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- 02/12/18--18:00: _The Umbrella Academ...
- 02/24/18--11:00: _The Walking Dead Se...
- 02/27/18--19:49: _Shazam Movie Costum...
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- 03/15/18--08:37: _Hawkman Reboot Comi...
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- 03/15/18--12:00: _How Star Wars Infin...
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- 02/12/18--18:00: The Umbrella Academy Release Date, Cast, & Everything Else We Know
- 02/27/18--19:49: Shazam Movie Costume First Look
- 03/07/18--16:15: Bringing Krypton Back to Life
- 03/08/18--16:13: Jessica Jones: Who is the Whizzer?
- 03/08/18--18:04: Extreme Universe Movie Universe Coming to Netflix
- 03/09/18--12:21: A Wrinkle in Time: What Happened to The Murry Twins?
- 03/09/18--12:51: A Wrinkle in Time: How Charles Wallace's Adoption Changes the Film
- 03/09/18--14:31: Emma Roberts to Star in Supernatural Comedy Anya’s Ghost
- 03/10/18--14:51: The 10 Greatest Supernatural Stephen King Villains
- 03/11/18--16:18: A Wrinkle in Time Book: Biggest Changes Made For the Movie
- 03/11/18--23:16: Mister Miracle and Big Barda Are Having a Baby This Week
- 03/12/18--13:26: Patricia Briggs Does Werewolf Romance Right in Burn Bright
- 03/12/18--14:27: Dirk Gently Season 3 is Definitely Not Happening
- 03/12/18--17:56: Ian McKellen & Helen Mirren to Star in The Good Liar
- 03/13/18--08:44: Plastic Man Reboot Coming From DC
- 03/13/18--09:04: Black Panther 2: The Villains We'd Like to See
- 03/13/18--09:52: Elektra: Assassin & The Making of an Anti-Heroine
- 03/13/18--13:23: Nicole Kidman to Star in HBO Limited Series The Undoing
- 03/13/18--16:22: Marvel Collections, Graphic Novels on Huge Discount Sale for $1
- 03/13/18--17:04: Power Rangers: Shattered Grid Trailer
- 03/14/18--11:26: New Fantastic Four Costumes Revealed by Marvel
- 03/15/18--08:34: The Jessica Jones and Spider-Man Connection
- 03/15/18--08:37: Hawkman Reboot Coming From DC
- 03/15/18--08:49: Marvel Signs Chip Zdarsky to Exclusive Deal
- 03/15/18--11:39: Shadowhunters Season 3 Release Date, Trailer, Cast
- 03/15/18--12:00: How Star Wars Infinities Turned Leia into the Ultimate Jedi
- 03/15/18--13:33: The Spanish Princess: New Philippa Gregory Series Coming to Starz
- 03/15/18--14:52: Amma Asante to Direct Billion Dollar Spy
- 03/16/18--09:10: DC and Hanna-Barbera Crossover Coming in May
- 03/16/18--13:12: Avengers: Infinity War - What is Thanos' Black Order?
- 03/16/18--17:25: Den of Geek Book Club Interview: Elan Mastai on All Our Wrong Todays
- 03/08/18--01:40: Deadpool Relaunch Coming From Marvel
Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba's The Umbrella Academy is coming to Netflix. Here's everything we know about the series...
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
Mary J. Blige has joined the cast of The Umbrella Academy, Variety reports. 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.
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.
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.
How the will second half of Walking Dead season 8 pan out? Here's how Rick might defeat Negan based on the comics!
This Walking Dead article contains spoilers.
It's been a rough season for Rick and his coalition. The plan to oust the Saviors has gone spectacularly awry and lives have been lost in the process (R.I.P. Eric, Shiva, and Carl Grimes). The Saviors have taken the battle to Rick's front door and virtually destroyed Alexandria.
If this season of The Walking Dead were Star Wars, "How It's Gotta Be" is for sure The Empire Strikes Back. Still, when we read the Walking Dead tealeaves, otherwise known as Robert Kirkman's original comic series, there is some hope on the horizon.
Dark times are certainly ahead for Rick and friendsnand with them will come more death. But if The Walking Dead comics are any indication, a decisive victory for Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom is right around the corner. And shortly after that, something that the survivors of this story have not experienced in a long time: peace.
What follows is a breakdown of what we can likely expect from The Walking Dead season 8's second half based on the comic source material. Since Scott Gimple's elevation to Walking Dead showrunner, the show has followed the comics fairly closely, with only a few notable exceptions (Eugene, what has gotten into you?).
If everything goes according to plan, The Walking Dead season 8.5 is likely to adapt Volume 21 of the comics, "All Out War - Part Two," which covers issues #121-126.
And if only 6 issues seems like a small number for 8 hour-long episodes of TV, congratulations, you just diagnosed all the current problems with the show. But we digress. Here is your helpful (and again: INCREDIBLY SPOILER-FILLED) guide for what's to come on The Walking Dead.
He Who Controls the Bullets…
Eugene Porter is the aspect of The Walking Deadshow that has diverged the most from the comic. In the books, Eugene may be a coward but he is also Rick's man through and through.
The show presents a more three-dimensional view of Eugene or maybe just a more realistic one with varying levels of success. Regardless, the changes in Eugene's character beg some questions as to how the second half of the season is going to deal with certain plotlines.
Namely: who is Eugene going to make bullets for? Eugene really comes into his own after his buddy Abraham's death in the Walking Dead comic universe. By the time "All Out War" rolls around, Eugene realizes that it's time to put his intellect to good use and start manufacturing bullets for Alexandria.
Eugene has already filled this role within the show's universe, making bullets for the survivors before defecting to the Saviors. Now that the Saviors have cleared out the Walkers surrounding the Sanctuary and there appears to be a greater need for ammunition, expect Eugene back at the factory cranking out munitions.
One concept that The Walking Dead season 8 has stealthily introduced from the comics is the inherent danger of rotting guts. It turns out that covering oneself in the decaying flesh and viscera of long-dead zombies may not be the healthiest choice as Father Gabriel tragically finds out.
In the comics, Negan makes a similar discovery but in a much safer way. As the Saviors prepare for their assault on the Hilltop, Negan introduces them to a new strategy they will use to win the war. They will coat their weapons in walker guts so when they pierce their enemies' flesh, the victim will become infected and die.
Negan and company put this into practice when the Saviors storm the Hilltop. Negan has one of his snipers shoot and kill the guard Kal and then they breach the gates and attack the citizens. The survivors are able to repel the Saviors back but not before some of the survivors are struck with the contaminated weapons.
Nicholas, who was still alive at this point in the comics, develops a mysterious fever that mystifies the Hilltop doctor, Harlan (currently taken hostage by the Saviors in the show), because it is from a normal wound. Nicholas' condition eventually worsens and he dies, leading Harlan to recognize the biological warfare strategy the Saviors have employed. This naturally freaks out the survivors as Rick has been struck in the side by a crossbow bolt from Dwight. When Rick doesn't develop a fever, however, he realizes that Dwight is fully and truly on their side.
The Walking Deadshow will almost certainly adapt the Savior assault on the Hilltop and their contanimated weapon strategy. For one, there is nowhere else for the Saviors to attack now that Alexandria is off the map and all the survivors are slowly gathering at the Hilltop. There's also the matter of Maggie's Savior prisoners. She's finally decided to execute one and send his corpse back to the Saviors, which will undoubtedly cause a visit from Simon.
Since Nicholas isn't around to become a casualty however, look for another Alexandrian to bite the dust. Smart money is on Tobin since his comic book counterpart is already long gone.
In the comic, Negan assumes that Rick is dead because he was struck by one of Dwight's contaminated bolts. So after letting the Hilltop chill for a couple of days, he returns and demands to speak with their newly elected leader. He's astonished to see Rick emerge from the Hilltop gates. The Sheriff tells the villain that it's time for a long, overdue chat.
Rick basically asks, "Wtf dude." Negan calls himself a Savior, yet they're at war. Negan explains his rationale for all the violence, saying that everything he's done has been in the interest of survival. This is a harsh world and it needs a harsh man to lead the survivors into a new age.
Rick says that those harsh days are gone and they can all survive together now, establish fair trade routes, and end the violence once and for all. Rick's argument is a convincing one and Negan concedes that maybe he's been going about this wrong the whole time. Maybe Rick's way is the right way.
"Good," Rick responds and slashes Negan's throat.
Bu...bu...but why is the first episode of season 8 called "Mercy?" Why have we been treated to extended Siddiq monologues about the concept of forgiveness and mercy? Because after Rick attacks Negan, the villain hits back and violently breaks Rick's leg before passing out. Despite his mangled leg, Rick insists that the Hilltop doctor, Harlan, treat Negan and keep him alive.
This is a new world under Rick and the new world means we don't simply kill our foes. Rick wants Negan alive so that he can be imprisoned for his crimes against humanity. Rick gets his way, as Negan is saved and is locked away in the bowels of a rebuilt Alexandria.
Improbably, this all kind of works in the comic. Negan's about-face may seem sudden and silly but the character as fleshed out by Kirkman really does seem to believe in survival above all else. The issue that the show will have to confront in the season 8 finale is: can this version of Negan be redeemed?
By the time the season 8 finale rolls around, Negan will have been around as the big bad for a whopping 32 episodes. He's killed some of our favorite characters, he keeps a harem of unwilling-to-semi-willing women as wives. He clearly relishes his role as the big bad wolf. Not only that but Rick has solemnly sworn on no fewer than three occassions that he will one day kill him.
Is there a possible way that the show can have both Negan AND Rick change their minds simultaneously at the climactic moment? We shall see. Perhaps Carl's death in the show universe is the motivating agent of change for both characters.
Old Man Rick
That leaves one bit of business to be resolved. What was with those weird flash-forwards of a silver-haired Rick living in a peaceful future? In season 8 of The Walking Dead, it initially wasn't clear whether that was a flash-forward or a fantasy sequence? Considering that Carl appears in the sequence, it seems as though it was merely a Rick Grimes fever dream.
In the comics, however, it's no fantasy. There really is a more peaceful time on the horizon. The war against Negan and the Saviors ends in issue 126. Issue 127 begins two years later with a handful of different survivors out in the wilderness about to be killed by a herd of walkers. They're rescued at the last minute by a now longer-haired and even sexier Jesus.
Jesus takes the new characters to safety in Alexandria, which is completely rebuilt and has become a beautiful, idyllic post-apocalyptic community. There are mills, actual streets, and workers working on new buildings constantly. In fact all of the communities are planning on holding a big fair at Alexandria so all the survivors can get together and party.
When the new survivors are taken to meet Alexandria's leader, we get our first glimpse at what we can lovingly call Old Man Rick. Rick has cut his shaggy hair down to a graying buzzcut. He wears a prosthetic on his missing hand (which is not part of the TV show currently), and he needs a cane to walk around as the leg that Negan broke never healed properly.
Obviously, the happiness isn't quite there to stay. There are approximately 50 issues of the comic after 127 (so far) and they certainly aren't just about how happy everyone is all the time. But the two-year time jump into an era of peace for Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom, and even the Sanctuary represents the biggest collective exhale for these characters yet.
Let's hope The Walking Dead show affords its characters the same privilege. These people need a break.
A photo from the set of the DCEU Shazam movie reveals a look at a perfect Shazam costume.
We generally don't go overboard when it comes to running set photos on Den of Geek. Most of the time, they don't really offer much other than something vague and out of context, or worse, a spoiler. But as someone who is dying to see what the character will look like in live action for the first time in over 40 years, well, I couldn't resist showing everyone what appears to be the first look at Zachary Levi in the Shazam movie costume. Coincidentally, the other time I couldn't resist the pull of a set photo was to reveal Brie Larson in the Captain Marvel costume, and of course, the guy we're all gonna know as Shazam from now on spent the first 60 plus years of his existence known as Captain Marvel...but that's another story.
Anyway, the Shazam movie is currently filming in Toronto. It stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, a troubled orphan kid who is granted the powers of Solomon (wisdom), Hercules (strength), Atlas (stamina), Zeus (power), Achilles (courage), and Mercury (speed). What does that spell? You know exactly what it spells. And yes, I did that from memory and without looking it up, I know this stuff better than I knew the Pledge of Allegiance when I was in school, stop asking. So when Billy speaks the magic word "Shazam" he is transformed into an adult version of himself, and that adult, god-powered version is played by Zachary Levi. And he comes complete with the kind of costume a little kid would dream up.
One of the chief worries about the prospect of Shazam in the DCEU would be whether they would be willing to go along with the sense of humor and whimsy that has always set the character apart from his other caped contemporaries. Enlisting David F. Sandberg, a director know for intense fare like Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation also raised an eyebrow. But if this set photo of Zachary Levi in the Shazam costume is anything to go on, they're leaning into this the right way.
The image comes from Reddit user vivaelsam, and it shows Levi on set in a mall at Christmastime.
Check it out...
So, let's unpack this, shall we? Bright red costume? Check. Minimal texturing or padding? Check. Really, it would have been a mistake to try and modernize or darken the Shazam costume. But just as the other DCEU costumes serve specific story purposes, so does Shazam's. The Man of Steel Superman costume has an ornate design because of its Kryptonian origin. The Aquaman suit is Atlantean armor. Wonder Woman's garb is Themysciran (a recent issue of Justice League by Christopher Priest and Pete Woods described it as having religious significance). There's a functional hi-tech quality to Ezra Miller's Flash suit. Batman is a rich fascist weirdo who likes bats. You get the idea.
But there are two possibilities at work with the Shazam costume we're seeing here. In the comics, when Billy says "Shazam" he's transformed, and the costume is right there on him. In that case, this is a kid's ideal of what a cool superhero costume should look like. On the other hand, I have to wonder about a few little details here. The boots in particular look like repurposed cowboy boots, and maybe this suit is something Billy had to assemble himself. Something tells me that isn't the case and they're going the traditional magical suit transformation route, though.
And not that we needed any more confirmation that this movie is taking a lot of its cues from the Geoff Johns/Gary Frank Shazam origin story from 2012, the addition of a hood to the cape is definitely from that era. The Christmas setting is a tip off as well, as that story takes place during the holiday season in Philadelphia (Toronto is standing in for Philly in this production).
Hopefully the fact that sneaky pics like this have made it onto the internet will prompt Warner Bros. to finally give us an official reveal of the costume. Funny enough, director David F. Sandberg referred to exactly this just the other day on Twitter...
Frankly I can%u2019t believe we%u2019ve actually made it this long shooting outside with the suit and nobody has gotten a picture yet.
— David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) February 24, 2018
Levi had previously revealed his comics accurate Shazam hairstyle as well...
...and hinted at the Christmastime setting and mall scene by trolling fans with Batman toys...
Shazam! opens on April 5, 2019. The full DC superhero movie release schedule can be found here.
Syfy's Krypton is more than just a Superman prequel, it's a science fiction show with its own set of rules.
Since it was first announced, Syfy’s upcoming series Krypton has had an uphill climb. The latest in a line of place-specific, high-concept superhero prequels like Smallville or Gotham, Krypton is perhaps the hardest sell. While Smallville was the story of a pre-Superman Clark Kent with “no tights, no flights,” and Gotham is simply the story of the city and its colorful cops and robbers in the days before Bruce Wayne put on a pair of pointy ears, Krypton takes a starkly different approach by going 200 years into the past to tell the story of Superman’s grandfather.
But visiting the sets of Krypton, and listening to the cast and executive producer Cameron Welsh expound on the quest to make the world of Krypton live—and not just as a DC Universe show, but as a piece of science fiction that could stand on its own—convinced me that this show could work. Think of Krypton less as a Superman prequel and more of a science fiction TV show that gives audiences the opportunity to discover a strange and alien world. And make no mistake, the series is exploring elements of Kryptonian society in more detail than we’ve ever seen on screen or page.
Welsh is acutely aware of the pressure on his series, and the need for it to tell its own compelling story. “Maybe I'm biased but I think there's plenty of interest in the world of Krypton without Superman,” he says. “We haven't really seen much of this world before, and it's just this open book [that] allows us to tell a story that hasn't been told.”
Even after 40 years, the dominant impression of Krypton in pop culture is the icy sterility of Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie. To be sure, there are some echoes of that (and, for that matter, 2013’s Man of Steel as well as other comics and cartoons) in TV’s Krypton. But this isn’t a pristine, frozen, or sterile world. It’s dirty, lived in, imperfect, and politically complex.
”We're just peeling back a lot more layers than what we've seen before,” Welsh says. “Part of what is exciting about doing this is that we get to get really specific and really detailed and really into this world.”
And they certainly do. To the smallest detail, the planet Krypton lives on its soundstages in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The streets of the show’s key city, Kandor, have alleys and market squares for characters (and journalists) to wander through, all designed with an attention to detail that demonstrates a real love of sci-fi and fantasy. Whether it’s the remnants of posters torn and hanging in a bar (a source of debate, as Welsh points out, since “we don’t use paper anywhere else in the show”), the Kryptonian graffiti on the walls (“I trust the art department haven’t written anything offensive,” he jokes), the weird rodent/insect hybrids (“full of protein”) cooked over blue crystals (“you'll see steam and smoke, but instead of naked flame, they use these blue crystals”) in the street market, or Kryptonian lettering that spells out “take two drops a day, seven days a week” on vials of medicine, Krypton feels more concerned with building its world than blowing it up.
Kryptonian citizens are divided into different guilds. There are guilds for technicians, lawmakers, scientists, the military, artisans, scientists, and clergy. The lower classes are known as the “rankless.” They belong to no guild and live in relative squalor in the literal underside of Kandor. The rankless denizens prowl crowded and darkened streets, forever in the shadow of Kandor’s skyscrapers. As your social status increases, the higher you literally rise in Kandor. The lawmakers and clergy occupy living quarters that are closer to the light of Krypton’s sun god, Rao.
These lower streets of Kandor are known as the “rankless” district, indicative of one of the key sources of conflict on the show: a class struggle that is reflected in virtually every element of Krypton’s design. A recurring feature is a porous, mesh-like metal that makes up everything from chairs and tables to bars and dividing walls. This is apparently the cheapest, most durable material available, and it’s far more common in the rankless areas than it is in the upper echelons of society.
Appropriately, even up above, it never really seems to be midday on Krypton. There’s always the muted warmth of late afternoon, indicative of the diminished light of a giant red sun. But it’s down in that rankless district that we first meet Seg-El, Superman’s grandfather, an angry young man paying for his grandfather’s “crime,” his rank and family station stripped away by Krypton’s ruling class.
Seg-El is played by Cameron Cuffe, and they couldn’t have found a more appropriate or enthusiastic actor for the part. Whenever someone is cast for a superhero or comic book adjacent role, they’re always quick to pay lip service to the source material, the expectations of fans, and the responsibilities that come with the role. But Cuffe is more than a casual fan; he’s fluent in DC Comics mythology in general and Superman in particular (unsurprisingly, he cites the influential Superman work of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank among his favorites, along with Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come), and it’s clear that he’s utterly sincere about the importance of playing Seg-El.
“The interesting thing about Seg as a hero is that he's not fully formed,” Cuffe says. “He doesn't always know right from wrong. The only thing he really has in his life are people he loves. And so when he is finally motivated to come out of that shell, and to prove that he has to be a hero, it's a role that he doesn't really know he can fill. He doesn't think he's the guy. But he does it anyway, and that ultimately is what being a hero is.”
While fans know that Seg-El’s eventual son, Jor-El, becomes one of the most revered scientists in Kryptonian history, when we meet Seg, there’s little to indicate the family destiny is anything so lofty. “One of Superman's greatest powers is that he knows right from wrong, and Seg doesn't,” Cuffe says. “He doesn't know the way forward. Most of the time he has no idea what he's doing. He's just buckling down and holding onto it, and believing in whatever he can believe in, in that moment. And he waivers. He questions himself all the time. But ultimately he stays the course.”
Welsh, on the other hand, sees Seg-El as a potential revolutionary, someone who could “usher in a new golden age” for Krypton. “Part of what we explore in the show is what makes these people special,” Welsh says. “And a lot of that is the House of El and the legacy of the House of El. And when we start our show, we see that Seg is kind of detached from that, having been sort of cast out into the rankless. He's disconnected from his past and from his legacy and that's a bit of a journey for him to discover: What that legacy is, what it means to be an El, what the Els have always stood for, and what he'll learn.”
Seg-El’s resentment of Krypton’s upper class comes with good reason. The House of El is a victim of irrational laws imposed by Kandor’s rulers. Kandor is a theocracy, something incongruous with broader Superman mythology, which has always portrayed Krypton as a planet dominated by science and reason. But here, Kandor’s head of state, who serves above all members of the Lawmaker’s Guild, is the Voice of Rao. The Voice is an eerie, robed figure wearing a multi-faced gold mask which represents Rao’s victory over Krypton’s previous, polytheistic gods and goddesses.
“I think, in the world that we live in, when we look at the roles of religion in society, these can be kind of hot issues that can sort of divide people in a lot of ways,” Welsh says. “We're sensitive to that, but we sort of want to look at those things. That's part of the role of science fiction, to help hold up a bit of a mirror to contemporary society but also be entertaining at the same time. It's like, you don't wanna know that you're eating your vegetables.”
Thanks to theocratic rule, this technologically advanced society has not only shut down its space program, but interstellar exploration is banned by Kryptonian law. We all know how that turns out for them 200 years later. “This is a world where… nobody believes in the existence of aliens,” Welsh says. “In this theocracy, the Voice of Rao has basically stated that the god Rao created all life, and Krypton is the totality of his creation… there is nothing else beyond it. So to speak of life outside of Krypton is heresy.”
Symbolically, the “Watchtower,” an enormous platform protruding from one of the tallest structures in Kandor (the Lawmaker’s Guild’s “tower of justice”), was once a space docking station. Now it is used to execute those who dare suggest that Kryptonians can or should explore the stars. One of those heretics is Val-El (played by Game of Thrones’ Ser Barristan Selmy himself, Ian McElhinney), Superman’s great-great grandfather, who is sent to his doom at the edge of the Watchtower in the opening moments of the first episode for defying the will of Rao, bringing about the downfall of the House of El.
That Watchtower is one of Krypton’s nearly full scale sets, and while it isn’t located hundreds of feet in the air, it’s still an enormous, almost intimidating piece of work, even surrounded by green screens, the ultimate signifier of TV and movie magic. You could park a spaceship there, although during my visit, a nearly life-sized “skimmer” (a Kryptonian high speed aircraft) was nearby, likely to make use of the aforementioned green screens.
