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Marvel’s Voices: Crescent/IO Features a Fun Battle and School Introduction

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The latest infinity comic available on the unlimited app, Crescent & IO sees the young Agents of Atlas hero, Dan Bi, seek a chance to make a name for herself. Written by Dylan Park, with art by Jodi NIshijima, and colors by Irma Kniivila, this infinity comic is a double issue drop with #33 and #34 that’s actually, really good as both a story about kids getting better at the superhero routine.

A fun, parental-like story of a young 10-year-old hero and her 4,354-year-old guardian “half-moon” bear spirit, this two-issue arc develops as there’s a nice balance of action, conflict, growth, and artwork.

Issue one begins with TV and Ice Cream, the situation devolves into a battle against the one and only, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Because who wouldn’t want to see a fun fight sequence between a Spirit Bear battling a Red T-Rex? Similarly, the artwork by Jodi Nishijima is sublime, as are the colors that Irma Kniivila provides which makes it feel very… how do you say, daoist, in terms of its creative usage of combat.

Surprisingly, issue 2 takes us on a journey to the Pan-Asian school for the unusually gifted, where we learn a good deal about Marvel’s young Asian superheroes. There are some new faces and abilities quickly introduced, along with some irksome, kind of cocky bullies. In this one, a simple teasing gesture leads to a certain escalation involving an ancient artifact. With problems left behind when kids get too reckless playing with things, they’re not supposed to touch.

Overall, these two issues are actually quite good and are most definitely worth the read if you’re a reader that likes stories about young kid superheroes seeking to find their place in this big-old superhero world.

Writer: Dylan Park
Artist: Jodi Nishijima

Colorist: Irma Kniivila
Editor: Sarah Brunstad

Spider-Verse Unlimited’s A Tale of Two Cities Sees Gwen Flip Her Way to Class

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spider-gwen

The latest Spider-Verse Unlimited series is in this morning and it’s a treat. Written by the amazing writing talent of TV, Film, and Marvel Wastelander’s Hawkeye, J. Holtham, and featuring gorgeous acrobatic art by Nathan Stockman, this Gwen Stacy story sees our favorite Ghost-Spidey try to balance her life between two universes.

Part 1 features a Bodega Bandit battle… though, only, sort of. As it’s more of a conflict of Gwen trying to get back to a university class on time in Earth 616. The colors in this vertical comic flow effortlessly onto the next chapters of the story, and the acrobatic art is incredibly epic, where Gwen flips and Thwips like a Spider-Person on a mission to get things done.

The story ultimately reaches a head when we see that there are in fact evil twin variants between both universes. Where this Bodega Bandit is a little tougher than it seems.

Check out part 1 right now on the Marvel Unlimited App if you have it.

 

Writer: J. Holtham
Artist: Nathan Stockman

Colorist: Pete Pantazis
Editor: Ellie Pyle

 

Quantum Leap Episode 10 Review: Paging Dr. Song

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Ben and Addison watch as Dr. Sandra attends to Louis in the ER
Francois Chau as Louis, Tiffany Smith as Dr. Sandra, Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, Caitlin Bassett as Addison (Photo by Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

Dammit, Jim, Ben’s a doctor, not a doctor! As in someone with a doctorate, rather than a medical doctor. In the tradition of the original Quantum Leap, whichever higher power is leaping Ben around sure has a twisted sense of humor. In dropping him in the body of a first-year resident in 1994 Seattle, the algorithm or God or whoever could’ve had him appear in the locker room after delivering a baby in the street… but where’s the fun in that?

After witnessing the miracle of life first-hand (literally), Ben returns to the hospital and learns from Addison that he’s here to save the lives of three patients… who haven’t been admitted yet. That soon changes as the victims of a commuter train crash flood the ER. Cue lots of rushing around with gurneys and barking of medical orders and actual paging. Ben even gets to yell “CLEAR!”

Ben and Dr. Sandra look concerned in an operating room
Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, Tiffany Smith as Dr. Sandra (Photo by Ron Batzdorff / NBC)

Say what you like about ER, but that series knew how to put on a drama, and in “Paging Dr. Song,” the 10th episode in the new Quantum Leap‘s inaugural season, the show gives us a worthy homage. There’s high stakes — a 17-year-old girl is in critical condition and might die because of a risky new anesthetic that Big Pharma has pushed onto the hospital’s board of director. There’s a finicky operation — a man is so worried about his wife that he can’t stay calm even though one slip by his doctor could kill him. And of course there’s interpersonal conflict — an older man is diagnosed with a brain tumor but refuses treatment because he feels he has nothing to live for… and of course his estranged daughter is the friend of the doctor Ben leaped into.

Addison talks to Ben in a hospital hallway
Caitlin Bassett as Addison, Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song (Photo by Ron Batzdorff / NBC)

Ben’s mission is to save all three of these people, but it’s not just a matter of using some futuristic or esoteric knowledge that the original timeline didn’t have. Though Addison feeds him plenty of information, it isn’t enough when the people around him have agency of their own.

Having recently rewatched a lot of the original Quantum Leap, I did find it striking how many episodes were resolved with some form of “Sam’s genius ex machina,” where Sam solves the problem by pulling some random skill or piece of knowledge out of his enormous brain (or by magically learning a new skill that the original person in the timeline didn’t possess… looking at you, flying trapeze episode!). The new show has so far avoided that, which gives each episode more tension than the original and often makes the resolution more satisfying.

I really appreciated how the three disparate individuals Ben was meant to save ended up tying together, and how the medical drama captured the excitement of ER. And though the team back at Quantum Leap headquarters is still trying to solve the sci-fi mystery behind why Ben leaped in the first place, both Ben and Addison are fully dedicated to the situation at hand (I’m still feeling burned by some of those earlier episodes where they — and the show as a result — seemed distracted by the mystery, but I’m really like the balance of these latest episodes).

Jenn questions Janis in Quantum Leap headquarters
Nanrisa Lee as Jenn, Georgina Reilly as Janis Calavicci (Photo by Ron Batzdorff / NBC)

The show seems to be slowing down its reveals around the “why did Ben leap” part, which in my opinion, is a good thing. In the 6- to 10-episode streaming era, where every episode drops a giant bombshell, it’s nice to experience a slow burn. Getting to stew in a tiny clue each week makes the mystery feel bigger in comparison to when the answers came too quickly… and perhaps felt too easy as a result.

All in all, “Paging Dr. Song” was another solid episode, and worthy of any good medical drama.

She-Hulk’s 175th Issue Introduces New Villain in Double-Sized Issue

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she-hulk

Jennifer Walters has had her hands full lately. What, with reopening her law practice, kicking ass in court, beating up a pair of new villains, and even taking some time out to fuel a budding romance, there’s a lot to like about Jennifer Walter’s latest story run by writer Rainbow Rowell.

Come this April, with She-Hulk #12, Jenn’s steady-going superhero life is about to get shaken up even more by a new archnemesis called The Scoundrel! This new adversary is going to prove a match for She-Hulk and their showdown will have all the fans talking!

This double-sized issue reunites Rowell with artist Andrés Genolet, whose pairing can be remembered for their fantastic collaboration on the latest run of Runaways. This landmark issue is also bringing with it bonus stories.

“Every issue that I get to write She-Hulk is a delight — but I’m especially honored to escort her to her 175th issue,” Rowell said in a Marvel press release. “One of things we’ve focused on is building up Jen’s narrative support structure… Giving her friends, colleagues, a love interest and her very own antagonists. The Scoundrel is an adversary tailor-made for Jennifer Walters. A lot of things come easily for Jen. Nothing about the Scoundrel is easy.”

Check out Jen Bartel’s latest gorgeous cover below.

She-Hulk 175

SHE-HULK #12

Written by RAINBOW ROWELL

Art by ANDRÉS GENOLET

Cover by JEN BARTEL

On Sale 4/19

‘Koala Man’ Review: A Australian Superhero With A Whole Lot Of Heart

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An Australian way to kick it into the new year, Koala Man is a lot of fun and the next great series to check out on Hulu. Part Family Guy and part The Simpsons, mixed with every superhero trope in existence, the show is about a Koala-themed average Joe and father turned superhero, and the misadventures he falls into while keeping evil away from his small town of Dapto. 

What works best about Koala Man is how the series features a lot of heart. It has a run-time of about 30 minutes, all filled with action potential given the many enemies and strange monsters threatening the town. Most importantly, the series focuses in on the small town hero tropes of everyday man against impossible situations is a low-budget Batman type of parody. The show is essentially answering the ‘What If’ question of what would it be like to see Homer Simpson as a Superhero, if Springfield was based in Australia.

The family structure even follows the same tropes. You have the supportive but possibly regretful wife, Vicky (Sarah Snook); the daughter who wants to be a popular influencer, Alison (Demi Lardner); the uncool and shrimpy son Liam (Michael Cusack); then of course, Kevin as Koala Man (Also, Cusack).

The first-ever Australian superhero based TV series, Koala Man is left in great hands by being executive produced by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, who are both the writers behind Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. The series is created by Michael Cusack, who’s a beloved Youtube and Newgrounds animator actually from Australia, known for Smiling Friends and Yolo: Crystal Fantasy. Though what makes Koala Man pretty righteous watch is how grounded Cusack has shaped this world regarding his hometown and the people in Australia.

The first episode plays on the importance of putting the bins on the outside on garbage day. Which may seem like a simple annoyance, until the episode dutifully drags it out onto a metaphor for something much bigger. This, along with, the tall poppy syndrome where a person feels the need to bring a fellow Australian down a peg when they get too hoity-toity, kind of showcases just what type of comedy the series aims to be. It also just focuses on a simple premise of a working class Australian dad who just… wants to do a pretty basic right thing. Who then, surreptitiously, gets dragged into a larger conflict along the way almost every day.

If that weren’t enough to check it out, then how about the fact that the series is also pulling major stars such as Jermaine Clement and Hugo Weaving. As a treat for what’s essentially the series version of ‘Adam West in Family Guy’, Koala Man has also, somehow, was able to pull in Hugh Jackman… who is easily the most lovable Australian in existence with the exception of Chris Hemsworth.

What I think I notice best about the series, is just how much heart went into making it. It’s sort of pleasant, polite, yet also, very trope-filled parodies of the nuclear family and the superhero genre. Just like the early Simpsons episodes it features a family who just seeks to be normal but is set in a world that’s anything but…

Which is a pretty standard testament to the times.

Guardians of The Galaxy #1 Enters New Territory with Grootfall and New Western Styled Art Reveal

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Guardians of The Galaxy #1 comic cover with Nebula, Mantis, Gammora, and Drax
COVER: MARCO CHECCHETTO. Copyright: Marvel

Marvel Comics has just announced the release of a new Guardians of The Galaxy #1. Implied to be coming via the ‘Grootfall’ related message left at New York Comic Con last year,  the series will be written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, with art by Kev Walker (Predator). The comic will be available in stores on April 12th, 2023, one month before the release of The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5th, 2023.

This creative team, known for their work on Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, will take readers on an intergalactic journey through uncharted territories of deep space, as the Guardians of the Galaxy explore new planets and encounter brand-new alien species. All to learn untold truths in a very… well, honestly, Star Trek’ian type of way.

The Guardians will be faced with a powerful threat known as Grootfall which will force them to undertake a mission that will test the limits of their family bonds. Teased at yesterday, Marco Checchetto’s cover for the first issue gives fans a glimpse of the inspired new designs for the core cast of Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Nebula, and Mantis.

The description of the series is that one year ago, the Guardians of the Galaxy were finished… destroyed, by one of their own. Since then, the remaining members have been trying to outrun their tragedy as they travel through a lawless corner of the galaxy. Though can the team rediscover their heroism and humanity in this dark and unforgiving place and will they be able to rebuild their found family of misfits to ever again feel whole?

“Welcome to a whole new era for the Guardians of the Galaxy, riding like mad through an endless alien dust storm of sun-soaked tragedy, intense violence, and deeply dysfunctional heroes,” Lanzing said in a Marvel press release. “The optimistic peacekeepers that defeated the reborn Olympian Gods and overcame ‘The Last Annihilation’ have fallen about as far as they possibly could – and now Peter Quill and what remains of his found family will have to fight like hell in a new western-fueled frontier to find a scrap of forgiveness. After all, the Guardians are a fire – and a fire only ends one way.”

“Sharing the reins with us is the amazing Kev Walker, our partner from Captain America & the Winter Soldier Special #1. His unique blend of realism and wild imagination brings the alien frontier of the Manifold Territories to windswept life like no one else could,” Kelly added. “Together, we’re guiding the Guardians on a new trail – one that will make them look inwards, even as they face the threats over the next horizon. Grab your element gun, True Believers – it’s time to go for a brand new ride.”

“I honestly can’t believe I’m finally getting a chance to work on Guardians,” Walker said. “I’ve been wanting to draw these characters for a long time, (I have some of the first Guardians of the Galaxy comics in my collection). I came close when I did Annihilation: Nova years ago, but never envisaged I’d be doing this kind of all-encompassing relaunch. Pushing existing characters in a new direction is always a daunting challenge, but working with Jackson, Colin and Matt has been a lot of fun and I think we’re producing something a very different to what’s has gone before.”

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1
Written by COLLIN KELLY & JACKSON LANZING
Art by KEV WALKER
Colors by MATT HOLLINGSWORTH
Cover by MARCO CHECCHETTO
Grootfall Teaser Variant Cover by KEV WALKER
On Sale 4/12

Netflix’s Wednesday Honors The Addams Family While Blazing New Ground

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The promotional image for Wednesday on Netflix, Jenna Ortega in goth attire with a black umbrella

Sometimes it’s impossible to know what to watch on streaming services. Not just on Netflix, but frankly, all of them. There are so many options and it’s often beyond challenging to separate the wheat from the chaff without actually watching the shows themselves.

This is my meandering way of getting around to why it took me so long to start watching Wednesday on Netflix. Even though I’m a pretty diehard fan of The Addams Family, I feared this serial comedy horror wouldn’t live up to my very high expectations. Instead, we not only got one of the best new series on Netflix but also a loving tribute to a one-of-a-kind kooky family.

Wednesday | Pugsley

Now, the first thing that matters in any adaptation of The Addams Family is how well it balances the creepy, gothic elements with the family humor. Such as how Wednesday constantly tortures her brother Pugsley, but in a somehow, loving way. While I may have initially worried Tim Burton would skew that balance, I’m happy to report Wednesday effortlessly sails through what could have been bumpy waters.

