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    Batman #46 features versions of Batman and Catwoman we've never seen before, as the Dark Knight is born in a particularly bloody manner.

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    May 2, 2018

    This Batman article contains major spoilers.

    Tom King's latest Batman arc, "The Gift," which is drawn by the excellent Tony S. Daniel, might be the writer's craziest story yet. With only two issues, King has spun a tale of time travel and alternate realities that could easily be turned into a graphic novel -- or perhaps a spinoff series. You see, "The Gift" introduces readers to versions of Batman and Catwoman we've never seen before. 

    After Booster Gold decides to give Batman a disastrous wedding gift -- the life of his parents -- time is forever altered. Bruce Wayne never becomes Batman and Gotham is engulfed in violence. Instead, Dick Grayson, fueled by the death of his parents, has become a bloodthirsty, gun-toting Batman who shoots to kill. 

    Bruce, on the other hand, now lives happily with his parents, watching from Wayne Manor as their city burns on the horizon. In issue #45, Booster tries to convince Bruce to go back to his life as Batman in order to fix time, but he refuses, destroying Booster's AI companion Skeets, which takes away Booster's ability to time travel. 

    So Booster has to hatch another plan in #46. One year later, Booster frees Selina Kyle from Arkham Asylum and creates a Catwoman costume for her that definitely resembles Michelle Pfeiffer's makeshift dominatrix suit from Batman Returns. There's something different about this version of Selina, though: she doesn't talk beyond meowing and hissing... And she might be a serial killer. Er.

    Still, Booster thinks it's a good idea to set up a meet-cute between this unstable Catwoman and Bruce. But our time-traveling protagonist isn't ready for the massacre which ensues as a result. When Booster and Catwoman arrive at Wayne Manor, the Cat immediately slits Alfred's throat as he tries to call security. She then pounces on Thomas Wayne and murders him with her claws. Batman shows up and shoots Booster Gold and Catwoman, who manages to first slice off the Dark Knight's fingers. 

    As Martha Wayne runs to her dead husband, one of Batman's stray bullets hits and kills her. Bruce, faced with so much death, shoots Batman in the head. The final panel features Bruce on his knees, surrounded by his dead loved ones and three costumed freaks. Before Booster fades, he hopes that all of this death will be enough to turn Bruce back into Batman.

    With only four issues left before Batman and Catwoman's wedding in issue #50, we know things are going to turn out alright, but it's still fascinating to see King dishing out such a daring story that completely changes Batman's origin and ties Catwoman directly to it. In a way, it's Catwoman who gives birth to Batman in this alternate reality. It looks like these two really were meant to be together...

    Batman #46 is out today. Check out the conclusion of "The Gift" in issue #47, which is out on May 16.


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    A new era of Superman is about to begin, and it won't be an easy one for Clark Kent.

    NewsMike Cecchini
    May 2, 2018

    This article contains spoilers for DC Nation#0.

    The Brian Michael Bendis era of Superman is almost upon us. The famed Marvel writer is taking on the most high-profile assignment imaginable in his first work for DC Comics, as the steward of multiple Superman titles. DC is, perhaps wisely, rolling this out slowly at first, offering a brief story (with Jim Lee art) in last month's Action Comics #1000, and now a new tale (with the legendary Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez on art) in DC Nation #0, a one-shot intended to set up the big DC events of the summer.

    The story, "Office Space," couldn't be more different than Bendis'Action Comics #1000 outing. That tale, "The Truth," was blockbuster action, focusing on Superman having his red and blue ass handed to him by a brand new alien supervillain, one who hints that the destruction of Krypton came at his hand. Readers were promised that we'd get the answers in The Man of Steel, the June mini-series by Bendis and an absolute murderer's row of artists. "The Truth," while necessary and an effective tease, felt out of place in the rest of Action Comics #1000, which mostly focused on the meaning of the character and his greater significance, rather than his power levels. 

    But "Office Space" is very much the other side of the coin, and puts the bombastic action of "The Truth" in a little more context. Bendis has teased us with his sci-fi alien fight scene chops, and with "Office Space" he shows his ability to write Clark Kent and his supporting cast at The Daily Planet. Bendis writes a particularly Christopher Reeve-esque Clark, and he's particularly well suited to putting words in Perry White's mouth. It's good to see that White has a distinct voice from the work Bendis did on a surprisingly sympathetic J. Jonah Jameson back in his Ultimate Spider-Man days.

    Despite this, there might be cause for concern with Superman fans about some of the hints laid out in this story. The last two years of Superman comics have been defined primarily by the strong family dynamic, with Clark and Lois long married and raising a super powered son named Jon. Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, and Patrick Gleason delivered years of fan favorite stories, which called back to and built upon the last truly great creative era of Superman from the late 1980s through the 1990s. Lois Lane and Jon Kent have been noticeably absent from most of the discussion of the post Man of SteelSuperman plans, and the solicitations for the individual issues weren't exactly comforting in that regard, hinting that some mysterious fate had befallen the pair.

    In "Office Space" it's revealed that Lois Lane has left The Daily Planet staff, apparently to work on a novel. The thing is, given the way Clark reacts at every mention of her name, there are plenty of indications this isn't the entire truth. What's more, there's not so much as a mention of their son, Jon. It's not clear if Lois' novel is just a cover story or if there's something more sinister at work. In any case, fans of Superman's marriage might have some reason for concern, while Clark might have some more immediate problems, as a mysterious new character is also introduced.

    DC Nation #0 is on sale in comic shops today, and it's only 25 cents. We'll start getting the answers to the questions posed in "The Truth" and "Office Space" when The Man of Steel #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado arrives on May 30.


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    Neil Gaiman is teaming up with illustrator Chris Riddell for a book about art.

    NewsKayti Burt
    May 2, 2018

    Neil Gaiman has announced his next book: Art Matters, a book about art with illustrations by Chris Riddell. 

    Art Matters will be published by Headline in September 2018 in the hopes it "will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art." According to The Bookseller, the book is a collection of speeches, poems, and creative manifestos that explore how reading, imagining, and creating can change the world.

    Here's the full, official synopsis via Headline

    From the extraordinary mind of Neil Gaiman and the deft pen of Chris Riddell comes this stunning new collaboration. Combining Neil Gaiman's extraordinary words with Chris Riddell's deft and striking illustrations, Art Matters will inspire its readers to seize the day in the name of art.

    Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book is the embodiment of that vision. A creative call to arms, this timely illustrated collection of ideas, thoughts, feelings and artistic manifestos will be inspirational to young and old, and will encourage glorious, creative rebellion.

    Riddell has previously collaborated with Gaiman on The Graveyard BookThe Sleeper and the Spindle, and an illustrated edition of Neverwhere.

    "For years now, Chris Riddell has taken my words from speeches or poems or articles, and illustrated them, in order to communicate things to the world with deftness and charm," said Gaiman. "I'm thrilled and delighted that Headline feel it’s time to bring them to a wider audience."

    As you might imagine, Riddell had very nice things to say about working with Gaiman, as well. "It is a particular joy to work with Neil Gaiman's words," Riddell said. "They are wise, witty and have the cadence of poetry and I hope, in this volume, I have done them justice."

    Something to look forward to for fans of Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, and art in general.


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    Syfy's Krypton TV series is full, and we mean FULL of love for Superman and deep DC Comics lore.

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    May 2, 2018

    This article consists of nothing but Krypton spoilers. You've been warned.

    Krypton is here! I never thought I would be this happy to see a show set on the world Superman came from, 200 years before it exploded, but they really managed to put this one together. Krypton is packed with more love and care for deep (and I mean DEEP) Superman mythology than any version of the legend to make it to the screen. Since I majored in Kryptonian Studies in college (disclaimer: I did not), I am uniquely qualified to over-explain virtually every minute of this show.

    But what also helped was a visit to the set of Krypton early in the production of the first season (more details on that here), where I got to see a few details up close and personal thanks to executive producer/showrunner Cameron Welsh and the cast and crew. Even a lifelong Superman fan like me was surprised and amazed by the pieces of lore that the creators are mining. I'll be updating this every week with new info from each episode. 

    Keep in mind, the most recent episode will ALWAYS be at the top, followed by the other episodes in chronological order. And click the blue titles to get taken to full episode reviews!

    Ready? Let's go...

    Krypton Episode 7: Transformation

    - Holy moley, this is the version of Brainiac I've been waiting for my entire life. What a terrifying opening scene.

    - Daron-Vex is looking to escape to Argo City, birthplace of Supergirl. I hope we get to go there in future seasons.

    - The Daron-Vex/Brainiac symbiosis reminds me of whenever Brainiac teams up with Lex Luthor in the comics. You only think you're the smartest guy in the room until the goddamn Collector of Worlds shows up, and then you're just another sniveling jackass.

    - Kem delivers the punchline of an off-color joke about Rondors. The Rondor is a legendary Kryptonian beast whose horn can cure diseases. We saw them glimpsed in Man of Steel, believe it or not. Please tell me this means we'll get to see Nam-Ek on this show down the line.

    - I love that this world's equivalent of "you'll wish you were never born" is "you'll wish the Genesis Chamber never spat you out." Another nod to the fact that Kryptonians don't seem to give birth "the old-fashioned way."

    - We've been wondering when Dev-Em would make a turn towards his villainous comic book roots, and sadly, it had to come because of his possession by Brainiac. Hopefully he's not dead and there's room for redemption here, because this character is far too interesting to dismiss like this.

    - Adam Strange, during his soul-baring speech to Val-El, makes a reference to not having a power ring. While we knew there's a Justice League in whatever corner of the multiverse Krypton occupies, this is our first official confirmation of the Green Lantern Corps. I desperately hope we meet a member on this show down the line.

    - Also, Adam is closely examining the Black Mercy in the Fortress. If that thing gets out, maybe we'll see a vision of reality where Adam is living out his heroic fantasies.

    - Val's talk to Adam is kind of like the equivalent of Jonathan Kent's "you are here for a reason" speech in Superman: The Movie.

    - Adam's "piss of, Ghost" line is definitely a nod to Thor: Ragnarok. (Disclaimer: Kayti Burt caught that, not me!)

    - Note that Seg-El actually kills someone, albeit in self defense, and it probably wasn't his intention. Something tells me that this is going to stick with him for a while. This show understands Superman so well, that I think this moment will make a mark.

    - Zod never knew his father, who was apparently killed in the battle for Kandor. This raises some interesting possibilities. For one thing, it makes me question the timeline of when Brainiac is actually going to take Kandor. It seems unlikely that Lyta is currently pregnant, and that battle appeas to be looming, right? 

    But if she is...would this mean that Seg-El is potentially Zod's father? That would be too convenient, and I think a little too much of a stretch for this show. Could Dev-Em be the father? I'm not sure if Lyta and Dev were ever actually boinking, so I don't think that's the answer, either. Far more likely is that for whatever reason (and this raises the spectre of Seg again), Lyta just always lied to young Dru-Zod about his parentage.

    In unrelated news, the "there's someone I need you to meet" moment is just absolutely gold.

    - The Not The Voice of Rao's ascension to proper sun god is a great visual, but whenever anyone, for any reason, says "who wants to live forever" there's only one thing I think of...

    Alright, Science Council! See anything I didn't? Let me know in the comments or shout 'em at me on that Phantom Zone of futility, Twitter! (I'm just kidding, we all know Facebook is the actual Phantom Zone...that place is the worst). Keep scrolling for my breakdowns of previous episodes!

    Krypton Episode 1

    Krypton doesn't waste a single second getting into its Superman lore. From the opening shot, Krypton is surrounded by a ring of debris. While this certainly isn't explained as anything in particular, I have to wonder if this is the shattered Kryptonian moon of Wegthor, destroyed by a nuclear missile, and one of the reasons that Kryptonians are pretty sour on space travel.

    Even if this isn't actually intended to be Wegthor (but I bet it is, because trust me, the folks behind this show have left no Superman stone unturned in their quest to bring this show to life), having a slight ring around the planet Krypton is a nod to the earliest appearances of Superman's father, Jor-El, in the comics, where he was often depicted wearing a tunic with a ringed, Saturn-esque planet on it.

    In later years that became a stylized depiction of Krypton's red sun instead.

    But you can also see some visual nods to the 2013 Man of Steel movie. The depleted, desert look of Krypton, and that particular color scheme, looks very much like the version we got in that film. David S. Goyer, who wrote that film, is an executive producer and co-showrunner on Krypton, and he co-wrote the pilot, too. I spoke to Goyer last year about the show's development and he said he had written countless pages of notes on Kryptonian history when he started prepping for Man of Steel, and wished that segment of the movie was even longer. 

    Here's a look at the surface of Krypton from Man of Steel for comparison's sake (and yes, that is Wegthor in the upper left hand corner).

    Please note that Krypton is not a Man of Steel prequel, despite these similarities. The producers have been quite clear about that fact. But it's neat that they've gone for a similar aesthetic when it makes sense. By the way, I wrote a ton about all the weird Krypton and DC stuff in Man of Steel right here if you want to read it.

    But they've also drawn on Richard Donner's Superman (which we'll get into in a minute), tons of deep comics lore, and designed this world top to bottom on their own.

    A word of warning before we go on, Superman (1978) is my favorite movie of all time. It's the thing that got me into comics, superheroes, and science fiction in general. I'm not going to be able to shut up about it whenever we're discussing Superman in general, or this show in particular.

    Anyway...

    - In our first look at Krypton's surface, we see the city of Kandor in the foreground. There's a LOT to unpack here, too. You can also see another city way the hell off in the distance, also under a dome. So, we'll go in order of...well, we'll just go in whatever order I feel like rambling about, OK?

    This shot also reminds me of the first time we see the surface of Krypton in (you guessed it) the 1978 Superman movie. While that film depicts Krypton as an icy, frozen wasteland, its cities are kind of clustered together. And that movie's action takes place in one giant mega-city structure, but way off in the distance you can see others like it. That's what happens here, except with domes.

    But more importantly, Kandor being under a dome recalls its comic book fate. In the comics (not to mention other versions of the Superman story, including Smallville), Kandor went bye-bye long before Krypton itself did, usually because Brainiac came along and scooped it up, leaving nothing but a crater in its place. He placed it in a bottle, which isn't exactly a dome, but you get the idea. Superman eventually rescued Kandor and placed it in his fortress.

    On the other hand, the comic version of Argo City, Supergirl's hometown, had a dome over it, and that's one of the reasons it initially survived Krypton's explosion. Although the Supergirl TV series hasn't taken that route, and anyway, this show isn't set in that continuity. In any case, there's a lot of precedent for the whole "city under glass" thing we're seeing here.

    Now, as for the actual IN STORY reasons for why these cities are all under domes. An undetermined amount of time ago, the planet suffered some kind of "great cataclysm" (these are the words executive producer Cameron Welsh used to describe it when I visited the Krypton set last year). As a result, vast swaths of the planet are inhospitable to life, and that's why all the cities are under domes.

    Later in the episode, we hear the commander of Kandor's military, Primus Jayna Zod (we'll get to her in a minute), refer to other city-states. There are nine city-states on Krypton, although the show (at least for now) is primarily concerned with Kandor. I do not know if life is like this in those other city-states.

    I have to appreciate the Kryptonian architecture, though.

    Before Krypton was depicted as a crystalline ice world in Superman: The Movie, one of its key influences was the work of Alex Raymond and the original Flash Gordon comic strip. For decades, alien cities in general defaulted to a kind of art deco "Raymondism," especially Krypton. This is the first time I've really seen this attempted in a modern way in live action, and it's really cool. 

    You could totally have shown me this picture and told me "hey, check out a look at Mongo from this new Flash Gordon TV series" and I would have been really excited. But yeah, the fact that early Krypton looks the way it did for nearly the first 50 years of comics is a really nice touch.

    - Daron Vex is the chief lawgiver in Kandor, serving under the Voice of Rao. Remember how I said this show draws influences from all the different versions of Krypton of the comics and the screen? Well check out those black robes he wears when passing judgment on people...

    ...they sure remind me of the ceremonial garb that Jor-El wore when pronouncing sentence on criminals in Superman: The Movie.

    So does putting people under a spotlight when they're being judged.

    - Note that Kandor is a theocracy. That's a long-ass way from the rational, scientifically ruled Krypton we know from movies and TV shows. Something definitely has to change. The scary guy in charge is the Voice of Rao. The giant red sun that Krypton orbits is named Rao. And their monotheistic society is based around a god conveniently named Rao. So yes, Rao is a sun god. Grant Morrison will tell you that Superman is also a sun god. I'm inclined to agree with him.

    Anyway, comics and cartoon fans will recognize Superman's preferred exclamation of frustration, "Great Rao!" He was invoking Krypton's sun god. Look at it this way, if Superman could still invoke Rao, then maybe Rao isn't bad as far as gods go, it's just his teachings that have been corrupted by opportunistic assholes. Gosh, it's not like that could EVER happen on Earth, right? Nah, this is science fiction and that's just too far fetched. Right? RIGHT?!?!

    One interesting thing about the Voice of Rao and his design is how the multi-faced mask reminds me of the floating blue Science Council heads from the opening of Superman: The Movie that scared the living crap out of me as a kid.

    The lettering on his robe is the Kryptonian language. I believe there's a distinction the show makes between what modern residents speak (which is Kryptonian) and the language of the ancients that is used for ceremonial purposes, which is Kryptonese. For the record, in the comics it was always Kryptonese and not Kryptonian, but I'm not going to get too hung up on this. Unless you want me to. But I don't think you do.

    I'm sure that the significance of the blue bodysuit and red cape that we see on Val-El in the opening shot isn't lost on anybody, right? Right.

    Like most modern interpretations of the Superman legend, "it's not an 'S'" it's a Kryptonian symbol. In this case, it's the crest of the House of El. Up until 1978, it was most certainly an 'S'. That changed with Superman: The Movie (told you I would keep bringing this up), when it became a family symbol, and all Kryptonians wore them. The comics didn't adopt that interpretation for nearly another 30 years, but since then, that's how it has been.

    Note that the show has gone with a more "classic" version of the 'S' than what we got in Man of Steel. It's a little smaller, a little more restrained and traditional. 

    Anyway, Val-El sure reminds me of another member of the El family...

    Right? Anyone want to take bets on how many times I can bring up Superman: The Movie when talking about this show? Because really, I'll use any excuse to do it.

    Anyway, the REASON he reminds me of Jor-El isn't just because of the fancy 'S' logo and the white hair. But Jor-El was also a renegade who defied his planet's ruling council in the name of science. You'll recall at the start of Superman that not only does the Science Council not believe his discovery that Krypton is going to explode, they explicitly forbid him from trying to leave the planet, for fear it would cause "an atmosphere of fear and panic." So yes, space travel is long outlawed on Krypton.

    Here, Val-El dares to suggest that Krypton isn't alone in the universe, and he refused to stop his research (and potential explorations) to the contrary. You can see how his great-grandson Jor-El inherited some of those traits. And you can see how that is passed further down the line, too.

    - The platform where they perform executions in Kandor sure reminds me of where General Zod and friends were banished to the Phantom Zone in those sarcophagi that looked like penises in Man of Steel, too.

    - I really love that Val-El's final words to his grandson Seg-El are "keep believing in a better tomorrow." That is something that is very much in the spirit of Superman, and a wonderful revolutionary slogan now that I think about it.

    - OK, we should probably talk about Seg-El since he's, y'know, the star of the show, right?

