4 Must-Reads for Marvel’s FF relaunch

4 Must-Reads for Marvel’s FF relaunch

Posted by on Aug 8, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

 

Today Marvel Comics first family returns in Fantastic Four #1 – written by former Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and Ultimate Spider-Man artist Sarah Pichelli. The Fantastic Four hasn’t been a team since 2015’s Secret Wars. In that story, the team disbanded with Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm joining the ranks of the Inhumans/Guardians of the Galaxy while Reed and Sue Richards took their children along on their mission to rebuild the multiverse. Among Marvel Comics’ earliest superheroes, the legendary family has had years of iconic stories; however, over the last decade, the title has suffered instability in sales and readership. Some industry members attribute the FF woes to the lukewarm relationship between 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios.

Now that the team is reuniting as part of Marvel’s Fresh Start initiative, let’s celebrate this new chapter of the iconic super team with four pivotal story-lines that’ll either teach you what you need to know or get you really excited for the upcoming book in stores today. IT’S CLOBBERIN’ (or at least spotlightin’) TIME!

1. The Galactus Trilogy (Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #48-50)

The origin of this pivotal Fantastic Four story supposedly began during a brainstorming session between writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby when Kirby asked “ What if the Fantastic Four met God?”. Regardless if that story is true or who gets the credit for what, the three story arc set the standard for modern epic storytelling in comic books and became the essential Fantastic Four story. When Mr. Fantastic is warned by the all knowing Watcher about the arrival of the Silver Surfer and what it symbolizes, the Fantastic Four gathers all of Earth’s heroes to watch his master Galactus arrive and declare his intent to consume the planet and its energies. While Earth’s forces fail to derail his construction of the machines necessary to do such a thing, the Four discover a device that can could stop him: The Ultimate Nullifier. A confrontation between Mr. Fantastic and the omnipotent Galactus occurs and a truce is agreed upon although the entire situation would have repercussions for the Fantastic Four and other individuals involved for years to come. The Galactus Trilogy introduced or elaborated on characters who would become major influences in the Fantastic Four history and dozens of other noteworthy stories would continue, elaborate, or be inspired by this legendary story.

 

2. Hereafter (Fantastic Four Issue #509-513)

Writer Mark Waid and artist Mike Wieringo followed up their memorable story-line “Unthinkable” with this story of the Four in shambles after their latest battle with Doctor Doom has left them branded as terrorists, estranged from each other and grieving the death of their teammate Ben Grimm. Despite his scarred face and fall from grace, Reed Richards contacts Johnny and Sue with a crazy idea how to get Ben back. He hooks up Ben’s body which apparently still contains a glimmer of his consciousness to a machine and is able to track what remains of his soul to a new dimension. While they dance around the idea that this new dimension is “heaven”, the moment they arrive the Three are attacked by angels who warn them they shouldn’t be here and as they search for Ben, they face all sorts of obstacles that threaten or tempt to derail their mission. Along the way, the three characters address their feelings about each other and a lot of truth and pain is acknowledged. When they find Ben who initially doesn’t want to be saved but simply left to eternity, witnessing the mess his family is without him changes Ben’s mind as he realizes how much he truly misses them. Although all of this is one hell of a story, the real monumental moment is the Fantastic Four reaching the end of the realm where they meet their creator who looks like none other than Jack Kirby himself. Sitting in a relaxed studio, he discusses the mysteries of the universe, takes a call from Stan Lee, and with the help of his magical pencil he fixes Reed’s face and returns Ben to his original rocky demeanor. This story serves both as a conclusion and a soft reboot of the characters which was handled better than other noteworthy reboots at Marvel but honestly showed the famous family at their lowest point and how they overcame it together. Despite their powers, they can’t escape the feelings of anger, loss, regret, denial, sadness, and happiness that make them and more or less us human in the first place.