But in fantasy and science fiction, you’re only as good as the little details, and Raoism, with all the attendant religious trappings therein, has been carefully considered, right down to its holidays. “One of the things we'll see is what we call the Nova Cycle celebration,” Welsh says. “The Nova Cycle is all about rebirth and it's almost like a festival of light or something, and it kind of goes on for weeks and weeks. There are different stages to it and different ceremonies involved, and people were asked to give offerings and things like that at different stages. Prisoners are always pardoned by Rao's grace, things like that.”
Of course nothing could challenge Rao’s central philosophy more than actual alien contact, and that’s exactly what happens when an Earthman named Adam Strange (played by Shaun Sipos) shows up to inform Seg-El that he’s traveled through space and time to deliver a warning: A far more dangerous alien is also approaching, and it’s called “Brainiac.” Brainiac is a powerful artificial intelligence/cybernetic organism who roams the stars collecting data on civilizations… before destroying them. His preferred method of collection is to remove an entire city from the surface of a world, shrink it, “bottle” it, and store it and its collected knowledge in his ship.
Blake Ritson, who plays Brainiac, certainly did his homework. In the course of a conversation with reporters, he namechecks Koko, the space monkey from Brainiac’s earliest comic book adventures; the character’s unfortunate early “pink spandex” costume; and quotes chapter-and-verse dialogue from Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s excellent Brainiac story from 2007. Ritson has given Brainiac considerable thought and promises that there's no "mustache-twirling" in his version of the character.
"I've played a number of villains over the years," he says. "Generally, in life, you consider yourself to be the hero of your own narrative. I think you need to find a way into the perspective of a character, where what they're doing is essentially noble at some level."
How noble can he be if he plans to destroy an entire planet in order to prevent the existence of our world's greatest hero?
While still 200 years from its final cataclysm, there are indicators that Krypton is already dying. Some kind of cataclysm took place in the even more distant past, which has rendered vast swaths of the planet frozen, virtually uninhabitable wastelands. Krypton’s nine city-states, of which Kandor is one, live under domes that protect them from the elements. The outer regions, known as the Outlands, are labyrinthine sets covered in “snow” and the remains of unrecognizable (but somewhat familiar) beasts. But it’s in these frozen outlands that another familiar piece of the Superman legend lives: this show’s version of the Fortress of Solitude.
This Fortress was Val-El’s hidden refuge, where he could conduct his illegal scientific experimentations about the nature of the universe, undisturbed by Kryptonian theocrats. That’s a fun twist on the Fortress concept, and seeing the set itself was breathtaking for this Superman fan.
The Fortress is a full-scale set, semi-circular, with a 40-foot ceiling dominated by two 30-foot tall statues representing the first of the line of the House of El. The Fortress’ open, uncluttered design, bathed in blue-ish light, is both a contrast with the claustrophobic feel of the rankless district and a choice that helps it feel even bigger than it already is. The set may appear somewhat minimalist in its decor at first, but a closer look reveals little details from cosmic DC lore scattered throughout, including a Black Mercy from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic Superman story, “For the Man Who Has Everything.” The enormous, nearly floor-to-ceiling oval windows, when illuminated, are decorated in Kryptonian lettering. If you can translate Kryptonese, each window tells the story of a different member of the House of El throughout history, like a Kryptonian Stations of the Cross.
“[Seg] will learn that the Els have, for many, many generations, been woven into the fabric of Krypton and they're part of what makes Krypton special, and he'll start to learn that he's part of that lineage,” Welsh says. “It's part of what helps ignite him and push him into his hero's journey… as he sort of discovers who he is and what he wants to do.”
Of course there are always those who are going to point out that we know how Krypton’s story ends (with a bang). But with the show set in the planet’s distant past, even a successful multi-season run is unlikely to ever reach that point. But there’s another wrinkle to the story: time travel. When a familiar DC character from the present arrives on the Krypton of the past, bearing warnings of the future, things get complicated. “The show very quickly goes from being about this look into the past into a show that has stakes in the present day,” Welsh explains. “It's been a bit of an odd duck in that way. It is still in the past but it affects [the] present day and present day Earth. It's really fun to write that.”
For fans of Superman and science fiction, it might be just as fun to watch.
Krypton premieres on March 22 on Syfy. We'll have much more from our set visit in the coming weeks.
Follow Mike Cecchini on Twitter. After all, how many people do you get to talk to who have actually been to Krypton?
Pour yourself a drink, get your curse words ready, and help us find every Marvel reference in Jessica Jones Season 2!
This article contains nothing but Jessica Jones Season 2 spoilers.
At this point, do I even need to explain these articles anymore? I do? OK, fine. I love superhero comics, perhaps a little too much, as you can probably tell based on what I do for a living. As a result, it's not enough for me to just watch and enjoy a Marvel Netflix show like Jessica Jones Season 2. Nooooo...I must study every frame in the hopes of unlocking some piece of Marvel wisdom that would otherwise be lost to the ages or some such nonsense.
So here's how this works. I am trying to catch all the Marvel references on Jessica Jones Season 2. I probably am going to miss a bunch of them. I need your help. I hate asking for help, but we're all friends here, so it's cool, right? If you spot a cool Marvel Easter Egg or something important that I missed, you can drop it in the comments (beware of spoilers, comments-readers!) or you can just holler at me on Twitter. If it checks out, I'll update this guide, and we can all make this far better than it would have been if it was just me doing it.
Oh, and here's a cool tip...if the title is in blue, that means there's a full review waiting for you there if you click it!
"While Jessica deals with a rival PI and a would-be client, Trish digs up a medical file that could unlock the mystery of Jessica's powers."
This isn't an easter egg, but wow, Jessica almost seems like she has her shit together at the start of this, doesn't she? Anyway...Pryce Cheng isn't a character from the comics, unless that's an alias (obligatory reminder that Alias was the name of Jessica's first comic book), but really, I don't think it is. Jessica's cute new neighbor downstairs doesn't appear to be from the comics, either. Jessica Jones has always worked best kind of one step removed from the rest of the Marvel Universe, and it looks like this season continues that trend.
- You know who absolutely IS from the pages of Marvel Comics, though? The (ahem) Whizzer, who no joke has been around almost as long as Captain America, first appearing in USA Comics #1 in 1941.
Of course, the Whizzer of the comics isn't the poor schmuck we see here, but he was definitely a speedster, and he did indeed have a fondness for yellow and blue, just like our fella here. I know you don't believe that I'm not making this up, so here's a pic...
In the comics, his name is "Robert Frank" whereas here it seems to be Robert Coleman. His fondness for a pet mongoose is a nod to the comic character's origin story, which involved a transfusion of mongoose blood to save him from the poisonous bite of a cobra. The doctor who gave him the blood transfusion was named Emil. TV's Whizzer has a pet mongoose named Emil. Stop looking at me that way, I didn't write the story, I'm just here to report it to you.
- Trish Walker dressed up in her old costume and singing the "It's Patsy" theme song is:
b) a subtle homage to an early scene in Ghostbusters II
c) all of the above.
There are no wrong answers but there is only one truly correct one.
- Jeri Hogarth is back! And her firm's connection to Rand Industries here is a nod to the fact that the comic book Jeri got his (yes, his) start in Iron Fist comics. I know, it's only the first episode and I've said those two words that no Marvel Netflix fan wants to hear, but you want this to be complete, right? Of course you do. Don't judge me.
- Can anyone tell me what the movie is that Jessica and Trish are watching on the roof? I bet Den of Geek's movies editor David Crow knows, but I am too proud to ask him, and he doesn't read my stuff anyway.
- They totally drop a Maynard Tiboldt reference, and he's the Ringmaster from the Circus of Crime. But we DID get a Ringmaster in (sigh, I know) Iron Fist, as the snazzily dressed referee in the (cool) scenes where Colleen Wing is doing her whole illegal fight club thing. Anyway, that is NOT this guy, because this one is a doctor. I'm trying to figure out how the whole Ringmaster/Circus of Crime angle is going to fit here...if at all.
- Jessica has a tradition of throwing people through glass doors in the first episode of a new season, it seems.
- This season appears to be tweaking Jessica's comics origin, which is totally fine. In the comics, it was implied that whatever truck that was involved in her car accident was carrying chemicals that granted her abilities. Here, it would seem that it was whatever happened to her after the fact in the hospital that did it.
Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 2: AKA Freak Accident
"Jessica sets out to find Dr. Kozlov and makes a startling discovery. Trish recruits Malcolm for backup as she visits a figure from her past."
- We visit Josie's early on this season, and I am completely on board with this just becoming Jessica's official watering hole. Josie's started life as pretty much a Daredevil-comics-only bar, but I like that it's becoming more all purpose for these shows. It's nice that it has a Game of Thrones pinball machine, too. On the other hand, the "are you drinking to remember or forget" line is some hack-ass dialogue, and this show can and should do better.
- There's a Patsy Walker poster visible at one point, and the Patsy logo is 100% the logo from the old Patsy Walker comics, back from when she was an Archie-style teen/romance/humor comic.
- Jessica's "mother goddamn shit" exclamation is just...so perfect. It's so perfectly in tune with how in the comics Jessica routinely decides that ordinary profanity isn't enough, so she just invents new ways to express her frustration.
It's like how Charlie Brown says "auuugh" but far less family-friendly.
- The whole "my balls are tingling" and Jessica's crack about his "scrotey sense" is:
b) the closest we're probably ever going to get to having Spider-Man formally acknowledged on these shows, no matter what the movies are doing
c) all of the above.
- Poor Will Simpson is back with his Nuke inhaler! Well, it beats having him popping pills, I guess.
Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 3: AKA Soul Survivor
"As her visions intensify, Jessica visits an abandoned clinic, where she stumbles on a new lead. Jeri faces an ultimatum after her secret gets out."
- Rudy's on 9th and 45th is 100% a real Hell's Kitchen dive bar (one of the last ones in the rich people playground that neighborhood has become). Josie's, however, is not (but if you want to visit the bar that "plays" Josie's on TV, you wanna hit The Turkey's Nest, but that's in Williamsburg, not Hell's Kitchen).
- Jessica sure doesn't have a great track record with shrinks, does she?
- Foggy is back! I'm all about Foggy getting talked down to by Jessica more often.
- OK, so this is a stretch, but stick with me. The kid downstairs is all excited because he fashioned a new shield for his Captain America action figure, which kinda foreshadows what's up in Avengers: Infinity War. But more importantly, he uses a magnet to do it. This may or may not be intentional, but in the 1960s, Cap used a magnet device on his glove to help control his shield.
- None of the names mentioned in this episode, inlcluding Dr. Leslie Hansen, seem to line up with anyone in Marvel Comics. Help me out if I'm wrong, please!
Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 4: AKA God Help the Hobo
"Between anger management classes and tabloid scandals, Jessica and Trish track down a third patient linked to IGH. Oscar extends an olive branch."
- I'm drawing blanks on both Kelly Scott and Inez Greene (although I have my suspicions about Inez...I am saving them for later). Help me out in the comments or on Twitter if I'm wrong!
- Like the first season, this one keeps coming back to lines like "we prefer gifted" and drawing a kind of parallel between how powered folks in the MCU are perceived with some suspicion at street level. While it makes a certain amount of sense, I feel like they're leaning into this a little too hard, because, well, that's the X-Men's territory, and that whole discrimination metaphor just plays better over there.
I promise, this isn't me being a whiny Marvel purist, honest.
Jessica Jones Season 2 Episode 5: AKA The Octopus
"Backed into a corner, Jessica's forced to share her intel on the killer. A groggy Trish tries to pull herself together before an important meeting."
- I am pretty sure that's a David Mack painting in the apartment there.
- Again, the names in this episode aren't turning up anything in my Marvel brain, so...what to do?
- Do we see the first twinge of maternal instincts in Jessica in this episode? She settles into parenting nicely in the comics, without losing her edge. Could she reconnect with Luke on TV?
- This isn't specific to this episode, but it took me until this episode to notice it...why does John Byrne get a "special thanks" in the credits? As far as I can tell, Byrne never had anything to do with any of these character...unless someone we've been introduced to already isn't what they seem.
I'll keep updating this as I get through more episodes! Hit me up on Twitter if you have any suggestions!
Frank Miller, John Romita Jr., Scott Snyder, Kelly Sue DeConnick, John Ridley, and more team for iconic stories on DC's icons.
DC's continued its practice of rolling out new, themed imprints with the announcement of DC Black Label, a space for superstar creators to tell standalone, out of continuity stories with DC's biggest icons. They paired that announcement with a rollout of some of the books in the line.
Bringing together some previously announced blockbusters with some interesting surprises, the initial launch of Black Label seems to be living up to its aspirations.
The previously announced books that have been folded into the line include The Other History of the DC Universe,John Ridley's Marvels-but-from-a-marginalized-point-of-view project; and Superman: Year One,a Superman origin story from Frank Miller and John Romita, Jr. (just in time for the 25th anniversary of Daredevil: The Man Without Fear!).
Joining them are Batman: Last Knight on Earth from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. That pair most recently teamed on Dark Knights: Metal, DC's first post-Rebirth crossover where Snyder spins a yarn about the zany hijinks Capullo got into on his way to a Priest concert. This new book is being billed as "the last Batman story," setting Batman up in a dark future where his sidekick is the Joker's head in a jar.
Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo are re-teaming for Batman: Damned. Azzarello and Bermejo previously worked together on Jokerand Luthor, and the new book pairs Batman and John Constantine for a supernatural run through Gotham's weird side. Weird...er? side? We'll find out.
Bitch Planetand Captain Marvel's Kelly Sue DeConnick takes on her most high-profile DC work: the history of Hippolyta's rise to power on Themiscyra in Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons.Her art partner on the book is legendary Wonder Woman (and, to be fair, legendary everything else artist) Phil Jimenez, so this is a pretty big deal.
“Creating DC Black Label doubles down on our commitment to working with all-star talent and trusting them to tell epic, moving stories that only they can tell with the highest levels of creative freedom," said DC publisher and I-can't-believe-he's-not-in-this-lineup artist Jim Lee. He cited Miller's quintessential Dark Knight Returns as their publishing touchstone for this imprint, saying the creative freedom given to Miller to make that book, including taking away the shackles of continuity, were the reason for its success.
For more on Black Label, or for a detailed breakdown on why Green Label is actually the Johnny Walker that gives you the best bang for your buck, stick with Den of Geek!
Jessica Jones Season 2 introduces us to a hapless almost speedster known as The Whizzer...who has a surprisingly long Marvel Comics history.
Believe it or not, the hapless potential client in Jessica Jones season 2 is a Marvel Comics character who has been around almost as long as Captain America. The (ahem) Whizzer first appeared way the hell back in USA Comics #1 in 1941 by artist Al Avison.
Of course, the Whizzer of the comics isn't the poor schmuck we see on the show, but he was definitely a speedster, and he did indeed have a fondness for yellow and blue, just like our fella here.
I know you don't believe that I'm not making this up, so here's a pic of the Whizzer in all his costumed glory (minus the backpack), straight from Marvel's official site.
Of course, they did change a few things for the show. Here, the unfortunately named Whizzer goes by the name of Robert Coleman (played by Jay Klaitz). But in the comics, The Whizzer's real name is "Robert Frank." Maybe the TV Whizzer's middle name is Frank or something. Anyway, Mr. Coleman's fondness for a pet mongoose is a nod to the comic character's origin story, which involved a transfusion of mongoose blood to save him from the poisonous bite of a cobra. The doctor who gave him the blood transfusion was named Emil. TV's Whizzer has a pet mongoose named Emil. Stop looking at me that way, I didn't write the story, I'm just here to report it to you.
The character was a member of such World War II Marvel hero teams as the All-Winners Squad and the Liberty Legion, but he was never exactly Avengers material. He did have some modern Marvel appearances as well, but he's always been something of a joke.
'member the '90s? Rob Liefeld's Extreme Universe, the most '90s comics of them all, will become movies.
Because no superhero franchise stone can go unturned in Hollywood, and because nostalgia rules above all, we're getting another shared cinematic universe. This time it's based on Rob Liefeld's Extreme studios creations. Mr. Liefeld (perhaps best known in Hollywood circles these days as the co-creator of Deadpool) will bring the characters to life with the help of Netflix. Akiva Goldsman, Brooklyn Weaver, and Liefeld will produce.
Netflix reportedly paid seven figures for the rights to the Extreme characters, and Goldsman "will set up and oversee a high-end writers’ room" to develop multiple feature films. In other words, Netflix is getting its very own shared superhero universe.
It's worth noting that Youngblood, the Rob Liefeld superhero team book that helped launch Image Comics and became the hallmark of his post-Marvel style, isn't considered part of the Extreme Universe, so isn't part of this deal. Instead, expect to see characters from teams Brigade and Bloodstrike and characters like Cybrid, Lethal, Re-Gex, Bloodwulf, Battlestone, Baboom, and Nitro-Gen on the big screen.
“Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Universe features gritty stories and distinctive characters,” Netflix feature film chief Scott Stuber said in a statement (via Deadline). “Akiva’s creative voice has been behind some of the largest movie franchises, making him uniquely capable of halping bring these superheroes from the Extreme Universe to life for Netflix.”
"Rob is a unique and innovative talent who knows how to combine hard-edged comic book action with real emotionality," added Goldsman. "Netflix has the ambition, reach, and dedication to bring his universe to life."
“Netflix has become a part of every day existence for me and my children," said Liefeld. "Their programming is the most dynamic and diverse I have seen. I am beyond thrilled and inspired to be bringing my Extreme catalogue to life with the creative wizards at Netflix. What Akiva Goldsman has achieved with his craft and storytelling across all mediums in our industray is of absolute benefit for my Extreme characters. He is an absolute comic book fanatic and working with him on adapting Extreme Universe has been electric. His stellar work on Star Trek Discovery has wowed the fandom and trust me when I say that the Teen Titans show he is producing is going to blow fans away. I cannot wait to show the world what we have in store.”
True to the "extreme" moniker, expect these movies to have a similar, hyper-violent approach that the Deadpoolmovie took. Mr. Liefeld is quite active on social media, particularly on Twitter, and while comic book creators often aren't thrilled with how their characters are portrayed on the big screen, he was a huge booster of the Deadpoolmovie, even while it was stuck in development hell. Considering the runaway success of that particular R-rated superhero flick, they'll likely look to push the envelope even more with the Extreme Universe characters.
We talked to A Wrinkle in Time screenwriter Jennifer Lee about what happened to Sandy and Dennys, Meg's twin brothers from the book.
If you've read the A Wrinkle in Time book and have now seen the Disney movie adaptation of the Madeleine L'Engle novel, then you know two characters are missing from the film: Sandy and Dennys, Meg Murry's 10-year-old twin brothers who become very important in the Time Quintet novel Many Waters.
So... what happened to poor Sandy and Dennys? Den of Geek had a chance to ask screenwriter Jennifer Lee about the decision to cut them from the movie during a press event in Los Angeles. She told us that they were one of the first aspects of the book to be removed from the script, as they were unnecessary to telling Meg's story in A Wrinkle in Time.
"There's so much story to tell," Lee said. "There were all these clever ways to put the twins in just to include them. And I'm like, why? We're doing it for ... we don't want to do it for the wrong reasons. And it was one of those things that every time we would revisit maybe bringing them, everyone would agree."
Of course, given that Sandy and Dennys are the protagonists of Many Waters, their erasure from A Wrinkle in Time could potentally become a problem should Disney decide to movie forward with adapting more books in L'Engle's Time Quintet.
"I couldn't think ahead to what might come after this or to the other books in the series," said Lee. "I could only think to this story. I think I'd have done it a disservice if I projected things onto it that didn't need to be there."
While Lee and director Ava DuVernay came to this decision, it doesn't mean the subject wasn't ever debated. Lee spoke about the process of trying to figure out how the twins might be mentioned, but not active in the story, saying...
Do we say they're away at school? And then just saying, you know, we are not trying to do the book. When we do those little things, I think it's us feeling forced to do the book. And then we're saying, but wait, we all said it's about the spirit of the book, the feeling of the book, the journey. And that's what's important. And if we try to literally stay to the book we're not going to succeed. It's not fair. So the twins were one of the first to go.
I wouldn't worry too much. A lot is possible in the world of A Wrinkle in Time and, as Lee noted, "there's magical ways children show up." We wouldn't count Sandy and Dennys out just yet.
We talked to Wrinkle in Time screenwriter Jennifer Lee about how the Charles Wallace change from the book plays out in the movie adaptation.
While the bones of the A Wrinkle in Time book are preserved in Disney's big-budget adaptation, there are certain changes (like the erasure of the Murry twins) that stand out in the film. In addition to the diverse casting of the film, one of the more inspired changes from the book comes in the detail that Charles Wallace, Meg's younger brother, is adopted. In fact, the film starts with that detail, as a nervous Meg gets ready to meet her brother for the first time and is reassured by her parents.
Den of Geek had a chance to talk to A Wrinkle in Time screenwriter Jennifer Lee about the decision to have Charles Wallace be adopted during a recent press event in Los Angeles. She told us that the decision came from director Ava DuVernay, and it was made after scene-stealer Deric McCabe was cast in the role. The now nine-year-old is of Filipino descent, and Lee said DuVernay wanted "to be true to his culture as well and be respectful."
Lee said that the decision wasn't a simple one in the respect that the writer and her director didn't just want for the adoption to be a throwaway detail. The creators wanted to play out how Charles Wallace's adopted identity would affect the story and the characters.
"What I love is it wasn't so simple as saying that and that's why," said Lee. "We talked about what that does to the story. And to me, what I got very excited about, is: we're speaking to every family. And we're not saying it has to be related or blood or one type of family. And by him being an adopted, I feel like you included all families."
While A Wrinkle in Time is about Meg Murry's search for her missing father, the relationship between Meg and Charles Wallace is the true heart of the film. It's still relatively rare to see adopted characters in films that aren't explicitly about adoption. The fact that Charles Wallace's adopted identity is both central to the story and irrelevant to the love that Meg has for her little brother is one of the best parts of the film.
"You didn't doubt their love," continued Lee. "You didn't feel like it was, 'Well, you have to.' It was a love that's saying this is a family, and this love is very real, and this love is a relationship that is beautifully balanced. So, in a way, the conversation made us look at the film differently, and we actually realized we could do more with that relationship."
For many adopted kids out there, A Wrinkle in Time represents important representation, and makes for one of the most successful aspects of the film. The decision to have Charles Wallace adopted into the Murry family rather than born into it doesn't just change the story; it makes it better.