Honestly, it’s shocking in retrospect that Burton hasn’t directed anything Addams-related prior to this. As any fan of Burton can attest, he knows how to handle dark content with a deft hand, and is pretty skilled at injecting surprising humor into his productions.

Wednesday | Campus

The next important element is the cast itself. It’s always tricky watching anybody take on the role of Gomez, who was so perfectly portrayed by the late great Raul Julia. I was actually pretty concerned when I recognized Luis Guzmán in that role, but found that other than being a somewhat heavier Addams patriarch, he did all the right things. He lovingly prayed at the altar of his wife, Morticia, traded zestful stories of his youth, and much more besides. As for Morticia herself, I thought Catherine Zeta-Jones was brilliantly cast. She has all the right curves, is witty, and just a little bit sinister.

The only real disappointments for me were Lurch and Pugsley. In fairness, Lurch barely got enough screen time to really make a mark but I still missed his disgruntled moans and grunts. While Isaac Ordonez got the whole ‘long suffering brother’ part down, he failed to convey other noteworthy aspects of his character. Pugsley is more than just a whipping boy. He’s sneaky, obsessed with explosives, and always up to no good. Alas, this Pugsley left me wanting much more. Thankfully, the other character this show got amazingly right was the titular one, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams.

Wednesday | Goo Goo Muck

I admit to not being familiar with Jenna Ortega before this show. I did some research and wasn’t surprised to discover her earlier career was mostly on Disney and candy-coated fare. What did surprise me was that recently she’s made a bit of a jump into horror, with her role in the most recent Scream, and obviously, Wednesday itself. Put simply, Ortega has gone from not being remotely on my radar to a young actress whose career I’m eager to watch unfold.

Not only does she expertly convey the scorn and gothic intensity of the character, but she delivers each cutting line with surgical precision. She’s equal parts hilarious and terrifying, and she builds well on the foundation laid by Christina Ricci. She’s a bit more hard-edged and less willing to listen to the advice her parents offer her. Ortega takes the character in darker directions than even I expected and surprises with impressive ability. Put simply, this Wednesday receives visions of the future and past. A useful skill for a budding young wannabe detective who’s tasked with stopping a deranged killer.

Wednesday | Uncle Fester

Before I go too much further, I need to touch on a couple of other surprising performances. No Addams Family would be complete without Uncle Fester. And while we only get Fester for one episode, what an episode it was! I wasn’t sure how well Fred Armisen would portray the zany uncle, but I shouldn’t have fretted. His performance lies somewhere between Christopher Lloyd’s bombastic Fester and the goofy animated version by Nick Kroll. I was constantly laughing as he used his electrical powers and talked about his less-than-legal antics.

But what truly impressed me was Thing. I don’t know how a bodiless hand can convey things like dejection and frustration, but somehow Thing makes it work. This version is a bit more Frankenstein’s Monster than I expected, but he’s full of personality. He picks locks, gives fashion advice, and serves as an invaluable assistant to Wednesday. At one point late in the season I even feared for his supernatural life and found myself close to tears.

Wednesday | Nevermore

The crux of the series is about Wednesday leaving her regular school and being sent to a supernatural boarding school by her parents. There was an incident involving a pool, some bullies, and a couple of bags of piranhas, so Gomez and Morticia felt their daughter might do better around similarly unique children. She’s sent (against her will) to Nevermore, founded by the poet Edgar Allen Poe.

It’s a school by and for self-styled Outcasts. For the most part, they’re all different varieties of supernatural creatures. The four main groups are Fangs (vampires), Furs (werewolves), Scales (sirens), and Stoners (gorgons), but there are others as well. There are also, a couple of students with telekinetic and telepathic powers, as well as a shapeshifter.

You’d think this was the perfect environment for one young Wednesday Addams, but the perpetual rain cloud hates the idea of being forced to do things like join a social group or make friends.

Wednesday | Roomies

I got a mix of Legacies and Harry Potter energy from Nevermore, and it was populated by some fun new characters all wearing what I call preppy Beetlejuice uniforms. One is Wednesday’s eternally cheerful half-werewolf roomie, Enid. She’s everything the Addams girl isn’t. Cheerful, brightly colored, and full of jubilant energy. To say they aren’t fast friends is an understatement.

There’s also the popular and vindictive Siren, Bianca, as well as her ex-boyfriend Xavier Thorpe. I’m not entirely sure what variety of creature he’s supposed to be. He seems to have the ability to bring drawings to life, but he also gets visions of the future, and his father is a well-renowned psychic.

Christina Ricci with red bangs, hair drooping over the shoulder, and glasses, as Laurel Gates in Netflix's Wednesday.

Then there’s Eugene, another question mark who loves bees. He’s a giant, lovable nerd, and he reminds me a lot of the boy that helped Wednesday escape summer camp in Addams Family Values. One of my absolute favorite characters was Principal Weems, played by the one and only Gwendoline Christie. She’s a dedicated professional trying her best to keep Nevermore running while also placating the Normie (think Muggles) town of Jericho.

Oh, and did I mention Ricci joins the cast as Marilyn Thornhill? She’s a basic human, but she teaches the Nevermore students about exotic plants. Put together, the cast helps ground the series, as well as offering plenty of hurdles for Wednesday to bash her way through.

Wednesday Addams' Ancestor. Dressed in all white attire in contrast to Wednesday's traditional black.

The show also incorporates interesting lore into the mix. We learn about how Gomez Addams might have murdered a boy when he attended Nevermore with Morticia. Not to mention the town of Jericho was apparently founded by a murderous Pilgrim named Joseph Crackstone. Wednesday meets a ghostly ancestor named Goody Addams, also played by Ortega.

On top of all this, the show delves into what “normal” truly is, while helping Wednesday realize what matters to her and how she wants to evolve into something new. The young gothic starlet even juggles two potential suitors, one Normie and one Outcast.

Best of all, the show keeps you guessing who the mastermind behind the chaos is up until the final episode. Throw in plenty of murders to investigate, shocking acts of violence, and amazing laughs, and you have a hell of a season one.

Wednesday Addams plays the Cello

Honestly, even if you’re not a fan of The Addams Family, you should still check Wednesday out. It’s well-written and has great actors and stunning sets. If that’s not enough, there’s plenty of mayhem, murder, and monsters to enjoy. Or maybe just watch it for the dark joy of Wednesday Addams playing Paint It Black on her cello. Most importantly, just give the show a shot. Though I find it beyond perplexing to hear the rumors Netflix isn’t committed to giving it a second season, I suspect young Wednesday Addams will find a way to survive regardless. Two snaps for this brilliantly conceived and executed new show.

Eversoul Launch Takes The Mobile RPG Genre to Beautiful New Worlds

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eversoul

Kakao Games and Nine Ark Inc. are excited to announce the official launch of Eversoul, the highly anticipated mobile RPG. Players can immerse themselves in a world of Souls and embark on a quest to save their world from invaders.

Eversoul features engaging lore and story, and players can collect a variety of unique Souls with their own skill sets and spirit-imbued artifacts. The game also incorporates interactive story content and a relationship system, allowing players to form close bonds and even romance their Souls to enhance their performance in battle.

In addition to traditional RPG elements, Eversoul also offers dungeon crawling and PvP arena content for players who enjoy intense action. The Town serves as the hub area where players can send their Souls on part-time jobs to gather EXP and resources, and an idle offline mode allows Souls to continue tasks even when players are not actively playing. There is also a town-decorating mode for players to get creative and design their own mesmerizing towns.

Since being showcased at various major offline events in 2022, Eversoul has garnered a large following and received over 1.5 million pre-registrations globally. Players can now join the adventure and start collecting and fighting their way to save the world of Souls.

Available on Google Play and the apple IOS store.

‘The Ark’ Trailer Reveals SYFY’s Latest Series Trailer and Release Date

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The Ark promotional image for episode 101 Christine Burke
THE ARK -- Episode 101 -- Pictured: Christie Burke as Sharon Garnet -- (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

SYFY has released a new trailer for their newest series The Ark. Created by Dean Devlin, the story takes place 100 years in the future when planetary colonization missions have begun as a necessity to help secure the survival of the human race.

The first of these missions on a spacecraft known as Ark One encounters a catastrophic event causing massive destruction and loss of life. With more than a year left to go before reaching their target planet, a lack of life-sustaining supplies, and a loss of leadership, the remaining crew must become the best versions of themselves to stay on course and survive.

The series stars Christie Burke, Richard Fleeshman, Reece Ritchie, Stacey Read and Ryan Adams. Dean Devlin (“Independence Day,” “Stargate”) and Jonathan Glassner (“Stargate SG-1”) are co-showrunners and executive producers alongside Marc Roskin and Rachel Olschan-Wilson of Electric Entertainment. Jonathan English of Balkanic Media and Steve Lee serve as producers.

You can check out the freshly released trailer above, along with some photos from the pilot episode below.

THE ARK — Episode 101 — Pictured: Christie Burke as Sharon Garnet — (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)
The Ark promotional image for episode 101 Christine Burke
THE ARK — Episode 101 — Pictured: Christie Burke as Sharon Garnet — (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)
THE ARK — Episode 101 — Pictured: Christie Burke as Sharon Garnet — (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)
THE ARK — Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Dominik Cicak as Harrison Beckner, Richard Fleeshman as Lt. James Brice, Reece Ritchie as Lt. Spencer Lane — (Photo by: Aleksandar Letic/Ark TV Holdings, Inc./SYFY)

Hulk #14 Reveals the Most Dangerous Hulk in Marvel Comics History

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Cover art for Hulk #14
Cover for Hulk #14 by Ryan Ottley.

Marvel Comics has announced an epic finale to see off their Hulk Planet run written by Donny Cates and drawn by Ryan Ottley. Thus far, Bruce Banner has fled to the farthest reaches of space… discovering for himself, a new home on a planet inhabited by Hulk-like creatures. Living under the heat of a gamma star, these creatures have thrived under their Gamma energy, where Banner is worshipped, and the raging menace could finally find inner peace.

But In Hulk #14, that peace ends. Fans will witness the emergence of Titan, an alternate personality and the deadliest Hulk in Marvel Comics history. This formidable foe refuses to be suppressed any longer and Bruce Banner will pay a steep price for believing that he was ever in control, as Bruce struggles to save the planet and himself from the wrath of Titan. More importantly, Banner must finally come to terms with his own actions, including the harm he has inflicted on the Hulk.

“It’s been so much fun to finally tackle working on the HULK. And being able to write the last four issues of this arc and bring some story elements to fruition was such a challenge but I’ve enjoyed it the whole way,” Ottley said in a Marvel press release. “Drawing comics is what I’m used to; writing is a whole different animal, but doing both jobs was great and makes me want to do it more often! Feels sad to wrap up the arc and move on, but it’s definitely one of my favorite comic experiences. Hulk will always be one of my favorite Marvel heroes. And now with Titan added to the rogues gallery, hopefully we’ll see him again someday in all his fury and glory!”

Within the remaining fragments of the Mind Palace, Bruce must come to terms with the fact that once this part of the Hulk has been unleashed, it can never be contained again. It will be a test of both Bruce’s and the Hulk’s strength as they try to regain control and prevent the destruction of Hulk Planet.

HULK #14

Written by RYAN OTTLEY

Art and Cover by RYAN OTTLEY

On Sale 4/26

Quantum Leap Episode 9 Review: Fellow Travelers

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Carly and Ben stand outside the doors to a concert hall with a poster of Carly
Deborah Ann Woll as Carly, Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song (Photo by: Ron Batzdorf / NBC)

The original Quantum Leap that aired from 1989-1993 often seemed to forget that Sam Beckett had a life in the present, whereas the reboot that kicked off this past fall often seemed distracted by the team in Ben Song’s time. After stumbling with a few episodes, the new show finally struck a balance as it reached the midseason finale, and I’m happy to report that the balance continues in “Fellow Travelers,” the first episode back after the hiatus.

***Spoilers for the first half of the season follow***

The midseason finale left us with a huge revelation: Ben, after suffering Quantum Leap-induced amnesia, finally remembered why he went rogue and jumped into the time travel machine in the first place. It was to save Addison. From what? He doesn’t recall. Why did he turn to a hacker instead of his team? He doesn’t recall that either.

Addison, understandably, is incredibly peeved that her fiancé would unilaterally make the decision to leave their present without giving her a say in her own fate. As she advises Ben on his current leap, the show deftly handles the emotional fallout from the revelation, weaving it in without making it a distraction. (Indeed, after rewatching two seasons of the original Quantum Leap, Al’s antics as a hologram are quite vexing… he frequently gets annoyed at Sam for not responding to him in public, when Sam would appear to be talking to himself…).

Carly stands outside a limo while Ben, as her bodyguard, watches
Deborah Ann Woll as Carly, Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song (Photo by: Ron Batzdorf / NBC)

Meanwhile, Ben leaped into a man named Jack, the bodyguard of a famous singer, Carly, in 1979. Within a few minutes, a lighting fixture falls and nearly kills her. Addison soon informs him that it wasn’t an accident and that the would-be murderer will try again. With help from the team in the Quantum Leap headquarters, Ben works to figure out who’s trying to kill Carly. At first, he tries to protect Carly from the truth… which Addison has a few thoughts about.

Ben, Carly, and Addison stand in an alley, with Carly looking upset
Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, Deborah Ann Woll as Carly, Caitlin Bassett as Addison (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff / NBC)

Quantum Leap does a great job of instantly making Carly sympathetic and making both Ben and the audience invested in her fate – something previous episodes have struggled with. There’s an added wrinkle when Carly turns out to have some romantic interest in Jack, the man Ben leaped into. The original Quantum Leap veered into creepy (even rapey) territory with Sam’s romantic trysts… after all, is it really consent if the woman thinks she’s kissing one man, but it’s actually the mind of another inside his body? The excuse the show gave was that since the woman thought Sam was her husband/romantic partner, it would be cruel of Sam to rebuff her. In the early 1990s, that might have flown, but in 2022, it’s pretty gross.  Thank goodness Ben doesn’t do any of that. He gives Carly an answer vague enough not to ruin her relationship with Jack and turns the focus back to the mystery.

