Run down a speculative list of the potential next Kingpin of Crime!

New York City has been rocked by the unexpected election of Mayor Wilson Fisk. And, as seen in DEFENDERS, the criminal world has already witnessed the bloody consequences of the power vacuum left in his quest to go legit.

On December 20 in DEFENDERS #8, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez line up a host of crime bosses and villains to take Fisk’s place on the underbelly throne of the Big Apple. And as more bad guys join the fray, the situation becomes more explosive every moment.

To potentially help defuse this budding gang war, we have collected a list of potential Kingpins who may be worthy—or just insane enough—to take the mantle.

Black Cat
Felicia Hardy—after long playing both sides of the law—has firmly tipped over into the bad side in recent months. Besides being driven by a deep desire to humiliate the Wallcrawler because of Doc Ock’s actions as Superior Spider-Man, Black Cat has also been grooming herself as a gangland figure in the pages of POWER MAN AND IRON FIST and PATSY WALKER, A.K.A. HELLCAT.

The shape-shifting villain has decided that he wants to be a big time player recently. And with the ability to look like anyone, a gift for manipulation, and a burning desire to up his reputation, Chameleon may very well be looking to settle scores and dominate the world of crime now that the door looks open.

A life-long henchman, Hammerhead has nonetheless shown a newfound desire to be taken more seriously and to take control of his own destiny after suffering a brain injury via a few adamantium bullets. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to imagine he might have grown tired of taking small steps to the top and instead take a leap ahead.

The Answer
Look past the garish costume and realize that The Answer does two things very well: come up with the right power for the most dangerous situations—and survive. To be a crime lord, being unpredictable (he has no set powers, just access to abilities when they seem most needed) as well as being hard to kill can be an ideal combination.

Often power vacuums bring in outside players and the prospect of a vulnerable New York just might be too tempting a prize to pass up for the international set. This could be especially true for Ecstasy, who has been marching across Europe seizing—and then losing—power in various cities for years now. Add in her formerly symbiotic relationship with Cloak and she might well decide that a new metropolis to rule might be a very good reason to get a new stamp on her passport.

Mr. Negative
Despite setbacks and defeats, Mr. Negative remains free. Loose from the burden of his double life as a philanthropist, he might also be a bit bored and looking to maximize his time undertaking criminal endeavors. His ability to corrupt others also makes building an army of support an easy task, so no matter when he enters the fight, he can get the support he needs to make a successful coup.

A criminal since birth, Tombstone has known the rush of breaking the law at nearly every level, from teen miscreant to right hand man. He recently found himself in the midst of a gang war in the pages of POWER MAN AND IRON FIST and may well be looking for a chance at a second round. And the prize of ruling all crime throughout the five boroughs would only sweeten that idea.

While it has been a bit since Punisher’s most tenacious enemies made a big move, Billy Russo has long established himself as a bad penny that turns up at the worst moments. With a track record of surviving the most terrifying vigilante in the Marvel Universe and the arrogance to believe he deserves to be followed, Jigsaw fits the new Kingpin mold nicely.

The Hood
He once succeeded in bringing together a group of super villains in a coalition, despite his powers being violently unreliable. Parker Robbins has since been in hiding, but with a seemingly natural talent for leadership and some time away from the game to ensure he has stronger hold of his abilities, he can be a scary participant in this nightmare.

The Owl
Leland Owsley has long dwelled in Kingpin’s shadow, as both a possible gang lord and as a Daredevil antagonist. What better way to prove himself as Fisk’s equal—if not superior—than to seize control and crush the Defenders along the way?

He has already brutalized the Defenders—Iron Fist in particular. He should be in custody, but we all know that these criminal types have ways of manipulating the action from afar and, in the Marvel Universe, everyone stands just one prison break away from running the streets again.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez present DEFENDERS #8 on December 20!

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Artist Francesco Gaston creates some real buzz with his first issue!

MONSTERS UNLEASHED will hit a milestone with December 20’s issue #9. That will mark the first installment of the modern series not written by Cullen Bunn, as Justin Jordan takes over. The book will feature a variety of different artists handling the artwork in a series of stories from that point. For his first adventure, Jordan joins forces with Francesco Gaston to pit Kid Kaiju and his monstrous friends against a group of increasingly ornery giant bees who just want to live!

