Kieron Gillen, Leinil Yu and Salvador Larroca chronicle Darth Vader's adventures.

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.

Though Darth Vader walked away relatively unscathed from the STAR WARS – DARTH VADER crossover called VADER DOWN, he still had plenty to deal with between a war on the mining planet of Shu-Torun and forces within the Empire secretly working against him.

That story ran from DARTH VADER ANNUAL #1 into DARTH VADER #1619 by Kieron Gillen, Leinil Yu and Salvador Larroca. The first installment saw Vader traveling to the planet in an effort to remind the ore-barons and their leaders that the Empire remained in charge. During the visit, Rebel supporters attacked and the king’s third daughter Trios did her best to lead Vader to his death. However, the Sith Lord saw something useful in her and put her in charge of the planet after everyone’s favorite murder droids 0-0-0 and BT-1 killed the rest of the royal court. 

Darth Vader Annual (2015) #1

Darth Vader Annual (2015) #1

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The main series issues picked up a bit later as the Ore Barons continued to lean towards rebellion even as Queen Trios tried steering them in the right direction. With the potential threat of losing one of their main sources of raw materials, the Emperor sent Vader to quell the uprising, assisted by Cylo and his two pseudo-cyber Jedi wannabes Morit and Aiolin. 

Darth Vader (2015) #16

Darth Vader (2015) #16

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On Shu-Torun, Vader found a queen who, while still relatively new to the throne, had grown into the role quite well. She fought fiercely as her enemies used important and even sacred equipment like Delving Citadels and Laval Leviathans against them. With the fearless agent of the Empire by her side, though, it seemed like the Ore Barons didn’t stand a chance. 

Darth Vader (2015) #17

Darth Vader (2015) #17

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At least not a fair one. Which brings us back to Cylo who made a deal with the Ore Barons to sabotage Vader’s vessel in an attempt to destroy his rival while still remaining somewhat loyal to the Emperor. Darth Vader figured out the plot and, thanks in part to some impressive psychological warfare implemented by Triple-Zero, their opponents surrendered. 

Darth Vader (2015) #18

Darth Vader (2015) #18

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Meanwhile, Queen Trios took control of her own command, killed a traitor in her midst and continued on in her mission to unseat one of her major opponents. Upon finding him, she had the man killed and put his own daughter in charge saying, “I’ve found inexperienced youths not expecting power the most easy to manipulate,” to which Vader agreed. 

Darth Vader (2015) #19

Darth Vader (2015) #19

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 From the Jedi Temple Archives

This story featured an interesting array of relationships in Darth Vader’s life at this time. On one side, you’ve got the stern, yet still somewhat helpful and encouraging mentorship between Vader and Queen Trios. On the other hand, he expressly tells Aiolin that he has nothing to teach her, mostly because of her status as a cyborg created by Cylo to appear Jedi-like. Later on, though, when she and her brother attack him, he does move to end her suffering in molten lava, though it appeared only to get one last bit of information out of her. Still, if anyone knows the pain of searing flesh, it’s the former Anakin Skywalker.

Finally, this run also featured Vader’s attempts to reclaim his one time covert op – and the creator of Triple-Zero and BeeTee – Doctor Aphra. She got captured at the end of VADER DOWN and, as we saw in the Rebel Jail story in STAR WARS, she helped Princess Leia stop an unorthodox prison break that essentially won her her freedom. The Sith Lord put out an anonymous call to bounty hunters to find her. When Beebox came back with a pile of bones, Vader knew it wasn’t Aphra and killed the liar. At the end of the story, Inspector Thanoth claimed to have found her and wanted to talk to Lord Vader about her. For more on that, you’ll just have to wait until we return to this series down the road!

Next week we travel back to the Clone Wars as John Ostrander, Jan Duursema and Dan Parsons showcase a hero in STAR WARS JEDI – SHAAK TI!

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The Simon-Kirby team produces one of the Golden Age’s great heroes!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

These days, everyone knows The Vision as Marvel’s number one synthezoid hero with more than a few family issues to work through. However, before the Android Avenger, another Vision walked the halls at the House of Ideas.