    Seg-El first appeared in a great comic from 1988 called The World of Krypton, by the powerhouse creative team of Mike Mignola and John Byrne. He was already Jor-El's father at that point, and certainly not the scrappy potential revolutionary we meet here. Also, in the comics his name was spelled Seyg-El.

    The name Seg-El (or Seyg-El) is almost certainly a tribute to Superman's co-creator Jerry Siegel.

    The Seg-El of the screen reminds me a little bit more of Van-L (not a typo), Seyg's ancestor from hundreds of years earlier, who lost everything when the planet underwent a devastating civil war...triggered in part by the terrorist organization Black Zero. Uh-oh...we hear that name a lot in this pilot. - In World of Krypton, the terrorist organization Black Zero basically empties some kind of nuclear destabilizing agent into Krypton's core, which helps hasten the planet's destruction centuries later. Black Zero was also the name of Zod's gigantic war ship in Man of Steel.

    Seg is going to become a member of the Science Guild, which is the first step towards the destiny of his son, Jor-El, who becomes the greatest scientific mind on Krypton.

    - Georgina Campbell plays Lyta Zod, and yes, she is you-know-who's ancestor. Her crest here seems to be different than any Zod crest I've ever seen. In any case, those Kryptonian military guild uniforms are sharp. I love that capes are only used for ceremonial occasions, too.

    Neither Lyta Zod nor her mother, Jayna, are from the comics...but I'm going to have lots more supplementary info on both of them from my time on the set of Krypton soon enough! Stay tuned!

    - Lyta is betrothed to Dev-Em, who is a very different character from his comics counterpart.

    The Dev-Em of the comics was banished to the Phantom Zone and became an enemy of Superman down the line. The Dev-Em of the show is a little more complicated than that. I love the fact that we're getting a TV show with Dev-Em on it. That's a Phantom Zone villain who has been annoying Superman since like, 1961. He ends up taking an interesting turn, though. Dev was also a background character in Man of Steel.

    - As far as I can tell, there is no Nyssa Vex in the comics. There was certainly a Car-Vex in Man of Steel, so I have to imagine this is an ancestor. Wallis Day plays Nyssa with the icy calm of Sarah Douglas' Ursa in Superman and Superman II, although her character is a lot more complex than that. Here's a mild spoiler, folks...if you're looking for an easy villain in this pilot (other than the obvious green guy) you aren't going to find one.

    - Nyssa and Seg's trip to the Genesis Chamber in Kandor reveals a LOT about Krypton, though. Krypton has moved beyond physical reproduction and childbearing (but not recreational sex, so that's good). Remember in the opening of Man of Steel where they made a big deal out of the fact that Kal-El was born "the old-fashioned way?" 

    It's also worth noting that in the comics of the '80s/'90s, not only was natural childbirth not a thing on Krypton, neither was the fun part. Babies were made 100% in test tubes (or "birthing matrixes") and sex was considered primitive and barbaric and love itself was a revolutionary act. I probably have given this point too much thought, though.

    ANYWAY...

    There's a comics connection to this, too. This whole thing where technology tells you who your child will be, what their profession is, and how long they will live is actually right out of the vintage Krypton stories in the Superman comics. There, kids would go, get themselves scanned, and get "sorted" into different fields. The comics version of Krypton wasn't as strictly classist as the one we see on the show, but you definitely had aptitudes for science, military, politics, etc. This sequence in the Genesis Chamber feels like a nod to that.

    - The key to the Fortress is named as a sunstone crystal. Crystal tech wasn't really a thing in the old Superman comics until it became the key technology in Richard Donner's Superman movie in 1978 and its sequels. When Geoff Johns took over the Superman comics in 2006 and started incorporating more elements from the Donner films, the Kryptonian crystals came with him, and I am 99% certain that was the first time we ever heard the term "sunstone" applies to them.

    Having this crystal as the key to the Fortress is very much a nod to how Clark Kent discovers his true alien heritage in Superman: The Movie.

    - I don't need to explain the Fortress of Solitude to you, right? Of course I don't. BUT, there are some neat things contained in the Fortress.

    - Of course, you all caught the use of John Williams' famed Superman musical theme at key moments, correct? Yet another way that the greatest Superman movie of all time influenced this movie.

    - First of all, you'll see those two giant statues. In the comics, Superman keeps statues of his parents, Jor-El and Lara, holding up a giant Kryptonian globe. Here, those statues are intended to represent the first of the line of the House of El, and the globe that they're holding is a representation of Rao, Krypton's giant red sun.

    - The star map that makes up the roof of the Fortress is proof of Val-El's research and travels. He has mapped the stars, while the rest of Krypton doesn't believe in life beyond their borders.

    - The giant oval windows you see, if you look closely, are covered in luminous Kryptonian lettering. Each of those windows tells the story of a different member of the House of El, each taken from various comics. The only thing is...you can't read them unless you can read Kryptonian. But this is an actual detail that they put into that set, and it's pretty amazing.

    - But perhaps the coolest thing of all, is you can spot a weird alien plant in a glass case. That is a Black Mercy, familiar to fans of one of the greatest Superman stories ever told, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons'"For the Man Who Has Everything." I wrote about that in much more detail here, but the short version is, if you haven't read it, you should fix that immediately.

    - Adam Strange first appeared in a 1958 issue of Showcase (Barry Allen, The Flash, had arrived two years earlier in the same book). He was created by Julius Schwartz and Murphy Anderson, which is quite a creative pedigree. The Adam of the comics didn't go to Krypton, but rather the planet Rann, also via Zeta Beam, which also would zap him home at inconvenient moments when its effects wore off. 

    I wrote much more about Adam Strange here.

    Adam Strange is a Detroit Tigers fan. Geoff Johns, DC's Chief Creative Officer and who is a key influence on this show, was born in Detroit. Draw your own conclusions. The idea that Seg thinks the Tigers logo on a baseball cap is a guild logo is pretty hilarious, though.

    It's interesting that Adam Strange smokes. What is that weird fake brand that aren't Marlboro red cowboy killers he's smoking? Lamborellos? And who still buys cigarettes in a soft pack?

    - The fact that Seg thinks Adam is from "the planet Detroit" is a really subtle and clever nod to Superman II. When General Zod and his buddies arrived on Earth, they thought it was "planet Houston."

    - We don't have to mention that Superman's cape here is functioning like the family photo in Back to the Future, right? Everyone caught that? Good. Moving on...

    - When Seg is having that conversation with his parents about Adam, the cut of his shirt, and the design around the shoulders, make it look like the shirt/cape combo of Superman.

    - Seg's parents, and thus Superman's great-grandparents, are Tyr-El and Charys-El. They aren't from the comics (that I can tell, at least), but Tyr is a reasonably common Kryptonian name, so why the hell not, right? 

    - A fun detail in the background. You can see Tyr-El's medicine on a table, two gold vials with red liquid in them. Up close, those vials have Kryptonian writing on them that reads "take two drops a day, seven days a week."

    - Seg is still a long way off from being a noble superhero, but when he fights those military cadets in the alley at night, he does this jumping punch maneuver that is kind of a Superman-esque move.

    We should talk about Brainiac, right?

    - Brainiac has been menacing Superman since Action Comics #242 in 1958 (hey, the same year that Adam Strange first appeared!). His MO has always been that he steals cities from the surfaces of planets and bottles them. He's a terrific villain, but has never been done properly in live action...until now.

    The version of Brainiac that we're going to get on this show draws heavily from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's excellent Brainiac story from 2007, which kind of evolved the character into this movie-worthy, terrifying, cybernetic horror show. It's handily one of the greatest Superman stories of the modern era, and the best of my lifetime.

    The interior of his ship that we glimpse is positively full of "bottled" alien cities, too. It...looks cooler than how it looked in his original comic appearances.

    I'm not gonna get into too much more detail for fear of spoiling future episodes, but trust me on this, Superman fans...this is the Brainiac you have always wanted to see.

    I wrote much more on Brainiac's road to the screen right here.

    - Seg's best friend Kem remains mysterious, as is his background. But if you dig way the hell back in El history, there was a Kem-L. It's probably a coincidence...right?

    - Kryptonian currency and the electronic method they use to swap it is "solar chips." You can spot faded posters and fliers in among the graffiti in Kem's bar, and that's the only place in the show where paper is ever used.

    Krypton Episode 2: The House of El

    - It's becoming pretty apparent that Adam Strange might be exaggerating his status a little bit, right? His description of how unreliable the Zeta Beam can be is completely on point, though. Funny that we also learn in this episode that he's an archaeology dropout, not a full-fledged archaeologist as his comic book counterpart is. Not exactly Indiana Jones, is he?

    - We do get the names of the Kryptonian gods Rao "defeated." One of those is definitely Cythonna, an ice goddess, and you can see how she might come into conflict with a guy like Rao in the mythology.

    - Dev-Em's history is hinted at here, and once again, all I can say is that this character is far more interesting than the one from the comics. I promise to get into that soon (complete with some quotes from Aaron Pierre!).

    - Like Dev-Em, Commander Quex-Ul is a name familiar as a Superman villain, one who came back to haunt him from the Phantom Zone. We'll just assume that is one of this poor guy's descendants because TV Quex-Ul has the shit killed out of him by Lyta Zod, in a kill moment a little reminiscent of how Superman dispatches General Zod in Man of Steel.

    - We get references to both "the spirit of Jor-Mon" and an allusion to the Kryptonian fable about Jor-Mon on the Jewel Mountains in this episode. The Jewel Mountains were a staple of Krypton comic book stories in the 1970s, although they haven't been mentioned in any recent comics. Cool to see that we're getting them here. Now when will I hear the words "Scarlet Jungle" spoken?

    - Val-El's resurrection as a hologram is another of the many Superman: The Movie influences this show displays at every turn (keep scrolling for my endless notes and love for that movie down below). I approve. I also really approve of this show's version of the House of El crest, and the tasteful way it looks in black on that awesome blue tunic Val is rocking.

    - We finally see those Fortress "windows" in action. These are the "stations of the Cross" but for the House of El. Showrunner Cameron Welsh says that yes, each and every one of those windows does indeed tell a story of a different member of the House of El, all from the comics...and all in Kryptonese.

    - Tharg-El "discovered the cure for the green death." This is a cool, kind of revealing line. In the 1986 Man of Steel by John Byrne, and the World of Krypton comic by Byrne and Mike Mignola, it turned out that Kryptonite was menacing Kryptonians long before Superman made his way to Earth. Kryptonite poisoning was a result of the radioactive stresses in the planet's core, and the resultant radiation sickness was "the green death." In many Superman comics, as he succumbs to Kryptonite poisoning, he'll start to turn green. I hope they revisit this as the show goes on.

    - Val-El describing the Phantom Zone as a kind of shortcut to explore the universe is reminiscent of how it was deployed on the Supergirl TV series. However, note that in the comics, traditionally it was Jor-El who discovered the Phantom Zone as a way to punish criminals (eventually Krypton stops believing in the death penalty...which is nice).

    Krypton Episode 3: The Rankless Initiative

    - Is that a look of recognition between Adam and Val-El in the Fortress? Adam says "wow, you look super realistic..." stops himself, and then the two share a nod. If Val had been traveling space and time before his execution, it's very possible he would have made his way to Planet Detroit at some point and found Adam Strange. 

    And there is definitely precedent for members of the El family to have visited Earth in the past. Usually, in most comics versions (and Smallville, strangely enough), it was Jor-El who traveled to Earth, and this helped him ultimately choose our world as the destination for his son. Since Krypton has already shifted the development of the Phantom Zone from Jor to Val, I don't see any reason why Val shouldn't have been the one to visit Earth, either.

    In any case, this is something to watch as the show develops.

    - I absolutely love the Rao "crucifixes" that Rohm and Ona carry. Having common, everyday religious relics around really helps flesh out the world. 

    While we're on the subject of Rao, the robed figures with High Kryptonese lettering tattooed on their faces are known as "The Word of Rao."

    - We've already discussed Black Zero in earlier episodes (keep scrolling for more details), and I don't see much in the way of DC Comics references for "Sector 19" in Kandor. But there's a hugely important name introduced in this episode...

    Jax-Ur. Believe it or not, before Superman II immortalized General Zod as the Kryptonian criminal to beat, Jax-Ur was Superman's prime Phantom Zone asshole. One of the reasons Kryptonians weren't fond of space travel in the comics was because Jax-Ur "accidentally" destroyed the moon of Wegthor (see my notes on episode 1) with a nuclear missile. The character has been around since 1961, but we'll be meeting a rather different version on Krypton later this season...

    I'm pretty sure there's a mention of things going down at "4300 hours." I have always been under the impression that a Kryptonian day is 27.4 hours (do not ask me how/why I know this), but maybe the show measures time differently.

    - Adam is offered a "Daxamite hunting blade" by one of the Rankless traders. Daxam, of course, is the home planet of Mon-El, who some of you may hate over on Supergirl. It doesn't appear that Krypton takes place in the same corner of the multiverse as Supergirl, but it's good to know there's a Daxam here, too.

    That same trader tries to pass off the Brainiac probe as coming from a "legendary Gem City." And while a gem city definitely sounds like something that would be right at home in Silver/Bronze Age Kryptonian mythology, my memory banks are drawing a blank at the moment. I am also very tired.

    - I do love the variety of styles and colors we see in all the Rankless crowd scenes in this episode. At one point, I could swear I saw someone in red trunks and a yellow belt, but I might be imagining things.

    - Adam is TOTALLY bullshitting about designing the Zeta Beam Device himself! Not only is it clearly alien technology, it kind of looks like Jack Kirby designed it. And while Kirby never really had anything at all to do with Adam Strange, I just like the design choice here.

    - Gotta love Seg's "I'm better with the truth," line. The guy has a strong sense of justice if you ask me. Might have picked that up from Commander Lyta Zod. 

    - The Rankless getting choked out by a uniformed figure who proclaims "I can't breathe" seems like an intentional echo of the death of the unarmed, non-violent, Eric Garner at the hands of a New York City police officer in 2014. 

    Also, I'm just going to quote directly from Delia Harrington's review of the episode, because she has absolutely nailed it...

    "It’s worth noting that separating out members of a specific group, under the guise of anti-terrorism actions, is the seventh stage of genocide. Furthermore, the forcible separation of children from their parents, as the Sagitarii tried to do here, is one of five components of genocide, as outlined in international human rights law."

    - As far as I know, there's no Kol-Da in the comics. Am I wrong?

    - "There is no Rohm" is this show's "There is no Dana, only Zuul." But the rest of her dialogue, especially "Krypton is worthy of collection" is absolutely chilling. Treating Brainiac like a horror movie villain is really the way to go, and I get the feeling they're going to tease this out over the rest of the season.

    - That EMP grenade that Seg uses to take out poor Rohm looks an awful lot like an Omegahedron, the maguffin of the 1984 Supergirl movie...and which has kinda popped up on the modern Supergirl TV show, too.

    Wondering why this very Brainiac-heavy episode entry is light on me actually talking about Brainiac? That's because I have a whole article about the creepy green guy right here for you instead!

    Krypton Episode 4: The Word of Rao

    There's not a whole lot of DC or Superman mythology in this episode that I haven't already covered in my breakdowns of the previous episodes (those all start below this one), but there were still a few fun things to catch...

    - It's interesting that the Nova Cycle is basically like a kind of Christmas/New Year/renewal celebration. It's even more interesting that the Voice of Rao can kind of just determine when it starts. And why shouldn't he? The guy literally decides when it is daylight and when it isn't in Kandor. It would seem that Krypton might not rotate and have a traditional day/night routine.

    - The offerings to Rao presented during the Nova Cycle festival are red and blue gems, not only recalling traditional Superman color schemes, but other kinds of Kryptonite. Red Kryptonite has weird, unpredictable effects, while Blue Kryptonite traditionally only has an effect on Bizarros. Kryptonite is sometimes portrayed as a naturally occurring element (rather than any given fragment of the planet that was irradiated by the explosion), and I wonder if there's any connection to that here.

    Or maybe they just look cool...which they do.

    - Using an insect that invades an orifice in your head as a form of torture sure does bring to mind the most disturbing scene in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, doesn't it?

    - Seg trudging off through the frozen wastes reminds me of Clark Kent in Superman II, trying to find his way back to the Fortress of Solitude after foolishly giving up his powers and getting his ass kicked by a trucker as a result.

    Krypton Episode 5: House of Zod

    - The saga of Jayna Zod and her older brother isn't from the comics, but it sure is good storytelling. I spoke with both Ann Ogbomo (Jayne) and Georgina Campbell (Lyta) about what it means to be a Zod, and you can read more about that right here.

    - Now, we've heard the legend of Jo-Mon mentioned several times on this show already, and I just want to make sure I've got it straight. Here, Jo-Mon took on all comers on the Jewel Mountains, right? But in the comics, Jo-Mon was a pacifist, who preached from up on those mountains.

    But what's really interesting to me is that the "Sword of Jo-Mon" that we see represented on that temple in the ice wastes looks like the "Sword of Superman" from one of Elliot S! Maggin's weirder Supes stories from the late Bronze Age. Just cool callbacks on top of cool callbacks.

    - I do love that instead of a "trial by fire" the Zod's are tested in a "trial by ice" basically, which sort of sets them up even further as the opposites of Superman. After all, Superman derives his very powers from the sun. 

    - Don't think Superman II fans didn't notice that "as such, you kneel to no one" line.

    Krypton keeps digging deep on Superman lore, this time for ice goddess Cythonna and her war with Rao. There's a nearly forgotten Superman one-shot called Superman: The Last God of Krypton by Walt Simonson and Greg Hildebrand that told her story, and while the way it relates to Superman himself will never make it to the screen, it's still pretty cool that they've just decided to weave it into the background of the show.

    - The Cythonnites themselves, though, are speaking some kind of Kryptonian dialect. I wonder if this is the ancient "high Kryptonese" language we've heard about, and this is why Seg doesn't understand them? Is this like the Kryptonian equivalent of Aramaic or Latin or something? I'm also really curious about what language was used as the basis for this.

    - This is the second time Seg's undershirt has recalled something connected to Superman history. In episode one, it was that wide neck with the design that felt like a cape could be attached/tucked into it. But in this episode, it has a kind of collar design that is a little reminiscent of the outfits Buster Crabbe wore as Flash Gordon. Both the Flash Gordon movie serials (and more importantly, Alex Raymond's comic strips) were enormous visual inspirations on early Superman, and this doesn't feel accidental.

    Check out what I mean...

    Flash Gordon

    It's very possible I imagined this, but I could have sworn that someone present at Lyta's trial/sentencing was wearing the symbol we see on the lead council member in Superman: The Movie.

    And what about that crazy ending, right? I explored the implications of that in detail right here.

    Krypton Episode 6: House of Zod

    - Was this episode the first time we've heard the place of judgment referred to as "the Hall of Justice?" If so...c'mon, I don't need to tell you what the Hall of Justice is, right? Also, the "blue light of judgment" kind of reminds me of these guys...

    ...but that's probably a coincidence.

    - The big reveal here is that Brainiac's arrival isn't anything abnormal. He's just here to steal Kandor, as we've always known he's destined to do. The interesting twist here is that the theft of Kandor is what ultimately destabilizes Krypton's core and causes the destruction of the planet.

