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    We're giving away some sweet Hocus Pocus-themed swag that will be the envy of all your friends this coming Halloween season.

    Feature Kayti Burt
    Aug 3, 2018

    This giveaway is being done in partnership with Disney Hyperion, who provided a copy of the book and merchandise for the contest.

    Hocus Pocusremains a Halloween classic. The story of teen boy Max Dennison, who moves from California to Salem, Massachusetts only to accidentally bring a trio of soul-sucking witches back to life, is a mainstay of the annual autumnal celebration. The movie ends with Max, his crush Allison, and little sister Dani, vanquishing the Sanderson sisters without losing their souls in the process. Now, 25 years after the film's initial release, we're finally getting more of the story.

    Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel, written by A.W. Jantha with illustrations from Matt Griffin, is a two-part young adult novel that features both a novelization of the original film, as well as a sequel that follows Max and Allison's 17-year-old daughter, Poppy, as she faces off against the Sanderson sisters her parents defeated all those years ago.

    Den of Geek has partnered with Disney Hyperion for a special giveaway of the two-part novel, along with some sweet Hocus Pocus-themed swag. In addition to the book, one winner will receive: custom Sanderson Sisters cookies, a branded "Witch, Please" t-shirt, and a mug. Basically, you'll be all set for the coming Halloween season.

    Here's who to enter the contest: 

    - Join the Den of Geek Book Club!

    - Introduce yourself in the Introduce Yourself! message thread. (Be sure to mention it was the Hocus Pocus giveaway that brought you to the group!)

    Final entries will be accepted Friday, August 10th! One (1) winner will be drawn at random and contacted by Goodreads message. The winner must live in the United States. Good luck!

    The books hit stores on July 10th, so, even if you don't win the giveaway, you can still check out the stories yourself!

    Read Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Netflix has given a series order to Raising Dion, a sci-fi story about woman raising a super-powered young son.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Aug 3, 2018

    Another superhero series is joining Netflix’s original content lineup. However, this one won’t quite fit with its existing Marvel small screen scene. Raising Dion, an independently-created superhero sci-fi story that carries a heartfelt family twist, has been given a full series order by the streaming giant.

    Netflix has announced that Raising Dion will arrive on its platform with a 10-episode series order. The story stems from a 2015 short film and comic book of the same name, created by Dennis Liu. It depicts the innately unconventional parenting task of a widowed African-American woman, whose 7-year-old son Dion possesses an array of potent superpowers (telekinesis, energy projection, invisibility, etc.). Yet, despite its fantastical premise, the focus rests more on the realistic implications that one would have when raising a child who has a normal sense of wonder and mischief, but happens to possess incredibly dangerous abilities. Indeed, the sight of the mother packing a pistol while watching some men-in-black types outside her door drives home the idea that threats are everywhere.

    Discussing the Netflix pickup, creator Dennis Liu expresses in a statement:

    “I started this project many years ago because I wanted to see more diverse representation on film and television and I’m excited to partner with Netflix, who I know shares that commitment. More than ever, we need more stories told from different points of view and my hope with Raising Dion is to create a cinematic experience for all families that will lift your spirits and make you laugh and cry.”

    Helping Liu in that endeavor with Raising Dion will be appointed showrunner Carol Barbee, who has also written the script for the first episode. Barbee, a veteran television writer/producer, has been attached to a wide variety of series, notably in the sci-fi/action arena, with Falling Skies, Touch, Hawaii Five-O and Jericho, as well as dramas such as UnREAL, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce and Judging Amy. She is joined by exec producers in Macro’s Charles D. King, Kim Roth and Poppy Hanks, along with Kenny Goodman and Michael Green.

    Intriguingly enough, also joining Barbee as an executive producer on Raising Dion will be actor Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Chronicle, Fantastic Four), who is onboard via his Outlier Society Productions. Moreover, Jordan will also appear on the series on occasion, playing the late father of the titular super-powered-sprout, who (at least, in the original short,) is implied to have been a military man who was cut down in action.

    Regarding Michael B. Jordan’s presence on the series, Netflix VP of Original Content Cindy Holland states:

    “We haven’t seen this type of superhero story before — an origin myth full of imagination, wonder and adventure, all grounded in the experiences of a modern single mother. Michael B. Jordan is an exciting and dynamic talent, and I’m excited to see him, Macro, Carol and the team translate Dennis’ unique vision to television.”

    Longtime TV director Seith Mann (who, like Jordan, worked on TheWire but not at the same time as the actor) is set to direct the series' first episode per Deadline

    Raising Dion does stand as a potentially unique family-centric take on an increasingly crowded superhero/sci-fi genre, also carrying much of the same X-Men-esque drama about society’s depicted fear of superpowered people; something that will undoubtedly be rooted in socially topical themes.

    Raising Dion Cast

    Netflix has now cast the Dion in Raising Dion along with his mother as well. According to Deadline, newcomer Ja’Siah Young will protray the young boy with limitless potential and powers. Alisha Wainwright (Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments) will play the mother tasked with raising him, Nicole. 

    Michael B. Jordan, of course, is portraying Dion's father and he posted a lovely little family photo to his Instagram. 

    On the non-family front, Jason Ritter previously joined Michael B. Jordan in being one of the first actors cast on Raising Dion. Ritter will portray Pat, a comicbook fan, scientist, and best friend to Jordan's character, Mark. After Mark dies, Pat fills in as a paternal figure for Dion and shares a special bond with her. Someone's gotta raise Dion! The show's title demands it.

    Ritter has had a strong recent history of television roles and is coming off of starring in ABC's Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. Deadline first reported the casting.

    Jazmyn Simon (Ballers) will play Kat, Nicole's sister and a surgical student. 

    Raising Dion Release Date

    There’s no word yet on when Netflix expects Raising Dion to arrive. It is not currently among the shows listed in Netflix's roster and could get a release date of 2019 or later.

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    Which Marvel comics should you read before (or after) Avengers: Infinity War? We have a definitive reading guide for you!

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Aug 4, 2018

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

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

    The Infinity Gauntlet

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

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

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

    Read Infinity Gauntlet on Amazon

    Annihilation, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Thanos Imperative

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

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

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


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

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

    Read Infinity on Amazon

    Thanos Rising

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

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

    Read Thanos Rising on Amazon

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

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    We're tracking down every Marvel reference in Ant-Man and the Wasp! Here's a complete guide for you.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Aug 4, 2018

    After seeing everything build up into Avengers: Infinity War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe hits another big milestone with its twentieth movie, Ant-Man and the Wasp. Peyton Reed’s sequel to 2015’s Ant-Man (AKA the moment when we just kind of accepted that Marvel could get away with nearly any concept and make it a hit) is in theaters now and acts as both a follow-up to the original and Scott Lang’s misadventures in Captain America: Civil War.

    Absent in Infinity War, Ant-Man only got a shout-out as being under house arrest. Now we get to see what that’s all about, taking place a short while before that big blockbuster. Here are some Easter eggs and references from Scott Lang’s Day Off.

    Lots of spoilers coming!


    Clever thing about the movie is that the title has a double-meaning. It’s both about Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne as well as Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne. Janet had a short scene in Ant-Manin full costume in a flashback, but here she’s an actual character. Janet first appeared in Tales to Astonish #44back in 1963. Much like Hank, Janet was one of the original members of the Avengers and was even the one who came up with the team name at the end of the first issue.

    Wasp’s movie death/disappearance is, in retrospect, very similar to Bucky Barnes’ comic book death in the sense that she sacrificed herself and seemingly died to prevent an enemy rocket from killing innocents. Her return has more in common with Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Avengers.

    In the story Secret Invasion, Wasp was infected with tainted Pym Particles that turned her into a living bomb. Thor prevented her from causing massive destruction, but she still dispersed into nothingness. Towards the end of Bendis’ run, she was able to communicate with several Avengers and let them know that she was in fact alive and marooned in the Microverse. Hank and the others were then able to rescue her and bring her back to the normal world.


    Ghost was introduced in Iron Man #219(1987) by David Michelinie and Bob Layton. While the appearance and powers are on-point, the comic and movie versions are pretty different. For one, the comic villain is a white male and is obsessed with destroying corporations. His real name has never been revealed, but according to his origin, he was a brilliant programmer who was exploited, manipulated, and almost murdered by his bosses. While mostly a villain, he spent a good amount of time as an anti-hero member of the Thunderbolts.

    As far as I know, Ava Starr is a brand new character. Her father, on the other hand, is Egghead. Introduced in Tales to Astonish #28 (1962) by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Larry Lieber, Egghead was your run-of-the-mill mad scientist. But hey, he was a regular thorn in the side of Hank Pym, so that’s something.


    Hank Pym’s old friend first showed up in the pages of Avengers #32 (1966) and almost a decade later, he became a superhero. In the movie, he mentions working on something called Project Goliath, based on enlarging people, which is fitting since his hero monikers have included Black Goliath and just plain Goliath. He’s basically most well-known for being the big casualty of the Civil War comic series.

    Er, as long as you don’t count Captain America in the aftermath.


    FBI agent James Woo has a long history in Marvel Comics. Originally appearing in Yellow Claw #1(1956) by Al Feldstein and Joe Maneely, Jimmy Woo was an agent out to oppose the Yellow Claw, one of your usual “yellow peril” racist comic villains of that era. He was later turned into a SHIELD agent and had a role in a task force put together to stop Godzilla back when said monster had its own Marvel series.

    Woo is mostly known for leading the Agents of Atlas, a team of obscure and forgotten comic characters from the 1950s. Originally, it was a one-off story from the What If series back in the 70s, but the concept was brought into canon in the mid-00s. Listen, if dorky SHIELD agent Phil Coulson can get a TV spinoff, I think dorky FBI agent James Woo can get an Agents of Atlas spinoff. The world is ready for Gorilla Man and his robot buddy.

    Even though this is Woo’s first actual MCU appearance, he did get namedropped on Agents of SHIELD as being a contact on Melinda May’s cell.


    Much like Ghost, Burch is another Iron Man villain being repurposed for Ant-Man. In the comics, Burch was only around for a single storyline back in 2003-2004. Introduced in Iron Man #73by John Jackson Miller, Jorge Lucas, and Phillip Tan, Burch had more in common with the film version of Justin Hammer than his own movie counterpart. Burch was a businessman who exploited a legal loophole that gave him ownership of some older Stark armor tech. Caring more for profits than regulations and quality, he tried to exploit this technology and it became publicly disastrous. He ended up shooting himself rather than face charges.


    Although he didn’t get much screentime, the FBI agent contacted by Burch and given the tip to catch Hank and Hope is a supervillain in the comics. With the villain name Centurion, he debuted in Black Goliath #4 (1976) by Chris Claremont, Rick Buckler, and Don Heck. Even though he first showed up in Bill Foster’s comic, he ended up being more of a Ms. Marvel villain.


    - Scott’s daughter Cassie early on remarks, “I wish we could shrink for real.” Much like with Bucky Barnes wielding the shield and Jim Rhodes cracking wise at the silver Iron Man armor, this sounds like foreshadowing. Teenage Cassie followed in her father’s footsteps in the comics as Stature, a member of the Young Avengers. With the rumors of Cassie being a teenager in Avengers 4, we’ll see if there’s more to this quote than meets the eye.

    - While being kidnapped, Scott is watching Animal House (1978). More specifically, he’s watching a scene where Pintlo (Tom Hulce) and Dave Jennings (Donald Sutherland) have a pot-fueled discussion about how there are galaxies within atoms.

    - Kurt talks up Baba Yaga, a bogeywoman of Russian folklore. She has at least made some appearances in Marvel Comics, usually in relation to Captain Britain.

    - Luis makes a strained reference to the Budweiser “Wassap” commercials which 1999. Almost 20 years ago. Oh my God. Why am I just now recognizing these gray hairs?

    - When Bill Foster notices a bunch of ants crawling through the lab, he lets out a hammy, “It’s them!” At first glance, this might seem like a basic line, but it’s almost definitely a subtle joke reference to Them!, the 1954 movie about giant ants. The same film is being watched by Scott, Hope, and Cassie at the end of the movie.

    - According to his cameo, Stan Lee apparently did a lot of acid back in the 60s. Sounds about right.

