Preview new Minimates from Diamond Select!

Diamond Select Toys recently released Series 4 of its Marvel Animated Minimates collection, the latest assortment in an exclusive mini-figure line only available at Walgreens stores. Now they’re ready to unveil the next assortment in the line! This upcoming fifth series of figures features all-new two-packs from Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble, including new variations on your favorite Super Heroes and Super Villains, as well as two never-before-made characters!

Series 5 will hit in Summer of 2017, and will include four different two-packs, each containing two 2-inch Minimates mini-figures. The assortment includes:

  • From Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Spider-Girl faces off with Hulk Carnage! May “Mayday” Parker is the daughter of Peter Parker from an alternate Earth, while a Carnage-possessed Hulk ravaged New York City in “The Symbiote Saga.” Spider-Girl includes a webline accessory.
  • Also from Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel battles Kang the Conqueror! Teenage Inhuman superheroine Kamala Khan comes with an interchangeable stretching arm and giant hand to challenge the master of time himself! This is the first Marvel Minimate of the new Ms. Marvel!
  • From Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Iron Man’s Mark II armor goes up against Proxima Midnight, a super-strong lieutenant of Thanos. Iron Man eatures a removable helmet and flight stand, while Proxima comes with her spear. This is the first Marvel Minimate of Proxima Midnight!
  • Also from Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Bruce Banner puts on his very own Hulkbuster Armor to take on the gamma-irradiated genius The Leader! The Hulkbuster Armor is removable, and Bruce includes alternate parts so you can display him in his Stark Industries T-shirt!

Each 2-inch Minimates mini-figure features fully interchangeable parts, so you can trade accessories and create custom looks. Minimates also feature a standard 14 points of articulation, to strike a variety of poses, and each Minimate comes with a clear disc base that pegs into the character’s foot to support dynamic poses.

Look for Series 5 to arrive in all Walgreens stores in Summer 2017. Series 4 is shipping to stores now, with Deep Immersion Spider-Man and Anti-Venom, Green Goblin with Scarlet Spider, Speed Energy Hulk with Speed Demon, and Iron Skull with Doctor Spectrum! Find your nearest store at Walgreens.com!

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Get the schedule for signings, panels, giveaways, and more!

This weekend, the House of Ideas takes the Windy City by storm as we prepare for C2E2 and non-stop excitement! We’re bringing the hottest creators, breaking news, plus signings, giveaways, and more! Your central hub for all the excitement is the Marvel Booth (Booth #327) so be sure to stop by for your chance to get in on all the fun!

Want to know more about the blockbuster Secret Empire event? Or about what ResurrXion has in store for your favorite mutants? What about top secret announcements for some upcoming Marvel comics? Then you won’t want to miss this year’s panel lineup chock full of breaking news! And that’s not all because this year’s show features an all-star lineup of your favorite Marvel creators and stars who will be appearing throughout the show. Swing by for scheduled appearances by Jason Aaron, Nick Spencer, Jordie Bellaire, Declan Shalvey, Margaret Stohl, and many more! See the official signing schedule for more info.

Can’t make it to the convention? Follow along on Marvel.com and Marvel social channels, the best way to get announcements from the convention floor and up-to-the-minute panel, in-booth, and signing schedules of all your favorite Marvel creators!

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Alongside the Illuminati, T’Challa does all he can to halt the final incursion!

For 50 years, the Black Panther has stood at the forefront on the Marvel Universe. As we count down to a vision of T’Challa on the big screen coming soon, take a look back at five decades’ worth of comic book adventures…

Caught up in the impending incursions of entire universes with his own, The Black Panther and his fellow Illuminati clashed with Captain America in Spain in AVENGERS #39, but discovered it to be trap. Faced with multiple teams of Avengers, T’Challa and his comrades tried to fight their way out of the noose in NEW AVENGERS #28 until stopped by Sue Richards.

The Panther explained to all assembled in NEW AVENGERS #29 that the final incursion drew nearer and the Illuminati felt stymied to stop it. Just then, Hank Pym appeared and in NEW AVENGERS #30 related his tale of discovering a group of near-omnipotent beings called the Beyonders stood behind the incursions. Together with Black Bolt of the Inhumans, T’Challa confronted Namor in AVENGERS #41 and believed he and his villainous Cabal perished.

