T’Challa joins the Illuminati in an attempt to protect the multiverse!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

After attending a party to welcome Janet Van Dyne back from exile in the Microverse in AVENGERS #34, The Black Panther discovered something incredible in NEW AVENGERS #1: the incursion of an entire universe upon his own, and a woman named Black Swan who seemed to be facilitating the event.

In NEW AVENGERS #2, T’Challa played host to members of the so-called “Illuminati,” high-profile heroes self-tasked to protect their world. He relayed his findings of the incursions to them, and they in turn suggested gathering the Infinity Stones to stop their progress. Despite his desire to kill Namor, a member of the Illuminati and responsible for past destruction in Wakanda, the Panther joined with his fellows to hunt for the Stones in NEW AVENGERS #3. Once assembled into the Infinity Gauntlet, Captain America used them to halt an incursion, and in doing so, shattered the Stones.

T’Challa and the others decided to seek more Infinity Stones in alternate universes in NEW AVENGERS #4, but ran afoul of a variant Galactus and his herald, Terrax. The Black Panther disagreed mightily with his companions in NEW AVENGERS #5 over their willingness to work with Black Swan, a decision that led them to Latveria to stop another incursion.

New Avengers (2013) #1

New Avengers (2013) #1

  • Published: January 02, 2013
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: July 08, 2013
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Jonathan Hickman
  • Cover Artist: Jock
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Strange blue skies met the Illuminati in NEW AVENGERS #6, and T’Challa mourned the loss of the man he used to be as he himself pulled the trigger on the death of another universe. Back in Wakanda, Namor asked for peace between his Atlantis and the African nation in NEW AVENGERS #7, and T’Challa sought advice from his friend Reed Richards before his sister Shuri officially refused Namor’s entreaty and declared war.

In NEW AVENGERS #8, Wakanda attacked Atlantis, a preamble to the mad space tyrant Thanos’ invasion of Earth to find his lost son. While the main team of Avengers made plans to travel into outer space to stop an alien invasion in INFINITY #1, Black Panther helped his people fight off the Black Order’s invasion of his beloved country in NEW AVENGERS #9.

The Inhumans’ king, Black Bolt, summoned the Panther and the Illuminati to Attilan in INFINITY #2 to inform them of Thanos’ purpose on Earth. The heroes left to seek that individual in NEW AVENGERS #10, which put T’Challa on his trail at the Caalsberg Ridge. The quest continued in INFINITY #3, while Black Bolt tried to stop Thanos by himself.

The Black Order returned to Wakanda in NEW AVENGERS #11, while the Illuminati met the Builders, an ancient race of aliens with designs on Earth. The Black Panther witnessed Wakanda in flames in INFINITY #5, a result of the Black Order’s attack, and joined with the Illuminati to defend Necropolis and its cache of incursion-stopping bombs from Thanos’ lust for power.

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Al Ewing outlines the challenges that will change the Inhumans forever!

The Royals will be putting the jet planes, the islands, and the tigers behind them this April because they have decided to leave the world and its treats behind for the indifferent vacuum of space. Motivated by a sense of exploration and a need to find their roots, this collection of the Inhuman ruling class—and Marvel Boy—will depart terra firma for parts unknown.

It will, however, not be any easy task. Challenges await them in the cosmos and within their ranks. Difficulties that may derail them long before they even reach their first planet.

Writer Al Ewing took time off from reviewing his star charts to give us some insight on this team as we eagerly await ROYALS #1.

Marvel.com: To start, the first time we spoke about this series launch, artist Jonboy Meyers had just been assigned. Now the book is nearly arriving on shelves and you’ve worked with Meyers for a bit, how has the collaboration been? What about his work has helped you realize the tone you were seeking for the book?

Al Ewing: I like Jonboy’s stuff a lot; he’s got a lot of energy to his art that really spills off the page and gives the scenes a lot of extra crackle. He’s influenced the book in a lot of ways—for one, during the original design phase he provided a whole bunch of variant outfits for each character, and I think we’re going to end up using most of them—at least as starting points.

He keeps doing it, too. I just got some great art back with a couple of Royals in some very spiffy-looking space suits, fighting Chitauri on the hull of a speeding spaceship as it hurtles past Pluto. Also, that’s happening, we’re doing that.

Marvel.com: What about Marvel Boy’s skills or natural talents makes him the right man to act as the navigator for the Royals?

Al Ewing: He’s loaded down with natural and unnatural talent. He’s got all those cockroach genes, for a start, and his personal weapons system plugs right into the Royals’ spaceship in a way I think readers will enjoy. And also, he’s the guy who knows where they’re going and what they’re going for, heading to Hala for a secret only he knows about.

Wait, only he? No, there might be another crew member who has an understanding of it—and it’s not who we think it is.

Marvel.com: In this launching of their journey, staying away from spoilers as best as you can/want to, what are some of the immediate obstacles the Royals may encounter?

Al Ewing: Death lays a bony paw on one of the team pretty much immediately. Is this the same team member who won’t come back? Who can say? It’s all riddles from me at this point.

In terms of something we can be a bit more certain about in an interview context, I mentioned Chitauri earlier. We’re not so much tying-in with Secret Empire as glancing off it at an angle—Medusa and company fly face first into the oncoming Chitauri wave as it heads for Earth. How they get out of that one is going to be one of the big Marvel moments people remember—I’m pretty confident about that—and from there, we leap right into a look into Black Bolt’s past and the uncomfortable secret he’s been keeping. So all kinds of shenanigans.

Marvel.com: Briefly, if you would, please run down each team member and their motivations for going into space and opinion about taking the journey?

Al Ewing: This is going to be super brief, so hold onto your hat.

Black Bolt’s got a secret.

Medusa’s out of options.

Gorgon needs to fight.

Crystal has her duty.

Flint is looking.

Swain is finding.

And Marvel Boy is doing it all for his oldest friend.

Also: we’re going deep into alchemical territory. I’m doing a lot of research on a lot of pretty esoteric stuff, and everything I find makes more connections.

Al Ewing and Jonboy Meyers’ ROYALS #1 heads your way on April 5, with issue #2 nipping at its heels on April 19!

