the top villain threat at the end of the first Avengers, it was a no-brainer. Marvel has like three potential villains for that role and since Dr. Doom and Galactus are Fantastic Four characters and off-limits (at least for now), that leaves Thanos by default. And hey, it has worked out great so far as the whole Infinity Stones subplot has helped connect the many Marvel movies while killing time for Infinity War.

    The Mad Titan has a great reputation as the be-all/end-all final boss of the Marvel Universe. He’s succeeded at obtaining great power and even total omnipotence all for messed up reasons like wanting to bone the Grim Reaper and wanting to slaughter all of his bastard children. He shrugs off hits from the Hulk, Silver Surfer, and even Black Bolt’s vocal cords. Thanos is serious business.

    Sometimes, though, Thanos has his off days. Those head-scratching times when you remember how weird comics can be. Here are some fun examples.

    THE THANOSCOPTER

    Spidey Super Stories is an artifact that will never stop being funny. A Spider-Man comic for the kiddiest of kids, it featured some of the most dumbed down dialogue and adventuring you’d ever see in a superhero story. This late-70s tale came at a time when Thanos had only been around for a few years. Like his mainstream counterparts, Thanos was indeed out to gain power from the Cosmic Cube.

    Unlike his mainstream counterparts, he did it in part from a generic helicopter that had his name sprawled across it. Coming off as more of a Wet Bandit than the cosmic bringer of doom, Thanos chased after the Cat (who had yet to become Hellcat in Marvel lore, which is probably for the better here), who for whatever reason carried the Cosmic Cube.

    Somehow the Cube got in the hands of a skateboarding kid and Thanos snatched it from him. His defeat came when he attacked the Cat and Spider-Man with an earthquake, which made him drop the Cosmic Cube, leaving the skateboarder to get it and defeat Thanos with grass. Thanos was then arrested by the police.

    The same issue had people losing their minds over Impossible Man being an alien, but Thanos? Some purple dork getting booked after fumbling omnipotence.

    GAMORA’S CHRISTMAS

    So we know the whole deal with Thanos and Gamora. She’s his adopted daughter and super-assassin who ultimately betrayed him. Jim Starlin and Ron Lim, the very creative team behind Infinity Gauntlet, did a short story for Marvel Holiday Special 1992. Their tale of Thanos was a good one, going into his attempt to give Gamora a pleasant upbringing to go with her assassin training. For some crazy reason, Thanos decided to celebrate Christmas with her.

    Again, there’s some genuine heart in the tale of Gamora sacrificing her doll to save Thanos from a would-be assassin, but the whole “tossing in an Earth holiday” to make the story on-brand for the one-shot is just so strange.

    Oh, and then they went and watched dolphins for a while. If it’s good for Lobo, I guess it’s good for Thanos.

    DARKSEID ON THE PAYROLL

    The book Secret Defenders was your usual superhero team-up book where the team-ups changed up by the story. One of the stories was actually a villain team-up where Thanos was the benefactor. His team ended up being made of Rhino, Titanium Man, Nitro, Super-Skrull, and Geatar and they went and fought alien robot monks or whatever.

    Whenever you get a story like this with a bunch of random characters being selected to do a mission, one of the clichés you're likely to see is either a scattered pile of dossier pictures or a bunch of faces on monitors. Thanos went with the latter and had plenty of villains he was considering but didn’t choose. Guys like Juggernaut, Venom, Ultron, Annihilus...and Darkseid.

    Yeah, for some reason he had Darkseid on one of his monitors, like he was a coin flip away from asking the ultimate evil of the DC Universe to run errands for him. Sure, Marvel and DC were on friendlier terms back then and all, but this was even before Marvel vs. DC where the two fought it out and later merged into becoming Thanoseid. Thanos simply had Darkseid on speed dial.

    THE THANOSI

    Sometimes when a certain writer is so in love with a certain character, they go a little wacky trying to explain their off days. Like for instance, John Byrne wasn’t happy that X-Men villain Arcade once lit a match on Dr. Doom, so he went out of his way to explain that it was a Doombot and not the real deal. Since Starlin is Thanos’ creator and can’t go five hours without writing a story about how awesome he is, he’s just as guilty.

    In the miniseries Infinity Abyss, it was revealed that there was an army of Thanos hybrid clones out there being jerks and trying to end the universe. They all came off as Thanos trying to cosplay as other Marvel heroes like Iron Man, Gladiator, and Dr. Strange. There was even a failed Thanos Wolverine clone mixed in there, who got to make the cover of one issue.

    It was revealed that Thanos had been cloning himself for years because the real Thanos is no punk and if he ever seemed like a punk, it was because the real Thanos wasn’t there. Like the time Ka-Zar got the best of him. Or that time Thor beat him into purple paste. No way, Jose. Thanos has the alibi of being too cool for that shit!

    The storyline came to a climax when Thanos and a handful of heroes had to fight the especially ridiculous Thanos-Galactus. Yeah, Galactus has DNA, apparently.

    SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THANOS! ...MAYBE!

    Squirrel Girl made her debut taking out Dr. Doom by overwhelming him with an army of squirrels. That eventually led to a trend of Squirrel Girl being this paradox of a character in the Marvel Universe. She was Koko B. Ware, only she was somehow pinning Andre the Giant. Once she started a resurgence as a member of the Great Lakes Avengers/Great Lakes X-Men, she returned to inexplicably taking out villains well above her pay grade.

    In the pages of the GLX-Mas Special, after making short work of MODOK, Squirrel Girl was confronted with Thanos as a mid-issue cliffhanger. Many pages later, we got to see Squirrel Girl standing victorious over the Mad Titan while Uatu the Watcher looked on to verify that yes, indeed, this was the real deal Thanos and not some kind of lame copy or whatever.

    Then Dan Slott, the guy who wrote that very scene, retconned it shortly after in the pages of She-Hulk where he outright claimed it to be a clone that would fool even the likes of cosmic beings. Why? Regardless, in Squirrel Girl’s solo series years later, she and Galactus shared a laugh over the fact that she totally handed the real, actual Thanos his ass, no backsies.

    CUBE TO THE BALLS

    Back in Annihilation, Thanos had the most metal death ever when Drax impaled him with his fist from behind and showed Thanos his own heart. It fucking rocked. Then in the original ongoing for the modern-day Guardians of the Galaxy, the series ended with Thanos’ resurrection. He was mindless and overly strong, much like the Hulk, except he was also totally naked because not wearing pants is how resurrection works most of the time.

    When Star-Lord decided to wrap things up, he did it by getting his attention with a cracked, yet shiny, Cosmic Cube. Thanos slowly advanced with a flicker of recognition in his eyes. Star-Lord let loose with a blast capable of knocking out Thanos and that’s all well and good, but...

    Um, okay, so you know how mainstream comics can’t show naughty bits and always have to find ways to obscure nudity? Well, I don’t know how intentional it is, but Star-Lord took out Thanos with a Cosmic Cube blast to the dick.

    Not cool, Quill. He needs that for...hm. Actually, I don’t think Death has genitals either. Never mind!

    EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HERO

    In the pages of Avengers World, mutant heroes Cannonball and Sunspot were sent on a mission to go into the future and meet up with the offspring Avengers from that crappy animated film that nobody remembers anymore because Marvel decided to start making good movies afterwards. It’s been about 20-25 years since Cannonball and Sunspot’s time and the world had become a very different place. As they traveled through Danvers City, it became apparent that Earth had become a more popular spot for aliens to hang out.

    The two took a stop at a bar and tried to fit in by discussing how tough they were. They namedropped Thanos as one of their big enemies and that in turn started a bar fight. Somehow, Thanos had gone on to become the greatest Avenger to ever live. Apparently you can come back from wiping out half of the universe.

    As Cannonball put it, “That is a face-turn I did not see coming.”

    SANTA THANOS

    Man, what is it with Thanos and Christmas?!

    Marvel’s YouTube series What The--?! featured a holiday episode back in 2014 where Thanos had a master plan to steal all the Terrigen Crystals from the Inhumans. Unfortunately, their security was a bit too scary so he had a backup plan: become Santa Claus. After all, breaking into houses is one of Santa’s superpowers!

    Thanos beat up Santa and stole his costume. He then got stuck having to listen to superheroes tell him what they wanted for Christmas before he had a chance to sneak off. Having to put up with Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Thor, and Captain America was bad enough, but then Hulk showed up and the whole plan went to Hell while Thanos' skull went into the floor.

    PATTON OSWALT’S STAR WARS EPISODE VII

    This one isn’t an official Marvel thing, but it’s mainstream enough for me to include.

    The TV show Parks and Recreations had a long running gag about how backwards and prejudiced the town’s original traditions were. Main character Leslie Knope wanted to make some changes and citizen Garth Blundin (Patton Oswalt) was completely against it. In a funny scene, he did a very nerdy filibuster about how he wanted Star Wars Episode VII to work out.

    Luckily, an eight-minute version hit YouTube shortly after its airing and it was a doozy. While Garth’s ideas for Star Wars itself were a little creative, like Leia leaving Han for Lando and Chewbacca being turned into a cyborg spider, it went into overdrive when he namedropped Thanos. Due to the Infinity Stones, Thanos would not only turn the movie into Star Warsvs. Avengers, but he’d also bring the X-Men in. He had control over time and space and could do that.

    One great touch was that when he first mentioned Thanos, someone yelled, “Oh, come on!” That voice could have possibly belonged to Chris Pratt, who was only months away from filming Guardians of the Galaxy.

    THE LOSS TO ARSENAL

    Thanos has appeared on multiple animated series. He antagonized the Silver Surfer while lusting for “Lady Chaos.” He opposed the Guardians of the Galaxy while donning the Carnage symbiote. In Super Hero Squad, he even got full control of the Infinity Gauntlet, only to lose to another overpowered maguffin.

    And you know what? At least there was honor in that loss. Getting beat by the Infinity Sword is way better than what happened on the Avengers Assemble cartoon. For half a season, Thanos gathered the six Infinity Stones and when he completed the collection, he made short work of the Avengers.

    Then Iron Man revealed his rebuilt robot bodyguard Arsenal. Arsenal’s main ability was absorbing energy, so when Thanos blasted lasers at him, the robot took it head-on and advanced. Thanos had power over time, space, reality, and so on. There were so many ways to destroy that robot, including wishing it to not exist anymore.

    So what did Thanos do in this situation? He shot MORE lasers! And it ended with him getting the Gauntlet pulled off. Thanos got beat up and then Arsenal transformed into Ultron and why did they cancel Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for this again?

    THE SATSUI NO HADO GAUNTLET

    The story for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infiniteis bananas. In it, Marvel and Capcom each have their own universe, which means that Final Fight, Street Fighter, Strider, Monster Hunter, Mega Man X, Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins, and Resident Evilall happened in the same era. Looking into that further means that Dr. Wily is a long-dead historical figure who presumably died before Zangief was born.

    Anyway, the worlds got merged together by a hybrid of Ultron and Sigma, all because Death wanted to sneak off and get it on with Jedah from Darkstalkers. Long story. Throughout the game, Thanos was treated as a wild card forced onto the side of good. With the story revolving around the Infinity Stones, he was obviously going to make a go for them. That’s his thing.

    Instead, Thanos became aware of Death’s activities and chose to focus on the violent darkness living inside Ryu. Thanos created a new gauntlet that absorbed all of Ryu’s killing intent, and then walked off to do his own thing.

    After the credits, Thanos returned to threaten Death, as Ryu’s Satsui No Hado powers were capable of hurting her. To prove it, the game ended with Thanos performing a Hadoken.

    Hopefully they’re saving that move for Avengers 4.

    Gavin Jasper wonders why Thanos never used the Infinity Gauntlet to give himself hair. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    George R.R. Martin has revealed that The Winds of Winter, the next novel in the Game of Thrones saga, will not publish this year.

    NewsDavid Crow
    Apr 26, 2018

    Winter might be coming, but The Winds of Winter is still many seasons off. Alas, in wholly unsurprising news, the author of the beloved “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels offered a straightforward press release with totally unloved and expected tidings: the next book in the Game of Thrones saga will not see publication in 2018, which is also the first year in nearly a decade that Martin had a break from having to compete with the HBO series. Even so, the sixth book in the series will not be coming to fill that void.

    “No winter is not coming… not in 2018, at least,” Martin said. “You’re going to have to keep waiting for The Winds of Winter.”

    These are dark wings and dark words, but after Martin saw the Game of Thrones television series pass his novels’ narrative in 2016—in which the show has been giving away spoilers or potentially lesser alternative plot points ever since—news and enthusiasm on the sixth “A Song of Ice and Fire” book has seemingly dried up from the meticulous writer.

    Still, Martin attempted to ease the pain by reminding readers that they can get some Westerosi goodness in 2018 via his new “popular history” book about Westeros, Fire and Blood.

    “I do want to stress… indeed, I want to shout… that Fire and Blood is not a novel. This is not a traditional narrative and was never intended to be… let’s call this one ‘imaginary history’ instead. The essential point being the ‘history’ part. I love reading popular histories myself, and that’s what I was aiming for here.”

    Obviously focused on the Targaryen Dynasty’s conquest and rule over Westeros (“fire and blood” are the House words of Daenerys’ family clan), the book seems like it also might be taking a page out of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion, which offered a faux-history of Middle-earth. Also given Martin’s own penchant for incorporating real-world history into his novels, it seems a worthy endeavor, albeit not what fans expect.

    As someone who considers “A Song of Ice and Fire” on the page to be superior to the Game of Thrones television series (which I also love), this news offers a painful but familiar sensation. As Martin’s last book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, was published the same year that Game of Thrones premiered, and the novels themselves were launched in 1996, the prospect of seeing The Winds of Winter, never mind the seventh and theoretically final book, A Dream of Spring, increasingly becomes a faded dream unto itself. Perhaps we will see both books on our shelves when the sun rises in the west and sets in the east; when the seas dry up and mountains blow like leaves in the wind, then we will have read both of those novels.


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    Everything you need to know about The Hate U Give movie adaptation starring Amandla Stenberg.

    News Kayti Burt
    Apr 26, 2018

    The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas' young adult novel about a young black girl who witnesses the death of her childhood best friend at the hands of a police officer, has been on the New York Times bestsellers list for Young Adults for 60 consecutive weeks... and that is before its film adaptation has hit theaters.

    The Hate U Give movie adaptation of Thomas' bestselling novel is being directed by George Tillman Jr. (The Longest Ride), from a script by Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun). The latest news? EW just released the first photo from The Hate U Give movie. It shows film protagonist Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg) with her childhood friend Khalil (Algee Smith). Check it out...

    The Hate U Give Cast

    Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) stars as main character Starr Carter, with Algee Smith (Detroit) as Khalil. The cast also includes: Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Common, Issa Rae, Anthony Mackie, and KJ Apa. 

    Wondering how all these actors will fit into the story? Here's the official synopsis of the book:

    Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

    Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

    But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


    The Hate U Give Release Date

    The Hate U Give has wrapped production, but there's no official release date yet. We're hoping for a late 2018 release, but we'll keep you updated with any official confirmation!

     


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    Loki is back in Avengers: Infinity War, so it's time to celebrate the God of Mischief.

    Feature Marc BuxtonKayti Burt
    Apr 27, 2018

    Tom Hiddleston has been a scene stealer as Loki, the God of Mischief since his first appearance on the original Thor movie, and that carries all the way through to Avengers: Infinity War. Loki has become as popular as any of the actual Avengers thanks to his suave form of evil. Just leave it to the trickster god to become as beloved as the heroes he clashes with.

    Let's take a look at some of the greatest (and trickiest) moments in the character's long history...

    And There Came a Day…

    Just as it was in the movie, in the comics The Avengers formed because of Loki. During one of his games of vengeance against Thor, Loki manipulated an epic confrontation between Thor and the Hulk, getting embroiled in Loki’s machinations were also Iron Man, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. Looking to cause chaos on Earth, Loki caused the first gathering of the greatest force of order on Midgard, the Avengers. But by creating order for some, Loki caused chaos for others.

    By creating the Avengers, Loki has created a force that would lead to many conflicts with the evil forces across the galaxy...something that would cause chaos for evildoers everywhere. Loki’s accidental creation foiled the plans of Ultron, Dr. Doom, Kang, the Master of Evil, and even himself. To the villains of the Marvel Universe, the formation of the Avengers was the very definition of disruptive mischief.

    Read it in Avengers Vol. 1

    The Villain Maker

    A great villain makes trouble for the heroes he fights; a greater villain makes other villains to make the trouble for him. Loki had a direct hand in giving long time Marvel troublemakers the Wrecking Crew and Absorbing Man their powers. Think of all the trouble these villains had created for the heroes of the Marvel Universe, a testament to the cunning and manipulation of the ultimate trickster.

    Loki also, at one point or the other, directly manipulated or had a hand in the destines of early Thor adversaries Jinku the Lava Man, the Weather Maker, The Executioner, the Enchantress, the Super-Skrull, Surtur, Cobra and his partner Mr. Hyde, and Skagg. These early adversaries of Thor set the stage for the god’s adventures for decades to come and they were all pointed into the conflict by Loki.

    The Instigator 

    Considered by many to be the first true crossover in mainstream comics, the Avengers/Defenders War would be considered big even today, so think of how big it must felt in 1973. Teaming with the Dread Dormammu, Loki manipulates Earth’s mightiest super teams to clash over pieces of an ancient artifact called the Evil Eye. The crossover spotlights Loki’s ability to force conflict where there should be unity.

    Fans were treated to many awesome clashes, some for the first time, like Doctor Strange versus Black Panther and Mantis, Thor versus the Hulk, Captain America versus Namor in a battle of former Invaders, and Silver Surfer versus Vision and Scarlet Witch, all thanks to the machinations of Loki. At the end, of course, Loki betrays Dormammu, showing that the spread of discord and chaos is always more important than victory in any Loki tale.

    Looking back on the story, the pacing and format would be mimicked for decades to come as this super battle became the prototype for crossovers to come, and Loki was right in the center of it all with a smile on his face.

    He Transformed his Freaking Brother into a Freaking Frog

    Most of the Loki stories on this list will be of a pretty grandiose and serious variety, but not all. At times, rather than going for complete destruction of his enemies, Loki would rather annoy the Hel out of them. For instance, the time Loki turned Asgard’s greatest warrior into a frog.

    In Walter Simonson’s Thor #364, Loki uses Surtur’s discarded magic sword to finally make his brother croak (oh, yes I did). The adventure was wonderfully silly, but it had the same mythic feel as the rest of Simonson’s run and portrays Loki as the egomaniacal chaos bringer with a sense of humor fans have grown to love. Since the classic tale, a frog named Puddlegulp found a sliver of Mjolnir and is able to transform in Throg, so Loki’s magic continues to add wondrous and strange elements into the Marvel universe.

    Start with Walt Simonson's Thor Vol. 1.

    This little episode was mentioned in passing in Thor: Ragnarok, which also kind of ties in to...

    He Turned Into a Snake & Stabbed Thor

    OK, so this one didn't actually happen on-screen, but it's too good not to mention. In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor recounts this very traumatizing experience from his childhood to Bruce and Valkyrie illustrate just how mischievous Loki can be. When they were kids, Loki transformed himself into a snake because he knows Thor loves snakes and then, after Thor picked up Snake-LokiLoki transformed back into Loki and stabbed Thor. They were eight.

    According to an interview director Taika Waititi did with Empire Magazine Podcast, that scenario was one of about six the director and actor tried out as improv on the set. 

    Watch Thor: Ragnarok on Amazon

    X-Men/ Alpha Flight

    Believe it or not, for a while in the '80s, Alpha Flight was a pretty big deal. So when writer Chris Claremont and artist Paul Smith came out with a two part X-Men and Alpha Flight event, it garnered lots of fan attention. Like the original gathering of the Avengers, big events need big villains, and there are none bigger than Loki. In the series, Loki creates the Fire Fountain, a mystical site that can grant the mortals of Midgard super powers. Loki does all this to manipulate a pantheon of Northern Gods into believing he can do a good deed for mortals. This act brings the attention of Alpha Flight and the X-Men, and, of course, chaos ensues.

    Loki tempts the heroes but they reject him, foiling his scheme for a power up. The whole event is a testament to Loki’s nature as a manipulator, a being who sees others as pawns for his games and power grabs, but also includes awesome character work by Claremont, particularly on Loki, a character that would seem to be out of the creator’s mutant wheelhouse, but what can we say, a character like Loki just brings out the best in people.

    Acts of Vengeance

    One of the more beloved early Marvel crossovers, Acts of Vengeance was a simple premise played to perfection. A stranger convinces a group of master villains to team up in order to bring down their foes. The stranger convinces the baddies that switching opponents would be the key to a villainous victory. Of course it was Loki.

