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Celebrating Star Wars #2

May 26 2017

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Star Wars (1977) #17

Star Wars (1977) #17

  • Published: August 22, 1978
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Dave Cockrum
What is Marvel Unlimited?

STAR WARS #17, August 1978

Just before their attack on the first Death Star, Luke Skywalker tells Wedge Antilles, “I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home.” From a period when Star Wars comic book writers had only one movie to work from—hard to imagine today!—throwaway lines like that could provide the entire basis for stories. Such proved the case for STAR WARS #17 in 1978, plotted by Chris Claremont, written by Archie Goodwin, and penciled by Herb Trimpe and Allen Milgrom.

Extrapolating from that single line of dialogue hinting at fun times on Tatooine—maybe with a little help from “just like Beggar’s Canyon back home…”—we’re treated to a day in the life of farmboy Luke Skywalker. This includes interactions with eventual Red Squadron teammate Biggs Darklighter, an altercation with a Tusken Raiders, a race through Beggar’s Canyon in said T-16 skyhopper, and—perhaps coolest of all—bulleyesing womp rats…in his X-34 landspeeder, but we’ll take it. We wouldn’t learn until added footage to the “Star Wars Special Edition” in 1997 that George Lucas never intended them to be green.

At a time when Star Wars comics got a little out there, STAR WARS #17 holds up as something that could actually fit within the canon even today. Give it a read through Marvel Unlimited sometime.

Entering Marvel Contest of Champions: Yondu

May 26 2017

Do you hear whistling? Then it’s already too late.

He might have blue skin, bad teeth, and a weird fin on his head, but Yondu’s one of the most deadly Ravagers to take up arms, and an arrow, in “Marvel Contest of Champions.” We talked to Michael Rooker, the man who brought Yondu to life in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and Kabam Character Designer Simon Cameron, all about the Zatoan and his savage charm and in-game abilities.

Marvel.com: Hey Michael, how does it feel to be digitized as your blue-skinned alter-ego in “Contest of Champions?”

Michael Rooker: It feels great to see that handsome devil make an appearance in such a popular game!

Marvel.com: And how does Yondu look in the game? Like looking in a mirror, or did the gang at Kabam put their own little spin on the Ravager?

Michael Rooker: The folks working on “Contest of Champions” did a great job capturing the essence of Yondu. It’s almost like looking in the mirror, except I’m still more handsome.

Marvel.com: I gotta ask, what’s ol’ finhead capable of in the game? Does he use his arrow to take people down or would he rather get his hands dirty?

Michael Rooker: Yondu doesn’t need to get his hands dirty to take down a whole army of enemies; just some well-pitched whistles and his arrow does the job! His punches and kicks are a good nod to his Ravager brawling skills. He also calls for an airstrike from his crew when he’s tired of hand-to-hand combat.

Yondu in Marvel Contest of Champions
Yondu in Marvel Contest of Champions
Yondu in Marvel Contest of Champions

Marvel.com: Can we get a breakdown of his abilities from the team?

Simon Cameron: Yondu’s big into Debuffs; his Yaka Arrow, which he uses both in his Special Attacks and as part of his base combos, causes Bleed, even if you Block it. It also causes Armor Breaks if used against someone Immune to Bleed. Then not being above kicking someone while they’re down, Yondu also reduces the amount of Power his opponent gains based on the number of Debuffs he’s managed to put on them.

Marvel.com: Is there anyone currently competing in the Contest that Yondu might not want to tango with? And who do you think he would have no problem taking out?

Michael Rooker: I still need to teach Star-Lord a lesson for mucking around with my plans before! Yondu is the best; he’ll have no problem taking anyone on!

Marvel.com: Who do you think he’d want watching his back in the Contest?

Michael Rooker: Although he may never admit it, the Guardians would be great to watch his back; they are all kind of family right?!

Marvel.com: And when do we get to recruit Mary Popp…I mean Yondu, for our crew?

Michael Rooker: Yondu will be whistling his way into the Battlerealm come May 25. I’ll announce the start of the Arenas on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

Download Episode 291 of This Week in Marvel

May 26 2017

We’ve got a brand new episode of This Week in Marvel, presented by Loot Crate, to help you kick off the weekend!

Ryan and Ben give you the rundown on this week’s comics hottest releases including ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VENOM, and more! We’ve also got tons of comics news (1:05:20); West Coast news from Marc, Christine, with special guests Tim Hernandez and Becka McIntosh to give you your weekly dose of Marvel games; a “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2”  interview with TT Games Head of Design Arthur Parsons (1:26:49); and your questions and comments answered (1:41:18)!

Be sure to join our #TWIMURC next week where we have both coasts tackle X-Cutioner’s Song Pt. 1! Share your thoughts with us using the hashtag #TWIMURC!

Loot Crate has assembled the Marvel Gear and Goods crate for the ultimate Marvel fan. This crate features official Marvel items like collectible home goods, apparel and more every other month! If anyone knows the importance of downtime, it’s Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, Jessica Drew and their Wall-Crawling peers. Unwind after a hard day with denizens of the SPIDER-VERSE! Order your own Marvel Gear and Goods crate by heading to lootcrate.com/MarvelGear and use promo code “MARVELPOD” to save $3 on your subscription today.

Download episode #291 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Centralgrab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes, so you never miss an episode! We are now also on Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel!

This Week in Marvel will focus on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP & Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Marvel Editorial Director of Digital Media Ben Morse, along with Marvel.com Editor Marc Strom, Marvel.com Assistant Editor Christine Dinh, and Manager of Video & Content Production Blake Garris. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes!  Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM@BenJMorse, @chrissypedia or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

Art of the Standalone Story

May 26 2017

Stan Lee’s famously charged to his creators that every comic could be someone’s first, and it should be accessible to any reader. This summer, Marvel readers will have the opportunity to feast their eyes on a number of standalone issues from the summer event taking place with Secret Empire to later in the season with the release of GENERATIONS.

Many readers may not be aware of the amount of work that it takes to craft a single-issue story that delivers all the goods in just one shot. We spoke with SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD writer Paul Allor about some tricks of the trade given his experience in working within this format.

Marvel.com: Paul, you originally cut your teeth working on short stories and one-shots. How did this help you with your current work?

Paul Allor: Oh man, it helps tremendously. Like you said, it’s been a big part of my career thus far; my first self-published book was a collection of 12 five-page stories, with 12 different artists; I followed that up with a one-shot called Orc Girl; my first couple of work-for-hire gigs were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one-shots, and most of my work for Marvel has been in the shorts-to-one-shot category as well. And honestly all of that experience made my writing as a whole so much stronger, and, I believe, really pays off in my longer work.

The reason is that, when it comes to the craft of comics writing, shorts and one-shots are basically a microcosm of larger stories. The best ones contain within them everything that makes a great story of any length, but with no room for error. If your short story or one-shot lags, it’s painfully obvious. If the character motivation isn’t there, it shows. If you have nothing to say, there’s no hiding from it. So yeah, it helped my current work in a real and significant way, by giving me a platform to solidify all the basic elements of the comics writing craft.

Marvel.com: When it comes to writing a stand-alone issue, what are the most important elements a writer needs to keep in mind?

Paul Allor: Well, as indicated above, everything you would need to keep in mind on a longer story also applies here. But some things are a little more important. With limited space, it becomes even more important that every moment carry its own weight; every panel, every beat, every line should serve a storytelling purpose. That doesn’t mean that every single line has to be load-bearing—that if any element is removed, the whole thing will collapse, though some very short comics are constructed that way, and it is, when pulled off, rather magnificent—but it does mean that every moment has to do something. It has to move the story forward, to tell us something we wouldn’t otherwise know about our characters, to foreshadow the story’s end or provide subtext. Your space limitations demand it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of your pre-planning will be just as involved as in a longer story. You still need to put as much thought into who your characters are, what motivates them, how to best tell their story, and on and on and on, as you would for any length story. Your characters, and your world, should feel just as fully realized, just as complex, as any 20-issue run.

An analogy I like to use is to think of a comic as being like a mountain. With an ongoing, or even a [limited series], you get to see a lot of the mountain. You have time to really explore its contours, get a good sense of the terrain, the caves and ridges, the fauna and flora. By contrast, a short or a one-shot is like a tiny oceanic island that’s really just the peak of an underwater mountain. You can only see one little piece of it. But, the rest of the mountain still has to be there.

A couple of other things I would say to focus on, just because I often see them done wrong: No matter how short the story, you still need to have something to say. I know some people are allergic to the word “theme,” so call it whatever you like. But your story, and your characters, should have a point, and a point-of-view, and a purpose lurking behind all the kicking and punching and laser eyes.

Marvel.com: You’ve focused a bit on the content of the story, but what about the format?

Paul Allor: My second point would be that in short stories, just like longer stories, you should not be afraid to play around with the format, and find what best fits the story you want to tell. One thing I’ve noticed is that the overwhelming majority of five-to-eight page comic shorts are structured like a joke, but with a twist standing in for the punchline. Set-up, development, twist! There’s a reason this structure is so popular: It works. But a lot of other structures work as well! And lemme tell you, when you’re reading an anthology comic, and story after story is set-up, development, twist, set-up, development, twist, set-up, development, twist, you definitely notice. So, let the story you’re telling dictate the structure. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, to try new things. Again, shorts and one-shots are a great place to sharpen your craft; but if you aren’t pushing yourself, you aren’t taking advantage of that.

Marvel.com: You’ve covered a lot of bases in just a short time! Is there anything else would-be writers need to keep in mind?

Paul Allor: The last thing I would say is to make sure that your story is actually a story—that it has an end, that it has structure—even if it’s the aforementioned joke structure—that it’s not just a vignette. There’s nothing more frustrating than a purportedly stand-alone short or one-shot that’s clearly just a dress rehearsal for something longer that the writer wants to do.

Secret Empire: Brave New World #2 cover by Paulo Siqueira

Marvel.com: There is often the tension between focusing on the narrative arc and character development when it comes to crafting a story. How do you strike this balance in just one issue?

Paul Allor: Other writers’ mileage may—and does—vary, but I don’t feel there is a tension between those things. I think if you’re doing it right, the narrative arc helps develop your characters, and your character development determines the arc of your story.