We talked with Gaston about the insectoid menace, working with Jordan, and the difficulties of drawing robots! How does it feel to be launching a new era of MONSTERS UNLEASHED with Justin Jordan?

Francesco Gaston: I have to say it has been truly a stimulating process. I did not know MONSTERS UNLEASHED that much before, so it has been a great discovery. It is actually [populated] by a quite large bunch of extremely funny and dynamic characters, very different from one another. I really had fun working on Justin’s script.

Also, it is always so exciting to me the idea of contributing to the launch of something new which is actually unfolding under your own eyes as it is being created. I’m very proud to be part of it. For you as an artist, what’s the major appeal of working on a book like MONSTERS UNLEASHED?

Francesco Gaston: Personally, I have always found the Japanese world of Kaiju extremely fascinating, since I’ve actually grown up with Godzilla, Mazinga, Gundam, and all the typical cartoons from the 70s or the 80s. They all had huge, gigantic robots as main characters who had to fight with even bigger monsters. For my personal taste and perspective I could not have hoped for a better and more evocative project. What can you tell us about the threat Kid Kaiju and his pals find themselves facing off against in this issue?

Francesco Gaston: In this particular issue, Kid and his pals are facing off against a very unexpected enemy: giant bees.

Those gigantic mutant bees do not actually want to destroy everything and the world they’re living in as usually happens when someone has to face giant monsters. Those freaky and over-sized bees simply try to live their life in a no longer compatible environment and world, which over time has become too small for them. The main challenge for Kai and his team this time will be to save and secure everyone, both human and monsters. The MONSTERS UNLEASHED cast is definitely an eclectic looking bunch—did any of them give you more trouble nailing down?

Francesco Gaston: With no doubt whatsoever I have had great challenges with the two androids of the entire bunch: Mekara and Aegis. It took me quite some time to deeply understand their dynamics, metabolize them and then imagine and realize all their positions and credible movements. They are also of course a lot of fun to deal with and the coolest characters to sketch!

Justin Jordan and Francesco Gaston kick the hive on December 20 with MONSTERS UNLEASHED #9!

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Luke's life was in the hands of Leia, Chewbacca and Lando in STAR WARS #50.

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.

As the original Marvel STAR WARS series reached its mid-century mark in 1981, the book had covered a great deal of ground. It began by adapting the original 1977 film before moving into all original stories and sticking around long enough to tell the story of 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back.”

With STAR WARS #50, the series had returned to covering all new ground. At this point, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO and Lando Calrissian carried on, with the safety of the kidnapped Han Solo never far from their minds.

In fact, #50 began with Lando and Chewie flying the Millennium Falcon in an effort to avoid the Empire and find their friend. Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson, Tom Palmer and Walt Simonson threw a wrench in that plan when the duo found themselves following Princess Leia back to the new Rebel base on Golrath.

Once there, we all learned the emergency that garnered Leia’s attention: The Crimson Forever. A mysterious disease had infected a group of Rebels including Luke! It all seemed to stem from a strange red gem that they discovered on a seemingly abandoned Imperial Star Destroyer.

Leia then admitted that she brought the Falcon back to this base because she needed to hear from Chewbacca. Han had told her about a job they pulled that sounded like it might be related to Luke’s current condition. Chewbacca then told the story himself with Threepio translating for him.

After joining up with the Rebellion, Han and Chewie did their best to avoid the Imps, landing on an out-of-the-way planet called Terminus. While trying to remember the location of “that cantina where those two swamp maidens danced,” they got blasted and woke up on Klysk’s ship. He intended to use our heroes and a group of other mercenaries to fly to the Red Nebula, out beyond the known galaxies.

Star Wars (1977) #50

Star Wars (1977) #50

  • Published: May 19, 1981
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 15, 2015
  • Rating: All Ages
  • Writer: Archie Goodwin
  • Cover Artist: Tom Palmer
What is Marvel Unlimited?

There Klysk wanted the mercenaries to steal a pair of red gems guarded by a local priest as well as a huge hairy beast that took a liking to Chewie! Han left his friend behind momentarily to carry the gems to Klysk and his crew. They refused to help get Solo’s second away from the beast and left them both there. After a series of double crosses and reveals, Han and Chewie left the planet with an understanding that the gems, when separated, could lead to chaos.