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Charles Soule examines what has dissolved the bond between Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson!

Super heroes need friends, it’s as simple as that. Fighting for ideals is nice, but fighting for those you care about is better. You can beat up as many villains as you like, expose their crimes and put them in jail, but you need someone there at the end of the day who will kick back with you at Josie’s for a couple of pints.

At the moment, the friendship of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson lies on the rocks in the current “Purple” story arc for DAREDEVIL written by Charles Soule with art from Ron Garney. Yes, Matt has his secret identity back, but how did he achieve such a feat and will it prove worth it if his once best friend Foggy doesn’t have his back? As the arbitrator between the two parties, Charles gave us his hot take on the frail friendship and the delicate secrets threatening to tear it apart forever.

Marvel.com: We’re currently in the middle of the four-part “Purple” arc where we’re dealing with the idea of Matt Murdock restoring his secret identity and the return of a classic Marvel villain in Zebediah Killgrave aka Purple Man. And that’s not even mentioning the bounty on Daredevil’s head in the “Seventh Day” arc. With all this going on, what are the ripple effects being felt on Matt and Foggy’s friendship?

Charles Soule: The “Purple” arc is designed to pull back the curtain on why Matt’s made a lot of his recent choices; not only does it explain how he got his secret identity back, but it tells you what he decided to do with it. From Murdock’s perspective, a secret identity is a tool: it’s the first time he’s been able to work full on as an attorney in a while without people knowing that he’s also Daredevil—years, really—and he’s going to use that to its fullest extent. Unfortunately, Matt’s choices also caused him and Foggy Nelson to go “on a break”—they’ve interacted a bit in the 20 or so issues of my run so far, but it hasn’t been the full-on friendship they’re known for. Things seem very strained, very tense. It’s a shame!

Marvel.com: In anticipation of issue #19 coming April 19, can you give any hints as to what caused a rift between Matt and his best friend?

Charles Soule: Well, the real explanation comes in issue #20, but honestly, the pieces have been there since issue #1. Matt has his secret ID back and Foggy doesn’t like something about the way it happened, or what Matt’s decided to do since he got it back. Foggy’s the only person in the world who knows the truth, and he doesn’t know that he’s too excited about carrying that burden. But more to come on that…

Marvel.com: Are they coming at it from a lawyerly perspective or is emotion clouding their otherwise rational minds?

Charles Soule: This one’s 100% emotion, despite what they tell themselves. Matt Murdock is a big rationalizer; after all, the fact that he’s Daredevil at all requires being able to jump through some pretty big moral hoops, especially while being a lawyer at the same time. As an attorney myself, that was always one of the things I found most interesting about Daredevil as a character. A lawyer really can’t do what Daredevil does, not ethically—and Matt certainly knows that—but he does it anyway, because he’s compelled to. That’s great stuff.

Marvel.com: There’s no doubt that these are trying times for both Matt Murdock and his vigilante persona. It sure would help to have a friend around, but he’s out of luck. How is Matt handling things without this extra support and comfort from Foggy? In other words, what does it mean to be strained?

Charles Soule: I think we’ve seen it all through the run so far. On the surface, everything seems “fine”—Matt’s being heroic, stopping bad guys, all of that. But if you look a little deeper, the man’s barely holding it together. He can’t do it alone, but he thinks he can—also great for drama. This tension has brought him back to the Catholic Church, though, which was a nice thing to be able to return to the Daredevil mix. I always thought it was interesting that Murdock had a strong religious faith as part of his character, and it’s been a little missing from his portrayals recently. The church isn’t a substitute for a best friend, though.

Marvel.com: What is more important to Matt, saving his secret identity or his friendship?

Charles Soule: I think we’re about to find out…

Get the next hints on Matt’s secret identity and friendship woes when DAREDEVIL #19 by Charles Soule and Ron Garney hits on April 19!

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Kate Leth, Amy Reeder, and Kelly Thompson speak out on several subjects!

We continue this month’s celebration of Women’s History with a roundtable discussion consisting of some of Marvel Comics’ most talented creators: Kate Leth (PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT!), Amy Reeder (MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR), and Kelly Thompson (HAWKEYE). We wanted speak with these creators not only to know who influenced their work but also to get an idea as to how and where they see women affecting the industry as a whole.

Marvel.com: To kick things off, I’m curious who you think are the most significant female super heroes in the Marvel Universe and why?

Kate Leth: I think that right now, Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, and America Chavez are probably the most influential, at least to the women I know. I have personal favorites, of course—She-Hulk tops the list—but I think each of those three and their respective titles—including YOUNG AVENGERS—have really pushed Marvel in a new and better direction. None of them are cookie-cutter bombshells or plot devices; they’re all fully-realized and reflective of the real world.

Amy Reeder: Historically, I’d say Storm is pretty significant; talk to any random person on the street and they’ll know who Storm is. And that’s not nothing! Something about her has clearly made a lasting impression on the world, and I’m not sure if that’s her amazing design, cool powers, or just general command of presence. I would love for her to come more to the forefront than she already is. She is a true leader.

On a current note, I’d say Ms. Marvel has kicked off a whole new era of comics at Marvel, that is focusing both on the importance of representation, and the originality of story and art. It feels like we’re experiencing a renaissance.

Kelly Thompson: I think Captain Marvel is undoubtedly one of the most important characters out there for Marvel and with good reason. Storm, She-Hulk, and Black Widow are also super iconic and powerful to me. I also think some of the more atypical super hero cult favorites like Jessica Jones and Nico Minoru of Runaways, especially with TV shows—or upcoming TV shows—have the potential to leap to the front of the line. One thing I love about all of those I just listed is the variety; there’s no type there, they’re all very different characters the same way Wolverine and Spider-Man are different and that’s both important and a big change we’ve been seeing in the last five to ten years; enough female roles to see some real variety in the characters. In the end though, I think it’s impossible to understate the importance of Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. The impact of that character is massive. She’s a game changer, and I hope it’s a permanent change.

Marvel.com: Of course, you are all currently working on female-led titles for Marvel. I recognize it’s difficult to look at your work from a historical perspective since you are in the moment as we speak. All the same, how do you think your respective titles are affecting the shape and creative direction of the Marvel Universe?

