Category: Superheroes


 

As previewed in the superhero crossover Marvel vs. Aliens covers, a new Alien series begins next month under the Marvel Comics label, and it’s going to arrive with a first issue full of variant editions.  The best news?  You’ll meet a new Jonesy-inspired cat aboard the ship, this time a black cat, likely to blend in the shadows.  So let’s see Marvel’s take on the franchise–below check out an inside look at the new franchise cat, a dozen Alien series covers, and a shiny tie-in comic storage box available at comic shops.  And in case you missed the Marvel vs. Aliens covers, we’ve included the 22 covers Marvel is rolling out, too.

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The next over-sized hardcover, deep dive into the artwork behind a successful comic book run focuses on the X-Men artwork of Jim Lee.  Before he rose up the corporate ladder at Marvel Comics, along with Scott Williams he created the art for what would become the single biggest bestselling comic book issue of all-time, the October 1991 first issue of the new X-Men series (Written by Chris Claremont).  Selling more than 8 million copies, it rivaled everything that came before or since (for comparison, next place went to Star Wars #1 in 2015, which netted more than 1 million copies with no other comic book rising above six figures in sales).  The entire 37-page issue consisting of the original black and white pencils and inks is being reprinted at its 1:1 scale original size as drawn by Lee, 12×17 inches.  It’s all coming together in Jim Lee’s X-Men Artist’s Edition, available now in a deluxe hardcover format.  But the book has much more than that popular issue inside.  Check out a sneak peek below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If first impressions are everything, the first four minutes of the new CW series Superman & Lois look like a great next series to add to your DVR.  But that’s not where the writers of the series take us, leaning more into the soap opera drama audiences saw in years of Smallville.  The typical Superman tale follows Clark Kent from rural America to the big city of Metropolis, when the typical Supes story takes off.  This series reverses that plan, moving Supes and his family back to Smallville when newspaper man Clark Kent loses his job in the big city.  What happens when you take a strong-willed city woman like Lois Lane and her and Clark’s two (newly created) citified (twin) sons to Smallville?  Fans loving to watch Superman soaring in the supersuit, righting wrongs and exploring the globe, will need to take a backseat for at least part of the new series.  Economic downturns, the scam of reverse mortgages, embedded conflicts between rural and urban America–things you probably don’t turn to for your next CW superhero series–is the direction of the new series.  But what about strong-willed Lois?  Although she gets to share the title, Lois doesn’t get much to do–yet.

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Hellboy is doing more traveling in his next adventure from Dark Horse Comics.  In 1847 we meet Hellboy–Young Hellboy–the mini red, brick-armed, demon with sawed-off horns–as a curious little chatterbox.  As you’d expect he gets into trouble in the first scene.  Taking place before Hellboy: The Midnight Circus, where we last saw the young incarnation of the character, the new mini-series Hellboy: The Hidden Land catches up with him accompanied by Professor Bruttenholm.  They’re both heading to South America for an archaeology dig, where Hellboy might just get to meet his hero–if they can get off the ground first.

Hellboy creator Mike Mignola teams up with writer Thomas Sniegoski, artist Craig Rousseau, and colorist Dave Stewart for the latest fun.  Check out our preview of the first issue and Mignola/Stewart variant cover below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

It never used to be this way and it didn’t have to end up this way.  Over the years and across the decades, somehow comic book publishers decided comic book readers wanted to see the death of every favorite character.  By the 1990s and 2000s it became more difficult to find a major character that hadn’t been killed off at least once.  But just like you don’t want to watch the final Lassie episode or Benji movie to witness a beloved dog’s last breath (Oh Heavenly Dog doesn’t count), or watch Baby Yoda/Grogu meet his fate at the blade of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, maybe we don’t want to see the killing off of even one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  But the original creators of the TMNT think you do, so if you do, and for those that do, it’s happening right now in the pages of IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin We’re two issues into the five-issue limited series, and the first issue has already gone to record reprints, thanks in no small part to a huge number of variant covers.  We always love our variant options, but this mini-series has at least 69 covers for Issue #1 and at least 26 covers for Issue #2.  It’s a bit odd, because the subject matter is that last turtle, so don’t expect much variation in content.  Those knowing their turtles by color, never fear: the black mask on the covers does not give anything way.  For TMNT collectors, completists, and fans of future otherworld stories and what ifs like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, you’ll probably want to at least check out the trade edition for this one.  Take a look at a preview of The Last Ronin below.