A few months before creating Captain America, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby teamed up to present the very first appearance of The Vision in 1940’s MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #13. This series debuted Golden Age heroes like Namor and the original versions of Angel, The Human Torch, and Ka-Zar.

The story kicked off with Dr. Enoch Mason showing three of his friends a new machine called The Dimension Smasher. As he put it, “The purpose of my demonstration, tonight, is to prove that the so-called ghosts and spirits are actually inhabitants of worlds and universes whose dimensional spheres are co-existent with our own.” Unfortunately for him, an intelligence-hating mobster by the name of Brain had bought Mason’s promissory note and intended to either collect or take his equipment that very same night.

Marvel Mystery Comics (1939) #13

Marvel Mystery Comics (1939) #13

  • Published: November 01, 1940
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: August 19, 2011
  • Writer: Ben Thompson
  • Penciler: Bob Oksner
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The hoods busted into the laboratory in the middle of the experiment, telling the doc that he either had to pay up right then or get an impromptu renovation. As he floundered for an answer, the green-headed Vision appeared behind one of the gunmen in a cloud of smoke sparked by his own cigar. The visitor froze the mobster, introduced himself as Aarkus, Destroyer of Evil, and then took off after Brain’s other thug. After taking care of business, Aarkus returned to Mason, this time in a more human form.

Aarkus remained in that form when Brain’s mob showed up for further revenge. Knocked unconscious for a time, the otherworlder asked for one last cigarette before death and used the ensuing smoke to unleash his more powerful side. The Vision made short work of the crooks and even used their pants to tie them up!

While Vision clearly didn’t become Simon and Kirby’s main contribution to the Timely era, it’s interesting to note the similarities between his origin and Captain America’s. Both came about thanks to an experiment interrupted by bad men with guns.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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The offbeat super hero has some issues to work out behind that cooking pot on his head.

Irving Forbush presents as an adult man in just below average physical shape. He attended initial appointments in what appeared to be a pair of flannel pajamas and a “mask” consisting of a cooking pot with holes cut in it until he was redirected to dress more appropriately for therapy. He protested at first but eventually acquiesced when this writer explained that I do not see any clients with masks unless there is a medical reason why them must wear it at all times. Since then, he has dressed conventionally.

The client asserts that he is from an alternate dimension where he was employed by a company called Marble Comics by day and was a non-powered vigilante in his off hours. He has struggled to detail many of his exploits and several of the other heroes and villains he has encountered seem to be very similar in names and abilities to heroes from “our universe.” For instance, he once beat a man called the Juggernut.

Given his lack of powers and rather conventional build, this writer confesses to a level of skepticism regarding the client’s reporting. However, Forbush has been able to produce some physical evidence, including copies of Marble Comics and newspaper printings from his apparent alternate universe. Included in those clippings were information such as his parents actively disclosing to the newspapers, on multiple occasions, their disappointment in him and their wish that they had a daughter instead. He has declined to discuss his parents in much depth so these revelations, while intriguing, remain largely unexplored.

NOT BRAND ECHH 14 (2017) #14

NOT BRAND ECHH 14 (2017) #14

What the client is predominantly concerned with is his feelings of interdimensional displacement and the presence of memories that could not have possibly happened to him but feel so real anyway. These included meetings with Spider-Man years ago and a time working at Marvel (not Marble) Comics during which he believes he may have won an award for Best Assistant Editor. More distressing than these, however, are memories that suggest he has attacked Marvel employees, been killed, and been brought back as some kind of zombie. Despite these memories, there is no record of such an event and he appears very much alive. The only mention of him I could find from our world stemmed from a battle with the super hero team known as Nextwave, but the client insists that that was not him but rather the actual Irving Forbush of our planet. This writer has been able to discern the possible truth of this statement.

Overall, despite what could be a truly terrifying experience — waking up in world that is not your own or, at least, feels to you like another world, possessing memories that seem to not be true, including engaging in violent attacks, and literally dying — the client seems remarkably unaffected. One might even be tempted to call him goofy or silly – a humorous distraction, perhaps.