    It seems like such a simple plan, but beneath the surface, Loki’s plan was just a way to ferment chaos in the hero and villain community. The master villains were a who’s who of Marvel evil. Dr. Doom, Mandarin, Magneto, the Red Skull, the Kingpin, and the Wizard made up Loki’s cadre of villains. The God of Mischief engineered a breakout at the Vault to give the master villains a group of soldiers to send against the heroes. The chaos that followed was pure spectacle with the villains turning on each other while the heroes were occupied by the escapees.

    Loki’s plan was pure mischief, why else team up Magneto, a Holocaust survivor, with the Red Skull, a Nazi war criminal? Things turned ugly quickly while Loki basked in the turmoil. Loki did it all in the hopes that, during the chaos, the Avengers would be destroyed. He may have been defeated by the end of the story but Acts of Vengeance was such an awesome Loki story because of the cunning way he used the biggest heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe like pawns in his private little game.

    Blood Brothers: Loki Wins

    This grand but unsettling tale of Loki’s ultimate victory written by Robert Rodi with stunning painted artwork by Esad Ribic is a psychological look into the character of Loki. This story may or may not be in continuity (it’s hard to tell with immortals), but in Loki #1-4, Loki finally wins. He has achieved his goal of total victory and has finally put Thor into bondage. He has it all, and as the series unfolds, it becomes clear he has never had less.

    The series opens with Thor chained to a dungeon wall and Loki, finally, as ruler of Asgard. The tale of a villain triumphant magnificently morphs into a tragedy focusing on why Loki, the forgotten son, hates Thor and his Asgardian brethren so much. The series spotlights Loki’s brilliance just as brightly as it does his fatal character flaws, ones that will never allow him to triumph completely and leaves him in tragic cycle of violence and shame.

    Like all great villains, Loki sees himself the hero of his own story. If this is true, this series is the tragic fall of a hero that only exists in his own mind.

    Read Loki on Amazon

    Lady Loki 

    After the latest of the many Ragnaroks that have taken place in the pages of Thor, the God of Thunder had to find the lost Asgardians and restore them to their godly form. When Loki returned, the other gods were shocked that he now took the form of a woman.

    As a woman, Loki faked magnanimity, fooling his fellow gods into trusting hher. Ah, but this is one of the greatest examples of Loki’s trickery as he was secretly in the restored body of none other than Lady Sif. While in the form of a woman, Loki traveled back in time, killed Odin’s father, Bor, arranged for Odin to adopt him in the first place, convinced the Asgardians that the heroic Beta Ray Bill was a shape shifting Skrull, and basically enjoying the irony of secretly inhabiting a body that his brother once fervently and frequently boinked. When Thor finally found out that Loki inhabited Sif’s body, he managed to free his former lover, but Loki had the last laugh forging an alliance with Dr. Doom which left many Asgardians dead.

    Loki’s time as a woman was one his/her most deliciously evil eras, when the trickster was at the height of his game of layered manipulation.

    His Very Own Avengers and Siege

    During and after his time as a woman, Loki turned his attentions to the Avengers and the rest of the Marvel Universe. During this period, Loki joined the Cabal, a cadre of villains that pulled the strings of the Marvel Universe when Norman Osborn was the head of SHIELD (which Norman called HAMMER).

    As a member of the Cabal, Loki was  able to use the guise of the Scarlet Witch to cajole Hank Pym into forming a squad of Avengers Loki would control. Loki couldn't resist manipulating a team he helped create into being a hit squad of his own. When Cassie Lang, also known as Stature, found out and expelled Loki he gained revenge by manipulating Norman Osborn into attacking Asgard (which was located in Broxton, Oklahoma at the time). With this gambit, Loki was able to manipulate the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. He served in the familiar position of wild card creating as much chaos in the lives of evildoers as he did the benevolent forces.

    At the end, Loki was seemingly killed by the Sentry, but not before Osborn was brought down and a new power structure took the reins from HAMMER. Loki was the wrench in the works, the agent of change that fractured both sides of the eternal battle of light and darkness, and he did it with style.

    He Sabotaged Thor's Coronation

    In the first Thor film, Loki sabotages Thor's coronation by letting Frost Giants into Asgard. When Thor seeks revenge against Jotunheim, Odin banishes him to Earth where he first meets Jane & co. and learns about Midgard.

    Back on Asgard, Loki is up to his usual games, taking control of the kingdom while Odin is in Odinsleep (or, as I like to call it, Odinnap). In order to preserve his power, Loki straight-up tries to kill Thor, which is not the first time that happens, nor will it be the last.

    Watch Thor on Amazon

    Kid Loki 

    After his foray as a woman, Loki was transformed into a twelve year old child. This transformation turned Loki from one of the most malevolent characters in the Marvel Universe to one of the most sympathetic. As a kid, Loki is a completely different being, one that still has a gift for untruths and misdirection, but one with a huge heart and a kind spirit. He didn't remember his past sins but he is all too aware of them, making him determined to use his ability to lie, cheat, and steal to help people. Kid Loki had a special interest in the people of Earth, loved the internet, particularly viral videos and memes, and spent hours on his Stark Phone.

    Of course, Loki gonna Loki...

    Tried to Take Over Earth...Again

    Two Avengers movies ago, Loki was the Big Bad trying to rule Earth with an iron fist... or, you know, a Scepter.

    Watch The Avengers on Amazon

    Having been given command of the Chitauri by none other than Thanos himself, Loki shows up on Earth, grabs the Tesseract, and begins plotting his ultimate oppression. It's not a good look for the God of Mischief, and one that is obviously foiled by the Avengers... though not before Loki allows himself to be captured in order to take out the helicarrier.

    Loki Pretends to Be Odin, Rules Asgard

    As we see in the first act of Thor: RagnarokLoki has been quite mischievous during Thor's absence from Asgard. After returning from the presumed-dead, Loki messes with Odin's memory, leaves him at a home for old folks in New York City, and then rules Asgard in his stead. During his tenure as Odin-LokiLoki erects a statue in his own honor and stages a production called "The Tragedy of Loki," which he watches again and again. Actors who make cameos in the big "Tragedy of Loki" scene include: Matt Damon, Sam Neill, and Luke Hemsworth.


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    We're tracking down every single Marvel Comics reference and Easter egg in Avengers: Infinity War, but we need your help!

    Feature Mike CecchiniJim Dandy
    Apr 27, 2018

    This article is full of MAJOR Avengers: Infinity War spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie yet, read our spoiler free review here.

    Well, it's finally here. The culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has arrived with Avengers: Infinity War, and as we all suspected, it's insane, and absolutely packed with everything fans want to see.

    But don't be fooled by the fact that this is a story about Thanos wielding an all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet to make life miserable for all your favorite Marvel superheroes. Avengers: Infinity War is full of crazy surprises, and all the comics knowledge in the world won't prepare you for what's coming. We're trying to track down all of the Marvel easter eggs in the movie...but we need your help. So if you spot something that we missed, shout it out down in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter, and we'll keep updating this until it's the most complete Marvel easter egg guide to Avengers: Infinity War around!

    Now, let's get to work...

    The Infinity Gauntlet

    - The movie takes plenty of liberties with the original The Infinity Gauntlet comic story. In fact, you can't even really call this movie an adaptation of that story...and it's certainly not an adaptation of The Infinity War comic, either. But there are still some early similarities. But the fact that Thanos spends most of his time gathering the stones during the movie makes it more of a loose adaptation of The Thanos Quest by Jim Starlin and Ron Lim than anything else. But again, it's a pretty loose adaptation.

    - The Hulk falling to Earth from space and landing in Doctor Strange's Sanctum is reminiscent of something that happened early on in The Infinity Gauntlet comics, except there, it was the Silver Surfer who warned Strange of Thanos' coming, not Bruce Banner, right down to the "Thanos is coming."

    - Loki is dead. Most fans (including me) expected Loki to serve the kind of role that Mephisto did in The Infinity Gauntlet comics. There, Mephisto was kind of an obsequious "guide" for Thanos, and that's the word that Loki offers...before he tries (and fails) to betray Thanos. Well, if you've gotta go, this is the way to do it.

    But seriously, couldn't you just imagine Loki behaving like this for his own ends? Even the body language is the same!

    Also, Loki's attempted betrayal/stabbing of Thanos reminds me of Prince Thun trying to take out Ming the Merciless in Mike Hodges' masterful Flash Gordon movie.

    - Wong tells the origin of the soul gems, which is kind of like the creation myth of the entire Marvel Universe when you think about it. Something very similar was done in the pages of The Thanos Quest, and they basically hint that these are fragments of God!

    (thanks to Dylan Bates for helping me out with that one!)

    - The weird reality-warping "deaths" that Thanos inflicts on Drax and Mantis is really reminiscent of the ways that Thanos tortured Eros, Nebula, and others in The Infinty Gauntlet comic.

    Thanos

    - In the comics, and certainly by The Infinity Gauntlet era, Thanos was known as the Mad Titan, and he was a pretty irrational dork most of the time. Thanos was in love with the cosmic physical manifestation of death, and this whole thing was a way for him to impress him. He's a really needy, giant purple MRA, basically.

    But here, Thanos is kind of rational, if still a dick. Here is obsession is with bringing balance to the universe to preserve resources, and his motives are almost like, I dunno, an extremely shitty environmentalist or something.

    Thanos' armor and helmet bears the strongest resemblance to recent designs in the comics, as well as the design for Thane, his son's outfit in Infinity.

    - Gamora has "always hated" Thanos' weird throne/chair, which is pretty hilarious considering it was such an iconic part of the character's whole "thing" for so many years.

    - Have we seen Thanos' vaguely Ancient Egyptian looking guards before? They're the ones guarding Nebula while she's being tortured. What a cool design they have. I feel like maybe they were hanging around with Ronan in the first Guardians movie, but my brain is so fried from this movie I can't trust myself.

    - Thanos creepy army of Alien-looking drones are called Outriders, and they're also from the Infinity crossover.

    - Thanos' crack about how he could "finally rest" once he achieves his goal is a reference to the "Farmer Thanos" he became in the comics, and that we glimpse at the very end of this movie.

    - Thanos literally snaps his fingers to bring about the end of half of all life in the universe, which is exactly what he did in the first chapter of The Infinity Gauntlet comic. And that's what he did BEFORE the fighting started there!

    - In the closing credits, there's a line that reads “the producers would like to recognize Jim Starlin for his significant contribution to the film.” Saying Starlin made a "significant contribution" to this movie is an understatement. The vast majority of Thanos stories, and certainly the Thanos stories that matter, were written and often drawn by Jim Starlin. That's HIS character, just as surely as most of the others on screen are Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's.

    The Black Order

    We're introduced to Thanos' Black Order early on, and they first appeared in Jonathan Hickman's massive Thanos vs Avengers story, Infinity. In the comics, they were also known as the Cull Obsidian, and are basically Thanos' generals, but here it's implied that they are Thanos' children. We went into MUCH more detail about them right here.

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

    From left to right, that's Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, Corvus Glaive, and Cull Obsidian. Your ears do not deceive you, that is Carrie Coon as Proxima Midnight.

    “Even in death you have become children of Thanos” - this line from Ebony Maw (who never shuts the hell up) hints at Thanos' obsession with death as a concept, even if the movie gives him a more practical outlook than his comic book counterpart, and a less physical manifestation of Death herself. We'll get into more of that in a bit. I also couldn't help but feel that Ebony Maw kind of acts like a "herald of Galactus" when it comes to announcing the coming of Thanos.

    But speaking of death...

    Heimdall is dead, and it's always going to be a shame that this franchise never used Idris Elba to the fullest. 

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    - The song playing during the Guardians' intro here is "Rubberband Man" by The Spinners, and it's kinda great. I have to wonder if James Gunn helped pick this, because he's the one who carefully crafts all of Star-Lord's Awesome Mix tapes.

    - Teen Groot is playing a handheld version of the 1981 arcade game, Defender, which is an all-time coin-op classic.

    - Thanos calls on the Collector to pick up the reality stone from him. In The Thanos Quest comic, he does indeed kick the Collector's ass for a stone, but there it was for the soul stone, not reality.

    By the way...what is the tree in the Collector's place, there? It looks familiar, but I can't quite place it, and I feel like I'm going to look like an idiot as soon as one of you points it out to me.

    - As the Guardians are heading into the Collector's lair, there's some circuitry on the wall that kind of reminds me of the Jack Kirby-esque designs we saw so much of in Thor: Ragnarok.

    - The unnecessary reference to Footloose is a callback to the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, but also feels a little out of place with Spidey. It makes sense that Spidey would be down with things like Star Wars and Alien, but Footloose? C'mon. Nobody his age cares about that flick.

    - Drax is eating a bag of Zargnuts...which makes me think of Zagnut, the candy bar that Beetlejuice used to lure an insect to its death in Tim Burton's classic movie which had seriously better never have a sequel or reboot ever. Anyway, this is perhaps an unnecessary pop culture connection to make and I now apologize to Peter Parker about my Footloose crack above.

    Nebula

    - Worth pointing out that Nebula is Thanos' daughter in the MCU, but she's his granddaugher in the comics. His shitty treatment of her remains the same. Seriously, dude...lighten up.

    We see Nebula half-disassembled and held in stasis, in a state of constant agony. In the comics, Thanos used the power of the Gauntlet to burn her to a crisp and keep her in a state between living and dying. Zombie Nebula with flesh dripping off her skeleton might have been a bit of a stretch for PG-13 MCU stuff, but this is the closest we're likely to get to that. It's definitely inspired by the comics.

    Gamora

    - During the flashbacks detailing how he adopted Gamora, I'm pretty sure you can spot those giant Chitauri worm ship things from the first Avengers movie.

    - In the comics Gamora has always been a big fan of blades and edged weapons. I feel like we get the "origin" of that with the knife here.

    - Maybe Gamora knows ANOTHER secret about Thanos? For example, in the comics, Thanos always plants the seeds of his own defeat, because subconsciously he feels that he isn't worthy of power. Is this something Gamora knows? Well, knew...because she's dead. Right? Nah.

    - While Gamora's death is a powerful scene here, this is the one proper on-screen death that I don't expect to stick. James Gunn has plans to complete the team's story in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and I can't imagine Marvel would rob him of one of his most important and interesting characters.

    Don't be surprised if it turns out Gamora is just imprisoned in the soul stone. And seriously, how amazing is Zoe Saldana in this movie?

    Thor

    - This movie has the best Thor moments of any of his big screen appearances. And yes, I'm including the wonderful Thor: Ragnarok. The fact that they took us to Nidavelir, the home of the Norse Dwarves, and instead made it the heart of a star where Mjolnir was forged, well, that's a pretty wonderful way to do things.

    - Making Peter Dinklage into the dwarf, Eitri, was even better. The Marvel Comics version of Eitri isn't nearly as cool as Peter Dinklage, but he made his first appearance in Thor Annual #11 in 1983.

    - Is this the first time we learn Thor's actual age is 1500 years old?

    - The whole sequence of Thor "starting up a star" is the kind of crazy "only in comics" thing that I love so much, and it feels like something that would come right out of the mind of Jack Kirby or Jason Aaron.

    And c'mon, tell me this next shot doesn't look like a Jack Kirby panel come to life!

    Right? Anyway...

    - Oh my god, Thor is wielding Stormbreaker now! Stormbreaker wasn't ever really Thor's weapon in the comics, but rather that of Beta Ray Bill, the noble, horse-faced replacement Thor, who we kinda sorta got a glimpse of in Thor: Ragnarok.

    Spider-Man

    - We get our first ever MCU use of Peter's Spider-sense in this movie when the ships arrive!

    - Peter swaps out his regular costume for Tony's "17A" model, which we glimpsed at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming. This is the cinematic equivalent of the dreadful "Iron Spider" armor Peter wore in the Civil War comics, right down to the extra appendages it gives him. This design is a little better than the comic book one...but only a little. It's kinda hideous, really. 

    Go back to the blue and red, kid.

    - Spidey's line, “I’m being beamed up,” is a slight nod to Star Trek.

    - But more importantly, and please tell me whether or not I'm crazy here, does the Tony/Peter relationship and banter in this movie feel like Rick and Morty to anyone else? I didn't get that vibe in Captain America: Civil War or Spider-Man: Homecoming, but it definitely felt that way here.

    Except when Peter dies. That was heartbreaking.

    The Stan Lee Cameo

    - You all spotted Stan Lee driving the bus, right? Good. Now, someone get Stan away from the skeevy vultures currently handling his affairs, please.

    The Avengers 4 Roster

    So maybe we shouldn't be surprised that the folks who survived are the core Avengers from the first movie. Our Avengers 4 roster will consist of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye (even though he's not here, we can confirm he isn't dead...more details here), plus War Machine, Rocket Raccoon, and Captain Marvel.

    The Post Credits Scene

    The post credits scenes kind of drive home the fact that the ending of Avengers: Infinity War is basically the beginning of the MCU version of The Infinity Gauntlet comic. In the second chapter of Infinity Gauntlet we saw how the world was affected when half of all humans just disappear, and yes, that includes car accidents, aviation mishaps, etc.

    That final symbol you see belongs to Captain Marvel, but since this article is long enough already, I wrote in much, much more detail about the post-credits scene and everything it means right here.

    Miscellaneous Cool Stuff

    - Did I hear this correctly, and is the Asgardian spaceship known as the Ice Guardian? I know they also say "Asgardian families" when sending the distress call, but I feel like this was how they identified the ship.

    - Overall, the opening to this was more akin to a Star Wars movie than anything Marvel usually does, just dropping us right into the jaws of a defeat with a seemingly unstoppable villain. Shades of A New Hope right off the bat...although some of the genuinely gruesome carnage with the dead bodies lying all over the place made me think of the end of Rogue One.

    - At the Central Park reservoir, before Tony is told that "the fate of the universe is at stake" (which is some proper comic book dialogue right there), he makes a reference to Pepper having an eccentric uncle named Morgan. I'm drawing a blank on what this might be a reference to, though.

    - You can basically just consider Cap's team the Secret Avengers in this. The lineup is similar enough!

    Cap taking on Thanos in hand-to-hand combat is amazing. Thanos is, after all, a guy who could go at it with Thor or Hulk and come out OK. But this in particular reminds us of a specific scene from the original Infinity Gauntletcomics...

    Cap is the best, you guys.

    - Tony calls Ebony Maw "Squidward" which is pretty great. I...don't have to tell you who Squidward is, right?

    - During the fights on the streets of NYC you can spot a New York Post newspaper dispenser. Still no sign of The Daily Bugle in the MCU. Seriously, what the hell? Although it's fun to point out that the layout and logo of the Bugle in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies was based heavily on the Post. I'm just surprised they used the Post here and not the Defenders-centric New York Bulletin.

    - When Glave tries to take the Eye of Agamotto from Strange, his hand gets burned/branded, like Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    - Captain America's phone number appears to be 678-136-7092. I haven't called it yet.

    - I'm pretty sure that Vision and Scarlet Witch never lived in Scotland in the comics, but I'm willing to be corrected. Still, they're right on the verge of committing for life here, and assuming poor Vision manages to make a return at the end of Avengers 4, I'd love to see them get married, like they did in the comics.

    This is a pretty radical departure for Black Widow. It's actually referencing the second comics Black Widow, Yelena Belova, who was created in Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee's late '90s Inhumans series and ended up being an evil foil for Natasha.

    - Who the hell has a bass guitar in Avengers HQ? Please tell me that's Thor's.

    - The Alien tribute with Ebony Maw is an absolute highlight.

    - If Avengers movies had been made in the 1980s, wouldn't David Bowie have been the most perfect Vision ever? And I'm getting such Bowie vibes from Paul Bettany's Vision performance that now I want him to star in a Ziggy Stardust movie. Hollywood, call me. I'm waiting by the phone. Alone. Writing about the intersection of Marvel superheroes and David Bowie. For the love of gods, someone please call me...

    (ahem...ANYWAY)

    - When we're on Titan, and see the flashbacks to how it was before, are we basically seeing the seeds of Eternals society, there? They do have a movie in development, now.

    - Vormir (the location of the Soul Stone) is a "real" place in the comics, existing way the hell out in the Kree galaxy. It was first mentioned in Avengers #123 in 1974.

    - C'mon, admit it, NOBODY saw that Red Skull surprise coming, right? Sadly, that isn't Hugo Weaving, it's The Walking Dead's Ross Marquand. Bummer. On the bright side, maybe if we ever get a Captain America 4 this means the Skull can return!

    OK Avengers, it's time to assemble! Let us know what we missed down in the comments or on Twitter, and if it checks out, we'll update this!


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    The movie, based on the 1911 book, will be set in 1947, in the aftermath of WWII in England.