    - The mid-credits scene takes place during the final moments of Avengers: Infinity War after Thanos snapped his fingers. While Scott survives, Hank, Janet, and Hope aren’t so lucky. Even alive, Scott is stranded and the post-credits stinger adds a question mark to, “Ant-Man and the Wasp will return.”

    Any other references you noticed? Sound off in the comments!

    Gavin Jasper is going to be a good boy for the rest of this year and then ask Santa for an Agents of Atlas movie. Follow Gavin on Twitter!

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    FX has revealed that it wasn't their decision to not move forward with Donald Glover's animated Deadpool series after all.

    News Alec Bojalad
    Aug 5, 2018

    The next step in Atlanta writer and star Donald Glover's quest for world entertainment domination was set to be an animated Deadpoolseries on FX.

    The sensibilities of the creator, network, and creator all seemed to line up perfectly and should have created a fascinating series. Particularly if that "leaked script" Glover leaked was real. FX, however, declined to move forward with the Deadpool series, cancelling it back in March despite originally giving it a series order.

    So what gives? Why did FX suddenly sour on a buzzworthy series from their network's biggest star? Turns out they didn't. In an interview with Variety following FX's appearance at the TCA summer tour, FX President John Landgraf revealed it wasn't FX's decision to axe Deadpool: The Animated Series after all. It was Marvel's:

    "They didn’t want to do the show that Donald and Stephen (Glover) wrote. We would have done show that Donald and Stephen wrote, but it wasn’t our decision. When Marvel decided not to do that show, we parted company with them as did Donald and Stephen. Now it’s totally up to them (Marvel) whether they hire someone else to do a different show."

    That makes some more sense then. FX, for better or worse, has always maintained an artist-friendly reputation, allowing creative showrunners to do whatever they'd like within the boundaries of budget and standards and practices. Showrunners like Glover on Atlanta, Louis C.K. on Louie, and Pamela Adlon on Better Things have all reported receiving plenty of creative autonomy. 

    FX also has a very loose Marvel adaptation in house already with Noah Hawley's Legion that adapts the character of David Haller (a.k.a Legion) from Marvel comics. If Marvel was comfortable with all the weirdness and occasional controversy surrounding Legion, imagine the kind of awesomely transgressive stuff that the Glovers had in store to scare Marvel off.

    In the same interview, Landgraf suggested that Marvel may eventually revive the show under different creative authorship. So Deadpool: The Animated Series may not be dead yet. It's just the probably great version of it that is.

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    Judge Dredd: Mega-City One is in the pre-production pipeline, and comics scribe Rob Williams has a pilot written.

    News David Crow
    Jul 23, 2018

    Rebellion Developments, the game publisher who has owned the rights to Dredd and the larger 2000 AD comic book universe since 2000, announced in August of 2017 that it is partnering with IM Global Television to produce a television series called Judge Dredd: Mega City One, and now news from San Diego Comic-Con tells us that comics writer Rob Williams has a pilot script at the ready with a full two years of plot broken out as well.

    Rebellion creative director and CEO Jason Kingsley will executive producer the show with Brian Jenkins. “It’s been really exciting to be working with Rob on the pilot,” Jenkins said in a statement via THR. “We have a really talented team here at Rebellion Productions and I’m really proud of them. Jason and I have been busy looking at locations and laying out season one as we gear up, to move forward into pre-production.”

    Kingsley said in the same statement, “I’ve read the pilot script by Rob and the team, and got that same thrill I did when I first discovered Judge Dredd. As we drive this project forward I’m always surprised by how much effort goes on behind-the-scenes to bring something like Mega-City One to the screen. I’m very pleased with how the whole project is coming together and looking forward to more exciting announcements in the coming months.”

    The new series is described as a drama focusing on a team of street judges, law enforcement officers who act in a dystopian future as judge, jury, and executioner of criminals. The series is set in a grim 22nd century where the eastern seaboard of the United States has morphed into one giant sprawling metropolis called Mega City—the last refuge for law and order on an otherwise smoldering cinder. The series is also promised to deal with modern problems in its futuristic setting, including domestic terrorism and the tensions between the super-rich and disenfranchised.

    Judge Dredd: Mega City One Concept Art

    IGN has revealed concept art for Judge Dredd: Mega City One, and it looks appropriately noirish. They also show that the overpopulation of Mega City One will make Blade Runner look like a cozy paradise since the first image of the "Democracy March" shows even the suspension bridges in the sky are overcrowded. You can also see in the background that the people pollution has even drowned out the Statue of Liberty.

    The second image, meanwhile, revels in the city's grimey underbelly, complete with an apparent lowlife's arrival in the city's dark and high-contrasted shadows.

    Judge Dredd: Mega City One Cast

    Karl Urban recently appeared at Star Trek's Las Vegas convention to chat about a whole bunch of things, which inevitably ended up including his possible links to Judge Dredd: Mega City One, the planned TV continuation of the 2012 cult classic movie featuring the 2000 AD antihero. 

    Urban revealed that “I am in discussions with them about that. I told them that if they write the material and give Dredd something to do and give him a function, I will be there. I would love to.”

    Though Pete Travis' Dredd performed poorly in cinemas, it gained further popularity on its home release, and fans of both the film and John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's character have been championing a return to Mega City One ever since.

    More as this develops.

    Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Judge Dredd: Mega City One Trailer

    A video was released to explain how this may be the most exciting—and lasting—attempt to put Dredd in live-action yet.

    Judge Dredd was previously portrayed onscreen by Sylvester Stallone in an ill-fated 1995 action movie and again by Urban in the 2012 cult classic. The character and his universe were created by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra, and Pat Mills in 1977’s 2000 AD #2.

    Judge Dredd: Mega City One Release Date

    No release date has been set for Judge Dredd: Mega City One. Our guess is that it's still a ways away as the show is currently in early development. 

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    Not the abstract concept. A bad guy named Karma. Batman, Black Lightning, and Orphan have some work to do.

    NewsJim Dandy
    Aug 6, 2018

    Bryan Hill is having a moment.

    The writer, who got his start at Top Cow almost a decade ago, wrapped Postalto some acclaim earlier this year. At the same time, he picked up The Wild Storm: Michael Cray, a concept that could be as trite as Deathblow Kills the DC Universein less capable hands, but has turned into an interesting character study plopped in a sort of What If style tale. And he was part of the slate of new books announced for Vertigo's big relaunch. American Carnageis about a half-black ex FBI agent going undercover to infiltrate a white supremacist militia. DC had copies of it in San Diego, and the first issue, with art from The Old Guard's Leandro Fernandez, is legit. It's grim and mean and vivid and engrossing and it's going on my pull list when I next get to the shop.

    Meanwhile, he's also got a fun arc of Detective Comics running, with Batman and Black Lightning more or less putting together a new team of Outsiders. Here's what they have to say about the issue.

    variant cover by MARK BROOKS
    Black Lightning, the Signal and Cassandra Cain are working very well together…but now they’re up against a foe who can tap directly into their worst emotions and play them like music! When you’ve seen the kinds of horrors these poor souls have, there’s plenty of trauma to work with…and with that, you can turn these heroes into deadly weapons! Meanwhile Batman’s “side project” has been revealed—what are the Brainiac Files, and what, exactly, does Batman plan to do with them?

    Since Rebirth, Detectivehas been squarely aimed at people who came to Batman in a certain era (roughly "Knightsend" through the end of "No Man's Land"), and it's been great. James Tynion launched it and clearly loved Tim Drake, and Hill very obviously loves Cassandra Cain, and they're both so good. Check out the preview.

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    Warner Bros. appears to be on the verge of adding Supergirl to the cinematic DCEU, with plans for a solo movie.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Aug 6, 2018

    Supergirl is DCEU-bound! Deadline is reporting that Warner and DC are developing a new Supergirl movie, with the acquisition of screenwriter Oren Uziel, who’s currently working on the live-action video game adaptation movie, Sonic the Hedgehog, coming off scripts for The Cloverfield Paradox, Shimmer Lake, Freaks of Nature and 22 Jump Street. He’s also working the script for a Mortal Kombat reboot film.  

    While that is the extent of the substantive details, the belief is that – similar to the separate movie/television dynamic of The Flash with Ezra Miller in the movies and Grant Gustin on TV – the new cinematic Supergirl will be a different version from the one currently played by Melissa Benoist on The CW television series. Interestingly, with the Season 4-bound Supergirl television series having introduced Superman (as played by Tyler Hoechlin,) back in Season 2, in which the super-powered Kryptonian cousins teamed up, the cinematic Girl of Steel could end up doing something similar with Henry Cavill’s Superman.

    That, however, is the part of this story where rumors take over, since the report goes into some loose talk about the purported purpose of the new Supergirl movie. Apparently, the intention here is to inject a little life – and maybe levity – to the next movie venture of Cavill’s Superman after a major behind-the-scenes overhaul of personnel in the aftermath of the lackluster performance of last fall’s Justice League; a monumental financial failure that arrived after the lucrative and culturally groundbreaking success of the Gal Gadot-starring Wonder Woman just a few months earlier. However, it is still uncertain if the plan is to introduce the new Supergirl in a solo movie and have her join Superman in a later movie or to simply launch an introductory Supergirl solo movie that immediately brandishes a team-up with Cavill’s Superman.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Regardless, things are still quite chaotic over at the DCEU, which is scrambling with spinoff plans, trying to recreate Wonder Woman's magic with the other properties. Fortunately, the December-scheduled, Jason Momoa-starring Aquaman solo movie looks promising in its trailer, and Warner is banking big with the November 2019-scheduled sequel, Wonder Woman 1984. However, barring 2019's Shazam and grounded efforts like The Batman and Flashpoint, the follow-ups seem to lack rhyme or reason with efforts like an origin movie for the Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix (not Jared Leto,) and return vehicles for Margot Robbie’s Suicide Squad character, Harley Quinn, in female-led team-up Birds of Prey, with potential follow-ups in Suicide Squad 2 and an untitled Joker/Harley Quinn movie in which Leto would prospectively return as the Joker.

    Of course, the Girl of Steel is no stranger to the movies, with the Christopher Reeve Superman-era effort in 1984’s Supergirl, which starred Helen Slater. While that film has a subset of a fans who hold it in acclaim as a cult classic, the film was a shameful nadir for the comic book movie genre, and its domestic-only release grossed a paltry $14 million.

    Regardless, the introduction of Supergirl (usually a lighthearted and optimistic character,) into the DCEU could be an attempt to simultaneously tap into the lucrative Amazonian estrogen of Wonder Woman while reconfiguring the movie continuity further from its morose introduction in 2013’s Man of Steel and bleak expansion in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

    We'll keep you updated on the Supergirl movie as things develop.

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    When AMC’s The Walking Dead Season 9 premieres this fall, it will be pick things up after a significant time jump.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Aug 6, 2018

    The Walking Dead Season 9 is planning a radical departure, and we don’t just mean the imminent exit of star Andrew Lincoln. Rather, after Season 8 showcased the killer climax to an apocalyptic conflagration known as "All Out War," the series – similar to the comic book source material – will engage in what could be considered a soft reboot, with a time jump to a point in which the bitter conflict rests in the rearview mirror. Now, we know just how far in the future this will take place.

    On AMC’s Sunday night preview special for The Walking Dead Season 9 – hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown, who’s warming the Talking Dead center seat for returning host Chris Hardwick – the exact length of the time jump was revealed. While the dais was headlined by new showrunner Angela Kang, also consisting of Ezekiel actor Khary Payton, it was the also-present cast member, Tom Payne, who plays Jesus, who revealed the crucial chronological info that Season 9 will take place 18 months after the events of the Season 8 finale, “Wrath.”

    While The Walking Dead is still a television juggernaut that regularly banks ratings that other shows would kill to have, it’s taken major hits in the past few seasons, with the aforementioned Season 8 closer only earning about 7.9 million viewers, which is nearly half of what the series pulled during its Season 5 heyday. Consequently, Angela Kang has quite the lofty task ahead in her attempt to rejuvenate the formerly buzz-heavy hit.

