Brian Michael Bendis lists his favorite moments from nearly five years with the team!

Stuck on Earth and scattered across the planet, if there’s one thing that can bring the Guardians of the Galaxy back together, it’s a common enemy. On April 12, “Grounded” reaches its conclusion with the final issue by writer Brian Michael Bendis in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #19!

After close to five years of wandering around the universe and sometimes saving the day, it’s time for the Guardians to part ways with one of Marvel’s most prolific writers. An era of Guardians history comes to a close in this special doubled-sized issue, featuring work from Valerio Schiti and an all-star team of guest artists.

To celebrate the achievement, Brian gave us a retrospective look at his favorite moments alongside the most dysfunctional super group in the galaxy.

Marvel.com: Let’s start with the best of the worst: favorite villain?

Brian Michael Bendis: Peter’s father. It was one of the reasons I wanted to write this book, having done the research working with the Marvel Cinematic Creative Committee. They were debating whether or not Guardians was a movie franchise—this was when Guardians was as cult as it gets. They sent me some material and some things they were thinking about and I started reading—and I had read it as a fan—but to read it considering its global potential was an interesting thing to do. And then reading Peter’s origin story was so exciting to me because, if you read it, it’s as good as Spider-Man or Superman, it’s just not as well known. The purity of narrative is beautiful. This king crash-lands on Earth in the middle of a space war, falls in love with an Earth person, knocks her up, goes back to his space war, and she’s left on Earth with a half-alien baby—and the boy will never know. This is phenomenal stuff. And then he grows up to find out who he is and “Oh my god, your father’s an a-hole across the galaxy!” Most kings of anything are not known for their warmth. So, to dive into that and cover that for almost the first entire volume was very fun and something I was dying to write.

Marvel.com: Favorite guest star?

Brian Michael Bendis: Just last night, I wrote my goodbye to Guardians, so it’s all fresh on my mind. I think having Tony Stark up in space for as long as we did in the middle of golden run as a movie star was pretty exciting. Also, we had a lot of fun with him—what a great field trip for Tony to go on. And then, hilariously, him and Gamora hooking up, which shows up on my Tumblr feed every three days. It’s going down well as one of the great super hero hookups.

Marvel.com: Favorite event or tie-in?

Brian Michael Bendis: I’m very, very fond of “The Trial of Jean Grey,” even though that was a self-executed mini-crossover. I love when the X-Men go off into space, I love the weird X-Men stories. And the idea of bringing Jean Grey into the present and Jean Grey being a gigantic cosmic serial killer, as far as most people are concerned, a genocidal maniac. To put her on trial and be actively writing both books, making sure the trial happened organically in both books, was very exciting. It was like, “Ooo, you know what’s never been told before, this story. And I’m writing both books!? And, oh my god, Kitty and Peter fall in love in the process!” So everything about that, I really enjoyed and I hear from a lot of people about that. That’s probably everyone’s favorite story from my run? That’s the one I hear about the most.

But the one I think is my favorite tie-in stuff is probably the Black Vortex stuff, which is Sam Humphries’ storyline, but I thought it spoke well to what we, as a group of writers and artists, added to the galactic books over the course of the last couple years. There were interesting interactions between all the characters. We were just way into it.

But I also gotta say, for as weird as it is, the Guardians were always kind of in their own little world, and I know people like that about them as well. One of my mandates was to bring them more to a centered position in the Marvel Universe, so I added them into Infinity, which was the first time they crossed over in one of my books. Just having them show up in the event was so surprising because they’d never shown up in anything before. So that moment was really exciting for me.

Marvel.com: Favorite fight?

Brian Michael Bendis: Kevin Maguire is one of my favorite comic book artists of all time and we got him to do a couple of issues. And it was an issue with a Gamora and Angela team-up, [GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #10], I thought he did an outstanding job with that issue. It was a big, big fight, breaking into a planet, and I thought he did an exceptional job.

Marvel.com: Favorite Groot quote?

Brian Michael Bendis: I actually have a very funny story about that. We were making the “Powers” TV show last year and I was on set, because I wrote episodes. And I’d be in the video village and I had a little desk where I’d sit and literally write Marvel comics while they were setting up the lights and stuff. There were sometimes hours where I literally had nothing to do, so I’d sit and type. So I was sitting in the corner, typing. And one of the actors, whose name is Sharlto Copley, he’s in the show—he keeps looking over, thinking I’m writing the TV show. And I’m writing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Sharlto comes up behind me and just out of nowhere, reads what he sees on my screen, and yells “I am Groot!?” And it turns out, Sharlto has no idea who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, he never saw the movie, he has no idea what “I am Groot” means. And it was one of the pages where Groot keeps interrupting, that’s the joke, he’s just saying “I am Groot, I am Groot,” so Sharlto looks at it and thinks I’m crazy. He yells, “I am Groot,” everyone else in the video village jumps because they’re like, “Why is he yelling ‘I am Groot,’” because they get the reference. It was a totally unique, once-in-a-lifetime, hilarious moment where he’s yelling “I am Groot, I am Groot” and has no idea why people are laughing.

But one of my favorite moments of writing the entire series was the variant cover that Dale Keown did where the joke is that Jean Grey is talking to him and she can translate “I am Groot” into his actual words and his words are very poetic—and I probably worked harder on those words than anything I worked on that year. You got a little taste of what goes on in Groot’s head for real and I heard from a lot of people on that, so that went well.

Marvel.com: And favorite Guardian?

