Spidey goes to space with the Avengers, gets his fourth solo book, and more.

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

Still cosmically powered, the webby wonder toppled Goliath in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #60, broke the Mr. Fixit Hulk in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #328, destroyed Doctor Doom’s robot in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #160, extinguished Dragon Man’s flame in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #61, and trashed the Tri-Sentinel in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #329, all before finally losing his star-spanning new abilities.

Avengers (1963) #316

Avengers (1963) #316

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Earth’s Mightiest Heroes paid a call on Spidey in AVENGERS #314 to enlist his aid against the galactic despot Nebula. The webslinger’s sojourn into space lasted through AVENGERS #315, #316, #317, and #318, at which point he returned to his bailiwick to partner with the Punisher against drug runners in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #330 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #331.

Robbie Robertson received a pardon for his past crimes in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #161, while the wallcrawler and the Puma pummeled Hobgoblin. Later, the flying fury freed Carrion from incarceration in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #162 and together the two ne’er-do-wells took Spidey prisoner for a big brouhaha beneath the streets where they appeared to perish in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #163. The Molten Man sought out his step-sister Liz Allan Osborn after being paroled in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #62, and our masked hero mastered Mr. Fear in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #63.

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #162

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #162

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Mary Jane Parker’s old tormentor Caesar sent Styx and Stone to subdue Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #332, but the webslinger vied with Venom first in Central Park and then in the leech’s lair in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #333 before Venom seemed to succumb to Styx’s lethal touch. Spidey saved, of all people, the Arranger from being killed by the Beetle in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #164, but the British-born Knight and Fogg managed to accomplish the awful act in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #165.

Spidey swore to bring his English enemies to justice in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #166, and while attempting this action acquired amnesia from a bump on the noggin. He got better in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #167 just in time to witness Fogg’s betrayal of Knight. The crafty Chameleon channeled several criminals’ consternation with the wallcrawler into all-out attack in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #64, but when the face-changer faked them out in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #65, they joined with their webby target to put a crimp in the Chameleon’s cranium. Somewhat afterward, Spidey joined with the Green Goblin and the Molten Man to carve away at Tombstone in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #66.

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #337

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #337

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Doctor Octopus opted to organize a new Sinister Six in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #334, and recruited the Shocker in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #335, the Vulture in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #336, and then finalized the full line-up in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #337. The new Six might’ve soared save for the Sandman’s betrayal in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #338, which led to their deafening defeat in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #339.

The webslinger leapt in to confront the Lizard in the debut of his fourth solo book, SPIDER-MAN #1, and then Calypso in SPIDER-MAN #2, but when the deceased Kraven seemed to resurrect in SPIDER-MAN #3 and SPIDER-MAN #4, our hero nearly tossed in the towel in SPIDER-MAN #5. The Avengers returned in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #168 to aid their arachnid ally versus the Space Phantom, but Spidey tightened up a team of former foes as the Outlaws to take care of business in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #169 and SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #170.

Spider-Man (1990) #1

Spider-Man (1990) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

The wallcrawler warned his friend Harry Osborn to cut back on playing Green Goblin in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #67, and Robbie Robertson reclaimed his dignity when he helped the hero topple Tombstone in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #68. The Puma sold the Daily Bugle back to J. Jonah Jameson for one dollar in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #171, Spidey hovered over the Hulk in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #69 and hulked-out himself in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #70. With a clear conscience, he later supported Silver Sable and Dominic Fortune in their campaign against Nazi Simon Steele in WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #71.

The terrible Dr. Turner posed the possibility of no powers to Spidey in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #340, then pushed the Tarantula into a position to punctuate the powerless paragon in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #341, and the Scorpion to slice-and-dice him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #342.

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Captain America stands in the way of a massive jailbreak!

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.

Upon thawing out in the modern era, Captain America found himself duped a few times by people who took advantage of his optimistic nature. In TALES OF SUSPENSE #62, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby set our hero up to give a demonstration of breakout prevention maneuvers in 1965. However, instead of performing his fantastic physical feats for the warden, the Sentinel of Liberty unwittingly did so for an escaped con named Deacon who led an outbreak!

Deacon ordered the prisoners to jump Captain America, overpower him, and throw him into a cell with acting Superintendent Carlson. While both behind bars, Carlson explained that Deacon sparked the revolt, but they had no way of actually getting beyond the main gate. Having swiped Cap’s mighty shield, the criminal and company figured they could use the marvelous weapon to open up the door to the prison, but found themselves stymied. See, the mastermind knew that Iron Man had built magnetic capabilities in the shield and that the gate worked with magnetism, but could not figure out how.

