SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

SOURCE MATERIAL – The Justice League Movie

Posted by on Nov 27, 2017 in Home, News, Opinion, Source Material

By Drew Mollo

SPOILER ALERT  (Fair warning if you haven’t watched the movie)

I just saw Justice League recently and honestly I enjoyed most of it. Sure there were certain things about it I wasn’t fond of or things that are more results of the well-publicized re-shoots but that’s not what this article is about. This was a comic book movie and upon watching the film I could see elements that were inspired by DC Comics story arcs about the famous superteam. So if you enjoyed the film and you’d like to read stories to give you an idea of what happened or who the heck Steppenwolf was, I recommend you checking these out.

1. Justice League by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee: The comic series that basically ushered in the New 52 in 2011 tells a new origin story of how the team got together set five years in the past. Batman is chasing a Parademon and runs into Green Lantern. After the creature explodes, they decide to ask Superman before they all realize these creatures are merely scouts for a bigger invasion. Meanwhile, a Mother Box provided by the Flash decides to go haywire in S.T.A.R. Labs around the same time Silas Stone is having an argument with his son Victor. When the Mother Box opens a Boom Tube full of Parademons, the explosion mutilates Victor’s body while fusing it with all sorts of alien technology (thus eventually making him into Cyborg). The appearance of Parademons attracts the attention of Wonder Woman and later Aquaman as well. The heroes battle back the Parademons and eventually their master, the Lord of Apokolips known as Darkseid. The film had many references to this storyline especially with the use of Parademons, Mother Box’s, and even a direct reference to the evil God himself but its primary influence was that the upcoming invasion was catalyst for getting the Justice League together.

2. Jack Kirby’s the Fourth World: Created by legendary writer/artist Jack Kirby in the 1970s, Kirby imagined a group of entities he called the New Gods who lived on two separate planets. The Gods in New Genesis lived in an idyllic paradise ruled by the Highfather and the Gods in Apokolips suffered in a mechanical polluted dystopia ruled by the tyrant Darkseid. Once beings of a single world, these two worlds were constantly in conflict over Darkseid’s quest to find the Anti-Life Equation which would gain him complete control of all living beings thoughts which was opposed by Highfather and his forces. Although it was intended to be limited series, Kirby’s characters were so successful that DC Comic’s eventually had them interact with other well-known superheroes. Darkseid and his forces including his son Kalibak and his uncle Steppenwolf would become foes of Superman and the Justice League and other New Gods like Orion or Mister Miracle would become allies and eventually members of the Justice League. Characters like Steppenwolf, Parademons, Darkseid and others would not exist if not for the incredible imagination of Jack Kirby. Although Steppenwolf was the main villain and Darkseid was only mentioned in Justice League, the fact that Steppenwolf and his ravenous Parademons were teleported away instead of destroyed suggest this war is far from over.

3. The Return of Superman by Gerard Jones, Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern : After Superman was killed by Doomsday, the world mourned their loss and eventually four new characters appeared all claiming to be Superman. As the multiple Superman comics explored and played with the idea that one of them could be a new Superman, it was revealed that Superman’s body was taken by the Kryptonian robot called The Eradicator and placed in a regeneration matrix. While the four Supermen’s identities were revealed, the original Superman emerged alive although greatly depowered. When he revealed his presence and helped the other Supermen fight Cyborg Superman and Mongul who destroyed Coast City, he revealed his true identity to Lois Lane by referencing something only the true Clark Kent would know. After they defeated the villains, Superman’s powers had returned and he used the black Kryptonian battlesuit that had earlier protected him to fashion a new take on Superman’s traditional costume. While some of his powers were the same or stronger than before, Return of Superman is also famously known for giving Superman the mullet that he was portrayed with for most of the 1990s until his wedding to Lois Lane in 1996. Its central influence to Justice League was the idea of using Kryptonian technology among General Zod’s ship along with the Mother Box to revive Superman body to help unite the League and give them an advantage against Steppenwolf and his forces. Thankfully Superman’s mullet did not translate over to the big screen and remained an unfortunate comic book footnote.

Considering DC Comic’s track record over the last few years, I can more than understand everyone’s skepticism and debate over this film. While it’s not fair to compare it to other comic book team films like Marvel’s The Avengers, I thought the film established these characters and had them work together against a common enemy. Hopefully plot threads and questions for some of these characters can be answered in any of the upcoming solo films so I hope you enjoyed the film and if you didn’t, hey at least it wasn’t as bad as Batman vs. Superman, right?

