If you’ve been paying attention to any of the latest rumors about Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you might have heard that a certain ragtag group of comic book villains/heroes/vigilantes may soon make their MCU debut. According to Deadline, Jake Schreier is set to direct the top-secret Thunderbolts movie. There have already been hints within several of Marvel’s movies and shows as to what characters may be a part of the team. The original leader of the team in the comic books, Baron Helmut Zemo, has already appeared in both Captain America: Civil War and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. The team’s founder, Thadeus “Thunderbolt” Ross,” also appeared in The Incredible Hulk. Other rumored characters include US Agent, Taskmaster, Yelena Belova, Ghost and the Abomination. While fans salivate over the forthcoming film, let’s take a look at the history of Marvel’s Thunderbolts. Questionable Origins Much like DC’s Suicide Squad, the Thunderbolts are a group of “reformed” supervillains brought together to perform secretive missions. Though the reasons for their original formation were quite nefarious. Baron Zemo formed the team as a secretive version of his “Masters of Evil.” Zemo even went under the guise of the heroic Citizen V persona. With several of Earth’s superheroes missing following their battle with Onslaught, the Thunderbolts rose to prominent positions of trust and power. Villains such as Goliath, Beetle, Fixer, and Screaming Mimi also joined Zemo by taking on new heroic identities. The final member to join the team was Moonstone, a criminal psychologist who partook in some unethical practices. Villains Become Heroes Not long before many of Earth’s heroes returned from their banishment to a pocket dimension by Onslaught, many of the Thunderbolts began to think of themselves as actual heroes. Though Zemo made a power play for control, he was ultimately ousted from the team. Soon after, Hawkeye joined the team. Having formerly been a criminal himself, he worked to reform the team as their new leader. It was soon discovered that Hawkeye lied to them about getting pardons from the US government, which put a strain on team relations. However, Hawkeye eventually did get them their pardons. It came at the cost that he would have to go to prison for aiding them while they were still fugitives. New Leadership In Hawkeye’s absence, Baron Zemo found a way to manipulate his way back into the good graces of the Thunderbolts. When Hawkeye was eventually pardoned himself, Zemo convinced him that he wanted to reform after the team defeated the Crimson Cowl. Under Zemo’s renewed leadership, the team partook in several acts of questionable heroism. Zemo had the belief that the ends justified the means. Leadership of the Thunderbolts eventually changed again. Norman Osbourne served as a notable leader after he gained power following the superhero Civil War. He used the team’s role in repelling the Skrull Invasion, as well as Tony Stark’s failure to protect the Earth, to position them as the Dark Avengers. An Uncertain Future The team went through several leadership changes after Osbourne. Luke Cage, Red Hulk, and Winter Soldier all served as leaders in the years following. More recently, Wilson Fisk used his own team of Thunderbolts to fight against superhuman vigilantism as mayor. Following Fisk’s defeat, Helen Astrantia was tasked with reforming the Thunderbolts. She and Luke Cage have targeted Hawkeye as a potential leader once again.
The much-awaited trailer for the DCU’s Black Adam released last week starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. From the short trailer, we learned a little bit about what we can expect from the next film from DC. Let’s take a look at what we know about the character Black Adam, as well as what we learned from the trailer. The Origin of Black Adam Black Adam first appeared all the way back in 1945 in the pages of the Marvel Family by Fawcett Comics. He was then known as Teth-Adam, an apprentice of the wizard Shazam. He was given the very power that would eventually be wielded by Captain Marvel. However, the Mighty Adam quickly became corrupted by that power and was banished by Shazam to the most distant star in the universe. 5,000 years later, Black Adam returned to Earth to get revenge on the Marvel Family. He failed in his attempt, and was seemingly killed. However, Black Adam was reborn in DC Comics in 1973. Since then, he has been portrayed as both a hero and a villain, which is something that the trailer for the new movie heavily plays upon. I Kneel Before No One The Black Adam trailer contained plenty of surprises, but it also didn’t give away too much about the story. Here’s what we know. The film revolves around the idea that Black Adam is neither a hero or a villain. The trailer implies that he has not yet made his choice. A supporting cast of characters provide a moral compass for Adam in the trailer. Among them is Dr. Fate, who is played by Pierce Brosnan. In the opening of the trailer, Dr. Fate asks Adam: “What have your powers ever given to you? Nothing but heartache.” We then learn a bit of Adam’s tragic backstory, including the death of his son. Following his son’s death, Adam vows: “I kneel before no one.” In This World, There are Heroes and There are Villains. The trailer contains cameos from several other DC characters outside of Brosnan’s Dr. Fate. Famed heroes Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) also make appearances. In the middle of the trailer, Hawkman attempts to reason with Black Adam, proclaiming “In this world, there are heroes and there are villains. Heroes don’t kill people.” to which Adam simply responds “Well I do.” At first glance, this film looks to be a great entry into DC’s cinematic universe, and could provide a much-needed boost to it! Check out the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STyZP3S-jN8
Did you know that Spider-Man just celebrated his official 60th birthday? The most beloved comic book hero of all-time first webbed his way into the pages of Marvel Comics on June 5th, 1962 in Amazing Fantasy #15. Though that issue was cover dated August 1962, it actually hit newsstands on that fateful day in June. Legends Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko collaborated on the famous debut cover of Spider-Man swinging into action and fighting crime for the very first time. Amazing Fantasy #1000 Spider-Man may very well be the most enduring comic book hero that we’ve ever seen. Though he’s not the oldest one, his popularity has been unmatched for 60 straight years. So how does Marvel Comics plan to celebrate this monumental achievement? Simple: by putting together a dream team for a special oversized one-shot titled Amazing Fantasy #1000. Together, this team will present a number of different Spidey stories from the past and the present. All of which will help to celebrate his 60th anniversary. Assembling a Dream Team “It’s Spider-Man’s 60th and we wanted to celebrate in style by inviting some of the greatest creative minds in the world to celebrate it!” Said editor Nick Lowe. Beloved Spider-Man writer Dan Slot will be teaming with artist Jim Cheung to deliver a special story focusing on the enduring love between Peter Parker and Mary Jane. A brand-new villain will be introduced by the team of Neil Gaiman, Anthony Falcone, and Michael Cho in another story. Meanwhile, Ho Che Anderson will present a horror themed epic that promises to rock Peter Parker to his very core. Amazing Fantasy #1000 will also see stories from the likes of Kurt Busiek, Jonathan Hickman, and more! Cover & Variants John Romita, Jr. Will be doing the cover for this milestone book, though there will also be variants by J. Scott Campbell and Peach Momoko. Campbell will be doing a series of variant covers, which also celebrate a number of other iconic characters celebrating their 60th anniversaries this year and next. He shared his excitement for this awesome opportunity: “It’s a thrill and an honor to create cover art celebrating the 60th anniversary of characters that have become so iconic and ingrained in our culture,” he said. “I really wanted to make images that would have a visual bridge from the pulpy 4 color origins of these monumental heroes to the modern-day slick coloring and production we are now all familiar with.” The excitement is palpable. Look for Amazing Fantasy #1000 this August!
Bernard Hoyster was a mercenary who worked alongside Deadpool and Garrison Kane as members of a new Weapon X team. Hoyster also happened to be a mutant by the name of Sluggo, which is why he was recruited by Department K. Sluggo’s powers made him practically invulnerable to any form of damage, which made him a perfect fit for the team. Eventually this incarnation of Weapon X was dissolved, and Sluggo found himself out of the game. That is until a mysterious millionaire named Tyler “Tolliver” Dayspring brought him back in. Toliver was hiring elite mercenaries, and Sluggo made the short list. During his employment with Tolliver, Sluggo met Copycat, a shapeshifting mutant. Tolliver’s Will Sluggo made his first official appearance in X-Force #22. Following Tolliver’s death at the hands of Cable, a secret “will” was sent out to all of his mercenaries challenging them to find hidden treasure that he left behind. The catch was, only one of them would be left standing to claim it. As Deadpool was fighting Copycat, who had taken the form of a friend of hers named Tina, Sluggo showed up and shot who he thought was Copycat. The problem was, his instincts were wrong and he actually shot Tina. Deadpool commented on how he hadn’t seen Sluggo for years, and that he’d kill Sluggo if he shot “the right one,” as Deadpool had a romantic history with Copycat. Sluggo informed Deadpool of Tolliver’s will and the pair decide to track down Copycat together. Encounter With Domino Leads to Bad Luck Unfortunately for Sluggo, he was taken out of the game by Domino, who shot both he and Deadpool from behind, and then cut a deal with Copycat in order to locate X-Force. A few weeks later, Sluggo attempted to gather more information about Tolliver’s will from Copycat’s mother. His bad luck continued, as he was ambushed by Copycat herself, who tossed him through a building and left him for the police. Later Years & Death Sluggo never really recovered from his string of bad luck. Despite his promising debut, and his ties to Weapon X, he was later relegated to obscurity. This was directly mocked in Weapon X: First Class #2. Deadpool broke the fourth wall in order to make fun of Sluggo for never even gaining entry into the Official Marvel Handbook. Sluggo made one final attempt at making a name for himself in Deadpool #36 (Volume 4) by joining a ragtag group of villains focused on getting revenge on Deadpool for being a lousy friend. However, Weasel accidentally killed him with a grenade launcher, resulting in a sad end to Sluggo.
A good comic book villain is only as good as the henchmen who serve him. Sure, those henchmen are often expendable, but they’re great at buying time while the mastermind sets his true plans into motion. So, what are the true signs of a successful henchmen group? The answer to that question can be narrowed down to three key factors: perseverance, longevity, and a willingness to change with the times. For those reasons, we believe that these 5 groups are the best of the bunch. The Court of Owls DC’s shadowy organized crime syndicate known as the Court of Owls are a relatively new group, having only debut in December 2011’s Batman (vol. 2) #3. They are said to have been around since the founding of Gotham City in 1635, and they consist of the city’s wealthiest and most influential citizens. They are better regarded as a secret society rather than an outright faction of henchmen. That doesn’t mean they don’t get their hands dirty. The Court of Owls has employed indoctrinated agents called Talons to carry out assassinations in Gotham City. The Hand The deadly order of evil ninjas known as the Hand covets power above everything else. They premiered in Daredevil #174 (September 1981), and historically originated out of feudal Japan in 1588. Though they are primarily based within the country, their reach is international. The Hand often operates out of New York City, where they have come into conflict with Daredevil. The group has its “hand” in organized crime, assassination plots, and mercenary work. Much like the rest of the groups on this list, leadership within the organization changes often. The League of Assassins The shadowy group known as the League of Assassins first appeared in Strange Adventures #215 back in December 1968. As their name implies, they typically specialize in assassinations. They were founded by Ra’s al Ghul in 1013 A.D. The group has featured some of the deadliest assassins in DC comics, all of whom were ready to give their lives at a moment’s notice if Ra’s al Ghul ordered them to. They have often come into conflict with Gotham City’s protector, Batman. Even in death, the “Demon’s Head” always rises again. A.I.M. The acronym A.I.M. stands for Advanced Idea Mechanics, a privately funded network of scientists and arms dealers dedicated to obtaining power through technology. A.I.M. first appeared in Strange Tales #146 (July 1966), and was originally created as a sub-branch of the terrorist organization HYDRA by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker during World War II. The ultimate goal of A.I.M. is to overthrow the governments of the world with science and technology. They supply weapons and tech for various terrorist and criminal organizations, with the intention of fostering a violent technological revolution. Hydra Is there a more recognizable faction in comic book lore than Hydra? The group has been at the receiving end of heroes’ fists since their debut in Strange Tales #135 in August of 1965. This terrorist group was revealed to have been linked to the Nazi party while under the leadership of the Red Skull. However, their origins go back even further than that. They were active in ancient Egypt, and their origin may have alien ties as well. No matter how many times they seem to be defeated, Hydra always finds a way to come back. I guess it’s true what they say: “Cut off one head, two more shall take its place!”
Last week we paid tribute to legendary comic writer and artist George Pérez, who sadly passed away earlier this month. The comic book world also lost another legend back in April, and we would be remiss if we did not speak of his great contributions to the industry and beyond. Neal Adams passed away at the age of 80. Neal is remembered for his amazing work in creating ultra-realistic comic art starting back in the 1960s. He is credited with giving Batman a darker image, which completely revitalized the character. However, Neal will be remembered for far more than that. Here is a look back at the life of Neal Adams. Neal Adams’ Early Life Neal was born on June 15, 1941, in New York City. However, he spent much of his childhood at a U.S. military base in Germany, where his father was stationed. Neal grew up with a strong interest in the Holocaust. This was in part due to childhood memories, but also because his mother-in-law was a Jewish refugee from Nazi-occupied Poland, where she helped other Jews flee the country. This influenced Neal’s decision to pursue a greater understanding of Holocaust education later. Due to these experiences, Neal became a man who would go on to make a habit out of standing up for others. Neal’s Artwork Neal came along during a time where comic book art was more cartoony than anything else. He helped to move the industry far beyond that customary practice. He brought an innate realism to his art. His characters were far more grounded than previous iterations. He brought Batman back from the campy era of the 1960s television series, and into his previous dark and shadowy roots. He co-created Batman’s deadly nemesis Ra’s Al Ghul, as well as a new Green Lantern in John Stewart. Fellow comic book legend Jim Lee referred to Neal Adams as “a master at every facet of art.” The Deeds of Neal Adams Neal was regularly active politically in the comic book industry. He fought for creator’s rights, and his efforts paid off. He pioneered the now-standard practice of returning all original artwork back to the artist, which resulted in Marvel returning art to both him and Jack Kirby in 1987. He was a vocal leader in lobbying to give Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster credit and long-overdue compensation from DC Comics. He also helped form the Comics Creators Guild in 1978. Dina Babbitt One of Neal’s most noteworthy acts was championing the effort to get Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to return the original artwork of Dina Babbitt, a Holocaust survivor who was imprisoned at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. There, Dina was forced to draw portraits of Romani inmates for notorious Nazi death camp doctor Josef Mengele, in exchange for sparing the lives of Babbitt and her mother. They Spoke Out: American Voices Against the Holocaust Though his efforts to get the museum to return Dina Babbit’s paintings ultimately failed, Neal illustrated a graphic documentary about Babbit in collaboration with Rafael Medoff, an American professor of Jewish history. In 2010, Adams and Medoff produced an online motion comic series They Spoke Out: American Voices Against the Holocaust. The series told the stories of several Americans who protested the Nazis or helped rescue Jews during the Holocaust. This is but a small piece of the legacy of Neal Adams. May he rest in peace.
The comic book world lost an absolute icon on Friday. Legendary artist and writer George Pérez passed away at the age of 67 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. In a career that lasted four decades, George left a lasting legacy at both Marvel and DC Comics. He is well-known for his work on the Avengers, the New Teen Titans, and DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. Additionally, he is credited with playing a key role in the reboot of Wonder Woman in the late 1980s. To honor the legacy of George Pérez, let us take a look at some of his best work. The Avengers George Pérez ‘s first major rise to prominence began in the 1970s with issue #141 of the Avengers. George himself observed that many artists avoided drawing larger teams like the Avengers due to the vast roster of characters. However, he took on the task with a great deal of enthusiasm. He prided himself on working intricately on each character so that they had their own distinct appearance, even when unmasked. George later worked with writer Jim Shooter on the Avengers story “The Korvac Saga.” Along with writer David Michelinie, George is also credited with creating the Avengers villain, Taskmaster in Avengers #196. The New Teen Titans Following his work on the Avengers, George started working for DC Comics. There, he was given the duties of drawing the New Teen Titans. He joined writer Marv Wolfman, who he worked with previously on the Fantastic Four Annual. The two of them presided over what was considered to be the most popular version of the team. During this time, he is credited with the co-creation of the character Deathstroke. Crisis on Infinite Earths & Wonder Woman In 1985, George embarked upon what is widely considered to be some of the best work of his career when he took on art duties for DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths. The work was challenging, but George’s best work always came from a challenge. During this period, George displayed his ability to create beautiful splash pages featuring multiple characters. This comic book would place George in the upper pantheon of artists due to how detailed his artwork was. In 1987, George helped reboot Wonder Woman, leaning heavily into Greek mythology for Diana’s backstory. This version of the character would later serve as inspiration for Patty Jenkins when she directed the 2017 movie. The Infinity Gauntlet & Return to the Avengers In 1991, George took part in another blockbuster story that would later serve as inspiration for a film when he began drawing for Marvel’s huge crossover event, the Infinity Gauntlet. Once again, George displayed his talent for creating splash pages that feature numerous characters. His career came full circle when he returned to the Avengers in 1998. He and legendary writer Kurt Busiek joined forces for its third volume. George worked on the Avengers for three years. The duo also worked on the JLA/Avengers crossover event, which came out many years later. A Lasting Legacy George went on to do great work for other publications such as Gorilla Comics and CrossGen, before once again rejoining DC Comics in 2006. He also wrote and drew the series Sirens for Boom! Studios in 2014. His career spanned for more than four decades. Outside of his amazing work, George will always be remembered for his kindness and enthusiasm. He is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Carol Flynn, his brother David, and his parents Jorge and Luz.
When it comes to obscure comic book characters, we’ve always got you covered here at Vanguard Comics & Collectibles. From the Human Fly to Americop to Eye-Scream, we’ve taken a look at some oddballs. As ridiculous as these characters are, none of them have a name quite as strange as Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man. A Perfect Accident First appearing back in Doom Patrol #89, Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man became a foe of the team after a Swedish scientist named Dr. Sven Larsen “accidentally” fell into a giant vat of amino acids… These DC characters really need to learn to stay away from giant vats of chemicals… Anyways, after falling into the amino acids, Larsen received some strangely specific powers. As his name implies, he gained the ability to transform different parts of his body into the form of any animal, vegetable, or mineral that he so desires. By combining these abilities together in tandem, he became a formidable opponent to the team. A Secret Plot for Revenge The Doom Patrol rushed to save who they believed at the time to be an innocent man caught up in a terrible accident, but later discovered that Dr. Larsen actually transformed himself into Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man on purpose. After reading his notes, they uncovered the truth. Larsen was still enraged at his teacher, Dr. Niles Caulder, whom he believed had stolen his research. His reason for transforming into the creature was based entirely on revenge. An Ironic End Larsen gave the Doom Patrol a run for their money by transforming into a giant ivy plant, a dinosaur, a being of pure lead, a dandelion, and even a giant tarantula. Eventually Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man was undone by the very technology that he claimed Dr. Caulder stole from him, the anti-decay ray, which prevented any changes in living cells. Caulder waited until Larsen transformed into a tiger, and then fired the weapon on him, preventing any further transformations. Back at the university laboratory, Larsen is changed back to human form. The Legacy of Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man Though Dr. Larsen was seemingly cured following his defeat, life as they say found a way. He went on to terrorize the Doom Patrol many years later by teaming with General Immortus. Once again, Larsen was defeated. However, he has come back into the fold several times since then, always looking for a way to destroy Doom Patrol. Additionally, he was portrayed by Alec Mapa in the television series adaptation of Doom Patrol.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is less than two weeks away from being released in theatres. The film will be a key entry into Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We know that the film will explore alternate realities within Marvel’s multiverse. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the most powerful reality altering beings in Marvel Comics! Scarlet Witch We can’t do a list about reality manipulation without including the Scarlet Witch herself, Wanda Maximoff. With her chaos magic, Wanda is capable of rewriting reality itself. Her father Magneto found that out firsthand during the House of M event, when Wanda changed the fate of the entire mutant race with three simple words: “No more mutants.” Sentry Robert Reynolds, aka the Sentry, is a human mutate with powers that far exceed that of most any other superhero within the pages of Marvel Comics. The Sentry’s various abilities are too plentiful to share in one go, but to sum them up, he has the power of one million exploding suns. The Sentry is so powerful, that he once wrote himself out of existence completely. In order to save the world from his alter ego the Void, Sentry erased the memories of himself and everyone on Earth. Legion David Charles Haller is the son of Charles Xavier, and in the mutant world is known as Legion. He is an Omega-level mutant with the ability to alter time and reality on a cosmic scale. What makes him so much more dangerous for having these powers is that he also suffers from dissociative identity disorder. This means that his abilities vary depending on which of his personalities are currently dominant. It is said that Legion has more than one thousand different personalities, and can create more depending on the situation. Legion is responsible for creating the Age of Apocalypse timeline. Franklin Richards The Fantastic Four are known as the first family of Marvel Comics. Reed Richards and Sue Storm had two children, Franklin and Valeria. Franklin is the older of the two, and from a young age he exhibited a number of psionic powers. He was once sought out as a pawn to change all of reality by the malevolent entity known as Onslaught. In order to save the lives of the Fantastic four and the Avengers in their battle against Onslaught, Franklin created a pocket universe where he subconsciously transported the heroes for an entire year. Molecule Man Owen Reese is a diminutive man from all appearances. However, much like the Sentry, Molecule Man is an insanely powerful being. His powers can be explained simply enough. Reese can control matter itself, down to the molecular level. Though he once subconsciously blocked his own abilities, Reece is now fully capable of controlling them. He is able to warp reality throughout the entire multiverse. His primary purpose however, is to act as a living bomb, capable of destroying the entire universe upon his own death.
The teaser trailer for Thor: Love & Thunder recently dropped, and it was full of hidden Easter eggs and nods straight from the comic books. Fans are getting hyped for the return of the Thunder God, as well as the arrival of a new villain that threatens everything. With that said, let’s have a look at some of the comic references that were hidden in plain sight from the new trailer. Gorr the God Butcher and His Victims It’s no secret that actor Christian Bale will be playing the dreaded villain Gorr the God Butcher. There are some really cool references to the character throughout the trailer. The one that stands out the most is the image of Thor, along with his buddy Korg, standing atop a mountain and staring at the corpse of a god by the name of Falligar the Behemoth. This is the most comic book accurate scene in the trailer as it comes straight from the pages of Thor: God of Thunder. Falligar was a friend of Thor, and also one of the many victims of Gorr in that story. There is one other scene in the trailer which may also link to Gorr. While Thor is training to get back in shape, he is seen using the chains of another deceased giant’s skeleton. It remains to be seen if this is yet another of Gorr’s victims. The Gods of Mount Olympus The trailer doesn’t hide the fact that the Greek Gods of Mount Olympus are making their MCU debut in the movie. If the spectacular golden halls of Olympus didn’t give it away, the image of Zeus holding a lightning bolt in his hand clear up any confusion. In the comic books, Thor often came into conflict, and sometimes partnership with the Greek Gods. We surmise that Thor might go to Olympus to warn Zeus of the imminent threat of Gorr the God Butcher. Could this perhaps also be a sign that a certain son of Zeus, and Thor ally by the name of Hercules, may soon make his MCU debut? Lady Thor The big reveal at the end of the trailer is the revelation that Jane Foster has become the new Thor. This is a storyline that occurred in the comic books back in 2014. Jane Foster, who was suffering from cancer at the time, was deemed worthy of Mjolnir during a time where Thor himself had become unworthy. The trailer only shows Jane for but a moment, but she is sure to play a large part in the film. Miscellaneous Easter Eggs Aside from these big reveals, there are a host of small Easter eggs from the trailer as well. Early in the trailer, a flashback shows a teenage Thor sporting his original comic costume. He also wears another costume in the trailer resembling that of Thunderstrike from the 90’s comics. Thor’s journey to redemption includes his brief stay with the Guardians of the Galaxy, which might be a nod to the Asgardians of the Galaxy comic book. We also see Thor’s space goats, Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder, pulling his chariot. Take a look at the new trailer:
The landscape for the X-Men was drastically changed, quite literally, after the mutants of Krakoa and Arakko created a new home on the once lifeless planet of Mars. The planet, which has been aptly renamed Arakko, is now home to a massive number of mutants. It’s also the capital planet in the solar system, and Storm has been named Regent. A New Beginning The team of Al Ewing and Stefano Caselli head an entirely new saga in the X-Men, and it promises to go beyond anything we’ve seen before. The tale they tell in X-Men Red #1 revolves around three easily recognizable faces within the long-storied history of the X-Men. Who Defends the Broken Land? Storm is struggling with her new position of authority as Regent of Arakko. She wishes not to be referred to as “queen” by her people, and would rather all decisions be made by the council which she now oversees. She is also dealing with pressure from Abigail Brand, who is quietly attempting to politically manipulate the situation in Arakko from afar by encouraging Storm to have the X-Men enact more control over the planet. Meanwhile, Magneto has come to the planet seeking a new beginning, or perhaps only to live out the remainder of his days someplace quiet. He carries great guilt over his role in creating the mutant nation of Krakoa. He feels that his days as a revolutionary are behind him, and now seeks only peace. Elsewhere, Sunspot has become a successful entrepreneur, taking on a new business opportunity by purchasing a bar. After a brawl breaks out between Vulcan and Thunderbird, Abigail Brand and Cable take Vulcan away. Sunspot seeks out Magneto due to his mistrust of Abigail Brand, whom he knows is up to no good. The Brotherhood is Back Sunspot and Magneto discuss Abigail Brand’s plan to create a utopia on Arakko. They both agree that her plan will not end well for anyone. Sunspot wishes to form a team of X-Men to oppose her. Before anything can be decided, Storm appears before the two with a counterproposal. “Brand is the one looking for X-Men, and she’ll find them,” Storm says. “Arakko needs to balance that.” When Magneto asks her who defends the broken land, Storm responds: “The brotherhood does.” The Future Relies on the Past It seems as though Storm is suggesting the reformation of the Brotherhood of Mutants. She’s also sporting a new appearance on the final page, which is reminiscent of her iconic punk look, mohawk and all. The future of this book looks to rely heavily on the past, and that’s not a bad thing.
Free Comic Book Day 2022 is not far away. On May 7th, at least 46 free comic books will hit most comic stores. The annual event offers up the perfect opportunity for readers who have been out of the loop for a while, or who are looking for something new to read. We’ve got you covered on what to expect. Here are a few of the free comic books we’re most looking forward to! Avengers / X-Men #1 Marvel is set to debut a brand-new character, who just so happens to be the daughter of the vampire hunter known as Blade. In the upcoming Free Comic Book Day Avengers/X-Men #1 special, readers will be introduced to Brielle, Blade’s long-lost daughter, who also goes by Bloodline. The idea of introducing Blade’s daughter was teased several years ago, but never came to fruition. The story of Bloodline will be written by Danny Lore and Karen S. Darboe. This is just one of three stories included, which will forever alter the relationships between the Avengers and all of mutant kind. 25 years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Keeping with the vampire theme, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Celebrate Free Comic Book Day by picking up Boom! Studios’ free comic book issue titled: 25 Years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This issue is presented in yearbook format, and allows fans to revisit many of the most memorable moments of Buffy and her pals through the years. There may even be a hint of what’s next for the chosen one. Jordi Bellaire and Jeremy Lambert are just a few of the writers working on this anniversary special. Dark Crisis #0 Our final pick for Free Comic Book Day is DC’s Dark Crisis #0, brought to you by the talented trio of Joshua Williamson, Jim Cheung, and Daniel Sampere. The Justice League faces a battle that is years in the making. The Great Darkness has overtaken them, along with an army of the deadliest supervillains of all time. A brand-new team of heroes must take a stand in order to preserve the entire DC multiverse. This will all lead up to the biggest DC event of 2022.
The 1980’s marked an extremely important time for comic books. Game-changing stories were on the way for several books. Marvel’s Secret Wars was set for 1984. DC launched its Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline in 1985. Dark Horse comics debut in 1986. At the same time, many of the storylines that took place in the 80s for Marvel and DC would define both companies for the next several decades. Yes, the industry was prepping for the most influential era to that point. That doesn’t mean that everything that came out in the 80’s was gold… The Worst Comic Book Ever Created? In November 1983, Pacific Comics introduced the world to Billy Moon, a Vietnam war veteran who pursued a career in roller derby before becoming a roller-skating crime fighter by the name of Skateman. Well… That’s quite the synopsis for a comic book superhero. Needless to say, Skateman didn’t go over very well. The book was written by Neal Adams, and only released one single issue. It is widely considered to be one of the worst comic books ever created. What went wrong for Skateman? The story began with Billy, as Skateman, fighting off a motorcycle gang by …skating around them and doing karate… Unfortunately for Billy, a wooden plank to the back of his head provided a painful reality check. Before the thugs could finish him off though, they were startled by police sirens. Billy was then tended to by a young boy on a skateboard named Paco. Billy asked Paco to help him avoid the police by taking him to a woman named Jill. As Skateman was edging closer to death, his horrendous origin was finally revealed in a flashback. While playing roller derby, Billy accidentally killed his best friend by hitting him too hard. He was labeled a killer by fans and the media. He and his girlfriend Angel hitchhiked to California to start a new life. It was there that Billy met Paco, whom he developed a bond with. Billy taught Paco how to defend himself and trained him for a skateboarding championship. The two were celebrating Paco’s victory with a food fight when Angel came home one day covered in blood, and then died in Billy’s arms. A motorcyclist sped away from the scene. Following Angel’s death, Billy became enraged. In order to get justice, he became Skateman. Back in the present day, Billy was able to heal up with Jill’s help. He and Jill went on a date at a local roller rink, when a fight broke out involving a familiar biker gang. Billy pursued the bikers but Jill was kidnapped in the chaos. Billy was able to track the kidnappers back to their hideout. There, the final showdown ensued, and Skateman was able to save the day. The story ended with Skateman and Jill exiting the building as it blew up, with Paco cheering them on. One & Done It’s easy to see why there was never another issue of Skateman created. This was by far one of the most poorly written stories in comic book history. The character was poorly conceived. His origin story was convoluted. The dialogue was beyond campy. Also, Skateman clearly had some psychological issues…
The Avengers are well-known as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Throughout their almost 60-year history, they’ve saved the world hundreds of times. Their roster has consisted of some of the most renowned superheroes ever during that period. Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are just a few of the top-tier heroes who are mainstays of the team. The roster has been known to go through some changes from time to time, but they’ve always come back stronger than ever. However, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been a few forgettable members along the way. Let’s take a look at 5 of the more obscure Avengers. Swordsman The 1970s provided a time of several odd roster additions to the Avengers lineup. The first of which was Jacques Duquesne, aka the Swordsman. The man who took a young Clint Barton under his wing and trained him to be the world’s greatest archer was initially rejected by the Avengers. The cunning Duquesne took advantage of a second opportunity and was accepted. Almost immediately, he betrayed the team and planted a remote bomb in their headquarters. The duplicitous Swordsman had a change of heart in the end, and ended up selling out the man who hired him, the Mandarin. He then left the team, but briefly rejoined again during the Avengers/Defenders war. D-Man We’ve covered the dismal tale of Dennis Dunphy in a past blog, but did you know he was very briefly an Avenger? Dunphy was a superhero superfan before becoming D-Man, a slightly odd fellow who served as an occasional sidekick to Captain America. After the events of Inferno, Steve Rogers recruited him to an Avengers team which was very short-lived. In fact, D-Man wasn’t even officially voted in as a member before he disappeared, and was presumed dead. Two-Gun Kid While battling the time travelling tyrant Kang the Conqueror, it was no real surprise when the team was sent back to the wild west. It was during this battle that they met Matt Hawk, the Two-Gun Kid. Hawk was known as the greatest marksman of his time, making him a capable ally to the Avengers. He even temporarily traveled back to the future with the team, where he became an honorary member before returning to his own era. The Forgotten One (Gilgamesh) “The Forgotten One” is appropriately named considering his uneventful stint with the team. This Eternal joined Steve Rogers’ brief post-Inferno Avengers lineup along with D-Man. While with the team, he regained his original name “Gilgamesh.” Despite this fact, his run was anything but memorable. He helped the team fight off equally obscure villains such as the Lava Men, Nanny, Orphan-Maker, and Growing Man. Silverclaw Maria de Guadalupe Santiago was born to a small tribe in a small South-American village near Costa Verde. She was rumored to be a descendant of Peliali, the Volcano goddess. As a child, Lupe developed the ability to transform into different were-forms. Her father died at a young age and she was taken in by a church orphanage funded by an American charity called ChildCare. She later formed a bond with Edwin Jarvis, the Avengers butler. Jarvis had learned about Lupe through a commercial from ChildCare, and began sponsoring her. During her first visit to North America, Lupe’s plane was highjacked by terrorists led by Moses Magnum. Luckily, Jarvis was waiting at the airport to meet Lupe. He promptly summoned the Avengers. Now going as Silverclaw, Lupe joined the team to defeat Moses Magnum, and became an ally from that point on.
Throughout the years, several writers have depicted the tragic events that led to Frank Castle’s decision to serve up vigilante justice to the criminals of Marvel comics. Over and over, readers have been shown flashbacks of the source of Frank’s suffering. The first few pages of Jason Aaron’s Punisher #1 recollect that fateful day as well, yet it’s done in a way we haven’t seen before. The death of Frank Castle’s family is played out from the perspective of the EMTs who first responded. They desperately try to save Frank’s family as he barely clings to life. One by one, the EMTs pronounce them all dead before Frank finally passes out. The artwork by Jesus Saiz and Paul Azaceta is dark, bloody, and hopeless. As Frank fades, the EMTs ask him “Who are you?” A full-page collage of the Punisher’s history is next, along with the various art of each era. It’s a fantastic introduction that feels much like the beginning of a dramatic movie. The King of Killers The strong opening is followed by something strange to say the least. The scene shifts to a warehouse in Greece full of suited goons wearing spartan helmets and doing inventory of superhuman weapons. They speak like religious zealots for some reason as well. Without context, the scene comes off a bit confusing, especially following the powerful opening of the book. Before too long, the warehouse is under attack by a one-man army. The Punisher quickly dispatches of all but one of the thugs. From the shadows, Castle gives the lone henchman a single chance to tell him who he works for. When he refuses to comply, Frank slices him open with a samurai sword. This scene also reveals the infamous new skull logo upon the Punisher’s chest. Tool of The Hand As the Punisher surveys the carnage, he orders someone off page to take the weaponry and burn everything else down. Another full-page collage reveals that he’s giving orders to the Hand, the shadowy ninja clan that has often been a major antagonist to Daredevil. The Punisher returns to the Hand’s hidden citadel where he is greeted by their Archpriestess as the “new high slayer.” He asks her if the hunters have returned, and then insists on seeing to them immediately. The Hand have kidnapped murderers, rapists, and child abusers from around the world for the Punisher to execute, which he swiftly does. A New High Slayer It turns out that the Punisher and the Hand are both working towards a common goal. A flashback scene provides more context as to why. As Frank was returning to his city hideout weeks earlier, he was confronted by the Archpriestess and several Hand ninjas. The priestess indicated that the first trial would be to see if he survives the encounter. After a bloody battle ensued, the Punisher was the last man standing. He contemplated killing the Archpriestess next, but his mind was soon changed when she made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Somehow, the Hand has brought back Frank Castle’s deceased wife Maria. In the final page, Frank Castle embraces his wife. What’s Next for the Punisher? All in all, this was a great first issue with some surprising twists and reveals. Part way through the issue it appeared that maybe Castle joined the Hand in order to fast track his goal of ridding the world of violent criminals. The big reveal at the end indicates that he may have sold his soul to the Hand for a chance to be with his wife again. The Hand are likely using Frank for their own nefarious goals. This issue offers up just enough to keep readers intrigued as to what those goals are, and where the story will go next.