Tales of Suspense (1959) #62

Tales of Suspense (1959) #62

  • Published: February 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

And he didn’t have enough time, either, as an escaped Star-Spangled Avenger leapt into battle, taking on an army of armed prisoners desperate for a way out. Deacon tried making a break for it with Cap’s weapon in hand, though that also proved short lived as our hero slung a gun to trip the villain up so he could regain his rightful property. Before tossing his shield at the assembled bad guys, Steve Rogers revealed that they’d been wrong from the get-go! Though Iron Man had built magnetic implements for both the shield and Cap’s glove, he ditched the add-ons because “They ruined my shield’s delicate balance!”

Even without his famous weapon, Cap handled himself perfectly. A thug named Thumper tried socking him, but Rogers met that attempted blow with his own fist, illicitng a “Boang!” sound from the concussion. With the main action over—at least on his end—Captain America handily dispatched with the rest of the criminals and took a sneaking Deacon out by literally backing into him. From there, the guards burst in to regain control of the punch-drunk would-be breakout artists. Carlson then revealed that the main gate would not have opened because of magnets, but instead with a kind of magic phrase: “Captain America”!

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

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Ed Piskor points to his highlights of Marvel’s merry mutants!

He’s won multiple awards and plaudits for turning the history of hip hop music into the critically acclaimed series “Hip Hop Family Tree,” but now writer/artist Ed Piskor tackles his first major project at Marvel. Starting with December 20’s X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1, he’ll be reframing and remixing the history of the X-Men into one, singularly crafted narrative. It’s a chance to relive the mutants’ greatest hits from the perspective of one brilliant cartoonist who grew up on these stories.

We caught up with Ed to talk about his favorite X-Men stories and what’s changed for him from reading these comics as a youth to recreating them as an accomplished professional.

Marvel.com: The structure and format of X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN is unique. Can you describe the particular restrictions and whether that form was the starting point or something that developed organically?

Ed Piskor: [When I started] I basically said that I have a way to make the first 280 issues of UNCANNY X-MEN into a lean 300 page story. After some deliberation Marvel said “do it in 240 pages, across six issues, three trade collections,” and sent me a contract. But aside from the concession of those extra 60 pages GRAND DESIGN is a completely faithful vision of what I want to do.

Comics-making is way too time intensive to allow them to be compromised in any way. I like restrictions and rules or else I have a tendency to meander. Knowing that I was going to be taking about 8,000 pages of material and whittle them into 240 pages adds a certain storytelling necessity to be brief and not linger. Each issue has to be jam-packed rather than the decompressed method to storytelling that is fashionable with most of today’s comics. Each issue basically covers about 50 issues of the series more or less.

Marvel.com: The mythology of the X-Men is about as rich, dense and diverse as the history of hip hop music. Were there any big challenges in adapting this fictional material versus the historical facts you’re used to chronicling?

Ed Piskor: The major challenge is that there is so much I love about X-Men and it’s wholly impossible to cover it all in the space provided. Also, I’m just a little past the halfway marker so there’s still plenty of room to really hit some challenges. One that is constantly on my mind is figuring out a way to keep Scott Summers a hero after leaving his wife, Madelyne Pryor with child, when Jean Grey comes back to life. That always caused me trouble as a young reader, but I think I have the way to get it to [make] sense.

Marvel.com: Were any eras of X-history easier to tackle than others?

Ed Piskor: The third issue of GRAND DESIGN, I knew, would be the easiest to tackle because it’s the gold-standard stuff that got everybody on board with the original series in such a big way. It covers GIANT SIZE X-MEN #1 through UNCANNY X-MEN #137 or so.

Marvel.com: You’re essentially one man reframing the serialized works of dozens and dozens of writers and artists. Which influences of those prior architects did you find coming out the most?

Ed Piskor: Artistically I’m building the story off of all prior artists whose work I connect to, X-Men, Marvel, or otherwise. I like how John Byrne and Paul Smith stuck to the characters proportions and kept Wolverine a shrimp. I liked the way Rob Liefeld drew hair back in the New Mutants/X-Force days. Steranko’s quirky foreshortening is a pleasure to my eyes. There are direct homages and samples using [Jack] Kirby in there. Neal Adams composition with the Sentinels flying into the sun is untouchable.

X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN is made on the shoulders of giants.

