Lunella Lafayette and Devil Dinosaur face their ultimate challenge!

We’ve watched Lunella Lafayette grow into her own as Moon Girl, and prove her status as The Smartest There Is. Now, after going up against all kinds of threats and saving the day repeatedly, our girl finds herself, in some ways, back at the start, when the Omni-Wave Projector, which helped to launch her adventures as a budding super hero, goes on the fritz.

We chatted with MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR writer Brandon Montclare about how the biggest brain in the Marvel Universe will deal with this challenge, and some other pretty significant difficulties that come her way.

Marvel.com: The Omni-Wave projector started it all for Lunella. So for her to have to deal with it malfunctioning now, after everything she has gone through, kind of feels like coming full circle.

Brandon Montclare: Before there was a real “Moon Girl” and definitely before there was Devil Dinosaur, Lunella looked high and low for any alien technology related to her Inhuman condition. But the Omni-Wave Projector has brought nothing but trouble…at least that’s how it always seems at first. So far, Lunella has always made the best of the chaos caused by the device. I don’t know if her luck is going to run out? It has indeed all come full circle—but the thing about circles: they never really end. They just go on and on and on.

Marvel.com: And this comes at an interesting time for Lunella. She will have just returned from her adventures in space with Girl-Moon, only to find she still has drama at home to deal with, too.

Brandon Montclare: I think when you grow up and start to see the world you simultaneously realize it’s very different while also feeling eerily familiar. Moon Girl is still just a kid—and for the Smartest There Is, it’s something new to learn. And whether she stays put on Yancy Street or adventures in the stars, there’s always drama. As well as new friends to be made, betrayals to avoid, and challenges to win. Her first reaction to all this is to start to get a sense that “there’s a time and a place for everything…” This thought is going to have a lot of repercussions in the current story and future stories as well. So it’s a big deal!

Marvel.com: It sounds like the malfunctioning projector will give us a glimpse of an alternate Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur whom we may not find as loveable as the duo we’ve gotten to know. Would you like to tease anything about that?

Brandon Montclare: The mirror universe story is fun….and evil—or maybe she’s just misunderstood? Devil Girl and her feathered, magical Moon Dinosaur. That’s pretty cool, I think. But wowzers, I think people should be looking forward to the visuals. I knew that the very idea of slightly-off Lunellas and Devil Dinosaurs is something that would excite artist Natacha Bustos. I was right! She really goes to town on everything: from giant T-Rex battles to a girl forced to have a conversation with her grumpy alter ego. It really is a tour de force. It’s everything Natacha does great, multiplied!

As for the tale. I can’t spoil too much. It feels like a fun aside…but again, it’ll give Moon Girl a lot to think about in future issues.

Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur #21 cover by Natacha Bustos

Marvel.com: Lunella tends to have a pretty strategic way of thinking. What approaches will she take to trying to fix the projector?

Brandon Montclare: If the Omni-Wave Projector fails, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur can’t get home. But she’s very resourceful; and of all the fields of science in which she is expert, close readers might notice that she prefers to call herself an engineer. But even Earth’s biggest brain might need to call on some cosmic-powered assistance before the story ends. But it’s even riskier than you think… Yes, the Omni-Wave Projector is on the fritz. Yes, she hopes it has enough juice to get her home. But in the course of this adventure, there will be not one, but two dilemmas that require her to make a choice: Use the Omni-Wave Projector to save someone else’s day or get herself home?

Moon Girl’s brilliant mind tells her she shouldn’t push it. But her heart—which she’s never had to trust—is going to want to pull her in a different inter-dimensional direction.

Marvel.com: Anything else we should look forward to with future issues?