    Fortunately, the changes appear to be promising, at least based on the initial images and what’s been shown in the Comic-Con trailer. Indeed, it appears that the series will undergo a much-needed evolution, seemingly manifesting as a more atmospheric drama, with an aesthetic that sees technology – out of necessity of the ongoing apocalypse – scaled back, forgoing the use of gas-guzzling vehicles for horses and wagons. Moreover, the 18-month time jump will see things start in a time of relative peace amongst the neighboring communities, with the defeated big bad in Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan still locked in a cell in Alexandria, forced to witness the era of non-head-bashing reciprocity.

    Of course, that’s all going to change quickly when the series introduces an array of new comic-adapted characters such as Magna (Nadia Hilker), the leader of a small group of wanderers who arrive at Alexandria, taking advantage of the offered hospitality, albeit while exercising great caution. Additionally, we’ll meet the next big bad of the series in Alpha (Samantha Morton), leader of the stealthy, animalistic group of survivors, called the Whisperers, who wear walker skin masks and weaponize large herds of the dead.

    The Walking Dead Season 9 premieres on AMC on October 7.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    CW's president confirms that Batman isn't coming to the network's Arrowverse any time soon.

    News John Saavedra
    Aug 6, 2018

    Don't expect the Dark Knight to get the Arrowverse treatment any time soon. Despite the fact that his cousin, Kate Kane (aka Batwoman), will debut this fall in a big superhero crossover on The CW, Batman remains off limits for the network. 

    CW president Mark Pedowitz confirmed to EW that fans shouldn't expect to see the Caped Crusader on the network any time soon. He stressed that Batman does exist in the Arrowverse thanks to a reference to Bruce Wayne on last season's Arrow, but a fun easter egg is all he'll remain for the time being. 

    "There’s no discussion about a series," said Pedowitz. "Batman already exists in the Arrowverse because last season Oliver Queen mentioned his name at one point. And Batwoman, if the series goes forward, lives in Gotham. There’s no plan at this time to have Batman appear."

    That seems to be the final word on Batman in the Arrowverse for now, although it's worth noting that his most popular DC counterpart, Superman, did make his Arrowverse debut in the second season of Supergirl after the show spent most of the first season making references to the Man of Steel. Will the upcoming Batwoman series follow a similar path?

    It's pretty hard to believe that a show about a Batman Family member that takes place in Gotham City will avoid referencing the big guy at all -- and as Supergirl already proved, there are only so many times you can mention an iconic superhero before finally including him for an episode or two. (By the way, Tyler Hoechlin is absolutely brilliant as the Man of Steel.)

    For now, we still have Batwoman's historic debut in December to look forward to.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine here!

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    The Aquaman movie will include the terrifying undersea race known as the Trench. We have the exclusive details here.

    News Mike Cecchini
    Jul 24, 2018

    Aquaman doesn't have the most distinguished rogues' gallery. The undersea world isn't exactly Gotham City in that regard. But the Aquaman movie is bringing the best of his enemies to the big screen. We'll meet Orm, the Ocean Master, Arthur's half-brother and rival (played by Patrick Wilson), and Black Manta (complete with iconic helmet), played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen.

    But the Seven Kingdoms of Atlantis contain other forms of life, and not all of them are friendly. Comic book fans are familiar with The Trench, created by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis in the pages of DC Comics. The Trench are a lost race of Atlanteans who live in the darkest depths of the ocean, and who have evolved accordingly. They look like a cross between humanoid piranha and Stan Winston's Predator design, and their only concern is food. In this case, food can look an awful lot like you or me.

    With James Wan directing the Aquaman movie, the Trench are a natural fit, given his background in horror movies. It wasn't necessarily a lock that characters so new (they first appeared in 2011) would appear in the movie, but you can catch their first official look at them on the cover of our Special Edition San Diego Comic-Con magazine. You can see them in the lower right hand corner...

    “[The Trench] was a fun one for me, because it really lent itself to my horror movie background and it allowed me to bring a slice of what I’m known for into this world,” Aquaman director James Wan says. “I really wanted to capture that the ocean is majestic and magical on the one hand but on the other hand it's a terrifying experience."

    That "terrifying experience" is part of the different elements of the seven kingdoms that make up Atlantis.

    "When we get to see the world of Atlantis it's very magical and high-tech and advanced," Wan continues. "But when we go visit the other kingdoms [some have] devolved over the course of their evolution and they’re much more terrifying like the Trench."

    Among the creatures who have "devolved," Wan also identifies the "hulking Crustacean race of people" visible on the lower left hand corner of our cover as "the Brine." 

    Since the Trench have a classic horror movie look to them, it's good to know that we'll at least get a look at some practical versions of them, too.

    "James always loved the Trench creatures... it was his nod or homage to horror within this world and it was something that absolutely captivated and excited him to do it,"Aquaman producer Peter Safran says. "They’re a combination of both practical and CG. We built the actual Trench creatures and we used them in some circumstances but as you’ll see because there are a multitude of them, there’s also a lot of CG that went into it."

    So we expect to see a swarm of the Trench in the movie. What do you call a group of terrifying, carnivorous, humanoid fish creatures, anyway? A school? A shoal? 

    We have more exclusive details on the Aquaman movie right here.

    Read the Den of Geek SDCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Aquaman opens on December 21. We should get a trailer at San Diego Comic-Con.

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    Bryan Hill is getting deep into Batman's role as a mentor and teacher in the pages of Detective Comics.

    FeatureMike Cecchini
    Aug 7, 2018

    DC's core Batman title is the one that gets all the attention most of the time. A parade of virtually unbroken runs by writers Grant Morrison, Scott Snyder, and now Tom King have seen to that. But you should never, ever sleep on Detective Comics. For one thing, it's DC's second biggest legacy title after Action Comics, and the book that introduced the Dark Knight to the world always deserves plenty of respect. But just as we've had a parade of towering creative teams on Batman, so we have on Detective, with Peter Tomasi handing off to James Tynion IV for a two year run, who has in turn handed it off to Bryan Hill.

    And Hill is making the most of his 5 issue tenure as writer of Detective Comics. He has introduced a brand new villain, teamed Batman up with Black Lightning, and laid the foundation for a new team of Outsiders. That's a lot of bat for the buck, and that alone would make these stories worth checking out. But Hill has a secret weapon: he knows what makes Bruce Wayne tick. Despite all of the heavy lifting being done around the Bat-family in Detective Comics, Hill has a knack for putting a new spin on Batman's well-worn drive and motivation, and he clearly has a tremendous love for the history of the character.

    We sat down with Mr. Hill at San Diego Comic-Con, and he took us on a tour of the streets of Gotham City according to Detective Comics.

    Den of Geek: This is kind of a different take. It's not a solo Batman story. You're kind of expanding the Batman family a little bit. You want to talk about this?

    Bryan Hill: Well after the excellent work that James Tynion IV had done on Detective, I wanted to take this idea of the Bat-family and I wanted to challenge it in terms of what did it mean for Bruce Wayne to have to share his legacy with other people. The origins of Batman, it's about a guy who wanted to become a myth. To find the superstition and criminal landscape to use fear against people who cause fear.

    So the big question of the story, and all of my stories tend to have some large question, that I engage is, can Batman still be that creature of fear if he's sharing his legacy with all of these other characters? Does it make him too familiar? Is he turning himself into a brand? And by doing so, is he diluting the effect of what he can do for Gotham?

    And that's what this mysterious villain keeps saying...He comes after Signal and Cassandra Cain and he says, "You're making him weaker."

    When you turn yourself into a symbol you become a magnet for a lot of psychopathy for people that are disturbed and broken in various ways. And this villain, Karma, has a relationship to Batman that predates the story of the book and we're going to explore that as the story continues. But yes, he has very powerful motivations to make sure that in his mind, Batman is everything he believes Batman should be.

    It's funny that you keep coming back to this idea to how Bruce Wayne has turned himself into a symbol as Batman. And one of the first lines in the first issue of your run, he says, "I became a nightmare but that doesn't mean I don't have them." That says a lot right out of the gate about your take on Batman.

    Before I started I had spoken to [Batman writer] Tom [King] a little bit. I really like how he is able to explore the man inside of the batsuit. So I wanted to make sure that what I was doing was carrying that ball down the field a little bit. I mean, Bruce Wayne is still a person with fears and hopes and dreams and all the things that people have. Simultaneously he tries to become something that is inherently not a person. How does just a guy become something that' symbolic, that powerful? You know? And so he's really saying at the beginning of the story, just because I am this thing, doesn't mean I don't have the same human frailties that everyone else has.

    I get the feeling you have a unique take on the dichotomy between Bruce and Batman...

    Oh, that's because I'm crazy. I have a unique take on a lot of things.

    But you've obviously given a lot of thought to the idea of Batman as a symbol. There's another line that, in five words, I think says more about Batman and Bruce Wayne than a lot of writers will say in an entire run. Jefferson Pierce asks him, "What does Bruce Wayne owe you?" And Batman says, "He owes me his life." Can you expand on that a little bit?

    The creation that is Batman was the way that Bruce Wayne was able to reconcile the trauma in his life. Right? That little boy, who watched his parents get killed, blames himself even though he was a child and probably couldn't have done anything. He blames himself for what happened. Batman was the only way he could funnel all that emotion into something that would allow him to have a life. So, for me, Bruce views Batman as the key that unlocked him from the dungeon of his own trauma. And just as Batman has symbolic meaning to all of Gotham, Batman also has symbolic meaning to Bruce Wayne himself. And I think that's what he was speaking to there. It's a double entendre. It's a truth and a hidden truth.

    I think as readers start to see this relationship between Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning, Bruce Wayne, and Batman unfold, you're going to see revelations from the both of them that speak to who they are, what they have in common and also what they have that separates them in terms of perspective. They're two characters that essentially want the same things, but they have very, very different methods. But in that moment, I think Bruce was admitting something powerfully honest even if Jefferson wasn't quite able to understand all of the meaning. But he comes later, and when he realizes that Bruce Wayne is Batman, I would imagine that line has a resonance for him.

    Can we talk a little bit more about Jefferson and Bruce? Because this book has Jefferson Pierce as Black Lightning and there's a lot going on there with how Bruce is trying to recruit Black Lightning for this project he's putting together. Jefferson Pierce is a teacher in the traditional sense. Batman is a mentor and a teacher in a lot of kind of non-traditional ways.

    Almost a hyper-traditional sense. Right?

    I guess so. Yeah!

    Jefferson's a post-modern mentor and then Batman's a mentor in almost a classic mythological sense. I used to teach. I went to NYU, came out of NYU and did a bunch of things. I worked in marketing for a bit, and one of the things I did was also I taught. I was a substitute teacher for a little bit. And I just kind of bounced around schools and did all of that sort of thing. Education's very important to me as a person. Education is the reason why I'm sitting here right now doing what I can do, is because I had teachers that invested into my mind and my future and guided and shaped my ambitions and my dreams. If we don't have those people in our lives we never really are able to realize our potential.

    So it was very important for me, for that aspect of Jefferson, to not just be like a bullet point in his character. Peter Parker's a photographer, but doesn't really seem to care about photography. Right? And I didn't want it to just be a note. I wanted it to inform his life as both a teacher in a school, but also as a superhero. And I think the biggest difference between Batman and Black Lightning is Batman heads out thinking about what he can stop. And Black Lightning heads out thinking about who he can save. And the combination of those factors, that yin and yang kind of aspect is the strength of that partnership and they'll both come to realize that as it continues on in the story.

    As this is going on, there are some familiar elements that seem to be coming together because Batman has led these side teams in the past, in his history with the Outsiders. So I have to ask...this does kind of seem like you're putting together a new team of Outsiders?

    Well for that I'll have to give you my most diplomatic answer. I am a big fan of the Outsiders. I thought it was a great book, great stories, I read them a lot when I was growing up. And I have nothing to announce at this time about it, but I would suggest that people that are fans of both Batman and Black Lightning should head out to local comic book stores and pick up those issues and if they enjoy those stories, maybe there'll be something in the future.

    So let's talk about this team that's coming together. Because, we have Signal, obviously you have Jefferson Pierce, and you have Cassandra Cain. Who else is on the menu here?

    Well I don't want to give away everyone who's gonna show up in the story, but you might see a certain Japanese hero make an appearance. You might see other heroes from Gotham make an appearance. What I wanted to do with the story really is, bring someone in, like Jefferson who has a different point of view on this group of Gotham heroes, and for the reader to be able to see them both from Batman's point of view and through Jefferson's point of view. So there's gonna be a collection of characters that are going to be touched by this narrative, and affected by this narrative going forward. Whether it's me writing stories or not. I think it's really important for readers to know that the events of this arc will have an effect, a ripple effect across the DCU, especially across Batman's world. Whether it's me continuing that or not continuing that, the story matters.

