Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Articles on this Page

(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)
(showing articles 1 to 40 of 40)

    0 0

    The Shadowhunters is back on Freeform for a third season. Here's everything we know about Shadowhunters Season 3...

    News Kayti Burt
    Apr 11, 2018

    Good news, Shadowhunters fans! The Freeform series is back for Season 3. 

    Next up? Episode 5, "Stronger Than Heaven," which will air on April 17th. Here's the official synopsis:

    Jace tries to learn who is out to get Simon; Clary turns to Luke to find a way to help Jace; Alec worries about the future of his relationship after learning more about Magnus' romantic past.

    And here's the promo...

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Episode Guide

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 1: On Infernal Ground

    Secrets abound as the Shadowhunters and Downworlders attempt to return to normal following Valentine's death; Clary struggles with keeping her secret about Raziel's wish; Lilith sets a plan in motion as Simon spends time in the Seelie Court.

    Original air date: 3/20/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 2: The Powers That Be

    The Warlocks’ magic is becoming corrupted by a demonic presence while Izzy and Luke try to track down more information on the recent series of possessions.

    Original air date: 3/27/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 3: What Lies Beneath

    The Shadowhunters try to track down the new imposing threat, while Jace has a suspicion that Jonathan is back and behind the mundane attacks. Simon tries to figure out what The Seelie Queen did to him during his time in the glade. Alec decides to host a Lightwood family dinner at Magnus’ house after a surprising visit from Maryse.

    Original air date: 4/3/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 4: Thy Soul Instructed

    Jace becomes concerned about his mental state and turns to Luke for information on his family's past; Clary and Izzy go after a rogue vampire; Simon hunts for a new apartment.

    Original air date: 4/10/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 5: Stronger Than Heaven

    Jace tries to learn who is out to get Simon; Clary turns to Luke to find a way to help Jace; Alec worries about the future of his relationship after learning more about Magnus' romantic past.

    Original air date: 4/17/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 6: A Window Into an Empty Room

    Clary teams up with Magnus to investigate a recent demon attack; Simon is stunned when he is visited by someone he thought he would never see again; Izzy worries about dinner with her family and a special guest; Luke reaches out to Maryse.

    Original air date: 4/24/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3, Episode 7: Salt in the Wound

    Original air date: 5/1/18

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Release Date

    Shadowhunters Season 3 hit Freefrom on Tuesday, March 20th at 8 p.m. ET. The season will have 20 episodes.

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Trailer

    Shadowhunters debuted a trailer for Season 3 at NYCC, complete with some Jace/Clary action, Simon and the Seelie Queen, and Magnus adjusting to his new life. Check it out...

    Shadowhunters Season 3 Cast

    Arrow's Anna Hopkins will join the Shadowhunters Season 3 cast as Lilth. The role is recurring.

    Also joining the Shadowhunters team is Hamilton's Javier Muñoz. Muñoz will appear as one of Magnus' warlock rivals.

    Season 2 showrunners Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer will be staying on as showrunners for the third season, along with executive producers McG, Michael Reisz, Matt Hastings, Mary Viola, Martin Moszkowicz and Robert Kulzer.

    Though Shadowhunters has dipped somewhat in the ratings since its Season 1 premiere, it has one of the most passionate fanbases of any Freeform show (or TV show, really). More news as we hear it.

     


    0 0

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

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    Apr 26, 2018

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

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

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

    THE THANOSCOPTER

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

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

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

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

    GAMORA’S CHRISTMAS

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

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

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

    DARKSEID ON THE PAYROLL

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

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

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

    THE THANOSI

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

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

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

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

    SQUIRREL GIRL BEATS UP THANOS! ...MAYBE!

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

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

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

    CUBE TO THE BALLS

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

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

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

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

    EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HERO

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

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

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

    SANTA THANOS

    Man, what is it with Thanos and Christmas?!

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

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

    PATTON OSWALT’S STAR WARS EPISODE VII

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

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

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

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

    THE LOSS TO ARSENAL

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

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

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

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

    THE SATSUI NO HADO GAUNTLET

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

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

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

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

    Hopefully they’re saving that move for Avengers 4.

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


    0 0

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

    Feature Mike CecchiniJim Dandy
    Apr 27, 2018

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

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

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

    Now, let's get to work...

    The Infinity Gauntlet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Black Order

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

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

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

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

    But speaking of death...

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

    Guardians of the Galaxy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Nebula

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

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

    Gamora

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

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

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

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

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

    Thor

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

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

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

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

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

    Right? Anyway...

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

    Spider-Man

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

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

    Go back to the blue and red, kid.

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

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

    Except when Peter dies. That was heartbreaking.

    The Stan Lee Cameo

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

    The Avengers 4 Roster

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

    The Post Credits Scene

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

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

    Miscellaneous Cool Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

    Cap is the best, you guys.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (ahem...ANYWAY)

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

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

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

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


    0 0

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

    Feature Jim Dandy
    May 2, 2018

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

    Let's get to work.

    The Origin Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Characters

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Villains

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

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

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

    The Music

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


    OK, it's not the best.

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

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


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

    Miscellaneous Stuff

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

    The Post Credits Scene

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

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


    0 0

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

    News Joseph Baxter
    May 4, 2018

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

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

    Pet Sematary Remake Cast

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Pet Sematary Remake Release Date

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

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


    0 0

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

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    May 7, 2018

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

    How do you solve a problem like Thanos?

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

    THANOS WAR (1974)

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

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

    DEATH WATCH (1977)

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

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

    SPIDEY SUPER STORIES (1979)

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

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

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

    INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991)

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

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

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

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

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

    He missed, of course.

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

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

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

    URBAN JUNGLE (1998)

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

    Somebody out there will get that reference.

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

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

    CALL OF THE WILD (1998)

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

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

    Seriously, though. He looks exactly like The World.

    THE FINAL MORNING (2000)

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

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

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

    SQUIRREL GIRL (2006)

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

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

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

    ANNIHILATION (2006)

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

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

    MARVEL ADVENTURES (2006)

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

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

    MARVEL ZOMBIES 2 (2007)

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

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

    THE NEWER FANTASTIC FOUR (2009)

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

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

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

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

    AVENGERS AND THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)

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

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

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

    REBIRTH RAMPAGE (2010)

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

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

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

    DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE (2012)

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

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

    AVENGERS AND GUARDIANS ASSEMBLE (2012)

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

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

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

    INFINITY (2013)

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

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

    UNI-DEADPOOL (2015)

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

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

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

    WHAT IF? INFINITY: INHUMANS (2015)

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

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

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

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

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

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

    WHAT IF? INFINITY: DARK REIGN (2015)

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

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

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

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

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

    SECRET WARS (2015)

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

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

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

    SECRET WARS: THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2015)

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

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

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

    CIVIL WAR II (2016)

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

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

    ULTIMATES REMATCH (2016)

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

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

    THE GROUNDED GUARDIANS (2017)

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

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

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

    THE SHI’AR IMPERIAL GUARD (2017)

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

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

    PHOENIX THANE (2017)

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

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

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

    THANOS VS. THANOS (2018)

    “And if Thanos must die?”

    “No one kills Thanos but Thanos.”

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

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

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

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

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


    0 0

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

    NewsJim Dandy
    May 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

    Also, they're killing Fred.

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

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

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


    0 0

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

    FeatureDen of Geek Staff
    May 7, 2018

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

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

    Before Mars by Emma Newman

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

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

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

    Release date: April 18th

    Buy Before Mars by Emma Newman

    Ascendant by Jack Campbell

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

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

    Previous books in the series: Vanguard

    Release date: May 15th

    Pre-Order Ascendant by Jack Campbell

    The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Release date: June 19th

    Pre-Order The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

    The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

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

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

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

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

    Release date: July 3rd

    Pre-Order The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

    Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

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

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

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

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

    Release date: July 3rd

    Pre-Order Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

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


    0 0

    News Mike Cecchini
    May 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

    COMMENT POLICY

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

    DEN OF GEEK RULES

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

    2. Don't be a troll.

    3. Don't feed the damn trolls.

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

    5. Don't post NSFW content.

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

    UNIVERSAL DISQUS RULES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    0 0

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

    News Mike Cecchini
    May 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

    Here's the official word from the Museum:

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

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

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

    Here are the hours of operation:

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

    Here's the schedule of events...

    Friday:

    5pm – Opening Celebration

    Saturday:

    1pm – The Jack’d Kirby podcast live!

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

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

    Sunday:

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

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

    5pm – Closing Celebration

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

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


    0 0

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

    Feature Mike CecchiniJim Dandy
    May 9, 2018

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

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

    When Does Black Panther Take Place in the Marvel Timeline?

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

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

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

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

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

    What is Vibranium?

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

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

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

    What About Wakanda?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Who is Shuri?

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

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

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

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

    W'Kabi

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

    Who is Everrett Ross?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Who is Nakia?

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

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

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

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


    The Villains

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

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

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

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

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

    We have lots more info about Klaw right here.

    Killmonger

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


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

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

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


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

    M'Baku

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

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

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

    The Post-Credits Scenes

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

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


    0 0

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

    NewsMike Cecchini
    May 9, 2018

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

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

    Here's the (admittedly vague) official synopsis: 

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

    You know his name.

    Tony Stark is Iron Man.

    And Iron Man... is an idea.

    Always changing. Always evolving. An idea without limit!

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

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

    Check out some preview pages, too!

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


    0 0

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

    News Joseph Baxter
    May 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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


    0 0

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

    News John Saavedra
    May 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

    The Umbrella Academy News

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

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

    The Umbrella Academy Release Date

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

    The Umbrella Academy Cast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The Umbrella Academy Poster

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


    The Umbrella Academy Details

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

    In 2016, Slater talked to Collider about his script:

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

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

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

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


    0 0

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

    News Tony Sokol
    May 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Well, there’s always the upcoming Disney version.


    0 0
  • 05/10/18--09:07: Deadpool 2: Who is Domino?
  • Deadpool 2 introduces everyone's favorite mysterious mercenary, Domino. Who is she and what are her ties to X-Force?

    Feature Jim Dandy
    May 10, 2018

    Domino is poised to shoot to comics character superstardom with Deadpool 2. We thought it would be worth taking a look at who this queen of good fortune is, where she came from, and what makes her tick.

    Ready? Let's give this a shot...

    FIRST APPEARANCE

    Crap.

    Domino is actually complicated from the start. Her first appearance was in New Mutants #98, the issue that also introduced Deadpool. She was created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld for the third-to-last issue of the series that chronicled the adventures of the second wave of students at the Xavier School.

    Except her actual first appearance came a year later, in Nicieza and Liefeld’s X-Force#8.

    Turns out the person who the New Mutants/X-Force thought was Domino was actually a mutant named Copycat with the power to mimic someone down to a genetic and mutant power level. We don’t meet her until X-Force#19. Also, her real name is Vanessa Carlyle, one she shares with Morena Baccarain’s character from the first Deadpool movie. So spoiler? Or prediction? This got crazy complicated real fast. Let’s start over.

    FIRST APPEARANCE

    Who cares. Domino was created in the ‘90s as a badass mercenary, and she’s chock full of the convoluted backstory you might expect from one with so humble an origin. Neena Thurman (her real name) also has all the abilities of a badass ‘90s mercenary - expert marksmanship, can do martial arts, has casual sex with Wolverine.

    Her mutant power involves altering probability fields. Basically, she’s lucky - everything tends to fall into place when she’s around. Sometimes that means she hits a trick shot; sometimes that means there’s a swimming pool full of 372,844 pancakes under the skylight she’s standing on when the skylight shatters.

    That really happened, by the way. Daniel Way’s Deadpool run had its moments.

    TEAMS

    Domino’s been on just about all of them. She started out on Six Pack - mercenaries that included Cable, GW Bridge, Grizzly, Garrison Kane and Deadpool. She eventually joined X-Force, the actual paramilitary understudies of the X-Men after Cable got his hands on them. She ran the Hong Kong branch of the X-Corporation (the X-Men’s early aughts attempt to integrate with the corporate world). She was part of Cable’s late period X-Force team along with Dr. Nemesis, Colossus (her one true boyfriend), and Forge. And most recently she’s been running around with a Weapon X team run by Old Man Logan.

    OTHER DOMINOS

    Well, there have been a number of alternate versions of her in the multiverse. Ultimate Domino was basically the same Domino, only she was hanging out with a Cable who was actually a future Wolverine. In X-Men: The End, she got killed by a Super Skrull pretending to be Wolverine. And in the Age of Apocalypse, she ran black ops for Apocalypse himself along with Grizzly and Caliban. There, she was killed when Nate Grey (AoA’s Cable) used his telepathy to relive every murder she committed from the victim’s side. It was pretty rough.

    Also there’s Copycat, the person who posed as Domino. Copycat was a mutant shapeshifter who took on Domino’s appearance and powers to spy on Cable on behalf of the shadowy Mr. Tolliver, who is himself a 90s X-Men continuity singularity.

    SO WHY DOMINO?

    She’s a ton of fun as a character. Someone who’s lucky all the time and knows it can get into some crazy stuff. Making her a mercenary just leans into the slapstick violence you can pull off with her. And when you pair her with a fourth wall breaker like Deadpool, narrative convenience becomes an end goal of its own. As long as she ends up with Colossus, Deadpool 2 should make her work well.

    For more on Deadpool 2 or the rest of Deadpool’s X-Force, stick with Den of Geek!


    0 0

    Lewis Tan is X-Force member Shatterstar in Deadpool 2. And this character has a crazy history.

    Feature Jim Dandy
    May 11, 2018

    As Into the Badlands’ Lewis Tan gets set to bring him to the big screen in Deadpool 2, we wanted to answer the burning question in all of your minds: Who the hell is Shatterstar? This founding member of X-Force’s backstory has more twists than an arthritic pretzel factory, and we’re here to bring you some clarity.

    FIRST APPEARANCE

    Shatterstar, or Gaveedra Seven, was created by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld in New Mutants #99, but he was really just a cameoing unconscious body next to a really stupid sword. He first got real play in the following issue, New Mutants #100, the final issue of the series before it became X-Force. He had travelled back 100 years to convince the X-Men to help him defeat Mojo and Spiral on his world.

    He missed, and instead joined Cable’s paramilitary force.

    FAMILY LINEAGE

    Shatterstar is his own grandfather.

    SHUT THE FUCK UP

    I’m being serious, aggressively vulgar sub-header.

    Shatterstar is the child of Longshot, the bird-boned Mojoverse revolutionary who’s extremely lucky, and Dazzler, the disco queen who turns sound into light. Adult Shatterstar, sent on a time-traveling adventure by the lord of Hell, X-Factor’s Strong Guy, becomes the genetic template that Arize, a genetic engineer working on ways to create members of Mojo’s race only with spines, uses to make a new slave for the Spineless Ones. That slave turned out to be Longshot.

    Later, Longshot, a clone of Shatterstar, would partner with Dazzler and have a child, who would become Shatterstar and then go back in time to provide the genetic material to create a clone who would become Longshot, who would

    I GET IT

    Do you? Because he also might be a mentally unstable Bostonian runaway named Benjamin Russell.

    POWERS AND ABILITIES

    He’s got the standard ‘90s badass power set of super speed, strength and agility as well as a healing factor. He’s trained in many different violent disciplines including the carrying of completely impractical parallel-bladed swords and slightly more practical parallel-bladed arm thingies (where instead of a fist’s width apart, the two blades are on either side of his forearm).

    And he has the capacity to pick up new things very quickly - he can learn a fighting style or a language faster than normal people. He’s also got hollow bones like his father/son, and he can channel sound waves through his bladed weaponry kind of like his mother/daughter-in-law.

    TEAMS

    Technically he was a part of the New Mutants, even if he was only on that team for like, 23 pages. Most of Shatterstar’s history (and likely the reason he was picked for Deadpool 2) was spent on X-Force, the paramilitary outgrowth of the New Mutants. He ran with them for several years before leaving the team with his friend (who he’d eventually end up dating), Rictor, to help Rictor break up a gun smuggling ring in his family.

    He resurfaced years later and joined Jamie Madrox’s X-Factor Investigations, a detective agency run by Multiple Man and a few members of the former government-sponsored mutant team. That was where the whole family complication happened.

    WHY SHATTERSTAR?

    Deadpool wasn’t afraid to pick at the silliness inherent in the X-Men mythos, and as you can see, Shattybuns - his actual nickname from early X-Force - is overflowing with silly X-Men bullshit. Deadpool’s X-Force team is pieced together from every era - Shatterstar from the original team; Bedlam from late period original X-Force; Anarchist from the X-Statix; Domino from the Mutants with Knives and Blades era; and Peter from our collective all-star team of X-Forcers. This movie is diving balls first into X-history, and we should have a great time doing it.

    Deadpool 2 opens on May 18. The complete schedule of upcoming X-Men movies can be found here.


    0 0

    We have exclusive details from Scott Snyder on how the new Justice League series expands on the DC Universe in new and unexpected ways.

    FeatureJim DandyMike Cecchini
    May 11, 2018

    Scott Snyder is probably DC Comics’ heaviest regular hitter working now. He started with the company at Vertigo, winning an Eisner for American Vampire. Then he hit a home run with “The Black Mirror,” a note-perfect Batman story in the pages of Detective Comics, and that led him to become the anchor of the New 52 era of Batman, crafting a defining run with artist Greg Capullo. Then he got to be the mastermind behind DC’s first post-Rebirth crossover, the absolutely bonkers Dark Nights: Metal, a book that, in addition to being ridiculous fun and very personal, also brought the full DC multiverse and all its crazy timelines back into play.

