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    Marvel's Spider-Man provides Insomniac's own, unique twist on the webslinger's world. Here is how the studio designed Spider-Man new suit!

    Feature John Saavedra
    Sep 11, 2018

    Much has already been written about Marvel's Spider-Man, Insomniac Games' excellent take on the House of Ideas' most beloved superhero. Spidey's dazzling adventure sees him zipping through New York City and fighting a whole slew of classic villains, including Electro, Kingpin, Vulture, Mr. Negative, and quite a few more we won't spoil. The point is that Spider-Man has his hands full. Luckily, he has a new suit to help him fight these dastardly villains. 

    The Spidey suit featured in Insomniac's game isn't the one you grew up with. While there's a distinct Steve Ditko influence in the game that harkens back to Spidey's earliest adventures and players have the opportunity to unlock the classic suit, the studio sought to modernize the suit while also paying homage to Ditko's great work. 

    No, the new suit shouldn't offend the Spider-Man purist, but it does feature some noticeable tweaks, such as the big white spider symbol that stretches across the torso. Additionally, the almost knee-high boots now look like trendy sneakers while his gloves are closer to padded gauntlets. So nothing too significant but why the changes in the first place?

    Buy Marvel's Spider-Man

    I spoke to Insomniac art director Jacinda Chew at a recent PlayStation event about how the team approached the new suit, why certain things were specifically redesigned, and just what's going on with Spidey's footwear. 

    "We needed to modernize the suit," Chew explains. "That was definitely something that was really important to us. The other thing too, if you look at comic books, it's all 2D. It's not photoreal. You have to translate what that 2D design might be if it existed in real life. When I design a suit, I always think about, 'Well, what would a 23-year-old, would-be superhero [wear]? How would he design his suit and what would his influences be?'"

    Chew reveals that the goal was to create a look that Spider-Man might wear in 2018 New York City. 

    "One of the first things you'll notice, for example, is that he's not wearing a red boot. But I was thinking, if [Peter] were a modern person living in New York, what would he be influenced by? I thought he'd be influenced by athletic gear and sneakers. So that's why you look at it, and if you ever go around swinging, you'll see the bottom of his shoes actually look like a sneaker, and again, it's short like a sneaker."

    Further Reading: Spider-Man PS4 DLC Details

    The traditional red and blue color palette is still in play in the new suit, with an added splash of white. Interestingly enough, each color has its own specific function in the game. That was especially important for Chew and her team: each element of the suit should be designed with functionality in mind. 

    "I also looked at athletic wear and compression clothing, basically," Chew says. "You'll see that his suit's got a lot of paneling. And each of the colors actually represents something specific. The blue is the most flexible part of his suit, so it's placed where he needs the most flexibility like when he raises his arms, things like that."

    "You can see that the red part is actually still flexible but it's a little bit thicker," Chew explains. "There's even red paneling on his thighs, so if he's swinging close to a building, it'll protect him from, I guess building rash, if he scrapes against the building. And then the white. It's located on his gauntlets, shoes, and chest so it's like a flexible carbon fiber. So when he's blocking or when he's punching, that's where you would want that protection to be. We definitely thought a lot about the materials of the suit and translating to real life."

    Indeed, it's a well thought out suit and Insomniac worked closely with Marvel Games, the entertainment company's video game branch, to make sure the new costume wasn't betraying any aspect of the character.

    "Marvel Games really knows their stuff," Chew says. "They know the Marvel Universe so I never felt that we were in unsafe territory. Even when we were designing the suit, they would give us their feedback and their advice and same thing with the story. What's really cool about Marvel is that they have a really, really deep lore. In fact, I believe they have an archivist so if you ask them something, they can look up anything."

    Further Reading: Why Neversoft's Spider-Man Is the Most Underrated Superhero Game Ever

    Spider-Man wasn't the only character Insomniac changed for its game. J. Jonah Jameson, for example, is more popular than ever as a right-wing radio pundit on a mission to soil Spidey's good name. Mary Jane Watson, traditionally a model and actress, is now an investigative reporter. The studio also looked at the villains. Chew shares that a bit of thought was put into modernizing Electro, the classic rogue first introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #9 in 1964.

    "If you're familiar with classic Electro, he pretty much wears a green onesie and he's got this giant yellow star that frames his head," Chew explains. "He was one of the more challenging characters to reproduce into modern times. I'm like, 'Well, that's pretty iconic but he'd look pretty dorky if he walked around like that now.'"

    Needless to say, Electro needed to change his look to fit in with the other characters. Electro's classic green onesie wouldn't even cut it at SantaCon, that most awful of New York City traditions.

    "Basically what we did is you look at these classic characters and you think about what's classic about it, or what's iconic," Chew says. "For me, it was the green and the yellow coloring, and then also that star. What we did was we just put that star, kept it on his head but we actually translated it into a scar on his face. So if you look at the scar on his face, it's actually star-shaped."

    Fortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie, which departed from the original color palette to turn Jamie Foxx into a blue nightmare, Insomniac honored Electro's green and yellow while adding a modern twist to the villain's abilities

    "We kept the colors. The green and the yellow. But we actually created a vest that basically gives him the power to have electricity. Because I believe in the comics, it was a little bit more magical. That's one example of translating something that has been done before into something that's more modern and recognizable."

    Insomniac's take on Spider-Man and his world accomplishes something that has sometimes proved to be a bit difficult for other game studios and major film studios: a modern re-telling of the Spidey mythos that subverts the original material while still celebrating it and translating it for a new era. Marvel's Spider-Man is indeed amazing. 

    Marvel's Spider-Man is out now exclusively for the PlayStation 4.

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

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    Netflix will follow the teen-aged exploits of King Arthur’s Lady of the Lake character in Cursed.

    News Tony SokolJoseph Baxter
    Sep 12, 2018

    Netflix is pulling a sword from a stone in its upcoming original series, Cursed. Based on King Arthur’s Lady of the Lake, the project comes from comic book writer/artist Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City) and Puss in Boots writer/producer Tom Wheeler. The 10-episode series is based on Miller and Wheeler's upcoming illustrated young adult book Cursed.

    Cursed puts a twist on the King Arthur legend, since it's told through the eyes of the Excalibur-bestowing enchantress, the Lady of the Lake. The character is depicted here as a teenager, named Nimue, with a mysterious gift, and the coming-of-age series shows how she arrives on the road to her destiny. According to the plot description (via Variety), after her mother dies, Nimue joins a young mercenary named Arthur, on his quest to find the magician Merlin and deliver an ancient sword. The future Lady of the Lake become a symbol of courage and rebellion against the “terrifying Red Paladins, and their complicit King Uther."

    Cursed Cast

    Katherine Langford will star in Cursed as Nimue, reports Deadline. The role will serve as a quick Netflix homecoming for Langford, who, for two seasons, has starred on the streaming giant’s controversial teen drama, 13 Reasons Why as the posthumous-video-providing self-martyred teen, Hannah Baker. While that series was renewed for Season 3, Langford will not return. With momentum from 13 Reasons Why, Langford, an Aussie actress, banked movie appearances in director (and Arrowverse CW TV maestro,) Greg Berlanti’s recent rom-com, Love Simon, as well as the comedy-drama, The Misguided.

    Cursed Details

    “I have always been entranced by the mythological Arthur story—and by Nimue, in particular,” said Frank Miller said in a statement after the book announcement,  per CBR. “It can be interpreted in any number of ways — from a delightful children’s story, as in The Sword in the Stone, to a terrifying interpretation like Excalibur. This tale represents an incredible opportunity and an exciting challenge for me as an illustrator, and I’m excited to collaborate on the story with Thomas Wheeler. I inherited a collection of antique children’s books from my mother, and I’ve always wanted to have a crack at it myself. This project is a dream come true.”

    Miller, who co-directed Sin City with Robert Rodriguez, also wrote the graphic novels Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, and 300. He created the character Elektra for Marvel Comics’ Daredevil series, and the character Carrie Kelley for DC Comics.  Miller wrote and directed The Spirit, which was based on the Will Eisner comic book series.

    Wheeler co-wrote Lego: Ninjago Movie for Warner Brothers. He also is currently writing the sequel to the Shrek spinoff Puss in Boots. Michael Bay will direct his original screenplay Vostok for Paramount Pictures. He wrote the screenplay for the live-action adaptation of the cartoon Dora the Explorer. It will be directed by James Bobin and come out for 2019 release date.

    Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing will release Cursed in Fall 2019. However, we still don't know when to expect the Netflix series.

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    With Henry Cavill apparently finished as the Man of Steel, where does Superman go next in the DCEU?

    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Sep 13, 2018

    Despite how cagey Warner Bros. was about keeping Henry Cavill’s Superman out of most of the marketing for Justice League, we always knew that his return would be a key moment, not just for the movie, but for the entire DCEU. And while it took a few years to get there, the final act of Justice Leaguemakes it pretty clear that the studio is finally ready to give audiences a classic interpretation of the character. Or, they would be, if Superman hadn’t been such a difficult business proposition on screen over the last decade or more.

    The bad news is that Justice League fell well short of expectations at the box office, making it the fourth troubled Superman movie in the last 11 years. This has had ramifications for the entire DCEU slate going forward (Justice League 2 has no release date), and the implications for the Last Son of Krypton aren’t particularly encouraging. There's not much reason for Mr. Cavill to stick around at the moment, and the also bad news is that it looks like his time in the cape might be coming to an end.