Brian Michael Bendis: Ahh! See, having written other team books, it’s never about “favorite Guardian,” it’s really “favorite relationship.” We knew that Rocket and Groot are the relationship. But when you discover friendships, or antagonisms, or a new type of relationship within the group of friends, that’s always my favorite stuff. So when something like Angela and Gamora—they really like each other. I think Angela just adores Gamora, and they fight well together and are happy to know each other—that kind of stuff I really like. And I liked writing Tony and Rocket, because Tony is sometimes like Rocket, but in the Avengers. He’s kind of caustic and like “I know everything and everyone’s gonna do what I say.” So for him to [be] faced with this little animal version of his own ego, on a ship—it’s really fun to write. On Avengers, it was discovering that Luke Cage and Spider-Man were hilarious together. That was a surprise, it wasn’t planned. The same thing happens here, where the characters start to gravitate towards each other or away from each other, and the towards each other is always the most fun stuff. And you can’t force it.

I also like this—and I know people really like this and it’s the thing that I’m [guiltiest] of—but, if Kitty Pryde’s not busy, I will grab her and put her in my book. And the most outlandish incident of me doing this is putting her in outer space for a while. I thought Kitty’s no-nonsense, once-a-teacher, strong-Jewish-woman-up-in-space was a ton of fun. And her juxtaposition to Gamora was a great bit of fun. I think her presence on the team, with Tony’s, was very different. What I wanted, and liked, was adding this element that wasn’t in the movies. Just to see what shakes out differently—and with Tony and with Carol [Danvers] and with Kitty and Venom and Ben Grimm, I thought we were able to do that every time.

Marvel.com: What about the team dynamic did you enjoy writing most? How did you approach the characters differently as time went on?

Brian Michael Bendis: I kind of got it in my head that they’re kind of on a road trip that never ends. They’re in a big RV, or on a tour bus, and the tour never ends—the dynamic of a tour. Traveling with family or traveling with friends—you ever go on a long trip with friends? It’s unique. So I wanted that dynamic to be constant, fighting over food and chairs and where we’re gonna stop and where we’re gonna eat. Just making sure that the life seemed like it was being lived inside that ship in a way that most people can relate to—you get on each other’s nerves, you laugh at stupid stuff, you get the giggles. Just normal traveling stuff. I also like that they all go away from each other for a while too.

It’s a very unique book in how they interact with each other. They are as close to family as anything in comics, but they also have their adventures. Always making sure that it felt like they were living together. There’s a lot of detail in the scripts about what’s in their rooms; Peter’s room is messy, Gamora’s room is perfect—how their lives interact with their environment. It’s a fun part for me.

Marvel.com: And finally, what are your overall thoughts looking back on nearly five years with the Guardians of the Galaxy?

Brian Michael Bendis: When I got the job, I originally came into comics as a crime fiction writer, and the things I was most known for, Daredevil or Jessica Jones, real-world crime fiction, that is what’s been my additive element to comics—my love of this and where my strengths are. So I found myself, just a few years later, writing a talking raccoon book—and dying to do it. That’s the other thing: I wasn’t doing it just to see if I could; I really wanted to do it. And when I got the call to do it, I was so excited because the challenge is enormous. Because, we haven’t mentioned, when I got the book, the book hadn’t been produced for a while. The last volume [before] was considered one of the great standards of Marvel Comics and one of the great runs of all time. The reason that there’s a movie is because of them. Stepping into a book that was already so well-loved among the core fanbase, no matter what I had accomplished in comics, I knew I was going to have to prove myself over time. So I was grateful that I was allowed the chance to do so.

The other thing that has to be mentioned is that there wasn’t one issue of any Guardians book that I had my name on that wasn’t drawn by one of the great talents of this generation of comics. From Steve McNiven, to Sara [Pichelli], to Frank Cho, to Kevin Maguire, and finally with Valerio Schiti—every annual, every special, every tie-in, everything we did had these great artists, including our finale, which is packed full of these awesome artists that I love so much. People just love these characters so much and they love drawing them, so every time you call up anybody in comics and say “Hey, you wanna draw raccoons and trees and spaceships for an issue?” the answer is “Yes I do!” So I was, and will forever be grateful, that the book was so beautiful, and exciting, and poppy on every single page. This book was gorgeous.

I also became very aware, of all the books that I write—and I write some very mainstream books that people have heard of—from the moment that I took the book, all the way through to this weekend at a sleepover that my kids had, if you tell kids that you’re the writer of Guardians of the Galaxy, they crap their pants. And I write Spider-Man and Avengers and Iron Man, but Guardians—my children’s friends stare at me like Rocket Raccoon actually just walked in the door. So, of all the books that are out there right now, I think Guardians is the one that has the most gateway potential. Kids are going to be seeing this and I’m so proud that when they see our stuff, they’re going to be seeing such beautiful comics—because on top of the characters, that’s how people fall in love with the medium. And I hope, when people see Valerio’s work or Steve’s work—and how exciting a visual and inspiring for the imagination it is—that people will find a way to stay with us. So my takeaway is that I’m very happy that the movie took off and that I bet right—because I bet on this a year before the movie came out and I was very happy that it did. But I’m also immensely proud to have put my name on such beautifully illustrated books.

Witness the end of an era with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #19, by Brian Michael Bendis and artist Valerio Schiti, on April 12!

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Al Ewing tells a tale with multiple perspectives, art styles, and artists!

In the story of IMMORTAL HULK #3, four people encounter a monster…yet they all see different things.

Written by Al Ewing with a framing sequence by series artist Joe Bennett, this very special issue sees a journalist visit four civilians who have each come across a monster known as the Hulk. But as they each recall their stories, their interpretations of the events differ drastically. And to tell each of those four stories, Ewing and Bennett have teamed up with four artists who will tell the tales in four different artistic styles.

