Brian Michael Bendis shares his formula for creating a better bad guy!

As INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #6 hit shelves this week, readers discovered a rough week for Riri Williams. Not only did she see her latest adventures going viral, but Ironheart had the unenviable position of catching the attention of the latest villain to the “Red and Gold” rogues’ gallery.

Of course, every hero needs a good villain; it comes with the job—and the fancy armor! But not just any baddie will do. So, who better to talk about what goes into crafting the right kind of enemy for an armored super hero like Iron Man or Ironheart than series writer, Brian Michael Bendis?

Marvel.com: Who are your favorite villains in the Marvel Universe, particularly those who existed before you became “Brian Michael Bendis” the comic writer?

Brian Michael Bendis: My favorites are not going to surprise too many people. Magneto is probably the [most well created] villain as far as craft goes. Here’s a character who teeters on the verge of madness, but we’ve also seen what’s formed him. We know what drives him. We understand and empathize with his point of view. We may even agree with it. We just can’t agree with how far he’ll go to make it happen. And that makes him a phenomenal antagonist. You can create a villain who not only does the audience like but also agree with. But then he goes and does something, and that’s where he loses them.

I’m going to switch to Doctor Doom for a minute here, but it holds with Magneto, too. There’s a real winning personality most writers have been able to find within the “Bwwaa ha ha” bad guy moments where we see this villain is a real person. When I picked my members of the Cabal, those characters were six of my favorite villains and there they were. That dynamic was ideal because they’re all Type A personalities with very clear agendas. They’re all broken in some way, and they wear it on their sleeves. What makes for a better “Twelve Angry Men” than that?

Marvel.com: What about these villains makes them compelling characters for you not only as a reader but also as a creator?

Brian Michael Bendis: You know, so many people wonder why we like Walter White from “Breaking Bad.” You don’t have to like these characters, you just like watching people be very good at what they do. Take a look at Tony Soprano and what he did. Walter White was better! And it’s fun to see people be good at their job. Even TLC reality shows do this same thing with their extravagant home flipping and wild motorcycle building series. That’s what makes villains captivating: seeing them pull of these grand plans better than anyone else!

Marvel.com: Of course, you’ve done more than just play with other people’s toys; you’ve created your fair share of characters as well during your tenure at Marvel. What do you think helps villains make the greatest impact, both on fans and on the residents of the Marvel Universe?

Brian Michael Bendis: There are two things I’ve always wanted to accomplish. Every creator— no matter the medium—has certain “itches” that they want to scratch. It doesn’t matter how many times you scratch it, you just can’t help but go back there for more, you know? With me, this idea of taking a villain like The Purple Man and scraping off the comic book silliness—and I mean that not at all in a pejorative sense, but as someone who loves it—but to scrape off all of the “stuff” and get to the true horror of the character, what it can do and what it represents. From there, I want to be able to tell a story that gives the ultimate version of its power and form, and from there, it becomes impossible to disassociate the villain from the respective hero. It’s definitely something I got to do with Purple Man and Jessica Jones.

The same notion, that I’m in the middle of right now, is the other big mountain that I’ve wanted to climb. I’ve done versions of this before, but I’m fascinated with [something] right now, and that is when people land themselves in these deep, dark pits and have to crawl out of them. The one that Victor Von Doom is in right now and is trying to pull himself from in INFAMOUS IRON MAN is the biggest hole anyone’s ever tried to escape from—to be honest—all of literature from the dawn of man. To go from what he did in [Secret Wars], which was an abomination of all things, and now here he is trying to redeem himself from that? It’s so much fun to write.

Marvel.com: It goes back to your previous point about villains where we may have a good idea about the end result, but it’s watching the path that the character takes to get there that imparts a sense of closure—that proves satisfying for us as readers.

Brian Michael Bendis: Exactly, especially when the Marvel Universe never closes and its characters are always in motion and moving in different directions. So, to take a moment to zero in on a character and explore what he or she wants and how far that person will go to get it is really some of the most fun you can have as a writer. Look through the eyes of Magneto? I’m Jewish, I get it! [Laughs] But would I go where he goes? Of course not! But trying to put yourself in his shoes is a pretty interesting thing.

Marvel.com: We’ve been looking at things from a broader perspective, but let’s drill down a bit and look at both Iron Man and Ironheart.

Given that both characters’ heroic personas evolve from their powerful armor, how does this affect the way you go about developing a villain? Is it the person in the armor or the armor on the person that drives the development of their enemies?

Brian Michael Bendis: [Laughs] You said a lot there—that was like 30 questions! But they’re all excellent ones. This is all I’ve been thinking about lately with these two characters. Yes, with Iron Man, the metaphor of the armor isn’t lost on anyone including the person in the armor. They’re all smart enough to get how he’s wrapped himself in this protective cocoon so the bad people can’t hurt me anymore. So, there’s that.

But what they do with the armor? Wearing armor goes back thousands of years. Who doesn’t think about armor and King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table from hundreds of years ago? Armor has been used for many reasons: religious, military, iconic. For Victor, he’s clearly working on some level where technology and all things mystic are merging. And this is something I’ll be playing out not just in his book but others as well. Stuff I hinted at years ago with Tony Stark, Sorcerer Supreme in the future. There’s an argument that says the Singularity might still come from man, and a character like Tony might have decided that when the Singularity comes, he might want it to be him.

With all of that in mind, I’ve given a lot of thought over the armor Victor has and what it could do along with how he uses his sorcerer abilities to enhance what it can do. Then we have Riri who has designed her armor using the base of Tony’s ideas, but then we’re already seeing that she’s added things to [hers] that his could not do. I think we’re seeing that [it] will be, as issues go on, it’s going to be both fun and frustrating. Just when you start to like something that her armor can do, it will change. But that’s just like her: Riri is also in a state of constant fluctuation personally.