    One of the things that they told me initially when they asked me if I wanted to do this arc. [DC co-publishers] Dan [Didio] and Jim [Lee], they told me, "Bryan we want this story to matter. We want you to feel free to tell the story you want to tell. And if it affects things in the future but we want you to be passionate about their work." And that's what really drew me to wanting to do this. Because Batman means so much to me as a person.

    My father died when I was seven years old. It was cancer, no one shot him or anything, you know, but I still had the loss. And the day I found out that he passed away, I walked into a comic book store, and I think it was Batman Year One in single issues or something. The cover was little Bruce Wayne sitting in the spotlight, holding his parents hands. Right? And that was a mirror for me. I felt like that. And I'm like, "I don't know what this is. I'm gonna buy this. Because that's the feeling I have right now." I read it, and that helped me contextualize what I was going through, because Bruce Wayne was going through the same thing. So growing up, as I was struggling with the loss and coming out of it and trying to figure it out, and adolescent anger that comes from that kind of trauma, I kept going back to Batman. Thinking about well, Bruce figured out a way to do it, what would Bruce Wayne do? You know? How would he do that? So this character means so much to me.

    And I know my story isn't singular. That's the story of a lot of Batman fans and the story of a lot of comic book fans. We fall in love with these characters because their heroism and sacrifice sees us through our own darkness. That's the power and importance of mythology. So yeah, so when they came to me about it, they told me, "Yeah, you can do something that you really care about, you're really passionate about." So we're gonna see a whole host of characters. They're gonna be challenged, and they're gonna struggle in different ways. I tend to put characters through a crucible a little bit. I think that's important. 

    The first three parts of this Detective Comics story are on sale now, with new issues shipping every two weeks.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Nicky Drayden's genre-defying speculative fiction novel imagines an African society structured around twins.

    ReviewAlana Joli Abbott
    Aug 7, 2018

    Imagine a world in which most people are born twins. Imagine that, between these sets of twins, seven vices and virtues are split. The twin with the most virtues goes on to live in the upper echelons of societies. The twin with the most vices is known as the "lesser twin" and, though some rise to the level of middle management, some never make it out of the slums known as "the comfy." Furthermore, if a twin is too geographically far away, they suffer from a proximity break: physical pain at the absence of their missing half.

    This is the fascinating world that Temper: A Novel's Auben and Kasim are born into. The teen characters in the speculative fiction narrative from Nicky Drayden (The Prey of Gods) are a six and one pair, which means Kasim has nearly every virtue, and Auben revels in having nearly every vice. 

    Read Temper by Nicky Drayden

    Protagonist Auben embraces his bad boy image, indulges in his lechery and duplicity (among his favorites of the vices). But, lately, stretches on proximity have been harder for him to manage, and to make matters worse, he’s hearing voices in his head urging him to darker acts. It scares him and, in order to solve the problem, he’s willing to risk relying on magic to let him go, on his own, to Grace Mountain, where he can ask Grace, the god of the virtues, for help. Instead, he comes face to face with Grace’s twin, Icy Blue, a demon who needs human blood to survive—and who takes Auben’s body as his host.

    A nuanced world...

    As is the case with most frequent readers, I seldom read a book for which I can’t see the shape of the plot early on, but Drayden turns enough corners with the plot that she manages to offer surprises, even in the final chapters. Because of that, this review won’t dwell too much on plot details, so that you can be as delighted as I was by the surprises in store. 

    Temper feels like it's going to become a horror story about a third of the way through the book, but the story plays with horror tropes only to transcend them, building instead into a commentary on faith, marginalization, and disconnection from fellow humans, with a healthy dose of sibling rivalry—and love—in the mix.

    Part of the reason the shape of the plot is so well hidden from the reader is because Drayden lavishes such loving devotion into building her setting, with all its flaws, keeping the reader fascinated and distracted by the richly-realized alternate world. Geographically resembling Cape Town, South Africa, the primary setting of the novel is Greater Bezile, Mzansi, a city at the base of Grace Mountain, and thus the home of Mzansi’s dominant religion.

    Auben and Kasim come from "the comfy"—slums populated dominantly by lesser twins, set aside from the nicer areas of the city by a wall, but still close enough to their more fortunate twins that they won’t suffer proximity breaks. When Auben is trying to convince some girls to come home with him and Kasim, Drayden uses it as an opportunity to describe the stereotypes of the district, followed by Auben's thoughts in his point-of-view narration: 

    'Can you promise we’ll see wu mystics and holler whorse, and eat mealie pap and fried chicken feet, and wash it all down with a heavy quart of tinibru?' Her tongue is sharp and accurate, but I don’t take offense. Sometimes stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason.

    Beyond "the comfy" are the nicer parts of town where Auben and Kasim’s mother lives. She and her husband have another pair of twins, of age with Auben and Kasim. They are gender chimaeras called kigens. Kigens make up nearly half the land’s population.

    Chimwe and Chiso are a feminized male (fem kigen) and a masculinized female (andy kigen), respectively. While some kigen present more one way than the other, Chimwe and Chiso are nearly identical. Drayden uses “ey” and “eir” as an alternate pronoun structure throughout, and kigen characters appear throughout the story in different roles, emphasizing the prominence of the gender chimaera population.

    But, despite their prevalence in the population, kigen are marginalized, and their gender slurs are established early on to give readers an idea of the hurdles that kigen—especially kigen who are lesser twins—must overcome.

    Religion and equality...

    Beyond the city and nation lies a wider world, full of cultures that judge Mzansi customs and religion as archaic. There are Mzansi who agree with this outside perspective, but those pro-science subsecularists are persecuted even more than singletons (the culture's term for people born without a twin).

    Auben's Uncle Pabio, who is fond of conspiracies, posits:

    [Grace and Icy Blue] are just clever inventions for branding morality, and that schools... were designed to separate us from nature, from our tribal communities and cultures, and from critical thinking so that we could wholly tolerate this unjust and unnatural system instituted by a bunch of wealthy Nri immigrants fearful of growing Nationalism and the Mzansi elite who pulled their strings...

    Sometimes I want to believe him, to think he knows something that the rest of us don’t, but then he’ll start ranting about 'death traders' skimming around the ocean in their sailing ships, and their ‘skin the color of sun-bleached bone’ and how centuries ago, they ‘almost nearly could have brought an end to the Nri empire spread out along the west coast of the continent and the Ottoman empire on the east, and all the lands like ours caught inbetween’ and it all just gets to be a bit much to swallow.

    That's as much explicit commentary as colonialism gets in the narrative, but the laying out of Mzansi's entire social structure makes sure the reader is well aware of who has the power and who doesn't, while the narrative plays with ways to create equality for those who are oppressed. And, while I’m not sure I agree with Drayden's ultimate treatment of vice without virtue (and vice versa), the ideas she plays with while doing so make the whole question of good and evil, when it comes to humans, one well worth considering.

    While there are characters throughout the novel who blame religion for all the world’s shortcomings, Auben and Kasim’s connection to those larger powers never allow for a simple answer to the world’s flaws. The way that Drayden uses explorations of morality and mythology through the narration of a teenage boy—whose coming-of-age, given that it involves demons and divinity—is far more complicated than most, is artfully done, woven into a story that may keep you awake at night, wondering where it's headed next.

    Temper is now avaiable to purchase via Amazon or your local independent bookstore.

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  • 08/07/18--13:07: Deadpool 2: Who is Cable?
  • Now that we've met Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2, the bigger question is...who the hell is Cable?

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Aug 7, 2018

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

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

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

    He’s a badass soldier from the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Deadpool 2 opens on May 18.

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    The speculative fiction author's next book is about a group of time-traveling geologists.

    NewsKayti Burt
    Aug 7, 2018

    Annalee Newitz's Autonomous was one of Den of Geek's favorite books of 2017, so you better believe we're freaking out about the announcement that Tor Books has acquired two new novels from the speculative fiction author with another scheduled for Fall 2019. has the details on Newitz's upcoming books. The first is titled The Future of Another Timeline, and it is "a mind-bending and thought-provoking speculative thriller about a group of time-traveling geologists who are trying to prevent a dark future from coming to pass." Yep, I'm in. The Future of Another Timeline will hit shelves in Fall 2019.

    The Terraformers, "a multi-generational tale of love and politics, set against the backdrop of an awe-inspiring feat of environmental science" will get to our eyeballs and brains in Fall 2021.

    Tor futher describes: "This is a book about building good ecosystems, fighting natural disasters, and falling in love. It’s a big, sweeping future-historical novel driven by the idealistic visions and emotions of its characters as well as by ideas about environmentalism and urban social structures the author has researched and written about extensively in her career as a science journalist and author."

    Details on the third upcoming Newitz novel, slated for 2023, are to be announced.

    Newitz is not only a science fiction author, but also the co-founder of io9 where she served as Editor-in-Chief from 2008-2015. She wrote optimistically about humanity's future in her non-fiction book Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction. She co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Our Opinions Are Correct with Charlie Jane Anders.

    Den of Geek talked to Newitz for the Den of Geek Book Club Podcast at last year's NYCC. Listen to that full conversation here.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    Patrick Macmanus, showrunner of Syfy’s Happy!, will develop a TV series based on Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.

    News Joseph Baxter
    Aug 7, 2018

    A long-overdue live-action adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s classic time-bending 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, is about to happen, the first since director George Roy Hill’s 1972 movie. However, it will take shape this time as a television series for Universal Cable Productions, whose purview notably includes USA, Syfy and Bravo.

    In the latest news, the Slaughterhouse-Five television project is now in development with cable channel Epix, which – in the scenario the project gets ordered to series – would prospectively serve as the broadcast platform, reports Variety.

    The studio’s effort to bring Vonnegut’s novel to the peak television arena involved the appointment of a talent already under the NBCUniversal umbrella in Patrick Macmanus, showrunner of Syfy’s imminently-premiering series, Happy!, which adapts the similarly-surreal Grant Morrison-created comic book of the same name. Macmanus has signed an overall deal for Slaughterhouse-Five that will see him write and executive produce the TV adaptation. He will be joined by a gaggle of executive producers in the nigh-ubiquitous Gale Anne Hurd (via Valhalla Entertainment), along with Ensemble Entertainment’s Jon Brown, and Brand Y Media’s Bradley Yonover.

    Elise Henderson, senior vice president of development for UCP, claims that the project was on the studio’s radar for “many years” as they waited for the rights to be freed up. As she explained to Variety back in December 2017:

    “As soon as they did, we jumped in. At that point, we needed a writer, and we had just been introduced to Patrick for Happy!. Having read his material, we knew that he has the ability to do the emotional character depth that we need but also the ability to figure out a complex story and how to crack it, and capture the humor and the tone.”

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Slaughterhouse-Five centers on the experiences of Billy Pilgrim. A prototype for the “unreliable narrator” trope that USA’s Mr. Robot embraces, Billy finds himself lost in time, living out things that unfold in a non-linear fashion, such as his experiences during World War II as an Army chaplain’s assistant and eventual prisoner in Germany, where he survives the Allies’ firebombing of Dresden (since, ironically enough, war prisoners were safely stowed in the basement). Elements of Billy’s post-war life also come into focus, consisting of marriage, children and, in a radical thematic departure, abduction by aliens, during which he is kept in a dome menagerie, forced to mate with a missing movie star. The novel, which also implies ambiguity over the veracity of Billy’s experiences, has long been fodder for scholarly analysis.

    Indeed, showrunner Macmanus (formerly of Netflix’s Marco Polo,) implies his intention to delve deep, stating:

    “There are no lines that Vonnegut ever throws away. But there are certain lines within the book that allude to a much larger world. I’m not just talking about going off into outer space. He alludes to the Balkanization of the United States and to the hydrogen bombing of the United States. I feel like today’s TV is the only way to tell this story. Even though it’s only approximately 275 pages, I think that it’s ripe to be expanded upon exponentially.”

    We will keep you updated on Epix's Slaughterhouse-Five television project as things happen!