Kate Leth: I hope HELLCAT is picked up again in years to come by people who realize just how queer it is. Not just in its characters, but its sensibility. I absolutely think straight people can write gay characters, but I think that Brittney and I, who are both queer, made this book something authentic and genuine in between all the puns and crime-fighting. As our book is ending, I look to others to pick up the glittering, rainbow torch. [Laughs]

Amy Reeder: Seeing as I created Moon Girl, it’s hard not to have high hopes on that front; I hope that she will be a solid mainstay in the [Marvel] Universe and our team has been working hard to see that happen. She is currently the smartest person in the Marvel Universe! So, it’ll be interesting to see how long she can hold onto that title. She’s now featured in three video games, and I do truly hope she can find her way into film or television, if only because this would be a great opportunity to have a young black girl hero on the screen. And past that, I hope that the success of our book sets off many more titles that keep representation in mind, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more young characters as well.

Kelly Thompson: I mean, obviously, Kate Bishop should be ruling the world, right? [Laughs] More seriously, I do think you’re right that it’s really hard to know what something you’re doing will mean to people or the market in a year, let alone five or 10 years. I’d love for Kate to not only continue being a fan favorite but to also level up to solid super-star A-list status—she’s obviously well on her way to that; and I hope we’re helping to make that happen, but she’s got a ways to go before she’s a household name like Storm or Captain Marvel or Black Widow.

More broadly I’d love to see more books like HAWKEYE that are allowed to have “smaller” stories. I love a good world ending apocalypse as much as the next guy, but sometimes I want something that stands on its own a bit and feels a little more personal. Those can be tough in this cutthroat market, but I think they’re really important stories, and also happen to be some of the best—and most critically acclaimed—stories we’ve seen in recent years.

Marvel.com: Taking things in a more personal direction, which women in comics have had a significant effect on you as comics creator?

Kate Leth: I would not be in comics if it weren’t for independent creators like Kate Beaton, Jess Fink, and Emily Carroll. That’s where I found my start and inspiration, through women who did it themselves and built a career on their own terms. There are the big names, of course—Kelly Sue [DeConnick] and Gail [Simone] have been incredibly supportive and inspirational to me—but Kate and Jess and Emily gave me the guts to just get out there and make the thing.

Amy Reeder: Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss made a very early and lasting impression on me and how I think comics should be. Sophie Campbell has probably affected me more than anyone else, male or female—her love for creating unique characters echoes her passion for people in general. I’ve learned a lot from [SPIDER-MAN] artist Sara Pichelli—my sketches have gotten more life in them from looking at hers.

Also, MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR artist Natacha Bustos has been blowing me away with her art. I’m floored by her ability to draw all the crazy things we’ve asked for, and at an amazing pace. I’m learning from her how to stop myself from doing too many details, all while making panels look better and with more focus.

Kelly Thompson: Kelly Sue DeConnick. She’s not only written some fantastic and hilarious comics, super hero and otherwise, but she was certainly the driving creative force behind Captain Marvel’s book, and the character becoming a definitive A-lister at Marvel comics. And from where I’m sitting that pushed the needle forward in a really important way, both for Marvel and for female characters and super heroes more broadly. I also think not enough can be said about [editor] Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson’s work with MS. MARVEL; that’s some once in a lifetime magic there—a perfect pairing of creators and character. Kathryn Immonen’s WOLVERINE & JUBILEE and her JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY run are so great—wild and creative and fun and unexpected. Gail Simone is obviously a legend, she paved the way for so much, made so many things possible for those of us that have joined her in comics.

And if I start listing artists that have inspired and affected me we will literally be here all day: Becky Cloonan, Fiona Staples, Sophie Campbell, Tula Lotay, Meredith McClaren, Jordie Bellaire, Stephanie Hans, Annie Wu, Brianne Drouhard, Jillian Tamaki, Amanda Conner, Babs Tarr, Pia Guerra—so, so many.

Marvel.com: Which women working in comics today do you think are really pushing the medium and industry forward?

Kate Leth: I’m gonna get real self-serving for a second and say that the Valkyries, the group I founded years ago—that is now nearly-700 members strong and much larger than me—for women working in comics retail, are making a huge difference. As the group’s evolved, members have moved into publishing and creating, but those working on the ground in shops and libraries have made a huge difference. As a unit, they’ve got power, and influence, and their concerns are being listened to. For publishers to see this and realize they need to address it and cater to it is something that didn’t exist five, 10 years ago. That matters!

In terms of creators, I think the biggest change is coming from outside the Big Two. Nobody’s made an impact like Raina Telgemeier or Kate Beaton. I think that indie creators, people making webcomics and graphic novels, are the ones to watch. Spike Trotman, Taneka Stotts—with Sfé Monster—are publishing anthologies that traditional publishers might never have wanted to touch and are seeing huge success. I mention these names quite often, but I honestly think they’re crucial to this industry. While there are lots of indie creators I’d like to see tackle Marvel stories, I’m happy to see them flourish with their own work.

Amy Reeder: Dare I say it: I think most instances of the medium being pushed forward right now is through the work of women. We have women who are making major headway in the book market, like Kate Beaton and Raina Telgemeier. Steven Universe’s Rebecca Sugar has perhaps unintentionally inspired swaths of comics hopefuls with her art style; it’s all I see with art students. Most of the books with buzz surrounding them involve women creators and/or characters.

A lot of the up-and-comers are exciting, too. This gal Hannah Blumenreich recently did a short backup story in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25, based on her awesome webcomic Spidey Zine. She’s someone to look at. I’m also really excited about this young writer-artist Tillie Walden—she tells stories in a way I never knew I needed, but the fact is, I do.

Kelly Thompson: Anyone that can move the needle like Kelly Sue DeConnick has and sort of permanently change the conversation, is an icon and a legend as far as I’m concerned. We’re all benefiting now from a lot of hard work she put in at Marvel and continues to put in elsewhere. Her creator-owned Bitch Planet, to me, is probably the most important book in comics right now. It also happens to be fantastic. And being both important and legitimately fantastic at the same time is no easy feat!