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Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC – A fan’s reaction

Bendis Leaves Marvel for DC – A fan’s reaction

Posted by on Nov 8, 2017 in News, Opinion

Bendis leaves Marvel for DC Comics – a Fan Reaction

By Drew Mollo


Out of all the things that could have popped up on my newsfeed yesterday, the news that comic book writer Brian Michael Bendis will be leaving Marvel to work for DC Comics was completely out of left field. At first I thought I thought this was a huge blow for Marvel, as Bendis has been one of their most successful writers for almost 20 years.. He wrote Ultimate Spider-Man with pencils by Mark Bagley for 111 consecutive issues – breaking Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s record of 108 FF issues.  USM’s success lead to the creation of the Ultimate Universe, which has been an inspiration for much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He and Michael Gaydos helped launch the Marvel Max imprint aimed at mature audiences with Alias – a series about a former superhero turned private investigator that became the inspiration for the award winning Jessica Jones Netflix series. He reintroduced the man formerly known as Power Man to the world by making Luke Cage a critical Avenger. He broke and then reassembled the Avengers more than once. He was the writer for such universe-changing events as Secret War, House of M, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign, Siege, Age of Ultron and more.  He reintroduced the five original X-Men from the past into the present and brought Scott Summers to command a team of X-Men again. He created the Miles Morales Spider-Man with Sara Pichelli (who remains one of the few Ultimate Universe characters present in the primary Marvel universe). He has worked with some of the greatest artists known to the medium to tell countless stories in his own unique fashion. From Daredevil to Guardians of the Galaxy, Brian Michael Bendis has been a pillar of the Marvel writer’s room for years and he has never been afraid to tackle subjects that some may deem controversial.

Surely any Marvel fan is already curious, but let’s consider the situation and the environment for they may give us insight to such a big decision. Marvel just launched their Marvel: Legacy line as yet another soft kind-of-but-not-really reboot that returned many series to their original numbering with new creative teams. This company-wide change was made to counter a severe sales slump with Marvel titles over the last few years ( so far so good but time will tell if it’s a real success). DC Comics bounced back with DC: Rebirth in 2016 and their choice to learn from the mistakes of the New 52 and restore much of the DC Universe prior to 2011’s Flashpoint has been successful so far.  Bendis is known for his excellent character development which is something DC characters could always benefit from. Superman, Justice League or even Batman could use his signature style to find stories that help the audience relate with the characters that are often depicted with ideal lives or omnipotent powers and/or abilities.

This announcement comes at a time of change for DC Comics. Already in the middle of their Dark Knights: Metal storyline (quick recap: evil alternate Batmen invade the main DC universe), DC reveals some big changes. The upcoming Doomsday Clock event promises to continue to change the future of DC Comics and its direction going forward. This may be the perfect time and place to get Bendis in on DC’s ground level and start his trademark character building.

Bendis isn’t the first Marvel writer to make the switch amongst the Big Two. His eventual departure is already being compared to Jack Kirby leaving Marvel and working with DC for years. Due to the nature of comic book contracts, many known creators have worked for both companies throughout comic book history as we know it. The comic book marketplace is constantly in flux and both writers and artists are constantly searching for the best place to showcase their talents and grow as creators.

Overall, a lot of unanswered questions remain. When is Bendis officially leaving Marvel and starting at DC Comics? How does this change affect any current or planned series that bear his name under the Marvel banner? What titles would he be starting with?  Regardless of his reasons, Mr. Bendis should be proud for all the great work he’s done at Marvel. I  wish him luck on this new chapter in his career and life.

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THOR RAGNAROK: Source Material

THOR RAGNAROK: Source Material

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in News, Source Material

Thor: Ragnarok

Many viewers often leave a comic book movie with the question: “Is that how it happened in the comics?” Here at, we have the answers! Let’s look at the real comics storylines that influenced Marvel’s latest blockbuster hit – THOR: RAGNAROK.

Walter Simonson’s Ragnarok and Roll
Few creators have contributed to the Mighty Thor like writer/artist Walter Simonson. One of his iconic stories features Thor and his allies Lady Sif, Beta Ray Bill, and Loki battling the fire demon Surtur, who sought to massacre both men and gods at the end of the world. Since Surtur and Hela the Asgardian’s Queen of the Underworld are the movie’s antagonists in this film, I suggest picking up the Thor by Walter Simonson Omnibus which contain more of Simonson’s epic stories.

Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder/Mighty Thor
Director Taika Waititi admitted that Jason Aaron’s Thor storylines inspired his film both in appearance and in content – especially the storyline featuring Gorr: The God Butcher. Appearing in Thor: God of Thunder #2- #11 drawn by Esad Ribic, the otherworldly Gorr lost his family at a young age – a loss that cemented his belief that the gods did not exist. Upon learning that a variety of deities do indeed exist, he sought the Necrosword and spent centuries killing

any god he could find as his revenge for unanswered prayers. He nearly defeated Thor several times but Thor managed to outsmart him with the help of a Godbomb and successfully ended his campaign of terror. Hela’s appearance and abilities were also based on Aaron’s storyline with Ribic. Jason Aaron is known for his Original Sin story which had Thor declared unworthy to lift his hammer and the title of the Mighty Thor would be

maintained by Dr. Jane Foster. Aaron’s Thor run has been widely accepted as a commercial and critical success.

Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk
In Greg Pak’s Planet Hulk, Bruce Banner aka The Hulk is jettisoned from Earth by Marvel heroes who believe Hulk is too dangerous to live on Earth. The plan to send him to a peaceful planet is coincidentally changed and Hulk ends up on the planet Sakaar, where he is forced to battle in gladiator-like games for the planet’s ruler, the Red King. He bonds with his fellow gladiators, eventually usurps the Red King and decides to remain on Sakaar with his new love, Queen Caiera. Gladiator Hulk is definitely one of the smarter Hulk personalities we’ve seen recently, capable of strategy while still channeling Hulk’s rage and strength. As this is first time we’ve seen Hulk since 2015’s Age of Ultron, the atmosphere and change in personality is a welcome evolution of Bruce Banner and his famous green counterpart. If you’d like to see more, you can check out the Planet Hulk animated film or read the Planet Hulk Omnibus written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan and Aaron Lopresti.

Movie interpretations usually end up straying a bit from the original comics. But with these titles, you might better appreciate the characters you’ve seen and have a better perception of the events that unfold within the film. Most importantly, this movie is the final piece in our understanding of the Infinity Stones, the last of which will be revealed in Thor: Ragnarok, and their importance to Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. Hope you enjoy the film!

-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in comics media and has had Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” stuck in his head since April.

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13 Freaky Facts: Horror Movie Classics

13 Freaky Facts: Horror Movie Classics

Posted by on Oct 30, 2017 in News, Opinion


13 FREAKY FACTS: Horror Movie Classics Edition


Whether they’re playing in the background on Halloween night or you’re watching intently with loved ones, horror movies are a treasure to be enjoyed. To help you determine which flick you’re going to scream for this Halloween, here are 13 facts about classic horror movie monsters that’ll shed new light and make you giddy with fear.

  1. In Bela Lugosi’s landmark role as Count Dracula in Dracula (1931), the studio did not want to film the scripted scene where Dracula attacks the outcast character Renfield. They were concerned with the perception of a homosexual subtext. They even sent a memo to director Todd Browning stating “Dracula is only to attack women.” Oddly enough, a future arrangement between a vampire and his familiar did have such a context: Jerry Dandridge and Billy Cole in 1985’s Fright Night.

  1. “Even a man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Sound familiar? Fans of the Wolf Man franchise know it well, since this rhyme has been recited in every Universal appearance of the Wolf Man starting with Lon Chaney Jr. in 1941. Originally it was believed to be an authentic Gypsy or Eastern European folk saying which gave the tortured creature of two worlds an extra level of spooky credibility. Even though Wolf Man writer Curt Siodmak later admitted that he simply made it up, it has become synonymous with the creature and versions of it continue to be used in modern monster movies like Van Helsing (2004).

  1. Universal Studios wanted to make actor Boris Karloff’s face realistically wrinkled and scary in his role as The Mummy (1932).  Jack Pierce was responsible for the costume design and makeup and at one point, they applied
    so many layers of cotton to Karloff’s face that he was unable to speak simply because he couldn’t move the muscles necessary. He would say to Pierce regarding the costume “Well, you’ve done a wonderful job, but you forgot to give me a fly!”

  1. During the production of Frankenstein (1931), there was some concern on set regarding the scene where the little girl Petunia would befriend the monster and a simple misunderstanding would result in her being thrown in the lake where she would drown. The team was worried that seven-year-old Marilyn Harris would be too afraid of Boris Karloff in full monster makeup to complete the scene. On the day they were getting ready to travel to location, Harris ran up to Karloff in full costume and makeup and took his hand, asking him “May I drive with you?” Karloff was so delighted and happy at her request that he responded, “ Would you, darling?” They drove to the filming location together and filmed the scene with no issue.