The Black Panther and the Illuminati began to construct a lifeboat in AVENGERS #42, a way to save individuals to rebuild after the final incursion. The Galactic Council arrived at Earth in AVENGERS #43, announcing their intention to destroy the planet and halt the incursion. T’Challa met with the President of the United States in AVENGERS #44 to tell him that the Earth would be gone in six hours.

Reed Richards and the Panther piloted the lifeboat with their assembled braintrust aboard in SECRET WARS #1, but when they headed toward the point of collision between universes, a breach occurred that tore the craft in two. The mask of Doctor Doom appeared for a moment before them, but in an explosion of light they lost consciousness.

T’Challa awoke from stasis in SECRET WARS #3 to hear his old friend Doctor Strange explain that he and others slumbered for eight years and that Doom now ruled the world as its god-king. In SECRET WARS #4, Strange took the Panther to a battle between Doom and the Cabal, but when things turned sour, the magician teleported everyone away to save them from the god-king’s wrath.

The Panther and his old rival Namor found themselves in a land called Egyptia in SECRET WARS #5, but in SECRET WARS #6 they traveled to another area of Doom’s world to uncover a cache of powerful artifacts—including an Infinity Gauntlet—hidden from Doom by Doctor Strange.

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The former problem student prepares for his next step!

Quintavius “Quentin” Quire is a male who presents as being in his late adolescence and in healthy physical shape. He is a self-identified mutant with ties to the mutant rights group the X-Men. Although he is mostly known by his given name, he has also been called “Kid Omega.”

The client was dropped off at the office by Thor with her ordering our staff, “You talk to him!” It should be noted that this is not the ideal start of a therapeutic sentence. However, Quire and this writer have a pre-existing relationship and he seemed to agree to a session without coercion so I did sit with the client.

When we last worked together, the client was a student at the Jean Grey Institute. In the time since, he has graduated, joined the X-Men, quit the X-Men out of conflicts with Wolverine, joined the Hellfire Club and seized control of it as the White King, and then quit that as well, going into isolation.

Despite all these changes, Quire presents in much the same way as when we first worked together. He recycled his lines about his distaste for psychology and psychologists, talking therapy, and his assertion that what I practice is “junk science.”

However, when the therapist began to dig into the series of rapid changes the client had recently experienced, his affect changed and it became clear that he was struggling to maintain his typical presentation.

Somewhat begrudgingly he disclosed the boredom that characterized his time with the Hellfire Club which left him confused and agitated. He had always felt he deserved power and leadership and when he gained it he found it rather empty and unfulfilling.

We also explored his complex feelings towards Wolverine, someone he characterized as an individual who only sought to make Quire act his worst just so he could say to the client, “See? Look how bad you are.”

Finally, he confessed he had gained some knowledge—although he was very vague about how or what—of his own death and the experience had shaken him. The therapist’s attempts to dig deeper only resulted in the client becoming more disconnected and dismissive of the session.

Therefore, I moved away from a past focus to a present orientation. The client briefly explained that Thor had been attempting to convince him to help with a re-emergent Phoenix Force. The client presented with anger and bluster at this point. He insisted on his independence and that he would not answer to anyone or follow orders from anyone, not even the “so-called God of Thunder herself.” While the client allowed that, yes, the Phoenix Force would be the biggest challenge he had ever faced and yes, he was aware what it had done, at various times, to Jean Grey and Emma Frost, he refused to admit to or even acknowledge the possibility he had any fears about it.

Abandoning the attempts to get the client to open up and knowing from previous experience he was rarely moved by the needs of others, this writer finally appealed to the client’s sense of self-preservation, arguing that if he faced Phoenix he may be hurt or killed but if he failed to, he’d make enemies of gods and likely would only be delaying an inevitable death by Phoenix, one that he would be less prepared for than this face off.