With one of the gems in hand, the Rebels realized they needed to track down the other. While traveling to the Red Nebula, they encountered another seemingly abandoned ship, this one controlled by Domina Tagge who had sworn vengeance on Luke Skywalker back in STAR WARS #37. She arranged the whole thing to spread disease, but things did not exactly go as planned.

Thanks to some quick thinking by Leia and Lando, our heroes traded Tagge’s salvation for her gem which, when combined with the other, reversed the effects of The Crimson Forever, saving Luke in the process.

With the immediate threat over, Leia sent Domina Tagge and her bounty hunters off in one ship and launching the red gems off into the Great Void.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

Though they don’t wind up playing a huge role in this story, some pretty infamous bounty hunters appear in this story. We first saw IG-88 walking through the plague-filled empty ship that brought Lando and Leia to Domina Tagge. She’d hired the droid as well as Zuckuss, Dengar and 4-LOM to steal the gems from the Red Nebula, succeeding where Klysk failed. However, they didn’t plan on the gems releasing the Crimson Forever in their own ship, which lead to the deal with Leia. However, before they left, Lando mentioned to the bounty hunters that Domina might have a price on her head with the Empire. As it happened, this acted as her last appearance in the original Marvel series, so we can imagine what happened there!

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New Jersey’s newest super hero takes a trip to the City to see a man about some therapy.

The client, requested an appointment under the name Laal Khanjeer — the apparent Erdu phrase for Red Dagger, the name he has been using as a costumed identity here in the States — but allowed the therapist to call him Kareem in session – no surname provided. He presented as a late adolescent to early young adult male in above average physical fitness. While he declined to name exactly where he came from, he did submit that he was a foreign national on American soil on a short-term basis.

He confessed that he did not intend to engage in costumed actions while abroad but a combination of the mystique of the New York City area and the inspiration of fellow super hero Ms. Marvel made the lure of doing so irresistible. He has found himself stunned, excited, and more than a little scared of how quickly the local media has embraced and elevated him. He also confesses a degree of guilt because he feels as though he has eclipsed Ms. Marvel despite all the good she has done and that she is “a real super hero, I’m just athletic.” He is especially worried his popularity might have something to do with her recent apparent disappearance.

In addition to his conflicted feelings about his costumed identity, he also indicated some difficulties transitioning to life overseas. While there have been no charged incidents that he indicated, just being away from home and in an environment that he has heard has been less than kind towards people that look and sound like him has him on edge. Also, he confessed, he is worried about making friends and fitting in with his new classmates for however long his time in the U.S. lasts.

Ms. Marvel (2015) #24

Ms. Marvel (2015) #24

This writer validated the client’s feelings extensively and reinforced how normal and natural it was to feel unmoored during a time of transition, to worry about how others might see or view him based only on his appearance and immigrant status, and to miss his home.

I also validated his concerns regarding being treated as the new, exciting costumed crime fighter in a way that might make Ms. Marvel feel slighted while also reminding him he cannot take responsibility for how others might treat the two of them. As long as he is honest about his role in activities and tries to give her credit where she is due – both to her personally and through the press should he choose to speak to them – then he is doing right by her.

Finally, I confessed to him there were some nuances of his culture I was not familiar with and did not want to make him feel unheard or misheard because any lack of cultural competency on my part. I offered him options, pledging I would strive to study up on whatever he thought important and ask questions in the moment if I did not grasp some aspect of what he was discussing, but that I could also offer him a therapist with whom he might share more commonalities.

We hit upon a compromise wherein he would do another intake style session with Doctors G. Willow Wilson and Nico Leon on December 20 and then evaluate from there. Details of that session will be found in the file labeled MS. MARVEL #25.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who could help stop a moving train if he wanted to, but he’s super busy this week.

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Ed Piskor tackles the unprecedented uncanny project!

On December 20, X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1 chronicles the greatest and most important moments in X-Men history—from origins, to battles, to heroes and villains.

Written and illustrated by Eisner Award winner Ed Piskor, this monumental assignment will provide a brand new look at some of mutantkind’s most iconic moments.

