Writer Brian Michael Bendis takes Riri Williams into the Marvel Legacy event!

Writer Brian Michael Bendis normally needs no introduction, but we’re going to make the attempt anyway.

He’s the man who this fall will take INVINCIBLE IRON MAN into the Marvel Legacy event and set the Iron Man Universe on its iron-plated ear. With Tony Stark gone, seemingly disappeared, he’s the only guy who can see Riri Williams through the next massive phase of her, and a few other important characters, development.

Marvel.com: Brian, in general, why is it important for you to highlight the concept of legacy in the Marvel Universe?

Brian Michael Bendis: Well, two things happened when Marvel started playing with this idea for the fall, and [when I heard] the theme, I just started smiling ear to ear, because it’s literally about what all my books are about at the moment. It’s just where I was at in my head. Number one, because some of the characters that I’m writing are legacy characters, they’re actually starting in someone else’s legacy and we’ll see where they end up, in great Marvel tradition. But right now, Miles Morales and Riri are two of the most spotlighted characters in this arena, and it’s just a great opportunity to zero in on what the book has been about.

Now for Iron Man, it’s not just Tony Stark’s legacy. It’s Riri Williams’ legacy, Victor Von Doom’s legacy, and Tony Stark’s legacy. It’s not just a normal person’s legacy; it’s wide, and it’s got a lot of tentacles…not to be too Hydra with the tentacles. But his reach, and the reach of his legacy, from the Avengers to the Stark Foundation, is enormous. So we’re going to get to explore some things about Tony, and about the Iron Man Universe that we haven’t seen before, and it just so happens that we’ve spent the last year and a half building up to this, like this is where I was headed.

Now, what’s cool is, all three of the main Iron Man characters will be joined by other Iron Man characters, looking for what has happened to Tony Stark. If we’re going to get Tony Stark back, what form will that be in? And how cool will the armor be? Now, there are other characters in the Iron Man universe that I’m not mentioning right now, big characters. Amanda, MJ, Friday, Tony A.I., huge characters, a lot going on and a lot of connections to the Marvel Universe, all of which will be detailed and unfolded within the storyline that starts with INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #593.

Marvel.com: How cool is it to go back to the original numbering?

Brian Michael Bendis: You know, when the very fun choice to go back to our original numbering came about, quite a few titles, IRON MAN in particular, are right there at a big anniversary issue. So we’re headed, very quickly, towards a gigantic IRON MAN #600, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Marvel.com; When this Marvel Legacy storyline starts, has Tony’s condition changed at all?

Brian Michael Bendis: Tony’s situation has changed. And that’ll be teased in the Marvel Legacy one-shot by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic, and then I think our INVINCIBLE IRON MAN issue comes out like right after that, and you can dive right in: big, brand new, very reader-friendly Iron Man storyline.

Marvel.com: Of the big Iron Man characters that you’ve mentioned, who would you say will be most moved by Tony’s disappearance?

Brian Michael Bendis: All of them for different reasons, but I have to say, Victor is in the most unusual situation. What Riri is going through, people will identify as “Oh, I’ve looked up to someone.” This relationship is very relatable, in a way. Like, I’ve had mentors in my life, people who I was trying to figure out without directly talking to them, you know what I mean? Trying to figure out stuff about myself through their humanity. Whereas Victor is on just about the biggest, most complicated redemption story…one of the biggest villains in the history of all fiction is trying to claw himself out of the hole. How much he’s been able to do is amazing. But, the enemy list he has created in doing so is enormous, and it’s not just from this dimension. So, his involvement in Tony Stark’s legacy may become, at one point, such a struggle, that he may destroy it. And something new has to be created, or he makes a sacrifice that brings up something new as well. What’s going on with Victor is probably the most unique thing going on story-wise at Marvel.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about Riri again. What can you say about her further development going into this storyline? Is this going to be, to date, the ultimate challenge for her?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yes.

Marvel.com: Okay! You heard it here first! Next question!

Brian Michael Bendis: Yeah, listen; we’re just eight issues into her run! The amount of attention she’s garnered from fans in just eight issues is amazing. Compared to seven years ago with Miles, and I know the whole market was different, but it took a while, until the end of the second storyline, for people to really go “Oh okay, he didn’t [bleep] it up.” So, I’ve been quite flattered, to the point of becoming emotional, about how unbelievable the support of Riri has been. There was this young woman online that has been making her own Riri armor and her dad keeps tweeting it. Literally every time we put it out, there are like 60,000 retweets and likes, it’s crazy. It’s insane.

Marvel.com: Good crazy.

Brian Michael Bendis: The best. So, the point is, Riri is at the larva state of her super hero career. She has literally gone out, I think, five times by the time that this Tony storyline starts up again. She’s had some big wins; she’s had some defeating losses. Something crazy happens in the next issue of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN that I don’t want to spoil, but people are gonna be like “What?!” We don’t know what form her version of super heroing will take, she’s still building it. We don’t know what form her technology will take. So, of all the characters, there’s a good chance—and I’m pretty much telling you it is—that she’s going to evolve past the Iron Man construct to something else, and I think that’s pretty exciting.

I look at her like imitating the amazing style of an amazing artist. Like Bill Sienkiewicz is the best example. Very early in his career, he was highly referenced and influence by Neal Adams, and Neil Adams is a very difficult thing to imitate, right? Very difficult. And he did it, and you were like “Wow, you’re an amazing artist, you can do Neil Adams!” right? That’s how I look at Riri right now. She’s amazing. She can do Tony Stark pretty good, but, like Bill Sienkiewicz, will she evolve so far past it that people won’t even remember that she was Iron Man Universe-related? You know, is she capable? And again, you can bring up many other examples in music and television and film where the influence is there, and then they don’t need it anymore, then something else happens. And that’s where Riri’s headed in the next year.