Back at Quantum Leap headquarters, Jenn tracks down Ben’s partner in crime, Janis Calavicci, setting up for more reveals to come in future episodes.

Ben and Addison sit backstage
Raymond Lee as Dr. Ben Song, Caitlin Bassett as Addison (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff / NBC)

All in all, “Fellow Travelers” is one of my favorite episodes of the season so far, striking a fantastic balance between the leap at the heart of the show and the larger mystery surrounding why Ben put himself here in the first place. I also love that Quantum Leap calls out Ben for going it alone by leaping in the first place and putting his fiancée and teammates in a problematic situation. Nice to acknowledge that he’s not perfect (Sam was often treated as a demigod who could do no wrong… a Gary Stu if you will).

“Fellow Travelers” does a good job of pacing the reveals in the season arc, moving them forward without getting bogged down. Quantum Leap seems to have figured out the right blend of past and present, and here’s hoping they keep it up.

Best Comics of 2022 

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There were a lot of amazing comics this year compared to the previous one and the industry is surprisingly, still strong. The addition of webtoons, YA content, and manga has caused exponential growth within the industry, and shockingly, demand for comics continues to see growth as we see more voices enter the comics medium than ever before.

To adapt, The Workprint has added a lot of comic coverage this past year. Personally, I’ve read and covered more comics than ever before in my lifetime with 2022 being an exceptional year for stories inked on the page.

That said, making a ‘best of’ list was difficult. So rather than just choose the top comics for their accolades, I thought I’d pull 6 of some of the top comics from different publishers with details on why you should check them out below. I also, put my money where my mouth is, as these are not only my recommendations but ones I ended up personally buying in some form or another.

 

6. Devil’s Reign

Devil's Reign

This comic would have scored much higher had it not been such a fantastic year for Marvel, as Devil’s Reign is easily in the shadows of both Axe: Judgement Day and Immortal X-Men, despite it being the more grounded tale based on the streets of New York City.

Crafted by one of the most infamous best-selling names in comics, Chip Zdarsky, with gritty art by Marco Checchetto, Devil’s Reign takes Daredevil back to some gritty roots where the Kingpin now reigns as Mayor of New York City. Essentially playing big-time foil to both Daredevil and Spider-Man. 

This comic incorporates Luke Cage winning over the populace in a very grassroots popularity campaign, with Purpleman, Jessica Jones, and of course, Daredevil an Electra all butting heads over the heart of New York City. With an army of supervillains, Doctor Octopus, and the Thunderbolts under his pockets, what makes this fun… is that the story reads like something right out of the Netflix Marvel superhero series. So fans of the TV shows will likely, like myself, love this run…

Though to be honest… that’s just Chip Zdarsky. He’s a fantastic storyteller.

 

5. Good Asian Vol. 1

Good Asian

So here’s one that’s entirely different. In Good Asian, we see a classic detective story from an entirely asian perspective. One that actually tackles the immigrant abuse issues of the era and America’s perception of non-whites at a time where the population both treated and saw people of color as lesser-class… well, not even citizens.

Written by Pornsak Pichetshote, with art by Alexandre Tefenkgi and published by Image Comics, the story is set in Los Angeles’ Chinatown 1936. Where detective Edison Hark is on the trail of a murderer. Set during America’s immigration ban, this comic is a dark look at the criminal underbelly with an Asian-American’s perspective: rife with murder, abusive police, and crime in a world that doesn’t care… as again…

It’s Chinatown.

Volume 1 is a collection of the entire series, having debuted this past September. A good buy if you’re into Asian American culture and comics.

 

4. Dark Spaces: Wildfire

Dark Spaces Wildfire

During the historic Arroyo wildfire, a crew of women convicts serve on the frontlines to stop an unrelenting swarming inferno. But when their newest recruit, a white collar criminal, realizes that they’re miles from an abandoned mansion owned by a shady and wealthy ex-boss, the women consider the score of a lifetime. All under the cover of smoke and ash… 

That’s the premise to IDW’s Dark Spaces: Wildfire. What’s great, is just how grounded the story feels as a tale about convicts paid pennies on the dollar, all based around real-life details. I also like the illustrations by Hayden Sherman, as the details that describe the wildfire itself, often play in conflict with the characters and permeate every page, serving as a nice pressure cooker forcing decisions to be made. 

The first big release of IDW’s creator-focused originals, Scott Snyder’s writing is a masterclass in genre stories. He’s the kind of writer who can toss any characters, in this case, the 513 crew, into any sort of situation where they find the conflict and hit the theme. With Wildfire being a tale about strong women and finding honor in the choices made.

As someone who served as and who still has friends in volunteer EMS/Rescue/Fire this comic is well-researched. Much of the firefighting jargon is spot on and the emphasis on the all-consuming and destructive stages of a wildfire, served as a nifty time-constricted antagonist for what’s revealed to be: a solid heist story. 

 

3. Catwoman: Lonely City

Catwoman Lonely City

A reimagined DC comics take on the Batman lore, writer Cliff Chiang (Paper Girls) does something different by capturing a haunting tale of Catwoman’s story set in a world without the Batman… or even the need for people like herself. 

It takes place about a decade after the massacre of Fools’ Night. An event which had taken the lives of Batman, The Joker, Nightwing, and commissioner Gordon – in a tragic moment that tested everyone’s resolve to their limits. Years later, Catwoman has just finished serving her time, and is now returning to a Gotham that’s no longer a home of costumed vigilantism. 

In lieu of this, Gotham city is now a surveillance state dystopia run by Mayor Harvey Dent and enforced, by the very aptly titled: Batcops. Unsettled in a world where she feels like those moments of her life were discarded, this deeply introspective dive reimagines the Bat-mythos from the eyes of Bruce’s one time greatest love interest, taking a look at Gotham from just beyond the outside of his mission. 

…Where Catwoman is eager for one last job to settle the score. The greatest heist of all: unlocking secrets of the Batcave with some old familiar faces. A solid read for those interested.

 

2. Immortal X-Men Vol. 1

Immortal X-Men

I’d be remiss, as I think most would be,  to not include what most are considering the best Marvel comics run in a long time. The Immortal X-Men line right now is pulling off the kinds of stories that hasn’t been tackled since the 1990s… not only touching on social and culturally relevant issues of the time, but also, getting very political and philosophical by questioning the nature of immortality, power, and race relations… All in a way that only the X-Men can. 

Many critics, and myself agree, that this is the best X-Men comics series since the old apocalypse run. Kieron Gillen is absolutely killing it with this series by taking the X-Men, a severely underpowered and dying race of mutants, and turning them into literal Gods. In control of a powerful Krakoan nation. All in ways that many feared Mutants could be. 

It’s a story that is making us question the nature of what it means to be human and who’s really in control in regards to leadership and authority. More importantly, it’s doing all of this while making Sinister a funny and relatable menace and seems to only get better as the issues continue. As everyone has a political scheme up their sleeve.

 

1. It’s Lonely At The Center of The Earth

It's Lonely at the center of the Earth

This is the one everyone seems to be talking about. A semi-autographic novel by Zoe Thorogood that’s won everyone, including myself, over. It’s an introspective story about the author… not about heroes journeying, but rather, life falling apart and using art to survive. 

A book where Zoe Thorogood details her life as a breakthrough new artist with depression, whom above all else, wants to feel less lonely despite how their feelings of alienation are what’s making her the most ‘relatable’ artist in existence. 

It’s a story about Thorogood’s blooming career at this moment in time. From finding opportunities early on, to the weight of writing a successful follow-up as a voice of a new generation. This comic is a zany yet sentimental story equal parts equal parts depressing and self-destructive, as it’s about the importance of being a role model… Albeit one with severe imposter syndrome. 

Above all else, this is a story about how people affect one another for better or worse. The uncomfortable sadness about being a human being, and all that life in-between, and how, that’s totally, okay to not be okay.

A must-own for 2022.

Top 10 TV Comfort Watches of 2022

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Key art for Young Rock Season 3

Happy almost 2023, everyone!

It’s been a weird year, and I’ve spent a lot of time huddled under a blanket, watching soothingly low-stakes comfort TV. Mostly sitcoms where the problem will be resolved in 20 minutes. Or competition reality shows cleverly edited to give you faith in humanity. Here are my top 10 TV comfort watches of 2022, ranked not necessarily by quality, but by how soothing I found them. Since comfort is subjective, I’ll confess it’s a bit of an oddball list…

10. She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

She hulk poster

This one’s the lowest on the list not because of quality (in fact, it is most excellent), but because of all the shows on this list, it probably has the most actually consequential plot. But ultimately, it’s a fun little show about lawyer-turned-Hulk Jennifer Walters, who still wants to live her best Millennial 30-something life despite being dragged into superherodom. Witty and clever without the end-of-the-world-type shenanigans the MCU is usually known for, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is basically a serialized chick flick with gamma rays. Which is exactly what I want out of a comfort watch.

9. America’s Got Talent: Season 17

America's Got Talent poster

Kudos to AGT for bringing back the old-fashioned vaudeville/variety show in a 21st-century format. The million-dollar prize makes the stakes plenty high for the contestants, but let’s face it, the auditions – where we get to see dozens of acts, many unexpected – is what we come for. And in 2022, the show seemed to really embrace that. Instead of taking a handful of acts through judge cuts and quarter-finals and blah, blah, blah, they gave us eight whole episodes of auditions and then jumped straight to the finals. And, of course, used well-produced interviews and clever editing to up the heart-warmingness of each sob-to-success story. Sometimes, you just want to watch talented people overcome adversity, show off their skills, and cry happy tears while receiving a standing O.

8. Blockbuster Melissa Fumero and Randall Park in Blockbuster

Who doesn’t love a workplace comedy where your kooky but improbably likable coworkers are your family? Especially one infused with a perfect blend of nostalgia and underdog status? Blockbuster, ironically produced by Netflix, is about the last Blockbuster store in the world, run by a hopeful-but-hapless manager played by Randall Park with his signature clueless, lovable, dad-ish awkward-goofiness. The show often veers into absurdity, which is part of its charm because, let’s face it, sometimes we just want to leave reality behind.

7. Making the Cut: Season 3

Making the Cut season 3 poster

Make it work! Ok, so Tim Gunn doesn’t actually get to say that on Making the Cut. But for those of us who’ve been missing Project Runway, Amazon has fortunately resurrected the classic fashion competition show for the streaming era. Except with a lot less snark from the judges (with a few notable exceptions) and a lot more friendliness between contestants, perhaps as a reflection of contemporary sensibilities. They actually help each other, sometimes even saving each other, instead of making catty comments to the camera. Plus, creative challenges! Pretty clothes! Seeing cool locations!

6. Reboot

Reboot poster

Hey, look! A sitcom about a sitcom! Reboot follows the cast of a 20-year-old family sitcom that has just been, you guessed it, rebooted, with Keegan Michael-Kay and Judy Greer playing an on-screen and off-screen (???) couple. Rachel Bloom plays the beleaguered showrunner whose efforts to turn it into a pretentious art show get upended by her old-school-writer dad (Paul Reisner). It’s a low-stakes behind-the-scenes comedy with a fun cast, whose characters are that funky unlikable-yet-likable type.

5. The Great British Baking Show: Season 13

The cast of the Great British Baking Show Season 13

What list of comfort watches could be complete without the epitome of comfort watches, The Great British Baking Show? Look at all these lovely people making pretty baked creations and being nice to each other! And this season’s cast is absolutely wonderful. From creative genius Syabira to lovably cocky Sandro to sweet underdog Abdul… this is one of my favorite casts of the whole show so far. And the reason this show isn’t higher on the list is because of production decisions… namely, a poorly thought-out “Mexican Week” (cringe cringe cringe) and a few mean reality-show shenanigans (Having them make ice cream with freezers that barely freeze? C’mon, that’s not what we’re here for!).

4. Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls

Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls poster

Lizzo is searching for Big Grrrl dancers to join her tour, and it is absolutely delightful to see a reality competition show where the judge wants everyone to succeed. You can tell from the get-go that she wants to say yes to everyone and actively encourages and coaches the contestants along the way. And there are no weekly eliminations… in fact, I have a feeling Lizzo wouldn’t eliminate anyone if she didn’t have to. Plus it’s heartwarming to watch all these super-talented performers get to throw three middle fingers at their detractors and shine on stage.

3. Abbott Elementary

abbott elementary poster

Without a doubt, the best returning sitcom of 2022 is Abbott Elementary, a mockumentary-style workplace comedy about struggling yet passionate public school teachers (plus their hilariously unscrupulous principal). With a dynamite cast, sharp writing, and biting-without-being-preachy social commentary, the show delivers week to week. As far as comfort watches go, it’s a great one. Who doesn’t love watching lovable (if sometimes cantankerous or clueless) underdogs who just want to help kids learn? Of course, their actual circumstances are a bit depressing – if realistic – which is why even though this is the best sitcom, it’s my number three for comfort watching.

2. Young Rock

Key art for Young Rock Season 3

As far as comfort watches go, it doesn’t get much better than Young Rock. Never before has the plot mattered less… its subject is one of the most famous men on the planet, so we know without a shadow of a doubt how everything is going to turn out for him. The framing device leans into absurdity to take the teeth out of anything so much as resembling stakes (in the 2030s, Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is a political candidate and talks about his childhood and youth to impart lessons for the present). And the nonlinear storytelling – the show jumps between Johnson as a tween, teen, and young adult, played by 3 different (all excellent) actors – lets you know exactly how things will end up even if you aren’t familiar with all of Johnson’s biography. Each episode has a heartwarming, sit-com-y theme about family, friends, dedication, etc. and it’s a total delight. Plus, how fun is it to see all these major wrestling personalities as sitcom cameos?

1. Star Trek: Lower Decks

Lower Decks poster

This is 100% the biased choice of a shameless nerd. Star Trek: Lower Decks is a delightful blend of referential Star Trek/geek humor and low-stakes workplace comedy (come to think of it, all the sitcoms on this list are workplace comedies… I guess because the best recent family comedies have pretty much run their courses). Each episode has just enough sci-fi plot to get it going, yet for the most part, the stakes remain low and not edge-of-your-seat because of the support status of the show’s central ship… plus the cartoon absurdity that forbids you from taking it too seriously. And its place in the Star Trek canon means it won’t have any universe-changing consequences that might mess things up for the live-action shows. It’s got the optimism of the original Star Trek, a ridiculous yet lovable cast, and good-natured humor. What’s not to love?