“Along the banks of the venomous river Gjoll, the lost souls buried up to their necks are wailing their hymns of sorrow as the bloody ice-waves come crashing in.” Known throughout the realm of Asgard as the Goddess of Death, Hela is the daughter of Loki, and is one of Thor’s most powerful and persistent enemies. Hela has come into conflict with the God of Thunder throughout the latter’s history, often with the goal of possessing his soul in Hel, where she rules. Sculpt & Design – 4.5 out of 5 stars + Semi-dynamic pose is perfect for the character + Powerful and intimidating masked portrait + Excellent classic design choice for Hela’s costume + Detailed base representing the valley of the underworld, Hel The sculpt and design of this statue is very impressive. The Goddess of Death is in a semi-dynamic pose, slowly walking through a volcanic pathway of cracked and broken skulls. Her right arm is extended forward, clearly pointed towards the object of her current desire. She is wielding a sword in her left hand, while her cape is swaying in the wind. Hela comes with two distinct changeable portraits. Her first portrait is representative of her classic masked look. Her pupils are whited out, and she wears a sinister grin upon her face. The cheek lines on her face help show her menacing intentions. Her unmasked portrait provides a new look, that is much more human. Her eyes and grin are alluring. The elongated horns on her mask are large and intimidating, as are the shoulder pads on her cape. This adds to her imposing appearance. The cape flows behind her, which adds to the dynamic nature of her pose. Her costume design is very classic, but also somewhat modernized. The under armor is plated, while the green portion of the armor overlaps. Her sword matches well with her outfit, and an insignia is engraved near the hilt. The base of the figure is also appropriate. Hela walks among the bones of her victims. The rocky fragments of the base are curved upward, as if the ground is reacting to Hela’s movements. This provides a very cool effect that compliments the entirety of the piece wonderfully. Paint – 4.75 out of 5 Stars + Vibrant green and black on Hela’s costume complement one another + Piercing green eyes in Hela’s unmasked portrait provide contrast to the white-eyed masked portrait The Goddess of Death comes to life in stunning form, due to an amazing use of professional brushwork. The complexion of both of her portraits is sublime. Her pale skin helps render her haunting demeanor, while her black lipstick stands out and reveals the darkness that exists within her. In her masked portrait, Hela’s pale white eyes inspire fear among her enemies. While unmasked, her alluring green eyes lure her victims into a false sense of security. The vibrant green portions of her costume compliment the black portions well. The green is very solid and uniform, while the black has a reflective shine. Her black nail polish matches her lipstick. Her silver sword glimmers as if it was forged by the greatest blacksmith of Asgard. The cracks in the ground on the pathway that Hela walks are beginning to glow red. This, along with the blue hue of the rocky path, reveal the fiery depths of her realm. It’s as if a volcanic eruption may occur at any moment. The beige broken skulls of her victims are aged and forgotten Value – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Gorgeous depiction of the Norse Goddess of Death + Two great looking portraits provide distinctive looks Overall, this piece is just gorgeous. The Goddess of Death is beautiful in appearance, elegant in her pose, and imposing in stature. The aforementioned scowl upon her masked portrait provides a completely different look when compared to her unmasked portrait, which shows off her attractive and piercing green eyes. The contrast in portraits adds great additional value. This really is an A+ depiction of Hela. Extra Features Two (2) portraits – Masked & Unmasked
“A new world has opened for me, and I am aware of much more than your cloistered intellect could hope to know!” Reluctantly debuting alongside her twin brother Quicksilver as a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Wanda Maximoff is a mutant with perhaps the most complex abilities of all mutant kind. Among many magical powers, she can alter reality itself. Wanda once rewrote mutant-kind when she uttered three fabled words: “No more mutants.” Sculpt & Design – 4.75 out of 5 + Elegant and graceful dynamic pose perfect for Scarlet Witch + Portrait is absolutely gorgeous + Modernized version of classic costume is awesome + Intricate base design XM Studios stands at the top of the mountain of statue making. This Scarlet Witch ¼ scale statue is a masterwork worthy of great praise. The dynamic design of this statue is both elegant and graceful. It may take several minutes to even notice, as Wanda herself is breathtaking, but the design choice for the base of this piece is actually very intricate and well thought out. Wanda stands upon the defeated corpse of the very dangerous Avengers villain Ultron. What remains of the wicked robot is a mangled mess of circuitry and vibranium. Ultron clearly pushed the Scarlet Witch to the upper limit of her powers, whatever they may truly be. Ultron’s lifeless body is wonderfully designed, with great attention to detail, including a severed arm reaching out in desperation. As far as Maximoff herself, she is completely stunning to behold. Her dynamic pose suits her well, as she appears to be leaping from Ultron’s remains in an almost dance-like fashion while using her hex powers on whatever additional threat stands before her. Her costume is a classic incarnation with a modern twist, as XM Studios has been known to do. As per usual, this is done extremely well. The fabric and detail in her costume varies in design, with parts of her garb smooth, and other parts with more of a fiber-like texture. Added detail like wrinkles in the suit and draw strings provide even more character to the design. Her cape flows in the wind and adds to the mystique of her overall presence. The additional added power effects to both hands help convey the scope of the Scarlet Witch’s abilities. The circular effects represent her ‘hex’ powers which she is often known for. Saving the best for last, Wanda’s portraits are gorgeously sculpted to perfection. Her first portrait is stoic in nature and displays her natural beauty. Her lips are full and alluring, as are her eyes. The symmetry of her face is very pleasing as well. Her second portrait is equally as gorgeous, but offers a different side of her personality. Her lips are open while her teeth are clenched together in a focused rage. This portrait shows the powerful side of her personality. Paint – 4.0 out of 5 + Beautiful use of ‘reds’ (Differing tones) + Black shading throughout costume highlights the beautiful paint The paint is as masterfully applied as the sculpt. The Ultron base is painted primarily silver, and has a prevalent shine to it, which artfully captures the vibranium skinned killer robot. Ultron’s lifeless corpse is shaded extremely well, as is the rest of the base. The use of yellow and beige is added to some parts of the base, giving it a real-world look. The coloring on the Scarlet Witch’s costume is impressive. Her clothing is entirely adorned in shades of red, but the tones are very different. Certain parts of her attire are glossy and bright, such as her thigh-high boots and her gloves. Other portions of her costume are more matte. Her cape also benefits from darker shading in certain areas. These differing shades and tones come together to form a beautiful ensemble. Moving on to the portraits, the Scarlet Witch has a lovely and fair skin tone. Her skin tone is very uniform throughout her body. She has beautiful blue eyes which have a slight tint of redness. This is perhaps done to show some physical manifestation of her Omega-level power set. Her elegant hair is shaded with differing browns and some black. Her red headpiece is partially metallic and matte, and the red jewel in the middle is bewitching. Value – 4.5 out of 5 + Flat out gorgeous statue + Near-perfect paint job with amazing use of reds This is a downright gorgeous statue. Scarlet Witch’s portrait (especially the stoic portrait) is breathtaking and it takes a moment to realize that the rest of this masterpiece is just as amazing. This stunning beauty retails a t $1,099.00 SGD and she is worth every penny. The prestige price comes in at $989.10 SGD. A $400.00 deposit is also required. This is truly a one-of-a-kind sculpture and quite frankly, with XM Studios, we’ve come to expect nothing less. Extra Features Two (2) portraits – Stoic and angry head sculpts Additional power effect on hands due to community feedback Limited edition: MTO Art print by Carlos Dattoli Artists Studio HIVE (Illustrator, Design and Concept Collaboration with XM Studios) Pablo Vicentin (Sculpt) XM Studios Design and Development Team Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Materials Cold-cast porcelain Product Size 30 cm L X 34 cm B X 66 cm H Box Size 81.5 cm L X 55.5 cm B X 32 cm H Product Weight 10.5 Kg Shipping Weight 20 kg
“If you let rage and hate over what happened define your life… then inside, in your heart and soul, you’ll find yourself just as dead.” Hailing from a bleak future in which mutants are being hunted to extinction by the sentinels, Bishop joins Professor Charles Xavier’s X-Men to help prevent that future from ever passing. Sculpt & Design – 3.75 out of 5 Stars + Two great portraits + Interchangeable accessories offer distinctly different looks + Light up feature for power effect This custom fan piece offers up a superb depiction of Bishop in all of his early 1990s glory. He comes with two really nice portraits, both of which show off a grizzled mutant war veteran who has seen his share of battles from a future where mutants are hunted. Bishop’s costume design comes straight from the pages of his first appearance back in Uncanny X-Men #282. He’s wearing his trademark bandana along with the giant ‘X’ on his belt. His belt also features several ammo pouches, which was a staple of 90s comic book art. The cloth portions of his costume look realistic, appearing to be mesh-like in texture. Bishop’s belt and boots on the other hand are more solid. Bishop’s two portraits are both great, but the classic long-haired version suits this costume design well. The detail on both is equally impressive. Bishop has a rough face with battle scars and wrinkles, and the bald portrait brings a greater amount of attention to those blemishes. This also makes the famous ‘M’ tattoo over Bishop’s right eye come off a bit more subtle which is a nice touch. Both portraits feature a similar goatee design and thick eyebrows. As far as accessories go, there are some great display options. The detail on the futuristic gun Bishop wields with his left hand is on-point, as is the smaller sidearm in his right hand. As a bonus, the right-hand weapon can be exchanged for a cool light-up power effect. The base that Bishop stands upon features some broken sentinel parts that seem appropriate given Bishop’s robot heavy future. Paint – N/A This piece comes exclusively as a kit, therefore anyone lucky enough to obtain one will have to paint it themselves. Value – 3.5 out of 5 Stars This is a fairly nice piece. With an Edition Size of 25, it’s a rare find as well. The artist clearly poured in some serious effort while sculpting this grizzled depiction of Bishop. The costume looks phenomenal, and both portraits are a home run. Extra Features Two Portraits Light-up feature for power effect Swappable right-hand weapon Artist Angad Sing
“It’s adamantium tasting time, boys!” Wolverine pounces into action and he looks like he’s jumping straight out of the X-Men animated series from the 90s! Kotobukiya brings everyone’s favorite Canadian mutant to statue form in 1:6 scale, and visually, it does not disappoint. A great dynamic design pose and an excellent paint job helps this statue stand out. Sculpt & Design – 4.0 out of 5 + Great portrait + Dynamic pose perfect for Wolverine This is a really fantastic depiction of Wolverine that is loaded with great detail. Kotobukiya perfectly captures Logan in a dynamic pose as he lunges forward with a feral rage that is second to none. This is Wolverine at his fiercest and finest! Wolverine is standing upon some kind of rock formation which is rising up from what appears to be some kind of metal platform. At first glance, one might guess Wolverine is having the ground underneath him manipulated by a mutant like Avalanche or perhaps Magneto. However, the platform underneath suggests something possibly robotic. Honestly, it is difficult to decipher just what the artist was going for here. It has an unnatural appearance for sure, and does make the statue taller than need be. Regardless, Wolverine looks fantastic in all his adamantium rampaging glory. He’s wearing his very famous tiger-striped attire that he is commonly known for. It’s a classic look, but also appears to be modernized a little bit as well, as there is stitching and padding visible throughout his suit. His muscles look great on his torso, back, arms, and legs. There even appears to be a bit of roughness to his arm hair. His veins are slightly showing through as well. This piece is lacking any accessories unless you count the claws, which are slightly pliable rather than hardened. He has scratch marks on his shoulder pads, perhaps attained from a battle with his arch-nemesis Sabretooth. His gloves and boots are nicely done. The mask looks great and his singular portrait is very good. If a statue isn’t going to have changeable portraits, it’s great to see that the one it does have is absolutely top-notch. Paint – 4.0 out of 5 Stars + Very clean paint job + Awesome shading + Skin tone is near perfect The paint job on this piece is striking. Not a bad thing can be said, as the paint is extremely clean and professionally applied. The vibrant colors make this Wolverine feel like he’s straight from the 90s animated series. The strange rocky base which he stands upon is painted and shaded very well. The use of grays here helps the base to contrast itself from the rest of the statue. Wolverine’s tiger-striped costume is also really nice looking. The bright yellow absolutely pops, while the darker shading around his pectoral muscles and abdomen brings his already impressive musculature into focus. The solid red belt adds even more contrast to the figure, and the black ‘X’ is very prominent. Where Kotobukiya really knocks this paint job out of the park is in the blue portions of Wolverine’s costume. His boots and gloves look amazing. The boots are framed with solid black trim. The boots themselves are dark blue, with some black shaded in for good measures. The same blue and black combination of shading is also prevalent in his gloves. Wolverine’s skin tone is expertly applied. His arms are shaded well, which helps make the popping veins stand out. Wolverine’s portrait is also superb, as the same care is used. His lips have just the right amount of soft pink to them and his teeth are yellowed just enough to help show the intense animalistic rage that Wolverine is known for. Kotobukiya did a phenomenal job on the paint. Value – 3.5 out of 5 + Really cool design + Great paint job This Kotobukiya Wolverine statue is a really cool piece. The design is awesome, though the base does leave something to be desired. For a smaller piece though, it’s definitely chocked full of detail. The problem many have with this statue is that the price point just seems a little bit too high in comparison with some of their past work. Overall, the paint is ultimately what separates this statue from others. Artist RESTORE/Ikkei Jitsukata (sculptor) Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Materials Resin Product Size Height: 15.75″ (400.05 mm) Box Size Height: 13.00″ (330.2 mm) | Width: 15.00″ (381 mm) | Depth: 17.50″ (444.5 mm) Product Weight 10.50 lbs (4.76 kg)
“Be proud, humans — — for before you perish on this lifeless orb you will be privileged to bear witness to the liberation of the Kree race……and the fulfillment of their ultimate destiny!” Hailing from the planet Hala, Ronan is a Kree warrior who rose through the ranks of the Kree Empire, where he was eventually appointed “Supreme Accuser of the Kree Empire” by the Supreme Intelligence. He is more commonly known as “Ronan the Accuser.” Sculpt & Design – 3.75 out of 5 + Great classic costume design with a ton of detail worked in + Awesome base and hammer Let’s get this review started by talking about how awesome it is to have Ronan the Accuser in 1:4 statue form. While some of the other galactic baddies such as Thanos, Super Skrull, or even Galactus are more commonly represented, Ronan simply doesn’t get the attention he so rightly deserves. It’s due time he and his war-hammer are sculpted to life. Ronan stands proudly in all his Kree pride atop a futuristic steel-like base, which probably represents some kind of platform from the Kree home world. The Supreme Accuser of the Kree Empire has a stoic look upon his face, and stands with a sense of purpose and duty to his empire. His legs are spread apart and he’s wielding his infamous Universal Weapon in his left hand. The base is very nice looking and it has a steel appearance. It appears that there are a set of steps leading upwards and Ronan is protecting whatever is above. There is a roughness to the base, almost like a rigid rockiness to it. Ronan’s weapon hilt is firmly planted into the ground, which is cracking around the impact point. Ronan is wearing a very classic version of his armor. An abundance of detail is sculpted throughout the armor. His boots have an appearance akin to chainmail, as does his chest armor. The under armor on his arms and legs is segmented, whereas the armor is much thicker everywhere else. His belt looks great with armor hanging from it that has a similar style to that of a samurai warrior. The gloves are very thick and padded, with some sharp knuckles embedded in them. Ronan has a set of shoulder pads on as well, which also have some spikes added for intimidation. He has a hood which also appears to be made of the same chainmail used in his boots and chest armor. His portrait is very stern and comes off well for Ronan’s personality. Paint – 4.5 out of 5 + Comic accurate color scheme + Great mix of various shades of green accentuated by the gold trim The silver paint used on the base of the figure gives it a certain shine that really stands out, while still differentiating itself from the Accuser’s Kree war-hammer. The design embedded on the otherwise silver weapon is bright blue, which represents the powerful energy that resides within this “Cosmi-Rod.” Ronan’s costume is painted in several shades of green along with golden trim that helps accentuate the rest of the costume. The paint appears very clean. The armor on his arms and legs is olive green, while most of the chainmail portions are more of a classic green. The gold is trimmed throughout the armor and the insignia on his chest is lighter in color. The only portion of Ronan’s body showing is his face, which like all of the Kree race, is blue. For what little bit that is showing, his face is shaded well enough to help frame a very masculine portrait. Ronan also has blank yellow eyes with no pupils, and a green headpiece underneath the hood, which is also trimmed with gold. Value – 4 out of 5 + Rare piece as only 50 were made + One of the only statues of Ronan out there This amazing custom piece is really great looking. The aforementioned detail that was embedded in this guy is impressive, and the paint is also just as spectacular. Seeing this character in statue form is also a welcome sight, as he is a rarity in the world of Marvel character statues. Additionally, there were only 50 of these statues made. If you can manage to get your hands on one of them, it’s a worthy addition to any collection.
“Pick a card, any card.” He’s been a member of the Thieves’ Guild, Mr. Sinister’s Marauders, and the X-Men. Now, XM Studios brings to life, in 1:4 scale, everyone’s favorite Cajun mutant: Gambit. Sculpt & Design – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Statue has changeable accessories that offer distinctly different looks + Dynamic pose and texturing on costume and muscles show his athletic nature + 90s portrait is brimming with personality that perfectly represents Gambit – Modern portrait looks okay, but doesn’t show Gambit’s personality The first time you lay eyes on this statue up close, you realize that it’s cooler than pictures can do justice. This is the absolute quintessential Gambit statue. The likeness of everyone’s favorite Cajun mutant is sculpted to absolute perfection. Prepare to be blown away by the exquisite detail of this piece. Before we go too far, let’s talk about the extra accessories that come with the statue. Gambit comes with two very distinct portraits. The first of which is the classic Jim Lee-era portrait, and the second is the more modern long-haired version. Gambit also comes with two interchangeable right arms. The first is a static pose holding the jack of spades, while the other arm features a kinetic throwing motion of four cards which, when put together with the first, make a royal flush. Starting down at the base, you’ll notice the classic X-Men statue signature sentinel wreckage. While this may be the most overused gimmick for these statues, it’s hard to argue with something that seems to work so well. For that reason, we’ll give it a pass. It’s hard to say just which part of the sentinel Gambit is standing on, but we do notice some thrusters, so perhaps it’s wreckage of the propulsion system. The detail of the wreckage is nicely done, as we have come to expect from XM Studios. There are exposed wires, scratch marks, and burns throughout the base, showcasing the mutant abilities which have been used to bring the goliath down. Standing atop this mess of metal is Gambit himself, and he looks uncanny! Gambit is in a dynamic pose, leaping off of the sentinel’s remains with one foot already in the air. The detail on this 1990s-era Gambit has no rival. Everything looks great, including his armored boots, his leather coat, and his battle suit. The coat specifically is perfectly sculpted with a ton of extra detail like the red ‘X’ buttons, the popped collar, buckles, straps, zippers, stitching, and elbow pads. XM hit the bullseye with this one. Gambit’s muscle definition perfectly encapsulates the athletic nature of this infamous member of the X-Men. As far as the changeable accessories go, the arm with the kinetic throwing cards looks really cool, but it does cover up some of the beautiful details of this statue. The arm holding the single jack of spades gives a much cleaner look. As it pertains to the portraits, there is also a clear winner. The Jim Lee-era portrait is absolutely stunning. Not only are the details on this portrait carved to perfection, but the smirk on his face is easily recognizable as the one and only Gambit. There’s a certain “devilish” look to the grin on his face here, with a touch of cockiness and mischief that only Gambit has. The second and more modern portrait looks just fine, but it lacks the personality of the classic version. This portrait represents a more stoic look for Gambit, making him look emotionless. Paint – 4.75 out of 5 Stars + Shading in musculature adds to the athleticism expected from Gambit + Face complexion looks great, as well as five o’clock shadow + Coat is painted and shaded to perfection To be completely honest, there is nothing to dislike about the paint on this immaculate statue. XM Studios hit it out of the park. The base looks good. The purple and blue paint on the sentinel wreckage look great, and the metal hue adds to that. One really cool part of the base is the teal coloring around the edge of the sentinel thrusters, which shows how the extreme heat of burnt jet fuel has discolored the cylinders. Gambit’s overcoat is extremely detailed to give a true leathery look. The use of brown, black, and tan really serve this piece well. The red “X” buttons on his coat stand out. The shading used throughout his bodysuit and muscles does a good job of portraying the athletic prowess that Gambit is known for. The collar has a nice metallic blue finish to it, and the boots also have a similar metallic grey finish. The light maroon color in his bodysuit also pops well against the darker blue in certain areas. Another great detail when looking closer is that of the trim around Gambit’s face hood. It’s shinier than the rest of the hood. Speaking of his face, the skin tone looks really fantastic, as does the five o’clock shadow. The subtle light red used for his lips is applied well. Lastly, those red pupils top off a great facial portrait. The modern portrait has the same detail, though the aforementioned stoic facial expression seems boring in comparison. Value – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Extra accessories and different portraits offer very distinctive looks + Great price considering the marvelous amount of detail and the accessories + Overall perfect portrayal of Gambit XM Studio’s Gambit looks absolutely amazing. This is a great piece of art and is currently the best Gambit statue on the market. The price point of $1,150 SGD isn’t cheap, but it’s worth the price to own this one. XM Studios never disappoints with their unwavering attention to detail and willingness to go the extra mile. It’s not an overstatement to say that this Gambit statue will probably not be toppled anytime soon. Extra Features Two (2) Portraits – Long haired portrait, classic short haired portrait Two (2) Right arms – One holding the Jack of Spades, one ‘throwing’
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee was a beloved Hong Kong American actor, who is revered as a legend among Chinese as well as Americans. The founder of Jeet Kune Do was renowned for his speed, fighting ability, and philosophical nature. Lee is considered to be the most influential martial artist of all time, as well as a pop cultural icon who changed Asian representation in American films forever. To celebrate his 80th anniversary, Blitzway has introduced this brand new 1:4 scale statue of the Dragon. Sculpt & Design – 4 out of 5 stars + Face sculpt is fantastic, and unmistakably Bruce Lee. + Great muscle expression, folds and wrinkles in skin look realistic. + Entire body is one piece, ensuring consistency with detail. – Facial expression lacks emotion, eyes could have more fire behind them. Blitzway has sculpted a plethora of fantastic Bruce Lee statues, and this one is no exception. This piece is brimming with detail as well as accessories. Bruce Lee stands upon a circular polystone base and demonstrates his iconic martial arts kick. Starting with the accessories, this statue is packed full of some great detail. The circular base is made of polystone and contains some really cool looking Chinese patterns and symbols which represent Jeet Kune Do, the martial art founded by Lee himself. The detailed sculpt-work on the side of the base is absolutely stunning, and seems to represent the dragon symbols straight from Lee’s movies. This is one of the coolest bases out there. The statue also comes with a polystone nameplate with both the Chinese and English spelling of ‘Bruce Lee.’ An added detail to the name plate is a claw marking which is a subtle nod towards Lee’s movie “Enter the Dragon.” Two metal flag poles fit inside a couple bases which hold a black cloth flag, which looks very great and is textured nicely. It even flutters in the wind. The cool thing about the body of this statue, is it is one entire piece. It’s a change of pace from the usual multi-piece statues that have to be assembled. This piece just fits together on the base with minimum effort. The detail on Lee’s face is very authentic looking. The depiction is very accurate. The only slight on this face sculpt is that it lacks emotion. Perhaps the eyes could have used a bit more fire behind them. That said, it’s undeniably Bruce Lee. The body sculpt is fairly flawless with some amazing attention to detail in regards to Lee’s legendary musculature. It really comes to life along with the realistic wrinkles and folds in the skin. This gives the martial arts kick an authentic feel as a person’s body would contort in a way that is very similar to this statue. One negative is that the detail on the legs is not quite up to par in regards to the muscle definition seen everywhere else. It’s adequate, albeit somewhat basic. Of course, the cloth pants on the statue cover this part up anyways. The shoes are made of a soft PVC material, and have a good amount of detail worked in. The bottoms of the shoes also look very good and even appear ‘worn in.’ Paint – 3.5 out of 5 Stars + Skin tone looks very realistic. + Line on the back looks very good with the reddish shading + Shading within the muscles looks amazing. – Legs lack the realistic shading that the rest of the body has. Blitzway did a fine job on the painting scheme of this piece. The fact that they used cloth pants certainly made their job a bit easier. That said, they did an excellent job in painting the rest of the statue. The paint work on the base of the statue matches the impressive sculpting. Though the sculpt is the best part about the base, it’s good to see they didn’t phone it in with the paint. When you put it all together, the base looks fantastic. You really believe that this figure stands atop a stone pillar. The skin tone on the body is quite well done. It looks very realistic from the face on down through the torso. The legs underneath the cloth pants are painted well enough, though they lack in detail from the rest of the body. This statue really shines through the brushwork on the body. The shading around the musculature on the torso looks great. The hair also looks very realistic. Without the great attention to detail in the coloring of Lee’s hair and eyebrows, this figure wouldn’t look nearly as great as it does. The eyes also look good, even if they are somewhat static. The shading on the lips is also very authentic. Value – 3.5 out of 5 Stars + Attention to detail is awesome, Great character depiction. + Base and accessories really bring the piece to life and add value. – Face sculpt is unpopular to some due to lack in expression. This is a really great piece if you’re a fan of Bruce Lee. The amount of attention and painstaking detail put into this statue cannot be questioned. The accessories that come with the statue are great. The price point of $499 is not bad, but this might fall into the category of being a niche statue, meaning casual fans may not find the cost as appealing. That said, this is a fantastic depiction of Bruce Lee, and would make a hell of a center piece. While some may take issue with the face sculpt having a lack of emotion, it can be argued that this is more of a static pose than a dynamic one. Other Details Material: Fabric , Polystone , PVC Product Size Height: 21.65″ (549.91 mm) Width: 14.17″ (359.92 mm) Depth: 14.17″ (359.92 mm) Box Size Height: 13.50″ (342.9 mm) Width: 25.75″ (654.05 mm) Depth:
Handpicked by Charles Xavier himself as field commander of the X-Men, few have accomplished more for mutant-kind than Scott Summers. Suffering a head injury as a child, Summers struggled with controlling his mutant power, an optic blast which radiates from his eyes and has the destructive force to destroy mountains. With the guidance of Xavier, Summers learned to harness that power and become the mutant known as Cyclops. This is the review for the XM Studios Marvel Premium Collectibles series statue of Cyclops. Sculpt & Design – 4.25 out of 5 Stars + Statue is extremely detailed + Cool light-up feature on optic blast visor + Sculpt features a great update to a classic costume + Face sculpt is fantastic (Teeth look really good) – Shoulder strap blends in with body As always, XM Studios has done a phenomenal job of bringing one of Marvel’s most famous characters to life with this statue of the X-Men’s own Cyclops. This is a beautiful piece that takes a classic Jim Lee-era costume and modernizes it with upgrades and added detail. This magnificent statue comes in two versions. Both versions come with a light-up feature on Cyclops’ visor to simulate his optic blast. Version A comes with just one torso, and version B comes with an extra torso which changes the look of the statue entirely. Version B also comes with an extra display base, which is awesome as it gives you the opportunity to display the unused torso rather than storing it away somewhere. Starting from the base up, this statue is highly detailed. Cyclops stands upon a base of rubble and sentinel wreckage. The debris, as well as the circuitry and steel, are masterfully sculpted. Cyclops leads an epic battle against the monstrous robotic mutant hunting sentinels. Even considering the cliché of X-Men statue bases made of sentinel debris, this one manages to stand out because of the great attention to detail. Cyclops sports his classic Jim Lee-era costume, but with some modern modifications. The spandex costume is updated to appear more akin to athletic sportswear. It’s textured in different parts to be more breathable. His belt has several pouches sculpted throughout, and his shoulder straps are altered to be segmented, which looks really cool. The ‘X’ symbol on his chest looks great, but the one on his belt appears slightly uneven. The boots and gloves have a great amount of detail, and Cyclops’ musculature is very well done. Great detail was sculpted into each torso and portrait combination. Both versions A and B come with the torso-portrait combo of Cyclops standing with his left hand to his side, his right hand at the ready to activate his optic blast visor at any moment. His face is stoic, perfectly summarizing Cyclops’ calm demeanor during intense battle situations. Version B comes with the torso of Cyclops with his fists clenched to his side. In this portrait however, Cyclops is showing a great deal of emotion. His head aims toward the sky while a look of agonizing rage forms upon his face. Both portraits are brilliantly sculpted. The stoic, controlled look marvelously portrays the calm and cool leader that Cyclops usually is, while version B shows a rare glimpse of him losing control of his emotions. This amazing contrast in demeanor adds a welcome variety for fans displaying this piece. Paint – 3.75 out of 5 Stars +Paint on classic blue costume looks fantastic + Really cool base with optimal paint detail – Paint is a bit messy on parts of shoulder strap – resin used to “fill-in” gap between strap and body The paint on this piece is almost perfect. The base of the statue is extremely detailed. Unlike many statue bases, there were no shortcuts taken by the artist here. The rustic purple and blue used for the fallen sentinel looks amazing. It’s blended beautifully, with silver driving home the fact that it is a robot. The painting of circuitry shows the frayed wires from the fallen behemoth, and the steel beams in the background are painted in a way which shows they’ve been freshly sheared apart by an optic blast. The bright blue used through Cyclops’ bodysuit is shaded very well. The added shading around the seams and folds of his costume compliment the classic 90s outfit amazingly well. Unlike the solid yellow usually used for this costume, parts of the shoulder straps and the visor are now gold. This gives Cyclops more of a dignified look. The one downside to the shoulder straps is that, rather than being contoured to his body, resin was used to fill in the would-be gaps that should exist between his body and the straps. This makes the paint look somewhat sloppy, but only if you’re looking at it closely from the side. The skin tone for both portraits looks great. The subtle shading around the normal portrait helps frame Cyclops’ face well, giving him that classic “boy scout” good guy look. Looking closely, he has a subtle five o’clock shadow. The exclusive version B portrait is astonishing. The paintwork in and around his mouth really shows the emotional rage Cyclops is experiencing. This is important considering the eyes often better show this kind of emotion, and Cyclops obviously can’t reveal his eyes due to his mutant power. Value – 4.0 out of 5 Stars + Extra torso completely changes statue look + Extra base for unused statue to display + Great price considering the limited supply XM Studio’s Cyclops is a fantastic piece to have in your collection, especially if you’re an X-Men fan. Version A costs $1,099 SGD, while the prestige price is $989.10 SGD. The retail price for Version B is $1,250 SGD, with the prestige price coming in at $1,125 SGD. Version B offers the most value because of the added torso, which gives the statue an entirely new look. With the added base that also comes with version B, you essentially get two statues. The added light-up feature for
In the everlasting war between the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, there are very few who can match strength with the mutant known as Colossus. Let’s take a closer look at the Sideshow Collectibles Colossus statue. Sculpt & Design – 3 out of 5 Stars Simplicity is the word of the day as it pertains to this piece. Working from the base up, Colossus stands upon a circular base, which represents the floor of the X-Mansion’s infamous Danger Room. His right foot steps atop a crushed spiked wrecking ball, one of the many deadly machinations for which the Danger Room is known for. Colossus’ pose is somewhat simplistic. With his left foot planted behind him, he steps atop the aforementioned spiked ball. His stance is that of someone posturing for a fight, indicating that the true danger lies just ahead. With his arms to his side, his fists clenched, and his chest out front, Colossus is clearly ready to absorb whatever danger approaches him. Colossus is wearing a variation of his classic X-Men costume. (a tried and true look for him) The design quality of his boots is splendid. The sculptor took the time to add in wrinkles and folds on the boots, as well as the cloth trunks and shirt. Colossus is also sporting an epic pair of gauntlets on his arms, almost reminiscent of that of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor gauntlets. The classic ‘X’ symbol on his belt buckle is also well-defined. It must be said that this statue is absolutely “colossal.” This statue is 22” tall and weighs in a 46 lbs. Not only that, but Colossus has a very well-sculpted musculature. That coupled with his posturing stance make him look like an absolute hulking mass of muscle and steel. He has well-defined bicep, ab, and chest muscles. The exclusive version of this sculpture includes Kitty Pride’s famous dragon companion Lockheed, who sits upon Colossus’ shoulder, giving him a slightly more menacing look. (Meet the “Daddy of Dragons.”) The pointed horns, teeth, and nails of Lockheed are well-sculpted and greatly show the powerful and deadly nature of the creature. + The costume design is great. + Muscle and definition details are on-point – Somewhat bland display base – Simplistic design leaves a lot to be desired for some. Paint – 3.5 out of 5 Stars The paint on this statue is quite well done. The simplicity of Colossus’ design actually helps the paint job really stand out. The base of the statue is a fairly simple shade of black, with some striking blue grid lines upon the Danger Room floor. The crushed spiked wrecking ball looks excellent, with some prominent silver shading. The metallic coloring of Colossus’ body looks like an actual steel structure due to the wisely chosen silver shading. The use of a darker silver shading on the inner area of his biceps actually enhances his muscular structure. Even the eye coloring of this massive mutant is enough to strike fear and panic in the X-Men’s enemies. The silver paint strokes across his forehead embolden his metallic face with a terrifying scowl that would send the Brotherhood of Mutants into a full-scale retreat. The use of the yellows and dark reds within his costume work mostly well together. The paint work compliments the magnificence of this sculpture, and also helps to define the extraordinary muscular structure and physique of Colossus. The golden ‘X’ on his belt buckle pops quite nicely. With his reddish tongue and yellow eyes, the purple dragon Lockheed compliments Colossus well in the exclusive version of this piece. The beautifully colored grey horns and white teeth are enough to give his opponents chills. + Great use of shading + Silver paint on skin definitely has a steel look to it – Simplicity of colors leaves something to be desired for some Value – 4 out of 5 Stars This Colossus statue is self-descriptive, in that it is absolutely colossal. With the exclusive version coming in at $695, and the regular version rounding out at $680, you really can’t go wrong with either one. Obviously, this statue is pricier than some of the other Sideshow Collectibles due to its massive size. However, this version of Colossus serves as an excellent center piece (and therefore a great starting point if its your first Sideshow Collectibles statue) if you’re looking to start your collection of X-Men. + Detailed piece + Great centerpiece – Costly in comparison to other statues Artists Daniel Bel (Sculpt) Adam Smith (Mold and Cast) Richard Luong (Design) Bernardo Esquivel (Paint) Exclusive Version Details Materials Polyresin Product Size Height: 22″ (558.8 mm), Width: 13.25″ (336.55 mm), Depth: 15″ (381 mm), Weight: 26.5 lbs (12.02 kg) Box Size Height: 17.25″ (438.15 mm), Width: 20.00″ (508 mm), Depth: 30.00″ (762 mm) Dimensional Weight 46.00 lbs (20.87 kg) [Intl. 63.00 lbs (28.58 kg)] Regular Collectors Edition Details Materials Polyresin Product Size Height: 22″ (558.8 mm), Width: 13.25″ (336.55 mm), Depth: 15″ (381 mm), Weight: 26.5 lbs (12.02 kg) Box Size Height: 17.25″ (438.15 mm), Width: 20.00″ (508 mm), Depth: 30.00″ (762 mm) Dimensional Weight 46.00 lbs (20.87 kg) [Intl. 63.00 lbs (28.58 kg)]