Given the rather resistant nature of the client, this writer is referring the client to Doctors Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman who have more experience with working with “wielders and victims of the Phoenix Force.” Their follow-up sessions will occur on April 26 and May 17. Session notes can be found in file MIGHTY THOR #18 and MIGHTY THOR #19

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who will never grow tired of people telling him psychology is not real science.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Marc Guggenheim welcomes back the Ragin’ Cajun by sharing his favorite stories!

Gambit’s back in X-MEN: GOLD #4 on May 17, and you can bet he’s bringing his own brand of Louisiana charm and a little trouble with him. To commemorate this homecoming of x-treme proportions, we spoke with writer Marc Guggenheim to take a look back at three of Remy LeBeau’s greatest stories and what might be in store for him in the upcoming arc.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #266

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #266

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Coming in first we have, rather appropriately, Gambit’s original appearance in UNCANNY X-MEN #266 written by Chris Claremont with art by Mike Collins. “He came onto the stage fully formed and really hijacks the story away from young Storm,” says Guggenheim. This appearance also kicks off Gambit and Storm’s long running relationship, which Guggenheim says he’s happy to get to play off in the new series. What better way to do that then to bring back Remy’s days as a master thief? And while Guggenheim takes a more traditional approach to the Cajun, staying true to the voice he has engrained in his head from years of reading the original comics, he did say he loves a good pun so that might just be in the cards for us, mes amis!

Gambit (1993) #1

Gambit (1993) #1

  • Published: December 01, 1993
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2011
  • Rating: T
What is Marvel Unlimited?
Next we have the Ragin’ Cajun’s original limited series, GAMBIT, written by Howard Mackie with art by Lee Weeks. This marked the first time we see Remy as a stand-alone character and according to Guggenheim, it’s where you realize that he can really hold a spotlight with that down-home twang and devil-may-care attitude. “He’s a slightly more morally compromised Han Solo,” says Guggenheim adding that he believes X-MEN: GOLD #4 artist RB Silva’s style perfectly suits the task of capturing that unburdened and free feel Gambit brings with him. All and all we can expect more of the old school Mardi Gras feel you’ve come to expect from the bayou boy.

X-Men (1991) #24

X-Men (1991) #24

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Finally, any story that ships Gambit and his ‘chere,’ Rogue, as hard as Guggenheim does. “There is just something very pure about being in love with someone you can’t have a physical relationship with,” says the writer. Quick recap: Rogue’s powers allow her to absorb another’s memories, abilities, personality and physical traits through skin-to-skin touch but prolonged contact proves quite harmful to those around her. So despite his borderline narcissistic confidence Gambit’s advances often get met with a stone cold poker face. We have to hand it to the guy though, with all the obstacles standing in their way he sure hangs in there for his ladylove. There must be a real spark between the two.

Be sure to catch all the card-throwing, ego, and Cajun lingo May 17 in the new X-MEN: GOLD #4 by Marc Guggenheim and RB Silva!    

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Amanda Riley, Costume Designer of S.H.I.E.L.D. joins the pocast!

For this week’s Women of Marvel Podcast, host Judy Stephens welcomes Amanda Riley, Costume Designer of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., to the podcast to chat the creation of Madame Hydra’s new costume!

Listen to the Women of Marvel – Episode 143 now!

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The Women of Marvel podcast assemble to chat all things Marvel and more! New episodes will be released every Thursday, co-hosted by Marvel Director, Content and Character Development Sana Amanat, Marvel.com Producer Judy Stephens, along with Marvel DMG Senior Social Media Manager Adri Cowan.

Have feedback or questions? Email us at WomenOf@marvel.com, or tweet your questions and comments to @Marvel with the hashtag #WomenOfMarvel!

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Artist Niko Henrichon ushers in a new era for the Sorcerer Supreme!

Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo might be leaving DOCTOR STRANGE with #20, but that doesn’t mean the magic stops there. In fact, a completely new creative team stands ready to pick up the Master of the Mystic Arts’ adventures with the following issue, which hits on May 31.

Writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Niko Henrichon will kick off their run just as Secret Empire invades the Marvel Universe. As Stephen defends the world against the magical forces involved, the neophyte creative team will continue getting to know their lead.

We talked with Henrichon about tackling an event tie-in, working with Hopeless, and the appeal of Doctor Strange’s wild world.