    - So if Kandor is destined to be wiped out, it makes sense that the next destination is Kryptonopolis, the second most famous city in Kryptonian lore. Fun fact: all the Krypton scenes in Superman: The Movie take place in Kryptonopolis.

    - That sure is a cool looking Doomsday. Ever heard of him? Killed the shit out of Superman back in the day? This is a neat twist.

    I'll be back each and every week to unpack every Superman and DC Comics easter egg you can possibly hope for!


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    Check out some behind the scenes photos of Brie Larson's Captain Marvel costume!

    News Mike Cecchini
    May 3, 2018

    The Captain Marvel movie was announced ages ago, and that March 9, 2019 release date feels further off than it probably is. Brie Larson will play fan-favorite cosmic powered badass Carol Danvers in the film, which will be an origin story set in the 1990s with an action movie feel. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Mississippi Grind) are directing from a by Geneva Robertson-Dworet. As far as hard details, that's about all we have to go on.

    But it's amazing what a few images from a set can tell you. Considering that Marvel clearly has big plans for Captain Marvel after Avengers: Infinity War, it's surprising that they haven't given fans an "official" look yet. Until then, we'll have to get by with some set photos.

    Check it out:

    This is a great superhero suit. It doesn't look like anything the Avengers are traditionally known for, and the high tech design marks it as just alien enough. You can see a little more of it, as well as Samuel L. Jackson as young Nick Fury in these...

    As you can see, the suit itself looks very much like the Jamie McKelvie costume design that helped launch Carol Danvers to new heights of popularity. While that costume is blue, red, and yellow, don't be thrown by the green, black, and silver look on display here.

    The Captain Marvel suit is essentially the military uniform of the Kree, who are kinda like semi-imperialist intergalactic zen fascists, and Danvers inherits her powers, suit, and the mantle of Captain Marvel from an alien named (wait for it) Mar-Vell. Jude Law will play Captain Mar-Vell in the movie. If Carol is wearing his suit, well, that's not a great sign for his odds of survival, right?

    Anyway, while that version of Captain Marvel was also known for his primary colored suit, his early look (and some later designs too) were more in line with the color scheme of this design.

    For example...

    The terrific Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes animated series did a great version of Carol Danvers' origin, with a well-designed, and very cool/alien looking Mar-Vell. Have a look:

    It's possible that Carol will only wear this version of the suit for part of the movie, too. Marvel Studios loves to evolve their heroes' looks, often paying tribute to their earliest costume designs in the first act of a film before putting them in something more recognizable later. Just look at Steve Rogers' stage gear in Captain America: The First Avenger or the gunmetal gray suit from the first act of Iron Man. Don't be surprised if Carol is in the red and blue by the end of the film (or when she shows up in Avengers 4), especially since that's the version of the logo that was recently teased in Avengers: Infinity War.

    Hopefully we'll get an official look soon.

    Captain Marvel opens on March 8, 2019. The full Marvel superhero movie release schedule can be found here.


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  • 05/04/18--08:36: Star Wars Day Gift Guide
  • Looking for great deals on May the 4th? Here's a gift and buyer's guide to Star Wars Day!

    News Den of Geek Commerce
    May 4, 2018

    Happy Star Wars Day and May the 4th be with you! With deals on boxsets, tons of action figures, books, and much more, now is the perfect time to pick up those goodies from the galaxy far, far away you've been craving since the holidays. 

    Den of Geek has gone through the catalogs and found the essential merch you need to nab this weekend. Check out our picks below and make sure to click on the ORANGE links to go directly to the stores!

    Here we go:

    Samsung Powerbot Star Wars Limited Edition Robotic Vacuum - $450.00 ($250 off)

    What's better than cleaning your floors? Cleaning your floors with the dark side. Samsung's robotic Powerbot vacuum now comes in both Darth Vader and Stormtrooper designs that respond to your voice commands and even deliver your favorite lines from the movies. With the latest vacuum technology, this vacuum is a no-brainer for the Star Wars fan.

    May the 4th be with you! Save up to $350 on POWERbot Star Wars™ Limited Edition – Darth Vader™ with promo code ‘P5SOQD5GS’


    The Complete Saga Episodes I-VI Blu-ray Boxset - $74 ($66 off)

    You can own both the Prequel and Original Trilogies on Blu-ray for $100. All you need now is The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi!

    Buy The Complete Saga Blu-ray Boxset

    The Force Awakens Blu-ray - $25 ($15 off)

    Own the movie the started it all again, as Rey, Finn, and Poe face off against the dastardly First Order with a little help from Han and Leia!

    Buy The Force Awakens on Blu-ray

    The Last Jedi Blu-ray - $25 ($15 off)

    The latest installment in the Sequel Trilogy is a must-own addition to your Star Wars film collection. Pick it up while the Blu-ray is cheap!

    Buy The Last Jedi on Blu-ray

    Rogue One Blu-ray - $23 ($17 off)

    Relive the story of the group of heroes who stole the Death Star plans right before the start of A New Hope!

    Buy Rogue One on Blu-ray


    Black Series 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack w/ Darth Vader Action Figure - $20 ($20 off)

    If you weren't a kid in 1977, experiencing Star Wars during its original theatrical run, you probably missed the Kenner Early Bird Certificate Package, which was just a box in lieu of the toys you actually wanted. Neither George Lucas or Kenner could have predicted that Star Wars would be such a huge hit around the world, which meant that the toy company couldn't possibly meet the demand for the movie's action figures. The box came with a certificate that kids could redeem for four action figures once supplies were in.

    While you don't have to mail in a voucher, the Black Series Legacy Pack serves as the closest thing to the original Kenner box. And it even comes with a Darth Vader 6-inch action figure. The rest of the figures are sold separately. Still, this deal is great for the vintage Star Wars enthusiast.

    Buy the Black Series 40th Anniversary Legacy Pack

    Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel - $22 ($7 off)

    The latest Star Wars novel tells two stories about Han and Lando, both before the events of the Original Trilogy and after. 

    Buy Last Shot

    Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1 - $14 ($4 off)

    Marvel's Darth Vader comics have been consistently excellent. This new run by Charles Soule and Jim Cheung follows the rise of Vader from the end of Revenge of the Sith to his early missions to hunt down the remaining Jedi. It's excellent.

    Buy Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1


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    Need help figuring out where to begin your Star Wars adventure? Check out our beginner's guide to the canon timeline!

    Feature Megan CrouseJohn Saavedra
    May 4, 2018

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens ushered in an entirely new generation of fans looking for more adventures in the galaxy far, far away, but with the whole issue of Legends canon vs. the new canon and a whole slate of new books, comics, and movies arriving in the next few years, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Luckily for you, it's become a bit easier to dive into the canon materials now that a clear line has been drawn between Legends (pre-Disney) and new canon (post-Disney) stories, but that new material is quickly growing, too. 

    In order to help new fans get a clear look at the official Star Wars timeline, we've put together a list of the most central Star Wars books, comics, and games and detailed how they relate to the movies and TV series.

    What won't you see on this list?

    Most Star Wars Insider short stories, Star Wars Rebels Magazine comics, Forces of Destiny shorts, some Disney novelizations, such as The Princess, The Farmboy, and The Scoundrel, or upcoming books. Star Wars Insider stories have been included where we felt they contributed most to the overarching timeline, or if we felt they were particularly good.

    This timeline is intended to help you find the the best jumping-on point. (There's always the "pick up whatever you find first" approach, though.) Dates are sometimes approximate, and are based on years before (BBY) and after (ABY) the Battle of Yavin, equivalent to before and after A New Hope, as per the official canon chronology.

    Buy all your Star Wars movies, books, comics, and merch here!

    32 BBY - Marvel's Darth Maul

    Written by Cullen Bunn

    Art by Luke Ross

    Set before the events of The Phantom Menace and the villain's first demise at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi, this comic book miniseries follows Darth Maul in the early days of his apprenticeship under Darth Sidious. While he's not allowed to engage the Jedi just yet, Maul still manages to come face to face with a young Jedi Padawan during one of his missions for the Dark Lord of the Sith. The events of the series show how the dark side makes Maul more powerful but also incredibly flawed.

    Buy Marvel's Darth Maul

    32 BBY - The Phantom Menace 

    Directed & Written by George Lucas

    Buy The Phantom Menace

    29 BBY - Marvel's Obi-Wan & Anakin 

    Written by Charles Soule

    Art by Marco Checchetto

    This comic series, written by Charles Soule and penciled by Marco Checchetto, is Disney’s first foray into deep Prequel territory, without even The Clone Wars to hang on to. Devoid of any ancillary material. Obi-Wan & Anakin paints a slightly different picture of the iconic Jedi team-up than the Legends stories did before. Anakin is a headstrong tinkerer, but there is also an edge of vengefulness or self-hatred around him in the first issue, when he summons a hologram of Darth Maul that surprises and disgusts the Jedi Council.

    The series expands on how Anakin’s life as a slave affects the way he views the Jedi. This isn't an easy apprenticeship for either Jedi, but we know that it’s leading up to at least some camaraderie by the time of Padme’s attempted assassination in Attack of the Clones.

    Buy Marvel's Obi-Wan & Anakin

    22 BBY - Attack of the Clones 

    Directed by George Lucas

    Written by George Lucas & Jonathan Hales

    Buy Attack of the Clones

    22-19 BBY - The Clone Wars 

    Created by George Lucas

    Buy The Clone Wars

    21-17 BBY - Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

    Written by James Luceno

    Before Jyn Erso embarked on her fateful mission to steal the plans to the Death Star from the evil Empire in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, she lived on Coruscant with her parents, Galen and Lyra. Galen is a scientist who means to use his kyber crystal research to produce renewable energy for the galaxy, but his friend Orson Krennic has very different plans. The scientist doesn't know that he's actually helping create a weapon for the Death Star!

    Buy Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel

    19 BBY - Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir 

    Written by Jeremy Barlow

    Art by Juan Frigeri

    Although Mother Talzin appeared to have perished in The Clone Wars, she returns in what may or may not be a spiritual form during the many battles in Son of Dathomir. This comic miniseries, like Dark Disciple, was adapted from unused scripts from The Clone Wars, and is something of a battle royale, pitting Darth Maul against a variety of foes, including Count Dooku and General Grievous.

    Buy Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir

    19 BBY - "Kindred Spirits" 

    Written by Christe Golden for Star Wars Insider #159

    Often, Star Wars Insider stories will tie directly to one of the recently released novels, exploring side characters or presenting scenes before or after the book. In the case of "Kindred Spirits," the author was also the same: Christie Golden penned this tale of Asajj Ventress finding an unlikely ally shortly before Dark Disciple. Readers interested in the bounty hunter persona Ventress adopted during The Clone Wars might especially appreciate the tone of this one, which also features another tough female character.

    19 BBY - Dark Disciple 

    Written by Christie Golden

    While fans clamored for more of The Clone Wars after the animated series’ cancellation, stories set in this era, and overseen by many of the same writers and producers, began to emerge in different formats. Some unaired episodes of The Clone Wars were aired during conventions or released online; others were adapted into comics, as in Son of Dathomir. Dark Disciple was one of the more high-profile results of this effort, as it is a full-length novel telling the story of Asajj Ventress after her story on the television show had ended.

    Ventress is reluctantly recruited by Quinlan Vos, a morally ambiguous Jedi in pursuit of Count Dooku. Dark Disciple is, in part, a love story, showing Ventress and Vos’ relationships with one another and how that affects their views of the Force. It’s also a war story, with the inventive action typical of The Clone Wars.

    Buy Dark Disciple

    19 BBY - Revenge of the Sith 

    Directed & Written by George Lucas

    Buy Revenge of the Sith

    19 BBY - Marvel's Kanan 

    Written by Greg Weisman

    Art by Pepe Larraz

    If you watch Rebels but haven’t read Star Wars books or comics before, Kanan series is a good place to start. The stories alternate between the crew of the Ghost undertaking what at first seems to be a simple mission on Lothal, and Kanan’s memories of Order 66 and his training with his Jedi Master. This is a good way to learn about this fan-favorite character.

    Buy Marvel's Kanan

    19 BBY - Marvel's Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith

    Written by Charles Soule

    Art by Giuseppe Camuncoli

    This series literally starts at the moment Darth Vader is born, a second after the end of Revenge of the Sith. Unlike Marvel's first Darth Vader series, this new ongoing book tackles the earliest days of Anakin's transformation into the feared Sith apprentice, more machine than man. 

    Buy Marvel's Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith

    18 BBY - Ahsoka

    Written by E.K. Johnston

    What happened to former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano after leaving the Order in The Clone Wars? This is the story of what led Ahsoka down the path to becoming the Rebel agent Fulcrum. Anyone who loves the character's appearances in the animated series should read this book.

    Buy Ahsoka

    14 BBY - "Orientation" 

    Written by John Jackson Miller for Star Wars Insider #157

    Like "Kindred Spirits," John Jackson Miller’s "Orientation" has some of the same characters as the Star Wars novels that came out around the same time. It was packaged along with Lords of the Sith, but touches some other Star Wars material, too.

    Darth Vader is ostensibly the main character of the story, strutting his way around an Imperial training ship. But the other star of this story is Rae Sloane, a young cadet. Remember that name.

    14 BBY - Lords of the Sith

    Written by Paul S. Kemp

    Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine have crash-landed in the dangerous wilderness of Ryloth in this dark side road trip. Lords of the Sith also has a connection to Rebels and The Clone Wars: freedom fighter Cham Syndulla sees a potential advantage for his rebels and tries to assassinate the Sith while they’re working their way through the wilderness.

    The novel explores Vader and Palpatine’s tense power struggles as well as the things that bind them together. Lords of the Sith also has the new canon’s first LGBT character, the slovenly Imperial Moff Mors, who has her own character arc as the story goes on.

    Buy Lords of the Sith

    14 BBY - Tarkin 

    Written by James Luceno

    Another tale from the dark side, Tarkin shows the history and martial rise of the man who would one day command the Death Star. James Luceno was known for writing big, encyclopedic novels in the Legends timeline—he’s particularly good at fitting different parts of the canon together and talking about the political landscape of the galaxy far, far away. The Tarkinnovel brings both of those things into the new canon, and tells the story of Tarkin’s attempt to retake an experimental starship from Rebel saboteurs.

    Buy Tarkin

    11-5 BBY - Lost Stars 

    Written by Claudia Gray

    Although Lost Stars spans throughout the Original Trilogy, it starts beforehand, with two young people joining the Imperial Academy. It’s essentially a love story, with Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree still holding their feelings for one another even after Thane joins the Rebellion. This book is also a great look at the psychology of the people inside the two armies.

    The new Star Wars books have dispensed quickly with the idea that all Rebels are noble (or noble scoundrels) and that all Imperial loyalists are scheming. Lots of different things drive people to make their choices in war, and Lost Stars shows that. It also culminates in an exciting battle that ties into The Force Awakens. After reading this one, you’ll never look at Jakku quite the same way again.

    Buy Lost Stars

    11-2 BBY - Thrawn

    Written by Timothy Zahn

    When the old continuity was turned into Legends, it meant that many of the greatest characters introduced in the old EU were no longer canon. It seems like even that couldn't keep the Empire's greatest tactician down, though. The cold, Chiss admiral Thrawn returns to continuity with this new origin story from writer Timothy Zahn, the man who created the character back in the 90s. 

    Buy Thrawn

    11 BBY - A New Dawn 

    Written by John Jackson Miller

    For fans of Rebels, A New Dawn shows the origins of some fan favorite characters and sets the tone for the new canon Imperials. It introduces the ruthlessly efficient Count Vidian, who goes up against Hera and Kanan when the fate of a planet is on the line. Joining them are the unlikely duo of conspiracy theorist Skelly and ex-Imperial surveillance officer Zaluna. Although it explains more about Kanan’s history than Hera’s (more about her can be found in the short story “Mercy Mission,” in the Rise of the Empire collection), A New Dawn is a good piece of the continuity puzzle for Rebels fans.

    It was also the first book in the new canon, making its title doubly appropriate. Author John Jackson Miller was well-known for Legends material, like the novel Kenobi and the Knights of the Old Republiccomic series, before he contributed the first book to the new canon.

    Buy A New Dawn

    6-4 BBY - Servants of the Empire 

    Written by Jason Fry

    This four-book young reader series follows Zare Leonis, the Imperial cadet who helped Ezra escape the stormtrooper academy in season one of Rebels. Like Rebels itself, the series can be enjoyed by people outside of its grade-school audience, too. Part of the appeal is the characters: the story switches between Zare and his conflicted ideas about the Empire to his friend, hacker Merei Spanjaf, who launches her own investigations while trying to avoid being caught by her security expert mother.

    Zare is on the hunt for his sister, a promising, Force-sensitive Imperial recruit taken by the Grand Inquisitor. Like in A New Dawn, Rebelsfans will be able to find plenty of connections to their favorite characters.

    Buy Servants of the Empire

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    6 BBY-3 ABY - Battlefront / Battlefront: Twilight Company 

    Video Game Developed by DICE

    Novel Written by Alexander Freed

    Like John Jackson Miller, Battlefront: Twilight Company author Alexander Freed came to Star Wars novels through short stories and comics. His canon short fiction has appeared in Star Wars Insider before (“One Thousand Levels Down” and “The End of History”).

    Twilight Company visits some of the same locations available to players in the 2015 Battlefront video game, but its characters are new and unique. The cynical protagonist is Namir, a soldier who fights doggedly for the Rebellion’s cause without ever really believing that the cause is as noble as others do. He finds an unlikely ally in Chalis, a former Imperial governor whose ruthless plans for the Rebel squad’s success cause some dissent in the ranks.

    Buy Battlefront

    Buy Battlefront: Twilight Company

    5-2 BBY - Rebels 

    Created by Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, & Carrie Beck

    Buy Rebels

    3 BBY - Leia: Princess of Alderaan

    Written by Claudia Gray 

    After winning fans' hearts with the political novel Bloodline, Claudia Gray returned with a young adult novel about Leia's youth on Alderaan and her first missions with the Rebel Alliance. Leia: Princess of Alderaan focuses on the princess and her parents, Breha and Bail, but also includes cameos from characters such as The Last Jedi's Amilyn Holdo, Captain Panaka, and Grand Moff Tarkin.

    Buy Leia: Princess of Alderaan

    0 BBY - Guardians of the Whills

    Written by Greg Rucka 

    A fun look at Jedha before the decidedly less fun events of Rogue OneGuardians of the Whills captures Baze and Chirrut's voices well and shows what Jedha City was like before its destruction. 

    Buy Guardians of the Whills

    0 BBY - Rogue One

    Directed by Gareth Edwards

    Written by John Knoll, Gary Whitta, Chris Weitz, & Tony Gilroy

    Buy Rogue One

    0 BBY - A New Hope 

    Directed & Written by George Lucas

    Buy A New Hope

    0 BBY - 5 ABY: Battlefront II/ Battlefront II: Inferno Squad

    Video Game Developed by EA DICE, Motive Studios, Criterion Software

    Novel Written by Christie Golden

    A prequel to the video game Battlefront II, the novel Inferno Squad introduces players to Iden Versio, special forces commander and daughter of Imperial loyalist Admiral Garrick Versio. Assigned to infiltrate a group of Saw Gerrera's Partisans, she and her team grapple with the morality of both the Empire and the violent splinter group of the Rebellion. 