Leaping onto the scene today we have the irrepressible Logan clone, Laura Kinney. Better known as X-23 and later taking up the mantle of Wolverine, Laura is an ass-kicking mutant with adamantium claws on her hands and feet, ready to shred anyone who gets in her way. Let’s take a look at her presentation here! Sculpt & Design – 3.5 out of 5 stars X-23 appears to be jumping away from or onto the hand of a sentinel. A mechanical arm snakes up to grab her but she’s not going to be easy to catch. We see her here in a dynamic pose, left knee bent as she jumps, her arms wide and back arched. Her two adamantium-coated claws are exposed from her knuckles and the single adamantium claw juts out from each of her feet. Her costume is beautifully sculpted. Her knee-high combat boots lace up from the ankle, and the treads appear slightly worn. She wears dark blue leather and yellow pants with a classic red and gold “X” belt buckle. The blue and yellow crop top she wears has a racerback design, showing off her triceps, biceps, deltoids. The exposed flesh between the top and the pants allows the viewer to see her abs, just muscular enough to show that she’s not to be messed with. She’s also wearing a pair of fingerless gloves that reach her upper arms — more for show than for utility. This figure comes with two separate portraits. The first is X-23 with her whole face exposed. Her features are scrunched up with annoyance and her mouth is open, baring her teeth. This version of Laura is ready to fight with anyone who looks at her wrong. The second portrait shows X-23 with a black eyemask. Her eyes glow red, her brows furrow, and her mouth is wide open in a primal roar. It’s here that the viewer can see the fury she inherited as a clone of Wolverine. In both portraits, Laura’s hair cascades behind and above her. Dark black tresses seem to defy gravity as she leaps into battle. Although it’s a nice look, we worry that it’s a bit on the unrealistic side given the nature of her pose. The sculpture work on her costume is exceedingly well done. The leather has folds and seams that look touchable. Her boots look well-made and the padding on her knees is a nice detail. We question the pose of her legs in this figure, however. Her right leg appears to hang limp while her left is engaged. But it’s not apparent where she’ll get leverage to use that right leg. With her shin almost resting on the sentinel’s mechanical arm, we can’t figure out if the leg was wrapped and held, or how it got where it is. Paint – 3.5 out of 5 stars Generally the paint work on this figure is decent. Starting from the bottom, the sentinel hand base is well done in a metallic teal color. There’s apparent wear and tear on the hand as well as the mechanical arm. Some slashes along the machinery hints at the damage X-23 has already done to it. The clothing X-23 wears is somewhat of a mixed bag when it comes to the paint job. Her boots are shaded in such a way that they resemble worn leather. The treads of her shoes show some wear as well, a nice detail that might otherwise go unnoticed.Some of the verisimilitude is lost when it comes to the laces of her boots, however. They aren’t painted in a way that makes them appear separate from the fabric of the boots, so it looks flat. The texture of the dark blue leather and the bright yellow fabric of X-23’s costume is well-rendered. The dark blue portions especially look like realistic pieces of leather. Her belt shares this quality. The shading on her clothes is also well done. The fabric textures on her crop top and her gloves continue the realistic look of her pants. But there’s a bit of bleeding from the blue to the yellow portions of her top that betray the realism. The adamantium claws that come from X-23’s knuckles and feet appear dull in the lighting provided. Maybe it’s the fault of the films, but we think that adamantium should shine and gleam when it’s revealed. The paint job is particularly skillful on X-23’s two portraits. Her make-up, her face, her slightly rosy cheeks — they’re small details that make her expression pop. The rosy shading continues on X-23’s exposed arms and torso. She’s just slightly flushed, which feels realistic to the fact that she is mid-combat. Value – 3.5 out of 5 stars Sideshow’s X-23 Premium Format Figure has an edition size of 1250. The original retail price was $590. The figure is sold out. Although the edition size and the fact that the figure is sold out should punch up the value, the character is probably only second or third tier in popularity among the X-men. If you’re a fan of X-23 or Wolverine in general, this piece is a great find. However, we can’t rate it any higher in value due to the reasons listed above. Product Size Height: 24″ (609.6 mm) | Width: 11″ (279.4 mm) | Depth: 11″ (279.4 mm) | Weight: 12.00 lbs (5.44 kg) * Box Size Height: 12.00″ (304.8 mm) | Width: 21.00″ (533.4 mm) | Depth: 25.00″ (635 mm) | * Dimensional Weight 28.00 lbs (12.7 kg) [Intl. 38.00 lbs (17.24 kg)] Artists ● Dan Ulrich (Sculpt) ● Marco Plouffe (Sculpt) (Design) ● Ian MacDonald (Design) ● Adam Smith (Mold and Cast) ● Chadwick Andersen (Mold and Cast) ● Kat Sapene (Paint) ● Tom Jilesen (Design) ● Richard Luong (Design) ● Andrew Huerta (Design)
In this week’s review, there’s a fight brewing at the local pool hall and our favorite Canadian mutant is at the center of it. This Logan figure from Sideshow is captivating us all. Read on to see why we love this hot-headed bad boy. Sculpt and Design – 4 out of 5 stars Sideshow has really outdone itself on the sculpt here, courtesy of rockstar digital artist, Daniel Bel. It’s clear from the design that Logan was just looking for a quiet night out at the bar when someone disturbed the peace. The base of the sculpture is made from the broken barroom floor. You can see the subfloor joists exposed beneath the hardwood slats. The detritus of a broken bottle, scattered pool balls, and a ruined bar stool litter the ground. Logan uses the stool to position himself, resting his left boot on its side. His other foot shows him ready to spring into action, with only the ball of his foot still on the ground. Overall Logan’s pose is one that could easily be described as a prelude to violence. He’s hunched over slightly with his arms engaged and his claws at the ready. It would be easy to imagine the brawler leaping from his current position and sinking his claws into his foe. Logan’s claws are gleaming adamantium as usual, and the muscles of his arms are huge. Their bulk defies anything but comic book logic. His veins bulge all over. The sculpture even hints at Logan’s well-known hirsute nature with a dusting of hair from his shoulders to his wrists. The exclusive version of this figure comes with two interchangeable portraits, both displaying Logan’s dazzling hair and mutton chops. The first shows Logan in what one might describe as a taunting, “come at me” expression. One of his eyebrows arches somewhat quizzically. His nose is wrinkled and his mouth is set in a wide grin. “You want some more?” he seems to say. On the upper right side of his forehead you can see where he’s taken some damage and his skin has pulled away to reveal part of his adamantium-covered skull. It’s a chilling but realistic detail. The second portrait shows the more animalistic side of Logan. Here his eyebrows furrow and his mouth is set in an endless roar of fury. This is the face of a man about to pounce on his enemy, a war cry bursting from him as he jumps into the fray. Logan wears his dog tags around his neck from his time in the Canadian army during World Wars I and II. He’s also clad in a beautifully sculpted white muscle shirt. For his pants, Sideshow opted to clad Logan in real fabric jeans for a mixed media look. It’s a risky move, but it works. The character looks like he came right off the lumber yard into the bar. As a final nod to his heritage, Logan wears a leather belt with a maple leaf belt buckle. Paint – 4 out of 5 stars The paint work on this figure is wonderful and has many standout areas. The realism in the wood planks of the floor, the scuffed metal of the barstool, and the other detritus on the floor is top notch. It’s also worth mentioning that the attention to detail on Logan’s boots is very well done. They are leather cowboy boots and they have a sort of gradient quality to them, showing where they’ve worn out some and where they retain any of their newness. The painting on Logan’s skin is some of the best we’ve seen. His skin tone is right on the money with a subtle blue wash thanks to his many bulging veins. The dusting of hair along his arms is executed well. Although this reviewer expects Logan to be a bit on the hairier side, what Sideshow has turned out is still impressive. The portraits are similarly well done. Logan’s eyes are a yellowish green color, his teeth a slightly faded/yellowed white, and he has a bit of stubble between the ends of his mutton chops. The red tones in the shadows of Logan’s wrinkles give him an overall ruddy complexion that suits the mutant perfectly. It’s clear he has spent his fair share of time laboring under the sun. Most impressive is the paint work on Logan’s white muscle shirt. Far from pristine, the shirt is painted to be just a little bit dingy, with dark shadows where the creases lie. The stitching is meticulously painted, and there’s a series of folds on the lower left side of his back that is especially convincing and realistic. If Sideshow said that the tank top was actually a fabric piece as well, we would believe them in a heartbeat. The muscle shirt is just that well done. Two points of contention here. One, Logan’s hair is a bit flat. Not in volume — no, Logan has plenty of volume in that ‘do — but it’s painted in what looks like a flat black without highlights. There’s no sense of shadow or light playing on his hair, and it’s a disappointment after we’ve seen what the painters can do with the shadows on his face and his shirt. Two, maybe it’s a trick of the lighting, but Logan’s thumbnails appear overly purple. We understand the fact that he is clenching his fists and therefore blood is going to pool in that area. Nonetheless, it almost looks like he’s wearing purple nail polish. It’s one of the first things the viewer notices and that’s not good. Value – 3.5 out of 5 stars This Exclusive Marvel Logan Premium Format Figure has an edition size of 1250. The retail price is $580, available on payment plans if necessary. That’s a really low price, for how good overall this statue is. Logan is a popular character and we have no doubt that this will make a good collector’s item. There are a couple of things, that would
She’s Marvel’s favorite telekinetic female hero, she’s Jean Grey, the Phoenix. Today we’re looking at a Jean Grey figure made by Sideshow with Phoenix transformation accessories. Let’s take a closer look at our heroine. Sculpt and Design – 4 out of 5 stars Starting at the base, Jean Grey hovers over a snowy battlefield from which rocks and tendrils of telekinetic energy emerge. Her legs are posed in a beautiful static position, one knee bent slightly, looking graceful as she waits to take off. Jean’s arms are spread and angle slightly behind her, as if she is ready to unleash the full power of her Phoenix force. She looks over her right shoulder at the viewer with her auburn hair windswept behind her. Overall it’s a very dramatic pose. Jean’s back is arched in such a way that makes her chest and rear end pop out dramatically. It’s a little unrealistic, but true to comic depictions of most female heroines. She’s definitely ultra-feminized in this pose, but you get the sense she could easily vaporize anyone who underestimates her. For this figure, Sideshow has gone for the 90s era X-men suit with shoulder pads and an open cowl. The classic yellow and blue costume along with the black and red X belt buckle give her an iconic look, the kind of Phoenix we grew up reading and watching. There are a couple of interchangeable accessories. When Jean Grey transforms into full Phoenix, there’s a unique portrait that changes her expression from placid to determined. Her eyebrows arch, her eyes turn milky, and she looks ready to annihilate her foes. Flames sprout from around her shoulders, the trademark of the Phoenix. She also has an extra set of hands for her Phoenix transformation. Flames lick at the backs of her hands and her wrists. You just know that those flames are a warning to enemies that more fiery destruction is on its way. Jean’s “normal” portrait is nothing to sneeze at. She may look somewhat peaceful but her eyes are fierce, letting the viewer know that she is prepared to fight if she needs to. Especially captivating about the sculpture here is the clear delineation between the yellow undersuit and the blue accessories overtop. It’s not merely a difference of paint. The sculpt makes it clear that these are two separate pieces of material layered on top of each other. It’s particularly visible on the straps of her gauntlets. It’s also nice to see a sculpt with details like fabric texture changes. The fabric of Jean’s costume wrinkles with the bend of her knee. There’s also obvious texture change at her shoulder and thighs. Paint – 3.5 out of 5 stars Starting at the top this time, the best part of the paint work here on Jean Grey is her magnificent flowing hair. Shades of brown, red, and rust work together to make a gorgeous auburn hue. Together with the color of her eyebrows, she looks like she either has the most beautiful natural hair or she just got done at the salon getting a dye job. The paint on both the Jean Grey and the Phoenix portraits is also quite lovely. Jean’s eyes are a mesmerizing green, and her cheeks are just barely tinged with a rosy glow. Her lips are glossed and shiny — perhaps not the best for combat, but a good look for the figurine. The Phoenix portrait turns Jean Grey’s eyes a milky white and darkens the redness on her cheeks as if the flame inside her makes her glow from the inside out. Her lips are again glossy, though perhaps not for long. The blue portions of Jean Grey’s costume have a high gloss to them. Although it’s visually striking and makes for a nice contrast to the flatter yellow portions, it comes across a little unrealistic. On the other hand, the yellow portions of her costume are beautifully painted, resembling a thin leather or similar fabric. The details where the fabric changes texture are painted superbly and are a credit to the artists. The telekinetic tendrils that rise from the snowy base are rendered in a shade of pink that is very pleasing to the eye. It makes a lovely contrast with the rest of the figure, and distinguishes itself nicely from the removable flames on the other pieces. The flames themselves are painted well with shades of orange and brown and just a hint of yellow. There’s no mistaking the namesake of this mutant. Value – 3.5 out of 5 stars With an original retail price of $585 for pre-order, we think this is a pretty decent value. It’s a Sideshow exclusive with an edition size of 1000 and is not yet sold out. Considering the popularity of the character and the extra pieces available, we think this is a solid addition to any collection. Artists ● Mark Newman (Sculpt) ● Adam Smith (Mold and Cast) ● Kat Sapene (Paint) ● Chie Izuma (Paint) ● Richard Luong (Design) Materials – Polyresin Product Size Height: 21″ (533.4 mm) | Width: 13″ (330.2 mm) | Depth: 11.5″ (292.1 mm) | Weight: 10 lbs (4.54 kg) * Box Size Height: 12.00″ (304.8 mm) | Width: 18.00″ (457.2 mm) | Depth: 25.00″ (635 mm) | * Dimensional Weight 24.00 lbs (10.89 kg) [Intl. 33.00 lbs (14.97 kg)]
When the basic spidey suit wasn’t sufficient for Peter Parker, he took on the prototype Iron Spider suit created by Tony Stark. Today we’re looking at a fan art version of the Iron Spider-man as made by Royal Custom Brotherhood. Sculpt and Design – 3.5 out of 5 stars We really enjoy this design of the original Iron Spider suit. Shortly after Spiderman’s fatal fight with Morlun and during the turmoil of the superhero registration act, Tony Stark created this suit for Peter Parker. Like its original design, the suit Spidey wears in this statue has three extra “waldoes” that allow Peter to skitter over surfaces like an actual spider. He can also use them to grasp and see around corners. In this stature, the arms are rendered quite beautifully. They connect to the back of his suit well and made a great addition to the Iron Spider suit. The main pose of this figure has Spiderman standing atop a broken piece of Captain America’s shield and a busted Iron Man armor helmet. His right leg balances on the ruined logo of the Avengers Tower. We see several bricks and pieces of rebar that suggestion an explosion of some kind. Although the three nods to the Civil War conflict are rendered well, the ruins of the explosion fall a little flat. Spiderman pose is dynamic and true to the character. He has a wide stance with a big of a crouch and his arm reaches out prepared to thwip some webbing onto the nearest surface. He truly looks ready for anything that might be about to come his way. Many parts of Spidey’s armor have a scaly texture that brings to mind insectoid features. It’s an interesting texture and it definitely looks good on the model, but spiders are actually arachnids. They don’t have a scaly texture on their bodies or on their eyes. There is also the question of Spidey’s rippling muscles in this sculpture. Looking at old versions of the Iron Spider costume and comparing it with Iron Man’s armor, it doesn’t seem as though quite so much muscle should be visible through the suit. And yet here we see Spidey’s quads, abs, obliques, and so much more. It makes the suit looks a bit more like a cloth costume rather than the iron armor it was designed as by Stark. On the plus side, this statue comes with a fully detachable arm accessory. Spiderman’s left arm can be switched out to an arm the is grasping a slightly damaged version of Captain America’s shield. The base also changes so that Spidey is standing on a piece of Mark 42 Iron Man armor rather than the shield. Paint – 3 out of 5 stars At first glance, the paint work on this figure is stunning. It’s visually striking with the yellows, golds, reds, and blacks that constitute the Iron Spider armor. The three extra appendages on the armor are especially effective in gold with silver highlights. The color choices are definitely the best part of this figure’s paint. If you’re looking for a statue that catches your eye immediately with its strong contrasting colors, you can’t go wrong here. Upon closer inspection though, there are a couple of things that could be improved. For one thing, the Iron Spider armor is completely high gloss, with no variations in paint texture. There isn’t much work done to explore shadows and highlights on the armor itself. The only shadows present are the ones created by the sculpt itself. In contrast, the paint on the rubble at the base of the statue is flat and unconvincing. The bricks don’t appear realistic, nor does the rebar, especially in comparison to the sheen of the Iron Spider armor. This contrast in depth might be intended to make Spidey pop, but it doesn’t quite get there. Captain America’s shield is especially dull. It makes sense that it might be a bit faded due to damage, but that isn’t conveyed through the paint. Value – 3 out of 5 stars Just like all figures from Royal Custom Brotherhood, we feel this is a well produced piece that makes for a great edition to collection. It was originally sold at $900 retail. Edition size is 120. Like most figures from RCB, it sold out upon release and will now most likely increase in value. However, as a fan-made figure, it’s hard to tell what demand might be in the future. The piece was sculpted by Angad x Strivens.
Today we’re reviewing the friendly neighborhood web-slinger himself, Spiderman, presented by XM studios. We all know his famous catchphrase, but let’s find out if his great power correlates to a great product. Sculpt & Design – 4 out of 5 stars Let’s start with the best feature of Spidey’s sculpt. The figurine comes with 3 portrait options. To prevent unsightly seams where the head and neck meet, XM has made the portraits interchangeable at the torso. Spidey’s pose will remain the same in his upper body, but each part comes with a unique head design. The first is a MacFarlane style mask, the second a Romita style mask, and the third is a battle-worn mask that is ripped open to reveal a portion of Peter Parker’s face. These portraits are great. The MacFarlane mask is exactly what you would expect, with the huge eyes that defined Spiderman’s look in the 80s and early 90s. The Romita mask encapsulates the angry, furrowed brow Spiderman wore during his tenure. And the ripped mask? Underneath we see what may be intended to be the fact of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. It’s certainly a younger Peter, maybe no more than 18 or 19 years old. If only Aunt May could see him now. The base of the sculpture appears to be a portion of Oscorp towers, out of which two of Doctor Octopus’s tentacles emerge to reach for Spidey. From the sky overhead, two pumpkin bombs from Green Goblin appear to be headed straight for our hero. And there’s a rendering of some sand near the base of the statue indicating a possible attack from the Sandman. Spidey’s pose is athletic and graceful. He appears to be swinging from a web he attached to Oscorp Towers and the placement of his arms and legs show his agility when swinging through the air. The enhanced athleticism Peter Parker gained when he became Spiderman is evident in his flexed thigh muscles and his well-proportioned arms. He’s still slender though, just as one would expect from a hero who spends most of his time protecting his neighborhood rather than bulking up. Doc Ock’s tentacles are masterfully sculpted, looking every bit as real and frightening as they do in comics and film/tv adaptations. The inclusion of the sand is a little strange. It doesn’t look realistic. There’s not enough of it to really give you the impression of sand. The sculpture may have benefitted from excluding it. One other nitpick? Spiderman is apparently swinging from Oscorp Towers, but what is the scale we’re working with here? Where is Doc Ock emerging from? Is Peter clinging to a teeny tiny antenna that…somehow also fits Doc Ock? It’s an odd location and the statue would have been better served by a more sensical background. Paint – 4 out of 5 stars – The painting on this statue is very well executed. Starting on Spidey himself, the shadows and contours used on his suit are excellent. It’s obvious that the artist took care to find the light source and used that to make highlights and shadows. His suit is painted beautifully, the colors rich and evocative of his comic book origins. The marine blue is especially lovely when paired with the uniform’s true red cowl. The torso which includes the battle-torn mask also displays great painting ability. Peter has a determined look on his face which is highlighted by carefully rendered shadows under his eye and lower lip. He has what looks like a small cut on his cheek, and his one visible eye glares at the viewer in a honey-colored hue. Peter’s hair, when visible, is a minor disappointment. Looking more like ripples of fudge than actual hair, it’s hard to determine whether the fault here lies with the painters or sculptors. I’ve seen XM Studios create beautiful, realistic hair before, but that is not the case with Peter’s hair here. The paint on the crushed and crumbling Oscorp Tower is well-rendered. It’s a mix of olive greens and some grays showing where the building is being ripped apart. Doc Ock’s tentacles are similarly well done, appearing shiny and gleaming as they reach for our hero. Green Goblin’s pumpkin bombs are painted well, even if they are an odd extra feature, and the same goes for the “sand” left behind beneath Spidey. The sand is painted well enough, down to the grain. But again this reviewer has to question why it was included at all. Value – 4 out of 5 stars XM’s choice to make their interchangeable heads swap at the waist rather than the neck is a huge plus to the value, as there are no funky seams where the head and neck connect. This was an extra feature that did not increase the retail price of the figure, which we believe makes the piece that much more valuable. The edition weight is also made-to-order, a new feature by XM that is supposed to help balance the supply/demand on their figures. The cap for pieces manufactured is 700, but that stops at a certain point in time meaning the size could wind up lower than that. With the inclusion of interchangeable torsos and a potentially smaller edition size, we think that XM has provided a good, if not great, value for this collectible. Artists: Soefara Jafney Jaafar (Illustrator, Design and Concept Collaboration with XM Studios) Mufizal Mokhtar, Paul Tan (Sculpt) XM Studios Design and Development Team Retail Price SGD $1,099.00 Prestige Price SGD $989.10 Product size : 55 cm L X 50 cm B X 73 cm H Est. Box Size : 78 cm L X 56 cm B X 39.5 cm H Est. Product Weight : 10.6 Kg Est. shipping weight : 17.6 kg
Today we’re coming at you with a fan favorite character statue created by a fan artist. Yup, I’m talking the Wolverine himself. Let’s sink our claws into this review. Sculpt & Design – 3.75 out of 5 Wolverine is, by design, a shorter mutant. Standing at only 5’3”, it makes sense that this figure is on the shorter side. It pairs well with other quarter scale statues and provides verisimilitude for the characters. Other statues depict Wolvie a bit taller. This design is fairly simple, although it is definitely true to the original comic character. There are three interchangeable heads that come with the figure and the first is reminiscent of the character’s original run. His cowl includes shorter side fins and sports whiskers along the nose. The second head has what is perhaps the most recognizable version of Wolverine. His cowl has oversized fins/ears and his expression is full of bestial wrath. He bares his teeth at the viewer, promising violence if necessary. The final head is another well-known version of our hero. His cowl is gone and instead you can see his untamed hair and mutton chops. His eyebrows are arched and bushy and his mouth is wide open in a furious roar. As nice as the three expressions are, there are some issues with the sculpt on Wolvie’s body. Overall, he feels too simplistic. His boots and his uniform seem overly plain. Now obviously it matches the simplicity of his comic book costume. Previous collectibles we have reviewed by some of the bigger studios are more detailed, even when staying true to their comic book origins. There are also some problems with the whole of Wolverine’s torso. His collarbone, pecs, and have odd ridges and valleys. The muscles of his arms, though nice and beefy, are overly marked with veins and some parts have an odd cottage cheese-like texture. It’s as if his triceps have cellulite. There’s definite room for improvement here. Paint – 4 out of 5 Mad X is known for producing excellently painted statues and this one is no exception. Each of the three expressions conveys varying levels of a 5 o’clock shadow on our hero, something that can be difficult to make apparent by painting. An odd detail that was especially impressive? Wolverine’s tongue in the head with no cowl. It’s painted to a level that looks absolutely realistic. The stitching and the leather texture on Wolvie’s boots comes across beautifully. The light and shadows across his muscles on the yellow portion of his uniform is very well done. It’s clear that close attention was paid to making the body look authentic. The aforementioned veins, although perhaps too plentiful, are painted nicely. It was a risk to paint them so colorfully, but the risk pays off. Wolverine looks like a hulked out bodybuilder with veiny arm muscles. The paint job on Wolverine’s adamantium coated claws is beautifully applied. They look and feel like real metal. One nit to pick here is at Wolvie’s belt. The paint there just seems simplistic, with primary red and primary yellow masquerading as gold. When there are such good details elsewhere, it’s disappointing to see such a basic paint job on his belt and belt buckle. Value – 4 out of 5 Mad X’s pieces always sell out fast. The edition size for this figure was only 75. Original price for the statue was $900, and it is selling on the secondary market for between $1200 and $1500. This is easily one of the rarest Wolverine statues out there, and a hot commodity considering the popularity of the character. A minor addition to the value of this piece is the beautifully drawn box art the figure comes with. It’s Wolverine’s signature yellow with black drawings of two of the interchangeable faces of Wolvie, a quote, and crossed adamantium claws. This is decidedly one of the most comic accurate classic Wolverine statues on the market, and its value score reflects that. We definitely consider this a must-have when it comes to Canada’s first superhero.
Today I’m reviewing Sideshow’s Cable Premium Format Figure. An impressive statue with a few extra perks, Sideshow’s version of the time-traveling mutant is a must have for your collection. Read on to see what our cybernetic eyes have uncovered. Sculpt and Design – 4 out of 5 Cable is depicted here having just emerged from an interdimensional portal onto what appears to be the ruins of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. One of his boots stands atop the ruined school seal, and in the rubble are remnants of Cerebro and Wolverine’s cowl. It’s here, behind Cable’s boot, where you can incorporate some of the extras that come with the figurine. One is a smaller portal like the others that surround our hero. The other is Deadpool’s arm and hand emerging from the portal, offering to Cable a Deadpool doll and a “best friends” bracelet. It’s a delightful nod to the pairing these two have had both in the comics and on the big screen. Cable’s physique is as muscular as you might expect, and in 90’s liefeldian fashion. His still-human arm is bulked beyond imagination with nearly every vein popping as he flexes to hold his weapon. His bionic arm is similarly ripped. Cable’s abs and pecs are scaled to the extreme, every last muscle defined in his comic accurate uniform. The details on Cable’s uniform, tactical belt, boots, and face are to be commended. Especially impressive is the portrait, which shows the mercenary scowling at the viewer. His nose has a kind of verisimilitude that can be rare in some figures, with a bump at the bridge. If you’ll allow us just one last nitpick? Cable’s weapons in this sculpt are just as disproportionately large as his muscles. We know he has super strength and could easily wield these huge weapons, but they are almost too big. Then there’s the cape, personally I prefer a sculpted cape, even though the fabric cape does do a better job of capturing the details that makeup this character. Paint – 3 out of 5 stars The paint work on this figure is very detailed and lovely to look at. Colors are accurate to the classic comic version of cable. Most notable about Cable are his bionic parts — both his eye and his arm. The metal of his bionic arm gleams in a shade of gunmetal gray. His bionic eye glows in its socket, a marked contrast to the very human eye on his right side which glares at the viewer. His right eye is also painted accurately with the star shaped scar identifying the original point of infection for the techno-organic virus. But his face has numerous other well-painted details. His eyebrows are particularly intimidating, and the lines on his forehead, corners of his eyes, and around his mouth make him look as haggard as one might expect. He is even painted with a 5 o’clock shadow. His hair is somewhat less realistic. Several shades of gray and silver attempt to work together to convey the mercenary’s signature hair color, but they don’t quite capture it. It’s an unfortunately cartoonish feature that clashes with the rest of the realistic paint details. There are several minor details on his gloves and boots that will draw you in. His uniform and gear overall have a weathered appearance that Sideshow says were meant to invoke the wear and tear of time travel. The seams and stitches along his uniform are expertly rendered, and the use of shadows on his chest are a fine example of contrast. The nitpick for this category is with his weapons, again. Painted in what seems to be one solid shade of gray, they don’t provide much visual interest. It could be purposeful. After all, Cable is the star, not his weapons. But it’s a little disappointing to move your eye across a well painted figure only to be stopped by a big hunk of metallic sameness. Value – 3 out of 5 stars This figure is still available on Sideshow’s website as of 12-20-19. The collector edition retails for $705 with an edition size of 2000, while the exclusive edition retails for $725 and has an edition size of 1000. Both editions come with a removable fabric cape with internal wiring that allows you to pose it as you like. Only the exclusive edition includes the removable portal with Deadpool’s arm. We won’t see an increase in its market value yet. I’m pleased with Sideshow’s production of this Cable Premium Format Figure and think it makes for a good collectible for a Cable fan. Product Dimensions: Height: 24.5″ (622.3 mm) Width: 17″ (431.8 mm) Depth: 14″ (355.6 mm) Weight: 12 lbs (5.44 kg) Artists include: Guillermo Barbiero (Sculpt) Martin Canale (Sculpt) (Design) Adam Smith (Mold and Cast) Chadwick Andersen (Mold and Cast) Bernardo Esquivel (Paint) Tim Hanson (Costume Fabrication) Casey Love (Paint) Tom Jilesen (Design) Richard Luong (Design) Andrew Huerta (Design) Jeremy Williams (Mold and Cast)
We are thrilled to review this magnificent Jean Grey Dark Phoenix statue by XM studios. Getting nearly a perfect score in our three rating categories, this statue is a hot item — pun intended. Sculpt \ Design – 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The pose is dynamic and powerful, something you would expect from the infamous Dark Phoenix version of Jean Grey. She comes with three interchangeable heads which increase in intensity as you change them. The first head is a more human-like expression that reminds you of the woman who became Dark Phoenix. Her eyes are still very humanoid and although her brow is furrowed, you can still see the humanity of Jean Grey. Her hair, though windblown, remains “normal.” It isn’t until you get to the second head option that you start to see the sinister aspect of Dark Phoenix. Her furrowed brow becomes arched with restrained fury and her lips take on a smirk of superiority. Her hair is now rising with the wind, or perhaps with the force of her unrestrained potential. The third interchangeable head brings you a truly villainous Dark Phoenix. Her eyes squint as she unleashes her mutant abilities and her smirk has become a toothy grin of destructive delight. Her hair now roils with the flames of the actual phoenix behind her as she has truly taken on her dark mantle. The details of Dark Phoenix’s body and suit are superb. Her musculature and her figure are clearly visible through her body-hugging jumpsuit, just as true to life as one might expect. The fabric of her gloves, boots, and suit stretch and fold in all the places they should. Particularly impressive are the folds at her elbows and the backs of her knees. Her sash cascades in the wind just like her hair. She stands among flames and rubble. And the mighty phoenix from which she gets her name hovers just above and behind her, beak open in preparation for a mighty screech. Although this is a well-crafted statue, it falls just shy of perfect. Nonetheless we feel it is of overall high quality. Paint – 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Every detail of the painting on this statue is absolutely exquisite. Starting from the bottom, Dark Phoenix stands atop a pile of charred earth that resembles burnt asphalt. Flames begin to rise and coalesce around the statue’s legs, their color the very essence of fire with warm oranges, reds, and hints of brown. The fire continues behind Dark Phoenix and above her grows into the eponymous phoenix. Every lick of flame is expertly painted to look like sparks come to life. You will feel the heat radiating from the statue as you look into the fiery feathers of the phoenix that hovers over Jean Grey. Everything about Dark Phoenix’s suit is true to life. Her golden boots, gloves, and sash are warmed with a hint of brown. The crest on her chest is a similar shade of gold, giving life to what could otherwise blend in to her chestpiece. The rest of her suit is painted with hues of maroon and crimson. Attention is paid to where shadows might land on her flaming figure. The smallest details such as seams, stitching, and texture are painted with care to give her clothing the verisimilitude it deserves. Especially impressive are the three different expressions that come with the statue. The painting on Dark Phoenix’s face and hair is beautifully done. Her make-up is artfully applied on all three, with gorgeous true red lips. Her green eyes drawn you in on her more human expression, the irises almost glowing. On her two more villainous expressions, her eyes are painted almost completely white, with hints of blood vessels here and there. Her lips take on a slightly more crimson tone, particularly in her smirking expression. When she bares her teeth, the skill of the painter is clearly evidenced as care is given to make every tooth individual and bright. It would be unforgivable not to mention the delicate skill used on her hair, as well. It starts out a beautiful shade of auburn with red, brown, and golden highlights. Then it changes in the other two displays to take on a slightly more orange hue, and finally to incorporate the actual flames behind her in the final display. Value – 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Originally retailing at SGD $1,099, we think that this Dark Phoenix statue is the absolute best value for a figurine of its type. Product dimensions are 50cm L x 42cm B x 73cm H, weight is 7.5kg. A statue of this size and detail is bound to appreciate in value. The original figure is actually sold out and already selling above 150% retail value. We believe that XM Studios has created the ideal collector’s item with this Dark Phoenix statue. This is an XM exclusive. Edition size 999. Original retail price SGD $1,099. Product dimensions: 50cm L x 42cm B x 73cm H Product weight: 7.5kg Art Print by Carlos Dattoli Artists: ● Studio HIVE (Illustrator, Design, and Concept Collaboration with XM Studios) ● Marthin Agusta (sculpt) ● XM Studios Design and Dev
DOMINO SIDESHOW COLLECTIBLES EXCLUSIVE VERSION 1. SCULPT \ DESIGN The design team at Sideshow near perfectly captured the character with this sculpt. Meticulous details in the suit textures and accessories bring Domino to life in this statue. I’m a big fan of this sculpt, and the pose. Bravo 2. PAINT Paint colors and application are top notch. 3. VALUE The edition size is 2000 of the regular, and 1000 of the exclusive. At a retail price of $570 and $585 respectively, there is good value and high quality, especially at that price point. Overall, an amazing statue from Sideshow Collectibles and must have for any X-men or Deadpool collector.
“Terminate one Sentinel — terminate one thousand — it makes no difference. Our numbers are too great. Eventually mutants, we will overwhelm you.” The X-Men face off against their deadliest foes, the mighty Sentinels. The humongous mutant hunting machines have decimated the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning. The X-Men make their final stand. Sculpt & Design – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Humongous diorama + Commanding presence + Detailed mansion wreckage Iron Studios presents the most enormous statue diorama of all-time! This set of three limited edition statues features three enormous Sentinels, Magneto, Juggernaut, and most of the X-Men Blue and Gold teams. Any one of these three pieces alone is awe-inspiring, but when you put all three together, you get one of the most dynamic X-Men dioramas ever made. There is a lot to unpack here. let’s start from the bottom. The base of this masterpiece features the crumbled remains of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, aka, the X-Mansion. The wreckage lays among the bedrock of the mansion’s foundation. There is a stunning amount of detail put into this destruction, including the splintered wood and floorboards. The detail is very realistic. Moving upwards, you have the main event: the destructive Sentinels. All three have an intimidating presence. Their robotic faces are almost human in nature, yet filled with a lifeless aura. They accomplish their task without hesitation. The detail on their metallic bodies is impressive. The circuitry of their innards hangs out, yet they still persist in accomplishing their mission. The X-Men themselves look astonishing. Despite playing second fiddle to the Sentinels, the detail that went into each individual character is still impressive. These portraits are phenomenal. As a bonus, Magneto come with an unmasked portrait. The power effects for all of the characters are a thing of beauty. Cyclops’ optic blast is destructive. Wolverine comes with a slashing effect for his claws. Beast is assaulting the Sentinel with a feral rage. Gambit looks as slick as ever, while the juggernaut is huge and imposing. Magneto has a commanding presence. The third diorama perfectly encapsulates the brilliant strategic capabilities of the X-Men. Storm and Archangel attack from the air while Iceman freezes the Sentinel’s leg in place. Shadowcat phases through the Sentinel’s other leg while Psylocke cuts through its torso. All of the characters are impressive. Psylocke’s portrait is particularly beautiful. Paint – 4 out of 5 Stars + Weathering is Amazing + Realistic destruction The painstaking process that must have gone into painting these titans is almost as magnificent as the sculpt and design. The choice of colors was well thought out. The dull pink and blue used for the Sentinels looks awesome. Their red eyes add to their already intimidating presence. There is also a slight rust paint application on certain parts of the Sentinels which shows the damage done during the battle with the X-Men. Perhaps the most impressive part of the paint is the weathering. The costumes of every character appear eroded from the battle. There is dirt on Magneto’s boots and cape. Beast has dirt on his feet as well. Gambit’s boots are shiny and metallic. Iceman’ crystalized appearance is a welcome touch. The pink energy effects showcasing many of the X-Men’s abilities is beautifully done as well. The paint applications on the base of the dioramas are particularly impressive. The wood on the destroyed remains of the X-Mansion is realistic. There is gold trim on several of the columns and furniture that has been destroyed. The bricks on the outside of the building are worn and discolored. All in all, the paint is impressive from top to bottom. Value – 4.75 out of 5 Stars When it comes to value, this gargantuan diorama will cost a small fortune. The sheer size of it alone dictates that cost. When you put all three together, this set becomes one of the largest statue dioramas ever seen. However, it is also one of the most detailed set of statues anyone has ever created. The phrase “one of a kind” gets thrown around a lot, but this set is something the likes of which we may never see again. With so much going on in this diorama, you might expect some of the areas to be lacking. That’s simply not the case though. There was no detail spared. That goes for the Sentinels, the X-Men, and the destruction of the mansion. This is the Holy Grail of comic statue dioramas. Extra Features Limited Edition Hand painted Mutant power effects Extra unmasked portrait for Magneto Miniature painting Artist Iron Studios Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Edition Deluxe Materials Poly stone Product Size Sentinel #1 Height: 35.4” Width: 32.6” Length: 16.5” Weight: 70.5 lbs. Sentinel #2 Height: 25.9” Width: 24” Length: 23.2” Weight: 55 lbs. Sentinel #3 Height: 34.2” Width: 26.3” Length: 27.5” Weight: 70.5 lbs.