Marvel.com: You’ve got her, you have Victor, you have some other strong personalities in there. Would you characterize what’s going to happen as a violent clash?

Brian Michael Bendis: No. It’s a philosophical [clash], and I’ve already got Riri and Victor’s first meeting out of the way in INFAMOUS IRON MAN, because everybody assumes they were gonna beat each other up. And when you get there, and Victor doesn’t want to fight, there’s no fight. You can hit him all you want, he’s not gonna fight back, and Victor’s not mad at her, and Victor’s not in a crazy, manic state that he usually, or sometimes, is in. He’s calmed down. So, when she shows up in his life, this is a brilliant young woman that he can relate to, and this isn’t someone that he’d wanna fight.

Also, he’s very aware of what it feels like to be in her position, at the beginning of your studies, not even knowing what you don’t know. That’s one of my favorite things, finding something out. Oh, I didn’t even know I didn’t know that, you know? And I know, he’ll get really excited for other people discovering things. So this is the Victor we’re dealing with right now. Not the whole mad genius. Now, does he want to turn her into the whole mad genius? Who knows? And also, may I say, Riri is at a very precarious stage. She’s had a world with nothing but loss and confusion in it. Intelligent characters- intelligent people- in this world we live in right now, find themselves very frustrated. Unintelligent leadership, and science not being the forefront of the society; you can read about it all the time, this is not something that I’m making up. Intelligent children sometimes shut down because they’re like “Whoa boy, this… everything’s weird.” So that’s part of Riri’s development.

Marvel.com: Is she easily influenced?

Brian Michael Bendis: No, not easily influenced. [And] it’s not stubbornness; I don’t see it that way, but I have a person in my life who decides things before they absolutely know them. And sometimes they’re right, because their confidence and intelligence is very strong, and sometimes it’s “Oh no, I was wrong.” But their guess, their instinct is very good, right? So that’s part of where she is. So her instincts [leads to her] calling it like she sees it. Like she sees bull and calls it, and then finds herself in the middle of it.

I have a storyline going right now where she’s right in the middle of terrorist actions in Liberia and S.H.I.E.L.D being S.H.I.E.L.D, she doesn’t buy into any of it. So she’s kind of just making up her own place in it, and it’s throwing off all of the ways that people do things. Maybe in a good way, maybe in a bad way, but she’s gonna have some mistakes she makes, big, big mistakes. But there’s something really brassy and confident about the way she handles things, and that is something Victor is going to be able to talk to her on. He will be able to communicate his philosophies through that idea.

Marvel.com: So far, it doesn’t sound like the tone of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN will change with the advent of Marvel Legacy.

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh no, no. First of all, what Stefano Caselli has accomplished with Riri this year is so amazing that he sometimes gets mislabeled as the creator of the character, even though it’s Mike Deodato who co-created the character. But that’s how strong Stefano’s voice is, and how connected to the action with the character he is, it’s just amazing.

But with him in mind, just doing unbelievable work, that’s the tone of the series. That’s Riri’s worldview, her perspective…you know, we’re so often in her perspective. I know people are very curious where she is in certain spectrums—that’s been a question that people have had. She’s clearly outside of what would be considered normal, on a couple of different things. I think that’s a celebratory thing. I’m surrounded by people in different places in different spectrums, and without diving headfirst into what that is and what that means, we’re gonna explore that as well. And I think a lot of younger readers identify with that, much in the way they identified with the original Peter Parker and his struggles, I really do.

Marvel.com: When you talk about her being brassy, do you think that’s really what people are responding to, or one of the main things?

Brian Michael Bendis: It’s funny that the panels that pop up in my tumblr or Twitter feed always kind of let me know. There’s like, six or seven panels that I see every day, that people go “Yes!” or “I’m scared for her.” It’s a mixture of that, [and] it’s really cute. And I’ll get all “I’m scared for her, too!” Like they’re scared for her, and yeah, I am, too and I wrote it! I’m really scared for her.

Marvel.com: You also have something to say about MIT and Riri?

Brian Michael Bendis: I’m going to be speaking at MIT in November. I was invited by them to come speak about comics and culture. And what was amazing was that we had Riri come to MIT. It was a campus I did a lot of research on for a project that was unrelated to Marvel, an HBO thing that didn’t happen, but I had so much feeling about this place, I loved it, and I said I was definitely gonna have a character there one day. And then years later, it was like “The coolest place we can have Riri live is the MIT dorms!” So when I started putting this in, little did I know, that MIT had completely embraced this character.

They created this amazing admissions video. It was actually pretty hilarious. So in November, at MIT, we’re gonna make a pretty major announcement about Riri. So people that are invested in her, people who are supporting her, there is big stuff coming with her. MIT’s a very unique place for a character in her first year to be so well-received, not unlike what Kamala Khan and Moon Girl experienced.

It’s hard to describe to people, because no one was asking for them. That’s what I love about the Legacy characters. Nobody said “I want Miles,” or “I want Riri,” but then they got them and they were like “Thank you.” And that was the best feeling in the world.

Marvel.com: It sounds like you’re still digging this job. Has your own outlook changed on INVINCIBLE IRON MAN as you’ve gone along?

Brian Michael Bendis: No, what happens is, and this is one of the great things about a higher profile gig, is no matter what you’re writing about, you start your research and whatever you’re doing, and then people find out you’re writing about them or writing about something they know, or whatever, like the young woman who’s making her Ironheart armor in her garage. You reach out and they inspire and they share their stories.

There was a friend of mine who has a brilliant young daughter who is literally obsessed with Mae Jameson. That’s real and honest and I have to use that. There’s a scene where you see young Riri trying to get her teacher to give her something to push back against because she feels that that’s what made Mae Jameson great, right? And I know some people said, “Oh, is she asking for…?” and I was like “No, she’s trying to live up to her hero,” without realizing that her hero made it easier for her, and that’s a big lesson for her too.