  1. While filming Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), stuntman Ricou Browning once had to make an emergency bathroom break while filming an underwater scene of the creature. He had been underwater for several minutes and quickly breached the water in full costume next to an unwary mother and her young daughter who had been swimming nearby. Browning recalled they fled in complete terror once they saw him advancing out of the water and said, “ they took off, and that’s the last I saw of ‘em!”

  1. In The Fly (1958), during the scene where Andre Delambre’s head and arm is caught in the spider’s web, a small animatronic figure with a moving head and arm was used in the web as a reference for Vincent Price and Herbert Marshall. Price later recalled that the scene took multiple takes to finish because every time he and Marshall looked at the figure with the human head and fly body, they would immediately burst out laughing.

  1. During The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Gunnar Hansen was directed to look agitated and stomp his feet out of frustration because Sally got away at the end of the film. Hansen decided that swinging his chainsaw back and forth because would be a better expression of Leatherface’s defeat. He also wanted to scare director Tobe Hooper as a form of payback regarding how he treated the cast and crew during filming. His decision is now an iconic gesture synonymous with the character.

  1. For the film Halloween (1978), their shoestring budget required the prop department to buy the cheapest mask that they could find in the costume store: a William Shatner mask. They spray-painted the face white, teased out the hair, and reshaped the eye holes. Shatner had no idea of the concept until someone asked how he felt about it in an interview.  Since then, he has said he is honored for his contribution to the classic slasher villain and it probably did wonders for his already famous ego. I guess you never know how far $2 can go.

  1. In the original script for Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Freddy Krueger’s sweater was supposed to be red and yellow, which was a reference to the DC superhero Plastic Man. Both Plas and Freddy could change their form at will and it was imagined that whatever Freddy would change for his victims would retain the color scheme. This idea changed when creator/director Wes Craven read an article in “Scientific American” in 1982 that two of the most contrasting colors to human sight were red and green. He changed the colors and Krueger’s wardrobe has remained unchanged throughout the years.

  1. In Friday the 13th (1980), the silence would be forever marked by composer Harry Manfredini’s sound clip building tension around the Camp Crystal Lake grounds and its supernatural slasher Jason Voorhees. Everyone knows the sound but always misspells it; the correct spelling is “Ki, ki, ki; ma, ma, ma” and it’s supposed to be Jason’s voice speaking to his mother. During the first Friday the 13th, Pamela Voorhees reveals she is not only Jason’s mother and the movie’s killer but that she suffers from schizophrenia. She chants “Get her, mommy! Kill her” in a childish tone which gave Manfredini the idea that Jason was saying “Kill, kill, kill; mom, mom, mom.” He created the effect by speaking the syllables into a microphone running through a delay effect. The franchise continues to use the sound clip to this day.

  1. The homicidal doll Chucky possessed by the soul of murderer Charles Lee Ray would be nothing without the voice of actor Brad Dourif. The first Child’s Play (1988) scared a good number of children while delighting horror movie fans and one time, Dourif’s performance even scared his own children. He was recording lines for the first movie in his recording room and didn’t even know his baby daughter Fiona crawled into the room. He didn’t realize until he was recording screams for the scene where Chucky was set on fire in the Barclay’s fireplace and his daughter was so scared that she started crying herself.

  1. During the filming of Steven Spielberg’s Poltergeist (1982), actress JoBeth Williams was scared to shoot the swimming pool scene because of a fear of electrocution from the equipment positioned over and around the pool. To comfort her, Spielberg crawled into the pool with her to shoot the scene, saying “Now if a light falls in, we will both fry.” She agreed to get into the pool and shoot the scene but she didn’t know the skeletons that emerged in the pool were real skeletons until after the scene was completed.

  1. During a post-production party celebrating the end of filming Hellraiser (1987), Pinhead actor Doug Bradley was annoyed that he was being ignored by members of the cast and crew. He was under the impression that he had gotten along with everyone during the making of the film and later learned that nobody from either department had seen him without his intense Cenobite makeup. They simply did not recognize him from his horror movie counterpart.

-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media





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COMICS WARS Marvel vs. DC 1st Edition!

COMICS WARS Marvel vs. DC 1st Edition!

Posted by on Sep 6, 2017 in Comic Wars, News


COMICS WARS! Marvel vs. DC  





By Iron Age Editorial

Welcome to the first edition of COMICS WARS! We compare similar stories and/or characters featured by two different publishers (i.e. Marvel, DC) to determine WHO DID IT BETTER! Two or more Iron Age staffers will read ALL the comics in question and weigh in with balanced arguments to determine a winner!

Weighing in:




Jon Santana – Writer/Creator – Jaded, The Wordsmith




Drew Mollo – Freelance comic news writer for and



In late 2004, Marvel and DC concurrently published the now-famous resurrections of their most infamously dead sidekicks, Bucky Barnes and Jason Todd (Robin).