    The simplest proposition, Man of Steel 2, now seems less likely to happen than ever before. Even the most ardent Superman fan will likely agree that an earthbound Superman story revolving around Metropolis and the Daily Planet is going to be a tough sell. After all, once you’ve done two full blown alien invasions, it’s tough to follow that. Cramming Superman’s death and return into two movies where he was relegated to co-star not only robbed that big story of the spotlight it deserves, but lowers the stakes for the character in the future. Once you’ve beaten death, what’s left?

    While it would be great to see a Justice League 2that centers Superman as the leader and inspirational figure that the current film hinted at, it doesn’t seem likely right now. Apparently, there were plans for a Superman cameo in the upcoming Shazam! movie, but that is no longer the case. There has been idle chatter about adapting Red Son, which deals with a Superman who grew up in the Soviet Union, and the attendant world-changing ramifications that would bring. Neither of these non-traditional takes sounds terribly appealing to Superman fans waiting for a Richard Donner-esque return to glory.

    But it would be a mistake for Warner Bros. to turn their backs entirely on Superman. They just need to adjust their thinking a little. These are some low risk ways they can get one more flight from Cavill (maybe), continue to exploit their shared universe of the DCEU, and use Superman to introduce (or reintroduce) characters:

    Take Him Off-World

    The DCEU hasn’t been shy about playing up Superman’s inherently alien nature and the “stranger in a strange land” elements of the character. Getting him out of Metropolis and out into the cosmos where he can cut loose will help mitigate any fears that audiences won’t accept another “traditional” Superman movie. By doing this, Warner Bros. could help reinvigorate a far more toxic franchise.

    Green Lantern Corps currently has a 2020 release date, but little else. The intention is for GLC to play up the interstellar nature of the Corps, and keep the action away from Earth. Writer Elliot S. Maggin often played with the idea that Superman was a source of fascination for the Guardians of the Universe on Oa, and his classic Bronze Age story “Must There Be a Superman?” in which the Guardians worry that Superman is interfering with the proper development of human civilization, would be the perfect jumping off point to get Supes into space. There’s your first act, and then Kal-El and the Corps can go to town on the alien menace of your choice.

    Adding Superman to the Green Lantern Corps movie (I’m not suggesting giving him a ring, calm down) hits three important DCEU notes. Moments of it can be a loose adaptation of a classic DC Comics story (they love doing this), it removes Green Lantern Corps even further from the DOA 2011 Green Lantern movie, and the theme of Superman wondering whether he can do more good out in the cosmos rather than potentially stunting humanity’s growth would be in line with the sometimes somber tone of the DCEU.

    On a similar note, WB could use Superman to solve one of the problems they caused in Justice League. Steppenwolf was a woefully underdeveloped villain, and Jack Kirby’s epic (in the actual sense of the word) Fourth World and New Gods concepts weren’t well served on screen. While there is now a New Gods movie in development (with Ava DuVernay at the helm), we need to care about the war between the planets New Genesis and Apokolips, and it might not hurt to give audiences a feel for their place in the wider DCEU.

    Several of Jack Kirby’s earliest Fourth World stories involved Superman coming into contact with various New Gods and Forever People, and his longing to be among beings who are more like him. Let Orion and Lightray come to earth to enlist Superman’s aid in their cosmic war, similar to how these concepts were introduced in Superman: The Animated Series. Superman becomes the audience’s POV character, we no longer have to worry about him automatically being the most powerful person in the room all the time, and the DCEU can properly introduce Darkseid without having to stage yet another invasion of Earth.

    Team Him Up with Established Stars

    Even without Justice League 2 being a priority, there are plenty of stars in the orbit of the DCEU. Dwayne Johnson has long expressed a desire for his Black Adam to “throw down” with someone like Superman, and Johnson and Cavill have made some teasing posts on social media together. Johnson’s Black Adam will no longer be introduced in 2019’s Shazam movie, and instead has a standalone movie of his own coming.

    But despite the star power of Johnson, Black Adam isn’t the most recognizable character in DC’s stable (for that matter, neither is Shazam these days), but Superman certainly is, and an easier match for a team-up (or throwdown) than say, Batman. Check out the Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam animated movie for a natural way to let these characters bolster each other. The Rock is often referred to as “franchise viagra” and, frankly, Superman’s box office takings have been stuck at about half-mast.

    But again, after the talks for a Superman cameo in Shazam fell through, this easy solution doesn't seem all that likely. After all, Cavill signed up for the role of Superman to be a headliner, not a second banana.

    Although my personal dream would be to re-team Superman with DC’s two safest cinematic bets: Batman (whoever he may be) and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The DCEU loves adapting the broad strokes of classic comic stories, so a big screen version of the Watchmen creative team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “For The Man Who Has Everything” would tick all the appropriate boxes, without the pressure of it being a full blown Justice League sequel (which at the moment seems about as improbable as Man of Steel 2).

    “For the Man Who Has Everything” is the superhero story that has everything. A powerful alien puts Superman into a hallucinatory coma, causing him to live in a dream world where he grew to maturity on a Krypton that never exploded, all while Batman and Wonder Woman fight for their lives. This could play almost like Inception (or a Twilight Zone episode) with superheroes, and it would allow another big screen appearance for Krypton, the visual and world-building highlight of Man of Steel. In a way, this story, which forces Superman to confront and make peace with his guilt at being the sole survivor of his world, would feel like a fitting sendoff for Cavill’s Superman.

    The Alternate Universe Option

    It would seem there has been some chatter about Michael B. Jordan wearing the red cape. Warner Bros. has already started to partition certain elements of their DC movies from the main timeline of the DCEU. Todd Phillips' upcoming Joker movie is set in the 1980s, and deals with a different version of the character, played by a different actor, than the one we've met in Suicide Squad, for example. So the idea of Michael B. Jordan as Superman isn't too far-fetched, especially if they go with Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke's Calvin Ellis, "President Superman" version of the character.

    The full DC superhero movie release schedule can be found here. Maybe we'll get a Superman story added to it one of these days.

    Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.

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    How would you fight oppression if you had no voice? Vox is a modern take on themes explored in Handmaid's Tale & 1984.

    ReviewBridget LaMonica
    Sep 13, 2018

    It is the age of dystopian women's fiction. As things become more unsure out in the world, dystopian, politically-charged fiction that elaborates on the extremes of supposed "traditional values" have risen in popularity. In that vein, I present to you Vox by Christina Dalcher, a cautionary tale heavily reminiscent of those literary works that came before it in the genre.

    Vox is easily defined as a more modern take on The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Dalcher spells out how this fictional America devalued women and supposedly followed religious doctrine to impose ludicrous laws on them. Perhaps Dalcher was inspired by that work and decided to take it in another logical direction. Either way, if you enjoyed Handmaid's Tale, 1984 or other notable literary depictions of a utilitarian government, Vox is your next foray into “What if?".

    In Vox, an uber conservative doctrine makes it so women are stripped of their rights and forced to return to their “rightful place” in the household. Similar to The Handmaid's Tale. However, Dalcher's take has an added, insidious twist: Every woman is fitted with a counter on her wrist that keeps track of how many words she speaks each day. Women are only allowed one hundred words per day. Anything above that will electrocute her. For context, this review is already over 200 words.

    Vox raises and answers a few poignant questions. How do you control a population? Silence them. Keep them downtrodden. Take away their power. Take away their voice. How do you start a revolution? Do all those things and think you can get away with it for long.

    This book is written from a true love of language. The narrator of the story is Dr. Jean McClellan, who was a linguistics professor and researcher before she and every other woman was virtually silenced and thrown back into the kitchen. The author herself has a doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown. A love of language, and a fear of its loss, is palpable.

    It's not hard to see why Dalcher chose restricted speech as a method of illustrating the extremity of her speculative political dystopia. 1984 also held this theme, as the government slowly eroded the lexicon until people couldn't describe the qualities of something beyond “good” and “ungood.”

    Even in her relative silence, Jean makes contemplations about language that say more than she says. Everything has more meaning, even when she's making fun of how, in the old days, words were wasted on euphemisms and metaphors: “No one dies from love outside of a Bronte novel or eats entire horses or lays his life on the line for a baseball game. No one. But we say this garbage all the time.”

    And she often thinks about the stunted growth of her young daughter, Sofia: “By six, Sonia should have an army of ten thousand lexemes, individual troops that assemble and come to attention and obey the orders her small, still-plastic brain issues.”

    This change in society happened because of the Pure Movement, which at first seemed like a couple of wackadoos, and soon became the cultural norm when a new President took office. Is this book a political response to the world we're living in? You bet it is! 

    Things change when it turns out that Jean and her colleagues are the only researchers able to cure a rare disease afflicting the President's brother. The women are temporarily freed of their counters and return to work with a strict deadline. 1984-esque Big Brother vibes run rampant as Jean and her collegues realize there is more to the government-mandated research than originally implied.

    At the heart of the story is Jean's family. She has three boys and one little girl, Sonia. Sonia is six years old and has worn the counter on her wrist since she was five. At a crucial time for language development and reading skills, girls like Sonia only learn the basics of sewing and arithmatic at school. Reading and spelling are not allowed. Worse still, the school begins a daily contest for the child who speaks the least. One day, Jean realizes with horror that Sonia has been rewarded for being silent all day.

    Another important through line with Jean's family is her son, Stephen, who is maturing into a world that devalues women. Through Jean's observation of him, we see him turn from a student who just has to take these mandated religious-studies classes, to a puppet completely falling for the supposed values thrown on him and his peers. A simple fight over who should buy the milk in the house shows how nasty her son has become towards Jean, and how much the system is changing the children brought up in this new world.