X-Cellent #1 is bringing back Peter Milligan, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred for more mutant madness!

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X-Cellent #1

More X-Statix and X-Cellent action drops in March!

Did you enjoy last year’s X-Statix saga in X-Cellent by Peter Milligan, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred? Well, rejoice, because Marvel Comics is bringing you more this March! This comic superstar trio will return for additional mutant star adventures in a five-issue sequel series titled The X-Cellent. This series will remain in the vein of the quirky, exciting stories of X-Statix while also continuing to dive deep into their newly-introduced supervillain foils known as the X-Cellent.

X-Statix was a unique tale when it premiered in the 2000s, grabbing the attention of Marvel fans with a dark sense of humor and an unorthodox take on superheroics. Given our current climate, this breakout hit is even more appropriate and apt than ever. Fans will be treated to this intriguing and out-there corner of the Marvel Universe once again, featuring all the fan-favorite characters like U-Go Girl, Zeitgeist, Doop, and others!

In this digital age where social media is god, Zeitgeist is still intent on reigning supreme regardless of how many bodies are left in his wake! But he’ll have to share that spotlight when the new generation of the X-Statix join the party!

“There are few finer feelings in comics than teaming up again with Mike Allred and creating THE X-CELLENT, the latest chapter of the strange mutant journey that began with X-STATIX!” Milligan said.

“Playing with Peter Milligan and our beloved Marvel Mutant creations is always pure comic book bliss!” Allred added. “And this next arc of THE X-CELLENT really kicks everything up to ELEVEN!”

Be there for the next chapter of Peter Milligan, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred’s mutant celebrity saga this March! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

X-Cellent #1

THE X-CELLENT #1 (OF 5)

Written by PETER MILLIGAN

Art and Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED & LAURA ALLRED

On Sale 3/15

Ron Marz and Ron Lim have a new Adam Warlock story for you – Warlock: Rebirth!

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Warlock Rebirth

 

If you loved their hit series Silver Surfer: Rebirth then Ron Marz and Ron Lim have a treat for you, they are teaming up again to bring you the limited series Warlock: Rebirth!

These two legendary comic creators responsible for making Marvel Universe’s cosmic corner what it is today, are reexamining the exciting tale of Adam Warlock. All the comic fans will be talking in 2023 with this new series about the eternally alluring and insanely powerful superhero – a must for fans but also a fine starting point for newcomers to get into this character’s prolific past. This essential episode is set early in Adam’s history and focuses on retelling the perfect man’s origin in amazing ways along with the introduction of a new character that will have a lasting effect on his legacy!

Adam Warlock was intended to be the perfect human specimen. He’s fit the bill nicely even becoming a cosmic savior by trouncing threats to the galaxy like Thanos, the Universal Church of Truth, and the Magus. But perfection is an ever-changing definition and there’s a new Warlock on the horizon. How will Adam take to someone who is tougher, quicker, and cleverer than himself?

“Ron and I had such a great time on our Surfer series, accepting the invitation to come back and do more was a no-brainer,” Marz said. “The cosmic end of the Marvel Universe is a wonderful playground, and we’ve got some great toys, including Gamora and Pip and Doctor Strange. There are definitely some sequel threads to what we did in Silver Surfer: Rebirth, but we’re making sure this Warlock series stands on its own. Who knows, maybe a shiny guy on a surfboard will show up too.”

Don’t miss this untold story of Adam Warlock and the Infinity Watch when Warlock Rebirth arrives in April

Warlock Rebirth

 

WARLOCK: REBIRTH #1 (OF 5)

Written by RON MARZ

Art and Cover by RON LIM

On Sale June 2023

Howard the Duck Special 50th Anniversary Features New Covers

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2023 makes 50 years of Howard the Duck, who’s one of the weirdest yet most beloved characters in all of comics. In celebration of this tremendous milestone, Marvel Comics will feature the quacktastic fowl in a year-long series of variant covers that shows the traditionally lone lounge duck, teaming up with your favorites throughout the Marvel Universe.

Starting in February, fans can see Howard the Duck’s unique contributions in wonderful art pieces involving snatching the Infinity Gauntlet, going on a ride with Ghost Rider, and fighting alongside Mary Jane and Black Cat just to name a few!

Not enough Howard? Fans can also pick up Marvel Masterworks: Howard the Duck Vol. 1 and Marvel Masterworks: Howard the Duck Vol. 2 to keep celebrating Howard’s many achievements over the years. Steve Gerber along with artists Val Mayerik, Frank Brunner, and Gene Colan showcase Howard’s first appearance and his breakdown his most iconic adventures in the masterworks treatment of a duck’s lifetime. In their satirical Howard masterpieces!

Check out the first four Howard the Duck variant covers!

 

On Sale 2/15

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On Sale 3/1

Howard the Duck Ghost Rider variant

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On Sale 4/19

WARLOCK: REBIRTH #1 HOWARD THE DUCK VARIANT COVER by RON LIM

Howard the Duck Masterworks vol 1
Howard the Duck Masterworks Vol.
Howard the Duck Masterworks vol 2
Howard the Duck Masterworks Vol. 2

‘Area 51: The Helix Project’ – A Conversation with Author Trevor Fernandes-Lenkiewicz

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Area 51 The Helix Project

 

Area 51: The Helix Project is a story about identity. Where Kent, a young alien living isolated and alone, has to deal with his past demons confronting self-actualized and harrowing truths about the true nature of who he is… and the government that wants to find him. It’s a tale about perceptions regarding who we are versus whom we’re meant… and the journey uncovering the various secrets in between.

We talked with Trevor about his now-finished series along with thoughts about the comic medium. Below, is an abridged version of our interview, but for the full conversation feel free to click on the podcast link below or check out TheWorkprint podcast. We also wrote about the ‘Area 51: The Helix Project’ cover reveals earlier this month as well.

First, can you share with us your comics journey? What made you want to pivot from researcher to youtube reviewer, and then finally, to creating your own comic?

“I got into comics late having started reading around 16-17, which usually seems to be when most people take their break. But it was Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls with Greg Cappulo that got me. In college, i didn’t have many friends into comics, so I started a Youtube channel and was desperate to talk with people about it. I definitely felt that in order to be a decent reviewer, i should know something about the technical development of the medium. So, I researched craft and was fortunate to interview a couple people I admire. 

I was asked a couple times (by guests) why I wasn’t making comics. I didn’t have an answer. Then in 2019, I was at the press panel for Marvel with Chris Claremont and Marvel Editor-in-Chief, C.B. Cebulski. I had a chat with C.B. after that, who thanked me for my good questions, then asked if I had ever considered working in comics… Which I hadn’t even thought about until the E.I.C. of Marvel just asked…

It sent me home thinking about what I wanted in life. I was studying molecular and cellular biology at UCONN. Eventually, I decided to tack on a late English degree to see if I had it in me. Then, in March 2020, I interviewed for an editorial internship at Marvel, which just so happened to be the month that the apocalypse hit the US. The week I was interviewing, was the week hand sanitizer and toilet paper were selling out everywhere!

I got a call a week later with some interest. Then two weeks later, they responded that they couldn’t do anything given the pandemic, which dragged on until the end of the year. I went into a pit of self pity, but decided that I didn’t want to ask someone for permission to pursue something I’m passionate about… and went for it. 

January will hit two years since that first issue came out. This marks the sixth and final book in the series and now I’m actively working on 3 other projects outside of that.” 

 

Tell Us, What is ‘Area 51: The Helix Project’ about?

“It’s a sci-fi thriller. In short, its a story about a boy of two worlds driven to excavate the trauma of his past after being confronted by a mysterious letter that puts his father’s murder into question. This journey drops him into the jaws of a cold war genetics conspiracy, forcing him to face a ghost of his past, as it questions everything he thought he knew about himself, and ultimately, what it means to be human.

“It’s a personal story about reconciling identity, memory, and loss…”  

Writing this story. I had no idea who i was, thinking that I was gonna spend the next 10 years in academia working for a Ph.D. But then I saw a potential to indulge myself creatively and it’s where a lot of this came from. So I took the advice of people I admired and wrote what I knew. I knew a lot about molecular biology and genetics.”

 

You feature a lot of details regarding labs in this comic so was an scientific background influential in the script? 

“So my primary focus in school was protein pathways and human molecular genetics. In the earlier issues, as the government is working out how to transplant the extraterrestrial properties of alien DNA onto soldiers, they talk a lot about how genetics interact with the immune system. How they’re attempting to circumvent the body’s immune responses when manipulating DNA. All of that stuff about leukocyte antigens were things I’d learned and played around with on a basic level in lab.

Committing to doing hard science fiction for me meant making it feel real. The lighting, metals, and fleshy textures: I wanted it all to be emotionally and personally pure. It was something I wanted to push toward as a lot of my favorite writers took the time to do research. So a lot of this was double-checking that the memories were correct, and honestly… it was a lot of fun! One of my favorite things about reading a Batman comic was giving the narrative voice of the writer credibility to me. So that’s what I went for.”

 

Let’s talk about your team. What’s it been like working with them in the collaborative process? 

“So for the first 4 issues, i worked with an artist from Brazil named Marcelo Salaza but ended up parting ways. From the beginning, we had the same colorist in Marcio Luis Freire, whose work has a real aptitude for texture and palette, so much that, we even had him run a secret variant for issue 5. Marcio is a tremendous talent. If I’m ever in a pinch for crunch he can pull it off with no corners cuts.

On letters, is Taylor Esposito, who’s an industry gold stand. Taylor just took home a Ringo Award this year. I was grateful that he was kind enough to hear me out as his letters definitely add more to what we’re trying to do. 

Then there’s Adrian Bonilla, our cover artist. I think we’re around the same age but to have seen how far he’s developed? Right now, that guy can compete with any cover artist in the industry and he’s still under 30! His ability to verbalize pieces of art cements his knowledge in a big way and his cracking away on issue 6’s covers right now is just bonkers. 

Finally, joining us for interiors and covers for issues 4-6 is Samuel Iwunze. He’s so good and improved so much of our visualization of the comic since issue 5. It’s so great it made me re-edit issue 5 just to play into his strengths, as I was ready to lean into his way. It’s just, seeing what he’s able to do in this emotional combustion chamber of an issue told me so much about his abilities as an artist. 

Honestly, learning from the team on this first projection has been an invaluable experience to me. When I came out the gate one of my biggest intentions was to make sure nobody could look at this comic book and think less of it in comparison to something from a major company. I think we succeeded.” 

 

It shows! The art team is incredible. Quickly, can you tell me what’s something you think most people don’t understand is difficult about making a comic?

“I guess, speaking from the writer’s stand point, I can see why some writers overwrite their  script. I think that having to pull yourself back and be moderate in doing it is one of the harder things about being a writer.

I was fortunate to come into this as a very critical reviewer. Knowing that I hated when writers overwrote was a little easier going into it, but there was still moments of this poetic monologue i wanted to keep on the page even when it didn’t fit. Moments realizing that this wasn’t that character’s voice… it was mine. So finding that balance without going too far and being floral for the sake of showing off was important.

It’s about being temperate in your own editing process. Rereading your stuff before it goes to anybody and finding that balance between what should be there.

Ultimately, I have to be sure that what’s written enriches what’s in the comic. Comics communicate much visually. There’s a rhythmic value to it. There’s a lot of musicality to how much or how little, to the text, aside from how well-written it’ll be.” 

 

I’d like to hear your thoughts about the comic medium today. What are some things you find nitpicky as a creator regarding how to craft comics?

“Well, most dialogue in comics today is awful. I love comics, obviously, and if you could see, I have several bookshelves of graphic novels around me. But most comic book writers have no clue how to write dialogue for comics. Some just don’t know how to differentiate from cinema or television. Not only do you need to have the fluidity of dialogue, but also, you need to be able to deliver the same information in less space. Whereas time in cinema, is a lot more forgiving.

I think modern comics writers give the reader too much information, give absolutely nothing, or just write in really chunky dialogue that doesn’t give the impression people talk this way. You have to do it where it feels authentic and doesn’t feel like a stop and go.” 

 

Much of Area 51: The Helix Project is about Kent accepting his identity as an alien along with the trauma of loss. What does identity mean to you in the comic?

“A part of it is that I was in a fluid transitional period of my life. I had no idea who I wanted to be anymore.  Then that NYCC happened and it seemed like life was going to change until the Pandemic happened and life changed for everyone in the planet.

There was this beautiful confluence at the time. I was going to school for molecular genetics, then I moved into science fiction, integrating it as a tool using DNA and shapeshifting aliens. At the end of the day, this comic is a genre story but I wanted to share it in a way I thought anyone could be related to. At some point, everyone struggles to figure out who they want to be in the context of the world they relate in.

Like, I got into Superman as a young adult and it took me much later to appreciate that character. In this case, Superman’s story would be different if he didn’t look like that image American society was beholden to: this chiseled white dude with a golden smile.

“I wanted to make this character, Kent… vulnerable.”

There was a couple things I wanted to explore about myself. This story is about how you reconcile identity with loss. Memories and perceptions of people and how they change from what you remember, then as you get older, begin to question. Was this person how I remember them? Because they changed, does that undermine the memory of them?

In issues 5-6, there’s this part I always talk about regarding Kent having to face a ghost in his past. I was going though something where I had a family member whom I’d grown up with, who was kind of deteriorating in his old age. I had nothing but fond memories of him as a kid. I remember hearing about him later in life where he was just doing things that were representations of him losing his mind and becoming incontinent. I wanted to wrestle with that a little in the story because i was questioning myself with how to proceed forward.

Do I let this person, their aging brain, affect these fond memories of them? Or do I be stern and let them be who they are now and the repercussions of that… You kind of use art as a way to translate, relate, and process… “

 

What’s one thing you want readers to take away from Area 51: the helix project?

“That everything and everyone in this world is trying to tell you something about yourself and your understanding of the world. That in the end of the day, in order to feel satiated, you have to seek it out yourself. These things will not come to you. You have to look for it to get an organic understanding of the world.

I feel like people tend to accept their identity on a silver platter. In order to find yourself in the world today, you have to put in some effort… but that’s how you come out of these things with a stronger and firmer you. “

 

Finally, where can most people find you online? More importantly. How can they support the comic?

