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- 08/08/18--13:36: _Best New Fantasy Bo...
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- 08/13/18--08:32: _The Wild Storm Rein...
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- 07/30/18--17:18: _Claire O'Dell's A S...
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- 08/16/18--18:30: _Goosebumps 2 Traile...
- 08/16/18--19:32: _Warcraft Director D...
- 08/17/18--07:25: _What We Learned Fro...
- 08/20/18--08:46: _DC Introduces New O...
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- 08/20/18--09:55: _Join the Den of Gee...
- 08/20/18--10:13: _Den of Geek Book Cl...
- 08/08/18--13:36: Best New Fantasy Books in August 2018
- 08/08/18--18:22: How A Comic Book Teaches Science Through Science Fiction
- 08/09/18--09:15: Krypton: Bringing Superman's Home Planet to Life
- 08/13/18--08:32: The Wild Storm Reinvents The Authority
- 08/14/18--09:39: Catwoman: Soulstealer is Another DC Icons Success
- 08/14/18--10:06: Every River Runs To Salt by Rachael K. Jones Review
- 08/14/18--14:33: Castle Rock Season 2 Confirmed by Hulu
- 08/14/18--16:14: The Walking Dead Season 9: Lauren Cohan Dishes on Maggie’s Exit
- 07/30/18--17:18: Claire O'Dell's A Study in Honor Reimagines Holmesian Canon
- 08/15/18--14:09: Deadpool 2: Deadpool Wants YOU to Join X-Force
- 08/15/18--14:47: Ursula K. Le Guin’s Nine Lives to Become a Feature Film
- 08/16/18--18:30: Goosebumps 2 Trailer, Release Date, Cast, and Story Details
- 08/17/18--07:25: What We Learned From The Predator: Hunters And Hunted Prequel Novel
- 08/20/18--08:46: DC Introduces New Outsiders in Battle Against Brainiac
- 08/20/18--09:28: Binti & The Wonders of Nnedi Okorafor
- 08/20/18--09:55: Join the Den of Geek Book Club!
Looking for a good fantasy read? Here are some of the best new fantasy books to be released in August 2018.
Summer, one of our four favorite seasons to read, is upon us. Here are some of the fantasy books coming out in the month of August that we are most looking forward to checking out. Is your most-anticpated August fantasy read on the list?
Best New Fantasy Books in August 2018
Temper by Nicky Drayden
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release date: August 7th
In a land similar to South Africa, twin brothers are beset by powerful forces beyond their understanding or control in this thrilling blend of science fiction, horror, magic, and dark humor—evocative of the works of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor—from the author of The Prey of Gods.
One demonic possession.
Can this relationship survive?
Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.
The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .
On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . . TEMPER.
Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas
Type: Part of the DC Icons series
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release date: August 7th
When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has.
Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever--she may be Batwing's undoing.
In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that's closest to her heart?
Privateer by Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes
Type: Second in the Dragon Corsairs trilogy
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: August 7th
The swashbuckling adventures of Captain Kate Fitzmaurice continues in Privateer with another thrilling epic tale of the Dragon Corsairs from New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.
Captain Kate soon escapes from prison and saves her crew with the help of Prince Tom. She and her crew are drawn ever deeper into the intrigue and danger of doing business in the kingdom. With them running out of allies and left with nowhere to turn, Kate and Tom strike out on their own.
The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
Release date: August 21st
Rising science fiction and fantasy star P. Djèlí Clark brings an alternate New Orleans of orisha, airships, and adventure to life in his immersive debut novella The Black God's Drums.
In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air--in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.
But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.
Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.
Hollywood Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey
Type: Tenth book in Sandman Slim series
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Release date: August 28th
Life and death takes on an entirely new meaning for half-angel, half-human hero James Stark, aka, Sandman Slim, in this insanely inventive, high-intensity tenth supernatural noir thriller in the New York Times bestselling series.
James Stark is back from Hell, trailing more trouble in his wake. To return to L.A., he had to make a deal with the evil power brokers, Wormwood—an arrangement that came with a catch. While he may be home, Stark isn’t quite himself . . . because he’s only partially alive.
There’s a time limit on his reanimated body, and unless Stark can find the people targeting Wormwood, he will die again—and this time there will be no coming back. Even though he’s armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark knows he can’t find Wormwood’s enemies alone. To succeed he’s got to enlist the help of new friends—plus a few unexpected old faces.
Stark has been in dangerous situations before—you don’t get named Sandman Slim for nothing. But with a mysterious enemy on the loose, a debt to pay, and a clock ticking down, this may truly be the beginning of his end. . . .
Ravencry by Ed McDonald
Type: Second book in the Raven's Mark series
Release date: August 21st
In the second gritty installment of the Raven's Mark series, a bounty hunter faces down the darkest evil.
Ryhalt Galharrow is a blackwing--a bounty hunter who seeks out and turns over any man, woman, or child who has been compromised by the immortals known as the Deep Kings. Four years have passed since he helped drive the Deep Kings back across the Misery. But new and darker forces are rising against the republic...
The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien (edited by Christopher Tolkien)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release date: August 30th
In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar. Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs. Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo. At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources. Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.
Best New Fantasy Books in July 2018
City of Lies by Sam Hawke
Type: First book in the Poison Wars series
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: July 3
I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me...
Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he's a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.
But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising...and angry.
The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri
Type: Standalone (for now)
Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: July 3
Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.
A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can't go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss's daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.
Francesco Dimitri's first novel written in English, following his career as one of the most significant fantasy writers in Italy, will entrance fans of Elena Ferrante, Neil Gaiman and Donna Tartt. Set in the beguiling and seductive landscape of Southern Italy, this story is about friendship and landscape, love and betrayal; above all it is about the nature of mystery itself.
Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn
Type: Third book in the Heroine Complex series
Release date: July 3
If there's one thing Beatrice Tanaka never wanted to be, it's normal. But somehow, her life has unfolded as a series of "should haves." Her powers of emotional projection should have made her one of the most formidable superheroes of all time. And she should have been allowed to join her older sister Evie as a full-fledged protector of San Francisco, pulverizing the city's plethora of demon threats.
But Evie and her superheroing partner, Aveda Jupiter, insist on seeing Bea as the impulsive, tempestuous teenager she used to be--even though she's now a responsible adult. And that means Bea is currently living a thoroughly normal life. She works as a bookstore lackey, hangs out with best friends Sam Fujikawa and Leah Kim, and calms her workplace's more difficult customers. Sure, she's not technically supposed to be playing with people's mental states. But given the mundanity of her existence, who can blame her?
When a mysterious being starts communicating with Bea, hinting at an evil that's about to overtake the city, she seizes the opportunity, hoping to turn her "should haves" into the fabulous heroic life she's always wanted. But gaining that life may mean sacrificing everything--and everyone--she holds dear...
The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan
Type: Third book in the Draconis Memoria series
Release date: July 3
For hundreds of years, the Ironship Trading Syndicate was fueled by drake blood--and protected by the Blood-blessed, those few who could drink it and wield fearsome powers. But now the very thing that sustained the corporate world threatens to destroy it.
A drake of unimaginable power has risen, and it commands an army of both beasts and men. Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and Ironship captain Corrick Hilemore, spread to disparate corners of the world, must rely upon the new powers and knowledge they have gained at great price to halt its forces--or face the end of all they know.
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss
Type: Second book in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series
Release date: July 10
In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.
Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.
But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time?
Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.
Spinning Silver: A Novel by Naomi Novik
Type: Standalone (expanded from a short story in The Starlit Wood)
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: July 10
With the Nebula Award–winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.
When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.
But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.
Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.
Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
Type: Second book in the Innsmouth Legacy series
Release date: July 10
Ruthanna Emrys’ Innsmouth Legacy, which began with Winter Tide and continues with Deep Roots, confronts H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos head-on, boldly upturning his fear of the unknown with a heart-warming story of found family, acceptance, and perseverance in the face of human cruelty and the cosmic apathy of the universe. Emrys brings together a family of outsiders, bridging the gaps between the many people marginalized by the homogenizing pressure of 1940s America.
Aphra Marsh, descendant of the People of the Water, has survived Deep One internment camps and made a grudging peace with the government that destroyed her home and exterminated her people on land. Deep Rootscontinues Aphra’s journey to rebuild her life and family on land, as she tracks down long-lost relatives. She must repopulate Innsmouth or risk seeing it torn down by greedy developers, but as she searches she discovers that people have been going missing. She will have to unravel the mystery, or risk seeing her way of life slip away.
Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell
Type: First book in Spellslinger series
Release date: July 17
Kellen is moments away from facing his first duel and proving his worth as a spellcaster. There's just one problem: his magic is fading.
Facing exile unless he can pass the mage trials, Kellen is willing to risk everything - even his own life - in search of a way to restore his magic. But when the enigmatic Ferius Parfax arrives in town, she challenges him to take a different path.
One of the elusive Argosi, Ferius is a traveller who lives by her wits and the cards she carries. Daring, unpredictable, and wielding magic Kellen has never seen before, she may be his only hope.
The first novel in a compelling six-book series, bursting with tricks, humor, and a whole new way to look at magic.
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire
Type: Second book in Ghost Roads series
Release date: July 17
For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows. She’s been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown.
The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won’t let him die, and he’s looking for the one who got away. When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there’s going to be hell to pay—possibly literally.
Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight. Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down? Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker’s luck runs out? There’s only one way to know for sure.
The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang
Type: Third book in Tensorate series
Release date: July 31
Something terrible happened at the Rewar Teng Institute of Experimental Methods. When the Tensorate’s investigators arrived, they found a sea of blood and bones as far as the eye could see. One of the institute’s experiments got loose, and its rage left no survivors. The investigators returned to the capital with few clues and two prisoners: the terrorist leader Sanao Akeha and a companion known only as Rider.
Investigator Chuwan faces a puzzle. What really happened at the institute? What drew the Machinists there? What are her superiors trying to cover up? And why does she feel as if her strange dreams are forcing her down a narrowing path she cannot escape?
Best New Fantasy Books in June 2018
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Type: Hardcover repackage of the first book in the (so, so good) Villians series
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: May 29
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates―brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find―aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge―but who will be left alive at the end?
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.
Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
Type: Short stories from the Dresden Files series
Release date: June 5
The world of Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is rife with intrigue--and creatures of all supernatural stripes. And you'll make their intimate acquaintance as Harry delves into the dark side of truth, justice, and the American way in this must-have short story collection.
From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published "Zoo Day," Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales.
With twelve stories in all, Brief Cases offers both longtime fans and first-time readers tantalizing glimpses into Harry's funny, gritty, and unforgettable realm, whetting their appetites for more to come from the wizard with a heart of gold.
The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates
Type: Second book in Waking Land series
Publisher: Del Rey
Release date: June 5
Thanks to the magic of Elanna Valtai and the Paladisan noble Jahan Korakides, the lands once controlled by the empire of Paladis have won their independence. But as Elanna exhausts her powers restoring the ravaged land, news that the emperor is readying an invasion spurs Jahan on a desperate mission to establish peace.
Going back to Paladis proves to be anything but peaceful, however. As magic is a crime in the empire, punishable by death, Jahan must hide his abilities. Nonetheless, the grand inquisitor’s hunters suspect him of sorcery, and mysterious, urgent messages from the witch who secretly trained Jahan only increase his danger of exposure. Worst of all, the crown prince has turned his back on Jahan, robbing him of the royal protection he once enjoyed.
As word of Jahan’s return spreads, long-sheathed knives, sharp and deadly, are drawn again. And when Elanna, stripped of her magic, is brought to the capital in chains, Jahan must face down the traumas of his past to defeat the shadowy enemies threatening his true love’s life, and the future of the revolution itself.
The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston
Type: First in a trilogy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Release date: June 5
After ten years on the run, dodging daemons and debt, reviled magician Edrin Walker returns home to avenge the brutal murder of his friend. Lynas had uncovered a terrible secret, something that threatened to devour the entire city. He tried to warn the Arcanum, the sorcerers who rule the city. He failed. Lynas was skinned alive and Walker felt every cut. Now nothing will stop him from finding the murderer. Magi, mortals, daemons, and even the gods – Walker will burn them all if he has to. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s killed a god...
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
Type: Third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series
Release date: June 12
Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.
Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister's life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides: Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor's volatility to grow her own power--regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path.
Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But in the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight.
And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender--even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.
Starless by Jacqueline Carey
Type: Standalone (so far)
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: June 12
I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man...
Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.
In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.
If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.
Witchmark by C.L. Polk
Type: Standalone (so far)
Release date: June 19
In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.
Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.
When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhoarse
Type: First book in the Sixth World series
Publisher: Saga Press
Release date: June 26
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.
Welcome to the Sixth World.
Which fantasy 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.
Physicists are using comic books to garner interest in science at Comic-Con.