Every day it’s something new, new people share their experiences, people inspire me to keep going. I can’t wait to get to MIT, I’m literally gonna go live in the dorm, live in Riri’s world, so I’m so excited. And on top this, yes, back to Marvel Legacy. Yes, these legacy characters mean the world to me. I’m very invested in them and I’m very invested in how much the audience has supported it and what we’re gonna do now. And I know when people hear “The Return of the Heroes,” they worry about the new hotnesses. You do not have to. To fans, so you know: you have made it so Riri, Miles, and Jessica Jones can sustain their own titles. It’s insane, right? So, we will never ignore that.

Marvel.com: Last question—do you miss Tony?

Brian Michael Bendis: Oh, no. ‘Cause I got Tony A.I. the whole time, which is uber-Tony, so any great Tony joke I can think of, this guy will do it.

It’s funny: Tony is the itch I never had to scratch. Literally from the moment I came in to Marvel, I’ve been writing Tony in some book. And I never did it on purpose…and everyone’s always focused on how I’m always writing Kitty Pryde in every book. But Tony made it into every book—every book had Tony Stark in it. Totally by accident! You look back and you go, “Oh, that’s funny. Even in the Guardians of the Galaxy, too.”

I never wrote a book without Tony. My love for him is obviously as strong as it can get for a creator and a character that they didn’t create.

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Peter returns to end Otto Octavius' 'Superior' reign and face Original Sin.

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 Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story…

After Blackout kidnapped Aunt May in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1 and Otto Octavius—in Peter Parker’s body—tortured him for it, Spider-Man swung his attention to the Goblin War heating up between Hobgoblin and the Goblin King in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #26. Meanwhile, Peter’s spirit grew stronger again in Otto’s head, while Otto recalled past team-ups with the Green Goblin and Parker himself in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #11 and SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #12.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (2013) #12

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (2013) #12

  • Published: April 23, 2014
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 27, 2014
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Kevin Shinick
  • Cover Artist: Paolo Rivera
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The Goblin King made it clear to Spider-Man in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #27 that he knew Octavius held the reins and not Peter. To hammer home his intentions, the villain shelled Otto’s island headquarters in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #28, while he targeted members of Peter’s friends and family, including Otto’s girlfriend, Anna. Mayor Jameson converted his Spider-Slayers into Goblin Slayers in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #29 and the Spider-Man of 2099 stepped in to save Otto from a particularly nasty Goblin King assault.

Peter’s spirit began to actively help Otto during the crisis in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #30, and when Octavius realized he couldn’t save the day and Anna’s life he allowed Peter to take control of his body once again and suit up as the one and only Spider-Man. The wallcrawler rushed into the fray in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #31 and took on the Goblin Knight, Menace, and finally the King himself, who he discovered to be Norman Osborn with plastic surgery.

Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1

Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1

  • Published: April 30, 2014
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 27, 2014
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Dan Slott
  • Cover Artist: Humberto Ramos
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Back in the saddle in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1, Peter dealt with the fallout from Otto’s takeover, the state of Parker Industries, and the fact that Anna knew his secret identity. Still unsure of his actions, the Avengers confronted him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2, Electro made a shocking return, and Peter promised to build a new super-villain prison for the city. Later, Parker Industries began to design Electro-tracking tech in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3, Mayor Jameson resigned, and a spurned Black cat took Electro as her new partner in seeking revenge on Spidey.

The webslinger answered an Avengers emergency call in ORIGINAL SIN #1 to find Mindless Ones roaming the city streets and fighting the Thing. Spidey helped the heroes battle Exterminatrix and a low-grade villain called the Orb in ORIGINAL SIN #2, but when the eyeball enemy pulled out the Watcher’s eye and exploded it like a bomb in ORIGINAL SIN #3, he knew it would change his life forever. In fact, due to the bomb, the wallcrawler discovered another person bitten by the same spider that bit him as a teenager and rushed to find her in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4.

Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #4

Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #4

  • Published: July 23, 2014
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: January 19, 2015
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Dan Slott
  • Cover Artist: Humberto Ramos
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Calling herself Silk and sporting even greater spider powers than Spidey, she helped the hero fight off the Black Cat and Electro in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5, then found herself in a rematch with the dangerous duo in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6. Spider-Man rejoined the Avengers in ORIGINAL SIN #6 to invade Nick Fury’s secret orbiting satellite and ended up knocked out and floating in space in ORIGINAL SIN #7.

Back on Earth, he teamed with the new Ms. Marvel to clash with Dr. Minerva in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #7 and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #8, and later helped Wyatt Wingfoot and She-Hulk in FANTASTIC FOUR #11 and his old buddy Johnny Storm in FANTASTIC FOUR #12.

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Looking back at some of the greatest nightmares the telepathic threat has caused through the years.

You can’t have a great hero without a great villain and for the main character in FX’s “Legion,” David Haller, that is none other than the powerful, complex and often terrifying menace known as the Shadow King. With Season 2 of the series airing right now, David and the Shadow King’s conflict has only escalated, with the villain unleashed on the world in a bigger way.

Of course the Shadow King, like David himself, originated in Marvel’s X-MEN family of comics, with the Shadow King actually debuting first, in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN, before David’s eventual debut in NEW MUTANTS #25.