Brandon Montclare: Much like the Omni-Wave Projector united Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur through time and space, the team behind MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR is the magic mix. I don’t think any of us expected to be working on a fourth—and fifth and sixth and… story arc. I truly don’t think the book would have been this strong if it wasn’t for every creator. I might be the first person to touch the page, but Natacha is the quarterback and my job is to hike her the ball. I try to set her up with cool things to draw so she can knock the readers out of their socks. On all books the artist is the creative lead—but it’s even more so on MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR with Natacha. It’s her heart and soul on every page. That’s a lot for the colorist, Tamra Bonvillain, to live up to. But she’s so cool; probably because of her talent that backs it up. You can have a simple style, but this is not an easy book to draw. In addition to pretty colors, mindboggling colors, impactful colors, Tamra has to reinforce Nat’s storytelling.

And this book ain’t easy to letter. Travis Lanham has to get the little girl whispers and the thunder lizard growls to “sound” right. But he also needs to place and present dueling dialogue and interior monologues in the same panel. Then there are editors Chris Robinson and Mark Paniccia. They’re only allowed to be half-crazy, to help us in the world of the comic while staying sane enough to deliver a copy to the readers. And this is totally true: the readers are the last part of the team. They’re the reason we all did it and why we’re allowed to still do it. Their enthusiasm for our work is as important as their support for each chapter. And not to be too cute: the comic itself is our Omni-Wave Projector. Bring us all together through space to share a moment in time.

The adventure continues from Brandon Montclare, Natacha Bustos, and company in MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR #21 on July 26!

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Meet Mara Jade, the Emperor’s Hand!

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago today—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Star Wars: Mara Jade - By The Emperor'S Hand (1998) #1

Star Wars: Mara Jade - By The Emperor'S Hand (1998) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

If you know HEIR TO THE EMPIRE and the rest of the “Thrawn Trilogy,” then you’re very familiar with Mara Jade, one of the greatest new characters created by writer Timothy Zahn. As the Emperor’s personal assassin—aka, the Emperor’s Hand—she believed Luke Skywalker killed Palpatine and set out to take her revenge. But what about her days of serving The Emperor? Typically a novelist, Zahn himself developed a story exclusively for comic books to tell this tale—STAR WARS: MARA JADE: BY THE EMPEROR’S HAND—with fellow Star Wars author Michael A. Stackpole acting as writer and Carlos Ezquerra illustrating the adventure.

Right away we’re greeted with a very familiar setting, as Mara pleads to board Jabba’s skiff and assist with the execution of Luke Skywalker, as seen in “Return of the Jedi”—we learn Palpatine sent her there to capture him and bring him before The Emperor. When Jabba denies her request, she reports back to her master that she proved unable to kill Luke, then finds herself on a quest to assassinate the leader of Black Nebula—an offshoot of Black Sun, which you may remember from SHADOWS OF THE EMPIRE. By issue #2, she learns of the Emperor’s demise through the Force—though in the way he wants her to see it. But that doesn’t mean she’s done with her mission…

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Saladin Ahmed prepares to spring the king of the Inhumans from jail!

The new BLACK BOLT series has found the king of the Inhumans mysteriously behind bars, in a place known only as “The Prison.” How and why he ended up there might remain unknown for now, but you can bet Black Bolt won’t remain for long if he has anything to say about it—and thanks to this bizarre jail’s machinations, he can speak!

We caught up with the current “warden” of BLACK BOLT, writer Saladin Ahmed, to ask about the series, specifically issue #3—coming July 5—which features the inmates’ attempted jailbreak!

Marvel.com: At this point we’ve seen the first twos of Black Bolt, and it has set up an intriguing story. What was your motivation for throwing the king of the Inhumans into the slammer, so to speak?

Saladin Ahmed: Well, Black Bolt being sidelined from the rest of the royal family made sense for all sorts of plot and continuity reasons. But ultimately this story is about the very idea of incarceration—what is its purpose? Who does it happen to? Which crimes get punished? What does it do to people? So I suppose one of my motivations was forcing one of Marvel’s most powerful characters, a king unused to having his choices questioned—let alone labeled “crimes”!—to confront these questions in a very personal way.

Marvel.com: Can you reveal any more details about this mysterious prison where he’s incarcerated?