Leonardo Romero draws a cop’s version of the encounter with old school, classic Super Hero visuals. Paul Hornschemeier contributes a bartender’s version of the encounter in “indie” style. Marguerite Sauvage illustrates an old woman’s version of the encounter with a romance comic interpretation. And Garry Brown adds a priest’s version of the encounter with a horror approach.

Get the exclusive first look inside July 18’s IMMORTAL HULK #3 right here:

We caught up with Ewing to break down the process of devising such a powerfully distinct story.

Marvel.com: What is it about the IMMORTAL HULK that makes it so conducive to this multiple perspective tale?

Al Ewing: I had issue #3 as a multi-artist issue right from the original pitch—it seemed like a really smart way to give Joe a breather in the middle of the first arc, to make sure he has everything he needed for the huge stuff in issues #4 and #5. I know how readers feel about “guest artist” issues, so I wanted to make the first one a special thing in its own right—something to get people talking in a positive way. That’s when I had the idea of a Rashomon-style issue—now that we’ve been introduced to the new Hulk in issue #1, and given Bruce Banner gets his turn in the spotlight in issue #2, it makes a lot of sense to use this third issue to look at the different ways the general public perceives the Hulk.

Is he a Super Hero? A mindless beast? A horror? Or just Bruce Banner, a guy you wouldn’t look twice at?

Marvel.com: When writing this issue, how did you decide on the manners in which these four stories would be told?

Al Ewing: I knew going in that as well as Joe Bennett on the framing sequence, I wanted to do a classic Super Hero style and a horror style, so we had the classic mode of the Hulk covered as well as his newer tone. And I also wanted a much more indie style than we generally see in a Marvel book, something that might have crept in from the ’90s art-comix I used to read. And with one slot to fill, I figured we’d have something completely different—and since there was a doomed romance at the centre of the plot, a romance-comic style fits the bill.

Marvel.com: Why did each style feel specifically relevant to the respective characters telling those stories?

Al Ewing: The narrator of our “Super Hero” segment is a small town cop—a genial guy who’s a big fan of the Avengers, and who’ll be dining out on the slam-bang action he witnessed for life. Leonardo did an amazing job there—I know it’s gauche to compare artists to other artists, but he’s really reminiscent of the greats like Toth, and I’d love to work with him again on something soon.

The “indie” segment is brought to us by a grouchy bartender who’s telling his story to camera—he’s on the edges of the action, but his story is important because it gives us a look at Banner. Paul lettered that one as well, and it just fits perfectly in—like a slice of an auto-bio comic. I can see that being the point where readers get a little stunned by what they’re seeing.

The “romance” segment is narrated by an old lady who saw the best in the “villain”—he does look very like James Dean—and Maurgerite took that ball and ran with it. Her pages—self-colored—are probably some of the funnest and funniest in the issue, but it’s so beautifully handled that the joke never overwhelms the art. I really hope she had a good time on this—it looks like she did.

And finally, the “horror” pages come to us from a shell-shocked Priest, who’s been very badly affected by the awful events. Garry gave us a really dark, shadowy, sketchy feel, and Paul Mounts colored that perfectly…a really classic horror look, but at the same time very much its own thing.

Immortal Hulk #3 cover by Alex Ross

Marvel.com: Were you inspired by any other films, genres, books, or comics for this issue?

Al Ewing: There’s an episode of the Italian strip Il Commissario Spada, by Gianluigi Gonano and Gianni De Luca, I think, that involved the titular policeman chasing a purse-snatcher and asking various witnesses about him—each witness describing him differently, accompanied by a visual sketch of what they’re talking about. The actual perp looks totally different, of course. That was in my mind while I wrote this—we see a very different Hulk and Hotshot in each of the segments.

Unless you’re seeing Joe Bennett’s framing sequence, readers probably shouldn’t trust anything they see entirely.

Marvel.com: How does this issue propel us forward in the larger story of the Immortal Hulk?

Al Ewing: It’s another Hulk sighting, so we’re one step closer to Bruce’s return being common knowledge. It’s the return of Jackie McGee, doggedly on the trail of the Hulk—and we’re starting to find out about something else that might be lurking in the background of things, below everything…One Below All, if you will. Oh, and there’s a guest appearance by a certain hairy Canadian with claws—not that one—who’ll become very important to this book…

Here’s the full cast of creators teaming up for this extraordinary issue of IMMORTAL HULK:

WRITER: Al Ewing
FRAMING SEQUENCE: Joe Bennett (pencils), Ruy José (inks), Paul Mounts (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letters)
COP’S STORY: Leonardo Romero (pencils & inks), Paul Mounts (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letters)
BARTENDER’S STORY: Paul Hornschemeier (pencils, inks, colors, letters)
OLD LADY’S STORY: Marguerite Sauvage (pencils, inks, colors) and VC’s Cory Petit (letters)
PRIEST’S STORY: Garry Brown (pencils and inks), Paul Mounts (colors), VC’s Cory Petit (letters)
COVER: Alex Ross

On July 18, experience a story unlike any other with IMMORTAL HULK #3! Contact your local comic shop now to reserve an issue!

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Looking back at the comics inspiration behind the villain of 'Marvel's Luke Cage' Season 2!

Mustafa Shakir will play the formidable Bushmaster in “Marvel’s Luke Cage” Season 2, debuting Friday, June 22 on Netflix. The live action incarnation of the character has his own compelling backstory and motivations, but is inspired by the Marvel comic book character of the same name.