3.  Wolf at the Door ( Marvel Knights Issue #1-7)

Writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa had the daunting challenge of following up Mark Waid’s memorable run of the Fantastic Four and with artist Steve McNiven, he stepped up to the challenge with a story unlike any at that point. After the Fantastic Four celebrate Franklin Richards birthday, they are notified by their accountant that they are currently broke due to the United States cutting funding for scientific research, a rocky market and an embezzling money manager. Without the protection of the government, the City of New York issues an ultimatum that the Four must pay for the damaged inflicted on the city or turn over the Baxter Building and all its assets. Broke and now homeless, The Four manage to afford a cheap apartment and attempt to hold down regular jobs while Reed tries and fails to figure out a way out of their current situation. As the transition has mixed results with each member, the famous family do their best to make the best of their situation and that’s what makes this story one of the best and most accessible stories. We’re so used to seeing them battling foes in other dimensions or outer space that we forget that they are still human beings. They still have to pay bills, deal with relationship woes, handle rejection or struggle through hard times just like the rest of us. They can fight Doctor Doom, the Mole Man, or Annihilus to a standstill but they can’t pummel bankruptcy or taxes into submission. It’s nice seeing the Richard family give an attempt at normality with a camping trip in New Jersey although we know that something will and does go awry. Although the Fantastic Four would eventually bounce back from this rough patch, this story remains as one of their best and most grounded stories.

  1. Three ( Fantastic Four Issue 583-588)

Jonathan Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four became one of the best-selling runs that the title had seen in years and Three stands as one of his most epic and most devastating story-lines. Hickman and artist Steve Epting tell an epic story with a grand scale of characters that even Jack Kirby would have appreciated. Old enemies like Doctor Doom, Galactus, and the Yancy Street Gang emerge to cause trouble along with new enemies from other dimensions who want to conquer or destroy Earth. Reed and Sue get caught in the middle of an Atlantean war. Ben Grimm reverts back to his original form and rediscovers what it means to be Ben and not the Thing. Dealing with all of this chaos causes the Four to split up to deal with each catastrophe and in the end, they suffer a defeat that would take years to recover from. Ben and Johnny face the forces of Annihilus and the Negative Zone and in order to prevent the ravenous hordes from getting to Earth, Johnny sacrifices himself  so his friends can escape. His heroic loss was devastating to his family and the Marvel Universe at whole. Although his death would be clarified years later, his loss ushered a new chapter in the Fantastic Four. The Four asked Spider-Man to join their organization as Johnny’s replacement and the group changed their name to the Future Foundation out of respect. Hickman juggled old characters with new characters and pushed this classic family to new and yet tragic lengths while making everything clear and accessible. Some of our best stories unfortunately come from loss and how we comprehend them and what changes they make to our lives moving forward

So that’s just four of the Fantastic Four stories but there are hundreds of issues and dozens of trade paperbacks to choose from characters who’ve been exploring the unknown since 1961. They’ve been through ups and downs, together or at each other’s throats but at the end of the day, they find their strength individually pales to their power as a group or more importantly, a family. I’m excited to see where this new chapter in the Fantastic Four’s lives takes them and I hope you enjoy these stories and find your favorite Fantastic Four stories in the process.

Also enjoy this panel from Hereafter where “God” gets a call from his “collaborator”. Three guesses who it is.

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Who is the Joker? 5 possible origins for upcoming solo film

Who is the Joker? 5 possible origins for upcoming solo film

Posted by on Aug 3, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

Recently at San Diego Comic Con, Warner Brothers confirmed more details about the stand alone Joker film centered around Batman’s infamous nemesis. The film starring Walk the Line actor Joaquin Phoenix and directed by The Hangover’s Todd Phillips was given a release date of October 4th, 2019 with the film title simply Joker. The film “centers around the iconic arch nemesis and is an original, standalone story not seen before on the big screen. Phillips’ exploration of a man disregarded by society is not only a gritty character study, but also a broader cautionary tale.” Set in the 1980s, this movie will be a solo story not part of the DC Extended Universe which plans to do both a Suicide Squad Joker stand-alone film and a Harley Quinn film based on the characters portrayed by Jared Leto and Margo Robbie. While the multiple Joker movies will seem a little confusing and even unnecessary, the Joker is one of the few DC villains who’s character and mythos can support an individual film. With a screenplay co-written by Phillips and Scott Silver who worked on The Fighter, it’s amusing to consider there are multiple Joker origin stories to reference or build upon. That idea was a request from co-creator Jerry Robinson who felt the multiple origins added to the character’s mystery which has been honored by countless DC creators going forward. With that in mind, let’s look at 5 origin stories that might make an excellent Joker movie.