    News Kayti Burt
    Apr 27, 2018

    Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden is a children's classic, one that has already found popularity on the screen in 1949, 1987, and 1993 film versions. With an upcoming movie adaptation starring Colin Firth and a stage musical revival in the works, The Secret Garden is poised to have yet another pop culture moment.

    What's up with The Secret Garden movie? Well, according to Deadline, the film has just begun production. The 1911 novel adaptation is being helmed by director Marc Munden (Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams), from a script by the ridiculously prolific Jack Thorne. Studiocanal and Heyday Films are co-producing the family film. They have previously teamed up for the wonderful Paddington franchise.

    In addition to Colin Firth, who will play protagonist Mary Lennox's uncle, Archibald Craven, Julie Walters also has been cast as Mrs Medlock, the head housekeeper at Misselthwaite. Cast in the main role of Mary, the 10-year-old girl who moves back to England after the death of her parents, is Dixie Egerickx, previously seen in Genius. Her Genius co-star Edan Hayhurst has been cast in the role of Mary's sickly cousin Colin. Amir Wilson stars as Dickon, with Isis Davis cast as Martha.

    For those unfamiliar with the story, The Secret Garden follows young Mary, a British girl born to wealthy, but neglectful parents who spends her first 10 years in India. When he parents die unexpectedly, she is sent back to England to live with her stoic uncle Archibald Craven on his remote country estate called Misselthwaite. 

    At first, spoiled, sad Mary has a hard time adapting to her new life, but when she finds a neglected garden on the Yorkshire estate and begins spending time with her shut-in cousin Colin, the two begin to bond and bring the garden back to life. While the book is set in Edwardian England, the movie has been moved forward in time to 1947. It will take place on the eve of Partition in India in the aftermath of WWII.

    "This is a fantastical reimagining of The Secret Garden," said director Munden. "I can’t wait to explore it. It’s an opportunity to immerse ourselves in an uncanny and wondrous world, which will play to the imaginations of adults and children alike."

    More news as we hear it.


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    Henry Cavill wants to tackle Superman solo sequel Man of Steel 2, but his contract only has one movie left and it could be Justice League 2.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Apr 27, 2018

    Henry Cavill wants to tell more Superman stories, namely in solo sequel Man of Steel 2. That, however, is uncertain, since the DC Extended Universe only has him locked down for one more movie and the overall DC film franchise is in the midst of a restructuring phase; the natural result of underwhelming performances by heavily-hyped crossover movies Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. Yet, the latter megamovie did somewhat correct the course when it came to Cavill’s initially-stoic role, showcasing a more sanguine Superman than we’ve seen, and that might be the seed from which a contract extension could grow.

    Man of Steel 2 was clearly on Henry Cavill’s mind in a CinemaCon interview with Collider. The Superman star, who was at the Las Vegas industry gathering to promote his role in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, was candid when it came to what he wants out of the DCEU, namely a solo sequel. As Cavill explains:

    “I’m having a lot of conversations, behind-the-scenes, with certain people and we will hopefully be having conversations with other people who are also behind-the-scenes to make things start happening. It is very much in my desire to do a Man of Steel 2, a direct sequel to Man of Steel, and there is a whole bunch of Superman story that I want to tell. There is a whole style of Superman’s character that I’m very keen to tell and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

    What might impede that endeavor is Cavill’s contract, which, as he revealed back in November to The LA Times, only has one more Superman movie appearance. Yet, he clearly has no idea if it will be fulfilled in Justice League 2 (which, as far as we know, is still on the table,) or (his preference,) a Man of Steel solo sequel. Thus, his solo sequel hopes likely rest with a contract extension. When questioned on that idea, Cavill cautiously answered, “Honestly, there’s a possibility there.”

    What Cavill does know is that he enjoyed the lighter side of Superman that was on display in Justice League and believes that is the future of the character. As Cavill explained (in the November interview):

    “There’s a wonderful opportunity to tell the Superman story. Now there is a fantastic chance to show Superman in his full colors and tell a very complex, character-driven movie that is based on story and have that wonderful sensation of hope and happiness. A feel-good movie with lessons laced in there as well.”

    Cavill’s Superman debuted in 2013’s Man of Steel with director Zack Snyder – armed with a story developed by The Dark Knight Trilogy visionary Christopher Nolan – attempting to curb the character’s big blue boy scout image with a darker, pathos-centric introduction. His return in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice devolved into morose hero-on-hero movie mayhem, leading to a version of the character’s famed comic book demise. Yet, Justice League saw a resurrected Superman embracing his super-heroic destiny, armed with smirks and one-liners, with an emphasis more on super power and less on glower. It’s a strategy of giving powerful heroes more of a goofball edge that worked quite well last fall with Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, which shows its hero embracing his absurd invulnerability and powers while cracking the occasional joke.

    Indeed, Justice League proved that death was just the reset button that Cavill’s Superman needed to activate his previously-dormant power of super-humor. That aspect is attributed to pinch-director Joss Whedon, who, having stepped in for a tragedy-stricken Zack Snyder, brought megamovie experience from Marvel's first two Avengers movies for tonally-resetting reshoots. Because of that, Cavill believes that audiences were able to truly see him as Superman for the first time.

    “I’ve always enjoyed the traditional, very classic view on Superman in the comic books,” Cavill says. “I think there’s an enormous complexity to that character. I know when I was working with Joss he and I saw eye-to-eye on some of the aspects of Superman. That paragon of hope. That ideal. That wonderful feeling of, ‘Oh, good, Superman’s here!’ I have also developed a very personal and protective relationship over this character, and it was just lovely to have the opportunity to smile and feel good.”

    While Justice League 2 will likely move forward despite the first one's financial folly, it would really be interesting to see Cavill have another go in a Man of Steel solo sequel. Make no mistake, the Man of Steel 2 project has always been penciled in to the DCEU backlog, and, at one point last year, had eyed Matthew Vaughn, of the Kingsman franchise and X-Men: First Class, to direct. Plus, seeing how Syfy's Superman-adjacent prequel series, Krypton, is absolutely killing it with its run with the civilization-razing alien cyborg, Brainiac, there’s now proof that some of the more colorful comic book elements can work onscreen.

    We will certainly keep you updated here on the Henry Cavill Superman contract situation as the developments occur!


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    Faith, repression and passion take center stage in Rachel Weisz’s new movie, as she tells Den of Geek...

    Interview Don Kaye
    Apr 27, 2018

    Out today (Friday, April 27) in limited release is Disobedience, directed by Sebastian Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Gloria) and adapted from the novel by Naomi Alderman (The Power). Rachel Weisz stars as Ronit, a young, single woman who left behind the Orthodox Jewish community in which she grew up in London for a career as a photographer in New York.

    But when her estranged father, the community’s rabbi, passes away, she must return to settle his affairs -- and reignites her romance with Esti (Rachel McAdams), a woman who stayed behind and married their mutual friend Dovid (Alessandro Nivola).

    The community does not look kindly upon LGBTQ people within its ranks, so Ronit, Esti and Dovid are all confronted with choosing how to live their lives going forward. Disobedience takes an uncompromising look at love, faith, sexuality and personal freedom, anchored by a detailed, compassionate look at a community that many don’t understand and excellent performances from its three leads.

    Den of Geek had the chance to speak with Rachel Weisz about making the movie -- which she also produced -- the issues it raises, doing that scene and her upcoming reunion with director Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster) on the 18th century royal period piece The Favourite, in which Weisz stars with Emma Stone and Olivia Colman.

    Den of Geek: This came to you as both a producer and an actor, sort of at the same time. Were you looking for something to produce?

    Rachel Weisz: Yeah. Well I came to it, I guess, in that I read the book and I optioned it and I'd been actively looking for something that I could be in and be playing opposite another woman. I thought that would be interesting, not just that one female subjective point of view, but two, and have them in relation to each other because I think all films I've done up until this point have been in relation to a man.

    What was it about the book that struck you?

    Well I mean, a lot of the lesbian literature that I read was set in the 1950s or set in a time when it was, I don't know, against the law. Times were different. This was set now. Set three stops on the tube from where I grew up and in fact it was kind of very far away, but very close. And it's happening right now. It's a community where you can't be gay and religious and the same would be said with Amish communities in Pennsylvania or Mennonite communities or strict Muslim communities. It wasn't necessarily the Jewishness that interested me particularly, but a place where it's taboo to be gay.

    The question that comes to me is, are these very ordered sort of cloistered communities, regardless of religion, are they almost a thing of the past? And the second part of that question is, are we in any sort of position to make that judgment, in a sense?

    Well there is no judgment. I don't have judgment over that community, it's just, what happens if you are in that community, you love that community, you love God, you're Orthodox, but you're gay? What do you do? That's the conundrum of the movie. How do you express yourself and be free? I don't think the movie really judges them, and I certainly don't, it's just a really intense dilemma. What do you do?

    There's no antagonist in this movie. Everybody remains more or less respectful of each other. It's not black and white.

    Yeah, that's Sebastian. You know, that's his storytelling. I thought Uncle Moshe, my character's uncle, was going to be like a really nasty guy. But he cast Allan (Corduner), who's such a sweet guy. I said, "Why wouldn't we have someone like a bit meaner?" And he said, "No, no, no there's no antagonist. The antagonist is within." He's not going to make it that simple for the audience anyways.

    What was it about his films that made you want to work with him as a director on this?

    Well at that point A Fantastic Woman hadn't come out but I think this is a companion piece to that, you know. It's people whose stories, living your life as a trans woman or a 58-year-old woman looking for love or a gay Orthodox Jewish woman, when you're living that life you're front and center, that's your life, but in the way stories represent these people, they're not front and center. In a Hollywood film...she'd be a type. She wouldn't be a real character with an existential crisis and a longing for love, like a fully fleshed person.

    So Sebastian just wants to journey to people who are not on the margin, they're just on the margins of representation. They're not represented in stories as much as heterosexual white people, you know?

    What was your familiarity with Orthodox culture?

    None. My mom was Catholic, my dad was Jewish, but I didn't identify as anything. I definitely know some things about Judaism and I know some things about Christianity so, but this community is like, unless you're a part of it, you can't know anything about it. They friend people on the outside. Naomi Alderman who wrote the book, grew up in that place and then abandoned it and went to New York, a bit like Ronit. So she's someone who's both inside and outside, and she was an incredible tour guide to that world. I mean, it's very rare, I don't know any other instances, in England, of someone who has grown up in that world and left it and written about it for a mainstream audience.

    Did you spend any time within the community for research?

    No. Rachel had to, and so did Alessandro. They had to be English and they had to be Orthodox Jews. I had to play someone who'd abandoned it and forgotten it and is not that comfortable to be back there so I didn't have to really do deep research. They both did, I mean they both did serious Jewish immersion so you should ask them. They really had to learn all the prayers and the customs and they had to believe that they were Orthodox Jews. They had to make a real journey. I didn't in that way.

    You and Rachel have a very passionate love scene halfway through the film. Actors have spoken about the difficulty of doing love scenes on screen. Is it anymore comfortable to do it with a woman because maybe there's some sort of more empathy or sensitivity there?

    Less stubble. Much less stubble (laughs). I mean, what can make it difficult is if it's meaningless in the story. It's like, getting naked and romping around, it can just feel a bit generalized and you're showing something private to the public that doesn't really mean anything because just often it's meaningless in the narrative, whereas in this case, it's not meaningless, it's essential to the story. It's like the heart, the soul, the center of the movie.

    These women have to find some privacy to be able to be uninhibited and express themselves, particularly to Esti, for both of them, they've been waiting for however many years for this and it's very emotional, very vulnerable, very romantic, very erotic, everything, but it's like the whole movie's about repression and it's about this moment where the repression's gone and it's about freedom. It's an expression of freedom, which I think is what the movie's about. It's about the importance of disobedience and why disobedience is essential sometimes.

    Is this the way forward for you, to produce the material yourself at this point whenever you can?

    Yeah, I mean I love to be just hired for a job as well, that the script arrives and it's like, "This is perfect," but I'm definitely really enjoying using a different side of my brain and figuring out the adaptation process. I love writing so it's been wonderful to sit down with the writers and really get to know them and pick apart stories. So yeah, both.

    How about directing? Is that something you may want to do at some point?

    Not so much. Not at the moment. Maybe one day. I just don't know if I am a director. I just don't know if I've got what it takes.

    You have a few other projects coming up, but I was very curious to ask about working with Yorgos again on The Favourite, because you guys had such fun on The Lobster.

    Well (The Favourite) was an instance of when a script just came to me and it was like, "Oh my fucking God," you know, I wasn't involved in the development, I was just hired. And actually that has three female leads, not two, so this is like Disobedience on steroids. It's three female leads who are all jostling for power and subjectivity in the story. I haven't seen it, but it's an extraordinary script and it was a pretty amazing experience making it. I look forward to seeing it. It will be out at the end of the year.

    Disobedience is out in limited release today.


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    The most lovable badass in Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War has a crazy history that stretches back almost 40 years.

    FeatureMarc Buxton
    Apr 27, 2018

    Who woulda thunk it? Rocket Raccoon, a once nearly forgotten character that made a very brief splash in the '80s is a multi-media sensation. After the premiere of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie, we all fell in love with Marvel’s most battle hardened rodent. Rocket Raccoon is everywhere, from backpacks, to lunchboxes, to toy shelves, animation on Disney XD, to, of course, the pages of Marvel Comics.

    The public has fallen in love with Rocket, but he has been around for quite a while before he exploded back on the cosmic Marvel scene a few years ago. Journey back with us through time to some of Rocket’s greatest moments and appearances and relive the days that fueled Rocket Raccoon’s journey to film stardom.

    That time Rocket appeared as a blunt-smoking supporting character in a backup feature no one ever heard of.

    Marvel Preview #7 (1976)

    If this was an episode of VH1’s behind the music, we would start out with the phrase “From humble beginnings…” and things don’t get more humble than "The Sword in the Star." Remember "The Sword in the Star?" Yeah, neither did we, but it was a sci-fi back-up feature that appeared in the black-and-white Marvel Preview #4 and continued in Marvel Preview #7. Irony of irony, the first appearance of the "Sword and the Star" strip backed up the debut of Star Lord, a character that would become vital to the history of Rocket Raccoon once the two space adventures dovetailed together in the 2000s.

    In the second installment of the nearly forgotten strip written by Bill Mantlo with lush art by a young Keith Giffen, when protagonist Prince Wayfinder crashed on Witchworld, he is attacked by a sentient tree. This is another bit of prophetic irony as Rocket would be paired with an anthropomorphic tree a quarter century later. Wayfinder is helped by a blunt smoking, talking raccoon named Rocky and thus, a legend is born. In this initial appearance, Rocky is clearly meant to be read as British, calling Wayfinder “old bean,” “old sock,” and "old shoe,” as well as the making with a few “jolly good shows” throughout the rodent’s debut.

    Wayfinder would appear twice more in the pages of Bill Mantlo’s Micronautsand then fade into obscurity, but Mantlo would remember Rocky. Even in this early and esoteric appearance, there was something about the future Rocket. As soon as the raccoon appeared, the strip went from typical sci-fi melodrama to something fun and different. It was to take a long time, but the blunt smoking rodent wisecracker would make an impact on pop culture and it all started in the all but forgotten "Sword in the Star."

    That time Rocket teamed with the Hulk and fought a despotic mole, a bunch of fascist clowns, and the Black Bunny Brigade.

    Incredible Hulk #271 (1982)

    After "The Sword and the Star," Rocky was all but forgotten until the Hulk crashed on a mysterious alien planet called Halfworld. There he met Rocket and the raccoon’s first mate Wal Russ (c’mon Disney, Wal Russ, this is gold!). The whole story centers around an evil mole named Judson Jakes who wants to rule the Keystone Quadrant of the galaxy by finding and deciphering a book called Gideon’s Bible (Rocky Racoon/Gideon's Bible...there's your White Albumreference, stoners). Jakes rules over a legion of vile mercenary bunnies named the Black Bunny Brigade who spent the issue slaughtering sentient woodland creatures. The Black Bunnies are joined by a pack of killer clowns who fly around on circus balls.

    This issue needs to be found and experienced for the sheer joy of witnessing the Hulk and Rocket slaughtering a legion of killer clowns, in space, while wearing Buck Rogers bubble helmets. Rocket and Hulk proceed to smash the bunnies and defeat Jakes before Rocket helps Hulk return home. In this issue, Rocket was at his badass best, a fuzzy Flash Gordon type complete with damsel in distress, blasting clowns and bunnies like it was going out of style. The Hulk was totally secondary to Rocket in his own anniversary issue even though he did get to smash some clowns himself.

    That time Rocket had to save his otter girlfriend from being a pawn in a war between two intergalactic toy companies.

    Rocket Raccoon #1 (1985)

    Bill Mantlo wasn’t done with Rocket yet, oh no. Bouncing off the momentum of Incredible Hulk #271, our favorite space raccoon, along with Wal Russ and company, next appeared in Rocket’s own mini-series. Along for the ride were Judson Jakes and his killer clowns who vied for control of the Keystone Quadrant against the serpent Lord Dyvyne and the Black Bunny Brigade.

    Mantlo did an awesome job building Rocket’s little segment of the cosmos, an insane pocket of the galaxy brought to life by a young Mike Mignola. Yes, that Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy doing funny animal space opera. If Disney wants to extend Rocket’s adventures they need look no further than this mini, a mash-up of serious space drama and silly animal fun.

    That time Rocket teamed with a rabbit to fight a terrifying creature called The Red Breath.

    Rocket Raccoon #2 (1985)

    On Rocket’s world, all humanity is insane and it is the job of the animals to keep them happy, safe, and entertained. Some Rocket highlights from this series include Rocket teaming with his sworn enemy Blackjack O’Hare to take out a terrifying creature called the Red Breath, a formless terror that erases anything it touches from reality.

    Rocket may at first seem like a novelty character but there is an undercurrent of terror and drama always surrounding the space ranger. The Red Breath is a frightening concept of oblivion and somehow it merges with the world of funny animal levity that also defines Rocket. Rocket defeats the Red Breath thus proving that he can stand up to more than clowns and rabbits, and that even the darkest terrors contained in the galaxy are no match for the quick wits and toughness of the universe’s smallest protector.

    That time Rocket gave a worm an orgasm.

    Rocket Raccoon #3 (1985)

    Other great Rocket moments of the series include Rocket dog fighting a blimp with a baboon’s face and deadly banana bombs manned by a crew of apes wearing epaulets while being bombarded by clown tanks. All drawn by Mike Mignola, we must remind you.

    After Rocket’s ship crashes, he and his crew, including Blackjack O’Hare, escape by riding the Wild Worms of Halfworld, giant albino worms that wear saddles on their pleasure centers. So essentially, Rocket escaped capture by baboons and clowns by riding a worm’s perpetual orgasm. Methinks Disney might skip that bit.

    That time Rocket kind of visited Mos Eisley.

    Rocket Raccoon #3 (1985)

    What’s a space opera without a cantina? After his ride on the horny albino worms, Rocket is predictably betrayed by Blackjack who calls on his crew of cutthroat animals to take down the raccoon. A huge bar fight ensues where the mercenary rabbit tries to abduct Rocket’s gal pal Lylla. The feisty Lylla takes matters into her own hands and takes down the bunny proving herself to be much more than a damsel in distress.

    Rocket and his pals blast their way out of the bar causing much grisly death to O’Hare’s crew of scum. This cantina brawl was high octane sci-fi mayhem at its finest in a shoot out to end all shoot outs. Sorry about the mess.

    That time Rocket saved an entire race from madness while fighting clowns and apes before flying off into the sunset inside a starship shaped like a giant mechanical person.

    Rocket Raccoon #4 (1985)

    The fabulous mini ended with Rocket and his pals saving the humans of the Keystone Quadrant from perpetual lunacy by distributing helmets that allowed them to do the one thing they were never able to do, quietly think. It wasn’t easy, as Dyvyne and Jakes both sent their armies to take down Rocket and insure the humans would return to madness. Rocket fends off both armies and saves the humans he was tasked with protecting before flying off in a giant robot ship shaped like a titanic person.

    The cover of this issue features Rocket, saber in hand, riding a robotic golden horse while clutching the severed head of a clown. That’s all you need to know really. For a very long period of time, this would be the end of Rocket and his adventures with his crew of creatures. When he would next appear, he would start his long journey into the mainstream Marvel Universe.

    That time Rocket was recruited on a suicide mission to save the galaxy from mechanical genocidal warlords.

    Annihilation Conquest: Star Lord #1 (2007)

    When X-Men baddies the Phalanx took over Kree space, the Kree had no choice but to turn to a low tech band of renegades for help. It was 15 years since Rocket’s mini ended, and other than a brief appearance in the Sensational She-Hulk, that was it. But with Annihilation: Conquest, Rocket was back and featured in a major Marvel cosmic event.