Saladin Ahmed: Without giving too much away: The place known only as The Prison is not what it seems. It shifts and changes, seemingly at random. It holds powerful criminals stripped of their powers. Black Bolt learned of this place in old Inhuman records known only to the king and queen. It should be a secret of his people, yet there are others here. The secrets of The Prison will be revealed over the next few issues, so all I can say is: keep reading!

Black Bolt #3 cover by Christian Ward

Marvel.com: Issue #3 promises something that readers were no doubt hoping to see: a prison break! How does Black Bolt approach the breakout?

Saladin Ahmed: As it happens, Black Bolt is reminded rather quickly that this ain’t New Attilan and that he is not a king. As “new meat” he finds himself swept up in the jailbreak, rather than masterminding it, and as a ruler he does not like that. But he needs his fellow inmates and, for reasons that will be revealed, they need him as well. And working together is their only hope.

Marvel.com: Is there anyone in this prison that he can trust to help him break out? Which inmates will play a part?

Saladin Ahmed: As I say, he will need help. As a book, BLACK BOLT is absolutely centered on its titular hero. But there is a small cast of characters that coheres around Black Bolt as a sort of ensemble. We’ve already encountered Crusher Creel, The Absorbing Man, who I really think of as the co-star of this storyline. There’s also the alien child Blinky, the aged ex-conqueror The Metal Master, and the Skrull pirate woman Raava. Each of them will have a role to play not only in the breakout, but in the book overall.

Marvel.com: Christian Ward’s artwork really captures the mood of this otherworldly prison. What’s it been like working with him?

Saladin Ahmed: It’s been a dream. Christian is not only one of the most talented artists working in comics today, he’s a joy to work with. He puts real toil and thought into every panel and every layout. My writing on this book juggles a lot of moods and aesthetics—from Kafka to “Saw,” from Kirby dots to Victorian prison houses. It’s a pretty hard range to capture visually, but Christian has not only conveyed the story I’m trying to tell, he’s improved on it. Also, the guy does his own colors!

Make a break for it on July 5 with BLACK BOLT #3 by Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward!

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Ki-Adi-Mundi gets to the heart of a mystery involving a missing Jedi Knight!

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.

Jedi Knight Ki-Adi-Mundi took center stage in the first arc of the 1998-launched STAR WARS series and then returned in issues #712 to seize the spotlight once again in a pre-Prequel tale thanks to writer Tim Truman along with artists Tom Raney, Rob Pereira, Rick Leonardi, and Al Rio. Called “Outlander,” the story kicked off on Tatooine at a trading depot called Mochot Steep with a Corellian couple named Conil and Camelle looking for weapons to protect their new home. There, Conil heard tell of a recent Tusken Raider attack on Anchorhead that revealed the usually clan-like race had worked together under one warleader. According to the Jawas nearby, the leader wasn’t a Sand Person himself, but instead an outworlder. Moments later the Raiders attacked Mochot Steep, leaving Conil dead, but sparing Camelle’s life. During the fray, the leader revealed that he wielded a red lightsaber.

After viewing footage of the attack on Coruscant, Ki-Adi-Mundi recognized that the lightsaber once belonged to the legendary Jedi Sharad Hett. Yoda posited that the warleader could actually be the long-thought-dead Hett returned in some way. The Council selected Ki-Adi-Mundi for the mission because he stood as the only member who never knew Sharad Hett and wouldn’t falter in taking care of him, if need be. With his mission in hand, the Jedi took off for the planet he had just visited and didn’t particularly like. As Yoda suggested, the Knight made a trip to Jabba the Hutt’s palace his first priority to ask for safe passage through the desert. Jabba agreed and offered help, but all that proved a trap that led to betrayal, a skiff battle, and a crash in the desert.