1. Detective Comics Issue #168 (1951): Until that time the Joker had just been a smiling silly criminal clown with gimmicks a plenty until this story titled “ The Man Behind the Red Hood” by co-creator Bill Finger and illustrators Lew Schwartz and Win Mortimer attempted to give him an origin story a decade after the characters debut. Batman decided to teach a class in crime fighting and as a challenge, he presents them with an unsolved case involving the Red Hood. When the Red Hood remerges and continues to elude the Caped Crusader and Robin, a clever trap ensnares the foe but they discover him to an imposter who tied up the real Red Hood so he could use his costume. The imposter leads them to the shed where the true Red Hood is revealed to be the Joker! The Clown Prince of Crime reveals himself to be a former Ace Playing Card Company worker who decided to steal 1 million dollars and retire but when the Dynamic Duo decided to show up, he took a chance in a chemical bath and managed to escape. While his helmet helped him survive, the chemicals transformed him into a new terrifying person and he took the name Joker as tribute to his formerly employer.


2. The Killing Joke (1989): This Alan Moore and Brian Bolland story is considered the pinnacle Joker origin story partially inspired by The Man behind the Red Hood story-line. While Joker famously cripples Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl, in an attempt to drive her father Commissioner Gordon insane, the story also parallels the story of the Joker’s origin story. The man who would become the Joker was a failed engineer who quit his job at the chemical plant to become a stand-up comedian. Stressed by his failure at comedy and the needs to support his pregnant wife, he agrees to take a job with two criminals to rob the playing card company next door to the chemical plant. The title of Red Hood appears to be a revolving door position for the criminals and the man is simply a fall guy in case Batman should show up. Before the heist can go down, the modest man is devastated to learn his wife and unborn child have both died in a household accident. He attempts to bail on his commitment but he is strong-armed by his new “friends” into withholding his agreement. The night of the heist, they are interrupted by security and Batman. The two criminals are killed during the shoot out and the Red Hood takes a chemical bath in order to escape the Dark Knight. When he remerges, the mixture of chemicals and the loss of his family has driven him completely insane. We see the Joker for the first time and this story has been referenced by many other storylines and is considered one of if not the definitive Joker origin story.


3. Batman Confidential: Lovers and Madmen (2007): Many Joker stories have made reference to Joker being involved with the mob usually as an enforcer. In this story by Michael Green and Denys Cowan which takes place early in Batman’s career, the Joker is simply a man named Jack who doesn’t feel his current career  provides him with any real excitement. That all changes when he and his crew meet Batman which does indeed put a smile on his face. With a note pinned on a corpse about “making his day”, the storyline details a crime spree that pits Jack vs. the Batman. When Jack injures Batman’s current girlfriend, Batman lets his emotions get the best of him and cuts Jack’s face with a Batarang leaving him with a permanent smile. Batman also contacts Jack’s employer Maletesta with Jack’s location and they attempt to torture and kill him in an old Pharmaceutical plant. Due to a bizarre set of circumstances, Jack emerges from the incident reborn as the Joker.  Batman has little time to regret his hand in Jack’s transformation before they are thrust into conflict once again.


4. Batman Black and White: Case Study (2000): Few people write the Joker better than Paul Dini and this story with breathtaking artwork by Alex Ross provides a Joker story unlike any other told in a report suggesting both an origin for the Joker and an explanation for his behavior. The Joker is depicted as an unhinged gangster who becomes bored with the lifestyle and power he has accumulated. He creates the Red Hood in order to commit petty crimes. After his encounter with Batman and transformation into the Joker, the story suggests that his methods are to commit sane crimes under the guise of madness thus suggesting he is completely sane and aware of his actions. Although this story convinces the doctors who read it, it is revealed it was written by none other than Doctor Harleen Quinzel prior to her life changing sessions with the Joker. The report is dismissed as being just another Joker prank but nonetheless as a short story, it serves as an original and interesting take on the Clown Prince of Crime.


5. Batman Brave and the Bold Issue #31 (2010): In this issue by John Michael Stracyznski, Chad Hardin and Justinano the Atom has to go into the Joker’s mind in order to cure him of a rare disease. Once inside, Atom experiences a bombardment of memories that suggest Joker’s life was already heading down a dark path before he became the Man who Laughs. We see him as an unstable and unpredictable child who you would not want to get angry. We see him killing his parents in a fire simply because of their discovery of his penchant for killing animals. We see him killing an accomplice after robbing a store simply because the man questioned his murder of the store’s employee. The overall experience in Joker’s mind almost drove Ray Palmer insane and even after the Joker was cured, you could see the traumatic experience would remain with the Atom and its left open that what the hero saw might have not even been the true story after all.