Comedy Anya’s Ghost, based on a graphic novel, will star American Horror Story’s Emma Roberts.
Anya’s Ghost, the acclaimed 2011 graphic novel by Russian cartoonist Vera Brosgol, is getting a film adaptation, with Emma Roberts now set as its star. The story will mix the relatable trope of an alienated teen’s troubles fitting in at her school with a supernatural mystery.
Emma Roberts will headline Anya’s Ghost, reports Deadline, playing young protagonist Anya. The graphic novel depicts Anya as a Russian refugee – settled in New England with her mother and brother – who’s a social outcast at the private school she attends. However, while skipping school, Anya discovers the century-old remains of a young girl, named Emily, whose ghost appears to her and wishes to become friends. Consequently, a bit of quid pro quo is struck when the ghostly Emily agrees to help Anya with her school troubles (grades, bullies, a boy she likes,) in exchange for finding out who murdered her all those years ago. However, as the friendship progresses, it becomes apparent that Emily might not be on the level with Anya.
Vera Brosgol’s source material graphic novel reaped plenty of awards in the immediate aftermath of its 2011 release, earning a Cybilis literary award in the YA category, a 2012 Harvey Award and a 2012 Eisner Award. A film adaptation seemed to be in the works back in 2015 when would-be It director Andy Muschietti – with sister and creative partner Barbara Muschietti – acquired the rights to Anya’s Ghost, though they could not follow through with the project, since theopportunity to adapt the iconic Stephen King novel subsequently arrived.
Dan Mazer steps in as director for Anya’s Ghost, coming off the 2016 Zach Efron/Robert De Niro comedy, Dirty Grandpa, and 2013 ensemble comedy I Give it A Year, with TV work on Dog Bites Man and Da Ali G Show. Here, Mazer works off a screenplay adapting Brosgol’s graphic novel by Patrick Ness, who’s known from the 2016 fantasy drama – and breakout project for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom director J.A. Bayona – A Monster Calls, as well as TV work on the 2016 one-and-done Doctor Who spinoff series, Class, and director Doug Liman’s 2019-scheduled Tom Holland/Daisy Ridley sci-fi dystopian epic, Chaos Walking. Additional personnel include prolific genre producer Jeremy Bolt (the Resident Evil films) is producing through his Bolt Pictures, joined in the same capacity by Bullitt Entertainment’s Benedict Carver (Winchester).
Emma Roberts comes into Anya’s Ghost as no stranger to darker genre work, having appeared in multiple anthology iterations of television’s American Horror Story, as well as Scream Queens (both for Ryan Murphy), with notable film appearances in the 2016 crime drama, Nerve, the 2013 comedy, Adult World, and the hit 2013 comedy, We’re the Millers, with early career headlining roles banked in 2007’s Nancy Drew and 2006’s Aquamarine.
There’s no word yet on when Anya’s Ghost is expected to manifest.
The Dark Tower TV series, which will now act as a reboot, is being developed at Amazon. Here's everything else we know about the show!
The Dark Tower TV series is in development at Amazon, according to Deadline. While the series was originally planned to tie into the 2017 film, that is no longer the plan, according to Stephen King in an interview with Vulture.
"The TV series they’re developing now … we’ll see what happens with that. It would be like a complete reboot, so we’ll just have to see," said King.
Glen Mazzara, who previously helmed The Walking Dead season 3, has been brought on as showrunner. Akiva Goldsman, who produced and co-wrote the film adaptation, will executive produce, along with Jeff Pinkner, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer. Nikolaj Arcel, who directed The Dark Tower movie, and screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen wrote a script for the pilot and will also executive produce.
Of course, it's unclear if Amazon plans to move forward with Arcel and Jensen's script now that the film has turned out to be a failure. That pilot was said to feature Idris Elba, who played Roland in the movie, and Tom Taylor, who played Jake. It's unclear what their involvement will be at this point. Mazzara might prefer to start from scratch completely.
MRC and Sony Pictures, who also released the film in 2017, will finance a 10-13 episode first season.
Here's everything else we know:
The Dark Tower TV Series Release Date
EW had confirmed that the TV series would begin filming in 2017, with a potential premiere in 2018. As we've heard little about the show since the release of poorly received film, it's probably safe to say that the release date might be pushed back just a bit.
The Dark Tower TV Series Showrunner
THR reports that former Walking Deadexec producer Glen Mazzara will serve as showrunner for The Dark Tower TV series.
"I’ve been a Stephen King fan for decades and the opportunity to adapt The Dark Tower as a TV series is a great honor," Mazzara told THR. "The events of The Gunslinger, Wizard & Glass, The Wind Through the Keyhole, and other tales need a long format to capture the complexity of Roland's coming of age — how he became the Gunslinger, how Walter became the Man in Black, and how their rivalry cost Roland everything and everyone he ever loved. I could not be more excited to tell this story. It feels like being given the key to a treasure chest. And oh yeah, we’ll have billy-bumblers!"
Mazzara's involvement is definitely great news. He's responsible for what is arguably the greatest season of The Walking Dead after taking over for Frank Darabont in season 3. Hopefully, he'll bring a bit of his magic to The Dark Tower.
The showrunner has also been attached to a prequel to The Shining called The Overlook Hotelfor some time. No news on that front, though.
The Dark Tower TV Series Details
The show will reportedly flesh Roland's origin story and his first adventure as a young gunslinger from the fourth book in the series, Wizard and Glass.
In 2017, MRC released a cool promo that teases the setting of the show. It's a map of the different places in the Barony of Mejis, where most of Wizard and Glass takes place:
Roland's instructor, Cort, and his original ka-tet, Cuthbert and Alain, will appear on the show, although none of those roles have been cast yet.
Know the terror and madness of Stephen King's 10 greatest supernatural villains!
Pennywise the Clown isn't the only monster you need to fear at night. The King has created plenty of other horrific things that go bump in the night...
The name Stephen King conjures up images of horrific creatures, monsters, places, and stories, and some of the most enduring villains in fiction. These are beings of unimaginable evil that test the limits of the protagonists' will to survive, and some of these villains have gone on to become almost as famous (or infamous) as the writer himself. While many Stephen King villains are monsters of the human variety (serial killers, power hungry despots, nihilists, etc.) his most memorable are the supernatural ones who use their dark powers to twist the orderly world around them into a special place of chaos and pain.
Here are just a few of King’s best supernatural madmen and monsters.
10. Gage Creed and the Pet Sematary
Pet Sematary (1983)
“Don’t go beyond, no matter how much you feel you need to, Doctor. The barrier was not made to be broken. Remember this: there is more power here than you know. It is old and always restless. Remember.”
When Louis, Rachel, Eileen, and Gage Creed moved to Ludlow, Maine from Chicago, their cat Winston Churchill in tow, they wanted a peaceful new life in the more rural locale. What they got was a descent into death and madness almost unmatched in modern horror fiction. In the novel, the Creed cat is killed. Louis fears telling his daughter and buries the beloved pet at a nearby “Pet Sematary,” an old Micmac Indian burial ground. The cat returns home, much to Louis’ shock and delight, but it’s not the same friendly animal. It’s a listless, mean, half-alive creature that does not have a fondness for life.
When Gage is killed by a truck, overcome with despair, Louis buries his son in the Sematary. What comes back is a true horror of epic proportions. Gage is such a disturbing villain because he once existed as an object of the purest affection. The once totally innocent soul is now corrupt and ridden with supernatural darkness. The Pet Sematary itself is rumored to once have been a burial place for cannibals, and the spirit of a Wendigo dwells in the soil.
Now, Gage is back with the most ancient of curses coursing where blood once flowed. Every father’s nightmare turned even darker. King felt the book was too dark even for him and shelved it until his wife, Tabitha, and his friend, the author Peter Straub, encouraged him to share his bleak vision of paternal loyalty with the world.
9. The Leatherheads
Under the Dome (2009)
“God turned out to be a bunch of bad little kids playing interstellar Xbox. Isn't that funny?”
Much more frightening than typical villains, the Leatherheads are an alien race responsible for the construction of the Dome that covers Chester’s Mill. They are in the same vein as H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors, beings much older and more powerful than humanity. The mere sight of them could drive a man mad. They are beings with the power of gods but no connection to or feelings for humanity. Just cold observers that exist on a different layer of reality.
The Leatherheads construct the Dome the same way a child makes an ant farm, out of a morbid curiosity to watch how lesser creatures exist. Their casual disregard for humanity makes them truly terrifying, because unlike some of King’s other antagonists, there is really no way to fight them.
The Leatherheads are mentioned in King’s chilling short story N., but it is in Under the Dome where readers get to experience the sheer paralytic terror that would occur if an alien species of ancient intelligence turned their attention towards our little backwater planet.
8. The Overlook Hotel
The Shining (1977)
“This inhuman place makes human monsters.”
If there is one thing King’s constant readers have learned after decades of nightmares is that places can be as evil as people, an idea that is personified in the Overlook Hotel, the setting of The Shining. On the surface, The Shining is a classic haunted house tale, but beneath the surface, it is so much more. It is a deep look into the fragility of fatherhood, the bond of trust between father and son. As Danny Torrance, the psychic child who journeys to a secluded Colorado hotel with his caretaker father and loving mother discovers when the father he trusted is transformed in a raging madman by the power within the Overlook.
The novel’s most riveting sections feature past accounts of other times that the Overlook weaved its dark magic, transforming good men into monsters. The walls of the Overlook can barely contain the rage within the heart of the hotel, and as The Shining plays out, readers discover just how corrupt the place is. Make no mistake, it may not have arms to swing an ax, or legs to chase down its victims, but the Overlook is a hungry sort of evil that demands to be fed. Just try staying at a Motel 6 after reading King’s classic. I dare you.
7. The Raggedy Man
“What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle.”
Fans of the Walking Dead need to recognize. King does zombies too, and they are sphincter-tighteningly scary. In Cell, a pulse travels into cell phones all over the world. Anyone on their phone at the fateful moment is turned into a zombie. These villains are a different breed than the popular Romero clones, as the pulse also unlocks latent powers of the human mind like telepathy and levitation.
The Raggedy Man is the leader of the zombies. He thinks, organizes, and commands. He has all the nihilistic hunger of a zombie, but he has planning skills and foresight which make him a truly frightening antagonist. His goal is to spread his people around the globe and take the planet for his horde. He sees humanity as a threat to his people and seeks to destroy them to protect his new race, which could make him literature’s first sympathetic zombie villain. He is often seen wearing a crimson Harvard hoodie giving the creature an atypical zombie air of intelligence and capability.
The name of Harvard’s sports teams by the way? The Harvard Crimson. Well played Mr. King, well played.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Importance of Stephen King's Cell Movie
6. Kurt Barlow
‘Salems Lot (1975)
“That above all else. They did not look out their windows. No matter what noises or dreadful possibilities, no matter how awful the unknown, there was an even worse thing: to look the Gorgon in the face.”
King’s only foray into vampires (the classic ones, anyway), Barlow was the writer’s way of getting the whole mythos right the first time. ‘Salems Lot was King’s second published novel and his first of many novels centering on the idea of a preternatural creature releasing the beast inside of regular people. It was also his first small town novel, a setting King would return to many times over the decades.
Barlow’s story mirrors that of Dracula, from the shipment of his coffin and native soil from overseas to his arrival and reign of terror in a contemporary setting. He even has his own personal Renfield, Richard Straker, his own gothic mansion, his own legion of dark minions, and a twisted grip on the residents of ‘Salems Lot.
Barlow was more of a catalyst, using embraced residents as pawns to tighten his grip on the town, but his very presence on the page was accompanied with a sense of urgency and dread.
In a 1995 BBC radio drama of ‘Salems Lot (that is well worth seeking out), Barlow is played by Pinhead himself, Doug Bradley, which automatically gives the vampire tons of villain cred.
5. George Stark
The Dark Half (1989)
“Cut him. Cut him while I stand here and watch. I want to see the blood flow. Don't make me tell you twice.”
Stephen King once wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman and published some of his more experimental works like The Running Man, The Long Walk, and Thinner. His experience as somewhat existing as another person inspired King to write the Dark Half, and inspired the creation of one of his most cold blooded killers, George Stark.
In the novel, Thad Beaumont was a successful author who wrote violent crime novels under the pen name of George Stark. After revealing to the world he was actually Stark, Thad and his wife stage a mock funeral for the author to symbolically cut ties with the violent crime fiction Beaumont wanted to leave behind. This is where King brings the terror.
The novel started with a flashback that dealt with the removal of an eye from the brain of a young Thad. It was the eye of a twin that was conjoined in the womb to the writer, an incident Thad had all but forgotten about. It was actually the eye of George Stark, who later rises from the mock grave the Beaumonts planted him in to go on a killing spree that leaves even the most seasoned reader with PTSD.
Stark is the embodiment of the darkness in the hearts of all men. The most frightening part of the book is that even though Beaumont is desperate to rid the world of Stark, part of him is attracted to the freedom evil gives Stark, and the realization that the evil is a part of him.
RELATED ARTICLE: Stephen King's 10 Greatest Human Villains
4. Blaine the Mono
The Dark Tower III: The Wastelands (1991)
“Choo-Choo, thought Jake, and shuddered.”
You will never look at Thomas the Tank Engine the same way again. Blaine is a sentient train in the Dark Tower series, a machine driven insane by underuse. Blaine once housed a powerful computer mind, but the network has since broken down, making the train deranged, cruel, and suicidal.
Roland and his ka-tet need the train to travel out of the Wasteland so Roland can finish his quest for the Dark Tower. They board Blaine. They are horrified when they find Blaine has gone completely insane. The train forces them into a game of riddles. The situation gets worse, as the ka-tet realizes Blaine will kill himself by derailing at great speed with them aboard.
A crazy, sentient, thundering locomotive with a face is scary enough, but couple that with the fact that the train suffers from crippling mental health issues, and you have one of the most unique monsters in literature. There is a second voice inside Blaine, Little Blaine, who begs the ka-tet to help him, adding even another layer to the tragic nightmare that is Blaine.
So essentially, Blaine is Gollum if Gollum was a runaway train: a riddle loving, murderous, schizophrenic machine who has been ruined by pain and emptiness.
3. The Crimson King aka Los'Ram Abbalah, The Kingfish, The Red King, Lord of Discordia, Lord of Spiders, Satan
Black House (2001)
The Dark Tower series
“I am the Eater of Worlds.”
The Crimson King is often mistaken for It, and it is not completely clear if they are the same monster, but the regality and level of reverence the King’s minions hold for him seem to suggest that he is different than the sewer-dwelling eater of children.
The Crimson King is the embodiment of evil in King’s shared fictional universe. He is first introduced in Insomnia, where he tries to kill a child prophesied to topple the rule of the King forever.
The King is later revealed as the monster behind the events of the novel Black House, and he is the overarching villain of the Dark Tower series, the monster responsible for trying to bring down the structure of reality.
Stephen King suggests that all his villains, supernatural or otherwise, are pawns of the Crimson King. The name itself carries some great metatextual flavor as, of course, Stephen King himself is the one truly responsible for the evil in his worlds. The half of the writer that creates and is responsible for these horrific monsters is also named King. Stephen King is the writer, father, husband, and Red Sox fan. The Crimson King is the dark overlord of the fictional universe and the monster maker.
2. It aka Pennywise the Dancing Clown, Robert Gray, Bob Grapes
The clown seized his arm.
And George saw the clown’s face change.
Every twenty-seven years It rises to devour the children of Derry. It awoke when a homosexual couple was beaten by a gang of thugs in 1984 to again reign terror on the children of Derry. It was put to rest by the Losers Club, a group of misfit teens, in 1958 only to rise again, decades later. It killed the leader of the Losers’ (Bill Denbrough) little brother in one of the most hair-raising prologues in horror history.
It is another of King’s manipulator villains, as It controls the darker residents of Derry, such as bully Henry Bowers to do Its bidding. It is a cannibalistic clown that lives in the sewers, a leprous mummy, a giant spider, or a series of orange lights called the Dead Lights that drive people mad when gazed upon.
Unlike the similar creature, the Crimson King, It does not commit evil for glory or power. It devours because It hungers. The lives of innocents exist only to fill the void of It's being. And let’s face it, nothing, NOTHING is freakin’ scarier than a hungry clown in a sewer.
1. Randall Flagg
aka The Ageless Stranger, The Walkin' Dude, The Dark Man, The Hardcase, The Man in Black, The Tall Man, The Midnight Rambler, The Antagonist, The Grinning Man, Old Creeping Judas, He Who Walks Behind The Rows, The Covenant Man, Richard Fry, Robert Franq, Ramsey Forrest, Robert Freemont, Richard Freemantle, Russell Faraday, The Monster, The Man with No Face, Richard Fannin, Raymond Fiegler, Walter o'Dim, Marten Broadcloak, Walter Padick, Walter Hodji, and Bill Hitch
The Stand (1978)
Eyes of the Dragon (1986)
Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
The Dark Tower series
“My life for you.”
Not so much a single villain, but the archetype of all villains, Randall Flagg is King’s greatest singular creation of evil. Flagg first appeared in The Stand, the Dark Man who gathers the worst of humanity to rebuild a new civilization in his own dark image. The Walkin’ Dude had a propensity for crucifying any whose beliefs ran contrary to his.
Flagg is the greatest of King’s manipulators, able to inspire loyalty in those with dark hearts, as seen by the Trashcan Man in The Stand and even Mother Carmody in The Mist. All they have to do is say “My life for you,” and mean it, and Flagg will be there to inspire their dark deeds.
He was revealed to be the antagonists to Roland in the Dark Tower series, and is the ever present evil in all men. Flagg is walking the back roads of reality just waiting for a chance to whisper in humanity’s ear and stir up some good, old fashioned chaos.
Let's break down some of the major changes Ava DuVernay made in adapting Madeleine L'Engle's book to the big screen...
Since its publication back in 1962, Madeleine L'Engle's science fiction classic A Wrinkle in Time has been considered an unfilmable story. Well, more than 50 years later, Ava DuVernay has proven skeptics wrong, but that doesn't mean she didn't make some pretty big moves in adaptating the the book to the screen. Here are some of the biggest changes...
The missing Murrys.
If you've never read the book, then you probably don't know that the Murry family lost two family members in the jump from the page to the screen. In the A Wrinkle in Time book, Meg and Charles Wallace have twin, 10-year-old brothers named Sandy and Dennys. They are the affable, likeable sort who, much to Meg's chagrin, don't have the same kinds of problems fitting in that she does.
While Sandy and Dennys don't feature much in A Wrinkle in Time, they become very important later in the Time Quintet series as protagonists in Many Waters. We talked to A Wrinkle in Time screenwriter Jennifer Lee about what happened to the Murry twins. Here's what she told us.
Charles Wallace's adoption.
We shouldn't be too worried about Sandy and Dennys missing from the A Wrinkle in Time movie. After all, as Jennifer Lee pointed out to HelloGiggles, this is the kind of family that adopts kids and seems to have extra love to give. This is what happened to Charles Wallace who is adopted in the film versus being the biological child of the Murrys in the book. We talked to Lee about when and why that change happened. We think it's one of the best changes from the book to the film!
One of the saddest changes from the book to the film is the erasure of Aunt Beast and the planet of Ixchel, where Meg travels after Camazotz before returning to the planet to save her brother. While on Ixchel, Meg meets an eye-less alien named Aunt Beast who she communicates with telepathically. It's a weird, moving part of the book and, while we understand why it was cut from the film, it's still sad to see it go. However, there may be a chance that it will make it into a deleted scene, so that's something!
The Murrys are a multi-racial family living in California.
One of the coolest changes from the book to the movie came in changes to the Murry family. In the book, the Murrys are a white family living in Connecticut. In the movie, they are a multi-racial family living in California. While it's gloriously subtle in the movie, the different backgrounds and identities give some insight into the diversity within this one, on-screen family: Chris Pine is a white dude from California, Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a biracial English actress, Storm Reid is bi-racial, and Deric McCabe is Filipino-American. This makes for a more diverse on-screen family than is usually seen on-screen, let alone in big-budget cinema adapted from a very white-centric book.
The Happy Medium's genderswap.
A Wrinkle in Time did some pretty cool things to mix up its representation when it came to casting the books most iconic roles, but less attention has been given to the gender-swapping of the Happy Medium character. In the book, the hippy soothsayer the Mrs. bring Meg & co. to identifies as a woman. In the movie, the Happy Medium is played by Zach Galifianakis. Galifianakis spoke about the importance of his role as a different kind of male character during the A Wrinkle in Time press conference, urging boys as well as girls to see the film.
Dr. Alex Murry's absence.
In the book, Dr. Alex Murry is gone for a little more than a year before Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin go looking for him. In the movie, he is gone for four years. To be honest, this was one of the changes that was the hardest to swallow in the movie adaptation. It makes the reunion that much more bittersweet and means that Dr. Murry and Charles Wallace never really had a chance to get to know each other before the former went missing.
Mrs. Who's quotes.
In both the book and the movie, Mrs. Who uses famous quotations from other people to communicate. As the book was written more than 50 years ago, the movie made the smart decision to update the quotations used for modern audiences. In the book, Mrs. Who mostly sticks to Eurocentric writers and philosophers. In the movie, she quotes writers and philosophers like Shakespeare and Rumi, but also OutKast, Chris Tucker, and Hamilton. Additionally, in the book, Mrs. Who also initially speaks the quotations in whatever their speaker's native language is. In the movie, she simply states where they hail from, which probably make Mindy Kaling's job a heck of a lot easier.
Rowan Blanchard's character.
In the movie, Rowan Blanchard plays a character named Veronica who bullies Meg at school. This character doesn't exist in the book at all.
What were some of the big changes you noticed in the A Wrinkle in Time movie adaptation? Sound off in the comments below...
The baby arrives, and her Aunties are pretty nuts in this exclusive preview of Mister Miracle #7.
Mister Miracle is incredible.
I feel like I don't say it enough, even though I've said it a billion times. Or once, really loudly, after praising the same creative team for a different book and generally fawning over the writer's work. But I'm serious here: this book is staggeringly good.
Over the course of the first six issues, we stay laser focused on Scott Free, the titular escape artist, as he and his wife, Big Barda, pursue a war against Apokalips on behalf of New Genesis and their leader, Highfather, the newly ascended Orion. The beauty of the book, besides Mitch Gerads' next-level art, is the way domesticity is hammered into the absurd superhero action: one issue has Barda and Scott trying to figure out how to use a weird New Genesis shower after killing thousands of Parademons, while another has the New Gods trying to divine Darkseid's influence on their situation over a veggie platter from Costco.