Marvel.com: Who were your favorite X-Men characters growing up and did you find your faves changing as you worked on this project?

Ed Piskor: I confess that I’ve never been the kind of fan who identifies with particular characters or who has favorites. From a very young age—five, maybe six years old—seeing real life names associated with the credits of those who created the actual comic books were always my motivation.

Thinking in those terms, I will answer the question another way. When I was little Jim Lee was the most captivating artist on X-MEN at the time I really decided to become a cartoonist. Then I discovered and adored Byrne and Art Adams and Steranko, and Paul Smith. Kirby and [Marc] Silvestri.

While revisiting the series I have to say that I’m embarrassed that I didn’t give [artist] Rick Leonardi as much credit as he deserves when I first read his issues. Looking at that work now, his chops rival anybody’s and I’ve been digging in the bins for any comics with his name on them.

Marvel.com: The X-Men, more so than any other corner of the Marvel Universe, tend to function as their own world, rarely needing to intersect with the other heroes. Why do you think they work so well as a self-contained soap opera?

Ed Piskor: We have [longtime UNCANNY X-MEN writer] Chris Claremont to thank for that. Having one guy write the series for almost 20 years creates an unparalleled consistency in mainstream comics that I’ve not seen matched. He fleshed those characters out in ways that made readers really care. Listen to Chris speak about the work and he acknowledges his characters as people. Not words on a page or lines on paper.

Marvel.com: Were there any moments you found yourself more excited by when you got to them than you previously expected you would be?

Ed Piskor: Every aspect of this project is a blast. There isn’t a wasted panel in the whole thing. No particular moments are more important to me over others. I have to keep the big picture in mind at all times with this story.

Marvel.com: What’s surprised you the most about this process?

Ed Piskor: X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN, to date, is a completely uncompromised vision. The editors were great so far all the way up the line. The sales guys were mindful the whole time. The folks handling the book collections are amazing and very helpful. Unless you guys are lying to me there’s going to be some special considerations with the printing of the books and trade in terms of paper stock and design. In a universe of corporate properties I appreciate that I’ve been given complete trust and respect to get my vision across. It’s going to yield an amazing product. I think my enthusiasm is clearly evident on every page and the hope is that the fans absorb that energy while reading.

Check out the first installment of this unprecedented undertaking in X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN #1, from Ed Piskor, on December 20, followed fast by issue #2 on January 3!

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Kieron Gillen stirs up conflict in a galaxy far, far away!

Though the Empire has already razed the sacred moon of Jedha, they’ve come back for more. In their attempts to raid the Kyber mines for the powerful crystals that fuel the Death Star’s weapons system, Imperial forces will encounter some familiar foes…but will Luke Skywalker be among them?

On January 3, Luke wavers between his allegiance to the Rebellion and his quest to become a Jedi in STAR WARS #41! Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca present a few unexpected challenges in the fight against the Empire as the story continues.

Gillen stopped by Marvel HQ to speak about where Luke—and the Rebellion at large—find themselves in issue #41.

Marvel.com: With Luke preoccupied with his Jedi training, who might step up to lead the fight against the Empire?

Kieron Gillen: “What’s the right thing to do?” is just one of the questions that haunt this story. Hell, it haunts all fiction—or at least my own. I think you can chase that through the cast in the arc. Some of the characters go the other way—chasing the martyr journey that Jyn Erso ended up taking. Okay, that might be a bit philosophical for an answer, but to be more specific, Han would be the person I’d keep an eye on for the rest of the arc.

Each of the main three characters have their own arc in “The Ashes of Jedha,” and they rise and fall at different times. Luke’s started earliest and peaks with the training. Han starts lower and builds bigger later.

Marvel.com: How do Han and Leia react to Luke now that he’s gone off to do his own thing?

Kieron Gillen: I’d say the head-to-head between Leia and Luke says it all. It’s a fair question. What is practical in a situation? Either way, someone will have to make amends.

Marvel.com: Since the Death Star attack, what strategic value does Jedha hold for the Empire and the Rebellion respectively?

Kieron Gillen: For the Empire, it’s what it always was—a place rich in the resources they want. They’re a gauntlet squeezing the last bit of juice from the orange. The Empire needs all the orange juice it can get. Conversely, for the Rebellion, they don’t think the Empire should be allowed anything with Vitamin C in at all. They want the Empire to get scurvy. Any time the Empire try to buy some fruit juice, they’re arrive, swatting away the grasping gauntlet-y fingers.

Err…I’m not talking about actual orange juice, by the way.