There are of course many other Joker origin stories out there such as Snyder/Capullo’s new 52 story that Joker is an immortal whose numerous resurrections is linked to Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit or Azarello/Bermejo’s Joker graphic novel which depicts an origin more aligned with Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight that upcoming film could reference or find inspiration from. The homicidal clown enjoys creating new origins for anybody who would believe such stories as he sees them as tools he can use to manipulate people for his own agenda. As Batman said “Like any other comedian, he uses whatever material will work” and it’s that unique characteristic that has made the Joker an iconic fan favorite over the years and works to this films advantage. If the material and talent behind the film is strong, the fans will accept and love this interpretation. If it fails, the film will just be ignored and filed away in the bargain bin of comic book history. Although I do not completely understand the need or desire for such a film to exist, I am intrigued to see what risks and direction this forthcoming film takes. Until then, keep smiling.

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New Venom Trailer Review

New Venom Trailer Review

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in Home, News, Opinion, Source Material, Uncategorized

 

When Sony announced they were going forward with a Venom movie, we had a right to be skeptical. When considering all of Spider-Man’s iconic villains over the years, Venom is easily one of the most memorable and popular adversaries of the ol’ Web Head. Half alien symbiote that was once bonded to Spider-Man and half disgraced journalist Eddie Brock, their combined hatred of Spider-Man created an monstrous vigilante/anti-hero with considerable powers who continues to cross paths with Spider-Man to this day. One of the few Spider-Man foes to successfully carry their own series, Venom continued to make appearances in comics and television alike until his big screen debut in 2007’s Spider-Man 3. Although the movie and actor Topher Grace tried, the performance failed to capture the charm and danger that Venom represents to Spider-Man and future discussions of a Venom solo film were shelved. Discussion of the solo film returned in 2012 as part of the Amazing Spider-Man series to be directed by Chronicle’s Joshua Trank but that idea went nowhere once again. Finally in 2016, discussions of a Venom solo film were finally moving forward with Tom Hardy cast as Eddie Brock and Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer directing a film outside of the current MCU continuity. The first trailer was an teaser that didn’t really show much of Brock’s alter ego and the second trailer is infamously known for creating the debate around the proper pronunciation of symbiotes. Today the 3rd trailer for Venom was released to the public although I remain skeptical, the content inside has definitely peaked my interest for its premiere in October.

One of the films biggest criticisms already has been the removal of Spider-Man from Venom’s origin overall. Tom Hardy shows an Eddie Brock who isn’t afraid of dealing with scandals or blows to his professional reputation while in pursuit of the truth, but Spider-Man was the main reason for Venom’s creation. Once rejected because of its abuse of its host and his powers, the symbiote lay dormant in a local church until it came across a depressed and vengeful Eddie. Eddie Brock lost everything when his lead on a prolific serial killer turned out to be a red herring while Spider-Man caught the real killer. Unable to accept responsibility for his actions, he blamed Spider-Man for ruining his life and desired revenge as he contemplated suicide. His hatred of Spider-Man was so potent that it awakened the symbiote and the kindred spirits created something unlike any foe Spider-Man had ever faced. After battling Spider-Man more than once, Venom eventually agreed to a truce and moved to San Francisco where he appointed himself the city’s lethal protector dispensing his own unique form of justice. Even though the film apparently finds a way to establish Brock and the events that help to create Venom, Spider-Man’s absence is noticeable primarily to comic book fans but does not derail the film and its direction so far.

 