Let’s look back at some of the most important and memorable moments in the history of Shadow King, otherwise known as Amahl Farouk, from his many comic book appearances…


The mutant who would become known as the Shadow King, Amahl Farouk, was first seen in UNCANNY X-MEN #117. At that point, Professor X thought that his team of X-Men had perished and felt both depressed and reflective. He recalled a time in his youth after Moira MacTaggert broke off their engagement when he traveled the world to blow off some psionic steam. While in Egypt, a young Ororo Munroe picked his pocket and when Charles went to use his mental powers to stop the tiny thief, he felt a strong psychic attack that lead him to a nearby pub.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #117

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #117

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That’s where he first met Amahl Farouk and the two began communicating through their minds. Xavier compared being in psychic contact with Farouk to “swimming in a sea of maggots.” Farouk said Charles should join forces with him, but Xavier saw him as a criminal who should be punished, which lead to a battle between the two on the psychic plane. As the more experienced telepath, Farouk used some of Charles’ worst memories against him and easily recognized Xavier as a novice during their battle. However, the less experienced party decided to focus on pure power over mental parlor tricks and blasted Amahl in the astral plane so fully that it killed the man in the real world, ending his threat.

Or so Xavier thought…


In fact, the villain survived as a psychic entity — and indeed, we’d eventually learn Farouk was only the latest among other forms he’d used going back much further — and he went on to sense the powerful mutant Karma in NEW MUTANTS #6, taking over her body when she was caught in an explosion. He then stealthily used her body and their combined powers to fortify himself on the physical plane once more. The New Mutants at first only saw their manipulator as Karma, and thought she had betrayed them. Eventually, her body came to look more like Farouk’s corpulent appearance.

New Mutants (1983) #34

New Mutants (1983) #34

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In NEW MUTANTS #34, the Farouk-possessed Karma was now running a club that offered its patrons a taste of darkness. They assumed they could go back into the light, but the Shadow King claimed that his powers included corrupting their souls more fully. He showed part of that power by keeping most of the New Mutants, along with Storm, in his thrall. Thanks to a clever plan concocted by Magik and Warlock, the mutants were freed and the truth discovered about Karma’s possessor. Once Farouk jumped out of Karma and into her fellow New Mutant, Doug Ramsey, she battled the Shadow King on the psychic plane. The evil one once again gained the upper hand early, but Karma persevered. She attempted to capture his psychic form and deliver him to Professor X, but the slippery villain escaped once more into the astral plane.

Muir Island Showdown

He didn’t stay away for too long, though. He eventually made his presence felt in UNCANNY X-MEN #253 when he met Forge on a vision quest. Describing himself as “A ghost. A demon. A nightmare,” Farouk challenged Forge for a caged image of Storm. Forge just barely managed to escape being taken over by his foe, but walked away knowing Storm was both alive and in danger.

X-Factor (1986) #69

X-Factor (1986) #69

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At that point, the Shadow King – who would finally become known by that fearsome moniker in UNCANNY X-MEN #265 – took over FBI agent Jacob Reisz, who had taken Storm to a hospital. Farouk managed to pull a number of strings and make moves behind the scenes, all of which culminated in the Muir Island Saga, which was set into motion in UNCANNY X-MEN #277, and then took center stage in UNCANNY X-MEN #278, UNCANNY X-MEN #279, X-FACTOR #69, UNCANNY X-MEN #280 and X-FACTOR #70. During this period, Charles Xavier came back from being the prisoner of Warskrulls to take on the Shadow King, who had effectively taken control of Muir Island. One of the many mutants the Shadow King used to keep the X-Men at bay was Xavier’s own powerful son, David Haller, AKA Legion, but ultimately, with some help from X-Factor, Professor X and the X-Men managed to stop the Shadow King again – though Charles once more lost the use of his legs in the battle against his longtime foe.


The Shadow King would return to give the X-Men nightmares in the Psi-War crossover, beginning in X-MEN #77, and then go on to take over an alternate reality version of Charles Xavier in NEW EXCALIBUR #8. He’d even give Wakanda trouble in X-MEN: WORLD’S APART #1, #2, #3 and #4, as he possessed the Black Panther and faced off with Storm once more.

Uncanny X-Force (2010) #34

Uncanny X-Force (2010) #34

  • Published: November 21, 2012
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 27, 2013
  • Rating: Parental Advisory
  • Writer: Rick Remender
  • Penciler: Phil Noto
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The Shadow King would then show up to torment X-Force in UNCANNY X-FORCE #10. He even joined together with other villains to become part of Daken’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in several issues, culminating in UNCANNY X-FORCE #34. Alongside his compatriots, Shadow King tried to manipulate Evan, a clone of Apocalypse, into becoming his full self, but with Farouk in control.


Most recently, Shadow King plied his nefarious trade in ASTONISHING X-MEN. When the Shadow King attempted to take over Psylocke, she sent out a distress call that brought Bishop, Angel, Gambit, Fantomex, Old Man Logan, Rogue and Beast in for help. After they saved her, Psylocke explained that the Shadow King intended to build a web out of those with psi powers. “He wants to fill the world with poison and watch us rot from the inside out,” Psylocke elaborated.

Psylocke sent Logan, Rogue, Gambit, Fantomex and Mystique (posing as Beast) to face the Shadow King on the astral plane, while Bishop and Angel remained behind to defend their corporeal bodies. At first, they had no idea that this conflagration actually existed as a competition of sorts between the Shadow King and Charles Xavier. When Cyclops killed Professor X, Farouk snatched his spirit and began challenging him to a variety of contests.

Astonishing X-Men by Charles Soule Vol. 1: Life of X (Trade Paperback)

Astonishing X-Men by Charles Soule Vol. 1: Life of X (Trade Paperback)

  • Published: February 21, 2018
  • Rating: Rated T+

The Shadow King had all the advantages. He chained Professor X up while taking control of Logan and Gambit in the real world and sent them against their friends and comrades. He even managed to start spreading his corruption throughout London. However, Charles had his own trump cards in the form of Rogue, Fantomex and Mystique, three fluid warriors who could help distract the Shadow King long enough for Xavier to finally break free and use the full measure of his power to seemingly destroy his longtime adversary. Making matters worse for the Shadow King, he didn’t just lose, but he also facilitated the return of Charles Xavier to the land of the living by way of Fantomex.