Think about “Jaws,” as I very, very often do. That wasn’t a story about a shark terrorizing a town. It was a story about a new, outsider lawman, who lived on an island but was afraid of the water, and had to team up with two diametrically opposed men of the sea to track down a shark terrorizing a town. That story was those characters, and vice versa. Take those characters, but remove the narrative arc of the shark attacks, and you have some mildly interesting folks going about their day. That that narrative arc, but not those characters, and you have a bog-standard, boring action movie; you have the later Jaws sequels, basically. For every great story, in every medium, you can trace this connection between character and narrative arc. And if you find that the story you’re writing isn’t working, this is quite often the first and most obvious culprit.

So, I think you strike the balance the same way you always do: by making sure your characters and narrative arc are intrinsically connected, and are pushing each other forward. The only difference a shorter story makes is that, again, there’s no room for error, and it’s a lot more obvious if you’re biffing it up.

Marvel.com: Are there any stand-alone issues from your past that you read that heavily informed how you approach this type of comic storytelling? What were they and how do you see them playing into your style?

Paul Allor: Probably my all-time favorite one-shot is WINTER SOLDIER: WINTER KILLS, from Ed Brubaker and Lee Weeks.  Just a really wonderful example of character and narrative driving each other forward, of narrative economy, of saying so much with so little space. It’s also a great example of a comic with something to say; a comic that expresses its theme in every panel, without ever hitting you over the head with it. The theme is just a naturally ingrained part of the story.

Another one I really dug, off the top of my head, was CAPTAIN AMERICA AND CROSSBONES—huh, I guess I really like Captain America one-shots—by William Harms and Declan Shalvey. It was a really wonderful example of just telling an extremely stripped-down, character-driven story that never flinches away from who the central character is, and what he would do when placed in this situation. Just a darn fine little slice of action and pathos.

And my final example would be pretty much all of Emily Carroll’s short comics, though I would start with His Face All Red. They’re wonderful examples of sustained mood, of using the short format to maintain an extraordinary level of creeping dread that would be difficult to pull off over, say, five issues straight. They’re also great examples of using different structures in your shorts, of not always relying on the same very staunch rhythms of storytelling.

Marvel.com: How does working on SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD provide you with the opportunity to flex this “creative muscle”?

Paul Allor: Ah, man. I honestly can’t say much here, just because I can’t say much about BRAVE NEW WORLD in general! But yeah, it was a great exercise in structure and craft, and in pairing character and narrative. The story I’m doing—along with the fantastic crew of artist Brian Level, colorist Jordan Boyd, letterer Joe Caramagna and editor Charles Beacham—is told in five parts, of eight-to-10 pages each. And because of that, I really focused on making each part its own very strong unit of storytelling, within the longer, 42-page whole. Each chapter has its own structure, its own purpose, its own setting, its own dramatic underpinning.

I want the reader to walk away from each short chapter feeling like we really gave them something to dig into, that it didn’t feel like just one-fifth of a larger story. It was a lot of fun, and I think it came out great. I can’t wait for everyone to check it out!

Catch Paul Allor’s latest work in SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD, issue #1 due out June 7!

X-Men Blue: Welcome to Madripoor

May 26 2017

X-MEN: BLUE #6 sees our favorite mutants setting up shop on Madripoor, the super sketchy island historically populated by criminals, villains, and all kinds of shady characters. From the influence of A-list bad guys to the not-so-reliable justice system, we can think of more than a few reasons you might not want to make it your next vacation destination.

But writer Cullen Bunn has a different take—maybe Madripoor’s not such a bad place after all?

Marvel.com: Madripoor has a pretty much laissez-faire government, meaning plenty of cutthroat deals can go down…

Cullen Bunn: Sure, sure, but they throw the very best parties. I mean, look, do you want to go to the same boring old barbecue every weekend, or do you want to go the party where anything could happen? Yes, that “anything” might include getting held hostage by the Hand or some militant MGH dealers, but embracing excitement—that’s the Madripoor way!

Marvel.com: Because it doesn’t allow extradition, Madripoor basically operates as a haven for criminals. Though some of them may cut deals to help maintain the status quo, it still makes it a less than safe place.

Cullen Bunn: But every corner of Madripoor isn’t dangerous. If you can afford to hang out in High Town, you’ll be spending time with a much more civilized group of criminals.

And the X-Men live there now. Doesn’t that make you feel safer?

Marvel.com: As you mentioned, the Hand has historically had an interest in Madripoor—and you really don’t want to stick around when those guys get involved.

Cullen Bunn: Do we forget that the Hand have a sense of honor? They have a code. They are noble assassins and killers. You know how if you want to keep the spider population down, you keep wasps around? Well, the Hand is kind of like those spider-killing wasps. They help keep the population of other criminal elements down.

See? Glass half full…of ninjas.

X-Men: Blue #6 cover by Art Adams

Marvel.com: In its early days, a lot of pirates lived in Madripoor, and that tradition of lawlessness still impacts the way it operates today.

Cullen Bunn: That just means you don’t have the authorities breathing down your neck every time you want to jaywalk. People who live in Madripoor are free thinkers. They’re like artists who all live together to create a special kind of community. Yes, a good many of these “artists” work in a medium that involves crime. Some of them work in murder the way Rembrandt worked in paint. But let’s not get too judgmental.

Marvel.com: At various times, HYDRA, Magneto, and other villains have tried to use Madripoor as a base of operations, which has led to a fair amount of instability.

Cullen Bunn: Lots of villains have called Madripoor home, but now there are heroes like the X-Men getting in on the act, too. Not that the X-Men bring stability to their hometowns. They often only bring super villain attacks and building explosions.

But there are other groups who do want to see a little more stability in Madripoor, and they are working slowly but surely to do so. There’s this one group called the Raksha I’ve been hearing about a lot. They are making some waves with their efforts to shape things up in Madripoor. But I’m not really allowed to tell you much about them.

Visit scenic Madripoor in X-MEN: BLUE #6 by Cullen Bunn and Ray-Anthony Height, coming June 28!

Poe Dameron: Turning to the Dark Side

May 26 2017

STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #16 hits on June 28, and writer Charles Soule looks to introduce readers to Malarus, a new villain whom the Resistance’s greatest pilot will need to contend with as he and Black Squadron continue in their struggle against the First Order.

Given the strength of the villains of the Star Wars universe, we spoke with Soule about what goes into creating the right kind of scum to pit against the galaxy’s finest.

Marvel.com: The fact that the First Order consists of a massive federation with many, many people willingly supporting it rarely gets addressed. Do you see everyone in the First Order as completely evil and in need of a boltcaster shot? Or can readers can empathize with these villainous characters?

Charles Soule: The First Order is a pretty monstrous group, I think. As I see it, they’re not just a powerful military force, but they think they’re better. They’re inculcated from birth to believe that they are destined to rule the galaxy by virtue of their strength and superiority in all sorts of ways—and I think that goes from the lowest Stormtrooper all the way to the top with General Hux and Kylo Ren. That’s a recipe for all sorts of terrible acts, as we’ve seen in the films, comics, etc. They think they’re justified. That said, if you make the bad guys too one-sided they become less interesting. So, the trick is to stay true to the somewhat ravenous nature of the First Order’s ideology while also populating their ranks with people that are a bit relatable. You might not agree with what they do—hopefully—but you can see how a person can get there.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen the rise of different types of villains in the Star Wars universe; from more nuanced, complicated characters like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren to those like the completely corrupted Emperor Palpatine. Which type do you find more compelling as both a fan and as a writer?

Charles Soule: It’s interesting that you consider Palpatine less complex, and I can see that; he has one goal, and he’s going to get there no matter what: ultimate power. But, he’s just so skilled and subtle in the way he achieves that goal; evil is his instrument, and he is an absolute virtuoso. He’s one of my all-time favorite characters to write in all of Star Wars. That said, Vader and Kylo are very cool too, and it is that slight underpinning of moral complexity that gets us there. Obviously they’re all a blast to write—but something in Palpatine just speaks to me. I’m not sure what that says about me, though.

Marvel.com: Now, from a more conceptual standpoint, can you share a little of the challenges you face in fleshing out this still-new terrain surrounding the “Force Awakens” era?

Charles Soule: The biggest challenge is really that the story here isn’t done yet. There are still many questions yet to be answered about the First Order, the nature of the Force in this era, Luke’s deal, the Knights of Ren, even basic stuff like the logistics for the Resistance and the government of the New Republic. We’ve gotten bits and pieces of that from “The Force Awakens” and various additional stories—novels, comics, etc.—but the story’s still being written. In the original trilogy and prequel era stuff, most of those questions are settled, and have been for decades. Sometimes, writing in the new trilogy is like sailing through a fog-covered sea—but it’s awesome nevertheless because it’s uncharted territory. Many times, if a question hasn’t been answered yet, I get to answer it. That’s a really great thing.

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #16 cover by Phil Noto

Marvel.com: Of course, with new territory comes new characters: heroes and villains. Can you unpack the process of creating a villain to go toe-to-toe with the Resistance’s best, Poe Dameron?

Charles Soule: I’ve made up two significant bad guys to face Poe so far. One is Agent Terex, an officer in the First Order Security Bureau—sort of like their Gestapo/intelligence-gathering arm—who has a rich, layered history that goes all the way back to the days of the Empire. I’ve had 15 issues to build him up, and he’s one of my favorite creations period. He’s a monster, but he’s tragic at the same time. Then, we have Commander Malarus, who we’ve only just started to get to know. She’s pretty unique, sort of like a sadistic bodybuilder type. I asked [series artist] Phil Noto to model her after Brigitte Nielsen in “Rocky IV,” and he came through perfectly as always. She’s physically very imposing, sadistic in a very direct way, which is unlike Terex, who’s perhaps a bit more subtle in his manipulations. If Terex is a rapier, Malarus is a big two-handed claymore. In both cases, the idea is to present someone who’s a good foil both for Poe’s skill set and his personality, who you really want to see get a comeuppance. Villains are always fun.

Marvel.com: Let’s pretend for a moment that you aren’t really a mild-mannered lawyer-turned-comic writer, and instead, you’re nefarious evildoer from a galaxy far, far away. How would you go about taking down Poe Dameron?