    Jean sometimes turns to the recent past, explaining to the reader in snippets what led up to her new normal. How there were protests, arguments on national TV between people of opposing sides. “None of this happened without a fight,” she tells us. She shows us the warning signs while pointing out how she and others could have done more to fight what would eventually happen.

    Jean is not a perfect character, and I think that is important. She is definitely likable and relatable, but she's also doing questionable things. She begins a relationship with colleague Lorenzo that is not only morally-ambiguous in the context of her strained relationship with her husband, but also adds another layer of danger to her story. Adulterers are thrown into concentration camps or work farms and are given a counter that shocks them if they speak at all. Quite the stakes for a lovelorn secret romance.

    Vox is a book that asks “What if?” and places you in the shoes of someone affected by the extreme outcomes of government meddling in personal lives. It's frightening, tense and sad, but there are some moments of levity that break through the gloom. Somehow, we're along for this ride with Jean, as she fights for some semblance of her old life while trying to console her daugher and correct her misguided son. Events grow very intense as the story progresses. Voxcontains a set of twists that leave you turning page after page, desperate to see how it all ends.

    Vox is available to read now via Amazon or your local independent book store.

    Bridget LaMonica is a contributor at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @BridgetLaMonica.

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    AMC's TV series adaptation of Joe Hills's supernatural novel will star Zachary Quinto and Ashleigh Cummings

    News Tony SokolJoseph Baxter
    Sep 13, 2018

    AMC is moving forward with a new supernatural horror series tentatively titled NOS4A2. The series is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Joe Hill, whose novel Horns was adapted into a 2014 movie starring Daniel Radcliffe. Hill, who's an executive producer on the CW reboot of Tales from the Darkside, will board NOS4A2 as an executive producer.

    The 10-episode series – produced by AMC Studios in association with Tornante Television – will arrive under the primary purview of showrunner Jami O’Brien (Fear the Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels, Flesh and Bone), joined by executive producer Lauren Corrao, Co-President of Tornante Television. As Hill lauded of O'Brien in an April statement, “her beautifully composed scripts show a writer at the height of her powers, one who has an exquisite touch with character and a relentless instinct for suspense.”

    Kari Skogland (The Handmaid’s Tale, Sons of Liberty) is confirmed as the director of the first two episodes. The series is set to premiere sometime in 2019.

    NOS4A2 Cast

    The primary duo of NOS4A2 has been officially announced!

    Zachary Quinto will be back in his vintage Heroes-esque psychopathic form to play Charlie Manx, an immortal parasitic serial killer who uses his 1938 Rolls Royce with the license plate number "NOS4A2" to kidnap children. According to the description, Manx is “a seductive immortal who feeds off the souls of children, then deposits what remains of them into Christmasland – an icy, twisted Christmas village of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day and unhappiness is against the law.”

    Ashleigh Cummings will play series protagonist Vic McQueen, a young New England-based starving artist who suddenly discovers that she possesses a supernatural psychic ability connected to the killer, Manx, allowing her to track him and rescue his victims; an endeavor she will attempt to accomplish without losing her own mind. As the official description adds, “what Vic lacks in social confidence, she makes up for in courage, humor, and tough-as-nails grit.”

    Quinto, like the rest of the Star Trek movie cast, is still waiting for a resolution on the space-docked cinematic franchise to reprise his role as Spock. The American actor, who first broke big as the memorably psychotic villain, Sylar, on NBC’s Heroes, is currently living up to his legacy to the late original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, taking over as host of the rebooted scientific documentary series, In Search Of, and recently appeared in films such as Hotel Artemis and Who Are We Now.

    Cummings, an Aussie actress, will next be seen in a TV run on the New Zealand crime drama, Westside, having gained notable attention for her run on Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries as the flapper detective's sidekick, Dot. However, besides this co-starring role in NOS4A2, major movie prospects lie ahead as part of the cast of the star-stacked drama, The Goldfinch, in which she joins names like Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, Jeffrey Wright, Ansel Elgort, Luke Wilson and Finn Wolfhard.

    NOS4A2 Details

    As author/executive-producer Joe Hill expressed in the April statement:

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

    Showrunner O'Brien added, “I loved Joe Hill’s fantastic book from the moment I read it, and look forward to continuing to work with Joe, AMC, and Tornante on this exciting material."

    As David Madden, president of original programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, said of O'Brien:

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

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

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

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

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

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    An original graphic novel will feature Tommy and feature more of the Master Morpher.

    NewsShamus Kelley
    Sep 14, 2018

    Aww man, time for some stories of Old Man Tommy! If you ever wondered what the hell Tommy's been up to since we last saw him in the series (Super Megaforce) then BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands have you covered. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Soul Of The Dragon is an original graphic novel that will reveal "a powerful, untold chapter in the life of hte lengendary original Green Ranger." We've got the official description below.

    It’s been a long time since Tommy Oliver has served as a Power Ranger. He’s defeated space witches, brought down evil armies, protected the galaxy, but now Tommy leaves protecting the world to the Power Rangers at Space Patrol Delta. But when his son goes missing, it’s up to Tommy to discover a secret in his past, in order to save his future. Now Tommy will call on all his training, his friends, and maybe even some of his enemies as he sets out on his most important mission: find his son and bring him home.

    Now that Dimensions in Danger has aired we know that son is JJ, the child he had with Katherine. Below we've also got new preview images of the comic, featuring Tommy fighting against some aliens.

    “Tommy Oliver has been part of the Power Rangers for the past 25 years,” said Jason David Frank,  who played Tommy in the original series. “We've seen him morph into so many different Power Rangers. Now in Soul Of The Dragon we get to see an in-depth story of the life of Tommy Oliver as a Power Ranger and person. We go deeper into the multiple Rangers Tommy has become throughout time- I'm excited for all of you to see how Tommy evolves into the Legendary Power Ranger he is and the legacy he will leave behind forever."

    Deeper into the multiple Rangers Tommy has become? More Dino Thunder Tommy stories, please! Below you can find the cover of this original graphic novel and the design for the older Tommy.

    Does anyone else get an Old Man Logan vibe from this comic? JDF is a self professed huge fan of Wolverine and with him being a "special consultant" on this comic the influence can't be far off. We'll see once it's released!

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

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    DC Universe is a slick blend of comics reader and superhero movie and TV streaming service, but still has room to grow.

    Review Mike Cecchini
    Sep 15, 2018

    Now that it's finally here, there’s a lot to like about DC Universe, the combination comics service and superhero-centric streaming service from DC Entertainment. The platform itself is attractive, as is the reasonable price point, and it offers a few things that its chief competitors, namely Marvel Unlimited and ComiXology Unlimited simply don’t do.

    The mission statement of DC Universe is right there in its name. It really does want fans to look at it as the primary portal into, well, the DC Universe, and it makes no distinction between comics, movies, TV, or animated interpretations of its characters. DC has always traded on the concept of its Multiverse as a key point of difference in its mythology. While most of their comics take place in one prime timeline, DC long ago embraced string theory, postulating that alternate versions of their characters, contradictory continuity elements, and more can all be explained by the existence of a Multiverse in which all things are possible. If Grant Morrison were writing this review, he would say that DC Universe turns you into a Monitor, with an Orrery of Worlds of your very own that you can access and observe from assorted devices. He’s not, though, so you should probably forget I said anything like that.

    I’m not going to get to deep into the weeds dealing with expected launch bugs such as the occasional crash or glitch. Having spent time with DC Universe on Android and Apple devices, as well as a Roku, I can confirm this is a top notch platform, and any minor issues should be resolved fairly quickly. Right now, my main issue seems to be getting the “lists” feature to work as anything other than “favorites.” DC Universe allows you to create reading lists, much the same way you would a Spotify playlist, something missing from its competitors, and a potentially fun way for users to share with each other. I’ve also noticed that you can’t seem to access the full library of movies from the home screen when using Roku, which also lacks the “browse all” feature for both comics and video that is present on other devices. Again, these seem like hiccups, and I expect they’ll be resolved soon enough, and so far it's less buggy than chief competitor Marvel Unlimited is...and that launched six years ago.

    For $7.99 a month (or $6.25 if you go for the annual subscription), there’s enough hours of superhero programming to make this worthwhile for fans. There’s the expected titles like Batman: The Animated Series (which really looks great), Young Justice, and Justice League Unlimited, as well as all nine seasons of Super Friends and a nicely remastered Wonder Woman TV series. The Christopher Reeve Superman movies are there (I certainly hope you’ve all seen Superman: The Movie by now...the sequels, however, are a mixed bag), as are the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher Batman films. There are no DCEU movies (yet), and only the first two movies of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, with Dark Knight Rises currently absent. I suspect the absence of that film is a revealing one. Something tells me that the omissions of more recent blockbusters and current TV shows has something to do with assorted cable TV rights that still need to expire before they can all be herded under the DC Universe umbrella. I expect they’ll get here eventually, but it will take some time.

    That TV and movie selection includes some hidden gems, too. The dreadful but strangely compelling Legends of the Superheroes is here, which contains (among other things) the first live action versions of Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and other Justice League members. The Spirit TV movie is here, too, which stars former Flash Gordon star Sam J. Jones as Will Eisner’s most famous creation. Any Batman: The Animated Series fan would do well to check out the Max Fleischer Supermancartoons from the 1940s, which were a tremendous visual influence. The inclusion of the generally underrated Superman and the Legion of Super Heroes animated series is a nice surprise, too. It’s a nice enough library, and should hold everyone over until the original programming starts to arrive in October with Titans.