Marvel.com: Right there with ya! Will we see any familiar faces in this struggle for Jedha?

Kieron Gillen: Well, Chewie has been conspicuously absent. I need to get some Bowcasting action in, surely?

Marvel.com: Oh yeah. Last question: how does it feel to have the chance to tell these stories between the action fans already know so well?

Kieron Gillen: It’s pretty magical. I’m working on the second arc at the moment, and I feel that I’ve really got the characters under my fingers. It feels like such a wonderful period of growth for the three core members and the Alliance, and getting to delineate the adventures they have along the way is so much fun.

What I’m doing is basically what I did with DARTH VADER—look at the gap in time, work out what’s been implicitly changed in that space, and then try to cook up a compelling reason for all those changes. Well, all the changes that [previous series writer] Jason Aaron hasn’t already touched on. That the book leans more towards the military side of the Rebels really brings Leia forward and Han’s conflicted response to it all. The trick ends up being about balance, so all the cast have their parts to play. For me, it’s an ensemble cast and I want to give everyone something.

Also, it never gets boring working out cool things you can do with a lightsaber.

Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca’s STAR WARS #41 hits on January 3!

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Three legendary writers book return trips to Wakanda!

With writer Ta-Nehesi Coates doing stellar work on the current BLACK PANTHER series and T’Challa making his solo film debut in February, three of the most iconic writers to ever pen stories for Wakanda return to the hero they helped make a household name; in February 18’s BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL #1, three distinct eras of the Panther will be revisited.

Don McGregor, the foundation-building scribe behind stories like “Panther’s Rage,” teams up with artist Daniel Acuna for a tale that takes King T’Challa out of Wakanda and onto the streets of New York for a gripping mission. Then, former BLACK PANTHER writer Christopher Priest will be joined by artist Mike Perkins for a story starring friend of Wakanda Everett K. Ross. And last but not least, the man behind “Who is The Black Panther?” and the director the recent film “Marshall”—starring the MCU’s T’Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman—will reunite with artist Ken Lashley for a sequel of sorts to their classic, “Black To The Future!”

We reached out to each of these legends to pick their brains about coming to a character they left such indelible marks on.

Marvel.com: What excited you most about returning to Black Panther?

Reginald Hudlin: When I was told that the book would feature me, Christopher Priest, and Don McGregor each doing Black Panther stories, it just felt historic. I knew I had to be a part of it.

Christopher Priest: Nothing. Seriously, nothing at all. It was terrifying.

My original run, especially the Marvel Knights installments, have finally found an audience. When we were actually doing the book, we literally couldn’t give copies away. There was enormous sales resistance and a lot of literal hate—and threats—from fans outraged that we gave Panther an iPhone. Seriously; there was this anti-tech backlash, “purists” who, from what I could tell, were confusing Black Panther with Tarzan. Panther is not Tarzan.

So, in those days, I’d spend a lot of energy engaging these fans and trying to please, please, sir, get them to go read FANTASTIC FOUR #52 and learn who Panther really is rather than who so many fans apparently believed he was—some kind of caveman or maybe Ka-Zar. He’s not Ka-Zar. He is ruler of one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world. Yes, dude, he can use an iPhone.

Don McGregor: It was excitement I felt when [editor] Wil Moss first approached me about coming back to write the Panther after being away from T’Challa for decades. I loved writing him, and I spent years with T’Challa’s voice in my head, trying to “hear” not only him, but all the characters in Wakanda around him.

I actually wrote that I was of the mind not to do it up on my Facebook page. I did not want to disappoint the readers who held such love for these characters, and how much, over the years, these stories had meant to them. The worst fear the storyteller can have, I suppose, is that you come back with a short piece and the reaction is “Man, Don had it back then; he should have left it alone!” But, when I wrote about it in the social media so many people responded that they wanted me to do it, I began to re-appraise accepting while I was visiting my daughter in California.

Marvel.com: How do you feel about the character’s growing pop cultural profile, with his appearance in “Captain America: Civil War” and now his own upcoming film?

Don McGregor: I think it’s terrific! The Panther has always been an important super hero in opening up the comics medium to the different kinds of characters and stories that can be told. I spent years of my life with him, so there becomes an intimacy of daily contact with each other, of staying open to what you can do as you continue to write the next issue. You often spend more time with the title characters of your series than you do with many of the people you know. It becomes a part of you, facing the next page, the next panel, trying to get it as right as you can in the moment you are creating it.