    Now, in the wake of Metal, Snyder is taking over as writer on a new Justice League series. Mr. Snyder talked to us about his approach to breaking his characters down and building them back up and applying it to the League - specifically to The Flash, and the revelation that there’s another fundamental force that Flashes can tap into: the Still Force. 

    With the full cosmic scope of the DC Universe now in the picture, it means a slightly new approach is needed to tell Justice League stories. "The goal with Justice League is to have every arc focus on two characters in the League, even though everybody is sort of in every arc," Snyder tells us. "The goal is to expand everybody's mythology, show how amazing these characters are, and then show you secrets that you didn't know about them and about their mythos."

    Each arc in Justice Leaguewill be four or five issues, allowing different pairings to take the lead. "In the first arc, we're really focused on Green Lantern and Flash," Snyder says. "And one of the things that's huge about our reveals about Flash and how they connect to Flash War is that the Speed Force has embedded within it other forces that have always balanced and counteracted in it ways that Barry has never completely understood."

    In other words, just as Snyder's Batman introduced new elements of Gotham's history to great effect on Bruce Wayne, early on in Justice League we're going to learn something new about the team members and the DCU as a whole. In the case of Flash, it's called the Still Force, and, according to Snyder, it will "have a lot of influence on both where [Barry] goes as a character and also his past."

    "The Still Force is an energy in the universe that's trying to slow everything down entropically, trying to stop everything, trying to bring everything to a standstill," Snyder explains. "And it has its own characters, it has its own figures that are connected to it who might not even know they are. And it's a complete enigma to Barry at this point."

    But as its name suggests, the Still Force isn't something that is exclusive to speedsters. One of the important pieces of Justice League will be the introduction of the Legion of Doom, familiar to longtime fans as the antagonists of the classic Challenge of the Super Friends animated series. And one of that team's members might be particularly suited to harnessing it. "One of Barry's greatest villains, Gorilla Grodd, might have a leg up on him when it comes to figuring out how to control this thing," Snyder hints.

    But the Still Force is only one of the new elements that will be introduced to the DC Universe

    "The idea, really, is to show that these characters think they know their powers, think they know their mythologies, think they know even sometimes their histories and their missions," Snyder says. "And then to sort of blow those things up."

    It won't stop with Flash. Green Lantern mythology is also set to be expanded.

    "We revealed the cover, not long ago, that had Jon Stewart seemingly powered by an invisible emotional spectrum, ultraviolet, infrared, those kinds of powers that have been locked away and possibly known about by Sinestro for a long time," Snyder says. "So similarly, it's almost like with each pair of characters in each arc, we want you to feel as though you're learning things about their mythology you never knew existed, just as they are. They're challenged by bigger forces, bigger enemies, bigger conflicts and bigger mysteries than we've ever tried before with these guys. We want everything to feel new and unfamiliar."

    And part of what makes the DC Universe bigger is its infinite realities approach to storytelling. Dark Nights: Metal opened up DC's multiverse in a way not seen since Grant Morrison's Multiversity, but with Justice League, another wild, alternate timeline/reality warping DC Universe concept will make its return: Hypertime.

    "We have a very big story — not to spoil too much — called the Something of Hypertime," Snyder says. "I don't wanna give away what it is, whether it's like the Death, the Birth, anything like that. But that's coming both in Flash and in Justice League. This is our opus. This is my DC love letter/opus/soap opera that has started all the way back in Batman, but really ratcheted up to the whole DCU in Metal."

    Hints of this are already being seeded in the weekly Justice League: No Justice miniseries, which Snyder is co-writing with James Tynion IV and Josh Williamson.

    "No Justice sets up all the different books and tributaries by which we're going to be continuing it," Snyder says. "We're building out from this so that that story that we're doing in No Justice right now with the Omega Titans, and all of it's starting because the Source Wall broke, Amanda Waller tries to hack Brainiac...all of that stuff plays forward. So when you see Hypertime or one of the four energies, for example, that Brainiac references in No Justice...when that starts to go and what happens to it in No Justice happens, that greatly affects Hypertime, the Speed Force, the Still Force, all of that stuff."

    All of this couldn't be more different than the Gotham-centric mythology Snyder and collaborators built up over five years on Batman. Snyder admits that "Batman will always be my favorite character" but he feels that Justice League is "the heart and soul of the line."

    "Our goal is to be like the DC that you knew and loved and always enjoyed reading about not only is still there, but is invigorated and vibrant and robust and being done in a new way," Snyder says. "So none of it is looking backwards in nostalgia. All of it is like, 'Oh, Hypertime's coming back? Well it's coming back in a new way. Martian Manhunter's back? Well, where has he been?' That's a big story. What happened to Hawkman? Where did he go? In Metal, you saw that he was somewhere trying to find out a secret. Well, here you go. Batman might have to go back to Barbatos, so the Dark Multiverse — now I'm spoiling too far ahead."

    "While I think people have done incredible work on it over the years that I've been at DC, the thing that I've really wanted to bring back is a connectivity and a sort of core-hub feeling that this book lies right at the center of everything you're reading about in other books," Snyder says. "So even though the books function independently — you don't need to read Justice League to know what's happening in Aquaman, what is happening in Aquaman is reflected in Justice League. Our book is sort of, to me, a spotlight on all the great stuff happening around the DCU."

    It turns out that Snyder has known he was taking over Justice League for over a year and he has a story plan that stretches "all the way through the end of 2019." And as you can expect, with each arc, new secrets of the DC Universe will be revealed. 

    "There will be really big points throughout this two-year plan I have on Justice League where the story blows out into other books or gives touch points that these books can react to and build story on if they want," Snyder says. So get ready for potential revelations about Aquaman and Wonder Woman (the focus of the book's second arc) or Superman and Martian Manhunter (the focus of the third arc). 

    "The thing that I felt was missing in some ways from Justice League was the connectivity," Snyder says. "That feeling that they're not just seven big characters that exist on the Watchtower and fight aliens and fight the biggest stuff and wrestle with their role with civilians and all that stuff. I always loved the version where it was like, 'They are the hub and they meet everybody.' In the first issue of Justice League, you're gonna see Vixen and Animal Man and Dr. Fate and Swamp Thing and The Atom. I promise you, you will get how big we're going from page one."

    So it's no accident that the League is once again calling its most familiar headquarters home: The Hall of Justice.

    "The Hall of Justice, to me, is the hub, it is the central core of the Justice League group," Snyder says. "So every group within Justice League — and also just any superhero at all — has access to this, and some of them even have portals to their team bases within the Hall of Justice. We want you to feel like when you pick you a DC book, Justice League speaks to and is connected to all those things that you're enjoying, gives you hints and even drivers towards things that will be happening soon, either because of events in Justice League itself or because of some of the great story planned in the books outside of Justice League."

    One thing that can never be questioned, though, is Snyder's enthusiasm. "This story is going to weave through every Crisis, every historical DC story that we've done, to build to something very special," he promises. "Arc by arc, pair of characters by pair of characters, mythology by mythology, my goal is to have this be my giant DC soap opera opus. I mean, I have no plans after this. If I never made another superhero comic, I want this to be the one I can go out on. This is my dream to get to write this book, and I have such good partners in James Tynion and Josh Williamson, and artistically Jim Cheung and Jorge Jimenez. I have all the tools at my disposal and the partners that inspire me, I feel like, to make something that I hope is the best thing I've ever done in superheros."

    "These are the greatest characters in the world and my favorite people that have ever taken them, like Grant Morrison and others, they go out there and they risk falling on their face to do something really game changing and big. That's my goal."

    Justice League #1 hits on June 6.


    0 0

    Marvel's Runaways creators Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage will be adapting the novel into an eight-episode limited series.

    News Kayti Burt
    May 11, 2018

    Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the duo behind Gossip Girl and Marvel's Runaways, are looking to adapt another story for Hulu's streaming platform: John Green's Looking For Alaska. The adaptation will be an eight-episode limited series.

    Looking For Alaska is Green's debut novel, written 13 years ago, before he made it big with The Fault in Our Stars, launched his YouTube channel alongside brother Hank Green, or wrote one of Den of Geek's Favorite Fiction Books of 2017. It won the 2006 Printz Award for its story about a 13-year-old boy who enrolls in boarding school and falls in love with another student by the name of Alaska Young.

    "I was very much included in conversations around how to do this. Should we try to restart the movie, which had stalled so many times? Or should we look to new ways of telling visual stories that made it possible to tell a bigger, sprawlier story?" Green wrote in the Reddit fan thread shortly after the story broke. "I was only one voice in that conversation, but I definitely felt like my voice was heard.” 

    It seems that having The O.C. creator Schwartz on board as both an executive producer and the script of the pilot was particularly helpful for Green in invisioning Looking For Alaska as a TV series rather than a film. (Green's most recent novel, Turtles All the Way Down, may also see a screen.)

    "It has been a very long thirteen years trying to figure out how/whether to adapt Looking for Alaska," wrote Green, "but Josh cared about the book before almost anyone else had even read it, and he and Stephanie have worked so hard to get to this moment, and I am really excited. I know they care a lot about the book and are have worked so hard for the last thirteen years to get it to a good place — and I really think it is finally there. So, I'm hopeful!”

    Schwartz has been attached to the project since Paramount Pictures acquired the rights back in 2005, when the book was first published. Schwartz was originally set to write the screenplay for the feature film, but the project never happened.

    Green seems particularly excited about the narrative space a limited TV series can offer that a feature film, by virtue of its shorter run time, cannot.

    "There have been so many movie scripts over the last thirteen years, and a lot of them have been excellent, but there's only so much you can do in two hours," wrote Green. "In a TV series, even a limited one, you can linger a while longer with the characters."

    John Green's brother, Hank Green, reminisced on Looking For Alaska's long path from book to screen in his most recent vlogbrothers video. Check it out...



    0 0

    Meet the Grison. Harley already did, and she's not a fan.

    NewsJim Dandy
    May 14, 2018

    You might be forgiven for looking at these preview pages of Harley Loves Joker #2 and thinking "Oh man, when did Copperhead and Catwoman have a baby?" But you'd be incorrect in thinking that - joining Mistah J, Harley, the henchteam, and the hyenas Bud and Lou is a new villain from Harley's past. That furry lady is The Grison, and she is a weasel-themed crook from Harley's past life, back in college. 

    You can probably tell that this version of Harley and the Joker is more lighthearted than what's in the rest of the DCU. The truth is, Harley Loves Joker is a continuation of a Paul Dini backup from the main Harley Quinn series, and it's been pure, uncut Batman: The Animated Series Harley from the start. This is good, classic storytelling that builds the world while trading with nostalgia in a way that doesn't feel like a cheap substitute for narrative. Dini is a pro.

    Brett Blevins is, too. Blevins has been in and around the Bat-universe for 25 years (also GOOD GOD Knightfall was 25 years ago). He's been a bit of a style chameleon in that time, but when you're a capable draftsman, that's a good thing to be. The man knows how to tell a story, and he knows how to make it look like Batman: The Animated Series while he's doing it.

    The superstar in these pages, though, is Dave Sharpe. Sharpe's letters are fantastic in a way that lettering isn't usually. The emphasis and color he integrates into the word balloons helps make the dialogue come alive. I really like the extra color in the fonts.

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

    HARLEY QUINN: HARLEY LOVES JOKER #2
    Written by PAUL DINI • Art by BRET BLEVINS • Cover by AMANDA CONNER • Variant cover by FRANK CHOIn the final issue in this two-issue miniseries, the Harley/Joker crime spree reaches an explosive crescendo—literally! Everything blows up—including, perhaps, their relationship...?

    Take a look at these quality pages.


    0 0

    How George Lucas brought Star Wars to the big screen after years of drafts and dealing with Hollywood.

    Feature Ryan Lambie
    May 14, 2018

    Since selling Lucasfilm, George Lucas has been very vocal about why he stopped making Star Warsfilms. The short of it is that making these movies is very hard work, that it takes it toll on a person, and that dealing with public scrutiny while making a film of that magnitude impedes the creative process. And it's a very interesting thing, the creative process behind the Star Wars saga, a franchise that came from the mind of one man, from one evolution of the script to the next. One only has to look at the earliest draft of the original Star Wars movie Lucas wanted to make to see all the work that goes into just writing these movies. That very first draft of the script is almost unrecognizable from what we eventually got on the big screen. 

    It's like Star Wars, but refracted through a strange lens. Here's Han Solo, but he's green, like the Toxic Avenger, and has gills. Here's Luke Skywalker, but he's a powerful general with a white beard and a flinty look in his eye.

    All this can be found in what is now commonly called The Rough Draft of The Star Wars, originally written by George Lucas back in 1974. A kind of mid-point between the somewhat vague ideas Lucas first had for his space fantasy movie earlier in the decade and the fourth draft - which was used as the shooting script for the 1977 film - The Star Wars is a jarring document from the franchise's early history.

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

    In 2013, Dark Horse produced an eight-part series of comics based on the Rough Draft, adapted by Star Wars historian JW Rinzler and illustrated by Mike Mayhew (no relation). That series has been collected together in one book, and again, it offers an intriguing insight into how Lucas conceived and reworked his ideas, and gradually amalgamated his influences into something new.

    Lucas' lifelong interest in science fiction received its earliest expression in THX-1138, an unsettling dystopian thriller that was initially a 15-minute student film made in 1967 (full title: Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB), and later remade as a feature starring Robert Duvall in 1971. But Lucas really wanted to make something completely different from THX: something more hopeful, more fantastical.

    Although Lucas was left exhausted by the process of making the drama American Graffiti(1972), he continued to think about ideas for a space fantasy epic while that film was in post-production. Star Wars legend tells us that the names of two now famous characters - R2-D2 ("Reel 2, Dialogue 2") and Wookiee - came during the latter stages of American Graffiti's making.

    Made on a tiny budget, coming-of-age drama American Graffitiwas a huge box-office hit, and was nominated for five Oscars. It was that unexpected success which would ultimately give Lucas the creative latitude to make something as risky (and potentially expensive) as Star Wars.

    Lucas' ideas first took shape in The Journal of The Whills. Less than two pages long, and yet to be officially published in full, it introduced a warrior named Mace Windy and a character called Chuiee Two Thorpe being trained as a Jedi-Templar. Even at this early stage, some of the names that would appear in Lucas'Star Wars films had already made their first appearances.

    By May 1973, Lucas had worked up a synopsis for something called The Star Wars. Although influenced by such writers as Frank Herbert (writer of Dune) and EE "Doc" Smith, as well as old Flash Gordon matinee serials, The Star Wars' primary influence was Akira Kurosawa's 1958 film The Hidden Fortress. In fact, Lucas' approach to The Hidden Fortresswasn't unlike The Magnificent Seven, the Western based on Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. Lucas took The Hidden Fortress' story, about a princess and her family escaping from a more powerful rival clan, and turned it into a galactic civil war set in the 33rd century.

    Nevertheless, it was this treatment that, after several unsuccessful attempts to sell the Star Wars concept to other Hollywood studios, finally found interest at 20th Century Fox. There are also signs that the elements which would one day form the big-screen Star Wars are beginning to take shape. There's an evil Empire, a giant space fortress, a general named Luke Skywalker, a planet called Yavin, and a violent confrontation in a space port cantina. As if through a haze of half-formed concepts and borrowed plot elements, something concrete was beginning to coalesce.

    The Rough Draft, completed one year later in May 1974, marked another significant breakthrough for Lucas. Although still some distance from what audiences all over the world would recognize as Star Wars, it's so significant because it's the first properly completed screenplay to emerge from Lucas' typewriter. Sure, it's rough around the edges, with lengthy slabs of scene description and some odd tonal shifts, but there are signs everywhere that the pieces are beginning to move into place. The draft also marks the first appearance of the now-famous opening text crawl:

    "Until the recent GREAT REBELLION, the JEDI BENDU were the most feared warriors in the universe. For one hundred thousand years, generations of JEDI perfected their art as the personal bodyguards of the emperor..."

    Kane Starkiller is one of the last of these Jedi Bendu. Hiding from the now evil Empire and their allies, the Sith, Starkiller lives in hiding with his two sons, 10-year-old Deak and 18-year-old Annakin, on the Fourth Moon of Utapau. AsThe Star Wars opens, the Starkillers are found by the Empire and attacked by a deadly member of the Sith. Although the Sith warrior is no match for Kane Starkiller's superior fighting skills, the villain succeeds in killing his 10-year-old son. 

    Their cover blown, Kane and Annakin head to Aquilae, where the fellow Jedi, general Luke Skywalker, is about to engage in a full-blown confrontation with the invading Empire and their colossal space fortress. Annakin, a talented but somewhat callow youth, must learn to master his Jedi training and help rescue Princess Leia, whom the Empire has kidnapped with a view to using her as a means of controlling the people of Aquilae.

    Whether you read the original screenplay or Dark Horse's comic book adaptation, there are at least two striking things about The Rough Draft. The first is just how hard-edged it is: sure, it's a space opera, but the tone's closer to something like Dunethan a fairytale set in space. Although a little of this draft's harshness and violence remained in 1977's Star Wars - the horrifyingly casual deaths of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, the blood-spattered severed arm in the Mos Eisley cantina - we can only imagine what young audience members would have made of seeing a 10-year-old boy mercilessly slain by the Sith in the opening five minutes.