    As a comics reader, DC Universe is a smooth, visually pleasing experience. When reading on a tablet, I still prefer the “traditional” full page to a panel by panel guided view, but the guided view works well for those who want it, and it can be set to autoplay on the TV version, for those who want to try comics reading as a communal experience...or who just want a cool assortment of comic art playing on their TV in the background.

    But it’s the selection of comics itself where DC Universe shows its first real weakness. Boasting 2,500 “curated” titles at launch, DC Universe has plenty to offer fans who may only know these characters through movies or TV, and who just want to poke around and either see some of the stories that inspired them. But more serious readers will likely be disappointed by the number of comics available.

    2,500 may seem like a lot, but to a hardcore fan, it isn’t. I do still think that at its current price point, DC Universe is a bargain for superhero fans, and will justify itself even more once original programming like Titans, Doom PatrolYoung Justice: Outsiders, Swamp Thing, and others start to land. But comic fans are greedy, and we’ve been spoiled by the expansive Marvel Unlimited library. DC’s chief competitors offer virtually everything they’ve ever published for $9.99 a month, albeit without any kind of streaming video, social, or reading list components. But what that Marvel Unlimited selection facilitates is the comic book equivalent of a binge watch. You can get lost in the library, and burn through issue after issue for hours on end, and there’s little danger that you won’t find what you’re looking for. There are barriers to that here.

    Perhaps a tiered pricing system, that would allow hardcore fans (like myself) to pay an extra few bucks for a more expansive library, would do the trick. I would certainly pay more for the opportunity to binge read even more relatively obscure pieces of DC history, like Roger Stern and Tom Lyle's Starman or the original Max Allan Collins, Terry Beatty, Dick Giordano Wild Dog. On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that the current system will leave even casual fans frustrated. Many key series offer less than the equivalent of the first trade paperback worth of issues. Darwyn Cooke's essential, flawless The New Frontier only offers the first of its six issues, which is kind of like if you sat down to watch a movie on Netflix and it cut you off after the first 15 minutes. Little things like this make the comics end of DC Universe feel like more of a tease than a gateway drug and I fear it will help further the impression that comics are an impenetrable morass of never ending, soap opera-esque storytelling.

    I also find, as I find in pop culture in general, a distinct Batman bias in the selection, but I guess that’s to be expected, since everybody loves that mopey, pointy-eared rich kid so much. But Superman books are woefully underrepresented, as are heavy hitters like Wonder Woman and Flash. The fact that they only offer the first issue of volume 1 of Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans, mere weeks before the show launches, seems particularly counterproductive. The service will use a typical streaming service model, so expect things to become less Batman-heavy at some point (they did choose Batman Day as launch day, after all), and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see an influx of Shazam books (and hopefully video, as both the live action TV series and the Filmation animated cartoon are both currently absent) as we get into 2019 and that character’s movie debut looms.

    Don’t get me wrong, as there are plenty of gems within that selection. Steve Ditko’s Hawk and Dove, 13 issues of All-Star Squadron, all of Peter David’s Aquaman, the entirety of the Legends of the Dark Knight anthology, a solid chunk of the Jon Ostrander Suicide Squad...there’s certainly stuff to keep you occupied. But there are also the some puzzling decisions that I can only assume are errors. There are 36 issues of James Robinson’s brilliant Starman series on here, and it’s tough to imagine a better binge read, or the kind of thing that a fan of deep DC lore would enthusiastically recommend to a newbie. The problem is, the first four issues are there, then #5 is missing, and then it picks up again with #6. Two of Chuck Dixon and Tom Lyle’s excellent Robin minis are available...but not the original, only the sequels. And in the case of Robin III: Cry of the Huntress, it starts with issue #2.

    I even have to question why DC Universe remains so beholden to the single issue model, especially for comics published in the last decade or so. Sorting a library by single issue rather than story or volume is great for utilizing the “reading list” feature of the service, and certainly makes sense for comics published prior to the early 2000s, but for those interested in curating a large, personal library of binge-worthy reads, it quickly becomes unwieldy. The single issue format also means DC Universe falls prey to some of the least endearing quirks of Marvel Unlimited. Annuals are treated as separate series, rather than sorted into publication order with the rest of a series, and DC’s frequent zero issues are always sorted at the start of a run...despite the fact that they rarely are the appropriate starting point for any given series and take place in the middle of other stories. Instead of putting all of the Rebirth run of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey under one umbrella, for example, there is Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth (the one-shot that kicked off the series), and then a separate entry for Batgirl and the Birds of Prey (whose #1 is really the 2nd issue of the series). ComiXology Unlimited has wisely abandoned the single issue format for a vast chunk of its “Unlimited” selections, which makes for a cleaner navigation experience and an easier sort when browsing, and I’m surprised to see that hasn’t been adopted for DC Universe. Titles like Paul Pope's Batman: Year 100, the inescapable Dark Knight Returns, the gorgeous Atlantis Chronicles, and others would be better served if offered as large serving collected edition style reading experiences, not single issues

    It’s far too early to tell how some of the more ambitious features, notably the forums and social components will play out, although to be fair, I spent by far the least amount of time exploring these. While the idea of a DC-focused social network is certainly appealing on its surface, as someone who spends far too much time on the internet already (please note what I do for a living), I’m skeptical that this will become anything other than another platform for trolls and Snyder Cut truthers. DC plans to use this to break news, as well, but the first episode of their DC Daily show feels, at best, like an overstuffed infomercial. All this stuff is easy enough to avoid if you don’t want it, though, as it’s still the video and comics that will get people in the door.

    Overall, The platform itself is certainly a step ahead of both Marvel Unlimited and ComiXology Unlimited, but there are definitely things it can learn from both in terms of selection (from Marvel), and presentation/organization (from ComiXology). I do think they may have to work a little harder to really hook the serious comics readers in. I can think of countless titles that either aren’t due for a physical collection any time soon, or are out of print and/or not exactly burning up anyone’s order sheets, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be permanent fixtures on here. Whether at the monthly rate of $7.99 or the annual of $74.99, DC Universe is a solid value, and as more original programming is added, and should they decide to treat comics as less an appetizer and more a main course, that should only improve.

    Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.

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    Bucky Barnes is looking for redemption once again as Marvel brings back the Winter Soldier.

    NewsGavin Jasper
    Sep 16, 2018

    Bucky Barnes is an interesting part of the Marvel tapestry. For four decades, he was the hands-off part of Captain America’s backstory. As Marvel and its fans were concerned, you could bring back nearly any dead character, but leave Uncle Ben, Gwen Stacy, and Bucky Barnes the hell alone. Finally, Ed Brubaker brought him back as the Winter Soldier and absolutely pulled it off. It was one of those “shoot at the king, you best not miss” situations and he totally didn’t miss.

    Despite being a hit character, Bucky has had a hard time being the star of his own book. He was Captain America for a while, and that was certainly successful, but he spent it in Steve Rogers’ shadow and things didn’t end up so well for him. He had a couple of miniseries and then finally got a run as some kind of space assassin that everyone’s already forgotten about. He became the leader of the Thunderbolts, which was a fantastic idea, but went absolutely nowhere.

    But Bucky is pretty important and is probably getting his own movie at some point, so it’s time for another shot. This time we’re getting Kyle Higgins and Rod Reis with Winter Soldier #1, coming out this December.

    The hook of this one is that after years of moping about what he was forced to do as a mind-wiped, frozen assassin, Bucky has finally accepted that his accomplishments have earned him some sort of redemption. Now he’s on the road, looking for others to redeem.

    Huh. This might be a better Thunderbolts story than that comic that was literally about Bucky running the Thunderbolts.

    “As someone with quite a bit of experience writing grown up sidekicks, I know firsthand how important it is to define the character outside of their relationship with their mentor,” said Higgins in a statement. “Since being freed from Soviet brainwashing, Bucky has done a massive amount of work to atone for his sins--becoming Captain America, spending time in the Gulag, dying to save the world... in many ways, he's found redemption. So, what's next for him? He's going to help other people do the same.”

    “To be able to work with a character that has such a rich legacy and striking visual identity is really exciting,” added Reis. “Taking Bucky forward and building a world unique to him – one that still respects his past – is an artist’s dream. I can’t wait for people to see what we’ve come up with.”

    “As someone who grew up loving sidekicks, I've been fascinated by Bucky Barnes for as long as I've been reading comics,” said Higgins. “Then, in 2005, I fell in love with the character all over again thanks to Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting's incredible Winter Soldier run. Now, along with one of my favorite artists in comics, I'm thrilled to be taking Bucky Barnes on his next journey.”

    Winter Soldier #1 arrives on December 5.

    Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek and wonders if carrying that giant gun might screw up your balance when riding a motorcycle. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L

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    Old X-Force meets up with Young Cable in this brand new chapter of X-Men's edgier counterpart.

    NewsGavin Jasper
    Sep 16, 2018

    Currently, Ed Brisson is doing a miniseries called Exterminationalong with Pepe Larraz that focuses on the whole original-X-Men-transported-into-the-present-and-stuck-there-for-way-too-long subplot of the mutant corner of Marvel. While we’re only two issues in, some serious shit has happened, including the death of Cable. Not only is Nathan Summers dead (kind of negating some recent Deadpool stuff, but no matter), but the guy pulling the trigger was...Nathan Summers.

    More specifically, a very young Nathan Summers. Turns out the whole youngster X-traveler thing is hereditary.

    There’s still three more issues of Exterminationto come out and figure out what’s happening with Ahab and all that, but the ripples of Cable’s death will lead to a brand new series this December. Ed Brisson will be teaming up with Dylan Burnett to give us X-Force.