Not Brand Echh (1967) #5

Not Brand Echh (1967) #5

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Given that Irving Forbush has sought therapy, and what he has discussed would be traumatic for anyone, this writer plans to continue seeing him. That said, the symptoms presentation is unusual enough that I have felt it necessary to consult with several other experts in various fields to ensure Forbush receives the best possible care. You can review their packet of recommendations at NOT BRAND ECCH #14, available on November 15.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who likes to think his interdimensional double would make a really delicious paella as opposed to the just delicious paella he can make.

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André Araújo swings in a webslinging world with exclusive preview art!

The 90s continue to make a comeback every month. The previously maligned decade now boasts a mix of respect and nostalgia thanks to the fact that people who were fans at the time now make and buy lots of comics. Portuguese artist André Araújo may have discovered the 90s comics differently thanks to alternate publishing practices, but he still has a love for all things Spider-Man related, which makes him a great artist to work on the “Slingers Return” story in BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER, written by Peter David!

We talked with Araújo about his own 90s comic-reading experience, working with a legend like David, and digging into the Slingers’ different costumes.

Marvel.com: Between Scarlet Spider and the Slingers, this book seems to really embrace the 90s, while updating the concepts for today’s audience. Was that an era you were familiar with before taking on the job?

André Araújo: I live in Portugal, so the way books were published [there] varied greatly, meaning some stuff was published like it was in the U.S., but we also got stories from all periods. So I got to read most of the stuff from the 90s, including  Onslaught and the Clone Saga, during the late 90s/early 2000s when a new publisher called Devir came [onto the] scene and published all of that in a row. I remember enjoying it quite a lot, because it was the first time things were published in monthly issues in the same format that’s used in the U.S.

Marvel.com: Scarlet Spider’s costume is interesting because it mixes the more traditional tightness of the body suit with the looser hooded pullover. How is it making sure both of those look right on the page?

André Araújo: That’s actually something I thought about while drawing the issue, even though I only drew Ben in costume for a brief scene. As you say, it is an interesting mix and something that I feel usually works well in a character’s design. It’s also a nice change of what super heroes usually look like, particularly characters derivative from Spider-Man. Making it look right is always a challenge, making sure you represent the idea of a looser fabric on top of tight spandex, but I always welcome a nice challenge.

Marvel.com: How has it been for you drawing the Slingers costumes and putting your stamp on them?

André Araújo: They’re cool characters, with bold looks. Completely different from one another, with lots of disparate stylistic choices; the challenge here is always to make them look cohesive, which comes, in part, from bringing my style to the way they’re drawn. My approach is always to think how the costumes work in real life, in terms of fabric, material type, how characters move while wearing them. I make my little tweaks with that in mind, while keeping the original look as much as possible.

Marvel.com: It seems like it’d be a lot of fun pitting Scarlet Spider against these other heroes in various ways. Has that been the case?

André Araújo: Spider-Man is my favorite character to draw, and any derivative character like Scarlet Spider feels pretty much like that to me. So drawing Ben in all the situations is a lot of fun, be it while he is dealing with ordinary stuff or during the action scenes, with all characters in costumes.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with a legendary writer like Peter David so far?

André Araújo: One thing I like about working with established writers like Peter is how smooth their scripts are. They’re always easy to work with. When I’m doing the layouts everything feels very natural, which is a sign of a well-built narrative, where each moment leads to the other with ease and grace.

Look for André’s collaboration with writer Peter David in BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #11, available December 13!

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As the Mojoverse invades Manhattan, Marvel.com’s resident therapist profiles the villain.

As always, evaluating a subject without ever meeting them is, at best, educated guessing. Nonetheless, given the direness of the situation and the data available, this writer felt it was ethically sound to offer this personality sketch and his attorneys have agreed. I hope it provides help with subduing the subject.