While we at Iron Age Comics pit the two storylines against each other to find out WHO DID IT BETTER? – ponder another question for yourselves…. Could the release of these simultaneous and ironically similar storylines truly be a COINCIDENCE? We at Iron Age certainly think NOT…

On with the battle!

This is what real comics research looks like!

Round 1: Who came first? Which character appeared in their resurrected state in real time first (not retconned continuity)?

JON: This one’s cut and dry: Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes cameos in Captain America vol. 5 #1 (published Jan. 2005)  in suspended animation, and later in the issue (albeit in shadows) murders the Red Skull. The resurrected Jason Todd/Red Hood first appears in Batman #635 (published Feb. 2005). Winter Soldier wins by a mere month.

DREW:  Winter Soldier appeared as a character in January 2005; while the Red Hood was published in a Batman comic for the first time a month later, it’s good to remember that according to Batman Annual #25 (May 2006), Jason Todd was lurking in the background of Batman issues #217-218 (Sep-OCT ‘03). Both of these characters were part of an aphorism called the Bucky Clause that stated in comics “Nobody stayed dead except Bucky, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben.” Both characters had been considered by various editorial and creative teams to return to their respective continuities but it never happened for a variety of reasons. In the case of Jason Todd, his death had already solicited such hate mail and reaction regarding how it occurred that, in the words of former editor Denny O’Neil, “It would be a really sleazy stunt to bring him back”. In the case of Bucky, both writers Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had a dislike for teenage sidekicks and the idea of bringing Bucky Barnes back had been an idea that had crossed the mind of other writers but never materialized.

Point – Winter Soldier (unanimous)


Round 2: Which had the greater impact in continuity?


This one’s tough – the character of Red Hood as we knew him was relatively new before DC revamped its whole continuity with the New 52 and retconned his origin (a retcon of a retcon, if you incorporate Batman Annual #25’s reveal that a Superboy-multiverse-punch reset the DC universe and resurrected Jason in his grave…. Yeah. That happened). So while I feel the Red Hood is a staple in the DCU and an important part of the current Bat-Family, I never felt the full impact of his involvement as I thought I would when he was first introduced in 2005.

Bucky as Winter Soldier not only becomes part of Cap’s most trusted inner circle in subsequent stories, he actually takes the mantle of Captain America. He carries the shield well during his tenure as Cap and is far from a Cap fascimile – he carries a gun and visually looks strikingly different, all while conceding he will never truly fill Cap’s boots. For this, I give the point to Winter Soldier.


After his reappearance in Under the Red Hood, Jason resurfaced during One Year Later as a murderous Nightwing copycat before returning to the Red Hood identity. He was a prominent character in 2008’s Countdown and even wore the Red Robin suit as he attempted to return to his crime fighting ways. Bruce Wayne’s advice to seek psychiatric help in his Last Will and Testament apparently sent him over the edge as he reappeared dressed as villainous Batman in a failed attempt to usurp the title of Batman from other members of the Bat Family. He would plague Dick Grayson as Batman in a more unstable role as the Red Hood with his new sidekick Scarlet. After the New 52, Jason’s role in the Bat Family changed as his origin was retconned. He was revealed to be both a member of the Outlaws and Batman Incorporated under the codename Wingman. His relationship with Bruce Wayne and the other Bat Family members was improved as he was featured in Batman Eternal, Batman: Death of the Family, Batman and Robin, and Batman and Robin Eternal. He would continue to return to the Red Hood identity and was described by Bruce Wayne in and issue of Batman and Robin Eternal as “Jason is willing to do what Batman can’t, when the world needs it.”

After having his memories restored, the Winter Soldier helped Cap and even asked for employment from Nick Fury. During Civil War, he was a part of a failed rescue plan for Captain America before he was assassinated. After a battle against Iron Man (whom he blamed for Steve’s death) Bucky eventually agreed to become Captain America honoring Steve’s wish for the mantle to continue. He would officially become Captain America in Cap #34. He would continue to wear the mantle of his friend and partner for years even after Steve Rogers returned in Captain America: Reborn in 2010. He would relinquish the role of Captain America in Cap #619 and return to his Winter Soldier identity after “his death” in Fear Itself. He would continue as the Winter Soldier alongside Black Widow and even inherit the role of Earth’s brutal guardian from Nick Fury himself in Original Sin. The point goes to Winter Soldier.

Point: Winter Soldier (unanimous)


Round 3: Which has the greater legacy?