We got Ed’s perspective on what to expect from X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN. Since we’re talking history here, tell us how this series came about.

Ed Piskor: I tweeted that I wanted to do this exact comic and attached a compelling illustration of the lineage of the X-Men team. The image and tweet went viral and then Marvel came calling. I’m a fully-formed cartoonist who handles all the aspects of the creation, which basically means I’m a built-in comics-making factory with a million ideas. If I’m going to do any work-for-hire, the requirement is that it has to be a dream project or else I’ll just work on my own stuff. This X-Men comic absolutely falls into the category of “dream project.” Where do you begin with a project like this? How did you start to quantify everything you needed to cover across the history of the X-Men?

Ed Piskor: The most important thing with this, or any kind of project, begins with putting things down on paper. The common misconception of the audience tends to be that what they’re looking at is the creator’s first draft or something. In truth, the end result that the public gets to see, in my case at least, is probably a fifth or sixth draft. The liberation of making stories is that it doesn’t have to be right the first time. In fact, the first draft is usually trash but what comes from that is the more fun challenge of problem-solving rather than just staring at white sheets of blank paper.

Thankfully, I have a pretty in depth knowledge of this material so it just became a matter of curating things in a certain order and retooling things to fit my narrative as needed. Do you feel there’s an overarching story or theme in this series?

Ed Piskor: Sure. The overarching theme is the basic theme that’s always been there: here stands a new form of human evolution and the bulk of the population fears them. Now, the really fun thing will be that with each issue, a very natural arc takes place—which I didn’t necessarily anticipate. I’d want the reader to pick up on those themes themselves. It’s not an X-Men comic if you don’t have the dynamics between Charles Xavier and Magneto, for instance. The Phoenix left an indelible mark on the saga. Things like this. Did any characters stand out to you over the course of this book?

Ed Piskor: The characters of my comic act as a component piece to the bigger picture, the “Grand Design,” if you will. As I’ve just reached beyond the halfway mark of my epic, I do hate to admit how much I identify with Cyclops as a character. I think of him as a Type A square with a one track mind which focuses on being an X-Man. I focus my square Type A energy on making the best comics I can, seven days a week. Likewise, did you get to highlight any X-character that maybe has gotten short-shrift over the years?

Ed Piskor: Not specifically, but I did retool some characters to get them to fit into the greater narrative a little better. Eric the Red’s first appearance in the regular series never worked for me. Introducing Alex Summers so late never worked for me. Having Changeling be human cannon fodder disguised as Professor X never worked for me. The more I talk with readers, those comics never worked will for them either. How does being both the writer and artist for X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN benefit you most?

Ed Piskor: The benefits of handling everything, including lettering and coloring, is that each page exists as a living document until the very last moment the editor takes it from my hands and presses the buttons to make the comic see print. I rewrite text throughout the process to make things better. I redraw panels and stitch them in later to make things better. I recolor things at the last minute to just add a touch of polish that the reader won’t know about, but it all makes the end product a much better experience. What parts of X-Men history does issue #1 cover?

Ed Piskor: The first issue covers the origins of the X-Men. I take all of the established origin stuff that slowly got revealed through the first 280 issues and it’s all in this first issue. Now, the second issue will cover UNCANNY X-MEN #1 through issue #64 or so—whenever the series went into reprints for a few years. Rumor has it that this will be the first in a trilogy. What will the other two series cover?

Ed Piskor: Think of X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN as a series of three two-issue arcs. This next set will include the X-Men team that includes Colossus, Nightcrawler, Storm, and Wolverine—among many others—and covers GIANT-SIZE X-MEN and way beyond, ending around the first X-MEN: LIFEDEATH story. The last arc begins with Rachel Summers introduction, the return of Jean Grey and it ends in a clever way that I won’t reveal, but I think it will create in incredibly satisfying, self-contained epic which will also inspire readers to dig deeper into X-Men lore. It’s very exciting.

X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1, by Ed Piskor, drops on December 20!

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Jack Kirby launches The Black Panther on another wild journey!

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.

In many ways, Jack Kirby acted as one of the best tour guides around. In addition to introducing readers to new and exciting characters, he also took us to some of the wildest places across the Marvel Universe. In the late 70s, while writing, drawing and editing BLACK PANTHER, he spirited fans to a relic-filled tomb, a new nation called Narobia, and on to the glorious Samurai City.