    The second thing to note is the sheer number of characters Lucas stuffs into his 129-page script. While some are recognizable and quite likable - not least Han Solo, who's the same cynical rogue we all know and remember, despite his frog-like appearance - others are downright bewildering. There are two seasoned Jedi (Kane Starkiller and Luke Skywalker), Princess Leia's extended royal family (including two young brothers called Biggs and Windy), a young rebel spy named Whitsun, and numerous other bit-players and nefarious villains. 

    Despite his name, Annakin is the closest thing we have to a proper Luke Skywalker - he's a young Jedi with much to learn, and proves himself to be quite a hero by the story's end. But he's also a difficult character to like: witness, for example, the moment where he first meets Princess Leia, who initially refuses to be rescued. Annakin's solution? A solid punch in the face. ("Starkiller punches her square on the jaw and knocks her out cold.")

    Lucas would be the first to admit that he struggled with writing screenplays, and the stress of the whole process often made him feel quite ill. There's a sense, going through The Rough Draft, of a writer feeling his way around his subject, of having certain scenes clear in his mind - an assault on a battle station, laser sword fights, and so forth - but not the tone.

    The Rough Draft also suffers for the lack of a specific point of view, with the action frequently chopping between different sets of characters without a solid protagonist at the story's core. R2-D2 and C3PO are in here somewhere, but Lucas hasn't yet made them the audience's waypoint into the saga, as he would in the second draft (another idea inspired by The Hidden Fortress). Their distinct personalities aren't in place yet, either. Instead of the plucky, bleepy R2 and the cowardly yet earnest Threepio, we get a pair of bickering robots who are both as infuriating as each other. Reading The Rough Draft for the first time, it's quite a surprise to see Artoo (or Artwo, as it's spelled here) speaking English ("You're nothing but a dim-witted, emotion-brained intellectual!"). 

    The more endearing nuances of Lucas' characters didn't appear until later. The comedy pairing of R2-D2 and C3PO worked so well in the final film because R2-D2's cheerful whistles and chirps (not to mention bravery) served as a counterpoint to C3PO's whining verbosity. Similarly, Princess Leia needs the now-familiar hint of saltiness and sarcasm to really make her character resonate - in The Rough Draft, she's little more than a stubborn love interest for Annakin.

    Having said all this, The Rough Draft, particularly in the form presented by Dark Horse's comics, really begins to pick up pace towards the second half, and it's exciting to see how many of the action scenes already appear here in nascent form. There's a moment of peril in a trash compactor, a rip-roaring space battle, and fights between Wookiees and the Empire (a clear precursor to the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi).

    Lucas' friend and mentor Francis Ford Coppola liked this latest draft, yet Lucas clearly realized that his story was still too dense - or, at the very least, too expensive to shoot. In subsequent drafts, Lucas juggled around character traits and names, taking the attributes of Kane Starkiller, with his largely robotic body, and applying them to Darth Vader. He gradually chopped away extraneous characters and chunks of plot, too, such as the somewhat odd strand that sees the young boys Biggs and Windy put into hypersleep and ferried around the galaxy hidden in oval metal containers. 

    Through repeated rewriting and reordering, Lucas gradually drew closer to the Star Wars we recognize today. The second draft, published in 1975, reintroduces Han Solo and Chewbacca as friends and renegade pilots, Luke Skywalker as an ordinary farm boy rather than a grizzled general, and Darth Vader as the black-clad Lord of the Sith. Draft three, subtitled From the Adventures of Luke Starkiller, brings in Obi-Wan Kenobi and generally tightens up the story and the depictions of the characters - the sniping banter between Leia and Han Solo, for example, is now present and correct.

    It was The Rough Draft, however, that provided Lucas with the road map to Star Wars' future. Although certain ideas were edited out for what would ultimately become Star Wars' shooting script, they would turn up again later on. Annikin's depiction as a somewhat aggressive young upstart would be reprised in the Anakin character we'd see in the Star Wars prequels, and The Rough Draft's bearded general Luke Skywalker is markedly similar to the young Obi-Wan in the prequels, too.

    The Dark Horse adaptation of The Rough Draft, with its design work inspired from Ralph McQuarrie's early production art, is a fascinating entry point to Star Wars' creative development. Through it, we can see how Lucas was slowly working out how he could make a modern fairytale with a technological edge, blending eastern religious ideas with classical myths and pulp sci-fi action.

    As an early version of Star Wars' oft-repeated motto proves - "May the force of others be with you" - Lucas still had a lot of work still to do. But The Rough Draft provided a solid foundation on which the now iconic franchise could be built.


    0 0

    Deadly Class, an assassin high school show is coming to Syfy courtesy of the Russo Bros.

    News Jim Dandy
    May 14, 2018

    Rick Remender and Wes Craig's graphic novel, Deadly Class, has been under development for television since 2016's San Diego Comic-Con by the Russo Brothers of Avengers: Infinity War and the paintball episodes of Community fame. Now, it's finally happening, after a series order from Syfy.

    The graphic novels, which debuted for Image Comics back in 2014, follow a group of teenagers as they make their way through San Francisco's late '80s punk scene and also a high school for assassins. The book focuses on Marcus Lopez, a homeless Nicaraguan teen who gets recruited for the school. His first decision as a student is to kill Ronald Reagan, and that's somehow the least bad decision he makes in the entire book.

    Deadly Class TV Trailer

    We've got a first look at the Deadly Class TV series and, well, it looks amazing: visually sleek, stylistically edgy, and like nothing else on TV. Check out the first look, along with accompanying commentary from the Russo brothers...

    As Bill McGoldrick, president of scripted content for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, expresses in a statement on the series order:

    “We’re committed to developing graphic novels for Syfy and have found a rich, compelling, truly unique world in Deadly Class. Our producing partners expertly combined high school angst, 80s nostalgia and comic flair into a beautifully realized, visually arresting pilot that truly brings Rick and Wes’ acclaimed comic series to life.”

    Deadly Class TV Release Date

    So far, all we know is that the Deadly Class TV show will drop sometime in 2019, but we'll keep you updated with additional information as we get it.

    Deadly Class TV Cast

    Syfy revealed the full Deadly Class cast list back in September, after its initial order for the pilot. They consist of the following:

    Benedict Wong (Doctor Strange) is Master Lin, the headmaster of the School for the Deadly Arts. "Deadly and feared. He's an ever-changing chameleon who keeps his students desperate for his approval." 

    Benjamin Wadsworth (Teen Wolf) is Marcus. "At one point we were all Marcus, an awkward outcast full of social anxiety struggling to find his place in the cold and brutal world of high school. Marcus is bottled rage, if his life had been normal this kid might have been an artist, even a poet. Instead he’s had to survive life on the streets of San Francisco. His eyes show it. He’s morally centered in an unethical world."

    Lana Condor (X-Men: Apocalypse) is Saya, "mysterious and guarded with a deadly reputation. Saya was banished from one of the top Yakuza clans in Japan, sent to the School for the Deadly Arts to redeem herself. Driven to be the valedictorian, nothing will stand in her way."

    Maria Gabriela de Faria (Yo Soy Franky) is Maria. "One minute Maria’s an extrovert and an exhibitionist, a tornado of ever changing emotions—fierce, charming, beautiful and oozing femininity -- the next she’s murderous, feral, and crippled by rage. At the School for the Deadly Arts her instability is treated like a super power." 

    Luke Tennie is Willie, "a hardened gangster, but underneath is an honest and thoughtful person who would rather be reading comic books and listening to music than engaging in blood work. Forced by his mother, leader of an LA gang, into the School for the Deadly Arts, he is under endless pressure to become the thing he hates most."

    Liam James (The Family) is Billy, "skater punk, son of a corrupt cop and now a misfit at the school. He's off kilter and high energy. Billy combats every situation with sarcasm and humor. Always a glimmer of mischief in his eye."

    Michel Duval (Señora Acero) is Chico, "scary, muscular, son of a cartel drug lord. Everyone knows not to mess with Chico. The only one who can hurt him is his girlfriend." 

    Guest stars will include Henry Rollins as Jürgen Denke, Taylor Hickson as Petra, Siobhan Williams as Brandy, Sean Depner as Viktor, Jack Gillett as Lex, and Ryan Robbins as Rory.

    The pilot adaptation will be written by Remender and Miles Feldstott. Adam Targum, lately of Banshee and Outcast from Cinemax, will shworun, while Lee Toland Krieger, who directed a number of episodes of Riverdale, will direct the pilot.

    The show has strong source material to draw from, both narratively and aesthetically. Craig's art looks like a cross between David Mazzuchelli on Batman: Year One and Frank Miller on DaredevilColorist Lee Loughridge gives every scene a distinctive look and mood, and Remender is a master at cutting his schmaltz with cynicism and his cynicism with genuine, heartfelt emotion. If the pilot is half as good as the first trade of Deadly Class, the show should be very good indeed. 


    0 0

    Syfy is adapting George R.R. Martin’s novella and 1987 movie, Nightflyers, as a TV series.

    News Joseph Baxter
    May 14, 2018

    "Nightflyers is a haunted house story on a starship. It's Psycho in space." - George R.R. Martin

    Nightflyers stands as one of George R.R. Martin’s more intriguing pre-Game of Thrones space science-fiction offerings, starting as a 1980 novella, eventually inspiring a schlocky limited-release 1987 film adaptation. However, it appears that the Literary God of Death’s old property is about to be reincarnated as a television series over at Syfy. 

    Last year, the genre-aimed NBCU cable outlet ordered a pilot for Nightflyers, which has since expanded into a series pickup (Netflix has first run rights outside the U.S.). Additionally, Nightflyers recently received a bountiful boon of €850,000 ($1.1 million,) from the Irish Film Board and will soon begin filming at Limerick’s Troy Studios.

    Nightflyers Trailer

    Amongst the array of news unleashed upon the Radio City Music Hall audience for NBC's Upfront presentation on May 14 was this new teaser for Nightflyers. The footage, while brief, is an intense sampling of what we can expect from this horror-leaning space series (which may also be bittersweet for fans of Syfy's recently-cancelled The Expanse).

    If that teaser left you wanting more, then check out this recent trailer/featurette below.

    Syfy released the first Nightflyers trailer (well, a "First Look" clip, anyway,) back in March, providing some genuinely frightening visuals featuring the wayward crew of the titular ship. However, the clip also provides a behind-the-scenes look, revealing the sheer magnitude of the production, with sets that range from claustrophobic to shockingly sublime. 

    Per the official synopsis:

    NIGHTFLYERS follows eight maverick scientists and a powerful telepath who embark on an expedition to the edge of our solar system aboard The Nightflyer – a ship with a small tightknit crew and a reclusive captain – in the hope of making contact with alien life. But when terrifying and violent events begin to take place they start to question each other – and surviving the journey proves harder than anyone thought.

    A bit of recent Nightflyers news saw a new occupant ascend to the proverbial Iron Throne of the George R.R. Martin adaptation series. That’s because its appointed showrunner, Daniel Cerone, dropped out of the series, reportedly over creative differences, says THR.

    Jeff Buhler, will step in as showrunner, likely signaling a smooth transition, since he’s been with the project since the very beginning as its writer and executive producer. Buhler wrote the 2008 Bradley Cooper-starring horror film The Midnight Meat Train, with movie projects in the pipeline such as Descendant, Black River and horror thriller remake film Jacob’s Ladder, as well as a revival of horror film franchise The Grudge.

    Moreover, to ensure said smooth series transition, Syfy is reportedly bringing onboard (as a consultant,) Terry Matalas, writer and co-creator of the cable channel’s imminently-ending series, 12 Monkeys, who also brings experience from his time on Nikita, Terra Nova, Star Trek: Enterprise and Star Trek: Voyager.

    Nightflyers Cast

    Phillip Rhys is the latest addition to the Nightflyers cast, reports Deadline. Rhys will recur on the series as Murphy, who is described as “a top systems tech engineer” who become inconsolably disturbed upon learning that “an L-1 telepath” is amongst the Nightflyer’s complement.

    Rhys, an English actor, appeared in the 2015 Doctor Who Christmas special as Ramone, one of the episode’s titular “Husbands of River Song.” He’s also fielded TV runs on 24, Nip/Tuck and Survivors, along with guest spots on Rosewood, Glee, CSI, Bones and Warehouse 13.

    With Syfy's early-January announcement of Nightflyers’ full series order came the reveal of the show’s cast.

    Gretchen Mol will headline the series, playing Dr. Agatha Matheson.

    Mol, who burst on the scene as a late-1990s it-girl from roles in Donnie Brasco, Rounders and The Thirteenth Floor, and steamed up the small screen in the 2005 HBO biopic, The Notorious Bettie Page, has made her presence known with recent television runs on Chance, Mozart in the Jungle and Boardwalk Empire. She notably appeared in last year’s Oscars-accruing drama, Manchester by the Sea. She's also booked to appear in the upcoming USA drama series Yellowstone.

    And here’s the supporting cast:

    Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Karl D’Branin

    David Ajala (Fast & Furious 6) as Roy Eris

    Sam Strike (EastEnders) as Thale

    Maya Eshet (Teen Wolf) as Lommie

    Angus Sampson (Fargo) as Rowan

    Jodie Turner-Smith (The Last Ship) as Melantha Jhirl

    Brían F. O'Byrne (Million Dollar Baby) as Auggie

    Nightflyers Details

    Jeff Buhler, of The Midnight Meat Train and the upcoming horror thriller remake Jacob’s Ladder is the showrunner; a position to which he was promoted, after Daniel Cerone (The Blacklist, The Mentalist) dropped out.

    Mike Cahill (I Origin) will direct the pilot.

    Onboard as executive producers are Gene Klein, David Bartis and Edge of Tomorrow and The Bourne Identity franchise blockbuster director Doug Liman, all of whom are representing production company Hypnotic, which Liman co-owns with Bartis. Alison Rosenzweig and Michael Gaeta of Gaeta Rosenzweig Films along with Lloyd Ivan Miller and Alice P. Neuhauser of Lloyd Ivan Miller Productions are also onboard. 

    Netflix is also a co-producer on the Syfy project; a privilege that will yield the streaming giant first-run rights outside the U.S.

    Additionally, George R.R. Martin himself will be a credited executive producer on the series.

    “We are looking forward to diving deeper into George R. R. Martin’s chilling world of Nightflyers,” Bill McGoldrick, executive vice president of scripted development for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, said in a July statement. “The script that Jeff delivered encapsulates this classic sci-fi horror story and adapts it to a platform where we can truly explore the depths of madness.”

    Robert Jaffe, who wrote the screenplay for the 1987 Nightflyers film, is onboard the series as a producer. It doesn't look like Martin will be involved with the series, at least for now.

    The story of the George R.R. Martin-conceived supernatural space thriller is set on the eve of Earth’s destruction, depicting the travails of the crew of the most advanced ship in the galaxy in the titular spacecraft the Nightflyer. Adrift in space without a planet to call home, the goal of the surviving humans is to intercept a mysterious alien ship which is believed to hold the key for their survival. However, as the ship closes in on its destination, it becomes apparent that the Nightflyer’s onboard AI and its elusive captain – with mysterious motivations – may be leading the crew on a primrose path ending in the hopeless, horrific darkness of deep space.

    The genesis of Nightflyers occurred with George R.R. Martin’s original 1980 novella of the same name, for which he received Japan’s Seiun Award in 1983 for Best Foreign Language Short Story of the Year. The story was subsequently collected as the title entry in Martin’s 1985 Nightflyers collection. The 1987 film adaptation, directed by Robert Collector (Jungle Warriors), starred perennial 1980s movie love interest Catherine Mary Stewart and Dynasty’s Michael Praed, manifesting with a limited release that grossed a paltry $1.145 million dollars at the box office (and sent Martin back to television to write for Beauty and the Beast).

    Nightflyers Release Date

    Nightflyers has yet to set a release date. However, the series is currently in the midst of production in Ireland.


    0 0

    While Lauren Cohan will return for The Walking Dead Season 9, she’s also co-starring in ABC crime series Whiskey Cavalier.

    News Joseph Baxter
    May 14, 2018

    The Walking Dead actress Lauren Cohan is on the verge of expanding her television presence in a big way. Not only is Cohan booked to return for Season 9 of the veteran AMC zombie series, but this fall she will co-star in a high-profile ABC crime-solving series called Whiskey Cavalier. However, as details start becoming clearer, the likelihood of Cohan reaching an impasse between the shows seems to increase.

    Fans who were worried that Cohan’s Whiskey Cavalier ABC television gig might jeopardize her role on The Walking Dead– on which she has played Maggie Greene/Rhee since 2011, in Season 2 – were relieved in late-April when the actress confirmed her return for Season 9 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. However, in the most recent development, ABC has announced a full series pickup for Whiskey, on which Cohan will co-star with Scott Foley as a team of inter-agency crime-stoppers who are forced to work together (fighting obligatory sexual tensions,) to save the world from non-zombie threats on a weekly basis.

    So, what’s the big deal? Well, for one thing, Cohan’s The Walking Dead Season 9 commitment only extends to six episodes of the first half, which leaves plenty of time for the series to find an appropriate exit for Lauren Cohan’s Maggie. Thus, a Maggie exit not outside the realm of possibility after the series just – in a manner dramatically anachronistic to the comic book source material – made a casualty of Chandler Rigg’s (series co-protagonist,) Carl Grimes. Also exacerbating the situation is the arrival of The Walking Dead’s new showrunner, Angela Kang, who might utilize Cohan’s network gig as the perfect excuse to refresh the veteran AMC series – especially in the wake of its highly-publicized ratings plunge– by ushering Maggie off the proverbial stage after her nearly-series-long arc has arguably reached an acceptable apex with the death of Glenn and her ascension to leadership in the Hilltop colony.  