Marvel.com: What is it about Doctor Strange that attracted you as an artist?

Niko Henrichon: Until recently, the character was very mysterious to me. I saw him from time to time in various comics but never really followed closely. It’s only recently that I discovered the fantastic work of Steve Ditko on the original [Doctor Strange stories in STRANGE TALES]. Obviously, I enjoyed the recent movie and thought they really nailed the psychedelic aspect of the parallel worlds featured in an amazing way in Ditko’s Doctor Strange.

So, when I [received an offer] to follow with Dennis Hopeless as the writer, after the run of Aaron and Bachalo, I immediately accepted. I’ve spent the last seven or eight years doing albums for the French European market. I had the chance to work on ambitious projects there, but now it feels great to come back to comics. There’s something fresh and dynamic about [American] comics. The fast storytelling, the smaller pages, I love it.

Marvel.com: Do you have plans to give Stephen a new look for the series?

Niko Henrichon: The story picks up after Aaron and Bachalo’s run so we’re keeping the look as it was before. For the future, I guess it will depend on how the story develops.

Marvel.com: As it happens, your first issue with Dennis on the book coincides with the Secret Empire crossover. How will that play into the story?

Niko Henrichon: That question would be more suitable for Dennis but I feel like we’re really focusing on Doctor Strange’s own journey, along with his colleagues.

Marvel.com: Do you enjoy the challenge of designing the kinds fantastical and supernatural elements that appear in a book like DOCTOR STRANGE?

Niko Henrichon: Yes I do! I love the monster design job. This book has a lot of them so it’s a real delight.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Dennis on these issues so far?

Niko Henrichon: Really bad! No seriously, Dennis is great to work with. His writing [perfectly balances] between creative freedom and storytelling tightness. The way you want a Marvel book to feel like.

To see what happens when the Sorcerer Supreme feels the effects of Secret Empire, check out DOCTOR STRANGE #21 by Dennis Hopeless and Niko Henrichon on May 31!

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How did the most beloved hero in the Marvel Universe become its most dangerous enemy?

Each week, we use our super sleuth skills to dig into the histories of the characters fighting on both sides of Secret Empire!

Over a year ago, Captain America uttered two words that sent the comic-reading world into an uproar: “Hail Hydra.” Since then, this new version of an old hero has worked to secretly aid his beloved organization, especially in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS by Nick Spencer and regular artist Jesus Saiz.

This week, however, the Marvel Universe finally started understanding the truth with the publication of SECRET EMPIRE #0 by Spencer along with artists Daniel Acuna and Rod Reis. Captain America hasn’t just been working for Hydra this whole time, he’s been orchestrating a three-pronged attack on the entire planet in his efforts to tear down the existing framework of society and rebuild it from the ground up.

In addition to drawing an immense Chitauri army by capturing and holding a queen on Earth, Rogers also orchestrated the creation of an army of super villains to attack Manhattan and even got the U.S. government to completely sign over power to him. In other words, he has the world in his grasp and simply needs to squeeze.

But how did it all come to this? How did one of the greatest heroes ever created, a man who’s patriotism and leadership have inspired others since his creation in 1941, go so bad? Not to deflect blame from the perpetrator, but The Red Skull pulled all the strings.

As explained in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #2 by the Skull himself, Kobik actually came from the Cosmic Cube destroyed in a battle between the villain and Captain America, as seen way back in CAPTAIN AMERICA #448. After re-forming as a child, she sought out the man she had spent so much time with previously. With the entity in his grasp, the Skull indoctrinated her with stories about the greatness of Hydra.

So, what does all this have to do with Captain America? Well, when Maria Hill decided to use Kobik to create Pleasant Hill—a prison for super villains changed by the Cosmic Cube into supposedly peaceful individuals—she actually played into the Skull’s plans. After Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers—then transformed to his actual physical age—and other heroes found out about the prison, they demanded it be shut down. Following an attack by Crossbones in Pleasant Hill, Cap got his youth and power restored by Kobik who didn’t want anything bad to happen.