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    This web of spoilery secrets, from the Spider-Man Hostile Takeover prequel novel, will boost your hype levels for Spider-Man PS4...

    Feature Rob Leane
    Aug 8, 2018

    This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

    Hey there, True Believers. The long-awaited Spider-Man PS4 game will web-sling its way onto shelves on September 7th, and it promises to deliver an epic open world filled with iconic characters at every turn. It is, quite simply, one of the most hotly anticipated games in recent memory, with fans around the globe hoping for an experience that surpasses the as-yet-unmatched excellence of the Spider-Man 2 tie-in game.

    If you simply can’t wait until September 7th to visit the world of Spider-Man on PS4, you’re in luck: David Liss has penned a prequel novel, entitled Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover, which will allow you to learn an awful lot about this game before you first load it up.

    The book is available for pre-order now as a paperback and a Kindle download, ahead of its release on August 21st. We were lucky enough to check out a preview copy, which managed to make us even more hyped for the game itself. 

    Spidey isn’t sure about his future

    If you’ve been following the pre-release hype train for Spider-Man PS4, you’ll know that its take on Peter Parker is not a rookie superhero or a high school student. A lot further down the superhero road than Tom Holland’s Marvel Cinematic Universe version, Spider-Man PS4’s protagonist (who’s voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) has been Spidey for eight years. His suit is very snazzy, and his fighting style is honed to perfection.

    Despite really knowing his stuff, this seasoned Spidey is conflicted about his role in the world. He has a history with the NYPD, but is glad to find new allies over the course of the book. He’s locked up numerous villains over the years, but he’s also seen some walk free. Spidey even considers, at one point, planning his retirement from the superhero scene. He reckons that he might be able to hang up his web-shooters for good in a year and a half’s time.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    Spending such a long stint of his life as Spider-Man has had an effect on Peter Parker. He is just about holding down a job as a lab technician for an important science company, but at various stages in the book he lets his bosses down by shirking work to fight crime. The company works on projects that benefit mankind, such as building super smart replacement limbs for amputees, and Peter laments that he can’t spend more time at his desk. It’ll be interesting to see if this struggle, and the idea of superhero retirement, rears its head again in the game.

    Classic characters, fresh roles

    Hostile Takeover also makes it clear that supporting characters will play important roles in Spider-ManPS4. Perhaps the biggest surprise of all is Mary Jane Watson, who undertakes a career change in the book and starts a new job as a features writer for the Daily Bugle.

    Her initial beat is culture and events, but MJ makes it clear that New York’s criminal element – mainly Wilson Fisk’s machinations as the Kingpin – is what she really wants to be writing about. MJ’s interest in Fisk drives a wedge between her and Peter, who were dating at the start of the book but seemingly separated by the end of it. This subplot from the book makes it easier to understand why MJ is a playable character in the game that has been sneaking around a lot in the trailers. (Interesting side note: in the book, MJ is the only person that knows Spidey’s secret identity.)

    Other familiar characters who take on new roles here are J. Jonah Jameson (who goes from former newspaper man to shock jock podcast host over the course of the book) and Aunt May (who, rather than being another damsel in distress for Peter and his alter-ego to look out for, is actively helping the community by working at a homeless shelter named Feast). NYPD Captain Yuri Watanabe, who becomes the superhero Wraith in the comics, also has a key part to play in the book: she's leading the official investigation into Fisk, and working with Spidey to gather evidence.

    All in all, it seems like Spider-Man PS4 will be something of an ensemble piece, with numerous characters having meaningful tasks to complete. This is a world that feels properly inhabited, unlike, say, the Arkham Asylum games (where Gotham is usually deserted and Batman seems to be the only person doing anything).

    Villains aplenty, and more to follow

    Fisk is the main baddie in Hostile Takeover, but so many more menaces are mentioned. This makes sense, of course, given that Spidey must’ve fought a fair few foes in his eight years of activity. Shocker makes an appearance at one stage in the book, and Scorpion and Electro are both said to be locked up at The Raft super prison. Roxxon, a morally bankrupt company from the comics, are also referenced. The big-headed gangster Tombstone is active at the moment, as well.

    At one point, Spidey goes to a villain-stuffed bar to search for intel. We’re really hoping that this location, which reminded us of the Villain Pub from the How It Should’ve Ended series on YouTube, is available to visit in the game.

    Some villainous characters from the comics show up in the book without appearing to be evil as of yet. Norman Osborn, for example, is the mayor of New York and a rival of Fisk’s, but there is no reference made to the Green Goblin. Harry Osborn, similarly, seems to be a fairly normal guy at this point in his life: he’s plotting a trip to Europe during the book, and Peter describes his old friend Harry as an “all-round good person.” There is a reference to Harry having a shaky hand at one point, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s on the Goblin serum.

    Martin Li, who is known to comic book fans as the fearsome Mr. Negative, appears to be a totally charming do-gooder during his one brief appearance in the book. He is a benefactor of the Feast shelter where Aunt May is working, and he even encourages Peter to volunteer. If you’ve seen any of the Spider-Man PS4 trailers, though, you’ll know that Spidey and Mr. Negative are set for a sizeable scrape in the near future. And if you’ve read any comics with Mr. Negative in them, you’ll know that duality is a key part of his character.

    And as a potentially noteworthy sidebar, Hostile Takeover doesn't include any references to Doctor Octopus. The tentacled terror has long been rumored as the mystery villain at the heart of Spider-Man PS4's E3 trailer, but we'll just have to wait and play the game to find out if that's the case.

    Fisk and Spidey have a history

    Earlier on in his superhero career, Spider-Man put Wilson Fisk briefly behind bars. The Kingpin’s lawyers found legal loopholes, though, so the master criminal was released. This significant setback is one of the reasons why Spidey isn’t so sure about his future or his usefulness. Spidey is determined to put Fisk back in prison permanently, and this is the only real goal he has before wanting to retire from heroics.

    The difficulty, though, is that Fisk has put a lot of time and effort in appearing legit. He’s even launched a housing scheme to support low-income locals. It’s hard to gather evidence to prove that Fisk is still up to no good, not least because the Kingpin uses Roxxon muscle to spy on judges - and other important officials – to ensure he has leverage on all of his potential enemies. The one judge that does side with Spidey soon ends up dead.

    Kingpin is also managing a smear campaign against Spidey during the book. He employs an imposter (who was given powers by an Oscorp experiment) to run around in a Spidey suit that’s almost identical to the real thing. This imposter, later revealed to be a deranged criminal named Bingham, blows up a restaurant and kills the innocent people within it. Bingham, who gives himself the comics-referencing name Blood Spider, is eventually defeated by Spidey and put in prison. Bingham is still alive, though, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the game.

    Fisk also has an adopted daughter in the book; a deaf woman with expert martial arts skills, named Maya Lopez, who Fisk took into his care after killing her mobster father. Maya is initially obsessed with taking down Spidey, because Fisk pinned the blame for her dad’s death on the wall-crawler. But Maya learns the truth when Spidey shows her the relevant police file, and, as a result, she decides to fight by his side as a superhero named Echo.

    Maya leaves town at the end of the book, having helped Spidey to stop Fisk’s latest scheme. Fisk was trying to blackmail Norman Osborn into giving him an official role as the city’s finance minister. Fisk reckoned that nabbing a governmental title and grabbing control of the city’s purse strings would make him “too big to fail”, but Maya destroyed the memory stick containing the blackmail. We never learn what the information on the memory stick entailed, but it is interesting to know that Fisk had something on Osborn. Again, we wouldn’t be surprised if that subplot reared its head again in the game.

    Spidey isn’t the only hero in town

    Spidey and Echo aren’t the only comic book heroes to be referenced in the Hostile Takeover book, either. It is made abundantly clear that numerous Marvel Comics characters inhabit this world. There are references and allusion all over the place, all of which support the popular fan theory that Spider-Man PS4 could spawn a shared universe of Marvel-inspired video games.

    Early on the book, a criminal confuses Spidey for Daredevil, which confirms without a doubt that The Man Without Fear exists in this world. This has us hoping that we could see these iconic red-suited heroes crossing paths, either in this game or a future title from Insomniac. (Just the possibility of that is enough to bring back fond memories of Daredevil’s cameo in Spidey’s first PS1 game.)

    The Spider-Man PS4 prequel book also makes reference to Avengers Tower and the Wakandan Embassy, both of which exist in this version of New York. That’s all the confirmation we need that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Black Panther inhabit in the same world as this video game version of Spidey.

    Spidey also makes reference, during Hostile Takeover, to an old house on Bleecker Street that always gives him the creeps. He doesn’t seem to know that Doctor Strange famously lives on this road, within the iconic Sanctum Sanctorum. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Strange will show up in the game, of course, but it’s still a nice little Easter Egg.

    With any luck, this game will do a huge amount of business, enabling Insomniac to invest in more high-end video games based on the Marvel universe. We know that Black Cat, Miles Morales, and Silver Sable are slated to appear in the Spider-Man PS4 game (despite not being mentioned in the book), but there are so many other Marvel characters that also deserve a glossy game adaptation.

    Web-slinging is great, but you also need to be stealthy

    There are a few snippets in the book that tease what Spider-Man PS4’s gameplay will be like. Early on, for instance, Spidey explains that he has communications systems built into hit suit, which allow him to take calls and catch up with his contacts while fighting crooks at the same time. This read like a reference to the game itself, where presumably Spidey will field calls on the regular. (Can’t you just imagine Peter trying to talk normally to Aunt May while also taking down street thugs?)

    His Spidey-sense is also mentioned, with the wall-crawler describing it as sometimes being “on automatic." This makes him “barely aware” that he’s changing direction. Perhaps this is a reference to the game will work: if he builds up enough focus, will Spidey be able to dodge bullets and avoid enemies without much direction from the player?

    Stealth also seems to be a key component in this Spidey’s heroic activity. When he sneakily breaks into Fisk’s HQ, for example, Spider-Man has to web up the relevant security cameras and jam them into a specific position in order to pass by unseen. And in another chapter when he’s infiltrating a gala, Spidey picks the wrong moment to drop down from the ceiling and is immediately set upon by gunmen.

    During an exterior scene, Spidey offers a brief description of his car-pursuing tactics. In the old PS2 games, Spidey could land on any car roof without endangering his mission. But now, if Spidey doesn’t stay stealthy during chase-based tasks, he’ll be beeped at by drivers and lose the element of surprise.

    And, perhaps most excitingly, Spidey describes the experience of web-slinging as “alive and electric.” Swinging around the city makes him “full of the joy of movement and action.” We can’t wait to experience this for ourselves, as it’s been far too long since we experienced those kinetic joys on a PlayStation.

    The Fisk takedown is the game's first level

    In the final chapters of the book, Spidey teams up with Echo to defeat Bingham and destroy Fisk’s memory stick of blackmail materials. Now that he doesn’t have any leverage against Osborn, Fisk’s plan to hostilely takeover the city’s finances has well and truly been thwarted. This clears the path for Captain Watanabe to finish putting together her watertight file on Fisk’s criminal activity.

    In the epilogue to the book, Peter is awoken in his untidy apartment by a phone call from Watanabe. She’s calling to alert Spidey, who’s become her ally over the course of the book, that she’s heading to Fisk Tower with a warrant to take the big guy into custody. This time, it should stick.

    Spidey asks how he can help, and Watanabe gives him some instructions: the wall-crawler should head to Times Square and hold off Fisk’s goons, while Watanabe and her NYPD colleagues go into Kingpin's building and make the arrest. Excitedly swinging towards the scene to put Fisk away for the second time, Spidey absolutely jinxes his immediate future with the final words of the book. Assuming that he’s about to set the city straight, Spidey thinks to himself, “Life couldn’t get any crazier, right?”

    Having read a few reports by lucky folk who’ve already played the first few hours of Spider-Man PS4, it sounds like Spidey being summoned into action to assist with the takedown of Fisk is exactly where the game begins. What Spidey doesn’t know, at least when the book finishes, is that putting Fisk away will actually awaken the city’s criminal element. Fisk was – in his own weird way – keeping a lot of bad people in check.

    Things are indeed about to get a whole lot crazier for ol’ web-head, and we can’t wait to play through the mayhem for ourselves. Here’s hoping for a game that somehow lives up to our skyscraper-high expectations, which just swung up to heady new heights thanks to this prequel book’s teases.