Facebook and Instagram on Pocketwatch Press. Twitter at PWatchPress. If you want the prelaunch page of the Kickstarter is also up to notify you when it’ll go live. This campaign will have all the issues available for you and you will also have a bunch of opportunities to take part in things I’d never be able to offer: to get drawn into the book. You can be a producer of the series and be memorialized in the book with a credit. There’s also prints, and merchandise exclusive to Kickstarter backers.” 

Predator #1 Series Set to Debut this March

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predator #1 2023
PC: Marvel Comics

Marvel’s newest predator comics series continues this March with the launch of Predator #1. The story will continue to follow Theta Berwick, the series’ new protagonist, who is on a mission to rid the galaxy of the deadly Yautja aliens.

Joining writer Ed Brisson in this next chapter will be artist Netho Diaz, who’ll be bringing Theta’s journey to life. Set years after the opening arc featured in Predator, the new series is perfect for newcomers and a must-read for fans of Brisson’s previous run. In this epic new saga, Theta and a host of new characters find themselves trapped on a distant planet, fighting for their lives against three distinct Predators. Each of these Predators uses their vicious skills and alarming expertise in distinct and terrifying ways but share the same ultimate objective: HUNT. KILL. REPEAT.

But the Predators aren’t the only ones on the hunt in this deadly game. Someone else has the Yautja in their sights, and they’ve been searching for this game preserve for a long time. Prepare for a brutal, carnage-filled adventure that will turn everything you thought you knew about Predators on its head.

“As a lifelong Predator fan – ever since seeing the first at the drive-in theatre at too-young-of-an-age – writing the comic has been an absolute dream gig,” says Brisson in a Marvel Press release. “I’ve been thrilled at fan reaction and how I’ve been able to bring Theta into Predator lore – a bad-ass hunter we haven’t seen the likes of since Dutch took down the Jungle Hunter back in 1987.”

“My only problem with our first series was that it was over too soon! I wanted, no… needed, to write more in this universe,” he continues. “Thankfully, we’re coming back, with incredible newcomer Netho Diaz on art, to tell a tale that ties into film continuity, while breaking new ground. We’ve got a new cast, new Predators, and some huge surprises in store! If you’ve read and enjoyed our first series, you are not going to want to miss out.”

Get a sneak peek at the cover now, and let your fears be reborn when Predator #1 launches in March. The final issue of Brisson’s first Predator arc will also debut with Predator #6 on January 11. Likewise, keep an eye out for Predator By Ed Brisson Vol.1: Day of The Hunter, the collection containing all six issues, on sale this summer.

Predator

PREDATOR #1

Written by ED BRISSON

Art by NETHO DIAZ

Cover by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI

On Sale 3/8

Adult Swim’s Yule Log Review: Redefining the Log Lady

Yule log burning has been a wintertime staple since yore in the 17th century, Germanic pagan in origin for the sole purpose of bringing light into the darkness; bringing day into the night. The first televised Yule Log was in 1966 on New York City’s WPIX (you know it) and burned bright until 1989…

Twenty-three years of melodic, if not mediocre merriment for all to enjoy while we get lit on Wassail. That is until Casper Kelly came along and decided to fuck it all up for us to watch in abject horror and trippy bewilderment.

Sure, Yule Log starts out with the quaint crackle of the wood with holiday tunes playing in the background. That is until the landlady steps into the frame and begins to vacuum for her guests. A rapping at the door doesn’t comfort me either.

Answering it wasn’t on her list of duties, but neither was cleaning… nor being sexually assaulted, ultimately dying brutally at the hands of a backwoods freak under the watchful eye of his Mother (Tordy Clark). So much for the holiday festivities.

The burning log sees all and though her son attempts to burn the evidence, momma keeps extracting it. She knows they need to bury it, along with her corpse, so they drag the body out.

Thus far, we’ve only seen what’s in the periphery of a traditional yule log program, nothing more, nothing less.

Suddenly, disembodied voices of a man and a woman enter the frame. This is their Air BnB. They’re already getting off to a great start when he admits to leaving the fire burning, as he was recording and forgot to snuff it out. The operative word: snuff.

Getting the vino ready, he zooms the camera out for a full view. He primps himself we already know where this is going. It also gives us a nice view of the cabin, so it now takes us out of the fake and into the real.

His reason for filming was to make his own yule log video, though it’s secretly a proposal capture as well. This clever boy is Alex (Justin Miles).

Once the wine is poured and the toast is made, the camera shifts focus as they kiss to a reflection in their ice bucket. It’s the killer with his paper face mask on.

Fetching her some charcuterie, Alex fakes a charlie horse to get down on one knee and do the thang, which she is stricken by. Don’t worry, the killer is witness to this as well. This is Alex’s soon-to-be lifemate. This is Zoe (Andrea Laing).

As she mulls it over, we see the killer creep in through the blurred reflection of the ice bucket, but is immediately thwarted by the authorities at their door.

The Sheriff (Mark Costello) and Deputy (Jonathon Pawlowski) want to alert them to a found body on the other side of the mountain the other night.

Things only go from sketchy to creepy when it’s revealed that the logs used to produce their fire were from a lynching tree. Before that, it was a sacred tree to the indigenous of the area. Yeah, methinks they’re double-fucked, which ain’t a new holiday Oreo flavor.

Zoe gets the sheriff a glass of water, to which he extinguishes the fire, advising them not to burn it but to bury it with reverence.

The Deputy notices the camera. Alex does that every time he travels to create a new yule log video for Youtube, which he monetizes.

The Sheriff recommends they erase the tape this time on account of what type of tinder it is before handing over his card.

I will say, the banter betwixt the two lawmen is both reminiscent of the Coen Brothers, mixed with a twinkling of Twin Peaks. Kudos, Casper.

Upon their exit, we see a black and white overlay of two boys in coonskin hats playing cops and robbers, as if from a 1920s movie as the audio from the couple still plays in real-time. Not only was this beautiful, but will be a skein down the line.

Alex is indignant for them ruining his night as Zoe’s fear is rising. He tries to mansplain it away, but if the ‘yes’ was tentative on her part, it’s as cold as the quenched logs, now on display. He’s also diminutive of her honest fears, only wanting to get that fire in that place going again.  All that matters to him is setting the mood and getting the answer he wants, but she’s way too freaked out to even think about something so trivial. This goes as far as him thinking she’s scared of marriage, but her fear overtakes his selfishness.

His Golden Retriever, happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care nature isn’t sitting well with her. She’s realistic and though he seems like he’d be better with another puppy dog, he wants her. Now it’s gone from horror to drama in the blink of an eye.

She expects the other boot to drop and things never to work out. He suggests she increase her meds. Whoa! Wrong move, buddy.

This is the greatest metaphor for blind eyes vs mental health. I mean, he’s white and she’s black. Black and white could not be more slap you in the face and I am here for it.

Zoe knows shit’s fucked up in the world and to be Holly Golightly isn’t an option on the menu when they might be the main course.

Alex tries to prove that every era is bad when you’re in it and tries to galvanize his point with her imagining her in the Civil War, as the screen overlaps once again into a different age, with master Isaac (Michael Reagan) having his slave Rosa (Jessica Fontaine) serve him a meal. This hearth has certainly seen its fair share of pain and it’s baked into the hearth.

Zoe still sees the blue marble for what it currently is and Alex has no option but to ‘accept’ her worldview. He still, in his entertaining view of wanting to be with her, manages to make her laugh. That is until the code for the door is starting to be punched in. She grabs a knife, as she’s still on edge.

Turns out it’s a group that was double booked. They just welcome themselves in. The plot thickens as their blood boils.

As these hipsters (fodder for murder) help themselves to all amenities, Zoe warns them of a killer on the loose. In their hipster, true crime podcast-loving fashion, they crave to hear more about it.

Both Alex and their leader Ben (Sean Hankinson) call the booking agents but something interesting happens. It tracks to a phone in the house.

Squizzed out, Alex phones the Sheriff, to which now all of the stoned hipsters get wet because they ‘happen to do a murder podcast’. Called it.

So far, we have a distressed couple with de-stressed hipsters. What could possibly go wrong, especially after Zoe chastises them to not light the fire, which they find laughable? Don’t trifle with what you don’t know, I say, which is why I only hold my Ouija board sessions on a Wednesday, not a Friday. You don’t fuck with weekends.

Alex becomes more alarmed, growing increasingly pissed with Ben… until Ben shares a picture of them altogether, but because it’s blurry, Alex isn’t the wiser.

Ben explains that the mountain was known for alien sightings/lynchings, the camera once again swipes to black and white, now with a mother pouring a glass of tea for the aforementioned coonskin-hatted boys in front of the tv, in front of the same fireplace. They speak of Esther Dickens.

Zoe is pissed and to matters even worse, she’s informed that though the landlady is missing, police are done in for the night. She’s now freaked to 11 and though the group is excited.

As Alex rages against the dying night, three wipes over eras transpire, ending on slave and master. What the fuck?

Rosa asks her master a favor. When he goes to market, for him to give a quilt she’d sewn to a young boy that was scared of thunder. This is her child. She’s in for a shock, however, as Isaac couldn’t sell her son to the bidder she wanted. There are always deeper pockets.

In the now, they all have to bed down. The couples’ room is off-limits, but everything else is fair game. The basement is off-limits…

So the rest are headed for the hot tub. Alex is tempted, but Zoe just wants to pack. She knows what’s coming. Once they exit, the fire stokes up again and the camera violently pans in. It also pans out, leading to a very different, warm-hued shot of the cabin.

Those that are ready for the hot tub, are destined for it as Alex is trying to reason with Zoe.  The P.O.V. leads up to the second floor.

As we whip around as if in a hypnotic trance, we enter where Ben is showering. Yup, to very visceral enjoyment, the rivulets have run red. This is what we’re here for. It gets fucking violent.

As for the others, he looks on with nigh Michael Myers precision but holds back. They grill Alex on how much he rolls in.

He admits that the yule log vids make enough, but his ad agency job makes more with pushing evil. His girlfriend’s coral reef endeavors though, he asserts, are the counterbalance of karma.

Henry (Skye Passmore) says it’s dope as an influencer, though to be honest, none of them truly are. They’re just phonies that love to pretend that life. They’ve done a lot of should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve whilst still talking the walk.

Alex sits down with them for a drink and questions them on whether they do it for clout or for believing. Beth (Hannah Alline) is skeptical, but Alex challenges it. That’s Zoe comes in and questions who lit the fire. Uh oh, Spaghetti oO’s.

After Alex takes an edible, he’s with those who aren’t buzzkills. Ooh, wait. There’s more.

He offers to spill the tea on what’s hurting Zoe. Wrong move, buddy.

Henry’s high kicks in and he sees a Little Man in the Fire (Charles Green), inching him to come near. This will end well.

Alex then relays a really fucking vulnerable moment Zoe once had. Class act, buddy.

Henry’s too far in, creeping to the other side of the hearth. Now the little man has become human-sized. Henry’s in limbo. After an enticement, he introduces him to the elevator and his past life on different floors. Wait, did I just see the illustrious William Tokarsky in there? Never a good omen.

The Little Man knows Henry’s a fuckup and shows him the life he could live in luxury if he only were to do one simple, very simple task before he’s born. I’ll not spoil it, but the result is fucked up and maybe a birthday party might not be in his future.

A new player has entered the arena in his staid. R.I.P. Henry. People are wondering where Ben is, but it’s only when Beth, who’s been hitting on Alex goes to check on him does shit get real. She wants to resuscitate him, but try that with a fucking squashed Casaba Melon and then call me back.

She screams to the others’ consternation and they scream until another shout if they should give him mouth-to-mouth. The hat on a hat made me fucking howl.

Zoe’s phoning the Sheriff. She knows it’s a curse, and others’ blame now is being lobbed.

Spoke too soon. Beth’s dome is now modern art. The swiftness of the violence did surprise me.

The log itself has itself out and everybody knows that. All except for Alex. He still doesn’t believe in that chicanery and honestly thinks it’s all a bunch of hocus pocus. Had the Sanderson Sisters taught you anything, hon? YOU. DON’T. FUCK. WITH. WHAT. YOU. DON’T. KNOW.

Once Henry tries to blanket it, he is thrust into the house. Granted, it was supposed to be extinguished before you could do that, my dear. Sorry, they didn’t tell you that in the pamphlets.

The log isn’t done yet. Tiger, tiger. You know the schpiel.

Locking themselves into a room, Alex, Zoe, and Holly (Danielia Maximillian) are trying to stave off the pounding log, and as surreal as that may sound, it’s none less threatening. There’s a lot of history behind that log and maybe it has ‘something to say’.

This log has one my heart. It’s got a goal, like T-1000, and can’t stop, won’t stop.

Though Holly goes to exit, Alex keeps Zoe locked in the closet with him. It has very Halloween vibes and for good reason.

Holly is down for the count and though Alex can do everything to comfort Zoe, the bravado is only in his voice, not his soul… or maybe it is. Zoe knows the log is from hell and he’s just trying to go into his happy place. Kudos to him for keeping up the golden rule- don’t let anybody know you shit your pants until it actually dribbles down.

The log is waiting. Zoe believes the Sheriff sprinkled some sort of thing on the log that made it worse, but Alex is willing to make a break once he thinks the path is clear.

Coming from the burning log’s perspective, the two don’t stand a chance when it finds an in through the grate.

Alex thinks that through the camera, they’ll get proof of the paranormal and wants to sell it. Now, who’s becoming evil? He needs vocal confirmation as she doesn’t look him in the eye with an ‘I love you’ isn’t comforting either. He’s just like the others. He just wants validation, which might be more lethal than the ghost log ‘cleaning’ house.

It matters none, as once inviting herself, they jet down the stairs until they are granted no passage to the outside from the masked killer, Pleatherface (Brendan Patrick Connor).

With both Zoe and Holly bound nigh the hearth, Pleatherface is about to have his way with someone. With Alex is bound in the other room, his Mother chomps on nasty shit. She agrees that things are dangerous.

As her son plays a cute game of Eeny Meeny Miney Moe with both girls, Holly gives up his girlfriend as being prettier than her. Not a good look, Holly.