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It was only a year ago here at borg we were discussing some of the projects expected to arrive in 2020.  That didn’t happen, but a pandemic later and some juggling by the execs at Disney and we seem to have a realistic schedule for the projects we’ll see in 2021.  So let’s gather some excitement for Marvel superheroes heading our way, at least from the first looks at these shows we’ve seen via their movie and series trailers.  What does it look like we’re going to actually see in 2021 via streaming Disney+ or Vudu streaming?  As Phase IV of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with the final episodes of WandaVision on Disney+, next up will be The Falcon and the Winter Soldier starting on Disney+ March 19.  Probably the most eagerly awaited of all Marvel projects since Spider-Man: Far from Home is Black Widow, delayed and delayed some more, now expected to arrive May 7, probably for a theater run and a pay version via Disney+.  Which leaves the six episode mini-series Loki, also expected to arrive in May, via Disney+.  The common link?  All of these feature characters and storylines still heavily anchored to Phase III of the MCU, and all are an opportunity to tweak the past via time travel or a changed past to allow for new characters and new storylines.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage is expected to arrive in theaters June 25, and Shang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings has a July 9 premiere date, but Disney hasn’t issued a trailer for either yet.  As a bonus we’ll throw in the trailer below for the animated series What… If? which doesn’t have anything but a 2021 projected Disney+ series launch date, and the trailer for Morbius, a Sony production tying into the MCU–at least via a cameo by Michael Keaton as Vulture, the villain from Sony’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.  It’s now slated for a January 2022 theatrical premiere.  Although an Eternals movie is expected around Thanskgiving and another Spider-Man movie could slip in around Christmas, all the other Phase IV projects have been pushed out beyond 2021–the next movies featuring Doctor Strange, Thor, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Fantastic Four, and TV series featuring a new Hawkeye, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Guardians of the Galaxy (a special), Secret Invasion, Ironheart, Armor Wars, and a Wakanda series.

Check out these trailers:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the early 1980s a segment of genre films was eclipsed by blockbusters like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but they were important and unique and genre fans loved them every bit as much as the box office winners.  Films like Tron, The Dark Crystal, and Flash Gordon.  Now after 40 years fans of Flash Gordon at last have a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the making of the film.  John Walsh, author of Harryhausen: The Lost Movies (reviewed here at borg) unearthed concept artwork, original costumes, props, and sketches, and new interviews with the director, production staff, and cast members for the 40th anniversary tribute, Flash Gordon: The Official Story of the Film, the only comprehensive look at the art, promotional material, and music available for this classic sci-fi/fantasy favorite.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

For most television viewers, the names after a show scroll by without much notice.  But if you pay attention, you may find the writer of one of your favorite episodes is the writer of many of your favorites, which may point you to other series and episodes you’ve not seen yet that you may like.  You might not have heard of Paul Robert Coyle, but it’s likely that anyone who is a fan of one or more genre shows has watched the results of his work.  Or maybe you haven’t heard of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek Voyager, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Superboy, The Dead Zone, Simon & Simon, or earlier detective and police series like The Streets of San Francisco, Barnaby Jones, Crazy Like a Fox, Jake and the Fat Man, and CHiPs.  Coyle wrote for these series, and readers of his new book Swords, Starships, and Superheroes: A TV Writer’s Life Scripting the Stories of Heroes may find he wrote some of their favorite episodes.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

A year ago here at borg we previewed the first look at Marvel Studios’ new series WandaVision, and based on the unusual trailer we asked the question:  What audience is WandaVision aimed at?  The series at last began this weekend on Disney+ and two half-hour episodes in, I’m no closer to answering this question.  In any other time that hasn’t been sidetracked by a pandemic, audiences would have already seen the big-screen release of Black Widow by now.  The commonality is that each is a story focused on characters that have already been killed off in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  We won’t know until this summer about the prequel movie with Scarlet Johansson returning as Natasha Romanoff (killed off in Avengers: Endgame), but it is a welcome sight to see the return from the dead of Paul Bettany as cybernetic superhero Vision (killed in Avengers: Infinity War) reunited with Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch aka Wanda Maximoff in this short, nine-episode mini-series.  But here we don’t even know when it takes place in relation to the Avengers movies.

Two episodes in and you’re going to ask:  What the heck did I just watch?

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Review by C.J. Bunce

You may know about Logan aka Wolverine via his movies as played by Hugh Jackman or 47 years of stories in comic books.  But did you know the mutant with the claws and regeneration abilities was part of the same program that gave Steve Rogers his powers as Captain America?  Steve was part of the project as Weapon I and the tenth project–Weapon X–was conducted by scientists in Canada who further tried to make a superweapon by upgrading Wolverine with adamantium, and this melding of the organic and metallic turned him into a cyborg.  That Frankenstein-inspired update to Wolverine’s origin was first written in comics by Barry Windsor-Smith in 2004 as Marvel’s first novel adaptation of comics for adults in Weapon X.  Now that novel is part of a three-part omnibus available from Titan Books as Wolverine: Weapon X–A Marvel Omnibus, part of its rapidly building library of Marvel novels.

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