    Interestingly, while Cohan’s The Walking Dead 9B future is uncertain, there would be plenty of comic book-inspired events for Maggie to field in the event that Cohan renegotiates with AMC. Indeed, the closing moments of the recently-aired Season 8 finale even teased a feud amongst former friends, with Maggie left disappointed after Rick’s newfound appreciation for mercy had to start with her husband Glenn’s killer, Negan. Now, joined by Daryl and Jesus, Maggie’s planning a stealthy insurrection against Rick to achieve proper satisfaction against Negan; something that should provide plenty of Season 9 drama.  

    Moreover, Season 8 seemed to be running a slow-burn story element that (slightly) hints of chemistry of some kind between the widowed Maggie and the (seemingly reasonable, non-hostile,) Savior prisoner, Alden (Callan McAuliffe), with a level of trust and respect continuing to increase between the two. With McAuliffe confirmed to return for Season 9, it could be the case (and this is major speculation here,) that Alden might eventually serve as the TV series equivalent of the comic book character, Dante, with whom Maggie would eventually (after a long period of coldness,) strike up an awkward romance.

    From a practical perspective, Cohan – a veteran of shows such as Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and Chuck – could field double-duty on both The Walking Dead and Whiskey Cavalier, especially since the former is a large ensemble series that doesn't require her constant presence, often utilizing character-centric episodes. Yet, should Cohan’s Whiskey Cavalier series end up becoming a ratings success story for ABC, then just about any long-term post-All-Out-War twist for Maggie’s arc could end up feeling like afterthought; something that just wouldn’t be all that helpful to a show like The Walking Dead, which is trying to find its mojo.

    Regardless, we’ll definitely know a lot more about The Walking Dead Season 9 situation by the time Comic-Con kicks off on July 19.


    0 0

    Get your first look at the new Dark Horse Zelda book dedicated to Breath of the Wild in this exclusive preview!

    News Matthew Byrd
    May 14, 2018

    Dark Horse has announced a new art book that serves as the ultimate companion piece to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Titled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Creating a Champion, this massive hardcover art book is loaded with information and artwork related to the creation of Breath of the Wild's main adventure and its DLC expansions.

    Along with a stunning 296 pages of design artwork and commentary straight from the game's development team, this book includes 50 pages of sketches and official illustrations from Takumi Wada (the Zelda franchise's main illustrator since Skyward Sword) and 55 pages of history that dives into the in-game mythology of Hyrule and the rest of the series stunning world. 

    Check out the Logitech G560 LIGHTSYNC PC Gaming Speakers, A New Level of Immersion

    On top of all that, Creating a Champion features interviews with key members of the Breath of the Wild development team, such as art director Satoru Takizawa, producer Eiji Aonuma, and director Hidemaro Fujibayashi. Takumi Wada is also responsible for the book's lovely cover art. 

    Creating a Champion is set to release on Nov. 20. This 424-page collection is available for pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, TFAW, and local comic book stores and will retail for $39.99. 

    This certainly isn't the first time that Dark Horse and Nintendo have teamed up to publish a massive volume of art and interviews dedicated to the Zeldafranchise. Previous volumes such as The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia, The Legend of Zelda: Art & Artifacts, and The Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia have been widely praised for their stunning designs and wealth of content. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Creating a Champion certainly looks like it's ready to achieve similar acclaim. 

    To help tide you over until the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - Creating a Champion, we've got a few exclusive pages from the upcoming book to share with you. Be sure to check those out in the gallery above!


    0 0

    A Doom Patrol live-action TV series is coming to DC's digital streaming service!

    News John Saavedra
    May 14, 2018

    The weirdest team in all of comics is getting a live-action TV series, thanks to DC TV mastermind Greg Berlanti. The Doom Patrol, which is set to first be introduced on the upcoming Titans TV show, will spin off into its own series on the DC Universe digital service. Doom Patrolhas received a 13-episode, straight-to-series order.

    Doom Patrol is written by Supernatural's Jeremy Carver, who will also exec produce with Berlanti and DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns. The series will begin production this year and debut in 2019.

    Here's the title card:

    According to the press release, Doom Patrol is a re-imagining of DC’s most beloved group of outcast superheroes: Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl and Crazy Jane, led by modern-day mad scientist Dr. Niles Caulder (The Chief). The Doom Patrol's members each suffered horrible accidents that gave them superhuman abilities — but also left them scarred and disfigured.

    Traumatized and downtrodden, the team found purpose through The Chief, who brought them together to investigate the weirdest phenomena in existence — and to protect Earth from what they find. Part support group, part superhero team, the Doom Patrol is a band of super-powered freaks who fight for a world that wants nothing to do with them.

    Picking up after the events of Titans, Doom Patrol will find these reluctant heroes in a place they never expected to be, called to action by none other than Cyborg, who comes to them with a mission hard to refuse, but with a warning that is hard to ignore: their lives will never, ever be the same. 

    The cast includes Bruno Bichir as The Chief, April Bowlby as Elasti-Girl, Jake Michaels as Robotman, and Dwain Murphy as Negative Man.

    It looks like the show will follow the same ethos from the original comics in that the Doom Patrol will take on a mission that's just too weird for the Justice League. The team was created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani.

    Wel'll keep you updated as we learn more!


    0 0

    The world’s press loses an iconic Gonzo journalist as Tom Wolfe passes at age 88.

    News Tony Sokol
    May 15, 2018

    New Journalism pioneer Tom Wolfe, who wrote The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities, died of pneumonia in a New York hospital at age 88, according to Variety. The news was announced by Wolfe’s long-time agent Lynn Nesbit.

    Born in Richmond, Virginia, on March 2, 1930, Wolfe was a star baseball player at his high school and also edited its newspaper. He graduated Washington and Lee University, after he’d turned down Princeton University. The author and journalist started as a regional newspaper reporter at Massachusetts’ Springfield Union before moving onto The Washington Post. He moved to New York join the New York Herald-Tribune in in 1962.

    Wolfe first came to national prominence after publishing The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, which followed Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, in the 1960s. He cemented his reputation with Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, collections of his articles and essays. He also edited a volume of work by writers Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer and George Plimpton, titled The New Journalism.

    New Journalism mixed traditional journalism for stylized journalism, and “saturation reporting,” where a reporter would shadow the subject, observes them over an extended period of time. From 1965 to 1981 Mr. Wolfe produced nine nonfiction books. In 1979, he published the book The Right Stuff about the Mercury Seven astronauts. The book was made into the 1983 film of the same name, which was directed by Philip Kaufman.

    “He was a very courageous guy,” Gay Talese, a New Journalism pioneer, said, according to The Wall Street Journal. He “already was celebrated for his journalism and nonfiction when, “What does he do? He goes out and writes a best-selling novel.” Wolfe’s first fiction novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, was published in 1987. Brian De Palma adapted it to film. It took him 11 years to finish his second novel, A Man in Full, which was published in 1998.

    Wolfe critiqued art critics in The Painted Word in 1975, and the architectural decline in From Bauhaus to Our House in 1981. He published The Kingdom of Speech, which elicited controversy over his criticism of Charles Darwin and Noam Chomsky’s works in 2016.

    Wolfe, who coined the term “the me decade” for the 1970s and “radical chic,” was also known for the distinctive tailored white suits he started wearing in 1962. He is remembered for his sense of humor and his penchant for needling sacred cows. He is survived by his wife Sheila, the cover designer for Harper's Magazine, his daughter Alexandra, and son Tommy.


    0 0

    DC has just tweaked Batman's origin story with a tragic new detail about Bruce Wayne...

    News John Saavedra
    May 16, 2018

    This Batman article contains spoilers.

    Tom King and Tony S. Daniel's ambitious Batman time travel romp featuring Booster Gold comes to an end today with issue #47. Indeed, "The Gift" gives us a three-year slice of a timeline in which Bruce Wayne never became Batman, thanks to an incredibly ill-informed wedding gift from Booster. (In case you missed it, Batman and Catwoman are getting married!)

    The zany time traveler from the 25th century decides to one-up all other gifts by going to the past and saving Bruce's parents. We never see this happen in the actual story, but we can assume Booster stopped the Waynes from ever running into Joe Chill. (This is important and we'll return to it in a bit.)

    As you might expect, this completely changes the course of history. Alternate Bruce lives happily with his parents in Wayne Manor while Gotham City's crime-infested streets continue to rot. Booster's gift affects all of Bruce's extended family, too: Dick Grayson has become a more violent, gun-toting Dark Knight who regularly kills his enemies; a Jokerized Green Lantern commits suicide; Catwoman is a serial killer who doesn't speak beyond the occasional "meow"; and the world is basically run by Ra's al Ghul (this last bit ends up being a bit of a hanging plot thread). 

    Basically, things are terrible and only Booster can change things back. He hatches a plan to persuade Bruce to become Batman again by first telling him about the REAL timeline (this doesn't go very well) and then by orchestrating a meet-cute between Bruce and Selina. Their meeting results in a bloodbath inside of Wayne Manor that forces Bruce to experience a whole new trauma that effectively turns him into a villain. Thomas and Martha Wayne, Catwoman, and Batman (Dick Grayson) all die in the disastrous encounter.

    This week's issue picks up a year later. Bruce has hatched his own plan to travel back in time and save his parents from the massacre in Wayne Manor. But he needs Booster Gold, whom he's kept chained up in a cave below the house, to help him, though. 

    Booster manages to trick Bruce into going back to the fateful night in Crime Alley that he disrupted in the first place. Booster and Bruce land on a rooftop just as the Waynes are leaving a movie theater after a showing of The Mark of Zorro.

    Alternate Bruce threatens to kill Booster for tricking him, as the Waynes walk towards their imminent doom below. Just as Bruce is about to pull the trigger on the time traveler, Booster Gold from the past (the one who saved Bruce's parents in the first place) shows up and saves future Booster. Bruce shoots at Past Booster and the shots ring out in the night.  This is where things get REALLY messed up and timey wimey. (Bear with me while I make sense of all this!)

    It's the sound of the gunshots that persuades the Waynes to take a shortcut through an alleyway, which paves the way for their fateful meeting with Joe Chill. So King and Daniel, Gotham's cruel puppeteers, set the infamous origin of Batman in motion while adding a tragic new detail: an alternate Bruce Wayne from the future -- one who had everything, including the love of his parents -- indirectly causes the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne and the birth of the Dark Knight in the past. 

    To make matters worse, Alternate Bruce is forced to watch from a rooftop as his parents are murdered in cold blood, this time in the correct timeline. The trauma is too much for Bruce, who turns a gun on himself and commits suicide. In the end, all of this blood is on a traumatized Booster Gold's hands.

    The final page of the issue shows a remorseful Booster recounting his adventure to Batman and Catwoman (the REAL Bat and Cat this time). Booster tells the Dark Knight all about the alternate timeline where Bruce Wayne was happy and surrounded by the love and warmth of the parents he cherished.  

    Masquerading as a lighthearted romp through time -- the tone of this story is BRILLIANT -- "The Gift" turns out to be one of the darkest versions of Batman's origin ever put on the page. If you've not been following King's run for the last 47 issues, this story is also pretty new reader friendly and basically standalone. Pick up issues #45-47 while they're still available at your local comic book store!


    0 0

    When Deadpool's sales hit rock bottom, he was replaced by the mysterious Alex Hayden. Here's the story of the forgotten Agent X.

    FeatureGavin Jasper
    May 17, 2018
    “What about Agent X – wanna tell them about him?”

    “He’s pretty much an Earth-2 copy of me. And not nearly as funny.”

    -- Weasel and Deadpool, Cable/Deadpool #38 recap page

    As it is right now, with all the various Deadpool series and general emphasis on the character going around Marvel, one of the more interesting concepts is the Mercs for Money. Deadpool runs his own mercenary franchise with a bunch of B and C-listers and each one appears to relate to Deadpool in some way. There’s the living cartoon character, the down-on-his-luck mercenary, the murderer who wants more out of life, the good man corrupted by a world of violence, the hideous sideshow freak, and the competent hero that everyone thinks is a joke.

    Considering it came right after the big “Death of Deadpool” fake-out, it reminds me of the whole Reign of The Supermen storyline that followed Superman's "death" and resurrection in the '90s. Coincidentally, Frank Tieri actually did write a Deadpool parody of that whole Superman saga. It was called Funeral for a Freak and it very easily could have killed the character for good. By that I mean killing people's actual interest in Deadpool, thereby forcing him into obscurity like the other members of Mercs for Money.

    Joe Kelly really springboarded Deadpool into relative popularity in the late-90s, but the writers that followed couldn’t really keep the ball rolling all too well. There were good stories and good characters thrown in, but nothing that made it must-read. By the time Frank Tieri’s run was going on, sales were in the toilet and Deadpoolwas doomed to cancellation. The fact that Funeral for a Freakwas too on the nose, hollow, and featured the most insulting finale didn’t help.

    Luckily, he was immediately followed by the short-but-memorable era of Gail Simone, UDON, and the creation of Agent X. Granted, it didn’t exactly help the sales, but it did give the Deadpool corner of the Marvel Universe a much-needed critical shot in the arm that helped keep the property afloat. It kept him alive as a cult favorite, which eventually caused him to become a mainstream hit years later. Even with only five issues to her name, Simone’s run on Deadpoolis considered one of the all-time best.

    The funny thing is, the basic idea is the same as Tieri’s run. Simone wrote a Deadpool version of Death and Return of Superman, whether she intended to or not. Personally, I love that big Superman arc and much of it comes from the “Return” aspect. With our hero dead and gone, the replacement characters created a strong mystery rooted in a ridiculous, sci-fi superhero world. Which of these guys was the real Superman? Were any of them the real Superman? If none of them were, then where was the body? If at least three of these Supermen weren’t the real deal, then what were they?

    Once the dust was settled, it led to a handful of new characters. It was great.

    While Tieri wrote a storyline based on the idea of introducing one-note copies of Wade (Superhero Deadpool, Psychopath Deadpool, Vigilante Deadpool, and Pop-Culture Superstar Deadpool), it was nothing but a big reference with a genie being shoved back into the bottle by the end of the story. Simone actually followed up on what made Death and Return of Superman so interesting in the first place and applied it to Deadpool.

    The real beginning came just a month before Simone took over Deadpool. Taskmaster, the Marvel mercenary and occasional Deadpool foe with photogenic reflexes, got his own four-issue miniseries in 2002. It was written by Ken Siu-Chong (the guy who does all those Street Fighter comics) and drawn by UDON, which is basically more of a studio house style put together by various artists, though mainly Alvin Lee.

    Taskmaster was always just a plug-in villain for nearly any hero and Marvel finally decided to give him a little spotlight and a redesign. No longer did he look like Swashbuckling Skeletor. Instead, he was Skull Man from Mega Man 4 joining the SWAT Team. Otherwise, the series played up his kickass power set. Any human motion seen by Taskmaster is immediately remembered so that he can copy it without training. While stories have always played up his ability to shadow the skills of Captain America and Hawkeye, this one got more creative with it by going deeper, showing his personal life and the fact that he can also use his power to be a great chef or dancer.

    More importantly, it introduced a character named Sandi Brandenberg. Sandi acted as just a normal, rather one-dimensional woman for Taskmaster (or Tony Masters) to try and seduce. The kind of romantic interest who shows up simply so the protagonist can realize that he can never live a normal life blah blah blah. She ended up getting shot and was last shown in the hospital thanks to the bad guys of the mini.

    Curiously, the first issue featured a look at Taskmaster’s email inbox, which included something coming from “Deadpool, Inc.” A little bit of foreshadowing there.

    Anyway, in 2002 we got Deadpool #65, by the creative team of Gail Simone and UDON. It began with a flashback to a meeting between four Japanese gangs called the Four Winds. Deadpool was hired by one leader to pull a hit on another, but things went astray when fighting with one of the henchmen. Deadpool got knocked through the sunroof and flailed around with his gun on the way down. Miraculously, he killed all four leaders (including the one he was hired by) and cheesed it to freedom. As he ran off, that one goon he battled, later identified as Nijo, looked on in anger.

    Also in the background in all of this was Black Swan, a well-dressed German man with a gun in hand.

    The hit, which had one-in-a-million odds, made Deadpool a legend in his field. He became so successful and so in-demand that he stepped up his game and made his operation a bit more professional, changing it to Deadpool, Inc. and hiring a personal assistant who happened to be none other than Sandi.

    He also ended up hiring a stray, mentally-broken homeless man known only as Ratbag to be his biographer. Ratbag’s inclusion in the run mostly came off as a borderline mean-spirited series of jokes that paid off in one of Deadpool’s best character moments.

    Also of note was a character who showed up briefly a couple times named Outlaw. A scantily-clad cowgirl mercenary, Outlaw appeared to have a physical interest in Deadpool, though became irate whenever anyone called her by her nickname “Crazy Ines.” This was more about world-building than anything else.

    The overarching plot of the five-issue run was about Deadpool being accosted by an annoyed Black Swan, whose power was being a “brain hacker.” He put a virus in Deadpool’s brain that slowly caused his mind to collapse upon itself. He’d forget words, gradually lose his motor skills, and would suffer constant migraines. Physically, he could come back from any wound, but with his mind falling to pieces, what good would it do?

    Meanwhile, Nijo was working as an agent of Black Swan. He wanted revenge on Deadpool for killing his brother (one of the mob bosses), though when Swan told him to kill a hospitalized Sandi, he outright refused as his beef was only with Deadpool.