The Shadow King might be down for now in the pages of the comics, but that purveyor of corruption never seems to stay away for too long. So keep your eyes open — and your mind guarded! — while reading the X-books and also be sure to tune into FX’s “Legion” Tuesdays at 10:00pm ET/PT on FX to see what kind of trouble the TV incarnation of the villain is making for David Haller and that show’s group of mutant heroes!

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Plus, writer Ethan Sacks talks about the shocking reveal in this week's issue #5!

In our Creator Commentary series, we give the floor to our storytellers as they present behind-the-scenes looks at the decisions that go into every last panel and page—in their very own words. Today we celebrate the release of OLD MAN HAWKEYE #5 by taking a closer look at the previous issue of the series with writer Ethan Sacks. Read up on issue #1issue #2, and issue #3 before diving into issue #4 right here. 

Ethan, over to you…

*** WARNING: this section contains spoilers for this week’s OLD MAN HAWKEYE #5 ***

Before we dive into issue #4, there’s some big news from issue #5 that just can’t wait until next month’s Creator Commentary…

Kate Bishop is alive in the Wastelands! It’s been hard to keep this under wraps until now, but bringing Kate in was part of my original pitch. She was and is an important part of the puzzle; as Clint loses his eyesight, he can’t continue on the vendetta by himself without being either ridiculously lucky or very dead. So I knew he needed help.

And Clint is not the moody introvert that Logan is, so he works better when he’s yapping away to a teammate or partner. But who? If it’s a super powered character, it would have wrestled the book away from the hero. As I mulled the options, only one made sense to me: Kate Bishop. Their relationship, as shown so well by Kelly Thompson in the recent HAWKEYE book, is the perfect combination of heart and humor for this Hope/Crosby road trip vibe.

Most importantly for me, however, is that their skill sets are so similar that they compliment each other rather than one overpowering the other. It also gave me a chance to explore how each would have handled the survivors’ guilt after all their friends died. Clint is still waiting for the big chance to take down the bad guys, figuring he has to have been left alive for a purpose. Kate has given up on changing the world, so she’s trying to help as many innocents as she can under the radar. Different philosophies of being a hero.

Same monthly price, twice the arrows! Now back to the Commentary on issue #4…

*** Wow, spoilerific! But you’re safe now. No more issue #5 spoilers from here on out! ***

Issue #4 is probably my favorite issue to date, and part of the reason why is because I really like Abe Jenkins and I really feel sorry for him. To show this, we did a series of nine-panel pages—and the fact that [artist] Marco Checchetto hasn’t killed me for this is pretty amazing.

We wanted to show the monotony—without boring the readers—of poor Abe Jenkins’ life. He’s no longer wearing the battle armor, he works six days a week, long hours at this Doombot factory. He has no friends, he just goes home and drinks. He writes letters to Melissa (Songbird) who was the love of his life, but she never writes back. We don’t even know if he really sends any of them, but basically that’s his existence: working, drinking, barely sleeping, writing, and that’s it. Nobody talks to him; they think he’s a joke. It hopefully makes you feel a little sorry for him before Hawkeye comes into the story. Hawkeye obviously feels a little less sorry for him.

So we go through this for a series of pages, and one of the things I’m trying to do here is thread little clues in about Hawkeye’s next stops. He obviously doesn’t know where all of the Thunderbolts are, so part of this is not only trying to kill his former teammates, but just trying to find them.

In Abe’s letters to Melissa, he has an address—the Sanctuary of the Silent Sisterhood—which will come into play later.

Anyway, you don’t have to go through too many of these nine-panel pages before there’s an awesome splash of Hawkeye, bow drawn, ready to put one more notch on his list.

But unbeknownst to Hawkeye, right outside of the factory is Bullseye, who’s caught up to him. He’s got this amazing looking rifle and he’s tracking him with the laser sight, so it looks like this is going to be the world’s shortest 12 issue series, ending in issue #4.

But it turns out, because he crossed Red Skull, he has the equivalent of bounty hunters after him. Some of them are these three grandchildren of Kraven the Hunter. They call themselves the Killer Kravenoffs. They think they’re badass but they really haven’t proven themselves and unfortunately their career doesn’t last very long. But they stall him long enough that he loses sight of Hawkeye, which pisses him off—and you don’t want to piss off Bullseye. So he makes short work of them.

I didn’t want him to fire a gun because that’s kind of a cop out for Bullseye, so he has a bullet that was on the floor and he flicks it with his finger and takes one of them out.

But he gets injured. This was important because he’s too injured to pursue Hawkeye at this moment.

I love this—that the last survivor vows that he will track Bullseye down to the ends of the Earth and have his vengeance; the sort of big comic book declaration of a bad guy. Then Bullseye just stabs him through the head because he wants no part in dealing with that.

He’s no nonsense. He’s not the mustache-twirling villain. He’s somebody who—to recap from previous issues—has been bored for so long. He hasn’t had a challenge, so this is everything to him, that there’s one last hero out there that he gets to kill. Some people take up sewing or karaoke, but for him it’s killing this last hero.

So speaking of this last hero, Hawkeye is waiting for Beetle and he has this little flashback. This flashback is part of that horrific flashback that we saw in issue #2; he’s in the Quinjet, with Black Widow, going to that last fight where all their group of heroes die. Obviously they don’t know that, but Natasha asks if they can really trust the Thunderbolts because they used to be villains. Clint explains his perspective, and the last thing he says is, “I’d trust Abe and those guys with our lives.” We, obviously, find out that was not the best call.

I wanted to give the art team settings for these battles that were different from each other—fun set pieces. So in this case, this is a wrecked Kree spaceship that serves as a war memorial, so there are lots of sharp scrappy pieces and things like that.