This version of Venom appears to take inspiration from that chapter in the character’s history with the new villain responsible for its creation being the Life Foundation and its leader Carlton Drake played by Riz Ahmed. The trailer’s dialogue appears in line with the Life Foundation in the comics and their motivation to prepare the world for the upcoming Armageddon  but here they believe that the newly discovered symbiotes are not only mankind’s savior but also the next step in human evolution. Stating the film took inspiration from horror directors like David Cronenberg and John Carpenter, there appears to be all manner of gruesome transformations and deaths as the symbiotes are here and ready to play. Brock’s investigation into the Life Foundation and their experiments will put him on the path to becoming Venom and like any new superpowers, there is the learning curve and definition of the character. Exploring abilities of Venom that were established later in the creature’s continuity, we can see Eddie wrestle out loud with the symbiote about what it is and what their partnership will represent. Fans will cheer at Venom’s debate about what of his enemies’ body parts he’ll eat or his monologue full of threats to a robber of a local business because it reinforces that this character is no Captain America or even the Punisher. Fleischer has promised that this film will open the door to a bigger world referencing the Symbiote Home World and the fact that one of the film’s villains will be the symbiote dubbed Riot. In the comics, Riot was one of the five symbiotes extracted from Venom to be soldiers for the Life Foundation and Riot’s special ability was that it could easily transfer from host to host meaning it could be anybody. As seen in the trailer, Riot commits more than a few atrocities and apparently it will bond with Drake leading to a climatic battle near the end of the film. With Michelle Williams playing Eddie’s DA girlfriend Anne Weyving and rumors that Cletus Cassady aka the man who would become Carnage may make an appearance, it would appear other symbiotes and characters could show up in Venom’s future should the film be successful.

In the comics, Venom’s warped perception is that he is the hero while Spider-Man is the villain. In the trailer we can see Eddie accepting that while these powers are dangerous, its not completely awful suggesting he’s beginning to accept his role as judge, jury and executioner. While the absence of Spider-Man begs the question that without him does Venom have a chance of being a good movie, its important to remember that with the right cast, crew, and script any movie has the potential to be great regardless of a character’s previous portrayals. Despite any flaws that people may fuss and nitpick over, this trailer shows us a fuller and more comprehensive trailer of the movie as a whole than the previous trailers. The movie could be great, it could be okay or it could be awful but that’s the gamble you make every time you sit down in that movie theater. After what I’ve seen, I’m willing to give this Venom a chance and maybe you should too.

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Glass: The Final Installment in M. Night’s Superhero Trilogy

Glass: The Final Installment in M. Night’s Superhero Trilogy

Posted by on Jul 25, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

 

 

At San Diego Comic this weekend, Universal Pictures released the first full trailer of Glass, M. Night Shyamalan’s conclusion to the superhero story he began with Unbreakable (2000) and continued with Split (2016).

Originally intended to mirror a comic book three part story structure, Unbreakable told the story of security guard David Dunn played by Bruce Willis who is the sole survivor of a horrific train crash. After the incident, he meets with a disabled comic art gallery owner Elijah Price played by Samuel L. Jackson who suggests that Dunn may have superpowers. Afflicted with a rare bone disability that makes his bones brittle and easy to break, “Mr. Glass” suggest that there are other’s out there like themselves. Dunn spends most of the movie discovering the extent of his powers and trying to use them to help people while trying to navigate a strained relationship with his family. Near the end, he learns that Elijah is not only responsible for his earlier crash but also dozens of other incidents all in pursuit of finding other super powered individuals. David walks away from Elijah who believes he was meant to be David’s super villain and is eventually arrested, tried, and sentenced to an institution for the criminally insane. It opened to good reviews, $248 million at the box office, and is considered both a cult film and one of the best superhero movies ever made.

After years of development and questionable movie decisions from the writer/director, Split told the story of Kevin Crumb played by James Macavoy who suffers extreme dissociative learning disorder with 23 distinct personalities within his body. He kidnaps three teenage girls Casey, Monica, and Claire and keeps them hostage as the more dominant personalities express that the girls are intended as some kind of sacrifice to “The Beast”, an unseen 24th personality. As the girls attempt and fail to escape or manipulate the other personalities within Kevin, we gradually see the emergence of the Beast as a personality that is a sociopath, cannibalistic but also grants Kevin incredible strength and speed. As the Beast hunts down and devours Claire and Monica, Casey manages to escape a similar fate upon the discovery that she is also is a victim of suffering and abuse. The Beast declares its mission is to cleanse the world of the untouched, those who he deems impure for having never suffered, and spares Casey. A while later, Kevin’s mission has the media calling him the Horde and a cameo by David Dunn proved to be the biggest twist M. Night’s done in years. Not only is Split a super-villain solo/origin story but it is the second act in a superhero trilogy that many thought was never going to be completed until now.