Bushmaster has only made a few appearances since his debut in 1977’s IRON FIST #15, but clearly he’s made an impression. In advance of “Marvel’s Luke Cage” Season 2, we’re taking a closer look at Bushmaster’s greatest hits throughout Marvel comic history.

Troubled Youth – CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

  • Published: January 10, 1991
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: December 05, 2016
What is Marvel Unlimited?

As a kid growing up in the Caribbean, John McIver would entertain himself by seeing how much fruit he could swipe from the local vendors, even if that meant his little brother Quincy tagged along. One night, Quincy got caught stealing by the shopkeeper. John later killed the man, propelling himself on a path that would lead him to a gun smuggler known as Herve Argosy.

John got Quincy in on the action too, but during a job, the younger McIver lost his arms and legs in a boat propeller accident. John didn’t stay around to help his brother recuperate, instead heading to Europe where he would eventually start taking over for the Maggia crime families after killing as many of their members as it took. Before leaving though, John told Quincy that he would take on the name Bushmaster.

Knight Falls on Cutlass Bay – IRON FIST #15

Iron Fist (1975) #15

Iron Fist (1975) #15

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In his very first appearance, McIver unwittingly played host to Misty Knight who had taken on an undercover assignment to infiltrate the mob boss’s Cutlass Bay estate. Operating under the alias Maya Korday, Knight kept close to John for a while without him getting a whiff of her deception.

The Truth Revealed – MARVEL TEAM-UP #63

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #63

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #63

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Bushmaster still had Knight spying on him when he arrived in New York’s Hudson Bay some time later. Before a big party, Bushmaster ordered a hired killer to murder Iron Fist. Knight blew her cover to get the details on the time and place of the attack, tossed Bushmaster around, and used her bionic arm to evade his goons. However, the deception lead the Maggia boss to add this mystery woman to his hit list.

Master of Manipulation – POWER MAN #48#49

Power Man (1974) #48

Power Man (1974) #48

What is Marvel Unlimited?

To get Knight, Bushmaster forced Luke Cage into an impossible position…he had to find her for the villain or see two of his best friendsClaire Temple and Noah Bursteindie. With Camanche and Shades watching, Cage fought Colleen Wing, Knight, and Iron Fist in Danny Rand’s house before telling them the truth. The four heroes then joined forces and took the fight to Bushmaster at Seagate Prison. There, he coerced Burstein to upgrade the experiments that turned Cage into Power Man with threats against Temple. The process proved a success and Bushmaster fought Cage to a standstill until a beam pierced a vat of chemicals that dowsed them both and caused an explosion that seemingly killed the villain.

Power Man (1974) #49

Power Man (1974) #49

What is Marvel Unlimited?

This story notably marks the first time Luke Cage and Iron Fist met in the comics, leading to their long friendship and partnership. So we can thank Bushmaster for his role in that!

Things Fall Apart – POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #67

Power Man and Iron Fist (1978) #67

Power Man and Iron Fist (1978) #67

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Bushmaster survived, though in a less stable form as his body slowly began turning into metal. In an attempt to remove the powers Burstein’s experiments imbued him with, the villain once again threatened the scientist and had Power Man kidnapped to act as a guinea pig. When Iron Fist attempted to save his friend, Bushmaster moved to pull a switch that would kill Burstein’s wife. Danny Rand rushed to stop the movement, but Bushmaster turned to metal before he could send the final order. As the heroes made a break for it, Bushmaster’s body crumbled to pieces.

A Snake Of A Sibling – CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

  • Published: January 10, 1991
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: December 05, 2016
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Quincy McIver’s story didn’t end in a hospital as he recuperated from the loss of his extremities. While there, a Roxxon representative offered him the chance to take part in an experimental prosthetic surgery that could replace his limbs. Quincy agreed, but had no idea that the scientists intended to give him bionic arms…and a snake tail instead of legs. He also took on the name Bushmaster and joined up with various versions of the Serpent Society over the years. Unlike his brother, he’s still slithering around the Marvel Universe, giving everyone from Captain America to Jessica Jones trouble along the way.

Cruz Control – CAGE #12

Cage (1992) #12

Cage (1992) #12

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In the wake of his father’s death, John’s son Cruz stepped up and took over his dad’s duties with the Maggia. He also collected the pieces of his father from the bottom of the ocean and hired Hardcore to get Cage to inadvertently help him take over his dad’s power. Cruz got more than he bargained for, though, when he took a back seat to John McIver’s own personality. Taking on the name Power Master, he fought Cage and Iron Fist, but ultimately couldn’t hold onto the new body after being overloaded with electricity.

On June 22, watch season two of “Marvel’s Luke Cage” on Netflix!

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Kelly Thompson and Oscar Bazaldua kick off the brand-new series this July!

It was the wedding of the century, but not the wedding anyone expected—and it all culminated with Marvel Comics’ most shocking twist in years! So make sure to read X-MEN: GOLD #30 before diving into all the mutant mayhem on its way this July with MR. AND MRS. X!

For months, fans waited, ready for the fateful day that Kitty Pryde would finally wed Colossus…only to find out that the much hyped-about wedding simply wasn’t meant to be…but for Rogue and Gambit it was!

On July 25, discover the next big chapter in the long and difficult history of Rogue and Gambit with writer Kelly Thompson and artist Oscar Bazaldua‘s new ongoing series!

Pre-order MR. AND MRS. X with your local retailer now! Don’t miss the fan-favorite mutants as they embark on new adventures starting July 25!

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Watch the video version to preview this week's new Marvel Comics!

It’s time to THWIP! with Marvel’s The Pull List!