    The video game's campaign follows Inferno Squad from shortly before the destruction of the Death Star to the Battle at Jakku, where the Empire finally fell. Fans who read the novel will have much better context for the relationships between the characters in the campaign, which also introduces playable versions of Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. 

    Buy Battlefront II

    Buy Battlefront II: Inferno Squad

    0 BBY - Marvel's Princess Leia 

    Written by Mark Waid

    Art by Terry Dodson

    Many of Marvel’s Star Wars comic series so far take place in the Original Trilogy time period. Before information about The Force Awakens was public, Marvel was already doing all it could with its re-acquisition of the Star Wars brand, launching three ongoing series (Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Kanan), along with a succession of miniseries. The Princess Leia story picks up immediately after the end of A New Hope, touching on Leia’s feelings—or lack thereof—about the destruction of her home planet.

    Although Rebel High Command wants her to keep a low profile, Leia makes it her mission to recruit surviving Alderaanians to the Rebel cause. They are in diaspora, but not all of the people she meets want to go to war. She’s helped by Evaan, a Rebel pilot with a not-so-favorable view of the woman she calls “ice princess.”

    Buy Marvel's Princess Leia

    0 BBY - Heir to the Jedi 

    Written by Kevin Hearne

    Heir to the Jedi was published right in the middle of the transition from Legends to new canon. Originally branded as part of the Empire & Rebellion series, along with Razor’s Edge and Honor Among Thieves, it alone of the three books in that series survived the cut-off. Kevin Hearne’s story explains how Luke learned the telekinesis he used in The Empire Strikes Back.

    Since Obi-Wan never taught him that, someone had to encourage Luke to use the Force—and in Heir to the Jedi, it’s Nakari Kelen, a fellow Rebel pilot with whom Luke goes on a mission to retrieve a Rebel codebreaker.

    Buy Heir to the Jedi

    0 BBY - Marvel's Chewbacca 

    Written by Gerry Duggan

    Art by Phil Noto

    Some time after the events of A New Hope, Chewbacca finds himself comfortably crash-landed on the planet Andelm IV. He’s willing to have a bit of a nap before beginning a leisurely search for parts for his ship, but there are other people on the planet who aren’t so relaxed.

    A girl named Zarro and her father have been conscripted into working essentially as slaves in a mine run by a man who plans to profit off of the Empire. Chewie and Zarro hatch a plan to free her father in this fun, five-issue series with beautiful art by Phil Noto.

    Buy Marvel's Chewbacca

    0 BBY - The Weapon of a Jedi  

    Written by Jason Fry

    Prolific Star Wars writer Jason Fry tells a quintessential Luke story in The Weapon of a Jedi. A young Luke travels to Devaron on a hunch sent by the Force and discovers an ancient Jedi Academy where he can hone his skills—and where he fights with a lightsaber for the first time.

    Although we don’t know for sure whether the Jedi Temple on Devaron will affect the Star Warsuniverse going forward, it’s Luke’s best canon example of a place where Jedi can go to learn, and maybe influenced the academy he eventually built in the New Republic. The book also features flash forwards to Jessika Pava, the Resistance pilot who flew with Poe Dameron at the battle of Starkiller Base.

    Buy The Weapon of a Jedi

    0 BBY - Marvel's Star Wars & Darth Vader 

    Star Wars: Written by Jason Aaron, Art by John Cassaday et al

    Darth Vader: Written by Kieron Gillen, Art by Salvador Larroca

    Some of the best—and more surprising—stories in the Marvel Star Wars line come out of the ongoing series, which occur concurrently and crossed over in their first big event, “Vader Down.” The series follows both heroes and villains of the Original Trilogy, including Luke’s earnest, enthusiastic slide into learning how to use his Jedi powers; Vader’s conflicted relationship with Emperor Palpatine and the Sith legacy of betrayal and competition; and Han’s maybe-wife Sana Solo. 

    The longest-running Marvel Star Wars series so far are also the ones that most clearly show how Marvel is handling the core characters going forward, so check these out if you want to see what Luke, Han, and Leia are up to after A New Hope.

    Darth Vader recently wrapped and it's easily one of the best stories to come out of the new EU so far. You NEED to read this series!

    Buy Marvel's Star Wars

    Buy Marvel's Darth Vader

    0 BBY - Marvel's Doctor Aphra

    Written by Kieron Gillen & Simon Spurrier

    Art by Kev Walker et. al.

    After becoming a breakout hit in the comics, Doctor Aphra became the first Star Wars character who never appeared in the movies to helm her own comic book series. Her title reveals her history, including her parents and how she became a rogue archeologist. 

    Buy Marvel's Doctor Aphra

    0 BBY - Smuggler’s Run 

    Written by Greg Rucka

    Smuggler’s Run is one in a series of three young reader books put out as part of the Journey to The Force Awakens line. Along with Weapon of a Jedi and Moving Target, Smuggler’s Run follows one member of the Original Trilogy trio and is bookended by scenes set in the Sequel Trilogy era.

    This one focuses on Han Solo and Chewbacca balancing living the lawless life with their work for the Rebellion. Written by Greg Rucka, Smuggler’s Run shows Han as he reluctantly takes on a mission to save a Rebel scout from the Empire.

    Buy Smuggler's Run

    0 BBY-3 ABY - Marvel's Lando 

    Written by Charles Soule

    Art by Alex Maleev

    Lando, written by Charles Soule, with art from Alex Maleev, shows the suave baron-administrator before he got his title. Lando thinks he has scored big when he plans to steal a valuable starship, but it turns out that the ship once belonged to Emperor Palpatine (and Darth Maul), and there are plenty of unpleasant Sithly surprises in store.

    As well as featuring Lando himself, the comic has a lot of great supporting characters, including mysterious twin aliens and Lobot himself. Watching Lobot’s stoic expressions in The Empire Strikes Back will never be the same after reading this comic.

    Buy Marvel's Lando

    0-3 ABY - Marvel's Han Solo

    Written by Marjorie Liu

    Art by Mark Brooks

    Buy Marvel's Han Solo

    3 ABY - The Empire Strikes Back 

    Directed by Irvin Kershner 

    Written by Lawrence Kasdan & Leigh Brackett

    Buy The Empire Strikes Back

    4 ABY - Moving Target 

    Written by Cecil Castellucci & Jason Fry

    Leia’s installment of the Journey to The Force Awakens series follows her on a mission to distract the Empire from the Rebellion’s growing fleet—the fleet that will attack the second Death Star at Endor. Her team travels through various adventures in their effort to do that, while Leia weighs her feelings about duty against the idea that she might be sacrificing some Rebel sympathizers in order to buy time for others.

    Like the other two Original Trilogy books in the line, Moving Target is a quintessential Star Warsstory with a few connections to other parts of the saga. The flash forward involves PZ-4CO, the blue droid seen in the Resistance base in The Force Awakens, interviewing Leia for her memoirs.

    Buy Moving Target

    4 ABY - Return of the Jedi 

    Directed by Richard Marquand

    Written by Lawrence Kasdan & George Lucas

    Buy Return of the Jedi

    4 ABY - Marvel's Shattered Empire 

    Written by Greg Rucka

    Art by Marco Checchetto

    The timeline between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens is a bit sparse right now, with the Aftermath trilogy expected to fill up the years after Return of the Jedi. Another novel, Bloodline by Claudia Gray, due out in 2016, is set about six years before Episode VII.

    However, Shattered Empire wastes no time in showing where Luke, Han, and Leia were immediately after Return of the Jedi, while also introducing Poe Dameron’s parents. Pilot Shara Bey and soldier Kes Dameron join the Original Trilogy heroes in mopping up what’s left of the Empire on Endor—and find some strange, Force-sensitive trees.

    Buy Marvel's Shattered Empire

    4 ABY - Aftermath 

    Written by Chuck Wendig

    The first novel set after Return of the Jedi brings a new cast of characters to the story, Rebels who, with varying degrees of reluctance, find themselves embroiled with a meeting of the surviving Imperial officers. Remember Rae Sloane? She’s back, as an admiral this time—and she has her own plans for how to restore the Empire to both greatness and stability.

    Aftermath also stars Norra Wexley, an X-Wing pilot who fought at the Battle of Endor. She has become estranged from her son Temmin, who will one day become “Snap” Wexley of The Force Awakens’ Resistance fighters, and recruits him, plus a bounty hunter and an Imperial deserter, on a quest to find her missing husband. Aftermath is followed by two sequels, Life Debt and Empire’s End.

    Buy Aftermath

    5 ABY - Aftermath: Life Debt

    Written by Chuck Wendig

    Buy Aftermath: Life Debt

    5 ABY - Aftermath: Empire's End

    Written by Chuck Wendig

    Buy Aftermath: Empire's End

    7 ABY - Last Shot

    Written by Daniel Jose Older

    After years of friendship, Han and Lando reminisce about getting older while facing the same old trouble these two always seem to get into. This is a must-have tie-in novel to Solo: A Star Wars Story.

    Buy Last Shot

    28 ABY - Bloodline

    Written by Claudia Gray

    Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray gives a clearer picture of the state of the galaxy before The Force Awakens than any other new canon entry. The New Republic has been standing strong for almost thirty years, and the events in the novel tips things toward the chaotic scenario we saw in Episode VII.

    Buy Bloodline

    28 ABY - Phasma

    Written by Delilah S. Dawson

    The history of the First Order's feared enforcer is revealed secondhand through a Resistance spy interrogated by the First Order. The Phasma novel explores the irradiated planet Parnassos and the way Phasma first met Brendol Hux, shedding some light on the premier stormtrooper without explaining everything behind the mask. 

    Buy Phasma

    28 ABY - "The Perfect Weapon" 

    Written by Delilah S. Dawson

    "The Perfect Weapon" by Delilah S. Dawson was the first short story to feature one of the new characters from The Force Awakens. Like the young reader books listed earlier, it’s part of the Journey to the Force Awakens line, and was released as an ebook and excerpted in Star Wars Insider #163.

    Bazine Netal, the woman who informs the First Order of the Resistance fighters’ presence at Maz Kanata’s castle, works as a bouncer and hired gun in this story. It doesn’t take place at the same time as The Force Awakens, or particularly illuminates Bazine’s actions during the movie, but if you’re interested in her from the few glimpses in The Force Awakens, it might be worth checking out.

    Buy "The Perfect Weapon"

    28 ABY - "Bait" 

    Written by Alan Dean Foster for Star Wars Insider #162

    The Star Wars Insider story that ties most closely with The Force Awakens so far is also tied to "The Perfect Weapon.""Bait" follows Grummgar, the alien seen lounging with Bazine in Maz Kanata’s palace. Like "The Perfect Weapon," it takes place at an unspecified time before the movie and shows a hunting trip that doesn't quite go as expected.

    28 ABY - Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens 

    Written by Landry Q. Walker

    Although four of the stories in this collection were released as e-books, six of them, all by Landry Q. Walker, are only available in this collection. The anthology tells selected tales from the lives of the denizens of Maz Kanata’s palace, including the Jakku lawman Constable Zuvio and the red-masked Crimson Corsair. The stories follow in the tradition of Legends'"Tales" anthologies that were set in the Original Trilogy, and have some surprising connections to the Prequels.

    Buy Tales from Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens

    34 ABY - Marvel's Poe Dameron

    Written by Charles Soule

    Art by Phil Noto

    Before he destroyed Starkiller Base, ace Resistance pilot Poe Dameron was already taking on missions from General Leia and fighting the good fight against the First Order. This comic book series shows what Poe was up to before he met Lor San Tekka on Jakku. 

    Buy Marvel's Poe Dameron

    34 ABY - Marvel's C-3PO Special

    Written by James Robinson

    Art by Tony Harris

    Want to know what was up with Threepio's red arm in The Force Awakens? This touching one-shot tells the story of a droid adventure for the ages that is surprisingly full of emotion. Who knew droids could feel so much?

    Buy Marvel's C-3PO Special

    34 ABY - Before the Awakening 

    Written by Greg Rucka

    There’s something to be said about not having to answer every question about a large science fiction universe in a movie, but for people who have questions about The Force Awakens, this is the book that answers them.

    How did Poe Dameron become part of the Resistance? What was life actually like for Finn in the First Order stormtrooper corps, and why does he make his decision on Jakku? When did Rey hone her piloting skills? Before the Awakening answers all of these questions, as well as tell three fun stories suitable for young readers.

    Buy Before the Awakening

    34 ABY - The Force Awakens 

    Directed by J.J. Abrams

    Written by Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt, & J.J. Abrams

    Buy The Force Awakens

    34 ABY - Marvel's Captain Phasma

    Written by Kelly Thompson

    Art by Marco Chechetto, Andres Mossa 

    Set immediately after The Force Awakens, Captain Phasma follows the titular stormtrooper captain out of the trash compactor in which she was imprisoned at the end of Episode VII. She quickly finds her way to an inhospitable planet in pursuit of Sol Rivas, a First Order lieutenant and the only person who knows that Phasma lowered Starkiller Base's shield. The comic shows how Phasma escaped and some of the tough choices she had to make in the aftermath.

    Buy Marvel's Captain Phasma

    34 ABY - Canto Bight

    Written by Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson, Mira Grant, John Jackson Miller 

    The Canto Bight novella collection includes four stories set in the lavish casino city from The Last Jedi. Its varied visitors include a down-on-his-luck gambler, a casino servant, and a salesman who won a trip to the city. 

    Buy Canto Bight

    34 ABY - The Last Jedi 

    Directed by Rian Johnson

    Written by Rian Johnson 

    Buy The Last Jedi


    0 0

    Miss the old Star Wars Expanded Universe? Or are you completely new to it? Here are eight Star Wars Legends stories worth your time!

    The Lists Megan CrouseJohn Saavedra
    May 4, 2018

    A lot of great Star Warsthings have come out of the Disney-Lucasfilm merger: a new film trilogy, standalone movies, and a stack of books and comics. There are a plethora of things that have arrived in the Disney era of Star Wars that we're absolutely delighted about. 

    But there have been losses, namely the ending of a whole Expanded Universe continuity of stories that we held dear to our hearts for years. While Luke, Han, Leia, and friends got an all-new continuation of their story on the big screen, we lost countless captivating books, comics, and characters that we loved.

    We want to celebrate these "long-lost"Star Wars stories. Even if they're no longer canon, if they don't affect the overarching story of the new Expanded Universe, they're just great Star Wars tales. At Den of Geek, we're not continuity lawyers. We're fans. 

    So, without further ado, here are eight of our favorite Star Wars Legends stories ever told:

    Thrawn Trilogy

    by Timothy Zahn

    Let's start with the big one. As I said above, The Thrawn Trilogy is responsible for most of the EU we enjoyed in the 90s and 00s. Beginning with Heir to the Empire, Zahn introduced us to the world after Return of the Jedi at a time when fans didn't have much to go by except table-top RPGs and that great run of Marvel comics from the 80s. Zahn, like Lucas before him, spearheaded a journey to a galaxy far, far away that lasted all the way to the final days of an independent Lucasfilm. 

    As a close-knit Star Wars book trilogy, Thrawnis one of the best, full of action, political turmoil, and new characters, including Luke's future wife, Mara Jade, who first arrives as a villain strong in the Force. There's also the mad clone of a Jedi Master named Joruus C'baoth, who's helping the Imperial Remnant open the Emperor's hidden weapons vault on the planet Wayland. And just like that, there is more than one Force user in the galaxy. 

    The Thrawn Trilogy also introduces the Solo Twins, the New Republic, the secret history of Outbound Flight, and Grand Admiral Thrawn, a Chiss mastermind from the farthest edges of the galaxy, who seeks to restore the Empire to its former glory. All of these concepts and characters would find their way into other parts of the Star Wars EU timeline. The Thrawn Trilogy is THE vital introduction to the larger Legends timeline.

    Tales of the Jedi

    by Kevin J. Anderson & Tom Veitch

    It's kind of insane that there aren't more comic books on this list, especially the Dark Horse era books, which are absolutely fantastic. But if I have to pick one series out of the many great ones (Dark Empire, Crimson Empire, Tag & Bink, Knights of the Old Republic), it has to be Kevin J. Anderson and Tom Veitch's Tales of the Jedi series, which introduced me to the ancient histories of the Sith and Jedi as a boy, the allure of the dark side, and the many tragedies that befell those who tried to live and love during the war-torn days of the Great Sith War. 

    Nothing quite tugs at my heart strings as the tragedy of the Qel-Droma brothers, the fall of Exar Kun, and the accidental hyperspace jump that causes the Great Sith War in the first place. The series more like high fantasy, as Queens, Knights, and Dark Lords battle for the fate of a galaxy gone to hell. I dare say this is as close to Game of Thrones as Star Wars ever got. 

    These Tales of the Jedi would later inspire other great Star Wars stories, such as the Knights of the Old Republic comic book series by John Jackson Miller and the KotOR video games. So much other good stuff has come out directly due to these comics that they're impossible to ignore. 

    Also, let me just point out that ALL of Anderson's Star Wars work is worth reading. The guy is an absolute master. Check out The Jedi Academy Trilogy(scroll down), The Young Jedi Knightsseries, which he co-wrote with Rebecca Moesta, and the Tales short story collections he edited. Especially the latter. Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina is a gem. 

    Splinter of the Mind's Eye

    by Alan Dean Foster

    Listen, Splinter of the Mind's Eye is so important to the Star WarsExpanded Universe that it was almost Episode V. That's right: although George Lucas had an outline for the rest of his ambitious trilogy after Star Wars broke the world in 1977, he had a lower-budget backup plan in case the first film didn't make the millions it did upon release. And Alan Dean Foster wrote that backup story. Who better? He had, after all, ghostwritten the original novelization for Star Wars

    Foster used many of the abandoned concepts from Lucas' first film as the backbone of his novel, including the Kaiburr crystal, which was original meant to be the artifact that was originally at the center of the film. Luke and Leia must race against the Empire to find the crystal before they can use it for their evil doings. The adventure takes place on one planet, doesn't feature Han Solo (since he wasn't signed on for the sequels at the time of the story's composition), and is all around a much more intimate affair that further developed the tensions between Luke and Leia. As a film, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as good as the Episode Vwe eventually received. Still, it's a fun adventure that ultimately sees Darth Vader and Luke duel for the first time. 

    If for no other reason, check out Splinter of the Mind's Eyebecause Foster is about to write the novelization for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Also, he's a great sci-fi fantasy writer.

    X-Wing series

    by Michael A. Stackpole & Aaron Allston

    Stackpole and Allston, two of the EU's best writers, give Rogue Squadron their time in the limelight, as they dish out adventures starring Wedge Antilles and his merrymen in X-Wings. I wrote a ton more about why these books (and the awesome Dark Horse comics, too) are so important to Star Wars lore in an earlier article. But just to recap: this series features the military side of the universe, as everyone's favorite freedom fighters prepare to sack Coruscant from the Imperial Remnant. All of these stories play out like great WWII dogfight films and even feature their own version of the Red Baron.

    These are required reading if your favorite part of the Star Wars universe is the space battles. There are consequences and loss in all of these battles, and our need for these kinds of stories in the Star Wars universe is in no small part due to the X-Wing series. Plus, who doesn't love a really great space battle? Expect tons of them in these books.

    - John Saavedra

    MedStar

    by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry

    The Clone Wars was a time of rich stories, including Karen Traviss’ Republic Commando series and stand-alones like the eerie Yoda: Dark Rendezvous by Sean Stewart. One of the most unique series with the most varied characters was the MedStarduology, focusing on a Republic medical station in the Outer Rim. It’s often described as M*A*S*H meets Star Wars.