Half of the phrase science-fiction is science. However, at an event bursting at the seams with science-fiction, it can be hard to find some actual science. In the sea of booths in the ginormous exhibit hall at San Diego Comic-Con, there is one booth championing this cause, and using tools familiar to Comic-Con goers to garner interest in science and physics, and careers in those fields.
The American Physical Society (APS) has had a presence at Comic-Con for several years. The APS is a non-profit physics society with over 55,000 members. Besides providing outlets for scientists to publish papers and hold meetings, they also work to educate the public on the importance of science and physics.
At their website PhysicsCentral.com, APS also seeks to “communicate the excitement and importance of physics to everyone.” One way they do that is with comic books. On their website, you can download and read them, or you can purchase hard copies. If you were lucky enough to visit their booth at Comic-Con, you could pick up free copies, and they were even giving out free LED lights and attaching them to lanyards.
Their main comic book is called Spectra. The protagonist, Lucy, is a middle schooler whose parents are laser scientists. Somehow, Lucy obtained the powers of a laser beam, so she created a superhero alter ego, Spectra, to use her power for good.
The comic book is authored by Rebecca Thompson, who holds a Ph.D. in physics and is also the head of public outreach for APS. She also mysteriously looks a lot like a grownup version of Lucy in the comic book. Thompson dresses up as Spectra at Comic-Con. According to Thompson, Spectra has grown a fan base at Comic-Con.
“Spectra holds her own,” Thompson says. “There are plenty of fans of Iron Man, Rick and Morty, and Black Panther, but Spectra has her following too. We have people coming to our booth year after year to make sure they have the complete collection.”
Another cool aspect of the Spectra comic books is that they encourage kids to participate in hands-on science experiments. They work as a companion piece to APS PhysicsQuest, a program that provides free activity kits to 6th to 9th graders and physical science teachers.
“All the associated experiments are online, including lists of materials,” says Thomson. “Or, like a lot of kids and adults, you can enjoy Spectra’s adventures whether or not you do the experiments. Be careful though, you still might learn some physics.”
At their booth, APS also provided science all-age coloring books and a comic book about Nikola Tesla. Tesla is a bit of a science hero these days. He is often portrayed as the underdog scientific genius whose mind is too full of science to understand the business world, which causes his work to be taken advantage of. The APS comic book portrays this as well, illustrating Tesla’s struggle to promote AC electricity competing with the likes of Thomas Edison and other unscrupulous business moguls.
We would not have science-fiction if it were not for science. Not just because the word makes up half of the phrase, but also because scientific advancement created the genre of imagining what worlds could exist given our scientific discoveries and the potential for the future science may one day provide. However, we need people doing science to get there, and APS is doing their best to encourage Comic-Con goers young and old to take a peek into this wondrous world.
Syfy's Krypton is more than just a Superman prequel, it's a science fiction show with its own set of rules.
Since it was first announced, Syfy’s upcoming series Krypton has had an uphill climb. The latest in a line of place-specific, high-concept superhero prequels like Smallville or Gotham, Krypton is perhaps the hardest sell. While Smallville was the story of a pre-Superman Clark Kent with “no tights, no flights,” and Gotham is simply the story of the city and its colorful cops and robbers in the days before Bruce Wayne put on a pair of pointy ears, Krypton takes a starkly different approach by going 200 years into the past to tell the story of Superman’s grandfather.
But visiting the sets of Krypton, and listening to the cast and executive producer Cameron Welsh expound on the quest to make the world of Krypton live—and not just as a DC Universe show, but as a piece of science fiction that could stand on its own—convinced me that this show could work. Think of Krypton less as a Superman prequel and more of a science fiction TV show that gives audiences the opportunity to discover a strange and alien world. And make no mistake, the series is exploring elements of Kryptonian society in more detail than we’ve ever seen on screen or page.
Welsh is acutely aware of the pressure on his series, and the need for it to tell its own compelling story. “Maybe I'm biased but I think there's plenty of interest in the world of Krypton without Superman,” he says. “We haven't really seen much of this world before, and it's just this open book [that] allows us to tell a story that hasn't been told.”
Even after 40 years, the dominant impression of Krypton in pop culture is the icy sterility of Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie. To be sure, there are some echoes of that (and, for that matter, 2013’s Man of Steel as well as other comics and cartoons) in TV’s Krypton. But this isn’t a pristine, frozen, or sterile world. It’s dirty, lived in, imperfect, and politically complex.
”We're just peeling back a lot more layers than what we've seen before,” Welsh says. “Part of what is exciting about doing this is that we get to get really specific and really detailed and really into this world.”
And they certainly do. To the smallest detail, the planet Krypton lives on its soundstages in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The streets of the show’s key city, Kandor, have alleys and market squares for characters (and journalists) to wander through, all designed with an attention to detail that demonstrates a real love of sci-fi and fantasy. Whether it’s the remnants of posters torn and hanging in a bar (a source of debate, as Welsh points out, since “we don’t use paper anywhere else in the show”), the Kryptonian graffiti on the walls (“I trust the art department haven’t written anything offensive,” he jokes), the weird rodent/insect hybrids (“full of protein”) cooked over blue crystals (“you'll see steam and smoke, but instead of naked flame, they use these blue crystals”) in the street market, or Kryptonian lettering that spells out “take two drops a day, seven days a week” on vials of medicine, Krypton feels more concerned with building its world than blowing it up.
Kryptonian citizens are divided into different guilds. There are guilds for technicians, lawmakers, scientists, the military, artisans, scientists, and clergy. The lower classes are known as the “rankless.” They belong to no guild and live in relative squalor in the literal underside of Kandor. The rankless denizens prowl crowded and darkened streets, forever in the shadow of Kandor’s skyscrapers. As your social status increases, the higher you literally rise in Kandor. The lawmakers and clergy occupy living quarters that are closer to the light of Krypton’s sun god, Rao.
These lower streets of Kandor are known as the “rankless” district, indicative of one of the key sources of conflict on the show: a class struggle that is reflected in virtually every element of Krypton’s design. A recurring feature is a porous, mesh-like metal that makes up everything from chairs and tables to bars and dividing walls. This is apparently the cheapest, most durable material available, and it’s far more common in the rankless areas than it is in the upper echelons of society.
Appropriately, even up above, it never really seems to be midday on Krypton. There’s always the muted warmth of late afternoon, indicative of the diminished light of a giant red sun. But it’s down in that rankless district that we first meet Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather, an angry young man paying for his grandfather’s “crime,” his rank and family station stripped away by Krypton’s ruling class.
Seg-El is played by Cameron Cuffe, and they couldn’t have found a more appropriate or enthusiastic actor for the part. Whenever someone is cast for a superhero or comic book adjacent role, they’re always quick to pay lip service to the source material, the expectations of fans, and the responsibilities that come with the role. But Cuffe is more than a casual fan; he’s fluent in DC Comics mythology in general and Superman in particular (unsurprisingly, he cites the influential Superman work of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank among his favorites, along with Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come), and it’s clear that he’s utterly sincere about the importance of playing Seg-El.
“The interesting thing about Seg as a hero is that he's not fully formed,” Cuffe says. “He doesn't always know right from wrong. The only thing he really has in his life are people he loves. And so when he is finally motivated to come out of that shell, and to prove that he has to be a hero, it's a role that he doesn't really know he can fill. He doesn't think he's the guy. But he does it anyway, and that ultimately is what being a hero is.”
While fans know that Seg-El’s eventual son, Jor-El, becomes one of the most revered scientists in Kryptonian history, when we meet Seg, there’s little to indicate the family destiny is anything so lofty. “One of Superman's greatest powers is that he knows right from wrong, and Seg doesn't,” Cuffe says. “He doesn't know the way forward. Most of the time he has no idea what he's doing. He's just buckling down and holding onto it, and believing in whatever he can believe in, in that moment. And he waivers. He questions himself all the time. But ultimately he stays the course.”
Welsh, on the other hand, sees Seg-El as a potential revolutionary, someone who could “usher in a new golden age” for Krypton. “Part of what we explore in the show is what makes these people special,” Welsh says. “And a lot of that is the House of El and the legacy of the House of El. And when we start our show, we see that Seg is kind of detached from that, having been sort of cast out into the rankless. He's disconnected from his past and from his legacy and that's a bit of a journey for him to discover: What that legacy is, what it means to be an El, what the Els have always stood for, and what he'll learn.”
Seg-El’s resentment of Krypton’s upper class comes with good reason. The House of El is a victim of irrational laws imposed by Kandor’s rulers. Kandor is a theocracy, something incongruous with broader Superman mythology, which has always portrayed Krypton as a planet dominated by science and reason. But here, Kandor’s head of state, who serves above all members of the Lawmaker’s Guild, is the Voice of Rao. The Voice is an eerie, robed figure wearing a multi-faced gold mask which represents Rao’s victory over Krypton’s previous, polytheistic gods and goddesses.
“I think, in the world that we live in, when we look at the roles of religion in society, these can be kind of hot issues that can sort of divide people in a lot of ways,” Welsh says. “We're sensitive to that, but we sort of want to look at those things. That's part of the role of science fiction, to help hold up a bit of a mirror to contemporary society but also be entertaining at the same time. It's like, you don't wanna know that you're eating your vegetables.”
Thanks to theocratic rule, this technologically advanced society has not only shut down its space program, but interstellar exploration is banned by Kryptonian law. We all know how that turns out for them 200 years later. “This is a world where… nobody believes in the existence of aliens,” Welsh says. “In this theocracy, the Voice of Rao has basically stated that the god Rao created all life, and Krypton is the totality of his creation… there is nothing else beyond it. So to speak of life outside of Krypton is heresy.”
Symbolically, the “Watchtower,” an enormous platform protruding from one of the tallest structures in Kandor (the Lawmaker’s Guild’s “tower of justice”), was once a space docking station. Now it is used to execute those who dare suggest that Kryptonians can or should explore the stars. One of those heretics is Val-El (played by Game of Thrones’ Ser Barristan Selmy himself, Ian McElhinney), Superman’s great-great grandfather, who is sent to his doom at the edge of the Watchtower in the opening moments of the first episode for defying the will of Rao, bringing about the downfall of the House of El.
That Watchtower is one of Krypton’s nearly full scale sets, and while it isn’t located hundreds of feet in the air, it’s still an enormous, almost intimidating piece of work, even surrounded by green screens, the ultimate signifier of TV and movie magic. You could park a spaceship there, although during my visit, a nearly life-sized “skimmer” (a Kryptonian high speed aircraft) was nearby, likely to make use of the aforementioned green screens.
But in fantasy and science fiction, you’re only as good as the little details, and Raoism, with all the attendant religious trappings therein, has been carefully considered, right down to its holidays. “One of the things we'll see is what we call the Nova Cycle celebration,” Welsh says. “The Nova Cycle is all about rebirth and it's almost like a festival of light or something, and it kind of goes on for weeks and weeks. There are different stages to it and different ceremonies involved, and people were asked to give offerings and things like that at different stages. Prisoners are always pardoned by Rao's grace, things like that.”
Of course nothing could challenge Rao’s central philosophy more than actual alien contact, and that’s exactly what happens when an Earthman named Adam Strange (played by Shaun Sipos) shows up to inform Seg-El that he’s traveled through space and time to deliver a warning: A far more dangerous alien is also approaching, and it’s called “Brainiac.” Brainiac is a powerful artificial intelligence/cybernetic organism who roams the stars collecting data on civilizations… before destroying them. His preferred method of collection is to remove an entire city from the surface of a world, shrink it, “bottle” it, and store it and its collected knowledge in his ship.
Blake Ritson, who plays Brainiac, certainly did his homework. In the course of a conversation with reporters, he namechecks Koko, the space monkey from Brainiac’s earliest comic book adventures; the character’s unfortunate early “pink spandex” costume; and quotes chapter-and-verse dialogue from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s excellent Brainiac story from 2007. Ritson has given Brainiac considerable thought and promises that there's no "mustache-twirling" in his version of the character.
"I've played a number of villains over the years," he says. "Generally, in life, you consider yourself to be the hero of your own narrative. I think you need to find a way into the perspective of a character, where what they're doing is essentially noble at some level."
How noble can he be if he plans to destroy an entire planet in order to prevent the existence of our world's greatest hero?
While still 200 years from its final cataclysm, there are indicators that Krypton is already dying. Some kind of cataclysm took place in the even more distant past, which has rendered vast swaths of the planet frozen, virtually uninhabitable wastelands. Krypton’s nine city-states, of which Kandor is one, live under domes that protect them from the elements. The outer regions, known as the Outlands, are labyrinthine sets covered in “snow” and the remains of unrecognizable (but somewhat familiar) beasts. But it’s in these frozen outlands that another familiar piece of the Superman legend lives: this show’s version of the Fortress of Solitude.
This Fortress was Val-El’s hidden refuge, where he could conduct his illegal scientific experimentations about the nature of the universe, undisturbed by Kryptonian theocrats. That’s a fun twist on the Fortress concept, and seeing the set itself was breathtaking for this Superman fan.