Charles Soule: I’d hit Poe right where he lives. I’d go after BB-8. And maybe his jacket.

Marvel.com: To wrap things up, can you give us any hints as to how you think Poe will escape the plans you’ve hatched for him?

Charles Soule: There’s a certain plotline we started the series with, related to a certain galactic explorer who possesses a key portion of a map leading to a certain lost Jedi warrior, and—I’m talking about Lor San Tekka. I haven’t forgotten about that story, and while Poe’s been on a million adventures since we last saw him dealing with all of that, we’ll be getting back to it soon. I can’t wait; I love exploring the weirder, Force-related corners of the galaxy. Should be a blast!

See more of Commander Malarus in STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #16, due out June 28 from Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta!

Venomverse: Living on the Edge

May 26 2017

Eddie Brock returned to his symbiote roots this week in VENOM #150. That reunion will also lead to an immense Venom-ization of various characters across the Marvel Universe.

EDGE OF VENOMVERSE launches in June. Each issue focuses on a Venom-ized character with a different creative team. The first issue, by Matthew Rosenberg and Roland Boschi, will showcase X-23—aka the All-New Wolverine—and her struggles as she deals with not only escaping the Facility, but also the symbiote trying to take over her mind and body.

We talked with Boschi about combining Laura’s sharpness with the fluidity of the symbiotes, plus his experience working with Rosenberg on helping to set up this major event.

Marvel.com: This project is unique in that it’s using each issue to introduce a new character for the Venomverse story by a different creative team. How does that experience differ than some of your other work?

Roland Boschi: At first I previewed a sample of the amazing Venomverse covers when Marvel hired me on X-23. Then you realize that you’re part of a big crossover. It’s totally thrilling!

Marvel.com: The Venom version of X-23 looks like just about the most dangerous character of all time! How was it coming up with that look?

Roland Boschi: I truly enjoyed the character of Laura in the movie “Logan” recently, how versatile she can be, from the silent young girl to the savage killer. Mix that with Venom’s symbiote and there is indeed a scary character! I try to show [Laura’s] face through the dark tendrils as much as I can, especially when her humanity speaks before she unleashes the symbiote!

Edge of Venomverse #1 preview inks by Roland Boschi
Edge of Venomverse #1 preview pencils by Roland Boschi
Edge of Venomverse #1 preview inks by Roland Boschi

Edge of Venomverse #1 preview pencils by Roland Boschi

Marvel.com: What are the key elements of X-23’s character that will remain even given her Venom-induced transformation?

Roland Boschi: She is constantly fighting the hunger of the symbiote and it looks like she finally almost handles it. The claws, high velocity, and healing factor of X-23 remain, plus the vicious Venom skills!

Marvel.com: Symbiotes have always been very striking visually as they seem like they’re always moving. Is that something you try to convey on the page?

Roland Boschi: Absolutely; make tendrils in motion and spread them all around the page as much as possible!

Marvel.com: How was it working with Matthew on this kick-off to a big event?

Roland Boschi: I haven’t had the chance to meet Matthew so far, but it’s a true honor to be working with him. The first reading of his script was immediately exciting with the action sequences and X-23 infected by the symbiote, but I enjoyed even more the second part, focused on teenagers, living their wild life and meeting Laura.

X-23 struggles with her symbiote in the pages of EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #1, out June 28 by Matthew Rosenberg and Roland Boschi!

Flashback Friday: Venom

May 26 2017

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Some lives remain so intertwined that you can’t imagine them separating for too long. That’s the case with Eddie Brock and his Spider-Man-hating symbiote. Together they’ve menaced the Web-Head, played hero, and split up only to get back together in the pages of this week’s VENOM #150. With these two back together, it’s the perfect time to look back at their complicated history. The symbiote itself actually appeared first back in 1984’s SECRET WARS #8, covering Peter Parker in a black costume after his traditional one got shredded. Upon returning to Earth, the Wall-Crawler kept the alien duds for a while.

Eventually, thanks to some tests performed by Reed Richards, Peter came to understand he wore an actual living being as a costume, one that did not take kindly to being removed from its host and briefly held in Mr. Fantastic’s lab. After being broken out of the extra-terrestrial contamination containment tube, the symbiote searched for a new host and possessed Peter only to separate after being exposed to extreme sonic distress in a bell tower as seen in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #1.

For a while after that, Spidey found himself assaulted by a mysterious assailant who did not set off his Spider Sense. The culprit came to the forefront in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #299 and #300 when Eddie Brock made the scene as the symbiote-clad Venom! Brock explained why he hated Spider-Man so much: he had been a reporter for the Daily Globe, working on a series of stories about the Sin-Eater based on the confessions of a man named Emil Gregg. Just after his last piece hit, revealing Gregg’s identity, Spidey defeated the villain and unmasked none other than…Stan Carter. Humiliated and fired, Brock developed a rage-filled opinion of our hero that attracted the symbiote and they built a partnership based on their shared hatred.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #300

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #300

  • Published: May 10, 1988
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 26, 2008
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Venom became one of the most popular characters of the late 80s and early 90s, returning on many occasions to plague Spider-Man. Many years later, Brock sold off the symbiote for $100 million and eventually suffered from cancer and delusions that Venom still controlled him even though they had separated. Though the U.S. Government eventually bonded the symbiote with Flash Thompson, who would go on a series of space adventures that seemingly healed the angry alien, but when the latest VENOM series launched, it saw a new person filling the suit until Eddie Brock came back into its life!

Flash Forward

For a time, Eddie and Venom played hero together, but eventually fell off the wagon, so to speak. After selling the symbiote, Brock found himself bonded with another, this one called Anti-Venom. Not long after that, the former Lethal Protector took it upon himself to kill any and all symbiotes he came across. After succeeding with Scream and Hybrid, he failed to kill Flash Thompson and wound up attached to Toxin, Carnage’s offspring. Brock used that symbiote in his efforts to kill his own “child” over the course of the CARNAGE series. Who knows what will happen between those two now that they’re both back in symbiotic action?

Celebrating Star Wars – #1

May 26 2017

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago today—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Star Wars (1977) #1

Star Wars (1977) #1

  • Published: April 12, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Roy Thomas
  • Cover Artist: Howard Chaykin
What is Marvel Unlimited?

STAR WARS #1, July 1977
At a time when movie-based comics sold poorly as a general rule, editor Roy Thomas convinced Stan Lee to give Star Wars a shot. The result: probably the most important single issue of a licensed comic book in history. Not only would STAR WARS #1 kick off the most successful movie-based comic of all time, the series to follow also proved itself one of the most profitable comics of the late ‘70s, period. It would last until 1986, and all 107 issues can be read through Marvel Unlimited.

Written by Thomas with absolutely iconic art from Howard Chaykin, STAR WARS #1 kicked off a six-issue adaptation of the first film—which hadn’t been given the name “A New Hope” or even “Episode IV” at the time. Starting with Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer in hot pursuit of Princess Leia’s blockade runner, the issue ends with Luke under attack from a Tusken Raider.

Interestingly, we’re treated to scenes cut from the film as well, such as Luke viewing the space battle with his microbinoculars, an exchange with Biggs Darklighter before he joins the Rebellion, and…Vader drinking coffee while he chokes Admiral Motti? Oh, and big-time spoiler alert: This issue hit newsstands on April 12, 1977, a full six weeks before the movie would invent the summer blockbuster on May 25!

The Avengers Return for An Action-Packed One-Hour ‘Marvel’s Avengers: Secret Wars’ Season Four Premiere on Saturday, June 17 on Disney XD

May 26 2017

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes unite once again to fight the foes no single hero could withstand alone as “Marvel’s Avengers: Secret Wars” (previously “Marvel’s Avengers: Ultron Revolution”) debuts a fourth season with a one-hour premiere on SATURDAY, JUNE 17 (11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EDT), on Disney XD, and on the Disney XD App and VOD (12:01 a.m. EDT). Disney XD will also present a series of six shorts featuring the newest Avengers – Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Ms. Marvel, Ant-Man, Wasp and Vision – in a flashback sequence that introduces their powers, beginning FRIDAY, JUNE 2, on Disney XD, the Disney XD App, Disney XD YouTube and VOD.

Picking up right after the events of season three “Ultron Revolution,” the fourth season finds Tony Stark trapped in another dimension. While the Avengers muster all of their knowledge and strength to try and find a way to bring him back, they are attacked by a new Cabal of villains who scatter the mighty heroes across space and time. With the help of the Black Panther’s new team, including Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Ant-Man, Wasp and Vision, the Avengers must reunite in time to save the universe.

The multiplatform schedule is:

FRIDAY, JUNE 2 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7

  • Six original shorts will debut daily on Disney XD linear, on-demand and digital platforms. All six shorts will be available on Friday, June 2, on the Disney XD App. In the animated shorts, we meet the newest Avengers in a flashback sequence to learn about their background, super powers and, ultimately, what makes them super heroes.

SATURDAY, JUNE 17

  • One-hour premiere of “Marvel’s Avengers: Secret Wars” season four featuring back-to-back episodes on Disney XD (11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. EDT). The first two episodes will also be available on the Disney XD App and Disney XD VOD.
    • “Avengers No More – Part 1” (11:30 a.m. EDT)
      While trying to rescue Tony Stark from another dimension, the Avengers battle the Leader and his newly formed Cabal.
    • “Avengers No More – Part 2” (12:00 p.m. EDT)
      Black Panther assembles a new team of Avengers to stop the Leader and free the original Avengers.

The series stars: Mick Wingert (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy”) as Iron Man, Fred Tatasciore (“Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness”) as Hulk, Roger Craig Smith (“Wreck-It Ralph”) as Captain America, Travis Willingham (“Regular Show”) as Thor, Troy Baker (“Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man”) as Hawkeye, Laura Bailey (“The Super Hero Squad Show”) as Black Widow, Bumper Robinson (“The Game”) as Falcon, David Kaye (“Ben 10”) as Vision, James Mathis III (“Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H”) as Black Panther, Kathreen Khavari (“Big Little Lies”) as Ms. Marvel, Josh Keaton (“Ben 10”) as Ant-Man, Kari Wahlgren (“Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy”) as Wasp and Grey Griffin (“The Tom and Jerry Show”) as Captain Marvel.