    While Barriss Offee of The Clone Wars fame is one of the main characters, the focus isn’t on the Jedi, nor on the clones that arrive bloodied from the distant front. Instead, several doctors, a journalist, an amnesiac droid, and more populate this tale. The main plot revolves around bota, a miracle herb that can boost Force sensitivity, which people naturally seek for reasons both noble and power-hungry.

    Fans wanting to explore more slice-of-life stories after reading MedStar: Battle Surgeons and MedStar: Jedi Healer can check out some of the same characters in Michael Reaves’ Darth Maul: Shadow Hunteror the Coruscant Nights series.

    The Jedi Academy Trilogy

    by Kevin J. Anderson

    For all the fans who wanted to be Jedi after they saw Star Wars, the Jedi Academy Trilogy (Jedi Search, Dark Apprentice, Champions of the Force) gave them a look at what that life might be like. Luke Skywalker searches for new apprentices and establishes a school for Force users at the old Rebel base on Yavin IV, but a Sith spirit is possessing one of the ancient temples nearby.

    The Jedi Academy Trilogy introduced a new cast of characters as well as giving a more widely-read role to the Solo children, who had already appeared in young reader novels. The temple on Yavin IV was thoroughly described and felt like a mappable place anyone could inhabit.

    Although this Bantam-era series from 1994 sometimes seems emblematic of the EU’s obsession with superweapons, it established many of the pillars of the Expanded Universe beyond, including the personalities of the Solo children, Luke’s New Jedi Order, and Leia, Han, Mara Jade, and Lando’s roles in the New Republic.

    Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor

    by Matthew Stover

    Shadows of Mindor is a standalone book, but one that comments on the rest of the Expanded Universe while also providing a fun, campy ride with similar gripping, vicious prose as in author Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith novelization, which is probably the best of the eight books.

    It takes the form of a fictional story within the Star Wars universe, with Luke Skywalker providing commentary at the beginning and the end, calling into question whether any of it took place at all. Because of that, the book can poke fun at the rest of the Expanded Universe while still telling a fun story, with Stover’s trademark descriptions of the dark side as something more primal than evil.

    The New Jedi Order

    by R.A. Salvatore, Michael A. Stackpole, James Luceno, Kathy Tyers, Gregory Keyes, Troy Denning, Elaine Cunningham, Aaron Allston, Matthew Stover, Walter Jon Williams, Sean Williams, & Shane Dix

    The New Jedi Orderkilled many of the things introduced in the Jedi Academy Trilogy. What had been a mostly upward trajectory for Luke Skywalker became a messy, grinding war told over 19 novels, with a huge cast of characters and new creatures. The series is a treat for people who like aliens and biotechnology, with the masochistic Yuuzhan Vong, mutant voxyn, and living space ships on a mysterious, verdant planet.

    It was also controversial, dividing the fandom over how it handled the characters, over the design of the Yuuzhan Vong, and over the relentless darkness of the middle books. The New Jedi Order shows hopeful characters without hope, marriages dissolving and re-forming and being tested under duress, shows children killing hundreds of warriors in a planet-sized training facility built to train Jedi-killing monsters.

    It’s also a tense adventure story, sometimes bloated but always immersive and detailed. Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin Solo, while sometimes dull as they tread over repeated philosophical ground, are compelling and relatable teenage characters living more like the militarized Prequel Trilogy Jedi than their adventurous parents.  

    - Megan Crouse 


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    We talked to Britta Lundin about writing Ship It, working on Riverdale, and the balance between fan and creator.

    InterviewKayti Burt
    May 4, 2018

    Britta Lundin's young adult novel debut Ship It is the story of Claire, a teenager who writes gay fanfiction about her favorite show, Demon Heart. When Claire attends a fan convention, she meets Forest, one of the two stars of Demon Heart and our other Ship It narrator.

    Forest is baffled by fans like Claire who not only "ship"Demon Heart's main characters together, but who also ship him with his male co-star. When the Demon Heart PR team decides to bring Claire along for the rest of the show's con tour, Claire decides she is going to convince the showrunner to make her ship canon, while Forest vows never to let that happen.

    "It's really about the fan/creator relationship," explained Lundin when we talked to the Ship It author for our Den of Geek Book Club podcast. "Who has control of these characters once you put them out in the world? Who gets to decide which characters are gay and which characters aren't? All that good stuff."

    As someone who grew up in fandom and who now works in the TV industry as a writer on The CW's Riverdale, Lundin understands both sides of the fan-creator relationship better than most.

    "I've been in fandom for a very long time, like since middle school. For most of my life, it's been something that you sort of didn't really talk about," Lundin said. "It was like your secret internet thing that you did, but you didn't bring it into the real world. You certainly didn't tell your friends at school about it. It wasn't something that you blasted or went on podcasts to talk about."

    Ship It began life not as a young adult novel, but actually as a feature screenplay Lundin wrote during the Athena Film Festival Screenwriting Lab in 2016. It was the Ship It screenplay that got Lundin her job on Riverdale.

    "Through that process [of working on Riverdale and in other Hollywood jobs], I've just learned a lot about the entertainment industry and how it works," said Lundin. "I was able to see times when fandom was right on the money about how they were reading a scene, and then there were other times where I was like, 'Sometimes fandom doesn't totally understand how TV production works or the schedules of this, or any of this.' It felt like I had this insight that maybe other fans didn't have."

    Rather than writing solely from the fandom perspective or solely from the industry perspective, Lundin decided to include both sides in the Ship It story. Lundin explains: "[Ship It] partially came out of this desire to write a story from two perspectives, about two different people coming together and learning to understand each other."

    So how did Ship It become a book? The screenplay eventually found its way into the hands of the people at Freeform Books, the publishing arm of the Freeform TV network, who approached Lundin about turning the screenplay into a young adult novel. From there, Lundin worked to adapt the screenplay into a novel, while also performing her day job on Riverdale.

    "I think the biggest change that happened while I was writing the book," said Lundin, "was that in the course of working on Riverdale, TV writing happens at such a brisk pace, that you have to break and write and complete notes on episodes so quickly. You're writing episodes over the course of maybe two, two and a half weeks, or something like that. Every two and a half weeks, you're starting a new episode. That process just teaches you how to break story and get really confident at breaking story quickly. Creative decisions that might have taken me longer, before I got on Riverdale, now I'm able to look at a creative choice and decide much more quickly, 'Yes, I think that's going to work,' or, 'That might work, let's test it,' or, 'That's definitely not going to work.'"

    Lundin credits her fellow Riverdale writers and especially Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre Sacasa with modeling this skill and helping Lundin to develop it herself.

    "There were days where I would just kind of look around [the writers room] in wonder," said Lundin. "I'd be like, 'I can't believe how much talent and experience there is in this room.'" 

    In Ship It, it is the Demon Heart showrunner who serves as the quasi-antagonist of the story, not only unwilling to make Demon Heart happen, but unwilling to even listen to Claire or the other fans explain why the ship matters to them. It says a lot about Ship It's perspective that even Jamie gets his moment to explain himself.

    "A lot of times, as you're reading the book, you're just supposed to be like, 'Wow, that guy's an asshole,'" said Lundin, "but there's a few parts in the book where Jamie gets to talk and really explain himself. There's some truth to what he's saying. I hope that those passages feel authentic, and maybe fans who hadn't considered what it's like to be a showrunner, understand the pressures and difficulties that Jamie is under. Whether that excuses his behavior or not, it gives some depth to what he's going through, so he's not just like a one-dimensional jerk, who is a homophobe."

    The queer themes in Ship It shine through not just in Claire's Demon Heart fanfiction, but in Claire's own exploration of her sexual identity. During the con tour, Claire meets Tess, a Demon Heart fan artist Claire immediately falls in like with.

    "I started reading gay fanfiction years before I identified as gay myself, and Claire's doing the same thing," said Lundin. "Over the course of this book, she meets Tess, and in meeting Tess, is forced to sort of take a closer look at her own sexuality, and whether or not she could be queer. That's really scary and intense for her."

    Tess isn't just Claire's love interest, but also a character who acts as an ambassador of sorts into the complex world of gender and sexuality for Claire, Forest, and the reader.

    "[Tess] has very sort of advanced Tumblr speak knowledge of different sexualities, and how sexuality works," said Lundin. "This is all new for Forest. He has really basic questions about, 'How many genders are there?' Stuff like that, that Tess explains. That's there because these are basic questions."

    As anyone who has spent any time on Tumblr or in similar internet communities know, these sorts of conversations are more common than in more mainstream pop culture. With books like Ship It, Lundin is hoping to bridge the gap between those cultural conversations and communities.

    "For someone who hasn't been spending the last decade of their life entrenched in internet communities, this is all still brand new," said Lundin. "To be gentle with those people and help them along on their journey, rather than rejecting them, was really important to me. I wanted this book to feel accessible to people who are maybe interested in this topic, or wanted to learn more, even if they never read a fanfic in their life, want to understand the world and why it's important to people."

    You can listen to the rest of our conversation with Britta Lundin below. Ship It is now available to buy via Amazon or your local independent bookstore.


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    Stephen King's Pet Sematary is moving forward, starring Jason Clarke as the new Louis Creed.

    News Joseph Baxter
    May 4, 2018

    Pet Sematary is set to be interred (and revived) in the proverbial haunted Indian burial ground that is Hollywood’s reboot/remake wave; a practice that often affirms the film quote, “sometimes dead is betta.” Of course, this Paramount revival of the 1983 novel-turned 1989 movie will be amongst an insane array of other film and television projects in the pipeline that adapt Stephen King’s work.

    Here, Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes, Scream: The TV Series) have landed the job of directing this long-developing remake, working off a screenplay by David Kajganich and Jeff Buhler. Hopefully, they’ll keep that killer Ramones theme song.

    Pet Sematary Remake Cast

    John Lithgow has joined the Pet Sematary reboot, reports EW.

    The film icon and former 3rd Rock from the Sun star will play the crucial – exposition-providing – role of Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne's character in the 1989 movie), the next-door neighbor to Louis Creed (Jason Clarke), who opens the proverbial Pandora’s Box on the titular Pet Cemetary with a well-intentioned suggestion to reanimate young daughter Ellie’s pet cat, Church (more on him, later). However, Jud’s further warnings against escalating the scope of those burials will, unfortunately, go unheeded. – An understandable result, since his warnings against the prurience and debauchery of dancing in 1984’s Footloose also experienced that same trajectory.

    Lithgow, a range-possessing, veteran American actor, has been utilizing his comedic skills in recent films such as Pitch Perfect 3, Daddy’s Home 3 and the imminently-returning NBC sitcom, Trial & Error. He also recently flexed his dramatic muscles with an Emmy-winning performance on Netflix's historical hit series, The Crown, as Winston Churchill, the beloved U.K. wartime prime minister for whom “Church,” the famously undead cat of Pet Sematary, was named.

    Jason Clarke will, according to THR, play Louis Creed (played by Dale Midkiff in the 1989 movie), a doctor, who, after moving to the Ludlow, Maine setting, becomes stricken with an escalating series of tragedies after burying his daughter’s beloved pet cat, Church, in a haunted Micmac burial ground (the titular pet cemetery,) believed to resurrect the dead. While the cat does, indeed, return, its 10th (undead) life is one defined by evil. Consequently, as more curse-related tragedies strike Louis, he keeps turning back to the burial ground to resurrect loved ones, despite the advice of sagely neighbor, Jud, and even a benevolent ghost, named Pascow. – Truly, one of the more frustrating protagonists in the annals of literature and film.

    Clarke, a veteran Aussie actor, is coming off a duo of fact-based films in the Helen Mirren haunted house movie, Winchester, and Chappaquiddick, in which he plays Ted Kennedy during the titular 1969 tragic car accident/political scandal. His major roles include Terminator: Genisys, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Everest, Zero Dark Thirty and Public Enemies, along with TV runs on The Chicago Code, Brotherhood, Stingers and Farscape. – He’ll next be seen opposite Keira Knightley in the World War II drama, The Aftermath, in writer/director Steven Knight’s drama Serenity and in the Ryan Gosling-starring Neil Armstrong biopic, First Man.

    For those unacquainted, here's the trailer for the original 1989 Pet Sematary movie:

    Pet Sematary Remake Release Date

    Pet Sematary is currently scheduled to be released on April 19, 2019.

    It will be interesting to see if that holds, since the date was marked back in December, and several Stephen King adaptation greenlights have occurred since then, possibly requiring some rearrangements.


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    Avengers: Infinity War makes Thanos look unbeatable. Maybe these comics hold the answers to the one chance Doctor Strange saw to defeat him.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    May 7, 2018

    Thanos the Mad Titan is kind of a big deal these days. A decade of Marvel Studios movies led to one starring him that painted him as being the king badass of bad guys. The opening five minutes of Avengers: Infinity War alone make him look like the toughest, most imposing threat to any and all superheroes. Not only is he a dangerous brick house of a purple man, but his adventures usually lead to him buffing up his power with Cosmic Cubes and Infinity Stones.

    How do you solve a problem like Thanos?

    Scouring his comic history, I’ve compiled a list of all the times Thanos has been taken down a peg. Maybe one of these is that "one in fourteen million chance" that Doctor Strange mentioned in the movie.

    THANOS WAR (1974)

    Thanos started off as a Dr. Claw-type of threat who was treated like a big deal, but never got his hands dirty. Like how in his first appearance, in an issue of Iron Man, Thanos’ “defeat” came in the form of a robot duplicate. He didn’t truly take a big L until possessing the Cosmic Cube and facing Mar-Vell.

    Using his newfound omnipotence, Thanos rid Earth of its population and discarded the Cosmic Cube by becoming a big, scary Neon Noodle face in the sky. Captain Marvel wasn’t much of a match for Thanos, especially in this form, but he realized that even if discarded, the Cosmic Cue was still the source of Thanos’ abilities. While Thanos tried to disorient Mar-Vell’s surroundings and even speed up his aging, the Captain was able to use his last ounce of strength to karate chop the Cosmic Cube, thereby seemingly killing Thanos and setting everything back to normal.

    DEATH WATCH (1977)

    Adam Warlock teamed up with the Avengers to go stop Thanos from blowing up the solar system. They all failed horribly and Warlock was killed; his soul winding up inside the Soul Stone with Gamora and Pip the Troll. Moondragon reached out and showed all this to the mind of a sleeping Peter Parker, who in turn went to Thing and said, “Yo, I had the weirdest dream. Want to help me save the world just in case?”

    While Thanos got huge villain points for refusing to monologue in front of the heroes at the cost of giving the heroes an advantage (in 1977, no less! Wow!), Spider-Man and Thing freed the heroes anyway. The Avengers and Thing jobbed out to Thanos something fierce, but Spider-Man was able to shatter open a special globe with the Soul Stone in there, releasing Adam Warlock in fiery ghost form. Warlock grabbed onto Thanos and transformed him into a statue, albeit one with the retained ability to cry.

    SPIDEY SUPER STORIES (1979)

    As mentioned in the list of weirdest Thanos moments, Thanos appeared in the all-ages 70s pile of ridiculousness that is Spidey Super Stories. This dorky take on Thanos chased the Cat (Hellcat) with a helicopter and later stole the Cosmic Cube from a teenage skateboarder named Speedy. Having the Cosmic Cube in hand, he seemed unstoppable to the Cat and Spider-Man.

    That is, until he created an earthquake, which not only affected his enemies, but also caused the Cosmic Cube to fall out of his hand. Spider-Man told him, “You were too tricky for your own good, Thanos!”

    Speedy picked up the Cosmic Cube, wrapped Thanos up in grass, and then the police led Thanos away in handcuffs. It’s one of those images that will never not be funny.

    INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991)

    The big event that inspired Avengers: Infinity War had Thanos trip himself up in his moment of ultimate victory. Thanos had the full Infinity Gauntlet, which allowed him to mold the universe at his will, all to impress Death. After defeating the surviving superheroes and overpowering the cosmic entities, he went one-on-one with Eternity himself.

    Thanos won, escaping his physical body to instead become an unbeatable force living in the fabric of the cosmos. Thanos’ folly was that his lifeless body still held onto the Infinity Gauntlet and like a car with the keys in the ignition, that godly power was there for the taking. Nebula zipped over to snatch it, gaining omnipotence, while Thanos was demoted.

    Thanos then joined the heroes against Nebula and afterwards faked his death by getting hit so hard by Thor that he exploded. Sweet plan!

    WHAT IF THE SILVER SURFER SUCCEEDED? (1993/1998)

    The most memorable part of Infinity Gauntletwas the sequence where Thanos powered himself down just enough so that the remaining superheroes had the slightest chance to beat him. They all died horribly, but that was part of the plan. It was all a distraction for Silver Surfer to zip by and grab the Gauntlet off of Thanos’ hand.

    He missed, of course.

    Two What If comics showed what would have happened had he removed the Gauntlet. One story had the Silver Surfer wield the Infinity Gauntlet with good intentions to make the universe a better place, only to gradually go insane from its power. Dr. Strange brought in Shalla Bal to talk some sense into him, which caused the Surfer to destroy the Gauntlet itself (seemingly at the cost of his own life, but instead, he and Shalla snuck off to a paradise planet).

    Thanos pondered over his defeat and smiled at how close he got to victory.

    In the other story, Surfer pulled the Gauntlet off Thanos, but fumbled it due to Thanos blasting at him. Surfer lost his hold on it and it was snatched out of the air by the comedic Impossible Man. The issue was more about Silver Surfer as the main character and while Thanos was depowered, he practically forgotten about within a couple pages.

    URBAN JUNGLE (1998)

    Back in the late-90s, Mark Waid and Andy Kubert did a Ka-Zarongoing that lasted roughly a year. Much like Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ka-Zar took on his evil brother who turned out to be working for Thanos. Thanos had some plot based on terraforming the entire universe so that all the plant life would kill everyone else, including Hillbilly Stephen King.

    Somebody out there will get that reference.

    In this story, Thanos absolutely towered over Ka-Zar and was able to shrug off all of his attacks. They fought it out in the middle of a volcano and while Thanos had Ka-Zar in a bearhug, the power of love gave Ka-Zar some crazy Spider-Man-under-a-pile-of-wreckage strength and he both escaped the hold and knocked Thanos into the lava below.

    That wasn’t the end of Thanos, as he rose from the lava, but the aftermath was a bunch of confusing jargon involving a magic medallion.

    CALL OF THE WILD (1998)

    After his loss to Ka-Zar, Thanos was locked up in some kind of energy dimension, unable to escape without help. In the form of a giant, he tried to convince the Hulk to pull him out of that dimension in exchange for power, only for Nate Grey to interfere. Alone, Hulk and X-Man were no match for the colossal Thanos.

    Together, X-Man was able to transfer his telekinetic armor onto Hulk’s body. Bouncing around, looking like The World from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Hulk proceeded to overpower Thanos and sent him back into the portal from whence he came. Thanos’ connection to reality was cut completely and the heroes went their separate ways.

    Seriously, though. He looks exactly like The World.