On the podcast, Ryan and Tucker preview June 20’s new comic releases, including their Picks of the Week AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801, PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1, X:MEN GOLD #30, and all the other books that’ll be waiting for you in stores tomorrow!

Watch the video version of Marvel’s The Pull List above as Ryan and Tucker highlight the Spider-centric stories on offer before jumping into the full audio episode below.

Here’s the full list of what’s available from Marvel this week:

MARVEL PRINT COMICS ON-SALE (6/20/18) 

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #20
  • ANT-MAN & THE WASP #2
  • AVENGERS #3
  • BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #20
  • CABLE #158
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA #704
  • CHAMPIONS #21
  • DAREDEVIL #604
  • DOCTOR STRANGE #2
  • HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER #2
  • INFINITY COUNTDOWN: BLACK WIDOW #1
  • INFINITY COUNTDOWN: CHAMPIONS #1
  • PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1
  • RUNAWAYS #10
  • SPIDER-GWEN #33
  • STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #28
  • TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1
  • WEAPON H #4
  • X-MEN: GOLD #30
    • TRUE BELIEVERS: ANT-MAN – THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING DOOM #1 
    • TRUE BELIEVERS: SCOTT LANG, THE ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #1 

COLLECTIONS

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 8
  • CHAMPIONS CLASSIC: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
  • DOCTOR STRANGE BY DONNY CATES VOL. 1: GOD OF MAGIC
  • THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL VOL. 8: MY BEST FRIEND’S SQUIRREL
  • VENOMNIBUS VOL. 1 (HC)
  • WEAPON X VOL. 3: MODERN WARFARE
  • WOLVERINE: SAVAGE ORIGINS

DIGITAL COMICS ON SALE THIS WEEK 

  • SPIDEY: SCHOOL’S OUT #2

ALSO ON SALE ON THE MARVEL APP THIS WEEK 

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: DEAD MEN RUNNING (2002) #1-3     
  • QUASAR (1989) #26-27  
  • SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK: CEREMONY (1989) #1-2             
  • SPIDER-MAN: GET KRAVEN (2002) #1-6   

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS 

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: WAR AND REMEMBRANCE
  • FANTASTIC FOUR: EXTENDED FAMILY
  • THOR: IF ASGARD SHOULD PERISH
  • THOR: THE QUEST FOR ODIN
  • THOR: WORLDENGINE

FRESHLY DIGITIZED COMICS ON MARVEL UNLIMITED 

  • ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #28
  • BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #11
  • BLACK PANTHER – LONG LIVE THE KING #1
  • CABLE #152
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL (2000) #26-35
  • DAKOTA NORTH (1986) #1-5
  • DAREDEVIL #596
  • DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #290
  • FALCON #3
  • FORCE WORKS (1994) #1-5, 8-22
  • FREE COMIC BOOK DAY (ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)#0 
  • JEAN GREY #10
  • ROYALS #12
  • RUNAWAYS #4
  • SECOND COMING: PREPARE (2010) #1
  • SECRET WARRIORS #10
  • SHE-HULK #160
  • SPECIAL EDITION: X-MEN (1983) #1
  • STAR WARS #40
  • THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #792
  • THE PUNISHER #219
  • THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL#27
  • WEAPON X #12
  • X-MEN: BLUE #17
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We wrap up our look at Spidey's story so far with the Clone Conspiracy and much more!

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe and the web-slinger is now back on the silver screen once again in Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present our final installment of Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story so far…

The Jackal revealed his resurrected dead villains to Spider-Man in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #2, while Carrion attacked Peter Parker’s clone Kaine in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #21. Spidey dodged the bad guys in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #3 and a returned Ben Reilly swung in to help and to illustrate his amazing recovery in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #22.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #23

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #23

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Doctor Octopus and the Lizard ramped up their violence in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #4, and the Gwen Stacy clone began to decay when Ock set wheels in motion to hurt his foe as much as possible. Gwen tried to convince Spidey to join with Jackal in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #23, but when he refused she ran interference for him before she disintegrated completely in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY #5. Ben Reilly took on Jackal directly in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #24, and gained a new life for himself in DEAD NO MORE: CLONE CONSPIRACY OMEGA #1.

Spider-Man witnessed the return of Kang the Conqueror in AVENGERS #1, learned the truth behind it in AVENGERS #2, watched as Wasp attempted to fix the problem in AVENGERS #3, learned of Kang’s history in AVENGERS #4, found himself lost in time in AVENGERS #5, and helped to bring about Kang’s ultimate defeat in AVENGERS #6.

Avengers (2016) #1

Avengers (2016) #1

  • Published: November 02, 2016
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 08, 2017
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Mark Waid
  • Cover Artist: Alex Ross
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Comedian-magicians Penn and Teller helped Spidey and Deadpool battle Tarot in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #11, then the wallcrawler and the Merc with a Mouth tried to save Christmas in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #12, and somehow ended up in Weirdworld in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #13. Spidey made it a major mission to seek out Norman Osborn for capture in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25, leading to he and Silver Sable invading her home nation of Symkaria in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #26.

In Symkaria, the wallcrawler learned of Osborn’s plan to gas citizens with Goblin Serum in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #27 and disabled the missile that would carry it in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #28. Doctor Doom sought the Avenger’s help in AVENGERS #7, and Avenger X made a surprising reappearance in AVENGERS #8. Nightcrawler manifested in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #14, while Itsy Bitsy planned more mischief. The underground Monster Metropolis rose up in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #15, and Dracula made his presence known to Spidey and Deadpool in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #16.