Bound up, hearing their screams, Alex asks her name. She’s Mother, but no amount of rapport and promises, including the engagement ring, will save his Chris Pratt-looking ass. Let this be a lesson to you… don’t fuck with the woods. I thought that Sondheim already taught you that!

She wants you to have her grandbaby and through a disgusting and Lynchian interaction, she chooses to leave her message with his possible life. She wants her son to impregnate one of the two to start a family anew.

As she spills her horrible plan, Alex doesn’t want to hear it, though it doesn’t fall on deaf ears. She wants her horrible, murderous son to impregnate one of two ‘lucky’. That’s fucking horrible.

While Holly is presumed dead, Zoe is still trying to cut her ties off with the help of the fireplace.

Though Zoe stares sexual assault and possible murder in the face, he breaks the axe in half and wants to find an actual connection with her. A zipper unzipped isn’t the way to end this.

Going back through wipes of the past isn’t helping us either. It just makes us more stressed about the pain of it all. This includes some dark fucking shit.

Rosa’s apologetic about selling her boy into slavery, but she is having none of Isaac’s gain, proceeding to stab his head through the blanket. This was their son. Again, these walls have seen a lot of blood spilled. The firey log goes and knocks the would-be rapist/murderer on the head. Enough is enough.

Pleatherface is knocked out by the log before he can continue the deed, and no amount of axe-swinging can kill the log. The firey log. That is full of pain. Full of sorrow. Talk about the real reason for an axe to grind. The log blows him out of the house. He throws it out and goes chasing after her.

While the mother assaults Alex, the lights go on the windows. She’s found out. He thinks it’s the police, but oh, no, it’s a Higher power. It’s Aliens.

Now, what are they to do with their big, bad Cronenberg-Esque Gatling gun but to fuck to the face cavity and suck all the life juice (aka blood) from Mother? Bullets are like pellets to them.

Though Alex tries to tie the bridge between astral and human, he did a bad job, of selling himself. He is being taken in front of both Zoe and Holly’s eyes. Holly knows the silver aliens are the worst. Her only option is to play dead. However, as the alien resides above a pleading Zoe, the screen goes again back to black and white, as the mother of the two boys drops everything, sees this in real-time, and goes with him, as does the slave master’s wife laments her husband’s decapitated head as the Rosa goes after her as well. Pain is as well. It’s only how much money you want to drop into it.

This crosses back through multiple timelines, with a remorseful Rosa.

A knife is dropped in one’s stead on the hearth. One is fascinated that it used to be used by natives to scalp a head. The knife times used were always buried in the hearth.

On the Silver Alien, judging on the Zoe, that knife is extracted. She takes it, but before she can cut herself free, she’s met with its blue blood on her face. It turns out, Pleatherface wanted to help her all along.

No good deed goes unpunished, as she stabs him square in the dick multiple times like a punching bag… with that same knife before she finishes the deal with in his eye. Whew. I need a cigarette.

On the bright side, Alex is still alive. On the negative side, the beast is still in him and he wants her to get out while the getting is good.

Zoe rescues the zombie-Esque boyfriend, but the dude isn’t looking well. Additionally, Holly is still tied up. That is when Zoe meets the Little Man in the log and proceeds in.

He tempts her, but unlike Henry, she is looking bloodied up. He goads her with one hundred million but then says that insofar as, she’s a winner in the lottery in terms of sperm. Now comes the elevator.

She’s beaten the odds. She’s smart enough, empathetic enough, real enough. What could he possibly show her that she hadn’t already seen?

It was the night she was conceived. He grants her the option to redo her genetics. Redo herself with a better mindset. To have someone ‘better’ take her place.

Stained with human and alien blood, she’s at a crossroads. He’s not accepting no for an answer.

She accepts no. This makes him unhappy. Everybody can choose the erase regrets option, but only the strong choose to live with them.

He’s dead to rights and keeps throwing her down on her current life, but she won’t break. My queen.

There is one thing she does have though, and that is the mythical knife. That is wrested from her without her will. So he gives her back the proverbial and literal ball that is in her court. There’s only one thing.

Alex drives the poker into the fire to get her out.

She, Holly, and a very drained Alex hoof it out but at the car, but this is the end of the line for him. Holly has the one to fucking slay the beast.

Against, their better judgment, the couple head back into the house, gaining an axe and their keys.

The camera was recording all this time and now it can record the weird and fucked up shit that transpired throughout the night. The spirits don’t take lightly to that crap, though, log included.

Armed with a pistol and axe, Zoe can literally wreck-house and though they only captured the flaming log into a fridge (cute), they still need an escape. And they do, booking out of there, not realizing there are people praying at that tree and going back even earlier in black and white because they have Rosa.

They see the Sheriff at the hands of it and though it’s time to put his hands up… it’s really time to fucking put those hands up in the “ayer’ and waive of ‘em like you just don’t cayer.” Because Zoe’s about to run over some racist pieces of shit.

They drive. They run until the dawn comes. At a stop light, she finally puts the ring on. But the log isn’t too far behind.

We pan out to a black woman director, telling a white graphic designer to make the logo a tad bigger. It’s for the newly redesigned Armfield Cotton Mill Lofts. She is now redesigning their realm with the help of her husband.

They’re both cool with calling it a day. It’s BlueBlanket Media. This log is putting in work!

There’s only one problem with their building. The AC guy thinks he can beat the AC into submission as a joke. She thanks him for now, for she is his master.

The thing is what her boyfriend said of ‘Were Taking William to the’, the ‘I were that if so’, and ‘Beat It Into Submission’ doesn’t take kindly to her tympanic membranes.

I won’t spoil the ending. All I can say is that in the end. Log: 1… Couple: …

This is pure excellence. Going from a drama play to a horror show, and back to a play, then to a horror mixing in a bit of sci-fi was a stroke of pure genius. Having it centered around something we all know so well was a bit sketchy to me in the first minute, but I was sold.

It’s a bit Coen Bros., Lynchian, and mixed in a shaker with some vodka, Argento.

It’s provocative, inventive, and all-around surrealist.

Capra, step back. Schultz, take a back seat. Dickens, this will haunt you in your sleep.

5/5 Stars.

Avengers Beyond Brings you The Beyonder’s plan for the Marvel Universe!

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The Avengers should beware the ides of March because they are bringing a devastating surprise! The one. The only Beyonder has had a hand in their recent misadventures!

Yes, Avengers Beyond is dropping the bombshell that the all-knowing puppet master behind the original Secret Wars has returned full-force thanks to Derek Landy and Greg Land in this continuation of their daring Avengers tale!

Derek Landy and Greg Land’s All-Out Avengers has featured some of the craziest, most exhilarating missions the Avengers have had without any explanation! Where Earth’s Mightiest Heroes have been questioning their actions and even their reality for several months now, we finally learn how it’s coming from a world-ending threat. As out from the cover of darkness out into the light… is the Beyonder! And big things are coming to the Marvel Universe…

“I am beyond excited to take everything we’ve done in All-Out Avengers and continue it into its next incarnation,” Landy said. “We’re just beginning to brush up against the wider implications of the Beyonder’s agenda and the chance to tell this kind of story — the story of gods, the one thing that scares them, and the Avengers caught in the middle — is an impossible dream come true for a kid who grew up with Secret Wars.”

Pick up the final issue of All-Out Avengers this January, and then prepare for more nonstop action and relentless adventure in Avengers Beyond #1 this March!

Avengers Beyond

AVENGERS BEYOND #1 (OF 5)

Written by DEREK LANDY

Art and Cover by GREG LAND

On Sale 3/29

Marvel Celebrates Phrase Three of the Infinity Saga with New Variants!

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Avengers Infinity Saga
Avengers Infinity Saga

 

No worries, Marvel Comics isn’t about to snap away its best-selling line of Infinity Saga variant covers! New poster-style pieces of art are coming to that feature each and every MCU film presented by some of the comic industry’s giants paying tribute to the Marvel Studios’ amazing impact. The next installment focuses on the films that brought the groundbreaking Infinity Saga to its epic conclusion. Stay tuned for the first three Infinity Saga Phase 3 variant covers dropping in February, a preview for the releases in the months to come.

The thrilling “Avengers Assemble” scene from Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame is brought to life by popular cover artist Mark Brooks. Fantastic artist Leinil Francis Yu puts Thanos and his Black Order front and center on a cover that highlights Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War. And smallest but not least Ant-Man, Wasp, and Ghost from Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man get the star treatment care of acclaimed artist Dike Ruan, best known for his work on Shang-Chi.2

Avengers Infinity Saga

 

On Sale 2/1

AVENGERS #65 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 3 VARIANT COVER BY LEINIL FRANCIS YU – 75960608857706541

Avengers Forever

On Sale 2/15

AVENGERS FOREVER #14 INFINITY SAGA PHASE 3 VARIANT COVER BY MARK BROOKS – 75960620192101441

Wasp variant

On Sale 2/15

WASP #2 INFINITY SAGA 3 VARIANT COVER BY DIKE RUAN – 75960620569100231

Whose favorite landshark has his own comic book? It’s Jeff!

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Ah 2018, among its many highlights exists one fin-tastic discovery thanks to West Coast Avengers: Jeff the landshark! After crashing into the hearts of fans, Jeff has made friends with some of Marvel’s greatest heroes, and becoming a big enough star to carry his own Eisner-nominated Infinity Comic on the Marvel Unlimited App. Written by Jeff’s creator Kelly Thompson with art by Gurihiru this popular series will be brought to print for the first time come March in the stunning, and subtly titled debut: It’s Jeff #1! Don’t think you know the whole story, because along with the assortment of charming digital short stories there’s a brand-new exclusive tale made just for the issue!

Clever, one-of-a-kind, and awfully innocent, Jeff happily munches his way through the Marvel Universe! Don’t think you can go on doing the laundry, or taking a dip in the pool without falling victim to this loveable little landshark! Jeff’s misadventures come with a who’s who collection of Marvel characters including but not limited to the Avengers, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel!

“I suspect I’m more excited than anyone to have this print edition in my hands, and I say that while knowing it’s probably the single most asked fan question I’ve gotten over the last year — so I’m happy for all of us that it’s finally happening!” Thompson said. “Working on IT’S JEFF with Gurihiru has been pure joy. They are masterful storytellers and are also masters of CUTE. Both vital things when making a mostly wordless comic about an adorable landshark just trying to do the right thing and also to EAT all of the things.”

Check out Gurihiru’s all-new IT’S JEFF #1 cover below and dive into Jeff’s amazing adventures this March! For more information, visit Marvel.com.

 

 

IT’S JEFF #1

Written by KELLY THOMPSON

Art and Cover by GURIHIRU

On Sale 3/29

All The Sins of Sinister’s Centuries: On Nightcrawlers, Storm, and Immoral X-Men

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Sins of Sinister
Sins of Sinister

 

Mister Sinister’s on the verge of success… Soon, next month’s Sins of Sinister will unleash the fruits of the iconic X-Men villain’s long-term plan as they affect not only Krakoa but the entire Marvel Universe!

It all starts with Sins of Sinister Alpha #1 and unfurls across three substitute limited series starting in February: Immoral X-Men, Storm & The Brotherhood of Mutants, and Nightcrawlers will be taking the place of Immortal X-Men, X-Men Red, and Legion of X.

Writers Kieron Gillen, Al Ewing, and Si Spurrier will handle their respective new titles, along with artists Paco Medina, Andrea Di Vito, and Alessandro Vitti. Each artist is tasked with propelling the timeline 10, 100, and 1000 years into the future through riveting covers that explore these separate dark periods.

Until then you’ve got March’s Sins of Sinister to fill you in on the next 100 years. These exciting inter-connected stories will tell of a legion of Nightcrawlers looting the remnants of fallen Marvel heroes, Storm embodying Professor X in her brave stand as the last ray of hope against Sinister’s army, and the return of a big bad who might be able to end Sinster’s rule…or…make it worse…

Nightcrawlers #2 sees Wagnerine and her gene-spliced assassins as thieves in service to a cosmic cult! Their religious scavenger hunt will take them to Asgard, the Otherworld, and many more throughout the Marvel Universe in order to build the sacred weapon! It’s all about the First…hallow be his name: Nightcrawler.

Storm & The Brotherhood of Mutants #2 centers on the battle of the X-Planets, with the Empire of the Red Diamond up against the Cosmic Coalition for the fate of the universe. One comes from the perverse mind of Nathaniel Essex. The other one too, but within them are mutineers. Ororo isn’t dead yet and her Brotherhood will die fighting in an astounding space battle of life or death for all of existence!

Immoral X-Men #2 really emphasizes the “Die” in Diamond Age! Bow to Pax Krakoa! Or be no more! Still, even in a hell age heroes can rise. Rasputin IV is born (again)…though can one decent chimera really stand up against a universe of sin? The first century of Sinister is ending, and if it’s better or worse could rest on your forehead’s mark.

Nightcrawlers#2

On Sale 3/8

NIGHTCRAWLERS #2 (OF 3)

Written by SI SPURRIER
Art by ANDREA DI VITO
Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU

Immoral X-Men#2

On Sale 3/15

IMMORAL X-MEN #2 (OF 3)

Written by KIERON GILLEN
Art by ANDREA DI VITO

Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU

Storm&Brotherhood#2

On Sale 3/22

STORM & THE BROTHERHOOD #2 (OF 3)

Written by AL EWING

Art by ANDREA DI VITO
Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU

 

 

Violent Night Review

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Speaking personally, I tend to prefer the darker, more violent, and just plain weird fare in my Christmas movies. My holy trinity is Home Alone, Elf and Bad Santa, but I also love me some Krampus, Die Hard and The Nightmare Before Christmas (it counts). I’ve seen a lot of crazy movies this time of year, but never one that really made me believe in the holiday spirit. But much like John Leguizamo at the end of Violent Night, I can now say with confidence that I believe in Santa Claus.

Violent Night | Alcoholic

Violent Night very much lives up to its title but it takes a little bit to get there. One main arc of the film is regarding Santa’s crisis of faith. He’s tired of seeing how commercial the holiday has become and how everyone’s become obsessed with greed. He even refers to most children as “little junkies”, itching for their next present to rip open. The man is in a bad place but still trying his best to do his job. It’s just balanced out with a lot of alcohol and whining, as well as some unfortunate projectile vomit from atop his sleigh.