Produced by Marvel Animation, the series’ creative team includes executive producers Alan Fine (“Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Iron Man,” “Thor”), Dan Buckley (“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.”), Joe Quesada (“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”), Cort Lane (“Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man”), Eric Radomski (“Spawn,” “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”), and Jeph Loeb (“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”); co-executive producers Stan Lee (“Spider-Man”) and Stephen Wacker (“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”); supervising producers Eugene Son (“Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man”), Danielle Wolff (“Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man”), and Harrison Wilcox (“Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man”); and supervising director Jeff Allen (“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble”).

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for all the latest news and updates on your favorite Marvel animated series.

Scarlet Spider: The Kaine Factor

May 26 2017

The Scarlet Spider dons his original red and blue threads, just in time for a showdown with Cassandra Mercury and her strongman, Slate! But, it’s not just the crime lord and her minions who have it in for Ben Reilly—his vengeful clone brother, Kaine, has finally caught up to his little bro and won’t stop until he brings Ben in.

Will Ben be able to escape the wrath of Kaine? Find out what happens June 28 in BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #4, written by Peter David with art by Mark Bagley.

In light of this little “family” reunion, we sat down with David to discuss the role Kaine plays in both the series and in Ben’s life. See what he had to say, ahead.

Marvel.com: With Kaine finally catching up to The Scarlet Spider, what role does Ben’s mentally unstable “twin” play in the series?

Peter David: The hammer of justice. As far as he’s concerned, Ben has to be put down for good. Kaine doesn’t have the slightest inhibition about putting an end to Ben Reilly. He doesn’t believe the clone has a right to exist, which is naturally ironic considering he is a clone as well.

Marvel.com: In issue #4, Ben is on the brink of a big showdown with crime lord Cassandra Mercury and her enforcer, Slate. How does Kaine mix into all of this?

Peter David: Kaine is only aware of Cassandra as a name of an individual that he believes Ben is attempting to bilk. He doesn’t care about her or her personal situation—but, when he finds out about it, he winds up getting pulled right into the middle of it and, as a result, he has to make some very tough decisions.

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider #4 cover by Mark Bagley

Marvel.com: Ben is trying to distance himself from his Jackal personality and embrace his new life as The Scarlet Spider; how might a run-in with his clone brother mess that up for him?

Peter David: Profoundly. Kaine sees him as a villain. Honestly, I think Ben Reilly is the most “real life” version of a villain who’s ever shown up in the Spidey titles, with the possible exception of Doc Ock. In the real world, in our world, villains don’t see themselves as evil. Kaine sees Ben as a bad guy, but Ben sees himself as a good guy because he was just trying to help people and make them feel good. Kaine sees Ben as someone playing God while Ben is simply a super doctor capable of “curing” the incurable. The fact that he wasn’t curing them is, to him, beside the point, because at least he offered hope.

Kaine clashes with his “brother” in BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #4 by Peter David and Mark Bagley on June 28!

Infamous Iron Man: Villains

May 25 2017

This week, the star of INFAMOUS IRON MAN, Victor Von Doom, began to feel the threat of a perennial foe closing in as Reed Richards made his appearance in issue #8. This version of Mister Fantastic hails from the dead reality of the Ultimate Universe, which presents a unique new take on one of Marvel’s oldest rivalries and a sturdy obstacle for would-be-hero Doctor Doom.

We spoke with writer Brian Michael Bendis about how he manages the challenges of writing a villain-centric series alongside long-time artistic collaborator, Alex Maleev.

Marvel.com:  Brian, let’s start things off with talking about the challenges of writing a villain book versus your more typical hero book.

Brian Michael Bendis: Well, we have someone who is arguably the biggest villain in the Marvel Universe who wants to attempt to redeem himself. This is the man with the biggest hole that he’s dug for himself and [he] is going to try and crawl out of it. That is something I have been dying to do for years. I can’t tell you what year I wrote down this idea, but I can’t think of anyone who would be better suited to attempt this with and be more difficult. You have to live inside his head and approach it from the perspective of knowing everything that he’s done. There is no falling back on something like “Oh, he’s got amnesia!” He knows everything that he did, he knows where all the bodies have been buried, and he is still going to climb out of it. That is the biggest challenge; it’s looking through that perspective that is oh-so-different than mine on every level.

Marvel.com: Despite the challenges, there are some rewards to it, right?

Brian Michael Bendis: You know, it’s funny. My favorite thing that I do with this book that is so different than any other title I’ve ever written is there are a lot of quiet moments with Victor; I think more than we’ve ever seen before. I mean, there are other books that have shown him with quiet moments, and that’s well established that there is public Victor and private Victor, but this is all Victor’s interior. We’re seeing Victor in some personally strenuous circumstances, but I try to find places where the “old Victor” can pop out just for a little bit: “Unhand me, woman!” You know those lines. That is how he speaks when he is angry, and I’m not sure it’s something that would go away just because he decides to be a better person.  So, writing that is a lot of fun. I literally go “Ok, now I have to write a ‘Victor is a [expletive] part.’”

Marvel.com: Apart from the fun in writing Doom’s voice, what’s the greatest challenge to tackling the Lord of Latveria?

Brian Michael Bendis: [Laughs] I’d say looking at the story through his perspective and finding empathy—not sympathy, but empathy. I think that’s the hardest thing with a “villain book.” You have to find that thing to which you are emotionally connected, or at least, understand where they are coming from so you can use that for yourself in your writing.

It’s so funny. In comics, it’s such a unique thing to have a character like this, but it is the norm in television from Tony Soprano to Walter White—characters with a lot of layers, but [who] are making their money with criminal activity. As the writer of “The Sopranos” would say, “people will watch as long as they are good at their job.” You want to watch Victor try to crawl out of a hole because oh my God! That’s like hearing a David Blaine stunt is about to happen! Who could not watch that?

Infamous Iron Man #9 cover by Alex Maleev

Marvel.com:  Now, you mentioned your interest in seeing villains dig their way out of impossible holes. I know you touched on this a bit, but do you find you connect with this on a personal level that translates into Victor’s story?

Brian Michael Bendis: No…I mean, that would be ridiculous of me to say “Oh, I crawled my way out of a hole or two in my day.” Everyone has said “I need to fix this or that,” you know? I think anyone can relate to the idea that when you do fix a mistake, it’s the best feeling in the world. Don’t you feel great when you call up a friend and go “Hey, remember that thing you heard? It’s not true…I love you.” Then it goes away, right? What a lovely thing that is, right? So, imagine that experience, but instead of it being between your friend and you, we’re talking about your entire life and the reality of the world depends on you healing this mistake. As far as Victor goes, “Could he do it? Could he honestly do it?” In every issue, he is moving two steps forward one step back, but he is getting closer.

Marvel.com: This leads right into my next question! Naturally, we have all made mistakes, like you were mentioning. Some of us have even made some truly awful ones; but one of the things that I was thinking about, particularly in relation to where Victor was and where he is trying to go, is there a point of no return? Is there a point where the readers cannot, or dare I say should not, connect with the villain, given how horrible their past actions were?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah! Well, I should say yes, but with Victor—you see, the really big “gift” that’s given to me with Victor and the reason why I think people are more forgiving, for lack of a better word, with him is because they know the story of his past. They know his Romani past, they know about his mother, and they know what she did to him. Once you kind of understand where it all started from, you’re kind of like “Okaaaay. This little boy is trying to escape from this hell,” and you’re rooting for him. That is really where people’s heads go. It is never too late in a lot of people’s eyes.

Marvel.com: I see you’re also turning the screws on this setup in bringing back Ultimate Reed Richards, aka The Maker. In this instance, we are seeing a sort of inverse of Doom: a once-hero now-turned villain. Was it too much to resist pairing these decades-old antagonists against each other again?

Brian Michael Bendis: I mean that wasn’t in the initial planning of when I wanted to do this book, but once you start putting all the cards out, you start seeing all 52 of those cards laid out and start going “Oh my God! There is an evil Reed and a trying to be good Doom!”

I remember I called [editor] Tom Brevoort and I said, “I can’t think of a reason not to do this. It’s just too good. There [has] got to be something that I’m not considering, you know this has got to be done before or something.” I almost wanted Tom to tell me “Oh, this has been done before” and I would have been freed of that burden. But instead, he responded, “Yeah, I think we have to do that. For people who are desperately missing the Fantastic Four, there is a little something for all of us.” Then what happened—unplanned—was an emotional Fantastic Four story. Here they are trying to re-discover themselves and find out who they are without the tropes of that other book. That’s fun to write and it’s very in-tune with the “adultness” that the other book had. It’s a little more emotionally sophisticated in INFAMOUS IRON MAN than maybe a book about the teenagers would be because we are dealing with serious issues.

Marvel.com:  One last question for you, Brian. I know that you’ve said before that this story has a definitive beginning, middle, and end. Where are we right now in Doom’s redemptive arc? Any hints as to how it’s going to end for one of Marvel’s most infamous villains?

Brian Michael Bendis: Mmmm. I would say past the half way mark. Truthfully, you are going to love this, this is a great last line of an interview that really doesn’t answer the question. It will end in the only way it could.

Marvel.com: I think you might be right about that!

Brian Michael Bendis: I swear to God, the ending I pitched was like, “Could I get there?” And nothing has moved it. There is no other ending in sight. Maybe it will change tomorrow, and sometimes that does happen. You think you know the ending of the story and you hear a lot of writers talk about that—knowing their ending before they start. This ending is powerful. I even shared it at the Marvel retreat a year ago, which was before the book had even shipped. That’s how sure was of where the story was going to end. And it hasn’t [changed]—which is very unusual for me! I try to leave an open mind at heart, because I want to be surprised. And this one? The only surprise has been how fun the journey is to write, but the ending is still the ending.

Continue to follow Doom’s journey of redemption in INFAMOUS IRON MAN #9 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev on June 28!

Star Wars: Mace in Your Face

May 25 2017

Star Wars fans and Marvel mavens alike spoke—no, shouted—and Marvel listened: one of the greatest Jedi Knights of all will finally star in his own series, STAR WARS: JEDI OF THE REPUBLIC: MACE WINDU.