The most recent issue was a 20-page long conversation about Barda's hopes for their condo remodel as the two fought their way into Highfather's chambers to rebel against the death sentence he placed on Scott. A conversation, I might add, that is IMMEDIATELY recognizable to anyone who has lived with a romantic partner for any extended period of time. This conversation ended with the surprise revalation that Barda was pregnant.
If the advance preview of issue 7 that DC sent along is anything to go by, Tom King and Gerads are flipping the premise around for the second half of the series. Instead of hammering domesticity into absurd superhero action, it looks like they'll be hammering in superhero absurdity into Barda and Scott's domestic life.
The Female Furies Boom Tube into the hospital as Barda goes into labor.
Here's what DC has to say about the issue.
MISTER MIRACLE #7 Written by TOM KING • Art by MITCH GERADS • Cover by NICK DERINGTON • Variant cover by MITCH GERADSMister Miracle and Big Barda are in a panic. The war with Apokolips isn’t going well. And it’s Barda’s turn to have her past come crashing back into her present as the Female Furies appear on the scene with blood on their minds.
Just go look. It's so good.
If you're looking for romance-driven urban fantasy, Patricia Briggs' Alpha & Omega series is a great choice.
We are living in a golden age of genre storytelling in which the lines between previously-rigid genres are becoming increasingly blurred. This is definitely true in the publishing industry where, following the success of the Twilight series, publishers have been more willing than ever to take a chance on paranormal romance and urban fantasy—and not just for teen girls.
Patricia Briggs'Alpha and Omega books are one such series. The adult werewolf romance novels began with a novella set in the world of Briggs'other bestselling urban fantasy series, The Mercy Thompson Series. Called Alpha and Omega, the series follows Anna Latham, a woman who only finds out about the existence of werewolves when she is attacked by them and becomes one. After spending three years being abused by the dominant males of the group, she goes above her Alpha's head to ask for help when a local young man goes missing.
Enter Charles Cornick. As the 200-year-old son of the leader of the North American werewolves, Charles serves as chief enforcer under his father's rule. When Charles is sent to Chicago to solve a problem, he meets Anna, and recognizes her not only as his mate, but as a rare kind of werewolf: an omega. Omega werewolves have the helpful ability to calm dominant werewolves. In the world Briggs has created, this is basically a superpower, and it's especially cool to see a superpower story where the protagonist's chief ability is related not to more traditionally masculine traits like physical strength, but a more traditionally feminine trait like a skill at navigating interpersonal social dynamics. More stories like this, please!
Briggs writes the books in third-person, so we get both Charles and Anna's perspectives—perspectives that are further, fascinatingly divided into the characters' human sides and wolf sides, which are sometimes at odds. It's unique fantasy world-building elements like this that make reading the Alpha and Omega series so fun to read. This series takes place in a fantasy-enhanced version of our world (Anna is a waitress at an Italian restaurant when the series starts), but Briggs chooses to enhance not only the more traditionally supernatural elements, but also the social dynamics of the group. It makes for addicting, character-driven drama that is very much grounded in how woman are socialized to experience and interact with the world. Also, there is some great romance that remains central to the series moving forward.
The fifth book in the series, Burn Bright, just hit shelves (complete with gorgeous cover from The Name of the Wind cover artist Dan Dos Santos), and it continues the romance of Anna and Charles as they work as partners to keep the werewolves of North America safe. Here's the full, official synopsis from Penguin Random House:
They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.
With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…
While Burn Bright is very much about Charles and Anna's relationship, it also deepens the richness of this fantasy world in some cool ways. As Charles and Anna set about solving the mystery of why a pair of werewolf wildlings have called them to ask for help, we learn more about the fringes of the North American werewolf population and how they impact Charles and Anna's pack. With Charles' father, the grand-Alpha of North America gone, it falls to Charles and Anna to solve the problem that these werewolves have gotten into, which shifts the dynamics of the pack enough to give us more insight into how they work as a family, business, and general social group. The hard-hearted Leah, in particular, who has rarely if ever before been given the sympathy of the reader, is given more dimension in Burn Bright.
While you definitely don't have to read all of the books in the series to understand what's going on in Burn Bright (Briggs does a good job catching readers up), the plot and relationships of the book are informed by what has come before, so I would recommend it, beginning with the novella Alpha and Omega. If you're looking for a new urban fantasy or supernatural romance world to dive into, there are few more addicting than the Alpha and Omega series.
Fans hoping for Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Season 3 won’t like the latest news about the quirky cancelled mystery series.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency arrived in 2016 on BBC America as a welcome TV series oddity, going on to amass a vocal fanbase and a second season renewal. However, its existence was hampered by low ratings, which led to its cancellation in December 2017. While a fan-driven campaign to find a new platform for the show left a sliver of hope, it appears that said effort has also reached its conclusion.
One of the main visionaries of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, executive producer Arvind Ethan David, relayed some bad news to the fans who have been pushing #SaveDirkGently, confirming that the effort is essentially over. As David puts it, as frankly as possible, “there just isn’t a big enough audience for the economics to work out.”
Indeed, Dirk Gently was a welcome peak television oddity, which saw writer/executive producer Max Landis dare to put the intrinsically British stories of Douglas Adams’s classic novels through an American lens to concoct a delightfully esoteric TV series synthesis, shifting the story’s setting to the States. The series starred Briton Samuel Barnett as the titular detective and American Elijah Wood as reluctant partner Todd Brotzman, with Jade Eshete as the agency’s hard-hitting third, Farah Black.
Unfortunately, the show’s ratings woes were always apparent. Dirk Gently debuted on October 22, 2016 to what would be a series peak of 437,000 viewers; a viewership that plummeted to 277,000 viewers for the finale, leading to a Season 1 average of 287,000 viewers. However, after its (in retrospect miraculous,) Season 2 run concluded this past December, the clearly diminished average of 249,000 viewers had chummed waters for the proverbial cancellation sharks; something exacerbated by the fantastical – exorbitant – dimension-crossing creative direction of Season 2.
Consequently, David, in his letter, explains that fans should avoid the typical indignation directed at “the powers that be” after the cancellation of a beloved show. In an expression of gratitude, he clarifies, “our partners are fans too,” adding, “they supported us with a mixture of blind faith and fantastic enthusiasm and many, many millions of dollars that allowed us to make the weirdest show on television.”
Thus, the cancellation of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency will have to remain a tough pill to swallow for the fanbase who properly recognized it as an impressively unique television offering that threw out the rules of serial television. However, David’s letter also maintains a small level of optimism, expressing hope that this beloved iteration of the property could still see a revival of some kind, teasing:
“We’re not saying never. In years to come, perhaps there will be Dirk Gently: The Movie, or Dirk Gently the Animated Series, or Dirk Gently: The Role Playing Towel Game.”
Truly, the (let’s be clear, hypothetical,) idea of getting the occasional Dirk Gently movie, possibly on Netflix – the platform that carried the series outside the U.S., also once speculated as a prospective home for (the now-nixed) Season 3 – would be a stupendous silver lining to the cancellation of the series.
Here’s the full letter to the fans from Arvind Ethan David (the producers also released a version for the #SaveDirkGently Twitter account):
The adaptation of the Nicholas Searle novel will be directed by Bill Condon.
Talk about a dream team... Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren are teaming up for The Good Liar, an upcoming thriller from New Line Cinema.
According to Deadline, the actors have both signed on to star in the adaptation of the Nicholas Searle novel about a career con artist named Roy Courtnay (McKellen) and well-to-do widow Betty McLeish (Mirren). As you may have guessed, Roy's plan to swindle Betty for all she's worth changes once she opens her life to him. It's a classic the con man who cares storyline, with two of the best actors of their (or any) generation.
Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon will be behind the camera for this one, with Mr. Holmes writer Jeffrey Hatcher penning the screenplay adaptation. McKellen has previously collaborated with Condon on both Gods and Monsters and Mr. Holmes.
Here's the official book synopsis for The Good Liar:
When Roy meets a wealthy widow online, he can hardly believe his luck. Just like Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, Roy is a man who lives to deceive—and everything about Betty suggests she’s an easy mark. He’s confident that his scheme to swindle her will be a success. After all, he’s done this before.
Sure enough, Betty soon lets Roy move into her beautiful home, seemingly blind to the web of lies he’s woven around her. But who is Roy, really? Spanning almost a century, this stunning and suspenseful feat of storytelling interweaves the present with the past. As the clock turns back and the years fall away, long-hidden secrets are forced into the light. Some things can never be forgotten. Or forgiven.
More news as we hear it.
DC has found the perfect creative team to put Plastic Man back in the spotlight.
Is...is Plastic Man having a moment? I mean, a real, actual, genuine creative resurgence and moment in the sun? It sure would seem that way.
In just the last few months, Plastic Man has returned to the pages of DC Comics on a regular basis for the first time in the Rebirth era (and beyond). Reintroduced with a slightly tweaked origin story in the pages of Dark Knights: Metal, DC's almost incomprehensible but still really awesome event book from Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Plas has already branched out into the pages of a new fan favorite title, The Terrifics, from Jeff Lemire, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado. The Terrifics is really great, by the way, and you should totally check it out.
Anyway, that's clearly not enough Plastic Man for anyone, so DC is launching a six-issue limited series this summer, and what a creative team they've found. Gail Simone will write the new comic, with Adriana Melo on art. If you've never read Gail Simone's work I...seriously do not know what to say to you, because her work has consistently been some of the best stuff coming out of DC over the last 15 years. Go give Secret Six a shot. Immediately. Adriana Melo is working on the suitably bonkers Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica, so the zaniness of Plastic Man's world should be well-represented.
“One of my favorite takes on Plas was from the classic Grant Morrison/Howard Porter run. We are definitely taking inspiration from that, and just pushing it even further for rudeness’ sake,” says Simone. “Plas is funny, happy and has enough star power to hold his own against the big guns. He’s not afraid of Batman, he’s not afraid of Darkseid, he’s only afraid of messing up, of going back to being the punk thug he used to be.”
“I usually tend to do more realistically stylized work,” says Melo, “but I also love scenes where I can take the opportunity to draw fun visual gags. I think that’s the challenge with this series: keep Eel O’Brian’s nature, maintain Plastic Man’s stretchy jokes, but also deliver that new twist that Gail gives to him.”
“Plas is THE original humor hero jock, and I think that everyone from Lobo to the Mask to Deadpool to Harley Quinn follows a little bit in his footsteps,” explains Simone. “If you read his best stories, he’s always a little bit bawdy, a little bit messed up, and that really is my favorite kind of hero.”
Plastic Man has been kicking around the comics world since 1941. He was created by Jack Cole, and those early Plastic Man comics are inventive, wild, and years ahead of their time. The character has been a frequent minor supporting character in DC Comics, has popped up in animation (where he is uniquely suited) plenty of times. You should really check out Kyle Baker's take on the character, which DC really needs to put back in print.
Check out the cover of the first issue from Aaron Lopresti. This looks great.
Plastic Man #1 is coming on June 13.
Marvel has confirmed Black Panther 2, and we know who we'd like to see T'Challa take on.
Black Panther 2 is on the way. The movie made more money than a black market Vibranium sale and continues to rule the early 2018 box office. The only issue with a Black Panther sequel is, how on Earth will Marvel Studios top Erik Killmonger? I mean, Killmonger had it all, charisma, pathos, and a tragic backstory. This is all just a fancy way of saying that Marvel is going to have to work overtime to deliver a villain worthy of following Killmonger’s badass footsteps.
That’s why we’re here! We took a deep dive into Marvel Comics lore to find a worthy adversary for T’Challa in Black Panther 2. So grab your Vibranium, get Shuri on speed dial, and join us as we open a file on potential evildoers to step up and try to take down the King of Wakanda.
10. King Cadaver
In the wonderful Don McGregor and Billy Graham run on Black Panther in Jungle Action (and believe me, there is no Black Panther movie without these two creators and their unforgettable time with T’Challa), the pair created some of Panther’s most horrific foes. Take the bug-eyed monstrosity known as King Kadaver, a villain that has the power to psychically cause great pain in his enemies, create realistic delusions, and control the minds of others.
Kadaver was one of Killmonger’s most loyal lieutenants. Potentially, as an act of revenge, this ghoul0like villain could come to the now open Wakanda seeking revenge and manipulating the Panther’s inner circle. But really, we want to see this horror fully realized on a movie screen. I mean just look at him- good old fashion nightmare fuel.
9. Princess Zanda
We love ourselves some Jack Kirby and we wouldn’t be able to look ourselves in the mirror if we didn’t include at least one villain from Kirby’s wombat-shit insane Black Panther revival of the late '70s. But if you tweak some of the crazier aspects of this Panther rival, it actually could work.
Princess Zanda is the regent of the fictional nation of Narobia, a trade and technological rival of Wakanda. She is also a member of a group of international artifact thieves known as the Collectors. In Kirby’s legendarily strange series, Zanda and her crew race Black Panther to steal a time traveling device known as King Solomon’s Frog, which was pretty much just a ceramic frog mixed with the TARDIS. It was bugnuts but awesome.
Now, I don’t think we’ll ever see King Solomon’s Frog on the big screen, but the idea of a rival African nation led by a beautiful and immoral queen sounds compelling to us. Zanda could potentially become T’Challa’s personal Cersei Lannister as Wakanda and Narobia become locked in a technological Cold War.
8. American Panther
American Panther was just a young man when his mother’s Swedish born lover murdered his father. The killer never stood trial for the crime which made the American Panther hate all foreign born people. Name unknown, this angry young man donned the American Panther costume to weed out immigrants from US soil. Panthers American and Black fought on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen when T’Challa came to the US to help out Matt Murdock. And yes, if this happened as a crossover between Marvel Studios and Marvel TV, we would explode too.
As it stands, Marvel could take out the Hell’s Kitchen part of American Panther and create a ripped from the headlines villain fueled by xenophobia and prejudice. The profaning of the Panther legend could make this a very personal villain for T’Challa, but really, we just want to see Panther and Daredevil swing around NYC. A nerd can dream. And in battling the hateful American Panther, that’s just what the Black Panther would be fighting for: the dreams of others.
7. Kraven the Hunter
Yeah, yeah, we known, Ryan Coogler really wanted Kraven in Black Panther, but the idea was nixed because Sony owns the film rights to all the Spidey villains. But ever since Coogler expressed his Kraven love, we just can’t get the idea out T’Challa versus the World’s Greatest Hunter out of our heads. Imagine, a version of The Most Dangerous Game between the Panther and Kraven, a deadly chess match playing out in the Wakandan veldt.
Now that Wakanda is open to the world, Kraven could represent the worst of Anglo-European culture come to the borders of Wakanda to poach, hunt, and kill. Heck man, throw in an appearance of Peter Parker on a Wakandan field trip and Marvel Studios is guaranteed another billion.
Real name Tilda Johnson, Nightshade grew up in poverty in the slums of New York City. Early in her life, Tilda discovered she had an aptitude for the advanced sciences. Fast forward a few years, Tilda used the super weapons she created to take over the rackets of the inner city and became a major underground figure before she was two decades old.
Nightshade kind of sounds like the anti-Shuri, doesn’t she? Shuri uses her skills to help her people, but Nightshade is an immoral street hustler that uses science for her own gain rather than to benefit humankind.
In the comics, Nightshade took on Captain America and the Falcon and she even came up with a formula to transform people in werewolves because comics. But other than the werewolf angle, now that the Black Panther and Wakanda are involved in America’s inner cities, Nightshade and her street science could take on the Wakandan Royal Family in a future Panther film. And really, who doesn’t want to see Nightshade and Shuri science the bejeezus out of each other?
Recently, Nightshade joined the Occupy Avengers team so there’s a built in redemption arch in this hidden gem of a character. And werewolves. Anything that moves us closer to Werewolf by Night in the MCU is okay with us.
5. Sons of the Serpent
Now that Wakanda is revealed to the world, T’Challa will have to face some of the racial issues facing other nations. The Sons of the Serpent is Marvel’s version of the KKK, and now that Panther, Shuri, and company have set up shop in the US, they will have to face groups like the Sons.
When the Sons were introduced back in 1966, it was a subversive, underground hate organization dedicated to eradicating all non-white races. Sadly, in 2018, what was once underground is now mainstream and the Sons of the Serpent could be a perfect foe for Black Panther to take down now that he is involved in world affairs. I know an Inhuman-hunting version of the Sons of the Serpent already appeared on Agents of SHIELD, but it could be a simple matter for that group to expand and change their focus to Wakanda.
Now listen, you don’t just cast Andy Serkis in a role unless somehow, somewhere that character becomes animated. In the comics, the villain known as Klaw is made of solid sound. Yeah, this jungle smuggler/poacher/Vibranium thief/son of a Nazi/scumbag started out very similar to the Klaue from the film, but the pith helmet wearing douche also ends up killed and transformed via Vibranium into a being made of solid sound. We can totally see Black Panther 2 going that route. Movie Klaw already has the badass Kirby arm and everything.
As we know, Klaw’s war with Wakanda is very personal, even more so now that a Wakandan, namely Erik Killmonger, murdered him. So if and when Klaw returns in his glorious pure sound form, things are going to get very loud very quickly. I think we all want to see Serkis don a mo-cap suit and become a Kirby drawing come to life.
3. Baron Zemo
In the MCU, Helmut Zemo killed T’Challa’s father during Captain America: Civil War. Zemo was defeated when T’Challa refused to give into his hunger for vengeance and spared Zemo’s life. T’Challa defeated a villain that manipulated the Avengers by showing mercy and empathy. But this conflict may not be over. Zemo still lives and if he ever escaped, one could imagine his trail of revenge leading to Wakanda.
Yes, Zemo’s vengeance against the Avengers seemed sated when he tore the team apart by revealing that Bucky killed Tony Stark’s parents. But with Bucky in Wakanda, the time just seems perfect for Zemo to show up once again in order to make T’Challa sorry for not ending Zemo’s life when the king had the chance. And we never got to see the film version of Zemo don that iconic hood. The back story and the high personal stakes are there for the next stage of Zemo’s plan in Black Panther 2.
2. White Wolf
The man simply known as Hunter lost his parents in a plane crash in Wakanda. Hunter was taken in by King T’Chaka and Queen N’Yami and the child was raised as their own. Hunter was trained, and when he grew, was made leader of the Hatut Zeraze, the secret police of Wakanda. Hunter was violent and efficient, but when T’Challa took the throne, the new king disbanded the overly brutal Hatut Zeraze. Bitter at T’Challa’s choices and jealous of his adoptive brother’s ascension, Hunter has remained a man who is loyal to Wakanda but wary of its king. Yeah, this smells like a movie to us, too.
The name White Wolf was already given to Bucky in the film, but perhaps there was another White Wolf before Shuri healed Bucky, an angry and wary White Wolf ready to return to protect his suddenly vulnerable nation now that Wakanda has revealed itself.
1. Doctor Doom
Yeah, yeah, Fox owns the rights, blahblah. But if Disney’s lawyers get their legal briefs together and the Disney/Fox merger happens in time, T’Challa could face Marvel’s other great king.
Doctor Doom has long been king of the nation of Latveria, a cruel and proud monarch whose pride is only matched by his hunger for power. Doom is a matter of science and sorcery and will do anything to prove himself superior to any foe. Can you picture what would happen if we got a cinematic war between Wakanda and Latveria? Doombots versus the armies of Wakanda, Doom versus T’Challa in struggle for freedom. Wakanda has never been invaded as it has always hidden from the yoke of European imperialism. But Wakanda has never met Doom, and if the stars align, two of Marvel’s most regal figures could go to war in a future Black Panther installment.
Think about it, with his technology and his Machiavellian like ability to rule and manipulate, Doom is basically T’Challa without all that glorious morality. One gets chills just thinking about it.
Miller & Sienkiewicz's ridiculous miniseries is essential reading for fans of The Defenders or Daredevil on Netflix.
Elektra is arguably comics’ most badass woman, and very likely comics’ first female antihero. But how did she get to that point? She showed up in fewer than 20 total issues across Marvel Comics in the 1980s. How did a character the reading public had seen so little of become an icon, a towering badass in a medium full of them?
It’s because Elektra: Assassin is bananas. No, I take that back. It’s like someone took a bunch of bananas, kept only the peels, filled them with cocaine, shaped the yay into bananas, then found a way to reseal the banana peels.
Elektra: Assassin is the work of Frank Miller, the man who created her in the pages of Daredevilin 1981; his art partner Bill Sienkiewicz, famous at the time for his work on New Mutantsand a talent the industry will never see the likes of again; and lettered by Jim Novak and Gaspar Saladino, who do a competent, industry-standard job for most of the series, but are given the opportunity to cut loose in later issues, and when they do, it looks like a ransom note scribbled in blood by an 8-year-old. That’s not criticism, by the way. It’s perfect.
Ascribing Frank Miller’s current political views to his past work has become something of comics internet’s national pastime lately. You see no end of thinkpieces about how Miller is a reactionary bastard who is on a single-minded quest to turn every comic character he touches into a broken, grunting murderer or place them individually on his own personal Madonna/whore spectrum, and how his earliest work – on Daredevil, The Dark Knight Returnsand of late (because of her impending appearance on Daredevil) now Elektra: Assassin– fits into that continuum. I think this is a mistake. And quite honestly, they’re not entirely without merit: Miller does have tropes he falls into, and he certainly…dropped a lot of pretense when Holy Terror came out – pretense that likely would have prevented any collection of words that have fallen from his mouth or keyboard in the last 15 years from seeing the light of day.
But applying that analysis to Miller’s earliest writing doesn’t work: in large part because I think he was restricted by collaborative work relationships that amounted to a hell of a lot more than “sure Frank, whatever you say if it lets us print money” (Lynn Varley and Klaus Janson were enormously important to the look of his art early on, and as we saw in the intro to Elektra: Assassin, Sienkiewicz had as much to do with the plot and direction of the book as Miller did).
It also completely misses an aspect of Miller that isn’t captured exclusively in what showed up on the printed page. He has always been one of the most vocal advocates for creator rights in the industry: he was there for the earliest meetings about forming a Comics Guild in the ‘70s; fighting for Siegel and Shuster’s rights in the ‘80s; and shredding Marvel for the way they treated their talent in the ‘90s (while publishing Sin City as a creator-owned book at Dark Horse). He was a troublemaker: anti-authority more than authoritarian, as ready to rip down iconic comic characters and tropes and “the old way” of doing things as he was to glorify them.