Winter Soldier looks like an easy winner in this category. There was an MCU film with his NAME in the TITLE…. he had a prominent role in Civil War…  both those films are arguably in the top 5 best of the Marvel Movie pantheon. Thanks to Marvel Studios, his character is relatively well known outside of the comics community. THAT’s legacy.

Jason Todd has yet to surface in the DCEU motion picture realm…. BUT: Not only is the DC Animated adaptation of Under The Red Hood possibly one of the best DC animated films ever produced, but Jason Todd as the titular villain in Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight – is a pedigree that cannot be understated. Add to that the awesome playability in the Red Hood costume proper within that game and you have an experience unmatched by his opponent in this category. Point to Red Hood.


After his re-introduction in Captain America, Bucky Barnes popularity continued to grow after he accepted the mantle of Captain America from Steve Rogers. In comics, he would be a member of The New Avengers, the primary Avengers team, and later assist other superheroes as The Winter Soldier in events like Original Sin and Avengers: Standoff! Bucky Barnes or The Winter Soldier would show up in a number of Marvel What If? stories imagining different outcomes to classic Marvel stories or in other alternate realities like the Ultimate Marvel or Marvel Zombies universe. He would appear in a number of Marvel inspired video games such as Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Captain America: Super Soldier, and Lego Marvel Superheroes. Barnes would also appear in multiple Marvel animated television series like The Marvel Super Heroes or Avengers Assemble and he is portrayed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by actor Sebastian Stan. His next appearance will be in the upcoming Marvel mega-blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel.

After his re-introduction in Under the Hood, Jason Todd’s popularity toyed with the idea of him as a villain or a hero depending on the storyline. He would appear in other Bat-family related titles such as Nightwing, Batman and Robin or even company events like Countdown until he got his own title Red Hood and the Outlaws during the New 52. He would juggle his time with the Outlaws and the Bat Family for the next few years and Red Hood and the Outlaws would continue in DC Rebirth with a new team. Jason would appear in a few Elseworlds or other DC alternate realities such as The Dark Knight Returns, Flashpoint, and the Amalgam Universe. He was alluded to in animated shows such as Teen Titans and Young Justice and made his official debut in 2010’s Batman: Under the Red Hood which received critical acclaim from fans and critics. He was a primary antagonist in Batman: Arkham Knight and a vandalized statue of Jason Todd as Robin was featured in 2016’s Batman v. Superman.

In this category, although Jason Todd has both a successful animated film and video game gaining him recognition, Bucky Barnes wins considering his popularity from the television and specifically the MCU movies, a leap Jason Todd has yet to make in the DCU. Although Jason Todd is a better known name now than when he first reappeared, Bucky Barnes and The Winter Soldier is a household name thanks to Sebastian Stan’s performance in the Captain America movie trilogy.  Point to Winter Solider.


Round 4: Who had the better creative team? Out of Time and The Winter Soldier team Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting VS. Under Hood and Family Reunion: Judd Winnick/Doug Manke (and Paul Lee).


Skillfully written by a then new-to-Marvel Brubaker, the Winter Soldier story arc is sharp, tonally dark, and full of the espionage and intrigue we have since come to know and love from Captan America comics (and films!). The pencils by Steven Epting are fitting for the story – dark and clean with bent towards realism most mainstream comics at the time shied away from.

Energetic and fun, Winnick’s storytelling is a blast to read from start to finish. Manke’s strong lines and dynamic comic-style angles never disappoint throughout the run.

Brubaker has the advantage of fewer story interruptions (his story gets hijacked by a House of M tie-in and one other interlude issue; Winnick has to deal with 2 issues of the forgettable War Crimes Bat-book crossover and a guest killer Croc issue penned by someone else), but spends those issues taking his time and systematically plotting out, issue by issue, what we already know: the mysterious dark assassin is Bucky. Brubaker steers clear of classic comics tropes like big-hook cliffhangers – though Winnick uses them with such mastery you can’t deny his last pages always leave you wanting more (freaking AMAZO? How could you NOT buy the next ish?). Winick also gets points for hooking you in the opening pages of more issues than Brubaker does – using meaningful action to bring you into his story in nearly every issue of Under the Hood. Artistically, Epting and Manke couldn’t be on two farther ends of the spectrum – but Epting’s action sequences, while grand in scope (Cap vs. a HELICOPTER) look completely static compared to Manke’s energetic fight sequences. Point to Red Hood and Winnick/Manke for this one.