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Dan Slott provides a post-game of reveals and revelations for Peter Parker!

At over 90 pages, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25 packs quite a wallop, launching a brand new storyline—“The Osborn Identity”—showcasing some new talents in two delightful backup stories, and teasing the return of a certain multi-armed superior foe.

It proved such a wallop, in fact, that we could not just talk to ourselves about it. Thankfully, AMAZING writer Dan Slott answered the phone when we gave him a call.

Marvel.com: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25 is a massive issue.

Dan Slott: You could kill a man with this! If you rolled it up—it is kill-a-man-able size!

Marvel.com: Did it feel like a really big burden coming right after Clone Conspiracy or did you feel like you needed an issue that size, with the number of stories in it, as a kind of palate cleanser or system reboot after that last storyline?

Dan Slott: Every time I do a [Spider-Man event], by the time it’s done, I’m screaming to the heavens, “I am never doing this again. Never!”

They are huge undertakings to make sure everything works out on time, to fit everyone’s schedules, and how it ties into others books. You are laying tracks for it months in advance and it all has to come together. Oh boy…I just…oh God.

For me, the fun of this was we knew were going to come out of [Clone Conspiracy] with momentum. I mean how could we not with gorgeous Jim Cheung art.

But there’s a flip side to that, which is you always get excited about the next thing. While we are talking right now, issue #26 is leaving house, issue #27 is all drawn, issue #28 is being drawn as we speak, and issue #29 is due for plot.

Marvel.com: So you’re really in the thick of it all.

Dan Slott: Yeah. And you always get excited by the shiny piece that’s coming. So it is weird to be promoting Clone Conspiracy while I’m like, “I’m off here in ‘Osborn Identity’ and it’s great! Let’s talk about that.” That’s always the danger of this.

Marvel.com: Actually that makes for a great transition. This is the start of “Osborn Identity.” Coming off something as big in scale as Clone Conspiracy, it can be hard to decide how to maintain the momentum. Given that when people think of Spider-Man, Green Goblin is one of the first villains that come to mind, was this something of a solution. Not necessarily bigger in scale, but, deeper perhaps?

Dan Slott: Oh it’s huge! We haven’t had Norman, really, in this book. He hasn’t been around since the end, basically, of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN and even then Peter only got to face him for an issue. Even when Peter had to deal with problems with the Goblin Army in [AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4] Norman was far off the canvas.

It’s exciting. As a writer, the only times I’ve really had a big mano-to-mano showdown with Norman was in “New Ways to Die” and that was…Dear God…when was that?

Marvel.com: It’s longer than you think, right?

Dan Slott: That was 2008….2009?

Marvel.com: Oh God.

Dan Slott: I know.

Marvel.com: The grave draws ever closer.

Dan Slott: [Laughs] For most of the time I was coming up through “Brand New Day” we couldn’t touch Norman Osborn. He was off in THUNDERBOLTS; he was off in DARK AVENGERS. And then [writer] Brian [Michael Bendis] had stories he still wanted to tell about him in AVENGERS. We got him on loan for “New Ways to Die” and a few other stories. As a Spidey writer, I didn’t really have ownership of [Osborn] until the arc in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN and even then I was having him go up against Otto Octavius. So this has been a long time brewing for me.

As a kid who grew up—you know, little eight-year-old me, the two Megos I had were Spider-Man and Green Goblin. So this is like, “Finally, the toy is in the toy box. I get to play with him.”

Marvel.com: Everyone, when they handle a character, makes their own unique impression on them because they all have elements they think are essential to the character. For Norman Osborn, what are your essentials?

Dan Slott: Well, this is a version of Norman we have never seen in the history of Spider-Man. At the end of “Goblin Nation,” using nanite technology developed by Doc Ock and implemented by Spidey, there’s something in Norman’s system that won’t let the Goblin formula work. He’s cured.

Even back in the day when you met him as Harry’s father in the book, he was always a little—he had Goblin serum already in him, we just didn’t know it.

This is the first time Spider-Man is going up against a cold and calculating Norman Osborn without even a hint of the madness. This is a different kind of enemy. Spider-Man may have given himself his greatest threat of all. Be careful what you wish for—you thought “The Goblin serum can never work on Osborn again, yes!” But it turns out that might have been holding him back. Now this is a Norman of undivided focus. That’s not good.

Marvel.com: Being careful what you wish for seems to be increasingly a theme of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. For a while, he was very successful. He was building up his company. Now we are starting to see the return of Ben Reilly as a villain, having to reject Uncle Ben being brought back to life, having to tank his company’s reputation to stop the possibility of the degenerative virus spreading, and now a Norman Osborn free of the Green Goblin and more dangerous than ever. So one might get the feeling that your long-term plan might be to have built him up just to take it all from him.

Dan Slott: What kind of evil, evil person would do that?! Who would do that to poor Peter Parker?

Marvel.com: Without getting that far ahead of ourselves, is that an essential feature of how you view Peter? That so-called “Parker Luck” blown up to bigger proportions because he’s been playing on a bigger scale lately? This idea that, no matter what, Parker cannot win in all aspects of his life, that he has to have a tradeoff?

Dan Slott: It’s more the tradeoff. There’s so many things you could do if you had these powers, if you had these opportunities. But then, you wouldn’t be Spider-Man.

You’re Peter Parker and you kind of wake up to find Doc Ock has rearranged your life and given you this company. And then the company becomes a worldwide hit. It’s almost as instantaneous as being bitten by that spider, like a different kind of power.

And as Peter, he still buys suits off the rack, he takes a massive paycut so he’s not making much more than his middle execs, he spends so much of the resources either helping him build tools to fight crime as Spider-Man or to ensure the Uncle Ben Foundation helps people around the world. It’s like he’s going to try and use this stuff responsibly.

But it is his own special kind of goof. He’s running this company and probably not running it the best way because he’s Peter. If he has to go to a meeting and he’s swinging his way there and he sees a woman getting her purse snatched, he’s going to stop and do that.  Because he’s Peter.