The Fortress is a full-scale set, semi-circular, with a 40-foot ceiling dominated by two 30-foot tall statues representing the first of the line of the House of El. The Fortress’ open, uncluttered design, bathed in blue-ish light, is both a contrast with the claustrophobic feel of the rankless district and a choice that helps it feel even bigger than it already is. The set may appear somewhat minimalist in its decor at first, but a closer look reveals little details from cosmic DC lore scattered throughout, including a Black Mercy from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Superman story, “For the Man Who Has Everything.” The enormous, nearly floor-to-ceiling oval windows, when illuminated, are decorated in Kryptonian lettering. If you can translate Kryptonese, each window tells the story of a different member of the House of El throughout history, like a Kryptonian Stations of the Cross.
“[Seg] will learn that the Els have, for many, many generations, been woven into the fabric of Krypton and they're part of what makes Krypton special, and he'll start to learn that he's part of that lineage,” Welsh says. “It's part of what helps ignite him and push him into his hero's journey… as he sort of discovers who he is and what he wants to do.”
Of course there are always those who are going to point out that we know how Krypton’s story ends (with a bang). But with the show set in the planet’s distant past, even a successful multi-season run is unlikely to ever reach that point. But there’s another wrinkle to the story: time travel. When a familiar DC character from the present arrives on the Krypton of the past, bearing warnings of the future, things get complicated. “The show very quickly goes from being about this look into the past into a show that has stakes in the present day,” Welsh explains. “It's been a bit of an odd duck in that way. It is still in the past but it affects [the] present day and present day Earth. It's really fun to write that.”
For fans of Superman and science fiction, it might be just as fun to watch.
Krypton premieres on March 21 on Syfy. We'll have much more from our set visit in the coming weeks.
Follow Mike Cecchini on Twitter. After all, how many people do you get to talk to who have actually been to Krypton?
We're tracking down every single Marvel Universe and X-Men reference in Deadpool 2. Please help. For the love of God, help.
This article consists of nothing but Deadpool 2 spoilers. We have a spoiler free review here if you prefer.
The Marvel Brolinsance continues with the release of Deadpool 2. Much like its predecessor, it mixes R-rated action, R-rated humor, a dash of pathos, and lots of references and meta jokes. It’s another movie in the X-Men Cinematic Universe featuring bottom of the barrel characters. In other words, there’s a ton of Easter eggs and trivia references sewn into this bad boy.
Best we could, here’s a reference guide. This goes without saying, but spoilers galore. Even for movies other than Deadpool 2! The first shot of the movie is a reference to how Loganended!
So Wade Wilson, New Mutants #98, blah blah, Deathstroke ripoff, etc. We know all that. So what references do we get from this movie?
- Early on, Wade discusses how horrible his father was. This is 2/3 on point to the comics. In the comics, there were three different takes on what Wade’s father was like. First there’s the Christopher Priest take, where Wade’s father was a lowlife who walked out on him when he was a child. Then Fabian Nicieza had his own version where Wade’s father was a strict, albeit well-meaning, military man who died trying to pull Wade away from hanging out with a dangerous crowd.
Gerry Duggan later insisted that those were false memories. There was nothing especially wrong with Wade’s father, though Deadpool unknowingly killed him as part of a memory-wiping experiment.
- Deadpool prepares for his first job in the movie by listening to “X Gone Give it to You” by DMX, which was a prominent theme to the first movie.
- Deadpool popping out of a coffin to assassinate someone was done in Deadpool Team-Up #898, as part of an alliance with the Zapata Brothers.
- Deadpool’s frustration at being suicidal and being unable to see it through is a regular occurrence in the comics. The first movie’s earlier draft even had a segment dedicated to Wade trying to off himself again and again and constantly failing due to his healing factor. This segment appears in the Super Duper Cut of Deadpool 2.
- As an X-Men trainee, Deadpool wears an ugly team outfit over his own. This is similar to a story arc in Deadpool #16 from the Daniel Way run where Deadpool insisted on joining the X-Men.
- The red motor scooter Deadpool rides is actually a thing from the comics. He rode it around in Deadpool #68 and even appeared on the cover with it along with Taskmaster.
- Deadpool tries deflecting Cable’s bullets with his katanas at one point, only to realize that several of them made it through his torso. His movements are exactly like Wade Wilson’s swordplay in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
- Towards the end of the movie, Deadpool is covered with ash and his red costume becomes gray. This ends up making him look like how he dresses in the Rick Remender X-Force series. Coincidentally, he joined the team in response to Cable’s supposed death.
- Vanessa did also die in the comics, albeit under very, very different circumstances. In Deadpool #59 by Frank Tieri and Georges Jeanty, Deadpool was given the order by Weapon X to kill Vanessa, otherwise known as the mutant Copycat. Deadpool refused and instead tried to defend her against their various soldiers. Vanessa ended up being mauled to death by Sabretooth and, much like the movie, died in Wade’s arms.
Shockingly, despite the first movie’s popularity, Vanessa was never brought back in the comics and only got one mention since.
- Cable, real name Nathan Summers, made his first adult appearance in New Mutants #87 as created by Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld. A mysterious time traveler, he was later revealed to be the son of Scott Summers and Madeline Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey). He was raised in a horrifying future ruled by Apocalypse and dedicated himself to going back in time to prevent that reality from ever taking place.
The movie doesn’t really get into much about what he’s about, but to be fair, the comics took their time on that too. The '90s X-Men cartoon never even got around to explaining who he was, only giving us the occasional hint that he had something to do with Cyclops and Jean.
- Fun fact: for people who got to see early screenings of Deadpool 2, it came with a video of Deadpool begging us not to check Cable’s Wikipedia page because it’s too much of a mindfuck.
- So what do we know about Cable’s future? He mentions that it’s about 50 years later (which would make him age appropriate to be Cyclops’ kid without having to send him further into the future like in the comics), though grown-up Firefist appears to be plenty younger. Despite the claim that the world is ruined, we never get a good look at what that entails.
- Cable mentions his daughter’s name is Hope. Hope Summers is a character introduced in X-Men #205, created by Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo. After the events of M-Day and the near extinction of the mutant race (more on that later), Hope was the first baby born with the mutant gene. Cable found her and protected her, mainly from Bishop. Cable and Hope traveled through various eras with Cable raising Hope until she became a teenager. Eventually, she returned to the present.
- Cable’s rivalry with Bishop had Cable on the opposite side of the conflict compared to Deadpool 2. For Bishop, Hope’s existence would lead to his own horrible future, so he was dedicated to killing her before it was too late.
- With Cable being played by Josh Brolin, there are at least two references to Brolin’s previous roles. Deadpool calls him “One-Eyed Willy,” a legendary pirate from The Goonies, which starred Brolin. The other is Deadpool calling him “Thanos,” what with that being his other huge comic movie role these days.
- Deadpool calls Cable “John Connor,” due to his similarities to, well, everything involving the Terminatorfranchise.
Russell Collins, played by Julian Dennison, is essentially a hybrid of different characters.
- In the comics, Firefist was introduced in X-Factor #1 by Bob Layton and Jackson Guice. A fit, white teen in slacks who physically looks nothing like his cinematic counterpart, Rusty was a pretty generic part of the X-family until leaving to join Magneto’s side as an Acolyte. He died back in the mid-90s.
- He actually has more in common with his animated counterpart from the X-Men cartoon. There, he was a boy living in a corrupt orphanage headed by Zebediah Killgrave.
- Russell shares a lot in common with Johnny, a little boy who appeared briefly in Deadpool’s initial solo series. In Deadpool #58, a mutant boy’s fire powers went out of control and Weapon X (now with Deadpool as a member) went to go investigate. Deadpool was able to talk the boy down from his rampage, but Garrison Kane took advantage of the situation and murdered the kid, much to Deadpool’s fury.
- Thematically, Russell is more based on Evan Sabahnur, codename Genesis. An incarnation of X-Force featuring Deadpool was sent on a mission to kill the reincarnation of Apocalypse. The target ended up being a child, who was being fed propaganda from Apocalypse cultists. Fantomex shot and killed the boy, which awakened nothing but disgust in Deadpool, as killing a kid was over the line for him.
Secretly, Fantomex cloned the child and tried to use virtual reality to raise him as a Clark Kent-like farm boy. Named Evan Sabahnur, he was eventually enrolled in the X-Men’s school. Evan eventually became part of a plot where his rise to villainy would lead to a Minority Report dystopian future. Instead, Wolverine and Deadpool were able to get through to Evan and convince him to be a force of good. Since then, Deadpool has at times acted as a father figure to the boy.
- As a concept, Domino, real name Neena Thurman, was introduced in the same issue as Deadpool: New Mutants #98, by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. In actuality, “Domino” was Vanessa/Copycat in disguise. The real Domino didn’t show up until about a year later in X-Force #8. Domino has been a regular associate to Cable and has teamed up with Deadpool on occasion. At most, she only tolerates Deadpool.
- Deadpool rants about her luck-based powers and how stupid they are, at one point claiming that such an idea would come from some guy who can’t even draw feet. This is an obvious reference to Deadpool and Domino’s co-creator Rob Liefeld, who is constantly made fun of for his difficulties in drawing convincing feet, which more often than not means seeing feet obscured or cropped out of his panels.
- In the Super Duper Cut, Deadpool and Domino's argument over whether or not luck is a superpower ends up hitting Bugs Bunny territory when Domino suddenly claims it isn't a superpowers just so Deadpool will admit that it is.
- Cain Marko, the Unstoppable Juggernaut, was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. His first appearance was in X-Men #12. In the comics, Juggernaut is depicted as being a force of magic and not one created from a biological mutation. He already appeared in X3: X-Men United, as played by Vinnie Jones.
- The credits claim that Juggernaut is played by “himself.”
- Conversation between Juggernaut and Russell establishes that in the movies, Cain Marko and Charles Xavier are step-brothers and that Juggernaut wears the helmet to protect himself from his psychic attacks. The familial connection was completely ignored in X3, though the two only shared one scene.
- Juggernaut fought Deadpool a couple times early on in the comics before Deadpool had his own ongoing series. By the time Deadpool had his own series, writer Joe Kelly decided that Juggernaut would be too obvious to use. Juggernaut later appeared at Wade’s funeral during hte Frank Tieri run.
- Juggernaut tearing Deadpool in half just may be a reference to the memorable opening sequence to Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1 where Hulk tore Wolverine in half in similar fashion. Hey, it wouldn’t be the only Hulk/Juggernaut comparison in this movie.
- Colossus vs. Juggernaut is a regular occurrence in X-Men lore. Much like in this movie, Juggernaut is a league above Colossus and tends to outfight him at every turn.
- Another Nicieza/Liefeld creation, the team X-Force was introduced as a rebranding/spinoff of New Mutants after that comic hit its 100th issue. The team has had many different incarnations, but the main take has been a more fascist take on the X-Men to contrast with Xavier’s more defensive MO. One of the original team members is Cannonball, who the cinematic version of Negasonic Teenage Warhead appears to be slightly based on, at least in the powers department.
Terry Crews’ Bedlam first appeared in the comic Factor X #1, created by John Francis Moore and Steve Epting. Bedlam doesn’t exactly get to do much in the movie, but the power set is accurate to how he’s portrayed in the comics.
Zeitgeist (Axel Cluney) even being in this movie practically spells out the gag about X-Force’s fate. The character was introduced in X-Force #116, which was the beginning of the Peter Milligan/Mike Allred X-Force/X-Statix run. Like in the movie, he could spit acid vomit, but also like in the movie, he died in his first issue despite being treated as a big deal. In fact, a majority of X-Force were killed in that first issue.
- Vanisher, real name Telford Porter, was introduced in the second issue of X-Men. He has absolutely nothing to do with his cinematic counterpart, including powers. Comic Vanisher is a teleporter while the movie version is just invisible. Also, he was an X-Men villain and never a member of X-Force. It’s likely more like the writers saw that name as one of the ones they could use in the movie and wrote a gag around it, much like how they included Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the first movie just because they thought the name was great.
- And hey, turns out he’s Brad Pitt! That’s still not the most random Brad Pitt death in movie history if you've seen Burn After Reading. Told you there would be spoilers here.
- Brad Pitt was in talks to play Cable, but couldn't fit it into his schedule.
- Sometimes comic movies are too afraid to fully embrace the batshit insane world of comic books. That’s why it took so long for us to get Sentinels and why Galactus was a cloud. Shatterstar, despite his limited screentime, dives deep into being exactly like his comic counterpart. Introduced in New Mutants #99 (a mere issue after Deadpool) by Nicieza and Liefeld, Shatterstar is both an alien and from the future. And he has those stupid double-katanas.
- Mojoworld was introduced in Longshot #1and is a separate dimension run by a blobby TV producer with spider legs. This is now part of the X-Men Cinematic Unvierse.