Ed Brubaker was a DC writer known for his work at DC and Wildstorm and his first job for Marvel was relaunching Captain America with artist Steve Epting. In the first issue alone, Winter Soldier kills Red Skull. He took a simple reveal and made it into a twelve issue conspiracy which was appropriate considering the content and the kind of reveal he was attempting. None of the conflict or situations felt forced and everything was nicely explained without deviating into unnecessary tangents. You meet a new character but through Brubaker, it becomes an international conspiracy with deep political roots that shakes Captain America and his allies to its core especially when the new is actually something old. Steve Epting’s artwork plays with shadow and action so well that it fit like a glove to Brubaker’s style. It has a nice stylized feel that is serious but has an almost animated simplicity that really makes the story pop. Epting would continue to work with Brubaker throughout his run on Captain America as an artist or cover artist. Even with the restoration of his memories by the Cosmic Cube of all devices, Bucky’s reaction was completely normal and it was clear the influence of his past as he struggles with his responsibilities both in and out of costume would be something Brubaker would continue to develop throughout his run on the character.

After his intial Batman run, Judd Winnick said himself that he wanted to do something big for his editors. This story involving the Red Hood reinvented as the new identity for a resurrected Jason Todd. You saw him systematically take down Black Mask’s organization, fight assassins and even beat the Joker with a crowbar before we knew who was under the hood. When Red Hood is revealed to be Jason, it is devastating which you can see when Alfred considers taking down Jason’s uniform from the Batcave. Although Bruce convinces him not to, you see the conflict and how it wears down on the Dark Knight who considered Jason’s death one of his greatest failures. Artist Doug Manke did phenomenal work with this series. Doug has always had such a great command of body language, emotion and detail in his style and his work really accentuated every panel. You could feel the emotion, you could see everything as clear and realistic as possible and you got a great sense of the action and movement. Jason’s resurrection which was later revealed to be because of Identity Crisis’s Superboy Prime punching reality but more importantly his time with the League of Assasins which helped restore his body and mind but leave him mentally unstable is made amazingly clear. Jason Todd’s role as a villain would be continued in other series and Judd Winnick returned to the character years later with a mini-series that further explained Jason’s return, training and journey that eventually lead him to his collaboration with Hush.

In this category, both teams are matched with talented artists who truly made their characters memorable. Regarding its writers, both writers successfully brought back two characters whose status had remained unchanged for decades, a rare achievement in the comic book medium. But although Judd Winnick had already written Batman before, Captain America was Brubaker’s first Marvel job and to come into the job with such a story that radically changed the character and the entire Marvel Universe, it’s easy to understand the high regard Ed Brubaker is held in the comic industry. Point: Winter Soldier (Ed Brubaker/Steve Epting)


Round 5: Wild Card Round: The Reveal


After re-reading both series for this article (one issue of each series at a time, so back-and-forth, just as I read them in 2005) I was surprised how easy this one was to score. I remember upon first reading how easy it was to deduce what was so clearly telegraphed by both writers – “Hey! Check this out! We’re doing the unthinkable! We’re resurrecting Bucky/Jason!” – while still reveling in the juicy story turns of each issue.

Winnick understood that the audience is smart enough to figure out that Red Hood was Jason – so he gave us the reveal the fourth issue of the run (Batman #638) – without giving us Batman’s reaction and the drama to follow until the end of the 6th issue (Batman #641). While this technically means that in real-time, Jason gets his reveal to the audience before Bucky does – it takes away some of the emotional punch by not giving us Batman’s immediate reaction (save for “Oh God” line from the first issue in the run).

Brubaker marches along dutifully – revealing the surprise to Cap in issue #6 but delaying the confrontation between the two until the very last issue of the story (#14). This builds the tension and the desire from the audience by giving them what they NEED first (the reveal) but building the tension for what they WANT (the confrontation between Bucky and Cap). Brubaker and Winter Soldier get the point.


Although the Winter Soldier’s first appearance was in Captain America #1, let’s focus on the moment in Captain America #14 when Bucky Barnes memories are restored by Captain America with the help of the Cosmic Cube. Upon having his memories restored, Bucky is so overwhelmed with guilt and horror over his past actions that he destroys the Cosmic Cube. He crushes it with his bare hands before teleporting away.



For Red Hood, let’s focus on the moment in Batman #638 where the Red Hood unmasks himself. After avoiding an assassination attempt by Mr. Freeze orchestrated by Black Mask, Red Hood tracks down t

he Joker who was hiding out in an abandoned amusement park after a brutal beating from Hush in a previous story.  He proceeds to beat the Joker with a crowbar before revealing himself as Jason Todd, the Robin who the Joker beat almost to death with a crowbar before killing him and his mother in an explosion a decade or two ago.