Marvel.com: We see some of that this issue with him trying to balance company business with his search for Norman. It is clear that Norman gets under his skin like no other and it gives us, in the issue, a balance of the silent, meaner, darker Spider-Man and the more jokey, typical presentation. How do you find and keep the balance without the book getting too dark or undercutting the seriousness of the Osborn threat?

Dan Slott: I’ve read comics where he and Norman, like, sit down and have a laugh. To me, that personally doesn’t work for their relationship. From the moment he kills Gwen, there’s no laugh and this is a Spider-Man who just saw Gwen again and is hurting. Then Kingpin has stepped in to offer Norman on a platter. And Spider-Man is willing to chuck it all to take that opportunity.

You can’t…you can’t just stick Spidey in a box and say he is a dark urban vigilante who swings through the night to fight crime. Or he’s a jokey super hero. There’s all these different things that make up Spider-Man and all these different ways you can tell a Spider-Man story. You see Mike Deodato draw Spider-Man and that’s a specific kind of Spider-Man and [then] Humberto Ramos draws him and that’s a different kind of Spider-Man. There’s something fun about that.

Amazing Spider-Man #25 cover by Alex Ross

It’s the same way when someone talks about you Tim or me Dan, the different people that know us might describe us completely differently. Your mom is going to give a completely different description of you than your wife than your girlfriend than your English teacher than your music teacher that thought you didn’t apply yourself.

Marvel.com: That’s a little too insightful about me there Dan.

Dan Slott: Yeah [Laughs] and Spider-Man is just the same way. You have me chasing down White Rabbit with Frog-Man and him crawling out of the grave in “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” There is a wide spectrum of Spider-Man stories you can tell. I put him in outer space. [Laughs]

For me, having been on this character for this long part of the fun of it is taking a look at those different aspects for a while and seeing where that takes me.

Marvel.com: A lot of the lighter aspects of Spidey in this issue comes from his interactions with Mockingbird. As a writer, what made her a good fit for that role?

Dan Slott: I had kind of different plans for Mockingbird long-term and then seeing Stuart Immonen’s art and the light and spark he was giving her and the way [she and Spider-Man] had chemistry on the page together made me go “I’m rethinking this.” And that’s the beauty of comics.

It’s not golf. It’s not you alone. It’s a team sport and you are going to get energy from each other. You are going to bounce ideas off each other. The way I write a script and the way Stuart draws it makes it a completely different animal then it would be with another artist.

Seeing all the gifts that Stuart gave me with them in those scenes I was like, “Oh my God, I love these guys together.” I really love the Stuart Immonen Spider-Man and the Stuart Immonen Mockingbird together. They’re fantastic. I’m shipping them.

Marvel.com: One of the things you referenced earlier was how long ago it had been since we’ve seen Norman Osborn in the book and the last time we saw another character here was very long ago and that was Silver Sable in the “Ends of the Earth” storyline which, at the time, seemed to end with her dying. As we know in #25, she is back. How long did you know you were planning to bring her back and why was the time now?

Dan Slott: From the moment we killed her—with irony quotes around the “killed”—I knew how she got out. I knew what her escape was. The hardest part was keeping Rhino also off the table that long because the moment you show Rhino, you know, “Hey if Rhino’s alive, wait a second…”

I knew we were bringing the Rhino back for Clone Conspiracy. The moment he was back it was just a ticking clock. I couldn’t wait to bring back Silver Sable.

Marvel.com: Beyond the ticking clock aspect, what made this a good time to bring her back? How is a she a puzzle piece that fits well into the larger story of the “Osborn Identity?”

Dan Slott: Umm, I don’t want to answer that question.

Marvel.com: Fair enough.

Dan Slott: [Laughs] Yes, that is a question I’d like to avoid until people read #26.

Marvel.com: So, for those interested, #26 is the issue to look for?

Dan Slott: Yes. I think we are putting off telling you how she lived until #27, but you’ll find out [how she fits] in #26.

Marvel.com: After the main story, there are some shorter stories including one that runs at the end of the book like a post-credits teaser. In that one we meet the reborn and revamped Doctor Octopus.

Dan Slott: Yes!

Marvel.com: Obviously, you’ve written him a bunch. You’re written him as Otto Octavius, as Peter Parker, and now a very different Otto, physically—

Dan Slott: I’ve written him inside a very clunky robot!

Marvel.com: Yes, that’s true too. So you clearly have some affection for him. What persuades you to return to writing him time and again?

Dan Slott: Honestly—I’m sure people who write who are reading this know that sometimes the story just starts happening and you’re along for the ride and that’s when writing is the most fun. There’s that kind of fun with Doc Ock. I just don’t know what he’s going to do sometimes. Or how he’s going to react.

The amount of time I spent in Doc Ock’s head while doing SUPERIOR—it was fun! It was just fun. Part of you goes, “I don’t want the ride to end. How am I going to save him? How am I going to bring him back?”

But this is what we’ve been building to. This is how you get a Superior Spider-Man-like character for him.

Marvel.com: One thing I noticed is that he clearly is a villain for Spider-Man and knowing who Parker is has certainly made him develop a grudge. Beyond that though, I like that we are not sure how this Otto is going to break. Is he going to be a pure villain or will he be more like his Superior Spider-Man incarnation that was arrogant and mean but still looking to do good.

Dan Slott: So when this new character Tomas picks [Otto] up and drops him off at the Auto Empire…

Marvel.com: That’s a nice touch.

Dan Slott: Thanks. Yeah, it’s where old “auto bodies” are… [Laughs] I just love that. It’s so stupid, so wonderfully comic book-y stupid. That’s just bliss.

Anyway, [editor] Nick [Lowe] was like, “Are we going to see Tomas again?”

Because when Tomas drives him Otto is like, “On the day when my plans come to fruition, you will be one of the saved, Tomas!” There’s a weird kind of honor to Otto.

But now it’s got me thinking we might see Tomas again. [Otto saying], “I have converted your pickup truck to…hover mode! You’re welcome.”

Marvel.com: That would be a nice thing to do.

Dan Slott: Oh now watch me do that.

Marvel.com: I’ll look for it.

Dan Slott: [Otto’s] fun! We’re spit balling here and he’s already going to these fun places.