    In the first issue of Star Lord’s series, Rocket met Peter Quill and Groot for the first time, two characters he would have an indelible bond with moving forward. The seeds that would eventually grow into the new Guardians of the Galaxywere planted here in the first meeting between future film superstars.

    That time Rocket hocked a loogie on a tiny sentient royal tree from Planet X.

    Annihilation Conquest: Star Lord #3 (2007)

    The early interactions between Rocky and Groot weren’t all lovey-dovey. After Groot was seemingly destroyed helping save his squad, the tree emperor of Planet X was left in sprig form waiting to grow into a menacing wooden behemoth once again. At this point, Groot was an arrogant aristocrat, after all, he was royalty, and after repeated petulant demands for water, Rocket responded by spitting on the tree king of the cosmos. Things would get better between rodent and tree, but this moment defined Rocket as the take no crap Raccoon fandom would fall in love with.

    That time Rocket joined the Guardians when he was drunk to help a friend and saved the galaxy from the Universal Church of Truth

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #1 (2008)

    After Rocket, Starlord, and company took down the Phalanx, they decided to band together to take on any future galactic level threats. Starlord got a team together and the big hearted raccoon only agreed to join if Peter Quill stopped blaming himself for the Phalanx incursion. Of course, Rocket was also deep into his cups at the time.

    The first threat the not yet dubbed Guardians of the Galaxy faced was the Universal Church of Truth, a nutty religious space cult that was trying to open a gateway to bring an elder space god through to wreck all kinds of havoc. While Adam Warlock and the female Quasar held the gate open, Rocket took out the tentacled terror from beyond with a well placed grenade. You can always count on Rocket for a well placed grenade. Rocket quickly proved he could hang with the cosmic big boys of the Guardians although the rest of the team did balk at his suggestion of naming the team “The Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic.”

    That time the Guardians broke up and Rocket started his own team.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #7 (2009)

    If there was any doubt that Rocket is the heart of the Guardians, it was quelled when the Guardians broke up. When the current team of Guardians found out that Starlord used the mental powers of the Celestial Madonna Mantis to brainwash them into joining his dream team, Drax, Gamora, Quasar, and Warlock got mighty pissed at Peter Quill and abandoned the team.

    But Rocket, who was also angry at Peter, believed in the idea of a team of heroes to protect the cosmos, so he created his own team consisting of Bug, Groot, Major Victory, and Mantis, a team he capably led in Peter’s absence. Rocket and his team of new Guardians proved themselves worthy of the name when they took down the Badoon, a race of murderous aliens who were destined to wipe out humanity one thousand years later. Without Rocket, the Guardians would have burned out before their legend got started.

    That time Rocket and his team teleported to the Negative Zone and landed in the midst of hordes of hostiles.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #10 (2009)

    So, Peter Quill was locked inside a Negative Zone prison designed to contain hostile super humans. At the gates, hordes of hostile creatures led by Blastaar were trying to lay siege to the prison which held a portal to Earth. Rocket and his crew locked onto Peter’s helmet so they could teleport in and pull their pal out.

    Sadly, one of Blastaar’s minions was wearing the purloined helmet and Rocket ported into the midst of Blastaar’s army, which was unfortunate for Blastaar’s army as Rocket and his band cut through the hostiles in order to save their friend. Fur flew, Earth was saved, and Rocket had his chum back. All in a day’s work.

    That time it was revealed that Rocket used to hang with the Starjammers.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #13 (2009)

    Jeez, Rocket should probably lay of the teleporting. During the opening salvo of the War of Kings, Rocket led a team of Guardians to parlay for peace with the Shi’ar who were in the midst of a conflict with the Kree. When Rocket tried to teleport his team aboard a Shi’ar ship, he was shocked to find the vessel was shielded. Rocket and company were helplessly floating in space when the Starjammers rescued them.

    Turns out, Rocket used to hang with Corsair’s band of space marauders and was still tight with them. A raccoon space pirate? Yeah, I’d read that series. Rocket just gets more Han Solo by the second, don’t he?

    This all led to Rocket trying to help Empress Lilandra take her throne back from the evil Lord Vulcan in an epic conflict between the Shi’ar, Kree, Inhumans, and the Guardians. In the middle of it all was a little raccoon with a big gun who didn’t blink at any of the cosmic insanity exploding around him.

    That Time Rocket was eaten by an other-dimensional spider/snake thing.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #20 (2010)

    After the events of the War of Kings, a huge fault in space opened and it was up to the Guardians to see what was on the other side. The Guardians’ bravest, Rocket and Drax, used Groot’s branches as tethers to go into the breach. What they found was a burrow of interdimensional spiders.

    The cool thing about this moment was that the Guardians’ telepath Moondragon was physcically linked to Rocket, giving the rest of the Guardians and the reader a clue into what was going on in Rocket’s head. Turns out, Rocket was more animalistic than he let on, that every instinct screamed at him to get to safety, to not go towards danger. So every time fans have seen Rocket bravely launch himself into battle, he was defying every baser instinct in his mind. Now that’s some bravery.  

    That time Rocket helped take down Thanos.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 #25 (2010)

    The worshipper of death, the mad god Thanos will indeed be appearing in the Guardians of the Galaxy film but the long awaited movie won’t be the only time Thanos and the world of the Guardians have intersected. In the final issue of the second volume of Guardians, Thanos awoke and faced down the entirety of the team.

    The Mad Titan was finally taken down by Starlord and a blast from a Cosmic Cube, but Rocket was also present. The feisty little raccoon faced down the most feared being in the galaxy with nothing more than piss, vinegar, and a huge f’n gun. From killer clowns and space apes to Thanos, Rocket has come a long way.

    That time Rocket was left as the torch bearer.

    Thanos Imperative #6 (2011)

    After Nova and Starlord were trapped in the Cancerverse (oh comics) with Thanos, Rocket was left carrying the torch for the Guardians. This was essentially the end of the line for the Abnett and Lanning Guardians with Rocket left behind to keep the dream alive. How Starlord returned has still not been explained in Marvel continuity, but with his best friend and inspiration gone, Rocket kept the idea of the Guardians alive so the flame could be rekindled.

    At Starlord’s grave, Rocket’s last words to his pal Peter Quill were, “Damn it Pete. Why’d you guys have to be such heroes?” The raccoon’s lament was poignant and powerful as he was left alone to carry on the Guardians’ legacy.

    That time Rocket took a job as a mail clerk and got fired for killing a clown during work hours and returned home.

    Annihilators #1-4 (2011)

    After the death of Starlord (he got better) and the disbanding of the Guardians, a despondent Rocket wanted to escape from space jockeying and adventure so he took a job in an office mail room. It was all kind of like Office Space but with a sentient space raccoon until a clown from the original Mantlo/Mignola mini was shipped to Rocket and tried to kill him during business hours. Rocket was canned and returned to a life of adventure which eventually led him to return to the Keystone Quadrant.

    The whole thing was a loving tribute to the worlds and concepts dreamed up by Bill Mantlo with all the elements of Rocket’s first seroes were revisited like Wal Russ and Blackjack. Rocket saved his old stomping grounds from the evil of the Star Thief and had his heroic spirit rekindled. Plus, Rocket blasting evil space clowns? It just never gets old.

    That time Rocket was exploited by an evil media conglomerate.

    Annihilators: Earthfall #1-4 (2011)

    Disney is about to market Rocket out the wazoo, but even that will be nothing compared to the time that Rocket and Groot were caught in the thrall of Mojo, the spineless, corpulent television exec that forced Rocket to be his latest multi-platform media star complete with action figures (Build-a-Groot!). Rocket and Groot kicked Mojo’s jaundiced butt and even forced the exec to cut them in on their merchandising sales. You think Rocket made the same deal at gunpoint with Disney?

    That time Rocket met the Avengers for the first time and made Jarvis order him a pizza.

    Avengers Assemble #5 (2012)

    As awesome as Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy book was, it was always on the fringes of the Marvel Universe, so Rocket never really had a chance to interact with any mainstream heroes like the Avengers or the X-Men. That all changed when Thanos arrived on Earth. The Guardians followed their most terrifying adversary and Rocket met the Avengers for the first time.

    With the threat of Thanos imminent, with his first battle side by side with the legendary Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man, was Rocket overwhelmed? Nope, he was more concerned with ordering a pie from Ray’s Pizza so he didn’t have to battle Thanos on an empty stomach.

    That time Rocket invented a really violent catchphrase.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 #2 (2013)

    The Earth was being invaded by the Badoon (again) and Rocket and the Guardians were the planet’s only defense. With Iron Man by their side (hey, the Guardians were going to be movie stars, they needed the popular guys around now), Rocket and his team desperately were trying to defend London from a Badoon strike force. Rocket singlehandedly took down two Badoon ships by boarding one and taking out the crew in rapid succession.

    For each vile lizard alien he killed, he shouted “Bam! Murdered You! Bam, Murdered You” until the raccoon stood alone. This has kind of become Rocket’s version of “It’s Clobberin’ Time,” but way more violent. With this issue, as the countdown to the film began in earnest, Rocket and his battle cry showed fans and Badoon alike that this was one raccoon not to be trifled with.

    That time Rocket and Tony Stark bonded over Star Trek.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 #5 (2013)

    Of course, during his time with the Guardians, Tony Stark had space sex with Gamora. When finding out about this brief romantic convergence, Rocket was shocked that Stark would be brave enough to hook up with the legit deadliest woman in the galaxy. Stark told Rocket that ever since he was nine years old, he wanted to hook up with a green woman after seeing Captain Kirk do it on Star Trek.

    Of course, Rocket has no idea what Star Trek was but it’s hilarious to think Stark had a hook up list based on classic sci-fi. It’s also hilarious to think that Rocket might want to catch up with Trekand binge watch it on Netflix to see the inspiration for Stark’s bucket list. Let’s just hope he doesn’t start with Enterprise, Earth would never survive Rocket’s wrath.

    That time he took on the Shi’ar Imperial Guard to save Jean Grey and met a couple of Earth raccoons.

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 #13 (2014)

    They don’t come any tougher than the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, a veritable legion of super-powered beings led by Gladiator. When the Guard came to take down the newly arrived time displaced pre-Phoenix Jean Grey, Rocket and the Guardians felt it was a grave injustice to kill a young girl for crimes she had yet to commit. So Rocket did what Rocket does, he grabbed an improbably big gun and he took on the Imperial Guard despite being outnumbered and out powered.

    The Guardians won, forging a union with the young All-New X-Men. After the battle, Rocket stumbled across two Earth raccoons and was horrified to see his brethren didn’t wear pants. That’s Rocket, a warrior with the courage to face down the combined might of the Gladiator and the Imperial Guard but severely off put by raccoon genitals.  

    That time he found out he might not be the only raccoon in the galaxy.

    Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow’s Avengers #1 (2013)

    There he was, in a bar, bragging about his former conquests like he is wont to do, when an alien drunkard informed Rocket he once saw a being just like him. Rocket knew this was impossible because as far as he knows, there are no beings in the galaxy like him. When Rocket got heavy handed with the alien, a shot rang out, and the alien lay dead. All Rocket saw was a hooded figure, short of stature and limb on a rooftop with a smoking gun.

    This intriguing little plot thread continued into Rocket Raccoon#1 by Skottie Young and is sure to give fans of Rocket many great moments as Marvel’s newest sensation blasts off into future adventures.

    That time Rocket gave the stink eye to the Punisher.

    Original Sin #4 (2014)

    There’s a whole bunch of cosmic shenanigans going on in Original Sin. After the murder of the large craniumed voyeur, Uatu the Watcher, a bunch of heroes from different factions all try to get to the bottom of the cosmic homicide. Rocket found himself allied with his Guardian pal Gamora and her crew, on the opposing side was a team led by Doctor Strange that just happened to include Frank Castle, otherwise known as the Punisher.

    Now, many think Castle is the biggest hard ass in the Marvel Universe, but Rocket seemed to disagree. Our raccoon hero may have only came up to Castle’s thigh, but Rocket stood toe-to-toe with the Punisher, not blinking and even referring to the crazed vigilante as “Skull Boy.” Not that we measured, but Rocket’s gun was just way bigger than Castle’s. This moment solidified Rocket as a legit hardcase in the Marvel Universe, a rodent that dared the always froggie Punisher to jump, and in response, Castle just stood still.

    That Time Rocket Became a Solo Star After All Those Years of Obscurity

    Rocket Raccoon #1 (2014)

    What Bill Manto started in Marvel’s black and white mags of the 1970s came to a head in 2014 as Rocket Raccoon finally got his own monthly series. Yeah, it wouldn’t have been published if not for the film success, but cartoonist Skottie Young began a series that was part classic Flash Gordon and part Bill Watterson’s Spaceman Spiff.

    Young proved that the heavy drinking always killing space raccoon was more than just a punchline and could headline his own series. Young brought back many classic Rocket foes and concepts as he mined from Mantlo’s past to bring the raccoon of the hour to the present. Since 2014, Rocket has been a constant solo star in his own series and in a few series he shared with his best bud Groot. But Young did it best and no Rocket lover should miss the first regular Rocket Raccoon solo series.


    That Time Rocket fought in the Marvel Super-Hero Civil War (Well, the Second One)

    Rocket Raccoon And Groot #7-10 (2016)

    Rocket Raccoon was once a trivial piece of Marvel history. His appearances were few and far between and only the most knowledgeable Marvel nerd knew of the space raccoon’s existence. Boy, all that has changed, and now, when Marvel has a huge crossover event (and by that we mean every thirty seconds), Rocket is usually there murdering people’s faces.

    Take Civil War II (please!) for example. When Captain Marvel and Iron Man battle over the morality of using an Inhuman precog to make arrests before a crime is committed, all heck breaks loose and Rocket and Groot must choice sides in this conflict. Somehow, during this event, in the pages of Rocket Raccoon and Groot, the pair of space pals end up in Georgia on an unforgettable bounty hunt as the civil war gets really uncivil thanks to this fighting mad rodent and tree. Also, check out the Civil War II series itself because Rocket is all over the place proving that he is the unlikeliest Marvel A-lister of them all while gleefully taking pot shots at some of Marvel’s mightiest heroes.


    That Time Rocket and Kraven the Hunter Almost Destroyed New York City

    Rocket Raccoon #1-5 (2016-2017)

    We all know that classic Spider-Man villain and possessor of the most awesome facial hair ever Kraven the Hunter hunts the world’s most dangerous game. And if you’ve been paying attention to this article you know that nothing is more dangerous than a pissed off space raccoon with a big kerflarcking gun. And that’s the battle fan got to witness in 2016’s Rocket Raccoon series.

    After the events of Civil War II, Rocket and his fellow Guardians found themselves stranded on Earth. Rocket was just trying to get by and get off the planet he hates the most, when Kraven comes a-calling. Kraven has hunted Marvel heroes for a long time, but he never met prey like Rocket. When Kraven came screeching up in his Kra-Van (no, we’re not kidding, it was glorious), it was very hard to tell hunter from prey as all sorts of fur was flying. It all ended with the Statue of Liberty in pieces and raccoon fur and goatee hairs falling from the sky. We don’t often get to see Rocket take on classic Marvel Earthbound villains, but this battle that was red of tooth and claw was one for the ages.


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    Avengers: Infinity War helped remind us how much we still want to see Iron Man 4 happen.

    Feature Marc Buxton
    Apr 27, 2018

    Whether or not we ever get to see Iron Man 4(it's unlikely), one thing is pretty certain. Audiences love Tony Stark, and if Marvel has its way, fans will thrill to the cinematic exploits of the Armored Avenger for a long time to come, whether it's serving as a mentor for a young hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming, or leading the charge in Avengers: Infinity War, we can't get enough of Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man.

    We've already seen drastically different versions of Iron Man villains like Whiplash and the Mandarin on the screen, so how might Marvel studios handle future adversaries? 

    We've got some fun ideas...


    23. Dreadknight

    Real Name: Bram Velsing (wait, really?)

    The Marvel brain trust might have a hard time reimagining this guy. Velsing was a scientist in the employ of Dr. Doom who was disgusted by his master. Learning of Velsing’s treachery, Doom fused a metallic helmet to Velsing’s head and exiled him from Latveria. Velsing was nursed back to life by Victoria Frankenstein (!) and after finding a cache of high tech medival weapons became the Dreadknight...until he was defeated by Iron Man and Frankenstein’s monster.

    Umm, yeah, that might go over like a lead balloon on screen. Even the most talented filmmaker might have a hard time amalgamating Frankenstein into Stark’s world. Maybe the cinematic Dreadknight can be a Renfairer gone wrong?

    Well, the character looks pretty awesome, and I’m sure Downey would find lots of comedic potential in the words “rocket lance.”


    22. Firebrand

    Real Name: Gary Gilbert

    This early Iron Man badass has pretty cool looking armor...and flamethrowers! Flamethrowers always work on the big screen.

    He also has a connection to Justin Hammer, a baddie that is ripe for a big screen reappearance. Early Marvel writers didn't get loads of backstory into Firebrand’s few brief appearances, but it was revealed that Firebrand murdered his own father. Perhaps Marvel can play off Stark’s own turbulent relationship with his father as he must combat a villain who gleefully committed patricide?


    21. Arsenal

    First appearance: Iron Man #114 (1978)

    Speaking of Tony’s father. This little known robotic menace would actually be perfect for film exploration. In the waning days of World War II, a team of scientists led by Howard Stark created Arsenal to aid the allies. At war’s end, Arsenal was packed away while the Avengers were taking on the Unicorn (more on him later). Arsenal took on the Avengers and teamed with another villain named Mistress who was deluded into believing that the Allies lost the war.

    Arsenal would provide a connection between Tony Stark and his past, a mine field of anxiety for the character. Tony proving his worth against his father’s inventiveness would be an awesome story to center a movie around.


    20. The Blood Brothers

    First appearance: Iron Man #55 

    The Blood Brothers might be forgotten footnotes if not for one thing…they appeared in the same comic that first introduced Thanos. Unless you’ve been living in the Negative Zone, you know that Thanos will be prominently featured in Marvel films for years to come. Why not connect Iron Man with Thanos through the Blood Brothers, just like the comics once did?

    The Brothers are certainly impressive visually, and they have pretty unique powers. They have super-human strength as long as they stand next to each other. And they drink blood. With Marvel’s alien worlds established in Guardians of the Galaxy, introducing an alien menace might be a unique place for Stark’s next adventure to go.


    19. Living Laser

    Real Name: Arthur Parks

    The Living Laser combines a unique power, a classic look, and a borderline sociopath to create a deadly threat for Stark and company. In the comic, Parks was a scientist who was transformed into living energy and fought the Avengers. He soon became obsessed with the Wasp which adds a level of ick to the already dangerous villain. The Laser can create holograms as well which would bring a layer of subterfuge to any big screen battle.


    18. Wong Chu

    First Appearance: tales of Suspense #39 (1963)

    The first foe Iron Man ever faced, Wong Chu was the villain who kidnapped Stark and placed him in the cave. Of course, in the films it was the members of the Ten Rings that did this, but perhaps Wong Chu can be introduced in another way, or he can be a path to the "real" Mandarin.

    And while it was implied who the true leader of the Ten Rings was in Iron Man 3, it is never implicitly stated. Could Wong Chu have been the man responsible for Stark’s greatest foes all along? Being Iron Man’s first comic baddie has to carry some weight, right?


    17. The Mauler

    Real name: Aaron Soames, Turk Barrett, and Brendan Doyle

    It would be pretty cool to see another Frank Miller creation on the big screen, huh? Three men have worn the Mauler armor. Soames was an elderly worker deprived of his pension through a computer error and donned the armor for vengeance. Imagine a villain whose life was ruined by corporate greed going after Stark, the symbol of corporate success? You can even have Soames’ armor stolen by someone, and have Stark deal with multiple Maulers (what a cool band name) with different motivations.


    16. Ultimo

    First Appearance: Tales of Suspense #76 (1966)

    What’s cooler than a giant robot? What would be cooler than Downey’s Iron Man fighting a giant robot? Ultimo was the creation of the Mandarin, and while it would be hard to imagine that audiences would buy Ultimo as Aldrich Killain’s side project, there is a way to use Ultimo in a future film.

    Stark has fought other armored foes, but he has never gone against something so mind numbingly huge. Ultimo can be seen as technology gone wrong, and what a visual this clash would make!


    15. The Unicorn

    Real Name: Milos Masaryk

    This villain makes a denim jacket that much cooler. Really, despite his, ahem, oh so tough code name, The Unicorn (stop laughing) has posed a serious threat to Iron Man in the past.