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016) #15

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016) #15

  • Published: March 08, 2017
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 11, 2017
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Penciler: Scott Koblish
  • Cover Artist: Reilly Brown
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Otto Octavius joined with the Hydra Captain America in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #29 and began to destroy Parker Industries. Cornering Spidey in Shanghai in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #30, the “Superior Doctor Octopus” saw his plans crumble when Peter Parker tore down his own company and fortune to halt his enemy’s march to victory in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31. Later, the webslinger joined with other rebel heroes at the Washington Monument to battle Hydra in SECRET EMPIRE #9, and cheered on the real Captain America as he confronted his corrupt doppelganger  in SECRET EMPIRE #10.

After standing alongside his teammates in the aftermath of Hydra’s defeat in AVENGERS #11, Spidey investigated a criminal tech ring in Chicago in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1. Peter’s long-lost sister Teresa, now a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, sought his aid in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #2, helped him confront the Kingpin in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #3, and then fight the Vulture in PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #4 and PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #5.

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017) #1

Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man (2017) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Our hero’s hackles rose over Itsy Bity’s and Patient Zero’s killing spree in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #17, and he subsequently believed Itsy destroyed in a “plasma breeder” in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #18. Spidey and Deadpool decided to get serious about crimefighting in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #19, but the presence of Slapstick during a brouhaha with El Tenor in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #20 put Peter back on the laugh-track.

Norman Osborn traveled to Tibet to find a way to reactivate his goblin powers in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #32, and Peter Parker found himself once more down on his luck and hated by everyone around him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #789, including his old friend Johnny Storm in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #790. Things grew worse when Arcade kidnapped him for a new Murderworld in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #21, prompting Deadpool to make a hard choice over whether to rescue him or not in SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #22.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #789

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #789

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Elsewhere, a mystery meteorite fell to Earth and demanded the attention of Spider-Man and Earth’s Greatest Heroes in AVENGERS #672

Now that we’re (mostly) caught up through the end of last year and Spidey’s more recent adventures, this is the last installment of History of Spider-Man for now. Thank you for following along with us! If you’ve missed any previous entries, click on the History of Spider-Man archives to read more at Marvel.com.

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This September, uncover secrets in Journey into Mystery: The Birth of Krakoa!

An old-school Marvel team is about to go on an all-new adventure!

On September 12, writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Djibril Morissette-Phan present JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY: THE BIRTH OF KRAKOA #1! As World War II ends, Sergeant Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos go on mission that will haunt them for years to come. Reunite with this classic Marvel squad as the mystery behind the origins of Krakoa finally come to light in this special one-shot.

“Krakoa is a classic X-Men fixture—from its first appearance in GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 to revelations about its true nature in X-MEN: DEADLY GENESIS decades later, ‘the Island that Walks Like a Man’ has fascinated generations of readers…but we’ve never known the story of how it came to be—until now! And you never know when or how Krakoa will come back to play a role in the journey of the X-Men, either,” explains series editor Annalise Bissa. “In this story, we fill in some of the history of Sergeant Fury and his Howling Commandos as well. Their story drops off late in WWII and we don’t see the Howlies again until they’re reunited during the Korean War, after several years of civilian life. So…what did they do at the end of the War? And how does it intersect with the atomic origins of Krakoa? If you want to know, this is the story for you!”

Get an exclusive first look inside JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY right here!

Prepare to dive into Marvel history with Dennis Hopeless and Djibril Morissette-Phan’s JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY: THE BIRTH OF KRAKOA #1 on September 12! Visit your local comic shop to get your copy first!

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Walt Hickey gives an infographic-filled look at every Marvel wedding in history!

In just a few days, one of the longest running on-again, off-again relationships in the Marvel Universe will come to a climax when Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin—better known in some circles as Shadowcat and Colossus of the X-Men—tie the knot in a ceremony everyone’s been anticipating in the pages of X-MEN: GOLD #30.

I combed through over 50,000 issues to find 98 different weddings shown on the pages of Marvel Comics over the decades. Big picture—getting married in the Marvel Universe is hard, with 2/3 of all wedding ceremonies getting attacked or interrupted, and nearly 50% not even making it to the reception. When it comes to Super Heroes, if you can survive the wedding day, you can survive anything.

Planning a wedding in any situation can be stressful, but planning a wedding in the Marvel Universe comes with a whole new set of things that can go wrong besides centerpieces, rowdy plus-ones or drunk uncles. Let’s just say proceedings can take on a whole new tone when your wedding crasher is a furious Victor von Doom. So in addition to nailing down a DJ who knows to avoid playing the “Chicken Dance”—a faux-pas even if Falcon isn’t on the guest list—Marvel brides and grooms have to contend with Super Villains, hostage-takers, alien armadas, furious fathers, demons, and the most nefarious wedding threat of all: cold feet.

Still, time and time again the heroes of Marvel have confronted these challenges, fought off the bad guys, and brought a whole new meaning to “save the date.” I scoured the history of the comics to find as many weddings as I could through the decades of stories. In the end, I tracked down just under 100 distinct wedding ceremonies that graced the pages. Just in time for the latest in a long line of X-Weddings, I found the risks involved with Super Hero wedding planning, just how often hero couples and villain couples—and all kinds of couples made it work—and the single foolproof way to make sure the ceremony goes off without a hitch.

First Rule of Weddings: Expect the Unexpected

If we’re going to talk about weddings in Marvel, the one that started it all—and set traditions that all weddings since then have emulated—was between Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 in October 1965. Not exactly prime wedding season, but the guest list was positively stacked, and included the original X-Men lineup, all the Avengers, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, representatives from S.H.I.E.L.D.—the whole works. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were turned away at the door.