    While having his own set of adventures, which included Dazzler, shrinking Rhino and keeping him on a keychain, and other weirdness, Deadpool was able to get some intel on Black Swan via a Taskmaster guest appearance (Sandi using her connections). He headed to Black Swan’s stronghold for the final battle.

    In this final showdown, a few notable things happened. First, Black Swan turned on Nijo and impaled him with a sword. As he explained it, Swan was the one who shot all those mobsters (including Nijo’s brother) as his magnum opus final assassination, but Deadpool got the credit and that pissed him off.

    Deadpool brought a bomb with him with a deactivation code that only he knew. At first, he forced Black Swan to fix Ratbag’s head. A sane Ratbag ran off, leaving Deadpool and Black Swan to have a sword fight. Black Swan kept trying to search Deadpool’s mind for the code to stop the bomb, but Deadpool pulled an Ang Lee Hulkand force-fed Black Swan the full contents. Deadpool’s insanity proved too much and took him out of the fight.

    Unfortunately, Deadpool’s bomb then went off, ending the series with the apparent death of our hero. Still, at least his series ended on #69. Wade would have appreciated that.

    Luckily, the final page claimed to not be the end and mentioned that the same creative team would return in two weeks with Agent X #1. Curiously, the cover for Agent X #1 looked an awful lot like Deadpool #69.

    The series began with Sandi parking her car in her apartment complex, only to be accosted by a half-dead man covered in scars. And not the Wade Wilson “body covered in burned sores” way, but “scratches all over like he just went a couple rounds against Wolverine and Sabretooth.” Not to mention the skin tone of a cadaver. Sandi fed the man out of the kindness of her heart, but soon found herself intrigued.

    He had amnesia, yet inexplicably had this innate knowledge of Sandi and a feeling to seek her out. He had a healing factor and a talkative personality, making him seem extremely familiar. More than anything else, he got to stick around due to his deep need to be the best mercenary ever. Sandi – who didn’t want to go back to being exotic dancer “Sondra” – decided she wanted to still make money through running a mercenary business.

    Due to the amnesia, the stranger decided to name himself Alex Hayden. Although he couldn’t figure out where he even came up with such a name.

    The first six issues acted as an introductory arc. Taskmaster was brought in to train Alex upon Sandi’s wishes, but he figured Alex was bad news and proceeded to brutalize him on a regular basis. Outlaw was brought in to train him in gunplay, leading to an adventure where they went from being rivals to romantic partners.

    But of course, the Death and Return of Supermanmystery was there. Was Alex Hayden actually Deadpool? Sandi figured it was likely and tried to jog his memory to no avail. Taskmaster was sure he was Wade, figuring he was messing with everyone for some reason. Outlaw didn’t think he was because Alex’s skills with a gun were way better than Deadpool’s ever was.

    There were all these little hints and clues tossed in throughout the story. Alex had a personality very similar to Deadpool’s, but he seemed a little more grounded. At times, he would come off as more gentlemanly and high-class. He was ambidextrous. In one scene, he beat up Taskmaster and Taskmaster made it a point to mention that there was something preventing him from copying Alex’s moves.

    Similarly, the series introduced a mutant teen girl named Mary Zero whose power was the inability to be perceived or remembered. No matter what she did, nobody noticed her existence, giving her free reign to do whatever she wanted. Alex, for some reason, was able to see and communicate with her.

    Now, there was one huge, obvious hint buried in the art. Sometimes in comic art – especially in manga art, which UDON is inspired by – it’s not especially easy to immediately tell the difference between a white person and an Asian person. This would be one of those instances as Alex Hayden is Japanese. You’d think Sandi and Taskmaster would have pointed out, “Hey, we know for a fact that Wade Wilson’s definitely not Japanese,” but that would have pretty much given away Alex’s identity to the reader.

    Plus maybe Wade had an image inducer up his butt or something. Wouldn’t put it past him, really.

    Alex’s attempt to make a name for himself led to him being paid for his first job with an abandoned amusement park. He made it the headquarters for Agency X. He also went to war with the new Four Winds, run by its new leader Higashi. While a polite and business-oriented man, Higashi was pushed by his advisor Saguri to become more ruthless, especially when the possibility of Alex being Deadpool came up.

    Ultimately, Saguri was taken out of the picture and Higashi became a bit of an ally to the team, especially due to his attraction to Sandi.

    Taskmaster, still pining for Sandi, wasn’t pleased with that part.

    Issue #7 continued the mystery a bit with a scene where some CDs Alex ordered from the internet arrived. Not only were they classical European composers, but Sandi realized that Alexander Schumann and Franz Haydn were the inspirations for Alex’s name.

    After an adventure that involved superhero underwear fetishists, Alex figured that Agency X should be a team thing with himself, Taskmaster, and Outlaw. Unfortunately, Taskmaster was too into flying solo and Outlaw had to leave to go take care of her dying father. That left Sandi, who was still interested in seeing this through, while Mary Zero popped in to say that she would help and that Alex would never be rid of her.

    That was basically her final comic appearance.

    Not kidding. It’s hilarious.

    One of the reasons she was never featured again was that Gail Simone and UDON left Agent X behind due to arguments with the editor. Normally, that would be a thing you shrug off and hope the next team is good, only this was their baby and it hadn’t finished growing up. The mystery remained and the person with the plan of where it was going was no longer on the payroll.

    That meant we got five issues of fill-in teams. #8-9 were done by Buddy Scalera and Mitchell Breitweiser. While having Scalera, a former Deadpoolwriter, was a good idea, the two issues about Alex hunting down an invisible man were especially forgettable.

    The next two issues, by the team of Evan Dorkin and Juan Bobillo, was easily the best fill-in story. The gruesome story brought in Fight Man, a spinoff character from Dorkin’s fantastic Bill and TedMarvel series. Fight Man’s supervillain ex-wife hired Alex to kill the hero, but Fight Man was so down on his luck, that he went along with it...as nigh-impossible as suicide was for him.

    Unlike Scalera, Dorkin was willing to include supporting characters. That said, his use of Sandi got a bit of a mixed reaction. In this story, Alex and Sandi ended up sleeping together within several pages, all while Taskmaster went from being overprotective of Sandi to not caring that she decided to go on her very first assassin job alone. It didn’t really feel too in-character based on what came before, but at least Dorkin was trying something.

    #12 was done by future-Deadpool-writer-for-way-too-long Daniel Way and artist Kyle Hotz. A rather nothing issue, Alex took on a rookie mercenary called Murder. Despite the blurb on the very last page, it’s pretty apparent that this was meant to be the final issue of the series, dropping Alex Hayden into obscurity. The recap page, opening scene, and ending all talked up how Agency X wasn’t working out and needed to close down.

    Normally, that would have been it, but then Marvel decided to take a page out of the '70s playbook. Latter Deadpooland his spinoff had lousy sales and Cable’s Soldier X series was suffering the same fate, so why not just do a Power Man and Iron Fist and shove them together into one series? A great idea, except Deadpool was off in limbo, possibly dead in an unfinished mystery.

    Gail Simone and UDON were brought back into the series to do an additional three issues to wrap everything up and bring back Deadpool. The cover to Agent X #13 featured Alex, Sandi, Outlaw, Taskmaster, and Mary Zero standing together with the tagline, “WE’RE BACK!”

    Mary Zero wasn’t referenced once in those three issues, by the way.

    The opening scene showed two hooded men on a boat on their way to the US. One wandered around, unresponsive, while the other protected him from fellow stowaways. The savior removed his hood to reveal Black Swan, alive and well, though annoyed that he couldn’t bring himself to actually kill the attackers.

    Alex and Taskmaster got hired to protect Four Winds leader Higashi on a job. Alex was emotionally torn apart for cheating on Outlaw with Sandi while Taskmaster was torn apart by his jealousy. After the job, the three returned to Sandi’s place, only to find Black Swan waiting there for them.

    And he brought his mute friend.

    Upon seeing Deadpool alive, Sandi and Taskmaster were shocked, but Alex had his own unique response. On instinct, he lifted his gun and shot Deadpool in the head. He couldn’t explain why he did it. Just that seeing Deadpool filled him with violent anger.

    “I swear it feels like this guy killed my brother. And since I don’t think I have a brother, that’s just weird.”

    While Deadpool recuperated, Black Swan spilled the beans on the backstory. In that final battle from Deadpool #69, the mental onslaught mixed with the explosion caused a jumbling of memories, personality traits, and even special abilities to scatter into the minds of the three men in the room: Black Swan, Deadpool, and the corpse of Nijo.

    Agent X was Nijo, filled with Deadpool’s jokester personality and power set, along with Black Swan’s high-class sensibilities, gun skills, and disgust for rude people. He also had trace pieces of Swan’s mental abilities, explaining why Taskmaster couldn’t copy him and why he could perceive Mary.

    Black Swan had pieces of Deadpool and Nijo in his mind and makeup, allowing him to survive the explosion. While he inherited Nijo’s love for Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, the most important aspect of his personality was Nijo’s pesky honor. Swan was compelled to set things right.

    As for Deadpool, his healing factor was finally starting to fix his brain (the point-blank headshot probably helped kickstart that). Despite not fully understanding it, Swan explained that Deadpool’s healing factor was more than just a physical ability and he could regrow his memories. Not that it was doing much good at the time, since he had the mind of a 3-year-old.

    A very dick-obsessed 3-year-old.

    Black Swan put together a séance-type event at the abandoned amusement park to give Deadpool and Alex their memories back. No longer with a conscience, Black Swan used the power/mind trading to amp himself up. His mental powers became godly and he proceeded to overwhelm Alex, Sandi, and Taskmaster.

    Meanwhile, a lone figure was shown searching through a nearby car and finding a pair of katanas. On the final page, a fully-recovered Deadpool laughed maniacally while impaling Black Swan from behind.

    With Deadpool back in action, Agent X #15 brought back the “similar cover pose” gimmick that started the series.

    Nice touch.

    The final issue was an excellent climactic battle where Alex Hayden, Deadpool, Taskmaster, Sandi, the Four Winds, and a returning Outlaw (who was none-too-pleased about the Alex/Sandi hook-up) took on a levitating, mind-reading Black Swan who could stop bullets in mid-air. In the middle of the mayhem, Taskmaster finally revealed his true feelings to Sandi.

    Alex came up with a plan to confuse and explode Black Swan, which succeeded. Using his own psychic magic, he returned Black Swan’s memories of dying in the explosion back to where they belonged and in the process purged all of his badass, X-shaped bodily scars and turned his skin tone into that of a normal human being. Yeah, I don’t know how that works either.

    Then the heroes unloaded their guns into Black Swan just in case. To make sure Black Swan was dead for good and couldn’t simply heal, they had him stuffed after the fact.

    (Not that that stopped Daniel Way from bringing him back years later with no explanation.)

    Sandi and Taskmaster ended up together and Taskmaster showed interest in finally joining Agency X. At the same time, Alex offered Deadpool a spot, but he chose to go off on his own. At first, they shook hands as friends, but then decided they kind of hated each other and started fighting while the others wandered off.

    The final page featured everyone going on a lengthy vacation together, taking the stuffed corpse of Black Swan with them. I guess I spoke too soon about Mary Zero never showing up again as her arm could be seen peeking into a group photo at the very end.

    I only just noticed that now.

    Sadly, that was it for that version of Taskmaster. Other than an appearance in Power Pack, the UDON Taskmaster look was quickly forgotten about the moment he showed up in Charlie Huston’s Moon Knightseries back in his classic duds.

    I guess he and Sandi weren’t meant to be as they never shared the same page again.

    As Cable/Deadpool kicked in months later, writer Fabian Nicieza went with an idea of playing with established concepts and characters rather than introduce new stuff. That meant that by the eleventh issue, Alex made an appearance. Artist Patrick Zircher decided to keep all of Alex’s scars despite the events of Agent X #15, simply because they looked cooler and more iconic to the character.

    He wasn't wrong.

    Caught up in one of the least-confusing storylines in the series, Cable was in a coma (with the Six Pack trapped in his mind) and Deadpool needed the Fixer from the Thunderbolts, Weasel, and MODOK to help him bond Cable with a techno-organic creature to make him whole and awake. Like I said, one of the least-confusing storylines.

    Alex was hired by an unnamed benefactor to make sure Cable wasn’t revived, but ultimately failed after a lot of bloody fighting with his mercenary mind-brother.

    Months later, House of Mhappened. The big event is notable in this context for three reasons. First off, in the rewritten world where all the heroes got to live more fulfilled lives, one of the background characters appeared to be none other than pre-explosion Nijo dressed in his goggles and a big X strap.

    He never had any lines and nobody referred to him by name, so it just ended up being a neat Easter egg.

    After House of Mended, they did the whole Decimationstoryline about most mutants being depowered. Outlaw, being a mutant herself, became a minor character in the X-Men books.

    As for Mary Zero, a book of Deadpool character profiles called Deadpool: Rank and Foul mentioned that she lost her mutant powers during M-Day. Probably for the best.

    Alex, Sandi, and Outlaw returned as a team in Cable/Deadpool #38. In a plot that worked to differentiate Alex from Deadpool while also removing him as a top mercenary, Nicieza did a story where Alex was captured by Hydra and experimented on. They imprinted him with genetics that both gave him extreme arthritis and also made him excessively obese.

    Sandi and Outlaw hired Deadpool (who was only a few inches tall at the time thanks to Pym Particles and rather enjoyed how endowed the two looked from that point of view) and he successfully rescued Alex. Unfortunately, Alex was in no condition to keep merc’ing, so he had Deadpool take over action duties at Agency X for a bit while Alex remained the boss.

    It was a necessary change of status quo for Deadpool. Cable was being written out of the book due to important X-Mencrossover stuff and Deadpool needed a new supporting cast to play off of. And so, Alex, Sandi, and Outlaw became regulars for the final twelve issues of the series, although they rarely actually did anything.

    In the final issue, with New York being ravaged by dinosaurs with alien symbiotes, Outlaw talked Alex into getting off his fat ass and getting back to being a warrior. No longer fitting in the Kevlar trench coat, Alex opted for a sumo look and went to flattening alien/dino hybrids.

    He then showed up in the series’ final scene, where Deadpool’s supporting cast joined him for a friendly get-together. Alex was still wearing his loin-cloth, much to everyone’s chagrin.

    Sadly, that was Alex’s final major comic appearance. Sandi’s too. To go back to the Superman comparison, Alex's staying power ended up being less Superboy and more Eradicator.

    In the Deadpool miniseries Suicide Kings, Outlaw appeared with a supporting role and mentioned that, although he had a lot of work to do, Alex was making some headway on the weight loss.

    Outside of a couple background X-Men appearances, Outlaw had her moments of prominence. Prior to Shiklah’s introduction, she was one of the go-to love interests for Deadpool. Not only did they end up sleeping together at the end of Suicide Kings, but the 1950s reimagining miniseries Deadpool Pulp included her as a femme fatale working against the government.

    There would be one last story to revisit this era in Deadpool history, at least. In Deadpool #27, Wade celebrated his wedding to Shiklah. The backups featured stories by all of Deadpool’s major writers from over the years talking about all the other times he’s been married, including a story by Gail Simone and Alvin Lee about Deadpool’s never-before-mentioned marriage to Outlaw. Various Simone characters appeared in the crowd, including Ratbag.

    Alex warned Wade about the pitfalls of a sex-starved woman with mutant super-strength, but Deadpool didn’t catch on until their first honeymoon night when she shattered his pelvis. What followed was several pages of Deadpool slowly dying Futurama-style until he presumably had his marriage annulled.

    As much fun as Alex Hayden was, I suppose he’s just one of those characters who exists as a phase, much like how the Mercs for Money concept will be completely done away with in two years – three years tops. Still, with Deadpool’s current popularity and comics’ love for cannibalizing the past, it’s only a matter of time before the scarred and possibly-still-overweight mercenary makes his return. Personally, I hope he does. I miss that knockoff.

    Besides, they just brought back Evil Deadpool and he’s terrible. If Alex doesn’t come back in some form, it’s just a travesty.

    Gavin Jasper figures that if Taskmaster isn’t going back to his UDON look, they might as well give that costume to Finesse. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


    0 0

    Reports are indicating that Amazon’s expensive Lord of the Rings TV series will focus on the exploits of young Aragorn.

    News Joseph Baxter
    May 17, 2018

    Amazon’s much-discussed Middle Earth television endeavors appear to be taking shape. The streaming-service-delivering retail monolith, which cut a $250 million check last fall to the estate of author J.R.R. Tolkien to acquire rights for a TV series based on The Lord of the Rings– that will reportedly cost $1 billion to produce – could have royal justifications for such a move. That’s because reports are indicating that the series will focus on the younger days of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy key character and would-be King of Gondor, Aragorn Elessar!

    Perennial Tolkien fan site, TheOneRing took to Twitter with a most intriguing report, claiming confirmation from multiple sources that Amazon’s 5-season committedThe Lord of the Rings TV series will, indeed, center on the youthful adventures of Aragorn, who, of course, was famously played by Viggo Mortensen in director Peter Jackson’s revered Oscar-generating trilogy of films.

    Additional details claim that the TV series will not be a re-telling of “The War of the Ring,” as depicted in the film trilogy. Rather, it will draw heavily from book trilogy’s appendices, which, included in the back of closer The Return of the King, provides loads of context to the events of the books, also serving as the source for several of the movie’s storylines (notably Aragorn and Arwen’s love story). Indeed, Aragorn’s backstory is the focus of some of Tolkien’s richest supplementary material. He is, as the movies often mention, the long-removed heir of Isildur (the inheritor King of Gondor who cut the Ring of Power from Sauron’s hand, only to be seduced by the trinket’s evil power), but that doesn’t even cover the CliffsNotes regarding the mythical path of the young-looking 87-year-old human.