The Glass trailer connects all three characters: David Dunn, Kevin Crumb, and Elijah Price in one theme: they have all been institutionalized for believing they have superpowers. As narrated by Dr. Ellie Staple played by Sarah Paulson, she is a psychologist who specializes in treating people who believe they are superheroes. Dr. Staple claims that it’s a growing field which may support Glass’ previous claim that there are others out there like them and their exposure to the world may be his primary motivation in this movie. It would appear that Mr. Glass and the Horde will be working together with Dunn set as the hero who will stop them both. It’ll be interesting seeing how Dunn’s powers have evolved since we last saw him or what diabolical plans Price has setting up since his incarceration. We can already tell that there are a few new personalities within the Horde which continues to cement McAvoy’s excellent acting abilities and returning cameo from Casey, his sole survivor played by Anya Taylor-Joy. M. Night’s approach to comics and superheroes continue his trend of grounding the fantastic with elements of reality and frankly this is a welcome break in a genre dominated by comic book companies like DC and Marvel. Glass is a serious film that thinks less about how their characters will appear on action figures and more about the symbolism of the characters themselves or the cohesive flow of the film as a whole. As a fan of Unbreakable, I was taken by surprise watching Split when it was revealed both films were within the same universe. Glass completes the trilogy that M. Night started almost 20 years ago and I cannot wait to see how this story ends, words that I haven’t truly said about an M. Night Shyamalan film in a long time. What a twist indeed.

 

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Recommended Reading for Ant Man and the Wasp

Recommended Reading for Ant Man and the Wasp

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

With Ant Man and the Wasp only two days away, I thought some recommended reading might help those who want to be familiar with Marvels tiniest heroes before they drop on the big screen. Now these are only a few of the stories out there since Ant-Man and the Wasp’s debut in Tales to Astonish #27 and #44 in the early 1960s or Scott Lang’s debut in Avengers #181 at the end of the 1970s but hey you gotta start somewhere and these I thought were some of the best introductions.

1. Ant-Man: Scott Lang: This collection has a lot of the early appearances of Scott Lang as Ant-Man. You can see him working alongside other Marvel heroes such as Iron Man, Fantastic Four, the Avengers and Spider-Man. Lang would later play an important role in the Armor Wars story-line but this collection highlights two story-lines that will be explored in this upcoming film. One story had him assisting Yellowjacket (Hank Pym) to rescue the captured Wasp and another had him working alongside the FF to journey toward a “micro-world” where he would assist the famous family in battle with the forces of Doctor Doom. Both the rescue and journey to a micro-world aka the Quantum Realm are important, but this collection shows how Lang interacts with the other heroes in the Marvel Universe. Considering both Ant-Man and the Wasp will be appearing in the Avengers: Infinity War sequel in 2019 and that Scott Lang would eventually be an Avenger in the comics, reading up on how the groundwork for such relationships began may be good for anyone still unfamiliar with the size altering hero.

2. Shadowland: Thunderbolts: While this Luke Cage assembled Thunderbolts, a team of criminals forced to work together for the common good, had their own specific missions, the movie’s villain Ghost was among their members having served previously on Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts before betraying him during Siege. Issue #151 offered a possible origin story for Ghost, specifically who he was and how he became to be. Tragic and brutal, this possible origin for a blank slate in the Marvel universe is interesting to say the least of a character who began as an Iron Man villain. Although actress Hannah John-Kamen’s interpretation of the character will be unique to itself, this character and its evolution from a villain to an anti-hero with good intentions is great for anyone unfamiliar with this obscure character.

3. Ant/Man Giant Man: The Man in the Ant Hill: Before Scott Lang, there was Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym and his wife Janet Van Dyne aka Ant-Man and the Wasp. Although co-creator Stan Lee said that it was a struggle to find place for Ant-Man in the Avengers at times, both characters were established in Marvel’s Tales to Astonish series and later as founding members of the famous superhero team. During their brief membership, Ant-Man would switch identities, the first of many changes in Hank Pym’s career, to Giant Man. Although Hank and Janet’s time as both characters have clearly passed since their introduction in Ant-Man (2016), video footage of both in action proved they were quite the formidable team. As one of the main plot points deals with the attempt to rescue Janet from the Quantum Realm, familiarity with Hank and Janet during the Golden Age of Comics might be a nice trip down memory lane while also seeing how far comic book storytelling has come since then.