- Black Tom Cassidy was introduced in X-Men #99 by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum. His wood/blast powers are kind of moot since he never actually does anything mutant-based in the movie. Black Tom is the brother of Banshee, but there’s no indication of their relationship in the film.
- In the comics, Black Tom fought Deadpool several times. Not only as a partner of Juggernaut, but also at a time when Deadpool was cycling through his “Black” villains in one adventure, such as Black Swan and Black Box.
- During the early days of X-Force, Cable gunned down Black Tom and almost killed him. Coincidentally, Black Tom only survived because Deadpool saved his life.
X-MEN EASTER EGGS
- Firefist’s rampage is covered by reporter Irene Merryweather. Introduced in Cable #48 by James Robinson and Jose Ladronn, Irene is a reporter who became a close friend to Cable. She was essentially the normal, down-to-earth person there to normalize the future mutant with the giant guns. She was recently killed by Deadpool in the comics due to Cable’s clone Stryfe blackmailing him.
- During the auditions segment, there’s a cartoon drawing of a cowgirl in the background. This is Outlaw, otherwise known as Inez Temple. Introduced during the Gail Simone Deadpoolrun, the mercenary mutant Outlaw had a couple flings with Deadpool and even married him briefly. Unfortunately, Deadpool’s healing factor wasn’t enough to offset the combination of her super-strength and endless libido and he had the marriage annulled.
- The Ice Box is a prison located in Canada, introduced in Maverick #8.
- Russell’s orphanage is named in honor of “Essex,” most likely a reference to Nathanial Essex, otherwise known as Mr. Sinister. Essex was referenced in Days of Future Past’s ending and there’s been rumblings about having him appear in one of the upcoming movies.
- The mutant inhibitor collar was introduced in Days of Future Past. In the comics, it was introduced in X-Men #141.
- The orphanage features various posters promising that M-Day is coming. In the comics, M-Day was the event where Scarlet Witch – distraught over the events of House of M– used her powers to depower nearly every mutant in the world, leaving less than 200.
- When Deadpool steals the motor scooter, he passes by an ice cream truck called "Pryor's Treats." Madelyne Pryor is a clone of Jean Grey and the mother of Cable in the comics.
- During the scene where Deadpool stops at the mansion to appeal to Colossus, the cab has an add for "Alpha Flight" as a tourism thing. Alpha Flight is, of course, the Canadian superteam that exist under X-Men/Fox jurisdiction.
- The Super Duper Cut features a scene where Deadpool messes with the X-Men's fridge. Everyone's food is labeled by their codename, though Xavier's is "Wheels." Wolverine jokingly calls him that in the first X-Men movie.
WHERE IS THE STAN LEE CAMEO?
You can spot Stan Lee twice in the movie. Once in a painting in the X-Mansion, and then again as a crazy graffiti mural as X-Force make their descent.
SUPERHERO MOVIE STUFF
- The movie’s opening shot shows Deadpool’s music box in the form of Wolverine being impaled on a tree stump. This is how Wolverine died at the end of Logan. Deadpool also jokes that Logan wouldn’t have received that R-rating if the first Deadpoolmovie hadn’t already proven it could be done successfully.
- Deadpool briefly brings up comparisons to Passion of the Christ, namely how they’re the top two biggest money makers for R-rated movies. In terms of domestic, Passion of the Christ wins with $370 million to Deadpool’s $363 million, but worldwide, Deadpoolhas $801 million compared to Passion’s $622 million.
- Deadpool tries to excuse his lateness with Vanessa by claiming that he and another costumed guy had a big fight, but stopped once they found out their mothers are both named “Martha.” That’s an easy reference to the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Batman suddenly pulls a 180 on his murderous opinion on Superman.
- In the first movie, Deadpool told Blind Al that he had a stash hidden of a bunch of cocaine and “the cure for blindness,” which at the time felt like him being a jerk mocking her. Turns out he literally had those things after all!
- Deadpool repeatedly talks about the X-Men member “Pigeonwings,” referring to Angel and the fact that having wings is kind of a dumb power when there are others who can fly without them.
- As Deadpool once again rants about how the only X-Men characters we appear to see are Colossus and Negasonic, there’s a quick shot of the current X-Men movie team meeting in a room as Beast (Nicholas Hoult) quietly closes the door before Deadpool can notice. This includes Xavier (James McAvoy), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
- When Deadpool tries on the Cerebro head gear, he remarks it smells like Patrick Stewart, who of course originated the role of Charles Xavier in this franchise, appearing as the character a total of seven times, counting cameos.
- Deadpool’s speech where he decides to shoot up one of the orphanage employees is paraphrased from Colossus at the end of the first movie. The difference is that while he was straight-up ignoring him in the first movie when he shot somebody, this time he felt like he was genuinely doing the right thing.
- Upon losing his powers, Deadpool calls himself worthless like Hawkeye and his bow and arrow. Hawkeye has been regularly mocked for being considered the lamest movie Avenger.
- Deadpool describes Cable as having a Winter Soldier arm. In both the comics and Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bucky Barnes lost his arm during his faked death and had it replaced with a cybernetic limb. Cable’s arm is actually a metal parasite engulfing the flesh.
- Deadpool tosses out the iconic, “I’m Batman,” line, which is the go-to introduction for movie versions of that character.
- Deadpool remarks that Cable is so dark that he must be from the DC Universe. DC’s recent cinematic takes have been regularly criticized for being overly grim and colorless despite being centered around goddamn Superman. Fittingly, Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin have both starred in failed DC movies with Green Lantern and Jonah Hex.
- Deadpool names Domino “Black Black Widow,” doubling down on cracking jokes about white characters with “Black” in their name. Plus Domino is the token female hero and has the same basic abilities as Black Widow.
- Speaking of Black Widow, Deadpool tries to subdue Juggernaut by telling him, “The sun is getting real low.” This is how Black Widow would calm the Hulk into becoming Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
- Dopinder is called “Brown Panther,” which is just a reference to Black Panther. It’s late in the movie and we’re running out of steam.
- In the mid-credits, Deadpool goes back in time to save certain people, but also takes time to enter X-Men Origins: Wolverine(2009) to riddle the original Deadpool with bullets. The mouthless Wade Wilson from this movie is considered a blight on the character’s history and while he got made fun of in the first Deadpool, this just goes farther into the absurd.
- Immediately after, Ryan Reynolds is shot to death before he can accept the role of Green Lantern (2011). That too is considered a big mistake in Reynolds’ acting career.
- The Super Duper Cut shows Deadpool shooting a guy in the head during the funeral ambush in the beginning. Deadpool jokes, "Never see Captain America do that!" Coincidentally, the initial story of the Gerry Duggan/Brian Posehn run of Deadpoolhad SHIELD hire him because of some bad press that came with Captain America killing someone in a cemetery.
- After failing to fully fulfill his contract kill, Deadpool describes it as “mission accomplished” in the George W. Bush sense. In 2003, George W. Bush spoke onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln to announce the end of major military combat in Iraq. All the while, there was a massive “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner in the background. The claims, both verbal and printed, seemed a bit shortsighted, to say the least.
Oh yeah, Brolin played that guy too.
- The movie Wade and Vanessa watch early on is the 1983 release Yentlstarring Barbara Streisand.
- And the song Wade keeps comparing "Papa Can You Hear Me?" to is, obviously, "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" from Disney's megahit Frozen (2013).
- The opening credits include references to both James Bond movies and the iconic chair shot from Flashdance. It’s a natural callback to the comedic credits from the first movie, though with a more negative bend, such as how the first movie called the screenwriters “The Real Heroes” while this time they’re “The Real Villains.”
Similarly, in the Super Duper Cut, the credit is changed to, "I Blame the Writers. 'Real Heroes' My Ass!"
- When Deadpool wakes up in the X-Mansion and hijacks Xavier's wheelchair, he is wearing a T-Shirt that reads "Olivia and Meredith, Friends Furrrever." Those are the names of Taylor Swift's very furry cats. In addition to Deadpool being an ironic smartass, this is also a genuine nod to Ms. Swift and her beloved pets, as both Ryan Reynolds and his wife Blake Lively are good friends with T-Swizzle.
- Deadpool calls Yukio “Pinkie Pie.” Pinkie Pie is a character from My Little Pony who, much like Deadpool, breaks the fourth wall. In fact, Death Battle had an episode dedicated to Deadpool vs. Pinkie Pie.
- Colossus tells Russell, “Come quietly or there will be trouble.” Deadpool and Russell immediately point out that he’s ripping off RoboCop, which he also did in the first movie when he told Deadpool, “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”
- During this sequence, Deadpool also says, "Pump the hate break, Fox and Friends." Which is a dig at well, the fearmongering and general unpleasantness of Fox News' morning show (which is President Trump's favorite program). Ryan Reynolds is really feeling himself these days, considering 20th Century Fox and Fox News are both owned by Rupert Murdoch. What's he going to do? Sell the studio?! Ha, ha... ha?
- At the Ice Box, Deadpool wonders what gang he’ll end up in and asks about the Sorting Hat. The Sorting Hat is the magical being from the Harry Potterbooks that chooses which group each Hogwarts student belongs in.
- At one point during his venting in the Ice Box, Russell says, "I'm going to burn Eddie Marsan alive." Clearly hanging out with Wade Wilson has had the Merc rub off on him, because Russell is also breaking the fourth wall here, as Eddie Marsan is the name of the actor who plays the pervert.
- Cable’s futuristic gun has a dial on it that goes from 1 to 11. This is a reference to This is Spinal Tap, as the band has their amps recalibrated from going up to 10 to 11 in volume because 11 is a higher number and therefore must be louder. None of them realize that the max volume is the max volume no matter what number you put on it.
- Weasel refers to Cable as “the time traveler’s wife’s husband.” The Time Traveler’s Wife is a novel by Audrey Niffenegger.
- Weasel calls it out, but Wade uncrossing and crossing his legs in order to show his gross baby crotch is a reference to Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct(1992). In the famous scene, she did the same move, only wearing a skirt with no underwear.
- Deadpool tries to win Colossus back by holding a cellphone with a boombox app up outside his window, just like John Cusack’s iconic pose from Say Anything (1989).
- We join a scene with Deadpool finishing his rant that Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is pornography. That movie starred Ryan Reynolds' wife, Blake Lively.
- Deadpool notes that Russell has started dressing like the Unabomber. The 90s serial bomber Ted Kaczynski is mainly remembered for his police sketch that showed him wearing a hoodie and sunglasses.
- “Sweep the leg, Johnny!” is the command that the villain from Karate Kidis told when fighting Daniel in the climax.
- Cable firing the bullet that kills Deadpool (if at least briefly) is accompanied by the song "Tomorrow," a cloyingly saccharine (but catchy) tune from the Broadway musical Annie, which debuted in 1977. This is also set-up by the fact that Cable's daughter apparently had that song playing when she was killed in the future. Also, Wade (and Ryan Reynolds apparently) just loves that showtune!
- Deadpool nicknames Negasonic “Eleven,” the name of the super-powered, shaved head girl from Stranger Things.
- Blink and you'll miss it, but a news ticker reports that "Christopher Plummer refuses role in Deadpool 2." Christopher Plummer took over Kevin Spacey's role in All the Money in the World after Spacey was outed as an abuser. TJ Miller was getting similar accusations shortly before Deadpool 2's release, so...
- In the Super Duper Cut, Deadpool claims that he'll have to "die harder" and then mentions that it's trademark Fox. Die Hard 2came out in 1990 with the tagline "Die Harder."
- The Super Duper Cut also has Deadpool respond to Domino's claim about being in the right place at the right time as being like 2008 Ryan Reynolds. 2008 featured three movie releases by the actor, him marrying Scarlet Johansson, and I suppose getting the role of Deadpool for the first time.
- The extended cut also has him remark that the X-Mansion is filled with paintings of old, white men. He brings up Calista Flockhart, the wife of Harrison Ford.
- The extended end credits feature Deadpool attempting to kill baby Hitler, but realizing how hard it is because he's just a baby. At one point, he starts nervously clapping while repeating, "This is crazy..." Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) did this before swimming with a woman who wasn't his wife in National Lampoon's Vacation.
Any other Easter eggs or references we’ve missed? Sound off in the comments!
Gavin Jasper wonders if the Fat Gandalf line flub joke was planned or an improvised blooper that they kept in. Follow Gavin on Twitter!
Remember the early 2000s? This exclusive look at The Wild Storm #16 gives old characters a new spin.
It's probably just a coincidence that the last Absolute edition of The Authoritycame out two weeks ago, and The Wild Storm, Warren Ellis and Jon Davis Hunt's ground-up reimagining of the Wildstorm universe that we have consistently loved, is just starting to assemble that iconic team. Probably.
That book is arguably where Ellis made the leap from popular comic writer to sells-any-book-he's-on icon. It signaled a foundational shift in comics storytelling, both from Ellis' writing and Bryan Hitch's art. But in retrospect, the changes in Ellis have been significant.