The subject, Mojo, is an apparent alien/other-dimensional being who is from a race that are born without spines and use technology to increase their mobility and ability to stand upright. He self-identifies as a male although it remains unclear if that concept is native to his race’s reality or a product of exposure to human television. The planet and universe he hails from was evidently named for him (Mojoworld, Mojoverse), not the other way around. This apparently reflects his dominance of the most important aspect of his race’s society, television.

According to a history of the universe that appears to be—as best as we can verify— accurate, his universe was bombarded by broken waves of energy that were, in fact, Earth television waves.  Exposure to the broken and, to them, inexplicable energy both caused a sort of societal psychotic break and created a universe-wide addiction. Craving content more intense than the broken waves could provide, Mojo rose into the void and created homegrown TV content. As such, he was elevated to a kind of combination dictator and program director.

Given the subject is an alien from a planet with an aggressively different social structure, it is difficult to label him a sociopath as, in terms of his society, his behavior and cognitions might be entirely in line with societal norms. However, by our standards, to our understanding, he does present with symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder and, possibly, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

He is motivated, seemingly, purely by the twin desires of garnering maximum attention for himself and dominance of his enemies. He shows limited regard for the lives and comfort of those around him. He is erratic and capricious, nearly always choosing the quick jolt of short-term satisfaction over long-term planning.

This makes him defeatable—as his history with the mutant rights group the X-Men indicates—but also wildly dangerous. Because he is oriented towards the short-term, he is unpredictable and just as likely to react in violent rage as in cowardly self-preservation. Additionally, he has engendered the kind of support from those beneath we might associate with a closed state dictatorship, meaning he has a plethora of what he likely considers “cannon fodder” at his disposal to throw at his enemies.

The surest path to victory against the subject is to demonstrate to him that bigger ratings can be achieved through easier means. He is a fairly lazy creature and, as noted above, likes the quick fix. So if the ceiling to success feels like too much work and a simpler means to rating dominance exists—think the amount effort required to make a successful cheap reality show vs. a prestige drama with well-known actors—he will always take the easy way out.

For further information and analysis of the subject, this writer recommends the definitive volume on Mojo, X-MEN BLUE #15 from Doctors Marc Guggenheim and Jorge Molina, available on November 15.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who loved TV enough growing up and bets he could’ve ruled the Mojoverse.

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Spidey's adventures included Punisher, Black Cat and Cloak & Dagger, as Hobgoblin made his debut!

For over 50 years, Spider-Man has been a sensational standout in the Marvel Universe, and this year, the web-slinger swings onto the silver screen once more in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”! In celebration of his memorable history, we present Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story!

The mysteries surrounding Peter Parker’s friend Deb Whitman ultimately came to a head in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #74, Spidey teamed up with Tigra in MARVEL TEAM-UP #125, and avoided the Hulk in MARVEL TEAM-UP #126. The webslinger’s fellow arachnid the Tarantula perished in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #236, and the Stilt-Man leveled up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #237.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #237

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #237

  • Published: February 10, 1983
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 30, 2014
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The Black Cat crept back into Spider-Man’s life in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #75 to drag our hero into a shooting match between Doctor Octopus and the Owl. When Ock’s curiosity almost killed the kitty in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #76, Spidey found himself not only in the multi-armed villain’s sights, but also those of the Gladiator’s in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #77. Boomerang and the Punisher became involved in the ongoing drama in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #78, and the vigilante gunned for Doc Ock in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #79.

The all-seeing Watcher guest-starred in MARVEL TEAM-UP #127, and the wallcrawler and Captain America joined forces to rid the city of Vermin and his rats in MARVEL TEAM-UP #128. The Hobgoblin, a new baddie using the Green Goblin’s motifs, attacked Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #238, and ramped things up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #239 before flying off to cackle another day.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #238

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #238

  • Published: March 10, 1983
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 29, 2013
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After J. Jonah Jameson tried to prove his reporter’s instincts still rated in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #80, Spider-Man joined with the Vision to antagonize androids in MARVEL TEAM-UP #129, the Scarlet Witch to vanquish Necrodamas in MARVEL TEAM-UP #130, and Frog-Man to chase off the White Rabbit in MARVEL TEAM-UP #131.