    The Unicorn’s power lies in his super helmet, the conical shaped tip sending out deadly blast of energy. Ok, fine, he sucks...but there is something about his past as a Russian defector that makes him a pretty unique threat. Oh, wait they did that with Ivan Vanko? C’mon, he’s a dude in a green helmet named the Unicorn; Kevin Feige has to have something for him.

    Hello? Is this thing on?


    14. Whirlwind

    Real Name: David Cannon

    Starting his career as the Human Top (don’t hold it against him), David Cannon was first an enemy of Giant–Man. Whirlwind’s power to spin at unbelievable speed and move super quick was soon made that much more menacing by attaching saw blades to his wrists. This would be a pretty badass visual in the film and Whirlwind’s motivations make him super creepy.

    Whirlwind was once a pretty generic villain, but soon, like the Living Laser, he became obsessed with Janet Van Dyne aka the Wasp. He even served as her chauffeur for a time before revealing his identity and obsession. Whirlwind soon ran afoul of Iron Man and became one of Stark’s persistent adversaries. In a film, just change Wasp to Potts, use the same chauffeur plot twist and dangerous stalkerish tendencies and you have instant conflict.


    13. Mallen

    First appearance: Iron Man #1 (2005)

    In the legendary "Extremis" story arc, it was Mallen, not Killian, who was enhanced by the Extremis process and went up against Stark. Mallen is a heartless white supremacist anarchist who served as a warning about what can happen if someone truly horrible got his hands on advanced technology.

    Mallen was the anti-Stark, a man using future tech to drag the world back to a place of fear and hatred. Imagine a film where a man like Mallen used the now familiar Extremis tech to become Iron Man’s most hate filled cinematic foe. Characters like Mallen seem more at home in a Christopher Nolan flick, but Marvel can really amp up the stakes and the social relevancy by using such an ugly antagonist.


    12. The Controller

    Real Name: Basil Sandhurst

    Firstly, villains named Basil? Always awesome.

    The Controller might look like a slightly archaic Silver Age baddie, but a deep look into the character reveals some untapped potential. Ol' Basil was a control freak; his OCD need to control drove him into fits of rage. His brother tries to calm him one day and triggers a lab explosion. Guilt ridden, Basil’s brother builds him an exo-skeleton which grants him super-strength.

    The Controller also used slave discs to control others, an extension of his need to control people and reality. Basil is clearly obsessive compulsive borderline personality case, which would make him a pretty unique modern villain. Stark, who suffers from anxiety and acute narcissism, can relate to mental illness, which would make the Controller a pretty effective foil for Stark.


    11. The Crimson Dynamo

    Real Name: Anton Vanko

    Well who woulda thunk it? Vanko, who became Whiplash in the second film, was originally the Crimson Dynamo? So this villain was kinda already done, but the name and the look of the character is way too cool to pass up.

    Yes, the "red menace" stuff is passé, but how about a relative of Vanko seeking vengeance on Stark and becoming the Crimson Dynamo? Or just flip flop identities and have Mark Scarlotti aka the comic book Whiplash become the movie Crimson Dynamo. Why not? If not Vanko, then how about one of the other three thousand different characters that became the Dynamo over the years?


    10. The Blizzard

    Real Name: Gregor Shapanka

    Think of the potential partnership with Dairy Queen. Originally known as Jack Frost, this villain has been around since Stark's early days. It would be cool to see an ice villain in a movie not played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Blizzard would be another high tech villain to give Stark the cold shoulder. Sigh, now I’m doing it. Moving on…


    9. The Ghost

    First Appearance: Iron Man #219 (Jun 1987)

    Warren Ellis brought us the modern Tony Stark that eventually found his way to the movies. Using Ellis’ version of the Ghost as seen in Thunderbolts turns this once c-lister into a major threat. His creepy appearance and corporate origins would make him a perfect foe for Stark.

    The Ghost would be a very different type of villain after the beat sticks that were Iron Monger, Vanko, and Killian. His stealthy approach to deviltry and his stunningly visual power set would make the Ghost a tremendous cinematic villain. Imagine a villain that can literally be anywhere and anytime, a ghost in the machine to go one on one with the master of machines!


    8. Count Nefaria

    Real Name: Luchino Nefaria

    The super powered crime lord. The first villain the new X-Men faced. The badass Mafioso would be a very different challenge for Tony Stark.  Instead of fighting a technological villain, Stark can face a murdered driven by power and greed. Plus, he has facial hair to match Stark’s signature goatee.

    His daughter, Whitney Frost, was the big baddie on Agent Carter Season 2, so they might have to play with the chronology a little bit, but who cares?


    7. The Melter

    Real Name: Bruno Horgan

    We saw one villain with melting powers in Iron Man 3, but it is a great visual, so why not again? Horgan was driven to evil when he was ruined by using faulty materials in his manufacturing. A careless industrialist seems to fit in with a foe Stark would despise.


    6. Titanium Man

    Real Name:  I: Boris Bulski II: Kondrati Topolov aka the Gremlin

    I would go with the Gremlin version of the character. See, you take the awesome looking Titanium Man armor, with its contrasting green hue to Stark’s red and gold, you back up a Brinks truck to Peter Dinklage’s house, and you have yourself a movie. Yes, Tyrion Lannister vs. another man named Stark. It’s just a license to print money.

    This has officially been the first time Titanium Man has been mentioned without mentioning the Wings song “Magneto & Titanium Man” written by Paul Mcartney and Wings! What? DAMMIT!


    5. Temugin

    First appearance: Iron Man (volume 3) #53 (2002)

    How would they pull this off? Oh, the nerd rage. Temugin is a pretty cool character in his own right. How about there was a Mandarin in the Marvel Movie Universe, and Killian and Stark have now disgraced that name. Enter Temugin to avenge his father’s name.


    4. The Scarecrow

    Real name: Ebenezer Laughton

    How about a horror themed villain for Tony Stark? How would a serial killing contortionist fit into Stark’s high tech world? It might be stepping on DC’s toes, but Iron Man’s Scarecrow has been menacing the Marvel Universe for decades and he would provide a unique test for Stark, forcing the Avenger to face real evil not motivated by greed or power...just chaos.


    3. Fin Fang Foom

    First Appearance: Strange Tales #89 (1961)

    He’s a freakin’ dragon. No one, and I mean no one will keep their ticket money in their wallet with the prospects of Iron Man vs. a dragon. Thor has opened the Marvel Universe to myths and monsters, so why not one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s earliest creations?

    Forget Smaug, this is the dragon filmgoers want.


    2. M.O.D.O.K.

    Real Name: George Tarleton

    The Mechanical Organism Designed Only for Killing needs to appear somewhere in the Marvel Movie Universe. A.I.M. has already been established, and without Killian, they need a leader. Why not ol' big head?

    M.O.D.O.K. is total Marvel, equal parts scary and fun. And oh, the material that Downey can work with here. Pure comedy gold...is the world ready for a giant evil head?


    1. The Mandarin

    First appearance: Tales of Suspense #50 (1964)

    We never really got him, did we? Imagine Loki coming down from Asgard, finding Ben Kingsley’s half-in-the-bag actor, and magically charging his rings while mind altering Kingsley into believing he IS the Mandarin. It could work, and fans will finally get the Mandarin/Stark duel they want. And more Loki. Fans always want more Loki.

    This article first appeared in 2013. It has been lightly updated.


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    Naomi Alderman's speculative fiction tale of women in power is a must-read for any Handmaid's Tale fans.

    Feature Delia Harrington
    Apr 28, 2018

    The Power by Naomi Alderman is our current Den of Geek Book Club pick.

    The premise alone is transgressive: imagine a world in which young women suddenly acquire the ability to physically overpower—hurt, maim or even kill—any man. This is the setting the reader is thrust into in Naomi Alderman's The Power, a 2016 science fiction novel in which women develop the ability to release electrical jolts from their hand, leading to them becoming the dominant gender. From there, the novel explores the potential dynamics of a matriarchal society in a story that is a must-read for fans of The Handmaid's Tale.

    Much of The Power feels like it could belong to the celebratory genre of "male tears"-style, knowingly satirical misandrist apparel and merchandise. But what if "men are cancelled" wasn't something said by powerless women? What if the most physically-powerful people decided to cancel men, and actually had the ability to follow that statement through? What happens to all of that righteous anger if, in a short span of time, women gained the power to enforce our anger, not just scream it into the void while we watch men hurt us, repeatedly and with impunity. What if we suddenly had impunity, instead of the other way around?

    In a moment where many are (falsely) claiming that women suddenly have all the power and that men are tip-toeing around us out of fear, it's fascinating to read about a world where that actually happens—if only to see how far off it truly is from our own reality. A vision of the radical, global empowerment of women serves as not only a cautionary tale about the corrupt nature of power and the misleading shortsightedness of gender roles, but also a reminder of how far we still have to go, how deeply entrenched our ideas about gender truly are.

    Though the book was clearly written well before this recent, most persistent sociopolitical moment that attempts to equalize the power imbalance that is sexual violence, The Power simultaneously feels like the perfect book to read right now, and the most difficult one. In a world where power (physical, organizational, and systemic) is shifting, the lines and norms of sexual violence are shifting, too.

    The Power is not a straight up gender swap or farce. It is grounded in the reality of how our present world—with all its technology, power dynamics, and social movements—would react to a revelation and shift over time. While toxic femininity certainly emerges, toxic masculinity exists alongside it, with an added bitterness that can only come from those who once had power, but don't any longer. Men gather on forums like Reddit and 4Chan, just as they do now, to talk about what fat ugly bitches women are, and how they're taking over everything. Except that, in this world, there's some credence to their ranting, as societal power shifts over the course of the ten years chronicled in the book.

    The Power asks questions that deeply interrogate the gender roles and assumptions of our time. What does it mean to be a woman without the power? Or, even more rarely, a man with it? Can the power be taken by force? Who are you if you lose your power? How does physical power translate into systemic political power? Can we ever forgive men for the millennia of hurt they have caused? Will hurting them back make it right? Will anything make it right? Would men ever cede power without being forced? Is an egalitarian society possible?

    It’s no surprise that the author was quite literally mentored by Margaret Atwood. Atwood's influence, particularly from The Handmaid's Tale and the MaddAdam trilogy, are all over the book. The framing device of a letter to a friend is reminiscent of Atwood's Dr. Piexto from the epilogue of The Handmaid's Tale, right down to the gendered dismissal of the story we just read. The use of artifacts, too, calls to mind Offred's recovered cassette tape of her story. The artifacts are also a comic reminder of what role our possessions play in our lives, how confusing our current society will one day be, and the way that preconceived ideas color all of human knowledge, including the sciences.

    There are key differences here, too. Whereas Handmaid's Tale is a laser-focused tale of the necessarily narrow view of the protagonist Offred, The Power takes a more global narrative stance, showing even more breadth than Hulu's television adaptation has so far. As the narrative shifts from one protagonist to the next (there are four here), we're able to see the difference in how, say, Saudi Arabian or Moldovan women react to the power, versus those in the U.S. or the U.K. The geographic, cultural, and political specificity of the emergence of the power would affect different countries is a much-needed level of specificity, which speaks to women's abilities to differentiate between situations like verbal harassment and sexual slavery, contrary to some assessments.

    The Power is rich in subtext and metaphors. Like the consciousness raising circles of the 1960s and 70s, the power first blooms in young women, and then spreads from one woman to the next, as those with the power awaken something deep and secret in other women. Henceforth, all baby girls are born with it—this ability is like air to them, it has always been there. And there's no closing Pandora's box, no shutting this thing down once it gets going.

    Much of this book serves as a litmus test on the reader’s current view of gender roles, especially the ingrained ones. Does it feel unnatural to read a male reporter described as effeminate, flirtatious, or impossible to take seriously because he was shirtless earlier? Do we chafe when a woman character says that men like to be zapped, just a little bit, in bed? Our reactions to The Power say more about us than they do about the book.

    To discuss The Power with us, head over to the Den of Geek Book Club on Goodreads.


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    Only know Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Groot? You only know a tiny fraction of the insane history of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy!

    FeatureMarc Buxton
    Apr 28, 2018

    With the continued success of the film franchise with Avengers: Infinity War, the big screen versions of the team are now household names. Comic fans have known the names Star-Lord, Drax, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot for decades, and now, mainstream fans have learned the sheer coolness of this space fairing fivesome as well. But these five aren’t the only heroes who have had the honor of calling themselves Guardians of the Galaxy.

    The story of the Guardians was originally set one thousand years in the future and for many solar cycles, they were the protectors of the future of the Marvel Universe. Creators like Arnold Drake, Gene Colan, Steve Gerber, and Jim Valentino guided the adventures of the future heroes until Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning launched their own team of Guardians in the present...a team that included a sentient tree, a take no prisoners space raccoon, two emerald skinned maniacs, and a brave and well meaning space outlaw. It’s time to take a look at all the monsters, gods, swashbucklers, aliens, and heroes that have made up the history of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

    Tomorrow’s Heroes Today...the Original Guardians of the Galaxy

    Major Vance Astro, aka, Major Victory

    For a long time, Vance Astro served as the heart of the Guardians. To truly understand the legacy of the team, one must first understand this time lost hero. Astro is a mutant gifted with powers of telekinesis and, in the future, he will be the first man to try and reach Alpha Centurai. As an Earth man from the past, Astro proudly serves the Guardians of the Galaxy in their battle against the Badoon.

    Oh, but things don’t end there.

    In the present day Marvel timeline, Astro becomes an Avenger known as Justice and set a heroic precedent that many will look to in the future for inspiration. In the future, Astro will change his name to Major Victory and will be the proud wielder of the shield of Captain America, keeping the legacy of Steve Rogers alive. He will also become bonded to the Venom symbiote bringing the legacy of one of Spider-Man's greatest foes into the future. Astro played a part in the late and lamented Guardians 3000 comic series and has served side by side with Star-Lord’s present day Guardians.

    Charlie 27

    Every proper team of super-heroes needs some muscle, and before Drax and Groot, the Guardians’ heavy was Charlie 27. The original concept of the Guardians was a group of heroes from different planets that had to defend the Milky Way from the despotic Badoon. Charlie 27 was the team’s representative from Jupiter. He was genetically engineered to withstand Jupiter’s crushing gravity, so he was really freakin’ big...like Ben Grimm big.

    Where Vance Astro was the heart of the Guardians, Charlie was their strength, but he wasn’t just muscle. Charlie 27 had a keen military mind and for years, wherever the original Guardians appeared, readers could count on Charlie 27 to bust some heads. Charlie was an integral part of the Guardians from the '70s to the '90s and will also be returning in Guardians 3000 later this year.

    Martinex

    We covered heart and strength, now we have the Guardians’ brains, Martinex of Pluto. Now, we aren't sure how the crystalline Martinex feels about his native Pluto no longer being considered a planet, but Martinex has long been the tech and science expert of the original Guardians and probably the most visually stunning character on the original team. His crystal body helps protect him from the freezing atmosphere of Pluto but it also helps him stand out even in the biggest George Perez rendered gathering of multiple heroes.

    Martinex proudly served the original Guardians as well as the Guardians of the Galaxy offshoot squad, the Galactic Guardians. He might be the hero most often mistaken for Bobby Drake, but Martinex was a great hero and a classic character in his own right. He brought a little Spock to the party with his scientific acumen but his energy blasts and impenetrable skin also made him a force to be reckoned with for the Badoon.

    Yondu

    The spirit of the original Guardians, Yondu is the only initial member of the team who was not from the Milky Way. Yondu was originally from Centurai 4, the first planet colonized by humans. He is a skilled tracker, hunter, and archer and has the visually awesome ability to guide the flight of his arrows by whistling. The most alien of the Guardians was in many ways the most human as he spent the early parts of the series trying to find his place in the universe.

    Yondu served with the Guardians for a long time and, like his fellow three original members fought the Badoon in the future, came to the present to fight Korvac alongside Thor, teamed with the Defenders, and, like the rest of his team, even joined the modern day Avengers for a short period of time. 

    Things Get Strange...the Steve Gerber Era

    Starhawk

    Ok, this is where things getting confusing. We know Starhawk is awesome. We know Starhawk is a being whose form is shared by both the male Stakar of the House of Ogord and his wife Aleta Ogord. We know Aleta blamed Stakar for the death of their children and despises the estranged husband she must share a form with. We know that Starhawk is enigmatic and a classic anti-hero. It’s all very muddled, but in a cool Bronze Agey sort of way.

    After his debut, other than Vance Astro, Starhawk was pretty much the central Guardians character until the turnover to the modern day. By the way, somehow, somewhere it was revealed that Starhawk was the son of Quasar which gives him another deep connection to Marvel’s cosmic legacy. On a related note, we really miss Quasar.

    Nikki

    Nikki was the second new member of the team introduced by Gerber, and in this flame headed native of Mercury, Gerber found a way to ground the cosmic entities of the Guardians. Nikki was the precocious young female character before Kitty Pryde made it cool. She contrasted the often dead serious other members of the team with a hot tempered, wise cracking sharp shooter that popped off the page both visually and because of her happy-go-lucky attitude.

    The early Guardians of the Galaxy stories were always high concept but at times, they could be a bit dry. That all ended with the introduction of Nikki, the team’s first female member. Nikki had romantic entanglements with Charlie 27 and she gave a whole new meaning to the term hot blooded. Gamora might be the kick ass female most associated with the Guardians now, but that tradition began with the fiery Nikki.

    An Image of the Future...the Jim Valentino Era

    Aleta Ogord

    She is best known as the female half of the usually male Starhawk, but Aleta Ogord was a member of the Guardians as well. Aleta had more passion and zest for life than her often cold and clinical husband did. When she was finally freed from her husband, Aleta gained the power to manipulate light and began a romantic relationship with Vance Astro which created all sorts of friction between teammates. Aleta was the more human (even for an Arcturian) half of one of the strangest unions in cosmic comic history.

    Firelord

    Fifteen years after Steve Gerber took the Guardians to places undreamed of, Marvel launched the Guardians into their own title in 1990. Jim Valentino, one of the original Image Comics seven, took the helm of their adventures and introduced some power to the team early in the series’ run with the former herald of Galactus, Firelord.

    Firelord is powerful...like Silver Surfer level powerful...like able to go toe-to-toe with Thor powerful. In the present day Marvel universe, Firelord was a figure of ambiguous morality: he had honor but still once served the planet eating Galactus. In the 31st century timeline, Firelord was the Protector of the Universe, a position once held by the heroic Captain Mar-Vell and Quasar. Firelord is more historically associated with Galactus, but for a time, he was the most powerful member of the Guardians.

    Replica

    Replica is linked to two majorly infamous cosmic villainous groups. She was a Skrull, those dastardly shape shifters that might be the most reviled race in the Marvel cosmos and a member of the Church of Universal Truth, a hyper orthodox and heavily armed cosmic religion that has bedeviled Adam Warlock, Captain Mar-Vell, and the Avengers many times in the past.

    Replica was a rare and shining example of goodness in unexpected places. She had all the shape changing powers of her native race but none of their murderous tendencies. She had the devout faith of her beliefs, but didn’t force it on others. She turned her back on both her Church and her race by joining the heroic Guardians. She helped take out the Grand Inquisitor of her Church and assisted the Guardians in bringing down the Stark, a race of aliens who worship Tony Stark and use Iron Man armor to subjugate planets. Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds.

    Can someone make sure Kevin Feige and James Gunn are aware of the Stark, please?

    Talon

    Legend has it that Jim Valentino wanted to have Wolverine join the Guardians but then editor-in-chief Bob Harras balked at the idea of establishing that Wolverine survives 1000 years into the future, so Valentino created Talon. Now, there really hasn’t been a greater example of '90s excess than ol’ Talon. Talon was a member of the Inhumans, which was kind of cool because it tied another long standing cosmic Marvel property to the Guardians but that’s pretty much where the coolness stopped in regards to this orange furred feline Guardian.

    As a Wolverine cipher, Talon had the razor sharp claws and bad attitude, but he was more of a party boy, which made him more annoying than badass. In 1991, Talon was way more host of MTV’s Headbangers Ball Riki Rachtman than he was Wolverine.

    Other than great strength and agility, Talon had the ability to launch his finger and toe nails. Now that’s just freakin’ gross. Valentino upped the power quotient of the character later in his run by making the fungus shooting fur ball the new Sorcerer Supreme, but it wasn’t enough. Talon was just excessive, gross, derivative, annoying, and eventually turned into a semi-villain after being nearly crippled.

    Space Raccoons yes, toenail shooting orange cat wizard people, no.