The turn of the millenium wasn't really a time for subtlety, and The Authoritywas the right book for the time. Everything was huge, over the top, and on the nose. The critiques of superhero comics were a little blunt, but they also made good points, and holy cats was it great to look at. But as it was emulated by others, as it started to permeate the entire industry, that cynicism got stale. It's part of what made "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?" such a classic Superman story: it wasn't Superman fighting hyperviolence, it was Superman fighting ennui. And I think Ellis grew out of that as a writer. The comparison between the old Authority and the new one he's assembling in the pages of this book are striking: he's much more deliberate in his pacing and reserved with his dialogue. Characters still have that distinctly Ellisian voice, but it breaks the immersion of the story less frequently.
He's also much less critical of mainstream comics. The book's DC-adjacentness has always been plainly evident. Hell, over in Michael Cray, he's been murdering the hell out of the Justice League. But it's a good Elseworlds story - it's justified in-book, and it's used for character development for Deathblow. And in this exclusive preview of The Wild Storm#16, we see even more: the map of the internet that The Engineer sees when she goes online to talk to Jenny Sparks looks an awful lot like the map of the multiverse from Multiversity.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Here's what DC has to say about the book:
THE WILD STORM #16 written by WARREN ELLIS
art and cover by JON DAVIS-HUNT
variant cover by SANA TAKEDA
What was Project Thunderbook? What did John Lynch do to the Thunderbook experimental subjects? Why did he shut it down and scatter them across America? Why isn’t Thunderbook subject Gloria Spaulding aging? Why do people act like she’s an alien? Well...alien is exactly what they made her at Thunderbook.
Take a look.
Sarah J. Maas' Catwoman: Soulstealer is a refreshing change of pace from comic book canon.
This review contains spoilers for Catwoman: Soulstealer and Batman #50.
Catwoman has had an eventful summer.
At this point, if you haven’t readBatman #50, you’ve probably already seen the news: DC’s eagerly-anticipated wedding event is the wedding that wasn’t. In the comics universe, Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne have spent fifty issues figuring out their relationship, only for them to both come to opposing realizations: Bruce realizes that it might indeed be possible for him to be happy by giving love a chance. Selina realizes the world needs a suffering Batman more than she needs to be with her true love. It’s heart-wrenching, and it’s beautifully done in an over-sized issue that features art of the pair from over the many years they’ve been on again, off again.
But, as much as the story culminates in a sensible conclusion for the run, it shies away from what might have been an even more exciting exploration in comics: What would a Batman/Catwoman marriage look like? What would it be like for Bruce Wayne to be happy? Is Selina right that it would ruin Batman, or has she made a sacrifice in vain?
Like Marvel’s ultimate retcon (in which Spider-Man rewrote revealing his secret identity), the failed wedding of Batman and Catwoman may open new doors for an even more suffering, angrier Batman... but is it really that far from a return to the status quo? Or is it a gambit to make sure that the solo Catwoman book has a successful run?
Luckily for Selina Kyle, she has an entirely different opportunity for reinvention in Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas. Part of the new DC ICONS novel line, which puts some of their primary protagonists at the center of YA/New Adult (college-aged protagonists, rather than teens) novels, Catwoman: Soulstealerintroduces a Selina Kyle birthed by Gotham City’s East End and honed into a weapon by the League of Assassins, who returns to Gotham City on a mission that, while hinted at, is never made clear until the book’s climax. It’s a roller coaster filled with heist action, girl power team-ups, and the notable absence of Bruce Wayne. Luke Fox, also known as Batwing, plays against this incarnation of Catwoman instead.
The Catwoman: Soulstealer story opens on Selina and her sister, abandoned by their addict-criminal mother. Because Selina’s sister has cystic fibrosis and her medical bills are high, Selina has joined the gang the Leopards and has been fighting in crime-boss Falcone’s illegal boxing ring to get more money. It isn’t a sustainable strategy and, soon, Selina is arrested for crossing one too many lines—and offered a way out by Talia al Ghul, who takes her to train to become a ghul, an assassin who will take down the world order.
Selina chooses her moment to return to Gotham, under the identity of Holly Vanderhees (a possible reference to comic-Selina’s best friend Holly Robinson), when Batman is out of town, leaving only his younger vigilante mentee to defend the city. At first, Selina’s motive looks simple: sow chaos, play Robin Hood (stealing from the rich and funneling some of those goods to worthy causes), and bring Gotham City to its knees.
But when the first fellow ghul from the League of Assassins appears to bring her down, the idea that everything is not as it seems starts to take root. And, like one of Poison Ivy’s attack vines, that root shows some dangerous consequences.
Some of the most fun in the novel comes from the interactions between Selina and Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, with whom she teams up in her quest to put Gotham City’s underworld under her thumb. Ivy is as brilliant as Selina, and her expertise with chemicals and poisons makes her an excellent ally (and her unrequited love for Harley Quinn, with whom she hooks up but receives no further romantic promises, is a lovely driving point for the narrative and counterpoint to Selina’s own loves).
Harley, still pining after her ex, the Joker, is a loose cannon, but one full of manic joy, who refuses to take anything seriously. The Joker, currently locked in Arkham, is absent for most of the book, allowing the Cat and her friends to play as freely as they want. From the outside, everything may seem like a game to both both socialite Holly and purring burglar Catwoman, but Selina's point-of-view narration shows that things are always serious to the person underneath both personas.
Equally serious are the sections from the point-of-view of Batwing. Luke Fox, as a marine, couldn’t save his friends from the IED that left him horribly scarred. On returning home, the young African American man suffers from PTSD, and part of how he deals with those episodes is by becoming a vigilante. Maas takes on a lot with this character, but while she may only hit the tip of the iceberg on issues of being African American in the modern United States, what she does reference gives a sense of her Gotham belonging to the larger modern world.
At one point in the narrative, Luke remembers being pulled over and harassed by corrupt members of the GCPD for driving while black; when they check his driver’s license and realize he’s a member of the extremely wealthy and well-respected Fox family, they back off. Luke recognizes both his class privilege and the problems of race in moments like this one throughout the book, in ways that show Maas consciously wrangling with properly portraying a character outside her own lived experience.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Maas’s departure from the Selina/Bruce relationship, especially with the tempestuous issues of the Batman comics run, is a refreshing change of cannon. The novel’s Selina, with her impoverished childhood, genius IQ, and trained social graces, needs a strong romantic foil who can take a back seat and let her manage her own narrative. Luke never falters in his honor and his insistence on doing what is right, but, because of his military experience, his heritage, and his access to Bruce Wayne, he knows that systems aren’t always good vs. evil. The attraction between Catwoman—a villain who also prizes loyalty and sticking up for the voiceless—and Batwing is well paced and plotted believably, and their ultimate end is a satisfying one.
It’s unfortunate the DC ICONS books don’t look set up for sequels, because Catwoman: Soulstealer could easily be the launching point for new adventures, even after Batman and larger world players returned to the scene. In the meantime, Catwoman #2 is set to hit stands in early September, and comics-Selina may indeed be getting a whole new start without Batman as her foil.
Catwoman: Soulstealer is now available to buy via Amazon or your local bookstore.
Quietly's college roommate steals the Pacific Ocean in this wonderfully-imaginative speculative fiction novella from Rachael K. Jones.
This Every River Runs To Salt review contains some spoilers.
Environmental activism is a staple of forward thinking speculative fiction for a reason: we don’t take care of the earth, and maybe she won’t take care of us back. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been behind several stories and a pretty cool graphic novel series (Great Pacific by Joe Harris)—and it’s a real thing in serious need of environmental action. (You can read more about the reality of the situation in National Geographic’s article from March 2018.)
All of that aside, it is safe to say that no one has ever treated the Great Pacific Garbage Patch with as much mythologically-laden lyricism as Rachael K. Jones. In her long-form debut Every River Runs To Salt, a novella out today from Fireside Press, Jones turns ideas and metaphors into living, breathing characters. She designs an underbelly to a university town that’s both underworld and a chance for redemption, maybe in the same breath. She underscores all of these big, mythologically inclined characters by grounding her narrative in love—what it means to hold on, and let go, and come around changed on the other side.
If this sounds like a lot to handle in a slim, 54-page novella (per the page count in the ePub edition I received for this review), it may well be, but Jones handles it with such aplomb and such gloriously beautiful prose that it will carry you—as long as you’re willing to let it take you for the ride.
Oceans in jars
I keep an ocean in a jar on my nightstand and a handful of coffee beans in my pocket. My roommate Imani once held the Pacific Ocean hostage in our living room, but that was before she died and I followed her down to the Under-Ath to fix the mess she left.
Narrator and protagonist Quietly doesn’t believe Imani when she first announces that she’s stolen the Pacific Ocean over their university summer break. Imani, who has a glacier for a great grandparent, is irate the way only a glacier can be: once she’s made a decision, she’s an unstoppable force, moving over everything until she’s accomplished her goal.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was, truthfully, discovered in 1988; as Imani points out, it’s older than both Imani and Quietly, who are perpetual college students putting off graduation by one more class every semester. No one is doing anything about it, so Imani decides she’s going to show the world just how much they’ve taken the Pacific for granted—by bringing it home with her in a mason jar.
One taste tells Quietly that the water Imani’s brought home is something big, but the whole ocean? Sure enough, the news forecasts begin to report the missing ocean. All of it, gone, including the gyre (a circulating system of ocean currents) that harvests all the garbage for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Of course, the garbage is still there, waiting to be picked up. Quietly suggests that Imani needs to return the ocean before something really bad happens, but Imani is resolute: no ocean returned until the garbage is gone.
The "hypotheticals"—personifications of place
That’s before California comes calling. A personification of the idea of California, the being appears, demanding the return of the Pacific, and giving Imani the gift of yearning. It’s a curse, but a disguised one: the University of Georgia protects its students in Athens, and no true curses can get through it’s guard.
Instead, Imani is overcome with love for the Pacific, and even if she wanted to give it back, she finds she’s unable to do so. When Oregon and Washington arrive, things get even worse, and the gifts they give Imani turn her, like Lot’s wife, into a pillar of salt. This leaves Quietly to figure out how to get the ocean home, before they claim her as well for that single taste of ocean she took at the beginning of the story.
Divided between Athens, Georgia, and Under-Ath, the gyre beneath the old university town, where its own waste—the wash ups and has beens—flows, the novella offers a rich setting at every turn. Here, the places truly are characters, sometimes literally in human form. A glacier can have children, an ocean can be in love, and a river can offer friendship to a student with nowhere else to turn. Jones’s real-world details are exquisite, and needed because so much of the world of the story is bigger than real, larger than life.
While Jones is not African American herself, her two lead characters are LGBTQ African American women, whose friendship is also a love-in-potentia, a relationship that hasn’t yet changed into something more than platonic. But Quietly admits to herself that the reason she hasn’t yet graduated college is because she doesn’t want to graduate from Imani, to move on and leave her.
When Imani dies—or, because she’s also possibly an ocean, doesn’t quite—Quietly has to learn how to navigate both the world of jobs and whatever happens after college, beyond the university’s protection, and the dangers of the magical Under-Ath without her. Luckily, Quietly finds a loud voice, and to claim agency for not only her own story, but for the world.
For the sheer beauty of the prose, and for the reinvention of American mythology, Every River Runs To Salt is well worth the read.
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Den of Geek talked to Professor Theodora Goss about reimagining classic literary canon...
In The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, Theodora Goss takes the most famous of 19th-century monster tales and turns them on their heads, making the female monsters of the narratives (or the female monsters from the spaces between the canon) into the protagonists of their own story.
When we meet series main character Mary Jekyll in The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, she is left penniless following the death of her mother. When a series of murders seems to be connected to her late father, Dr. Jekyll, or perhaps to his mysterious assistant Mr. Hyde, Mary starts down a path of investigation alongside Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson that leads her to create her own found family that includes Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, and Diana Hyde.
The adventure continues in European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, the second book in a planned trilogy. When Mary & co. receive news that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club make their way into the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire into an attempt to save her.
Den of Geek had the chance to chat with Professor Goss about crafting the world of the Athena Club. Listen to our entire interview below...
Hulu has renewed its Stephen King-based horror series, Castle Rock, for Season 2 even before the rest of Season 1 arrived.
Castle Rock Season 2 is officially a go over at Hulu! The streamer didn’t even need to wait for the aggregate number for Season 1, which premiered on July 25. Indeed, the weekly series – on the eve of Episode 6 of 10 – has already procured a Season 2 renewal. However, the details pertaining to the release time table are not yet known.
The entire Castle Rock Season 1 creative coalition are set to return for Season 2. They consist of executive-producers in Stephen King himself, along with Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams and Ben Stephenson. Developers Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason will also continue in their capacity as showrunners and executive producers.
The reason for the renewal of the Maine-set small town mystery series is quite simple, since Hulu cites that Castle Rock is its most successful (consumption-wise,) first-season original launch, also providing the outlet’s highest view-through rates. Moreover, the series has been a bountiful boon for the ever-expanding Stephen King live-action universe, which is about to surge in an unprecedented capacity with an insane array of movies and television projects.