After returning King Solomon’s Frogs to their rightful place in the tomb, T’Challa intended to leave his new acquaintances Mr. Abner Little and Princess Zanda to pursue other adventures. However, fate—and Kirby—had other plans in mind as our hero found himself battling a Sacred Samurai at the end of BLACK PANTHER #4. Zanda and her Collector allies soon revealed all of this as a test to see if the Panther proved strong enough to go to the secret samurai city and bring back the Sacred Water-Skin.

T’Challa turned them down at first, but by issue #5 he agreed to travel to the fabled city only after Zanda threatened to fire a nuclear missile at Wakanda! With that, the king and Mr. Little ventured out in a hover-craft. As they neared the secret city, though, unknown forces blasted them out of the sky! Upon landing, they first faced the peril of a raging river and then the ferocity of a yeti! Both men attempted to take the beast on in their own way, but only walked away victorious after working together. However, that safety proved short lived as they then came face to face with a Ronin named Akiro who threatened their very lives.

Black Panther (1977) #4

Black Panther (1977) #4

  • Published: July 10, 1977
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: September 17, 2008
  • Writer: Jack Kirby
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Once again, Little and T’Challa proved a resourceful duo and defeated their foe. Afterwards, Little grabbed the Ronin’s sword. Upon waking up, the warrior revealed that his defeat should lead to his death. However, Black Panther told him that the Wakandan code forbade killing an unarmed enemy. To figure out what to do next, all entered the magnificent, underground Samurai City. To make good, the Panther met with their leader Shinzu and returned the Ronin’s sword to him in hopes of restoring his one-time opponent’s honor. To do so, the mysterious overlord decreed that T’Challa must fight another in hand-to-hand combat. Abner tried arranging it so that, if our hero won, they’d get a sample of the water of immortality, but the Wakanda king declined these machinations.

Unperturbed, Mr. Little used this distraction to sneak off and grab some long life liquid for himself. This affront to the denizens of Samurai City did not sit well and lead to yet another confrontation between the outsiders and their hosts. In the final issue of the story—#7—T’Challa revealed his true title of king, returned the stolen water, and requested a peaceful exit from Samurai City which Shinzu granted. Of course, their adventures would continue from there, but that tale will have to wait for another day…

Stay tuned to 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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Amilcar Pinna helps bring back Gen X alumni as part of Marvel Legacy!

Marvel Legacy continues to reintroduce concepts and characters that have played important parts during the House of Ideas’ storied history. When it comes to GENERATION X that means that Jubilee’s crew of outsider mutants will come face to face with their 90s namesakes.

In other words, writer Christina Strain and artist Amilcar Pinna plan to reintroduce many OG Gen Xers—like Monet, Husk, Chamber and a few other surprises—as they continue with the story began earlier this month in GENERATION X #8. As the book picks up its classic numbering with December 20’s issue #85, everyone will be dealing with M-Plate, the combined might of siblings Monet and Emplate.

We talked with Pinna about integrating the classic characters into the series, returning to work with Strain, and using the “natural approach” to drawing these characters together. You worked with Christina to launch this series, working on the first three issues. How is it returning after some time away?

Amilcar Pinna: It feels good to be back. These characters have a special place in my heart now! I love drawing those kids! As the book shifts into Marvel Legacy territory, you’ll also be dealing with members of the original Generation X team. How has it been working them into the book?

Amilcar Pinna: It’s been really fun for me to have the opportunity to draw such classic characters! The classic Generation X members have had a variety of looks over the years. What was the process like for nailing down the ones this time around?

Amilcar Pinna: I did try to stay faithful to the classic looks and at the same time give them a more “natural approach” since almost every time [we see them] they wear regular clothes instead of classic spandex uniforms. A major part of the story revolves around the bonding of Monet to Emplate. How does this new relationship between the siblings change how they carry themselves?

Amilcar Pinna: Actually, I’m getting to know Monet/Emplate as I work on GENERATION X—such cool characters! They are new to me. All that I can say is that I love to draw that type of character. Monet gives a darker mood to the series and I like that! How has it been integrating the classic Gen Xers with the new crop?