    Yellowjacket

    Rita DeMara was one of the most fascinating members in Guardians history. She was a tether to the past for the futuristic team, a former member of Baron Zemo’s Masters of Evil trying to make up for her past misdeeds in the far flung future. After she abandoned Zemo in the present, the former thief who stole one of Hank Pym’s Yellowjacket costumes found herself trapped one thousand years in the future where she went on a fantastic voyage into Charlie 27’s brain and saved the life of the team's resident powerhouse. From there, Yellowjacket was accepted into the fold and became one of their most loyal members, even forging a close friendship with Nikki. Finally, after growing homesick, Yellowjacket decided to return home.

    She could have been quite the story engine for Marvel, the former villain turned hero who touched the future, but poor Rita was murdered at the beginning of the legendarily awful Avengers story arc, The Crossing. If you never read The Crossing, consider yourself lucky as it began with a throwaway death of a former Guardian with tons of story potential and got progressively worse from there. Thankfully, Rita was resurrected during the Chaos War and with connections to Marvel’s next two big film franchises, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man; things probably bode well for a return of the yesterday girl that experienced tomorrow.

    Hollywood

    Jim Valentino’s run on Guardians was filled with hits and misses, but when the Image founder hit, he hit hard. This wise and experienced hero was actually Simon Williams, the Avenger once known as Wonder Man. In the present day, Wonder Man had his share of hardships, so seeing the crusader in the future gave long time Avengers reader a happy ending of sorts for their beloved ionic-powered hero.

    Hollywood was the most popular film star in the galaxy but he still bravely fought side by side with the Guardians and the team’s offshoot, the Galactic Guardians. It was unique experiencing a modern day hero still vital so far in the future and provided Valentino and the Guardians with a tether to the past while giving the readers a familiar icon to rally behind in the sometimes unfamiliar future.

    Mainframe

    Speaking of classic Avengers in the future, Mainframe was actually the Vision. In the Guardians' future, the Vision had evolved to make up the operating system of an entire planet. Calling himself Mainframe, this hero from the past was tasked with protecting the shield of Captain America and later joined the Galactic Guardians. No matter if he is a humanoid or a being evolved into the technology of an entire planet, the Vision is always a hero.

    Phoenix

    One of the past Guardians who is probably guaranteed to never appear in a Guardians film, (because Fox lawyers are more powerful than the Infinity Gems).

    Giraud was once a proud resident of New Haven, (not the one in Connecticut) a world inhabited by mutants. When his planet was in danger, Giraud was possessed by the Phoenix Force in order to save his people, and like Jean Grey, Giraud, with all his heroic ideals, took a dark turn. When Giraud contracted a deadly virus, he went insane and makes with the planet destroying (thankfully uninhabited). Giraud, like the other past wielders of the Phoenix Force realized what a terrible burden being a space god of ultimate destruction was and pulled away from the Guardians, but not before he joined the Galactic Guardians and fought a future version of Korvac.

    Man, that’s a lot of cosmic forces of destruction gathered in one place.

    Spirit of Vengeance

    In the '90s, Ghost Rider was everywhere. It was impossible to swing a hell-forged bike chain without hitting a flame headed pursuer of vengeance. The future was no different, as the Ghost Rider of tomorrow, the Spirit of Vengeance joined with Guardians lore by fighting side-by-side with the Guardians and eventually joining the Galactic Guardians.

    The Spirit of Vengeance was Wileaydus Autolycus for the planet Sarka, a member of the Universal Church of Truth who turned against the zealotry of his religion and, like Replica, joined the Guardians. The Spirit of Vengeance wanted to atone for his Church’s sins and rode his Death Cycle across the spaceways seeking to purify his religion. The Ghost Rider boom of the '90s soon faded after Autoycus’ debut but in our opinion, there is always room for a vengeance seeking alien on a space motorcycle.

    The Road to the Big Screen Begins...the Abnett and Lanning Era

    Star-Lord

    Before he was a Guardian, Peter Quill starred in his own series of black-and-white features. He was created by Steve Englehart but when the writer left Marvel, the character was taken in a new and more space opera like direction by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont. In fact, the first time Claremont’s most famous X artist John Byrne worked with the writer was on Star-Lord. Despite that level of talent involved with the early Star-Lord, the character quickly faded into trivial obscurity until he returned in the Annihilation event.

    Star-Lord epitomizes what makes the modern Guardians so special, he was a forgotten character bursting with potential until he was dusted off by Keith Giffen, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning and given a chance to shine. Now, Marvel has a multimedia franchise character on their hands thanks to the work of these three great writers.

    The tale of the modern Guardians of the Galaxy is the story about of a group of rejects who become heroes, and the characters featured in the new Guardians were heroes Marvel had almost forgotten about. No one exemplifies that more than Star-Lord, the face of the Guardians and a leader who is now familiar to sci-fi fans all over the world. Since the first Guardians film, Peter Quill has continued to lead the Guardians, became an Emperor of the Spartax Empire, discovered the identity of his father (it ain’t a Living Planet in the comics), had a star crossed romance with X-Men stalwart Kitty Pryde, and was stranded on Earth where he got involved in a second super hero Civil War.

    Drax

    Although he wasn't nearly as obscure as Star-Lord, Drax was still an underused character in the world of cosmic Marvel. Drax’s original sole purpose was to destroy Thanos, the being who murdered the future Guardian and nearly killed his daughter. Thanos’ father Mentor needed a killing machine to take out his death worshipping son and used the spirit of the recently murdered Arthur Douglas to create a being with enough rage to fuel his weapon against Thanos. Thus, Arthur Douglas became Drax.

    Drax popped around the Marvel Universe, appearing in Iron Man, Thor, Avengers, Warlock, and Logan’s Run (Whhhaaattt?) becoming a semi-constant space mainstay. Drax joined Adam Warlock’s Infinity Watch after the events of the Infinity Gauntlet and became a familiar sight to fans of cosmic Marvel. But alas, Drax was just a supporting character to Adam Warlock and Thanos, never truly defining himself as a compelling character away from his friend and sworn enemy. Until Drax became a Guardian that is.

    Whatever direction Marvel chooses to go with Drax, it is amazing to think that a former supporting character to Adam Warlock is now a huge film star. And what a star, Drax is one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe. You can be sure Marvel has huge things in store for this very literal minded monster. Fun fact, did you know that Drax is a world class saxophone player? The more you know.

    Gamora

    Like Drax, Gamora, the deadliest woman in the galaxy, was also deeply embroiled in the Jim Starlin era Warlock and Thanos stories. She is the daughter of Thanos and former lover of Adam Warlock.

    The coolest part about witnessing the arrival of the Guardians is that the entire team is made up of concepts and ideas from different ages of Marvel comics dreamed up by some of the most legendary comic creators of those eras. Think about it, you have a core concept created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan added to characters created by Englehart, Claremont, and Starlin.

    Gamora represents decades of innovative cosmic storytelling in one deadly package presented to the world in such a way that she can become a legend. That’s the power of the Guardians, taking the once forgotten and making it into something special.

    Recently, Marvel Comics told the tale of Gamora’s origin as the Most Dangerous Woman in the Galaxy continues to be one of Marvel’s most important and intriguing female leads.

    Rocket Raccoon

    Nowhere is the idea of the forgotten becoming legendary more evident than in Rocket Raccoon. It’s hard to imagine there was a time where Rocket wasn’t a core member of the Guardians, but in fact, that time was not long ago at all. In recent memory, Rocket was a punch line, a trivia question, an oddity, now, he is America’s favorite space hero, a modern day Flash Gordon who, through excellent storytelling and brilliant marketing, is Marvel’s favorite talking animal (sorry Howard).

    [related article: Rocket Racoon's Most Badass Moments]

    Rocket first appeared in the pages of an obscure black-and-white back up feature before popping up in the pages of the Incredible Hulk and finally in his own mini-series. Bill Mantlo infused the character with a likability that transcended the rodent’s comical appearance. Who would have ever believed that Marvel’s next film sensation would be Rocket and his team of space losers? It just goes to show that with the Mouse’s marketing machine and the talent of Marvel’s creators, both in film and comics, anything is possible. And Rocket has soared since the first film taking part in every big Marvel event and storyline. The angry space rodent is now rubbing shoulders with Spider-Man and the Hulk and continues to be a testament to the creative vision of the great Bill Mantlo.

    Groot

    Also from the anything is possible department, we have Groot. We’ve tracked the creation of the other members of the film Guardians, but Groot stretches back even further than the beginnings of the Marvel Universe. Groot was one of the many giant monsters created by Lee and Kirby in the pre-Marvel superhero era. In his initial appearance, Groot, the Monarch of Planet X tried to take over the Earth until a scientist destroyed him using termites. Yes, a pretty ignominious defeat for a monarch, but Groot’s greatest days were to come, even if he had to wait 48 years for them.

    Despite not appearing for almost half a century, Groot was included in the new Guardians. At first he was played for laughs, acting like an arrogant monarch and getting destroyed a lot, but then, as he lost vocabulary, he gained likeability. As his ability to speak diminished, Groot became a more gentle soul, the most loyal member of the Guardians, the closest thing to a Chewbacca the team has. Think about it, a forgotten Kirby creation, a character that should be a one note joke appeared in movies before Doctor Strange, Black Panther, or Captain Marvel! Of course, we now live in the era of Baby Groot and Disney is ready to fill a Scrooge McDuck like money bin with the coin they are going to make of that lil' adorable Guardian.  

    Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock was once the central figure of the cosmic Marvel Universe. He recently played a major role in Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians, but the being formerly known as Him has been absent from the scene for awhile, although with Jim Starlin back at Marvel, that will probably change very soon.

    Poor Warlock, think about it, three of his supporting cast will be major players in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thanos, Drax, and Gamora will soon all become household names and Warlock is nowhere to be seen. With so many of his cast playing major roles in the Marvel films, could Warlock be far behind? It’s hard to imagine an Infinity Gauntlet adaptation without him, isn’t it? And from all hints and clues, after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, that wait may just be over.

    Mantis

    One of the biggest miracles of Abnett and Lanning’s Guardians of the Galaxy run was that they found a way to present Mantis and not make her annoying. Mantis was introduced in Steve Englehart’s run on the Avengers in the "Celestial Madonna" storyline. The Celestial Madonna arc was conceptually sound but any Bronze Age fan will tell you, it lasted for freakin’ ever.

    Mantis is a martial artist who achieved cosmic awareness and was supposed to be the woman who conceived a new galactic messiah. She had a really annoying way of talking, referring to herself as “This one,” and kind of pissing off her teammates by coming on to most of the male members of the team. She tried to get with Vision, Thor, and Hawkeye before settling on the Swordsman who she conceived her child with before going all ghostie and disappearing. She returned but wasn’t utilized much until she joined the Guardians.

    As a precog, she was a great asset to Peter Quill and even lost her annoying speech patterns but kept her super cute antennae. She was an integral part of the early days of the Guardians and was recently reunited with Star-Lord. She was the first modern day character to be a member of both the Avengers and the Guardians, but “this one” wouldn’t be the last. 

    Bug

    Abnett and Lanning really delved into every corner of the cosmic Marvel Universe in order to assemble their first team of Guardians. Bug was a proud member of the Micronauts, a comic adaptation of a '70s toy line from the legendary toy company Mego that ran way longer than the toys were on store shelves.

    Bug was a swashbuckling ladies man in the Guardians, an acrobatic troublemaker who gave the team a roguish element. Bug even accompanied the Guardians to Earth in their first post Abnett and Lanning appearance in Avengers Assemble, but the suave humanoid insect didn’t make the cut when Marvel launched the Guardians into a new series. One has to wonder if Bug’s inclusion in Avengers Assemble was done because there were aborted plans to include Bug in the film. I guess we’ll never know unless we can BUG Kevin Feige’s office.

    Jack Flag

    For a lameass character with red-white-and blue hair, Jack Flag certainly has appeared in some awesome books. He was a large part of Warren Ellis’ Civil Warera run on Thunderbolts where he was crippled and imprisoned in the Negative Zone for defying the Superhuman Registration Act. In the prison, confined to a wheelchair, Jack met the Guardians and was instantly taken with the team even though he claimed to despise cosmic shenanigans. The Guardians cured him of his spinal injuries and he decided to join the team rather to return to Earth where he was a fugitive. Jack did not stay with the team for long, but he was a very human presence on a team of sentient trees and aliens.

    Flag didn’t have any powers or special abilities but proved himself a true Guardian through bravery and cunning. Jack Flag may not have been the coolest Guardian, but he was a hero through and through...despite the hair. Recently, Jack Flag took a place in one of Marvel’s most shocking events. We’re sure you heard about Captain America’s turn to the dark side. You see, Cap revealed himself to be a sleeper agent by uttering the words “Hail Hydra!” after tossing a SHIELD super powered operative out of a plane. That operative was none other than Jack Flag, the first victim of Captain America’s turn to the dark side. All of a sudden, Flag seems way more tragic, huh?

    Cosmo the Space Dog

    Disney certainly likes their talking dogs which bodes well for this security pooch. The Abnett and Lanning Guardians were headquartered in the flying head of a Celestial, a vessel called Knowhere. Making sure the population of Knowhere was safe was Cosmo, a former Soviet cosmonaut dog gifted with enhanced intelligence.

    Cosmo defined the quirkiness of this era of the Guardians, but like Rocket, he defied his ludicrous premise and became a rich character in his own right. Of course, Cosmo and Rocket never quite liked each other, with Rocket always afraid Cosmo was going to chase him up a tree, but Cosmo was just a vital member of the Guardians as anyone else on the squad.

    Phyla-Vell aka Quasar aka Martyr

    Phyla-Vell has the distinction of carrying the legacy of both Captain Mar-Vell and Quasar, two of the greatest cosmic Marvel heroes of all time. She also was the lover of Moondragon, who just happens to be the daughter of Drax, giving Phyla a connection to another cosmic Marvel mainstay. Phyla-Vell was a fascinating character, a woman trying to forge her own legacy while carrying on the tradition of two great heroes. After she lost her lover Moondragon, Phyla darkened and became the universe’s avatar of death, Martyr.

    Phyla was believed to be killed a number of times, first at the hands of by Warlock’s evil clone, Magus (she got better), then by Thanos himself. When last readers heard of Phyla, she was being mourned on Knowhere after the Thanos Imperative. Hey, Star-Lord returned to life after that battle, so maybe the Quantum Bands of the torchbearer of two heroic legacies will one day burn bright once again!

    Moondragon

    Madame MacEvil? The hell? Anyway, Moondragon was one of the most despised Avengers in history, actually mentally forcing Thor to become her lover. That being said, she was a pretty awesome Guardian, maybe because she spent the majority of her run in the book as an actual space dragon. She is the lover of Phyla-Vell (how they did that while Moondragon was in dragon form is anyone’s guess) and the daughter of Drax.

    With her being central to Drax’s origin, one has to wonder if a film appearance is in the future for Moondragon. Moondragon is currently on an idealistic quest to try and find her former lover, where that story picks up will be anyone guess but this character has come a long way from roofieing Thor.

    Moondragon also has a connection to Mantis as she was once believed to also be the potential Celestial Madonna. With her ties to Warlock, Drax, Thanos, and Mantis, it could be only a matter of time before some Hollywood A list actress is forced to shave off their elegant tresses in order to play Moondragon n a future Guardians film.

    Geena Drake

    After the success of the first Guardians film, Marvel brought back the future Guardians in the comics Guardians 3000. There Dan Abnett continued to work his cosmic magic and make sure that the old school Guardians were still a part of the Marvel Universe.

    During this time, the Earth precog Geena Drake joined the team. She helped the Guardians in a number of adventures and used her ability to see the future to help defeat the Badoon and other cosmic menaces. Drake insured that the Guardians legend is still vital in the future, plus, Abnett named her after the co-creators of the Guardians Gene Colan and Arnold Drake, so how cool is that?

    Davis stands as a reminder of the Guardians of the future and the creators of the past that helped forge the legend that got us all hooked on a feeling.

    Welcome to the Big Time...

    Iron Man

    When Thanos invaded Earth using a new group of villains called the Zodiac, the modern Guardians arrived to help fight side-by-side with the Avengers. When the dust cleared, Tony Stark decided to accompany the Guardians into space and found himself in the unfamiliar position of being the least technologically aware member of the team. Rocket and Star-Lord both used weapons centuries ahead of the most technologically advanced Stark tech, and Iron Man was like a wide eyed kid in a candy store.

    He didn’t stay with the Guardians for long, but Iron Man’s time with the Guardians was extremely memorable with a romantic liaison with Gamora and the forging of a close friendship with Rocket. He’s back with the Avengers now, but fans will never forget the time Marvel Studios' first star joined their newest film sensations.

    Angela

    Not every super team boasts a character created for another company. When Marvel gained the rights to Angela (because Neil Gaiman is a wizard), the House of Ideas wasted no time including the celestial warrior in the pages of the Guardians of the Galaxy. First off, any time you can include a Nail Gaiman creation in a book, any company worth its salt needs to pull that trigger.

    Since meeting the Guardians, Angela has bonded with her fellow female warrior Gamora and has served as the team’s angelic powerhouse. Will a future Guardians film feature the former Spawn supporting character? It’s a distinct possibility and one that will make Todd McFarlane very grumpy. Whatever the case, Angela brings some otherworldly baddassery to the pages of the book every month. As her presence in the Marvel Universe grows, never forget that the Marvel legacy of Angela began when she joined the Guardians.

    Agent Venom

    In the far future, Vance Astro would bring the Venom symbiote into the mythos of the Guardians, but in the present day, Flash Thompson, the current wearer of the black costume, serves proudly with the team. The inclusion of Agent Venom represents the first time the modern Guardians crossed with the world of Spider-Man, an intriguing prospect for future story directions. What would happen if a radioactive spider bit a sentient tree?

    Flash Thompson is one of Marvel’s oldest characters, and since he lost his legs on the battlefield, one of the most compelling, and for a good long while, Flash was a Guardian. From a high school bully to a galactic savior, not bad for one of Marvel’s oldest characters.

    Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)

    Phyla-Vell isn’t the only Guardian to be connected to the legacy of the original Captain Mar-Vell. Carol Danvers has been an Avenger, an ally to the X-Men, a member of the Starjammers, and recently, was a proud member of the Guardians. Carol is an accomplished pilot with a keen military mind and does not flinch from cosmic insanity.

    Of course Captain Marvel will soon by joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so it is only a matter of time before Danvers is rubbing elbows with the Guardians on the big screen.


    The Thing

    On Earth, Ben Grimm was always considered a monster. A hero, yeah, but also, a grotesque creature to be feared and shunned. But in space, Ben Grimm is just a hero. After all, a guy with a rocky hide and unmatchable strength is just another Tom, Dick, or Harry. So it was a natural fit when the Thing joined the Guardians of the Galaxy.

    Here, Ben Grimm was more Flash Gordon than Frankenstein, a brave space adventurer that kicked alien ass and kissed alien babes. There was no pathos for Grimm in space as the farther the Thing got from Yancy Street, the more accepted he was by countless alien races. Grimm is back on Earth currently and working with SHIELD, but for a time, the legendary blue eyed Thing clobbered the bad guys in every star system in the galaxy as the Guardians’ resident muscle and pilot. If only we could see this film. You hear me Fox? If only.


    Kitty Pryde

    Every Han Solo needs a Princess Leia and for a time, that’s exactly what Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde. The Guardian and the X-Man had a legendary space romance after Kitty left the mutant conflicts on Earth to become a member, and for a time, the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Heck man, when Quill became the Emperor of the Spartax people, Pryde even took up the mask and gun of Star Lord, and she was just as great a space hero, if not better, than Quill himself.

    Like all bright burning stars, the Pryde and Quill romance soon burned itself out, but for a while, their love was pure cosmic poetry as the two swashbuckling heroes blazed a path of adventure side by side. Now, Pryde is back on Earth as leader of the X-Men, but her time in space will always melt the hearts of even the mightiest comic entities (someone get Thanos a tissue, the old softy).


    Ant-Man

    The two least likely superhero movie franchises joined forces when Scott Lang joined the Guardians of the Galaxy in All-New Guardians of the Galaxy #12 (2017). Lang fits in perfectly with the always wacky and always brave Guardians and watching Lang and Quill play off each other is a true comic book delight. So far, Lang’s time as a Guardians hasn’t been a space cake walk (mmmm, space cake), as the miniscule hero and his cosmic pals have been embroiled in The Infinity Countdown, a cosmic tale of mayhem which involves Thanos, Ultron, the Infinity stones and countless other intergalactic agents of chaos.

    Lang may be small, but as fans know, even in space, he makes a big impact cracking wise and cracking heads. One just has to wonder when Lang’s in space, where does he find his ants? In space, no one can hear you ant.


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  • 04/29/18--21:51: Deadpool 2: Who is Cable?
  • While we impatiently wait for more of Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2, the bigger question is...who the hell is Cable?