Interestingly, Castle Rock is giving Marvel Studios a run for its money as far as shared universe dynamics are concerned. The series showcases familiar King concepts like Scott Glenn’s role as Castle Rock sheriff Alan Pangborn, a character from King novels like The Dark Half and Needful Things (which had a 1993 movie in which Ed Harris played the character), Shawshank State Prison (the setting of a certain Oscar-nominated 1994 film,) and the consequential last name of Jane Levy’s Jackie Torrance (who’s confirmed to be related to The Shining’s Jack Torrance). Even the idea of Bill Skarsgård– who’s killing it on the big screen as King’s horrific harlequin, Pennywise, in It and its upcoming sequel – playing a different role in the King Universe is intriguing.
Pertinent to the idea of building the King Universe in a diverse, yet interconnected way, Castle Rock will ultimately prove itself to be an anthology series, since Dustin Thomason – who developed the series with Sam Shaw, along with J.J. Abrams – revealed how each season will tell a self-contained story, meaning that Season 2 will likely brandish a new cast of characters. As Thomason recently explained to us:
“The basic idea is that it is an anthology in the sense that we're going to tell a new story that gives you a different lens into Castle Rock and into Stephen King each season. The thing we've always been really excited about, in the same way that the Stephen King universe operates, is that each story will stand alone, but that we will be circling back to characters whose stories intersect with the new stories.”
Castle Rock Season 1, which stars Andre Holland, Melanie Lynskey, Bill Skarsgard, Jane Levy and Sissy Spacek, is rolling out on a weekly basis on Hulu on Wednesdays, heading toward its finale on September 12.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
With Lauren Cohan set to leave behind The Walking Dead behind, the actress hints on how Maggie’s exit will go down.
The Walking Dead Season 9 is not only touting an intriguing 18-month time jump, but radical changes that will see main cast members Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan leave the series. While Lincoln’s impending exit as Rick Grimes seems to be motivated by burnout, Cohan’s departure was marked after offers of new opportunities, notably a major role in this week’s Mark Wahlberg actioner, Mile 22, and a co-starring role on the upcoming ABC crime series, Whiskey Cavalier.
As the October premiere of The Walking Dead Season 9 approaches, the reality of severing a seven-year, 8-season run is obviously becoming clearer for Lauren Cohan, who has played the role of Maggie Rhee (née Greene,) since the 2011-launched Season 2. Surprisingly, the actress dishes some details about the upcoming role-wrap-up in an interview with Gamespot. While cynical-minded speculation might lead one to believe that quitting this show obligates one’s character to a gruesome death, ripped apart, eviscerated and consumed by the dead, Cohan goes far enough to reveal that Maggie’s fate will be left open-ended, explaining:
"It feels like the greatest way to honor it is to keep it open-ended because whether it's about me going back as Maggie or whether it's about me just taking in, absorbing, and honoring everything I've learned there.” Enthusiastically adding, “It never leaves me. It will never, ever leave me. And that is I think the greatest compliment you can give to anything and to any group of people because we all came together to make something that we didn't know was going to have this success that it did."
Consequently, Cohan’s Maggie, who has evolved from the tragedy of Negan’s brutal killing of her husband, Glenn, into becoming a leader of the Hilltop community and – as the Season 9 trailer implies – a mother to the child she conceived with her late husband, should, in the very least, reach a satisfying trajectory. Moreover, when asked if the open-ended nature of Maggie’s mysterious fate leaves the door open for a prospective return, Cohan implies that – while it’s not guaranteed – it is still a possibility.
However, Cohan is clearly not thinking about a return, and the idea of turning the page on The Walking Dead– the most significant TV run of her career – seems to be at the forefront of her thoughts these days. As Cohan reminisces with preemptive elegiac wistfulness:
"I had a lot of time to think about it before I came back to Walking Dead this season. And what the show means to me, what my family there means to me, what my time there has meant, and how this role has impacted my life which is immeasurable."
While Cohan was hardly a newcomer when she joined The Walking Dead, having banked high-profile runs on shows like Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and Chuck, she explains how the years on Dead transformed her in immutable ways:
“It taught me to trust in such an important, creative way. I don't think I can ever shake that. Once you have an experience like that, it really dictates the measure of how you want to connect with people going forward in my work."
It will be interesting to see how Cohan’s Maggie makes her exit from The Walking Dead in Season 9, especially considering how deeply embedded the character currently is in the storylines of the series. However, new showrunner Angela Kang is onboard to shake things up for the popular-but-ratings-hemorrhaging series. Plus, as fans who are familiar with the source material of Robert Kirkman’s comic book series are aware, major changes lie ahead and a horrendous housecleaning of characters could be imminent, attributed to the arrival of the show’s new big bad, Alpha (Samantha Morton), and her extremely territorial, walker-skin-wearing group, the Whisperers. Of course, going by Cohan’s comments, Maggie should be safe… maybe.
The Walking Dead Season 9 premieres on AMC on October 7.
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Sherlock and Watson are black lesbians in a dystopian, near future D.C. in this wonderful new interpretation of the Conan Doyle canon.
When I first claimed A Study in Honor for a review, I expected it to be focused primarily on the advertised Holmesian connection. Instead, Claire O'Dell takes Arthur Conan Doyle’s introduction of Holmes and Watson in A Study in Scarlet and turns it 270 degrees, setting the mystery in a dystopian near-future, where Dr. Janet Watson (who, like her namesake, was injured in war) becomes the roommate to Sara Holmes, a woman with mysterious clients and condescending habits.
Both women are African American (the book is set in Washington D.C.) and LGBTQA, and as the story opens, I suspected that the plot would closely follow the bones of Doyle’s original, with the conceits of the gender/race swapping giving the story its interest. But O’Dell does so much more than that, and the story rises above its references to become something new and captivating.
While Sherlock Holmes readers are sure to appreciate the nods (the realtor who shows Watson the apartment is Jenna Hudson, a reference to Holmes’s landlady Mrs. Hudson; a pivotal character late in the novel shares a last name with "the woman"), O’Dell’s interest seems to be delving more deeply into the character of her Watson than Doyle ever did.
While, in Doyle’s original works, Watson is the affable foil and recorder of the exploits of Holmes, O’Dell’s Watson returns from war suffering PTSD, and the novel is as much about Watson beginning to heal as it is solving the mysterious deaths of veterans—and bringing those responsible to justice.
Janet Watson’s World
In A Study in Honor's near-future setting, the United States is at war with itself. O'Dell's world building seems to stem from the notions of "what if": what if the United States is truly as divided right now, in the real world, as the media presents it? What if the Trump presidency has brought out so much viciousness and hatred for the other that those emotions can never be successfully be shoved back into the shadows? What if a progressive Latinx female wins the presidency?
In Janet Watson’s world, the answer is that white supremacists and the voices that ally with them form a true rebellion, breaking the United States into a second civil war that begins in Oklahoma, but stretches through the middle of the country. The New Confederacy takes what territory it can, and the movement expands quickly enough that celebrated surgeon Dr. Janet Watson feels compelled to serve. No one understands her decision: her parents worry, her grandmother openly criticizes her, her sister thinks she’s trying to take on the world, and her girlfriend leaves her.
And then comes Alton, Illinois, which changes everything again. It’s an unprecedented attack of the New Confederacy on the United States, and they successfully overrun U.S. territory. Watson is there to see the destruction. Watson is among those trying to get her patients to the safety of the helicopters—to get them out of the massacre. And as that’s happening, a sniper’s bullet shatters her arm. Despite the world’s technological advances, which would allow her to have a mechanical replacement equal to her own surgeon’s fingers, in the field, they’re only able to attach an outdated arm that has nowhere near the dexterity and handling her work requires.
Angry at the world, and left angry and frightened from the war, Watson takes her case to Washington D.C., where she once lived, and where now she hopes to make a case to the VA that she needs a suitable arm. Bureaucracies being what they are—and with an unpopular war losing funding—she’s able to extract only placations. Perhaps they’ll be able to get her an arm if she can wait long enough. Perhaps, but no promises. Watson takes a job as a VA medical technician, logging in patient data as they arrive to see the doctors, as a way to earn money while she waits.
Racial tensions run as high in Watson’s world as they feel in modern America, and her voice reveals how this feels in understated moments. At one point, when very dark-skinned Holmes shouts at a white-skinned hospital receptionist, Watson chronicles the response:
Her voice was too loud, too flat. The woman jumped in her seat. I sensed movement rippling throughout the reception area. The white people staring at us. The few blacks going still and tense as they stared anywhere but in our direction.
Watson’s awareness of the social dynamics of race and class—of how she is impacted by them, and of the choices she makes and doesn’t make because of the way the world still works, separating people first by pigmentation and further by culture—reads as a strong social commentary, and as a window for readers who have never had to think about how their skin color impacts the way the world treats them.
Claire O’Dell is a pseudonym for Beth Bernobich. Bernobich is not, herself, African American, so this is not an #OwnVoices novel in terms of race or, for that matter, disability. (From this straight, white, able-bodied reviewer's perspective, it seems that she conducted extensive research to so convincingly write from both perspectives.) However, it is #OwnVoices for PTSD and bisexuality.
Watson’s inner life is fascinating, even without playing her against the very Holmesian Sara, whose superiority and cunning are a match for Doyle’s original, though her means and methods are different. Watson is tempted into becoming Holmes’s roommate because it gets her out of the miserable hostel in which she’s staying, and because, in all things, she is tempted by beauty. And it is good for Holmes that she recognizes Watson’s weakness, because Holmes makes herself insufferable.
She is imperious. She assumes her own way. She takes charge of situations without explaining herself and expects others to fall in line. There’s an implication that this is because she’s from a wealthy family—with whom she frequently disagrees, but who ultimately come through when she needs them. She’s hooked into all the latest tech: she wears cybernetic lace gloves and an earbud that give her access to an information cloud that puts the modern Internet to shame.
Holmes’s affluence is a thorn for Watson, though she initially does her best to ignore Holmes’s idiosyncrasies. When one of Watson’s patients dies—a woman suffering from similar PTSD to Watson’s own, whose sleeplessness and depression had her coming back for frequent appointments—Watson looks into the death, and finds herself suddenly targeted by a mugger on her way home from work.
Holmes locks Watson away from the world to recover from the attack (drawing Watson’s intense ire), and ultimately reveals a small bit about her work—as an intelligence agent of the federal government. Though Holmes is not authorized to investigate further, she partners with Watson, because the data refuses to line up, and Holmes sees connections that need more evidence before she can prove a conspiracy that threatens not only Watson, but the fate of the United States.
While Holmes never reveals the same kind of depth as Watson, there are hints of it there, as well as moments that show the impenetrable façade of her superiority hides a vulnerability. Holmes will strike readers as the kind of woman few people understand, and even fewer people befriend. Despite Watson’s initial dislike and fury toward her roommate, as the novel concludes, the two women are indeed friends and allies, and are well set up to complete further adventures.
The Holmes and Watson hook is a sure bet—there are enough spin-offs in mystery, film, and SFF for marketers to know that those names are an obvious draw. But, while you may come for the hook, stay for O’Dell’s characters, who are fully realized in their own right. Come for her world, a frightening and all-too-possible feeling dystopia. And come for the hope that, even when all the world seems unfair, there are people who fight for justice—and who find it, a little at a time.
To promote the upcoming Deadpool 2 Blu-ray and DVD, the Deadpool Core website will allow you to apply to X-Force. Your funeral.
On Tuesday Aug. 21, Deadpool 2comes out on Blu-ray and DVD, adding to our very Josh Brolin-based month of comic book movie home releases. While the Blu-ray will come with the usual special extras, including the Super Duper Extended Cut (which includes a longer version of that bath house fight and the post-credits sequence), Fox has another special extra in mind.
Even though the big deal about Deadpool 2 is that it brings Cable into the mix, a chunk of the movie is dedicated to Deadpool putting together X-Force, essentially Wade Wilson’s own X-Men, but with blackjack and hookers. He gets a team of powerhouses that include a guy who can disrupt electricity, a dude with acid spit, a woman with totally fake “luck powers,” an incredibly handsome invisible man, an alien super warrior, and some guy named Peter.
That begs the question: who didn’t make the cut? I mean, we know Dopinder didn’t. But who else? The extended edition doesn’t give us any answers, but now we know thanks to Fox we finally know: it was you. Damn.
Starting on Thursday Aug. 16, Deadpool Core will have a special page where fans can fill out their own X-Force applications, including headshots. Once done, you’re able to share them with your friends and on social media because people skip through commercials these days and we need some kind of new reminder that this movie is getting a home release.
In the meantime, here are some applications that Deadpool straight-up wasn’t feeling that we have exclusively delivered to us by Wade with maximum effort.