When Abe comes, he can barely fit into this old Beetle armor. He obviously hasn’t been taking care of it and hasn’t been taking care of himself.

It’s amazing that he’s sober enough to put it on in the first place, but he couldn’t completely put it on, so just to show how unprepared he was for this, he actually has Hawkeye help him strap in. And Hawkeye is noble enough that if he’s going to kill this guy, he wants him at his full potential.

They have this slightly heartbreaking moment where Clint asks him, “Why did you do it?” And Abe says, “I did it for love,” because he knew that if he joined that last fight, he’d have been treated as a Super Hero and Melissa would have been killed. He sacrificed his principles and he helped kill some of his friends just to keep her alive. That was his motivation, and I found a little nobility in it. Of course Hawkeye didn’t—the woman he loved wasn’t quite so lucky. So that’s what actually sets off the fight.

Elsewhere, the Venoms arrive to Blindfold’s tent. Now Blindfold, being able to see the future, realizes this is going to happen. So she’d been slowly poisoning herself, timing it right so she would die right when they come. But unfortunately, she didn’t die fast enough.

She realized that the Venoms could just bond with her and take her powers by force. She wanted to take that out of play, but they were too fast, so they got a glimpse of where Clint will be in issue #5.

Joe Caramagna does the lettering, and for the Venoms, the letters are like nails down a chalkboard. It really has that horror feel. So the showdown with the Venoms is coming. But now, we still have the Clint and Abe fight to finish.

Ultimately, of course, Hawkeye triumphs and basically causes Beetle’s armor to explode. I love the way Marco drew this scene—he looks like a bug with his arms and legs pulled off. He looks like a dead bug.

Then Hawkeye examines the body and finds a letter to Melissa. Now he has an address. He doesn’t know where it is, but he has a place to go. He starts reading this letter and ends up going to one of his favorite bars because it’s kind of tough to read. He needs a drink to go through with this.

The bar is Josie’s, and it’s Turk—of Daredevil fame—who wasn’t really a villain per se. He obviously survived and has this nostalgic memory of Josie’s. So he opens up, in the middle of nowhere, this bar near Paste Pot Creek.

You can see all of these ants around Clint’s beer bottle. And that’s because Turk has a nephew, Dwight the ant-kid from “Old Man Logan”. I love that character. He was only in “Old Man Logan” for a couple panels, so I kind of wanted to create a backstory for him. He has this helmet and he’s super smart for his age, but he’s still figuring out how to fix it. So there are ants all over the bar.

The cliffhanger at the end of this book is that the Venoms, having seen Blindfold’s vision, know exactly where Hawkeye is. So they are swarming around the outskirts of the bar, and Hawkeye is oblivious.

Keep reading with OLD MAN HAWKEYE #5, by Ethan Sacks and artist Marco Checchetto—available now!

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

Travel to a galaxy far, far away with Marvel’s The Pull List!

On the podcast, Ryan and Tucker preview May 23’s new comic releases, including BLACK PANTHER, DOCTOR STRANGE, MOON KNIGHT, STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, and all the other books that are waiting for you in stores right now!

Watch the video version above as the two dive into all the Star Wars books on offer this week, then dive into the full audio episode below.

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


  • FALCON #8
  • LEGION #5
  • MOON KNIGHT #195
  • STAR WARS #48
  • WEAPON X #18
  • X-MEN: GOLD #28




  • MASTER OF KUNG FU (1974) #90-109
  • QUASAR (1989) #13-16, 51-52
  • MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE (1974) #83-84
  • WHAT IF? (1977) #16




  • HAWKEYE #12
  • MARVEL TEAM-UP #23-26, 28-30
  • MIGHTY THOR #701
  • WEAPON X #11
  • X-MEN: BLUE #15

Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, download the episode from Marvel.com/podcasts, or tune in on SoundCloud!

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Peter joins a new Avengers team, only to be replaced by Doctor Octopus' Superior plan.

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 Spidey’s spectacular step-by-step story…

Stuck in the middle of an eldritch battle between Doctor Strange and Daniel Drumm in NEW AVENGERS #32, Spider-Man made the best of it while Drumm possessed his fellow heroes in NEW AVENGERS #33 and witnessed Strange’s reinstatement as Sorcerer Supreme in NEW AVENGERS #34. Over with his other team, he waited out the original Avengers’ trip to the Microverse in AVENGERS #33, and welcomed Janet Van Dyne back to full member status in AVENGERS #34.

New Avengers (2010) #32

New Avengers (2010) #32

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After the violent clash between two Hobgoblins in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #697, our hero accepted membership on a new team in AVENGERS #1 and joined Captain America and others on a terraformed Mars to confront alien invaders in AVENGERS #2.

Later, the webslinger swung out to the prison holding the dying Doctor Octopus in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #698 — or did he? Seems that Ock already switched bodies with Spidey, leaving Peter Parker adrift in Otto Octavius’ rapidly failing form. In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #699, Peter managed an escape from prison with the help of some super villains, but when he confronted Ock in his body in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700, the doctor’s body finally failed for good…with Peter’s mind in it.

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #700

Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #700

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Otto Octavius swore to become a better Spider-Man than Peter Parker, so in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 he took on a new Sinister Six with brutal will, not realizing Peter’s spirit still resided within him. He also created an deployed an army of “spiderbots” to help him in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2, while Carlie Cooper became suspicious of him. Back with the Avengers, he taunted Sunspot and Cannonball in AVENGERS #6 and witnessed the “White Event” that signaled the arrival of the Starbrand on Earth in AVENGERS #7.