Violent Night | Trudy

Another integral component of Violent Night is little Trudy. She’s a truly sweet little girl who just wants her parents to be happy together again. Unfortunately, her dad is part of the Lightstone family, and they’re crazy rich. Which naturally translates to some really obnoxious, horrible people that feel entitled to everything. Her aunt Alva is dating Morgan Steel, a lame actor with some muscles and delusions of grandeur. Then there’s Bert, or Bertrude, who loves to post cringey stories to his social media. But perhaps most offensive is her grandma and namesake, Gertrude. She’s foul mouthed, ill tempered and pits her children against each other for her love and money. Luckily Trudy’s parents aren’t all that bad, but being around the rest of the family has soured them.

Violent Night | Scarface

Enter the villain, John Leguizamo’s Mr. Scrooge and his band of merry criminals, all replete with holiday themed code names like Tinsel and Candy Cane. They pose as caterers and effortlessly make their move, murdering security and staff in one fell swoop. They’re after a truly big haul, 300 million hidden in Gertrude’s fortified vault.

You might wonder how Santa comes into play. Put simply, he’s there delivering presents when he gets distracted by some delicious homemade cookies and some top shelf alcohol (it pairs much better than skim milk). He reclines in a vibrating chair and starts to get really relaxed (okay, maybe Santa has an alcohol problem) when suddenly one of the goons bursts into the room, blasting bullets everywhere. Which of course sends his reindeer fleeing, and effectively strands Santa in the warzone. Calling him a reluctant hero is a bit generous, but luckily Santa is very good with found objects as weapons, and starts to get in a bloody groove.

Violent Night | Naughty List

After mopping the floor with some well armed thugs, Santa is still getting ready to vamoose, when he spies poor, terrified Trudy through a window. He can’t leave the innocent girl (he confirms she’s on the Nice list) to this holiday horror. So he stays to finish the job, thinking it’ll only be a few more Naughty list nominees. Sadly, Santa isn’t the luckiest, and things quickly get very complicated. Luckily, Trudy has a walkie talkie, and after Santa takes a walkie from one of his victims, he’s able to get intel from the little secret agent. It only works because everybody scoffs when they hear a little girl talking to an imaginary person.

Violent Night | Bag of Holding

The movie has a lot of fun playing with adults’ belief (or lack thereof) in Santa Claus. Even when they see impossible feats like Santa’s endless bag of holding, or how he zooms up a chimney with a touch of his nose, they still can’t quite believe their eyes. And when some goons do start to wonder if he’s legit, they get barked down by a furious Leguizamo, told they’re just idiots. Without going into details, Scrooge blames Christmas for ruining his life, and he’s more than happy to murder a Santa who’s in the way of his payday.

Violent Night | Captured

One of my favorite elements of Violent Night is Santa’s backstory. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say there’s a reason Santa is so capable at committing acts of extreme violence, and it’s such a fascinating tidbit that I hope we get a sequel or prequel that goes into further detail about how Santa came to be. Even if we don’t, David Harbour does a masterful job of conveying someone who’s tormented by how the world has changed, yet still eager to hold onto a sliver of hope in the midst of chaos.

But perhaps you just want to hear about the “violent” part of Violent Night? Rest assured, the action more than lives up to the hype. To several classic holiday songs, Santa hacks, slashes, strangles and destroys all in his path with reckless abandon. Especially when he comes across a sledgehammer, and wields it like a true maestro. For a big guy, Santa is surprisingly nimble, though he’s not afraid to look clumsy while leaping into action. Best of all, Santa is far from immortal, and has to get creative with some ribbon and wrapping paper to dress his own wounds.

Violent Night | Walkie

It’s not just Santa that paints the town red. Little Trudy channels her best Macaulay Culkin and Home Alone’s the crap out of some very naughty little elves, to hilarious effect. And Scrooge’s goons do all sorts of horrible things as well. Most notable is one codenamed Krampus, who is eager to use a Nutcracker to actually crush someone’s testicles, and is happy as a child on Christmas Day when finally told he can kill all the hostages. It’s a gory, wild, blood-soaked spectacle, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Old Saint Nick and laughing like a maniac. The two best lines to capture the essence of the movie are “Bah Humbug, motherfucker!” and “Merry Christmas, you filthy animals!”.

Violent Night | Strapped

Though Harbour’s Santa doesn’t fully understand the magic he wields, he does a spectacular job of making the holiday relevant and fun again. This is honestly a movie that should have been a mess, but somehow manages to work. Director Tommy Wirkola, who I only know for the miserable Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, manages to craft not just an enjoyable action movie, but one of my new favorite holiday classics. While I wouldn’t take a young or impressionable child to see it, Violent Night will bring true joy to your inner child. A wonderful holiday present for all!

Violent Night | Final Fight

Hallows’ Eve’s new Artgerm cover shows she’s here to stay in the Marvel Universe!

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Hallows' Eve #1

 

Spider-Man’s rogues’ gallery got shaken up in Amazing Spider-Man #14 with the addition of Hallows’ Eve! After making her debut and causing chaos throughout the Dark Web crossover, Hallows’ is getting her own solo series come March, so you can learn more about her intriguing powers and where she’s heading! In celebration, best-selling artist Stanley “Artgerm” Lau is giving her the spotlight in a fantastic variant cover for Hallows’ Eve #1! Check it out now in preparation for the unexpected mayhem that comes each and every time Hallows’ Eve dons one of her many mystical masks!

Janine Godbe may have just been known as the long-suffering girlfriend of Ben Reilly, but after having her life turned upside down in the events of Dark Web, she’s calling herself Hallows’ Eve and taking charge of her own future. With something to prove and a sack of super-powered masks, Janine’s good girl days are over; it’s time for Hallows’ Eve to walk on the dark side while giving the police a run for their money…but, great power attracts great danger and someone else is coming for this night!

 

Hallows' Eve #1

HALLOWS’ EVE #1 (OF 5)

Written by ERICA SCHULTZ

Art MICHAEL DOWLING

Variant Cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU – 75960620583700151

Virgin Variant Cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU – 75960620583700161

On Sale 3/1

The Winchesters Season 1 Episode 7: “Reflections” Review

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Winchesters episode 7
John (Drake Rodger) and Mary (Meg Donnelly) are about to kiss!

 

Welcome to the winter finale folks, there’s no monster of the week set up tonight because it’s all about the main event. The Akrida! We know where they are, and we know they’re up to no good, but what to do about it…

First, the Recap:

John and Mary go to the radio tower that Carlos discovered but all they find is a bloody canvas bag, Samuel’s bloody canvas bag. Back at the monster club HQ Lata and Carlos are at odds trying to fix that monster-eating box, also Ada’s back! And, thanks to her repaired relationship with her son, she’s got additional Men of Letters resources to dig through. John and Mary return with bad news: the Akrida have all the monster essence they need.

On the bright side, some of the new papers Ada brought are written in John’s dad’s handwriting so while he and Millie help sort that out, Mary and Carlos run off to check out the hotel Samuel was staying at. It’s a dead end directly, but it does lead to them learning that the Akrida have Samuel and will exchange him for the box. Wisely, Carlos hid a hex bag with the enemies making it a matter of tracking the bag to the bad guys.

Everything gets sorted out – thanks to Ada and ghost dad – and there’s a showdown at the warehouse where Mary was stung. Mary and John fight the good fight, Carlos and Lata just miss the monster essence, and we learn two things: One – Roxy wasn’t the Akrida Queen. Two – Samuel is alive (barely) and is happy to weld a monster-eating box to save his daughter from certain death. Also, John and Mary finally kiss!

Whew! What an episode! Maybe not a rollercoaster all the way but when it decided to pull those emotional punches they landed. I’m a fairly cynical watcher, especially when it comes to this show, but I give them credit tonight it was a solid mid-season finale. Or winter finale, whichever one they want to go with. Honestly, aside from Mary wearing make-up for no reason at all, not a lot went wrong here.

Let me get the Mary make-up gripe out of the way. Near as I can tell for most of the episodes up till now, Mary’s been a generally low-key lady. She dresses the way you’d expect someone who was raised to murder things that go bump in the night to dress. For some reason, in this episode, she has make-up on, and it is noticeable.

Normally, I wouldn’t begrudge a girl make-up, it’s a common occurrence, particularly for those on TV shows, but Mary has never been noticeably made up before. The fact that I noticed it, is what makes it so odd to me. Lata, Ada, Carlos, hell, even John (smokey eyes, eh?) have varying degrees of pampering on display, but Mary? Mary has never been seen with eye shadow or lipstick until tonight. And here’s the extra weird part: it doesn’t stay. It’s not like she’s made-up for the whole episode. She has make-up on for a couple of scenes and then it’s gone. Also, she isn’t even made-up for the scene where she kisses John! Though, upon second viewing it could just be a lighting issue…Anyway, back to the real meat and potatoes of this episode.

Most of our center players get a good chunk of attention here – Carlos reveals his part in his parents’ deaths, John finally gets some closure with Henry, and of course Mary gets the boy and her dad. This leaves Ada, and Lata a little wanting, but nothing new there, right?

We’ll start small with the three least cared about characters in our show: Lata, Ada, and Millie. Millie is mostly here because of Henry’s notes, but it does give her the chance to talk mom to mom with Ada, and later see her dead husband one last time. Lata does her research job without any character growth (guess that last episode used it all up!), and Ada does her magic while bonding with Millie and assuring the audience her relationship with Tony is improving.

Onto our third largest cared about character: Carlos! He gets two nice moments in this episode. One is the brief realization that when they beat the Akrida the Monster Club will break up. It’s made all the more potent by the fact that Carlos, while being a force unto himself, enjoys being part of a group. Sure, he’s a star, but he’s nothing without his backup singers. The other is when Mary is feeling bad about her dad’s abduction – needlessly blaming herself – so he lays down some solid character history by revealing that he still blames himself for his parents’ deaths.

See, Carlos was born to be a star, but he needed a guitar, so his folks went to Phoenix to play a gig and well, it ended badly. As much as I don’t like this particular brand of emotional manipulation it is an oldie for a reason – people have a tendency to blame themselves for things they really have no control over. Especially the death of a loved one. You’ve seen this story countless times before, yet it always ends the same. Grief takes many forms and guilt is one of them, but Carlos makes a good point here. When Mary asks him how he let go of his guilt, he says he never did, he just figured out a way to cope with it – ie. Hunting. Most of us will never hop onto the road of revenge to deal with losing someone we love, but we do find ways to keep living without them. It’s a great moment where the show is able to relate to a larger audience experience through the genre.

We get another one of these moments later, again with Mary, though this time she’s the one facilitating a healthier grief coping mechanism. In order to fix the monster-eating box (the ostium) the gang needs to talk to Henry, and the spell to make that happen requires that John feel his feelings about his father. He needs to be honest and vulnerable for Henry to manifest, but the spell fails and John storms off in anger. Mary catches up with him and they talk. John’s got abandonment issues, sure, but there’s more to it than just that. He originally tells the gang that he played the music box in hopes his father would return, when that didn’t happen, he got mad and broke it, but the truth is much sadder. Turns out his mom and dad would fight a lot after his dad put him to bed and he played the music box to drown out the sound, not only that, but he would hear them say his name while fighting so he got around to believing it was his fault they were fighting. Which, inevitably lead to him believing it was his fault his dad left. He broke the music box because of his own self-hatred not just being mad at his dad’s abandonment. And it’s this revelation that allows Henry (played by Gil McKinney, who reprises his role from Supernatural) to manifest before his son. Once again, dealing with your grief and negative feelings about past loved ones is the key to progress – it’s a good lesson to learn.

It should be noted that John’s growth is still a little stunted. While he does deal with his real emotions about the music box, when he’s actually presented with the chance to talk to his father, he prioritizes the mission and only has a brief conversation with Henry outside of it. John appears to want to say more, even gush, but he holds back for the most part. I suppose in that respect they stay true to the idea of John Winchester and his emotional constipation (it was the way to be “manly” back then). Drake does a fine job of straddling the line between silent tears and macho detachment.

John’s growth here definitely eclipses Mary’s, but she isn’t without progress entirely. And, Mary and John’s progress is tied to each other – while he’s been figuring out what to do about his feelings for her, their kiss likely allows her to actually recognize those feelings within herself. We’ll see how that works out for her when the show returns in January, in the meantime, the episode is happy to shrug off these heavier moments with story building scenes, and action sequences.

As this is such a character driven series, the story building stuff does tend to feel like an afterthought – we get the mysterious lab with the possessed scientist, the hive of possessed people digging in an unknown tunnel somewhere, and the final revelations that not only is Roxy not the Queen but the bad guys managed to sneak the monster-essence to the Queen. Losing the monster essence is kind of stupid since Carlos and Lata find it and are about to smash it when conveniently they have to hide and the person who comes into the room just happens to go right for the thing they were after, but I get it. Later on, they’ll probably blame themselves for being just short of stopping the Akrida. Let’s face it, you can’t have a show like this without pointless guilt.

Still, overall, I enjoyed this episode a lot. Solid A, especially since it set up for the return in January quite nicely. The big bads got their cue to be bigger and badder, Mary’s dad got his first fully lighted on-screen appearance (hi, Tom Welling, who’s been busy making Professionals!), and we got the kiss! Yes, the kiss is one of my favorite parts here simply because it lands so well and I wasn’t expecting it to. I didn’t always feel like the John and Mary chemistry was there, though they were definitely pushing it, but man, Drake drives it home when he looks at Meg and John gives into his desires – granted, he also thinks they’re about to die so it feels right for John to take a swing in that moment.

Looking forward to the new year, though it will be a while – they’re not coming back until the 24th!

See Gwen Stacy Break Bad in The Best of Ways with these Shadow Clones Variants

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When Into The Spider-Verse first debuted, many fans got a glimpse of the new fan favorites Miles Morales and Gwen Stacey for the first time. Now a popular run of the Gwen Stacy character, it didn’t take long for many new comics fans to flock over to check out her new comic runs, leading to a surge in popularity for the IP.

This popular iteration of Gwen Stacy, the one of Earth-65, AKA Spider-Gwen, AKA Ghost-Spider, has just been featured in an epic team-up across the multiverse with herself featured in Tim Seeley’s run on Spider-Gwen: Gwenverse. Still apparently leaving fans pining for all things Gwen Stacy, it’s been announced that the series will continue with Gwen’s return from the multiverse. All for a tale of where she’ll have to confront her other counterparts, who are less multi-dimensional, but a lot more genetically cloned versions of herself (typical, Spider-Man clones) in Spider-Gwen: Shadow Clones!