Marvel.com: His new look, both in and out of costume, who created that look, that appearance?

Dan Slott: That was a team effort. There was a moment in putting together Clone Conspiracy where we thought we might have put this and because of that there was a good chance that Jim Cheung was going to be drawing it and so Cheung took stabs at the designs. So the current design is mostly Jim Cheung.

There were certain things that I wanted in, like the lenses to be Doc Ock goggle shaped and for the arms not to be like spider arms but like Doc Ock arms. It is very much a suit that is a hybrid of Doc Ock suits and Superior Spider-Man suits.

Marvel.com: With the coloring, it’s a much darker green then we are used to seeing Doctor Octopus in which I mention because when he takes back his base, HYDRA is occupying it.

Dan Slott: Huh.

Marvel.com: So was that because of what was around making that shade of green available to him or are there other reasons.

Dan Slott: Huh, it is very HYDRA-ish, isn’t it?

Marvel.com: Indeed.

Dan Slott: And it is almost like HYDRA’s logo is like an octopus.

Marvel.com: That is true. It is almost like that.

Dan Slott: How odd.

Marvel.com: I feel like this is another thing we’re going to have wait on for an answer…

Dan Slott: Sorry. I will say one of the things I really liked about that 10-pager is we just came off of evil Ben Reilly and the return of Gwen Stacey to straight on into going after Norman Osborn and next up is—bam—Doc Ock. The hits keep coming. And [there will] be something coming after that! We are not going to take our foot after the accelerator in AMAZING.

If you haven’t read AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25 yet…what are you waiting for?! It’s available now!

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Finally find out what felled the Odinson with writer Jason Aaron!

WARNING: This article contained SPOILERS for UNWORTHY THOR #5, available now!

As Thor fans know, the Odinson has had a pretty difficult go of it lately. With the loss of his worthiness, he has found himself on a bit of a journey of self-discovery. As UNWORTHY THOR wraps up, we’ll see what this arc means both for his role in the larger Marvel Universe, and his place in the MIGHTY THOR series moving forward.

We chatted with writer Jason Aaron about what lies ahead for the Odinson.

Marvel.com: UNWORTHY THOR has forced the Odinson to figure out who he is without his worthiness. Can you give us your take on the journey he has gone through?

Jason Aaron: Everything I’ve done over the last few years with making Thor Odinson unworthy and bringing Jane Foster in was about telling a very specific story with her and with a different sort of Thor. But I also wanted to give Thor Odinson his own journey, so I wouldn’t just push him aside. I like the idea of watching him wrestle with his unworthiness and seeing how that changes him, how it makes him a very different sort of character. I think this [limited series] gave us the biggest version of that kind of story that we’ve done. We’ve seen a darker, angrier, very different kind of Thor Odinson.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about your experience writing both UNWORTHY THOR and MIGHTY THOR simultaneously?

Jason Aaron: I love writing Thor. I’ve been doing it for several years now and I have a big pile of Thor stories I’ve wanted to get to. It felt great to have the chance to write two Thor books at once. And to get to work with artists Russell Dauterman and Olivier Coipel at the same time felt like an extravagance of riches. Olivier is already established as one of the best Thor artists ever, and I see Russell rising up the ranks, as well. His art just gets better and better with every arc. And I’ve enjoyed doing these two very different Thor stories at the same time; now we’ll see the two characters collide, and the Odinson’s story will get wrapped up again with Jane Foster’s.

Marvel.com: This is the last issue of the UNWORTHY THOR series; could you tell us a little about what’s next for the Odinson?

Jason Aaron: You can expect to see him pop up in the pages of MIGHTY THOR very soon. He has missed a lot in the time he has been away, so he’ll have a lot to catch up on. And as you can see from the tease at the end of the UNWORTHY THOR #5, we still have more story to tell with the hammer of the Ultimate Thor. After the current MIGHTY THOR arc wraps up, we’ll dive into the story of a brand new Ultimate Thor—yet another very different sort of Thor added to the mix.

Marvel.com: You mentioned the hammer of the Ultimate Thor, which the Odinson encounters in UNWORTHY THOR. What role will it play in his story moving forward?

Jason Aaron: It will have its own big arc, when someone else comes along and picks up the hammer, and gets transformed by it in a different way. This hammer is a little different in that it’s a relic from a dead universe, a holdover from the Ultimate Universe that somehow survived through the events of Secret Wars. The exact nature of that hammer, how it differs from the hammer of Thor in the mainstream Marvel Universe, how it affects someone who wields it, we’ll answer those questions in the pages of MIGHTY THOR.

Marvel.com: In this issue, we finally learn what Nick Fury whispered to the Odinson in Original Sin that made him unworthy. He said, “Gorr was right.” What kind of impact did you hope this reveal would have on the Odinson’s story?

Jason Aaron: The idea with this mystery stretches back to the beginning of my run on Thor. We still see the effects that Thor’s battle with Gorr the God Butcher had on him, and the overall meaning of what Gorr did and why. I think as long as I’m guiding Thor’s ship, that idea of worthiness and what it means to be a god in the Marvel Universe will remain prominent themes. And I think this reveal shows that these questions still plague Thor Odinson, and I don’t expect that to go away anytime soon.

Follow the fate of the Odinson yourself in UNWORTHY THOR #5, on sale now, and in future issues of MIGHTY THOR!

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Can the Rebellion take out a stranded Sith Lord?

Each week Star Wars Spotlight combs through the digital archives of Marvel Unlimited to showcase one classic story from that distant galaxy filled with Jedi, Sith, princesses, scoundrels and droids.

In previous installments of Star Wars Spotlight, we covered the second arcs of both STAR WARS and DARTH VADER. You’ll remember that, in the former book, Luke tracked down Obi-Wan Kenobi’s diary on Tatooine and used it to find out more about his father while in the latter, that same father discovered that Skywalker blew up the Death Star. Those two stories finally came to a head in the 2015 crossover Vader Down. The story starts with STAR WARS: VADER DOWN #1 before moving into DARTH VADER #1315 and STAR WARS #1314 by Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen, Mike Deodato, and Salvador Larroca.