When the Vulture started using children to commit crimes in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #3, Otto viciously attacked him and angered Carlie further. Massacre escaped incarceration in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #4, and after Otto applied at Empire State University to complete Peter’s doctorate studies, he tracked Massacre down and shot him dead in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #5. Afterward, the Avengers concerns over his behavior increased while Peter’s spirit grew stronger within Otto in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6.

Superior Spider-Man (2013) #7

Superior Spider-Man (2013) #7

  • Published: April 03, 2013
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: October 07, 2013
  • Rating: Rated T
  • Writer: Dan Slott
  • Cover Artist: Humberto Ramos
What is Marvel Unlimited?

As Spidey, Otto joined with his teammates to search for the Starbrand in AVENGERS #9, then clashed with Captain America in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #7. Cap subdued him in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #8, but when a scan showed no obvious anomalies, the hero placed Spider-Man on probation. Later, Otto used the scan data to discover Peter’s consciousness still residing in his brain and moved to purge him once and for all in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #9.

Otto traveled to the Savage Land in AVENGERS #12 to investigate a new sentient species there, but when the High Evolutionary also took an interest in the young race, Spider-Man and his teammates raised an argument against it in AVENGERS #13. The Goblin King gained more strength in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #10, and Alastair Smythe enhanced several villains to kill the wallcrawler in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #11. Otto took them all on after receiving permission from Mayor Jameson in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #12 to execute Smythe, and later blackmailed Jameson to give him the Raft prison as a headquarters in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #13.

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (2013) #1

Superior Spider-Man Team-Up (2013) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

After joining the Avengers in Australia to block an alien infestation and a robot assault in AVENGERS #14, AVENGERS #15, and AVENGERS #16, Otto helped his team convince the Mars terraformers to stand with them to battle an even greater threat heading to Earth in AVENGERS #17. Debuting a new Spidey costume and a giant robot-mech in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #14, he saved all his fellow heroes from a virus in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #1 and fought alongside Peter’s clone Kaine against the Jackal in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #2.

Carlie Cooper followed up on her suspicions of “Peter” in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #15, while Otto publicly outed Phil Urich as the Hobgoblin. Urich lost his subsequent battle against Spider-Man in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #16, but won a spot as a Goblin Knight with the underground Goblin King. Otto joined with Luke Cage and others to clash with Proxima Midnight in MIGHTY AVENGERS #1 and MIGHTY AVENGERS #2, then met a new powered individual called Fulmina who wanted to bring about a new Middle Ages in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #3 and SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #4.

Mighty Avengers (2013) #1

Mighty Avengers (2013) #1

  • Published: September 11, 2013
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: March 09, 2014
  • Rating: Rated T+
  • Writer: Al Ewing
  • Cover Artist: Greg Land
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Peter’s boss Max Modell found himself arrested by authorities in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #17, and Miguel O’Hara, the Spider-Man of 2099, appeared in the present to try and stop an event that led to his own timeline and its dark future in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #18. Carlie discovered Otto’s hidden bank accounts in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #19, and Peter Parker’s memories resurfaced once more. The Black Cat suffered an ignoble attack from the webslinger in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #20, and Otto later used the Sinister Six to battle the Wrecking Crew in SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN TEAM-UP #5.

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Flip through the covers for the final issues as the hunt concludes!

This August, the final issue for each HUNT FOR WOLVERINE limited series will hit stands, concluding this breathless chapter in the frantic search for one of the most fearsome super heroes in history.

In WEAPON LOST #4, ADAMANTIUM AGENDA #4, CLAWS OF A KILLER #4, and MYSTERY IN MADRIPOOR #4, the long Logan labyrinth will finally be unraveled, leaving those who seek Wolverine reeling as they contend with the past, present, and future of the Weapon X.

Get an exclusive first look at the covers for each series’ issue #4 below, along with editor Jordan D. White‘s take on what to expect as we uncover more in the deadly puzzle that is HUNT FOR WOLVERINE.

HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: WEAPON LOST #4 cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Roberto Poggi, and Federico Blee

Charles Soule has cooked up a fun detective story for this series, with Daredevil and his investigative team on Logan’s trail. They definitely find something interesting…but not something they’re gonna like.”

HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: THE ADAMANTIUM AGENDA #4 cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Roberto Poggi, and Val Staples

“Logan’s new Avengers pals made him a promise that now they’re being called on keep. Tom Taylor really came up with a super hero adventure with some great twists and turns—I don’t know that anyone would guess where this series would end up! But it’s a helluva ride!”

HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: THE CLAWS OF A KILLER #4 cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Roberto Poggi, and Carlos Lopez

“Killers versus zombies—what a fun concept! No matter who wins…well, we win for getting to watch it! You can tell Mariko Tamaki is having fun torturing these guys!”

HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: MYSTERY IN MADRIPOOR #4 cover by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Roberto Poggi, and Morry Hollowell

“With this series shining a spotlight on the ladies of the X-Men it probably won’t shock you to learn that it will have a huge impact on the X-Men at-large…but it will shock you what that impact is! Jim Zub is doing something I’ve been hoping for for a long time…”


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Ahmed shared some process art from Kamala Khan's 50th issue!

Writer Saladin Ahmed is ready to get you excited for MS. MARVEL #31! This marks the 50th issue featuring Kamala Khan as the stretchy Super Hero, and this jam issue will be written by Ahmed, G. Willow Wilson, Rainbow Rowell, and more. That roster of writers will be joined by a pack of excellent artists including Nico Leon and Gustavo Duarte, plus a great cover by Valerio Schiti and a variant cover by Stephanie Hans!

MS. MARVEL #31, which will hit stores on June 27th, is just as big as its gang of creators and will feature a slumber party for the ages — Kamala will host a sleepover with her best friends Nakia, Zoe, and Mike. But the party is rudely interrupted when calamity strikes Jersey City. Can Kamala save the day and keep her party going at the same time? You’ll have to get the issue to find out, but in the meantime, Ahmed shared previews of some of Duarte’s artwork on Twitter! You’ll find even more familiar face, including your favorite teleporting pooch Lockjaw!