The series is written by Silk’s Emily Kim and drawn by Edge of Spider-Verse’s Kei Zama. It will also feature some epic new character designs from Peach Momoko. The series itself, will be limited to a five-issue run that sees the Gwen clones featured as some of the best of the Spidey rogues gallery. We’re talking Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Vulture, Rhino, and Kraven the Hunter.

As a special treat, artist Greg Land has pumped out some new variant covers. All pinup-styled homages to the Edge of Spider-Verse #2, which was Ghost-Spider’s first appearance.

You can check all of these out below.

 

SPIDER-GWEN: SHADOW CLONES #1 (OF 5)

Written by EMILY KIM

Art by KEI ZAMA

Homage Variant Cover by GREG LAND – 75960620536300151

On Sale 3/1

 

SPIDER-GWEN: SHADOW CLONES #2 (OF 5)

Written by EMILY KIM

Art by KEI ZAMA

Homage Variant Cover by GREG LAND

On Sale April

SPIDER-GWEN: SHADOW CLONES #3 (OF 5)

Written by EMILY KIM

Art by KEI ZAMA

Homage Variant Cover by GREG LAND

On Sale May

SPIDER-GWEN: SHADOW CLONES #4 (OF 5)

Written by EMILY KIM

Art by KEI ZAMA

Homage Variant Cover by GREG LAND

On Sale June

<Mystery Variant>

SPIDER-GWEN: SHADOW CLONES #5 (OF 5)

Written by EMILY KIM

Art by KEI ZAMA

Homage Variant Cover by GREG LAND

On Sale July

A New Doctor Strange Ongoing Comic Series Returns in March

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Beginning in March, Jed MacKay returns with artist Pasqual Ferry, for a new run for the master of the mystic arts. After the character’s death in Death of Doctor Strange, and post-Clea’s reign as the Sorcerer Supreme in Strangea new series will see Strange return to his old role. Reunited with both Clea and Wong.

Focused on a story centered on Strange’s legacy, when a dark presence decides to issue its own form of divine justice against Strange’s greatest villains, Strange decides to investigate. Especially, when he realizes this new threat… is revealed to be closely tied to Strange himself.

This new run promises to embrace the character’s psychedelic and extrasensory forms of art and stories, seeing the character enter places beyond reality, battling strange enemies while traversing across dimensions. There’ll also be a character redesign with a costume crafted by the incredible Alex Ross, who of course, will also grace the new series with new cover art that fans will not want to miss.

“After Death of Doctor Strange, after Strange, we open the next act in our ongoing saga of the Sorcerer Supreme in DOCTOR STRANGE #1!” MacKay proclaimed in a Marvel press release. “It’s been really exciting to have the opportunity to not only continue exploring the magical side of the Marvel Universe with the inhabitants of 177A Bleecker Street, but to follow the lives of the Stranges as the last year and a half has put them through the wringer. Pasqual has been putting together a truly magical book, and I’m super psyched to show people what’s in store for Stephen and Clea Strange- and of course, we won’t be giving them any time off after recent events…”

“When I started working for Marvel, there were three comics I had always wanted to draw: Fantastic FourSpider-Man, and Doctor Strange,” Ferry said. “Why Doctor Strange? Because his stories include all the elements I love as an artist—the fantasy, science fiction, and imagination. Above all, the fact that I could look at Steve Ditko’s work as a reference really motivates me! When he drew Doctor Strange, all the utopian and imaginary sceneries were incredible. So this is a very special moment in my career, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the character is going to take us with this new narrative. I know a lot of artists, including myself, consider Doctor Strange a challenge, like there is a need to add something new to the character because it offers you that possibility. For me, Doctor Strange is a big challenge, but I embrace it.”

 

DOCTOR STRANGE #1

Written by JED MACKAY
Art by PASQUAL FERRY

Cover by ALEX ROSS

On Sale 3/22

Venom Goes Tendril to Titanium against Doom with Venom: Lethal Protector II

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venom

In a surprising sequel, Marvel Comics has made it official that there will be a sequel series to the 90s classic Venom: Lethal Protector with Venom: Lethal Protector II! This new run will see Venom’s original co-creator David Michelinie who is teaming up with rising comic book artist Farid Karami.

The series will take readers back to Venom’s earliest days but will be swinging from the city streets of New York, and somehow, landing into the kingdom of Latveria. As to why and who is bringing this challenge will remain a mystery, though there’s one thing for certain: it’s going to be an epic story that sees the alien symbiote take on Doctor Doom.

“One of the happiest parts of my career was when I was originating and developing Venom,” Michelinie said in a Marvel press release. “So returning to that era is like having my own time machine. And to put Venom up against Doctor Doom, my favorite villain…sweet icing on the cake!”

Michelinie is known for his legendary run on Amazing Spider-Man. Where he, alongside comics legend Todd MacFarlane, introduced and skillfully fleshed out the character’s original very popular story. This included the black symbiote’s utter hatred for Spider-Man and a ravenous hunger and penchant for… human brains.

The original 1993 six-issue series written by Michelinie featured colors and sketches by Mark Bagley, Ron Lim, and Sam de la Rosa. In that run, Eddie Brock decides to finally call peace with his rival, Peter Parker, before officially relocating to San Francisco, where he’s confronted by the Life Foundation. He also finds a new group of weaponized symbiotes spawned from himself including Agony, Lasher, Riot, Phage, and the popular symbiote: Scream.

VENOM: LETHAL PROTECTOR II #1 (OF 5)

Written by DAVID MICHELINIE

Art by FARID KARAMI

Cover by PAULO SIQUEIRA

On Sale 3/29

Reginald the Vampire Season 1 Review

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I’d be the first one to admit it – I’d make a terrible vampire. Sure, I avoid the sun, but I also lack their predatory charisma. In lieu of a six-pack, I have more of a keg. And I’m usually trapped in my own head, full of anxiety and doubt, evened out with a little absurdist humor. All of those elements could also be attributed to Jacob Batalon’s brilliant turn as Reginald the Vampire.

Reginald the Vampire | Douche
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Dead Weight” Episode 101 — Pictured: Aren Buchholz as Todd — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

The first episode of the new Syfy series gave me Scott Pilgrim flashbacks in the best of ways. Reginald is an awkward yet endearing character. He works a dead-end job at the Slushy Shack in Akron, Ohio. His boss is a total douchebag named Todd (because of course he is). Todd enjoys making fun of Reginald’s weight, calling him all manner of cruel nicknames. Reggie takes it in stride and gets feisty in return, which made me love the character all the more.

Reginald the Vampire | Bros
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Dead Weight” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Mandela Van Peebles as Maurice, Jacob Batalon as Reginald — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

Though his work environment has definite problems, he has one thing going for him – his coworker, Sarah. She’s dorky, cute and quotes movie lines to Reginald in her free time. As one might expect, Reggie is madly in love with her, but afraid to ask her out. This is where his new best friend comes into play, a vampire named Maurice.

Unbeknownst to Reginald, Maurice has been known to take a sip from him on occasion, compelling Reggie to forget everything. Despite all this, it’s quickly made clear Maurice genuinely enjoys Reginald’s company. He goes out of his way to check in with him and discovers how he pines for Sarah. So the vampire uses his compulsion for good and gives Reggie the push to ask Sarah out on a date, which he does. There’s just one small problem. The day he does, Reginald dies. Actually, first, he prays to god for a better life. And he gets it, in a matter of speaking.

Reginald the Vampire | Queen Bitch
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Reginald Andres Beyond the Thunderdome” Episode 110 — Pictured: Savannah Basley as Angela — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

Maurice is a bit of a black sheep in the vampire community. See, he has a conscience and tries to help people, and mostly drinks from those who have it coming. As a human, he was a Black Panther, and even after he was turned, his sense of justice and social reform remained. Which is why his maker, the queen bitch Angela, wants him out of the picture.

Her delegates arrive at the Slushy Shack as Reggie is getting ready to go on a date with Sarah, and he becomes a vampire sandwich. And if you’re asking, no, it’s not any fun being the meat in that particular sandwich. Two gorgeous, soul-deprived vampire women drain Reginald in front of Maurice, callously leaving him for dead. Maurice offers the dying man a chance, warning him of potential consequences. Despite not knowing what he’s getting into, Reggie takes him up on it and is reborn as a vampire. This is where the fun starts, and his daily problems get much more dangerous.

Reginald the Vampire | Lunch
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Dead Weight” Episode 101 — Pictured: (l-r) Rachelle Goulding as Moira, Jacob Batalon as Reginald, Georgia Waters as Penelope — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

A key theme of Reginald the Vampire is not fitting in, but being all the better for it. Though Reggie isn’t a very capable vampire in many ways, his unique attributes make him something better. Like his maker, he wants to do the right thing. Admittedly his vampiric hunger does get the best of him briefly, but he quickly showcases a game-changing skill. Though he’s not great at compelling humans at first, he’s the only vampire able to compel others of his kind. Which makes him incredibly dangerous, and leads to some fun with Italian food. Reggie’s inherent intelligence also gets amped up as a creature of the night, giving him photographic memory and the ability to speed read.

Reginald the Vampire | Destined
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Halfway to a Threeway” Episode 106 — Pictured: Em Haine as Sarah — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

Though he’s hesitant to share himself with others, Batalon’s character quickly surrounds himself with a quirky group of friends and confidants. He manages to get closer to Sarah, who not only shares a lot of personality traits with Reginald but who also proves herself a strong, independent young woman. There’s also a young miscreant named Claire, a constant purveyor of slushies. She has a lot of pain and hurt she’s hiding, and a surprising ability. Then there’s Ashley or Ash. She also works at the Slushy Shack, and she’s the first to start realizing that Akron might have a vampire problem. She’s tough and determined, and in another universe might become a Slayer. Then there’s Maurice. He’s loving, charming, and a sort of father figure to Reginald. He’s also occasionally a complete hard ass, pushing Reginald too hard in a misguided attempt to protect him.

Reginald the Vampire | Romance
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Fools in Love” Episode 105 — Pictured: (l-r) Marguerite Hanna as Ashley, Christin Park as Nikki — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

Besides the main cast, there are others that bear mention. Mike is Maurice’s current lover, an Asian vampire I liked a lot initially. I feared he was about to be killed off early on, but instead it was revealed he’s a bit of a double agent. There’s also Angela, Maurice’s maker and a cruel and authoritarian regional director with an iron grip. She has a bad tendency to rip out the hearts of those that fail her, and she’s torn between her past feelings of love for her progeny, and her desire to put him in the ground. One of my absolute favorites is Nikki, the slayer vampire for hire. She’s brought in to take Reginald out, but instead falls hard for his singing voice, and becomes his temporary vampiric lover (kind of). She’s also totally crazy and ditzy, but no less dangerous because of it.

Reginald the Vampire | Party
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “The Hunger” Episode 102 — Pictured: (l-r) Georgia Waters as Penelope, Ryan Jinn as Mike Choi, Savannah Basley as Angela, Mandela Van Peebles as Maurice — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

As you can probably tell, the entire cast of the show is pretty incredible. Almost everyone is a dynamic and layered character who you’ll root for (other than perhaps Penelope and Lebron). Hell, even Todd goes from a complete waste of genetic material to Reggie’s meal plan to someone I’d share a slushy with. Throw in some fun cameos such as Julian Richings as Logan and Danny Wattley’s Abraham, and you have a show that’s always engaging. When it wants to be, Reginald the Vampire is also pretty hilarious, often leaving me literally laughing out loud. Some iconic moments include Nikki’s musical intro to one episode, and another is the shockingly funny reveal of a caucasian vampire’s full name.

When the show doesn’t always land its jokes, it keeps things pretty lighthearted most of the time. Which isn’t to say it can’t get bloody and sexy in equal measure. One episode goes into Maurice’s tragic backstory and shows why he’s determined to kill his maker. There’s also some good lore-building in an episode called The Odyssey. It follows Reginald in the wake of some pretty horrible “sucking and fucking” decisions and leads to him getting his life back in focus. It also reveals that vampires and archangels are direct descendants of Cain and Abel, after god made the mistake of bringing both brothers back to life. There’s a lot of good stuff in just this first season, and it makes me eager to see the show get more seasons to expand on the story.

Reginald the Vampire | Whoopsie
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “All the Time in the World” Episode 104 — Pictured: Mandela Van Peebles as Maurice — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

While I typically don’t watch any show for romance, I really grew to enjoy Reginald and Sarah’s budding romance. They’re just so perfect for each other, which makes it all the more painful when Reggie’s impulse control leads to his breaking her heart. It also meshes well with this dark, sexy world that Reginald has been thrust into. Put simply, most vampires reject Reginald entirely for how he looks. So much so that he’s forced to take an assessment that’s certain to end in his death and torture.

Reginald the Vampire | Assessment
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Reginald Andres Beyond the Thunderdome” Episode 110 — Pictured: Jacob Battalion as Reginald — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

But for all the good Reginald the Vampire did in season 1, there were also some weak points. Such as how I felt they mismanaged Mike’s character, leaving him very little to do. Or how Claire suddenly got really interesting after bringing Nikki home, but the show didn’t really explain how or why the young girl has such interesting powers. And much as I appreciated getting the full download for Maurice’s motivations, I was upset that the episode totally ignored our titular hero.

Reginald the Vampire | Logan
REGINALD THE VAMPIRE — “Reginald Andres Beyond the Thunderdome” Episode 110 — Pictured: Julian Richings as Logan — (Photo by: James Dittiger/SYFY)

All in all, Reginald the Vampire is easily one of the best new shows to premiere on the Syfy network. I wasn’t sure how well Jacob would shift from a lovable nerd sidekick to a full-throated vampire hero, but I felt he did a good job. His portrayal keeps his nerdy charm intact but also injects a little welcome darkness and horror into the mix (don’t ask how he eats his ice cream sundaes). The show wasn’t always hitting home runs, but it definitely got my attention and kept me invested. Reggie may not be a textbook vampire, but he’s more than ready to remake the dark world in his own image. Here’s hoping he gets a chance in a second season.