4. Black Goliath #1-5: Bill Foster was originally introduced in Avengers #32 as Hank Pym’s lab assistant but it wasn’t until Luke Cage: Power Man #24 that he became known as Black Goliath. Dr. Foster moved to the West Coast where he was able to crack the formula to Pym particles which gave him similar powers to Giant-Man. Taking the name Black Goliath, he fought a variety of villains while working alongside other heroes like the Champions, the Defenders, and the Thing. This short-lived series was unfortunately published at a time when there was a paper shortage meaning Marvel had to cancel any low selling series almost immediately. Fortunately, Bill continued to make appearances in Marvel Two-In-One and eventually became a member of the West Coast Avengers before losing his powers. With Lawrence Fishburne playing the role of Bill Foster in the movie and the mention of project Goliath,  we could be seeing another Giant-Man in the MCU future so brushing up on his history might be helpful.

5. Astonishing Ant Man: Trial of Ant-Man: There have been a few Ant-Man series since the characters debut in the 1960s and Nick Spencer’s run of Astonishing Ant Man is the latest but by far one of the more successful fan favorite series. Balancing the popular consensus of the character from the MCU movies with the humor and wit he displayed in the Superior Foes of Spider-Man, writer Nick Spencer puts Scott Lang in a tough situation and just turns up the heat. When Darren Cross, Crossfire and company kidnap his daughter Cassie, Scott must enlist the help of villainous co-workers to break into Darren’s company and save Cassie. After the battle, Scott is arrested for his participation in the matter and for violating his parole and he sits in jail awaiting trial. Caught between a rock and a hard place with limited options, Scott’s situation has certain parallels with the predicament’s Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang faces in the upcoming movie. He is under house arrest because of his choices in Civil War which have resulted in greater tension between him, Hank, and Hope. He wants to be a good father to Cassie but can’t deny his responsibilities as Ant-Man even when those decisions make his life even more difficult. I’d say Nick Spencer’s good but short series Astonishing Ant Man is a great read for modern readers who want to get into comics but don’t have the time to invest in years of continuity.

So that’s some of the great Ant Man and Wasp stories out there so if you like them and want to read more of Scott Lang, Hank Pym, and Janet Van Dyne’s adventures, go check our your nearest comic book shop or book store. Until then, keep it real and watch out for seagulls.

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Source Material: Ant-Man and the Wasp Comics

Source Material: Ant-Man and the Wasp Comics

Posted by on Jul 3, 2018 in Home, News, Source Material, Uncategorized

Hey everybody! We’re only a few days away from the premiere of Ant-Man and the Wasp, the sequel to 2016’s Ant-Man. A lot has changed since Scott Lang inherited the mantle of Ant Man from secluded inventor Hank Pym in an unorthodox fashion and as we saw at the end of the first movie, he has some company or as Hope van Dyne put it “It’s about damn time”. The film takes place two years after the events in Civil War but before the events of Infinity War so it may answer questions about why we didn’t see either heroes alongside their fellow Marvel heroes battling against Thanos and his forces. The film will explore a new adversary code-named the Ghost, fellow inventor and former Pym co-worker Bill Foster, and the status of Janet Van Dyne who disappeared in the Quantum Realm years ago.

Our Characters:

Scott Lang/ Ant-Man: A former criminal and father who tried to help his daughter’s poor health by rescuing a doctor who could help her from CEO Darren Cross. To do this, he stole Hank Pym’s suit and cannisters of Pym particles which gave him the powers Hank Pym was known for. After he defeated Cross, he tried to return the suit and turn himself in but Hank Pym, aware of his reasons and his actions as a result, instead allowed him to keep the suit and title under the condition he works as a hero. Scott has worked alongside the Avengers and other Marvel superheroes but always tried to balance a career as a superhero and a father. Wonderfully portrayed by actor Paul Rudd, this movie portrays Lang under house arrest due to his actions during Civil War and attempting to fix his frayed relationship with Hank Pym and Hope while balancing his responsibilities as Ant Man and to his daughter Cassie.