    Which is kind of funny when you realize that this isn’t the first time X-Forcerelaunched in response to Cable dying.

    This time, it’s more of a classic team. Domino’s there, as well as Cannonball, Warpath, Boom-Boom, Shatterstar and Deathlok. I mean, Deathlok wasn’t part of the original stretch of X-Force, but he was in a recent version and he’s 90s as hell. Looking at the cover, Young Cable will be part of the team, even if the concept of the series is X-Force coming together to get revenge on him.

    Further reading: A Brief History of X-Force

    “Coming out of EXTERMINATION, Domino, Shatterstar, Cannonball, and Warpath are reeling from the loss of their mentor and have unanswered questions,” Brisson told in an interview. “They're on the hunt for this new Kid Cable to get those answers—some want his head, some just want to talk to him to find out what the hell is going on. Is this really their Cable? Is this an impostor?”

    “X-Force has always been the one X-team that stood out the most for me,” added Burnett. “A lot of my favorite mutants have belonged to it over the years (namely Cable and Psylocke) but being able to bring back the original lineup in a new way is a huge honor. They're just a bunch of badasses. It's dope. I'm stoked.”

    X-Force #1 will be released on December 26.

    Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek and wonders how long until Young Stryfe shows up. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L

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    The Thing and Alicia Masters will finally get hitched in Fantastic Four!

    NewsGavin Jasper
    Sep 17, 2018

    When Reed Richards and Sue Storm got married, all the way back in Fantastic Four Annual #3, it was a huge deal. It was this massive crossover with the whole Marvel Universe as it existed back in the mid-60s. Despite all the deaths, divorces, and Devil retcon contracts to happen over the decades, Reed and Sue have always remained a married couple. Now that the Fantastic Four is back as a team, it’s time for the next long-running couple to tie the knot.

    In the pages of Fantastic Four #1 by Dan Slott and Sara Pichelli, Ben Grimm finally popped the question to longtime love interest Alicia Masters. All things considered, it sure took him long enough.

    There’s some stuff with Reed and Sue returning that really needs to get wrapped up in the next couple of issues, but on December 26, Fantastic Four #5 will be released and we’ll be seeing that wedding in action. How fitting that the guy who went a couple rounds with the Champion of the Universe would get married on Boxing Day.

    The issue is a big milestone for the characters as it will be the 650th issue of Fantastic Four. To celebrate the issue, not only will Aaron Kuder be drawing the main story, but we’ll also some assistance from big names Adam Hughes and Michael Allred.

    Further reading: Why the Fantastic Four Will Thrive in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    Ben Grimm and Alicia Masters have been an item since Fantastic Four #8 back in 1962. The daughter of reformed villain the Puppet Master, Alicia's blindness has been played up as a complement to Thing’s monstrous appearance and his lack of self-confidence. There was a point where Alicia married Johnny Storm, but that turned out to be a Skrull imposter and the real Alicia returned shortly after.

    In the alternate future Earth X, Thing and Alicia are married and have two rocky sons known as The Brothers Grimm. It’s enough to make you happy for her, but also feel really, really bad for her. God, I hope they weren’t twins.

    Check out the wedding this December.

    “There are a handful of comic titles that demand respect due to their history. Titles that have influenced generations of fans and creators alike...Fantastic Four is definitely one of the biggest,” Aaron Kuder said in a statement. “It is truly an honor on that basis alone. Throw in the fact that I’m working with legendary creators like Dan, Mike, Adam, and Marte, and that just sets my inner fanboy a-spinning. I’ll be giving this ALL I've got.”

    further reading: The Roger Corman Fantastic Four Movie is Actually Great

    “It’s been a long time in coming—more than 55 years!—but Ben and Alicia are finally tying the knot!” added SVP and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. “And we’ve gone all-out to make this an extra-special event for fans, with the inclusion of not only the terrific Aaron Kuder (who’ll be illustrating the next storyline as well) but also Adam Hughes and Mike Allred for an all-star spectacular bash!”

    Gavin Jasper writes for Den of Geek and can’t wait for the 666th issue of Fantastic Four, where Mephisto annuls the marriage. Follow him on Twitter @Gavin4L

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    Justice League continues to rewrite the laws of the DC Universe and explores the reason behind the Legion of Doom's existence.

    FeatureMike Cecchini
    Sep 17, 2018

    The general logic goes that Justice League is the flagship title of the DC Universe. When you’ve united some of the most recognizable and powerful superheroes in the world under one banner, it isn’t to tell small stories. As Justice League goes, so goes the DC Universe. Or at least that's how it should be.

    But over the last few years, no matter how big the story (and they’ve all been big), Justice League has felt fairly self contained, with its tales rarely impacting the rest of the DCU. That isn’t to say it hasn’t been good, as the book wrapped its previous volume with a terrific run by Christopher Priest and Pete Woods, for example. But under the stewardship of Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and a host of killer artists, Justice League is currently changing the very fabric of the DC Universe, introducing wild new concepts about the nature of powers and how things work by the handful each issue.

    “It's really refreshing,” James Tynion IV says. “Everything building up to the current place of Justice League books and where we wanted to go, like the Source Wall breaking down, operates kind of on two levels. For one, it set a little story in motion for what we're doing for this Justice League. On a story level it was also meant to represent that we wanted to take all of the rules of the DC Universe and literally tear the wall open and make it so everything that you felt was a complete tapestry, you suddenly realize you're only seeing a piece of it. We wanted all of the characters to be faced with not understanding the entirety of their mythology.”

    That's pretty heady stuff, but there's a more basic reason for the scale of the stories, too. “We also just wanted these books to be incredibly fun,” he admits.

    And just as Justice Leaguehas an eye on the future of the DC Universe with all its new revelations, it grounds it with a nod to the past. The book prominently features the rise of the Legion of Doom, the supervillain team first introduced on the Challenge of the Super Friends animated series in 1978. Made up of the most recognizable baddies in all of comics, led by Lex Luthor, and housed in one of the coolest headquarters imaginable, the Legion of Doom could have been used as a way to use nostalgia to lure fans in. Instead, they're being used to illustrate just what heroes and villains stand for in the DC Universe.

    "I’m loving writing Lex Luthor in these issues because this is a bit more of the Silver Age, mad scientist Luthor, than we've seen in a while,” Tynion says. “Honestly, that's one of my favorite iterations of the character. Getting him back to that point where he's still driven by all of the same things, but now it's just the lengths he'll go to pursue what he wants are limitless. It’s just really, really fun to write.”

    Tynion, who admits that Luthor is a favorite villain of his, has spent some time considering what drives Luthor to be the best, or worst, he can be.

    “Luthor is that voice inside of all of us that's angry that anything anywhere can be better than you,” Tynion says. “For Luthor, you know, he is supposed to be the pinnacle of man and the fact that there's something above him is the most infuriating thing in the world. I think we can all tap into a bit of that fury. Either that or I just revealed something very telling about myself.”

    further reading - Lex Luthor: Jerk of all Trades

    Back in Justice League #5, Luthor caught a glimpse of a future where humanity had venerated Lex and other villains, rather than heroes. "Society stopped fooling itself," a young man dressed as the Joker and wearing Luthor-inspired power armor told Lex. Lex was so inspired that he formed the Legion of Doom, with a mission statement that it would "not stand for the people as they should be, but as they were, and would always be." It's not just a great exploration of what motivates Luthor, it's perhaps the best distinction between what the heroes and villains of the DC Universe stand for.

    “It's something that I talked about a lot with Scott [Snyder]," Tynion says. "In nature, there is no such thing as justice. Justice is not an actual thing that exists. It's something that you aspire to. It's a dream that is sort of enforced upon a universe to try to make it better. What Luthor is saying is that, 'we don't need to enforce something better on us. We need to respect what we are and become the best at that.'"

    Luthor would certainly know, as he spent time as a hero, and even a member of the Justice League. “Luthor feels that he wasted, you know it's comic book time, so who knows how long it actually was, but a few years of comic publishing time where he was acting as the hero,” Tynion says. “He got swept up in trying to pursue this dream version, rather that just accepting all of his worst instincts and being the best version of that version of himself.”

    When the Legion of Doom were first created, it was an assortment of villains that could be paired off against the specific heroes in the Justice League. But while this Legion contains many of the same members, it isn't as simple as using a hero's biggest villain to counter their traditional foe in the League. And there are more members coming. 

    further reading: DC Universe Streaming Service Review

    “Luthor is the central figure through the Legion of Doom story, but Martian Manhunter, more than anyone, is the central driver of the larger Justice League meta-story,” Tynion says. “Pitting the two of them together, is interesting because there are still a lot of the same pathos as Luthor versus Superman, but it's a different angle. We wanted the Legion of Doom to be the biggest villains in the DC Universe. That said, this issue reveals that there are still some secrets in the Legion of Doom and some players who Luthor might be using who we haven't seen just we move into the next year, we're going to see the ideological battle between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom spill out into the world around them.”

    Justice League #8 arrives on September 19. We’ll have more from James Tynion IV about the book later this week!

    Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.

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    DC is bringing back Martian Manhunter in a new solo series.

    NewsJim Dandy
    Sep 17, 2018

    J’onn J’onzz, the heart and soul of the Justice League, both comics and animated, for years now. His absence, which was thankfully corrected by the DC meta-story corrected by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV's fantastic Justice League means we’re also going to get a chance to dig into his history, and this is one hell of a creative team to task with that tale.