No one’s more excited for the purple lightsaber-wielding champion to receive his due than writer Matt Owens, and as it turns out, he can barely wait for issue #1 to debut this August.

Marvel.com: Matt, how did you become a Star Wars fan?

Matt Owens: When I was growing up, my father showed me a lot of the sci-fi shows and movies that he loved and it’s one of the things that set me on my path. Star Wars, Star Trek, the original Battlestar Galactica—I was watching these things well before I fully understood them, but I loved them nonetheless. I remember getting “A New Hope” on VHS one Christmas as a kid and it was the happiest day of my life. I remember sitting in a tree house with my childhood friend Austin reading [the Star Wars novel] “Ambush at Corellia” in total silence when it first came out, periodically perking up with “Did you get to this part yet!?”

Marvel: Looks like it looms large with you. That had to feel pretty good when you got the MACE WINDU gig.

Matt Owens: It’s something I have always known. As a reader and a gamer and a collector, Star Wars has always been a part of my life. To be a part of this universe, to be trusted to tell stories here, is truly a privilege.

Marvel.com: Big question: Who is Mace Windu to you?

Matt Owens: I think Mace Windu is the ultimate wish-fulfillment for the audience personified in Star Wars. He’s a badass with his own colored lightsaber. He’s the greatest Jedi warrior. He’s friends with Yoda. He doesn’t trust Anakin. He is [actor] Sam Jackson speaking for us. In his own right, he’s a man just trying to do the right thing according to the rules which govern his life.

I see him foremost as a teacher and a leader. He is incredibly strong and wise and tries his best to lead others down the right path. Sometimes that does mean having to fight. There’s an interesting conflict in a man revered for his fighting skills who would rather not use them. Being a great warrior does not mean you have a love of combat, a lust for bloodshed. His lightsaber is the last weapon Mace would want to pick up. Similarly, he is a fiercely intelligent orator, yet despises politics. He is a man thrust into positions and situations he may not enjoy, but he does them because he just wants to do what is right.

Marvel.com: Sounds like you may connect with the character on a personal level, too.

Matt Owens: I grew up in a religious African-American household, so I see some similarities between Mace and the people I would look at around me. Religion is important to people for a variety of reasons. It gives people something to believe in, something to fall back on, something to support them, something to set their moral compass. Everyone has their own reasons for believing in what they believe.

Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu #1 cover by Jesus Saiz
Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu #1 cover by Rahzzah

I see Mace as a person who needs the way of the Jedi. He believes so strongly in the Force, believes it is the true path to peace in the galaxy and harmony amongst all peoples. Sometimes faith can be blind. Sometimes it can be misinterpreted or lead us astray. Some see religion as a guide, but not such a strict mandate. If you question your religion, does that make you a bad Christian? Muslim? Jedi? That’s one of the struggles Mace is dealing with in this story. The galaxy is at war. The role of the Jedi has changed, leading armies into battle. Is this their place? If peace is the ends, are the means justified? Are they on the right side of said peace? These are the kind of soul-searching questions Mace will have to dig deep and answer for himself. And not just Mace. Questions such as these are on the minds of many Jedi at this tumultuous time.

Marvel.com: Right; the series is set at the outbreak of the Clone Wars. Who else might we see that we’d recognize from the films?

Matt Owens: I asked for every conceivable character I could think of for this book. I overshot, in the hopes I could play with a few of my own personal beloved characters besides Mace. I’m very excited to say there is a lot of Kit Fisto in this book. I loved getting to know him more in the “Clone Wars” series. I’ve always seen him having a close relationship with Mace. They have fought together many times and even meet their end together. Exploring the lead-up to that demise is something I wanted to take a look at. That’s what I find so interesting about telling stories in this time. There is so much left unexplored during the Clone Wars. People want to see new things that shaped how the galaxy comes out the other side of the conflict.

Marvel.com: And there’ll be new characters, too, right?

Matt Owens: Yes, I also got the honor to create a few new characters for this book. Which is insane to me and I am still freaking out about it. You’ll meet two new Jedi, Prosset and Rissa, who are accompanying Mace on his journey. I wanted there to be new Jedi to give perspective to the emotional journey Mace is going through, but also have stories in their own right. Prosset is a sharp and inquisitive Miraluka. Rissa is an engineer and newly appointed Jedi Knight.

My favorite new character is probably the mercenary droid AD-W4. Hired by the Separatists to oversee a clandestine mission, AD is a droid who does not understand the concept or adherence to the doctrines of the Force. He embodies the science vs faith debate. It’s the perfect foil for Mace who is going through a crisis of faith at the time.

Marvel.com: Okay, and beyond all this coolness, you get to work with incredible artist Denys Cowan on the book.

Matt Owens: Denys Cowan is a legend. I have issues of POWER MAN AND IRON FIST and The Question of his on my bookshelf. I’m thrilled to work with him. There’s a rawness to his art that brings a welcome edge to the still familiar Star Wars look. I get so excited whenever he sends me sketches and I think people will feel the same when they see his finished work.

Look for STAR WARS: JEDI OF THE REPUBLIC: MACE WINDU by Matt Owens and Denys Cowan this August!

Secret Empire Exposed: Captain Marvel

May 25 2017

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

SECRET EMPIRE #0 saw Captain America’s Hydra agenda come full circle as he assumed control of the world governments through S.H.I.E.L.D., isolated New York City in the Darkforce Dimension, and blocked Alpha Flight with the planetary defense shield. That last one seemed particularly aimed at Captain Marvel. In fact, Cap even fully explained that he’d had a Chitauri queen hidden on planet, which meant her people would never stop coming for her. In other words, the extra-terrestrial pummeling would never end.

If she had time to reflect on how she got to that point, Carol would remember taking the job as head of Alpha Flight after the events of Secret Wars. In the volume of CAPTAIN MARVEL that launched in 2016, she assumed control of the group working out of the Alpha Flight Space Station putting her in charge of a full staff plus the likes of Puck, Aurora, Sasquatch, and Abigail Brand. Their mission? Stop space threats from reaching the Earth.

The first adventure put her and the team in direct opposition to an alien race that didn’t take kindly to her Kree genetic signature after people from that particular planet nearly wiped them from existence. Soon after, Carol re-purposed her group to utilize the information coming from the Inhuman Ulysses to save the planet during Civil War II. The crossover also ran through A-FORCE and ULTIMATES, two team books that Carol also regularly appeared in. Captain Marvel’s desire to use Ulysses to save the world, even if he’s wrong every now and then, didn’t sit well with everyone, including Iron Man who worried more about someone else using that information for the wrong reasons.

Captain Marvel (2016) #1

Captain Marvel (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The event ended with Carol’s boyfriend Jim Rhodes dead, her longtime friend Jennifer Walters beaten comatose, Tony Stark out of commission, and the hero community once again left in a shambles. Yet, in the pages of her new series MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL, Danvers found herself dealing with not only newfound fame, but also the impending Chitauri invasion. This week’s MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #5 actually takes place before the events of SECRET EMPIRE #0, showing how Carol started training a group of Alpha Cadets and also fought the first wave of invaders with the Guardians of the Galaxy, some of the Ultimates, and other heroes before getting the news that Cap had betrayed them.

SECRET EMPIRE #1 skipped ahead to show a world where Hydra had already taken control. We saw Captain Marvel sending out a distress signal to anyone who might hear saying that Earth needed help, noting that this threat could easily spread to their planets. As long as she’s still up there, humanity has a hope!

The Empire Strikes Back

The alien menace known as the Chitauri first appeared in the Ultimate Universe in the pages of the original ULTIMATES. They would show up to menace that reality on more than one occasion, but blew up to nearly a household name after becoming the main threat in the first Avengers film! The aliens first appeared in the Marvel Universe in the pages of NOVA to hassle Sam Alexander. Thanks to a stolen Ultimate Nullifier, though, he made short work of them.

Follow the History of Spider-Man Pt. 4

May 25 2017

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this summer, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of this stories history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

Spider-Man sought the expertise of Dr. Curt Connors in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #32 to help him devise a serum to cure Aunt May’s poisoned blood, but Doctor Octopus stood in his way when he stole the isotope that would insure the formula’s potency. Later, trapped in rubble from a battle in Ock’s base, the Wall-Crawler used all his spectacular strength and resolve to free himself in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33 and save his ailing aunt.

Kraven the Hunter returned for a rematch in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #34, as well as Molten Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #35, but the webbed wonder dispatched both with little fuss. Later, Spidey tangled with Daredevil in DAREDEVIL #16, but the two costumed champions buried the hatchet in DAREDEVIL #17 to join forces against the real menace: The Masked Marauder.

Norman Osborn, businessman father to Peter Parker’s friend Harry Osborn, ducked and covered in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #37 to avoid the wrath of Professor Stromm’s robot, and a man named Joe Smith attracted the Web-Slinger’s interest when his new acting career turned sour due to an unfortunate electrical accident in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #38. Meanwhile, Norman placed a hefty pricetag on Spidey’s life that brought creeps out of the woodwork to collect.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #32

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #32

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Alas, Parker found bigger things to worry about when none other than The Green Goblin swooped down out of the skies in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #39 to capture the youth and inform him that he knew our hero’s secret identity. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #40 the crazed tycoon regaled Peter with a tale of an explosion that created his Goblin persona, but when he suffered exposure to another blast during his subsequent battle with Spider-Man, the Green Goblin persona faded from his memory, seemingly forever.

The rampaging Rhino attempted to abduct astronaut John Jameson in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #41, prompting the Wall-Crawler to swing to the rescue. Afterward, Jameson gained super-strength from space-spores and tried to capture Spidey for the public good in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #42. To add insult to injury, Rhino busted out of lock-up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #43 to claim his revenge on our hero.

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes convened in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #3 to ponder membership for Spidey, and after a recommendation from Daredevil decided to test the Web-Slinger. Ultimately, Spider-Man failed his trial when he refused to capture The Hulk, believing the jade giant’s alter ego Bruce Banner to be too sickly to stand scrutiny by the Avengers.

Not long after, the X-Men approached the young crusader to bolster their own ranks against a new mutant menace in UNCANNY X-MEN #27, but Spider-Man turned them down, claiming he’d been too busy of late to focus on such things.