So while the Super Duper Cut is available for digital now, you’ll have to wait until Tuesday for the Blu-ray. Said disc has all this stuff on it:
- Gag Reel
- Deleted/Extended Scenes
- Until Your Face Hurts: Alt Takes
- Deadpool's Lips are Sealed: Secrets and Easter Eggs
- The Most Important X-Force Member
- Deadpool Family Values: Cast of Characters
- David Leitch Not Lynch: Directing DP2
- Roll with the Punches: Action and Stunts
- The Deadpool Prison Experiment
- Chess with Omega Red
- Swole and Sexy
- "3-Minute Monologue"
- Audio Commentary by Ryan Reynolds, David Leitch, Rhett Reese, and Paul Wernick (Theatrical Version ONly)
- Deadpool's Fun Sack 2
- Stills (28 Images)
That’s more than 27 stills! The future is an awesome thing.
Gavin Jasper isn’t applying because the life-expectancy seems questionable. But you can still follow Gavin on Twitter!
Nine Lives, a novelette from the late sci-fi great, Ursula K. Le Guin, is being developed as a movie.
The legacy of the influential sci-fi author, Ursula K. Le Guin, appears to be highly coveted in the immediate aftermath of her death this past January, with live-action adaptation projects continuing to join the queue. While prospects are glistening for a movie adaptation of The Telling, as well as a properly-reverent movie adaptation of Le Guin’s sprawling magnum opus, the Earthsea novels, the latest project is a bit more of an esoteric choice from her works, a 1969 novelette, called Nine Lives.
The latest Le Guin endeavor, Nine Lives, is getting off the ground with U.K. producers Gavin Humphries (Pin Cushion) of Quark Films and former Sony Pictures International producer Josephine Rose, reports Deadline. Tom Basden will co-write the script with Siri Rodnes, an actress and burgeoning filmmaker, who will take the creative plunge as director. Basden, who procured a BAFTA nomination for writing the Netflix series, Fresh Meat, is the creator and writer for the ITV2 comedy, Plebs (soon to be adapted in the U.S. by Seth Rogen), on which he also co-stars. He also created the comedy series, Gap Year. Casting choices are reportedly underway.
Read the latest Den of Geek Special Edition Magazine Here!
Nine Lives was published by Le Guin in Playboy back in 1969, but under the sexist caveat – commonly practiced at the time – that her name be published as “U.K. Le Guinn” to hide her gender (à la Star Trek writer Dorothy “D.C.” Fontana). Apropos to the movie adaptation team’s comedic leanings, the story is a dark comedy, set on a drilling base on the Moon, where two ennui-afflicted workers are excited about the idea that their company is sending new personnel, only to learn that the arrivals are a set of ten clones. The story uses its sci-fi tropes to explore themes that remain relevant, such as technology-enabled isolationism and the erosion of individualism, as well as ontological questions about what defines life.
Interestingly, with Le Guin known to be extremely critical of adaptations of her work (she famously lambasted the 2004 Earthsea TV movie), it may be somewhat poetic that Nine Lives writer/director Rodnes actually knew Le Guin, having met the American author after adapting one of her short stories at the NFTS film school in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England. Rodness procured a BAFTA nomination for the 2016 short, Take Your Partner, and was reportedly mentored by Ex Machina and Trainspotting producer Andrew Macdonald on the BFI’s Flare LGBT training program.
We will keep you updated on the Nine Lives movie adaptation as things develop!
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween returns to the spooky world of R.L. Stine! Here's a new trailer...
Goosebumps 2 is arriving with more spooktacular cinematic goodness to reinvigorate the childhood memories of '90s kids and haunt a new generation. Now the film finally has an official title: Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.
The first Goosebumps, based on R.L. Stine's children's horror series of the same name, was one of the best family films of 2015, and was a box office winner for Sony after raking in $156 million. Now the studio is gearing up for the sequel. In the latest report from Variety, actors Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ken Jeong, and Chris Parnell are circling the project. We'll update when we have official confirmation.
Until then, here's everything we know about Goosebumps 2...
Goosebumps 2 Trailer
A new trailer for Goosebumps 2 has arrived! Check it out below:
Here's the first trailer, too:
Goosebumps 2 Release Date
Goosebumps 2 has been goose-bumped to the later release date of October 12.
With this move, as reported by Deadline, the sequel – previously booked for September 21 – will arrive conveniently closer to the genre-appropriate Halloween holiday.
Interestingly enough, the date bump might just shed some light on the still-mysterious sequel status of star Jack Black. While reports from as recent as November implied that Black was not yet locked in to reprise his role as author R.L. Stine, the move away from the September 21 date seems to telegraph his return, since the actor will also appear in the September 21-scheduled gothic fantasy film, The House with a Clock in its Walls; a major production directed by gore auteur Eli Roth in which Black co-stars with Cate Blanchett and Kyle MacLachlan.
Consequently, the moving of Goosebumps 2 away from that date to October 12 seems to imply that the studio is attempting to avoid awkward box office competition between two Jack Black films.
Goosebumps 2 Details
Goosebumps 2 has a new screenwriter, but it may be losing its star. According to Variety, Rob Lieber (whose credits include Disney's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) will pen the script for the Goosebumps sequel. His treatment, according to the trade, is believed to not involve Goosebumps star Jack Black.
Back in May, it was reported that Goosebumps 2 was moving ahead with the title Goosebumps: Horrorland with a January 2018 release. At the time, it looked like Darren Lemke would reprise his screenwriting duties. Now that Lieber is tasked with penning the script, we’ll have to see if the title of the film changes, and what Black’s involvement is.
Goosebumps 2 Cast
The return of Jack Black, who starred as a fictionalized version of R.L. Stine, is still up in the air. Stars Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, and Ryan Lee are expected back for the sequel. Rob Letterman will return to direct.
Variety reported that Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ken Jeong, and Chris Parnell will also join the cast of Goosebumps 2, though that's not officially confirmed yet.
Moon and Warcraft director Duncan Jones said that he once pitched a Prez movie to Warner Bros., but the studio didn't bite.
At a time when even Martin Scorsese has considered producing a Joker origin movie, it's not surprising to hear that big-name filmmakers are floating ideas for comic book movies around. One such filmmaker is Moon and Warcraft director Duncan Jones, who has revealed that he once pitched a DC movie to Warner Bros. -- and an unconventional one at that.
Jones, who is set to direct a Rogue Trooper movie next, wanted to make a film based on the DC character Prez Rickard, who first appeared in a short-lived comics series from 1973 by Joe Simon and Jerry Grandenetti. In the original story, Prez becomes the first teenage president and gets into all sorts of bizarre shenanigans involving vampires, werewolves, and George Washington's descendant. The series was canceled by DC after four issues.
The director said that his take on Prez would have been inspired by a story Neil Gaiman wrote in 1993 for his seminal fantasy horror series, Sandman.
Ive mentioned this once before, but there was a fantastic DC comic book called Prez once upon a time that @neilhimself did a spin on, about a young kid genius who solves the problems of the world. I wanted to make that movie but DC guy at WB not interested. *shrugs* https://t.co/hpjhVsCBk2
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) August 16, 2018
"I've mentioned this once before, but there was a fantastic DC comic book called Prez once upon a time that [Neil Gaiman] did a spin on, about a young kid genius who solves the problems of the world," Jones revealed on Twitter, while talking about renewable energy (Prez solves the energy crisis in the Gaiman story. "I wanted to make that movie but DC guy at WB not interested."
Jones didn't share any further details about his pitch, but did speculate on why WB wasn't interested in his Prez movie: "Didn't fit in with their 'fights in tights' ethos, I guess."
While Prez might not be coming to the big screen any time soon, the character was recently revived by DC in 2015 as a miniseries starring a teen girl named Beth Ross who also becomes president and chooses Prez as her vice-president. The miniseries was well-received and ran for six issues, and that may be all we hear from our president for now.
Ahead of Shane Black's The Predator hitting theaters, we take a look at the events of the book set in the run up...
This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
Be warned, spoilers ahead for The Predator: Hunters And Hunted.
Everyone’s favorite alien hunter is set to make his big screen return in Shane Black’s The Predator. It makes sense Black should be the man to resurrect this particular '80s icon; in addition to Black’s healthy filmography of writing/directing classic action thrillers (Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang etc) he also played the Jungle Hunter’s first onscreen victim Hawkins in the original Predator. The Predator will bring new additions to the franchise’s mythology such as the hunters upgrading their abilities through DNA splicing, but at its core, it's still a story about a group of soldiers facing off against the universe’s most lethal taxidermist.
For many, the Predator series is something of a mixed bag with the original considered a classic, while opinions on Predator 2 and Predators can be split. There’s also Alien vs Predator and its sequel Requiem, which are both movies that many agree exist. Time will tell which end of the spectrum The Predator falls on, but for those aficionados looking to get their feet wet, Titan Books have just published a prequel tie-in novel dubbed Hunters And Hunted by author James A. Moore.
The book details the efforts of a group of soldiers called The Reapers, who are part of Project Stargazer, a government task force seeking to capture a Predator and study its technology. Sadly for them the government has lost faith in the operation since the last sighting of the creatures was way back in Predator 2. While those in charge of Stargazer struggle to keep it afloat, the sudden appearance of an especially brutal Predator gives the Reapers the chance to put their training to use – but it will be an even tougher fight than they expect.
Prey For The Hunters
Movie prequel tie-in novels can be a hit and miss affair. They can be gems like War For The Planet Of The Apes: Revelations or duds like Alan Dean Foster’s Alien: Covenant – Origins. The trouble stems from the fact the books can’t contradict anything in the movie – or explore something that might appear in later movies - and often there’s not much that needs to be filled in narrative-wise anyway. This is somewhat true of The Predator: Hunters And Hunted, since it doesn’t reveal much all that shocking ahead of the movie.
That said, the book is a solid action/adventure of its own. Rather than follow one-dimensional cut-outs, The Reapers are given distinct, likeable personalities, and while they’re established in the opening chapters as being just about the most elite soldiers on Earth, they just aren’t prepared for the creature they’re hunting. The Predator that serves as the antagonist is on the hunt with a few days to kill, and basically picks on bikers, drug dealers and cops to test what humanity is made of. He also wrestles an alligator with his bare hands just for the challenge, which may sound silly, but makes for one of the most entertaining battles in the book. There’s also a silent, knife wielding soldier named Hyde who is basically the human equivalent of a Predator, and when the two finally duke it out, it’s a thing of beauty.
In short, this Predator isn’t to be messed with - which is starkly highlighted when The Reapers face off against him for the first time and nearly half the group is wiped out. They just about manage to capture him, which pleases the leaders of Stargazer no end. This leads to the less compelling side of the novel, where CIA agent Traeger (played by Sterling K. Brown in the movie) heads to Washington in a bid to secure more funding for his operation. While these passages establish Traeger as a charismatic snake looking to use Stargazer and Predator tech to advance his career, reading page after page of meetings with senators and politicians being pitched on the potential of the project doesn’t make for nail-biting reading. A character named General Woodhurst also features heavily in these sections, and was set to appear in the movie (played by the great Edward James Olmos) before his scenes were cut out.
Thankfully, these chapters make up a short part of the overall narrative. The Predator: Hunters And Hunted also reveals a Predator was encountered in Vietnam during the 1960’s, with only one soldier surviving a fierce battle with it. This soldier – Roger Elliott – is tasked with training The Reapers in modern day, but he also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and a secret drinking problem. The book actually does a good job of digging into the psyches of the central team and Elliott, examining the effects of PTSD and the emotional toll the loss of fellow soldiers can take.
The book could be summed up as a series of escalating battles with the Predator, who manages to make his escape – more on this in a moment – and is chased by the revenge seeking Reapers. This culminates in an epic battle in an empty amusement park during a thunderstorm. Moore is in his element when writing these cat and mouse sequences, but it’s interesting to read these battles from the POV of the title character too.
Keyes To The Kingdom
For any curious fans, there are some callbacks to previous Predator movies. It’s mentioned that while there were other survivors of Predator encounters in both Mexico and L.A. - aka Arnie’s Dutch and Danny Glover’s Harrigan – they weren’t interested in becoming part of Stargazer. There’s absolutely no mention of the events of Alien vs Predator or its sequel, although this could just mean Stargazer didn’t link them to the Predators – or the book just wanted to ignore them too.
Hunters And Hunted reveals Predator 2’s OWLF (Other World Lifeform Taskforce) - led by Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) – evolved into Stargazer. There’s also a short appearance by Sean Keyes, the son of the late Peter (played by Jake Busey in a nice meta touch). The book establishes Sean isn’t terribly fond of the hunters for killing his father and is hoping for the chance to dissect the captured creature, but then he does something curious. While examining the Predator he realizes it’s trying to escape its confines, but instead of raising an alarm, Keyes decides to let it escape just to see what happens. He doesn’t reappear after this, but it does a nice job setting up his reappearance in The Predator.