From Bob Quinn, who also worked on the issue:

And from Rainbow Rowell:

Here are all the panels plus the cover:

MS. MARVEL #31 will be available June 27th! Be sure to pre-order your copy with your your local comic book store!

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Need more Wade Wilson in your life? Look no further!

Can’t get enough of the Merc with a Mouth? With his superhuman healing ability, Deadpool’s physical attributes have naturally been enhanced but so has his gift of gab. This is one loquacious, fast-talking fella. Oh and he’s deadly—like, deliriously blood-thirsty, in a charming but extremely terrifying sort of way.

Grab your chimichangas and check out some essential reads that highlight the best of the fourth-wall-breaking, spirited anti-hero.

THE NEW MUTANTS #98 (1991)
Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza

New Mutants (1983) #98

New Mutants (1983) #98

What is Marvel Unlimited?

You can’t discuss the merc with a mouth without talking about his very first appearance where Deadpool arrived to collect the bounty on Cable’s head. This issue is iconic because it also includes the first appearance of the very lucky Domino.

DEADPOOL #1519 – “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (2012)
Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn, Declan Shalvey 

Deadpool (2012) #15

Deadpool (2012) #15

What is Marvel Unlimited?

This fan favorite series has the merc doing everything from fighting zombie presidents to going to North Korea to teaming up with Wolverine and Captain America. This book deep dives into Wade’s psyche and makes you have all the feels while still laughing at his antics. Now that’s the kind of destructive emotional roller coaster ride that only Deadpool can give.

Cullen Bunn, Dalibor Talajic 

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (2011) #1

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (2011) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Just as the title says, this is Deadpool’s attack on his maker. This twisted horror comic isn’t for everyone, but if you love Wade’s sadistic sense of humor more than the average Deadpool fan, this is the comic for you. Deadpool goes around attacking every hero and villain while being under the mind control of Psycho Man.

Al Ewing, Salva Espin, Paco Diaz 

You Are Deadpool (2018) #1

You Are Deadpool (2018) #1

The Choose-Your-Own-Adventure of Deadpool stories, RPGers will love reading You Are Deadpool, a book that gets you involved in the story. Readers will have to roll dice, make decisions that alter the outcome, and have a whole lot of fun along the way.

Gerry Duggan, Scott Koblish 

Despicable Deadpool (2017) #287

Despicable Deadpool (2017) #287

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Deadpool in a new role doing what he does best: killing people. DESPICABLE DEADPOOL hit a finale milestone this month with issue #300, and it’s a doozy. Deadpool will face off with the biggest villains and heroes in the Marvel Universe until he realizes he’s having an internal crisis and the problem is actually himself. It all ends in a mind wipe, but that’s just the set up for a brand new Deadpool comic. You can’t ever really kill the Regenerating Degenerate.

Can’t get enough Wade Wilson and want to read all these digital comics? Check out Marvel Unlimited!

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Will The Odds Be In Your Favor? Read On To Find Out!

Sure, you could say Deadpool is having a huge summer. Don’t underestimate Neena Thurman, and don’t think of her as only Deadpool’s teammate.

Imagine being able to control your fate, just by participating in the cause and effect of a situation. That’s the life of X-Force’s own Domino. The psionic mutant flips the odds in her favor with telekinesis resulting in good luck for her, bad luck for her foes. Not a bad ability to have in tough situations.

While her real name is Neena Thurman, here she goes as Beatrice, seeing as how her existence is the result of a government breeding program called Project: Armageddon that used the precognitive mutant named Beatrice. The name Beatrice is an offshoot of the Latin “beatus” which means fortunate, and that is an apt description of Domino’s powers.

Read up on the what makes Lady Luck’s fate always err on the side of good fortune.

THE NEW MUTANTS #98 (1991)
Rob Liefeld, Fabian Nicieza

New Mutants (1983) #98

New Mutants (1983) #98

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Just like her ol’ pal Wade Wilson, Domino’s first appearance was in THE NEW MUTANTS back in 1991. Or was it? Turns out she was actually a shape-shifter named Copycat but for the sake of argument, this is the first time readers get a glimpse of fortuitous mutant.

DOMINO (1997)
Ben Raab, David Perrin

Domino (1997) #1

Domino (1997) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In her very first series, we get a look at Domino’s origin story while she is on the warpath to save ex-husband Milo Thurman. Wolverine’s old foe Lady Deathstrike plays a big part in this series.

X-FORCE (2008)
Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Clayton Crain

X-Force (2008) #1

X-Force (2008) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Cyclops calls upon Wolverine to lead a team called X-Force, made up of X-23, Warpath, Wolfsbane, Archangel and Domino. This violent alternative X-Men team goes up against the Marauders, pitting villains and heroes in a battle of epic proportions.

Christopher Yost, Craig Kyle, Gabriele Dell’Otto

X-Force: Sex and Violence (2010) #1

X-Force: Sex and Violence (2010) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

A team-up for the ages, Domino and Wolverine head out against all odds when the Assassins Guild puts out a hit on Neena. The title says it all–this book is filled with a lot of both. When you think about it, they’re a perfect match–Domino’s good fortune, Wolverine’s healing factor. Add in a whole lot of bloodshed and you’ve got a dynamic duo.

DOMINO (2018)
Gail Simone, David Baldeon

Domino (2018) #1

Domino (2018) #1

Not only is Domino back in featured in her own solo series, but she’s also solo in the sense that now she finds herself on the wrong side of the mercenary community and having to fight for her life. This series explores a stripped down version of Domino, but will her legendary luck see her through?

Can’t get enough Domino and want to read all these digital comics? Check out Marvel Unlimited!

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