The arctic tundra of Canada is a deadly place under “normal” circumstances. All manner of dangerous creatures occupy its land. Most of those creatures kill for food rather than sport. None of them, however, possess the sadistic intent of Victor Creed. Let’s take a look at the Sideshow Collectibles statue of the murderous mutant, Sabretooth. Sculpt & Design – 3.0 out of 5 stars + Flawless sculpt with amazing detail (great detail on face, costume, and muscles) + Great depiction of the character – Statue is large and takes up quite a bit of space – The teeth on the exclusive version’s alternate head blend together, looking a bit unnatural Sideshow has done a marvelous job of sculpting Wolverine’s fiercest and most evil nemesis. This statue is loaded with detail and perfectly encapsulates Sabretooth’s likeness. He stands upon the base of a snowy rock formation, likely representing his favorite hunting ground in northern Canada. He looks ready to pounce upon his prey from this icy tundra base. The aforementioned base is carved to perfection. The rock formation is well-sculpted and filled with detail. Buried in the snow are the remnants of a fallen tree, probably collateral damage from the battle. As if there is any question whom Sabretooth is battling, clear signs of adamantium claw marks on the tree give us the answer. Sabretooth is poised and ready for battle. His elongated and deadly claws show why he is known as Der Schlächter (“The Butcher” in German). The sculptor does a superb job of capturing the murderous intent in Sabretooth’s face. Sabretooth’s pale white merciless eyes flawlessly convey his lack of compassion and empathy. The body sculpt of this bloodthirsty and barbarous mutant is masterfully done. Sideshow have completely outdone themselves with the muscle definition on this brute. Simply put, Sabretooth seemingly has muscles on top of his muscles. Additionally, they’ve also done a fantastic job in sculpting his trademark yellow and brown bodysuit. No detail has been ignored, from the intricacy of the costume stitching to the folds and wrinkles. Additionally, the exclusive version comes with an alternate head portrait of Sabretooth in his classic hood, sporting his trademark maniacal closed-mouth grin. This is a definite plus for fans of the 90s animated series. Having the option of changing heads adds value and variety to this statue. However, the teeth on this version don’t look quite as natural. A bit more sculpting around the individual fangs would have better brought this look to fruition. Naturally, this sculpture is quite large, standing at 18 inches in height and 37 lbs. It’s certainly not as tall or heavy as some of the other Sideshow snows statues. However, it does take up a lot of room given the fact that Sabretooth is lunging forward, an issue that may be a drawback to some collectors. Paint – 3.5 out of 5 Stars + Excellent shading on suit and muscles + Suit and gloves give appearance of real leather – Face and beard fall a bit flat (Could have used more tones and shading) – Base could use more color tones and shading for the snow Par for the course, Sideshow has done a masterful job on the paintwork. It never ceases to impress how they bring these stationary statues to life. Given Marvel’s classic use of two-toned costumes for their characters, Sideshow once again manages to infuse vibrance and liveliness through their brushwork and shading. The base of the figure is realistically painted. The fallen tree is painted a weathered grey. The impressions in the tree bark left from Wolverine’s claws are dark brown and authentic in appearance. The light brown used to represent the split tree branch looks genuine. The snow is natural looking, if not slightly bland. Perhaps adding a bit more color and shading to the snow would have made it more realistic looking. The paintwork on Sabretooth’s face is decent. His cold pale face and white eyes inspire fear among his enemies, while the subtle redness around his mouth encompasses his mutant rage. However, Sideshow could have used different tones and a bit more shading to better bring his face to life (especially on the exclusive edition’s alternate head). The textures and shading used in his blonde hair make it look full and thick, but his sideburns fall a bit flat. The mane around his neck is wisely painted a lighter white-yellow which helps it stand out. The costume itself is very well-painted and given a glossiness that brings Sabretooth’s vintage bodysuit to life. The dark brown shading used on his gloves makes them appear thick and weathered. The darker paint around his musculature helps bring out the savagery of this monster. The shading around the seams of the costume does a sensational job of complementing the sculpt work. Value – 4.0 out of 5 Stars + Attention to detail on this piece is unmatched + Great character depiction – Face sculpt could use a bit more detail Ultimately, the sculpt and paint work make this the quintessential Sabretooth statue to own. It encapsulates everything that makes this murderous mutant monstrosity Wolverine’s most deadly foe. At $610 for the regular version, and $625 for the exclusive version with the alternate head, this statue is packed full of attention to detail. It’s also quite large, and will take up some surface area on your shelf. If you’re a fan of the character, this is an absolute must-have. It must be noted that at the time of this review, the exclusive version is sold out, but there is a waitlist in case there are cancellations. Other Details Material: Polyresin Product Size Height: 18″ (457.2 mm) Width: 18″ (457.2 mm) Depth: 15″ (381 mm) Weight: 12 lbs (5.44 kg) * Box Size Height: 15.00″ (381 mm) Width: 20.00″ (508 mm) Depth: 28.00″ (711.2 mm) Dimensional Weight 37.00 lbs (16.78 kg) [Intl. 51.00 lbs (23.13 kg)] * Artists Sculpt and Design Martin Canale (Sculpt) (Design) Design Alex Pascenko Richard Luong Paint Chie Izuma (Paint) Mold and Cast Chadwick
In the long, storied history of the X-Men, arguably the most popular mutant in the publication’s history is Wolverine. From his humble beginnings in the northern wilderness of Canada, to the Weapon-X project, to the postapocalyptic events of “Old Man Logan,” this mutant has one of the most tragic and interesting backstories of any character in comic book history. This is the review for the XM Studios Marvel Premium Collectibles series statue of Wolverine. Sculpt & Design – 4.0 out of 5 Stars + Statue has a plethora of changeable accessories + Great texturing on costume and anatomy +Masked portrait is one of the very best of Wolverine -Unmasked portrait doesn’t measure up To put it simply, the design of this statue is uncanny. There is no shortage of great Wolverine statues, but this piece of art makes a compelling argument at being the best at what it does. The amount of detail packed into this statue is unrivaled. Before diving too far into the sculpt and design, it must be noted that this statue comes with several accessories that vastly change the look and feel of this piece. Wolverine comes with two interchangeable portraits, one masked and one unmasked. He comes with two different sets of arms (two with the elbows bent forward, and two with the arms fully extended behind him). He also has three options for his claws (adamantium, bone, or sheathed) and two katanas that he can either hold or that can be displayed on the base. A plethora of detail was put into carving the base of this statue, including the shingles, wood support beams, and several Japanese symbols. The artist even took the time to give the roof a weathered look. The base features a well-crafted statue of a fish behind Wolverine’s back foot and a separately sculpted samurai helmet as well. The katanas have great detail on the hilt and can fit nicely in the base, but may not stay secure if the statue is moved too much. Overall, this is one of the better designed bases for a piece this size. Wolverine himself looks fantastic. Frank Miller’s art from the Wolverine comic in 1982 has been perfected in statue form. Wolverine wears his classic brown and yellow costume from that era. Throughout the entire costume there are folds, creases, and wrinkles. The boots and the brown parts of his costume are textured in a way that genuinely looks like leather. The seam lines on his pants are well-done. XM Studios took some liberties with the belt by adding a metal tip at the end which actually looks fantastic. His trademark six-pack shows through his costume while his outstretched arms show off the musculature on his back. Wolverine’s biceps are fully flexed with veins showing from underneath his skin. The two interchangeable portraits are quite different. The masked portrait is a flawless head sculpt of Wolverine. The detail in this sculpt makes it one of the best head sculpts we’ve ever seen for him in statue form. The black mask portion of his head is textured very well. The folds and wrinkles around his eyes bring his infamous scowl to life. The sculpting around the uncovered portions of his face is brilliant. The details on his mouth and teeth are just perfect. However, the unmasked portrait doesn’t quite measure up. The hair is molded well. However, his facial structure is far different in this portrait. The lower part of his face seems too large in comparison, and he has too many wrinkles. It’s not a terrible sculpt, it just pales in comparison to the masked portrait. Paint – 3.75 out of 5 Stars + Leather portions of costume look legitimate (Great shading) + Complexion and skin tone look fantastic – Base color is flat There aren’t many glaring negatives when it comes to the paint on this sculpture, with the one exception being the base. It’s an extremely detailed base and the paint isn’t bad by any means. It just comes off as slightly flat. It may be that some of the grey could be shaded differently or maybe even painted more of a brown color in certain spots. It hardly hurts the greatness of this statue but it is worth mentioning. The paint job on Wolverine himself is outstanding. The shading around the leather portions of his costume really makes it appear like genuine leather. His belt is painted a faded red, which makes it appear old and worn out. Wolverine’s mask looks amazing. The artist did a phenomenal job with the painting and shading around his abdomen, which helps make his muscles pop. The boots and gloves specifically look exquisite. The shading used on both are excellent. The bone claws look great and the adamantium claws shine as if they were truly metal. The two katanas have the same shine as well. Both face portraits are painted well. The masked portrait is amazingly detailed. The paint on his tongue and teeth look realistic. While the unmasked portrait isn’t the best likeness of Wolverine, the painting and shading used on his face work well. The black and brown shading in his hair looks natural and the shading around his face is quite intimidating. Value – 4.25 out of 5 Stars + Extra accessories and changeable parts add value +Great price considering the limited supply XM Studio’s brown suit Wolverine looks amazing and comes loaded with accessories and changeable parts which add both value and variety to this statue. The retail value of this piece is $1,099 SGD. Despite the hefty price tag, it’s well-worth every penny. It cannot be overstated just how beautifully detailed this statue is. If you’re looking for the best Wolverine statue available, then look no further. When it comes to creating the very finest Wolverine collectible statue around, XM Studios are the best at what they do. Artists Studio Hive in collaboration with XM Romell Chopraa (Original Sculpt), with revisions from the XM Art Team XM Studios Design
Cursed with the mutant ability to absorb the memories and abilities of others by making skin contact, Rogue lives a tragic life knowing that she can never directly touch another human being. After years of being used for her powers by mutants such as Mystique, Rogue joins the Uncanny X-Men. With the help and guidance of Professor Charles Xavier, Rogue learns to use her “curse” for the benefit of both human- and mutant-kind. This is the review of Francisco Carlesimo’s custom 1:4 scale Rogue vs Sentinel statue. Sculpt & Design – 4.75 out of 5 Stars + Fantastic statue concept + Best sentinel design ever + Awesome light-up feature for sentinel’s eyes + Great definition in Rogue’s costume & musculature – Portraits aren’t the most accurate portrayal of Rogue One cannot truly appreciate just how magnificent this statue is without seeing it up close. We’ll do our best to put it into words. This sculpture is a masterpiece that overflows with painstaking hard work and detail. The concept behind this piece alone makes it one of the greatest-looking statues we’ve had the pleasure to review. We can’t go forward with this review without first taking a moment to gasp in awe at the sheer size of this statue. Coming in at the classic 1:4 scale, the head of the infamous giant robot Sentinel is massive. This statue is 31” tall, 25 1/2” deep, 17 3/4” wide, and weighs 44 lbs. The scale of this thing in relation to Rogue is just perfect. This is perhaps the very best version of a sentinel in statue form that we’ve ever seen. The attention to detail is simply on-point. Once you get over the mass of this piece, you’ll notice it also comes loaded with cool features. For one thing, the sentinel has an awesome light-up feature in the eyes. After seeing its eyes lit up, one can’t help but hear “Surrender Mutant” in the voice of the sentinels from the 1992 X-Men animated series. Rogue also comes with six interchangeable portraits which add great variety to an already amazing piece of art. Normally, we’d briefly mention the sculpting of the base during these statue reviews. This may be the first statue where the base is the star attraction. Rogue stands upon a base crafted from the neck of a sentinel. With her feet firmly dug into the metal circuitry, she holds the gigantic metal cranium of the mutant-murdering machine over her head, slowly tearing it from the spinal column. The battle damage on this monstrosity’s face is awesome. There are claw and burn marks all over the face. This sentinel has clearly taken everything the X-Men have thrown at it, and Rogue is the great equalizer in this battle. The detail on the sentinel is jaw-dropping. The exposed metal and wires being ripped apart by Rogue make this piece one-of-a-kind. The detached metal spinal column visible on the outside of this beast looks both brutal and beautiful. Rogue is wearing her classic Jim Lee-era outfit, which looks great. The detail in her costume is fantastic. You can tell Rogue is using all her might to tear off the sentinel’s head by both the tensing of the muscles throughout her body and the wrinkles in her boots. The effort the artist put into Rogue’s biceps is a welcome sight. One of the coolest aspects of her costume is her leather jacket. Often this is a hit-or-miss concept. Francisco Carlesimo absolutely nailed the sculpting on this one. The texture, the cracks, and the way the jacket flows give the leather authenticity. This statue comes with six additional portraits (7 total), and the only negative thing to be said is that many of them don’t quite look like what we expect from the character. A few of the smirking portraits of Rogue have too many masculine qualities in comparison to her classic look. Perhaps one or two of the portraits could stand to be more feminine. However, the portraits which show Rogue in an enraged state look appropriate given the battleground. Paint – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Absolutely phenomenal detail on outside part of sentinel head + Detailed paint within the sentinel is fantastic – Yellow paint on legs bleeds into green paint and base The paint on this piece is exceptional in most aspects. The sentinel portion of this statue stands (with Rogue’s assistance) head and shoulders above the rest. The steely purple and gold on this giant’s face, along with its pale and unfeeling eyes, is something terrifying to behold. That is until the sentinel’s eyes light up red, at which point that terror is amplified to a deadly level. The burn marks and damage are brought to life by the artist’s excellent use of shading, and the use of grey paint displays the facial blemishes on the sentinel. The inside of the sentinel’s detached skull is a warped and ruined mess of mangled metal and severed circuitry, and it is painted to perfection. Darker shading brings attention to where the machine’s head is severed from its body. The remnants of red, blue, and green cables are torn with the exposed copper wiring revealed at the tear points, which are expertly painted. Rogue looks exquisite in her yellow and green costume. The yellow portion has great shading while the green portion of her costume has added detail when observed more closely. Rogue’s leather jacket really stands out. The transition from a lighter, faded brown in certain areas to a darker brown in others, along with the consistently superb shading, works flawlessly in conjunction with the textures to faithfully represent her leather jacket. The same attention to detail is applied to Rogue’s leather belt and side pouches. The skin tone for all 7 of Rogue’s portraits is consistent and exceptional in quality. The paint-work around her mouth is awesome. Her tongue and teeth look really good. Her striking green eyes look amazing. Her hair leaves something to be desired and could have
“First we live. Then we die. In between is just blood and noise.” What happens when the KGB captures a Russian serial killer and experiments on him in hopes of creating a super soldier akin to Captain America? …Nothing good, that’s what. Unfortunately, that is the fate of Arkady Gregorivich Rossovich, who was transformed into the monster known as Omega Red, now in 1:4 statue form courtesy of XM Studios. Sculpt & Design – 3.75 out of 5 Stars + Both portraits are extremely detailed + Anatomy/musculature is well done – The pose is unnatural and not wildly intimidating for such a character – It’s hard to find a good angle to display the statue because of the tentacles and hair blocking his face Firstly, it’s awesome to see an Omega Red statue get the green light from XM Studios. He is an amazing villain that doesn’t get enough exposure. As is to be expected, this statue is a well-crafted piece of artwork. There are a few critiques to be made about the sculpt, but overall, it’s beautiful. Omega Red stands atop a strangely compact base. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is unexpected for a character of his mass. The base appears to be some kind of factory, which may be a throwback to Omega Red’s origins as it has a weathered look to it. There is also snow covering parts of the base, supporting the idea that this is somewhere in Russia. The base design is pretty cool. There are several little details to appreciate like the circuitry and the tubes that look like they may have contained the near-indestructible carbonadium that Omega Red’s tentacles are made of. Omega Red himself look really good, with one small caveat. The pose XM Studios chose to capture him in is somewhat disappointing. For a hulking mass of a monster such as Omega Red, the choice of an awkward “Captain Morgan doing ballet” pose is a head scratcher. It’s hard to tell if he is stepping forward into battle, or leaning back due to the awkward nature his body is twisted in. Also, it would have been nice if his tentacles went out further, rather than slightly covering his face. This limits the angles available for full visibility of the statue. Pose aside, the statue shines most everywhere else. His musculature is menacing and his veins are popping out slightly on his arms. There are scratch marks on some of the armored portions of his suit, clearly due to a prolonged battle with his arch-enemy Wolverine. There is some great detail with the belt and shoulder pads, including some pouches and grenades of some kind. His fingers are clinching inward almost as if a muscle contraction is controlling his tentacles. Omega Red comes with two portraits and he looks just as angry in both. In one portrait his mouth is open as if he’s making a great battle cry, while the other has his teeth clinched shut in frustration and anger. Quite a bit of detail was put into the facial expressions and it is much appreciated. He also has circuitry showing on the side of his face which is very cool. Paint – 4.0 out of 5 Stars + Great shading and detail throughout suit + face complexion and skin look great + Parts of the base are messy The paint work on this piece is really good. The base is probably the weakest part. It does a lot of things right with having the dials visible and some nice bronze finish for the wires and machinery. There are just some parts of the base where the paint is a bit messy. Also, the snow effects aren’t anything to write home about. Omega Red’s suit looks great. His boots have a bit of a darker red towards the bottom. The silver used for the shinpads, tentacles, and belt looks fantastic. The shading on the red parts of his costume comes off well, and the darker red works very well in contrast to the lighter red on the lower parts of the suit. The shading around his anatomy is also top-notch. Maybe the best part about the paint lies in Omega Red’s pale skin tone. Looking at his arms, you immediately notice there are feint elements of blue visible, really driving home the idea that this guy lives in the arctic cold of Russia. Whether this is solely because of the experiments he went through, or just due to the effects of long-term exposure to the cold is unknown. Either way, it looks great. Moving up to Omega Red’s face, you can notice the very same paleness in his complexion, and both portraits look great because of this. He has the face of a stone-cold killer, and not just because of his pale complexion. His red eyes strike fear in the hearts of anyone who would cross his path, and his gruesome black and yellow teeth are just sick. The paint on both portraits is awesome. The choice of color for his hair also deserves praise. Rather than making him blonde, XM gave his hair kind of a beige tint which works really well. Value – 3.75 out of 5 Stars + Awesome to finally have Omega Red in statue form – Less extras than some of the other XM Studios statues. XM Studio’s Omega Red is a welcome addition to the X-Men statue family. It’s awesome to finally have a statue of this criminally underused villain. That said, this piece left a little something to be desired due to some design issues such as the pose. At the end of the day, it’s still a very good statue that certainly holds up to the usual standards of XM Studios. If anything, their high standards might make it easier to be critical of this piece. The cost is $1,150.00 SGD, just like the XM Studios Gambit. The Prestige price is $1,035.00 SGD. Extra Features Two (2) Portraits – Closed mouth
“We are poison to you Spider-Man.” In the late 1980s, Spider-Man donned his infamous black suit. He never could have imagined how that decision would lead to the birth of his most dangerous villain to date, Venom. Sculpt & Design – 3.5 out of 5 Stars + Battle diorama defines a classic rivalry Very few comic book rivalries match that of Spider-Man and Venom. The two were once bitter enemies driven only by their hatred for one another before becoming reluctant allies. This 1/6 battle diorama represents a throwback to that rivalry. Peter Parker leaps into action as Spider-Man, shooting his trademark webbing towards the villainous Eddie Brock. This dynamic pose is a classic one from the wall-crawler. His speed and agility are on full display, and act as his best options against the much larger and stronger foe. The slight wrinkles in Spidey’s costume are easily noticeable, especially the segmented parts. His patented leg muscles show through very well. The musculature on Venom is particularly impressive. His symbiotic suit gives Eddie Brock a body more impressive than any previous Mr. Olympia. It helps to show off the very alien nature of the symbiote. Venom awaits his quick and nimble opponent from a grounded position, digging his feet in and preparing to utilize his sizable strength advantage. There’s an aspect of pure rage to Venom’s pose, with his left arm raised to his opponent and his grotesque alien jaw wide open with his tongue hanging out. His razor-sharp teeth are also quite intimidating Paint – 3 out of 5 Stars + Accurate and simple color scheme The paint scheme for this piece is a simplistic one, but it is comic book accurate. Spider-Man dons his classic red and blue costume, which looks good. Venom’s paint apps are applied neatly and feature a bit more detail to them. His mostly black symbiotic costume features the fan-favorite blue tint. The white Venom logo is applied cleanly and evenly. His elongated tongue is dark red, but his mouth doesn’t feature much additional coloring or detail. Overall, the colors provide a fine comic book adaptation. Value – 3.75 out of 5 Stars + Classic throwback This statue won’t blow anyone away, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth owning. Overall, it’s a great representation of the classic rivalry that exists between Spider-Man and Venom. Probably the greatest aspect of this diorama is its dynamic nature. You can take one look at this one and almost ‘feel’ the bitter animosity between the two. It’s a great throwback for that reason. It’s also limited to only 400 pieces. It will still cost quite a bit on the aftermarket as well (at least $750). Artist Iron Studios Edition Limited Edition of only 400 Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Materials Cold-cast porcelain Product Size 50 cm Box Size 58 cm (H) x 38 cm (W) x 30 cm (L)
“Remember my face! It’s the last thing you’re ever going to see …and I want you to carry the memory of it straight to HELL!” Iron Studios presents the Punisher in 1:4 scale, and it is a work of art! Sculpt & Design – 5 out of 5 Stars + Perfect concept for the Punisher + Great costume design with realistic textures + Plethora of changeable pieces (two portraits & several weapon & hand switch outs) One word can be used to describe this design: Wow… Simply put, this is the quintessential Punisher statue to own. This representation of Frank Castle is absolutely perfect. Starting with the two interchangeable portraits, all the way down to his leather boots, the Punisher looks great from top to bottom. Castle comes with two very unique portraits. The first closely resembles his more classic look, complete with bandana flowing in the wind. Frank wears his usual Punisher scowl upon this portrait, with a fuller head of hair flowing over his bandana and forehead. The second portrait is more modern. Frank’s hairline is slightly receding, and his scowl is somehow more pronounced than the previous portrait. I suppose age was never going to be kind to Frank Castle. This is definitely the gruffer of the two portraits, and works better with the modern and realistic design of his costume. The best part about this version of the Punisher is definitely the body and costume design. Most of this piece is made of polystone, but several aspects of the costume are actually made of a more flexible rubber material. The Punisher’s belts, holsters, hands, and weapons are all made up of this substance. This offers up a stark visual contrast to statues entirely comprised of one solid material. This allows the straps and holsters to be separately sculpted, which looks much better than having extra resin filling in the difference. Similarly, the guns are also sculpted separately from the hands. There is actually a tiny bit of give to the hands holding the weapons. This allows a more authentic and realistic grip to Frank’s trigger fingers as he wields his arsenal. Outside of the differing materials used for several parts of this piece, Castle’s costume is also ripe with realistic textures and details. His boots and gloves look fantastic due to the leather textures. His pants and his shirt look great. The stitching is just perfect, and the faded Punisher logo even appears to be a different material than the rest of his shirt. The duffle bag also has flexible straps that fit into Castle’s left hand. The Punisher sports several different weapon and hand combinations as well, coming equipped with a sniper rifle, as well as dual machine pistols, a removable suppressor, and a duffle bag of weapons worthy of this one-man army. Adding to the beauty of sculpting individual pieces separately, he comes with several bullet casings that are actually made of metal. These casings attach to the magnetic base of damaged brick and mortar which the Punisher stands upon. Paint – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Clean paint job + Modern color schemes look great The paint scheme is definitely clean. The entire piece has a modern style about it, and the paint job compliments that style wonderfully. The base color of the Punisher’s costume is naturally black, but the aforementioned individually sculpted portions such as the belt, pouches, and holsters pop very well in contrast to the uniform color scheme. These parts of his costume look weathered, and he has some red shells attached to his chest as well. The infamous Punisher skull is gray rather than the classic white, which adds to the modernized realistic look and feel of this sculpture. While some may be disappointed that Iron Studios decided to forgo the classic white skull, that look just would not have worked out well for this design choice. Arguably, even if it was originally white, it would surly fade due to the constant battles that Frank Castle puts himself through. Both of Frank Castle’s portraits look great, and the skin tone only adds to compliment the sculpt. Castle’s face is gruff looking, five o’clock shadow and all. His dark hair also looks good against his pale complexion. Value – 4.75 out of 5 Stars + Awesome design concept sets this Punisher above the rest This limited-edition Punisher statue comes in at $699, and it’s worth every penny. The artists made some bold creative decisions, and they absolutely paid off. There are still some who question the decision not to have this statue composed entirely of polystone, but fortune always favors the bold. Hopefully the creative decisions put forth in the creation of this awesome work of art pave the way for more bold decisions moving forward. Extra Features Crafted from polystone Hand-painted Magnetic base to attach empty weapon cartridges to Two (2) portraits Five (5) changeable hands with different weapons Right hand with sniper rifle Right hand with machine pistol & removable silencer Left hand with machine pistol Left hand with weapons bag Left hand resting Artist Iron Studios Product Size Height: 27.95″ (709.93 mm) | Width: 10.62″ (269.75 mm) | Depth: 11.41″ (289.81 mm) Box Size Height: 12.00″ (304.8 mm) | Width: 24.00″ (609.6 mm) | Depth: 28.00″ (711.2 mm) Product Weight 27.00 lbs (12.25 kg)
The trouble with clones… Ben Riley is a genetic clone of Peter Parker created by the notorious Professor Miles Warren, aka the Jackal. Riley was the most genetically stable of all of the Jackal’s clones, and later came to be known as the Scarlet Spider, an on-again off-again ally of Peter Parker. Let’s take a look at the Alpha 3 Museum series #2 custom statue of the Scarlet Spider. Sculpt & Design – 3.5 out of 5 stars + Mesh design in suit is well-sculpted + Musculature looks awesome + Really cool base design – A fairly plain statue – Some may find the pose to be a bit static The Alpha 3 Museum Series #2 Scarlet Spider is a very nice-looking piece, though perhaps a bit plain for the taste of some. The design is simple, but molded very well for what it is. Starting from the base up, let’s dive into some of the pros and cons of this statue. For starters, the base is really neat. The Scarlet Spider stands atop what appears to be a ledge of the rooftop of the Daily Bugle, Peter Parker’s place of employment. The concrete portion of the roof is rough and slightly cracked, which is a very nice detail. Underneath the concrete and separating it from the brick is what appears to be a pipe system, which does a great job of making the roof-top base feel authentic. Underneath the pipes are some well-molded bricks, which are also very realistic. The centerpiece of the base itself consists of the embedded words ‘Daily Bugle’ on a metal-looking name plate. Kudos on the attention to detail, as the plate also has the Daily Bugle’s classic trumpet insignia. The Scarlet Spider stands on this base in his classic outfit with the blue cloth vest over the red suit. He stands in a static pose with his legs slightly spread apart, with one arm down and one clenched in a fist. It’s a simple look, but one that is well-done. The suit looks very nice with a slight mesh-like texture in certain areas, including the legs and the forearms. It is an accurate portrayal of the spandex suit. The Scarlet Spider is also wearing the classic cloth vest over the suit, which also looks good due to the textured lines and seams. The fringed edges of the vest near the biceps also look great. The vest features a hood which hangs just above the Scarlet Spider emblem on the back, while the drawstring for the hood is just above the same symbol on the front. Also featured is a great-looking metal belt that contains a large amount of spare web canisters for when Riley runs low on webbing. Similarly, he has two metal wrist bands with additional cartridges. Riley also has a couple pouches beautifully sculpted onto his ankles. The rest of the suit looks just fine. The muscles are well-done with some veins slightly showing in the forearm area. The seam line on the suit looks good. There isn’t much to be said for the face sculpt. It looks comic accurate with the big white eyes on the mask. Paint – 4.0 out of 5 Stars + Comic accurate color scheme + Nice shading around muscles + Belt and wrist bands have a nice steel look to them – Color scheme is accurate, but it is a bit simple The very simple color scheme is accurately applied but may leave something to be desired for those who want a more modernized look. For starters, the base looks fantastic. The shading done with the darker and lighter shades of red on the brick building is very good, and the Daily Bugle insignia looks positively shiny. It adds a nice pop to the base. The concrete portion of the rooftop also looks realistic. The classic red and blue paint scheme for the Scarlet Spider is applied expertly and makes this piece comic-accurate. The red portion of the suit is shaded well, especially around the muscles. The light blue vest looks great, and the paint used on the belt and wrist bands gives off a shiny steel appearance which compliments the otherwise two-toned paint scheme. The eyes are painted a very clean white. Value – 3.0 out of 5 Stars + Classic looking piece + Base is really cool, and can be interchanged with the classic, retro, and symbiote Spider-Man – Basic looking statue This is a cool statue for sure. It is a bit expensive at $750 USD for the painted version, and $700 USD for the unpainted kit plus PayPal charges. There is a $200 deposit as well, which comes out of the final price. It’s a classic version of a popular character, but it is a very static-posed statue. The base has the added bonus of being interchangeable with the other variants including the retro, classic, and symbiote versions.
“The greatest villains have always been defined by the men that try to stop them.” Given the creative freedom to create the concept for a Batman statue, fan favorite artist David Finch provided epic results to XM Studios with this 1/6 scale diorama which includes 12 total characters from the Batman comic. Sculpt & Design – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Fantastic concept + Multitude of villains represented (and an Easter Egg from another of Batman’s greatest rivals) + Details galore with each character’s likeness given the same attention Sometimes a statue comes along that stands out among the rest. That’s exactly the case with the most recent 1/6th scale Batman diorama from XM Studios. XM gave artist David Finch unlimited creative freedom to design this new diorama featuring Batman and several of his greatest foes. What he came back with was a stunning masterpiece. This sculpture features Batman surrounded by 11 of his greatest villains, headlined by the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. This design is definitely epic. Batman stands stoically in the middle of 11 villains, all of whom are focused directly upon the Dark Knight. The villains featured are Joker, Man-Bat, Clayface, Two-Face, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, Penguin, and Bane. They all seem dead set on the demise of Batman, save for Selina Kyle, whose motives are always ambiguous at best; and Two-Face, who is letting his infamous coin decide Batman’s fate. The base of this enormous diorama appears to be the Batcave itself, which is completely covered in smoke. The villains are emerging from the smoke and surrounding Batman. The stalactites of the cave surround the outside of the base, which mostly consists of the smoke. The sculpted stalactites are realistic and the smoke design is very artistic. The conversion of the villains is both animated and energetic. Joker takes a starring role, standing behind Batman with his left arm reaching around the Caped Crusader’s shoulder. Joker wears that trademark sinister smile upon his face with a gun in his right hand. Clayface is on Joker’s right and looks terrifying, as does the Man-Bat on the opposite side. Two-Face stands to Batman’s left, casually flipping his lucky coin. Underneath Batman, most of the remaining villains have malice on their minds. Scarecrow and Mr. Freeze aim their respective weapons at the Dark Knight while Catwoman looks on. Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Penguin reach out with malevolence upon their faces. Below the rest, Bane emerges from directly underneath Batman, perhaps poised to drag him down. The details of this diorama are intricate, and not limited to just one character. Batman takes center stage and he looks fantastic. His anatomy is perfect, as are the details on his scowling face. Every other character is given as much attention to detail. Joker looks amazing. Clayface is horrifying and clumpy. Man-Bat’s veins are visible in his wings. Two-Face’s half scarred face is grotesque. Scarecrow’s tattered costume looks great. The Gotham City Sirens are alluring and dangerous. There just isn’t time to talk about how great these characters are. Paint – 4.75 out of 5 Stars + Comic accurate color schemes look great + Cleanly painted + Smoke Version is extra artistic with everyone but Batman smokey white. This diorama comes in two distinct versions, one which is entirely painted in comic accurate colors, and a smoke version where everyone but Batman is smokey white. The full color version looks amazing. The characters are all comic book accurate and no shortage of detail was spared for each one. Batman’s gray suit and his muscles are darkly shaded in both. His enemies are also represented in all of their classic comic glory. The villains vary immensely in color scheme which does a great justice to this diorama. Joker dons his classic purple costume. Two-Face sports a white and black suit. Mr. Freeze has his silver and blue protective suit. Poison Ivy is naturally green. Catwoman adorns her black leather spandex. It all comes together extremely well. The smoke version of this statue is much more striking in its artistic statement. In this version, only Batman and the Batcave are in full color. The villains are uniform in color and are one with the smoke arising from the Batcave. They appear as smokey stone gargoyles surrounding the stoic Batman. The distinct polarity of the colors makes this version the preferable one. In my humble opinion, this version is far superior. Value – 4.25 out of 5 Stars + Concept and design are top notch + Amazing centerpiece This rogue’s gallery of villains gunning for Batman provides a stunning visual aesthetic which provides collectors with the perfect centerpiece for their collection. The concept alone is one-of-a-kind in nature with 12 total characters represented. This diorama is by no means cheap. The retail price for this behemoth is $3,499.00 SGD. If paid for outright, an additional 10% is taken of for a price of $3,149.10. The Prestige price comes in at $3,149.10, or $2,974.15 if paid in full, amounting to a 5% discount. Only 388 of the fully painted versions exist, and 108 of the smoke painted versions. Despite the price tag, this piece has so much to offer. The inclusion of 12 total characters is unprecedented, even if a few of them are only visible from the torso up. This is truly a must-have for fans of Batman and his villains! Extra Features Crafted from cold-cast porcelain Includes metal plaque Limited edition: MTO Artists David finch (Concept) David finch (Concept) Sculpt team: Marthin Agusta, Paul Tan, Philip Herman, Victor Hugo Sousa, Alejandra Jorquera, Hernán Azcárate, & Tiago Rios XM Studios Design and Development Team Batman Sanity Diorama Details Product Size 40 cm L X 52 cm B X 64 cm H (estimate) Box Size (*Comes in 2 boxes) (Box 1) 70 cm L X 56 cm B X 45 cm H (estimate) – Weight 23 KG (Box 2) 75 cm L X 66 cm B X 45 cm
“It’s a brave new world, Shaw. And I finally get to be the queen you trained me to be.” Once holding the title of “White Queen” of the Hellfire Club, Emma Frost found herself at odds with the X-Men during the Dark Phoenix saga. Years later, Ms. Frost reformed and became an ally to the team. She eventually became a full-fledged member, even holding a leadership role. She is notoriously known for her psychic love affair with Scott Summers while he was married to Jean Grey. Sculpt & Design – 5 out of 5 stars + Stunning Depiction + Portrait is perfection + Modernized costume with a classic twist + Masterful base design We are used to XM Studios delivering top-notch statues, but this is easily one of their greatest sculpts of all-time. It is an absolute masterpiece. When it comes to female character designs, XM Studios have hit their stride as of late. Much like the character often does, Emma Frost now stands alone at the top. The alluring White Queen is flawless in her more modern outfit. Her presentation also has a classic feel, as Emma kneels on her vintage Hellfire Club chair. Emma looks amazing in her Astonishing outfit, which is expertly designed to mirror the comic book. She is wearing leggings that merge directly into her heeled boots. There are plenty of intricate designs sculpted into both the leggings, as well as her full arm-length gloves. She also dons her vintage cape, which rests partially on the beautifully crafted Hellfire chair. Emma’s portrait is beautiful, and may be the greatest female portrait XM Studios has ever crafted. She has a confident and determined look upon her face. Her eyes are piercing and her lips are full. As she kneels on the chair, Emma’s left hand reaches towards her face, with two fingers placed on her forehead to represent the use of her psychic powers. Alternatively, Emma comes with another portrait, which represents her days as the Hellfire Club’s “White Queen.” Her hair is shorter and she has a mischievous smirk on her face. She also has an alternate left arm, which reaches outward, and can hold a small crystalized rose, representing her secondary mutant power which allows her to turn into diamond. Not to be outdone by Ms. Frost, the design of the leather Hellfire Club chair is remarkable. The chair rests on a circular marble floor base. The carvings on the legs and the leather cushioning of the chair look life-like. The club’s logo is engraved on the back as well. Paint – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Elegant base finish + Near-perfect skin tones This statue features an excellent paint-job. The golden legs and trim of the Hellfire Club chair looks phenomenal, and the dark red leather is on-point. Emma’s costume is mostly white, but also has a silver to blue tint to it as well. Her skin tone looks great, and the blonde in her hair is aptly applied. Her striking blue eyes look amazing. The red lipstick applied to her first portrait is full and lush. On the short-haired portrait, Emma’s icy silver lipstick throws back to her more sinister days with the Hellfire Club. Value – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Unmatched Beauty + Excellent display options Hands down, this is a perfectly sculpted statue of Emma Frost. The brush work is also near-flawless, and the various changeable pieces provide added value. Better yet, the two portraits are distinctly different. The long-haired portrait is representative of Emma Frost’s modern X-Men affiliation, while the short-haired portrait represents her villainous years as the White Queen. This makes her fit into your hero or villain shelf. This piece retails at SGD $1,150.00, and the Prestige price is $1,035.00. Extra Features Two (2) portraits – Modern & Classic Two (2) left arms – One representing psychic ability & another holding a diamond rose Limited edition: MTO Art print by Carlos Dattoli Artists Studio HIVE (Illustrator, Design and Concept Collaboration with XM Studios) Jon Troy Nickel, Philip Herman (Sculpt) XM Studios Design and Development Team Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Materials Cold-cast porcelain Product Size 28 cm L X 36 cm B X 50 cm H Box Size 61 cm L X 53 cm B X 40 cm H Product Weight 10 Kg Shipping Weight 19 kg