    Steve Orlando (Midnighter, Justice League of America) and Riley Rossmo (Deathbed, Dark Nights: The Batman Who Laughs) will be teaming up to dig deep into the Martian detective’s history on Mars and his arrival on Earth.

    “Spider-Man let the burglar go. Bruce Wayne was too afraid to save his family. This book gives J’onn that moment, and that’s the keystone as to why this book will be, is, the Martian Manhunter story, because we finally know the why. Why he strives to be so good on Earth, why he has this journey,” Orlando told The Hollywood Reporter.

    This is the third time in recent history that Orlando and Rossmo have worked together. The last two - the early Rebirth Batman family crossover, “Night of the Monster Men” and the DC/Dynamite crossover, Batman/The Shadow, were visually spectacular. Rossmo’s art is like if Skottie Young started out as a graffiti artist, and the opportunity to design the world of a culture of shapeshifters was too much to pass up.

    “...What does a building look like for people who don’t really need furniture? It’s an abstract visual problem-solving thing that feels pretty unique.” he told THR.

    further reading: DC Universe Streaming Service Review

    Despite being one of the anchors of the CW’s Supergirl, J’onn hasn’t had his own solo series for almost three years now. That changes this December with the launch of this new 12-issue limited series. For more on J’onn, M’gann or those treacherous white martians, stick with Den of Geek!

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    Miles Morales gets a fresh start, so get ready for more of your favorite Brooklyn Spider-Man!

    NewsJim Dandy
    Sep 17, 2018

    With Bendis gone to DC, his Marvel creations are starting to get picked up by new creative teams, many for the first time. The biggest and most prominent of those is Miles Morales, the Ultimate Spider-Man who not only survived the death of his corner of the multiverse, but actually saved the new one in the pages of Secret Wars. And he’s got a new solo book coming in December.

    Saladin Ahmed (Black Bolt, Quicksilver: No Surrender) and Javier Garron (Death of X, Ant Man & The Wasp) pick up with Miles in Brooklyn, and they immediately put him into some traditional Spider-Man problems. “Spider-Man is, in his essential origins, a teenage hero. And Miles will be that Spider-Man: facing threats against the neighborhood rather than the multiverse,” Ahmed told Marvel. “Super Villains, yes, but also other threats that speak to our times. He'll be doing that while also trying to while dealing with bullies, assistant principals, and canceled teen dates.”

    Ahmed, whose Black Bolt should be showing up on every Best Comics of 2018 list this side of The Comics Journal, got his start as a novelist with the extremely fun Throne of the Crescent Moon. Since his migration to comics, he’s been playing around in some of the weirder corners of the Marvel Universe with the aforementioned Inhumans tale, the dimension-hopping Exiles  and the always baffling present status of the Maximoff twins in Quicksilver: No Surrender.

    further reading: The Many Spider-Man of the Marvel Universe

    Garron is taking the grounded teenager aspect of Miles seriously. “Pichelli always kept Miles himself and the world around him cool, fresh, of the moment. The clothes and hairstyles, the art direction, the lighting and tone must steel feel very connected with the world we live in,” he told Marvel.

    The first issue of Miles Morales: Spider-Man is due out on December 12th, just in time for the release of that incredible looking Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Miles-centric animated movie. For more on Miles, Peter, or a detailed scientific discussion of how Molecule Man was able to eat a three week old (plus a decade in stasis) McDonald’s hamburger, stick with Den of Geek!

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    We talked to the creator web comic Check, Please about fandom, adaptation, and what's next...

    Interview Kayti Burt
    Sep 18, 2018

    Check, Please an endlessly delightful web comic about hockey, baking, and bros— is one of the most enthusiastic internet fandoms out there, and one that is only poised to grow. Previously, the comic has mainly been available to read on the internet, but the first hardcover volume of the Check, Please hits stores today.

    #Check, Please!: #Hockey will cover Bitty's first two years at the fictional Samwell University. Here's the official synopsis:

    Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking (anything that hinders the player with posession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jackhis very attractive but moody captain.

    A collection of the first half, freshmen and sophmore year, of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life. This book ncludes updated art and a hilarious, curated selection of Bitty's beloved tweets.

    Den of Geek talked to Ukazu last year about why she thinks Check, Please is so popular, whether she ever dream-casts an on-screen adaptation of the comic, and what is next for the talented storyteller/artist...

    Den of Geek: Can you give a brief synopsis of what Check, Please is about for people who have yet to dive into the wonderful world of Check, Please?

    Ngozi Ukazu:Check, Please is the story of Eric "Bitty" Bittle, a former figure skater who starts his freshman year as a member of Samwell University's men's ice hockey team.

    Bitty is a vlogger who shares recipes on pie making, is several inches shorter than most of his teammates, and is deathly afraid of checking — which is when you get hit on the ice. It's also a story about Bitty falling in love with Jack Zimmermann, the team's stoic captain who has fallen from grace.

    A lot of the narratives we have that challenge patriarchy/toxic masculinity focus on how it affects women and girls, but Check, Please is one of the few stories that seems to do the same by imagining a different, better future for men and boys outside of rigid gender roles and "norms." Why do you think it’s important to tell stories like this? Was this one of the driving forces in creating Check, Please? 

    In the beginning, Check, Please was simply a palate cleanser after I spent my senior semester at Yale writing a screenplay called Hardy.

    Hardy followed a giant, super bro-y enforcer-type hockey player who falls in love with his best friend and struggles with internalized homophobia. With all of the newfound hockey knowledge I gained from researching, I still wanted to tell a story set in the world of hockey, but a bit more hopeful and silly.

    While Hardy had a bittersweet ending, Check, Please is a story where Bitty has little victories each year. Maybe it wasn't a completely conscious effort, but we need more stories about critiquing the rigidity of gender norms that don't involve characters succumbing to these norms in tragedy.

    It seems like you have a good idea of where the Check, Please story is going. How much of the Check, Please narrative is planned and how much surprises you? Have there been any major changes to your planned story along the way?

    I planned out the major arcs of the comic before I had finished the first semester of "Year One." Still, characters can surprise me with their dialogue and sometimes jokes develop right as I'm drawing a page.

    When I'm coming up with new characters like incoming freshmen or Jack's NHL team, I have vague ideas for that coalesce a year or so before the characters actually appear. Overall, the story has been hitting all of the major plot points that I drafted out.

    You began creating Check, Please when you yourself were in school, getting your Masters. I think of the early 20s as such a transformative time. Has your perspective of Check, Please changed over the course of you writing/drawing it as you have changed/learned/grown?

    Check, Please continues to be this love letter to the magic of friendship in undergrad, the excitement of college hockey, and how it feels to get a liberal arts education in the Northeast. It's a bit of a time capsule of my time at Yale.

    As I've grown, my perspective on hockey culture at large has changed. Whiteness and masculinity are really unrelenting driving forces of that culture, and while Samwell hockey remains continuously progressive, the NHL and hockey has only changed a little since I first discovered the sport.

    As someone who supports you on Patreon, I know how impressively prolific you are. What does your creation schedule/routine look like?

    First of all, thank you so much! Comics and the blog posts that follow them take weeks to complete and, in between this main content, I'm usually sketching, working on books and merchandise, or writing for other projects.

    I spend my mornings answering emails and running comic and non-comic errands, while I spend my afternoons and evenings drawing and writing. I usually wake up and go to sleep fairly early!

    Do you think Kickstarter/Patreon model is where much of smaller-scale creation is heading? Do you think it’s possible to be a full-time creator working directly from fan support?

    I'm a firm believer in creators pursuing their passions full-time, if they have free content and a large enough audience. Models like Kickstarter & Patreon are allowing niche and under-served audiences to directly support content that they can't get in bookstores or see on TV.

    What has surprised you most about the response to Check, Please?

    This is a story about really goofy bros and a boy who loves to bake pies. I had no idea it could also be a story that would make people cry, help people form new friendships, or [something] parents read with their teens.

    Why do you think this story has come to mean so much to so many people?

    Check, Please is a story about an uncertain, but sweet kid who enters a potentially threatening environment—and survives.

    People want happy stories. They crave hope. And all of the goofiness and friendship and weird rules that these boys create as part of the culture of Samwell start to make the Samwell men's hockey team and the Haus feel a bit like Hogwarts.

    Congratulations on the two-volume publishing deal! How did that happen — did you approach First Second Books or did they approach you? Are you nervous at all about Check, Please going out into the wider world after having spent so long in Internet Land?

    Thank you! After the success of the Kickstarter, a number of publishers realized that Check, Please had potential to do well with a wider audience. But when First Second reached out, they were hands-down the most enthusiastic publisher with a team of authentic and thoughtful Check, Please fans. Check, Please is a story that started on the Internet, but I'm excited for people who don't normally peruse blogs to read it and discover the story!

    Right now, there is a fair amount of tension between creators and their fans. I see you as a creator who respects her fans and has a healthy, conversational relationship with the fandom. Why do you think so many creators seem to have a problem with this? Do you have any advice for creators who struggle to connect with their fans?

    I love the Check, Please fandom! And for whatever reason, readers in the fandom seem to enjoy the interactions they experience in Check, Please. The healthy relationship I have with the fandom took a lot of time to learn and did have its growing pains!

    My biggest advice for creators is to leave fandom alone. Appreciate it, but don't try to control it. Similarly, readers should understand that headcanons might never be canon and the story and characters belong to the creator. End of story. The relationship starts to deteriorate when one party tries to control the other.

    Would you be interested in seeing Check, Please adapted for the screen? (Because I would!) What does your dream scenario look like — i.e. TV series vs. film vs. web series? Do you ever think about dream casting?