Star Wars (1998) #7

Star Wars (1998) #7

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Before long both the Jedi and bounty hunter Aurra Sing headed towards The Needles, otherwise known as Tusken Raider headquarters. Ki arrived first to fight a Krayt Dragon while the warchief—who indeed revealed himself as Sharad Hett—looked on. The two made peace as Hett tried explaining why he appreciated the Tusken Raider lifestyle, which revolved around survival in a place constantly trying to kill them. Along the way, we also learned quite a bit more about Tatooine’s gaderffi aficionados.

Eventually the complicated truth revolving around warring Hutt factions and Jabba’s plans to goad the Tusken Raiders into becoming threatening so he could sell bad weapons came to the surface. A great battle commenced on Tatooine leaving one Jedi dead, one with a new Padawan and one with a lot of rage that eventually turned him to the dark side. Of course, that will be a story for another day…

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Bounty hunter Aurra Sing spent a lot of this story explaining things from afar, narrating the tale and then swooping in to attack, and even kill, Jedi. But what’s her deal? She first appeared on screen in “The Phantom Menace” but only briefly. She would go on to recur regularly in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” taking a teenage Boba Fett under her wing and using his rage against the Jedi for her own advantage. Once a Jedi Padawan herself, Sing trained with Dark Woman until pirates kidnapped her and she eventually wound up with Anzati assassins who not only educated her in their ways, but also implanted a computer into her brain. Feeling abandoned by the Jedi, she took any job possible where one of them might end up in her crosshairs.

Next time, pick back up with Kerra in the pages of STAR WARS: KNIGHT ERRANT – DELUGE by John Jackson Miller, Ivan Rodriguez and Iban Coello!

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Our therapist attempts to pin down the mutant time traveler!

Nathan Summers is an adult male of above average physical fitness. Although he suffers from a techno organic virus, it appears to be in remission and his physical state is currently stable. He is a self-identified mutant known as Cable who claims he is from the future. A cursory analysis of Summers’ background would seem to reinforce this statements as respected individuals like Professor Charles Xavier have made similar statements.

The client’s life has consistently been one of strife and chaos. It has been marked by acts of violence—perpetrated by and against him—and multiple jumps between alternate timelines moving from the present to the future and back and forth multiple times. He has even had to endure the death of his wife and the need to slay his own son.

At first, this writer hypothesized that the client lacked a “true” personality and was only defined by what had been done to him in struggles. After working with the client for some time, the writer has revised this belief. The client has a set of values that he organizes his life around and does present with a personality. However, he is often so defended that it may be difficult to discern it without extensive time with him. Summers, ultimately, seems to present as a sort of walking tactical machine as a defense mechanism, not as a true reflection of his inner life.

In this way, my expectation that he, in fact, did not qualify for a PTSD diagnosis has been called into question. In fact, I now hypothesize, the client’s entire demeanor is a PTSD reaction, a way to wall it off but not a way to address all the pain—physical and psychological—he has been subjected to since his childhood. He has, in essence, sacrificed his sense of self on the altar of achieving “good” ends. To that end, he projects this image of himself as nothing but a grizzled soldier that, when the surface is scratched is simply incorrect. Summers boasts a law degree—although he is not licensed to practice law at this time—and has proven himself a remarkable surrogate father.

Currently, the client finds himself at the mercy of the timeline once more. While he seems unsure of exactly what is happening or why, he has been clear that he knows something is deeply wrong with the past and he is being propelled from location to location to fix it.

Cable #3 cover by Dale Keown

This writer explored this notion of the client having to be the one to solve it; not someone else, not him with the aid of others. We explored the notion that he may take on more than he needs to in the name of “responsibility” where the healthier—and in fact, possibly more effective choice—would be to ask for help from others or even, in some case, simply pass the “mission” on to someone else.

As expected, the client is highly suspicious of this perspective. That said he remains committed to therapy and glad to be seeing this writer.

Nathan Summers’s next session is set for July 26. This writer is consulting with Doctors James Robinson and Carlos Pacheco and their report will be available on that day in the file labeled CABLE #3.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist with a metal arm and a cybernetic eye. He mostly uses both to play roundball with maximum effectiveness.

