Agent Coulson Debuts in the Marvel Universe !!!

Ever since his first appearance in Iron Man, fans have grown to love the scene-stealing S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson. As such, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the character — who originates from the films — made his debut in the pages of Marvel Comics. As revealed by USA Today, that debut is happening this week, just in time for The Avengers movie.

The mini-series Battle Scars, which IGN Comics has reviewed favorably and tells the story of a long-lost son of Nick Fury, will be the character’s official debut in the comic books. Written by Chris Yost with art by Scot Eaton, battle Scars #6 hits comic book stores tomorrow and marks the conclusion of the series.

Long-lost Fury offspring Marcus Johnson (left) and comic book Phil Coulson (right)


Head over to USA Today for a few more images, and be sure to scoop up the book tomorrow. Long live Agent Coulson!

 

Batman Prepares for Night of the Owls

As we stand on the eve of the release of the New 52′s first attempt at a massive crossover event in Night of the Owls, our anticipation is high. DC Comics has promised that the event is not the kind of crossover that requires the reading of the many books it’s hitting, but simply one that will see ramifications throughout the Bat-books as a result of the primary story that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are telling in Batman.

It’s been a long, hard road for the Dark Knight, and it appears that the imminent dangers and insanity are not about to let up. Last week, I had the chance to catch up with artist Greg Capullo about where Batmanhas been, where he’s headed, and what terrors lay in wait for Gotham’s protector in Night of the Owls.

IGN Comics: You and Scott have both talked about how you guys had a bit of a rocky start when beginning work on Batman. Can you talk a little bit about how your collaborative relationship has evolved and where you’re at now?

Greg Capullo: Yeah, sure. Early on, as you mentioned, Scott – I would say – was apprehensive about how I like to work, which is with a lot of free range. I look at the relationship like a screenwriter and director. I think once he saw what kind of things I would do with his scripts, and what kind of flourishes I might add and whatever beats, how they complement and add to, rather than detract from, he’s totally relaxed with it now. Now, he lets me run with anything I want to do. He actually includes in a lot of his scripts: “Anything you want!” with an exclamation point and sometimes a smiley face; it’s very cool.

So now it’s very easy; our goal isn’t so much, “Oh, let me show I’m the best writer! Let me show I’m the best artist!” you know? It’s just let’s show the best possible Batman that we can. That’s how we’ve evolved. It’s no longer Scott Snyder versus Greg Capullo. It’s Capullo and Snyder against Batman. How can we bring Batman to the world in the biggest, most spectacular manner?

IGN: So would you say your progression together as collaborators has improved the overall quality of the book?

Capullo: Oh, absolutely. Once you’re trusting each other and you’re sharing the same vision – which is simply the biggest, baddest Batman that the world has seen in quite some time – then sure, you’re going to get a better product. And you know, I have to say, it’s not just me and Scott who are doing this.

FCO on colors and Jonathan Glapion on inks, we are all like-minded or single-minded at making Batman the most badass Batman you’ve seen ever. We’re all on the same page and my eyes touch all the pages before they go to editorial, so that I can help direct tone at times. But everybody’s really doing their part and putting their guts into this thing. So it’s coming out pretty good, I think.

 
IGN: Is there anything about the Batman run this far, or Night of the Owls in particular, that has challenged you as an artist?

Capullo: I mean, every once in a while there’s a bit of a challenge. Like right now… it’s not the sexiest page of Batman, but it’ll be cool. I’m drawing like twenty people at a dinner table. [laughs] I guess you can call that a challenge. It’s not sexy, so you just have to kind of gut it out. But I would just say that the challenge doesn’t come so much from Scott’s writing as much as my desire to give the world the best Batman possible. The challenge for me is how to do that; how do I present him? So I’m just going with my own vision of what scares the hell out of me with Batman and pushing it everybody’s faces.


IGN: In a previous interview you did, you had mentioned how you felt you were sometimes type cast, so to speak, toward the grittier superhero characters.