What made the Mister Fantastic-Invisible Girl nuptials so notable in the history of Marvel was the notorious interruption. Namely, Doctor Doom used a device to compel the entire Super Villain community to attack the Baxter Building, with everyone from Mole Man to the Mandarin to Kang the Conquerer to Hydra crashing the party. It took intervention from the Watcher—a guy whose sole claim to fame is non-intervention—to clear the attackers and make way for the ceremony. Sue and Reed, despite their challenges, went on to have one of the most enduring and iconic marriages in the world of Marvel.

A trial-by-fire is the hallmark of the Marvel wedding. All told, 2/3 of the time, wannabe mates have got to deal with super powered wedding crashers! For plenty of couples, this is a formative moment in their relationship. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne had the first-ever intra-Avenger wedding, which was naturally crashed by the Circus of Crime imitating caterers. When Scarlet Witch and Vision got hitched they had an even more ridiculous test: their wedding—a double event with Mantis and her fella—was officiated by Immortus but also attacked by Kang the Conqueror. For those out of the loop, Immortus and Kang are the same time traveller but at different points in his life.

And if Pryde the bride is worried about possible unexpected guests, she should take heart that the experience can lead to a stronger relationship. Bruce Banner’s first attempt to marry Betty Ross was ruined when the Rhino attacked and the wedding was called off. During their much-later second attempt to tie the knot, the ceremony withstood an interruption from her heavily armed father, Thunderbolt Ross, and they made it to the reception.

How to Doom-proof Your Upcoming Nuptials

Sometimes the knowledge of how to survive a wedding day is passed from father to son. Three generations of Jamesons have been wed in the pages of Marvel Comics: J. Jonah Jameson Sr. to Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson to Marla Madison, and John Jameson III to She-Hulk. Both of the older Jamesons had a traditional ceremony, and both of the older Jamesons had one member of the couple kidnapped by a foe of Spider-Man. The youngest Jameson eloped in Las Vegas and had an uninterrupted wedding. Read that as you will.

(Eloping turns out to be the only foolproof wedding in Marvel; nobody managed to thwart the improvisational ceremonies uniting Jameson and She-Hulk, or Hawkeye and Mockingbird.)

If Rasputin and Pryde want to be absolutely sure that they get to “I Do,” they’re going to want Spider-Man in their corner; weddings of Spider-Man’s friends and family end up making it to the reception 50% more often than the generic Marvel wedding. On the other hand, if you want to guarantee an interruption, marry an Inhuman—those weddings are always getting crashed by the Skrulls or the Shi’rar war fleet or Ultron or a rebellion of Alpha Primitives, which always makes for a lively ceremony to say the least.

Marvel Weddings Change the Couple Forever

The Marvel Universe has also seen its fair share of unique nuptials. There have been more royal weddings than the House of Windsor has had since the ’70s, with highlights including the marriage of Storm and Black Panther, the wedding of Inhuman princess Crystal and mutant speedster Quicksilver, and Namor’s assorted complicated marriages. There have also been vows that made real-world history: Northstar’s wedding to Kyle Jinadu in 2012 marked the very first same-sex marriage in Super Hero comics.

There have been weddings that served as the origins for entire characters, like Gambit’s reason for skipping town, or Punisher ally Rachel Cole’s gut-wrenching origin story. The Young Avengers all met at a particularly disastrous wedding where future Hawkeye Kate Bishop was a bridesmaid.

On that note, while mutants often see their powers as a curse, Kitty and Piotr are pretty lucky they have their powers on their wedding day. Non-powered people don’t have it easy when it comes to wedding planning. About 1/5 of Marvel Universe weddings are between two people who don’t wear capes and are just trying to get through their day, but lo and behold, 13 out of 18 of them get attacked by baddies. It’s actually more peaceful when two Super Heros tie the knot; only about 42% of Good-aligned marriages have an interruption. I figure having most of the Avengers in your bridal party is a distinct disincentive for a full-on assault.

Something Old, Something New…

So what does this mean for Colossus and Shadowcat? X-Weddings are actually some of the most peaceful nuptials of any Marvel squad. A majority of Avenger weddings, Fantastic Four weddings, Inhuman weddings, and Spider-Man weddings get assaulted by Super Villains. Only about 2/5 of X-Weddings involve an unwanted wedding crasher. The wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey was downright pleasant given how tumultuous that relationship would turn out to be.

Even more, the fact that this is a Super Hero-Super Hero marriage bodes very well for their chances of making it to the honeymoon; while relationships between colleagues can be so very perilous, it’s generally more conducive for villains to marry villains, heroes to marry heroes, and neutral civilians to stay the heck away from folks in capes of any morality.

In the 48 weddings where the two people getting hitched were both good, both villains, or both civilians, 81% of the weddings were successful and only 56% were attacked in the middle. For normal folks marrying a Super Hero or the uniquely rare good guy-bad guy romance, those were attacked 80% of the time and only made it to “I Do” about 3/10 times.

All told, this hotly anticipated wedding couldn’t be in better shape. They’re both heroes, which is a good match. Colossus, to my knowledge, hasn’t asked Mephisto for a favor lately, and Kitty Pryde isn’t marrying Hawkeye—so they both have avoided the dumbest marital errors in Marvel history. Worst case scenario is an unwanted guest, and even then, if history is any guide they’ll come out on the other side even stronger.

Welcome to the reception, Kitty Pryde, I hope you survive the experience!

Read X-MEN: GOLD #30, by Marc Guggenheim and David Marquez, this week—on June 20!