    Oh boy, it'd be so hard to do a live-action show. Is it possible cast anybody (a) with a butt as big as the fictional Jack Zimmermann's who (b) can also act? In a dream scenario, all of the actors would know how to skate, the actor who played Bitty would have a perfect Georgia accent, and it would feel more like an HBO comedy with pockets of drama.

    But what about this—Check, Please as a radio show?

    Have you been working on any other projects lately? 

    I'm working on a script for a softball story to be drawn by my pal Madeline Rupert. It's a story about a girl who goes to art school, loses her scholarship, and has to get her school's softball team to win one game of softball in order to get an athletic scholarship.

    This story involves a ton of musings on art school, financial aid, and a different approach to telling a story about sports.

    For so many people, Check, Please is the story that makes them happy. What are you a fan of right now?

    Other than the NBA and podcasts like The Read, Bodega Boys, and My Brother, My Brother, and Me, I haven't been able to sink my teeth into any TV show or movie in a while.

    But for a random list... I'm a big fan of Insecure, Spider-Man: Homecoming, anything Kevin Wada draws, Frank Ocean, and a ton of other podcasts. I guess a lot of my energy goes into creating things for other people to fan nowadays!

    Check, Please!: #Hockey is now available for purchase.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

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    Tom King and Mitch Gerads, the Eisner Award-winning creators behind Mister Miracle, are bringing Professor Pyg back to the pages of Batman.

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Sep 18, 2018

    When the writer-artist dynamic duo of Tom King and Mitch Gerads isn't getting our blood pumping in Vertigo series like The Sheriff of Babylon or taking us on a trippy voyage through DC's cosmology in Mister Miracle, the team hangs out in Gotham City. This will be Gerad's fourth go-around on the Rebirth Batman title.

    The issue, which arrives on Dec. 19, picks up after Batman's team up with the Penguin (yeah, that's actually happening!) and will see the return of the perverse Professor Pyg, a villain who first debuted in the twisted Batman #666 (July 2007) by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert. That appropriately dark story stars Bruce Wayne's son, Damian, as a new Batman who's made a pact with the devil to protect Gotham City after an apocalyptic event that sends the planet plummeting into fire and brimstone. While Pyg's first appearance is brief, he later returns as a villain in Morrison's Batman and Robin series for a few twisted issues. 

    In those early issues, Pyg is portrayed as a depraved torturer and a pervert. In one issue, he even ties Robin to a chair and performs a sort of striptease for the Boy Wonder while holding the electric drill and buzz saw he plans to cut him up with. Then he vomits in front of everyone and...gets off on it? That's my interpretation, anyway. You never know with Morrison. 

    Professor Pyg has most recently appeared on Gotham season 4, played by Michael Cerveris (Fringe). 

    Here's the solicit for the upcoming Batman #61, which teases a weird and bloody return for the villain:

    BATMAN #61

    written by TOM KING
    art and cover by MITCH GERADS
    variant cover by FRANCESCO MATTINA

    The Eisner-winning creative team behind MISTER MIRACLE is back together as artist Mitch Gerads rejoins the Bat team for a special issue! Professor Pyg is loose in Gotham, and you know that means things are going to get weird…and bloody.!

    ON SALE 12.19.18
    $3.99 US | 32 PAGES
    FC | RATED T

    King and Gerads first brought their trademark nine-panel storytelling to Batman in 2017 for a story titled "The Brave and the Mold," which saw the Dark Knight and Swamp Thing team up to solve a mystery. While it's just a standalone issue, it's easily one of the best stories in King's more than 50-issue run thus far. It's issue #23 if you want to hunt the book down.

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

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    The Den of Geek Book Club is a place to geek out about our favorite science fiction, fantasy, and horror books.

    FeatureKayti Burt
    Sep 18, 2018

    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. Join us in discussing our latest pick...

    September/October: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

    Victor Vale and Eli Ever were college friends who discovered the secret to extraordinary abilities together only to become enemies set on bringing the other down in this morally-complex tale of ambition, jealousy, and superpowers,

    "There are no good men in this game," Schwab writes in Vicious, and it's true, proving that you don't need good guys to tell a compelling story and that you don't need to sacrifice empathy, feeling, or nuanced self-awareness when telling a tale of anti-heroes.

    Read Vicious by V.E. Schwab

    Schwab is one of the best writers of her generation and, if you have yet to pick up one of her many speculative fiction books, Vicious is a great place to start, not least of all because its sequel, Vengeful, is out on September 25th. (Schwab also recently released a middle grade novel called City of Ghosts that is perfect reading for the Halloween season.) You won't be disappointed.

    Read Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

    Come discuss Vicious, Vengeful, and other speculative fiction picks over at the Den of Geek Book Club, and stay tuned for more Villains-related treats in the coming month! You can also enter to win our Villains giveaway, which includes copies of both Vicious and Vengeful, as well as some other exclusive merch.

    August/September: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

    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.

    Den of Geek Chats With Theodora Goss

    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 Daughtershe is struggling to find money to support herself and her household following the death of her mother.

    Read The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

    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!

    Read 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!

    Read Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn

    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.

    Read Brief Cases by Jim Butcher

    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.

    If you're into The Handmaid's Tale, then check out the novel that has been called "our era's Handmaid's Tale." Then head over to the Den of Geek Book Club Goodreads page to discuss.

    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.

    Read our full review of Children of Blood and Bone.

    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.

    You can read our full review of the book herecheck out our interview with author Elan Mastai, then head over to our Den of Geek Book Club page to join the discussion!

    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.

    Learn more about Binti and Nnedi Okorafor's other work.

    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.

    Head over to our Den of Geek Book Club page to join in the discussion! 

    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.

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    We're giving away an awesome, limited-edition Villains book prize pack!

    The RestKayti Burt
    Sep 18, 2018

    Den of Geek is hosting this giveaway in partnership with Tor Books.

    V.E. Schwab is one of our favorite authors here at Den of Geek. From the Shades of Magicseries to spooky middle grade read City of Ghosts to her recent "In Search of Doors" speech delivered at the J.R.R. Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature, we're just big Schwab fans.

    Which is why we're so excited not only to announce that Vicious is our current Den of Geek Book Club read, but that we're hosting a Vicious and Vengeful Giveaway! The Villains giveaway not only includes copies of both books, but some other amazing exclusive merch: a “Hell, we could be heroes” hoodie, a Viciouspencil set, and a Vicious tote bag.

    Read Vicious by V.E. Schwab

    Entry in the giveaway is simple:

    - Join the Den of Geek Book Club over on Goodreads.

    - Comment in one of the Vicious/Vengeful discussion threads (and be sure to let us know it was the giveaway that sent you there!)

    Unfortunately, only readers who reside in the United States qualify for this contest. Final entries will be accepted Tuesday, September 25th! One (1) winner will be drawn at random and contacted via Goodreads message. Good luck!

    For those yet to read the clever, heartbreaking Villains series opener: Vicious is the story of two college roomates, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, who discover the secret to supernatural abilities lies in near death experiences. The discovery proves to be the very thing that splits them apart, turning them into ExtraOrdinary persons, sure, but also turning them against one another.

    Sequel Vengeful checks back in with Victor, Eli, and the other characters we first met in Vicious, as well as introducing some new EO characters with their own ambitious goals to the world of Villains.

    Read Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

    You can follow the #VillainsSeries hashtag on Twitter to enter giveaways for the Limited-Edition Vengeful prize pack!

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

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    Harley Quinn is messing with the DC Multiverse in Harley Quinn #50. We have the inside scoop.

    InterviewMarc Buxton
    Sep 18, 2018

    It’s Harley Quinn’s world, we just live in it. Harley Quinn is everywhere. From movies to animation to video games to comics to cosplay, Harley Quinn rules the world of pop culture. As if that’s not enough, it’s almost time for Harley to celebrate the 50th issue of her comic book series.

    Here to guide everyone’s favorite wackadoo siren through this milestone is writer Sam Humphries and an all-star team of artists. I mean, take a deep breath and check out this line up: Whilce Portacio, Babs Tarr, John McCrea, Scott Kolins, John Timms, Dan Jurgens, Tom Grummett, Brett Booth, Kelley Jones, and more. And with that who’s who of artists, you know this isn’t just any ‘ol Harley story.

    Harley Quinn #50 is “Harley Saves the Universe!” and features just about every DC character you can imagine. We’re not kidding, in issue #50, Harley goes cosmic and must navigate the DC Multiverse to save her mom. Along the way, Humphries satirizes every DC icon, era, and genre as he celebrates this Harley milestone. It was our pleasure to sit down with Mister Humphries to discuss the fiftieth issue, his views on Quinn and her world, and his love of the entirety of the DC Universe.  

    Harley is certainly one of the most versatile of DC’s pantheon. What makes her fit any genre?

    Great question! Issue 50 is a giant-sized answer. "HARLEY QUINN DESTROYS DC CONTINUITY!"

    No one has EVER read a comic like this before. Nearly every art jam sequence in the issue illuminates what you're talking about, but Dan Jurgens' sequence in particular is a crystallization of this.

    further reading - Justice League, the Legion of Doom and the Nature of Evil in the DC Universe

    Harley can be true to herself in any situation. She doesn't feel like she has to hold her true self back. She can always be 100% Harley Quinn. Which makes her incredibly versatile. She can go anywhere, fight anyone, team up with anyone, and always be who she is. She can ping pong through any genre, any iconic story, any twist of continuity and, because she's always herself, we get to see all those things through her POV, we get to see it all in a new light. 

    And that's Ms. Quinn, thank you.