The festivities began as Vader traveled to the Jedi temple on Vrogas Vas where his secret associate Doctor Aphra told him that Skywalker would be. When the Sith Lord arrived in orbit, he found himself facing three squadrons of X-wings that just so happened to be out for maneuvers at the time. Of course, Vader thought Aphra double crossed him, but that didn’t stop him from taking care of most of the ships himself. Once Luke joined the fray and smashed his X-wing into Vader’s TIE, sending them tumbling towards the planet, the battle ended.

Trying to take advantage of Vader being apparently stranded on Vrogas Vas, the Rebellion not only rallied anyone stationed from their refueling station on-planet, but also an entire battalion to the scene, including Princess Leia who hitched a ride on the Millennium Falcon with the usual suspects: C-3PO, Chewbacca, and Han Solo. Vader proved that even all those reinforcements would not do the trick as he activated the grenades worn by the hundred or so soldiers surrounding him—and that’s before he took out a tank with his lightsaber.

X-Men: Die by the Sword (Trade Paperback)

X-Men: Die by the Sword (Trade Paperback)

  • Published: March 12, 2008
  • Rating: RATED A

Not long after, the Falcon landed on Vrogas Vas with Dr. Aphra and her murder droids not far behind. To get back on her boss’ good side, she paints her protocol droid gold and has him zap Luke into unconsciousness near an old Jedi temple. While Han, Chewie and R2-D2 jumped in to save Luke, Leia rode off with other soldiers to find Vader. She ran directly into him in an effort to get him to a nearby location where all available ships would blast, most likely killing her in the process. Han, back in the Falcon, didn’t like that last part, so he took off to save her only to have the bounty hunting Wookiee Black Krrsantan crash into his ship.

Just as the Rebellion’s plan looked like it had legs, the Empire’s own cyborg Mon Calimari Commander Karbin appeared with a Star Destroyer in tow to get Luke for himself and also confront Vader, who he planned on usurping.

After a series of battles and switching allegiances, Leia decided not to take a shot at Vader as he fought Karbin, but instead went to save Han and Luke who had each fallen in battle. Instead, Aphra helped crush Karbin to death, Vader crashed the ship that carried the captured Luke to the Star Destroyer, and everyone walked away relatively unscathed, except Threepio who had his arms torn off, his head twisted around, and a hole punched in his chest by an enraged Wookiee. Leia did arrive in time to knock Aphra out as she attempted to hold the Falcon and all its usual inhabitants hostage until Vader showed up. With that, they all flew off to their next adventure.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

In the wake of the Vader Down story and in an attempt to offer readers a look inside of Obi-Wan’s journals, STAR WARS #15 examined one of the Jedi Master’s many adventures. By Aaron and artist Mike Mayhew, this particular tale kicked off with Luke flying through Beggar’s Canyon and promptly crashing his ship while Ben Kenobi looked on. Uncle Owen yelled at his young charge and declared that he’d never fly again. Feeling that young Luke might need those skills in the future, Obi-Wan made a deal with the Jawas to help them with their Tusken Raider problem in exchange for handing over the tools that the boy would need to fix the downed ship. Owen figured out who did this and once again asked Kenobi to stay out of the boy’s life, asking, “Haven’t you murdered enough Skywalkers, Kenobi?” Surely that stung, but not as much as the upcoming confrontation with the Wookiee bounty hunter Black Krrsantan that we’ll see in the next flashback issue.

Next week we check back in on Jahan Cross as he returns to his home planet of Alderaan in STAR WARS: AGENT OF THE EMPIRE – HARD TARGETS by John Ostrander and Davide Fabbri.

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Christopher Hastings guides the tiny tree on an interstellar adventure!

Groot has gotten himself lost. Lost and stuck in his baby-sized form. With the other Guardians of the Galaxy nowhere to be found, the tiny Groot must fend for himself in a strange world.

Thankfully, he does not have to do it all on this own. He has writer Christopher Hastings and artist Flaviano in his corner for I AM GROOT, a new series coming this May.

Hastings took a break from his bonsai garden to discuss the series with us.

Marvel.com: As a writer, what is the creative draw of Groot? What challenges does he present?

Christopher Hastings: Well the initial draw is that he is hilarious and adorable. That “Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” trailer is filled with amazing stuff I can’t wait to see, but the best part is Rocket trying to get Groot not to blow them all up. I’m really excited to put that little guy in all kinds of bad situations and see how he makes them worse.

The main challenge is of course Groot’s limited language. I’m trying to approach the story in a very specific way to make sure it’s not a hindrance, but actually part of what makes it fun.

Marvel.com: In the book, circumstances conspire to separate Groot from his teammates and he is stuck at small size besides. What’s the character’s state of mind as he finds himself alone on the planet?

Christopher Hastings: He’s scared at first. He’s basically a toddler who’s been separated from his family, and is immediately introduced to the strange new terrors of this unknown part of the universe. But that very quickly changes to an impulsive curiosity, driving him deeper and deeper into this weird land.

Marvel.com: Overall, how would you describe the tone you are trying to achieve for this title?

Christopher Hastings: I’m a big fan of stories where little kids have to navigate a weird fantasy land as some sort of metaphor for what’s going on in their normal life. In this case, I’m specifically thinking of “Labyrinth,” “The Neverending Story,” and “Return to Oz.” I’m also pulling a lot from the dreamier Zelda games—“Link’s Awakening” and “Majora’s Mask.” There’s a lot of story in those games, despite the fact that Link can’t even say, “I am Link.” We’ve got a massive advantage there with [I AM GROOT].

Marvel.com: How does artist Flaviano’s work on the book help you to realize that tone? How does his style complement your scripting?

Christopher Hastings: I’m really asking for strange settings and characters that will all tie into a core mystery of this forgotten world Groot’s landed on. Flaviano’s got exactly the kind of thoughtful and specific design mentality that’ll flesh it out perfectly. The characters are so expressive. They can charm you or unsettle you just as easily.

Marvel.com: What kind of supporting cast might readers expect to encounter in this title? Any villains in the early going?