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The former Cap makes a comeback and we look five other such revivals!

Sam Wilson takes up shield-slinging once more in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #24, out July 26, and if history’s any guide, for better or worse, it’s gonna be one heckuva party.

Don’t believe us, True Believers? Check out these other cataclysmic comebacks throughout the Marvel Universe:

Avengers (1963) #4

Avengers (1963) #4

  • Published: March 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The granddaddy of all riotous returns! The Avengers found World War II’s greatest champion frozen in ice and thawed him out to take his rightful place among their ranks. Does it get more epic than the original Captain America fighting alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes versus the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner? We think not!

Iron Man (1968) #200

Iron Man (1968) #200

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After a long bout with the bottle, Tony Stark drove out his demons to take up the role of Iron Man once more and take back his life. This being Stark, of course he created new armor and new gadgets for his big reappearance, but hey, he needed everything he could to stack the deck against one of his greatest personal enemies: Obadiah Stane, aka Iron Monger!

X-Factor (1986) #1

X-Factor (1986) #1

  • Published: February 10, 1986
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 29, 2008
  • Writer: Bob Layton
  • Penciller: Butch Guice
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The original five X-Men, together again! When Jean Grey, the former Marvel Girl, returned to the land of the living, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, and Beast knew it was destiny—or fate—that they’d get the band back together and take the act out on the road. Jean’s idea of a new team focused on a more pro-active role to protect mutants, but some new baddies called the X-Terminators insured the reunion wouldn’t be a happy one.

Incredible Hulk (1962) #372

Incredible Hulk (1962) #372

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Bruce Banner hit rock bottom with his life, his wife, and just about everything he held dear, but at least the old Hulk seemed to be gone forever. Well, a nasty piece of work named Prometheus kept hounding Banner to the point of panic, and when that occurred, the savage green giant we all know and love returned in full force—and yeah, it didn’t go too well for Prometheus!

Thor (1966) #457

Thor (1966) #457

  • Published: January 10, 1993
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 29, 2013
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Lo, the favorite son of Asgard returneth! Banished from the fabled realm for seemingly killing his half-brother Loki, Thor witnessed his replacement, Eric Masterson, struggle with the job until the point of collapse. Taking up the hammer once more, the mighty warrior blew away the dark clouds to show everybody just who brings the thunder!

Welcome back home the conquering hero in CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #24 by Nick Spencer and Joe Bennett!

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Travel the timestream to learn the true story of the master villain!

Since the early days of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Kang the Conqueror has agitated the Avengers and then some with his mastery of multiple eras and desire to add the Marvel Universe to his empire. On November 14, the time tyrant takes on a new role as central antagonist in the “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2,” creating a campaign that crisscrosses all reality and space.

Before you play the game, discover the story behind this agent of chronological chaos with the History of Kang!

Though shrouded in mystery, the origins of the time-despot known as Kang may be pieced together not only from records of his clashes with Earth’s many champions, but also his own words. Once assembled, a picture of the so-called “Conqueror” stands out in stark relief, an ongoing saga of ambition, greed, and tyranny.

A man named Nathaniel Richards, who claimed to be a scholar born in the year 3000, utilized a time-travel device created by Victor Von Doom, a supposed ancestor of his, to flee a future world that may or may not come to pass. Setting the device to whisk him away to a time nearly 6000 years before his own, Richards arrived in the land and era of the pharaohs of Earth’s ancient Egypt and fashioned a dynasty for himself. As Rama-Tut, he held the people of the region in thrall while he attempted to subjugate the mutant En Sabah Nur to do his twisted bidding.

Rama-Tut’s rule stretched on through the years until the time-traveling Fantastic Four landed in his kingdom from the future and challenged his authority. The faux-pharaoh made the famous heroes his slaves, but their ingenuity and will to be free broke the despot’s grip on them and he fled into an alternate dimension, leaving only vague evidence of his reign as Rama-Tut behind. The Fantastic Four returned to their own time, unsure of exactly who they fought or if they’d ever clash with him again.