As a political ideology expressed through his work, mid ‘80s Frank Miller wasn’t a fascist or a reactionary. He was a pyromaniac. And in Sienkiewicz, he found a gleeful accomplice who used his distinctive style – collage, traditional penciling, filling his mouth with paint and screaming at the page (I’m not sure about the last part) – to torch everyone and everything, and to unite their two distinctive sensibilities in a way that I promise you did more for Elektra’s ongoing popularity than the 13 issues of Daredevil that comprised her entire appearance history to that date.
Miller’s Elektra had, prior to Elektra: Assassin, been known more for her death than anything else. She first appeared in Daredevil #168 as an old college girlfriend of Matt’s, the daughter of a Greek diplomat who in the years after his assassination became a deadly mercenary herself. She’s first shown trying to claim a bounty in Hell’s Kitchen, and she proves to be Matt’s equal at punches. At one point, she even takes a contract on Foggy’s life from the Kingpin before she decides she can’t betray Matt like that, and ends up helping him track the Hand through Hell’s Kitchen until finally, when Bullseye runs her through with her own sai, she crawls back to the offices of Nelson & Murdock and dies on Matt’s stoop.
It’s worth noting here that while we still have yet to see Elektra’s evolution into the unstoppable murder machine she would become, these issues are invaluable in tracking Frank Miller’s artistic evolution. It’s a mistake to dismiss her appeal as a character at the time of her death because, while I’m being flip about the content of these stories, you do watch Miller and inker Klaus Janson’s art progress from trying to hew closely to Marvel’s early ‘80s house style in Daredevil #168 to something much closer to the blocky-but-graceful flowing noir that made him one of the greatest ever to work in comics a few years later.
However, that doesn’t change the fact that she’s only around for less than 18 months before Bullseye fridges her with her own sai. And because of a tacit agreement between Miller and his editor at the time, she stayed dead and unused for the next four years (Note: if you want to be really cute about it, she stayed dead until Secret Invasion twenty years later, where it was revealed that the Elektra who showed up after she “died” in Daredevil #180 was a Skrull impersonator. In reality, she only showed up when used by Miller in Daredevil stories until about 1993).
So when she died, Elektra is a trope-bending ass-kicker. There’s been a bit made lately of female anti-heroes, but I think the term “anti-hero” has lost a lot of meaning, and loses even more when people try to talk about women anti-heroes. An anti-hero is the character the audience is meant to root for who does noble things for ignoble reasons, not someone who does horrible things for noble reasons - V or Magneto, for example. Nor are they someone who’s broken but still fundamentally a hero - Starbuck from the Battlestar Galacticareboot and Jessica Jones are often cited. And they’re certainly not guys like Walter White or Dexter - those two are just likable villains.
No, an anti-hero is someone like the Punisher or poorly-written-post-Frank-Miller-Batman or The Man With No Name from the Dollars trilogy - terse, over-the-top badass, unconcerned with the carnage left in their wake as long as they’re content with the job they did. In 1983, Elektra kind of fits that mold, with one big problem: despite the distinctive sais and the fact that she was dressed and moved like a murderous ballerina, she died to motivate Daredevil. Stripped of agency, she has less in common with the Saint of Killers than she does with the Saint’s wife.
It wasn’t until Miller returned to the character in 1986 for an eight-issue limited series that she evolved into the icon we know today. He was joined by Sienkiewicz to create a limited series for Marvel’s Epic line. Distributed directly to comic shops (and thus a harbinger of the doom of the industry), Epic books shipped with no Comics Code approval on them, and were thus freed from its constraints. Miller and Sienkiewicz were free to draw whatever they wanted, and holy shit they did.
Elektra: Assassin is the first appearance of SHIELD Agent John Garrett, who you might remember from not shouting “GAME OVER, MAN, GAME OVER” on Agents of SHIELD It takes place in the years between when Elektra left college and Matt and when they reunited and she was eventually killed, so while it was published in 1986, it was a retcon, rather than a reemergence.
In the book, Elektra discovers a plot by The Beast, the primordial demonic force that allows The Hand (a group of ninja – think AIM or Hydra but Japan) to resurrect themselves and potential allies, to take over America by infecting a Presidential candidate, where he will then launch all of the nuclear weapons ever and destroy the world. She figures that out, deals with SHIELD, fights off a rogue SHIELD cyborg, and beats The Beast on election day, before he can take office.
That’s pretty straightforward, right? That’s because describing the plot isn’t the same thing as experiencing the teeth-gritting insanity of a comic where Elektra psychically possesses more people than she does say words (as far as I can remember, she possesses at least 4 people; not counting narration, she says a total of 3 words out loud); where if you were only paying attention to Garrett’s narration, you’d think the comic was about Magnum P.I. wanting a cigarette very badly; where Elektra blocks a bullet by making a fist and giving it a hard stare; and where the protagonist heads to the climactic battle riding in the sidecar of Garrett’s giant, flame-spitting, penis-shaped train/motorcycle.
Someone (Kieron Gillen, I think) says that when you’re reading a comic, you have to assume that everything in it was a deliberate choice by the creative team, and the introduction to Elektra: Assassin backs that up. Written by Jo Duffy (who is and always shall be incredible, and was an original editor of the project), it details the creative process on the book:
“Frank actually wrote every issue of Elektra: Assassin at least three times. First, after going over his plot ideas with me, he’d turn in a full script, which, after further discussion, he always rewrote. Then, after Bill had finished painting the issue, and the pages were all assembled with whatever color photostats, xeroxes, doilies, staples or sewing thread Bill felt was needed to give them the right look, Frank would do a final draft, taking full advantage of whatever new and unexpected touches Bill had incorporated into the artwork.”
It's the deliberateness that everyone misses when trying to reanalyze what the hell happened in the book. That deliberateness is what took Garrett from an ‘80s stereotype (that mustache, sweet lord it is the ‘80s-est thing that ever existed) to direct criticism of comic book audiences at the time: he spends the entire book maybe-brainwashed by Elektra, bewitched by imagining sex with her.
There’s also criticism that it’s portraying liberals in an unflattering light, which is ridiculous, since it isn’t portraying anyone anywhere in the book in a flattering light: the man Ken Wind, the liberal presidential candidate who’s a stand in for the Hand’s Beast, is running against is a small, chattering, shriveled Richard Nixon, itching to “push the button” to “show them,” or where the Soviet spokesman denying the attack on the President of San Concepcion is named Vladimir Jakkoff. Also, I might still accept that it’s mean-spirited criticism of the Left if it wasn’t Bill Sienkiewicz’s own photograph used for Wind’s head through the entire story.
SHIELD is beset with incompetence and male insecurity - Nick Fury telling Garrett he doesn’t like him while he fires his giant gun that Dirk Anger and H.A.T.E. failed to replicate certainly doesn’t betray any concerns about his job performance, but meanwhile he’s got an entire rogue cyborg division operating under his nose that he doesn’t know about. Meanwhile, even within that rogue cyborg division, Miller and Sienkiewicz are mocking bureaucratic rigidity: Dr. Beaker, the head of ExTechOps, at one point sits on top of a speaker that amplifies him yelling at Garrett, while the monitors tell Garrett what an “inept yoyo” he is.
The copious use of anti-gay slurs is definitely offensive, and likely was at the time, but I don’t think the parody aspect can be dismissed out of hand – it does feel like the slurs, like the fact that everyone gets turned evil by drinking the Beast’s satanic mayonnaise or the fact that there are so many giant violent phalli in the book, are over the top jokes about toxic, ‘80s action hero masculinity, especially in light of the fact that the hero of the story maintains a taciturn femininity throughout the story, that because of her skill and knowledge and moral compass, she is the only one making a conscious effort to prevent the end of the world.
And even still, Miller and Sienkiewicz juxtapose Elektra with SHIELD agent Chastity McBride, a woman constantly telling her colleagues to tone their language down and heads to the final battle of the series undercover as a nun. She’s treated as a bit of a scold and a counterpoint to the over the top sexuality that is foisted on Elektra throughout, but she also happens to be the second most competent person in the book, figuring out early on that Garrett was being mind controlled and surviving two attacks by Perry, the evil cyborg.
The point of this isn’t to try and redeem present-day Frank Miller or throw shade at folks writing about their own experiences with his work. The point is that I think in the ongoing project to reframe Miller’s comics against how he’s chosen to present himself in the last 15 years, we run the risk of losing touch with what made some of that work unbelievably influential: I do think, though, that Elektra: Assassin is a seminal comic book, crucial to understanding Elektra’s place in culture, to understanding her enduring appeal and why people are so excited about her showing up on TV. At the very least, the book is good for a couple of maniacal giggles after seeing the creators make fun of everyone and everything in its pages.
Big Little Lies’ David E. Kelley and Nicole Kidman will reunite for a limited series adaptation The Undoing.
The team from Big Little Lies will reunite to tell a story about the lies people tell themselves. Nicole Kidman will star in HBO’s The Undoing, a new limited series that will be written by David E. Kelley, and executive produced by Bruna Papandrea, according to Variety.
“David has created another propulsive series with a fascinating, complicated female role at its center,” Kidman said in a statement via Variety. “I’m excited and honored to continue collaborating with HBO and David E. Kelley.”
The producers are currently searching for a director.
“We’re thrilled to continue our creative relationships with both Nicole and David and can’t wait to bring this show to life," HBO programming president Casey Bloys said in a statement.
The Undoing is a psychological thriller based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2014 bestselling book You Should Have Known, which was published by Grand Central Publishing.
“I loved this book. A character-driven psychological thriller, I’m excited about the adaptation and thrilled to be able to do it with Nicole and HBO," Kelley said in a statement.
Kidman will star as Grace Sachs, an Upper East Side therapist who is weeks away from publishing her first book, called “You Should Have Known.” It is a self-help book that scolds women who lie to themselves about their husbands’ behavior. Sachs’ young son attends an elite private school in New York City. Her world is upended by the gruesome death of a fellow mother, and her husband’s disappearance.
The series will be executive produced by Papandrea, under her Made Up Stories banner, and Kidman under the Blossom Films banner, with the company's Per Saari. Blossom is currently developing an adaptation of the books The Silent Wife, Reconstructing Amelia, Janice Lee’s best-seller The Expatriates, and the off-Broadway vampire play Cuddles.
The Undoing comes shortly after Hulu announced it is going straight-to-series with Little Fires Everywhere, which will star Reese Witherspoon. Kidman's Blossom Films is also teaming with Witherspoon and Papandrea to adapt Big Little Lies author Laine Moriarty's new novel Truly Madly Guilty into a limited series.
Kidman won an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award for her role as Celeste Wright on Big Little Lies.
Fire up your Kindles! You can get hundreds of Marvel graphic novels for a buck at Amazon for a limited time!
This is a pleasant surprise. Amazon has marked down hundreds, and we mean HUNDREDS of assorted Marvel collections and graphic novels to less than a buck for their digital editions. For .99 a pop you can catch up on everything Avengers, Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Spider-Man. Oh, and did we mention that Marvel also publishes all the Star Wars comics now, too? So if you need your fix for now, then this is the way to get it.
We have no idea how long this sale is going to last, so it's best not to think too hard about it right now. Just run over to Amazon and fill your cart with Marvel graphic novels for a buck while you can. Please use the link, and you'll help support Den of Geek, too.
Need some suggestions? We have a bunch of different reading guides for you, too! Wondering where to start with Black Panther? Star Wars comics? Doctor Strange? Your old pal Deadpool? Those links have the suggestions you crave.
Or find your own! Take advantage of that crazy Marvel sale while you can!
The biggest Power Rangers team-up ever draws in Rangers from many different seasons.
The Power Rangers comic is about to unleash a huge event with Power Rangers: Shattered Grid (running through Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers) and thanks to IGN we know what seasons some of the Rangers will be drawn from.
Dino Super Charge, RPM, Time Force, Ninja Steel and Dino Thunder.
Below you can see an upcoming cover which features not only RPM but also SPD in civilian outfits!
The comics event will also feature a brand new Megazord made up of parts from the season two Zords. Check that Tor head!
The new trailer for the event, which features Jason David Frank voicing the character of Lord Drakkon, also teases the inclusion of the Lightspeed Rescue team as well.
The full line-up for the event is below, which will run through both the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Go Go Power Rangers comics.
We've also got some preview images of the event that feature the Time Force Rangers!
In May 2018 BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands will also unleash a free comic that ties into the ongoing event. See below for the press release and we'll explain just why it's a big deal.
BOOM! Studios and Saban Brands announce the MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS 2018 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY SPECIAL. Arriving in comic shops worldwide on Free Comic Book Day (May 5th, 2018), this FREE comic is a tie-in to the hotly anticipated POWER RANGERS: SHATTERED GRID comic book event and features the story of how Zordon turns to the Morphin Masters for help in the Power Rangers’ darkest hour as the Rangers battle Lord Drakkon—an evil version of Tommy, the Green Ranger, from an alternate reality. The issue will be written by Kyle Higgins (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and Ryan Parrott (Saban’s Go Go Power Rangers) and illustrated by Diego Galindo (Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Dog Men).
Morphin Masters? Okay, if you aren't the most hardcore of Power Rangers fans you might not recall what the hell the Morphin Masters are. Basically, there was an early MMPR episode where Zordon casually name dropped the Morphin Masters in relation to the Power Eggs in the episode "Big Sisters". The kind of throwaway line MMPR was known for but for years fans have speculated what the hell the Morphin Masters were. Well knowing how insane the Power Rangers comics can get with continuity we're excited to see their take on it.
Check out the cover of the comic (which sadly doesn't feature any Morphin Masters.)
Shamus Kelley can not get over the inclusion of the Morphin Masters! Follow him on Twitter!
Ben Grimm (The Thing), Johnny Storm (Human Torch), and friends are getting a new look as the Fantastic Four slowly returns to Marvel.
If you're not reading Marvel Two-In-One by Chip Zdarsky, Jim Cheung, Valerio Schiti, and Frank Martin right now, I don't know what to tell you. You're missing out on what might just be the most fun pure superhero book Marvel has right now. It has been the perfect match of writing and art, with Zdarsky's rapid-fire wit melding perfectly with the big, classic FF style storytelling of artists Jim Cheung and Valerio Schiti. Fans who feel (rightfully) that the Fantastic Four have been kinda mistreated by Marvel the last few years would do well to pay attention here, because "The Fate of the Four" story is setting the tone for how they will return to the Marvel Universe in all the right ways.
The story has centered on Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm's quest to get the band back together while Reed Richards, Sue Storm, and Franklin and Valeria Richards are missing after the events of Secret War. Seriously, it has been a loooong time since Marvel has had a Fantastic Four book on the market, and this has all of the elements you want...even if they're still short a couple of members. Oh yeah, and we've got a cool new super scientist in the form of Rachna Koul helping the fellas out and plenty of Doctor Doom lurking around, too.
So while they continue to tease us with what the actual "fate of the four" is going to be, we at least have an indication of what the new look is going to be. Check out these sharp new costumes designed by Valerio Schiti!
These are awesome, and certainly the sharpest the team has looked in years. Not that it's happening any time soon, but it's easy to imagine this look being adapted for the movies when the Fantastic Four finally join the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Artist Valerio Schiti unveiled a more detailed look at the costumes, too...
Just as one final reminder, Chip Zdarsky is currently writing two of the best, funniest superhero comics on the market right now with both Marvel Two-In-One and The Spectacular Spider-Man. He really gets Spidey, as this panel from the latest Marvel Two-In-One proves...
Marvel Two-In-One #4, which debuts the new look, is on sale now.
The Walking Dead’s newest story arc, “New World Order,” features more bureaucracy than bat-wielding villainy.
The many eras of Robert Kirkman’s sprawling opus, The Walking Dead, have always been defined by two things: their antagonists and their settings. For over 175 issues, every time the story has moved onto a new major arc or era, that change has been accompanied by a new villain, a new setting, or both.
The story starts in rural Georgia with the closest analog to a villain being Rick’s best friend, Shane (issues 1 - 12). Then Rick’s crew moves on to a prison, where they are attacked and victimized by the overtly evil Brian Blake (a.k.a. The Governor) and his town of Woodbury (issues 13 - 48). The gang then hits the road for a bit and encounters minor villains like “The Hunters” before settling in the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
Here Rick and company find themselves in conflict with Negan and The Saviors (issues 98 - 126). After the Saviors are defeated in a bloody war, Alpha and the Whisperers show up to give Rick and company the creeps (issues 132 - 168).
The villains of The Walking Dead always represent the biggest sea changes for the comic. Settings change, of course, but the real setting arguably has always been the same zombie-strewn landscape. The undead represent the true setting of the story. The villains are more dynamic and represent what each arc wants to communicate, whether that be the existence of terrifyingly organized evil (Brian Blake), charismatic fascism as a response to a dangerous world (Negan), or just humankind reverting to a bestial nature (the Whisperers).
Now, as the comic marks two major milestones with issue #175 and “Volume” 30, The Walking Dead is getting experimental with its villains once again to reveal a deeper truth about the dark heart of man. Only this time around, the villains are barely villains at all.
The Commonwealth is a community in Ohio discovered by Eugene Porter via his repaired CB radio. The Commonwealth is a thriving community of 50,000 survivors. To longtime readers or watchers of The Walking Dead, that number may have initially seemed like a misprint. All we’ve known so far are communities numbering in the dozens, and in rare cases, just over hundreds. But the Commonwealth is comparatively MASSIVE.
The community has a sophisticated power structure, a bustling Main Street, and even a stadium for when baseball season rolls around. This isn’t just a community. It’s a city, and maybe even the first ever city since the dead began to walk around.
Kirkman has famously never put an end date on the story he is telling in The Walking Dead. He’s previously been quoted as hoping the series lasts “around” 300 issues. Before he was dedicated to telling a nearly endless story, however, Kirkman gave serious consideration to ending the series once the characters arrived at Alexandria. It would have been a logical enough stopping point. The characters had found refuge and relative safety, and it’s easy for the reader to imagine a healthy society rising up around the example of Alexandria.
Similarly, Eugene, Michonne, Yumiko, Magna, Siddiq, and Juanita’s arrival at the Commonwealth seems like another potential stopping point. The characters (or six of them at least) have now found something none of us ever dreamed they would: society. The unspoken goal of The Walking Dead has always been to survive long enough to restart that crazy little human experiment called society that we enjoyed for so long. Now Eugene and company have survived long enough to discover exactly that. Once human beings are playing baseball again, what else is there to do?
Why does Kirkman bother continuing? Because, in The Commonwealth and the power structure that accompanies it, he will be able to create a new kind of villain, which is really an old kind of villain: the bureaucrat.
The Commonwealth has existed for only three issues of the series so far (175-177), but in those three issues, it is already clear the kind of conflict that Kirkman is setting up. The conflict is not likely to be a military one like that of the “All Out War” volumes. If that were the case, The Commonwealth would almost certainly crush Alexandria, The Kingdom, and Hilltop with its tens of thousands of citizens. Instead, this will be a conflict of values. What happens when those accustomed to pure, borderline anarchic freedom brush up against the world from before it all - the world with rules, bureaucracy, and inequality?
When Eugene, Michonne, Juanita, Magna, Yumiko, and Siddiq first encounter The Commonwealth, they are astonished by the order of it all. They are confronted by dozens of armed soldiers - all wearing the same armor and wielding the same weapons. This level of order and uniformity is worlds away from the kind of conflicts Eugene’s crew is used to fighting.
Then when the “soldiers” take the group inside The Commonwealth to be processed, once again we’re presented with the carefully constructed bureaucracy the new society has established. The first named character we’re introduced to is Lance Hornsby, the Commonwealth’s “bookkeeper.” Hornsby is worlds away from the kind of antagonist we’re used to seeing in the Walking Dead universe. Where Negan introduces himself with a barbed wire-adorned baseball bat, Hornsby instead wields a pen and a notebook.
Hornsby is responsible for their intake. He is to collect information regarding their names, weapons, place of origin, and any unusual customs their group practices. Once Lance has had his turn questioning the new group, they’re moved along to the Governor’s mansion for more questioning. Here they encounter Maxwell Hawkins and the true nature of this new society becomes a little clearer.
While Hornsby was concerned with questions that determine whether Eugene’s group presents an immediate threat, Hawkins is more interested in what kind of value this new group can provide in the long run.
“And what was your profession? Before the fall, I mean,” Hawkins asks Eugene.
“What? Um...I was a high school science teacher,” he replies.
“That simply won’t do,” Hawkins says.
Hawkins has just met Eugene. He doesn’t know that he may very well be talking to one of the most intelligent and resourceful people in the world. All he hears is what Eugene used to do for a living and what that reveals about his class and education, and he dismisses him outright.
Michonne, however, reveals that she was a lawyer in the old world.
“Public defender?” Hawkins asks with a clear racist undertone.
“Private practice. I had just made partner.”
So Michonne is ushered into another room to meet “The Governor.” This governor, however, is vastly different from “The Governor” we’re accustomed to. The title “Governor” always felt like a bit of an ironic inside joke as applied to the original villain. Brian Blake was a true sociopath, and so much about his appearance gave him away: wild, unkempt hair, “don’t-trust-me” mustache, and later on a freaking eyepatch. This new governor, however, looks like…a governor.
Pamela Milton is a sharp-looking middle-aged woman who wouldn’t seem out of place as a talking head on CNN. Her hair is clean, her makeup game is on point, and her jawline is strong. She exudes confidence and control. When Michonne is brought in to meet her, Milton knows that she is talking to a fancy lawyer - someone high class - so she immediately shares The Commonwealth’s M.O., in a thorough, yet succinct way.
“I’ll start by explaining who we are,” she says. “The Commonwealth is the shining beacon on the hill. It’s what rose from the ashes of our world and brought order to the chaos. We’re fifty thousand people strong, and bringing more people in all the time. We’re what you’ve been dreaming of - what you hoped still existed. Simply put - we’re civilization, it’s back. You’re welcome.”
Now, bringing “order to the chaos” is straight out of the “bad guy speech playbook.” It’s ominous and immediately begs the question, “How does one maintain that order? And will I like the methods?” The Walking Dead offers us some not-so-subtle clues that we likely won’t. Hornsby threatens Eugene’s contact, Stephanie, with a grim-sounding “work re-assignment” for the crime of…playing with a radio. Later, in issue 177, we are introduced to Milton’s brat son, Sebastian, and it’s clear that the rules don’t always apply to the “elite” of the Commonwealth.