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

Captain America: Steve Rogers (2016) #1

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Now, here’s where things get tricky. According to Red Skull, at this moment he had Kobik rewrite all of Steve’s memories, which explains the mostly black and white flashbacks seen throughout his solo book. Instead of dedicating himself to the individual-praising doctrines of the United States, Steve learned the true power of working together from Hydra. Instead of growing up in New York City until he entered into Project Rebirth, a woman named Elisa took him to a Hydra camp where he and other children trained to become agents. There he met Helmut Zemo and the two became lifelong friends.

In his mind, Steve took on the assignment to kill Dr. Erskine, the man who created the Super Soldier Serum. Instead, Helmut pulled the trigger, but Hydra arranged for Arnim Zola to take over and still give Steve the serum which produced Captain America. Rogers served during World War II for the Allies, but secretly still worked for Hydra. In that version of history, the Axis powers won, but the Allies developed a Cosmic Cube that would supposedly allow them to rewrite history. In the pages of SECRET EMPIRE #0, Kraken explained to Steve that he would enter into this new world and be something very different, but would eventually wake up when Kobik touched him.

Restored to his Hydra-loving ways, Steve started working with Red Skull, though also against him. It turned out that, to Captain America, Hydra represented a more pure idea and that the Skull had tarnished it by recruiting racists and making it all about himself. After much subterfuge, Cap killed Skull in CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #15 and continued with his plans to move the proper Hydra to the forefront of humanity.

Now the question becomes, who can stop the world’s most experienced tactician? Well, hopefully the combined might of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes…

The Empire Strikes Back

Unfortunately, Secret Empire does not mark the first time that Captain America wound up working for The Red Skull. Co-creator Jack Kirby had the villain recount his own origin to a bound Sentinel of Liberty way back in TALES OF SUSPENSE #66. The tale gave a chemical enough time to work its way into Cap’s system and allow the bad guys to seemingly order him to attack the Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies in the following issue. Before the mission itself in issue #67, the Skull introduced Cap to Hitler and then sent him after his target. Bucky infiltrated the accompanying Nazi squad, but couldn’t fully shake Steve out of his stupor. Finally, in #68, it’s explained that Cap snapped out of the Skull’s control when he had the gun pointed at the General, causing him to return to his heroic state of mind.

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Participate with quizzes, puzzles, exclusive first looks, and more for Secret Empire!

Marvel is excited to announce an all-new way to interact directly with the Marvel Universe, with Marvel’s first chatbot. Timed with the release of Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire, fans will have the ability to directly chat with some of their favorite Marvel Super Heroes and be a part of the Marvel Universe through Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM. Powered by Conversable, this new chatbot experience presents a bold and exciting new way for fans to interact with some of Marvel’s most popular heroes who are directly in the throes of Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire!

At launch, in support of Marvel Comics’ Secret Empire event, the Marvel chatbot will allow fans the ability to converse with everyone’s favorite neighborhood wall-crawler, Spider-Man! Fans will also be able to engage in fun quizzes and puzzles, receive exclusive first-looks, and find their local comic shops.

“Marvel will always be on the forefront of exciting new ways for fans to experience the Marvel Universe,” said Julie Gerola, VP/GM Marketing & Digital Operations. “We are so excited to debut a brand new way for our fans to engage directly with some of the Marvel characters during the events of Secret Empire and have the added ability to have their local comic shop’s location sent directly to them so that they can further explore the entire Marvel Universe.”

The chatbot, produced in partnership with Conversable Inc., leverages natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to engage users with an entirely unique adventure written by Eisner Award-winning author, Jim McCann.

“When it comes to loyalty and engagement, Marvel stands out as a leader. As consumers move to new platforms, it’s more important than ever for brands to meet their audience where they are,” said Ben Lamm, CEO of Conversable. “What Marvel is doing is a truly original way for such a creative organization to engage customers and tell stories through new mediums. Through the power of conversational intelligence, fans can go from bystander to fully immersed in the Marvel Universe and become part of the story.”

All of this, plus much more, will be delivered directly to fans’ mobile devices and desktops through Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM. What will you say to Spider-Man? What kind of Easter eggs will you be able to find? Find out this spring from Marvel Comics during the launch of SECRET EMPIRE #1 in comic shops May 3!

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