The Predator featured in the book isn’t a hybrid or upgraded model like the forthcoming movie, though the creature himself recalls hearing rumors of such things, suggesting the other clans don’t really approve of it. The Predator: Hunters And Hunted is a fun action thriller that sets the stage for the movie, but it’s not at all essential to have read it beforehand. Overall the book does little to reinvent the standard Predator formula, but it's still an entertaining rendition of it.
The Predator: Hunters And Hunted is available now from Titan Books.
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Batman and Black Lightning put a new team of Outsiders to work in this exclusive preview of Detective Comics #987.
We've been over how bananas Justice League: No Justicewas before, but we haven't really talked about its implications yet. That's a little weird, because it was potentially as big of a deal to the greater DCU as Legends. Legendswas a confrontation between Glorious Godfrey and the heroes of Earth that led to the creation of a new Justice League, a new Flashbook, an all-time classic comic in Suicide Squad, and the reintroduction of Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman.
Not to be outdone, Scott Snyder's mega-crossover-coda, which launched the Justice League and the Legion of Doom into space to team up with Brainiac to battle villains from beyond the source wall, has led to the creation of at least 4 Leagues, the reworkings of both Titans teams, a huge change in the Flash mythos, and a soft pilot for a new Outsiders team led by Black Lightning.
And here's the other odd parallel: almost everything that came out of both of these has been really good. Legendsgave us the bwa-ha-ha League, Wally West, Ostrander-Yale Suicide Squadand George Perez's Wonder Woman. No Justicestill has some books outstanding, but the Snyder/Jorge Jimenez/Jim Cheung Justice Leaguehas been amazing; Williamson's Flashremains excellent; the two Titans books are a lot of fun; and Bryan Hill's Detective run has been great so far. So of course when DC sent along a preview of the final issue in Hill's arc, we jumped at it.
Here's what they have to say about the book:
DETECTIVE COMICS #987 written by BRYAN HILL
art by MIGUEL MENDONÇA
cover by EDUARDO PANSICA
variant cover by MARK BROOKS
Then, the pulse-pounding “On the Outside” storyline hurtles toward its cataclysmic conclusion! Batman has tasked Katana, Black Lightning, the Signal and Orphan (a.k.a. Cassandra Cain) with stopping a rogue operator using alien technology that can crack into any mind on Earth! What does this case have to do with the Brainiac Files seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #1? And how does Amanda Waller factor in? Guess you’re “outside” of Batman’s circle of trust…for now.
Take a look at the preview below, and stick with Den of Geek for more from Hill or Batman or Black Lightning or especially Orphan.
Read more of Jim Dandy's work right here.
A look at the exciting speculative fiction work of Nnedi Okorafor.
Note: This article was originally posted in January 2018. It is being re-run in honor of Nnedi Okorafor's win for Best YA Novel for Akata Witch at the 2018 Hugo Awards.
This month's Den of Geek Book Club pick is Binti, the first installment in a novella series about a young African woman, the eponymous Binti, who leaves her home on Earth for the first time to attend an intergalactic university on another planet. (Yes, Binti is a total badass.)
"My tribe is obsessed with innovation and technology," Okorafor writes in Binti, "but it is small, private, and, as I said, we don’t like to leave Earth. We prefer to explore the universe by traveling inward, as opposed to outward. No Himba has ever gone to Oomza Uni. So me being the only one on the ship was not that surprising. However, just because something isn’t surprising doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with."
I don't want to ruin any of the narrative progressions that occur in the less than 100 pages of this novella, but I will say what was already a scary choice for Binti becomes much scarier when the ship she and her fellow incoming students are traveling on is boarded by a hostile group of jellyfish-like aliens.
In the pages that follow, Binti must rely on her mathematical prowess and the tools of the Himba culture to survive. It is a story that deals with issues like trauma, communication, and the complications of leaving home in a wondrous space adventure format that will leave you ready to jump on the next spaceship, despite the dangers.
The story continues on in Binti: Home, which was released last year, and Binti: The Night Masquerade, which was released just this week, expanded the world and this character in satisfying directions. I chose Binti as the Den of Geek Book Club pick for this month because it is a speculative fiction unlike anything I have ever read before, an Afrofuturist space voyage with an incredibly relatable protagonist. It adds some much-needed diversity—in protagonist, in setting, in theme—to our speculative fiction.
I also chose Binti because it is a quick read for those who are feeling too overwhelmed to complete a full novel, but one that expands onward for those who want to stay in this world (as most of you surely will). Perhaps most of all, I chose Binti because it is a great introduction to the wondrous work of Nnedi Okorafor, if you've yet to encounter the Nigerian-American author.
Odds are, you've probably seen the name Nnedi Okorafor before. If you didn't catch the publicity around Binti, which won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novella, then maybe you saw her Ted Talk? Or perhaps you took notice when HBO announced it would be developing Okorafor's Who Fears Death into a TV series with George R.R. Martin as a producer and Okorafor herself heavily involved?
Or maybe you were intrigued when, in 2017, Okorafor made her first foray into comic book fiction, contributing a short story to Edge of Venomverse: War Stories before moving on to an ongoing series with Black Panther: Long Live The King. Illustrated by André Lima Araújo, the book sees Wakanda's capital city in a state of panic after losing power, and T'Challa facing off against a massive monster only he can see.
Okorafor is one of the most intriguing speculative fiction authors working right now, across all mediums and formats. Her identity as a "Nigamerican,"as she terms it, infuses her stories with a unique perspective that isn't often explored in mainstream speculative fiction—a reminder of how many kinds of stories are out there for all of us, no matter our own identities, to enjoy and learn from.
"As far as my own mission, I wouldn't say that I have a mission," Okorafor told NPR in a 2016 interview. "I know that I was writing these stories because, one, I enjoyed writing stories. Two, I had all of these stories to tell. Like, I'd look around at my relatives, and I listened. And I wasn't seeing these stories that I wanted to see being told. It's not so much a mission. It's just that I love stories, and so I write them and so I produce them."
Kayti Burt serves as a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. A long-term lover of all things science fiction and fantasy, she is an unabashed defender of the power of speculative storytelling and a proponent of sentimental TV. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.
The Den of Geek Book Club is a place to geek out about our favorite science fiction, fantasy, and horror books.
Join the Den of Geek Book Club! Featuring book giveaways and exclusive author interviews, this is a place to recommend, discuss, and obsess over the best current and classic fantasy, science fiction, and horror books.
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August/September: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman
In addition to have the coolest name this side of Space Unicorn Blues, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman has a killer premise. The second book in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, European Travel follows Mary Jekyll, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, and Diana Hyde as they make their way into the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire into an attempt to save Lucinda Van Helsing.
In The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, we were first introduced to these characters from the pages (or between the pages) of classic 19th-century literary canon. Author Theodora Goss wanted to give the female characters who were so often written as monsters from these stories a voice of their own. Mary Jekyll is our protagonist and, when we first meet her in The Alchemist's Daughter, she is struggling to find money to support herself and her household following the death of her mother.
When a series of murders seems to be connected to her late father, Dr. Jekyll, or perhaps to his mysterious assistant Mr. Hyde, Mary starts down a path of investigation alongside Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson that leads her to create her own found family of monstrous women.
Come discuss European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman and other speculative fiction picks over at the Den of Geek Book Club, and stay tuned for more Athena Society-related treats in the coming month! You can also enter to win a copy of European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman!
July/August: Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn
The third book in Sarah Kuhn's ridiculously fun Heroine Complex series, Heroine's Journey follows Bea Tanaka, the younger sister of Heroine Complex protagonist Evie Tanaka. An aspiring twenty-something superheroine who just wants to stop being treated like a kid and be allowed to help save the Bay Area alongside Evie and Evie's superhero partner-best friend Aveda Jupiter, Bea has the power to influence other's emotions—also, sometimes, when she screams, she blows things up.
In the Heroine Complex world, Kuhn has created an alternate San Fran where a demon opened an Otherworld portal 13 years prior, setting into motion a series of events that led to the creation of other local portals through which demons can come into our world and the development of a human population with otherworldly powers of their own. Bea, Evie, and Aveda are three of those humans, and are part of a superhero team that would give the Scooby gang a run for its found family money.
You don't need to have read the previous two books in the series, centered around Evie and Aveda respectively, to enjoy this world. Kuhn has crafted a story filled with whip smart dialogue, complex female relationships, romance, silly yet dangerous demons, and Asian American superhero representation that works for the casual and more completist reader alike. Fair warning, though: If you go into this one blind, you will find yourself going back to read the other two installments. That's just the way the demon cupcake crumbles.
Come discuss Heroine's Journey and other speculative fiction picks over at the Den of Geek Book Club, and stay tuned for more Heroine's Journey-related treats in the coming month!
June/July: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher
Brief Cases, a collection of several of Butcher's excellent short stories and novellas from within the universe of Harry Dresden, is a delight for new and old Dresden Files fans alike. Centered around the theme of parenting, the stories in the collection range from a prequel set in the Old West to a Rashomon-style tale of Harry discovering a warlock at the zoo.
You can read our full review of Brief Cases here, or head over to the Den of Geek Book Club to discuss the book. We're also giving away a complete set of the Dresden Files books, if you're looking to add to your own collection. Find out how to enter here.
May/June Pick: Ship It by Britta Lundin
Riverdale is one of Den of Geek's favorite shows, so when we heard one of its writers was coming out with her debut novel, you better believe we put it on our must-read list.
Britta Lundin's Ship It is the story of a teen fanfiction writer, Claire, who is pulled into the behind-the-scenes world of her favorite TV show, and Forest, one of the show's male leads who understands absolutely nothing about fandom. Ship It is an exploration of fandom, queerness, TV creation, and love in its many forms. Read our full review here, then check out our podcast interview with Lundin.
Join the Ship It discussion over on the Den of Geek Book Club Goodreads page.
April/May Pick: The Power by Naomi Alderman
Imagine a world that completely flips the balance of power when it comes to gender. This is the setting for The Power, Naomi Alderman's 2016 science fiction novel set in a world in which women develop the ability to shoot electric jolts from their fingertips, leading to their dominance as a gender.
As Delia Harrington notes in a review for Den of Geek, The Power is a vital read for a time in which some falsely claim that women have stolen all of the power from men. President Obama named this one of this favorite books of 2017, and the book somehow feels even more relevant now than it did when it was published just two long years ago.
March/April Pick: Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in the West African-inspired fantasy series Legacy of Orisha. The debut from 24-year-old Tomi Adeyemi made waves when it was bought by Macmillan for a reported seven-figure sum.
The story follows Zelie, a girl who lost her mother in the purge of magic executed by Orisha's totalitarian ruler, Saran. In the first book, Zelie sets out to restore magic to the land and take down Saran, with a little help from her friends: a giant lionaire, her older brother Tzain, and Princess Amari. Prince Inan, another protagonist in the book, pursues Zelie as she undergoes her quest, torn between his family and, you know, doing the right thing.
Children of Blood and Bone is a promising start to a new young adult fantasy series that is set to take the world by storm. Head over to our Den of Geek Book Club page to join the discussion!
February/March Pick: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
All Our Wrong Todays is a time travel novel where the "wrong" timeline is our own. When protagonist Tom Barren travels back in time using his father's technology, he changes the world from a utopia where the problems of war, poverty, and under-ripe avocados have been solved, into, well, this one. By centering our timeline as the "wrong" one, author Elan Mastai subverts many of the classic time travel narrative trope, giving us a fresh science fiction novel for anyone who worries they're living in the darkest timeline.
January/February Pick: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a Hugo Award-winning novella about a young African woman who leaves her home on Earth for the first time to attend an intergalactic university on another planet. On the voyage, something goes terribly wrong, forcing Binti to rely on her mathematic skills and her culture to survive.
The Afrofuturist space adventure novella is unlike anything I have ever read, coming from one of the most exciting authors working in science fiction right now. The story continues in two follow-up novellas already published.
Kayti Burt serves as a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. A long-term lover of all things science fiction and fantasy, she is an unabashed defender of the power of speculative storytelling and a proponent of sentimental TV. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.
The Den of Geek Book Club is giving away a copy of Theodora Goss' European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman...
This month's Den of Geek Book Club pick is Theodora Goss' European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman, and we're giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner!
European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman follows Mary Jekyll and a found family that includes Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, and Diana Hyde—yes, all characters from or inspired by classic literary fiction—as they head to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to save an apparently kidnapped Lucinda Van Helsing.
The second book in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Society series is just as thrilling, action-packed, and feminist as The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter. Don't miss this classic literary-inspired romp!
Entry in the giveaway is simple:
- Join the Den of Geek Book Club over on Goodreads.
Unfortunately, only readers who reside in the United States qualify for this contest. Final entries will be accepted Friday, August 31st! One (1) winner will be drawn at random and contacted via Goodreads message. Good luck!
Kayti Burt serves as a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. A long-term lover of all things science fiction and fantasy, she is an unabashed defender of the power of speculative storytelling and a proponent of sentimental TV. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.