“Too bad we don’t have a catchy assembly call! You know, like “Champions Convene” or something!” Bobby Drake is one of the original five X-Men chosen by Professor Charles Xavier to help fight for harmony between humanity and mutant-kind, and to help defend humanity against radical mutants such as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. As Iceman, Drake has the ability to turn his entire body into ice, as well as the ability to manipulate ice by freezing water vapor. Sculpt & Design – 4.75 out of 5 stars + Ice Slide looks great + Vey dynamic pose! + Seamless design of body + Anatomy is amazingly sculpted XM Studios would make artists such as Michelangelo proud with this version of Iceman. Bobby Drake slides into action on his famous ice slide, while fighting off the many threats of the X-Mansion’s “Danger Room.” Artistically, this is an absolutely astonishing sculpture. Iceman has one of the most dynamic poses of all the statues that XM Studios has released, and that’s a huge compliment considering their wonderful track record. The base of this massive piece represents the aforementioned Danger Room. Drake is utilizing his mutant abilities to slide over what appears to be a giant rail gun. The base design is nice, considering Danger Room bases are second in usage only to Sentinel wreckage. It’s nothing to brag about, but it gets the job done. Everything above the base is where Iceman really shines. His most often used mutant power is on full display and it’s done masterfully. The glacier-like slide looks like it could sink the Titanic. Rather than having a smooth appearance, the slide is jagged, icy, and crystalized. Iceman is dynamically posed and it’s spectacular to behold. His right hand is pointing to his side, guiding him gracefully to a more tactical position. Iceman’s head is turned to his left, as he aims his other arm towards the immeasurable threats of the Danger Room, firing off some icy projectiles. Iceman’s body is seamless in sculpt, and differs in texture from the ice slide, with a slightly less rocky appearance. His anatomy looks wonderful, and portions of his shoulders are beginning to mimic the more chiseled style of his slide. Iceman’s pose invokes comparison to the work of the Italian artist Michelangelo. Iceman benefits from not having a secondary portrait, as his neck is seamless. His portrait is clean, with a noticeable scowl upon his face. There are some slightly noticeable seams near his shoulders. Also, the magnet which holds his ice projectiles to his hand is somewhat noticeable if you look close enough, since his arms are partly translucent. Paint – 4.25 out of 5 Stars + Iceman’s body differs greatly from ice slide + Great use of blue tinting The base pops well in comparison to Iceman and his slide. The use of purple, gold, silver, and neon blue goes over well here. This brings the Danger Room’s artificial intelligence to life, just as the comics do. XM Studios did an amazing job painting the body. The ice powers look fantastic, leaning heavy on the use of white paint, with a splash of blue tinted in. Iceman is covered completely in his ice form; therefore, he is very uniform in his color. However, his body differs quite a bit from the ice slide in that much more shading and tinting appears throughout his form. His arms are white and partially translucent, which looks great since his powers always materialize through the use of his arms. His body is very white, but highlighted exquisitely with hints of blue. This gives Iceman a very ‘cool’ outward form. His piercing eyes represent the whitest part of his body. Value – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Very artistic statue + Great sculpt and dynamic pose Iceman slides in at $1,299.00 SGD, and there is a $400 deposit. He is definitely worth the price tag due to the fantastic sculpt and design by XM Studios. His pose is perhaps the most dynamic that we’ve seen, and more than anything else, this statue is just artistic to its very core. If you get the chance, definitely pick this guy up! Extra Features Specially developed cold-cast polyresin material (Solid and heavy) Limited edition: MTO Art print by Carlos Dattoli Artists Studio HIVE (Illustrator, Design and Concept Collaboration with XM Studios) Philip Herman (Sculpt) XM Studios Design and Development Team Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Prototype shown is pending final approval. Product Size 60 cm L X 40 cm B X 52 cm H Box Size 86 cm L X 55 cm B X 32 cm H Product Weight 17.5 Kg Shipping Weight 29 kg
“I am Iron Man” This is the design that began an era. The Tony Stark Mark 1 Iron Man suit led to the most massively successful cinematic universes of all-time, the MCU. Sculpt & Design – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Excellent depiction of the Mark 1 suit + Meticulously detailed + Statue has presence Before the MCU was the money tree it is today, Marvel Studios made a decision to take a chance on a less revered character from the comic books, and an actor with a checkered history. Those two decisions turned out to be the perfect combination. They led to a triumphant tale of redemption, and the most successful movie franchise of all-time. For those reasons alone, this statue by Sideshow Collectibles carries some serious historical significance. However, there’s far more to like about this piece than just history and nostalgia. For starters, the Mark 1 just has presence about it, and that’s not something that all statues have. This one is large and detailed. It stands out from across the room, making a fantastic centerpiece. While one of the reasons for the Mark 1’s presence is the fact that it’s humongous, it’s the sheer detail that truly defines its greatness. The armor just looks real. It looks like Tony Stark actually put it together. The ridges on the metal appear as if they’ve been welded together. There are bullet holes, dents, and scratches. The detail isn’t limited to just the outside either. The intricate innards of the armor are clearly visible. There are pipes, bolts, and wires hanging out. The mechanisms that make the armor work are noticeable, such as the treads on either side. It’s a flawless design from the ground up. Paint – 4 out of 5 Stars + Simple & effective paint scheme The paint on this piece can be summed up fairly easily: It’s simple and effective. It has to be for the sake of movie accuracy. The Mark 1 is ninety percent silver, but it’s not like the artist just slapped a coat on and called it a day. It’s weathered and dirty and there are rust spots. It’s simply magnificent. A small portion of the armor is bronze, which really pops due to how much silver there is. Other than that, it’s easy to appreciate Stark’s brown welding gloves, the blue arc reactor, and the red and yellow wires hanging out. Value – 5 out of 5 Stars + Definitive Mark 1 Collectible + Historical Value Sideshow Collectibles created a one-of-a-kind gem when they designed this statue back in 2008. It holds up extremely well over a decade later. The details still shine through, and the likeness of RDJ on the exclusive version is spot on. The historical significance of this armor cannot be ignored. The regular edition goes for roughly $1,000 on the aftermarket, while the more elusive exclusive edition goes for twice as much. This statue is absolutely worth it for those who can get their hands on one, regardless of the edition. Extra Features Exclusive edition has flip up visor option, revealing Tony Stark’s face Light up arc reactor Artist Sideshow Collectibles Type Maquette Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Materials Cold-cast porcelain Product Size Height: 18.75″ (47.6 cm) Width: 11.5″ (29.2 cm) Box Size Height: 16.00″ (40.6 cm) Width: 17.00″ (43.2 cm) Depth: 28.00″ (71.1 cm) Shipping Weight 28.00 lbs. (12.7 kg)
The Astonishing X-Men Cyclops and Colossus battle the murderous Sentinel. Sculpt & Design – 4.5 out of 5 Stars + Creative base design + Light-up feature + Detailed Sentinel wreckage Sideshow Collectibles has been going strong for a long time, and this awesome centerpiece helps showcase that fact. Cyclops and Colossus are portrayed in all of their astonishing glory, as they fight off the dreaded mutant hunting Sentinel. Colossus uses his considerable might to decapitate the monstrous robot, while Cyclops preps for the next wave of attack. All said, this polystone diorama has a really cool design with some bonus features that really brings this epic battle to life. Cyclops and Colossus both look great. Cyclops is in full on leadership mode, gritting his teeth and preparing an optic blast for the next wave. Colossus is showing off his considerable musculature while heaving the decapitated Sentinel head high above his own. The sculptor does an amazing job of bringing these two veteran X-Men to life. They both wear faces that show the grit and determination that they’ve acquired through years of fighting for mutant-kind. Their bodies are trained to peak form, as their muscles contract during this life-threatening confrontation. The real life of this diorama lies within the remnants and debris of the murderous robot Sentinel. The cranium of this behemoth is expertly designed to show the complete lack of emotion and empathy from such a devastating creation. The Sentinel blindly obeys the orders that are synonymous with its existence, to eradicate all mutants from the Earth. The circuitry underneath its head shows the intricacy of its creators. The real bonus of this masterpiece is the flashing lights, which showcase the sparking remains of this Sentinel’s circuitry. This feature also extends to Cyclops and his visor, which glows red when the switch at the statue’s base is activated. Paint – 4 out of 5 Stars + Color variety + Great shading on Sentinel head Given that this diorama is representative of the Astonishing X-Men run first drawn by John Cassady, it mostly lives up to his artwork. The paint is clean in most parts, though the age of the piece does show through mostly in Cyclops’ face. The overall palette of colors in this one is diverse. Cyclops and Colossus are both wearing their Astonishing uniforms, which complement one another well due to the stark difference in color schemes. Cyclops is wearing dark blue, while Colossus dons his red and gold uniform. Meanwhile, the Sentinel head has the classic purple and tan to go with its lifeless red eyes. To add even more variety, the severed Sentinel hand on the base is light blue with the orange laser weapon in its palm. The brushwork on the Sentinel head is especially impressive. The outer shell of his forehead is shaded perfectly. There are scorch marks on the outside of the robot’s head as well, which show the lasting damage brought on by the X-Men in this battle. This point is really driven home with the additional damage in the Sentinel debris, which also looks awesome. When you add the light-up feature to this already colorful piece, it becomes one of the most vibrant dioramas in existence. This one will always stand out in a crowd. Value – 4.5 out of 5 Stars This piece is a grail for many collectors, with only 650 of these out in circulation. For a statue that is over 15 years old, it holds up extremely well. The malfunctioning Sentinel effects look fantastic. Though several statues include similar lighting effects, this one stands out above the rest. Because this came out in 2005, it will cost quite a bit from third party sellers, but this one is well worth it for serious collectors. Extra Features Light-up features on Sentinel and Cyclops Artist Sideshow Collectibles Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Materials Poly stone Product Size Height: 19″ (482.6 mm) Width: 17″ (431.8 mm) Weight: 23.00 lbs. (10.43 kg) Box Size Height: 14.00″ (355.6 mm) Width: 19.00″ (482.6 mm) Depth: 22.00″ (558.8 mm) Product Weight 23.00 lbs. (10.43 kg)
“A hero isn’t the one who always wins. It’s the one who always tries. ” Originating from Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, Miles Morales is the only other person outside of Peter Parker to have a truly successful career as Spiderman. Sculpt & Design – 4.25 out of 5 Stars + Meticulous detail + Unique symbiote base A good amount of detail has been sculpted into this Miles Morales statue by Sideshow Collectibles. Miles is in a very dynamic pose as he leaps over the monstrous head of the symbiote Venom, barely avoiding being eaten alive. Miles as Spiderman looks great in this pose. His lean musculature is shown off well, as are the subtle details in his costume. Miles also features an unmasked portrait in the collector’s edition. His facial design on that portrait is extremely realistic. He has an intense look of determination upon his face which provides a fantastic alternate way of displaying this statue. Overall, this is a great depiction of Miles. The base of this piece is very unique. It’s made up of an enormous Venom symbiote head that is akin to some kind of monstrous science fiction worm. The way the symbiote is bursting from underneath the ground with its tendrils forward is simply dynamic in nature. Its elongated and grotesque tongue is also reaching out, ready to devour anything in its path. This was a great design choice by the artists. Paint – 4 out of 5 Stars + Immaculate Paint scheme on Symbiote base The paint is somewhat of a mixed bag, but not in a bad way. The paint on Miles Morales’ outfit is mostly a flat black, which is an accurate depiction. The red paint on his spider symbol is shiny, which helps it to stand out. The simple coloring of his outfit also allows the symbiote base to pop. The candy blue and red used on the Venom head looks magnificent. There is also a translucence to Venom’s mouth which looks very nice. Value – 4 out of 5 Stars + Compact size + Unique design The statue is only about 17 inches tall, and not very wide. Don’t let that dissuade you though. The compact nature of this statue is part of its charm. Also, for such a small piece, it certainly has no problem standing out in a crowd. A big reason for that is the amazing symbiotic base. The shiny blue and red paint really pop. The collector’s edition size is 1000. The limited edition meanwhile sits at 500. The collector’s edition goes for $525, while the exclusive edition is $535. All in all, this is just an excellent statue of a very popular character. If you can get your hands on either version, it’s worth the price. Extra Features Exclusive edition has swappable unmasked portrait Artists Aaron McNaught (Sculpt) Alex Pascenko (Design) Rachel Roubicek (Design) Zac Roane (Design) Bernardo Esquivel (Paint) Kat Sapene (Paint) Chie Izuma (Paint) Casey Love (Paint) Phil Sera (Paint) Chadwick Andersen Brenton Henriques Steve Lord Sideshow Collectibles Design and Development Team Marvel Premium Collectibles Series Statue Details Collector Edition 1000 Limited Edition 500 Materials Polystone Product Size Height: 17″ (43.2 cm) Width: 12″ (30.5 cm) Depth: 9″ (22.9 cm) Weight: 12.00 lbs. (5.4 kg) Box Size Height: 14.00″ (35.6 cm) Width: 25.00″ (63.5 cm) Depth: 31.00″ (78.7 cm) Shipping Weight 16.00 lbs. (7.3 kg)
As we’ve talked about before, in the world of Marvel comics, not all mutants are created equal. Some mutants such as Storm, Magneto, Jean Grey, and Hope Summers are lucky enough to be born with the rare Omega level mutant gene. Still, others are left with mutations that only serve to make their lives more difficult. Many are born with physical deformities or attributes that make it impossible for them to live among regular humans. Furthermore, there are also some mutants who have significant abilities, but with the tradeoff of living with intense physical pain. One of these is the mutant known as Maggot. A Painful Discovery Maggot, who was once known as Japheth, was born in South Africa. He grew up with four siblings in a small village. As a child, Japheth suffered from intense intestinal pain, and was told by doctors that it was caused by cancer. After deciding to venture out on his own into the desert, he was discovered by Magneto, who at the time was searching for mutants to join him in his war against humankind. Magneto helped Japheth to discover the source of his pain, which were two large slug-like creatures within his body that acted as a sentient digestive system. An Offer Refused The two slugs, which he named Eany and Meany, devoured everything that Japheth ate and then absorbed the energy into his body. This absorption process gave him enhanced strength and durability and changed his skin color to blue. Japheth also discovered that he was able to communicate telepathically with the giant slugs. After heading back to his home with Magneto, the two discovered that a group of rebels had killed Japheth’s father. Magneto slaughtered the rebels, which horrified Japheth. He vowed that he would not join Magneto’s cause. Pain Leads to Opportunity After some time of dealing with the intense physical pain that occurred every time Eany and Meany burrowed their way back into his body, Maggott finally decided to seek out Magneto for help. In seeking him out, he discovered the X-Men. He joined their ranks for a time, helping them in their fight against the Shadow King, but eventually Maggott decided to go out on his own again. Quiet Resurrection During his travels, Maggott was captured by the Weapon X program. He was then executed at a mutant internment camp, though one of his two slugs survived. He was later resurrected by Selene using magic and the techno-organic virus. However, Maggot has only been seen sporadically since that time. He was last seen helping the X-Men protect the teenage vigilantes known as the Children of the Atom.
This Spring sees the upcoming release of DC Films’ “The Batman,” starring Robert Pattinson and directed by Matt Reeves. This will be the next in a long line of big screen adaptations of Gotham City’s caped crusader. This got us thinking: What are some of the other great alternative versions of Batman in various forms of media? Let’s take a deep dive into that question right now! Red Son One thing that makes a great alternate version of a popular character is when the new character differs greatly from his counterpart. Our first alternate Batman is one who is willing to go to great lengths to meet his goals. In this alternate timeline, Batman saw his parents murdered by Stalin’s police force. This leads him to become the Soviet Union’s most wanted war criminal, and the archenemy of their Soviet Superman. Batman is a vicious anarchist who will do anything to avenge his parents’ deaths, including torture and acts of terror. He goes out quite literally with a bang, detonating a bomb within his own body in order to complete his mission. Terry Mcginnis, Batman Beyond “Batman Beyond” started as an animated series. Several years in the future, an elderly Bruce Wayne trains a new Batman named Terry Mcginnis to take his place. Before heading into retirement, Bruce designed a futuristic Bat-armor, which he provides to the wise cracking McGinnis. As the New Batman, McGinnis faces a host of new villains, along with some familiar faces. The series went over so well, that it would eventually be given its own comic book adaptation. Owlman Earth-Three is one of the infinite Earths that exist in DC’s vast multiverse. In this Earth, the Crime Syndicate of America rules with an iron fist. They are mob boss versions of some of Earth’s greatest heroes, and the brains behind them is Owlman. Thomas Wayne Jr. Is the older brother of Bruce Wayne on this Earth, and he is the one responsible for murdering Bruce’s parents, as well as Bruce himself. Once he discovers that Earth-Three is merely a small part of the large multiverse, Owlman decides that the only thing left to do is destroy everything. Thomas Wayne, Flashpoint Batman What happens when you mess with the timeline? Apparently, a number of different things. After the flash decides to go back in time to stop the murder of his mother at the hands of Reverse-Flash, the Butterfly Effect changes everything. One of the major changes in this Flashpoint timeline was that instead of Bruce Wayne’s parents being murdered, Bruce is the one who is killed. This sets off a chain reaction, causing his mother Martha to go insane with grief and become the timeline’s Joker. Meanwhile, Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father, becomes a much darker and ruthless version of Batman. The Batman Who Laughs One of the most terrifying versions of the Dark Knight is the Batman Who Laughs. Imagine combining aspects of Batman and the Joker all into one twisted being, and that’s what you get here. In this alternate timeline, Bruce Wayne is finally pushed too far by the Joker, and kills him. In the most warped and twisted of ways, this makes the Joker the true winner. As the Joker dies, he infects Bruce with a special gas that slowly transforms him into a new Joker. The Batman Who Laughs goes on a ruthless killing spree, even murdering his own allies. This is truly the most demented and terrifying Batman of them all.
The Man Without Fear is primed for a potential huge year in 2022. Daredevil is set to make his triumphant return in a comic book relaunch this Summer, and the character has officially been introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. This could make it a banner year for everyone’s favorite vigilante/lawyer. New Daredevil Series Coming this Summer, Daredevil is getting relaunched. Following the end of the current Devil’s Reign storyline, a creative team led by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto will reassemble to head a brand-new era with Daredevil #1. Both Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios look to play pivotal roles in the new series. Both characters have been through the gauntlet due to their respective roles as Daredevil. Now they must face their demons together. Writer Chip Zdarsky is excited to continue working on the series. He had this to say in a press release: “Getting to write Daredevil and work with Marco is a career highlight. I’m just genuinely excited that we get to continue our epic story with this new issue one!” Marco Checchetto will continue as artist, and he’s looking forward to the challenges that he knows Zdarsky will provide him: “Each time I’ve to draw a new script of Daredevil it’s a new experience. Chip keeps throwing at me new challenges and I’m not the type of artist to refuse them. How much more can we mess up with Matt Murdock’s life? Let’s see with this new Daredevil #1.” The fact that this creative team gets to continue doing more Daredevil stories despite the relaunch is welcome news. They have promised to swing for the fences, and we’ll get our first taste of what’s in store this June when Daredevil #1 is released. Daredevil Season 4? Charlie Cox’s role as Daredevil in the now cancelled Netflix series is regarded as one of the best Marvel shows ever made. Cox played the lawyer by day, vigilante by night for three seasons. He also starred as the blind hero in the ensemble Defenders series. If anybody is counting, that makes Daredevil one of the most successful Marvel television characters of the MCU era. Now rumors are beginning to circulate that Cox may reprise his role in a fourth season on Disney Plus. After his cameo appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, these rumors have picked up major steam. Though nothing has been announced, there’s no way he was brought in just for a one-off appearance. Whether it’s on the small screen, the big screen, or even both, we can likely expect to see Cox suit up as Daredevil again soon!
Venom issue #4 just came out on Wednesday, and if you’ve been out of the loop lately, now is the time to jump back in. This key issue is loaded with several callbacks to Venom’s “Lethal protector” days. The infamous Life Foundation is back, and they’ve got quite the score to settle. Only this time, they have Dylan Brock in their sights. The villainous Carlton Drake, the foundation’s head honcho, continues his plan to poke as many holes into the symbiote as possible. That plan involves sending Agent Carson out in the Spearhead armor for the first time. Meanwhile, the Venom symbiote continues to struggle while dealing with its paternal attachment to Dylan. Venom Without a Host Dylan was captured in the last issue, after a former “friend” of Eddie Brock betrayed him. The Venom symbiote begins tracking Dylan and Sleeper, while simultaneously struggling to find a way to make Dylan trust him. Unfortunately, Carson in the Spearhead armor suddenly attacks. Simultaneously, Dylan is being experimented on at a research facility connected to the mysterious “Absent Throne” conspiracy theory that Eddie Brock was investigating before his alleged death. Venom realizes that he’s no match for Spearhead without a host, and makes his retreat. Carlton Drake advises Carson to allow the symbiote to escape, proclaiming that they’ve “prodded the beast enough” for one day. We Are Venom Meanwhile, Dylan desperately clings to the idea that his father is still alive, pleading to him for help. At that point, the various symbiote samples suddenly break out of their containers, combining together to create a grotesque malformation of Eddie Brock. Eddie tells Dylan that he can only trust Venom and Archer. Dylan tells his father that Archer betrayed him. Eddie is confused by this, but he vows that he will ‘fix’ everything. He tells Dylan that Venom will come back for him. As Dylan makes his escape, that’s exactly what happens. Venom bonds with Dylan, leaving the corrupt scientists scared for their lives. Bedlam is My Name Finally, Meridius shows up in Carlton Drake’s office. He informs Drake that they must continue to push Venom and Dylan beyond their limitations. Meridius vows to play his own part as well. From there, he transforms into the monstrous red symbiote creature briefly seen in a vision by Eddie Brock towards the end of issue #1. Bedlam has arrived. Only four issues in, Ram V and Bryan Hitch have definitely stayed true to many of the horror elements introduced in Donny Cates’ and Ryan Stegman’s previous Venom arc. That serves this new series well. One unique aspect of Venom is, despite getting his first solo series back in the early 1990s, there isn’t a large pool of archvillains to choose from in his history. For the longest time, Venom was the primary villain to Spider-Man. The Life Foundation happens to represent one of Venom’s first true antagonists outside of Carnage. It will be interesting to see if we get some significant new villains out of this series.
Anyone who grew up a fan of the X-Men can probably relate to the plights of mutant-kind in some way, shape, or form. That’s the great appeal of Marvel’s mutants. They’re far more relatable than your average superhero. It’s not the only appeal though. The other big allure is their mutant powers. Who hasn’t sat with their friends and discussed what mutant has the best power? In their extensive history, Marvel has introduced thousands of different mutants, which means there is a huge variety of mutant powers to choose from. However, there are also some powers that aren’t exactly all that appealing. Enter Eye-Scream. Eye-Scream was a mutant who felt a bit farcical in comparison to Professor Xavier’s X-Men. His mutant power, as his name vaguely implied, gave him the ability to turn his body into ice cream. While that might sound like the lamest mutant power of all time, it should be noted that he could turn into any flavor of ice cream he wanted. Because of Eye-Scream’s insecurity about his own mutant ability, he decided to take his frustrations out by destroying Xavier’s Danger Room, which he had heard about while speaking to other mutants. A clown takes the fall Eye-Scream began his infiltration of the X-Mansion by taking advantage of a cynical clown named “Obnoxio,” who had been hired by Xavier to perform at Kitty Pryde’s birthday party. Eye-Scream somehow overloaded Cerebro, which simultaneously knocked Professor Xavier unconscious, and set off the X-Mansion’s security system. At the very same moment, Obnoxio was at the front door. This led to an unfortunate misunderstanding between the X-Men and the clown, since the mutant team mistook him for the intruder. Eye-Scream’s mutant ability to melt down into ice cream allowed him to infiltrate the Danger Room’s control area, which he hoped to use to destroy the X-Men and Obnoxio once and for all. Xavier discovers the truth While Obnoxio impressively held off all of the X-Men at once, Professor Xavier regained consciousness and discovered the true threat. Xavier remotely lowered the temperature of the Danger Room control area to below freezing, which effectively turned Eye-Scream into a frozen block of ice. He then revealed to the X-Men that he hired Obnoxio for Kitty’s birthday party. However, the temperamental clown decided that he was no longer in the mood to entertain, and took his leave. As for Eye-Scream, he was never heard from again. We can only assume that he was locked up in a refrigerated prison cell at the Raft.
After becoming the All-Father, and subsequent King of Asgard, the Mighty Thor has had difficulties with his magical hammer Mjolnir. Apparently by becoming a ruler instead of a warrior, Mjolnir deemed that Thor was no longer worthy. Because of this, the God of Thunder decided it was best to leave Mjolnir in the trustworthy hands of the Avengers. There was just one problem with his plan: Mjolnir has been stolen. Thor #20 comes out Wednesday, and if the preview is any indication, Mjolnir may now be in the hands of a being of pure evil and immense power. The God of Hammers Thor #20 represents part two of the five-part “God of Hammers” story arc. After the events of issue 19, Thor is in search of his old hammer after learning of a dangerous prophecy that threatens his life, as well as life throughout the Ten Realms. The God of Hammers is prophesized to kill the God of Asgard. Thor has sought out help from this father and former Asgardian king, Odin. After travelling together to Nidavellir, where Mjolnir was forged, the father-son duo soon discovered that they were already too late. The dwarves had been wiped out by a being wielding a magical hammer. A king cannot rule from his knees Thor and Odin now face a deadly new threat, partially of their own making. The God of Hammers is set to make his debut in the pages of this key issue of Thor. In a preview of Thor #20, Thor is shown burying the remains of Eitri, the forge master of Mjolnir. Thor drops to his knees and vows to avenge the former King of the Dwarves before his father says to him bluntly “A king cannot rule from his knees, boy.” The next chapter in Donny Cates’ and Nic Klein’s “God of Hammers” saga comes out on Wednesday January 5th. The God of Hammers is set to reveal himself and the fate of all the realms hangs in the balance.
2021 is coming to a close and there was plenty to celebrate during the year. From amazing stories such as Marvel’s King in Black, to the release of the record-breaking film Spider-Man: No Way Home, this year has been exciting for comic fans new and old. With that said, there is much more to look forward to in 2022. Here are just a few things we’re excited for next year. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Simply put, Spider-Man: No Way Home was an enormous success. While there are a number of Marvel films on the way in 2022, it’s impossible not to single out the upcoming Doctor Strange film for its connection to the vast multiverse which was just explored in No Way Home. The double-edged sword is that this movie will have very high expectations given the success of the former. The Batman On the DC side of the aisle for movies, 2022 will bring the newest iteration of Batman to the big screen. The Batman will star Robert Pattinson as the titular hero, and will focus on the early years of Bruce Wayne’s venture into crime fighting in Gotham City. While Marvel’s MCU has certainly been more successful to this point, the DCU could see a resurgence in 2022. Marvel’s Summer 2022 Crossover Event Heading over to the comic book world, some big projects are on the way next year. Marvel is teasing a gigantic crossover event featuring the X-Men, the Avengers, and the Eternals next Summer. The upcoming event will be called “Judgement Day,” and could see all three groups battling it out due to various conflicts. Thanos has become the leader of the Eternals. The Avengers currently occupy the corpse of a dead celestial as their base. Meanwhile, the mutants of Krakoa have essentially discovered immortality, which is very much similar to that of the Eternals. Dark Knights of Steel Finally, in the beginning of 2022 we get the release of Dark Knights of Steel #3. Tom Taylor and Yasmine Putri have created an amazing new limited series medieval epic for the DC Universe. The first few issues revealed a world where Superman and his parents crash landed on Earth during the medieval era. Various kingdoms are feuding for supremacy in this alternate history timeline and several recognizable heroes play a big part. All-out war has already begun, and we’re excited to see where issue 3 takes us next. Find out in early January of 2022!
The X-Men have had to fight against the likes of many evils in their near sixty-year history. They have fought against the prejudices of mankind who fears them, and they have fought to protect mankind from the threat of powerful mutants who believe they are the true dominant species. No matter what form the evil took, these villains have always offered up a glimpse of what happens when one group tries to enact control over the other. One of the most deadly and recognizable repercussions of this constant war resulted in the creation of the Sentinels. These are the five most dangerous Sentinels ever created Master Mold There’s a very simple reason why Master Mold makes this list: He’s essentially the father of all Sentinels. When Bolivar Trask first created the Sentinels, he needed a way to mass produce them. Enter Master Mold, a super-computer in the form of a gargantuan Sentinel. Master Mold’s sole purpose was to facilitate construction of all the Sentinels. He also acted as a hive mind for all the others. Unfortunately for Trask, Master Mold decided that the best way to protect humanity was to enslave it. Prime Sentinels The Prime Sentinels differ from their fully robotic brothers in that they were actually humans who were implanted with advanced cybernetic nanotech via the program, Operation: Zero Tolerance. These Sentinels were used as sleeper agents. Once activated by their creator, they transformed into powerful armored cyborgs with advanced weapon systems. Their ability to hide in plain sight made them a far greater danger than the normal Sentinel variety. Omega Sentinel Karima Shapandar was a police officer in India before being transformed into a Prime Sentinel during Operation: Zero Tolerance. Shapandar was much like her brothers and sisters in the program in that she had no knowledge of her abilities until she was activated. While helping a mutant named Neal Shaara to find his brother, Neal’s mutant power triggered Shapandar’s transformation into an Omega Prime Sentinel. Nimrod In the alternate timeline “Days of Future Past,” Sentinels control most of North America. The advanced prototype Nimrod is the descendant of the original Sentinels. Nimrod is virtually indestructible, with the ability to shapeshift and repair himself. He is essentially the most perfect form of Sentinel. Nimrod is so powerful; he is even capable of engaging the Juggernaut in combat. He is also responsible for killing Katherine Pryde in this timeline. Bastion The creator of the Prime Sentinels is also the combination of the essence of two of the most powerful sentinels ever created: Master Mold & Nimrod. Previously believing himself to have been born human, Bastion was actually created after Master Mold absorbed Nimrod into its own systems. The X-Men were forced to banish Master Mold into a pan-dimensional portal called the Siege Perilous. From there, he was reborn. Bastion assembled the anti-mutant strike force Operation: Zero Tolerance, which created the Prime Sentinels.
Expect a big shakeup for the X-Men and their affiliated titles in 2022! Marvel has promised “revolutionary status quo changes” next year. The news comes as writer Jonathan Hickman preps for his exit from the X-Men franchise following the miniseries Inferno. After relaunching the X-Men in 2019 with the “Krakoan Age,” Hickman has paved the way for another major relaunch. From the Ashes of the Inferno Out of the ashes of the Krakoan Age comes Destiny of X (or the second Krakoan Age). Some of the brand-new titles expected to hit shelves next year are Immortal X-Men, Knights of X, Legion of X, and X-Men Red. These titles will be joining an already action-packed lineup of Marauders, New Mutants, Wolverine, X-Force, and X-Men. The new titles signal the revival of an old favorite in X-Men Red, and Legion of X is likely a sequel to the more recent Way of X storyline featuring Nightcrawler’s Legionaries team. Knights of X and Immortal X-Men on the other hand promise something entirely new which has yet to be revealed. Marvel promises more details on those titles soon. A New Beginning Does Not Signal an End Just because the X-Men are going through another Regenesis does not mean readers should expect a complete reboot. According to Senior Editor Jordan D. White, the current story will continue: “The journey of the Krakoan Age is far from over!” White promised. “Our long-term plan that all our creators have been working on in our secret Council Chamber has only just begun to come to fruition. With the filling of the two empty council seats, the Reign of X has ended, and it’s time for mutantkind to reach for their destiny!” A Glimpse into the Future Promotional art from Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho has already been released, which reveals the new lineup of X-titles, and teases some team shakeups. Professor Xavier, Magneto, and the X-Men take center stage. Fans can also expect appearances from Mister Sinister, Madelyne Pryor, Juggernaut, and Destiny. What exactly lies ahead in 2022 is anyone’s guess, but it’s sure to be an exciting ride.
Eddie Brock has become the new King in Black, leaving his son Dylan to fend for himself as Eddie travels through space attempting to right the wrongs committed by the former God of Symbiotes, Knull. Dylan meanwhile is dealing with his own personal struggles, as any normal teenager would. Dylan is far from normal though, which makes his father’s absence sting that much more. This has led to Dylan getting into frequent fights at school. To further complicate matters, the Venom symbiote has gone missing. The Fourth Beatle As Dylan Brock comes home to an empty house yet again, Eddie Brock wages a battle in space against Skrull pirates who have hijacked a ship. Eddie also has four symbiote allies with him whom he has named after members of the Beatles. Unfortunately, something is very wrong with “Ringo.” Eddie takes control of “George,” only to find that Ringo has murdered the surviving crew members. He delivers an ominous warning to Eddie before vanishing: “Don’t get too comfortable on your throne.” Don’t bond with the symbiote After a few weeks, Eddie returns home and tells Dylan to pack up so they can leave. After Eddie leaves the room, things get strange when Dylan gets a phone call from Eddie… Only it’s a different Eddie, and he instructs Dylan to escape through his window to avoid the imposter, and then meet him at a motel. He gives Dylan one important reminder in case he runs into Venom: “Don’t bond with the symbiote.” A Glimpse into the Future Eddie waits for Dylan to meet him at a local motel. As he ponders the message given to him by Ringo, his mind seemingly drifts to another timeline. While in this state, Eddie has several visions including a helicopter pilot saying “the boy is our only priority,” a giant symbiote named Bedlam, and Kang the Conqueror who says: “I tell you this as your oldest friend, Edward. You cannot win.” What all of this means is anyone’s guess, but Eddie is likely catching glimpses of the future. This is how it all begins We catch back up with Dylan, who is just arriving at the motel. Before Eddie can warn Dylan, a military unit arrives and blows up the motel. At that moment, the Venom symbiote appears and bonds with Dylan, becoming Venom. In a fit of rage, Venom decimates the entire force, killing everyone. This one moment seems to tie directly into Donny Cates’ Venom run, where a future story revealed a corrupt Dylan killing most of the world’s population. So that was how my story ended Eddie wakes up in a strange colorful land that looks like something out of a dream. There he is greeted by an extraterrestrial being who says to Eddie, “This is your first step on a long, long road, but I’ll be with you every step of the way. I am Meridius, my friend, and here at the furthest end of all that is, I welcome you to my garden.” A New Era of Venom It appears that Venom is in good hands with writers Al Ewing and Ram V. Bryan Hitch is also doing a wonderful job with the artwork. While it was always going to be a tall order for whoever took over for Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, the future still looks extremely bright for Venom!
In the extended comic book universe of the X-Men, there are a number of odd, peculiar, and downright bizarre mutants in existence. For every humanoid mutant capable of blending in with the general public without drawing attention to themselves, there are some who are unable to hide the physical attributes of their mutations. Many have often fled to live with the subterranean Morlocks. However, some mutants have an even more difficult time hiding than the Morlocks. Enter the mutant Mammomax. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room… Imagine a bipedal elephant with the intelligence of a human being and a bad attitude to boot. That description sums up Mammomax perfectly. Very little is known about this unique mutant’s origin, other than his name. Born Maximus Jensen, Mammomax somehow remained a relative unknown among the mutant community until joining Exodus’ Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. While with the Brotherhood, Mammomax had his first encounter with the X-Men in Philadelphia. Though the enormous mutant boasted an impressive amount of superhuman strength, as well as an ability to expel corrosive stomach acid from his mouth, he was no match for the X-Men’s Iceman. The 198 For such an impressive specimen, Mammomax’s first appearance wasn’t very memorable. His time with the Brotherhood came to an end after receiving a beatdown from the Juggernaut. After the events of M-Day however, Mammomax was fortunate enough to be one of the 198 remaining mutants left with their abilities intact. He took up refuge at the Xavier Institute for a time, but left along with several other mutants who were unhappy with their treatment. What happened to Mammomax? Mammomax’s brief streak of luck ran out after he was captured by the Facility, where he was experimented on before being consumed by Predator X. He was resurrected later at the hands of The Five. Afterwards he joined the new mutant nation of Krakoa. He was eventually recruited by the mutant Magik to be a member of her Dark Riders. He helped the team to defeat Harrower, stopping her from manipulating Man-Thing’s body into taking over the world.
Marvel fans are understandably excited about the upcoming film Spider-Man: No Way Home. The movie promises to contain a plethora of heroes and villains from past movies, including alternate reality versions of the film’s titular hero. These types of alternate reality characters are nothing new to anyone who has ever read a comic book. However, the concept is somewhat new in the world of comic book movie adaptations. Following the huge success of 2018’s animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, this was the next logical step for the upcoming Spider-Man film. That makes this the perfect time to talk about 5 of the best alternate versions of Spider-Man from the comics! Ultimate Spider-Man: Peter Parker Back in 2000, Marvel comics wanted to create a brand-new alternate comic reality featuring all of their major characters, but beginning in modern times. Rather than reboot the entire mainstream universe, they instead created Marvel Ultimate. The first title in this universe was Ultimate Spider-Man, which told the story of a younger Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man. While sharing much in common with the mainstream Earth-616 version, this version of Peter grew up in the early 2000’s rather than the 1960’s, and thus faced his own unique struggles. These hardships eventually led to his shocking death at the hands of the Green Goblin. Spider-Man 2099 In the early 1990’s Marvel began experimenting with one of its first alternate realities by adding the “2099” suffix to some of their more popular characters. This future universe was ruled by corrupt corporations and had several “cyberpunk” elements built into it. Naturally, Spider-Man was one of the characters given the 2099 treatment. This version was not Peter Parker however, but was instead a young geneticist from the future named Miguel O’Hara. The corporation he worked for tasked him with creating a new super soldier. Inspired by the original Spider-Man from the past, Miguel’s experiments eventually lead to him splicing his own DNA with a spider, and becoming Spider-Man 2099. Superior Spider-Man In 2013, Marvel took a chance that split the fan base when Dr. Otto Octavius took up the mantle of Spider-Man. Doc Ock was on his deathbed, with his body barely holding together, when he came up with the nefarious idea to transfer his consciousness into Peter Parker’s body. Now having all of Peter’s memories, the good doctor found himself following in Spider-Man’s crime fighting footsteps. The greatest part of this storyline was that the former villain fought crime in a much different way than the do-gooder, which had the hilarious side effect of Spider-Man’s friends and allies scratching their heads about his new mean streak. Scarlet Spider Speaking of controversy, perhaps no Spider-Man story was more controversial than the Clone Sage from 1994. In this convoluted tale, it’s revealed that Peter Parker was actually a clone created by the Jackal of the real Spider-man, Ben Reilly. This was later reversed with Reilly being revealed to be the true clone. Though fans weren’t originally thrilled with this story, it did provide us with the creation of the Scarlet Spider, Reilly’s own take on being a hero. With Reilly revealed as the true clone, his character became infinitely more interesting, as he struggled to cope with memories of a life that was never his. Ultimate Spider-Man: Miles Morales In the Marvel Ultimate Universe, Peter Parker was eventually killed by the Green Goblin. In 2011, a young kid named Miles Morales picked up the mantle of Spider-Man following Peter’s death. The reluctant hero slowly grew into the very large shoes he had to fill, and quickly won over comic fans in the process. Over the years since then, Miles’ popularity has only increased, making him the only alternate version of Spider-Man to ever rival the first. Miles now exists in the same mainstream Marvel Universe as the original Spider-Man, Peter Parker.