I thought Chadwick Boseman [brought] the right combination of grace and momentum and solemnity and strength to The Black Panther that was always the way I saw him. I am so glad [Marvel staffer] Peter Charpentier made it possible for me to meet with Chadwick during the San Diego Comic-Con this last summer.

Christopher Priest: Well, I certainly think it’s great. Chadwick Boseman’s end-of-innocence portrayal of a young T’Challa elevated the game for African—and African American—super heroes.

Reginald Hudlin: I remember all the Black Panther scripts that had been developed over the years. Almost all of them horrible. There were drafts where he grew up in housing projects in America with no idea of his royal heritage. Just ghastly perversions of the original concept.

So, when then-Executive Editor Axel Alonso and I sat down to talk about what was originally conceived to be a [limited series], I wanted to tell the story right. I didn’t know if there would ever be a movie, but I wanted to create a document that would tell fans who he was and be a blueprint for what a movie should be. I haven’t seen the film, but looking at how Klaw is portrayed and the inclusion of characters I created like Shuri, it looks like that is the case.

Black Panther Annual #1 cover by Daniel Acuna

Marvel.com: Are there differences to how you approach the character now versus your original run on the book?

Don McGregor: Surely. You don’t have to do months of research to write a 12 page story as compared with a nearly 200 page graphic novel like “Panther’s Rage.” Back when I was first given the Panther to write there were multiple decisions that I had to make before I wrote one finished page. I not only read the comics; I had to research everything that would create the intricate details of Wakanda. Jack [Kirby] and Stan [Lee] had established it, but it was more a concept in those early stories, since they had a lot of characters with the Fantastic Four to interact with the Panther and whatever super villain they were fighting.

It was during those initial weeks that I discovered not one story had ever had anything to do with
Ramonda, the Panther’s mother, and I decided then that I would not mention her during “Panther’s Rage,” that this would be one big complete story, and then I would do a story dealing with South Africa and Apartheid. This would become “Panther’s Quest,” a story of a son, T’Challa, searching for his mother in an oppressive, racist regime, and how difficult such a place could make on the emotional turmoil of a son searching for a mother he has lost since childhood, a human theme I hoped everyone could relate to, and care about. As you can see, I was already concerned about where T’Challa’s life would go after “Panther’s Rage,” and before I wrote Book One of that series, I needed to know I had somewhere to go as a writer that would challenge me, but also make sure I was not writing the same story issue after issue.

Christopher Priest: Well, yes, I suppose. When I was writing the character 20 years ago, the mission was simpler: this is a story about a guy you think you know but you’ve, in fact, got him all wrong. Skip ahead 20 years, and now everybody is in on the joke. Reader expectation is different. Marvel Knights readers expected an overly serious homily on African culture, so we played against those expectations. Today’s audience already knows T’Challa is a capable—and deadly—adversary and technological genius, so I can’t write those “I can’t believe he took out Mephisto with one punch!” stories because, today’s audience knows he can.

Reginald Hudlin: Some fans on my web site asked me what story I would write if I ever came back to the character. There are a few I have in mind, but my favorite is a big epic story called World War Wakanda. It would be one of the big companywide crossovers. I only had six pages to tell my story, so I did an epilogue where you get glimpses of the result of the story  It also functions as a follow up to the “Black to The Future” story I wrote for the very first BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL.

Marvel.com: What do you think makes Black Panther such an iconic figure?

Don McGregor: I suspect many people love the idea of a character who can move with such power and grace and [certainty], and look absolutely terrific doing so! But, I have the feeling, also, for many people that they admire and want a leader who truly does want to represent as many of his people as he can, and doesn’t merely luxuriate in his power and abilities. I suspect we wish there were politicians that acted as honorably and with concern about all the people in their land.

Reginald Hudlin: He’s the African equivalent of Captain America. In the same way Cap embodies all that is good about America, The Panther symbolizes all that is great about Africa.

Christopher Priest: He’s the black guy. C’mon, let’s be honest. He’s the black guy. And he’s not angry, he doesn’t use slang or “Ebonics,” he pulls his pants up, he keeps his word. Black Panther shames us—all of us—by his nobility. He may well be the single most noble guy on Earth. Do your best. Keep your word. It’s all anyone can ask of you.

T’Challa’s, like, the last noble man on earth. I am by no means anywhere near that noble, but I aspire to be well, if not good, at least as good as I personally can manage. That’s the best any of us can do. Dude: be as good as you personally can manage. Eat your vegetables. Do your best. Keep your word.