    You can pre-order the Spider-Man PS4 game right here. 

    Here's the cover of the book...

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    With X-Force officially making their movie debut in Deadpool 2, we look at the history of the team.

    Feature Jim Dandy
    Aug 8, 2018

    For nearly a decade, the New Mutants were the second generation of Professor Charles Xavier’s students, the wide-eyed kids finding their way through a world that hated and feared them, and was also often a demon-infested hellscape and/or Asgard. But after nearly 100 issues, Marvel was itching for a change, so they handed the reins of New Mutants to a hot new artist named Rob Liefeld, who brought a new energy, new characters, and eventually a new name to the book, carving out a thematic niche for the team that would endure for the next 30 years.

    However, that niche was wide and held a lot of different variations in it. With X-Force making their screen debut in Deadpool 2 (sorta), and with Drew Goddard taking the reins of the upcoming X-Force movie (which will also feature Cable and Deadpool), we thought it would be worth looking at the various incarnations and iterations of X-Force, Marvel’s proactive, paramilitary-ish mutant team.


    The original X-Force team was a fairly logical outgrowth of the New Mutants. For years, Cannonball, Sunspot, Mirage, Magik, Cypher, Warlock, and Wolfsbane were stifled as teenage mutants trying to grow into  the second generation of mutant heroes at Xavier’s school. First under the tutelage of Professor Xavier, then under Magneto, the team was constantly rebelling against restrictions placed on them, even after those rebellions ended up getting a mess of them killed or horribly damaged.

    After leaving Magneto, and following a series of defections, deaths and new colleagues joining the team, they cast out on their own and were eventually taken under the wing of Cable, a mysterious mutant from the future, and trained not to be pacifist schoolchildren, but a preemptive strike force. The then-core team consisted of time-displaced military leader Cable; heart of the New Mutants and secretly the most popular guy in the Marvel universe Cannonball; ultimate survivor and friend of Beyonders Boom-Boom; and preternaturally fortunate mercenary Domino. They added former Hellion and younger brother of the deceased Thunderbird, Warpath; Feral, a savage, former Morlock cat lady; and Shatterstar, a Mojoverse refugee who carried two swords with parallel blades. They rebranded as X-Force and set out to influence the future by being proactive in their own time. That mission statement would stick: every reinvention of the team (but one) would be centered around using whatever means necessary to proactively protect mutantkind.

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very sustainable thesis for a long-term single run.

    Caught up in the tumult of real world bullpen politics, X-Forcesaw some significant changes early in its run, including the departure of its creator, Rob Liefeld, and a shift in publishing strategy towards editor-driven annual crossovers. The team added and lost members - Mirage, the Cheyenne former leader of the New Mutants; Rictor, an earthquake-causing geomorph; Siryn, Banshee’s daughter; and Sunspot, the rich Brazilian ex-New Mutant and best Avenger ever are among the most famous of the rotating cast. The ongoing changes eventually ground down the book’s identity, and while it went on being published for 100 issues, it lost the voice it burst onto the scene with and became just another X-Men book with a different cast.

    Watch Deadpool 2 on Amazon

    This wave of X-Force had a dying gasp. Along with the rest of the X-comic line, there was a flurry of change ahead of the new movie and the impending anniversary issue, X-Men #100. X-Force, along with Generation X and X-Man were handed over to Warren Ellis, the legendary writer who was then hip-deep in Planetaryand Transmetropolitan. He turned Cannonball, Boom-Boom, Domino, Warpath, and Bedlam into a covert ops group handled by Pete Wisdom and the British government. This lasted for roughly 15 issues before the team, and the entire core concept behind it, were overhauled completely.


    Marvel, crawling out of creative and financial bankruptcy, appointed almost entirely new leadership in their comic division around 2001. Joe Quesada, the new Editor-in-Chief, brought with him a former Vertigo editor, Axel Alonso, who himself brought his Vertigo sensibility to Marvel. That meant hiring some...odd picks...for his team books.

    Peter Milligan’s most famous work to this point had been a thoroughly weird revamp of Shade, the Changing Man, that was more a musing on mental illness than it was a superhero comic. Mike Allred created Madman, a deep indie superhero who was as much pop art as it was story. They were...not a natural fit for the paramilitary underground mutant group that X-Force had been, so Milligan, Allred and Alonso changed the team to be a send up of all millennial pop culture. Characters like Phat, U-Go Girl, or someone who DEFINITELY WASN’T a resurrected Princess Diana were a mix of Britney Spears and reality television stars. The book was a pretty savage takedown of pop culture and superhero comics, with the entire team being killed off more than once and the title changing from X-Force to X-Statix.

    Unfortunately, the book was also not a great seller, so despite its critical acclaim, the series was cancelled after two years and the X-Force name lay fallow for a bit.

    Check out the weirdest X-Force comics ever on Amazon

    Mutants with Knives and Claws

    Following a couple of original X-Force miniseries by creator Rob Liefeld, the X-line braintrust found a compelling story reason for reintroducing the team name to the world. After House of M depowered all but 200 of the world’s mutants, and a series of attacks by mutant hating foes The Purifiers killed a gaggle of the remaining students, the X-world went nuts when the first mutant in years was born in Alaska. Cyclops, teetering on the edge of becoming a full fledged revolutionary, pulled together a team to find and secure the baby, and eventually bring her to him. This team consisted of Caliban (clawed ex-Morlock with tracking powers), Warpath (giant inaugural X-Force member who carried two big knives), Wolfsbane (lycanthropic, clawed ex-New Mutant), Hepzibah (designated Sexy Cat Lady of the Starjammers, who had claws), Wolverine (you know this guy), and X-23 (Wolverine clone with knife claws in her knuckles and feet).

    Eventually, the baby was sent into the future with Cable, but Cyclops found having his own hit squad to be fairly useful, especially with the mass-murdering Purifiers still in the world, so he kept them around as his black ops team. The team eventually gained several members, including Elixir, Domino, Archangel and Vanisher, while others left or were dropped, like Wolfsbane or Hepzibah. Craig Kyle and Chris Yost wrote this as a sort of follow up to their prior X-work - they previously helmed New X-Men: Academy X where they were the writers responsible for a teenage bloodbath, killing somewhere in the vicinity of 50 students of Xavier’s school in their tenure. The Purifiers were responsible for most of those deaths, so naturally they spend a good chunk of this run getting ripped to shreds.

    Clayton Crain digitally painted the majority of these issues, and his dark colors matched the book’s tone well. Eventually during Second Coming, the existence of Cyclops’ personal hit squad was revealed, forcing him to disband and disavow X-Force.

    They got better, though.

    Uncanny X-Force

    There is a superhero comics criticism theory that says that cape stories cycle every 20 years or so - that Marvel tries to recreate Peter Parker for every generation of readers, or that Grant Morrison was just riffing on Chris Claremont’s five big stories. Rick Remender and Jerome Opena took over the X-Force team in 2010, and, following this theory, started mining Apocalypse’s lore for everything he was worth. The major difference between Uncanny X-Force and its ‘90s ancestors is this book is one of the greatest X-Men comics of all time.

    Remender’s Uncanny X-Force follows on the heels of Yost/Kyle’s, and takes a somewhat different team off to a dark corner of the X-Men universe. It opens with Wolverine, Psylocke, Deadpool, Archangel, and Fantomex as they discover that Apocalypse, the evil, immortalish mutant responsible for some of the greatest horrors in mutant history, was being reincarnated by the cult dedicated to his worship. When they arrive, they discover that Apocalypse is actually a preteen being groomed to develop into En Sabah Nur, and what follows is the superhero equivalent of a “Should we kill baby Hitler” argument. Fantomex tires of the argument, and shoots the kid in the head. The rest of the series has the team deal with the fallout of this decision: musings on fate and destiny; the slow descent of one of their own into Apocalypse’s heir; a deep, DEEP continuity dive on Apocalypse’s history in all its multiversal forms; the weaponization of the Superman myth to save the world; and two of the most heartbreaking death scenes in any comic ever.

    This series more than any other was the logical goal of the X-Force line of mutant storytelling. It was a deconstruction of the “proactive paramilitary group” trope, weaved together with bits of X-Men lore and some cool Deathlok stuff. If you haven’t read it yet, this is HIGHLY recommended.

    Read Uncanny X-Force on Amazon

    Cable’s Return

    The critical acclaim that Remender’s Uncanny X-Force brought led to Marvel trying to cash in on its popularity. They followed it up with two books: a second volume of Uncanny X-Force, where Psylocke, Bishop, Storm, Puck (from Alpha Flight) and ⅔ of Fantomex, where the thrust of the story was about Psylocke trying to accept or move past her self-identification as a killer after the events of the previous series. The other book was Cable & X-Force, where Cable led a team with Dr. Nemesis, Colossus, Domino, Hope, Boom Boom and Forge.

    This team operated in a more similar way to the traditional X-Force mission statement: Cable’s powers had gone awry, giving him glimpses into the near future. He used this team to try and prevent the visions from coming to pass. Neither of these books were terribly substantive (though Cable & X-Force did introduce a relationship between Colossus and Domino that turned out to be a lot of fun), and both were cancelled after a year and a half or so.

    X-Force proper had one last gasp before its current status. Simon Spurrier and Rock-He Kim reimagined the team as the intelligence service for a newly sovereign mutant race. He took Cable, Psylocke, Marrow, Fantomex, and Dr. Nemesis, and matched them with new member MeMe (a sentient computer program), and had them battle underground threats to the mutant race, like a Russian businessman repowering former mutants and turning them into weapons, or Strikeforce Morituri. Really.

    This version of X-Force was interesting, but not exactly a sales darling. It was cancelled in 2015 after 15 issues, and the X-Force moniker has not been used to headline a book since.

    Uncanny X-...Men?

    In recent years, as the X-Men line has edged closer to creative and financial insolvency, Marvel decided to take the concept of a proactive group of mutants doing morally questionable things and made that the point of the entire line of comics. Following the detonation of a Terrigen bomb, the X-Men found themselves in a world that hated and feared them that was also poisonous to them. The majority of the X-Men retreated to Limbo, while a small group (Magneto, Psylocke, M, Mystique, Fantomex and a reformed/inverted don’t ask Sabretooth) did “whatever it took” to protect mutants on Earth. Because this was the main theme of the entire X-Line, this team was published under the name Uncanny X-Men, and recently wrapped following the big IvX crossover where the X-Men fought the Inhumans and their oldest, deadliest foe: a cloud.

    It’s not good, and it was scrapped when the most recent relaunch, ResurrXion, kicked off.

    Movie X-Force

    With New Mutants and Deadpool 2 wrapped, Fox signed Drew Goddard (of Daredevil and The Martian fame) to take over development of X-Force as the next property in their slate of X-movies, and judging by early news, his take will fall right in the middle of the spirit implied by the name. Goddard said the new team will be a mutant black ops group led by Deadpool and Cable, with founding members Domino and Shatterstar, while the rest of the team may be a kind of ragtag group of mutants we meet in Deadpool 2. It sounds like if you’re a long-time fan of X-Force teams, it’s okay to be cautiously optimistic about the movie version.

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

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    The cast & creators of You discuss subverting the Nice Guy trope, making unwitting parallels to Gossip Girl, and changes from the book.

    Feature Kayti Burt
    Aug 8, 2018

    This article contains spoilers for Gossip Girl. Just so you know...

    You, both the 2014 novel by Caroline Kepnes and the TV adaptation set to debut on Lifetime next month, gains its power from a brilliant trope subversion. The story takes you inside the mind of Joe (played in the TV series by Penn Badgley), a NYC bookstore manager who falls in obsession with a beautiful stranger named Beck (Elizabeth Lail). Joe uses social media and other modern technology to stalk Beck, molding himself into the perfect boyfriend and removing any obstacles to their burgeoning relationship.

    The story is chilling for the ways in which, from a casual outsider's perspective, Joe is the ideal man women have been conditioned to seek out. He's smart, handsome, and literally saves Elizabeth's life when she falls onto the subway tracks in Brooklyn. It's only the viewer, who is given access into Joe's internal monologue and most disturbing of actions, who understands that this isn't a romance; it's a horror.