Christopher Hastings: Like I’ve said, there’s an old secret to this planet that’s been completely forgotten, but leaves little hints scattered about. Early characters that Groot [meets] are scavengers, just trying to survive with bits and pieces of abandoned technology and infrastructure. It’s not a great situation, but it’s one they’ve learned to be comfortable with. And Groot’s just going to mess all that up in his quest to return to the Guardians.

As for a villain, there are higher status forces who have a more active approach to keeping things as they are on this planet, which simply can’t be if Groot is to return home.

Marvel.com: Speaking directly to fans, why is I AM GROOT one that they’ll want to buy?

Christopher Hastings: This is a book for anyone who wants to see more of this new really funny, really cute Groot, but pushed to the edge, completely on his own. It’s also for anyone who wants to read the words “I am Groot” a lot.

I AM GROOT #1 by Christopher Hastings and Flaviano plants its roots on May 24!

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Writer Yona Harvey prepares her plans for the street smart super team!

Writer Yona Harvey has treated Black Panther fans to some excellent storytelling in BLACK PANTHER: WORLD OF WAKANDA, and she’s got more on the way with the upcoming BLACK PANTHER & THE CREW, issue #1 hitting April 12.

The death of a Harlem activist will set in motion a story featuring Black Panther, Storm, Misty Knight, Luke Cage, and Manifold. We caught up with Yona about her experience writing the story, and what we can look forward to.

Marvel.com: How does writing comics compare to writing poetry and other projects you’ve worked on?

Yona Harvey: Writing WORLD OF WAKANDA—my first experience as a comics writer—felt phenomenal. Contributing to that project gave me this cool “permission” to spend as much time as I wanted digging into the Marvel archives and thinking deeply about characters’ personalities and motivations. It’s more collaborative than writing poetry and other projects I’ve worked on. And the effects of the decisions made in the storytelling seem more up-front, on the surface. The feedback and editing are constant—and I enjoy those conversations very much.

Marvel.com: You’ve had the chance to work with a couple of other amazing writers in Ta-Nehisi Coates and Roxanne Gay. Can you tell us about that?

Yona Harvey: It feels like super hero school! Ta-Nehisi and Roxane are experienced storytellers in prose, and very good at what they do. So I liked processing the ways those two approached their stories. But at one point, I also realized Marvel brought me on to do more than just be amazed at their awesomeness. I had to get comfortable bringing ideas to the table or sharing images or poems I saw as relevant to what we were doing.

Marvel.com: Did you consider yourself a fan of comics before WORLD OF WAKANDA?

Yona Harvey: I thought of myself as a big fan of comics, but did not have a “regular” reading routine. But that tends to be true with most things I love, like music. I go through periods of devouring everything, then periods of long absences. That’s life, I guess. I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten too much into public fandom—especially nowadays because I spend very little time online.  I’m terrible with email and social media. But, of course, I secretly crush on people all the time—without any desire to actually meet them.

Marvel.com: What can readers can look forward to most about BLACK PANTHER AND THE CREW?

Yona Harvey: I think readers can look forward to some personal insights about the characters. Of course, it will have plenty of adventure. But maybe anyone who has ever wondered why T’Challa and Storm can’t seem to get it together will find some answers. Stay tuned.

Marvel.com: The story will have T’Challa, Storm, and Manifold fighting street-level threats, which we don’t often see. Do you think this will give readers a chance to see a different side of these characters?

Yona Harvey: Yes! And, hopefully, readers will relate to the inevitable missteps and awkwardness that often accompany strange encounters.

Marvel.com: How has writing this story compared to writing WORLD OF WAKANDA?

Yona Harvey: For some reason, this question makes me think of setting. WORLD OF WAKANDA invokes a kind of vastness of geography. We see all this unchartered territory in terms of how Wakanda might look or how Wakandans dress. BLACK PANTHER & THE CREW, though, takes place in Harlem. Of course, Harlem leaves lots to the imagination. But I can fact-check its unique landscape—streets, landmarks.  So there’s a different kind of balancing act that happens when writing a story set there.

Marvel.com: The death of an activist in Harlem will set the action of the story into motion. Can you tell us anything about the challenges the Crew will face?

Yona Harvey: One thing that has always fascinated me is how a hundred people can witness the same event—major or minor—and see it a hundred different ways. Especially in friendships, long-term relationships, and families. Like, how can two siblings feel equally convinced that the other is the mother’s favorite? So, the challenges this Crew will face have everything to do with these characters’ unique relationships with Ezra, the activist, and how differently they view his death and the circumstances surrounding it.

Marvel.com: T’Challa and Ororo have a history, and so do Luke and Misty. But as a group, they haven’t really teamed up in the past. What was it like for you to figure out how these characters would navigate both old relationships and new?

Yona Harvey: The more I work with comics, the more I learn to enjoy trouble-making. In comics, trouble is very good!  You actually learn a lot about characters when trying to understand how they get in and out of a jam. Lots of the time, the conflicts come in battles or fight scenes. But navigating old and new relationships can seem even thornier!

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention anything else?

Yona Harvey: The artwork is just breathtaking. You asked about fandom? Butch Guice and Dan Brown—I’m a fan!

Join up with BLACK PANTHER & THE CREW #1 from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, and Butch Guice on April 12!

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Hear from the stars of Iron Man 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine!

Guy Pearce (“Iron Man 3”) joins the show to talk his new film “Brimstone” and then Dominic Monaghan (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) takes over to speak about his new film “Atomica.”

Download episode #280.5 of This Week in Marvel from Marvel.com, check out Marvel Podcast Central, grab the TWiM RSS feed and subscribe to This Week in Marvel on iTunes or Soundcloud! Head over now to our new hub to listen to the full run of This Week in Marvel including our latest episode!

This Week in Marvel focuses on delivering all the Marvel info on news and new releases–from comics to video games to toys to TV to film and beyond! New episodes will be released every Tuesday and Thursday (or so) and TWiM is co-hosted by Marvel VP Executive Editor of Digital Media Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Editorial Director of Marvel Digital Media Ben Morse with Manager, Video & Content Production: Blake Garris, Editor Marc Strom, and Assistant Editor Christine Dinh. We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes! Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM, @BenJMorse, @blakegarris or @Marvel with the hashtag #ThisWeekinMarvel!

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