Walt Hickey is a data journalist and writes the daily morning newsletter Numlock News. His work has previously appeared on FiveThirtyEight and Business Insider. 

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The PlayStation 4 game’s main character will be seen in SPIDERGEDDON #0 and on variant covers.

This September, the star of an epic blockbuster video game will make his way to the pages of a comic book, when the new web slinger from Marvel’s Spider-Man makes his Marvel Comics in-continuity debut in Spidergeddon #0!

On top of that, to celebrate the launch of the highly anticipated game — which will be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 on September 7 — the game’s version of the wall-crawler will be showcased in a set of five variant covers.

How will the star of one of the most anticipated video games of 2018 enter the Marvel Universe, and what role will he play? All will be revealed on September 26 by writer Christos Gage – who not only is the scribe of SPIDERGEDDON #0 but is also one of the co-writers of Marvel’s Spider-Man – and acclaimed artist Clayton Crain.

SPIDERGEDDON #0

The Marvel’s Spider-Man Video Game Variant cover program is illustrated by Insomniac Games artists Dennis Chan, Daryl Mandryk, Eve Ventrue and Sing Ji, and Marvel Games’ own Art Director Tim Tsang, and all five covers pay homage to classic Amazing Spider-Man comic covers!

Look for Marvel’s Spider-Man Video Game Variant covers on these select titles in September:

1. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by DENNIS CHAN (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #546 by Steve McNiven)

2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by DARYL MANDRYK (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #46 by John Romita)

3. AVENGERS #7 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by EVE VENTRUE (homage to Dark Reign: Mister Negative Issue #1 by Jae Lee)

4. SPIDERGEDDON #0 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by SING JI (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #671 by Humberto Ramos)

5. WEST COAST AVENGERS #2 MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN VIDEO GAME VARIANT by TIM TSANG (homage to Amazing Spider-Man #151 by John Romita)

You can see all five variant covers in the gallery below.

“Growing up as lifelong fans of the web-slinger, everyone on the Marvel Games, Insomniac Games and PlayStation teams are honored and thrilled that characters from Marvel’s Spider-Man are not only gracing all-new variant covers, but are also starring in an in-continuity Marvel Comics event,” said Marvel Games executive creative director Bill Rosemann. “While making the game we poured through hundreds of Spidey’s comics, which inspired our take on his many famous friends, foes, costumes and moments. For the creative process to come full circle and see our version of the characters now appear in the web-slinger’s latest comic book saga is a dream come true for these True Believers.”

“It’s been such an honor for all of us at Insomniac Games to bring the friendly neighborhood wall-crawler to the PlayStation 4, but to see our version of Spider-Man now swing to the pages of a Marvel comic and be featured in SPIDERGEDDON is something we could have never imagined,” said Insomniac Games creative director Bryan Intihar. “We’re all web heads and super excited for the upcoming comics.”

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Artist Christian Ward joins writer Jason Aaron for Thor's futuristic journey!

At the very end of THOR #1 was a promise that the All-Grandfather’s cosmic adventure would continue in THOR #5, which will go on sale September 19. While there will be plenty of Thor to hold readers over until then, THOR #5 will not just continue writer Jason Aaron’s epic tale, it will also carry on Christian Ward’s amazing artwork! Marvel.com asked Aaron about what we can expect from the upcoming story, and Ward shared his creative inspirations and what it’s like to draw Thor as an aging god.

If you’ve read THOR #1, you know that a very famous mutant made a surprise appearance at the very end. Wolverine, also as an old man, and also possessed by the Phoenix Force, showed up while Thor was sailing through the dying universe. But Jason Aaron’s plans for Thor and Old Man Logan’s new incarnation may not be what you’re expecting — and they certainly won’t be alone:

“When [Thor] goes looking for answers and runs into his old friend Wolverine, a very, very Old Man Logan who’s now in possession of the Phoenix force, Thor figures he’s found an ally in his quest to save creation. But it’s not quite that simple. By reigniting the fires of life on Earth, Thor has drawn the attention of some dark cosmic forces. If you thought Old Man Phoenix was wild, just wait until you see who else is about to join the party.”

While creating a look for THOR, Christian Ward drew inspiration from a number of sources from “1970s rock album cover artwork” to other comic artists including Moebius, Frank Quietly, and Bill Sienkiewicz. He also cited “illustrators like Roger Dean but equally fine artists like Gustav Klimt.” He added: “I used to be more of a fine art painter, and one of the things I love about space scenes is that they feel more like big canvas paintings with masses of swirling colors and layers of textures.” Citing his past work on BLACK BOLT, Ward said Jack Kirby was also a big inspiration since he “wanted the universe to feel huge with endless color and possibility.” To capture not just an older Thor but an older universe, he wanted the latter to seem “dead and empty yet still interesting” and used oil and rust for color themes.

As for drawing an elderly Thor, Ward said that “[d]rawing old faces is always easier. Lines in someones face tell their story.” He added that with this part of Thor’s story taking place “untold eons from now,” that is a very long story. Ward continued: “Beyond just being old, Thor’s tired so I wanted him to feel heavy. (His armor is a great way to emphasis that too!) But at the same time he’s more powerful than he’s ever been, so all that power’s built up in him like a powder keg. We’re going to see some of that explosive power in #5 and it’s been really good fun to bring it crackling to life.”

With the appearance by a Phoenix-possessed Wolverine at the end of THOR #1, THOR #5 promises to be a tale of galactic proportions!

THOR #5, written by Jason Aaron with art by Christian Ward, goes on sale September 19! Contact your local comic shop to pre-order your copy!

 

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