    Coming from a paternal line that stems back to the ancient kings of Gondor, Aragorn was targeted by evil from infancy. Thus, after his father, Arathorn II, died (when Aragorn was 2), the fated child was sent to Rivendell to be raised with the elves by Elrond, where he was given the name, Estel, which means “hope” in Elvish (though he understandably kept that one on the down low). At some point, he left to join his dwindling kin, the Dúnedain, a race of humans with lifespans extending to around 250 years, to battle Middle Earth’s surging evil as roving rangers in the North. Consequently, as the TOR suggests, the Amazon TV series could contain characters such as father Arathorn (likely in flashbacks), mother Gilraen, as well as the never-seen twin sons of Elrond, named Elladan and Elrohir.

    On another note, Aragorn’s friendship with Gandalf is also an important aspect of his early story. It was Gandalf who influenced Aragorn and his ranger companions to protect the borders of the Shire – and the peaceful hobbits within them – from the evil forces of the world; an effort in which he operated under the pseudonym, Strider (the name we first got from him in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy). – Which brings us back to a rumor from back in December, when Ian McKellen was (in a cheeky fashion,) hinting a possible return as Gandalf on the TV series. If the Aragorn news pan out, then McKellen’s prospective role reprisal as Gandalf would seem a lot more feasible.

    We will certainly keep you updated on Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings TV series as the news arrives.


    0 0

    Saoirse Ronan gives another sensational performance in a story of intimacy, sex and class.

    In the new film On Chesil Beach, based on a novella by acclaimed writer Ian McEwan (who also wrote the screenplay), it’s 1962 and newlyweds Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle) have just started out on their honeymoon in a hotel located at the title beach, a windswept, rocky, rather desolate place. It’s in many ways a perfect spot for what’s about to occur, as the couple sit down to dinner, make small talk, drink a little, listen to music…and both literally and figuratively dance around the elephant in the room, or we should we say, the bed.

    It is, after all, their first night as a married couple and all roads lead to what’s supposed to happen on that mattress. Both Florence and Edward are understandably awkward to varying degrees, but as the evening progresses it becomes apparent that one of them is just not ready -- and may never be ready -- for the supposed bliss of getting between the conjugal sheets.

    The disastrous events of On Chesil Beach play out between flashbacks and, eventually, flash-forwards, with the former highlighting the upbringing that formed both of these empathetic but markedly different people. Florence grew up in an upper class household, wanting to be a violinist and listening almost exclusively to classical music, while chafing under the thumb of her mean-spirited, nose-in-the-air mother (Emily Watson) and distant father (Samuel West).

    Edward is a history grad student from a working class family whose mother (Anne-Marie Duff) has brain damage but whose household is still a loving one -- even if his future mother-in-law sniffs at them a bit. Edward likes rock music, is more outgoing and occasionally too impulsive, while Florence is a budding political activist who nevertheless has a reserved air about her -- and a secret which is glimpsed only fleetingly as their love affair comes to a, shall we say, premature ending in that room on Chesil Beach.

    Theater director Dominic Cooke, making his debut behind the camera here, manages to take what many have deemed an unfilmable piece of writing (because of its internalized nature) and turn it into a largely compelling look at those icy British attitudes toward sex and class in the days before the sexual revolution and the vaunted “Sixties” really turned things upside down. The damage done to both Florence and Edward by their respective histories becomes palpable, thanks in no small measure to terrific performances from both actors.

    Ronan adds another beautifully developed character to her already considerable catalog, and while Howle may not be quite as detailed an actor, he still brings depth and compassion to a character who could easily turn into an oversexed frat boy in the wrong hands. Cooke largely stays out of their way while managing to use the flashbacks to get us out of that hotel room once in a while. His handling of the film’s turning point is as dignified as possible, and the repercussions that follow are tragic enough to wipe away (no pun intended) any lingering doubts about how it's staged.

    The only thing that On Chesil Beach really fumbles is its final stretch: while the book’s closing pages are all in the thoughts and ruminations of one character, the movie makes it all too literal and utilizes some truly bad old age make-up to make it even more cringeworthy. To be fair, it’s certainly not easy to visualize any ending to this tale that works in a cinematic sense, but perhaps McEwan should have brought in another screenwriter to help him, unlike his poor protagonists, reach a satisfying climax.

    On Chesil Beach is out in theaters Friday (May 18).

    3.5/5
    ReviewDon Kaye
    May 17, 2018

    0 0

    Deadpool won't shut up about pop-culture and superhero movies. Now I have carpal tunnel for writing them all down. Thanks.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    May 17, 2018

    This article consists of nothing but Deadpool 2 spoilers. We have a spoiler free review here if you prefer.

    The Marvel Brolinsance continues with the release of Deadpool 2. Much like its predecessor, it mixes R-rated action, R-rated humor, a dash of pathos, and lots of references and meta jokes. It’s another movie in the X-Men Cinematic Universe featuring bottom of the barrel characters. In other words, there’s a ton of Easter eggs and trivia references sewn into this bad boy.

    Best we could, here’s a reference guide. This goes without saying, but spoilers galore. Even for movies other than Deadpool 2! The first shot of the movie is a reference to how Loganended!

    THE CHARACTERS

    DEADPOOL

    So Wade Wilson, New Mutants #98, blah blah, Deathstroke ripoff, etc. We know all that. So what references do we get from this movie?

    - Early on, Wade discusses how horrible his father was. This is 2/3 on point to the comics. In the comics, there were three different takes on what Wade’s father was like. First there’s the Christopher Priest take, where Wade’s father was a lowlife who walked out on him when he was a child. Then Fabian Nicieza had his own version where Wade’s father was a strict, albeit well-meaning, military man who died trying to pull Wade away from hanging out with a dangerous crowd.

    Gerry Duggan later insisted that those were false memories. There was nothing especially wrong with Wade’s father, though Deadpool unknowingly killed him as part of a memory-wiping experiment.

    - Deadpool prepares for his first job in the movie by listening to “X Gone Give it to You” by DMX, which was a prominent theme to the first movie.

    - Deadpool popping out of a coffin to assassinate someone was done in Deadpool Team-Up #898, as part of an alliance with the Zapata Brothers.

    - Deadpool’s frustration at being suicidal and being unable to see it through is a regular occurrence in the comics. The first movie’s earlier draft even had a segment dedicated to Wade trying to off himself again and again and constantly failing due to his healing factor.

    - As an X-Men trainee, Deadpool wears an ugly team outfit over his own. This is similar to a story arc in Deadpool #16 from the Daniel Way run where Deadpool insisted on joining the X-Men.

    - The red motor scooter Deadpool rides is actually a thing from the comics. He rode it around in Deadpool #68 and even appeared on the cover with it along with Taskmaster.

    - Deadpool tries deflecting Cable’s bullets with his katanas at one point, only to realize that several of them made it through his torso. His movements are exactly like Wade Wilson’s swordplay in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

    - Towards the end of the movie, Deadpool is covered with ash and his red costume becomes gray. This ends up making him look like how he dresses in the Rick Remender X-Force series. Coincidentally, he joined the team in response to Cable’s supposed death.

    VANESSA

    - Vanessa did also die in the comics, albeit under very, very different circumstances. In Deadpool #59 by Frank Tieri and Georges Jeanty, Deadpool was given the order by Weapon X to kill Vanessa, otherwise known as the mutant Copycat. Deadpool refused and instead tried to defend her against their various soldiers. Vanessa ended up being mauled to death by Sabretooth and, much like the movie, died in Wade’s arms.

    Shockingly, despite the first movie’s popularity, Vanessa was never brought back in the comics and only got one mention since.

    CABLE

    - Cable, real name Nathan Summers, made his first adult appearance in New Mutants #87 as created by Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld. A mysterious time traveler, he was later revealed to be the son of Scott Summers and Madeline Pryor (a clone of Jean Grey). He was raised in a horrifying future ruled by Apocalypse and dedicated himself to going back in time to prevent that reality from ever taking place.

    The movie doesn’t really get into much about what he’s about, but to be fair, the comics took their time on that too. The '90s X-Men cartoon never even got around to explaining who he was, only giving us the occasional hint that he had something to do with Cyclops and Jean.

    - Fun fact: for people who got to see early screenings of Deadpool 2, it came with a video of Deadpool begging us not to check Cable’s Wikipedia page because it’s too much of a mindfuck.

    - So what do we know about Cable’s future? He mentions that it’s about 50 years later (which would make him age appropriate to be Cyclops’ kid without having to send him further into the future like in the comics), though grown-up Firefist appears to be plenty younger. Despite the claim that the world is ruined, we never get a good look at what that entails.

    - Cable mentions his daughter’s name is Hope. Hope Summers is a character introduced in X-Men #205, created by Mike Carey and Chris Bachalo. After the events of M-Day and the near extinction of the mutant race (more on that later), Hope was the first baby born with the mutant gene. Cable found her and protected her, mainly from Bishop. Cable and Hope traveled through various eras with Cable raising Hope until she became a teenager. Eventually, she returned to the present.

    - Cable’s rivalry with Bishop had Cable on the opposite side of the conflict compared to Deadpool 2. For Bishop, Hope’s existence would lead to his own horrible future, so he was dedicated to killing her before it was too late.

    - With Cable being played by Josh Brolin, there are at least two references to Brolin’s previous roles. Deadpool calls him “One-Eyed Willy,” a legendary pirate from The Goonies, which starred Brolin. The other is Deadpool calling him “Thanos,” what with that being his other huge comic movie role these days.

    - Deadpool calls Cable “John Connor,” due to his similarities to, well, everything involving the Terminatorfranchise.

    We wrote lots more on Cable right here.

    FIREFIST

    Russell Collins, played by Julian Dennison, is essentially a hybrid of different characters.

    - In the comics, Firefist was introduced in X-Factor #1 by Bob Layton and Jackson Guice. A fit, white teen in slacks who physically looks nothing like his cinematic counterpart, Rusty was a pretty generic part of the X-family until leaving to join Magneto’s side as an Acolyte. He died back in the mid-90s.

    - He actually has more in common with his animated counterpart from the X-Men cartoon. There, he was a boy living in a corrupt orphanage headed by Zebediah Killgrave.

    - Russell shares a lot in common with Johnny, a little boy who appeared briefly in Deadpool’s initial solo series. In Deadpool #58, a mutant boy’s fire powers went out of control and Weapon X (now with Deadpool as a member) went to go investigate. Deadpool was able to talk the boy down from his rampage, but Garrison Kane took advantage of the situation and murdered the kid, much to Deadpool’s fury.

    - Thematically, Russell is more based on Evan Sabahnur, codename Genesis. An incarnation of X-Force featuring Deadpool was sent on a mission to kill the reincarnation of Apocalypse. The target ended up being a child, who was being fed propaganda from Apocalypse cultists. Fantomex shot and killed the boy, which awakened nothing but disgust in Deadpool, as killing a kid was over the line for him.

    Secretly, Fantomex cloned the child and tried to use virtual reality to raise him as a Clark Kent-like farm boy. Named Evan Sabahnur, he was eventually enrolled in the X-Men’s school. Evan eventually became part of a plot where his rise to villainy would lead to a Minority Report dystopian future. Instead, Wolverine and Deadpool were able to get through to Evan and convince him to be a force of good. Since then, Deadpool has at times acted as a father figure to the boy.

    DOMINO

    - As a concept, Domino, real name Neena Thurman, was introduced in the same issue as Deadpool: New Mutants #98, by Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld. In actuality, “Domino” was Vanessa/Copycat in disguise. The real Domino didn’t show up until about a year later in X-Force #8. Domino has been a regular associate to Cable and has teamed up with Deadpool on occasion. At most, she only tolerates Deadpool.

    - Deadpool rants about her luck-based powers and how stupid they are, at one point claiming that such an idea would come from some guy who can’t even draw feet. This is an obvious reference to Deadpool and Domino’s co-creator Rob Liefeld, who is constantly made fun of for his difficulties in drawing convincing feet, which more often than not means seeing feet obscured or cropped out of his panels.

    We have even more info on Domino right here.

    JUGGERNAUT

    - Cain Marko, the Unstoppable Juggernaut, was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. His first appearance was in X-Men #12. In the comics, Juggernaut is depicted as being a force of magic and not one created from a biological mutation. He already appeared in X3: X-Men United, as played by Vinnie Jones.

    - The credits claim that Juggernaut is played by “himself.”

    - Conversation between Juggernaut and Russell establishes that in the movies, Cain Marko and Charles Xavier are step-brothers and that Juggernaut wears the helmet to protect himself from his psychic attacks. The familial connection was completely ignored in X3, though the two only shared one scene.

    - Juggernaut fought Deadpool a couple times early on in the comics before Deadpool had his own ongoing series. By the time Deadpool had his own series, writer Joe Kelly decided that Juggernaut would be too obvious to use. Juggernaut later appeared at Wade’s funeral during hte Frank Tieri run.

    - Juggernaut tearing Deadpool in half just may be a reference to the memorable opening sequence to Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1 where Hulk tore Wolverine in half in similar fashion. Hey, it wouldn’t be the only Hulk/Juggernaut comparison in this movie.

    - Colossus vs. Juggernaut is a regular occurrence in X-Men lore. Much like in this movie, Juggernaut is a league above Colossus and tends to outfight him at every turn.

    X-FORCE

    - Another Nicieza/Liefeld creation, the team X-Force was introduced as a rebranding/spinoff of New Mutants after that comic hit its 100th issue. The team has had many different incarnations, but the main take has been a more fascist take on the X-Men to contrast with Xavier’s more defensive MO. One of the original team members is Cannonball, who the cinematic version of Negasonic Teenage Warhead appears to be slightly based on, at least in the powers department.

    We have a whole history of X-Force right here for you.

    BEDLAM

    Terry Crews’ Bedlam first appeared in the comic Factor X #1, created by John Francis Moore and Steve Epting. Bedlam doesn’t exactly get to do much in the movie, but the power set is accurate to how he’s portrayed in the comics.

    ZEITGEIST

    Zeitgeist (Axel Cluney) even being in this movie practically spells out the gag about X-Force’s fate. The character was introduced in X-Force #116, which was the beginning of the Peter Milligan/Mike Allred X-Force/X-Statix run. Like in the movie, he could spit acid vomit, but also like in the movie, he died in his first issue despite being treated as a big deal. In fact, a majority of X-Force were killed in that first issue.

    VANISHER

    - Vanisher, real name Telford Porter, was introduced in the second issue of X-Men. He has absolutely nothing to do with his cinematic counterpart, including powers. Comic Vanisher is a teleporter while the movie version is just invisible. Also, he was an X-Men villain and never a member of X-Force. It’s likely more like the writers saw that name as one of the ones they could use in the movie and wrote a gag around it, much like how they included Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the first movie just because they thought the name was great.

    - And hey, turns out he’s Brad Pitt! That’s still not the most random Brad Pitt death in movie history if you've seen Burn After Reading. Told you there would be spoilers here.

    - Brad Pitt was in talks to play Cable, but couldn't fit it into his schedule.

    SHATTERSTAR

    - Sometimes comic movies are too afraid to fully embrace the batshit insane world of comic books. That’s why it took so long for us to get Sentinels and why Galactus was a cloud. Shatterstar, despite his limited screentime, dives deep into being exactly like his comic counterpart. Introduced in New Mutants #99 (a mere issue after Deadpool) by Nicieza and Liefeld, Shatterstar is both an alien and from the future. And he has those stupid double-katanas.

    - Mojoworld was introduced in Longshot #1and is a separate dimension run by a blobby TV producer with spider legs. This is now part of the X-Men Cinematic Unvierse.

    Need more info on Shatterstar? We've got you covered.

    BLACK TOM

    - Black Tom Cassidy was introduced in X-Men #99 by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum. His wood/blast powers are kind of moot since he never actually does anything mutant-based in the movie. Black Tom is the brother of Banshee, but there’s no indication of their relationship in the film.

    - In the comics, Black Tom fought Deadpool several times. Not only as a partner of Juggernaut, but also at a time when Deadpool was cycling through his “Black” villains in one adventure, such as Black Swan and Black Box.

    - During the early days of X-Force, Cable gunned down Black Tom and almost killed him. Coincidentally, Black Tom only survived because Deadpool saved his life.

    X-MEN EASTER EGGS

    - Firefist’s rampage is covered by reporter Irene Merryweather. Introduced in Cable #48 by James Robinson and Jose Ladronn, Irene is a reporter who became a close friend to Cable. She was essentially the normal, down-to-earth person there to normalize the future mutant with the giant guns. She was recently killed by Deadpool in the comics due to Cable’s clone Stryfe blackmailing him.

    - During the auditions segment, there’s a cartoon drawing of a cowgirl in the background. This is Outlaw, otherwise known as Inez Temple. Introduced during the Gail Simone Deadpoolrun, the mercenary mutant Outlaw had a couple flings with Deadpool and even married him briefly. Unfortunately, Deadpool’s healing factor wasn’t enough to offset the combination of her super-strength and endless libido and he had the marriage annulled.

    - The Ice Box is a prison located in Canada, introduced in Maverick #8.

    - Russell’s orphanage is named in honor of “Essex,” most likely a reference to Nathanial Essex, otherwise known as Mr. Sinister. Essex was referenced in Days of Future Past’s ending and there’s been rumblings about having him appear in one of the upcoming movies.