The new trailer for the upcoming Morbius movie starring Jared Leto just dropped, and fans are buzzing over some of the Easter eggs revealed in the trailer. With several upcoming MCU films exploring the multiverse, this has left fans wondering where Morbius fits into the grand scheme of things. While the trailer seemingly hints that he fits into the mainstream MCU, there are also several references to Sony’s Venom movies. Let’s dive into some of the details of this mystery. Horizon & Oscorp A couple quick shots from the trailer show two very significant fictional companies that exist within the mainstream comic book world of Spider-Man. Oscorp is owned and operated by Spider-Man’s deadliest and most recurring villain, Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, and can clearly be discerned from a scene from the trailer. In yet another shot, we see a glowing red sign which reads “Horizon.” Horizon Labs also exists in the comic books, and serves as a place of employment for Peter Parker in his later years. The lab also provides Spider-Man with plenty of helpful tech that he uses to protect New York. The Daily Bugle Later in the trailer, there is one brief shot of someone holding a Daily Bugle Newspaper. This provides a couple of different Easter eggs. Aside from confirming the existence of J. Jonah Jameson’s media company, the headlines also allude to two well-known Spider-Man characters. One headline reads “Rhino on the Loose: Zoo Hoax Fools Us All,” which may refer to the villain of the same name. Another reads: “Black Cat: Friend or Foe?” This obviously is in reference to Felicia Hardy’s Black Cat from the comics. Fans have been clamoring for the Black Cat to appear on the big screen for years. The Vulture? Michael Keaton makes a cameo in the trailer towards the end. Though there is little context to the scene, he does appear to be surrounded by police officers. He turns to Morbius and says, “Hey Dr. Mike. You and I should stay in touch.” This certainly appears to be a reprisal of his Vulture character from the recent Spider-Man movies. This seems to provide undeniable proof that the film exists within the MCU… Or does it?… Venom References While most of the previous references can be taken as either from the comics or the MCU, there are a few deliberate references to Sony’s Venom movies starring Tom Hardy. Two detectives who are working on a string of murders in the city seem to reference Venom when one says “We haven’t had anything this good since that thing in San Francisco.” While that could be considered a vague reference, the one at the end of the trailer is anything but. In the final scene from the trailer, Morbius disarms a man with a knife. The attacker then asks him who he is, to which Morbius responds “I am Venom.” After revealing his fangs, he then says “I’m just kidding. It’s Dr. Michael Morbius at your service.” Check out the official trailer #2!:
2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of Ghost Rider. Marvel has already labeled next year “The Year of Vengeance.” How exactly are they planning on celebrating 50 years of one of the greatest anti-heroes ever created? Well, there is an old expression: The key to the future is in the past. That’s why Marvel is bringing fan favorite Johnny Blaze back into the saddle as Ghost Rider. The OG is Back The original Ghost Rider gets his own ongoing series next February. Johnny Blaze takes center stage as the “definitive” version of the character, though Marvel plans on bringing back nearly every incarnation in some capacity. While much of the creative team has yet to be determined for this title, we do know that writer Benjamin Percy is at the forefront of this brand-new story, along with artist Cory Smith. Horror & Heavy Metal Influences Pave the Road Ahead Percy fancies himself a fan of the horror genre, and cited several influences for the upcoming book, including the works of Stephen King, John Carpenter, and Black Sabbath: “I’m a horror head. I grew up reading Stephen King, watching John Carpenter, and listening to Black Sabbath, and when it came to comics, I always reached first for the dark and weird which means I read a hell of a lot of Ghost Rider. That flaming skull. That spiked leather jacket. That monstrous bike coughing out clouds of sulfurous exhaust. To this day, the sight of the character blazing along a midnight highway makes my heart rev like a four-stroke engine.” Percy has an impressive resume, having previously worked on Wolverine and X-Force, and hopes to put his own unique stamp on the upcoming Ghost Rider series. By combining horror elements with heavy metal music influences, Percy hopes to give fans something they’ve never experienced before. He has a heck of a wingman by his side in artist Cory Smith, who is best known for his savagely awesome artwork on Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian. Smith echoed Percy’s love of the horror genre, and shared his own excitement to be working on the title: “As a comic nerd and a horror nerd, Ghost Rider has always been a favorite of mine so this project is a dream come true. Johnny Blaze, the Spirit of Vengeance is BACK. We’re firing on all cylinders and I can’t wait for everyone to see the hellfire we’re bringing! It’s about to get crazy!” If these two can’t get you hyped with how excited they are to work on this series, then nothing and nobody can! Look for Ghost Rider #1 to hit stands next February!
Issue #2 of “the Death of Doctor Strange” was just released, and it sheds some major light on the mysterious final pages of Issue #1. Doctor Stephen Strange was murdered by an unseen entity at his front door. His closest friends, as well as one of his oldest enemies, have gathered together at the scene of the crime in an attempt to uncover the details of his untimely demise. [SPOILERS AHEAD] A ‘Strange’ Contingency Plan Leave it to the Sorcerer Supreme to always have a contingency plan in place for when the crap hits the fan. Following his apparent death, his allies gathered around his lifeless body. On the final page of issue #1, they were all left in shock as another Doctor Strange walked into the room. The new (or old?) Doctor Strange informed his colleagues that he had a contingency plan in place for if he was ever to meet his end. He severed off one week from his own timeline to create a temporal remnant of himself, so that he could put his affairs in order. Unfortunately, the remnant Strange is shocked to discover that there is no current Sorcerer Supreme, meaning that the magical barriers protecting the Earth from dimensional threats are now broken. A Terrifying New Threat The gathered allies were next visited by Clea, who warned them that she was fleeing the “Three Mothers,” whom she called the Wyrd, the Crown, and the Crawling. The three grotesque creatures were searching for food for their “child,” and quickly made their presence known. The three scoffed at Strange and his allies for attempting to stand between them and what they required. Avengers Assemble! Captain America and the Avengers quickly joined the confrontation as well, warning the three Mothers to back off. A battle ensued, but did not go well for the Avengers. Thor challenged the Crown, who mocked his power in comparison to her own. The monstrous Crawling easily fended off Iron Man and Captain Marvel. Meanwhile, the Wyrd fought off the Avengers while simultaneously mapping the world for enough magic to feed their child. After revealing to her sisters that the world was full of magic, she motioned them to leave. The Crown warned that they would return to finish the job, before the three retreated through a portal. The Three Mothers This was a superb second issue to this series. The story was intriguing, and left far more questions than answers. More than that, the three new villainesses are fascinating. Discovering more about their motivations is something that fans can look forward to in issue #3. That includes discovering the identity of their “child.” The few references made to it in this issue make it out to be a much greater threat than the sisters themselves, who made short work of the Avengers. Issue #3 is scheduled for release on November 17th
In the history of comic books, some of the greatest villains of all-time came about their villainous ways for understandable reasons. Some started out as victims of evil themselves, such as Magneto. Others, like Namor the Submariner, acted to protect an entire civilization of their own people. Still, some were merely the victims of horrible unforeseen accidents beyond their control, such as the Hulk. This has often led such characters to redemption arcs as well. Paste-Pot Pete is not one of them… Humble Beginnings lead to an American Success Story The tale of Paste-Pot Pete shares absolutely nothing in common with those origin stories. Peter Pretuski (as he was previously known) actually had a pretty good thing going for him before becoming a supervillain. From his humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana, Pete was a simple blue-collar guy who invented a special multi-polymer adhesive that made him very rich. What should have been a remarkable example of the American Dream turned into something else, however. The American Dream Turns into a Nightmare Pete just wasn’t satisfied with his new riches. Rather than find better ways to expand his product for capital gain, he decided that crime probably paid better. Hence, Paste-Pot Pete was born. Pete created the most ridiculous looking costume any villain could ever dream of, and then weaponized his adhesive into a “paste-gun,” which he used to rob banks. Sounds like a fool-proof plan, though a guy smart enough to create such an amazing invention might be bothered to put a mask on before he began his crime spree… Paste-Pot Pete had a plan though, one that would put him at odds with the Fantastic Four’s own Human Torch. Pete attempted to steal a high-tech missile from the US Government, which he planned to sell to the highest bidder. The Human Torch was successful in retrieving the missile and Pete fled the country in shame. Once returning to the country, Pete helped the Avengers defeat Baron Zemo’s “Masters of Evil.” This bought Pete a pardon from the government, as the Avengers believed he had reformed. Never one to refuse looking a gift horse in the mouth, Pete immediately resumed his grudge against the Human Torch before being arrested once again. Paste-Pot Pete’s Legacy: Crime Doesn’t Pay Pete later joined up with fellow supervillains Madame Medusa, the Wizard, and the Sandman to form the Frightful Four. The alliance felt that they could take on the Fantastic Four together, though that wasn’t the case. Pete went on to be humiliated by the Human Torch on several more occasions before deciding it was time for a more menacing moniker. Pete changed costumes and renamed himself “The Trapster.” Pete never truly escaped his original name though, and continued to find himself on the wrong end of jokes for most of his criminal career. He took part in several different incarnations of the Frightful Four, and experienced varying degrees of failure in each. Eventually Pete decided to accept the past, and returned to his original criminal persona, Paste-Pot Pete. In a battle with Gwenpool however, Pete was banished to “Gutter Space.” Crime doesn’t pay all that well after all.
Superhero films are the norm today, but that wasn’t always the case. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, there were only a handful of movies based on comic books. However, since the dawn of the 21st century, comic book movies have become extremely common. Thousands of characters have now been cast in these films. Some of the character castings have been good, while others have been awful. Let’s count down the top 5 comic book accurate castings in a superhero movie. #5 Christopher Reeve as Clark Kent/Superman Christopher Reeve’s role as the titular character in Superman still holds up to this day as one of the best superhero castings of all-time. This is especially impressive because the movie was made in 1978. Since then, several different actors have portrayed Superman in television and film. Still, none can match Reeve’s authenticity as both Superman and Clark Kent. In fact, Reeve is often praised for his unique portrayal of the Man of Steel and his alter ego as if they were two different roles. #4 Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier This was a fan casting dream come true. Patrick Stewart had been a favorite to star as Professor Charles Xavier in a potential X-Men film since the 1980s, during his days as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation. 2000’s X-Men made that dream casting a reality. Stewart was perfect in the role, bringing a level of sophistication that no other actor could have. His on-screen chemistry with Ian McKellan’s Magneto also laid the foundation for future success of the franchise. Stewart went on to star in seven total X-Men films. #3 Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach Watchmen (2009) was a dark and gritty film that dared to be different than many of the other superhero movies at the time. No character better personified the stylistic and dark undertones of the film better than Rorschach. Without the casting of Jackie Earle Haley in the role, the movie may not be considered the cult classic it is today. Haley’s gravelly voice when self-narrating Rorschach’s journal entries was nothing short of magnificent. #2 JK Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson Try reading a Spider-Man comic today without hearing JK Simmons’ voice when J. Jonah Jameson is speaking. It’s just not possible. Perhaps more than anyone else on this list, Simmons was born for the role he played, perfectly capturing Jameson’s egotistical ramblings and stubborn resistance to the possibility that he might be wrong about Spider-Man. By flawlessly encompassing Jameson’s loud and obnoxious demeanor, Simmons stole every single scene he was in. He was so convincing in the role that he was brought back in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which featured an entirely new cast otherwise. #1 Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool When Ryan Reynolds was cast as everyone’s favorite “Merc with a Mouth” Wade Wilson in the film X-Men Origins; Wolverine, fans were absolutely ecstatic. They thought, how could this not be the most perfect casting of a character ever? By the end of the film however, they were brought back down to Earth. While Reynolds himself did a fine job during the flashback sequences, the plotline took a kamikaze dive in the final moments of the movie, with many considering it to be the biggest disappointment in the entire franchise. In spite of that failure, and in recognition of the fact that Reynolds was still perfect for the role, we were treated to 2016’s Deadpool. The hilariously delightful film received rave reviews, spawned a sequel, and now has a subsequent sequel on the way. Reynolds campaigned hard for the role, even after the failure of the previous X-Men film. The two Deadpool movies even took great delight in mocking Deadpool’s character assassination in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as well as Reynold’s previous box office bomb, Green Lantern.
Comic conventions are back in full swing. Most convention goers haven’t attended a convention since 2019. That feels like ages ago for the vast majority of us, since there was a lack of social gatherings in 2020. This does mark the perfect opportunity to talk about something that was important two years ago, and is perhaps even more important now… Let’s talk about Comic-Con etiquette. If you’ve never been to a Comic-Con, or you just need to brush up on your etiquette, there are a few very important things to consider before jumping back in to the fray. Rule Number One: Patience, Patience, and Patience This is the most important rule of attending a Comic-Con. These events are typically very large and fans are chomping at the bit to get back to them after a long time away. Please be patient with the long lines and be considerate of those around you. This has always been a point of contention at cons and expos, even before last year, but it is doubly true now. Please show respect for those around you. Bigger crowds mean less personal space for everyone. Don’t just be patient, be respectful! It’s understandable that you may be excited to get to your favorite vendor or get an autograph from your favorite artist or celebrity, but please recognize that everyone else is there for a similar reason. Be kind to your peers. This respect extends further than just to your fellow convention goers. It also extends to the cosplayers, artists, celebrities, and anyone else working to make the event more memorable. Photographs are fine, but please ask first. It’s the polite thing to do. Most cosplayers will likely say yes anyway. It is also important that when you do take or pose for pictures you are respectful of the traffic around you. Don’t block the middle of the aisle for everyone else. When meeting your favorite artist or celebrity, please be respectful of the rules they have set. Don’t take unauthorized photos, and please don’t hold up the line for an unnecessary length of time to tell your life story. Remember that there are people who have been waiting in line just as patiently as you, and that the celebrities themselves often spend hours doing meet and greets. Lastly, have a good time. If you are patient and respectful of those around you, there’s only one thing left to do, which is to have fun! Remember that you’re all there for that very reason. Take the time to strike up a conversation with those around you. Maybe you can help them find something they’re looking for, or maybe they can help you. Either way, enjoy yourself!
Marvel’s next major comic event is just around the corner, and this time the Man Without Fear is right in the middle of everything. For the first time since the 2010 storyline Shadowland, Daredevil finds himself the centerpiece of a major marvel story arc, and this one is sure to shake the foundation of the mainstream Marvel Universe. Burn it All Down On the other side of this story is the former Kingpin of crime, and current mayor of New York City, Wilson Fisk. Fisk is setting his diabolical sights far higher than ever before, as he is targeting more than just “street level heroes” this time. In the first few pages of the upcoming 6-part series, Fisk reveals to Daredevil that through the years he has collected information on Earth’s greatest heroes. He promises Daredevil that he’s going to reveal all of their darkest secrets to the world, and “burn it all down” just to end his archenemy once and for all. That is, unless Daredevil reveals his true identity… This epic crossover event starts in December, and will carry over into several ongoing titles. Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto are at the reigns of this one, and they have been planning out the story for years. They have even teased Fisk creating his own team of villains to battle Earth’s mightiest heroes. The Kingpin Makes a Power Play Anticipation is building and many questions remain. What secrets has Wilson Fisk been holding onto all these years? What villains will aid him in his devious scheme? Only time will tell. Fisk has consistently remained a force to be reckoned with throughout the years, while hiding his enormous frame in plain sight. Will his patience be rewarded? Either way, what happens in December promises to be his largest power play yet.
The new trailer just dropped for the Disney Plus series Hawkeye, which continues the story of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, and introduces fans to Kate Bishop, who is played by Hailee Steinfeld. Fans are raving after watching the trailer due to a handful of “Easter eggs” taken straight from the pages of the Hawkeye comic series by Matt Fraction and David Aja back in 2012. Here’s an in depth look at some of the references from the trailer! The Tracksuit Mafia/Draculas/Bros Judging from the trailer, it’s a safe bet that the infamous Tracksuit Mafia (or as Clint calls them, the Tracksuit Draculas) will be playing a pivotal role in this series. The group can be seen harassing both Clint and Kate in multiple scenes. During the car chase from the trailer, Kate even shoots one of Hawkeye’s exploding arrows at a van which says “Trust a Bro” on the side! No Powers, More Problems? One of the defining elements fans remember from the 22-issue comic series is how it made use of the fact that neither Clint nor Kate had any superpowers. This made the stories far more interesting and grounded for readers. The new trailer definitely makes it abundantly clear that both Clint and Kate will experience the pain of vulnerability throughout the series. During the trailer, the two are seen getting beaten up, falling from high places, and icing injuries. Clint even appears to be wearing hearing aids, which is another nod to his comic battles with the Tracksuit Draculas. Lucky the Pizza Dog Perhaps the most exciting Easter egg of the entire trailer is the one with the least context. Very briefly and towards the end of the trailer, you can catch a glimpse of a one-eyed dog sitting on a couch. This is clearly meant to be Lucky the pizza dog, who in the comics was owned previously by a member of the Tracksuit Mafia, before turning on his owner and helping Hawkeye instead. Overall, this has the potential to be the best Marvel series yet. Until then, go check out Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja. Fans can watch the new trailer here: Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye – Official Trailer (2021) Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld
The MCU’s latest film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, has hit theatres. Here in North America, it has already shattered the all-time Labor Day weekend record, making $71.4 Million! To celebrate, let us take a look back at the original 1st appearance of Marvel’s Master of Kung-Fu. Shang-Chi’s first appearance dates back to December of 1973, a mere four months following the death of the man responsible for the massive influx of martial arts into American pop culture, Bruce Lee. Shang-Chi’s first story was told in Special Marvel Edition #15, written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Jim Starlin. The issue introduced Shang-Chi as the son of Fu Manchu, who was an established villain created by English novelist Sax Rohmer. Marvel had acquired the comic book rights of the pulp villain, after previously failing to obtain the rights to the television show Kung-Fu. Marvel eventually lost the rights to Fu Manchu as well, and ended up later changing his name to Zheng Zu. Shang Chi served his father loyally, and was sent on a secret mission to England in order to assassinate Dr. Petrie, whom Fu Manchu falsely said was “the most evil man alive.” Shang-Chi trusted his father’s words, yet was hesitant to take another man’s life, especially after he discovered that Petrie was a bed-ridden elderly man. Despite this, Shang-Chi reluctantly completed his mission. However, he was confronted afterwards by a former British intelligence officer, Sir Denis Nayland Smith, who was a friend of Dr. Petrie. Sir Denis told Shang-Chi the truth, that his father was an evil man who had committed unspeakable deeds in the pursuit of immortality. Unable to bear the revelation of his father’s evil history, Shang-Chi sought out his mother, who confirmed the truth. She revealed that though she never loved Fu Manchu, she hungered for his power, and hoped to transfer it to a child of her own. Shang-Chi left to confront his father, and fought through a wave of his loyal bodyguards. He discovered his laboratory, which only solidified the truth that his father was never who he claimed to be. After finally confronting him personally, Shang-Chi accused his father of having gone mad, but left without physical conflict. Fu Manchu told his son that he may leave in peace for the moment, but that next time he would direct all the evils at his disposal towards Shang-Chi’s doom.
In the Marvel Universe, the Celestials have been around since the very beginning, influencing events throughout human history. They are also responsible for creating the Eternals. Their powers are far beyond most beings. Here are 5 of the very strongest. Scathan the Approver Scathon is often overlooked among his Celestial kin. He has the distinction of having earned the respect of both the Living Tribunal and Eternity. During a battle against the God-like child Protégé, who attempted to steal the powers of the One Above all, Scathon disapproved and fired a single energy blast which incapacitated every being in the vicinity. He then imprisoned Protégé with a Celestial Muzzle. Ego the Living Planet The full details of the identity of Ego the Living Planets are still a bit mysterious. Conflicting reports reveal that he may not actually be a Celestial. Ego is immensely powerful, however. Galactus once attacked Ego head on, and the planetary being was able to fight him as an equal, representing the only time Galactus bit off more than he could chew. Exitar the Executioner Exitar the Executioner is not one single Celestial, but is instead a title held by one of the strongest Celestials of its time period. When one dies, another replaces it. Exitar is the right hand of the Celestial Jury, and is directly responsible for destroying planets deemed unworthy. Tiamut the Communicator The Dreaming Celestial, Tamiut is highly regarded as one of the most powerful of his species for two reasons. Firstly, Tamiut is the only being in existence that Uatu the Watcher has ever been unable to see. This was previously thought to be an impossibility. Secondly, Galactus himself is terrified of Tamiut. This Celestial also once acted as the communicator for all of his kind. One Above All The leader of the Celestials is rarely ever encountered. Preferring to view events from a distance, the One Above All has only revealed his powers on a few occasions. During one such occasion, he resurrected all the dead Celestials at once. While little is known of this being, it is widely accepted that the leader of the Celestials is also the strongest.
Writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly have joined artist Carlos Magno to create the very first comic book for one of the Avengers’ oldest villains, Kang the Conqueror. If the first issue is any indication, this origin story has the potential to be the greatest Kang story to date. Kang the Conquered? The story begins in the 31st century with a young Nathaniel Richards, who is unaware that he will one day become Kang the Conqueror. However, Nathaniel is already feeling a pull toward something greater than his menial life. He even remarks how his current timeline is a “cage” that he wishes to escape. Just as Nathaniel is about to begin his predetermined journey into becoming Kang, he is interrupted by his future self. Kang Conquers Kang The elder Kang offers to become Nathaniel’s mentor and begins training him. Kang reveals to Nathaniel his own experiences, which have more often than not led to failures. Kang is harsh on his younger self, to the point that he even forbids him from ever falling in love, as Kang believes that love is the only thing that will ever result in him being conquered himself. Unfortunately, Nathaniel does the exact opposite, and discovers what he understands to be love. Once Kang finds out, his actions set off a chain reaction that causes Nathaniel to begin traversing a much darker road than his predecessor. This new path begins with him discovering that the true cage was not his original timeline, but Kang himself. Potentially the Greatest Kang Story This is a solid Kang origin story that plays well off of his many failures. In fact, those failures appear to be the driving force behind the story. The elder Kang takes young Nathaniel Richards through a “greatest hits” version of his many defeats at the hands of the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and even love itself. Kang attempts to mold his younger self into a greater conqueror by warning him of his own weaknesses. Throughout the story it is clear that Nathaniel is far too young and ambitious to obediently follow the guidance of his elder. It remains to be seen whether or not these new experiences will better prepare him for his potential encounters with future civilizations, but it appears that the elder Kang may have succeeded in creating a superior version of himself. The seeds are in place for a fascinating new Kang story that has the potential to be the best we’ve seen so far.
With all the buzz surrounding the upcoming Moon Knight television series, now is as good a time as ever to take an in-depth look at one of the character’s oldest and most ruthless villains: Bushman. Raul Bushman was a former mercenary who worked alongside Mark Spector in Africa. The two often found themselves at odds due to Bushman’s ruthless nature and Spector’s realization of his true motivations. While treasure hunting, Spector was exposed to how truly evil Bushman was, after the latter sunk his razor-sharp teeth into the throat of an archeologist attempting to defend his village from the mercenary. Bushman played a pivotal role in Spector becoming the Moon Knight. After Spector helped the slain archeologist’s daughter escape, Bushman had the remaining villagers killed by firing squad. Spector stepped in, but he was already too late. For his insubordination, Bushman had Spector dropped in the middle of the desert to die alone. However, the spirit of Khonshu saved Spector, and turned him into Moon Knight. Moon Knight’s Greatest Work Moon Knight thwarted Bushman on several occasions following his creation. The two had what was to be their final battle atop a building. They fell from the building to an alley, where Moon Knight finally defeated his arch nemesis by cutting off his face with his Crescent Dart. After Bushman’s defeat, Spector was consistently visited by Khonshu in the form of the faceless Bushman. Spector believed this was Khonshu’s way of reminding him of “his greatest work.” Skills & Abilities Bushman didn’t possess any supernatural powers whatsoever, but that never detracted from how deadly this trained killer was. Aside from being an expert in hand-to-hand combat, Bushman was also willing to go to extreme lengths to perfect his killing skills. He even sharpened his teeth to the point that he could bite the throats of his enemies. A Faceless Legacy Bushman’s demise was short-lived. He was resurrected by the criminal mastermind the Hood, and soon orchestrated another battle to the death with Moon Knight. Bushman was defeated once again. Moon Knight attempted to carve his face off, as he had before. As Bushman begged and pleaded for his life, Khonshu appeared and demanded that Moon Knight obey. Though he escaped incarceration a few times following his capture, Bushman was eventually detained in Ravencroft Institute. A mass prison escape at the institute resulted recently, and Bushman is once again at large.
Donny Cates’ epic run on Venom came to an end back in June, and what a ride it was! Cates elevated Marvel’s self-proclaimed “Lethal Protector” higher than ever before. He literally pitted Venom against a god. That’s a far cry from the character’s humble beginnings back on the final page of Amazing Spider-man #299. An All-New Era With that said, what is next for Venom? Well, that question will be answered this October by writers Ram V and Al Ewing. Along with artists Bryan Hitch, Andrew Currie, and Alex Sinclair, they will be tasked with launching an all-new saga for everyone’s favorite symbiote vigilante. What do We Know? Aside from the fact that Venom #1 launches in October, here are a few things we can look forward to this Fall. Marvel is promising a “twisted new vision” of Venom. Writers Al Ewing and Ram V are prepared to tell a story that is both dramatic and dangerous, and they’ve got the credentials to follow through. Both have paid their dues in the horror department, with Ewing’s most recent work on Immortal Hulk receiving rave reviews. Ram V has also promised that this new take will expand the Venomverse to horrifying new places. He could barely hold back his own excitement. Hitch explained: “When my editors at Marvel reached out about taking on Venom alongside Al Ewing and Bryan Hitch, I was not prepared for the kind of creative thrill it has been ever since. This story is going to expand and push the symbiote narrative and lore in even more unexpected and fantastic directions.” It’s clear that the creative team is ready to pour their hearts and souls into this book. Marvel has released the first look at Bryan Hitch’s cover for Venom #1, and it is astounding!
As comic book fans, we’ve all had discussions with our friends about who is the greatest superhero of all-time. Who is the strongest? Who is the fastest? Who would win in a fight? These are all popular questions that have been asked and answered time and time again. For that very reason, let’s ask a different one. Let’s try to answer the question: Who is the greatest superhero pet of all-time? #5 Zabu Zabu is the faithful sabretooth tiger companion to Ka-Zar of the Savage Land. Having saved Ka-Zar from a group of bloodthirsty savages when Ka-Zar was a boy, the two have been inseparable ever since. Zabu is the only known sabretooth tiger in existence, and is a cunning hunter with a near human-level intelligence. #4 Krypto the Superdog One of the most well-known super hero pets of all-time is Krypto the Superdog. Krypto was the loyal pet dog of Superman back on Krypton when the Man of Steel was just a toddler named Kal-El. Krypto was launched into space in the same type of rocket that Kal-El was. However, Krpto’s rocket landed on Earth much later. Eventually the two were reunited. This superdog shares the same powers as his human counterpart, making him one of the strongest pets in existence! #3 Ace the Bat-Hound Never one to be outdone by Superman, Batman also once had a loyal four-legged companion of his own in Ace the Bat-Hound. This faithful and fierce German Shepherd was found by Batman and Robin after his owner was kidnapped. The three teamed up and eventually rescued Ace’s owner, John Wilker. The man eventually became too busy to take care of Ace, so he left him to Bruce Wayne. Ever the clever one, Bruce decided Ace could be an asset to the Bat family. Because he wanted to protect his own identity as Batman, Bruce fashioned Ace with a mask of his own which sported the bat-emblem. #2 Throg The story of Throg is a sad one, as he was formerly a human named Simon Walterson. After losing his wife and child, Simon fell into a bad depression, which led him to seek out a witch to help him speak to his wife one last time from the afterlife. Though Simon’s wish was granted, the witch turned him into a frog when he couldn’t pay for her services. Years later, Simon’s fortunes changed yet again, when one day he found a tiny piece of Thor’s hammer. Throg was worthy enough to pick it up, and obtained the powers of the god of Thunder himself! #1 Lockjaw It should come as no surprise that a dog would be at number one. There is no more loyal companion than man’s best friend. What sets the Inhumans’ Lockjaw above the other canines, you may ask? It’s quite simple… Lockjaw has the ability to teleport through dimensions, has super dog strength, and can even predict the future! Plus, he’s royalty. What truly separates Lockjaw from Krypto and Ace though is his staying power. Though his original appearance doesn’t go back quite as far, Lockjaw has maintained a consistent role within the Marvel Universe since 1965!
In keeping with the spirit of Independence Day, let’s take a look back into the patriotic pages of Captain America in the 1990s, where we find the next subject of our forgotten comic book character blog entry. Today we ask: whatever happened to Free Spirit? C-Minus in Physical Education Cathy Webster was your typical college student struggling to make ends meet in the mid-90s. While Cathy was a mostly straight A student, there was one subject bringing her GPA down. Cathy had a C minus in PE. Luckily for Cathy, a friend of one of her professors, Dr. Deirdra Wentworth, was looking for candidates for a performance enhancing exercise involving sleep therapy and subliminal learning tapes. After some convincing from Dr. Wentworth, Cathy agreed to consider the offer. Little did Cathy know that Dr. Wentworth was actually the man-hating supervillain Superia. Once Cathy agreed to take part in the experiment, Superia’s true motives were revealed. The subliminal messaging on the tapes did somehow give Cathy Olympic-level strength and reflexes similar to that of Captain America, but they also hypnotized Cathy into hating all men, something she only discovered after she injured someone badly at a fraternity party. This was all part of Superia’s master plan of creating a superior female army to rule the world. Becoming an Ally of Captain America Once Cathy discovered Superia’s intentions of subjugating her mind by liberating her body, she determined from that point on that she would make her own decisions on how to properly utilize her new-found abilities. Thus, Free Spirit was born. Free Spirit eventually became an ally of Captain America, helping him and Diamondback rescue several kidnapped children from Baron Zemo. As Free Spirit, Cathy went on to assist Captain America in several campaigns against villainous organizations like the Serpent Society, ULTIMATUM, and Aim. She and Jack Flag were both trained by Cap, becoming founding members of a network of computer operatives known as the “Captain America Hotline.” What Became of the Free Spirit? Several years later, Captain America recruited Free Spirit and Jack Flag as part of a Shield operation to take down Hydra. This occurred during the infamous Hydra Cap storyline, in which the Cosmic Cube created an evil version of Steve Rogers. The evil loyal-to-Hydra Rogers pushed Jack Flag out of a moving airplane without a parachute after the latter disobeyed his orders. Free Spirit found Jack’s body and discovered that he had not yet died. Hydra Cap eventually tried to finish the job while Jack lay in a coma. However, before he could do so, Cathy informed Cap that Jack’s family decided to pull the plug. Cathy was last seen grieving for Jack, still oblivious to Hydra Cap’s betrayal.
Thor, the God of Thunder, is one of the most revered heroes in all of the Marvel Universe. With his mighty hammer Mjolnir, he has proven himself worthy on many occasions, and saved the galaxy several times in the process. However, there have been times where Thor has either been deemed unworthy by Mjolnir, or has been unable to wield the weapon for other reasons. Let’s count down the top 5 heroes who have ever stepped up to wield the mighty Mjolnir. #5 Norrin Radd (The Silver Surfer) In an alternate future universe in which King Thanos defeated most of the heroes of the Marvel Universe, Norrin Radd found himself lost in time after Thanos killed his former master, Galactus. Realizing he could not defeat Thanos himself, Radd spent millennia training himself until he was worthy of Mjolnir. He eventually transformed himself into the Fallen One, and battled against King Thanos and his past self. Unfortunately for Radd, two Mad Titans were too much for his new powers. King Thanos ultimately impaled the Fallen One’s head onto the handle of Mjolnir. #4 Eric Masterson (Thunderstrike) Eric Masterson met Thor while working as an architect. After an accident at a construction site, Thor saved Masterson’s life by taking him to the hospital. Little did he know that this chance encounter with the God of Thunder would change his fate forever. Masterson became an ally of Thor until one day, his life hung in the balance once again, due to an attack by the villain Mongoose. During the battle, Masterson actually lifted Mjolnir but was struck with a deadly blast. Thor pleaded with Odin to save Masterson’s life. Odin did so by merging the two of them together. Unfortunately, Masterson ended up sacrificing much in having his life saved, including losing his family. He eventually took on the role of Thor independently, before the Enchantress manipulated him into battle with the former Thor. Once Amora’s manipulations were revealed, Odin ordered the creation of a new weapon for Masterson. Thus, Thunderstrike was born. #3 Beta Ray Bill Beta Ray Bill’s journey to becoming worthy of Mjolnir was born of a misunderstanding between himself and Thor. Bill is a member of an alien race called the Korbinites, who were almost rendered entirely extinct by magic similar to that of Asgard. For this reason, Bill’s sentient ship Skuttlebutt mistook Thor for a threat. During the ensuing battle, Bill separated Thor from Mjolnir, and rendered him unconscious. He then proved himself worthy by lifting the enchanted hammer. After he learned of Bill’s worthiness, Odin pitted him against Thor in a battle to the death in order to decide who shall wield Mjolnir. Bill ultimately won the fight, but decided that Thor was too worthy an opponent to kill. Odin then ordered the same dwarves who created Mjolnir to forge a new magical hammer called Stormbreaker so that Bill could use it to defend his people. #2 Ororo Munroe (Storm) Ororo Munroe, known as the X-Men’s Storm, is one of the most noble mutants in the team’s history. Storm has led the X-Men with honor on many occasions. Perhaps seeing her worthiness is what led Loki to create Stormcaster, a magical hammer similar to Mjolnir, which Loki presented to Storm many years ago. Storm eventually gave up the hammer after learning of Loki’s manipulation. However, she possessed the hammer many years later during the Siege of Asgard. It was during this battle that Storm truly proved her worthiness after she held Mjolnir just long enough to destroy Stormcaster once and for all, proving that Storm is one of the few worthy. #1 Steve Rogers (Captain America) Perhaps nobody can as closely match Thor’s worthiness of Mjolnir than Steve Rogers. In fact, Rogers has lifted Mjolnir on three separate occasions. The most impressive thing about the first time he accomplished the feat was that, at the time, he was deemed unworthy by the US government to wear the Captain America costume or wield the shield. In typical Steve Rogers fashion, he only held the hammer long enough to fight off a group of villains that had incapacitated Thor, immediately handing Mjolnir back to him. Rogers would again wield Mjolnir, albeit in the pages of “What If…? Age of Apocalypse.” After Nathan Summers took over the mantle of Apocalypse in an attempt to undo the damage done by changing history, Rogers responded, “the world doesn’t need another tyrant” before destroying him with Mjolnir. The final occurrence of Steve Rogers wielding Mjolnir was during the Fear Itself storyline. After Thor fell in battle, Steve found Mjolnir. He lifted the hammer and rallied the Avengers to battle against the Serpent.
There are many formidable alien races in the Marvel Universe; the Skrulls, the Kree, and the Shi’ar have all carved out reputations for themselves throughout the galaxy. However, none are more predacious, savage, or evil as the dreaded Brood. These large insect-like aliens have often been compared to demons, both because of their appearance, as well as for the wicked enjoyment they receive from causing the suffering of others. Inspiration/Creation The Brood’s first official appearance was back in Uncanny X-Men #155. According to creating artist Dave Cockrum, the creatures were originally meant to be “miscellaneous alien henchmen,” as Chris Claremont described them in writing the plot for the issue. Cockrum says he simply drew the most horrible looking thing he could possibly think of at the time. What resulted were large brown insect-like creatures with sharp fangs for teeth. Those horrendous creatures went on to become some the most feared villains in the history of Marvel. Origin Originally written as generic henchmen for the villainous Deathbird, the origin and history of the Brood was explored in later issues. Considered the universe’s first natural predators, Brood origin goes back before the emergence of Galactus. They are said to have existed in the Milky Way galaxy since at least 2620 BC. The Brood have infected hundreds of worlds in the galaxy throughout thousands of years. The Brood have a matriarchal society, led by the supreme Empress Brood, who controls the entire hive-mind of the race. She is the leader of the entire species, which consists of several different colonies led by Brood Queens. The queens carry out the will of the Empress Brood. They control their own spawn telepathically, and are capable of implanting embryos into other species. Most of the Brood army consists of slightly smaller insectoids, which were aptly nicknamed “sleazoids” by the X-Men. These drones carry out the Queen’s will without hesitation. History The Brood have proven themselves to be a relentless enemy, having tangled with the X-Men, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Carol Danvers, and the original Captain Marvel. Their earliest known contact was with the Kree Empire, who captured and experimented on them, eventually releasing the Brood upon their sworn enemies, the Shi-ar Empire. The Brood’s first contact with Earth occurred in 2620 B.C. They attempted to invade ancient Egypt, but were repelled by Imhotep, En Sabah Nur (Apocalypse), and Khonshu. The Brood later allied themselves with the Shi’ar defector Deathbird, who tried to use them to remove her sister Lilandra as ruler. The attack was thwarted with the help of the X-Men. However, this left the mutants as mortal enemies of the Brood. The X-Men went on to defend Earth from several more attacks from the ruthless alien race. Legacy An event which would come back to haunt the Brod was their first contact with the Kree Empire. During their experiments, the Kree produced a patriarchal element to be used on the Brood known as the King Egg, which they could use to assert complete control over the entire Brood society. The King Egg produces a mutated Brood King. The King is able take control of the hive-mind. The Kree utilized this Patriarch as their ultimate weapon to destroy the Shi’ar Empire. The King Egg was most recently consumed by Broo, a Brood-mutant hybrid who was allied with the X-Men. After consuming the egg, Broo became the new undisputed King of the Brood.