 

 

Hope van Dyne/ the Wasp: the daughter of Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, the original Ant Man and Wasp. While there are similarities to her comic book character, I find this version of the Wasp to have more in common with Nakia Pym, the illegitimate child of Hank Pym and deceased foreign agent Maria Trovaya. Nakia grew up in the Soviet Red Room and upon escape, she learned of her father’s death and created a makeshift Wasp costume to fight alongside the Avengers. She would find a surrogate mother in Janet Van Dyne and eventually adopted her last name when she became a U.S. Citizen. In the movie, Janet’s disappearance during a mission created friction and distance between Hank and Hope that began to heal throughout the first movie. Portrayed delightfully by actress Evangeline Lily, the actress believes that by accepting the mantle of the Wasp, Hope has achieved a goal she’s wished for for most of her life as well assertion from her father, so she will be in a different emotional mindset than she was previously.

Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym/ the original Ant-Man: The scientist who was also known as Giant Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket and even the Wasp. One of the founding members of the Avengers, Hank Pym’s heroic history has been mired with controversial decisions and consequences. It was Hank Pym who was responsible for creating the android menace called Ultron and years later he suffered a mental breakdown that caused him to attack his teammates and physically assault his wife Janet. As a result, he was expelled from the Avengers and Janet divorced him although they would rekindle their romance years later. The movie version of Hank Pym is an inventor, entomologist, physicist and former S.H.I.E.L.D agent who was the original Ant-Man back in 1963. Portrayed by actor Michael Douglas who channels the cynicism and distrust Hank views the world into his role as Scott’s mentor, the film will explore how Scott’s decisions in Civil War has affected him and Hope and his desire to return to the Quantum Realm in search of his wife Janet whom he believes is still alive.

The Ghost: A brilliant criminal who gains the ability to phase through technology after stealing Pym technology. In the comics, the Ghost origin story is unknown. He claimed to be a promising programmer and engineer whose technology skyrocketed his employer Omnisapient. Depressed over the death of his girlfriend to a random fire, he found solace by literally immersing his consciousness into the data networks he created by wiring his flesh to his advanced processors. With his mind elevated to alpha-level intelligence he discovered that his lover had been hired by the company to keep him happy and was killed because of her attempts to blackmail them. When he was discovered, the company hired a mercenary to dispose of him with a bomb that destroyed his entire apartment complex and its residents. He survived and became the Ghost, an anti-capitalist saboteur who seeks to destroy any corporation or institution that he views as oppressive, with a suit that grants him the ability to become intangible and hack and reprogram any electronic system or signal. He destroyed his former employers and then erased any form of his former life. If this is true or not has yet to be confirmed. In the movie, the writers decided that the characters gender was irrelevant to its portrayal and that it would be more interesting to cast the role as a woman; the actress Hannah John-Kamen felt the blank slate allowed her to make the character her own. It has been hinted that there is some connection to Ghost and friend and former Pym co-worker Bill Foster.

 

Bill Foster: A former assistant and partner to Hank Pym on the Goliath project. In the comics, Bill Foster worked alongside Hank Pym as his lab assistant and eventually cracked the formula for the Pym particles which gave Giant-Man (Hank Pym’s identity at the time) the ability to grow. Originally known as Black Goliath, he worked alongside the Champions, the Defenders, and other Marvel characters as Giant Man and constantly dealt with his powers in flux. He went by Goliath when he was killed during a battle in Civil War and his nephew Tom would crack the formula for Pym particles and honor his memory as the new Goliath. In the movie, Bill Foster is played by Laurence Fishburne who is seen comparing his experience in Project Goliath with Scott Lang’s experiences in the trailer. Director Paul Reed has described the current rivalry between Foster and Pym to that of tech moguls Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Cassie Lang: Scott Lang’s daughter. In the comics, repeated exposure to the Pym Particles from her father’s adventures as Ant-Man helped Cassie gain the ability to increase and decrease her size. Her abilities were usually linked to her emotions and she would work alongside the Young Avengers and with other Marvel heroes under the code-name Stature. Her love for her father and his other career would constantly put her at odds with her mother and stepfather who feared for her safety and life. Although she is just a child currently in Scott’s early career as Ant-Man, such a plot point would be interesting to explore in possible future movies.

 

Janet Van Dyne/ The Original Wasp: Hank Pym’s wife and mother to Hope Van Dyne. She was lost in the Quantum Realm during a mission years ago with Hank. She has not been seen since…. until now. It was rumored until it was confirmed that she will be portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer.

And of course Luis, Dave, and Kurt who were members of Scott Lang’s original crew will be returning as well as Maggie and Paxton, Scott’s ex-wife and her current husband. With a cast of characters such as this, this most definitely will not be any kind of small movie.

 

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