Richards traveled through space and time, licking his wounds and plotting his revenge. During this period he came across none other then Doctor Doom, lost just outside the orbit of the planet Jupiter around the sun. Together, the two villains suggested they might possibly be the same person, not merely related, and made a pact to not endanger each other by battling the Fantastic Four as a single unit. The future-Kang then returned Doom to Earth and continued on his way.

Fantastic Four (1961) #19

Fantastic Four (1961) #19

  • Published: October 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

An accident involving the energy that powered his ship sent Richards hurtling farther into the future then he intended, where he discovered warring armies on Earth and the opportunity to refashion himself as The Scarlet Centurion. Under the cloak of a supposed chronal imbalance in the timestream, the tyrant forced the Avengers to fight an earlier version of the team from an alternate timeline, but lost to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in the end.

Unhappy with his unsuccessful forays into time and smarting from battle with those who opposed his advances, Richards concentrated on an ultimate persona to operate under, and thus Kang the Conqueror rose up to dominance over all. For his first, real campaign as Kang, he turned his attention back to the Avengers at a time when their limited experience as a well-honed fighting unit might serve him well…

Check Out: FANTASTIC FOUR #19, FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #2, AVENGERS ANNUAL #2, RISE OF APOCALYPSE #14

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Gwen’s about to let somebody’s secret out—who’s the unlucky hero?

Gwen Poole loves the Marvel Universe as much as we do, and she never wants to cause problems for her favorite super heroes. Nonetheless, she makes her share of missteps that result in some sticky situations for those in her orbit.

In the upcoming UNBELIEVEABLE GWENPOOL #18 on July 26, Gwen unintentionally blurts out someone’s secret identity. But whose? We ran our top five guesses past writer Christopher Hastings.

Marvel.com: Kate Bishop—The two teamed up recently, and Gwen totally had a fangirl moment, so we wouldn’t call it surprising if she let it slip that she’d met her. Kate doesn’t necessarily keep her identity a secret, but as a P.I., she doesn’t want someone like Gwen advertising what she gets up to.

Christopher Hastings: Gwen could definitely make things rough for Kate by telling the wrong person something about Kate’s past; but as how Gwen kind of annoys a lot of heroes, I like having one person she can just get along with. We’re gonna keep Gwen and Kate pals for now.

Marvel.com: Miles Morales—We saw Gwen meet up with Miles on the subway, and they had an awkward moment when she had to make up an excuse explaining how she knew his identity. We could see Gwen forgetting that she’s not supposed to know that.

Christopher Hastings: Miles is a solid choice, as he has some real stakes to keep his face hidden. But Gwen’s super hero screw-up the last time they “teamed up” made a pretty serious impression. Gwen’s learning to do better in comic world, and she started that path with Spidey tying her up for the cops.

Marvel.com: Jane Foster—Early on, we saw Gwen call Jane by her name, rather than Thor. Although it looks like Jane will soon reveal her identity to the Odinson, she still doesn’t want other people knowing it. Especially with the new Ultimate Thor in town.

Christopher Hastings: I could see Gwen spoiling Jane’s identity out of some desire to “help out” with all of the spiraling madness around the Thors. But as we can speak truthfully about meta stuff with Gwen—kind of her thing—I think Gwen as a reader would not be pleased to be reading Thor for so long only to have some random crossover mercenary character jump in and ruin it.

Unbelievable Gwenpool #18 cover by Gurihiru

Marvel.com: Kamala Khan—With everything going on with the F.R.I.E.N.D.L.Y. creeps in Jersey City, who want to uncover the identities of people with powers, a slip-up from someone like Gwen could have serious ramifications.

Christopher Hastings: [Laughs] I have nothing to add to this one! It would indeed be very bad for Kamala at this moment for Gwen to pop into her life. Maybe this is it? I won’t say!

Marvel.com: Riri Williams—Riri and her teammates have found themselves in the middle of some intense stuff lately in the fight against Hydra. So Riri definitely doesn’t want her identity leaked right now!