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Apr 29, 2018

    With Cable making his film debut in Deadpool 2, where he'll be played by Josh Brolin (you know, the guy in a little indie movie called Avengers: Infinity War), it’s been a common refrain amongst casual comics fans lately to ask those of us steeped in the folklore “Who is Cable and why should I care?”

    Five hours later, when our response ends with a pile of X-Men comics being used to light an effigy of Bob Harras while we chant “NO MORE RETCONS! NO MORE RETCONS!” many of those casual fans are often scared away from the X-Men, comics in general, and our homes.

    I’m here today to give you a clear, concise rundown of the history of Nathan Christopher Charles Summers...ha! Almost got it out with a straight face. The reality is Cable is a continuity black hole, but there’s a reason why he’s enduringly popular and I’m going to explain it to you in one sentence:

    He’s a badass soldier from the future.

    That’s the core of his appeal. There are layers (and layers and layers and layers...sweet Jesus are there layers) added over that, but at his core, he’s always just been a badass soldier from the future trying to build a badass army to prevent his awful future from coming to pass.

    Cable was introduced in 1990 to be a new mentor to the second generation of X-students, the New Mutants. He was more militaristic than his predecessors: Charles Xavier, the secretly monstrous founder of the Xavier school, and Magneto, the surprisingly incompetent reformed nemesis. He also showed up packing heat - he was covered in giant guns to the point where he eventually became a parody/poster child for the excesses of '90s comics. But at the same time, he was placed at the center of the third age of X-Men comics, one defined by Apocalypse and soapy family relationships.

    Cable was eventually revealed to be Nathan Christopher Summers, the child of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, taken into the future to save his life after he was infected with a virus that caused his body to morph into a pile of loose technology. While there, he discovered that he was destined to take down Apocalypse, the nigh-immortal mutant who eventually takes over the world and turns it into a Darwinist shitscape. He jumps back in time and takes control of the New Mutants to help further that goal.

    He becomes an interesting case study in comics storytelling - almost a decade after his first introduction, he actually succeeds in destroying Apocalypse and averting his terrible future (don’t worry, it’s comics: Apocalypse gets better). That set him adrift for a little while, but his core stayed the same. He was a badass soldier from the future, and he stayed that way whether he was fighting brushfire wars in eastern Europe, protecting a mutant messiah as they’re chased through the future like it’s Lone Wolf and X-Cub, or saving the world with his omega level telepathy and telekinesis after his techno-organic virus was completely cured.

    His link to Deadpool comes mostly from two things: they were both created by Rob Liefeld around the same time, and they shared the headlining role in one of Marvel’s better mainline hero books of the aughts, Cable and Deadpool. In that, Nate was mostly just the straight man in a straightforward superhero action/humor comic. Deadpool would do his thing (Bugs Bunny with an arsenal) while Cable did his (overpowered messiah saving the world with over-the-top action). It was a solid examination of some of Cable’s more absurd character elements, while also being a good, epic X-Men comic.

    Most recently, Cable had a new series announced at Marvel. In it, he’ll be (wait for it) a badass soldier from the future, jumping through time to protect the timestream. So it looks like they see what we’ve been enjoying, too.

    ALTERNATE VERSIONS

    - In the Age of Apocalypse, Nate Grey was a clone made by Mr. Sinister to eventually challenge Apocalypse’s dominance. He was shunted to the 616 reality at the end of that mini-event and served no purpose in the main universe for a little while, until he was later reimagined as a weird mutant shaman and continued to serve no purpose but without being a direct rip on Cable.

    - Ultimate Cable is genuinely funny. The Ultimate Universe was a stripped down version of the main Marvel universe, a direct response to '90s excesses in convoluted continuity and overused guest appearances. With that in mind, Ultimate Cable was actually a future version of Wolverine.

    - Cable also appeared as a playable character in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. He had a giant gun beam spam move, and anyone who chose him was of loose morals.

    KEY STORIES

    New Mutants #87 - Cable’s first appearance. It’s easy to see why he got so many people pumped. Rob Liefeld’s art, while not everyone's cup of tea, was also full of energy and enthusiasm and a lot of fun to look at.

    X-Cutioner’s Song - This 1992 X-Men crossover is almost entirely gibberish. This is where the Summers connection was revealed, and it was all about Cable, Stryfe, Cyclops, Jean, and Apocalypse. The art, however, is actually pretty good. It’s got early Jae Lee, Greg Capullo, Andy Kubert ,and Brandon Peterson, and they do a great job of giving the reader something to do besides get a headache trying to chart a family tree.

    The Twelve- Again, this is not a good comic, but it’s the pivot point of Cable’s story: here is where he stopped being Apocalypse’s nemesis and started being an ex-messiah.

    Cable & Deadpool - This is where people started taking Cable seriously again. It was a fun, fairly uncomplicated superhero book that had great Deadpool moments, and did a lot of good character work on Nate.

    Messiah Complex, Cable (vol. 2), Messiah War, and X-Men: Second Coming - This is my personal favorite era of X-Men comics. The three big crossovers are all very good, and focused on Cable and Hope. Cable’s solo book is also excellent, and you get some really good Badass Nathan Summers stuff in all of these.

    X-Force vol. 4 - Simon Spurrier is a madman. This series is like if Grant Morrison played with Transformers as a kid: it’s got a vivid ‘80s feel to it, but it’s just weird and good. This series prominently features a character whose mutant power is you forget about him if you’re not looking directly at him. And it has Dr. Nemesis, who is hilarious.

    Uncanny Avengers - Gerry Duggan’s latest version of the X-Men/Avengers hybrid team has actually morphed into a follow up to Cable & Deadpool. It’s a straightforward superhero action book, but it’s got good character bits and is almost Busiek-like in its appreciation of Avengers and X-Men continuity.

    Deadpool 2 opens on May 18.


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    There's a pilot order (and more) in the books for the HBO Watchmen TV series.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Apr 30, 2018

    With The Leftovers having wrapped its final season to wild critical acclaim, Damon Lindelof is sticking around HBO to develop a Watchmen TV series. Yes, you read that right. Watchmen is finally getting the prestige cable drama that fans have wanted for as long as prestige cable drama has been a thing. HBO has not only placed a pilot order for the series, but ordered "back up scripts" as well for more episodes. In other words, it's all but certain this thing is getting picked up.

    Lindelof's vision is apparently unrelated to a Watchmen series discussed by Zack Snyder (who directed the film version) and HBO back in 2015. It's not clear how far those particular talks got, or what the actual plan for it was. After all, with Snyder involved, it seems unlikely it would have been a re-adaptation of the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons graphic novel. According to Variety, the Lindelof version is "starting over from scratch" and has nothing to do with those previous discussions. Nicole Kassell (The Leftovers) has been tapped to direct the pilot episode (via Variety). Her prestige drama career also includes episodes of Better Call Saul, The Americans, American Crime, and others.

    The big question, then, is just what will this new series be? Is it another adaptation of the graphic novel? Zack Snyder's 2009 adaptation has its defenders, and visually it's certainly faithful enough to the comics, but it was admittedly limited by the constraints of a movie runtime. A TV series could spend more time exploring the flashbacks to the Minutemen era, or fleshing out some of the supplementary text material that happens in between the comic chapters.

    It might be something else entirely. That Hashtag Show has some extensive character breakdowns, which might be familiar characters in disguise, or new characters entirely. Among them are characters with names like "Red Scare" and "Pirate Jenny" which would seem to indicate that these are code names for superheroes or villains (but again, with breakdowns like these, anything is possible), and others that are just "ordinary" names...although nearly everyone is described as a "cop." Perhaps in this case "cop" is code word for superhero...unless the show deals with the police strike in the 1970s that led to the Keene Act, which outlawed superheroes.

    The other possibility is that these are thinly-veiled names for Watchmen characters we know and love. "Pirate Jenny" could potentially be The Silhouette, Looking Glass could be the original Night Owl, etc. That seems like a stretch, and at the moment it seems like the idea is to flesh out other areas of Watchmen history. 

    I reached out to HBO for additional information but they had no comment as of this writing.

    But recent quotes from Damon Lindelof would maybe seem to indicate that this might be a brand new adaptation of Watchmen, rather than a prequel or some other expansion of the world. "That comic was written in the mid '80s, [but it's] more timely now," he told a crowd at Vulture Fest (via THR). "These are dangerous times...and we need dangerous shows." 

    In 2013, DC Comics released a series of Watchmen prequels, appropriately titled Before Watchmen, from an assortment of creators not named Moore or Gibbons. They were met with what can charitably be described as a mixed response from fans and critics. Nevertheless, there's plenty of existing material to fuel a Watchmen series for several seasons. Then again, Lindelof and friends might not have to delve into the spinoffs to flesh out an adaptaion of the graphic novel. There's enough going on in any one of the original's twelve chapters to fuel multiple episodes. Meanwhile, DC Comics just launched the first official sequel to Watchmen with Doomsday Clock.

    Watch the Watchmen movie on Amazon

    Watchmen writer Alan Moore has been notoriously outspoken about his disapproval for all adaptations and spinoffs, and that's unlikely to change here. Lindelof added that they're "trying to find a way to do it that honors [Alan Moore]" although they're under no illusions about what Moore's feelings on it would be. But for the rest of us, the chance to see this series given another chance at the screen, perhaps one that's a little less stylized than the movie version, is certainly appealing. There have also been rumblings of an R-rated animated movie, but that seems less likely with the HBO series in the works.

    We'll update this with new information as we get it.


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    When HUAC says dance, a wise man dances. Check out an exclusive look at Exist Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #5.

    NewsJim Dandy
    Apr 30, 2018

    Congratulations to Mark Russell, Steve Pugh, Rick Leonardi and Scott Hanna for their Eisner nominations for The Flintstones! We told you this would happen, by the way. While we're talking about Russell, another thing we've been telling you is that you should probably be reading Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. It is fascinating and whip smart and the oddest comic book on shelves right now. 

    Both Flintstones and Prez were blitzes compared to the pacing in Exit Stage Left. The pace of this Snagglepuss book is as leisurely and meandering as the titular character's cadence, likely a deliberate choice by Russell. The panels aren't packed with jokes. The jokes aren't even really structured the same way as they were in Russell's previous DC work. Exit Stage Left is more like his earliest semi-comics work, God Is Disappointed In You, a sarcastic retelling of the bible book by book with New Yorker comics art from Shannon Wheeler. God Is Disappointed In You, like Exit Stage Left, was more of a series of philosophical mission statements about the world that were sometimes also funny. So instead of a prehistoric mall with a restaurant named Foot Locker, we get a conversation about what it's like when an overreliant parent loses her son as her only connection to the outside world, and the conversation is held in the Fiorello La Guardia Home for the Old and Friendless, which is I think a joke about La Guardia's treatment of his Holocaust-surviving sister.

    That's the other wonderful thing about Exit Stage Left: in addition to being very funny, it's challenging. It has real people as part of its narrative - Arthur Miller, Clint Eastwood, Khrushchev. But for every Eastwood paired with a musing on the difference between actors and movie stars, you get a lesbian State Department HUAC liaison who looks like Ayn Rand and is named for GG Allin. THAT'S INSANE

    So OF COURSE we jumped when we got the chance to run an exclusive preview of Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #5. Here's what DC has to say about the issue:

    EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #5
    Written by MARK RUSSELLArt by MIKE FEEHAN and SEAN PARSONSCover by BEN CALDWELLVariant cover by JOELLE JONESSnagglepuss is faced with the ultimate dilemma: save his friend or follow his conscience, as his final showdown with the House Committee on Un-American ActivitIes looms.

    Feehan has been doing a tremendous job as well. His lines are so clean, but his figures and his composition really remind me of Steve Dillon. Check it out:


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    With some comic characters over 80 years old, how do writers find a fresh take? Longtime comic book writer J.M. DeMatteis gives us insight.

    FeatureShamus Kelley
    May 1, 2018

    Superman just turned eighty years old. Batman will be hitting that next year. Many of the most popular characters in comics are well over fifty years old, including Spider-Man, The Hulk, Aquaman and many others. To say their backstories are convulted and difficult to figure out sometimes is an understatement. Not even a Wikipedia page can catalog their thousands of adventures.

    For any writer coming in to writing a legacy character it can be daunting. How can you possibly catch up on that much material? What happens if you violate continuity in an issue from forty years ago? 

    For J.M. DeMatteis, a writer who’s worked on all the above characters along with dozens of others, it’s a constant challenge. When he first started working in comics he wanted to get every little detail right.

    “If I got an assignment for Aquaman, I thought I had to go buy 500 back issues of Aquaman and read them," DeMatteis says. "Although it was really just an excuse to buy more comics.”

    As he began to write more he realized he would never have enough time to read that much material. Instead he would read just enough of the material to get the essence of who the character is. 

    “You have to know enough. You can’t just go in blind and make stuff up," he says. "You have to be grounded and read enough back story but a lot of hardcore comic book fans when they get into the business get obsessed with that thing that happened between panel two and three in that issue seven years ago. Eventually you sort of drop that and you start following the story.”

    No matter what that story may be, DeMatteis still stresses that you still need to respect the tradition of that character. “You can’t suddenly turn Batman or Constantine into something they’re not but if you’re just writing the way they’ve always been it’s pointless. It’s boring.”

    The best way DeMatteis finds new stories is drilling into character’s psyches. “It’s nice to have great plot mechanics happening, but it really has to be a story that matters to the character and is kind of revealing about the character.”

    For the perfect comic book story, and just a good story in general, DeMatteis points out the plot moves have got to tie into the theme of the overall story. 

    “You have three threads," he says. "Hopefully you have a theme. You want a really nice plot engine moving forward. You want character. Whatever's going on outwardly with the violence and the buildings exploding and everything else, hinges on character. The characters are changing and growing and learning in that moment, so all those elements have to come together to make a great story.”

    Those things are far more important that violating a panel or two from an issue over twenty years ago. And even if you do?

    “That’s what your editor is there for.”

    Shamus Kelley is a pop culture/television writer and official Power Rangers expert. Follow him on Twitter!  


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    Johnson is adapting the Robert Ludlum novel about a consular ops agent turned private security consultant.

    News Kayti Burt
    May 1, 2018

    John Cena is set to star in an action thriller, with his buddy Dwayne Johnson as a producer.

    Johnson just announced via Instagram that Cena has been cast in The Janson Directive, an on-screen adaptation of the Robert Ludlum book that the actor and producer has been trying to get off of the ground for a while. Originally, Johnson was hoping to star in the film himself, but because of his busy schedule, has decided to move ahead with the movie with someone else in the starring role. Enter John Cena.

    Cena just starred in Blockers, and has consistently made a splash in his supporting comedic performances over the last few years, most notably as Steven in Amy Schumer's Trainwreck. He also has an upcoming starring role in the Transformers spin-off prequel Bumblebee: The Movie.

    James Vanderbilt is set to adapt the book into a screenplay from a story co-authored with Akiva Goldsman. The Janson Directive is about a former consular ops agent who goes into business for himself as a private security consultant due to ethical concerns he has about the sanctioned serial killing in his previous gig. In his new role, he works to help people rather than hurt people.

    Read The Janson Directive

    Ludlum's novels have previously been brought to the screen to great success with The Bourne series. More news on The Janson Directive movie as we hear it.


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    Riverdale writer Britta Lundin makes her YA debut with a story about fandom, the TV industry & the conversations they have with each other.

    Review Kayti Burt
    May 1, 2018

    When pop culture depicts The Teenage Fangirl, her passion is rarely validated. The footage of girls and young women screaming as The Beatles or One Direction pass by are not so different from the ways we see adult men yell and scream when at a sporting event, but they are treated in very different ways—which is to say one is validated, while the other is often mocked, ridiculed, and challenged. This is the cultural hypocrisy at the heart of Riverdale writer Britta Lundin's new young adult novel, Ship It, the latest in a string of YA books (see also: Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl and Zan Romanoff's Grace and the Fever) that center the kind of fandom that has long served as a community for girls and women looking for a voice in the stories they love.

    Ship It is the story of 16-year-old Claire, a fanfiction writer from a small Midwestern town who is pulled into the world of her favorite TV show, Demon Heart, and Forest, the young man who stars in Demon Heart. Claire "ships" Smoke and Heart, the two male lead characters of Demon Heart, together and Forest does not understand the world of shipping or the fan culture that goes along with it. Thus, when Claire stands up at a Comic-Con panel to ask a question on the subject, he dismisses it, her, and all "SmokeHeart" fans in the kind of rude, culturally tone deaf manner that will probably be familiar to anyone who has ever dared to "ship" two fictional characters of the same sex together in a culture that almost always reinforces heteornormativity.

    Enter the show's publicists, who invite Claire along on the rest of Demon Heart's con tour in an effort to repair Forest's relationship with fandom and jumpstart the show's ratings in the process. Though the narrative conceit is a bit hard to swallow, it's worth the suspension of disbelief. Over the course of the novel, Claire and Forest are slowly forced to learn more about the other's perspective, resulting in a nuanced examination of the fan-creator relationship that only someone like Lundin, who understands both the world of fandom and the world of media-making, could have written.

    As mainstream stories tend to be overwhelmingly told from the perspective of straight, white cisgender men, it would be understandable if Ship It gave its POV power exclusively to Claire, a teenage girl who, over the course of the book, begins to question how or even if she wants to identify her sexuality. Though the media landscape is beginning to change, we still see far more Forests represented in mainstream storytelling than we do Claires. However, Ship It's decisions to include both Claire and Forest's perspectives complicates this story in some fascinating and ambitious ways. 

    Bold, articulate, and passionate, Claire is easy to root for, but not without her flaws. At times, she is singleminded in her fannishness and, in her effort to keep the ridicule of mainstream misogyny at bay, forgets to listen to other marginalized voices. Ship It is more than aware of these shortcomings, giving Claire a journey of self-discovery over the course of the book, most notably in her burgeoning relationship with Tess, a queer, black fangirl who is as open about her pansexual homoromantic identity as Claire is about her Demon Heart fan identity.

    As a 23-year-old (i.e. not teen) narrator, Forest's character is a bit of a rule-breaker within the YA world. He's also a pretty unlikeable character when Ship It begins, calling our other POV character "crazy" within the opening act. But Claire, bless her, has empathy for Forest and so does the book, making space for Forest's own journey of self-discovery, which has a lot to do with not only understanding his cultural privilege, but also chipping away at some of the walls of toxic maxculinity (and the homophobia that goes along with it) inside which he has constructed his identity.

    I would have liked to see Ship It go even further with Forest's character, but also understand why it didn't. Frankly, it already feels like a fantasy to see a privileged white man entrenched in Hollywood's system of racist, sexist power do any kind of work on himself. This is why the world of fanfiction can be so subversive and cathartic. If slash fanfiction is a way for predominantly girls and women to give male characters the tools and support they need to go about doing their own emotional labor and push past the narrowest confines of masculinity to something freer, then Ship It does the same. Ship It allows Forest the time and space to expand his own understanding of fandom and, with it, his own definition of self.

    This is a long way of describing just how empathetic this book is, even to its most unlikeable characters. Demon Heart showrunner Jamie acts as an antagonist in Claire's mission to make "SmokeHeart," the slash ship from Demon Heart that Claire writes fanfiction about, happen. However, at one point in the narrative, Ship It even gives Jamie the floor, letting him explain the many constraints of storytelling within the television industry. Jamie is a dick, unwilling to even engage Claire in honest conversation until she forces him to, but that doesn't mean he doesn't make some relevant points. 

    Lundin has brought the empathy inherent in the world of fanfiction to the world of this YA novel. It's Ship It's most inspiring element. This book is an examination of what happens when fandom and Hollywood collide. In Lundin's imagining, it doesn't have to be a clash; it can and should be a conversation. 

    I hope the Claires of the world read this book because they deserve it, but I hope the Forests of the world read this book, too. If you've ever been curious about the worlds of fandom, fanfiction, shipping, or con-going, then Ship It is a great, fictional introduction to those worlds from an author who is in a unique position to understand both fan culture and Hollywood. 

    Culture has long been obsessed with policing what girls and women care about. Fandom has long been an escape from that lecture, a community that exists outside of a commercial sector largely unconcerned with and inaccessible to those with any identity past straight, white, cisgender man of means. That exclusivity is slowly changing, as people like Britta Lundin break into the industry in greater and more diverse numbers. Books like Ship It are part of the story of that change. 

    Buy Ship It by Britta Lundin


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    For the 10th anniversary of the MCU, we look at the original Iron Man movie comic references and hints of what was to come.

    Feature Jim Dandy
    May 2, 2018

    10 years ago, the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with a dice roll of a movie: Iron Man. Now, with Avengers: Infinity War destroying the box office, we wanted to look back at the film that kicked it all off for any hints, glimpses, references or Easter eggs planted by the movie’s creators for the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe that would follow.