Marvel.com: Which brings us to the issue of the villains…

Brian Michael Bendis: Right. The other question you asked centered on the villains that are developed around these heroes. Looking at these heroes, whose powers center around technology, the one thing that stands in direct contrast would be something organic, right? Something that can’t be controlled by technology. Hulk vs Iron Man is the perfect [example] of this conflict as they’re getting their powers from different places. One is getting stronger as the other is growing weaker. I love this character, Animax, that we recently introduced. She’s this mutant who can basically create creatures out of nothing. Monstrous creatures are great for an armored hero to fight!

Interestingly, that character was co-created by my daughter Olivia, and Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s son, Henry Leo. I was sitting at the table and I said “I need a villain!” and Henry Leo responded “It’s a woman, she’s a mutant, and she shoots animals out of her hands.” And then I asked Olivia, “What’s her name?” to which she replied “Animax.” And there you go. Thanks, guys! So, sometimes it’s as fun as that to dip into that sort of childhood imagination, or in my case, I stole it from our children. But I feed and clothe them, so it’s okay.

But then we have another interesting villain named Tomo the techno-golem, who’s running the Japanese underworld and has the power to take over and overload technology. Both Tony and Riri are trying to figure out how her power works. It’s either a level of technology they can’t understand or Tomo’s invented it. In either case, this presents a real challenge for Tony and Riri, and it’s something they can’t really seem to figure out right now. Already the villain is developing faster than they can! It kind of speaks to the larger challenge these technologically-based heroes face, and that’s the danger of becoming obsolete. Anyone who’s working at Apple or Sony will tell you there is this feeling of being constantly chased and becoming nothing more than an old Walk-Man. And that’s the legacy for a hero who works in a suit of armor.

Marvel.com: Iron Man’s made a lot of enemies over the years, and so, finding villains ready and willing to do battle with a red-and-gold armored hero shouldn’t be difficult. Does Riri need her own villains or do you think it would work perfectly fine for her to go on tackling some of the members from Tony’s rogues’ gallery?

Brian Michael Bendis: I feel the same way about Miles Morales as I do Riri. Anywhere I can add toys to the toy box, then by all means. It’s important to me to add as many as I’ve either used or broken! So, yes, I’ve been actively looking to invent new villains for the Iron Man world. It was actually the second item on my list when I knew I’d gotten the chance to take over Iron Man: work on the rogues’ gallery. But the reason I don’t want to do 100% brand new villains is that it would create a sort of disconnect. Why isn’t Miles bumping into Shocker at some point or another? He’s there. Is this the same world or not? That’s where my head’s at.

But yeah, there will be new characters. It goes back to Joker and Batman, right? When you have a new hero who comes out and announces him or herself to the world, it creates a sort of challenge to less heroic characters to step up. It’s a billiard ball effect where people respond in a myriad of different ways that the hero will have to deal with.

Marvel.com: Last question: Some might argue that Tony’s greatest enemy is himself. Do you think that’s the case for Riri? Why or why not?

Brian Michael Bendis: Riri doesn’t know who she is yet. She’s fiercely intelligent [and] discovering new things about herself each day. So, no, I don’t think she’s in the position to be her own worst enemy yet, you know? So far, her choices have been very heroic.

And this is where I’d disagree with the idea of Tony being his own worst enemy and put him on a higher pedestal than some do. Because they’re not wrong. That philosophy is more popular than mine. While Tony has a self-destructive streak, he always does the right thing. With everything he’s been through and the addictions he’s struggled through—even though he’s not with us anymore—it appears to be the work of a very heroic and noble man, who may not see that in himself. He may knock himself down in the Second Act, but he always gets back up.

Find out who’s targeting Riri next in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7, available May 17 by Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immortal Hulk #3 cover by Alex Ross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Troubled Youth – CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

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

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

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

Knight Falls on Cutlass Bay – IRON FIST #15

Iron Fist (1975) #15

Iron Fist (1975) #15

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

The Truth Revealed – MARVEL TEAM-UP #63

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #63

Marvel Team-Up (1972) #63

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

Master of Manipulation – POWER MAN #48#49

Power Man (1974) #48

Power Man (1974) #48

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

Power Man (1974) #49

Power Man (1974) #49

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

Things Fall Apart – POWER MAN AND IRON FIST #67

Power Man and Iron Fist (1978) #67

Power Man and Iron Fist (1978) #67

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

A Snake Of A Sibling – CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

Captain America Annual (1971) #10

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

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

Cruz Control – CAGE #12

Cage (1992) #12

Cage (1992) #12

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COLLECTIONS

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

DIGITAL COMICS ON SALE THIS WEEK 

  • SPIDEY: SCHOOL’S OUT #2

ALSO ON SALE ON THE MARVEL APP THIS WEEK 

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

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS 

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

FRESHLY DIGITIZED COMICS ON MARVEL UNLIMITED 

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

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

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

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #23

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #23

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

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

Avengers (2016) #1

Avengers (2016) #1

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

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

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

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016) #15

Spider-Man/Deadpool (2016) #15

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

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

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

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

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

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

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

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #789

The Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #789

What is Marvel Unlimited?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Rule of Weddings: Expect the Unexpected

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

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

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

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

How to Doom-proof Your Upcoming Nuptials

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

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

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

Marvel Weddings Change the Couple Forever

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

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

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

Something Old, Something New…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPIDERGEDDON #0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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