    - The mutant inhibitor collar was introduced in Days of Future Past. In the comics, it was introduced in X-Men #141.

    - The orphanage features various posters promising that M-Day is coming. In the comics, M-Day was the event where Scarlet Witch – distraught over the events of House of M– used her powers to depower nearly every mutant in the world, leaving less than 200.

    SUPERHERO MOVIE STUFF

    - The movie’s opening shot shows Deadpool’s music box in the form of Wolverine being impaled on a tree stump. This is how Wolverine died at the end of Logan. Deadpool also jokes that Logan wouldn’t have received that R-rating if the first Deadpoolmovie hadn’t already proven it could be done successfully.

    - Deadpool briefly brings up comparisons to Passion of the Christ, namely how they’re the top two biggest money makers for R-rated movies. In terms of domestic, Passion of the Christ wins with $370 million to Deadpool’s $363 million, but worldwide, Deadpoolhas $801 million compared to Passion’s $622 million.

    - Deadpool tries to excuse his lateness with Vanessa by claiming that he and another costumed guy had a big fight, but stopped once they found out their mothers are both named “Martha.” That’s an easy reference to the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Batman suddenly pulls a 180 on his murderous opinion on Superman.

    - In the first movie, Deadpool told Blind Al that he had a stash hidden of a bunch of cocaine and “the cure for blindness,” which at the time felt like him being a jerk mocking her. Turns out he literally had those things after all!

    - Deadpool repeatedly talks about the X-Men member “Pigeonwings,” referring to Angel and the fact that having wings is kind of a dumb power when there are others who can fly without them.

    - As Deadpool once again rants about how the only X-Men characters we appear to see are Colossus and Negasonic, there’s a quick shot of the current X-Men movie team meeting in a room as Beast (Nicholas Hoult) quietly closes the door before Deadpool can notice. This includes Xavier (James McAvoy), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and Cyclops (Tye Sheridan).

    - Deadpool’s speech where he decides to shoot up one of the orphanage employees is paraphrased from Colossus at the end of the first movie. The difference is that while he was straight-up ignoring him in the first movie when he shot somebody, this time he felt like he was genuinely doing the right thing.

    - Upon losing his powers, Deadpool calls himself worthless like Hawkeye and his bow and arrow. Hawkeye has been regularly mocked for being considered the lamest movie Avenger.

    - Deadpool describes Cable as having a Winter Soldier arm. In both the comics and Marvel Cinematic Universe, Bucky Barnes lost his arm during his faked death and had it replaced with a cybernetic limb. Cable’s arm is actually a metal parasite engulfing the flesh.

    - Deadpool tosses out the iconic, “I’m Batman,” line, which is the go-to introduction for movie versions of that character.

    - Deadpool remarks that Cable is so dark that he must be from the DC Universe. DC’s recent cinematic takes have been regularly criticized for being overly grim and colorless despite being centered around goddamn Superman. Fittingly, Ryan Reynolds and Josh Brolin have both starred in failed DC movies with Green Lantern and Jonah Hex.

    - Deadpool names Domino “Black Black Widow,” doubling down on cracking jokes about white characters with “Black” in their name. Plus Domino is the token female hero and has the same basic abilities as Black Widow.

    - Speaking of Black Widow, Deadpool tries to subdue Juggernaut by telling him, “The sun is getting real low.” This is how Black Widow would calm the Hulk into becoming Bruce Banner in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

    - Dopinder is called “Brown Panther,” which is just a reference to Black Panther. It’s late in the movie and we’re running out of steam.

    - In the mid-credits, Deadpool goes back in time to save certain people, but also takes time to enter X-Men Origins: Wolverine(2009) to riddle the original Deadpool with bullets. The mouthless Wade Wilson from this movie is considered a blight on the character’s history and while he got made fun of in the first Deadpool, this just goes farther into the absurd.

    - Immediately after, Ryan Reynolds is shot to death before he can accept the role of Green Lantern (2011). That too is considered a big mistake in Reynolds’ acting career.

    MISC REFERENCES

    - After failing to fully fulfill his contract kill, Deadpool describes it as “mission accomplished” in the George W. Bush sense. In 2003, George W. Bush spoke onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln to announce the end of major military combat in Iraq. All the while, there was a massive “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner in the background. The claims, both verbal and printed, seemed a bit shortsighted, to say the least.

    Oh yeah, Brolin played that guy too.

    - The movie Wade and Vanessa watch early on is the 1983 release Yentlstarring Barbara Streisand.

    - The opening credits include references to both James Bond movies and the iconic chair shot from Flashdance. It’s a natural callback to the comedic credits from the first movie, though with a more negative bend, such as how the first movie called the screenwriters “The Real Heroes” while this time they’re “The Real Villains.”

    - Deadpool calls Yuki “Pinkie Pie.” Pinkie Pie is a character from My Little Pony who, much like Deadpool, breaks the fourth wall. In fact, Death Battle had an episode dedicated to Deadpool vs. Pinkie Pie.

    - Colossus tells Russell, “Come quietly or there will be trouble.” Deadpool and Russell immediately point out that he’s ripping off RoboCop, which he also did in the first movie when he told Deadpool, “Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”

    - At the Ice Box, Deadpool wonders what gang he’ll end up in and asks about the Sorting Hat. The Sorting Hat is the magical being from the Harry Potterbooks that chooses which group each Hogwarts student belongs in.

    - Cable’s futuristic gun has a dial on it that goes from 1 to 11. This is a reference to This is Spinal Tap, as the band has their amps recalibrated from going up to 10 to 11 in volume because 11 is a higher number and therefore must be louder. None of them realize that the max volume is the max volume no matter what number you put on it.

    - Weasel refers to Cable as “the time traveler’s wife’s husband.” The Time Traveler’s Wife is a novel by Audrey Niffenegger.

    - Weasel calls it out, but Wade uncrossing and crossing his legs in order to show his gross baby crotch is a reference to Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct(1992). In the famous scene, she did the same move, only wearing a skirt with no underwear.

    - Deadpool tries to win Colossus back by holding a tiny boombox up outside his window, just like John Cusack’s iconic pose from Say Anything (1989).

    - We join a scene with Deadpool finishing his rant that Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is pornography. That movie starred Ryan Reynolds' wife, Blake Lively.

    - Deadpool notes that Russell has started dressing like the Unabomber. The 90s serial bomber Ted Kaczynski is mainly remembered for his police sketch that showed him wearing a hoodie and sunglasses.

    - “Sweep the leg, Johnny!” is the command that the villain from Karate Kidis told when fighting Daniel in the climax.

    - Deadpool nicknames Negasonic “Eleven,” the name of the super-powered, shaved head girl from Stranger Things.

    - Blink and you'll miss it, but a news ticker reports that "Christopher Plummer refuses role in Deadpool 2."

    Any other Easter eggs or references we’ve missed? Sound off in the comments!

    Gavin Jasper wonders if the Fat Gandalf line flub joke was planned or an improvised blooper that they kept in. Follow Gavin on Twitter!


    0 0
  • 05/17/18--23:33: Deadpool 2: Who is Cable?
  • Now that we've met Josh Brolin as Cable in Deadpool 2, the bigger question is...who the hell is Cable?

    Feature Jim Dandy
    May 17, 2018

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

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

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

    He’s a badass soldier from the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ALTERNATE VERSIONS

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

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

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

    KEY STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Deadpool 2 opens on May 18.


    0 0

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

    Feature Jim Dandy
    May 17, 2018

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

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

    X-Force

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

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

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

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

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

    X-Statix

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

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

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

    Check out the weirdest X-Force comics ever on Amazon

    Mutants with Knives and Claws

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

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

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

    They got better, though.

    Uncanny X-Force

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

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

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

    Read Uncanny X-Force on Amazon

    Cable’s Return

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

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

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

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

    Uncanny X-...Men?

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

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

    Movie X-Force

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


    0 0

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

    FeatureKayti Burt
    May 18, 2018

    Hello, all!

    We have launched a Den of Geek Book Club as a place to recommend, discuss, and obsess over our favorite fantasy, science fiction, and horror books. Join us in discussing our latest pick...

    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! 


    0 0

    Amazingly, the last batch was so good we actually needed more.

    NewsJim Dandy
    May 21, 2018

    DC Comics has decided to follow up on the absurd, insanely good Batman/Elmer Fudd Special that was on a mess of Best Comics of 2017 lists (including ours!) with a new batch of DC and Looney Tunes crossovers. And, as announced, it seems like they took all the most important lessons from their last wave of these books. The first collection of DC/Looney Tunes books had Sam Humphries writing a Legion of Superheroes/Bugs Bunny story that was a note perfect sendup of classic Legion comics; Barry Kitson drawing an absurdly beautiful Wonder Woman/Tasmanian Devil tale; Kelley Jones nailing the surrealist slapstick of a Lobo/Road Runner cartoon; and the aforementioned Batman/Elmer Fudd tale from Lee Weeks and Tom King.

    The books announced for this wave include:

     

    Catwoman/Tweety and Sylvester Special from Gail Simone and Inaki Miranda. The two worked together on Birds of Prey, and Miranda was most recently seen on the surprisingly good Ragman relaunch. The story has Catwoman and Sylvester teaming up to get Tweety, so Tweety recruits Black Canary, and an all out war ensues between the cat people and the bird people of the DC Universe. So there's a reasonable chance that in addition to Simone's Birds of Prey being heavily referenced, we'll also see Catman and her Secret Six as well. 

    Harley Quinn/Gossamer Special, from the classic Harley writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, and art from Pier Brito. Putting Gossamer on Coney Island is perfect. Doubly so since her-own-book Harley is basically Bugs Bunny anyway. I'd be happy if this comic was just "Hair Raising Hare" but with Harley. Also, be on the lookout for the backup here: it's written by Sholly Fisch, who wrote a bunch of Action Comics backups during Grant Morrison's tenure and wrote some of the best Superman stories ever.

    Joker/Daffy Duck Special from Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth. The story looks pretty clever - Daffy goes to find ACME's headquarters and ends up in an abandoned ACME warehouse in Gotham where he's recruited by the Joker to be a henchman.

    And finally, Lex Luthor/Porky Pig special from Mark Russell and Brad Walker. You might remember Russell from The Snagglepuss Chronicles or Flintstones or Prez or God Is Disappointed In You. Porky gets hired by Lexcorp and ends up having to take the fall before Congress for corporate malfeasance. This...should be very good.

    Each book is $4.99, and they're all out on August 29th. For more on these DC/Looney Tunes crossovers or to hear my Starro the Conqueror/Slowpoke Rodriguez pitch, stick with Den of Geek!


    0 0

    Vril Dox hasn't been around DC Universe continuity in a long time. Justice League: No Justice changes that. Here's an exclusive preview.

    NewsJim Dandy
    May 21, 2018

    Justice League: No Justice, the follow up to Dark Nights: Metal has been more compressed than its predecessor, but equally bonkers. Consider:

    - Brainiac captured members of the two Justice Leagues, the various Titans, a couple of magic users, and the Suicide Squad to help him "save" his home planet, Colu.

    - Brainiac teamed the heroes with a group of villains that includes Sinestro, Lex Luthor, and STARRO THE MFING CONQUEROR before breaking everyone off into separate groups.

    - Turns out Colu is being attacked by a group of Celes...elder beings from beyond the Source Wall (which, of course, was broken in Metal).

    - Amanda Waller has every psychic on Earth try and pry into Brainiac's mind to find out what he's up to.

    - Waller accidentally kills Brainiac.

    - Waller finds a Death See...sorry, the roots of the elders' next harvest on Earth.

    - The team ups attempt to save Colu by breaking Vril Dox, Brainiac's son, out of supermax.

    This is all wonderful. Of course, Dox is a predecessor of the great Brainiac 5 from the Legion of Superheroes, and a founder of the Licensed Extra Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network (or the L.E.G.I.O.N.). He hasn't really appeared in continuity since the New 52 relaunch, but he's so steeped in DC's weird, glorious space stuff that it wasn't until his appearance at the end of issue 2 that it clicked that we're really doing this space thing, and I am HERE for it.

    In this exclusive preview of Justice League: No Justice #3 sent over by DC, we pick up right after that reveal, with Dox telling the Earthers that they were betrayed from the start and Martian Manhunter getting all melancholy with Starro the Emotionally Mature Partner in Telepathy. Here's what they have to say about the issue:

    JUSTICE LEAGUE: NO JUSTICE #3
    Written by SCOTT SNYDER, JAMES TYNION IV and JOSHUA WILLIAMSONArt by RILEY ROSSMO and MARCUS TOCover by FRANCIS MANAPULStarfire makes a crushing discovery, Beast Boy uncovers a shocking betrayal, and Cyborg and Wonder Woman are forced to make decisions that will have devastating repercussions for all four teams…and potentially for those they left behind on Earth.

    Take a look at this preview, and try not to beg DC to give Riley Rossmo every book in their line.


    0 0

    Dick Tracy will return to comic books with an all-new adventure for the first time in nearly 30 years.

    NewsMike Cecchini
    May 21, 2018

    While the Dick Tracy comic strip has run continuously in newspapers since its inception in 1931, the most famous detective in all of comics has been notably absent from comic books in recent decades. Other than reprints of his comic strip adventures, there haven't been new/original Dick Tracy adventures in actual comic book form since Kyle Baker and John Moore published their "True Hearts and Tommy Guns Trilogy" in 1990, which was an extension of the Dick Tracy movie universe.

    Why is this? Who knows? The Dick Tracy rights are a weird morass of legalities, and it's one of the reasons we not only never got a sequel to the 1990 movie, but why there have been no other screen adventures for comics' greatest cop (Bruce Campbell, for example, wanted to develop a Dick Tracy TV series at one point). A recently announced Archie Comics Dick Tracy reboot looked really promising, but was rubbed out before it saw the light of day, thanks in no small part to whatever weirdness it is that surrounds the publishing rights to the character.

    But now Hermes Press, purveyors of fine comic strip reprints and more, have apparently figured it all out. In Summer 2019 they're going to release a brand new Dick Tracy graphic novel by Richard Pietrzyk, who spent years working on the Dick Tracy comic strip in consultation with Tracy creator Chester Gould.

    Hermes Press describes the story as a "film noir" adventure and that it "will take place during the 1940s and will be in the mold of classic years of the feature." While Pietrzyk indeed worked on the classic Dick Tracy strip, Hermes still describes the new project as a "reboot of the series" which "will remain true to the origins of the character." Does this mean that they're starting Dick Tracy fresh in his relatively early days as a detective, but moving his origin story from the early 1930s to the 1940s? That's not clear at this time. It's worth noting that the Archie Comics version that sadly never came to pass appeared to be looking to take a similar approach, too.

    "What I want to bring into the story of the graphic novel is a few of the ideas and stories that I brainstormed with [Dick Tracy creator] Chester [Gould]," Pietrzyk says in a statement. "In a sense, he’s going to have a finger in this book. Every time I showed up at his house we’d go over characters, and I showed him some 40 characters over the years. Some of those characters will appear in this graphic novel, and some of those story ideas will be used as well. I kicked around a lot of things with him that I hope to use in the novel. I’m very excited and ready to get started!"

    In any case, whether this takes place in a new Dick Tracy continuity or firmly in continuity with the classic years, Tracy's return to comic books is long overdue and certainly welcome. The new Dick Tracy graphic novel will arrive in 2019.


    0 0

    Catwoman is getting a new costume designed by writer-artist Joelle Jones. Check it out here!

    NewsJohn Saavedra
    May 22, 2018

    Big things are coming for Catwoman in the next few months. In July, she's marrying Batman as well as getting her own solo series from the brilliant writer-artist Joelle Jones. Now it's also been revealed by DC that the Cat is getting a brand new costume, which will debut on Aug. 1 in Catwoman #2.

    "Selina’s sticking with the black, but gone are the goggles in favor of a cowl, along with some much sleeker, more stylish gloves and boots,"DC explained in a press release. "The new costume also seems to have some reinforcement in the middle and some openings under her shoulders, which add a bit of flair while also giving her arms slightly more mobility—something that would be particularly important in Selina’s…ahem, line of work."

    Take a look for yourself:

    Indeed, this new costume does change up a few key things. The goggles are the biggest tweak of all. While you might not know this if you've only followed Catwoman on the big screen, the goggles have been a trademark part of the Cat's look in the comics since the early 2000s. Jones favors a more classic cowl in her redesign, though, and we have to say it looks great. 

    In case you missed it, Jones is only the second woman to draw the main Batman book after Becky Cloonan back in the New 52 days. Her stunning work in Batman thus far has been an absolute masterclass in visual storytelling. Just go back and read "Rules of Engagement," the last two parts of "Superfriends," and the dreamy "Something Blue" to see what we're talking about.

    Or better yet, check out her creator-owned series, Lady Killer, which is about a 1960s housewife who moonlights as an assassin! It's outrageous.

    If you want more Jones Catwoman, DC has also dropped the solicitation for Catwoman #2 and the cover, which you can check out below:

    CATWOMAN #2

    Written by JOELLE JONES
    Art and cover by JOELLE JONES

    Gotham’s a toxic litter box for Selina Kyle of late, so she hits the road looking to clear the air, change her look and clear her name, too—there’s a copycat burglar swiping her M.O. who needs sorting out. In her hometown, Catwoman runs afoul of a crime boss who’s also hunting this impostor. Can the two declare a truce to hunt a mutual enemy, or will Selina end up just more roadkill?