We are just three issues into the Joker’s very first solo comic book in over four decades! The fact that it has taken so long for the Clown Prince of Crime to get his own series is amazing, considering how he has consistently remained one of the most recognizable comic book villains of all-time. So, what’s the consensus three issues in? Let’s find out as we take a look at The Joker Issue #3! One Bad Day… This one starts out with a bang, as Jim Gordon personally remembers his experience in one of the greatest and most controversial Joker storylines of all-time, “The Killing Joke.” Gordon recalls the embarrassment and humiliation as the Joker attempted to use Gordon to prove to Batman that “one bad day could turn even the most sane person in Gotham insane.” While remembering the events of that fateful night at Amusement Mile, Gordon compares the Joker to the Devil himself, as the insane villain tells Gordon he’s going mad. This recollection of the accounts of that night provides one of the greatest revelations of just how strong a character Jim Gordon is and has always been. Gordon reveals how he never took the Joker seriously before that night and how it used to bother him that Batman prioritized criminals with gimmicks. Gordon admits that his viewpoint was changed that night, though he also indicates that the Joker’s plan ultimately failed. Gordon remained strong in the face of absolute torture because of two reasons. He needed to prove to both his daughter and to Batman that the Joker was wrong. He had to remain a rock for both of them. In this, he succeeded. The story then picks back up in the present as Jim Gordon meets with Cressida of the Court of Owls at an airport. Gordon agrees to go to Belize with the full financial backing of the group, with the intention of killing the Joker after he allegedly blew up half of Arkham Asylum. Unbeknownst to Gordon, his daughter Barbara is keeping tabs on him, as well as the group backing his mission. Old Fashioned Detective Work While in the plane, Jim goes over the difficulty of profiling someone like the Joker in comparison to the average serial killer. He contends that serial killers are usually more specific in their actions. The murders they commit are usually direct statements that can be understood by those who spend enough time on the job. The Joker is far more complex, though, and is a criminal obsessed with the “performance” aspect of his misdeeds. Gordon believes that the Joker bides his time until the next big performance clicks in his twisted mind. Gordon feels that using good old fashioned detective work and following his own gut instincts will provide a clearer picture of where the Joker is hiding. He spends time among the locals listening to the rumors of missing people. He learns of a mysterious private resort up in the mountains, which he decides to investigate. Gordon believes that the search for the Joker will be a long one, and that he may find clues from potential past hideouts. These clues will surely lead him to the Joker’s whereabouts. Unexpected Reunion As Jim knocks on the front door of the first resort on his list, he’s taken completely by surprise as the Joker answers and exclaims, “Jimbo! Is that really you?!” Gordon is shocked at the ease of discovering the Joker’s location so quickly, and after a moment of disbelief, he draws his gun. The Joker isn’t alone, though. A squad of heavily armed troops draw their weapons on Jim as the Joker taunts him. Joker tells Gordon that he arrived just in time. He mentions the fact that someone blew up Arkham Asylum weeks ago. Jim tells the Joker that he knows that he was responsible, to which the Joker responds earnestly, “But… You see, that’s the darnedest thing, Jim. I didn’t.” Joker tells Gordon that someone wanted everyone to think he did it, and now everyone is out to try and kill him. Joker mentions that they’re already on their way up the hill as we see the new Bane and her men approaching. Joker tells Gordon to keep his gun drawn as the battle is about to begin. Overall, this was a phenomenal read. The first four pages alone pull you right into the story, especially if you’ve read “The Killing Joke.” If not, this is a great opportunity to go back and read it. The pace slows down for a while after that, but the intricacy of this story is great. The importance of Jim Gordon’s character to the extended Batman universe is showcased in a fantastic way. Readers can look forward to an action-packed next issue that hopefully includes more interaction between Jim Gordon and the Joker.
The Alien franchise has officially made its debut in the pages of Marvel comics. With promises of all-new stories, along with characters both new and old, anticipation for the series was high. With its debut issue hitting comic shops last month, the wait is over. So how was the big debut? Well, like any true horror classic, this story begins in darkness. The story opens with an unseen colonial marine speaking to someone about his experience facing the xenomorphs. He explains: “The dark I see is a truer shade than just the absence of light. You can’t find it just by clapping your hands over your eyes. Dark like this gets into you, penetrates you, tightens around your skull, presses into your eye sockets until something pops and even the memory of light—even the belief in light—drains away.” Cut away to a full page spread of an army of alien xenomorphs led by a strange feminine alien with a human-like appearance, and we see what is likely a seed of things to come. We find out that the man speaking is Gabriel Cruz, a former colonial marine who had a severe close encounter with the aliens, one which seemingly resulted in the death of his entire team years prior. Cruz is speaking to an android therapist from the infamous Weyland-Yutani corporation, who resembles the “Bishop” model played by Lance Henriksen from the Aliens movie franchise. In just a few short pages, Marvel has already delivered on their promise to blend the old in with the new. Cruz speaks to Bishop about the haunting dreams which followed his near-death experience. As Cruz leaves, it is revealed that he is retiring from the company and moving to Earth. Bishop informs him that the company will transfer his memory files to another Bishop model planet side, where they can continue their conversation. Cruz is given a retirement party, where he is honored by Weyland-Yutani. He reveals that he intends to spend time getting to know his son, Danny. Danny visits his father back on Earth, and it is evident during the conversation that their relationship is strained. Danny despises Weyland-Yutani, and blames them for the death of the rest of his family, including his brother Lucas. The fact that his father still works for the company has driven a wedge between the two. The visit is brief, as Danny’s true intentions were to steal his father’s security clearance card. He speeds away with his girlfriend who appears excited at the data they can obtain from the card. Gabe flashes back to his previous encounter with the aliens, where he and one of his squad mates appear to be in dire straits as a xenomorph approaches them. The memory cuts away to another therapy session with Bishop on Earth. Gabe remarks how he wishes the memory banks of the previous Bishop who was in his squad could have been preserved, as he considered him to be a friend. When asked if Gabe spoke to his son about his “retirement,” we learn that Gabe is not actually retired but is dying of an unknown illness. Bishop tells Gabe that he should try speaking to his son again. As for Danny, we find out that he used his father’s card to infiltrate Epsilon Station with a small group of anti-corporate soldiers, including his girlfriend, Iris. Despite considering themselves the “good guys,” the group shows no remorse after murdering two Weyland-Yutani security guards in a gruesome manner. The group discovers a lab with several alien test subjects. They kill a few scientists before one of them sets off a security alarm. The group shoots two more scientists who fall backwards, breaking the stasis pods containing several face huggers. Danny watches as his squad is attacked by the face huggers, before one leaps directly at him. The image fades to black as his father’s opening words echo again… “Dark like this gets into you, penetrates you, tightens around your skull, presses into your eye sockets until something pops and even the memory of light—even the belief in light—drains away.” This is a fairly solid opening issue for Marvel. The artwork is both dark and realistic, and the story blends in elements of familiarity with the popular movie franchise. There is plenty of intrigue as to what happened to Gabe and Danny’s family, and even more in regards to the details of Gabe’s illness. It seems likely by his flashbacks that Gabe survived a face hugger attack, especially as his words perfectly echo Danny’s apparent fate at the end of the issue. There are certainly some lingering questions to be answered. Is Danny’s fate sealed? Perhaps if Gabe survived a face hugger attack, he may hold the answer to that question. We eagerly await what’s next in Alien #2.
Comic books are known for being over-the-top when it comes to the diverse cast of super-powered villains that serve as the primary antagonists to earth’s mightiest heroes. Their power sets cover a wide range of abilities such as superhuman strength, flight, energy projection, telepathy, magic, immortality, and even God-like status. It is almost impossible to rank all of their abilities, and at times, it can seem a bit ridiculous how overpowered they are. In fact, sometimes a villain’s power set becomes their primary identifying characteristic, which can make for a less interesting character. There is a reason why there are so many non-powered villains that are considered to be the greatest of all-time. Today, we’re narrowing down the top three most dangerous comic book villains without any known super powers. #3 The Red Skull Though the Red Skull has possessed some superhuman abilities at various times, those moments have usually been one-offs that were often achieved through fringe science (such as stealing Professor Charles Xavier’s brain). Throughout most of Johann Schmidt’s history, he’s been merely a man, albeit one who is an evil genius. Having debut in 1941, the Red Skull is one of the most persistent villains of all time, motivated almost exclusively by his hatred for America and its ideals. That hate has allowed him to follow Captain America into the 21st century through use of cloning and scientific experimentation. What the Red Skull lacks in superhuman abilities, he makes up for in pure resolve. #2 Kingpin The Kingpin, aka Wilson Fisk, is perhaps the most physically imposing non-powered villain of all time. Standing 6’7” and weighing 450 lbs, Fisk has gone toe-to-toe with superpowered heroes Spider-Man and Daredevil on a number of occasions. His enemies have often mistaken him for being out of shape due to his massive size. However, most of his body mass is actually muscle. In addition to his impressive strength, Fisk also has a genius-level intellect, is an expert hand-to-hand combatant, and is a master criminal. These skills have allowed him to hide in plain sight, concealing his secret criminal identity, and leaving him multiple steps ahead of his enemies. #1 The Joker Much like the Red Skull, the Joker is one of the most dangerous and persistent villains of all-time, having served as the primary antagonist for Batman since 1940. The Clown Prince of Crime has remained an enigma for over 80 years, as he is one of the few comic book villains whose origin has never been revealed. For simply being a man in a clown suit, the Joker’s body count also dwarfs most other villains. Ironically, Batman’s refusal to kill his enemies has allowed the Joker to add to that count. The Joker’s unwavering dedication to creating chaos, and the fact that his motives are unknown even to Batman, make him the most dangerous non-powered villain of all-time.
There are so many great heroes who have been introduced in the past near-century of comic books. Superheroes like Captain America, Superman, and Batman have maintained their positions of popularity and reverence since their origins. While these icons make it appear easy to stay relevant in consistently changing times, others are not so fortunate. Some, in fact, are never able to reach the higher echelon of “superherodom,” let alone maintain it. There may be no greater example of this than the dismal tale of Dennis Dunphy, aka D-Man. A Promising Career Dennis Dunphy grew up in Detroit, Michigan, where he played college football as a young man. He hoped to play professionally, but he didn’t garner any interest from the NFL. Fortunately for Dunphy, he was approached by the Power Broker, who gave him an opportunity he could not refuse. The Broker, who was trying to recreate the super soldier serum that gave Captain America his abilities, gave Dunphy augmented strength through a dangerous process that would bring about serious complications down the line. The Power Broker gave Dunphy his first big break, hiring him on as a professional wrestler, where he came to be known as “Demolition Dunphy.” This gig was given to him so that he could pay off the debt accrued from the augmentation process. Unbeknownst to Dunphy, the addictive “stabilizing pills” he took were designed to keep him and other augmented people under the control of the Power Broker and his criminal organization. D-Man is Born Dunphy eventually broke away from the Power Broker’s criminal enterprise and teamed with Captain America to bring down the shadowy organization. He donned a brand-new costume that he patterned after his favorite superhero, Daredevil. He called himself “Demolition Man,” but eventually went by just “D-Man.” D-Man went on to assist Steve Rogers on several missions. However, he lost his confidence after taking a beating from the much stronger supervillain, Titania. Following this fight, Dunphy would typically avoid battles with supervillains, even hiding from those he feared would expose his weakness. Dunphy went on to suffer several more losses. In one battle with the “Serpent Society,” he was poisoned by Viper. He was then arrested by the Commission on Superhuman Activities, where he was the victim of inhumane interrogation tactics. These traumatic experiences began to mount for Dunphy, who was eventually presumed dead following an explosion over the ocean. Return & Mental Breakdown D-Man resurfaced later, having survived the incident and spent time living with an Inuit tribe. The psychological effects from his trauma, paired with heart problems brought on by his past addiction to the strength augmenting pills given to him by the Power Broker, would prove too much for Dunphy to handle. It got so bad for Dunphy that, at one point, he found himself living with a group of homeless people in the sewer. Though he was always pure in his intentions as a hero, Dunphy was taken advantage of by several villains due to his fragile mental state. Dennis often had mental breakdowns and reminisced about his time serving as a partner to Captain America. During one of his lower points, he won an Avengers pie eating contest. Perhaps his lowest moment came when he was interviewed by Jessica Jones and Luke Cage to be their daughter’s nanny. Dennis cried during the interview, asking if Captain America ever mentions him anymore. Dennis was later brainwashed into becoming the new “Scourge of the Underworld,” which brought him face-to-face with his former friend and ally, Captain America. His anger toward his former partner almost resulted in Cap’s death, and was only averted after Scourge was fatally shot by Sharon Carter. Resurrection & Later Exploits Dunphy was seemingly killed and resurrected several times, landing many different odd jobs in between. At one point he became a pilot and mechanic for the new Captain America, Sam Wilson. After that, he returned to professional wrestling for a charity event, where he helped stop two criminals from stealing money from the event. More recently, Dennis was a security guard at the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane. Unfortunately, his bad luck streak hasn’t ended even in recent comics, as he was turned into a vampire during an uprising at the institute. What a life…
A major story event of planetary proportions is being teased for the X-Men! Marvel has promised that the biggest X-Men comic ever will be released this June, and it is set to bring about changes that will rock the X-Men franchise for years to come. The Biggest X-Men Comic Ever! If you are a long-time fan of the X-Men comic book series, chances are you remember the epic masterpiece that was Giant-Size X-Men #1. Published by Marvel back in 1975, this special issue ushered in an entirely new era of the X-Men, presenting a brand-new team, which was formed to rescue the old one. This comic book introduced readers to iconic mutants Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and (for those who weren’t familiar with him from his appearance in Hulk) Wolverine. This comic book served as the biggest and most important issue of the X-Men ever. 46 years later, Marvel promises to top that epic with Planet-Size X #1. The Future of Mutant-Kind is at Stake Gerry Duggan and Pepe Larraz are inviting readers to the inaugural Hellfire Gala, where the very first team of Krakoan X-Men are set to be revealed to the world. All of mutant-kind has gathered at the new nation of Krakoa. Gone are the days of mutants being an endangered species, as they have now become a global superpower. Now, differing factions of mutants are grasping for power within the nation. Everything is leading up to the night of the Hellfire Gala. Aside from the double-sided one-shot, this humongous event will span 12 different titles with entirely separate original stories that will converge into one singular night. Editor Jordan D. White is promising that Planet-Size X #1 will be the most important issue of the month, and he cites artist Pepe Larraz as the star of the series: “Make no mistake—this is an X-Men book drawn by superstar artist Pepe Larraz. It is absolutely the most important issue of the month.” “Pepe is absolutely the star of the X-line and he is doing the most amazing work of his career. You cannot miss this.” This event will spark the next great chapter in Johnathan Hickman’s current run on the X-Men saga, and promises to reveal the future of all mutant-kind.
Here on our blog section for forgotten comic book characters, we’ve taken a look at some of the most unique and bizarre characters of all time. Let’s just say this next one has a leg up (or several legs up) on the competition. Back during the Silver Age of comics, DC’s Wonder Woman faced off against a creature like no other, The Crimson Centipede. The Crimson Centipede made his debut appearance in Wonder Woman #169 (April 1967) The Origins of the Crimson Centipede This abomination was the creation of the God of War Mars (Ares). After he and Aphrodite had one of their eternal debates on whether anyone could defeat Wonder Woman, Mars sent the Crimson Centipede to Earth in an attempt to embarrass the Amazon Princess. While Wonder Woman was out and about with Steve Trevor, though under the guise of her alter ego, Diana Prince, the pair investigated gun shots coming from a nearby bank. Lo and behold, they found a strange centipede/man hybrid to be the perpetrator. Steve, being the stand-up guy that he is, attempted to stop the Crimson Centipede from getting away. His attempt was unsuccessful though and the Centipede knocked him unconscious. Wonder Woman Battles the Crimson Centipede This distraction did give Diana a chance to make the transformation into Wonder Woman, but her usual efforts at thwarting villains came up short. The Human Centipede showed his lightning quick reflexes by quickly knocking her away with his arms, avoiding her Lasso of Truth, and speeding away with the stolen bag of cash as fast as the wind. Watching from afar, Mars was pleased with his creation, and took the time to gloat to the beautiful Aphrodite. The Goddess of Love didn’t lose confidence though, and she warned Mars that things could go differently during the next confrontation. Doubt Creeps In Onlookers were surprised at Wonder Woman’s quick defeat, and they began to ponder whether she could defeat the creature. They didn’t have to wait long, as the two came to blows once again following another bank robbery. The results were much the same though. In another failed pursuit, Wonder Woman was knocked off of a building by the Centipede. At that point, doubt began to creep in on citizens, Steve, and even Diana herself. The Perfect Criminal As news continued to travel of Wonder Woman’s defeats at the hand of the Crimson Centipede, the villain began to spread his newly attained wealth to the criminal underworld, with the caveat being that the criminals continued to create more crime and chaos. As an emissary of Mars, the Crimson Centipede had no need for money. His only purpose was to humiliate and defeat Wonder Woman, to which Mars continued to take delight in observing. The Final Battle The two arch enemies came into confrontation one final time, and the Crimson Centipede made a grievous error during the battle. While the Centipede had the upper hand against Diana, she became distracted by Steve’s attempted interference. This caused a stray bullet to knock Diana unconscious. Seeing her magical bracelets as a threat, the Centipede removed them from her wrists. This caused Wonder Woman to go into a destructive frenzy, as removing an Amazon’s bracelets releases their unabated strength. The battle ended quickly and the Crimson Centipede was defeated once and for all, causing the God of War to curse Wonder Woman while Aphrodite grinned. The Legacy of the Crimson Centipede This version of the Crimson Centipede was never heard from again, and only appeared in flashbacks of later comic issues. Like many others, the creature’s existence was eventually erased during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which saw the collapse of the original Multiverse. However, another more monstrous version of the Crimson Centipede was encountered by Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman in the Wonder Woman Steve Trevor Special in August 2017. This hideous creature was also defeated at the hands of the Amazon Princess.
The most efficient hunter of all time is coming to Marvel comics. Move over Kraven, because the Predator is set to begin his hunt in 2021. Marvel announced the arrival of the iconic monster franchise last July, along with Aliens, as well as Aliens vs Predator. These series will feature all-new stories that will include familiar and new characters. Both Aliens and Predator have carved out a huge piece of pop culture over the last 40 years, and Marvel looks to capitalize on a plethora of pre-existing source material. However, they also plan to explore never-before-seen corners of both universes, in an attempt to showcase some of the best stories never told. Predator Hunts the Marvel Universe To celebrate the arrival of the Predator, Marvel is releasing variant covers of several upcoming Marvel comic books. The iconic movie monster will be on the hunt for some of Marvel’s top superheroes in the form of six total variant covers set to be released this May. These awesome covers follow the release of several similarly themed Alien covers announced back in January. Some of the featured comic book heroes in the upcoming variants include Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Woman, Valkyrie, and Miles Morales: Spider-Man. These covers will depict artwork from some of the top talents in the industry including Cory Smith, Superlog, Mattia De Iulis, Juan José Ryp, Chris Sprouse, and Junggeun Yoon. Let’s take a look at the six covers and when they are set to be released! The first release is on May 5th with the variant cover of Amazing Spider-man #65, drawn by Cory Smith. That will be followed up on May 12th with two more variant covers: Fantastic Four #32 by Superlog & Spider-Woman #12 by Juan José Ryp. On May 19th, we get variant covers of both The Mighty Valkyries #2 by Junggeun Yoon & Guardians of the Galaxy #14 by Chris Sprouse. Finally, May 26th sees the release of Miles Morales: Spider-Man #26, with the variant cover by Mattia De Iulis. These variant covers should get the fan base pumped up for what is sure to be a major acquisition for Marvel. With the upcoming release of the Predator into the pages of Marvel comics, we may eventually get to see some epic faceoffs down the line. Imagine the Predator on the hunt for Wolverine. That would be a dream confrontation only previously seen in fan art or the YouTube series Super Power Beatdown! WOLVERINE vs PREDATOR – Super Power Beat Down (Episode 9)
The Avengers have been around for over 57 years now, and they have undergone several lineup changes, as well as hundreds upon hundreds of different members. In that time, they have also been involved in some of the greatest story lines in comic book history. These epic stories have led to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes dominating the big screen for the better part of the last decade. With that in mind, let’s take a look back at some of the top Avengers stories of all time, and examine what they meant to the continued success of the franchise. #10 Cap’s Kooky Quartet The Avengers went through their very first lineup change in Avengers #16. Stan Lee wanted to distance the comic from its DC counterpart, the Justice League. Therefore, Lee removed all the heavy hitters on the team, replacing them with a flawed group of ex-villains and keeping Captain America on as the leader of the team. Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and the Scarlet Witch put their villainous pasts behind them and joined Cap in what would eventually be known as “Cap’s Kooky Quartet.” This foursome lasted for roughly 12 issues, and served as the first real test of whether or not the Avengers would stand the test of time. During this period, the Avengers came up against some major villains, including their first battle against Kang the Conqueror. Hawkeye would go on to be one of the longest enduring members of the team, eventually forming the West Coast Avengers. He was also cast as an original Avenger in the MCU’s Avengers. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver also would be featured in Avengers: Age of Ultron. #9 The Ultimates In 2002, Mark Millar and artist Bryan Hitch came up with the Ultimates, a modern re-telling of the origins of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The 13-issue series featured more mature themes and modernized art work. Bryan Hitch described his art as “widescreen, cinematic compositions,” and expressed an interest in taking the story to the big screen. Nick Fury was even re-designed with his new appearance based of actor Samuel L. Jackson. The Ultimates did end up serving as the primary inspiration for the MCU’s Avengers. Samuel L. Jackson was cast as Nick Fury, and the rest was history. This is a series worth going back to, or reading for the first time. The characters are much more flawed than the classic Earth-616 Avengers. #8 Behold the Vision The introduction of Ultron was one of the most important villain debuts in Marvel comics. Not long after his first appearance, Ultron created the Vision as another weapon to use against the Avengers. His two-part story started in Avengers #57, and served as a precursor to bigger things. Vision turned on Ultron soon after being unleashed upon the Avengers. This story dives deep into Vision’s psyche, exploring his humanity, and his attempts to reject the trauma brought on by the sins of his creator, Ultron. Vision became one of the mainstay members of the Avengers following this story. The traumatic relationship he and Ultron shared also bled into future Avengers comic books, as well as the movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron. #7 Captain America joins the Avengers Perhaps the most important moment in Avengers comic book history was the re-introduction of Captain America in Avengers #4. The character hadn’t been heard of since the 1950’s, and those stories were retconned as being a completely different character. Steve Rogers hadn’t actually officially been seen since 1945, when he was frozen in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Avengers discovered the man out of time, and he eventually became the most important member of the team’s entire history, serving as the heart and soul of the Avengers. In the MCU, Captain America was dubbed The First Avenger, and served as the final piece to the formation of the Avengers, much like he was in the comic books. #6 Ultron Unlimited Ultron is one of the Avengers’ most dangerous enemies, and has been a part of some of the best stories ever told in the publication’s history. In a story told decades after the character’s debut, writer Kurt Busiek added a new level of depth to the character’s history. A dark revelation is made that Ultron’s brain patterns are actually based off of his creator, Hank Pym, making him basically the incarnation of the darkest part of Pym’s brain. The story involved the Avengers facing off against a vast Ultron army. This storyline served as inspiration for the character’s MCU debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. #5 Kang Dynasty Kang Dynasty is an absolute massive storyline spanning 16 issues, starting in Avengers #41 (Volume 3). Kang arrived on Earth, claiming to be its “protector.” He and his son then launched a massive takeover of the entire planet, including destroying the UN headquarters, and convincing many of Earth’s villains to help him by promising them part ownership of the conquered planet. The Avengers were forced to scatter in order to deal with the growing threat, and Captain America faced off against Kang in an epic final battle. Kang is one of the most well-known Avengers’ villains who has yet to debut in the MCU. Rumors are this is to change soon, as the MCU has plans for introducing the character soon. #4 New Avengers: Breakout While not on this list, Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers: Disassembled storyline injected new life into the series by destroying the Avengers as we knew them. Several characters were killed or changed forever following this story. What emerged from the chaos was the ‘New Avengers.’ In New Avengers: Breakout, several heroes gathered at the Raft; a maximum-security supervillain prison that had been completely shut down after an attack from Electro. Former Avengers Captain America and Iron Man were joined by a ragtag group of heroes in order to quell the uprising, eventually forming the New Avengers. This story reinvigorated characters such as Spider-Woman and Luke Cage by bringing them into a major storyline that ended up spawning the Civil War,
Throughout the history of Marvel comics, several “what if” moments have occurred, providing readers with a glimpse of how events in the Marvel universe could have played out differently. What if Captain America hadn’t vanished during World War 2? What if Spider-Man had rescued Gwen Stacy? What if Venom had possessed the Punisher? These questions have all been addressed in Marvel’s popular “What If” comic book series. Marvel has also created many great alternate timeline story arcs such as Age of Apocalypse, Marvel Zombies, House of M, and Old Man Logan. These series provided a more in-depth look into what could be in the world of Marvel. Events such as these often spawned off of the death of a major character, the rise of a villain, or some mystical or cosmic interference. Now, Marvel Entertainment has just unveiled a new comic event in which the Avengers never existed, called Heroes Reborn. In this world, Iron Man never built his first suit of armor, Thor never lifted his hammer, and Captain America was never thawed out from ice. Though the Avengers were never formed, supervillains still rose to power. In place of the Avengers, another team of super powered heroes rose to the challenge, the Squadron Supreme of America. In this world, nobody remembers the previous reality, except for one man: Blade. The vampire hunter takes center stage in this story, as he tries to discover what caused this new reality to replace the previous one. On Monday, Marvel Entertainment released the announcement trailer on YouTube: Heroes Reborn Announcement Trailer | Marvel Comics The Wildest Story Ever Put on Paper Heroes Reborn is the brain-child of writer Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuiness, fresh off of their recent Avengers run. The series will feature familiar, as well as brand-new villains who are opposing the Squadron Supreme. Readers can also expect to find out what many of the ‘would-be’ Avengers are up to in this reality. Jason Aaron shared some of his thoughts on the new comic in a press release from Marvel.com: “Maybe the wildest story I’ve ever put on paper. I got to cut loose on this and release my inner comic-reared child in a really profound way, and together with a cadre of immensely imaginative artists, we built a world that I’m pretty confident in saying is quite unlike any version of the Marvel Universe you’ve seen before.” Aaron talked about how the idea for this story came from the pages of his Avengers run, slowly building up over time. He also shared his excitement for the project, saying “This project really stoked the fires of my love for comics in all the right ways.” New Heroes, Familiar Villains Long-time Marvel fans will certainly recognize the familiar title of this new series. Back in 1996, Marvel debut the controversial Heroes Reborn storyline, in which the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and Dr. Doom all “died” in the Onslaught: Marvel Universe crossover event. These characters were ‘reborn’ in an all-new universe, completely separate from the mainstream timeline. In this new world, their backstories were altered, and they had no prior memories of their previous life. Whether this new story relates to that one remains to be seen, though Marvel’s history of re-using titles for their major story arcs would indicate this to be an entirely separate and original event. One thing is for sure though, it’s going to be a wild ride. Heroes Reborn is set to launch this May.
We’re all familiar with Marvel’s resident Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange, but Stephen Strange was far from the first magically gifted doctor/sorcerer to grace the pages of Marvel comics. In fact, a certain forgotten “doctor” preceded him by 2 years. This is the story of Dr. Druid, or as he was known as back in 1961, Dr. Droom. *First appearance: Amazing Adventures #1 (June 1961) Dr. Droom: Sorcerer Supreme? Dr. Droom originally appeared way back in Amazing Adventures #1 (June 1961), a whole 5 months before Fantastic Four #1 changed the landscape of comic books forever. Dr. Anthony Ludgate was a graduate from Harvard with a psychology degree who developed an interest in the occult. He was contacted by a sick Tibetan Lama, who was actually the Ancient One searching for a successor as “Sorcerer Supreme.” Though the Ancient One did endow Druid with some magical powers, the good doctor would disappear into obscurity soon after, and Dr. Strange would instead take center stage. From Creation to Inspiration Created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, Dr. Droom served as somewhat of a rough draft for the eventual Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange. In an interview from 2011 in Alter Ego #104, Lee had this to say of the character: “I always liked [Doctor Droom], but I forgot about him. It was a one-shot thing. And one day while we were trying to think of some new heroes, I thought I’d like to bring back a magician. And I gave him the name Doctor Strange.” Dr. Droom is Reintroduced as Dr. Druid The character disappeared for several years, before being re-introduced to Marvel comics readers as Dr. Druid. He made several guest appearances in books such as The Incredible Hulk, Ghost Rider, and most notably the Avengers. In his first appearance as Dr. Druid, he helped the Hulk battle against Maha Yogi. Retaking Avengers Mansion & Joining the Team Starting in Avengers #276, Druid played a pivotal role in helping the Avengers defeat the Masters of Evil and retake Avengers Mansion. Druid used his psychic powers to break Baron Zemo’s mental control of Blackout, which turned the tide of the battle. For his role in retaking the mansion, Druid was given full membership on the team, becoming a mainstay for almost two years. Betrayal & Banishment to Limbo However, Druid’s time in the spotlight was severely threatened when he was forced by Terminatrix (disguised as Nebula) to mentally manipulate the other Avengers into making him Chairman. After Terminatrix was cast into Limbo, Druid was forced to follow her, as he was still under her control. This attempted takeover of the Avengers almost destroyed the team entirely, and several members stepped down out of guilt, or due to other obligations. Re-emergence & Death Dr. Druid eventually escaped Limbo and regained control of himself. He later took part in the Infinity War at the behest of Dr. Strange, joining with several other users of the mystic arts. Dr. Strange then put Druid in charge of the Secret Defenders for a time. Eventually, Druid finally received his own mini-series entitled “Druid.” The mature content of the series was very dark, and brought Dr. Druid into direct conflict with Daimon Hellstrom, who was the undisputed ruler of Hell at that point. Eventually, Druid’s lust for power got the better of him, and Hellstrom killed him. Though Druid would appear in sporadic comic issues following his death, it has always been in the form of an undead version or ghost of his former self. This makes Dr. Druid one of the few comic book characters whose death has remained permanent for over a decade. The Legacy of Dr. Druid The legacy of Dr. Druid is an interesting one. The character will always remain in the shadow of Dr. Strange despite preceding him by a few years. Stan Lee’s admittance that he forgot about the character before creating Dr. Strange speaks volumes of that. However, Dr. Druid did have a decent run as a member of the Avengers in the 80s, even if it isn’t one that’s remembered particularly fondly. Druid is not totally forgotten though. The Avengers did place a memorial statue of him in the garden of their mansion following his death. He was also briefly “resurrected” during the Chaos War. His son, Sebastion Druid, was also recruited by Nick Fury for his Secret Warriors in order to fight back against the Skrull infiltration during the Secret Invasion storyline.
What a strange and difficult year it has been. There were certainly plenty of high points in the comic world in 2020, but most everything has been overshadowed and marred by fear of the coronavirus. As 2020 comes to an end, it’s important for us to look forward and not backward. 2021 will be a new beginning for everyone. In the spirit of that mindset, today we are looking at 4 things to be excited about in 2021 in the world of comics! #1: Spider-Man Gets Some New Duds Spider-Man is getting a new costume design for 2021, and it’s unlike any previous incarnation. Gone is the classic red and blue garb (as well as the black), and in is a new tech-savvy design that is sure to give the wall-crawler an advantage in his coming battles against the Kingpin of Crime, Wilson Fisk. The modern design features a brand-new color scheme of white, blue, and orange. The new costume was designed in a collaborative effort by artist Dustin Weaver, writer Nick Spencer, and editor Nick Lowe. Weaver talked about the new design in an interview with Marvel.com: “This design was really a collaborative effort between Nick Spencer, Editor Nick Lowe, and I. They reined in the weirder and more tech-y features I was bringing and helped create something that I think is simple and both futuristic and classical,” Weaver says. “I can’t wait to see Patrick Gleason really bring it to life!” The new design can be seen in a variant cover by Weaver of Amazing Spider-Man #62, which comes out in March. #2: The Joker Gets His Own Limited Series The Clown Prince of Crime is getting his very own series in 2021, and we have a feeling it’s going to be no laughing matter. The series will be written by James Tynion IV, and drawn by Guillem March. This marks the first time in 45 years that Batman’s arch-nemesis has received a solo-run in DC comics. The storyline picks up following the events of The Joker War, and according to Tynion IV, Commissioner James Gordan plays a pivotal role in the story: “JOKER is a Horror Noir story by me and @GuillemMarch, and brings my favorite supporting character in the entire Gotham Mythos back to the forefront.” “As much as Joker is a Joker book, Joker is a JIM GORDON book.” Look for this book to hit stands in March. #3: King in Black Saga Continues! Perhaps the biggest comic book storyline in 2020 has been the emergence of Venom as an A-list character in the Marvel Universe. Donny Cates has had a brilliant run writing Venom, and has captured the minds of comic book readers everywhere. Cates has plenty more in store for Eddie Brock, his son Dylan, and the God of Symbiotes in 2021. This brings us to Marvel’s most recent major event, King in Black, which has finally seen the long-awaited debut of Knull, the God of Symbiotes. Created by Ryan Stegman, Knull has already proven himself to be one of the heavy-hitters in Marvel Comics’ enormous gallery of villains. Even the strongest heroes of Earth have fallen before Knull, and his wrath will continue to be felt through 2021. #4: Venom: Let There Be Carnage! Speaking of everyone’s favorite symbiote anti-hero, Venom will also be making waves again on the big screen in 2021, with the release of Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Tom Hardy will reprise his role from the original, and he will come face-to-face with Woody Harrelson, who will portray the psychopathic madman Cletus Kasady, aka Carnage. This is a moment that many fans have long-awaited, as Carnage’s arrival on the big screen has been rumored since the release of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 back in 2007. Perhaps one interesting “Easter egg” that can be derived from the film’s cast is that Naomie Harris will portray Shriek, a fellow patient at Ravencroft Mental Institution. This is enticing, because Shriek’s biggest role to date in Marvel comics was in the epic Maximum Carnage arc in 1993, where she became Carnage’s “lover.” Could we see seeds of that storyline brought to life in Venom 2? Stay tuned! Venom: Let There be Carnage is scheduled to be released in theatres on June 25th.
You’d Better Watch Out To help celebrate the Christmas spirit, we’re taking a look back at a classic Christmas story told in the pages of Spectacular Spider-Man #112. This Christmas tale has it all: Santa Claus, Spider-Man, a new version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and armed robbery. Okay, so maybe that last one isn’t very Christmassy. Stay tuned though. There’s a happy ending. Our story begins on Christmas Eve, where a “last minute shopper” steals the perfect Christmas gift and makes his escape from the store. The thief makes his getaway through a back alley while proclaiming: “Macy’s always has such a great selection.” (Surely, Macy’s appreciated the free advertisement this issue provided.) Unfortunately for this thieving Scrooge, Spider-Man happened to be in the neighborhood. After finding himself trapped in the web of Spider-Man, thief Joe Krolik pleads for the wall-crawler to let him go, cooking up a sob story about how he stole the present for his dying mother, whose clavicle is “inoperable.” Spider-Man scoffs at the notion before leaving the scene as the female robbery victim and a police officer arrive. Joe tells the woman the same sob story, and she falls for it, deciding not to press charges. While thanking the young lady for her kindness, the crook takes his leave. She wishes him a Merry Christmas and then realizes he just stole her watch, as the police officer grins in amusement of her naivety. Meanwhile, Peter Parker heads to the lobby of the Daily Bugle looking for work. He runs into Joy Mercado, who kisses him underneath some mistletoe. Joy tells Peter that she can’t stay and chat as she’s working on a story about the string of recent night-time robberies. Feeling that he isn’t needed anywhere, Peter calls his Aunt May, who is distracted when a stove pot begins to boil over. Mistaking her distraction for disinterest, Peter says goodbye and hangs up. He then reaches out to Robbie Robertson, asking what his holiday plans are. Robbie says his son is coming into town, but before he can invite Peter over for Christmas, he is interrupted. Peter leaves disappointed, pondering whether he should just go back home to his dingy apartment. Bad Santa Later, at a local mall, a little boy named Jordan is telling a mall Santa what he wants for Christmas. In a show of the times, he asks for an Optimus Prime action figure and Raiders of the Lost Ark videotape. The boy mentions that his mother (whose name is Bambi) and her roommates (Candi and Randi) recently bought a new VCR. “Santa” seems pleased with this information and asks for the boy’s address, which happens to be in the same apartment building as Peter Parker. (Kids… Never trust a mall Santa.) Peter continues to strike out on finding anyone to spend Christmas with. Harry Osborne is busy dealing with his evil toddler and Mary Jane Watson is taking a bath. Meanwhile, Felicia Hardy calls Peter but quickly hangs up. Felicia is still struggling with her feelings for Peter and decides to go out as the Black Cat again, where she stops a couple thieves from robbing a mink coat store. She briefly contemplates keeping the coats, but in keeping with the holiday spirit, instead donates them to two “bag ladies” warming themselves by a trash can. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Peter Parker decides to spend Christmas Eve alone in his apartment with his black suit, which he drapes over a kitchen chair and pours a coke for. (What a sad way to spend Christmas.) Peter falls asleep, unknowing of the robbery about to take place next door. Poor Bambi, Randi, and Candi are being visited by the Bad Santa.This is the best page in the book as we’re treated to a twisted version of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” including a great Tom Selleck reference. Bambi wakes up to find Santa stealing all their Christmas presents. While the deranged Kris Kringle holds Bambi at gun point, Peter’s spider-sense warns him of the danger next door. He quickly puts on his costume and crashes the attempted robbery. Jordan, Candi, and Randi come out of their rooms, and the fake Santa uses the commotion to make his escape to the roof. Once the imposter makes his way to the roof, he is surprised to find the real Santa Claus waiting for him, and he is not amused. Spider-Man follows in hot pursuit, but when he reaches the roof, the imposter is already gone. A Merry Christmas Peter is woken up the next morning by a phone call from Kate Cushing, who tells him the Daily Bugle Santa was found locked in a storage locker. The imposter Santa had taken his place and was giving out presents. When Peter arrives at the Bugle, he asks why the imposter hasn’t been arrested. The police officer on the scene explains that the imposter turned himself in, along with all the stolen loot, and is giving out hand-made toys. The reformed Santa tells Peter that he has changed and asks if he wants to take a picture. To prove his point, he hands Peter a note from the real Santa which reads “Call your aunt! Merry Christmas.” Peter happily spends Christmas morning with his Aunt May, Mary Jane Watson, and her Aunt Anna.