Still, that last part of Milton’s speech is undeniably powerful. “Civilization. It’s back.” Isn’t that what our survivors have been looking for this entire time? Isn’t that what this has all been about? The Walking Dead is never going to introduce time travel as a plot device (*knock on wood*). Things are never going to go back to the way they were before Rick Grimes entered that coma. But this seems close enough, doesn’t it?
This is society. Each character we’re introduced to has a surname. Out in the “wild,” a surname isn’t necessary. Michonne, Negan, Andrea, Heath, Ezekiel Dwight, and more - there’s no need to exchange last names when you’re out in the shit and at risk of dying at any moment.
That’s what’s so enticing about The Commonwealth as villains. They present everything we assume we ever wanted for these characters. But from the look of things so far, we may have been wrong to want that. The Commonwealth is the old world, with its electricity, full stomachs, sense of security, and yes - even baseball. But in striving to recapture that old world, we and the characters, themselves forgot all the things that made that world suck: inequality, bigotry, unfair social structures, and yes - even baseball.
The Commonwealth represents order. It also represents bureaucracy and ultimately it represents us. The characters of The Walking Dead have been through hell. They deserve to rebuild society. But they deserve to rebuild it with all the brutal lessons they’ve learned from the old world. Kirkman, in presenting these new bureaucratic enemies, might have revealed that we never wanted our characters to find the old world. We wanted them to find a new one.
A theatrical version of the famous novel produced by Scott Rudin is the source of a new lawsuit.
To Kill A Mockingbird is inspiring some real-life courtroom drama.
The estate of the late-Mockingbird author Harper Lee has filed a lawsuit against Rudinplay, the production banner of Scott Rudin, over the script for his upcoming To Kill A Mockingbird Broadway production.
On June 29, 2015, months prior to Lee’s death at the age of 89, Lee optioned a live stage version of her beloved novel to Rudin, with Rudin paying $100,000 plus a share of royalties for the right to adapt her work. Rudin hired acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin to pen the adaptation’s script. Now Lee’s estate claims that Sorkin’s treatment strays too far from the source material and is taking Rudin to court in Alabama, the setting of the novel, over creative authority.
The contract that Rudin signed stated, “Author shall have the absolute and unconditional right to approve the Playwright for the Play. … Author shall also have the right to review the script of the Play and to make comments which shall be considered in good faith by the Playwright, and the Play shall not derogate or depart in any manner from the spirit of the Novel nor alter its characters. If the Author believes that the Play does so derogate or depart, or alter characters, Producer will be given notice thereof as soon as possible, and will be afforded an opportunity to discuss with Owner resolutions of any such concerns."
The representative from Lee’s estate, Tonja Carter, used an interview Sorkin gave to Vulture as the basis of her lawsuit. In the interview, Sorkin said, “As far as Atticus and his virtue goes, this is a different take on Mockingbird than Harper Lee's or [writer of the 1962 big-screen adaptation] Horton Foote's. He becomes Atticus Finch by the end of the play, and while he's going along, he has a kind of running argument with Calpurnia, the housekeeper, which is a much bigger role in the play I just wrote. He is in denial about his neighbors, and his friends and the world around him, that is as racist as it is, that a Maycomb County jury could possibly put Tom Robinson in jail when it's so obvious what happened here. He becomes an apologist for these people."
Sorkin’s planned version definitely isn’t the truth north lawyer readers are familiar with, with Finch set to be a tad more naive. Carter’s other objections include addition of two characters not in the novel, the "alteration" of the characters of Jem and Scout Finch, and an “unfair” depiction of 1930s small-town Alabama.
A spokesperson from Rudinplay issued the following statement about the lawsuit:
“This adaptation by Aaron Sorkin of To Kill a Mockingbird is a faithful adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel, which has been crafted within the constraints of the agreement executed by both Harper Lee and the play’s producers before Ms. Lee’s death. This action undertaken by the estate of Harper Lee is an unfortunate step in a situation where there is simply artistic disagreement over the creation of a play that Ms. Lee herself wanted to see produced, and is the kind of disagreement which one expects would be worked out easily between two parties who have a mutual interest in seeing a work produced. The estate has an unfortunate history of litigious behavior and of both filing and being the recipient of numerous lawsuits, and has been the subject of considerable controversy surrounding its handling of the work of Harper Lee both during her illness and after her death. This is, unfortunately, simply another such lawsuit, the latest of many, and we believe that it is without merit. While we hope this gets resolved, if it does not, the suit will be vigorously defended."
It looks like the two sides are prepared to meet in court. Hopefully they play as fair as Atticus himself.
There are some surprising references to Spider-Man in Jessica Jones Season 2 and Marvel Comics.
The words super strong, street level, wise cracking superhero could apply just as well to Jessica Jones as Spider-Man. Well...maybe not. Jessica drinks a lot more, is way more harsh and cynical, wouldn't be caught dead in a costume of any kind, and...I could go on, but you get the picture. But believe it or not, there are a number of similarities between the two characters, and a few direct references to Spidey on Jessica Jones Season 2, as well.
We'll start with the comic book connections, though. For one thing, Jessica was co-created by Brian Michael Bendis, the writer who had one of the longest creative runs on Spidey ever with the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. He's known for rapid-fire dialogue and wit, and you can see how the guy who puts words in Jessica's mouth was right for Peter Parker, too. But he added a story connection to Spidey and Jessica, although one that isn't explored on the show (and won't be).
In the comics, Jessica grew up in Queens, probably Forest Hills. She even went to the same high school as Peter Parker. The pair were actually classmates (and she had a crush on him). Of course, TV's Jessica Jones is older than the teenaged Peter Parker we have in the Marvel Cinematic Universe these days, so that will never be a thing. But it's a pretty solid connection in the comics. Jessica eventually went to work for The Daily Bugle (a paper we have yet to see pop up on Marvel's Netflix shows OR in the new Spider-Man movies), and had to catch all kinds of crap from nobody's favorite newspaperman, J. Jonah Jameson. Jessica and Spidey spent some time together when he was on the New Avengers roster with Luke Cage, too.
Jessica Jones Season 2 features some direct Spider-Man references, although they aren't exactly directed at Spidey himself. In season 2 episode 2, "AKA Freak Accident" Jessica makes a crack about someone's "scrotey sense," since his "balls tingling" is how the gentleman in question senses that something isn't quite right. While we didn't get much "Spidey sense" in Spider-Man: Homecoming, it looks like it plays a role in Avengers: Infinity War, if the trailer is anything to go by.
In that same episode, the poor, doomed Whizzer is seen on an old recording saying "with great power comes great mental illness. This is, of course, a play on the old Spidey motto (courtest of poor, dead Uncle Ben) that "with great power comes great responsibility." Jessica actually speaks those words in a later episode, although she isn't really thrilled about saying them. Where anyone would have heard this in the MCU is beyond me, but hey.
In season 2 episode 6 "AKA Face Time" there's a moment that isn't an explicit Spider-Man reference, but it sure does feel right out of "the old Parker luck" playbook. Jessica's phone sustains some water damage at the aquarium. A PI is useless without their contacts, but her resources are limited...so she pops into a bodega to buy a bag of rice to fix her phone. I feel like this is the Jessica Jones equivalent of Spidey needing to wear a paper bag over his head because he lost his mask, or hitching a ride him on a garbage truck because he's hurt and out of web fluid, or any number of ridiculous, low-rent superhero scenarios.
There's one other thing that Jessica has in common with Peter Parker. Neither has a driver's license.
There are two perfectly valid reasons for this. On the one hand, both characters spent their entire lives in New York City, where nobody needs a car, and very few residents bother owning one. Peter learned he could climb walls and swing on webs when he was 15. You need to be 16 in New York State to get a learner's permit. Why drive when you can do that, right? Jessica, of course, has other, exceedingly valid reasons for not wanting to get behind the wheel of a car. Also she is drunk all the time, so that would be extra bad.
Know of any other Jessica Jones and Spider-Man connections that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Hawkman is coming back to the DC Universe in a big way.
Oh, Hawkman. Nobody understands you. No, for real. I don't mean this in an existential, emotional sense, I mean that your continuity and history is an absolute mess and most of the time it's tough to figure out which version of the character anybody is looking at at any given time. Are you a reincarnated Egyptian prince trying to find your place in the world and using ancient weapons to fight modern menaces? Are you a policeman from the planet Thanagar...also using ancient weapons to fight modern menaces? Are you a combination of both?
You can see why this is confusing. Legends of Tomorrow made good use of Hawkman (and Hawkgirl) in its first season, but you get the impression that the character is ripe for the big screen treatment at some point. Fortunately, DC has made that (at least a little) easier lately with the events of their totally bonkers event, Dark Nights: Metal. And the best way to get a character as confusing as Hawkman ready for more general audience consumption is to kick off a brand new series that helps explain his origins. That's exactly what DC is doing with Hawkman #1 in June from the creative team of Robert Venditti (who has been doing really brilliant work on Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps) and Bryan Hitch (who recently wrapped a huge run on Justice League).
Here's the official synopsis for the new Hawkman series, courtesy of DC:
Spinning out of the events of Dark Knights: Metal and Hawkman: Found, Carter Hall resumes his role as an explorer of the DC Universe’s ancient and unknown. As Hawkman, Hall is on a quest to find out the true nature of his many incarnations throughout time, but he quickly finds out that elements from those past lives want to keep that secret hidden at any cost.
“Hawkman is one of the richest, most storied characters in comic book history, a cornerstone of the DC Universe,” Robert Venditti said in a statement. “His adventures have taken him from ancient history to the far-flung cosmos, and everywhere in between. It’s been too long since he had a series of his own, and I’m excited to bring him back to the DC Universe.”
“Hawkman has one of the most amazing visuals in comics,” added Hitch. “He’s the greatest warrior in all of the DCU, and with such a robust history to (literally) draw on, the sky’s the limit for how far we can take this.”
This cover by Bryan Hitch certainly looks like the most iconic version of Hawkman you can possibly imagine, right?
Hawkman #1 hits (you with a mace, probably) on June 13.
Chip Zdarsky, currently writing two of Marvel's best series, isn't going anywhere any time soon.
Chip Zdarsky, whose legendary "Marvel Ideas Journal" mysteriously disappeared from the internet the minute any of those stories became a realistic possibility, was announced as Marvel's most recent creator exclusive.
“I’m thrilled to be with Marvel,” Zdarsky shared. “This deal means I get to do whatever I want with whatever characters I want and nobody can stop me, which is great. I feel reinvigorated, like someone slapped a new #1 on me and, honestly? I couldn’t be happier.”
Zdarsky has risen over the past decade from perverted indie alter ego to a National Post illustrator and fake advice columnist to secretly the best writer working for Marvel. His current slate of books includes Peter Parker: Spider-Man with artist Andy Kubert, which captures Peter's voice better than any Spidey comic since at least the Big Time relaunch and has featured sarcasm, note-perfect one liners, and a staggering amount of genuine tension and emotion for a book where that is not expected; and Marvel Two-in-One, the Fantastic Four stealth relaunch that features the best Thing since that panel in Fantastic Four #587 where his powers come on on the other side of the Negative Zone gate from a dying Johnny.
He's also worked on Star Lord and wrote a love letter to Steve Gerber in a recent Howard the Duck relaunch. On the creator owned side, he is famous for his detailed art on Sex Criminals, and will hopefully return someday to the book he created with studio-mate Kagan McLeod, Kaptara about naked wizards and cat tanks.
When announcing Zdarsky's exclusive, Marvel also announced his art partners for Two-in-One and Spider-Man annuals coming in June: Declan Shalvey and Mike Allred, respectively. You can see the covers to each below.
Marvel Two-in-One and Peter Parker: Spider-Man continue to come out monthly. For more on these, Sex Crimz, brimping, Spideying, or any other Chip news, stick with Den of Geek!
The Shadowhunters will be back on Freeform for a third season. Here's everything we know about Shadowhunters Season 3...
Good news, Shadowhunters fans! The Freeform series has been renewed for a Season 3. It has an official release date and everything.
The show has released a few sneak peeks from the season premiere. Check it out...
In other news, Chai Hansen has joined the cast as Jordan Kyle, a new character in Season 3. Jordan and Simon become friends and roommates in the new season, so it makes sense Alberto Rosende would be the one who introduces his new castmate to the fandom...
We are thrilled to welcome Chai Hansen (@ch8i) to the #Shadowhunters family. He will be playing Jordan Kyle in #ShadowhuntersSeason3. Here's an exclusive video from Chai himself: https://t.co/UD1wF1IkTmpic.twitter.com/mMq1NcUaZo
— Shadowhunters (@ShadowhuntersTV) January 15, 2018
Here's everything else we know about Season 3...
Shadowhunters Season 3 Release Date
Shadowhunters Season 3 will hit Freefrom on Tuesday, March 20th at 8 p.m. ET. The upcoming 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.
Before we ever witnessed her awesome Force powers in The Last Jedi, Dark Horse gave us the Leia we all deserved.
This Star Wars article contains spoilers.
By the time the credits rolled on Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we were sure of one thing: Leia is incredibly strong in the Force! We won't spoil anything here, but there are one or two things we learn about Leia in Episode VIII that completely change our perception of the character.
Leia's tale in the Sequel Trilogy has been one of transition, brought about by an evolution in her leadership role. For one thing, she's not called "Princess" anymore. Now she's the General of the Resistance. This isn't the first time she's taken on a new role in the history of Star Warseither. In the Legends timeline, she was also Chief of State several times during the New Republic Era and even picked up a lightsaber once or twice and joined Luke Skywalker's Jedi Order.
Her role in the new film, plus the miniseries, inspired me to take a look back at one of my favorite moments in Princess Leia's long comic book history. While many will call to your attention her original appearances in the classic Marvel comics or her post-Return of the Jedi adventures in Dark Horse's legendary run, I direct you to a series that imagined the Leia that we all deserved: Leia, the mother of the New Jedi Order. Best of all, the miniseries wasn't even canon BEFORE the Legends rebranding...
Star Wars: Infinities was a three-part series released between 2001 and 2004. In the same vein as the Tales series, which ran roughly concurrently from 1999 to 2005, Infinities stories were never presumed to be canon. Think Marvel's What If? series or DC's Elseworlds. Star Wars Tales and Star Wars: Visionaries had similar premises, and contained everything from Legends canon stories to outright parodies, but the Infinities series stuck specifically to the Original Trilogy and told longer alternate universe stories.
In Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back, written by Dave Land and drawn by Davide Fabbri, we receive the gravest galaxy far, far away of all: Luke freezes to death on Hoth and Leia travels to Dagobah to train as a Jedi. And believe it when I tell you that things really get out of control. That's the sort of twist that Infinities uses as its thesis. What's the absolute most ridiculous way to turn these stories on their heads?
(For example, in Infinities: A New Hope, Leia becomes a Sith Lord after the Rebels are defeated at the Battle of Yavin...)
Because Luke dies in the ice after hearing Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice, a new potential Jedi must take up the young Rebel's mission to restore the Jedi Order. Before Luke perishes, he manages to tell Han to train as a Jedi and bring balance back to the Force. Han, who suffers from a bad case of delusions of grandeur, likes the idea. In fact, Han runs the first half of the miniseries pretty much, since he, hilariously and perfectly in-character, thinks that he’s the one with Jedi powers.
More things that happen because Luke is dead:
- Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson, members of Rogue Squadron, die during the assault on Hoth;
- Han doesn't go into the asteroid field, and instead travels straight to Bespin;
- Lando prevents Han's capture on Bespin, so Vader blows him up along with the rest of Cloud City;
- Han, Chewie, Leia, 3PO, and R2 travel to Dagobah to meet Yoda, who bluntly tells Han that Leia is the new chosen one;
- Han and friends leave Leia with Yoda to begin her training.
Much of the rest of this miniseries could be categorized as really bad fan fiction that thankfully never made it onto the big screen. After all, who could see The Empire Strikes Backhappening any other way? But it's a noble effort to try and make something new out of an already perfect film. And it's with Leia's journey that the true gift of this series is revealed.
Some scenes of her Jedi training are beautiful. They paint Leia as a scintillatingly powerful Jedi lacking only some common sense. She earns praise from Yoda, and then gets messy when her lightsaber strike causes an attacking swamp slug to explode. The scenes of her Jedi training work - and they do, even though they’re brief - because Leia takes to the training like she was destined to do, with a combination of Padme Amidala’s smarts and patience and Anakin Skywalker’s ferocity and bravery.
Leia is a fast learner, and you begin to see the difference between her and her deceased brother. She is more obedient, more open to the ways of the Force, and ultimately more successful in her training because she is patient. While Luke craves the adventure, Leia has seen enough death to make her wise to such urges. That is perhaps the true essence of her character.
Luke was taken by his boyishness in The Empire Strikes Back into a defeat that cost him his hand and his spirits (for a brief moment), but Leia is already a true leader by the time she begins her Jedi training. It fits together quite well. It almost makes you wonder if that should have been the true outcome of the Trilogy.
The comic contains one of Leia’s great moments: fresh from acquiring a lightsaber crystal, she faces Darth Vader on Dagobah, which has become a battleground. Leia dons a purple blade and fights valiantly. She doesn’t win, of course. Just like Luke, it takes someone else’s assistance for her to kill Vader. In fact, characters who aren’t even from the same trilogy come forward to save her.
The spirits of Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan, and Mace Windu all attack Vader, and Han, who manages to return to Dagobah on the Falcon after a lot of trouble back in Jabba's Palace, delivers a killing shot with his blaster. With his dying breath, Vader recognizes that he had a daughter.
And thus, the Star Wars saga came to an abrupt and less satisfying end. But it's really what we learn about Leia in this alternate version of the tale that stands the most true. Even if Luke hadn't died and Leia had learned to use the Force, she might have still been a more effective student and leader than her brother. She definitely wouldn't have spent so much time chasing Han around...
A dying Yoda tells Leia to find more Jedi. “Teach them as I have taught you,” Yoda says, and this, perhaps, is the most powerful result of the Infinities story - that Leia was directly instructed to become a teacher. Maybe she could go on to create a Jedi Academy like Luke’s. A better one, in fact.
Leia is presented as a legendary warrior in the Sequel Trilogy. She is dutiful, hardened, and perhaps a bit angry and frustrated with the result of her battles with the Empire and how little the galaxy has changed since the fall of the Emperor. But despite her doubts, she remains brave, decisive, and intelligent. Leia can be a well-characterized leader, like the end of Infinities version of The Empire Strikes Back story implies, even if she isn’t a Jedi. It's a shame that Episode IX will not be able to explore Leia's Force powers further, as Carrie Fisher passed away unexpectedly in 2016, but at least we got to see a wonderful tribute worthy of the character before we said a tear-filled goodbye to the great leader from Alderaan.
*A version of this article ran on March, 2, 2015.
Megan Crouse is a staff writer.
Following its adaptations of The White Queen and The White Princess, Starz continues its exploration of Tudor England...
Starz is continuing its on-screen adaptations of Philippa Gregory's bestselling historical royalty series. The premium cable channel just announced that it will be adapting The Constant Princess and The King's Curse into a limited series called The Spanish Princess. This will be the channels' third limited series adaptation of a Philippa novel, following a miniseries adaptation of The White Queen and and eight-episode limited series run of The White Princess.
Here's the official synopsis from Starz:
The Spanish Princess is a powerful, epic story that not only returns the audience to the world of royal court intrigue as seen uniquely through the perspective of the women, but also sheds light on a previously untold corner of history – the lives of people of color, living and working in 16th century London.
Catherine of Aragon, is the beautiful teenaged princess of Spain who was promised the English throne since she was a child. She arrives in a grey, rain-lashed England with her glorious and diverse court including her lady-in-waiting Lina - an African Moor. She is Princess of Wales now, but when her husband Prince Arthur dies suddenly, the throne seems lost to Catherine. Until she claims her marriage was never consummated and that as a virgin she may set her sights on the new heir, the charismatic and headstrong Prince Harry who will one day rule as King Henry VIII.
Emma Frost (The White Queen, The White Princess, The Man in the High Castle) and Matthew Graham (Life on Mars, Electric Dreams, Doctor Who) will serve as showrunners, with Colin Callender (The White Queen, The Dresser, Wolf Hall) and Scott Huff (Howards End, The White Princess, The Missing), Charlie Pattinson (The White Queen, Requiem, The Missing 1 & 2), and Charlie Hampton (Shameless, Wild at Heart) also serving as executive producers. In other words, this adaptation is in good hands.
The A United Kingdom director has signed on to helm the Cold War spy thriller based on a true story.
From 18th-century England in Belle to 1940s/1950s London and Botswana in A United Kingdom, British director Amma Asante has proven herself a master of bringing other periods to life on the big-screen. Now, she will take on Cold War-era Moscow in a big-screen adaptation of David E. Hoffman's The Billion Dollar Spy. According to Deadline, Asante has signed on to direct the feature for Walden Media and Weed Road Pictures.
The Billion Dollar Spy is the true story of Adolf Tolkachev, a Soviet electronics engineer who became the Pentagon's most valuable spy when, between the years of 1978 and 1985, he stole classified military technology secrets from the Soviets and gave them to the U.S. His intelligence in the form of tens of thousands of pages of highly classified documents is projected to have saved the U.S. government up to $2 billion in research and manufacturing costs.
The book the film will be based on journalist David E. Hoffman, and was published in 2015. Hoffman previously won a Pulitzer in 2010 for his book about the arms race The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy. The film adaptation of The Billion Dollar Spy will be written by Ben August (Remember).
"We are so proud to have Amma at the helm of this prestigious project," said president/CEO of Walden Media Frank Smith. Asante's next film will be the British romance drama war film Where Hands Touch, starring Amandla Stenberg and George MacKay.
More news on Billion Dollar Spy when we hear it.
Heavens to Mergatroyd! The Flash races Speed Buggy, Robin fights Blue Falcon, and more!
Imagine going back several years and telling someone that not only did DC Comics release a handful of comics based on Hanna-Barbera properties – many with adult reimaginings – but that there would be a series of weird-ass DC superhero crossovers that would then be followed by a series of equally-crazy DC/Looney Tunes crossovers. Those Hanna-Barbera crossovers would be successful enough that they’d do it again about a year or so later.
That’s where we’re at. That’s the society we live in. Previously, we got such matchups as Adam Strange/Johnny Quest, Green Lantern/Space Ghost, Suicide Squad/Banana Splits, and best of all, Booster Gold/Flintstones. Now it’s time for the second wave and it’ll be coming May 30.