Capullo: Right, right.

IGN: Do you feel this Batman run is still in that wheel house, or has it let you stretch your muscles a bit?

Capullo: It has a little bit, I suppose. You know, if you look at the beginning issues, they were more clean. They’re less gritty because the story was sort of open and emerging at that time. In that respect, it was closer to maybe some of my work on X-Force but with some shadow work thrown in. But as the story spiraled out of control with Batman just getting his ass whipped and starved and not shaving and filthy and not showering and everything he’s been through, it’s sort of taken me down that type cast road – which I’m comfortable in, it’s just a few more tick marks and hash lines or whatever – but yeah, it’s kind of familiar ground. It’s superhero meets my old work on Spawn. So yeah, it’s similar in that way.

IGN: One thing that I have to ask because I loved it so much and I know a lot of people did, was the book-turning aspect of Batman #5.

Capullo: Hey, thanks!

IGN: I’m just curious where that idea developed from. Was that in the script, did you guys work it out together, or was that all you?

Capullo: Like I mentioned earlier, when I get a script from Scott — or any writer, for that matter — what goes through my head while I’m reading it is, “What can I add to bring this up a notch?” So when I’m drawing this thing and he’s lost in the maze and we have all the cool drugged water and everything like that, it just occurred to me.

“You know what would be cool? If we turned the book!” And that’s been done, but what made me go all the way around is because Scott ended with a page that had Damian and Gordon on the rooftop, so it brought it back to our world, so to speak. So I thought we’d just keep going. As the madness goes, we’ll turn the book more until it’s upside down and then we’ll right the book when we’re back in the normal world, if you will.


It just popped in my head and I bounced it off of Scott. As I said, Scott and I have a great relationship now so we’re a team; he right away backed me on it. And then it just became selling it to the editors. After that, you have what you have, and it made everybody nervous. But I have to tell you, when I’m signing autographs at conventions, nine out of ten people come up and go, “Issue #5! Issue #5!” So it turned out to be a really good move.

IGN: Yeah, it really, really sold that book I think. But I’m curious if that was a hard sell on the editorial  side of things.

Capullo: Well… [laughs] Not initially. Initially, my editor and Bob Harras, they said, “Yeah, cool!” And then after we got it all done and it was ready to go, I get an e-mail from Mike Marts, my editor, and he says, “You know, we’re worried the people are going to think it was a printing error and we’re thinking maybe just go horizontal and then go back the other way again.” And I said, if you do that… well, I said this in a real aggressive voice; not very nice. [laughs]

IGN: [laughs]

Capullo: But I said, “It’d be stupid then! Just to go horizontal and then switch it back up is pointless. It will just look like I’m doing a stupid job. It doesn’t matter if they get it or if they don’t get it. Most of the smart crowd will get it.” And then I pulled a Steve Jobs quote out of my butt and said, “Stay foolish!” And then I tried to hit him a little bit low and said, “You just had the balls to launch 52 books at the company, and now – and now — you’re going to neuter yourselves on me? Now you’re going to lose your nut sack?” So I gave him that kind of thing and the Steve Jobs quote I think hooked  Bob Harras who said, “You know what? People say I’m as foolish as they come, so we’re going to do it.” But it didn’t end there.

So then I get the hard copy myself. Up until now, I’ve just had my art boards in front of me spread out. So I get the book, and I get to the page where the owls come pouring out of Bruce’s parents’ mouth, right? And it appears to me on the wrong side. Before turning the page – that’s when you have to start turning the pages in reverse – I had a knee jerk reaction and raced to my computer really boiling mad. I’m saying to my editor, “I was so meticulously careful doing this thing! How can you allow this to happen?! The printers made a mistake!”

And so, then I went back to the book and realized that it has to do this. I didn’t count on that particular move, where you had to turn the pages in reverse. But then when it hit me it was like, “This is even better!” So I’m glad that I didn’t foresee it, because I felt what readers felt. I was just as surprised as all of the readers, it was really, really cool. So that part was accidental on my behalf.