    "My experience with Joe as Beck is great in a lot of ways, in that sense that he rescues me, he reads, he's smart, he's handsome," Lail told Den of Geek at the ATX TV Festival. "Beck's experience of him is a bit of a romantic comedy, in more ways than one."

    Kepnes, who was involved in the adaptation, wrote the book as a way of looking at the way our culture can "romanticize people who seem romantic," she said at the ATX TV Festival.

    "That's where I started with it," she said. "'Oh, a guy in a bookstore, holding books and being sweet and sensitive.' It's so easy to assume that's it, and this is why taking that dream and looking inside of it and what that experience is really like to be that person, and be in this romance, when we have all this social media, and all this communication, and how it affects us and how it enables us to do things."

    Sera Gamble, who created the show alongside Greg Berlanti (yes, he has another show on TV), has proven adept at subverting, exploring, and embracing tropes in her work as showrunner of The Magicians.

    "I really love books, or any written word, that take something that you've been taking for granted, and ask you to look at it in a more realistic way, to look under the hood at what's really going on," Gamble said.

    And I was really struck by how much I believe in those romantic comedy tropes. I grew up loving Say Anything, and kind of believing that Lloyd Dobler's the perfect guy and reading this book, it made me contemplate that she had said no, and he was standing outside her window at night, not taking no for an answer.

    "It really appealed to me that we could make a show that both tells a very modern, very specific, kind of twisted love story," added Gamble, "but also is giving a very hard look at those kinds of stories."

    Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!

    A subversion of the Dogged Nice Guy trope isn't the only meta commentary that is happening in You. Avid teen drama watchers may know two of the show's cast members, Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell from hits Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, on which they played Dan Humphrey and Emily Fields, respectively.

    Both shows share themes of surveillance culture with You, though Gossip Girl in particular treated the use of modern technology to stalk as a mischief-making inconvenience rather than something horrific or invasive. It makes the casting of Badgley in You, whose character turned out to be the eponymous Gossip Girl in Gossip Girl, yet still managed to hold onto his role as a romantic lead, particularly interesting.

    "In my mind, the pilot episode's first scene is Dan Humphrey," said Badgley, who admits he didn't notice the similarities before actually viewing the finished pilot. "When I saw it, I was like... that is way more similar than I'd ever personally wanted, but then, what it does is, from the second scene to the last scene of the pilot, it progressively is like, you don't know what the hell you're getting into here."

    Did the show's creators set out to cast Gossip Girl himself in You's lead role?

    "In all honesty, we never talked about it," said Gamble. "I mean, obviously, we were aware that [Badgley] had done really good work on that show, and I watched some of that show. I really like the meta thing, but that happened organically ... If you're doing a show that is partly about the hyper-connectiveness of technology in 2018, then I guess you're bound to find a little meta-thread of any other thing you've ever done."

    The meta threads may not have been intentional, but that doesn't mean they're not a whole lot of fun for media-savvy viewers who like to make those kinds of connections.

    "Now, having seen a lot of the series, and having shot the series," said Badgley, "I actually, personally, am really into that [comparison], so I'll say that."

    Of course it's not just previous TV shows You is in conversation with. The adaptation, like all adaptations, is also in conversation with its literary source material.

    "Without giving too much away, I will say that we do a lot of the same stuff in the show," said Kepnes. "Not all of it, but a lot of it. However, there are some deviations and surprises for fans of the book."

    One of those changes is in the narrative's point-of-view. The book stays claustrophobically close to Joe's perspective, but, while the You pilot stays inside of Joe's head, later episodes will give us Beck's perspective, too.

    "In an early episode, we switch to her POV," said Gamble. "We wanted to widen the world and make it more expansive. There is plenty of world inside Joe's head, but I think, to be a functional TV show and also really to earn the relationship when you're watching the characters onscreen, I thought that we had to get to know Beck a little bit better, if we were asking people to watch 13 hours about her."

    Another new addition is the character of Paco (Luca Padovan), a young boy neglected by his parents who lives in Joe's apartment building. Joe takes Paco under his wing in what is the most sympathetic moment for the generally unsettling character in the show's first episode.

    "This is the genius of Greg Berlanti," said Gamble, noting that Paco was Berlanti's idea. "I think part of the reason that he is maybe the most successful producer maybe in the history of television, certainly one of them, is because he has x-ray vision to find the heart in a story.

    I think we talked so much while we were developing the pilot when we were writing it together is that Joe doesn't enjoy doing bad things. He just has a very strong personal code. And he has an especially strong personal code when it comes to the woman that he cares about. And there's this sort of, almost an old-fashioned chivalrous affect to it, but he believes in and it gives his life a certain kind of meaning, ina way. He knows what side of his code he always wants to be on and so Greg was just like, 'You know what we need is a kid. We need a five-year-old kid.'

    Badgley said he loved working with Padovan, the young actor who plays Paco and he sees the scenes featuring Paco as "evidence of where Joe is trying to do the right thing." For Badgley, the addition of a character like Paco is the kind of change from source material to on-screen adaptation that makes perfect sense.

    "The narrative paradigm that Caroline's used [in the book], that it's all in Joe's head, is so compelling and chilling," said Badgley. "But you can't do that in a visual medium ... That is why it was really necessary to have something like Paco, whereas in the book, I think the fact that something like that doesn't exist is similarly brilliant. The book is a little bit like: 'You're not getting Paco.' He's nowhere to be found."

    As the actor inhabiting the character of Joe, Badgley's scenes with Padovan were "a respite" from the darkness of Joe's mind and his obsession with Beck.

    "With Paco he's like, 'I'm actually going to be really open with you' in a way that he is not with others, surely due to all of his unwitting misogyny," said Badgley. "He doesn't have that with this young boy who reminds him of himself, for better or worse, often for worse..."

    You premieres on September 9th on Lifetime. The book is available for purchase on Amazon or your local independent bookstore.

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    Looking for a good science fiction read? Check out these new science fiction books released in August 2018.

    The ListsKayti Burt
    Aug 8, 2018

    Books, books, books! Summer is a great time to dive into science fiction and explore other worlds. Here are some of the science fiction books coming out in August that we are most looking forward to here at Den of Geek.

    Join the Den of Geek Book Club!

    Best New Science Fiction Books in August 2018

    Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Delphinium Books
    Release date: August 7th

    In modern, beautiful Green City, the capital of Southwest Asia, gender selection, war, and disease have brought the ratio of men to women to alarmingly low levels. The government uses terror and technology to control its people, and now females must take multiple husbands to have children as quickly as possible. Yet there are some who resist, women who live in an underground collective and refuse to be part of the system. Secretly protected by the highest echelons of power, they emerge only at night to provide the rich and elite of Green City a type of commodity no one can buy: intimacy without sex. As it turns out, not even the most influential men can shield them from discovery and the dangers of ruthless punishment. This dystopian novel from one of Pakistan’s most talented writers is a modern-day parable, The Handmaid’s Tale for repressed women in Muslim countries everywhere. Before She Sleepstakes the patriarchal practices of female seclusion and veiling, gender selection, and control over women’s bodies, amplifying and distorting them in a truly terrifying way to imagine a world of post-religious authoritarianism.

    Read Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

    Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

    Type: Third book in The Murderbot Diaries series
    Release date: August 7th

    Martha Wells' Rogue Protocol is the third in the Murderbot Diaries series, starring a human-like android who keeps getting sucked back into adventure after adventure, though it just wants to be left alone, away from humanity and small talk.

    Who knew being a heartless killing machine would present so many moral dilemmas?

    Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah's SecUnit is.

    And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

    Read Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

    Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu (translated by Joel Martinsen)

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: August 14th

    A new science fiction adventure from the New York Times bestselling author of the Three-Body Trilogy, Cixin Lu's Ball Lightning is a fast-paced story of what happens when the beauty of scientific inquiry runs up against the drive to harness new discoveries with no consideration of their possible consequences.

    When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station.

    The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier. While Chen’s quest for answers gives purpose to his lonely life, it also pits him against soldiers and scientists with motives of their own: a beautiful army major with an obsession with dangerous weaponry, and a physicist who has no place for ethical considerations in his single-minded pursuit of knowledge.

    Read Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu

    Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Ace
    Release date: August 14th

    In this rip-roaring space opera, a ragtag band of explorers are out to make the biggest score in the galaxy.

    On this space jump, no one is who they seem . . .

    Captain Hammond Roystan is a simple cargo runner who has stumbled across the find of a lifetime: the Hassim, a disabled exploration ship--and its valuable record of unexplored worlds.

    His junior engineer, Josune Arriola, said her last assignment was in the uncharted rim. But she is decked out in high-level bioware that belies her humble backstory.

    A renowned body-modification artist, Nika Rik Terri has run afoul of clients who will not take no for an answer. She has to flee off-world, and she is dragging along a rookie modder, who seems all too experienced in weapons and war . . .

    Together this mismatched crew will end up on one ship, hurtling through the lawless reaches of deep space with Roystan at the helm. Trailed by nefarious company men, they will race to find the most famous lost world of all--and riches beyond their wildest dreams . . .

    Read Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

    Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter

    Type: Second in Noumenon series
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: August 14th

    Travel to the remotest reaches of deep space in this wondrous follow-up to the acclaimed Noumenon—a tale of exploration, adventure, science, and humanity with the sweep and intelligence of the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Neal Stephenson, and Octavia Butler.

    Generations ago, Convoy Seven and I.C.C. left Earth on a mission that would take them far beyond the solar system. Launched by the Planet United Consortium, a global group formed to pursue cooperative Earth-wide interests in deep space, nine ships headed into the unknown to explore a distant star called LQ Pyx.

    Eons later, the convoy has returned to LQ Pyx to begin work on the Web, the alien megastructure that covers the star. Is it a Dyson Sphere, designed to power a civilization as everyone believes—or something far more sinister?

    Meanwhile, Planet United’s littlest convoy, long thought to be lost, reemerges in a different sector of deep space. What they discover holds the answers to unlocking the Web’s greater purpose.

    Each convoy possesses a piece of the Web’s puzzle . . . but they may not be able to bring those pieces together and uncover the structure’s true nature before it’s too late.

    Read Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter

    The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: August 21st

    Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages.

    Hot on her trail is the Pax--a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse.

    Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers.

    And that's just the beginning . . .

    Read The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams

    The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Type: Second book in The Lady Astronaut series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: August 21st

    Listen to our interview with Mary Robinette Kowal.

    Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

    Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

    Read The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Terra Incognita: Three Novellas by Connie Willis

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: August 21st

    In Terra Incognita, Connie Willis explores themes of love and mortality while brilliantly illuminating the human condition through biting satire. 

    Uncharted TerritoryFindriddy and Carson are explorers, dispatched to a distant planet to survey its canyons, ridges, and scrub-covered hills. Teamed with a profit-hungry indigenous guide of indeterminate gender and an enthusiastic newcomer whose specialty is mating customs, the group battles hostile terrain as they set out for unexplored regions. Along the way, they face dangers, discover treasures, and soon find themselves in an alien territory of another kind: exploring the paths and precipices of sex—and love.

    RemakeIn the Hollywood of the future, live-action movies are a thing of the past. Old films are computerized and ruthlessly dissected, actors digitally ripped from one film and thrust into another. Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe in A Star Is Born? No problem. Hate the ending? Change it with the stroke of a key. Technology makes anything possible. But a starry-eyed young woman wants only one thing: to dance on the big screen. With a little magic and a lot of luck, she just may get her happy ending.

    D.A. Theodora Baumgarten is baffled and furious: Why was she selected to be part of a highly competitive interstellar cadet program? After all, she never even applied. But that hasn’t stopped the powers that be from whisking her onto a spaceship bound for the prestigious Academy. With her protests ignored, Theodora takes matters into her own hands, aided by her hacker best friend, to escape the Academy and return to Earth—only to uncover a conspiracy that runs deeper than she could have imagined.

    Read Terra Incognita: Three Novellas by Connie Willis

    Vox by Christina Dalcher

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Berkley
    Release date: August 21st

    Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

    On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. 

    This is just the beginning...

    Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. 

    ...not the end. 

    For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

    Read Vox by Christina Dalcher

    Best New Science Fiction Books in July 2018

    The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Type: First book in The Lady Astronaut series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: July 3

    On a coldspring night in 1952, a meteorite falls to earth and destroys much of theeastern seaboard of the United States, including Washington D.C. The Meteor, asit is popularly known, decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for aclimate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity.This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s effortsto colonize space, and allows a much larger share of humanity to take part inthe process.