    On sale AUGUST 1 • 32 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T+


    0 0

    Vanessa is only one of the many loves of Wade Wilson's life. For a guy who looks like an avocado, Deadpool gets around.

    Feature Gavin Jasper
    May 22, 2018

    In the Deadpoolmovie, one of the jokes in the marketing was portraying it as a love story to tie in with the fact that it came out just before Valentine's Day. It's not exactly lying as Wade's actions are all motivated by love.

    Sure, he may look like a sculpture made of dried bubble gum and he has some serious personality problems, but Wade Wilson has a lengthy list of love interests over the years. The sense of humor and abs probably help. He's been married a handful of times. The guy gets around. Let's take a look at the ladies of his life who could look past his skin texture.

    COPYCAT

    Vanessa Carlyle

    Don't let that blue-skinned appearance fool you. That's the same Vanessa that Morena Baccarin plays in the movie.

    Copycat lived with Wade years ago, when he was a simple mercenary. The two would likely have been married and spent the rest of their lives together, but then Wade came down with a bad case of cancer, told Vanessa to hit the road, moved on to Weapon X and things got complicated. Since Vanessa was a mutant shapeshifter, the two ended up working together after Wade became Deadpool. Around this time, Deadpool was complete human garbage and not only treated her badly, but at one point tried to kill her. Copycat left him for Garrison Kane, a character who isn't allowed to appear outside of the 1990s without first informing his parole officer.

    It was under this scenario that Deadpool enacted his first in-comic heroic action when he saved Copycat's life. Her powers were a mix between Mystique's shapeshifting and Rogue's power copying, so when she was mortally wounded, Deadpool tore off the top of his uniform and hugged her so that she'd copy his powers and heal herself.

    When Deadpool became more of a good guy, Copycat targeted him and failed. Then she tried to get back with him through disguising herself as various women interested in dating him. Deadpool later admitted that he knew it was her and the two rekindled their relationship.

    Copycat became aware of Deadpool's friendship with Siryn, became jealous and left him. Another reason why she left came from issues with her powers. She started working with a reformed Weapon X and they enhanced her abilities, but there were some serious side-effects. Weapon X brought Deadpool back into the loop and gave him the mission of killing Copycat. Deadpool instead rebelled and tried to save her life. She was sliced to ribbons by Sabretooth and died in Deadpool's arms, swearing that she always loved him.

    Every writer practically forgot about this afterwards, as Deadpool had crossed paths with Sabretooth on occasion and never had the sensible, violent reaction. It wasn't until AFTER the movie was released when Deadpool even brought that up. Even then, it was a secondary reason for him to consider killing Sabretooth.

    SIRYN

    Theresa Cassidy

    Due to a history between Banshee and Deadpool, Siryn ended up working alongside Wade during an adventure where they battled Juggernaut and Black Tom. During a fight with Juggernaut, Deadpool's mask came off and he begged Siryn not to look. Her gasp at seeing his face broke him down, but then she coaxed him with her touch and apologized. From there, Deadpool became infatuated with her and would regularly watch over her when she was asleep.

    She later admitted knowing he was there and feeling safe about it. Still creepy!

    Siryn acted as the angel on Deadpool's shoulder for a while, trying to steer him in the right direction. Unfortunately, Deadpool had a devil in Typhoid Mary, who disguised herself as Siryn and had sex with him, which caused him to have a major emotional breakdown. Once things with her team, X-Factor, settled down, she tried to get back with Deadpool, only for Copycat to take Deadpool's form and beat her up, causing her to despise him. She forgave him at some point, although the passion was gone.

    When dealing with a ton of depression due to the deaths of her father and her baby, Siryn had a one night stand with Deadpool. She seemed to regret it immediately and told him that it was over between them the morning after.

    DEATH

    Ah, the classic star-crossed lover story. The man who can't die and the woman who is literally the embodiment of dying.

    When being experimented on in Weapon X, Wade was so close to dying most of the time that he was able to see Death looming over him. Wade found himself in love with the skull-faced entity and she grew to love him too, what with him carrying the stench of murder.

    As torturous as his days in Weapon X were, it was his time with Death that made it bearable. He planned to goad super-powered orderly and all-around jerk the Attending into killing him (mainly by calling him his real name of Francis), but Attending took out his frustrations on Worm, a fellow experiment who idolized Wade and even gave him the name Deadpool. Attending removed Deadpool's heart, which should have killed him, but as much as he wanted to spend his eternity with Death, Deadpool found his body healing for the sake of carrying out revenge in the name of Worm.

    Once that business was done with, Deadpool couldn't hear nor see Death anymore. Occasionally, he'd reach a state of near-death good enough to be able to meet with her until he was actually killed. Before the two could touch, Deadpool was revived on Earth. Turned out a jealous Thanos had used a cosmic artifact to give Deadpool eternal life.

    A more recent adventure between Deadpool and Thanos ended with not only the end to Deadpool's immortality curse, but he had a falling out with Death and moved on.

    MERCEDES WILSON

    A major climactic moment happened in Deadpool's solo series where a cosmic being that spreads pure bliss came to Earth and turned everyone into drooling, happy vegetables. Deadpool chose free will and killed the creature. The whole incident caused some repressed memories to return and he started to see visions of a specific woman wherever he went. He ended up finding this woman, who he began to remember as his wife Mercedes, and the two were equally confused. Especially when it was established by supervillain the Black Talon that Mercedes had died and was mysteriously brought back to life.

    Deadpool told the story of how he and Mercedes were happy together until evil mercenary T-Ray showed up at their home, half-dead. They took him in and in return, T-Ray killed Mercedes. Deadpool and Mercedes tried to run off to live happily ever after, but T-Ray caught up with them and revealed the truth: T-Ray was the real Wade Wilson and Mercedes was his wife. The two of them took in a mercenary named Jack who proceeded to kill Wade in an attempt to steal his life and accidentally took out Mercedes too. Then he believed himself to really be Wade Wilson and we got another big piece of Deadpool's origin.

    This was meant to break Deadpool, but despite being shown the possibly thousands of people he's killed over the years, the only victim he ever truly felt guilty about was Mercedes. Then he pointed out that he's at least trying to be better while T-Ray resurrected his dead wife for no reason other than revenge. Mercedes turned on T-Ray, but made Deadpool aware that she never wanted anything to do with him ever again.

    ANASTASIA

    In a story that seemed more Punisher than Deadpool, our hero was hired by some police officers to assassinate a handful of mobsters. Deadpool agreed because he needed the money and killing a bunch of bad people isn't the worst thing he could do to earn it. His contact was Anastasia, an attractive tattoo artist that Deadpool fell for immediately, partially for her dark sense of humor. On his third visit, she said that she really needed to give him a tattoo or else people would get suspicious, which led to Deadpool having to unmask in front of her. To his surprise, she seemed rather into his grotesque features.

    Deadpool would continue his job and would regularly come back to spend time with Anna. Fearing for her safety, he gave her a bunch of money and a phone, telling her to leave town until the whole thing blew over. Then it turned out to be one of those situations where everybody involved was corrupt and stabbing each other in the back.

    Anna turned on Deadpool and knocked him out with a shovel to the head. She buried him alive, but dug him up when her situation went south and she needed any help she could get. Once things were done with, Deadpool refused to trust her, feeling used from the beginning. Anna swore that that wasn't the case and handed Deadpool a gun. If Deadpool truly felt that way, he'd shoot her dead, but she was confident that he wouldn't.

    Deadpool shot her dead.

    He felt guilty about it for a while and was surprised when it turned out she was still alive. He married her in Vegas, but she was gone the morning after. What Deadpool never did realize was that Anna actually was dead. This was just Copycat messing with him.

    OUTLAW

    "Crazy" Inez Temple

    After pulling off a spectacularly impossible mob hit, Deadpool became the top name in mercenary killings and the envy of everyone in his line of work. While at the gym, he met fellow mercenary Outlaw, a cowgirl with the mutant power of enhanced strength. The two flirted and even crossed paths before one of his missions later on, but nothing of note happened. Mainly because Deadpool fell off the radar soon after and was believed to be dead.

    Outlaw fell in love with Alex Hayden, otherwise known as Agent X. Due to his healing factor, personality, scarred features, competency as a killer, and the fact that he showed up shortly after Deadpool went missing, many believed him to be Deadpool with amnesia. Their relationship came to an end when Alex cheated on her with his secretary Sandi (which was more of an instance of fill-in writer Evan Dorkin not quite getting the characters), but she at least stayed close to him as a member of his new organization Agency X. Around this time, Deadpool came back into play and he found himself teaming up with Agency X multiple times.

    At first, Deadpool's relationship with Outlaw never got much further than flirting and the occasional game of strip poker. During the story Suicide Kings, Deadpool was on the run due to belief that he caused a terrorist explosion. He hit on her a bit, but she swore that she had a boyfriend as a way to shut him up. Trouble followed, destroying Outlaw's apartment and causing her to be very cross with Deadpool.

    Once the adventure was done with, Deadpool spent a lot of money on getting Outlaw a new place to live. Since she could tell that Wade did this out of the goodness of his heart and not for the sake of getting into her pants, she rewarded him by letting him get into her pants.

    The two got married at some point, despite Alex's warnings. The honeymoon was far too much for Deadpool to handle, considering Outlaw's sexual eagerness mixed with her super strength. His body simply couldn't heal itself back together fast enough and his pelvis ended up in a thousand pieces over and over. The marriage soon got annulled.

    In other continuities, Outlaw has been the go-to love interest for Deadpool. In Deadpool MAX, she was a sex-starved psychopath meant to mix Outlaw, Domino, and Copycat into the same entity and was obsessed with Deadpool to the point of carrying a baby doll with her and insisting that it was his. In Deadpool Pulp, she played the femme fatale who acted as Wade's old flame on the other side of right and wrong. In the end, he had to kill her to save the US from a massive nuclear explosion.

    GRETCHEN WILSON

    Not much is really known about Gretchen. Years back, there was a miniseries called Identity Disc that was very blatantly the Usual Suspects starring a group of supervillains and had "Identity" in the title to cash in on DC Comics' big event comic Identity Crisis. The Kaiser Soze stand-in had a specific reason for each bad guy to do his dirty work, whether it was a way to help them or strictly blackmail. When killing time with Bullseye, Deadpool explained that his reward would be information on where to find his first wife Gretchen, who has a restraining order on him.

    He never did get his payoff due to the shocking reveal that the Vulture was behind everything (with the added shocker that he really wasn't). The story wasn't very good. Deadpool was last shown sadly looking over a photo of this woman we've never heard of before or after this storyline. I'm sure she was very nice.

    BLACK WIDOW

    "Yelena Belova"

    Early in Daniel Way's Deadpoolrun, the Merc with a Mouth ran afoul of Norman Osborn and became a thorn in the Goblin's side. The newest Thunderbolts team was sent to go deal with him, also very fresh into Andy Diggle's run on that series. Deadpool had a comparatively easy time dealing with the Thunderbolts except for team leader, Black Widow Yelena Belova. She was able to hold her own and between her fighting skills and looks, so Deadpool ended up going dopey and asked if she had a boyfriend.

    At first, Yelena rolled her eyes at his advances, but soon found herself laughing at his one-liners. Yelena was frustrated and amused by his antics, including how he flew a plane towing a banner with his phone number on it. During a fight between the two, Deadpool grabbed her close and kissed her. Black Widow was shocked by this and asked why he'd do that. From Deadpool's fevered point of view, he saw her as Death and told her he loved her.

    Deadpool was decapitated during the story and Yelena helped him by sticking his head back onto his shoulders and letting his healing factor do the rest. Down the line, unbeknownst to Deadpool, we found out that it was never Yelena in the first place, but the more heroic Black Widow Natasha Romanova trying to take down Osborn from the inside. Deadpool and Natasha did cross paths at another time, where he got some mixed signals and received a punch to the face for his troubles.

    ORKSA

    Deadpool took on intergalactic bounty hunter Macho Gomez, where at the end of their battle, Deadpool commandeered his spaceship and sent Gomez to his supposed death. Unfortunately for Deadpool, he found out that Gomez was affiliated with his in-laws' outer space towing business and soon our merc protagonist got roped into that.

    The gigantic Orksa was furious with Deadpool taking out her husband, but Deadpool calmed her down with a kiss and the two ended up getting married on the spot. This was Orksa's fourth marriage, which annoyed Obb, a coworker with eyes for her (er... eye for her because he's a freaky alien). Obb made a couple attempts at taking out Deadpool and failed, but Deadpool spared his life when realizing Obb's reasons for doing it. After helping some less-fortunate aliens survive a cokehead planetoid (yes, really), the two returned to Orksa, who realized that she had feelings for Obb. Deadpool divorced her, returned to Earth and noticed that he may have developed a fetish for chubby girls.

    SATANA HELLSTROM

    Deadpool was hired by Satana, sister of the Son of Satan (daughter of the father of the Son of Satan?). She had lost a bet with a group of nerds and was forced to marry one of them. Deadpool was cool with just killing them and going on his way, but they turned out to be human forms of various top-ranking Marvel demons like Mephisto and Dormammu. That's where he came up with plan B: marry Satana. Hey, if they were married, she wasn't allowed to get married to any demons!

    Asmodeus ended up getting the go-ahead to pursue Satana and thought he'd deal with Deadpool's trick by just killing him and taking care of the "death do us part" aspect of his marriage. Satana had magically enhanced Deadpool's soul and weaponry, which was just enough to take Asmodeus down. Unfortunately for Deadpool, once that was done with, Satana had their marriage annulled and took half of Deadpool's soul before they could even do the honeymoon mambo.

    And Satana is someone who's gotten frisky with Ghost from Thunderbolts, a guy who goes months without bathing. That's got to hurt Deadpool right in the confidence.

    CARMELITA CAMACHO

    In a story that takes place just a few years ago in terms of continuity, yet "came out in the '70s," a long-lost comic featuring an afro-sporting Deadpool teaming up with the Heroes for Hire led to him hooking up with Carmelita. Her father was killed by albino pimp the White Man and her mother hired Power Man and Iron Fist to rescue Carmelita from the kidnapper's clutches. Deadpool insisted on joining them because he simply felt like getting in the way and being a comedic nuisance. He ended up being caught by the White Man and was sent to rot with Carmelita. The two were in the midst of some sexual action when Luke Cage burst through the wall, horrified at what he was seeing.

    The heroes stopped the White Man and all was good, but once Carmelita saw Deadpool's face, she freaked out and ran away. That should have been the end of the story, but she returned sometime later with a daughter Eleanor, claiming it was Wade's and that she wanted some child support. He said Eleanor was too beautiful to be his and yelled at Carmelita to leave him alone...mainly for their own good.

    Some time later, the sinister Butler kidnapped Carmelita and Eleanor for the sake of blackmailing Deadpool to do his bidding. Deadpool tried to liberate them, as well as the loved ones of others that Butler and the North Korean government were experimenting on, but only few survived. To his outright horror, Deadpool found Carmelita's body in a pit of bullet-ridden victims. Witnessed by Captain America and Wolverine, Deadpool broke down and cursed himself for causing all this death just because he insisted on tagging along with Cage and Iron Fist all those years ago.

    Thankfully, Eleanor is alive and well. She doesn't live with Wade, but they're still very close.

    SHIKLAH

    Most notably in the past few years, Deadpool's main squeeze was Shiklah. Deadpool was hired by Dracula himself to unearth a slumbering succubus that Dracula was intent on marrying to bring their monster kingdoms together. Although Shiklah tried to suck Deadpool's energies with a kiss, she was shocked to see him survive it. Together, the two went on an adventure to reach Dracula, falling for each other on the way. This worked out for the better, as Dracula changed his plans and wanted Shiklah's death.

    To screw with that arranged marriage, Deadpool and Shiklah got married on the way to fighting Dracula. Afterwards, they had a real wedding with various members of Deadpool's supporting cast and a bunch of the superhero community showing up.

    While Shiklah ruled her underground kingdom of monsters, Deadpool ducked out often to fulfill his duties as a mercenary and Avenger. While the two were crazy for each other, time had strained their relationship and a glimpse into the future shows a coming war between the two, as well as a scarred, succubus daughter who doesn't think too highly of her father.

    Shiklah ended up leaving Deadpool for Dracula anyway, but according to the flash-forward with Deadpool 2099, the two are destined to reunited and split up indefinitely.

    ROGUE

    Captain America put together the Avengers Unity team. Rogue was the team leader while Deadpool funded them. Over time, Rogue grew to respect Wade and befriend him. Finding out that his daughter Ellie was a mutant, Rogue promised to mentor her when her powers manifest. After finally defeating the Red Skull as a team, Rogue and Wade had a very brief fling. Rogue kissed him to absorb both his gross skin and his horrific memories.

    Nothing much came of this situation outside of Gambit being very, very confused upon hearing about it. Any chance of them having a future went out the window when Deadpool killed Agent Phil Coulson under the orders of Captain America...who turned out to be part of Hydra. Ugh.

    There have been plenty of other women in the Marvel universe who Deadpool's at least tried to get with, only to fall flat on his face. He's hit on Cable's old friend Irene Merryweather at least once, made a couple passes at AIM agent Dr. Betty, went on a disaster of a first date with Big Bertha, and I'm sure he'd love for Domino to give him the time of day. He's had affection for Thunderbolts teammate Elektra, only to have his dreams crushed when he discovered that she and the Punisher were friends with benefits.

    Oh, and he's also had some very homoerotic fantasies involving giving Cable a massage on a beach. Cable has supposedly had similar thoughts and the two have agreed never to talk about it. Ever.