    Speaking of genre, what led to Harley Quinn #50 becoming a big cosmic blowout rather than a Gotham-centric anniversary?

    Gotham ain't big enough to contain Harleen the Queen. We had to destroy continuity itself to tell a Harley story worthy of a giant-sized anniversary art jam! And we had to get the biggest artists to draw it, too! Starting with Tremendous John Timms. He's been drawing Harley for awhile, but his work on the framing sequence of this issue is just outstanding. Some of his best work, especially with the colors of Alex Sinclair!

    Harley Quinn#50 is more than a love letter to Harley; it’s a love letter to the DC Universe. It feels like you had some unscratched itches when it comes to certain DC characters and other DC genres.

    We drove the DC Universe like a stolen car. I made a series of lists, I guess you could call them "wishlists." One was a LONG list of characters I wanted to write or include in some way. Some were obvious, like Wonder Woman. Some were not, like Waverider. Then I also had a list of genres I wanted to play with, everything from "pirate adventure" to "game show." And then the third list was classic DC stories/titles we could twist or build on, like The Death of Superman or The Sandman. Once I had those, I started playing mix and match until I had concepts I couldn't believe. I even had the Six Flags roller coaster The Riddler's Revenge in there, although it didn't make the cut. 

    further reading: DC Universe Streaming Service Review

    Even though we're DESTROYING continuity, this is also a LOVE LETTER to continuity! No, not just a love letter, but a LOVE SONG, one of those slow funk jams from D'Angelo that you turn up when the lights go low. Continuity is such a weird, singular thing - what is REALLY at the core of continuity? What MATTERS about continuity? The amount of energy in the universe is constant. But every Wednesday, continuity keeps growing without end. HOW?? And finally, why do we love continuity so damn much? These are the questions at the center of Harley Quinn #50.

    If only you could have been a fly on the wall during conversations with editors Alex Sinclair and Andrea Shea. You'd understand all the crazy ideas we built on to get to the final insane product of issue 50, a comic where DC continuity is deadzo. Every other page you're gonna say to yourself, "I can't f***ing believe they got away with that!"


    Harley Quinn #50 is also an all-star jam session with a ton of top notch artists. Did you come up with the concepts of the issue first and then find an artist for each one or did you have the artists on board first and then tried to find story directions to match each artist’s strength?

    All of the above. It was a really complicated process. We didn't just have an all-star line up of artists, we also had an all-star line up of editors in Alex and Andrea. They put in amazing work to corral everyone, keep the issue on schedule, and keep this wild-ass story straight. 

    Above everything else, I wanted three things: I wanted a mix of stylistically diverse artists, I wanted all the artists to have fun, and I wanted them to do something we've never seen them do before. And every single artist grabbed onto the crazy, anything goes spirit of this issue in a gigantic bear hug of love. The Easter Eggs alone will curl your toes! This whole issue is full of surprises. 

    Sometimes matching artists with concepts was a, of course we're going to have Kelley Jones do some spooky, horror-inflected stuff. But he surprised me with the humor he put into it, he's a real stealth comedy artist! Sometimes it was a matter of playing to an artist's loves. I know Babs Tarr has a deep and unyielding love for shojo manga. So I created a sequence where she could let her inner shojo fan run wild. Sometimes it was a bit of personality match. John McCrea is a delight to talk to, a bit of a mischievous guy - I felt like a pirate adventure would suit him, you know? Like he might have been a pirate in a past life!

    And other times, we just got lucky. Who knew Brett Booth is not just a dinosaur freak, but an astounding dinosaur artist? Well, Alex knew. But I didn't know when I came up with that sequence! 

    It's completely unlike any comic you've ever seen before. It's a writer's dream to be in a huddle with a group of artists like this. They all have my gratitude. 

    I really, really need to see your Adam Strange concept come to life on a monthly basis. I just think you should know that.

    HA! Thank you. Yeah, Jon Davis-Hunt just did an incredible job on that, didn't he? I am so thrilled he's in this issue - I think The Wild Storm is the finest comic being published by DC right now. So I'm a fan, but I knew we're both WildStorm nerds, so I knew we'd find some common, creative ground together. I'd love to do more work with him, but Warren Ellis would figure out some way to poison me from orbit or something. No thank you!

    Talk about the legacy of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. This version of Harley by way of Little Annie Fanny has certainly found a lasting direction for the character. 

    Well, any milestone like issue 50 is an achievement. But I've been writing Harley for the past five issues, Amanda and Jimmy were writing her for the past FIVE YEARS. So the lion's share of the achievement belongs to them. I tried to pay tribute to Amanda and Jimmy's run by making it a spectacular art-jam issue (something they did a couple times) and by making it as wild and funny as I possibly could. It's a victory lap for them in absentia. Me? I'm just revving up the engines.

    Were there any parodies that didn’t make it into the final issue? The Lobo by way of Gaiman was just brilliant.

    Oh yeah. Tons. I've got lists of concepts and stories and characters and genres I was hoping to include. A lot of them were too difficult to pull off in two pages, or too obscure, or too hot, or too cold, or whatever. A lot of them sounded like a riot in my head, and then ended up falling flat on the page. So it goes. I'm going to keep the leftovers to myself for future use, but there's one I'll spill the beans on. I wanted to do a Three Musketeers-style sequence with Booster, Beetle, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter, Fire, and Ice. But that would have been too much historical research and detail to expect out of an artist for a two page gig. Luckily, Mirka Andolpho was game to include it as an Easter Egg on her pages!

    So, the issue ends with a reveal of a very obscure Golden Age character. Why that character?

    He's only appeared like six times since World War II. No, not in continuity-time. I mean, he's literally only been in a handful of published comics since the 1940s. I thought, let's shake him up, let him shine in 2018.

    So why no Mister J in the final issue?

    I've got a Harley/Joker story I really want to tell - a big one, a story that would rewrite the rules of their relationship. I pitched it to DC and they loved it, but for a lot of reasons the time isn't right. All good. You can't rush a story like that. One day...

    Where is Harley going next?

    After issue 50, she's gonna need a nap. But she's not gonna get one. In brief, here's what's coming up:

    - Captain Triumph

    - Minor Disasters

    - Christmas with the Quinns

    - Batman


    To you, who is Harley Quinn?


    Harley Quinn #50 hits stores like an oversized mallet on Wednesday, September 19.

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    Batman #55 delivers a shocking cliffhanger that might point to a new status quo for Dick Grayson.

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    Sep 19, 2018

    This Batman article contains spoilers.

    Being left at the altar by Catwoman hasn't been easy for Batman and things are about to get even more difficult for the Dark Knight now that the deadly KGBeast has returned to Gotham. Yes, the Russian assassin that first terrorized the Caped Crusader in Batman #418 (March 1988) by the all-star creative team of Jim Starlin and Jim Aparo is back to hit Batman where it hurts: his family. 

    Following a series of more lighthearted adventures involving Condiment King and Crazy Quilt, this week's Batman #55 by Tom King and Tony S. Daniel begins like an ordinary night of patrolling the streets for the Dark Knight and Nightwing, who has made it his personal mission to cheer up his mentor after the wedding fiasco. Batman isn't really having any of his former ward's fun-filled antics, though. He just wants to brood in peace. 

    The story, which is titled "Beasts of Burden," alternates between the KGBeast's arrival in Gotham and Batman and Nightwing's battle with a new, mummy-themed villain, the Phantom Pharaoh. While the story could almost be mistaken for another standalone crime-fighting romp, King and Daniel quickly pull the rug from under ftheir readers as a shot rings out across Gotham...and connects with Dick Grayson's head! 

    Further Reading: Professor Pyg Returns to the Pages of Batman

    The issue takes a very methodical approach to the supervillain, showing him first arriving at the airport, then acquiring a rifle (the issue makes a point to show just how easy it is for the villain to get one at a gun shop), going for some lunch, and then breaking into an apartment to get a perfect shot at the first Boy Wonder while the Dynamic Duo meets with Commissioner Gordon on the usual GCPD rooftop. 

    The last we see of Nightwing is the bullet impacting his head. We hear Gordon calling for medics as KGBeast packs up his rifle and exits the apartment, Dick's fate left unresolved. Has Nightwing met his maker at the hands of the Russian villain and the cruel Tom King?

    Dick's probably not dead. We all know death isn't really a thing in modern comics, and with Grayson about to return to the small screen in the Titans TV series, it's even less likely that DC will shelve the character in the comics any time soon. Either way, we'll know for sure when Batman#56 hits comic shops on Oct. 3. 

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

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    The Back to the Future manga would have been drawn by the artist of One-Punch Man, but sadly won't see the light of day.

    NewsShamus Kelley
    Sep 19, 2018

    Well this is dissapointing. After previously announcing earlier this year that Yuusuke Murata (One-Punch ManEyeshield 21) would be drawing a Back to the Future manga supervised byoriginal Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale, we've now learned (thanks to Anime News Network) it's been cancelled. Murata reported on twitter that rights issues couldn't be resolved for several elements that would have appeared in the manga.

    It's a big shame, especially since the manga was going to be an adaption of the original movie but also include "story content not seen in the film."

    Murata also posted a few pages from part of his uncompleted draft of the manga. We've also got images from the original announcment as well.

    It's crushing this manga won't be seeing the light of day. The images above hint at a really interesting take on Back to the Future, including a monster truck Delorean! Not exactly sure how that would have factored into an adaption of the original series but hey, anything is possible. Especially in Manga. Hopefully those rights issues can be worked out because we'd love to see more of this unique entry into the Back to the Future franchise.

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

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