Amilcar Pinna: Christina makes it seem very natural, integrating them with her writing. The relationships between the new and the classic [characters] always [work] fine and natural for me.

Kick it old school with Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna on GENERATION X #85, headed your way December 20!

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Tom Taylor details Laura’s return to the place where it all began!

Laura Kinney has followed the Orphans of X to the Facility—the place where, as a child, she got tortured and programmed to be an assassin. And upon her arrival, she discovered her mother…alive.

Her mother—the woman Laura thought she accidentally killed years ago. On December 13, writer Tom Taylor and artist Juann Cabal test our hero like never before in ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #28!

We spoke with Tom about what to expect from this devastating family reunion. Catch us up on what’s been going down in the “Orphans of X” storyline so far!

Tom Taylor: Daken has been blown up, taken by the mysterious Orphans of X, and then tortured for information. His arm has been found—without the rest of him attached—dangling from a bridge on Roosevelt Island. Laura and Gabby were alerted to this arm and a note attached to it brought Laura back to the Facility, where she got tortured and turned into an assassin as a child. But Laura didn’t find Daken in this place full of painful memories, she found…her mother.

But Laura’s mother, Sarah, died at Laura’s unwilling hand years ago. Now the tortured Daken, the confused Laura, and the previously thought dead Sarah Kinney have been placed on a collision course. How does artist Juann Cabal capture the complex emotional tenor of this story?

Tom Taylor: What Juann and [colorist] Nolan Woodard did with those scenes at the Facility blew me away. You see so much going on, and Juann adds to it in beautiful ways. But this can be said of the whole arc. I think, as a team, we’ve all worked to lift this story to another level, and editors Mark Paniccia and Christina Harrington are right there with us. Terry and Rachel Dodson‘s cover to issue #28 has become one of my favorites, too. How has Laura’s relationship with Daken evolved in recent times?

Tom Taylor: Laura and Daken have had a fractious and violent history, but they have grown close over the years. Logan’s death has drawn them slightly closer as well. Daken has very little respect for anyone, but he clearly respects Laura. They’ve gone from rivals to siblings. Can you tell us anything about the Orphans of X?

Tom Taylor: All I can say is they clearly hate Laura and Daken with a passion. And they have means and numbers. Issue #28 will reveal a lot more. Laura has tried so hard to put her past behind her—how does she feel about being forced to re-live it?

Tom Taylor: Laura won’t have a lot of time to think about reliving her past in this issue. Everything escalates here, and Laura and company will need to react very quickly. But this also isn’t just about Laura’s past…this is about Daken’s as well. A life of violence and death can’t simply be ignored. How does an empathetic character like Laura handle a group that has such hatred of her and her family? Will she try to reach out to them, or will this be the mission that gets her killing again?

Tom Taylor: I don’t want to spoil that just yet…but there will be a lot of challenges coming Laura’s way. And this is certainly our most violent story.

Grab ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #28, by Tom Taylor and artist Juann Cabal, on December 13!

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As Amadeus Cho arrives on Sakaar, let's look back at the planet once ruled by his predecessor!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Amadeus Cho intends to avoid many of the same pitfalls that Bruce Banner fell into over the years as Hulk. However, with this week’s INCREDIBLE HULK #710 we see him fully embracing a place that meant a lot to his Jade Giant predecessor: Sakaar.

Back in 2006, the heroes of the Marvel Universe – specifically Iron Man, Reed Richards, Black Bolt and Dr. Strange – got fed up with the Hulk and decided to send him off to a planet where he couldn’t hurt anyone and he could finally get the solace he claimed to want.

Instead, as seen in INCREDIBLE HULK #92 by Greg Pak and Carlo Pagulayan, he got sucked through a strange portal and ended up on a planet called Sakaar where the locals immediately enslaved him and he soon started fighting in a gladiatorial arena. 

Incredible Hulk (1999) #92

Incredible Hulk (1999) #92

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In those battles, Hulk met a group that would become known as the Warbound, who would help him first escape from the Red King and then eventually take over as king himself. Along the way, Hulk fell in love with a Shadow warrior named Caiera, who would have borne him twins, had a catastrophic accident not seemingly killed her. 