Christopher Hastings: Here is an interesting case. Riri became Ironheart after Gwen arrived in the Marvel Universe. Gwen might be able to guess, but she never got to read Riri in [INVINCIBLE IRON MAN], and wouldn’t know for sure.

Marvel.com: Herself—Ok, it’s probably not this one, but we can have fun speculating. We’ve seen Gwen telling people for a long time now that she comes from a place where the Marvel Universe exists only in comics, but no one seems to listen. And she just literally broke through the fourth wall, discovering seemingly infinite mirror versions of herself. If one of those Gwens finally convinced others in the MU about the truth of where she comes from, it could really cause chaos.

Christopher Hastings: Hmmm, yes now that Gwen is discovering the link between the way that time works in comics as being physical space on the page, she might be able to grab future or past versions of herself simply by reaching one panel over. And that would indeed convince people she’s maybe on to something with this comics world stuff! We shall see…

Get the answers for yourself on July 26 in UNBELIEVABLE GWENPOOL #18 from Christopher Hastings and Gurihiru!

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Symbiote and Spirit of Vengeance mix as Ghost Rider goes Venom!

Simon Spurrier and Tigh Walker just might tip the scales in favor of the symbiotes in the pages of EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3. The July 26-dropping issue brings a new Venomized character into the fold: Ghost Rider! With the Spirit of Vengeance, otherwise known as Robbie Reyes, on the side of the symbiotes, it may seem impossible for the good guys to pull out a win—but we’ve got faith in them.

While we wait on the big event, we talk with Walker about bringing these two deadly designs together, working towards a monumental story, and working with Spurrier!

Marvel.com: When creating the look of this symbiote-possessed Ghost Rider, what were the key elements of each individual icon that had to come through in the finished product?

Tigh Walker: One thing that I really hoped to carry over from both characters was that slick black oiliness against those clean, crisp white designs. From Venom, the spider, and from Ghost Rider, those bold blocky lines. So I tried to combine those two iconic shapes into something new but familiar for the Host Rider.

More specifically, I really wanted to include Venom’s tangle of teeth, tentacle-y tongue and scraggy eye shape.

Then, I was also looking to borrow Ghost Rider’s skeletal schnoz, cheek bar thing—I don’t know what it is but I dig it!—and that fountain of forehead flames.

I really wanted to make him something you might actually be scared of if you met him in real life. I mean, I’m sure if you met him in real life he’d be totally disarming. His name would be Stu or something, and he’d be a dentist or an accountant and he’d have two corgis, a favorite movie, and a song that made him cry every time he heard it; he’d be a lovely guy. But because it’s not real life and both Venom and Ghost Rider are a tad horrifying on their own, it was important that that quality be mirrored in the Host Rider.

Marvel.com: How was the actual design process for this combined character? Was there a lot of back and forth about getting him to look just right?

Tigh Walker: My first impulse was to go out, grab a Ghost Rider and a Venom costume, put them on at the same time, stand in front of the mirror, take some pics and send them to [editors] Devin [Lewis and] Allison [Stock] for feedback. But the sales clerk thought I was saying denim, not Venom, and basically I got some sweet jean shorts that I didn’t want instead.

I’m just kidding. I totally wanted the jean shorts. They’re amazing and do wonders for my calves.

For the design, Devin/Allison initially sent me a few really nice covers that had been done previously, so I had those as a reference to begin with. Then after reading the script, I had a fairly solid idea of what I thought this [fiery]/goopy/toothy guy should look like.

For the Host Rider himself there wasn’t too much back and forth, but there was a bit for his mount/vehicle, just to get that sweet puppy looking right.

There were a lot of designs for this issue and every one of them was insanely fun to work on. So much so that I’ve started Venomizing random things at home. Toothbrush? Venomized. Grape soda? Venomized. My fish, Fin Diesel? Venomized. It’s pretty fun, you should totally try it. Or don’t, I’m not the boss of you, do what you like.