    THE FINAL MORNING (2000)

    Thanos teamed up with Mangog to best Thor, power up with a bunch of cosmic artifacts (as Thanos is wont to do) and bring forth the end of all life in the universe. Thor was able to take out Mangog in a way most badass, but he was still no match for the amped-up Thanos. Luckily, Odin had Jagrfelm the Blacksmith make some extra special weapons powered by the Odinforce to buff up Thor to Thanos’ level. Odin summoned Firelord to make the delivery in time.

    Enhanced and ready for a piece of the Mad Titan, Thor fought Thanos to a standstill at first until destroying one of the empowering artifacts and turning back Thanos to normal. From there, it was only elementary that Thor would thrash Thanos into a purple mess. Thor’s ally Tarene then used her magic tears to explode Thanos into a smoldering corpse.

    Thanos creator Jim Starlin would later retcon this loss, as well as the Ka-Zar incident, as being against mere clones. I have to imagine that’s more because of Thanos getting outright killed or his plot to wipe out the universe, since Infinity Gauntlet made it apparent that Thor (even Eric Masterson Thor) could possibly tear Thanos apart if he didn’t have the Infinity Stones.

    SQUIRREL GIRL (2006)

    Squirrel Girl joined the Great Lakes Avengers with the dynamic being that they’re lame heroes and she’s lame on the surface despite being able to take down major threats. GLX-Mas Special (during the time when they were the Great Lakes X-Men) had Thanos come to Earth moments after Squirrel Girl just took down MODOK. Thanos talked up some plot about ruling the universe with something called the Pyramatrix.

    Squirrel Girl ran into action as a way to end her part of the story. Later in the issue, it was shown that she defeated Thanos all on her own with Uatu the Watcher verifying that it was indeed him. HOW she won was never explained.

    A later comic would claim that it wasn’t actually him because we can’t have nice things.

    ANNIHILATION (2006)

    The first Annihilationwas essentially the story that planted the seeds for modern-day Guardians of the Galaxy being a thing. In it, Thanos was more of a henchman to main villain Annihilus, much like how the Grim Reaper is somehow the henchman to Dracula in the Castlevaniagames. Part of their reign of terror had to do with Galactus being captured and weaponized against his will. Eventually, Thanos realized that Annihilus’ plans were a bit too far for him and decided that he’d help the heroes by releasing Galactus.

    Before he could do that, he noticed Death hanging out in the room. As he realized what was up (his time, to be more specific), Thanos suddenly saw his own heart torn out of his chest from behind. Drax the Destroyer was created to kill Thanos and damn it, that was exactly what he was going to do.

    MARVEL ADVENTURES (2006)

    In the family-friendly world of Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #16, Thanos clobbered Captain Mar-Vell so hard in the middle of a space battle that the Kree hero was knocked into Earth. There, he teamed up with the Fantastic Four to fight Thanos. Part of the issue centered around an invention of Reed’s called “utility fog,” which was a cloud of shape-shifting nanites.

    At first, the heroes used the utility fog to create duplicates of themselves and fight Thanos 10-on-1. This didn’t work out, but Sue was able to funnel the fog into Thanos’ mouth, allowing the nanites to shut down Thanos from the inside.

    MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 (2007)

    The original Marvel Zombiesminiseries ended with a handful of heroes-turned-zombies devouring Galactus and absorbing his cosmic abilities. They moved on to scouring the cosmos to devour both planets and the inhabitants. As of Marvel Zombies 2, not only did their ranks increase to include various high-ranking space characters like Phoenix, Gladiator, and Thanos, but they also seemingly finished off all the food in the universe.

    Zombie Thanos ranted about Zombie Hulk eating too much food and putting them in this situation, but the argument ended pretty succinctly with Hulk clapping over Thanos’ head and causing an explosion of gore. Gladiator tried eating some of Thanos’ exploded brains and skull fragments, but then immediately vomited them back up.

    THE NEWER FANTASTIC FOUR (2009)

    A What If issue showed a world where Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, and Ghost Rider remained the New Fantastic Four due to the demise of the original team. A sequel showed how things would have gone had they existed during Infinity Gauntlet. Due to Ghost Rider being erased in the Finger Snap Heard ‘Round the Universe, Iron Man took his spot.

    The team didn’t agree to Adam Warlock’s “everyone die so we can maybe steal the Gauntlet” plan, but their attempts at fighting Thanos head-on didn’t work out either. It was Wolverine’s attention that saved the universe, as he took note the way Mephisto was able to lead Thanos around, as well as Thanos’ feelings for Death. Wolverine smooth-talked Thanos into smiting Mephisto and making Wolverine his new advisor.

    Wolverine, having a better understanding of women than Thanos, talked up how important touch is to a relationship and insisted that Thanos march over to Death and touch her face. By the time Thanos built up the resolve and reached over, Wolverine chopped his arm off and called him a sucker.

    Hulk beat down Thanos, Spider-Man set things right with the Gauntlet, and the day was saved.

    AVENGERS AND THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)

    A more all-ages take on Infinity Gauntlet had the team of Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Dr. Doom, and space trucker US Ace take on Thanos. It was a silly endeavor, but very much worth reading.

    When the heroes (and Doom) fought Thanos, they got their asses handed to them as expected. Out of nowhere, US Ace drove his space truck into Thanos. It didn’t kill him, but it did knock off his Gauntlet. Dr. Doom stole it, but it didn’t do him any good due to the realization that he was just a Doombot.

    Thanos tried to put the Gauntlet back on, only for Spider-Man to steal it with a web yoink and put it on. Spider-Man wished that Thanos never found the Infinity Gems and the story reset itself where only Spider-Man and Thanos remembered the incident.

    REBIRTH RAMPAGE (2010)

    The Universal Church of Truth seemed like they were resurrecting Adam Warlock or his evil self Magus, but instead they brought Thanos back from the dead. Not only was that something that would piss Thanos off on principle, but his mental faculties weren't back to normal just yet. The Guardians of the Galaxy had to fight what was essentially a purple Hulk with his junk flapping around.

    The Guardians had a hard time fighting the revived Thanos, as he even seemed more powerful than ever. Groot’s brute force failed, Gamora’s god-killing sword broke on Thanos’ skin, and Drax didn’t do much better. The Guardians hit him with everything they had and it only pissed him off.

    Finally, Star-Lord pulled out a cracked Cosmic Cube and used it to lure Thanos over. Then he let loose with a blast – straight into the crotch – that proceeded to knock out Thanos.

    DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE (2012)

    In one universe, Deadpool became aware that he’s a fictional character and instead of making him all wacky, it broke him and turned him into a brutal nihilist. The four issues were mainly just him killing various characters in occasionally inventive ways. At the beginning of the final issue, we got to see him take out tons of heroes and villains in one fell swoop in what appeared to many as a mass suicide.

    Turned out Deadpool was using the Puppet Master’s puppets to control people and make them kill themselves. To show he was thinking big, he pulled out a Galactus doll and we got to see Galactus and other cosmic types floating dead in space. This included the upper half of Thanos.

    AVENGERS AND GUARDIANS ASSEMBLE (2012)

    The first arc of Avengers Assemblehad two major roles in relation to Marvel synergy. First, it came out around the time of the first Avengersmovie and capitalized on both the Avengers’ popularity and the post-credits Thanos appearance. Second, it introduced the Guardians of the Galaxy as we know them, tweaking the character traits a little bit and mostly ignoring how their previous series ended because they had a movie coming out in two years and this was Marvel’s way of planting the seeds in the readers’ minds.

    Thanos came to Earth to steal what he thought was a Cosmic Cube, leading to a team-up between the Avengers and the Guardians. Thanos succeeded and became this unstoppable giant, banishing the heroes to another dimension. Turned out it wasn’t so much a real Cosmic Cube as a replica created by the US government. With the help of the Elders of the Universe, the heroes returned with a weapon that would destroy the fake cube. Thanos returned to his normal form.

    Hulk threw a growing Groot at Thanos, who delivered a couple haymakers until being swatted away. Then Thanos looked in horror as the Guardians of the Galaxy and several Avengers rosters (including two Hulks) rushed him down and started curbstomping him into oblivion. Thanos acted like he still had some fight left, but then the Elders popped in to steal him away.

    INFINITY (2013)

    Usually, Thanos’ deal is that he’s trying to get his girl, but around the time of Infinity, Thanos’ deal was that he got the girl too many times. As some kind of galactic Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Thanos sired children all over the universe and one day decided that, oh wait, making babies is counterproductive to stanning for Death. Remembering the time he knocked up an Inhuman during a trip to Earth, he returned to make sure his offspring was wiped out.

    The whole event led to a cloud of Terrigen Crystals spreading across the world and one of the people empowered by it was Thanos’ son. Calling himself Thane, the youngster came across Thanos fighting off the Avengers and let loose with his power to encase people in amber. Locked in a cube of amber in a pose similar to that time he was turned into a statue, Thanos was stuck in a horrifying stasis where he was conscious but completely immobile.

    UNI-DEADPOOL (2015)

    Deadpool and Thanos worked together to free Death from the clutches of Eternity. After all, with no Death, there was no...death. Death allowed the two to tap into her power in order to bring Eternity to his knees, but Thanos started to go too far and intended to kill Eternity once and for all. Death removed her powers from Deadpool and Deadpool realized that Death wanted this. The entire universe was going to die.

    Not enough to fight Death-powered Thanos on his own, Deadpool ended up getting a big buff in the form of the Captain Universe Uni-Power. That allowed him to fight Thanos head-on, but that wasn’t what got him the win. Deadpool pointed out that Thanos’ resilience and refusal to die or even stay dead makes him more of an agent of life than death. Death pondered this on the side and chose to remove Thanos’ newfound abilities.

    Screaming that he was weak and alone once again, Thanos vanished in an explosion caused from Deadpool’s blasts.

    WHAT IF? INFINITY: INHUMANS (2015)

    In this reality, Thanos gave Black Bolt the ultimatum where if Black Bolt didn’t kill the Illuminati and the Avengers, then Thanos would wipe out the entire Inhuman race. Fast-forward to an Earth ruled by Thanos and his henchmen.

    A hooded figure was treated as the ultimate weapon against Thanos that needed to be protected against all threats. In the climax, she revealed herself to be Dazzler. Between her ability to turn sound into light blasts and the excessive power of Black Bolt’s voice, Thanos was easily annihilated.

    WHAT IF? INFINITY: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2015)

    After Infinity, Thanos was locked up in a cube of amber in the custody of the Illuminati. In this alternate timeline, Rocket Raccoon stumbled upon this fact from spying on Iron Man. He and the Guardians proceeded to fight the Illuminati and free Thanos for the sole purpose of killing him.

    The actual death isn’t shown or 100% explained. All it needed was a two-page spread of the Guardians being accompanied by various cosmic allies like Beta Ray Bill, Ronan, Gladiator, Annihilus, and so on. Star-Lord told him that they’re the Guardians of the Galaxy and the galaxy is sick of Thanos’ shit.

    Afterwards, they all got very drunk in celebration while Earth's heroes were told that they were grounded and could no longer venture into space.

    WHAT IF? INFINITY: DARK REIGN (2015)

    Nobody’s perfect, but certain villains are better at using the Infinity Gauntlet than others. Wielding such power comes with such responsibility, so of course who would botch controlling the Infinity Gauntlet worse than a Spider-Man villain?

    In a world where Norman Osborn got his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet, he reached back several decades to bring his father into the present and showed him his many accomplishments. While his father was abusive and cruel, he was still able to call out Norman for being a monster. Norman then figured he’d just make his father love him with his omnipotence and it worked!

    Then they returned to his stronghold to find all of the Dark Avengers killed by Thanos. The two battled it out and while Thanos couldn’t scratch the Green Goblin, he was at least able to get under his skin by pointing out that he never forced Death to love him because he’d know that it wasn’t real. Norman would soon realize the same about his father’s glowing words.

    Norman rendered Thanos into a pile of smoking bones via blasting a Goblin Glider into his sternum. He confronted his mind-controlled father by asking why he loved him. Not finding, “Because you’re my son,” satisfactory, Norman wiped out his father’s existence from history itself.

    Realizing his mistake almost immediately, Norman faded away as well. What a maroon.

    SECRET WARS (2015)

    As the culmination of Jonathan Hickman’s epic Fantastic Four and Avengersruns, Secret Wars was the story of Dr. Doom gaining omnipotence and creating a world made up of scraps of broken alternate universes. It was kind of trippy but very awesome.

    When the heroes waged war against God Doom, Thanos challenged him head-on. Without the Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos talked a big game like he had any chance at all and Doom simply tore out his spine like he pressed forward, down, forward, high punch.

    At least with the Norman Osborn fight Thanos set him up to lose in his death.

    SECRET WARS: THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2015)

    One of the reasons why Secret Wars was such a rad event was the many spinoff stories about the various alternate universes-turned-kingdoms. One of which centered around a family of Nova Corps members in a society overrun by space bugs. Stalking and later befriending the family was Thanos, who carried with him the Time Stone. The Nova family happened to have the Reality Stone.

    By the end of the story, Thanos had an almost full Gauntlet while the Novas only had that one Reality Stone. The father put up a good fight, but was still no match for Thanos’ might. The daughter, Anwen, offered to give him the Reality Stone in exchange for their lives. Agreeing to the terms, Thanos placed it in his completed Gauntlet and gloated over his absolute power.

    Suddenly, the Gauntlet shorted out while being overcome with purple flame and Kirby Krackle. It overwhelmed Thanos and turned him into a charred skeleton, all while Anwen revealed that she used the Reality Stone to create a poisonous replica called the Death Stone.

    CIVIL WAR II (2016)

    So Civil War II was a really bad miniseries by Marvel that acted as well-meaning character assassination for Carol Danvers Captain Marvel. Regardless, the first issue had a taste of rad Thanos action. The Inhuman known as Ulysses had a premonition that Thanos was going to be snooping around Earth. Against Iron Man’s wishes, Captain Marvel put together a team to ambush Thanos. Interestingly enough, the miniseries didn’t even show how the fight went down for the most part. All it showed was Thanos’ surprise, his critically injuring She-Hulk, and his fist going through War Machine.

    An issue of Ultimatesat least showed that afterwards, the Ultimates roster joined together to pour it on Thanos until he went down.

    ULTIMATES REMATCH (2016)

    Thanos was locked up in the Triskelion, but as you’d expect, he got free. The Ultimates tried fighting him and this time he was able to overpower them. Black Panther realized that the secret to stopping Thanos wasn’t brawn, but brains. While Ms. America and Captain Marvel kept Thanos busy, the others put together a device that prevented electrical synapses in his brain. Thanos collapsed and went silent.

    Black Panther pointed out that such a device would kill anyone else, but it’s possible that Thanos simply can’t die.

    THE GROUNDED GUARDIANS (2017)

    Thanos escaped custody once again and left the planet, which was extra frustrating for Gamora as the Guardians of the Galaxy lost their transportation during Civil War IIand were stuck on Earth for a while. Luckily, or unluckily, Thanos decided to head back to Earth as part of an agreement with Annihilus, the Brood, and the Badoon. This was Brian Michael Bendis’ final issue writing Guardians of the Galaxy and he wanted to go out with a bang.

    It started with Drax vs. Thanos, but over time, the whole Guardians roster started to trickle in to lay in on Thanos. Star-Lord, Groot, Venom, Kitty Pryde, Thing, Angela, Rocket, and Captain Marvel. The Avengers were apparently on the way. Then Gamora arrived, ignoring Thanos’ claims that this world could have been hers had she not betrayed him. Gamora smugly agreed that this way was better and the Guardians rushed Thanos.

    While the end of the fight wasn’t shown, the final pages did give us an imprisoned Thanos in the hands of the Nova Corps, looking all Hannibal Lector.

    THE SHI’AR IMPERIAL GUARD (2017)

    In Thanos’ recent ongoing series, he started to realize that his body was breaking down and he’d regularly cough up blood. He went to Mentor to find a cure, but Mentor’s failure led to death as punishment. Thanos was then met by the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, who tried to overwhelm him with their vast numbers. Thanos had his moments of dominance, but it was apparent that he wasn’t as strong as he usually was and they were getting the best of him.

    Exhausted and weakening, Thanos saw the Imperial Guard’s heaviest hitter Gladiator standing behind him. With one hell of a punch, Gladiator knocked Thanos into next week. Thanos was under arrest.

    PHOENIX THANE (2017)

    Not only was Thanos weakened, but a handful of his enemies joined together to end him once and for all. With Death whispering in his ear, Thane put together a team of himself, Nebula, Starfox, and the Champion of the Universe. In reality, Thane was planning on betraying them anyway, as his plan was to steal a Phoenix egg and grant himself the power of the Phoenix Force.

    When the time came for him to confront Thanos, there was very little to the fight itself. Just one blast of cosmic flame that depowered Thanos even further and teleported him to a slum planet, cursed to live out the rest of his pathetic life.

    In the end, Thane’s former allies helped Thanos regain his abilities and stop Thane. Apparently, it was part of Death’s plan all along, but Thanos was all, “I don’t want your love anymore!” Those feelings lasted like a week.

    THANOS VS. THANOS (2018)

    “And if Thanos must die?”

    “No one kills Thanos but Thanos.”

    At the end of his ongoing, Thanos was brought to the distant future to meet up with his older and very victorious self, King Thanos. Over countless years, Thanos wiped out seemingly all life in the universe. The only things left were his henchman Frank Castle (a failed Ghost Rider/Herald whose mentality has made him more Deadpool than Punisher over the years), the Hulk (treated as Thanos’ dog), and the threat of a vengeful Silver Surfer armed with Mjolnir. King Thanos brought his younger self over to help him kill the Surfer, hoping that it would bring forth the missing Death.

    When only the two Thanos’ remained, Death showed herself and made it apparent that she wanted them to fight to the death. Their battle was brutal, but the younger Thanos was supreme. Still, he would not be goaded into killing his older self, purely out of disgust. Instead, he went back to the present with the promise that he would make sure that King Thanos’ future would never come to pass, killing him with non-existence.

    I guess they took the whole “Thanos undoes his own victories” thing literally.

    Any other Thanos losses you want to remind me of? Sound off in the comments!

    Gavin Jasper notices that Carol Danvers sure happens to partake in a lot of Thanos smackdownery. Huh. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


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    The unthinkable happens in this weird, alternate Scooby-Doo universe when Fred Jones runs afoul of the one trap you can't escape.

    NewsJim Dandy
    May 7, 2018

    Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis should work together more. This isn't really a controversial opinion to hold, even if starting an article with such a plainly declarative statement is how internet fights are usually launched. It's just a simple fact.

    The duo paired for one of the most beloved Justice League runs of all time, the Bwa-ha-ha era of Justice League International with Kevin Maguire on art. They've worked together a number of times since, including on books like Justice League 3000, Booster Gold and Larfleeze (yes, Larfleeze). And their true skill as writers often gets lost beneath the surface of their work.

    The comedy of the Bwa-ha-ha League was sitcom-ish and sometimes veered into slapstick (see One Punch), but the way to successfully and continually land their jokes required the story to be built on heartfelt character work. Which is what the team is giving us in Scooby Apocalypse.

    By all rights, this book shouldn't work. It's a dark post-apocalyptic zombie adjacent tale starring the Mystery, Inc. crew, and Giffen and DeMatteis are semi-aping Dawn of the Dead in the most recent arc. But it is a successful story, interesting and smart and funny because the creative team is turning each character over and inside-out for the story, using the premise to add depth that was never there when the gang was ripping ape masks off of Old Man Willoughby. The Shaggy and Velma and Daphne and Fred of this comic are more realized than they've ever been before.