Marvel Super Heroes Assemble to Battle Kang in Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2

May 25 2017

As previously announced last week, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games, The LEGO Group and Marvel Entertainment announced “LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes 2,” will be hitting shelves later this year. The all-new, original adventure and sequel to Lego Marvel Super Heroes brings together iconic Marvel Super Heroes across different eras and realities to battle the time-traveling conqueror, Kang!

Players can call upon heroes like Star-Lord, Spider-Gwen, Gladiator Hulk, Cowboy Captain America, and more, to go head-to-head in an epic battle across Chronopolis, an open world hub where all of Marvel realities like Wakanda and The Old West to New York City in 2099 and Sakaar converge. “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” features a four-player multiplayer mode that allows friends and family to play competitively or unite cooperatively as a team.

“LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2” picks up where the story ended in the first game with the Guardians of the Galaxy’s arrival just as the Avengers defeated Galactus. Players will remember from the tag that Nick Fury thanks the Guardians for showing up despite not needing their assistance. However, Star-Lord replied they’re on Earth for an entirely different reason. AVENGERS veteran Kurt Busiek has co-written the story for the game.

During a demo game play at a press preview event, TT Games’ Head of Design Arthur Parsons revealed the game opens moments before the Guardians landed on Earth  in the Milano. Their trip disrupted, the Guardians must battle a Celestial that Kang saved from the end of time. The Guardians’ only shot at beating the Celestial involves manipulating time. Parsons stressed the vital theme seen throughout the game is time — characters running out of time, characters coming from different periods of time, things being manipulated in time, etc. While players can manipulate time for their advantage, it can also be used against you by Kang and other enemies.

What’s a LEGO game without its charm and playfulness? Fans will delight in the fact that several characters will have quirky features. Two noteworthy features we saw during the presentation included Star-Lord’s Walkman, once played mid-battle, stops everything resulting in a Guardians dance break, while Spider-Gwen can bring in her drum set for a mini rock-out.

“LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes 2” will be available starting November 14, 2017 for PlayStation®4, Xbox One®, and PC. The game will be released for Nintendo Switch™ later this year.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames and @LEGOMarvelGame on Twitter for the latest on LEGO® Marvel Super Heroes 2!

Sorcerers Supreme: Death to The Author

May 25 2017

The Author threatens all existence. In DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #9 by Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez, the team of magic casters decides such a risk cannot be ignored and so they take the fight to it where it lives. Can they possibly hope to defeat an opponent on its home turf when they barely annoyed it here on Earth?

We breathlessly reached out to writer Thompson for some reassurance. He had little.

Marvel.com: In order to defeat The Author, the Sorcerers have to give chase into its land. How did you conceptualize this sure to be unusual space? How did Javier Rodriguez bring your ideas about that realm to life?

Robbie Thompson: As always, I turned to my magical partner in crime, artist Javier Rodriguez. Working with Javier is incredibly inspiring as a writer. He has such a strong visual sense of storytelling and an incredible grasp of design and layout. When he first designed The Author, all I told him was the character’s true origins—spoiler alert!—that he’s actually an alien. Javier took it from there.

And that’s how editors Darren Shan and Nick Lowe and I approached the Author’s home world, which we’ll see a hint of in issue #8, but then in great detail in issue #9—we turned to Javier and set him loose. And boy, did he deliver! So, all credit belongs to Javier; he took a few very simple ideas and made them elegant and magical.

Marvel.com: What state are the Sorcerers in? Do they trust one another? If not, how do they view one another?

Robbie Thompson: The Sorcerers are pretty shook up by the betrayal of one of their own, Sir Isaac Newton. But in a sense, that betrayal has now forced them all to be on the same page. Newton was a problem, but he’s inadvertently conjured a much bigger problem for them all by summoning The Author to Earth. So, our hope is that if they survive this encounter, they’ll come out the other side a much stronger team.

Marvel.com: Given the Author’s ancient existence, is it really consequence free to eliminate him? What risks might the team be running?

Robbie Thompson: They’ll be risking their lives! The Author is an extremely powerful foe for them, and as we see in issues #8 and #9, the magic of the Sorcerers does little to no damage to this adversary. They’re going to have to find a much different rabbit to pull out of the hat in order to best this foe!

Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #9 cover by Javier Rodriguez

We wanted to continue to put our heroes in deeper and deeper trouble, while keeping the escalation connected to the source of this story: Merlin. So, we’ve been building toward this reveal since the first issue—with Newton waiting in the wings to turn on his fellow Sorcerers, his blind ambition exposing our heroes to a being more powerful than any they’ve faced so far.

Marvel.com: How does The Author view them? Do they elicit any kind of emotion at all?

Robbie Thompson: The Sorcerers are nothing but annoying gnats to The Author! He finds them all disappointing and weak! But arrogance is a weakness, too, and hopefully the Sorcerers will find a way to exploit that weakness in issue #9.

Marvel.com: As you look to the end of this arc, any last teases to offer to get the fans clamoring for it?

Robbie Thompson: Javier, inker Alvaro Lopez, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Joe Caramagna really outdid themselves with these last couple issues, culminating in a visually stunning ninth issue. They all really raised their game and delivered one of the best issues of the series. Javier’s design and layouts are mind-blowing and Alvaro’s inks are so textured and rich. Joe always finds a way to bring the characters’ voices to life in new and brilliant ways. And what can you say about Jordie Bellaire? She’s an absolutely incredible storyteller and her colors are astonishing. The whole team is amazing.

And that’s not all! In issue #10, young Nate Stockman and Tamra Bonvillain are back in [a story] that’s set in the future and features some of my all-time favorite mutants. Nate clearly had a blast working on that [one], it’s some of his best work to date, and I can’t wait for folks to see it!

Take a trip with Robbie Thompson, Javier Rodriguez, and company in DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #9 on June 28!

Droids Unplugged: High Tech Highlights

May 24 2017

R2-D2! BB-8! And Darth Maul’s probe droids!? On June 28, make the jump to lightspeed alongside some of the universe’s greatest mechanized companions with STAR WARS: DROIDS UNPLUGGED!

Written and illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos, this one-shot details three brand-new Star Wars stories—follow R2 on a crucial mission for Luke, witness BB-8 play matchmaker for a couple of Resistance soldiers, and see what Darth Maul’s probe droids did when they weren’t busy scouting for Qui-Gon Jinn!

To prepare for the book, we spoke with Eliopoulos, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and assistant editor Heather Antos about their favorite droids—and droid moments—in Star Wars history.

Marvel.com: There are so many incredibly-defined droids that act as main characters in the Star Wars universe—so, what’s your favorite droid that plays a central role in the Star Wars story? BB-8? Triple-Zero? Chopper?

Chris Eliopoulos: From the first time I saw “Star Wars” as a nine-year-old boy in the theater, I loved—loved—R2-D2. I currently have about 300 astromech droids in my studio. Really small ones to a giant R2 cooler. He’s the man—or droid. R2-D2 seemed to always know what was going on as well as being brave and snarky. It was something new for me. A machine that was cool.

Jordie Bellaire: I think my answer was always R2, he’s sassy and a bit bossy, but I think K-2SO has taken the love cake. He’s not only sassy and bossy, he’s pretty cynical—my kind of droid!

Heather Antos: Artoo, hands down, is the best Star Wars droid. Whereas all the other characters always seem to be getting into trouble…Artoo always seems to be the one to get his best pals out of trouble.

Marvel.com: Likewise, there are countless minor droids that the we might only see on the fringes of a Star Wars story. What’s your favorite background droid? Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s Gonk? IG-88? FLO the waitress?

Chris Eliopoulos: I love Treadwell, 2-1B and even the EV-9D9 droid that harmed my favorite, which is the Gonk droid. I have all these astromech droids in my office, but there is room for one Gonk droid.

A small nod has to go to RX-24 or Rex from the Star Tours ride. He was a lovable goofball.

Jordie Bellaire: I’ve always loved the design of an Imperial probe droid. Not to say I’m a baddie but you know, the baddies have some beautiful equipment to search out that rebel scum. Probably explains my K-2SO love as well!

Heather Antos: Gonk! I love Gonk so much—and I honestly can’t explain it. I think there’s an epic story with Gonk just waiting to be explored. I bet there’s so much of him that we just don’t know about yet.

Star Wars: Droids Unplugged cover by Chris Eliopoulos

Marvel.com: Time for some hard-hitters…What’s your favorite droid moment in a Star Wars comic book?

Chris Eliopoulos: I kinda have a perverse love of seeing Chewbacca ripping Triple Zero’s arm off and smacking him with it in STAR WARS #13. It follows the line that Wookiees tend to rip arms out of their sockets when they get angry line.

Jordie Bellaire: The psych out hologram of R2-D2 in PRINCESS LEIA #1!

Heather Antos: Any interaction between Triple-Zero and BT-1!

Marvel.com: And the toughest of all—what’s your favorite droid moment in a Star Wars movie?

Chris Eliopoulos: The scene in [“Empire Strikes Back”] where they are racing to get to Boba Fett to save Han and as they watch Slave-1 takes off, a blaster fight out breaks out on the platform and R2 seems to do donuts. In my young head, I thought he was being brave and blocking fire to protect his friends. A heroic moment.

Jordie Bellaire: The Ewok campfire scene, where 3PO is playing storyteller.

Heather Antos: One of Artoo’s most heroic acts by far was rolling into the arena on Geonosis to reassemble his best buddy, C-3PO. Artoo will stop at nothing to help his friends!

STAR WARS: DROIDS UNPLUGGED, written and illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos, goes on sale on June 28!

Black Panther: Mastering the Past

May 24 2017

Wakanda just can’t catch a break!

In BLACK PANTHER #15—out June 28—the African nation comes to understand that its ancient gods have left them to their own devices. While King T’Challa tries to figure out what’s going on, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Wilfredo Torres continue to throw challenges his way.

Torres took over for fellow artists Brian Stelfreeze and Chris Sprouse–who will return–with issue #13 and kicked off the new storyline “Avengers of the New World.” The arc dives into all kinds of beginning-of-time mythology that the artist gets to play with and develop. We talked with him about dreaming up some of these characters, putting his own spin on existing ones, and diving into the world of Wakanda.