Marvel.com: With a Venomized Ghost Rider you’ve got two very different kinetic elements at play between the symbiote and the latter’s fire. How was it playing with those two from panel to panel?

Tigh Walker: It was interesting to find a balance for sure. Both of those elements can get pretty busy visually just on their own, so it was fun to marry them and find ways to have them co-exist.

I found that the fire really helped show large sweeping movement because you can have it trailing off of the Host Rider in fun ways. There were also cues from Simon about which element should be favored and when, which really helped.

For his weapons, the Host Rider uses a sort of fiery flail type thingy sometimes, but he can also shoot chains—like webbing—that are covered in that slick, black symbiote goopy stuff. So there are opportunities to showcase it all.

Marvel.com: Both Venom and Ghost Rider are pretty powerful on their own, but combined they sound almost unstoppable. Is it fun playing with that level of ability on the page?

Tigh Walker: Look TJ, by now I feel like we’re friends, so I’m not going to sit here and lie to you: it really is. It’s super fun. It was a challenge to try and convey that amount of energy on the pages, but I tried to fit as much in as possible. Oddly, as I was drawing this issue, every now and again I caught myself smiling giddily for no other reason than the page was just crazy fun to be drawing. And I don’t normally smile, like, ever. Not even for pictures.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Simon and editorial on this important lead up to a big event?

Tigh Walker: Working with Simon/Devin/Allison has been sincerely fantastic.

I can’t really say enough about Simon’s script for this issue. Immediately after reading it for the first time I stood up, screamed “Are you kidding me right now?!?” at some random cat that just happened to be in my living room, ran down three flights of stairs and whipped an egg salad sandwich at a parked car. So basically, Simon owes me an egg salad sandwich. That’s how good his script is. It’s egg salad all over a car good.

Devin and Allison are super great to work with and I’m very honored and excited to be a part of the lead up and to see where the story takes us. I’ll tell you what though, if I ever get a chance to meet them—they’re both getting hugs. And I’m not even a hugger, like at all, so it’s sure to be extra awkward for all of us.

EDGE OF VENOMVERSE #3 by Simon Spurrier and Tigh Walker roars into stores on July 26.

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The first ever original Star Wars novel gets a comic book adaptation!

We all know that the first Star Wars film changed the face of pop culture forever when it hit theaters 40 years ago today—but it’s not just the movie that’s celebrating that milestone in 2017. Star Wars comics arrived with force in 1977, and hundreds of issues later, they’re more popular now than ever.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, we’re looking back at our 40 favorite moments from the history of comics from a galaxy far, far away—one day at a time.

Star Wars: Splinter Of The Mind'S Eye (1995) #1

Star Wars: Splinter Of The Mind'S Eye (1995) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Timothy Zahn’s “Heir to the Empire” may stand out as the most popular Star Wars novel adapted to comics, but Alan Dean Foster’s “Splinter of the Mind’s Eye” may be the most interesting, speaking solely as a piece of Star Wars history. Foster’s work debuted at bookstores in 1978, a year after the original “Star Wars” hit theaters, and was written in an almost “just in case” manner; should “Star Wars” have failed to warrant a big-budget sequel, Foster’s story may have served as a follow-up on a smaller scale.

Released in 1995, the comic version of SPLINTER OF THE MIND’S EYE illustrates that smaller scale nicely, with the action occurring only in space and on one planet, and the only recognizable movie characters being Luke, Leia, the droids and Darth Vader. In the spirit of basing a low-budget potential film from this story, that’s one less Harrison Ford and expensive Wookiee suit. At the same time, slight updates to the original story include Vader speaking with Captain Piett of the next two movies.

The story also introduces a key element to Star Wars lore: with a powerful Force-powered gem known as the “Kaiburr Crystal.” That idea has evolved to what Star Wars fans now know as kyber crystals—the source of power for lightsabers and, as we learned in “Rogue One,” the Death Star’s super laser.

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