    Also, they're killing Fred.

    Here's what DC has to say about the issue:

    SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #25
    Written by KEITH GIFFEN and J.M. DeMATTEIS • Art by RON WAGNER, ANDY OWENS and others • Cover by HOWARD PORTER • Variant cover by BRYAN HITCHAfter nearly fifty years of Scooby-Doo, the unthinkable occurs! This month death claims one of the most beloved figures in pop-culture history: Fred Jones! This stunning turn of events will have repercussions that you won’t want to miss!

    Take a look at these preview pages and get ready to have your heart broken.


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    Here are some of the science fiction and fantasy books we're most excited to read this summer.

    FeatureDen of Geek Staff
    May 7, 2018

    As you know, summer is the best time for adventures—and, by that, we mean it's a great time to curl up in a hammock, on the beach, or in your air-conditioned living room with a good genre page-turner.

    Here are some of the science fiction and fantasy books we're looking forward to reading this summer...

    Before Mars by Emma Newman

    In our review of Emma Newman's Before Mars, we call the book "a compelling mystery built around a deep study of anxiety and suspicion." Based in a world in which space colonization was enabled by 3D printers that can produce almost anything, Newman weaves a tale of perspective, mental health, and personal trauma that follows geologist and artist Anna Kubrick as she relocates to a Martian colony designed as both scientific research facility and reality show.

    Anna has plans to be in the colony for a year, which means she will be away from her husband and baby back on Earth for that same amount of time. When the book starts, after a month-long voyage from Earth, Anna is already beginning to feel the distance. When Anna finds a note seemingly from herself telling her not to trust the colony's psychologist, she starts to wonder what is real and what is not. Is Anna caught up in a corporate conspiracy or is she losing her mind?

    Previous books in the series: Planetfall (though Before Mars is a true standalone)

    Release date: April 18th

    Buy Before Mars by Emma Newman

    Ascendant by Jack Campbell

    The development of the faster-than-light drive has made human colonization of space into a reality. As humanity continues to push into the frontiers of space, Earth's system of law and order has fallen behind. This is the world we enter in The Genesis Fleet saga, which begins in Vanguard and picks back up in Ascendant, catching up with former fleet officer Rob Geary and former Marine Mele Darcy three years after their defense of Glenlyon.

    In that time, tensions have only risen. When one of Glenlyon's warships is destroyed during an attempt to break the blockade that has cut Glenlyon off from the rest of human-colonized space, the colony's defenses are thinner than ever. When Geary takes Glenlyon's last remaining destroyer to safeguard a diplomatic mission at a nearby star Kosatka, we are brought along on another tale of humanity's fight for freedom on the frontier of space.

    Previous books in the series: Vanguard

    Release date: May 15th

    Pre-Order Ascendant by Jack Campbell

    The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

    In this third book in the Peacekeeper series and sixth book in the Confederation series, former space marine Torin Kerr is pulled back into the Confederation and the war she left behind.

    For those unfamiliar with the Confederation, it is an alliance of alien races that spans across the galaxy. It is first introduced in Huff's novel Valor's Choice (Confederation #1) when Earth and several other races are granted membership. In exchange, they must act as soldiers/protectors of the more "civilized" races within the Confederation, who have turned away from war.

    The Peacekeeper series follows former space marine Torin Kerr after her departure from the Confederation. Speaking to Tor about the first book in the Peacekeeper series, An Ancient Peace, Huff said of the main character:

    In An Ancient Peace, Torin is looking for a new sense of purpose. She’s spent her entire adult life in the Confederation Marine Corps, fighting in a war where the hostilities had been manipulated by an outside source from the beginning and when she finds this out, she’s feeling more than a little betrayed. She can’t be in the military any longer but neither can she just toss aside everything—the experience, the competence, the sense of responsibility—that made her so good at her job. So between Truth of Valor [the fifth book in the Confederation series] and An Ancient Peace, she created a new job. Freelance ass-kicking on the side of right.

    Huff's skill at worldbuilding is impressive and, over the course of the Confederation and Peacekeeper series, the author has created a complex, multi-cultural setting in which to explore issues of colonialism and the trauma of war. This is a great series for fans of the TV show Farscape (Torin has definite Aeryn Sun vibes) or Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch series.

    Previous books in the series: Peacekeeper Series: An Ancient Peace and A Peace Divided. Confederation Series: Valor's Choice, The Better Part of Valor, The Heart of Valor, Valor's Trial, The Truth of Valor, An Ancient Peace, and A Peace Divided

    Release date: June 19th

    Pre-Order The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

    The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

    Going through serious Game of Thrones withdrawal? Same. The Empire of Ashes, the third book in the Draconis Memoria series, might just be the thing that gets you through this seemingly interminable hiatus. Because, yes, here be dragons—well, kind of.

    In the Draconis Memoria series, author Anthony Ryan imagines a world in which the blood of drakes (creatures that are very similar to dragons) can be used to create elixirs that will grant the "blood-blessed"—aka the lucky few who don't die from drinking drake blood—incredible powers. 

    In this third novel in the series, we follow blood-blessed rogue Claydon Torcreek, Ironship Trading Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and Ironship captain Corrick Hilemore—three characters first thrown together in The Waking Fire—as they face off against a drake of unimaginable power threatening to destroy the world. So, yeah, the stakes are pretty high. No White Walkers, though.

    Previous books in the series: Sandrunners, The Waking Fire, The Legion of Flame

    Release date: July 3rd

    Pre-Order The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

    Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

    If you can't decide whether to go for science fiction or fantasy with your first summer read, might we recommend Empire of Silence, which has a healthy mix of both? The first in the planned Suneater series, Empire of Silence follows Hadrian Marlowe—which, first of all, is a great name—the first son of Lord Alistair and next in line to become the head of the House Marlowe and Archon of Meidua Prefecture on Delos.

    While many think they know the story of Hadrian Marlowe—he is the hero or monster (depending on who you ask) who destroyed a sun and four billion lives along with it—they don't know the full, much messier story. Told in a similar style as The Name of the Wind, Empire of Silence is the story behind the story of a man. We follow Hadrian as he flees his father and the future he represents, only to be stranded on a backwater planet with nothing and no one to rely upon.

    As the official description reads: "Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand."

    Previous books in the series: None! This is the first in the Suneater series.

    Release date: July 3rd

    Pre-Order Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

    What science fiction and fantasy books are you looking forward to reading this summer? Let us know in the comments below!


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    News Mike Cecchini
    May 7, 2018

    Right around this time last year, we abandoned what had long been the Den of Geek standard commenting system, Disqus, for Facebook. The hope was that making this change would make for a smoother, faster, more integrated Den of Geek experience. We expected comments from Facebook posts to automatically reflect on the articles and vice versa. We weren't thrilled with how the Disqus module appeared to be slowing our page load times down, especially on mobile. There had been an uptick in spam posts that were a cause for concern.

    But after nearly a year, it's pretty clear that our Facebook commenting module was buggy, and thus comments were rarely reflected between posts and the site. Differences in page load time were negligible. Spammers gonna spam, regardless of platform. And to be perfectly honest, I feel like we lost some of our most passionate and engaged readers, many of whom I enjoyed interacting with myself on Den of Geek stories. I admit that we might have traded one set of problems for another.

    The recent concerns with Facebook and its handling of user data and privacy issues opened our eyes. Facebook is an inescapable necessity of the digital publishing world, and it's certainly a useful tool. But forcing Den of Geek readers to engage with Facebook in order to engage with our articles, especially in light of recent events, was the wrong move. 

    With all this in mind, we've decided to switch back to Disqus for on site commenting. They have addressed many of our concerns over the last year. Commenting should once again be a fairly smooth process, technical issues have been ironed out, and you'll be able to have more direct interactions with the Den of Geek team on a regular basis. The change will be rolled out in the next day or two.

    No commenting platform is perfect, nor will it please everyone, but the Den of Geek community was originally built on Disqus, and I certainly can't argue with the continued success our UK counterparts see with it on a daily basis. I know that some of you might be annoyed after we made one major community change only to pivot once again a year later. I hope you'll stick around. And if you've been quiet since the Facebook days, well, I hope to be the first to welcome you back on behalf of the entire Den of Geek team. 

    For clarity's sake, here are our community guidelines. 

    COMMENT POLICY

    • We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Comments that appear to be spam, toxic, or harmful are subject to the whims of our moderators.

    DEN OF GEEK RULES

    1. Don't be a jerk. Disagree all you want, but don't make personal attacks on fellow readers or our writers.

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    3. Don't feed the damn trolls.

    4. Don't spam your website/business/SoundCloud account.

    5. Don't post NSFW content.

    6. Put some thought/effort into your feedback. The edgy days of posting “meh” on the internet are over.

    UNIVERSAL DISQUS RULES

    • Targeted harassment or encouraging others to do so
      Hate speech and other forms of targeted and systematic harassment of people have no place on Disqus, nor do we tolerate communities dedicated to fostering harassing behavior.

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      Examples include 1) comments posted in large quantities to promote a product or service, 2) the exact same comment posted repeatedly to disrupt a thread. 3) following users multiple times

    • Impersonation
      You may not impersonate others in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others.

    • Direct threat of harm
      This covers active threats of harm directed towards a specific person or defined group of individuals. Contact local authorities if you feel a crime has been committed or is imminent.

    • Posting personally identifiable information
      Examples of protected information: credit card number, home/work address, phone number, email address, social security number. 

    • Inappropriate profile content
      Graphic media containing violence and pornographic content are not allowed. Profile content allowed by Disqus may not be allowed on all communities, so report such profiles to the site moderator.

    Thanks for reading, and I hope to talk to you soon.


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    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the movie, Jack Kirby's 2001: A Space Odyssey art gets the art gallery treatment.

    News Mike Cecchini
    May 8, 2018

    So you think that once Jack Kirby got into superheroes that was all he did for the rest of his career? Think again!

    After Jack Kirby returned to Marvel in the late 1970s (after creating an entire cosmic mythology for DC Comics with the New Gods and the attendant Fourth World books), the King of Comics did pretty out-there runs on both Captain America and Black Panther, but he also did some of the best work of his career on two science fiction titles, The Eternals (currently under consideration for the big screen treatment by Marvel Studios) and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Yes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the legendary science fiction movie currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. Marvel was in the midst of a licensed comic bonanza, and while still two years away from the runaway success of Star Wars, they gave Jack Kirby the monumental task of adapting Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi masterpiece as a treasury edition sized comic. Kirby then continued the story with a 2001: A Space Odyssey ongoing series, which ran for 10 issues and explored prehistoric and futuristic timelines. It's really wild and features some of Kirby's most mind-expanding, experimental work.

    The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center, known for putting on pop-up galleries and events around the country, will showcase the art of Kirby's 2001 comics this weekend, May 11 through 13, in New York City, at One Art Space, a gallery located at 23 Warren Street.

    Here's the official word from the Museum:

    Just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kubrick’s cinematic masterpiece, the Jack Kirby Museum will present an oversized reproduction Kirby’s adaptation of the movie, compilations of the photocopies of Kirby’s pencil art for his subsequent stories, which have never been reprinted, as well as dramatic, multimedia performances of three of these stories.

    Jack Kirby’s 2001: A Space Odyssey comics were pure Kosmic Kirby at the top of his craft, expanding on the 2001 story in ways not even masters like Kubrick or Clarke could have imagined,” Kirby Museum Acting Director, Rand Hoppe, offered in a statement. “We can’t wait for fans to have their minds blown by the stories AND the visuals.”

    “The comics on display for A Jack Kirby Odyssey were painstakingly reproduced from the photocopies of Kirby’s pencil art,” adds Kirby Museum President, Tom Kraft. “The oversized comics at our Kirby 100 birthday celebration at One Art Space were big hits. We expect people will love seeing Kirby’s cosmic pencil art at large size, too.”

    Here are the hours of operation:

    Friday, May 11th: Noon – 7pmSaturday, May 12th: Noon – 8pmSunday, May 13th: Noon – 6pm

    Here's the schedule of events...

    Friday:

    5pm – Opening Celebration

    Saturday:

    1pm – The Jack’d Kirby podcast live!

    5pm – Kubrick and Kirby: Mind-Breakers. Hoppe and Romberger in Conversation

    7pm – Fake Church with Geoff Grimwood. Improv Comedy!

    Sunday:

    2pm – Norton’s Odyssey – audio-visual dramatic reading of issues # 5 & 6

    4pm – The New Seed! – audio-visual dramatic reading of issue #7

    5pm – Closing Celebration

    The Kirby Museum's A Jack Kirby Odysseywill only run from May 11 - 13. One Art Space is located at 23 Warren Street in Manhattan, NY.

    Disclosure: I'm a Kirby Museum trustee, and if you come by the gallery and I'm hanging around, please say hello!


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    We're tracking down every Marvel reference and easter egg we can find in the Black Panther movie.

    Feature Mike CecchiniJim Dandy
    May 9, 2018

    The Black Panther movie is finally out on digital download, and will hit DVD and Blu-ray very soon! Marvel's historic big screen adaptation is true to the spirit of the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's creation, but draws heavy inspiration from creators like Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, Mark Texiera, Ta-Nehisi Coates, John Romita, Brian Stelfreeze, Trevor Hairsine, and others. Black Panther's Marvel Universe history stretches back over 50 years, and the movie does his legacy justice in ways big and small.

    So here's how this works. We've compiled everything we could find on our first viewing. There's bound to be stuff we missed. So if you spot something, drop it in the comments, or hit us up on Twitter, and if it checks out, we'll add it to the guide with some additional context!

    When Does Black Panther Take Place in the Marvel Timeline?

    One quick note about when Black Panther takes place. For quite some time it felt like the Marvel movies were basically operating on a timeline along when they were actually released. That's no longer the case. The events of Black Panther seem to take place about a week after the events of Captain America: Civil War, which would put it before the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming (which was released last year) and Doctor Strange (which was released in 2016). Don't think about it too hard, as you'll get a headache.

    - Black Panther first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Panther's debut came right in the sweet spot of what is absolutely the pinnacle of the Lee/Kirby collaboration on that book, and he was by far the most high profile black comic book character ever created at the time. T'Challa has since become an essential piece of greater Marvel mythology, and we wrote more about some of the amazing work Jack Kirby did with the character right here.

    - The "heart-shaped herb" is right out of the comics, too. What's interesting to me is how heavily they lean on the "Black Panther communing with the dead" element in the process of this transformation. During Jonathan Hickman's time as Fantastic Four (and later Avengers) writer, they really went hard on the idea that Black Panther isn't just king of the living in Wakanda, he's also the king of the realm of the dead. So all those trips to the ancestral plane (and how Killmonger seemingly rejected that entire element of the responsibility of that role) seem to fit in with this. They make reference to Bast throughout the movie, generally known as an Egyptian god, but one who has a place in the Panther legacy, and who decreed that Black Panthers also rule the dead of Wakanda.

    - The title of Black Panther is one that is passed down, and we met T'Challa's father, T'Chaka in Captain America: Civil War. Interestingly enough, while T'Challa did indeed don the mantle of Black Panther in that movie, he wasn't officially THE Black Panther until what we see in this movie.

    - T'Challa makes the choice between the gold or white necklace, but throughout his comics career, he has worn both.

    What is Vibranium?

    Black Panther's suit is made of woven vibranium, an incredibly strong, valuable metal found only in a meteor that crashed in Wakanda a long time ago. Wakanda is the only source of vibranium on Earth, and it’s the source of their tremendous technological advancements.

    That whole Wakandan creation myth we get at the beginning of the movie touches on the extraterrestrial element of vibranium's origin, which is a nice touch.

    Interestingly enough, in the comics, Captain America's shield is made of an adamantium/vibranium alloy, which helps make it so durable. The fact that Cap is going to spend some time (and get a new shield from T'Challa) in Avengers: Infinity War feels like a nod to that.

    What About Wakanda?

    OK, so after only one viewing, I need to make sure I have a couple of things straight. Please let us know if we have any of this wrong. The five tribes of Wakanda they talk about in the intro sequence seem to be more in line with how the comics laid out the five religions of the region (there are 18 total tribes out there). Anyway, I say this because one of the nations they mention is the Jabari, who are, of course, M'Baku's White Gorilla army.

    - The visuals seem to draw strong influence from Ta-Nehisi Coates’ time as writer on Black Panther (which have set the status quo for Wakanda in the rest of the Marvel Universe).

    - Coates has spent a lot of time delving into Wakandan geography and society. It’s a hyper-advanced, with diverse cultures and a deep connection to the geography. It’s also generally hidden from the rest of the world, something we saw in the post-credits scene in Civil War.

    - Let's not forget that the Panther and his world have the great Jack Kirby's fingerprints all over them. You can see hints of Kirby's love of insanely hi-tech designs in everything from the engines of the Wakandan aircraft to the tech on display in the hospitals. There's a pretty cool looking "black light poster" in the infirmary that faintly reminds me of work Kirby did in the '70s, as well.

    - According to Vulture (and with a hat tip to Marshall Hopkins for pointing it out), the Wakandan language in the movie is Xhosa, "a Bantu language spoken in South Africa." Expect interest in Xhosa courses to skyrocket.

    They nailed so much of the look of Wakanda and Black Panther’s world here, it’s incredible, particularly with Angela Bassett as Ramonda, T’Challa’s stepmother and Queen Mother of Wakanda. She looks like Brian Stelfreeze drew her. Ramonda married T'Chaka (T'Challa's father) after N'Yami passed away in childbirth. Her relationship with T'Challa as he grew into the Black Panther role is being examined right now in Rise of the Black Panther.

    Who is Shuri?

    T’Challa’s sister (and eventual Black Panther herself) was created by Reggie Hudlin and John Romita, Jr. in 2005, became Panther in 2009, and has had quite a ride all in all. In the comics, she died at the hands of Proxima Midnight and the Cabal in the lead up to Secret Wars. (That's relevant, maybe, to Infinity War, since the Black Order should be there) Her spirit then migrated to the Djalia, the collective plane of memory for all of Wakanda, and T'Challa went in after her in the pages of the current Black Panther ongoing.

    - Also...was Shuri making a Back to the Future II self-lacing sneakers joke when she talked about the old American movies their father watched in relation to T'Challa's "sneakers?"

    - Of course, her crack about "another broken white boy for us to fix" was absolutely about Bucky Barnes, who ended up in Wakanda after the events of Captain America: Civil War. We see him again during the post-credits scenes, with the Wakandan children referring to him as "White Wolf" rather than "Winter Soldier."

    We interviewed Letitia Wright about the character, and you can read that right here if you want.

    W'Kabi

    Daniel Kaluuya's W'Kabi, the head of the Wakandan military, is, along with T'Challa and Klaw, one of the oldest characters in the movie, having first appeared back in Avengers #62 in 1969.

    Who is Everrett Ross?

    - Martin Freeman's Everett Ross made his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War. But he was first created by Christopher Priest and Kenny Martinez in Ka-Zar, and brought back in the pages of Priest’s legendary run as writer on Black Panther in 1999.

    In the comics, Ross is a medium level State Department employee given the responsibility of guiding T’Challa around New York, where he then gets roped into fights with Mephisto, Atlantis, Man Ape, and Iron Man, and sits in on a diplomatic meeting between Black Panther, Dr. Doom, Namor, and Magneto. Needless to say, Priest’s run, which seems to have heavily influenced this movie, was awesome.