The Vulture returned to build a new nest-egg in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #240 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #241, and the Mad Thinker introduced a new android of his creation in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #242. The wallcrawler got involved with Cloak and Dagger’s hunt for the Punisher in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #81, and tracked him to the Kingpin’s front door in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #82. After his capture by the police, the Punisher faced a judge and jury for his alleged crimes in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #83.

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #132

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #132

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Mr. Fantastic lent his big brain to Spidey in MARVEL TEAM-UP #132, and then the whole blamed Fantastic Four — or so it seemed — hit the scene in MARVEL TEAM-UP #133 to help close down Doctor Faustus illicit practice. Later, the webslinger met up with Jack of Hearts in MARVEL TEAM-UP #134. Mary Jane Watson reentered Peter Parker’s life in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #243 to complicate his already relationship with the Black Cat, the Hobgoblin flew in for a rematch in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #244, our hero though he’d learned the masked villain’s true identity in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #245, and the Watcher revealed divergent paths for Peter and his friends in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #246.

Following Spidey’s near-brush with joining Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS #236 and AVENGERS #237, the Black Cat checked out of the hospital in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #84, and attempted to go straight by helping her Spider catch the Hobgoblin in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #85. The wallcrawler met up with the mutant Kitty Pryde to hunt Morlocks in MARVEL TEAM-UP #135, and with Wonder Man to manhandle the Mauler in MARVEL TEAM-UP #136. And, at the end of the day, Spidey found his only real friend might be Frog-Man in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #247.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #85

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #85

What is Marvel Unlimited?
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Hear how Jim Zub adapted the Japanese manga!

Transferring a universe of Marvel zombies overseas doesn’t seem like an easy job, but Jim Zub can do it—no problem.

ZOMBIES ASSEMBLE 2, the Japanese book that Zub got tasked with adapting for North American audiences, has been a skin-crawling success. And as the limited series—written and illustrated by Yusaku Komiyama—nears its final issue on November 8, we caught up with Zub to hear more about how the project came to life.

Marvel.com: How would you sum up the experience of translating a Japanese manga for American readers?

Jim Zub: I don’t know that I’d call it “translation” in the traditional sense. The raw translation from Japanese to English was already complete when I came on board the project. I had to take that raw translation and adjust the dialogue and other text so it sounded natural; so that each character had the distinctive voice readers expect from the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: What proved to be the most challenging part of such a task?

Jim Zub: Adapting the dialogue so that it kept the original intent from Yusaku Komiyama’s story while also making it read as seamlessly as possible in English. There’s a surprising amount of humor and pathos in the story—I tried to keep those intact, though it didn’t come easy in some spots. We have a lot of callbacks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in ZOMBIES ASSEMBLE, so I also tried to make sure those came through properly as well.

Marvel.com: What did you enjoy most about this crazy zombie epic?

Jim Zub: There’s a scene in the first half where Zombie-Thor tears out his own eyeball and gives it to Black Widow as a gift. That whole sequence felt so out there and I knew readers would be shocked and amused, wondering where things would go from there. It just propels things to another level of zombie craziness.

Marvel.com: Would you be up for doing something like this again? Which Marvel manga have you been eyeing lately?

Jim Zub: There’s apparently a new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY manga serializing right now in Japan called GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: GALAXY RUSH. I hope Marvel decides to bring it out here in English and that I get the chance to adapt it for them like I did here with ZOMBIES ASSEMBLE. That would be a ton of fun.

Check out ZOMBIES ASSEMBLE 2 #4, by Yusaku Komiyama with Jim Zub, on November 8!

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Writer Donny Cates conjures up mischief with our newest Sorcerer Supreme!

What would happen if Loki, the God of Mischief, became the Sorcerer Supreme? That’s exactly the question that writer Donny Cates tackles in the upcoming DOCTOR STRANGE #381. We may not know what Loki is up to yet, but we do know one thing – it won’t be boring! We caught up with Cates to find out more about what we can expect.

Marvel.com: Loki obviously doesn’t have the same altruistic leanings as Stephen Strange…as the Sorcerer Supreme, will he use his role to further his own ends?