In this category, Jason Todd wins points for the brutal symbolism before his reveal but Bucky Barnes crushing the Cosmic Cube with his bare hands after regaining his memories takes the cake. Crowbars are one thing but shattering an all-powerful weapon capable of warping reality with your bare hands? That’s definitely one way to make an exit.

POINT: The Winter Soldier



JON: I’m not surprised by the outcome, but I WAS surprised by how much more I enjoyed myself reading the first 6 issues of the Under the Hood story arc than Out of Time. While I’ve revealed I’m a bigger fan of Winter Soldier coming out of this exercise, I’ve surprised myself by revealing I’m a bigger fan of Winnick over Brubaker! I’d have never guessed…

DREW: Jason Todd aka The Red Hood put up a good fight but Buck Barnes aka The Winter Soldier won in a landslide victory. Although I’ll admit I own far more comics that feature Bucky than I do Jason, Jason has grown on me as a character and I’m glad that he found his place as an anti-hero in the DC Universe and that he has gained a strong and vocal fan base. The real winners are the creators who took two characters whose death had remained traditionally unreversed and not only brought them back but made them relevant again. Like many before them, they freed themselves of the shadow cast by their sidekick status and found their own identities which continue to evolve in their respective universes today. In the end, Marvel simply has done more with Bucky/ The Winter Soldier in regards to other media such as television and movies and I truly hope that Jason Todd can find such popularity, no matter what role he plays, in future DC animated and full length films.

Comics by Jon Santana

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Articles by Drew Mollo

Kenobi Film Announced

Gotham by Gaslight Batman Revealed



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“Gotham by Gaslight” Batman revealed!

“Gotham by Gaslight” Batman revealed!

Posted by on Aug 26, 2017 in News


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Gotham by Gaslight: First Look and Trailer 

By Drew Mollo

Warner Bros. and DC Animated Films just released an eight-minute behind the scenes feature discussing the  upcoming animated film Gotham By Gaslight, its origins, and why (in the words of iconic creator/animator/producer Bruce Timm) “Batman versus Jack the Ripper. Duhhh, what a great idea.”

My thoughts: Already I’m seeing great potential in this “Batman in a Sherlock Holmes era”.

  1. Writer James Krieg, who is no stranger to writing comic screenplays, seems confident about the staff bringing their “A+ game” to this project. Amongst his writing credits are episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold, Green Lantern Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series but most importantly he shows a real love for the material, heck Timm, Krieg, and Creative Director Mike Carlin all show such an appreciation for the original comic written by Brian Agustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola and want to do it justice.
  2. This Bat-Man shows his eyes. We remember how Batman’s mask gives him the illusion of white slits which add to his symbolic spooky appearance but this Bat-Man you can see his big ol’ blues. This is something I’ve seen in other Batman Elseworlds but the most recent story that comes to mind is the Batman in the Earth Two line. As Timm explains, seeing his eyes makes him more accessible and humanizes him although as we can see, his appearance still scares the crap out of the criminals and citizens of Gotham City.
  3. The featurette shows an evident appreciation of Elseworlds. Mike Carlin not only explains Elseworlds as “Imaginary Stories” but he also explains the purpose of the stories and how that purpose evolved as DC Comics published more and more of them. If the character was successful, comics continuing the story could expand that particular story while encompassing characters who are familiar to the characters backstory as well as to their fans.
  4. Batman is not the only familiar face we will see in this comic. One of the things I loved reading Master of Future or the Gotham by Gaslight story during 2008’s Countdown was seeing other familiar Batman characters emerge in this new frontier. I saw villains like Ra’s Al Ghul, side characters like Kirk Langstrom or even new heroes like The Blue Beetle but with their own unique backstory and the new movie continues that trend. Already in the trailer we’ve seen Selina Kyle, Hugo Strange, Detective/Chief Bullock, Inspector James Gordon, Barbara Gordon, Harvey Dent, Hugo Strange, Pamela Isley, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and even the Gaslight version of the Bat Signal. All of these characters we know and love but within the context of this 19th century world and connected to the mysterious Bat-Man.
  5. Catwoman plays a more integral role in this story. Selina Kyle plays both a well-dressed figure of desire but also a protector of Gotham’s women since Jack the Ripper has made them his target. Although I’d love to see the Gaslight version of her Catwoman, Selina wielding her iconic bullwhip against Jack the Ripper is a pretty great scene to witness especially considering gender politics of the period. Selina has always had great chemistry with Bruce and I look forward to seeing how they depict and evolve that relationship in this environment.


-Drew Mollo is a freelance writer specializing in Comics media





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