    One of thesenew entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilotand mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’sattempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced womenpilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elmabegins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too―aside from some peskybarriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations aboutthe proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the firstLady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may notstand a chance against her.

    Buy The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Black Chamber by S.M. Stirling

    Type: Standalone (so far)
    Publisher: Ace 
    Release date: July 3

    1916. The Great War rages overseas, and the whole of Europe, Africa, and western Asia is falling to the Central Powers. To win a war that must be won, Teddy Roosevelt, once again the American president, turns to his top secret Black Chamber organization--and its cunning and deadly spy, Luz O'Malley Aróstegui. 

    On a transatlantic airship voyage, Luz poses as an anti-American Mexican revolutionary to get close--very close--to a German agent code-named Imperial Sword. She'll need every skill at her disposal to get him to trust her and lead her deep into enemy territory. In the mountains of Saxony, concealed from allied eyes, the German Reich's plans for keeping the U.S. from entering the conflict are revealed: the deployment of a new diabolical weapon upon the shores of America...

    Read Black Chamber by S.M. Stirling

    Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry

    Type: Standalone (for now)
    Publisher: Angry Robot
    Release date: July 3

    Having magical powers makes you less than human, a resource to be exploited. Half-unicorn Gary Cobalt is sick of slavery, captivity, and his horn being ground down to power faster-than-light travel. When he's finally free, all he wants is to run away in his ancestors' stone ship. Instead, Captain Jenny Perata steals the ship out from under him, so she can make an urgent delivery. But Jenny held him captive for a decade, and then Gary murdered her best friend... who was also the wife of her co-pilot, Cowboy Jim. What could possibly go right?

    Read Space Unicorn Blues by TJ Berry 

    Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

    Type: First in the Sun Eater series
    Publisher: DAW
    Release date: July 3

    It was not his war.

    The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives—even the Emperor himself—against Imperial orders.

    But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

    On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.

    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.

    Read Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

    I Only Killed Him Once by Adam Christopher

    Type: Third in the Ray Electromatic series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: July 10

    Another Hollywood night, another job for electric-detective-turned-robotic-hitman Raymond Electromatic. The target is a tall man in a black hat, and while Ray completes his mission successfully, he makes a startling discovery―one he soon forgets when his 24-hour memory tape loops to the end and is replaced with a fresh reel…

    When a tall man in a black hat arrives in the offices of the Electromatic Detective Agency the next day, Ray has a suspicion he has met this stranger before, although Ray’s computerized boss, Ada, is not saying a thing. But their visitor isn’t here to hire Ray for a job―he’s here to deliver a stark warning.

    Because time is running out and if Ray and Ada want to survive, they need to do exactly what the man in the black hat says.

    A man that Raymond Electromatic has already killed.

    Read I Only Killed Him Once by Adam Christopher

    Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace

    Type: Second book in the Archivist Wasp series
    Publisher: Mythic Delirium Books
    Release date: July 10

    Read our review of Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace.

    Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become leader of the fearsome upstarts, the teen girl acolytes who are adjusting to a new way of life after the overthrow of the sadistic Catchkeep-priest. They live in an uneasy alliance with the town of Sweetwater—an alliance that will be tested to its limits by the dual threats of ruthless raiders from the Waste and a deadly force from the Before-time that awaits in long-hidden tunnels.

    Years ago Isabel befriended a nameless ghost, a supersoldier from the Before-time with incredible powers even after death, and their adventure together in the underworld gave her the strength and knowledge to change the brutal existence of the Catchkeep acolytes for the better. To save Sweetwater, Isabel will have to unlock the secrets of the twisted experimental program from centuries gone by that created the supersoldier and killed his friends: the Latchkey Project.

    Latchkey continues the story begun in Kornher-Stace’s widely acclaimed Archivist Wasp, an Andre Norton Award finalist that was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Teen Books of 2015.

    Read Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace

    Infinity's End, Edited by Jonathan Strahan

    Type: Final anthology in The Infinity Project series
    Publisher: Solaris
    Release date: July 10

    Humanity has made the universe home. On the outskirts of the solar system, beyond the asteroid fields, deep in space, under the surface of planets, in the ruins of fallen civilisations, in the flush of new creation: life finds a way.

    From intelligent velociraptors to digital ghosts; from a crèche on an asteroid to an artist using a star system as a canvas, this is a future where Earth’s children have adapted to every nook and cranny of existence.

    This is life on the edge of the possible. 

    Featuring astonishing tales from Stephen Baxter, Alastair Reynolds, Naomi Kritzer, Paul McAuley, Seanan McGuire, Linda Nagata, Hannu Rajaniemi, Justina Robson, Kelly Robson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lavie Tidhar, Peter Watts, Fran Wilde and Nick Wolven.

    Read Infinity's End

    Condomnauts by Yoss (translated by David Frye)

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Restless Books
    Release date: July 17

    In the 24th century, Josué Valdés’ rise from an orphan in the slums of Rubble City, Cuba to one of the galaxy’s most accomplished explorers was nothing short of meteoric. Josué used to race cockroaches for cash on the streets until he discovered his true-calling: as a sexual ambassador for humanity and the Nu Barsa colony.

    Every so-called “condomnaut” knows that trade deals in the galactic community depend on sexual pacts, which makes every encounter a close encounter. While some condomnauts have been trained and genetically enhanced to meet the needs of any tentacled insectoid in the galaxy, Josué is a natural whose ego could eclipse the big dipper. Josué and his fellow intrepid condomnauts travel light years across the galaxy and discover that old rivalries—and prejudices—are never far behind. When the first extragalactic beings arrive in the Milky Way, and with them the potential to negotiate for extraordinary new technologies, Josué must call upon every ounce of his talent to seal the deal for his colony and all of humanity.

    Indirectly investigating current sexual mores, Cuban science fiction rock star Yoss plays upon stereotypes while making it clear that in Communist Cuba what is daring is not always funny and vice versa. Following the success of Super Extra Grande and A Planet for Rent, Yoss brings us another uproarious space adventure with Condomnauts, a wildly inventive and unapologetic tale that would make even Barbarella blush.

    Read Condomnauts by Yoss

    Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

    Type: Third book in the Wayfarers series
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: July 24

    Return to the sprawling universe of the Galactic Commons, as humans, artificial intelligence, aliens, and some beings yet undiscovered explore what it means to be a community in this exciting third adventure in the acclaimed and multi-award-nominated science fiction Wayfarers series, brimming with heartwarming characters and dazzling space adventure.

    Hundreds of years ago, the last humans on Earth boarded the Exodus Fleet in search of a new home among the stars. After centuries spent wandering empty space, their descendants were eventually accepted by the well-established species that govern the Milky Way.

    But that was long ago. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, the birthplace of many, yet a place few outsiders have ever visited. While the Exodans take great pride in their original community and traditions, their culture has been influenced by others beyond their bulkheads. As many Exodans leave for alien cities or terrestrial colonies, those who remain are left to ponder their own lives and futures: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination? Why remain in space when there are habitable worlds available to live? What is the price of sustaining their carefully balanced way of life—and is it worth saving at all?

    A young apprentice, a lifelong spacer with young children, a planet-raised traveler, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, and an Archivist whose mission is to ensure no one’s story is forgotten, wrestle with these profound universal questions. The answers may seem small on the galactic scale, but to these individuals, it could mean everything.

    Read Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

    A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell

    Type: Standalone (for now... but let's be serious)
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: July 31

    Set in a near future Washington, D.C., a clever, incisive, and fresh feminist twist on a classic literary icon—Sherlock Holmes—in which Dr. Janet Watson and covert agent Sara Holmes will use espionage, advanced technology, and the power of deduction to unmask a murderer targeting Civil War veterans.

    Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in the throes of a fraught presidential election. Homeless and jobless, Watson is uncertain of the future when she meets another black and queer woman, Sara Holmes, a mysterious yet playfully challenging covert agent who offers the doctor a place to stay.

    Watson’s readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate. But the tensions between them dissolve when Watson discovers that soldiers from the New Civil War have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous, involving the pharmaceutical industry and even the looming election. Joining forces, Watson and Holmes embark on a thrilling investigation to solve the mystery—and secure justice for these fallen soldiers.

    Read A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell

    Best New Science Fiction Books in June 2018

    Free Chocolate by Amber Royer

    Type: First book in The Chocoverse series
    Publisher: Angry Robot
    Release date: June 1

    Latina culinary arts student, Bo Benitez, becomes a fugitive when she's caught stealing a cacao pod from the heavily-defended plantations that keep chocolate, Earth's sole valuable export, safe from a hungry galaxy. Forces arraying against her including her alien boyfriend and a reptilian cop. But when she escapes onto an unmarked starship things go from bad to worse: it belongs to the race famed throughout the galaxy for eating stowaways. Surrounded by dangerous yet hunky aliens, Bo starts to uncover clues that the threat to Earth may be bigger than she first thought.

    Read Free Chocolate by Amber Royer

    Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

    Type: Third book in the Machineries of Empire trilogy
    Publisher: Solaris
    Release date: June 12

    When Shuos Jedao wakes up for the first time, several things go wrong. His few memories tell him that he's a seventeen-year-old cadet--but his body belongs to a man decades older.  Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his behalf even though Jedao has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general.  Surely a knack for video games doesn't qualify you to take charge of an army?

    Soon Jedao learns the situation is even worse.  The Kel soldiers under his command may be compelled to obey him, but they hate him thanks to a massacre he can't remember committing.  Kujen's friendliness can't hide the fact that he's a tyrant.  And what's worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself...

    Read Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

    The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty

    Type: Standalone (for now)
    Publisher: John Joseph Adams
    Release date: June 19

    After long years of war, the United States has sued for peace, yielding to a brutal coalition of nations ruled by fascist machines. One quarter of the country is under foreign occupation. Manhattan has been annexed by a weird robot monarchy, and in Tennessee, a permanent peace is being delicately negotiated between the battered remnants of the U.S. government and an envoy of implacable machines.      Canadian businessman Barry Simcoe arrives in occupied Chicago days before his hotel is attacked by a rogue war machine. In the aftermath, he meets a dedicated Russian medic with the occupying army, and 19 Black Winter, a badly damaged robot. Together they stumble on a machine conspiracy to unleash a horrific plague—and learn that the fabled American resistance is not as extinct as everyone believes. Simcoe races against time to prevent the extermination of all life on the continent . . . and uncover a secret that America’s machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.

    Read The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty

    Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

    Type: Second book in Star Wars: Thrawn series
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: June 24

    “I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.” 

    Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

    In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown . . . and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

    Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire . . . and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.

    Read Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

    Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley

    Type: Book 1.5/1.7 in the Bel Dame Apocrypha series
    Publisher: Tachyon Publication
    Release date: June 26

    Ex-government assassin turned bounty-hunter, Nyx, is good at solving other people’s problems. Her favorite problem-solving solution is punching people in the face. Then maybe chopping off some heads. Hey—it’s a living.

    Nyx's disreputable reputation has been well earned. After all, she’s trying to navigate an apocalyptic world full of giant bugs, contaminated deserts, scheming magicians, and a centuries-long war that’s consuming her future. Managing her ragtag squad of misfits has required a lot of morally-gray choices. Every new job is another day alive. Every new mission is another step toward changing a hellish future—but only if she can survive.

    Read Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley

    A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White

    Type: First book in Salvagers series
    Publisher: Orbit
    Release date: June 26

    Boots Elsworth was a famous treasure hunter in another life, but now she's washed up. She makes her meager living faking salvage legends and selling them to the highest bidder, but this time she got something real--the story of the Harrow, a famous warship, capable of untold destruction.

    Nilah Brio is the top driver in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation and the darling of the racing world--until she witnesses Mother murder a fellow racer. Framed for the murder and on the hunt to clear her name, Nilah has only one lead: the killer also hunts Boots.

    On the wrong side of the law, the two women board a smuggler's ship that will take them on a quest for fame, for riches, and for justice.

    Read A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White

    What science fiction books are you most looking forward to checking out in July? Let us know in the comments below or in our Den of Geek Book Club on Goodreads.

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