Don’t miss BLACK PANTHER ANNUAL #1, from Don McGregor, Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, and their artistic collaborators, on February 18!

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Mark Waid sends Steve Rogers a Kraven foe!

It’s been difficult for Steve Rogers to make himself at home in America in the aftermath of Secret Empire; even though he dealt with his evil Hydra counterpart and saved the day in heroic fashion, he still has some convincing to do.

And in part three of the “Home of the Brave” storyline, Steve’s journey across the United States continues—though his road trip hits another hurdle as Kraven the Hunter puts the red, white, and blue between his cross-hairs. On January 3, writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee look to ensnare the Sentinel of Liberty in CAPTAIN AMERICA #697!

We spoke with Waid about Rogers’ trials in the heart of America.

Marvel.com: What’s been going on in the “Home of the Brave” arc so far?

Mark Waid: Cap’s been roaming the country looking to reconnect with people. Unfortunately, Kraven’s taking him on a wild detour!

Marvel.com: How has Cap been managing to reclaim his good reputation?

Mark Waid: It’s not the easiest road for him, but given that our story takes place many months after Secret Empire, most people are glad to see Steve Rogers…most people. Not everyone.

Marvel.com: Describe the dynamic you see between Cap and Kraven.

Mark Waid: As you can imagine, Cap has nothing but disdain for someone like Kraven who pretends to have a sense of honor and yet demonstrates anything but. Kraven wants to make Cap his prey, but, as Cap points out, to be prey you have to be afraid of the hunter.

Marvel.com: What ended up being the most challenging element of writing this issue?

Mark Waid: Doing heavy research into genuine jungle traps that real commandos use!

Marvel.com: What proved to be your favorite part to write?

Mark Waid: The opening scene with Steve Rogers at a pool table—it’s a bit I’ve been wanting to use for 20 years.

The hunt begins in CAPTAIN AMERICA #697, by Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee, on January 3!

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The Most Dangerous Woman finds herself beset by the return of friends she thought long gone.

Gamora Zen Whoberi Ben Titan, a former member of the Infinity Watch and current member of the self-titled Guardians of the Galaxy, contacted this writer on recommendation of a few of her colleagues.

In the course of doing the intake, the client revealed herself to be one of the adopted children of the space tyrant known as Thanos. While I have no direct knowledge of Thanos or what kind of father he is, given his history and the details provided by the client, it seems unlikely Gamora was raised in an environment that was at all helpful or supportive for her.

Instead, as a child, the client was subjected to extensive training with the goal of turning her into a warrior/assassin type in the service of her adoptive father. Despite the distance with which he treated her and the not entirely occasional cruelties, she grew to be a devoted lieutenant to him, a connection that was only increased after she was attacked and nearly killed while on a mission and Thanos rescued her and, using non-organic materials, saved her life and mobility.

It took multiple betrayals, abandonments, and one complete erasure from the universe for the client to finally break ties with the so-called “mad” Titan. Initially she almost immediately sought love and comfort from another distant figure — Adam Warlock — but eventually left him as well, of her own accord, when she felt that her love was not being reciprocated. They would later reunite during a time he was emotionally available and Gamora, seemingly, broke the cycle of seeking validation from people who are, in some way, unable to give her the affection and support she truly needs.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2017) #150

Guardians of the Galaxy (2017) #150

Since then, she has done much to distance herself morally from Thanos, but seems to continue to gravitate back to him again and again, if just for the purposes of foiling his various plots. Nonetheless, both according to her and from official reports, it appears that she doesn’t experience any kind of ambivalence in opposing him at this point.

Where she might experience ambivalence, however, and what is motivating her seeking therapy, is the seeming resurrection or return of two people she cared very deeply for – the Nova Corps member known as Richard Rider and the aforementioned Adam Warlock. While she denies any active romantic feelings to them, she still cares deeply for them and mourned their deaths. To have them both return to life — or being revealed to have never died in the first place, possibly — so close together has been incredibly wonderful and terribly confusing. To encounter anyone who you believed dead and had come to terms with that death, is a significantly disorganizing event. Add in the knowledge that she is supposed to be happy — therefore sparking guilt that she is not purely happy — has led to even more complex feelings and an individual very confounded by her own emotions. Given the straightforward zeal with which she has pursued goals in her life, this kind of confusion—hard for anyone—is even more difficult for her to process.