Donny Cates: Hmmmm, yes and no. That question there is really the heart of Loki, right? He’s so much fun because you never know the rules of whatever game he’s currently playing. So yes, he probably is using his role to serve his own needs….but what if his needs are altruistic? Is he still being selfish and underhanded if the result is a net positive? I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case here, but I wouldn’t ever get too comfortable with how you perceive Loki and his intentions.

Marvel.com: Stephen has a lot of experience when it comes to sorcery, but Loki has been doing it even longer. How will that inform how he approaches being Sorcerer Supreme?

Donny Cates: Well, at the end of the day, this is still very much a book about Stephen Strange. So, it’s very interesting, because on the one hand you have this GOD who is now insanely powerful in his new role….and then we have Stephen. I can’t say much about where Stephen is in this arc, but it’s unusual, and more (ahem) low-key than anything we’ve ever seen before. So it’s a nice dichotomy between the two.

How’s that for dodging a question? 🙂

Doctor Strange #381 cover by Mike Del Mundo

Marvel.com: Loki is, of course, the god of mischief. He doesn’t have the same reverence for authority as some of the more “heroic” characters. It seems like he’d have a lot of fun in this role. He could definitely mess with people.

Donny Cates: Oh for sure! As is said in the first issue, Loki is not, nor has he ever been, overly fond of “the rules.” So he kind of bumps up against this idea of magic having limits and prices. He’s not into it. And that leads him, and us,  down some rather dark roads.  

Marvel.com: Still, Loki often chooses to do the right thing. He might not want to admit it, but he does care. So can we expect to see him using his authority for the greater good, as well?

Donny Cates: Yeah, that’s what’s so amazing about him as a character these days. Even when he WANTS to do something good, no one on Earth (or in any realm) believes him. Everyone still thinks of him as this mustache-twirling villain, but that’s not really who he is anymore, right? He’s much more complicated.

I should mention though, that whatever supposed heroic deeds Loki has planned, or how well his intentions are….the good Doctor will be having none of it. Stephen doesn’t trust Loki as far as he can throw him, and he will stop at nothing to see his home, his cloak, and his title returned to him.

The lengths Strange will go through to see his livelihood returned to him…that’s the real story here. And I promise you can’t fathom what those lengths will be.

You’ve never seen Doctor Strange like this.

Doctor Strange #382 cover by Mike Del Mundo

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

Donny Cates: If I were a betting man….I’d pay A LOT OF ATTENTION to the second issue of my run. DOCTOR STRANGE #382 is a big one folks. I’ll see you there!

DOCTOR STRANGE #381, by Donny Cates and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, hits shelves on November 15!

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Look back on the muck monster’s solo debut!

Every day this month, a new supernatural character or story from the Marvel Universe gets a spooky spotlight leading up to Halloween!

Having emerged from the swamp for the first time in 1971’s SAVAGE TALES #1, Man-Thing starred in ADVENTURES INTO FEAR from #10#19 before earning his first solo series in 1974.

MAN-THING, written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Val Mayerik with Mike Ploog, the series’ first book continued the action of the final ADVENTURES INTO FEAR issue—which also saw the first appearance of Howard the Duck!

Man-Thing (1974) #1

Man-Thing (1974) #1

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After the mallard tripped and fell into a void, Man-Thing, Dakimh the Enchanter, Jennifer Kale, and the barbarian prince Korrek set out to restore all realities back to order. Meanwhile, The Overmaster and the pretender gods of the Congress of Realities attacked Dakimh’s home realm, Therea. There, a battle raged between The Overmaster, his minions, and Man-Thing—resulting in the universe’s salvation from annihilation.

Though the series began with a more fantastical slant, the creative team introduced more horror elements in later issues as the Man-Thing continued to protect the Nexus of All Realities. These stories played with a range of genres and characters—from bikers and corrupt businessmen to wrecking crews and even The Foolkiller, who made his first appearance in issue #3!

Issue #5 saw the ghost of a clown, who died in a swamp, encounter the Man-Thing. Though the creature could not speak or remember his lost humanity, he moved to put the clown to rest in a proper manner.