King in Black Looks to The Past for the Future, Sending Comic Collectors Searching for an Obscure 40-Year-Old Comic Book
If you are a comic book fan who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you’re probably familiar with the ongoing Marvel comics crossover event King in Black, which begins with the much-awaited arrival of Knull, the God of all symbiotes. This is the biggest crossover of the year and is the brain child of writer Donny Cates, who has officially made Venom an A-List character in the world of Marvel comics. Everything Cates has worked on for the last several years is finally culminating in this epic crossover, but the seeds of this culmination go back much further than you think. In fact, they go back to a relatively obscure back issue drawn by Steve Ditko 40 years ago. A 40-year-old comic book finds new meaning. That issue is Marvel Spotlight #9, and until recently, you could pick it up in a discount bin at any comic book store. The issue also contains a villain that was, back then, considered inconsequential at best. In the issue, a shadowy villain named Mr. E takes a host in the form of a scientist for NASA. He then infects an entire hospital, turning staff and patients into shadow-like slaves to his own will. Mr. E comes up with an elaborate scheme to kill all life on Earth by turning the sun into a black star, but is ultimately defeated by Captain Universe, who seemingly causes Mr. E to fly directly into the sun and perish. The story utilizes the average comic book “villain of the month” formula that was common for the series in 1980. Nobody ever expected to see Mr. E again. Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black links to the past. Of course, that was before Symbiote Spider-Man: King in Black #1 was released last month. Written by Peter David and drawn by Greg Land, the first issue of this series takes place sometime after Peter Parker originally obtained the infamous black symbiote suit. Alistair Smythe is locked up in Ravencroft Institute, when he’s visited by a figure who looks just like his deceased father. The figure reveals that it needs a host to survive, and gives Alistair instructions to create a formula that will make him walk again. Meanwhile, Uatu the Watcher is taken captive by Kang the Conqueror, who attempts to extract knowledge from Uatu’s brain in order to “save the universe.” This backfires after Uatu uses his own power to obtain all of Kang’s knowledge, causing the computer to short circuit and destroy Kang’s ship. Alistair injects himself with the formula he was instructed to make, and becomes the new host for the mysterious entity that visited him. He releases the formula into the ventilation, causing the Ravencroft staff to turn into the same shadow slaves from Marvel Spotlight #9. Spider-Man then comes face to face with Smythe, who reveals himself to be Mr. E, the very same villain last seen 40 years ago. Recognizing the black suit as a symbiote, Mr. E believes him to be an ally. Peter Parker doesn’t yet know anything about the symbiotes, and declares Mr. E as his enemy. A skirmish takes place and eventually the Black Knight gets involved. Before retreating, Mr. E states “Creation moves forward. Uncreation moves backwards” and disappears. In the final pages, Kang is floating in space before being taken in by a wandering ship, which is captained by the Guardians of the Galaxy’s own Rocket Racoon. What does all this mean? So, what does all this mean? Well for starters, Marvel Spotlight #9 just went way up in value. A comic that you could once find in most discount bins has collectors scrambling through their own collections, and comic shop owners searching through their inventory. Ebay sellers are now listing the issue anywhere from $60 to $150 online. Secondly, it means the King in Black comic event may be full of twists and throwbacks that put even the Secret Invasion to shame. Lastly, it means that comic book writers still have plenty of lore to dive into when it comes to obscure characters that have long since been forgotten. Who knows? Maybe one of the subjects of our very own blog series of the same name could become a major player in a future comic book series. Stay tuned!
For the first entry in our new retro comic review blog series, we are taking a look at Avengers #196, which was published in June of 1980. This issue features the first full appearance of Taskmaster, who briefly made a cameo appearance at the end of Avengers #195, having been revealed as the head of a combat training facility infiltrated by the Avengers. The Terrible Toll of The Taskmaster After revealing himself to be the man in charge of the secret supervillain training compound, Taskmaster takes Wasp, Yellowjacket, and Ant Man hostage. In classic fashion for a villain of this era, Taskmaster takes little time in showing off his own abilities. He offers to pay $10,000 to a group of his own henchmen to try and take him down. Naturally, they all fail, only serving to showcase Taskmaster’s photographic muscle memory ability. In the brief skirmish, he mimics moves he learned from watching Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Hawkeye. Despite running these supervillain training facilities for years undetected, Taskmaster apparently can’t let an opportunity to show off his own skill be wasted. “It Just Comes Natural” The onlookers are shocked at the amazing display of skill and physical prowess. Wasp questions how Taskmaster could be so adept, to which he replies: “It just comes natural.” At this point, Tasky reveals that from a young age, he developed photographic reflexes which he decided to utilize for financial gains. Though he briefly considered becoming a superhero, he ultimately came to the conclusion that there was more money in crime. Rather than risk jail time as a run-of-the-mill villain, he instead opened up several secretive henchman training facilities. After all, the bad guys have to get their henchmen somewhere. After revealing his origin, Taskmaster next turns his ire on his administrator, Dr. Pernell Solomon, for allowing the Avengers to discover their facility. Though he gives Dr. Solomon an opportunity to defeat him in one-on-one combat, the frail doctor suffers a heart attack and dies. Outside the facility, the rest of the Avengers await any word from Yellowjacket, Ant Man, and Wasp. We get a great sense of the friendship that has developed between Beast and Wonder Man, which even Iron Man seems to be impressed by, having himself experienced the friction of earlier incarnations of the Avengers. Ant Man then sends out several ants as an S.O.S. to let them know they are in trouble. Avengers Assemble! The Avengers burst onto the scene and demand Taskmaster’s surrender. However, the villain sees this as an opportunity to test out some of his trainees. While the Avengers take the fight to the henchmen, Captain America and Iron Man chase down Taskmaster and engage in battle with him. Taskmaster is excited to show off his skills against the very heroes that he has studied for years. He goes blow for blow with Captain America before anticipating Iron Man’s repulsor blast, countering with a disruptor arrow before he can strike. Taskmaster considers taking on all the Avengers in one-on-one combat before retreating instead. The Great Escape As the Avengers finish off the henchmen, Jocasta stalls Taskmaster. Taskmaster has never seen Jocasta before and therefore is unable to anticipate her moves. The rest of the Avengers join in. Just before they can apprehend him, he uses a magnesium flare to make his final escape. The story comes to an end with Captain America expressing his appreciation to Jocasta for preventing Taskmaster from doing any more damage, officially welcoming her to the Avengers. A Worthy Origin Story Overall, this is one of the better supervillain origin issues. Taskmaster being an unseen criminal training instructor is a great way to introduce him to Marvel comics. The story makes sense and it gives a little more depth and explanation as to where some of the front-line henchmen come from. This character introduction also leaves ample opportunity for flashbacks, since it is revealed that Taskmaster has been at this for years.
If you’ve ever been to a comic expo of some kind, chances are you’ve probably bought artwork from one of the vendors, or at the very least, taken the time to observe and appreciate the prints on display above one of their booths. Either way, with the sheer abundance of artists who gather at these events, there’s bound to be a few that caught your eye. Maybe you bought a print of one of your favorite comic book characters from an artist, and it inspired a vision for a custom work of art that you desire. Alternatively, perhaps you’re a fan of a specific artist’s work, but his or her collection doesn’t line up with your own fandom. If either of these are the case, you might consider whether the artist is willing to commission a sketch for you personally. This can be a collaborative and rewarding experience, but also intimidating if you’ve never asked before. Here are some tips for commissioning a sketch from your favorite artist. The first thing you are going to want to do is pick an artist. Now you may already have an artist in mind, which is fine, but artists are very busy people. Clearly, you picked this artist for their talent, and that means they’re probably already in high demand. This means they may already be backed up with work. If you’re lucky, they may put you on a waiting list, but it’s up to you to determine if you’re willing to wait. It may be time to gather a list of other artists that you enjoy. If your first choice is a no-go, it’s time to start researching artists. You can always research artists online. You can do a Google search for artists whose styles catch your eye, check social media platforms, or browse art sites such as deviantart.com. Search for keywords that fit your style, and pick a few that meet your own personal preference. Research the artists you chose and then contact them. Just checking the artist’s website may provide you with answers as to whether they do commission work and how much they charge. The best way to get in touch with them is usually directly through email. When contacting them, be as clear as possible about what you’re looking for. Communication is absolutely key in these situations. Explain to them what kind of work you’d like done. Just as you may decide an artist’s work does not match what you’re looking for, the artist may also decide that what you’re asking for does not match their own specialty. Also, don’t withhold important information on what you’d like done. For instance, don’t tell the artist at the last minute that you are wanting several more characters in your sketch. Do not waste an artist’s time. Whatever you do, don’t waste somebody’s time. If you see that the artist lists a specific fee for commissions on their website and your budget won’t cover it, don’t try to negotiate a lower fee. Always have your budget in mind. If you go into this arrangement lacking tact, this person will not ever want to work with you. Be courteous always. Again, these artists value their time and they do not have to work with you, so please be kind and courteous when discussing business with them. A negative experience does nothing for either of you. On the other hand, having a pleasant exchange may allow you to do business again. Be sure to finish up by discussing all the terms of the contract. Setting clear expectations ensures a positive and professional experience for both parties. Be sure to outline in the contract details such as your full name, as well as the artist’s full name, and the current date. Price, payment method, as well as a time frame should all be included in the contract. Be as clear and concise as possible with your expectations.
The Origins of The Wall If you’re familiar with the site, you have probably read our blog series “Where Are They Now: Forgotten Comic Book Characters.” In searching for the next subject for that series, we stumbled across a unique comic book character. This is a character so obscure, that he only ever appeared in one comic book. Because of the fact that the character never appeared again, this entry is going to be a little different. We are taking a look at quite possibly the strangest, most ludicrous, and most obscure character in comic book history. I’m talking about “The Wall.” *First and only appearance: “Spidey Super Stories #8 (May 1975) Now that sounds like a cool name for a comic book villain, right? One might initially assume to liken this character’s abilities to that of The Blob, Colossus, or maybe Juggernaut. Well… Sort of.. Not exactly… The Wall’s powers are a little bit different. You see, The Wall is literally a wall with legs. A Happy Boy Becomes a Wicked Wall Okay, let’s go back to the beginning. Surely, an origin story will shed some light on this perplexing character. You see, The Wall was once just like any other high school student in the 1970s. In fact, The Wall was born a normal boy by the name of Joshua Waldemeyer (Oh, I see what they did there). Like many students during this era, Josh worked a part-time job in his free time. He worked as a brick layer. Unfortunately for Josh, a very common occurrence in 1970s comic books occurred that would change his life forever; A sudden explosion toppled the brick wall that he and his boss (who for some reason looks like a mad scientist) were working on, burying poor Josh in the rubble. “That blast turned the happy boy into the Wicked Wall!” As the Wall, Josh possessed superhuman abilities. Aside from the fact that he literally turned into a walking brick wall, he also was granted superhuman strength as well as the durability of concrete. Josh was also able to move at a speed far greater than that of a normal brick wall. Choosing a Life of Crime (Trespassing and 2 counts of assault) One quiet day, Peter Parker decided to go to a Mets game while wearing his Spider-Man costume. For some reason, which has never been determined, The Wall decided he wanted to wreck Spidey’s off day. Rather than kidnapping his girlfriend or robbing a bank, the Wall had a much more nefarious scheme in mind. He decided to manipulate the ongoing baseball game by knocking out a player before he could catch a fly ball. This confused the umpire as, after leveling the outfielder, the ball then sailed over The Wall. Technically speaking, this meant the batter hit a home run. The umpire then quickly pulled out his handy baseball rule book, as something of this nature was completely unprecedented. However, before the umpire could make a ruling, The Wicked Wall struck again, knocking the ump to the ground. At this point, everyone’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man got involved, striking The Wall with the full momentum of his spider-strength. This had no effect on the concrete colossus. Spider-Man then used his webbing to ensnare the Wall before the umpire came to and ejected both of them from the game. What Ever Became of The Wall? This story has a happy ending though. It appears that whatever their differences were, Spider-Man and the Wall came to an understanding, as they were last seen sitting outside the stadium on a bench together. Perhaps Spidey talked some sense into Waldemeyer as the Wall never appeared again. Maybe he wasn’t so wicked after all.
Venom Island to Venom Beyond After the events of Venom Island, Donny Cates sets the stage for the biggest Venom story of the character’s history. If there was any concern about this story burning out quickly, it’s been crushed under the weight of the epic new Venom Beyond story arc. At the end of Venom #25, readers were left with a small taste of what was to come for Eddie Brock and his son Dylan. This came in the form of a two-page montage that revealed the arrival of several key characters such as Virus, the God of Symbiotes Knull, the Maker, and an unknown figure bearing a familiar insignia on his chest. Helping Cates to bring this new epic to life are artists Iban Coello, Juan Gedeon and Jesus Aburtov. Venom #26 Starting with Venom #26, Eddie and Dylan’s story picks up some time later. The first page opens with an unknown man running for his life down a back alley as a shadowy figure pursues him. He runs into Eddie Brock, who reveals that he lured the man to him by using his separated Venom symbiote. Brock then bonds with the symbiote and, as Venom, informs the man that he can lie to them or he can live, but not both. Eddie is Hell-bent on finding answers about what is happening to his son Dylan. Apparently, this man gave them the location of just the person they needed. As they make their departure, Venom and Dylan are quietly pursued by the mysterious new character, Virus. They arrive at the location, and Dylan comments that it’s “just some warehouse.” Eddie tells Dylan “Lots of crazy things can be hidden in warehouses.” Inside, they find the Maker building some kind of portal to another universe. Both the Venom symbiote and Dylan warn Eddie that something is wrong. The Maker tells them he’s leaving, and then reveals that he has his own lab-created symbiote. Venom attempts to stop the Maker but is overpowered. Before the fight can continue, Virus bursts through the front door equipped with a Goblin glider and pumpkin bombs. During the attack, Virus screams at Brock for ruining his life and says he’ll kill him and his son. Before Virus can reveal his identity, a stray pumpkin bomb damages the portal, pulling all four of them through. The Maker ends up landing in his home universe which is desolate, while Venom and Dylan end up somewhere unknown. Venom #27 In issue #27, Venom and Dylan attempt to figure out where they are before Virus surprises them with a sneak attack. Eddie pushes Dylan out of the way, before being knocked off of a tall building. The two exchange threats as the symbiote warns Brock that Virus is using anti-symbiote tech. As a battle to the death ensues, the symbiote seems distracted. It tells Eddie that it has never been this close to a hive mind, and it is receiving interference. The symbiote eventually gathers itself, telling Eddie it has learned new abilities. It shows Eddie how to use these new abilities by absorbing the energy from Virus’s cannon and then directing it back at him, seemingly taking Virus out of commission for the time being. Venom returns to the rooftop after sensing Dylan is in danger. There, he finds an alternate version of the Avengers, who appear to be wearing the Venom symbol on their costumes. Captain America orders Eddie to stand down and remove his symbiote. Eddie tells Cap that he knows him, which Cap denies and again orders him to remove the suit. Before they can come to blows, Virus re-emerges, attacking Venom. Captain America orders the Avengers to assemble against Virus while Venom and Dylan sneak away. Virus seemingly destroys Captain America, but then it is revealed that Cap and the rest of the Avengers are made up entirely of symbiotes. Cap reforms and the Avengers take Virus to the Hive, where their leader Codex awaits. Venom and Dylan sneak through the sewers, where they are approached by five dark figures wearing Agent Venom symbiote suits. One approaches and reveals herself to be Anne Weying, Eddie’s deceased wife. Venom #28 In issue #28, Codex approaches a giant lab run by this world’s Dr. Octopus. Inside one of the test tubes is Virus, now separated from his suit but still unrecognizable. Codex asks if the symbiote he ordered to be attached to Virus has bonded yet. Dr. Octopus informs him that the symbiote is strangely apprehensive about bonding with the subject. Codex orders the symbiote be killed if it doesn’t bond. He then begins interrogating Virus, who tells him that he is from another world and chased Eddie Brock and his son through a portal to this one. Codex gets incensed at the name “Brock” and orders Virus to tell him everything. Meanwhile, Anne explains to Eddie that in her world, Eddie Brock committed suicide in the church bell tower after losing his job. Because of this, the Venom symbiote instead bonded with Anne due to her grief and anger, eventually spawning offspring of its own. Anne introduces them to her team of symbiotes, Peter Parker, Wade Wilson, Andi Benton, and Cletus Kasady. Brock immediately questions the addition of Kasady before Parker’s spider-sense warns them of an impending attack. Symbiote versions of Juggernaut, Sabretooth, Omega Red, Wolverine, and the Thing then appear. As the battle intensifies, the heroes make their escape after Wade uses a bomb to blow up himself and Codex’s symbiotes. Back at the Hive, Dr. Octopus reveals to Codex that they have achieved full symbiosis with Virus. Codex orders Doc Ock to release Virus and then asks him to take a new name. The big mystery of Virus’s identity is finally revealed as none other than former Venom host Mac Gargan, The Scorpion. Codex orders Gargan to swear allegiance to him. At the same time, Anne and the other agents take Venom and Dylan back to their home base and introduce them to
If you are a comic book collector, chances are you make a great effort in caring for your collection. Maybe you never plan on selling your collection, but you still want your books to be in as pristine condition as possible. On the other hand, maybe you’ll come to a point where necessity demands a bit of extra cash, so selling some classic comic books might help you out in a financial bind. In the latter’s case, getting the most money out of whatever you’re selling is essential. It is unfortunately still likely that your comic collection may accumulate imperfections over the years, in spite of your vigilance in keeping it well protected. Even with extreme precautions, it’s not uncommon to find warped or wrinkled pages in some of your comics. Of course, you do have options. Assuming your comic book is only warped and not ripped or stained, there are methods to treat crinkled pages. One such option is a technique called comic book pressing. This is a process through which a comic book is flattened out as much as possible. A press uses heat to smooth out any wrinkles or imperfections. This works very well as long as the imperfection hasn’t already broken the color of the pages. More often than not, the results are so good that the book can appear brand new. Comic book pressing is something that is considered to be a professional trade, and as such, the details are considered a trade secret among many people in the comic book industry. This can make it difficult to find exact step-by-step details about the process. So where can you get a comic book pressed? Believe it or not, most book retailers and comic book stores own comic presses. Just ask your local comic retailer for details. Otherwise, there are a plethora of places you can find online that will press comic books. In many cases, collectors would rather learn the process themselves. It is a pain to have to pay every time you need to press a comic, and most collectors have a great amount of them. The good news is, despite being a trade secret among professionals, there are many sources and guides online for DIY pressing. In fact, you can buy a comic press from online retailers such as Amazon. It can be a process to learn, and many will still claim that paying a trained professional is the better route. However, with some simple trial and error, you can learn to be proficient with a comic press. Simply practicing for a while with bargain bin comics is the best way to get better. If you plan on sending your comic books to the CGC to be graded, it is a fantastic idea to get them pressed beforehand. It may make a big difference on the grade they receive. Doing this, and following some of the other tips we’ve covered in our previous blog on selling your comic books, will ensure you receive the most out of your investment.
To the casual collector, reselling old comic books can seem like a daunting process that looks something like this… Step 1: Own a comic book Step 2: List it for sale… somewhere… Step 3: ??? Step 4: Profit. Hopefully. That’s why we’re here to help. By following a few simple guidelines, you can maximize your sale price and get the most money possible from selling your old issues. Ensure your comic book collection is well protected. If you’ve been collecting comic books for a while, you probably already know that it is vital to protect your investment. If you’re planning on selling a collection of comics that are bent, torn, or unprotected, you’re not going to make much of a profit. Fortunately for you, here at Vanguard Comics and Collectibles, we’ve already covered some tips for keeping your comic books in good condition. Another helpful piece of knowledge to have is understanding the concept of the grading scale. In the world of comic books, even the slightest tear or bend can hurt your grade. When you own graded comic books, it is important to understand the grading system. CGC uses a 10-point grading scale when evaluating comics. While we won’t go into immense detail of the grading scale in this blog, there are a few general things you should know about it. For instance, anything at 9.4 or above is considered near-mint. Though 9.2 (NM-) and 9.0 (VF/NM) are still considered near-mint, they are considered on the low end of it. Depending on the comic, a grade of 9.2 can actually see a significant drop in value from that of a 9.4. A comic at 8.0 and above is considered very fine (VF). Anything less than that, and the comic starts to accumulate some minor to severe defects. Decide whether to sell the comics yourself online, or find a reputable vendor who buys comics. If you really want to get the most money out of your comics, selling them online is your best route. This will involve more work of course, but it puts the power in your own hands as far as what you want to gain from your collection. If you go this route, be extremely detailed in your description of what you’re selling. This is also where having graded comics comes in handy, as having them professionally graded takes most of the descriptive legwork away. If, alternatively, you decide to sell your comics directly to a vendor, be sure to find one with a good reputation. When you opt to go this route, you must understand that the vendor’s only priority is to make a profit. They do this for a living and you should never expect to make a huge profit for yourself this way. Usually this route is better reserved for collectors who are hurting for space or are in a hurry to unload their collection. One last tip is to decide whether to sell your comic individually or in a lot. Much like the decision above on how to sell your comics, one of these options (usually) includes more work for a higher profit. If you have comics that are considered key issues or rare, it is usually better to sell them individually, as you will probably garner a higher profit this way. However, if you are selling a specific collection with no major key issues, you might be better suited to sell them all together. One thing you may not want to do, is sell a random assortment of comic books together in one auction. While there’s nothing innately wrong with doing so, most buyers are looking for something specific, and therefore may not wish to buy a mixed collection of Marvel, DC, Image, and the likes.
For this edition of our blog series, “Where Are They Now: Forgotten Comic Book Characters,” we are taking a look at Marvel’s Americop, who made his first appearance in Captain America #428 in June of 1994. As you can probably surmise by the character’s name and the year of origin, Americop was a prototypical 90s representation of a classic character archetype (What a mouthful, huh?). No doubt, he was inspired by popular fictional vigilante police characters such as Robocop and Judge Dredd. Background Former Houston police officer Bartholomew Gallows was a man with a strong sense of justice. After years of trying to play by the rules, Gallows became disillusioned with the justice system’s inability to protect citizens from an increasingly lawless world. It was in that moment that he decided to take matters into his own hands. He immediately resigned from the Houston police force and stepped into the persona of Americop. Americop used his vast experience as a police officer to track down the worst of the worst criminals. Armed with state-of-the-art 1994 police equipment like a nightstick, .45 caliber pistol, Kevlar body armor, and a net gun (for some reason), he often acted as judge, jury, and executioner in cleaning up the streets of Houston. So essentially, he’s a way less cool version of the Punisher. While tracking some missing children, Americop came into contact with Captain America. Naturally, Steve Rogers did not approve of Americop’s methods and the two clashed. Eventually the search led them both to a millionaire’s mansion in New Orleans, where their infighting distracted them long enough to be captured. Americop managed to escape, killing many of the criminals before destroying the helicopter that their leader, Damon Dran, was fleeing in. After that, Americop seemingly disappeared. So, what became of America’s self-appointed top cop? During Marvel’s Civil War, Thunderbolts leader Norman Osborn sent Bullseye and Penance to capture the gruff vigilante Americop in the Thunderbolts One-shot: Desperate Measures in September 2007. In the ensuing battle, Americop was left broken and bleeding, and later paralyzed. Eventually Gallows succumbed to his injuries and died, a sad ending for a man that never really found his bearings as a hero. Americop may have died, but not without leaving a legacy, albeit not one he would have likely appreciated. After his death, his code name and costume were appropriated by Keane Industries for their new private police initiative known as “the Americops.” The initiative became surrounded in controversy however, as many of the members were particularly hostile to certain citizens. They were accused of using excessive force, harassment, and specifically targeting minorities. Eventually, after Hydra took over the United States under the leadership of a brainwashed Captain America who was suffering the effects of becoming a Hydra sleeper agent by the Cosmic Cube Kobic, the Americops became the main police force in the U.S. Once the evil regime was defeated, the Americops were seized by Wolfgang Von Strucker for his own nefarious use. It remains to be seen if the Americops are truly gone for good after they were struck down at the hands of the Daughters of Liberty in Captain America #11 from August, 2019. Only time will tell what the final legacy is for Bartholomew Gallows’ Americop.
Though the series up to this point has had somewhat of a slow build, finally Thor and Galactus come to behold the all-consuming entity known as the Black Winter. However, things may not be as they seem. A New Beginning After taking over as writer after the great Thor run by Jason Aaron, Donny Cates has put his own personal stamp on the series. Though the story has moved at a slow-burn pace at times, Cates has been building to a big reveal. As you might expect, the results are both magnificent and unpredictable. Thor #5 is no exception, as the story ends with a huge twist. A Cosmic New Threat The story opens with Sif and Beta Ray Bill discussing the Black Winter and Thor’s reign as king. They bring into question his actions to this point. Sif questions Thor’s competence as king, while Bill remains more optimistic. From there, things really take off. Galactus and Thor find themselves overwhelmed by the entity known as The Black Winter. Despite their best efforts, the two are no match for the cosmic being. The Black Winter proceeds to focus his attention specifically on Thor. He gets into the thunder God’s mind, and asks if he’d like to know how he dies. Visions of Old Foes To the surprise of Thor, apparitions appear of some of his greatest foes. Seeing the likes of Gorr the God Butcher, Loki, and Fin Fang Foom brought to life by Nic Klein’s beautiful artwork mixed with Matt Wilson’s grainy and naturalistic coloring is a sight to behold. The Black Winter makes reference to how Thor has had several potential deaths, but claims to be the only one who knows how the King of Asgard will truly perish. In spite of his bravado, Thor knows that the entity’s words ring true. As he desperately fights back with all the power of Mjolnir, Thor dares the Black Winter to show him his end. The Big Twist This is where the big twist comes in (spoiler alert!). As Thor and Galactus gather themselves, The Black Winter vows to show Thor the truth. He tells Thor he has not come here to consume his universe. He explains that there are worse threats to the universe than he on the horizon. The Black Winter goes on to say that Galactus has been hiding the truth. He reveals that he is here for only one purpose: to reclaim Galactus, who is actually his Herald. Storytelling at its Finest When it comes to storytelling, one can always count on Donny Cates to put forth a Herculean effort. Many have been critical of the story up to this point, with some even claiming that it fell into far too many tropes. However, Cates has the ability to lure viewers into a false sense of complacency before hitting them with a left hook of “did that just happen?” That’s exactly what occurred in this story. It’s easy for readers to assume the narrative of Thor becoming a Herald of Galactus was just lazy writing, but it was actually integral to the big reveal at the end of this issue. At some point, readers are going to stop doubting Cates. Thus far, his Thor run has been a strange and wonderful ride.
Collecting comic books can be an enjoyable and rewarding hobby. For some, it can be about having as many great stories as possible to read. For others, the thrill of collecting in itself is the driving motivation behind the hobby. Regardless of which categories you fall into as a collector, there is one shared aspect that all collectors must face: How do I ensure my collection is protected and stored properly? Once again, you are in luck because we’ve got you covered with some great tips on bagging and storing your collection. Most everyone knows that after purchasing a comic book, it is of vital importance that you bag and board the book to protect it. However, it’s not as simple as using any old bag and board. Use what’s available to you in the moment of course, but sometimes certain bags can actually do long-term damage to your comic books. There are typically three different types of comic bags: polypropylene, polyethylene, and mylar. Polypropylene is widely considered the worst option, but it is also the cheapest. These bags are fine for short-term storage, but they begin to yellow after a while. Polyethylene is the standard choice, as they last much longer than the polypropylene bags. They are also stronger and don’t let as much light in. They can last up to 8 years, but should be changed sooner. Mylar is extremely durable but also very expensive. It’s made of a much thicker material and can essentially last a lifetime. Mylar should be used for comic books which have significant value. Make sure you also understand which size bag to use depending on the era of the comic book. There are three major eras of comic books with variances in size: The Golden Age (1940s and earlier), Silver Age (1950s–1980s), and the Current Age (1980s–now). The Golden Age bags are the largest at 7 ¾” by 10 ½.” The Silver Age bags are 7 1/3” by 10 ½.” Lastly, the Current Age are 6 7/8” by 10 ½.” This is important to distinguish so that you never try and fit a comic into a bag that’s too small, and that a comic also doesn’t have too much room to slide around. There is one very important piece of knowledge to consider when choosing a comic backing board. Make sure it is acid-free. In the old days of comic storage, any old piece of cardboard was used. We now know that the acidic nature of many of these boards actually can do some serious long-term damage to a comic book stored with it. Aside from that, consider double-boarding your comic books for added protection. Just be careful that this doesn’t make the comic fit too tightly, as that can definitely damage your investment. When it comes to storing your comic books in a box, there are a few options. You can choose the standard cardboard comic box, but make sure the cardboard is acid-free if you do so. The better option is putting them in a plastic box, as it better protects the comics from outside elements. Make sure never to leave a box only partially full, as the comics can shift to one side, causing the cardboard and books themselves to bend. Lastly, be sure to store the box somewhere safe from moisture, sunlight, and extreme temperatures. A basement that is prone to flooding or an attic that reaches high temperatures in the summer are not recommended. It is also recommended that you keep your boxes up off the floor for similar reasons.
So, you’re interested in getting your favorite comic book signed? Before you make this big decision, there may be a few things worth considering. For instance, who is it that you’re planning on getting to sign your comic book? Will the signature increase the value of your book? Should you get a book signed if there is no blank space on the cover? Well, you’re in the right place. Here are a few helpful Dos & Don’ts before moving forward. DO: Make sure to choose carefully whose signature you are getting. A very common mistake people make when getting a signature on a comic book is not being picky enough about whose signature they’re getting to begin with. For instance, don’t be like Dale Doback in “Step Brothers” and get Randy Jackson’s autograph on a samurai sword (or comic book in this case) just because you had the sword (comic book) on you when you bumped into him and he’s “kind of famous.” If you have a comic book written by Donny Cates and the art is done by Tony Moore, you might want one or both of them to autograph it, but it usually doesn’t make sense to get another writer or artist to sign someone else’s book. Basically, make sure the person signing your book has something to do with said book. Of course, there are always exceptions, but it’s a good general rule to follow. DON’T: Assume a signature will add value to your comic book. It is a common misconception to assume that a signature will always add value to your book. Though in most cases this holds true, there are actual instances of signed copies being worth less than non-signed copies. This can happen if the market gets flooded with too many signed copies of a specific book. In these cases, there may be lower supply, and therefore higher demand for the unsigned version. DON’T: Get the cover signed if there is no empty space. If you truly value this comic book, do not have anyone sign over top of the artwork on the comic book cover. The good news is that most anyone you would get to sign your comic is going to know better, especially if they are the artist. Still, don’t insist on ruining your comic book cover. You can instead have them sign the inside of the book. DO: use painter’s tape to frame where you want the signature. If there is a specific part of the cover you want signed, you can cut a window in the bag that holds your book and then tape a frame around it with blue painter’s tape where you want the artist to sign. This is a great way to eliminate any confusion as to where you’d like the signature. DO: Make sure to get the signature authenticated. You can do this a few ways. If you can at the time of signing, get it CGC graded. If you’re at a comic expo, usually you can get a CGC Signature Series witness while you get your signature. They even grade your comic book. This is the only way your autographed book will be 100% authenticated. Otherwise, you may not get the CGC Signature Series yellow label. You can also have your comic authenticated after the signing by way of sending it to CBCS, which has a Verified Signature Program. This is the way to go if you do not have an official witness for the signing as the CBCS has autograph experts who can verify the signature. One final thing to consider when going through the authentication process is whether or not you want to get your comic slabbed. Slabbing is the process where, after the comic is signed, it is encapsulated in an air-tight plastic container. This is great for protecting your investment of course, but sometimes the cost of going through all the trouble outweighs the value of the comic itself. DON’T: Bring a large number of comic books to be signed at a convention. Please don’t bring every comic you own to be signed by one person. It’s bad etiquette. Instead, bring no more than 2 or 3 books. Not only are you taking up that person’s time, but you’re probably holding up a bunch of other fans who came to get something signed. Please always be cognizant of other people. Do: Let the person signing your comic know you appreciate their work. You’ve come this far to have your comic book signed. You clearly enjoy this person’s work. Let them know it! Of course, don’t take up a bunch of their time, but don’t be afraid to let them know what their work means to you in a brief conversation. After initiating a short conversation, you can also ask the artist if they’ll do a ‘remark’ on your cover, which is a small sketch that can add some personality to the signature. Many artists are glad to do it. Everyone likes to be appreciated, and they appreciate you spending your time and money on their work! Don’t: Smudge the signature or remark! Lastly, and this is important: always make sure to handle your book carefully after getting it signed. Even the smallest of smudges can ruin a perfectly good signature if you’re careless. This can potentially lower the grade of your comic book.
Long-time comic book readers know just how overwhelming it can be to choose which comic to read first. Most started with a single comic book that piqued their interest at the time and then started collecting chronologically. For others, a guest-star character grabbed their attention and they migrated to that character’s book. While there has always been a plethora of comic book options, there is little doubt that due to the sheer quantity of comics in publication today, right now is both the greatest and most intimidating time to start reading. Fear not, weary readers, for if you don’t know where to begin, we’re here to give you some tips on how to begin reading in the modern era of comic books! Tip # 1: Don’t be intimidated! First, we need to get one thing out of the way. Do not be intimidated by the continuous stream of re-launches and #1s. After a while, one starts to wonder just how many ways a book can be relaunched as the “All New,” “Newest,” “All-Different,” “Totally-Not-The-Same-Thing-As-Before” version of its predecessor. This is actually great news for you brand-new readers because it’s all new to you no matter where you start! You can jump in at any point and go from there; it truly doesn’t matter where you begin. Tip #2: Check the bargain bin of your local comic shop. If you really have no clue where to start, most comic shops have a large selection of discount comic books. While you can certainly find older comics here, there are usually plenty of newer books to choose from as well. The point is, don’t buy expensive new issues that you know nothing about when you could easily buy 3 or 4 discount books for the same price. Once you know which stories speak to you the most, then you can start collecting the high-end issues. Tip #3: Variety is the spice of life. Use that bargain bin to your advantage and pick up several different titles. Not all comics are created equally. If you like the classic super hero stories, you might start with Superman. If you enjoy flawed heroes with real-world issues, maybe give Spider-Man a try. Also, not all comic books are always as simple as “good guys vs bad guys.” If you don’t believe me, read an X-Men comic. Don’t fall into the trap of being loyal to one specific character, super team, or even comic publisher. Tip #4: Those nice people behind the desk are very friendly and love sharing their knowledge! Rarely have I ventured into a comic book shop and encountered someone working there who doesn’t enjoy what they do. Don’t be afraid to ask these wonderful people for recommendations. They would be more than willing to discuss what’s popular at the time. They also often can point you in the right direction based off of your interest in different genres of books, movies, or television shows. After talking to them a few times, they’ll learn your likes and dislikes and you’ll make some new friends! Tip #5: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t enjoy a specific comic story. The stories in comic books are ever-changing. One minute your favorite superhero is in space fighting for the fate of the Galaxy, the next minute they’re in the streets of Brooklyn fighting a petty thief who stole a suit of armor. On top of that, the writers and artists are always changing. Once you start to recognize their work, you may jump ship to an entirely different book they worked on. The most important tip of all: Just have fun! Getting into the world of reading comics can be a very individual experience or one that you share with friends. Dive in and get lost in a great story. Sooner than you think, you’ll be the one giving recommendations on the best book for new readers to pick up.