Unfortunately, due to her being in space and my office still being on Earth, long-term therapy with this writer does not seem like the best idea at this time. Video conferencing is an option, but after discussion we agreed an in-person presence would be a better arrangement for her. Therefore, she will meet with Doctors Gerry Duggan and Marcos To on December 6, 20, and January 3 for evaluation. The results of their findings will be found in files GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #148150.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who would love to know how one gets licensed to do space therapy. Because Tim Stevens, Space Therapist! is an incredible title.

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Sina Grace pops Daken’s claws for a fight with Bobby Drake!

On January 3, Daken looks to break the ice.

In ICEMAN #9, Bobby Drake and the son of Wolverine face off in an all-out brawl! Written by Sina Grace with art by Robert Gill, Iceman must temporarily put aside his travails with his family and love life in order to fend off a razor-sharp opponent in Daken. So how will the two mutants fare?

We caught up with Grace to hear more about the combatants.

Marvel.com: Sina, how would you characterize Bobby and Daken’s relationship at this point in time?

Sina Grace: In a word: contentious. Neither really respects the other’s approach to life.

Marvel.com: Doesn’t sound like a basis for a lasting friendship. So, what makes this clash inevitable? And what major factors will decide which way the fight goes?

Sina Grace: Bobby and Daken had a pretty heated match in ICEMAN #4, when Iceman had to go rescue a runaway student. The altercation ended up being pretty embarrassing for Daken—he got impaled by a large snowflake.

Little known fact: Daken lives with a Death Seed inside of him, dormant until another Horseman dies…or so you’d think. Daken successfully kidnapped one of Iceman’s students and has been training him. For what? We’ll find out in ICEMAN #9.

Marvel.com: What makes Bobby a good bet in this showdown?

Sina Grace: Iceman is an Omega-level mutant who does not fear his own potential…so he has that going for him. Also, I think now more than ever, Bobby has everything to live for.

Marvel.com: Conversely, what might give Daken the edge?

Sina Grace: Daken’s about to try and activate the Death Seed, so he could become near-Apocalypse powerful. That, and in complete contrast with Bobby, Daken’s got nothing to lose—which makes for a scary opponent.

Marvel.com: And, on top of everything, Bobby’s moving to Los Angeles. Does he truly feel like it’s the best thing for him right now?

Sina Grace: I feel like Bobby’s therapist answering this question [Laughs]. His wanting to move might be complicated because the Los Angeles trip he took with the Champions turned out to be such a special one. He kicked ass, he met someone he really likes, and he ran away from his own context for a bit. It’s the right amount of familiar with just enough upheaval to feel like a sound decision. But Kitty’s not supportive. You’ll see.

Marvel.com: What can you tease about any guest stars in ICEMAN #9? Who can we look forward to seeing?

Sina Grace: Northstar fans will be excited to see that Jean-Paul and Kyle have a little moment in the issue, and there are like a dozen cute little cameos readers will have to keep their eyes open for. Beyond that, expect to see the Generation X kids as well!

Marvel.com: What do you love about artist Robert Gill’s work in these issues?

Sina Grace: Robert seems to have a great handle on Daken—the kind of menace I want him to play in this arc. I know that Robert’s a legit X-fan like me, so I tried to sneak in some pretty cool X-moments. Marvel released a pretty awesome spread of X-MEN: GOLD fighting some…“purifiers.” Robert’s one of those rare comic artists that can draw everything, so I’ve been having a blast making him handle comedy, drama, horror, and action!

Sina Grace and artist Robert Gill’s ICEMAN #9 drops on January 3!

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Thor gets caught in a war between Ego and the Devourer of Worlds!

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.

Ever since the dawn of comic books, readers have spent hours, days even, discussing what it would be like if their favorite characters met and what would happen in the ensuing fight. Fans themselves, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby actually got to make those dreams a reality as they continued building the Marvel Universe throughout the 60s. In THOR #160161, two incredible powers came into conflict for the first time: The God of Thunder and Galactus.

The issue from 1969 began with Tana Nile landing on Earth in hopes of drawing Thor out and requesting he return to Rigel with her to stop an unnamed, but grave menace, to which he agreed. Meanwhile, in Asgard, Odin interviewed The Recorder as Sif burst into the throne seeking leave to travel alongside her beloved Thor. Odin denied her, but did not stop the Rigellian robot from returning home.

Back on Nile’s ship, Thor’s journey came under siege as a lone but incredibly powerful Taurian crashed through the hull, demanding the crew cede control of the vessel. Upon losing the fight, the alien asked for mercy and explained that he’d lost his mind, just for a moment, because of the destruction Galactus wrought on his planet. Between that and seeing the results of the Devourer of Worlds’ most recent meal outside the ship, The Odinson vowed to punish The Planet Eater.