Marvel.com: How was it coming up with the designs for the Simbi, Anansi and Teku-Masa? Did you look to ancient images for inspiration in developing them?

Wilfredo Torres: I tried to look at species native to Africa but ultimately I tried to not go too far down the rabbit hole and instead went with more of a traditional comics, movie monster feel.

Marvel.com: Wakanda has such a unique feel and history to it. How has it been getting familiar with that world?

Wilfredo Torres: It’s a fantastic setting with all the elements you could ask for; a beautiful natural environment, a technological marvel married to tradition. It’s really a wonderful backdrop for any storyteller.

Black Panther #15 preview inks by Wilfredo Torres and Terry Pallot
Black Panther #15 preview inks by Wilfredo Torres and Terry Pallot
Black Panther #15 preview inks by Wilfredo Torres and Terry Pallot

Black Panther #15 preview inks by Wilfredo Torres and Terry Pallot
Black Panther #15 preview pencils by Wilfredo Torres
Black Panther character sketches by Wilfredo Torres

Black Panther character sketches by Wilfredo Torres

Marvel.com: Black Panther himself has such a sleek, seemingly simple design. Is it difficult putting your own spin on that costume?

Wilfredo Torres: It’s deceptively simple really but Brian Stelfreeze had such a great approach to it so I just tried to follow in that same direction.

Marvel.com: How do you feel your collaborative relationship with Ta-Nehisi has evolved since you started working together?

Wilfredo Torres: Ta-Nehisi’s scripts play out like massive cinematic scenes and they also have these wonderful personal moments which I love working on. It’s been great to collaborate with him on this as well as [colorist] Laura Martin and the entire team.

BLACK PANTHER #15 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Wilfredo Torres arrives on June 28.

Star Wars: A Screaming Good Time

May 24 2017

This month, writers Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen find themselves about halfway through their second intergalactic narrative crossing over STAR WARS and DOCTOR APHRA, and fans find themselves in the midst of a dinner party gone horribly wrong with the Queen of the Screaming Citadel deprived of her main course: Luke Skywalker! Not surprisingly, we see Doctor Aphra in the middle of it all as she and Luke attempt to escape the wrath of the planet’s monarch all the while seeking to unlock the mysteries of the Jedi crystal.

As we round the bend towards the mid-point of this event, we sat down with co-writer Kieron Gillen, to discuss what we’ve seen so far and what we can expect around the next corner.

Marvel.com: When we first spoke about “The Screaming Citadel,” we discussed the similarities to other pulpy horror adventures like “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Given where things left off with the second issue of the story, I’d say that comparison was a pretty good one given the scene at the breakfast table…

Kieron Gillen: Of course, the other comparison would be that Sana and Aphra clearly had some “Bad Dates.”

Marvel.com: Do you have any other similar surprises in store for readers?

Kieron Gillen: Nope. Nothing happens in the remaining three issues. I’m not sure what we were thinking. We’ve decided to move into a weirder slice of life direction, where Han and Leia sit down with 000 and BeeTee and experiment with crochet.

Marvel.com: We also discovered that Aphra intended to feed Luke to the Queen. How do you bounce back from that sort of discovery if you’re Luke?

Kieron Gillen: Luke and Aphra’s relationship certainly ricochets around across the story. You have to suspect that the latest experience does put a general downer on it. Luke has tended to idealize Aphra. It’s hard to hang onto that when someone’s tried to feed you to an alien queen.

This is all written from experience. I had a friend who tried to feed me to an alien queen. Our relationship was never the same, but we’re at least polite in public now.

Marvel.com: On the other hand, how do you suppose Aphra convinces the Queen to unlock the secrets of crystal now that she’s blown her dining room?

Kieron Gillen: With great difficulty.

That said, it’s a big house. The Queen’s probably got a lot of dining rooms. And we’ve seen in the first issue she prefers to eat while standing on a balcony. Kind of Al Fresco.

Doctor Aphra #8 cover by Marco Checchetto

Marvel.com: Of course, we also have the secondary story you’re developing in the background with Han, Leia, and Sana who are trying to catch up to Luke and Aphra. Why is it that Sana is so reluctant to fill Han in on her past with Aphra?

Kieron Gillen: Because it’s deeply embarrassing, for one. Maybe that’s the main one; Sana and Han have a complicated relationship, and letting Han know the details would make her never live it down.

Of course, Sana is the person who told Aphra where they were. If she hadn’t done that, Aphra would have never been able to convince Luke to go with her. The more that Han knows, the more likely they’ll piece it together.

Marvel.com: Once the two groups reunite, we’re going to see Sana and Aphra come back together again. While Sana seems to be finding a place for herself in the Rebellion, Aphra doesn’t appear to be slowing down any. Do we get any idea of what happens next for them as the series continues?

Kieron Gillen: Oh, it’s certainly a heart-warming moment when they meet up. Possibly literally, in terms of having a blaster bolt setting Aphra’s heart on fire.

Marvel.com: Now, let’s pretend there’s a “happy ending” for this Star Wars horror story and Luke gets to learn a little more about being a Jedi after the secrets of the crystal are unlocked. But up to this point, Aphra hasn’t tipped her hand yet. What does she get out of all of this?

Kieron Gillen: The most messed up thing in all of this is Aphra’s been relatively clean on her aims. She wants to reactivate the Rur crystal. Where she hasn’t been honest is her main motivation, which is to sell it for enormous amounts of cash.

Marvel.com: Last question: What’s the deal with the Wookie allergies on this planet?

Kieron Gillen: It’s less of an allergy, and more of an intolerance. More next issue, shall we say?

“The Screaming Citadel” winds its way into DOCTOR APHRA #7 on May 31, then on to STAR WARS #32 on June 14, and finally back to DOCTOR APHRA #8 on June 28!

Elektra: House Money

May 24 2017

Unlike most visitors to Las Vegas, Elektra will be getting gone when the getting is good.

Before the lethal lady grabs the next flight out of the glittering glitzy desert, however, we cajoled ELEKTRA writer Matt Owens to talk about how her time on the Strip changed her and what he learned about Ms. Natchios over the course of this series.

Marvel.com: Obviously, when you start the pitch for a character you have a distinct idea of him or her. However, over time, often, that perspective may evolve and change. In writing ELEKTRA, how did the titular character evolve for you? Where did she start and where did she end up in terms of how you thought of her?

Matt Owens: I learned an important lesson as I watched Elektra do the same throughout this story. I think Elektra is very similar at the beginning and the end of this story. The lesson learned is that that is ok. We are who we are. Failures, faults, fears. Elektra was running from a lot but ultimately she was running from herself. At the end of this series, she is not running anymore.

Marvel.com: Continuing that thread of how Elektra changed within the book, how do you see her trip to Sin City as having made her over? What ramifications can you imagine these changes having down the road?

Matt Owens: I think the biggest ramifications are going to be for those who have screwed her over most recently. After her most recent run-in with Daredevil, she tried to escape all the pain and bull. Now she realizes that there is nowhere she can go where someone will not be messing with her. So it’s going to give her a great drive heading back to New York. She has certain people in her [crosshairs] and she is a newly motivated Elektra.

Marvel.com: One aspect that you really dug into in the book is how Elektra’s past echoes into her future. Now this can be said for all of us, but why is it especially true for her? Do you view those echoes as helping her or imprisoning her in her current life?

Matt Owens: They do both.

One of the themes of this book is how your past informs your future. Are either of those two things escapable? Are they intricately intertwined? We see how Elektra deals with failing to save people. It’s a hang-up of hers from her early days of trying to be a hero. And it has a big impact on her in the present day story.

Similarly, her future seems to be rooted in her past as well. Both in the place and people it will involve. It’s inescapable. Which can be a frustrating realization to come.

Marvel.com: Artistically, how did your collaboration with Juan Cabal progress? How did you two aid/push each other creatively?

Matt Owens: Working with Juan was one of the most fun parts of this book. I make a lot of references to things in my scripts. It’s how I think and talk. Juan and I very quickly learned that we love the same sorts of things.

Elektra #5 cover by Elizabeth Torque

I would make a reference to the One Piece manga and he would visually know what I was getting at. I would make a Final Fantasy reference and he would come back with something even bigger and better than I imagined. You can definitely see the visual influences on our version of Murder World. It ends up being our sort of homage to Gold Saucer. It evolved over the course of the run as we got to know each other better.

We made each other laugh a lot and challenged each other and I think the book turned out great because of that.

Marvel.com: Making Arcade the central villain of the story certainly pitted Elektra against a nontraditional opponent. Looking back over the arc, what do you think that helped you reveal about your protagonist as a character? Similarly, what did putting Arcade against someone he doesn’t generally cross swords with help you to explore or highlight about him?

Matt Owens: Going to Vegas was a selfish act on Elektra’s part. Finally fed up with everything she has had to deal with in her life/lives, she chose to flee. But a hero does not get to give up his/her duty so easily. It was a difficult lesson to learn, but that was [what] Arcade forced her to see. That she is innately good. She will help people. She’s had failures in the past, but that does not make her any less of a hero. On the physical side, it also solidified why Elektra is one of the deadliest members of the Marvel Universe. She got to show off a lot of skills in this story. It was fun having her in an unfamiliar environment and seeing how she would get herself out of certain situations.

Now for Arcade, going up against Elektra was the ultimate instance of flying too close to the sun. He had a lot to prove with this new Murder World. He was still dangerous, he was still entertaining, and he can still kill the best. He’s desperate to try and reclaim his perceived seat at the high table of super villains. But as he explains to Elektra, even these current machinations are at the behest of someone else. He thought he could taste former glory, but it eluded him once again.

Marvel.com: Looking specifically at issue #5, why is it a must-have for any fans of Elektra the character or your ELEKTRA series?

Matt Owens: I think it helps solidify, for the universe and for Elektra herself, her importance and ties to New York. Specifically to characters like Daredevil and Wilson Fisk. The impetus for her flight to Vegas was an attempt to get away from things in her past. Matt, New York, heroism. Only to realize at the end that no matter what she does, she is inexplicably tied to those people [and] that place. It is her destiny. Whether she likes it or not.