That’s my birthday! Perfect, since I’ve kind of always wanted to see a Hong Kong Phooey comic book. No, really. Wizardonce did a news story about there being a Hong Kong Phooey comic on the way, but it was just an April Fools' Day prank and my heart never recovered.
There will be four 48-page specials, each at $4.99. First up is Aquaman/Jabberjaw Special #1 by Dan Abnett and Paul Pelletier, where Aquaman is called in to take on some kind of talking shark that’s been pestering people. As it turns out, Jabberjaw’s home has been turned into a hellscape at the hands of Aquaman’s brother Ocean Master. Now the two must team up to save Aqualand and bond over their inability to get respect.
The backup for this one will be Jeff Parker and Scott Kolins doing a crossover with Captain Caveman meeting the Spectre and the wizard Shazam.
Up next is Michael Cray, Bryan Hill, Denys Cowan, and Bill Sienkiewicz coming together to bring us Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey Special #1. Taking place in the 70s, Hong Kong Phooey is a detective fresh from surviving Vietnam. He and Black Lightning cross paths as part of a plot to stop a trio of assassins from gaining ultimate martial arts power. Also, the cover is made to look like the first issue of Power Man and Iron Fist and I love everything about this.
The backup has Jason Blood team up with the Funky Phantom because why the hell not?
Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth, and Norm Rapmund give us Flash/Speed Buggy Special #1. In this reality, Speed Buggy is a STAR Labs creation, imbedded with the Speed Force. As Flash and Speed Buggy race to figure out Speed’s limits, the two go on a time-travel adventure that involves having to fight Savitar, Speed Demon Buggy, and the devious Reverse Speed Buggy.
Finally, it’s Super Sons/Dynomutt Special #1by Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin, and Oclair Albert. Jon Kent and Damian Wayne head to Big City due to some family stuff and they find their ally Dynomutt, the cyborg dog, is in some bad shape. The two of them now have to not only help Dinomutt, but defeat and save Blue Falcon, who appears to be turned evil against his will.
Sounds like a lot of fun. Here’s looking forward to the inevitable Animal Man/Hair Bear Bunch crossover in phase 3.
Gavin Jasper doesn’t need intelligence drugs because he doesn’t know what they are. Follow him on Twitter!
As Marvel inches closer to Infinity War, here are some different takes on Thanos' epic story, from video games to alternate history.
In just over a month, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be hitting us with Avengers: Infinity War, where they’re going to tangle with Thanos the Mad Titan. Since showing up at the end of the first Avengersmovie, it’s been pretty apparent that Thanos would be scouring the cosmos for the Infinity Gems/Stones so as to do an adaptation of the hit early 90s miniseries Infinity Gauntlet.
The comic has become rather iconic in Marvel history and it makes sense that they’d spend the better part of a decade building towards it. Although, don't expect it to resemble the original comic too closely. Not only are there plenty of liberties to be had, but it also seems to take a lot from the more recent comic event Infinity. Not that that's a bad thing. Infinity Gauntlet is a storyline that’s been retold, adapted, and twisted in all sorts of ways since first appearing 27 years ago.
Here are all the different variations of Thanos and Adam's Excellent Adventure.
INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991)
Jim Starlin, George Perez, and Ron Lim
We’re going full spoiler on this.
As a follow-up to the two-part story Thanos Quest, the Mad Titan Thanos has control of all six Infinity Gems and is essentially God. Mephisto hangs around to feed his ego, while naturally plotting to overthrow him. Thanos also has his granddaughter Nebula hanging around, stuck in a catatonic zombie state because Thanos is a jerk. Since Thanos wants to win the love of Death herself, he uses the Gauntlet to wipe out half of the universe. 50% of all living things simply vanish, including a big chunk of the superheroes. Adam Warlock is reborn and goes to the remaining heroes, coming up with this awesome plan of going to Thanos’ space home and punching him in his stupid scrotum face. This is really a swerve because he plans to have them all killed off as a distraction so Silver Surfer can sneak by and steal the Gauntlet off Thanos’ hand.
Meanwhile, Thanos’ whims have caused Earth to drift away from the sun, making it colder and colder by the hour. Odin and all the other heavyweight god types on Earth are blocked off from interfering. As a way of making Death jealous, Thanos uses the Gauntlet to create a mate in Terraxia.
Mephisto suggests that Thanos hold back against the heroes to impress Death, so he scales it back a lot, which gives the heroes a 1% chance. As hard as they try, they still lose horribly and are killed one-by-one by Thanos and Terraxia. After Captain America goes full-on badass and stares down Thanos despite everything, Silver Surfer flies in and misses his mark completely. About then, all the galactic heavy hitters – the tapestry of the universe itself – show up. Thanos goes back to full power and makes mincemeat of them all. He transforms himself into a form that’s one with the universe, which leaves his physical Gauntlet out in the open. Nebula takes it and steals the power, reverting everything to how it once was...except for the part where she still has all the power.
Thanos teams up with Warlock and a couple of the more powerful heroes, ultimately defeating Nebula when Warlock takes control of the Soul Gem and shorts it out a bit, causing Nebula to drop the Gauntlet. A fight breaks out and Warlock comes out wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, swearing to use it wisely. Thanos fakes his own death, but is later seen living a quiet life as a farmer.
So that’s Infinity Gauntlet Prime. Let’s see how other writers and mediums have messed around with the formula.
WHAT IF THANOS CHANGED GALACTUS INTO A HUMAN BEING? (1992)
What If v.2 #34
Scott Gimple and Tom Morgan
What If #34 was a humor-based issue of the series and while most of it is painfully unfunny, the opening seven-page short story is humorous and even a little bit uplifting in its own weird way. No joke, this is actually my all-time favorite comic book story.
As Thanos fights the cosmic entities, he decides to get creative when dispatching Galactus. He transforms him into a human being and sends him down to Earth. Galactus awakens naked in a trailer park, forgetting who he is while being a 100% facsimile of Elvis Presley! A single mother named Gertrude takes him in and thinks he’s the real deal with amnesia. She explains everything about Elvis to him and while he still has no memory, he trusts her and decides that he is indeed the King. He swears to do good with this second chance by not getting involved with the pitfalls of fame, such as drugs.
Also, the comic features the million dollar line, “Ma’am, the hunger gnaws.”
Galactus gets back into music, trying to stay on the down low, but soon people take notice and we’re about to get the second coming of Elvismania. Right as he’s about to see to the public, Galactus is confronted by Adam Warlock, now in possession of the Infinity Gauntlet. He wills Galactus his memory, but the Eater of Worlds doesn’t want to return. He’s found a better identity as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and chooses to stay with Gertrude and her son, giving both Galactus and Elvis Presley’s legacy a second chance.
WHAT THE--?! #24 (1992)
Hilary Barta, Doug Rice, and Rubik Tyler
Marvel’s lesser-known humor book from the early 90s once featured a Mad Magazine-style spoof of Infinity Gauntlet called “The Infinity Mitten.” Thermos and his advisor McFisto go on a double-date with Death and Taxes, but Thermos is disappointed that Death has no interest in him. Using the Mitten, he removes half of life in the universe...except on the first try he accidentally just removes everyone’s lower half. Earth’s heroes go after him, but brute force isn’t enough. After talking over various ideas to remove the Infinity Mitten, they go with challenging Thermos to strip poker. They all lose and die of embarrassment.
The cosmic beings show up to throwdown, but Thermos points out that he’s an atheist and they all vanish. Silver Surfer (or whatever his parody name is) starts whining about all the death he’s seen, causing Adam Warlox to finally snap at him for being such a downer. Warlox shoots him with a revolver, which Thermos steals and uses on Warlox and McFisto.
Thinking that killing off an entire universe of heroes and villains is enough, Thermos is shocked to see that Death is now dating Nintendo's Mario. Death explains that her new boyfriend is killing off the entire comics industry by himself!
WHAT IF THE SILVER SURFER POSSESSED THE INFINITY GAUNTLET? (1993)
What If v.2 #49
Ron Marz, Scott Clark, and Kevin West
I absolutely love this issue and would have liked a variation of this as the actual ending of Infinity Gauntletinstead of what we got. Surfer succeeds in snatching the Gauntlet from Thanos’ hands. First thing he does is set everything back to normal. Then he sends everyone back home except Warlock and Thanos, who he keeps as advisors...but really as witnesses as he makes the universe a better place. He starts off with the well-meaning moves you’d expect. He eliminates disease, hunger, soothes hatred (a Kree and a Skrull are shown greeting each other happily), and even makes Death into a more alluring figure instead of something to be feared. Then he goes to Hell to see if Mephisto would be cool being remade into something a bit more pleasant, but Mephisto instead starts a fight. Surfer vaporizes him and goes back to his home to think about stuff.
Warlock and Thanos go to Dr. Strange because, boy howdy, Surfer’s going nuts with all that power. Strange figures the best way about this is to summon Surfer’s old flame Shalla-Bal to talk some sense into him, especially since Surfer’s thinking of removing randomness completely and giving the universe complete order. Arguments and fighting happen, but seeing Shalla-Bal so hurt brings Surfer back to sanity. He uses the Infinity Gauntlet’s power to destroy itself – and seemingly he and Shalla-Bal with it – but we discover that the two of them are secretly alone on a paradise planet of their creation to live the rest of their lives in secret.
As everything returns to normal, Thanos stands alone, holding up the scrapped remains of the Gauntlet. With a smirk, he says, “So close. Oh, yes... So very close.”
MARVEL SUPER HEROES (1995)
Arcade Fighting Game
In a follow-up to X-Men: Children of the Atom, Capcom released a one-on-one fighting game called Marvel Super Heroes, which is loosely based on Infinity Gauntlet. In it, you control a hero or villain as you gather the Infinity Gems from your opponents, working your way to fighting Dr. Doom and then Thanos. Upon meeting him, Thanos will steal your Gems and complete the Infinity Gauntlet before the final battle. While there isn’t much story in the game, it definitely stays loyal to the comic in ways. For instance, Thanos’ battleground is his base from Infinity Gauntlet, where you can see the likes of Thor, Nova, Drax, Scarlet Witch, and She-Hulk frozen in stone as Mephisto and Death idle in the background.
The game is kicking rad if you haven’t played it, letting you unleash the power of the various Gems in battle, each giving you a different ability. The console version includes playable versions of the bosses, as well as Anita, the emotionless little girl from Capcom’s Darkstalkersseries.
Here are the various endings based on the different characters defeating Thanos:
Anita: Simply uses the Gems to free the heroes from their statue forms. Nothing else.
Blackheart: Is asked to hand it over from his father Mephisto, but Blackheart turns on him and chooses to rule reality.
Captain America: Reverts the heroes to normal. Then pals around with Thor and throws the Infinity Gems into a black hole so nobody can use them.
Dr. Doom: Bitches out Thanos and rules the Earth with the Infinity Gauntlet. Yeah, they don’t get very fancy with this one.
Hulk: Reverts the heroes to normal. Thanos wants to die, but Hulk leaves him begging. Hulk goes on a second honeymoon to Vegas with Betty, but he chooses to get there by leaping with Betty holding on for dear life.
Iron Man: Reverts the heroes to normal. Considers using the Gauntlet, but then refuses. Later, he’s bummed to discover that his nervous system problems are gone. He selfishly used the power after all. Cap tells him not to worry about it.
Juggernaut: Is ready to grab the Infinity Gauntlet and get his vengeance on Xavier. Suddenly, Adam Warlock pops in to take it away, thanking Juggernaut for saving reality and then sending him back to Earth. I hate Adam Warlock.
Magneto: Creates a second moon around Earth and makes it a permanent home for mutants, finally separating himself from the humans. He is the eternal ruler of New Avalon.
Psylocke: Reverts the heroes to normal. She returns to the mansion, thinking about how she has experienced being molded to the will of others before and would never, ever do that to another person.
Shuma-Gorath: Absorbs the power of the Infinity Gems and grows in size, allowing it to feast upon reality itself.
Spider-Man: Reverts the heroes to normal. Goes home to Mary Jane to find out that he’s going to be a father. This is a lot less uplifting when you remember that this game was released during Clone Saga. Ugh.
Thanos: Has two separate endings. Either he chooses to become one with the cosmos as the true ruler of the universe, or he gives up the power and lives on as a farmer.
Wolverine: Reverts the heroes to normal. He realizes that he could use the power to find out about his past, but refuses. Instead, he leaves the X-Men to find the answers himself.
Thanos would return in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, still with the Infinity Gauntlet, but the game lacks anything resembling a coherent storyline. Then in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the Gauntlet is treated as a red herring as Thanos is more interested in fashioning Ryu's dark energies into a Satsui No Hado Gauntlet so he can kill (or at least hurt) Death.
MARVEL SUPER HEROES: WAR OF THE GEMS (1996)
SNES Side-Scrolling Brawler
You would think that this would just be a lesser incarnation of the one-on-one fighter I just talked about, but no. This Capcom release is more of a sequel to the side-scroller beat ‘em up X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse. In it, you play through with your choice of Hulk, Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Iron Man. Coincidentally, Iron Man’s select portrait is just a picture of his sprite from the arcade game. Go figure.
The game is one big mishmash of both Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity War, which makes sense, considering Infinity Gauntlet wasn’t really filled to the brim with villains to fight. Here, you get to fight evil doppelganger clones of various heroes, like Hawkeye, Vision, Sasquatch, Iron Man, etc. At first you search for the various Infinity Gems, trying to stop the likes of Magus and Dr. Doom from getting their hands on them, but Thanos gets the last one. After going through Nebula, you face Thanos and...well, it doesn’t really have the same dire sense of danger when he isn’t at full godhood. At least in the arcade game, he’s got all six Gems. Here, he has one against your five. That’s hardly impressive.
I guess Thanos has the Reality Gem because literally all he does is cause fire to burst from the ground and summon a closing stone wall. That’s it. He’s slow as molasses and his death throes feel like they take an hour.
Afterwards, Adam Warlock takes all the Gems for himself and sends everyone home. Feeling the need to give this epilogue some filler, they ask if Earth will ever truly be safe. When all your enemies move like snails, Earth isn't in that much danger, I suppose.
WHAT IF THE IMPOSSIBLE MAN OBTAINED THE INFINITY GAUNTLET? (1998)
What If v.2 #104
Thomas Virkaitis and Gregg Schigiel
So you know that part where Silver Surfer tries to swipe Thanos’ Gauntlet? It almost works in the sense that he removes the glove, but he fumbles and drops it. It’s then grabbed by none other than the annoying shape-shifter of the cosmos, the Impossible Man! Although Thanos is no threat to him, he does basically pee himself once all the cosmic beings show up. He escapes with Surfer and points out that he’s totally capable of handling the burden of wielding the Infinity Gauntlet. To prove his point, he brings Surfer to Zenn-La, his lost home planet. He’s reunited with Shalla-Bal and all should be good, but Surfer can’t help but feel that things aren’t quite right.
He’s summoned by Galactus because although Impossible Man’s claimed to be about using the Gauntlet justly, he’s in the middle of exacting revenge on Galactus for eating his home world of Poppup way back when. Surfer fights him and loses, but convinces him to do the right thing by pointing out that he can just rebuild Poppup and return all its people. Galactus agrees to help, but due to plot device BS, Poppup can only be created at the expense of the fake Zenn-La. Surfer ultimately goes along with it because while he can never accept his fake world as real, Impossible Man is too oblivious and simple-minded to really question his.
Poppup is reborn, the Poppupian race is reborn, and Impossible Man gives up his power to the Elders of the Universe. Everything seems fine, but then Surfer realizes that the Poppupians are all purple and green versions of heroes and villains, fighting it out like a bunch of goofs. He looks on in horror while a purple and green Forbush Man waves at the reader from behind his back.
WHAT IF: NEWER FANTASTIC FOUR (2009)
What If One-Shot
Paul Tobin and Patrick Scherberger
A little backstory on this one. Jeff Parker and Mike Wieringo were working on a What If issue about the New Fantastic Four (Spider-Man, Hulk, Wolverine, and Ghost Rider) remaining as a team. Unfortunately, Wieringo passed away during the making of it, so they had various artists finish the book in his place as a tribute. Even if it wasn’t such a heartwarming sentiment, What If This was the Fantastic Four? is an excellent comic to read.
This is the sequel, which asks what would happen if Infinity Gauntlet happened in a timeline with the New Fantastic Four, except that Ghost Rider is wiped out of existence from Thanos’ power and is replaced by Iron Man. Their first meeting with Thanos doesn’t go so well, since Hulk’s attempt to intimidate him with how strong he is in relation to his anger causes Thanos to wipe out a chunk of the Milky Way and state, “And I’m not even angry.” The omnipotent Thanos also separates Hulk and Banner out of curiosity and his desire to show off. During all of this, Wolverine notices how Mephisto is able to steer Thanos around with his words.
Like in regular continuity, Adam Warlock brings up his awesome plan of, “Do what I say and don’t ask questions so you don't know that I’m using your horrible deaths as a diversion,” but this time it doesn’t fly. As Stark puts it, “I don’t [know what I’m doing], but I don’t think he does either.” When they go at Thanos, Wolverine is the only one with a plan. He chooses not to fight Thanos and instead badmouths his partners while talking Thanos into thinking that Mephisto is trying to horn in on Death. Thanos buys this lie and vaporizes Mephisto. Wolverine worms his way into position as Thanos’ new right-hand man and explains to the other Fantastic Four members that he hopes that Thanos will reward his loyalty by forcing Jean Grey to love him.
Thanos continues to effortlessly defeat all challengers, even when Iron Man creates a suit of armor out of a fallen Celestial. Wolverine talks up how Thanos hasn’t even physically touched Death and that love is all about contact. Thanos gets all flustered because it isn’t proper, but Wolverine eggs him on to just touch her face. As the nervous Thanos reaches out to do so, Wolverine chops his arm off with a smiling, “Sucker!” and has successfully cut off his source of power.
Hulk punches Thanos out, Spider-Man uses the Gauntlet to put everything back the way it was, the Gauntlet is given to the Watchers to guard, and Bruce Banner becomes an honorary Watcher. Free from being one with the Hulk, he lives in the Watchers' citadel for the rest of his life, practically bathing in the vast knowledge available to him.
Too bad they didn’t keep going with What If: New Fantastic Four stories. They were only two issues, but they were a lot of fun.
WHAT IF: SECRET WARS (2009)
What If One-Shot
Karl Bollers and Jorge Molina
This one only sort of counts. Thanos only gets one mention, but the story is more of an alternate history companion piece that makes a couple parallel references to the original story. In Secret Wars, Dr. Doom was able to siphon off the powers of Galactus and the Beyonder, making him nigh-omnipotent. In this reality, he keeps the power and fully defeats the heroes. He easily conquers Earth, all while leaving all the heroes alive and using his power to make sure Sue Storm’s pregnancy (which resulted in a miscarriage in regular continuity) is a healthy one. He leaves the world a utopia and flies into space. The thing to take away from this story is that at his heart, Dr. Doom is not a ruler, but a conqueror. That’s why he’s ruled the world no less than three times in regular continuity and always left it behind for the sake of struggle.
His attempt to take over various alien empires is met with resistance, so he wipes out all who oppose him. Then he seeks out even more power by slaying the Elders of the Universe and stealing the Infinity Gems. With the Soul Gem, he enters Hell, frees his mother, and kills Mephisto (which he says would only be temporary, since he’s the Devil and all). Next on the agenda is taking out the only beings higher than him on the food chain: the Celestials. The fight lasts 407 years (!) and in the end, Doom is supreme, albeit with the Infinity Gems destroyed.
During the battle, a shockwave knocked Earth out of orbit, much like in Infinity Gauntlet. Doom sees that life will eventually come to an end. Without a second thought, he uses the remainder of his cosmic power to set the Earth back in place and save the planet. The final scene shows, fittingly enough, that he’s become a farmer, freely appearing with no faceplate. He no longer feels ashamed of his scars and plans to rebuild his rule from the ground up, fully understanding the true potential of mankind.
Personally one of my favorite Dr. Doom stories.
SUPER HERO SQUAD SHOW SEASON 2 (2010)
Film Roman, Ingenious Media, and Marvel Animation
The wacky cartoon series based on the toys with the creepy smiles is a fun enough diversion. The second season of the show is all about the Infinity Gauntlet with the first half of it being based on Thanos’ quest to get all the Gems. Thanos is voiced by Jim Cummings, meaning he sounds like pretty much every Jim Cummings voice you’ve ever heard. Interesting thing here is that Thanos has Nebula captive and he refers to her as his sister. So if you’re keeping score, she’s his granddaughter in the comics, daughter in the movies, and sister in the cartoon.
The whole Death concept is forgotten about here and Thanos is purely out for galactic power for the sake of being an evil overlord with galactic power. In the episode “Fate of Destiny,” he gets the full set of Gems and the Super Hero Squad goes on the attack. They are soundly defeated (mostly thanks to Thanos’ reality-warping catchphrase, “DO OVER!”), as are Dr. Doom and his underlings. Thanos is then challenged by the Silver Surfer, who is wielding the Infinity Sword, the ultimate weapon of the first season’s finale. Thanos challenges him to a winner-take-all fight, which Surfer accepts. When they shake on it, Surfer pulls off Thanos’ glove.
Unfortunately, the Infinity Sword has been slowly corrupting Surfer over time, so having the Infinity Sword AND the Infinity Gauntlet drives him over the edge. He sends his former teammates spiraling through the multiverse, giving us children’s cartoon adaptations of 1602and Planet Hulk. Also, he knocks Earth out of orbit, making it increasingly cold. For the remainder of the series, he’s the main villain.
In the finale, “The Final Battle! (‘Nuff Said!)” The Dark Surfer is challenged by the team of Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Hulk, Wolverine, Falcon, and Thor. Surfer chooses to split himself into six beings for his own amusement. Each Surfer is powered by a separate Gem, but the heroes have figured that each one is capable of countering a specific Surfer based on their own abilities/personalities. For instance, the Mind Gem has little effect on Hulk and Wolverine’s surliness is able to overpower the Soul Gem. With the help of Ronan the Accuser, they defeat Silver Surfer and get all the Gems together.
It’s not over until they find where he hid the Infinity Sword, leading to a final battle between Iron Man and Dr. Doom, where they accidentally destroy both the Sword and the Gems. The resulting explosion fixes the universe, including Earth, and all is well. Surfer’s back to his senses and willingly accepts his Kree imprisonment. No longer able to get his revenge on the Surfer, Thanos decides to go hang out at a chicken farm instead. Cute.