Thor (1966) #160

Thor (1966) #160

  • Published: January 10, 1969
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 21, 2009
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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While Recorder and Thor reunited on Rigel and left to find Galactus, the cosmic entity had come upon an unforeseen enemy in the form of Ego, the Living Planet! Their battle of might and mayhem proved strong enough to destroy the craft carrying Thor and his ally, leaving them seemingly stranded until the Wanderers swooped in to save the day. This group of survivors from the first planet Galactus consumed made it their mission to see their tormentor sated forever, one way or another.

As our heroes healed from the frigid vacuum of space on the Wanderers’ ship, Kirby treated us to a must-see confrontation between Ego and Galactus. In addition to the huge, bold traditional art “The King” created with apparent ease, we also got to see another of those amazing collages he dreamed up. Wishing to end the madness, Thor thrust mighty Mjolnir into the fray. Flying true, the mystic mallet found its target, smashing into Galactus and reminding the gargantuan what physical pain felt like. The Thunder God then took the fight directly to his foe, walloping him in the head with his trusted weapon.

Though The Recorder and the Wanderers all assumed that they’d been soundly defeated, Thor mounted Mjolnir to a device built on Ego to turn it into a kind of cosmic cannon. Calling upon the strength and power of Odin, his prodigal unleashed enough power to severely damage Galactus, sending him away to heal and continue his never-ending mission of sating his hunger. With their shared enemy defeated, Ego and the Wanderers became allies for a time as the living planet created a lush living place for the group on his surface and offered it as their home and sanctuary.

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

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Her highness and Jar Jar Binks go on an unexpected adventure!

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.

Queen Padme Amidala may not have been the best judge of character when it came to choosing people to fall in love with, but she often demonstrated great care and understanding as a leader, with lines like “There is no need for violence” and “All things have value.” She spoke these platitudes in STAR WARS: EPISODE I – QUEEN AMIDALA, which came out around the time of “The Phantom Menace” film in 1999. Written by Mark Schultz with art by Galen Showman, the one-shot takes place between scenes of “Episode I” on Tatooine before little Anakin Skywalker prepares to drive a podracer in a contest that could win the hyperdrive generator that Amidala needed to repair her ship.

Padme expressed her concern for Annie’s safety, but also for the rough life he lived on planet as a slave. As she trailed off, thinking she’d failed as a leader for assuming slavery had been wiped out across the worlds, Jar Jar Binks witnessed a fly-like creature swoop down and snatch a piece out of Annie’s ‘racer. The runaway Gungan literally ran into Amidala as she wandered and wondered. Not quite understanding the situation, she came along in an effort to keep Binks from getting captured by the slavers.

Star Wars: Episode I - Queen Amidala (1999) #1

Star Wars: Episode I - Queen Amidala (1999) #1

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The ensuing chase left the Naboo natives with some angry Gamorrean guards on their tails, no battery retrieved, and a stolen speeder that Padme hotwired to escape the first problem. However, they did snatch one of the flying Trooshtis. While Jar Jar wanted to eat it, Padme spared its life and treated it well in hopes that it would explain why it stole the battery in the first place. In their attempts to regain the item, the duo wound up outside a decrepit moisture farm, much like the one Padme’s son would live in years later. Once there they discovered that the Trooshti had built an entire colony around a surprise wellspring of water.

Padme soon ferreted out the reason for the thieving of the battery: They needed it to power a pump that brought up the water they built their world around. The Queen of Naboo offered to help fix the problem, but the Trooshti had to deal with the Gamorrean guards attempting to sneak up on them. Jar Jar and the swarm worked well together to flush the Gamorreans away as Padme fixed the pump. To the royal’s surprise, one of the Trooshti pulled the battery out and flew off. Padme and Jar Jar gave chase, leading back to the podracer garage where it replaced the missing part in Anakin’s vehicle.

From the Jedi Temple Archives

If it’s been a while since you watched “Phantom Menace” and would rather read the story instead of watch it to see what happened with Anakin, the podrace, and the rest of the saga, you can always check out STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE. This four issue limited series took George Lucas’ original story and saw it adapted through the comic minds of Henry Gilroy and Rodolfo Damaggio.

Next week, find out what Grand Admiral Thrawn had in store for Han, Luke, Leia, and the rest of the New Republic in STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE.

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