Man-Thing (1974) #5

Man-Thing (1974) #5

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Later, Ayla—a tightrope walker from the carnival that employed the clown—gave up her job to search for him in the swamp, aided by the series’ stars Richard and Ruth. When they came upon the scene of the death, Ayla called out to her friend, who appeared in his ghostly form at the edge of the bog.

In the following issue, the ghost clown took control of Ayla, Richard, and Ruth, regaling the reader of his sad life—as three mysterious, hooded figures watched and critiqued the story.

The figures turned out to be agents of Hell, Heaven, and the In-Between. They stated that the clown’s death was unnecessary and decided to punish the clown for his ill-conceived decisions. Having witnessed these events, Man-Thing stepped in and fought the creatures off—allowing the clown to rest—perhaps not in peace, but to rest nonetheless.

Fright Fact

Man-Thing might seem like the type who doesn’t play well with others, but he’s actually been a part of more teams than one might expect. In 1972, he formed the original Legion of Monsters in MARVEL PREMIERE #28. In the 1990s, he joined Franklin Richards, Howard the Duck, Arite, Leech, and Tana Nyle in GENERATION X and then in a three issue limited series called DAYDREAMERS. And most recently, in the aftermath of Siege, when Luke Cage took over the Thunderbolts, Hank Pym used Man-Thing as a team transport! And not long after that, he also joined Phil Coulson’s Howling Commandos. Not bad for a guy who spends most of his time hanging out in swamps!

Tomorrow, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Michael Lopez dig into the history of the Marvel Universe’s number one monster hunter with BLOODSTONE!

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Jack helps to introduce another of Marvel’s most vile villains!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Jack Kirby maybe be best known as a super hero artist, but he loved making war comics. A military man himself, “The King” put his crown aside to serve his country during World War II as an Infrantryman and put plenty of those experiences into books like SGT. FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS with his collaborator Stan Lee.

Though still thrilling adventure stories, these issues feature some of the hard truths that came with war, like losing members of your squad as the Howlers did when Junior Junipe got injured in issue #4. They carried that sadness and anger with them into the next mission, which introduced them and the readers to a new Nazi threat: Baron Strucker! The villain debuted dueling with another man and easily winning before receiving his latest orders from Hitler: kill Nick Fury. Thinking his prey beneath him, Strucker thought of the mission as nothing more than a game.

The Wing Commander of the Fuehrer’s Death-Head Squadron flew his plane over the Allies’ post, blasting away at Dum Dum Duggan and Izzy Cohen before throwing a tube with a note down challenging Fury to a death duel on Norsehaven in the English Channel. Enraged at Strucker’s taunts, the sergeant requested transport to the Channel from Captain Sawyer, who flatly refused. After dining with his girlfriend Lady Pamely Hawley, Fury called in a few favors and snuck his way to the meeting with Strucker.

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (1963) #5

Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos (1963) #5

  • Published: January 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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Neither man wasted any time getting into the spirit of the duel itself, which they fought with plywood swords as part of Strucker’s beloved tradition dictated. However, the villain also drugged Fury’s pre-fencing drink and had his lackeys ready to literally trip Nick up. The future S.H.I.E.L.D. chief did his best to fight, but inevitably collapsed. With his opponent down, the Baron called out his photographers and videographers to record the Amerikaner’s defeat. They strapped Fury in a parachute and dropped him out of a plane near the base he had been stationed at.

Upon returning, Captain Sawyer busted Fury down to a private and dismissed him. Still a part of the Howling Commandos, Nick joined his crew as they went out for another big push. The Howlers got the drop on a tank squadron, stole their vehicle and used it to destroy a rocket base before busting into an enemy base that happened to house Strucker!

The nefarious Nazi didn’t stand a chance in a fair fight with the furious Fury who knocked him unconscious after punching him through a wall! Upon returning, Sawyer saw the error of his ways in demoting Nick—mostly because a general said how lucky he was to work with the Howlers boss—and returned him to the rank of sergeant!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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