    Ross' nonplussed reactions in the movie to increasingly weird situations feels like it came right out of the comics.

    Hey you know how badass Michonne is on The Walking Dead? Multiply that by a million and you have Danai Gurira as Okoye in this movie. 

    Okoye is a member of the Dora Milaje, the King’s all-woman royal guard. 

    Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje were created by Priest and Mark Texiera in 1998, and have been focal characters in Coates' current run, where two of them go rogue early in the series. 

    Who is Nakia?

    Lupita N'yongo is brilliant as Nakia in this movie, isn't she? Nakia has been around since 1998, and she was created during Christopher Priest's time as Black Panther comics writer, a creative period which, as we keep saying, heavily informs this movie.

    Here's what she looks like in the comics...

    Things aren't always easy for T'Challa and Nakia, so things might get interesting when we finally get Black Panther 2.

    Forest Whitaker is Zuri, who in the comics was a warrior ally of T’Chaka (T’Challa’s father and predecessor as Black Panther). They took a slightly different take on him here, but it was effective. Here's how he looks in the comics...


    The Villains

    - Andy Serkis is here as all-around skeev, Ulysses Klaue. In the comics, his nom-du-douchebag is the more on-the-nose, "Klaw."

    Why do they call him Klaw? Well...why do you think he got his arm conveniently removed by Ultron? It's so that he can have a vibranium-powered soundwave cannon attached to it to give Black Panther a migraine!

    It's cool that they found a way to incorporate his sound cannon/hand here. What's more, turning Klaue into a villain who primarily menaced the previous Black Panther, T'Chaka, rather than T'Challa, is something that's right in line with how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has occasionally tweaked the timeline in order to give everything a little bit more history. So just as we learned in the first Ant-Man movie how Hank Pym was operating during the 1980s, we now know that T'Chaka and Klaw were fighting at least as far back as 1992...probably earlier.

    Serkis previously played Klaw in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The character was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #53, where he stole vibranium from Wakanda, murdered T’Challa’s father, and got his hand chopped off. 

    Klaw's obsession with Vibranium is right out of his early comic book appearances, though, and yes, you can spot the Jack Kirby influence there, too. Honestly, I felt like the tattoos on the back of his neck are kind of a nod to his comic book design, too.

    We have lots more info about Klaw right here.

    Killmonger

    Erik Killmonger first showed up in Don McGregor and Rich Buckler’s Jungle Action in 1973, where it was revealed that his father was forced to help Klaw in his initial raid on Wakanda, and he and his family were exiled for it. You can see echoes of that in the movie, too. He developed a hatred of the Black Panther, and turned himself into evil Batman - peak physical condition, genius strategist, science-ey guy - to fight him.


    The fact that Killmonger is breaking Klaw out of jail when we first meet him in the movie feels like a nod to that old Jungle Action story.

    Also, Erik is occasionally fond of masks in the comics, so when he swipes that one from the British Museum, that seems pretty on-brand, too. I feel like I'm doing Killmonger a disservice in this guide, but this is one of those very rare occasions where Marvel actually improved on one of their comics villains in the process of bringing him to the screen.

    The fight between Killmonger and T'Challa on top of the waterfall (and Panther's defeat and subsequent toss down that waterfall) comes from one of the very best Black Panther stories, "Panther's Rage" by Don McGregor, Rich Buckler, and Klaus Janson.


    Note that the Killmonger of the comics does have a similar origin, although he grew up in Harlem not Oakland, and he isn't T'Challa's cousin.

    M'Baku

    In the comics, M'Baku was originally an Avengers villain known as Man-Ape, created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema. He’s super fast and super strong, and has tried to lead many a coup against the throne.

    It's pretty cool how they managed to include elements of that comic design, notably with the masks and the white body paint, without going the full "Man-Ape" route.

    We spoke with Winston Duke about bringing M'Baku to life, and you can read all about it right here.

    The Post-Credits Scenes

    Remarkably, these aren't that heavy on Marvel mythology. Instead, we see Wakanda offering a pointed message to the United Nations as they get ready to take a more active and visible role in the world. Of course, the world is going to need Wakandan technology to fight what's coming in Avengers: Infinity War. And speaking of which...

    ...we do get to see the other "broken white boy" that Shuri was referring to, with the return of Bucky Barnes. The "white wolf" nickname the kids give him does have a little comics history, as a minor character associated primarily with King T'Chaka, but that doesn't seem to be really be of particular significance here. If we assume the events of Black Panther started a week or so after Captain America: Civil War, and that the movie itself takes place over the span of a few weeks, there might be another brief time jump before Bucky wakes up. Maybe that Bucky sequence takes place a month or so after Civil War. In any case, he'll be ready to reunite with Cap and aid in the fight against Thanos in Infinity War.


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    Iron Man is getting a "fresh start" from Marvel with a new creative team and they just revealed a bunch of new Iron Man armor!

    NewsMike Cecchini
    May 9, 2018

    After a decade writing Spider-Man, Dan Slott is moving on to one of Marvel's other flagship characters. Slott will team with artist Valerio Schiti to launch a new Iron Man series from Marvel this June, called Tony Stark: Iron Man. The launch comes as part of Marvel's "Fresh Start" initiative, which reboots the entire line with new creative teams and new first issues. 

    Slott, who has a knack for witty dialogue is a natural fit for Iron Man, a character who Marvel retroactively turned into a Robert Downey Jr-esque smartass on the page in the wake of the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He told plenty of risky stories with Spider-Man, but also had a talent for reinventing classic Marvel villains and using them in clever ways. If he sticks around on Tony Stark for even half as long as he did with Spidey, we might be in for a character redefining run.

    Here's the (admittedly vague) official synopsis: 

    From the cusp of tomorrow's dreams to the forefront of imagination, one man always soars on the cutting edge of adventure!

    You know his name.

    Tony Stark is Iron Man.

    And Iron Man... is an idea.

    Always changing. Always evolving. An idea without limit!

    “As a futurist, Tony Stark thought he had all the answers. But since coming back from the dead, he now sees the Marvel Universe in a whole new light!” teased editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski in a statement. “How does Iron Man continually evolve and stay relevant in a world where technology advances on a daily basis? Well, Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti, and Edgar Delgado are here to answer those questions as they take our Armored Avenger on adventures that push the boundaries comic storytelling and visuals! And Dan writes Tony with such heart...pun intended...we had to put his name in the title.”

    And with this, comes a whole host of cool Iron Man armor variant covers. Hit the gallery to see more!

    Check out some preview pages, too!

    Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 arrives on June 20.


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    Deadpool 2 is taking a page out of Thanos’s book when it comes to protecting precious plot secrets.

    News Joseph Baxter
    May 9, 2018

    Deadpool 2’s status as a Fox movie may leave it outside the purview of the secrets-keeping apparatus of Marvel Studios, but it’s been doing one hell of a job on maintaining a tight lid on its plot. Indeed, with a little over a week until its release, we know nothing, even regarding its villain(s) – at least, barring the formation of X-Force and Deadpool’s apparent recruitment drive for diabetics. Thus, with a newly released letter to the fans, it’s clear that those involved are making a special effort to maintain said tight lid.

    As Deadpool 2 approaches the phase when advance screenings start to take place, which tends to open the floodgates for spoiler content, star Ryan Reynolds has posted a letter that – in true Deadpool fashion – spoofs, amongst many things, Avengers: Infinity War’s #ThanosDemandsYourSilence pre-release effort. (Note the letterhead that crosses out Fox in lieu of “TBD,” referencing the studio's Disney/Comcast buyout courtship.)

    The letter’s Thanos reference is not just pertinent because Infinity War is another Marvel movie, but because Thanos actor Josh Brolin is co-starring in Deadpool 2 as the time-travelling, cybernetically-upgraded, Cable. Moreover, to reemphasize, there isn’t jack squat out there about the plot; something that the film’s hilarious official synopsis mercilessly mocks, stating:

    “After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Miami’s hottest bartender, while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.”

    Yet, while we still don’t know the real story (outside of context-deprived trailer footage), we do know the casting, which, amongst actors already attributed to specific characters, also consists of mystery members Jack Kesy and Eddie Marsan; two notable names who are clearly not onboard to play "Street Bystanders 1 and 2." Reports suggest that Kesy could be playing the classic villain X-Men, Black Tom Cassidy, an idea compounded by another rumor that the character’s repertory partner in crime, the Juggernaut, is also in the film. (Maybe Marsan in CGI form?)

    Of course, going further down the Deadpool 2 speculative rabbit hole is probably a hollow pursuit at this point, since the film is arriving at theaters on May 18.


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    What you need to know about Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, including latest news, release date, trailer, and much more!

    News John Saavedra
    May 9, 2018

    Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy is coming to Netflix as a live action series. The comic book series, which debuted in 2007, was first optioned as a movie before Dark Horse signed a deal with Universal Cable Productions to adapt the comic as a TV series. 

    The live action series follows the estranged members of a dysfunctional family of superheroes -- The Monocle, Spaceboy, The Kraken, The Rumor, The Séance, Number Five, The Horror, and the seemingly powerless Vanya -- as they work together to solve their father’s mysterious death while coming apart at the seams due to their divergent personalities and abilities. 

    Way began writing The Umbrella Academy just a year after the release of My Chemical Romance's magnum opus, The Black Parade. The series is 15 issues of Eisner Award-winning goodness that has continued to inform Way's career as a comic book writer, especially with his current run on Doom Patrol and his Young Animal line at DC. Artist Gabriel Ba has also done some of his best work on the series. (If you want something really great by Ba, check out Daytripper, which he created with his twin brother, artist Fabio Moon.)

    The Umbrella Academy has been on a bit of a hiatus since 2009. Only two volumes, The Apocalypse Suite and Dallas, have been released thus far, although Way and Ba plan at least two more volumes. The third volume is called Hotel Oblivion, and it's been in the works since at least 2013 when Way tweeted out an update with some sketches of new characters. Way and Ba had agreed to begin work on Hotel Oblivion in 2014, but a lot's happened since then. Besides his music projects, Way has his own line of comics and two comic book series to write.

    While it's not likely the Umbrella Academy will return on the page any time soon, fans will at least gave the show to look forward to. – Here's everything else we know:

    The Umbrella Academy News

    Kate Walsh is the latest addition to The Umbrella Academy cast. She will play a recurring character called The Handler, officially described as “a composed and confident leader of a mysterious, bureaucratic company who is always ready to manage any situation — though it's best not to get on her bad side. Her charm is her greatest strength and she uses it to her advantage to complete the business of her organization.”

    Walsh is currently fielding a run on the imminently-returning hit Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why. She’s best known from her run on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, which was parlayed to the spinoff series, Private Practice. She also starred in shows such as Bad Judge, Fargo, The Drew Carey Show and films such as Girls Trip, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Legion.

    The Umbrella Academy Release Date

    Netflix has given the series a 10-episode order that will arrive sometime in 2018. 

    The Umbrella Academy Cast

    Netflix has revealed the core cast of the show. Here are the actors who will portray the members of the Umbrella Academy:

    Ellen Page (X-Men: Days of Future Past) will star as Vanya, who is estranged from the rest of the family because of her lack of powers. Vanya is a very important character in the first arc of the comics, as she goes through a bit of self-discovery that puts her at odds with the superheroes she once called a family.

    Tom Hopper (Game of Thrones) plays Luther, aka Spaceboy. He has super-strength, and after a terrible accident during an expedition to Mars, his head had to be transplanted onto the body of a gorilla. Ehem...

    Emmy Raver-Lampman (Hamilton) will play Allison, aka The Rumor, who can alter reality by lying. 

    David Castaneda (El Chicano) is Diego, codenamed The Kraken. He is sort of a fuse between Aquaman and Batman. He can hold his breath indefinitely, which gives him an advantage when in water, and is an expert knife thrower.

    Robert Sheehan (Misfits) is perfectly cast as Klaus aka The Seance, the most morbid character of the group. His powers, which manifest only when he's barefoot, include levitation, telekinesis, and the ability to contant the dead. In the comics, Klaus is killed at one point but rejected from both Heaven and Hell.

    Aidan Gallagher (Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn) is Number Five, simply codenamed The Boy. He can effortlessly travel in time and does not age due to a temporal condition. 

    Colm Feore (House of Cards) will play Sir Reginald Hargreeves, the leader of the Umbrella Academy. He is the billionaire who adopted all of the strange children that made up the superhero team. Hargreeves was known to be manipulative and cold towards the kids, something that has scarred the heroes later in life.

    Adam Godley (Breaking Bad) will play Pogo, a genetically-engineered and talking chimpanzee. Pogo is a point of comfort for the Umbrella Academy, acting in much more of a fatherly and nurturing role than Hargreeves ever did. 

    Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) plays Detective Patch, who is at odds with the vigilantes that protect her city. She prefers to play things by the book.

    Mary J. Blige has joined the cast as well. She will play the role of Cha-Cha, the insane time-traveling assassin first introduced in the second arc of the comic, "Dallas," which reimagines the Kennedy assassination. Cha-Cha, along with her partner Hazel, believes in using the most violent method possible to dispatch her prey. 

    Hazel will be played by Cameron Britton (Mindhunter). According to the official character description, Hazel will become at odds with Cha-Cha at some point after their time-traveling blood-soaked adventures begin to wear on him. 

    John Magaro (The Big Short) will be a series regular, playing Leonard Peabody, described as “a sweet Average Joe,” who, while dismissed as being somewhat of a milquetoast, strikes up an unlikely romance with Vanya (Ellen Page) that plays out against the backdrop of the larger events of the series.

    The Umbrella Academy Poster

    Here's the first promo poster for The Umbrella Academy:


    The Umbrella Academy Details

    The Umbrella Academy will be produced by Universal Cable Productions. Steve Blackman (Fargo, Altered Carbon) will serve as executive producer and showrunner, with additional executive producers Bluegrass Television and Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg from Dark Horse Entertainment. Gerard Way will serve as co-executive producer. The pilot script was adapted from the comic book series by Jeremy Slater (The Exorcist).

    In 2016, Slater talked to Collider about his script:

    I definitely wrote the pilot for The Umbrella Academy. I think it’s really exciting. I think it’s really surprising and funny. I took the job because I’m such an immense fan of what Gerard [Way] and Gabriel [Ba, the artist] did with that book. It’s one of those things where I would rather be the guy to screw it up than sit back and let someone else come in and do the bad adaptation. So, I was really adamant about taking the job, but the only way I was going to do it was if I could make it weird and make it true to the spirit of the book. There’s a lot of weird shit in The Umbrella Academy, and it would be very easy to sand down some of those weird edges and make it more familiar to American audiences. I’m fighting very hard to not let that happen. We’re shopping around the pilot, at the moment. We’re trying to find the right home for it and trying to find someone as excited as we are.

    Rawson Marshal Thurber (Dodgeball) was originally tied to the project when it was still being considered for the big screen. He told CBR in 2016 that the series would be too difficult to adapt as a film, citing the weirdness of the book as something that could be lost in translation at a big studio. 

    Slater echoed Thurber's thoughts in his interview with Collider:

    I think the relationships and the dynamics are so rich in that book that, if you tried to distill it down to 90 minutes, everyone gets reduced to a cartoon and a caricature. It really is The Royal Tenenbaums with superpowers. In order to do justice to that premise, you need time to unpack those characters, and dig into what makes them tick and the different relationships that they have with each other. There is so much fertile material there to tell really interesting, really funny, really unique stories that to compress it all into an hour and a half and throw in a bunch of giant action sequences, you’re going to wind up with some total mish-mash. It’s going to be Mystery Men. It’s going to be yet another wacky comedic superhero movie that no one really wants to see. It has its own unique DNA, and I think people should respect that DNA, or they should not do the project.


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    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote loses American distribution, retains Cannes opening, and cost Terry Gilliam's health.

    News Tony Sokol
    May 9, 2018

    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is once again fighting for life. This film has really become the impossible dream for master director Terry Gilliam, who directed Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fisher King and so many films with such unique perspective. Amazon is getting ready to yank distribution of the film in the United States, according to Variety.

    That won’t stop The Man Who Killed Don Quixote from playing Cannes. “We have won,” Thierry Frémaux, who heads Cannes, announced from the stage of the Debussy in the Palais. Distributor Ocean Films took to Twitter to confirm “The Cannes Film Festival breaks the spell. The Man Who Killed Don Quixote enters the history of cinema. In all rooms on May 19, 2018,” Variety reported.

    Gilliam himself had a minor stroke and is laid up in London. It’s no wonder, he’s been tilting at this windmill in 1989. He didn’t even get started filming his adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s 1605 novel until in 2000. A documentary, Lost in La Mancha, was made about the film, distributed and was on DVD before years before the finalized version of the film was even cast. Now that the film is finally finished, and a promotional campaign and trailers have already been released, it is in danger of not being seen in America. For those of us who have been waiting for this film, not even the healing powers of the Balsam of Fierbras is a consolation.

    The finished film stars Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce, and Stellan Skarsgård. Amazon agreed to distribute the film in 2015, but the company’s entertainment head Roy Price was dropped last fall after sexual harassment charges. Amazon Studios pulled out of U.S. distribution on May 8. They had invested heavily in the film.

    The Man Who Killed Don Quixote was already in a legal battle between Gilliam and the film’s former producer Paulo Branco, who says he and his Alfama Films allege were wrongly cut out. Branco and Gilliam entered into a contract In 2016, but they didn’t secure the budget and the former Monty Python member found new backers.  A French court ruled in favor of Branco last May, but said he could not stop the film from shooting.

    Branco launched an injunction on April 25 to stop the film’s French cinema release, including the Cannes screening. Banco claimed his company Alfama Films owns the rights.

    “The Festival de Cannes will respect the legal decision, whatever it may be, but we strongly affirm that we stand squarely on the side of filmmakers and in particular on the side of Terry Gilliam,” Cannes’ organizers said in a statement on April 30.

    “We know how important this project, which has gone through so many trials and tribulations, is to him. The trouble [was] caused on this last occasion by the actions of a producer who has shown his true colors once and for all during this episode and who has threatened us, via his lawyer, with a ‘humiliating defeat.’”

    Branco pointed out “the Cannes Film Festival is not above the law, and the virulence and aggressiveness of [its] tone will not change anything.”

    Gilliam got out of the hospital a day before a French court ruled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’s world premiere could close the Cannes film festival on May 19. The court ruled the screening has to be preceded by a statement saying it does not prejudice Branco’s claim to the rights to the film. The court also ordered Gilliam, Star Invest Films France, and sales agent Kinology to each pay $1,800 to Branco for court costs.

    Gilliam’s first attempt to make the film starred Johny Depp in the lead role of Sancho Panza. Production was delayed after actor Jean Rochefort was injured and couldn’t film the horse mounted scenes with a herniated disc. The production also suffered hail storms that damaged equipment. Then a NATO aircraft flew over the location and messed up audio recording. Gilliam admitted defeat and shut down production after flash floods destroyed sets.

    The director tried again with Ewan McGregor in Depp’s role after Colin Farrell turned it down. It also would have starred The Godfather’s Robert Duvall. Gilliam couldn’t get financing. Gilliam’s third try cast Jack O’Connell as his lead with John Hurt, Michael Palin, and Ewan McGregor.

    Well, there’s always the upcoming Disney version.


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