    Let's get to work.

    The Origin Story

    - For starters, the film updates Tony’s origin from the comics. In his 1963 origin story (Tales of Suspense#39, written by Stan Lee and Larry Lieber with art from Don Heck and Jack Kirby), Tony was kidnapped by communist Vietnamese guerillas. That origin has been updated in the comics several times - later to the first Gulf War, and then most recently to Afghanistan, which matches the movie.

    We could talk here about Marvel Time, the continuity solution/framework for Marvel that says that everything in the Marvel history since the dawn of the Fantastic Four has happened in the last 10 years on a rolling basis, but that would require me explaining how Franklin Richards is actually the solution to the problem, and how that theory means the whole Marvel Universe is just a figment of Franklin’s imagination and that’s why Kitty Pryde gets older while Artie and Leech are still 8 and nobody really wants that.

    - Speaking of everything happening in the last 10 years, that box that the AC/DC music is coming out of in the Humvee is called a “Compact Disc player.”

    - Ho Yinsen’s presence has been remarkably consistent through Iron Man’s history. Even though Tony’s origin has moved from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, Yinsen was there for all of them. He first showed up in Iron Man’s origin in 1963, and his daughter is currently running around the pages of U.S. Avengers as Iron Patriot.

    - Another thing this movie does really well: every Iron Man suit looks perfect to the comics. That goes from the thrown-together suit from the cave to the Mark 3 armor he ends up in. The later models we see in the movie closely mirror the work of artist Adi Granov...and a story he worked on went on to become the (loose) basis for Iron Man 3.

    - Interestingly enough, the circumstances of Howard and Maria Stark’s death (a “car accident” that ends up being a murder at the hands of the Winter Soldier) stay consistent through multiple movies, and of course, the culmination of that comes in Captain America: Civil War.

    - This movie does a really good job of seeding stories from the comics for future use by the movies. “Demon in a Bottle” is probably the most famous Iron Man comic of all time - it has Tony losing his company and battling alcoholism - and right away, the movie is toying with those themes at Ceasar’s when he misses an awards ceremony because he’s womanizing at the craps table.

    The Characters

    - There are two actors in Iron Man who don’t come back to play those roles in the future. The first is Gerard Sanders, the actor who plays Howard Stark in photos in the magazine retrospective/stealth origin story for Tony. His part is recast as John Slattery for Iron Man 2.

    - The other recast is James Rhodes, the man who would eventually don the War Machine armor. He’s played here by Terence Howard, who reportedly demanded a lot of money to come back for Iron Man 2, so his role was recast as Don Cheadle.

    - Happy Hogan, played in the movies by the director of Iron Man, Jon Favreau, first joined the comics in Lee and Heck’s Tales of Suspense #45. Back then, he was a garbage boxer who saved Tony’s life and got hired as a bodyguard/driver for Stark. He was a key part of Tony’s support squad, marrying and divorcing Pepper at one point before he was killed shortly after Civil War. He is, to the best of our knowledge, still dead.

    - Following Tony’s brief fling with Christine Everhart (who also comes from a few issues of Iron Man from 2004...where she worked for The Daily Bugle), we’re introduced to J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony’s AI butler who manages his Malibu house. In the comics, Edwin Jarvis was the Stark family butler who went on to maintain Avengers Mansion for the team. It wasn’t until Agent Carter that we discovered that there was an actual, breathing Edwin Jarvis who existed in the MCU. Prior to that, Paul Bettany’s disembodied voice and later his multicolored synthezoid Vision were the only Jarvi we knew of.

    - Tony’s gal Friday, Pepper Potts, was also introduced by Lee and Heck in Tales of Suspense #45. She was his assistant there, and remained his assistant off and on throughout their partnership. She was married to Happy for a time, and was the one who requested that Tony shut off Happy’s life support when he passed after Civil War.

    - We get the first appearance of the about-to-be-famous Phil Coulson of the Strategic Homeland Intervention and Logistics Division, or S.H.I.E.L.D. here. As you know now, he goes on to become no big deal.

    The Villains

    - Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah Stane, Tony’s business partner. Stane was created in 1982 by two comics creators better known for their DC work - Dennis O’Neil, of Green Lantern/Green ArrowThe Question and Batman fame; and Luke McDonnell, who helped make Suicide Squad an all-time DC classic. Stane was very much the evil businessman archetype he is in the movie, except he was more explicitly a foil for Tony early on, heading a rival company and going right after Stark International. Stane became the Iron Monger in the comics, too, donning the Iron Monger mech in 1985’s Iron Man #200.

    They play up the Mozart/Salieri parallels pretty hard with these two, right down to Stane noodling around with one of Salieri's compositions on the piano.

    - At the time that Iron Man came out, “The 10 Rings” was actually a clever way to bring up The Mandarin without dealing with the comics version’s...how do I put this...INSANELY RACIST backstory and coding. Making The 10 Rings into an ill-defined terrorist group allowed them to sidestep a lot of the comics version’s problematic Asian stereotypes (instead we got problematic Middle Eastern ones!). The Mandarin was first introduced in Tales of Suspense #50 as basically an evil Green Lantern - he found a crashed alien spaceship and adapted 10 rings of power, each with a different ability.  

    The Music

    - You can hear the 1966 Iron Man animated series theme tune several times in the movie, notably as background music in the casino and as Rhodey's ringtone. Sing it with us, kids! "Tony Stark, makes you feel...he's a cool exec, with a heart of steel..."


    OK, it's not the best.

    - The song playing while Tony is fixing his car is “Institutionalized” by Suicidal Tendencies. I don’t know why I expected subtlety out of an Iron Man movie that actually used Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” in the credits, but here we are.

    - Speaking of subtle, the song on the plane is “Slept on Tony” by Ghostface Killah.


    Ghostface’s most prominent alias is Iron Man. He also appears in a deleted scene in this movie, but since his scene ended up on the cutting room floor, then Method Man gets to keep the title of “Best Wu Tang MCU cameo” for his appearance in Luke Cage.

    Miscellaneous Stuff

    - By the way, Tony would have actually won that last bet on the craps table. The only time you can bet the Don’t Pass line (the back one) is at the beginning of a round, and if you bet Don’t Pass and the shooter then rolls a 2 or a 3, you win the bet.

    - Jim Cramer’s Mad Money was inexplicably popular with college kids when this movie came out. It was probably the combination of terrible stock tips and the abrasive morning zoo soundboard he used to distract away from his terrible predictive record. How this guy isn’t in the administration right now is beyond me.

    - The Forbes cover in the magazine retrospective/origin summary for Tony has a spelling error. Tony Stark took the REINS of Stark International at 21, he didn’t take any reigns anywhere. Sorry, pet peeve.

    - Tony’s competing with the SR 71 Blackbird for an altitutde record when he ices up and falls during his test flight. Two things on this: the Blackbird was the basis for the X-Men’s jet in both the comics and the original movie. And second, icing was the opposite of the problem that real Blackbirds had. The original supersonic spy plane actually got so hot during flight that it grew. It would leak fuel when on the ground because they had to build it with heat-related expansion in mind, because it got so hot from friction.

    - You can hear the old Space Invaders laser sound whenever the armor's targeting display locks on.

     

    - Rhodey looks at the Mark 2 armor, the silver suit, and says, “Next time baby.” Alas, for Terrence Howard, “next time” went to Don Cheadle, Iron Man 2’s War Machine. And don't forget, Rhodey wasn't just War Machine, he took over as Iron Man for a good stretch, too!

    The Post Credits Scene

    - Nick Fury was created in 1963 by Stan and Jack, but he was made famous by Jim Steranko, who drew some incredible, weird, groundbreaking stuff on his books. However, Fury-as-Sam-Jackson is a conceit of 2002’s “what if the Marvel Universe started today” Avengers reimagining, Ultimates, by Bryan Hitch and Mark Millar. He was specifically drawn as a photoreal Samuel L. Jackson, which led to the real Jackson lobbying to play Fury in the movies, which ended up with him cast as Fury here.

    - Fury introduces Tony to “The Avenger Initiative,” which leads us right into the MCU and the first big crossover, the “bigger universe” that Fury’s talking about. It's a shame that never went anywhere. Wait...what?


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    Scarlet Witch is back in Avengers: Infinity War, but there's a long history of X-Men joining the Avengers.

    FeatureMarc Buxton
    May 2, 2018

    Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch’s inclusion in Avengers: Age of Ultron was just another chapter in the history of X-Men characters joining the Avengers. Wanda is back for Avengers: Infinity War, of course, and we assume you know what happened to Pietro in the last movie.

    But those aren't the only two X-Men that have answered the call to assemble with the Avengers. Plenty of mutants have become major parts of Avengers history.

    So here is a historic look at those X characters who have also served as Avengers!

    Quicksilver

    Joined the team in Avengers #16 (1965)

    In Avengers #16, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby did, at the time, the unheard of. The legendary fathers of the Marvel Age replaced the current roster of Avengers with an entirely new team, mostly comprised of former villains. Joining Captain America on the team were Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and mutant speedster, Quicksilver.

    Before he joined the Avengers, Quicksilver was a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. He was a reluctant villain whose main motivation was protecting his sister from Magneto’s machinations. When he and his sister joined Cap on the Avengers, a cohesive history between the X-Men and the Avengers began.

    Quicksilver almost instantly began to play the arrogant rogue, an Avenger with a huge chip on his shoulder out to prove that he was worthy of the name Avengers despite his violent past. Quicksilver served as a foil for many of his comrades and stood between his sister and many romantic relationships, first with Hawkeye and finally with the being that Scarlet Witch would marry, the Vision.

    Scarlet Witch

    Joined the team in Avengers #16 (1965)

    Like her brother Quicksilver, Wanda Maximoff joined Earth’s Mightiest in Avengers #16 and became part of Cap’s Kooky Quartet. Scarlet Witch is the most powerful mutant ever to join the Avengers but oddly, she was never actually a member of any X team. Yes, she started out as a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but that was the only mutant team she was ever a part of.

    Wanda spent her entire heroic career as a core member of the Avengers and from the Kree-Skrull War, to the Korvac Saga, to the Celestial Madonna saga, she was front and center for most of the major early Avengers stories. Scarlet Witch was the unwitting power behind the House of M crossover and profoundly impacted the X Verse when she declared, “No More Mutants,” decimating the mutant population. She was also the catalyst of the events leading to Avengers vs. X-Men, as the two teams came into conflict over the Witch’s future...which led to the death of Charles Xavier.

    So while the Avengers experienced many happy moments with the Scarlet Witch such as her marriage to the android Vision, the X-Men experienced great tragedy because of Wanda Maximoff. 

    Beast

    Joined the team in Avengers #151 (1976)

    A founding member of the X-Men, the Beast might have been just about the last mutant you would ever imagine joining the Avengers, particularly in 1976. Beast joined the X-Men right after Marvel tried to integrate Hank McCoy into its family of horror titles. This was right after Beast went all blue (actually grey at first) and hairy.

    From mutant to would be horror star, Marvel couldn’t seem to find a place for Beast until he joined the Avengers. Hank McCoy was a major member of the Avengers for much of the '70s and into the '80s forming a lasting friendship with Wonder Man that became one of the central relationships of the title. Where Beast found nothing but fear and hatred as a member of the X-Men, he found acceptance and celebrity as a member of the Avengers.

    The Beast served as a liaison between humans and mutants, living out Charles Xavier’s dream of acceptance as an Avenger. The Beast will forever be known as the first heroic X-Man to answer the call of the Avengers and finding new levels of popularity with readers while doing so.  

    Namor, the Sub-Mariner

    Joined the team in Avengers #262 (1985)

    This one is a bit controversial, but Marvel has established that due to his little ankle wings, Namor is in fact, a mutant. Namor joined the Avengers in the mid-80s and became a major member of that era’s team. The highlight of Namor’s time with the Avengers was his constant chest pounding feud of one-upmanship with fellow Avenger Hercules. More recently, he had some squabbles with T'Challa in the pages of New Avengers.

    He wouldn’t have made our list if Namor didn’t join the X-Men during the Avengers vs. X-Men saga where he was one of five mutants to gain the powers of the Phoenix. He might have served briefly with each team and his status as a mutant may be questionable, but Namor was one of the few X Avengers during some very exciting times in both teams’ history.

    Firestar

    Joined the team in Avengers vol. 3 #4 (1998)

    Ah, everyone’s favorite amazing friend. Angelica Jones just recently joined the X-Men but was a long standing member of the Avengers starting with Kurt Busiek and George Perez’s classic run in the late 90s. This microwave wielding mutant powerhouse took part in many classic tales including Busiek and Perez’s Ultron story which pretty much everyone needs to read.

    At first a member of the mutant Hellions and then the heroic New Warriors, Firestar joined the Avengers with her boyfriend Justice and basically earned her hero chops as a member of Earth’s Mightiest. She later took all her Avengers experience to the X-Men.

    And no, Ms. Lion was not on any of these teams with the mighty Firestar.

    Wolverine

    Joined the team in New Avengers #6 (2005)

    While he was the most popular member of the X-Men, Wolverine also joined the Avengers causing a firestorm of controversy as old time fans railed against the already hyper exposed feral mutant becoming part of Earth’s mightiest.

    That didn’t stop Wolverine from taking part in some of the 21st century’s greatest Avengers stories, such as Civil WarSecret InvasionSiege, and Age of Ultron all had Wolverine as a central Avenger. Plus, when the X-Men and the Avengers went to war in A vs. X Wolverine was caught smack in the middle of the conflict.

    Wolverine originally joined the team because Tony Stark basically paid him a fortune (hey, Wolverine needed beer money), but he eventually became just as important to the team in the early part of the 2000s as Iron Man and Captain America. Fans may dream of seeing Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine joining the Avengers on the big screen, but for a long time in the comics, Wolverine answered the call to assemble.

    Storm

    Joined the team in Avengers vol. 4 #19 (2011)

    When the Avengers needed to swell its ranks against the forces of Norman Osborn and HAMMER, the call went out to some great heroes. None were greater than the X-Men’s most regal member, the then Queen of Wakanda, the weather witch, Storm. Along with Wolverine, Storm has always been the heart of the X-Men and her time with the Avengers was a testament to her status as one of the world’s mightiest champions.

    Storm came to the Avengers by the recommendation of her then husband the Black Panther and quickly became one of the team’s most powerful members. She was torn from the Avengers’ ranks during the events of Avengers vs. X-Men but during her time with the team, Storm served admirably.

    Havok

    Joined the team in Uncanny Avengers #1 (2012)

    The X-Men’s first field commander, Cyclops, may have never joined the Avengers, but his baby bro Havok did in the pages of Uncanny Avengers. Havok was hand picked by Captain America to lead the team of human/mutant heroes and quickly became a great Avengers leader, guiding his team through memorable conflicts with Apocalypse and Kang.

    Like most X-Men and Avenger characters, Havok’s character continuity quickly became convoluted and timey wimey. You see, in an alternate universe, Havok married and had a daughter with the Wasp and then had to undo the timeline to save reality, sacrificing his daughter along the way and becoming hideously scarred and – you know what, skip it. Havok is awesome and made an awesome Avenger.

    Cannonball

    Joined the team in Avengers vol. 5 #1 (2012)

    Fans have watched this long time member of the New Mutants, X-Force, and the X-Men grow up over the decades. The culmination of Cannonball’s heroic journey occurred when he and his best pal, Sunspot, were chosen to join the Avengers.

    Cannonball has an awesome wide eyed innocent quality that really drives home just how cool it would be to serve as an Avenger. He was always the corn-fed kid as part of the X-Men and the New Mutants, but as an Avenger, Sam Guthrie came into his own as a hero and as a man.

    Sunspot

    Joined the team in Avengers vol. 5 #1 (2012)

    Sunspot joined the Avengers at the same time as his pal Cannonball. While Cannonball has that innocent vibe to him, Sunspot has a swagger like he belongs on a team labeled Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. He is arrogant, self important, and as heroic as they come. Like Cannonball, Sunspot served as a New Mutant, a member of X-Force, and a member of the X-Men before joining the world’s elite heroes.

    Sunspot’s Avengers run was memorable. During his time as an Avenger, Sunspot took down one of the Avengers’ greatest groups of antagonists, the cadre of mad scientists known as AIM. How did Sunspot defeat AIM? Did he bust into AIM HQ using his solar energy powers to destroy the group? Nope, Sunspot purchased AIM, bee keeper helmets and all, and proved that Tony Stark wasn’t the only Avenger with the swag to throw around billons.

    Rogue

    Joined the team in Uncanny Avengers #4 (2013)

    Rogue’s history with the Avengers goes way back, not as a hero, as she was first an adversary. It was Rogue who put Carol Danvers out of action for a long time when she drained the powers and the psyche of the former Ms. Marvel. Back then, it would be hard to imagine that the woman who so devastated one of the Avengers’ finest heroes would ever join the team’s ranks, but she became a core member of Uncanny Avengers.

    Sunfire

    Joined the team in Uncanny Avengers #5 (2013)

    Sunfire was not an X-Man for long. He joined the all new, all different X-Men as the same time as Wolverine, Storm, and Nightcrawler only to leave the newly formed international team like seven seconds later. He also didn’t spend very long as part of Havok’s Uncanny Avengers but we freakin’ love Sunfire’s costume so we had to stick him on the list.

    His time as an Avenger may have been short, but during his tenure, Sunfire took on Kang and a Celestial and even died for a bit (he got better).

    X-23

    Joined the team in Avengers Academy #39 (2012)

    Wolverine joining the Avengers almost broke fandom but when his clone X-23 joined the Avengers Academy, well nothing really dramatic happened except some really good stories. X-23 was a neophyte hero when she entered the Avengers’ school and had to repress her savage nature in order to excel. She was a member in good standing of the school’s upper class and gave an edge to the Avengers Academy title for a number of years.

    X-23 took the lessons she learned from the Avengers and is now a member of the core X-Men team, dating a time lost version of the teenage Angel. Who just gained cosmic powers. And lives in the same timeline as his older self. Who has amnesia and thinks he might be a real angel. Oh, comics.

    Anyway, X-23 was once a student of the Avengers, so yeah, there you go.

    Sabretooth

    Joined the team in Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #1 (2015)

    It’s hard to believe that one of the most vicious, feral villains in the Marvel Universe was on any superhero team, and this psychopathic killer has been on two. Victor Creed once attempted to reform and even convinced the X-Men he had seen the error of ways back in the early '90s, even going on a few missions with the team until he reverted to his true colors and gutted a few X people. Now, after the inversion of Axis, Sabretooth was converted into a hero who tried to make up for his bloody past. Again. 

    Deadpool

    Joined the team in Avengers #0 (2015)

    Deadpool is a super star of comics, film, cosplay, and Hot Topics across America, but the Merc With a Mouth was also an Avenger. Now, if Wade Wilson shows up anywhere near Avengers 4, fandom might shatter out of pure glee. But if you want to see Deadpool cut wise and cut bad guys as a card carrying Earth’s Mightiest Hero, check out issues of Uncanny Avengers post-2015.

    Deadpool was originally recruited by Captain America, but when Cap broke bad and went HYDRA in Secret Empire, it really threw the suddenly hopeful and heroic Deadpool for a loop and ignited some really great character moments. Deadpool was actually a really solid Avenger because he was constantly out to prove himself a worthy member of the Earth’s Mightiest. He even (mostly) refrained from putting peeps in the ground when he hung with the A team.

    Cable

    Joined the team in Uncanny Avengers #4 (2016)

    Deadpool’s time traveling badass film co-star Cable also joined the Uncanny Avengers and served as the team’s strategist and moral compass, guiding the team through some tough times. Like Deadpool, Cable also turned the volume down on the killing when he joined the Avengers, but there was just something odd about seeing the grizzled old psychic mutant and his giant hunking gun race into battle as an Avenger.

    So what brought Cable to the Avengers doorstep? Oh, the fact that the Red Skull had stolen and was using the brain of the deceased Professor Charles Xavier. Um, ewww. You can see why the Uncanny Avengers needed a psychic as powerful as ‘ol Cable.  

    Dazzler

    Joined the team in A-Force #2 (2016)

    Sadly, this was not the disco version of Dazzler, but a more adult, punk rock version of the mutant rock star. Whatever the case, we always have and always will love Dazzler, and at this time of her career Dazzler needed a friend due to the fact she was recently kidnapped by Mystique. The shape shifting mutant fatale replaced Dazzler and kept the songstress in a coma so Dazzler could be experimented on. That’s messed up, comic book Mystique! Reasons like this are why we like Katniss Mystique better!

    Anyway, Dazzler needed time to heal after her ordeal and joined the all-woman Avengers team known as A-Force. With A-Force, Dazzler bravely served and forged new bonds that helped her become a hero once again. 


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