SUPER HERO SQUAD: INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)
Adventure Game for Nintendo DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS
Griptonite Games and THQ
Around the time of the second season’s debut, they released a video game tie-in where you go around fighting enemies with two heroes at a time. In the story, Iron Man and Hulk are picking up some new boots for Thor’s birthday. The boots get mixed up with Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet and wackiness ensues. Eventually, Thanos gets all the Gems. The duo of Iron Man and Scarlet Witch are able to defeat him, but then Silver Surfer swoops in to steal the Infinity Gauntlet. Corrupted by its power immediately, he does away with Galactus and, like in the cartoon, splits into six versions of himself. While Spider-Man sits this one out, the other twelve heroes pair up and fight the various Surfers one-by-one.
Once defeated, Surfer comes to his senses. He and Iron Man throw the Infinity Gems and Infinity Sword into a rift in reality, taking care of that problem. Meanwhile, all the villains are busy fighting each other. Iron Man figures to just let that sort itself out. The heroes celebrate Thor’s birthday, but it turns out his boots have been enchanted by Loki to make Thor dance for an eternity. Iron Man and Hulk search for the receipt so they can return it.
AVENGERS AND THE INFINITY GAUNTLET (2010)
Brian Clevinger, Lee Black, and Brian Churilla
This out-of-continuity story is a reimagining of Infinity Gauntlet as an all-ages comedy book. With the ultimate power of the Gauntlet, Thanos wipes out half of life in the universe for the sake of seeing chaos reign and the survivors destroy each other. The remaining heroes only know the where of the threat’s source and not the who or what. Sue Storm puts together a team of Ms. Marvel, Hulk, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Dr. Doom bursts into the room and after a fight where he takes down everyone on his own, Doom offers to join the team. Their transport is US-Ace, the star of the forgotten 80s comic US-1.
The real treasure of this miniseries is watching Dr. Doom interact with the uncouth US-Ace. Especially when they visit the space trucker’s parents, who run a space diner. Ace’s mother bullies Doom into making everyone sandwiches, which is amazing.
Once they come across Thanos near the end of the third issue, they all get thrashed. He’s only stopped thanks to US-Ace driving his space truck into him thanks to his truckopathic link (Doom grumbles, “Oh Lord, he has a name for it...”). The act knocks off the Gauntlet and while Doom eventually gets his hands on it, it doesn’t work. Turns out he’s a perfect Doombot created by Doom to be released into the world if he were to ever go missing for whatever reason, such as, say, half of the universe's population magically vanishing into thin air. Spider-Man stops Thanos from getting the Gauntlet back on his hand and then uses its power to wish for a universe where Thanos never had the Gems in the first place.
Spider-Man ends up back on Earth where he’s the only one who remembers the entire adventure. He isn’t too broken up about it, but he wishes someone else out there would remember what he did. Elsewhere, Thanos plots his eventual revenge by sketching Spider-Man’s head into the ground, then adding an X over it.
I’m just bummed that despite having a million characters in Avengers: Infinity War, we won’t get to hear Dr. Doom sarcastically respond to US-Ace with, “What a colorful turn of phrase. Perhaps you will regale us with more of them over a ‘mess of biscuits’ later.”
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE: SEASON TWO (2015)
Marvel Animation, Man of Action
Ugh. So, once upon a time, there was this badass Avengers cartoon that people really liked. Then they canceled it and replaced it with Avengers Assemble, which I guess is still a thing. Anyway, much like Super Hero Squad Show, the second season is about Thanos and his quest to acquire the Infinity Gauntlet. By the halfway point, he has it and he loses in an incredibly embarrassing way.
Iron Man has Arsenal, a robot built by his father that can absorb energies and is programmed to protect Tony at all costs. After Thanos imprisons the Avengers with magic rock hands from the ground, Arsenal just walks towards him. Thanos -- with control over time and space and so on -- shoots lasers at him. Iron Man explains that Arsenal is able to absorb such a thing. Knowing this, Thanos' strategy is to SHOOT LASERS HARDER because holy shit. Arsenal yoinks the Gauntlet off Thanos' hand, freeing up the Avengers to beat Thanos into mush.
Then Arsenal becomes Ultron because reasons.
Oh yeah, there was a digital pinball game based on Infinity Gauntlet too, but I have no idea how to even write that up. I watched footage of people playing it and couldn’t make heads or tails of what the hell is even going on.
Gavin Jasper will never not love that Impossible Man/Roddy Piper panel. Follow him on Twitter!
Thanos' lieutenants are about to make a big splash in Avengers: Infinity War. But who are they?
With the approximately 134 characters in Avengers: Infinity War, it would make sense that the big, climactic villain of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos, would bring help. For this, the movie's creative team tapped The Black Order, a group of relative newcomers to the comics, but each with a very cool look and an interesting power set.
But who are The Black Order? Why should the Avengers be worried about these folks? We've got the goods for you right here.
The Black Order
The first appearance of the full team was a part of Infinity, the first big crossover of Jonathan Hickman's epic run. They were Thanos's generals, sent to Earth at the head of his invasion force to find the Infinity Gems and also his illegitimate son. They are a collection of super badasses, who decimated the forces remaining on Earth (who, to be fair, were not necessarily a massive collection of the biggest guns in the Marvel Universe, but they at least had the Illuminati heading the crew).
In the comics, they were also known as the Cull Obsidian, though that's been changed for the movie. In the film, they're being referred to as the Children of Thanos. That's an interesting shift: both considering they were sent to kill Thane, Thanos's son, in the comics; and because Thanos already has a couple of "children" in Gamora and Nebula.
We'll see how that change impacts their backstories and Thanos's.
Glaive is the leader of the Black Order, Thanos' most trusted general. The only member of the Order co-created by Jim Cheung, he is a cruel, vicious bastard with enhanced strength, speed, agility and endurance, and is functionally immortal as long as his signature glaive is unbroken. He's married to Proxima Midnight, and a brother to Black Dwarf.
Glaive led the charge to find Thane on Earth during Infinity, and was eventually nearly destroyed and trapped in amber at the end of the miniseries. He was eventually freed and became part of Thanos's Cabal, destroying worlds to protect the 616 from Incursions, until Secret Wars, where he escaped to Battleworld along with the rest of the bad guys. Upon the multiverse's resurrection sans Thanos, he reformed the Black Order, only to give up leadership with extreme prejudice (he committed seppuku) following Thanos's return.
He is currently back alive again in the weekly New/Uncanny/Classic Avengers crossover, "No Surrender."
Proxima Midnight is a killer. She was created by Hickman and Jerome Opena for Infinity. Seen above conquering Atlantis after basically one page of existence, she has all the powers of her husband, Corvus Glaive, but her spear can turn to light and it almost never misses.
She survived the end of Infinity with Thanos and Glaive, i.e. trapped in amber. She then joined them in the Cabal, rampaging across the multiverse until they escaped to Battleworld, where she promptly killed a Thor. Upon the restoration of the multiverse, she rejoined Thanos and teamed with Hela to try and bring the Ultimate Universe's Mjolnir to him as a tribute in the pages of The Unworthy Thor.
She failed, got killed by Hela, and resurrected by the Grandmaster for "No Surrender."
Black Dwarf is functionally invulnerable. Created by Hickman and Opena, Black Dwarf is super dense (in a packed matter sort of way, not in a thick headed moron way) and has unbreakable skin, and yet he was still defeated trying to invade Wakanda. He retreated, and as a punishment for his failure, was expelled from the Order and sent to capture The Peak, S.W.O.R.D.'s orbiting base, ahead of the return of the Avengers army and the collected unified universal forces who were just finishing battle with the Builders. He failed there too, and had his head caved in by Ronan the Accuser.
He was also resurrected for "No Surrender," where he's had a similarly nondescript and failure-ridden career. In the film, Black Dwarf is apparently undergoing a name change to Cull Obsidian, which was the team's alternate name originally.
Ebony Maw is a slippery bastard. His true power, as presented by Hickman and Opena in Infinity, appears to be "lying." He has manifested no physical abilities: just the ability to manipulate anyone and anything into doing what he wants, like making Dr. Strange summon Shuma Gorath in Harlem (that happened).
He was the member of the order who found Thane. Once there, he talked Thane into wearing a containment suit to stop his powers, then summoned Thanos and the rest of the Order. He then decided he'd rather just see what happens with Thane, so he convinced the boy to freeze the remainder of the Order in amber, and the two left. He rejoined the team for "No Surrender" earlier this year.
Check out his creepy movie look...
The one member of the Order not making it into the movies is Supergiant. She's an omnipath, a psionic ghost who can control or possess or psychically consume anyone she comes into contact with. She spent some time during Infinity screwing with the X-Men before heading to Wakanda to set off Black Bolt's Terrigen bomb. When she did, Maximus the Mad, who held the trigger, had Lockjaw teleport her and the bomb to an uninhabited planet where she was apparently killed. Like her colleagues, she was resurrected for "No Surrender."
Check out the whole skeevy squad in the movie...
For more on the Black Order, Thanos, or Avengers: Infinity War, stick with Den of Geek!
Bryan Hill is taking over Detective Comics, and his first order of business is pairing Batman and Black Lightning.
Den of Geek has learned that the next writer of Detective Comics, will be Bryan Hill, taking over from James Tynion IV, who has been steering the title since Rebirth. Hill is currently working on The Wild Storm: Michael Cray, spinoff of The Wild Storm where a more grounded Deathblow travels the Wildstorm universe murdering evil, scumbag Justice League analogs. It is as fun as it sounds.
Hill rose to prominence in comics with his work on Postal. He's also one of the leads on the recent Cyberforce relaunch and has a substantial career outside comics as a pop culture consultant. Hill is also a writer for Ash vs Evil Dead.
Detective Comics isn't Hill's only upcoming DC project. It was also recently announced that Hill will be teaming up with Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz on Who the Hell Cares, You Should Just Buy It Because It Will Be Great starring Black Lightning and Hong Kong Phooey. Coincidentally, Hill will be bringing Jefferson Pierce (aka Black Lightning) with him to the pages of Detective Comics.
Hill will take over starting with Detective Comics #982 for a five-issue arc called "On the Outside," which will kick off in June.
Here's the official info on the books, and then let's have a chat about what it all means:
DETECTIVE COMICS #982
Written by BRYAN HILL • Art by MIGUEL MENDONÇA • Cover by EDDY BARROWS • Variant cover by MARK BROOKS
“On the Outside” part one! Duke Thomas. Cassandra Cain. They and other young heroes don’t intend to stand down, no matter what Batman thinks is best. Who can Batman trust to guide them? They need a teacher...and Black Lightning fits the bill!
On sale JUNE 13 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
DETECTIVE COMICS #983
Written by BRYAN HILL • Art by MIGUEL MENDONÇA • Cover by EDDY BARROWS • Variant cover by MARK BROOKS
“On the Outside” part two! Batman wanted Black Lightning involved in the lives of his protégés—but how involved was the Dark Knight thinking? What kind of missions will Jefferson Pierce take them on? And what, exactly, is he whispering in their ears about Batman himself?
On sale JUNE 27 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
So. "On the Outside." A story about young heroes. Black Lightning. Yep, it sure sounds like we're getting a stealth relaunch of The Outsiders in the pages of Detective Comics this summer! Just on the off chance you aren't familiar, Batman & The Outsiders was a comic that first hit in 1983, which featured the Dark Knight leading a team of heroes that consisted of Katana, Metamorpho, Black Lightning (him again!), and others. We're ready for this concept to be revisited, aren't you?
Hill is on Detective Comics for five issues. What could that next project be? It...it couldn't be an Outsiders book, could it?
Check out the cover to Detective Comics #982!
We talked to All Our Wrong Todays author about his fave time travel stories and what it's like to adapt this book into a screenplay.
This month's Den of Geek Book Club pick is All Our Wrong Todays, a time travel novel that posits our timeline is the wrong one. How does it know? Well, protagonist Tom Barren is the one who messed it up.
The book is an edge-of-your-seat science fiction adventure that experiments with form and perspective and asks some gloriously existential questions in the process. We had the chance to talk to author and screenwriter Elan Mastai about writing his debut novel—where the idea came from, how it grew, and what adapting the book into a screenplay has been like.
Here's what he told us..
Den of Geek: Where did the idea for All Our Wrong Todays start? An idea, a character, a world? … An avocado?
Elan Mastai: Wouldn’t it be great if the whole novel came from a traumatic experience I once had with a bad avocado? When I was a kid, my grandfather had this terrific collection of old science-fiction pulps from the 1950s and 60s. I loved reading the wild, weird stories and staring at the garishly painted covers of robots and rocket ships, mad scientists and nifty technology.
But even as a kid it was clear to me that the future wasn’t turning out the way these writers and artists imagined. So, it’s a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time: what happened to the future we were supposed to have? With this novel, I came up with an answer—Tom Barren stole a time machine and screwed it up for all of us.
Was this book always written in first-person? Can you talk about that decision?
I had the idea for All Our Wrong Todays for a few years before I actually wrote it, because I just couldn’t figure out my way into the story. Until one day in July 2014, while walking my dog down the street it occurred to me, wait, what if I tell the story in the first person? Suddenly Tom’s voice popped into my head, along with the book’s first sentence: “So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed have.” I sat down on a bench, pulled out my cell, and tapped out what ended up being the first chapter of the book, while my dog moaned to continue our walk.
Now, I’ve been a screenwriter for more than a decade, but I’d never written a novel before. So, I wasn’t sure what I was even going to do with those initial paragraphs. Was it voice-over for a screenplay? It didn’t feel like a screenplay… it felt like a book. And that’s the moment I decided to write my first novel—it all started with Tom’s first person voice and didn’t exist, except as an idea, until I found it.
What are your favorite time travel stories? Did any of them act as inspirations for this book? Where does your book’s theory of time travel fit into the larger pop culture time travel discussion?
Favorite time-travel stories include Slaughterhouse-Five, Back to the Future, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Looper, Primer, 12 Monkeys, Lost, The Time-Traveler’s Wife, The Terminator & T2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Star Trek: First Contact, the ST:TNG finale "All Good Things," and of course Groundhog Day. I definitely felt their influence, but none of them were direct inspirations because I was trying to write a time-travel story unlike any I’d come across before. I wanted to do something that respected a genre I love but came at it in a hopefully unexpected and different way—otherwise why bother?
I’ve always had a pet peeve about time travel: that pretty much every example I know treats time travel like you open a door and walk through it to the past. But of course we know that the Earth is always moving, like, really, really fast. At the equator, the planet rotates at 1,000 miles per hour while simultaneously orbiting the sun, as the sun itself moves through the galaxy. Any scientifically plausible model of time travel has to incorporate orbital mechanics. To me, that’s where the fun began. Because other stories typically ignored that obvious fact, it meant I had a fresh way to build my own model.
A novel about our timeline being The Darkest Timeline feels very topical, but I imagine you wrote a good chunk of it prior to some of the more extreme happenings in U.S. and world politics. Where was the world at when you were writing All Our Wrong Todays? Do you think you would write this book any differently if you were starting it now?
That’s such an interesting and difficult question. Touring with the book and getting to read sections out loud at events, I’ve been struck by passages that seem more relevant today than when I wrote them—which is weird and honestly sometimes upsetting.
I finished the book in late-spring 2016, but much of the story was set in place from 2014 to 2015. It was in many ways a different political era. But… part of my job as a writer is to look around and try to make sense not just of where we’ve been and where we are, but also where we might be going. I felt there were tensions and conflicts building up inside our culture that would need to erupt. I can’t pretend I knew exactly what those eruptions would look like, but I was thinking a lot about it.
What I do know, from my personal life as much as anything else, is that big things, seemingly permanent things, can change so much quicker than you’d ever believe. I’ve felt it in my own life: one day you’re living in a world that makes sense and the next day you can feel like you’ve woken up in a whole other world, one with very different rules and very different expectations. I felt like that the morning after my mom died. I also felt like that the morning after my daughter was born. Change can feel like a tidal wave. Sometimes it’s one that drowns you and sometimes, if you’re lucky, it’s one that lifts you up.
Would I write a different book today? Probably in some ways, not in others. I think it would’ve been an angrier book if I started it in spring 2018, but that wouldn’t necessary mean a better book. And as an author, I’m aware that not all my possible readers share my personal politics. I actually kind of like it when readers who subscribe to different political points of view see something meaningful and reflective in the book, even if it’s not what I intended. Because to me that means the book is alive and complex. It’s a story, not an essay, and even if it’s a story with a point, I’m totally okay when readers find their own point. That’s their right.
It must have been so much fun imagining the world of Tom’s original timeline. Were there any technologies that didn’t make it into the final book version or ideas that felt too anachronistic/futuristic to fit in?
Oh yeah, super fun. Originally I had more biotechnology and genetically engineered innovations. But I made the decision that Tom’s timeline would be one of hard technology, not wet technology, because that’s how people in the 50s and 60s imagined the future. Machines. Devices. Contraptions. Metal and energy, not cells and genes. There’s a lot of virtualization and projection, but very little tinkering with DNA. If we project fifty years into our future, I think we’ll see a lot more genetic innovation, for good and for ill, but this was a future specifically as imagined by the post-WW2 generation, which meant technology that’s built, not grown.
I love what your book has to subversively say about the natures of utopia vs. dystopia, and the assumptions we make about both. Can you talk about exploring those themes in All Our Wrong Todays?
A big reason I told the story in the first person is that I wanted the descriptions of Tom’s self-described utopia to be specifically from the point of view of someone who grew up there and takes much of it for granted, not questioning that it is the way the world is supposed to be. If I’d written in the third person, it would be me, as the author, saying this rather than a character with assumptions and blind spots that he only questions when he finds himself in the “wrong” timeline: our so-called real world.
The central premise of the book—what if our reality is a dystopian worst-case scenario triggered by a time-travel accident?—was my hopefully unexpected and entertaining way to explore what the futures we imagine say about the world we currently live in. And how those imagined futures have evolved in recent decades from sunny utopia to dank dystopia. I like to challenge and provoke people’s assumptions, not just of something as big as where we’re going as a society, but on the smaller more personal level of the characters, surprising readers with the decisions they make and where the plot takes them. Because to me it’s as much as a story about our own personal utopias and dystopias, and the ways each of us might question the future we think we’re supposed to have. But, you know, with jokes and flying cars too.
Have there been interpretations or reactions to All Our Wrong Todays that have surprised you?
Totally. I mean, first of all, it sometimes feels crazy that the book even exists in the world, since for so long the story only existed in my head. I was in an airport two days ago and they had a stack of my novel for sale and I had one of those trippy moments where I was, like, oh yeah, this story doesn’t belong to me anymore, it belongs to whoever decides to read it.
In terms of surprising reactions, I mean, what I find funniest is that often the most polarized reactions argue the exact opposite things about the same book—that it’s too utopian or too dystopian, too optimistic or too cynical, too jokey or too serious, too science-heavy or too science-light, too feminist or too sexist, too fast-paced or too slow-paced, too character-driven or too plot-driven, too long an ending or too abrupt an ending.
Literally for every critique I’ve read of the book I’ve also read the exact opposite critique. Which I love. Because it means the book is a mirror and each reader’s reflection shines brighter than my own. If everyone interpreted it the same way, I’d feel the book had failed to lift off from the gravity well of my intentions.
In addition to being a novelist, you are also a screenwriter and you are working on the screenplay of All Our Wrong Todays. What is like adapting your own work? Do you feel more or less compelled to stay faithful to it? Are there aspects of the story that take up more or less narrative space in the film form than the book form?
Adapting my own novel has been a challenge, but a good one, a fun one. Mostly. Some days, I’ll be honest, it’s tough—there’s no way to compress a 369-page book into a two-hour movie without giving up something. But I decided early on in the process that I’d rather write a fantastic movie that diverts in certain ways from the book rather than a perfectly faithful but dramatically inert adaptation. And there are things you can do in a movie, visually and emotionally, that you can’t do in a book.
So, I’m embracing the medium while still being pretty faithful to the novel. Movies have to move, they’re watched in real-time, minute-to-minute, and generally audiences have less patience for the interesting tangents that a book has time and space to explore. So overall the narrative is more streamlined for the movie, even though it’s still very much the same story with the same characters—and a few brand-new plot twists that will hopefully shock and delight fans of the novel.
Follow-up: Who would you dreamcast in the major roles?
I’m going to awkwardly squirm out of answering this because it’s an excitingly relevant question at the moment.
What else, if anything, are you working on right now?
I’m most of the way through a new novel. It’s similar in tone and scope to All Our Wrong Todays, but it’s unrelated in terms of plot and character. I’m also working on some pretty fun movie projects which I can’t say much about that are making their slow but steady way to production.
Wade Wilson tries to up his merc game with the new team of Skottie Young and Nic Klein.
It’s a pretty critical time for Deadpool these days. On the more mainstream side of things, he has a big movie sequel coming out in May. That’s a pretty big deal.
In the land of comics, we have another big deal. Gerry Duggan is ending his lengthy run on Deadpool, which has not only been wonderful, but it’s easily – in my opinion – the best run on the character ever. Ever.
That raises a question. If Deadpool is still doing it for Marvel and they’re doing yet another relaunch/rebranding and there needs to be some Deadpool out on the market to capitalize on all that Ryan Reynolds goodness...then who is the new creative team?
Coming out on June 6, Skottie Young and Nic Klein will be giving us Deadpool #1. This is a very welcome opportunity as Young has the right mind for the character, if his Rocket Raccoon series is anything to go by. It even featured fairly obscure Deadpool rival Macho Gomez, so the guy knows his deep cuts. Otherwise, Young did take part in an issue of Deadpool Team-Up featuring Galactus.
Young won’t be taking on art duties, which is probably for the best, as Klein’s style seems like a better fit for the character. Young’s art is great for comedy, but a little too distracting when it’s time for pathos to happen. If pathos happens. I hope it happens. That's like 40% of the character.
Duggan left some huge shoes to fill, considering in the past few years, Deadpool’s found a wife, a daughter, horrific secrets from his past, a major spot on the Avengers, a complicated relationship with Captain America, and two teams of mercenaries to lead. Young will be starting it off easy by having Deadpool focus on his status as one of the top hired guns in Marvel.
Here’s hoping that wave of good Wade Wilson stories continues with this run.
Deadpool #1 arrives on June 6.
Gavin Jasper can’t help but think of the time Deadpool hallucinated that he was Dorothy in one of Young’s Wizard of Oz books. Follow Gavin on Twitter!