That’s a hard realization to come to. Elektra has been a tool used by so many people for a long time. Oftentimes feeling like her choices are not her own. This battle with Arcade and the implications behind it have proven that to be true to an extent. And that is not going to sit well with Elektra. Now she can return to her rightful corner of the universe and face the very things she was trying to push away head on.

Go all in on ELEKTRA #5 by Matt Owens and Juan Cabal, available June 28!

Schooling Spider-Man: Crisis on Campus

May 24 2017

Celebrate the Wall Crawler’s return to the big screen in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” by heading back to school with these adventures available on Marvel Unlimited!

Trouble rumbled through the pages of 1969’s AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #68 by Stan Lee and John Romita. The issue kicked off with Kingpin learning of an ancient clay tablet on display at Empire State University that he wanted, even if it meant throwing down with Spider-Man once again. Meanwhile, Spidey swung around after his battle with Mysterio, grumbling about not snapping any pictures of the fight. He got home only to find that his roommate, Harry Osborn, had locked the window!

The next day Peter Parker went to school on the E.S.U. campus and met Robbie Robertson’s son Randy. Moments after, a fellow student named Josh asked the young scholar about his thoughts on an on-campus issue; apparently the powers that be at the school intended to close down the exhibition hall and turn the building into rooms for visiting alumni. Josh represented a group that wanted the administration to turn that space into low-rent housing for students with financial difficulties.

Things looked up for our hero after he ran into Gwen Stacy and had a nice visit with Aunt May, but we readers learned that the latter had received some bad news from the doctor that she didn’t relay to her nephew. Back on campus the next morning, a protest had begun in an effort to convince the school to turn the hall into cost effective student housing. Josh wanted to take the building by force if necessary which did not sit well with Mr. Parker who pushed away from the group and went inside the hall to look at the tablet.

With enough of a crowd listening to him, Josh called for everyone to rush the hall. Kingpin saw this on TV and realized it would be the perfect distraction to steal the artifact. For his part, Peter also took advantage by snapping pictures of the demonstration. At dark, the villainous crime lord and his crew showed up and used an explosion to draw focus away from them as they ran into the not-so-secure location. Inside, Wilson Fisk actually came face to face with Peter Parker for a moment. As the Kingpin of Crime made his way to his goal, our hero ducked into a corner and changed into the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #68

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #68

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In the chamber holding the artifact, Spider-Man and Kingpin finally battled, with the well-dressed crime boss reminding the hero that his white jacket hid muscles galore. During the fray, Randy ran in and got smashed into a wall by the villain. Spidey grabbed him and escaped as part of the hall came crashing down and Fisk made off with the tablet. In the next issue, the police questioned Randy and Josh, assuming they had helped Kingpin with his plot. Meanwhile, out in the world, the villain allowed Spider-Man to find them, but the Wall-Crawler didn’t fall for the trap. The pair battled fiercely until Fisk’s cane gun backfired on him.

When the cops showed up, Kingpin lied and said that he and Spider-Man were actually allies. So, when the police saw Spidey him later, they opened fire. Peter wound up with the tablet in his possession until AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #71 when he gave it to Captain Stacy right after proving the kids didn’t have anything to do with Kingpin’s crime.

A Tangled Web

Thanks to Peter’s pictures of Kingpin’s attack, Randy Robertson avoided an unjust prison stay. Afterwards the two became friends, but Randy eventually met a woman named Mandy and the two got married. After they split up, the younger Robertson returned to New York City and started rooming with Parker. Years later, Dan Slott brought him back in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. He started a relationship with Front Line reporter Norah Winters which didn’t sit well with Phil Urich, who doubled as The Hobgoblin. The two broke up after the events of Spider-Island when Norah made more of an effort to cover the story than to save Randy’s life!

Next time, tragedy strikes Peter Parker once again when Green Goblin and Gwen Stacy have a date with destiny in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #121!

Watch the Latest ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Trailer

May 24 2017

Peter Parker still has a thing or two to learn about being your Friendly Neighborhood Wallcrawler in the latest trailer for “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” in theaters July 7!

Even with Tony Stark–a.k.a. Iron Man–around to show him the ropes, Spider-Man has his work cut out for him as he faces off against the Vulture, high school, and more in the trailer directly above.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more on “Spider-Man: Homecoming” as we websling towards July 7!

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur: Universal Tour

May 24 2017

That’s one small step for Lunella Lafayette, one giant water-rippling leap for Devil Dinosaur. Get ready for the 10-second countdown as the dynamic duo from writer Brandon Montclare and artist Natacha Bustos blasts off into space.

“Lunella gets into the MoonMobile thinking she knows where she’s going—but will be in for a few detours when ‘Girl-Moon’ starts in [MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #19 on May 24],” says Montclare.

With no shortage of cosmic locales within the Marvel Universe, we asked Brandon to list a few he’d like to visit with these two characters. Take it away, sir!

“While she ping-pongs around the farther reaches of the Marvel Universe, here are some cool places I wish I could have visited with them.”

EGO THE LIVING PLANET: “Lunella and Devil Dinosaur only get to within 238,900 miles of Ego. That seems like a lot, but in planetary terms it’s just a near miss.”


ZENN-LA
: “I think the pair would love the high-tech home of Silver Surfer. Lunella is a city girl, and has never been more than a few miles from her apartment in NYC’s Lower East Side. The science-society of Zenn-La would both make Lunella feel at home, but also be wondrous enough to teach her a bunch of new things.”


THE BLUE AREA OF THE MOON:
” Moon Girl retains complicated feelings towards the Inhumans, and hitting the former location of Attilan would be no pleasure and all business. Lunella has more experience with Kree technology than any other Earthling, and the leftover rubble of the transported Inhuman capital city would be a goldmine.”


PLANET HULK
: “Because Devil Dinosaur needs to have some fun too! He’d love to go a few rounds with the galactic gladiators in the arena.”


ASGARD:
“I want Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur to go there mostly because it means I get to see Natacha Bustos draw the Rainbow Bridge and the Norse/[Jack] Kirby/[Walt] Simonson-influenced lords and ladies. For a compelling story point: Lunella is now The Smartest There Is—that’s becoming well known all over our home planet, but it’s time she starts becoming the brainy ambassador to all our cosmic neighbors.”

Pick up the next installment of MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR tomorrow, May 24, from Brandon Montclare and Natacha Bustos—and be on the lookout for issue #20, coming June 28!

Mighty Captain Marvel: Fighting Through

May 24 2017

Carol Danvers has gone through a lot lately.

CIVIL WAR II definitely took an emotional toll, and now she faces the betrayal of Steve Rogers in SECRET EMPIRE. MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL writer Margaret Stohl filled us in on Captain Marvel’s headspace, and where she finds herself psychologically and emotionally these days.

Marvel.com: Carol found herself in a pretty dark place at the end of CIVIL WAR II. And now SECRET EMPIRE follows right on its heels. It must feel very draining for Carol psychologically and emotionally. Does watching things play out with Steve erode her faith in some of the things she has believed in even more?

Margaret Stohl: Watching Steve Rogers betray everything that Captain America has always stood for is a crushing blow, not just for Carol but for everyone. On the other hand, she’s also an experienced military leader, and she knows better than anyone that the loss of Captain America only makes the role of Captain Marvel that much more important. She steps up when others step down, and she always has. So no, Steve’s betrayal doesn’t erode her faith, it makes her all the more resolved to defend it—because if she doesn’t, who will?

Marvel.com: Steve left Carol and her team outside the planetary shield surrounding the Earth to face wave after wave of the Chitauri army. What kind of state of mind will she have when she gets back?

Margaret Stohl: Carol has her combat brain on now, which means she only has three things on her mind: how to keep her team alive, how to get them back to Earth, and then how to save it. Her first goal is her team’s survival, particularly the three young cadets—Glory, Dante and A’Di—who were caught outside the shield with her during their training at Alpha Flight. That is priority one. Part of what makes Carol such an effective soldier and leader is her ability to compartmentalize when she has to. Making decisions in the moment is tough, but when a leader doesn’t lead, the people fighting for her die.

Mighty Captain Marvel #6 cover by Elizabeth Torque

Marvel.com: Currently, Carol leads Alpha Flight and plays a major role in the Ultimates. So professionally, she seems to really have things together. But personally, she’s facing more challenges.

Margaret Stohl: Absolutely. Carol’s first arc in 2017 was all about her personal journey back from the events of CIVIL WAR II. This arc is much more of a combat adventure, though even the fact that there are teens on Alpha Flight just shows how much her relationship with the Kree child, Bean, from the past few issues, has impacted her. In general though, I think Carol’s emotions are on hold until she gets through the catastrophe of SECRET EMPIRE. If she ever makes it home, Carol Danvers will have to work to process what has happened—not just to her but to her planet.

Marvel.com: Carol had a falling out with Ms. Marvel during CIVIL WAR II, and America is distancing herself from the Ultimates to go to college. How does it affect Carol to see her protégés walking away?

Margaret Stohl: Carol is a lifer in her fight for what’s right. Like many other heroes, she’s seen plenty of teammates come and go, and while that wears on her, she knows it comes with the gig. That said, I’m not sure she’s ever recovered from the end of her friendship with Kamala Khan. Since Kamala moved on in her life, Carol has taken the time to foster a Kree child and train three Alpha Cadets. I think she deeply feels the loss of Kamala, and is still trying to figure it out.

Marvel.com: I would imagine the fall of Maria Hill has had a pretty significant impact on Carol, as well. The two have had their differences, but have often found themselves in similar situations, and frequently worked together. Does it make Carol feel like maybe the same thing could happen to her? Like she could be forced out of the organizations she cares about?

Margaret Stohl: Women in positions of power are always aware of the fates of their female contemporaries, but at the moment, Carol really is caught up in just getting her butt back to Earth. I don’t know how much time she’s spent thinking about it. She’s much more worried about Wendy, who is trapped somewhere on Earth and away from the rest of the A.F. team.

MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL continues to battle through Secret Empire as depicted in issue #5 on May 31 and issue #6 on June 28, both written by Margaret Stohl with art by Ramon Rosanas and Michele Bandini respectively.

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