Incredible Hulk (1999) #93

Incredible Hulk (1999) #93

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The ship that Hulk’s “friends” sent him off on exploded, apparently by accident, but not. The resulting explosion tore through Caiera and many others, leaving a large chunk of Sakaar in lava-engulfed ruins.

Feeling a rage like none other, Hulk agreed to fly off with his surviving Warbound comrades and return to the true source of his misery: Earth. That story came to fruiting in WORLD WAR HULK, but what of the planet that the Jade Giant left behind? 

World War Hulk (2007) #1

World War Hulk (2007) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Well, as seen in SKAAR: SON OF HULK – simplified to just SON OF HULK on Marvel Unlimited – the planet kept on turning, even giving birth to not one, but two sons of the Green Scar. Skaar hardened himself in battle and even harnessed the full power of the Old Strong that ran through the planet. Meanwhile, Hiro-Kala, the twin, also began experiencing his own trials and tribulations on the harsh planet.

Galactus visited this place. The Silver Surfer had been drawn in by the same portal that grabbed Hulk during the original storyline, but he brought his master there in SKAAR. Thanks to the Old Strong power that flowed through the rock, Surfer figured that its energy could sate his master’s hunger for 10,000 years. Skaar had his own plans, but so did other familiar faces who appeared in an attempt to save the planet.

Now, Amadeus Cho will see exactly how Hulk-like he can be in the place that both gave his namesake his greatest challenge and also one of his most cherished triumphs.

Flash Forward

The history of Sakaar was nicely chronicled in the pages of a one-shot called GLADIATOR GUIDE BOOK. The mostly-text issue goes into great detail about everything from the Tayo Star System that Sakaar inhabits to the geography of the planet. You also get to more fully understand the hierarchy that exists on-planet with the Imperials at the top who subjugate their own kind as well as the insectoid Natives, Shadow People and Spikes. All of these groups and ideas play important parts in Planet Hulk as well as all the ensuing stories set on Sakaar!

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Scott Koblish on the Merc with a Mouth offing his pseudo-buddy.

On December 13, Deadpool kills Cable. Seriously, we’re talking end of the road, kick the bucket, lights out kind of dead. Sure, Stryfe made him do it, but can you really make Deadpool do something he doesn’t want to? Tune in to find out as writer Gerry Duggan, alongside artist Scott Koblish, reveal all in DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #290.

But wait, this tale packs more than just bestie drama, “I loved when the Dinosaurs poured out and attacked.  I love Dinosaurs,” teases Koblish. First off, can you give us the run down on what’s going on in #290?

Scott Koblish: Man, I don’t know if I CAN say what happens in this issue! Gerry, Nick, Joe, Jordan, Annalise, Heather and I worked really hard on this book, and while there are some really intense scenes in this arc, this issue is a particular peak.  It’s not called the DESPICABLE DEADPOOL for nothin’. Deadpool seems to jump back and forth across the line separating the morally good and bad. Murdering his buddy is safe to say a bad side move, so how is he dealing with this? Any justification for his actions?

Scott Koblish: You’ll have to make up your own mind if he’s justified in his actions. Wade has to make some really difficult decisions to be made over the next few issues, and even just as reader I am pretty shocked at where Gerry is going with this. How would you describe Deadpool and Cable’s relationship?

Scott Koblish: Homicidal. What are your 2 or 3 all-time favorite Deadpool and Cable moments, the highest points in their relationship?

Scott Koblish: Each interaction is severely complicated – if I had to pick favorites, I’d say their initial meeting in NEW MUTANTS and killing Hitler. What 2 or 3 moments across their relationship stick out to you as particularly gut wrenching, their lowest friendship moments?

Scott Koblish: I kinda feel like it’s NEVER been a good relationship. How is the tone of the book translated in the art? 

Scott Koblish: I’ve been working really hard at trying to make the book look as gritty and disturbing – this particular story demanded a rough touch in the art.

DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #290 Any twists or surprises heading our way that you want to tease?

Scott Koblish: No, too much relies on surprise right now.  Mum’s the word. What can we expect for Deadpool moving forward?

Scott Koblish: Awful, awful things.

Catch the final downfall of Deadpool and Cable in DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #290 by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Scott Koblish when it hits shelves on December 13.

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