IGN: That’s awesome. I’m glad to hear that you got to enjoy it beyond actually drawing it.

Capullo: Dude, I gotta tell you. My heart and soul is into this every single day. I work a lot of hours, man. I mean a lot of hours. A short day is 12 hours. And then I tell myself, “I’m drawing freakin’ Batman!” I could be putting on a roof someplace. I could be digging a ditch to lay pipe. It’s all love and energy.

IGN: That’s really great to hear. Now, Night of the Owls starts next week with issue #8 [on sale tomorrow!], so I’m curious if there’s anything fans should look out for during their second read through of your run that might drop a hint or two at the influence of the Court of Owls in Gotham City?

Capullo: I mean, the big one is out there. They’ve been entrenched in Gotham for about 400 years or so, I think Scott has said. I don’t know if there are other hidden clues, and if there are, I don’t want to say because Scott might want them to stay hidden for now. But I mean, everybody’s pretty much seen some of the other Talon designs that I’ve come up with, which show the hundreds of years that these guys have been around. So we’ll be seeing those in these other books that are having this crossover event. They’re all deadly in their own regard. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed, and I like that.

IGN: Is there anything you can tell us about Night of the Owls that we don’t know yet? What should fans be expecting from this story?

Capullo: There’s going to be some shocking reveals. Again, I can’t say too much because we don’t want to spoil the fun. But the Bat-family has their work cut out for them. They’ve ruled the roost, so to speak, for a while and right now they’re getting their asses handed to them. I think fans are going to be shocked and go, “Wow! Our big tough guys who have been running the show for so long and protecting us so well… even they can receive a pretty hearty beat down at the hands of these Owls.” I would just say to expect a fun ride that’s going to grab them by the throat and make their heart pound in their chest. Hopefully we don’t crack too many ribs when that happens!

IGN: [laughs] So avoiding spoilers obviously, is there anything coming up in Batman that you’re looking forward to drawing that you maybe haven’t had a chance to yet?

Capullo: Issue #9 features a new Batmobile design. That’s really cool. There’s some battle armor that’s showing up and that’ll be out in this next coming issue. So that’s all been great fun stuff to create. In the issue I’m working on now, which is issue #10, we’ve got yet another monumental reveal and so I got to design some pretty powerful stuff for that one too. That’s pretty much all I can say; my hands are tied, not my tongue, so we’ll put a period on that one. [laughs]

IGN: My last question: can you say how long you’ll be sticking around on Batman with Scott?

Capullo: Well, when I signed up it was certainly just for a short duration. But Batman is a lot like crack. Not that I’ve ever done crack, and I want to put that out there right now. Never done crack! But I have done Batman now and I imagine it’s similar to doing crack in the fact that once you pick it up, you don’t want to put it down, you know? You just want to suck on more Batman crack pipe.

IGN: [laughs]

Capullo: Geez, that sounds so bad, I need to watch that. [laughs] Now I’m really wound up. So anyway, Scott knew that I was coming to an end with this Court of Owls thing, and he goes, “I would love to keep working with you, it’s great.” And I go, “Yeah, I’m having a good time with you.” And so he pitched me his next idea, and it’s just so awesome and so dark and so twisted – I guess I am type cast, I’m going right back into it – but I just had to do it. As a matter of fact, my nipples are getting stiff right now just talking to you about it.

IGN: [laughs]

Capullo: The most I can say is it’s one of everyone’s favorite rogues and it’s going to be… well, you think the Court of Owls is dark and twisted, this is going to transcend even that.

IGN: Wow.

Capullo: Mild-mannered Scott Snyder is a really sick puppy. But I like that about him, so it’s all cool.


IGN: Awesome. Is there anything else you wanted to add?

Capullo: Yeah, man, I’d just like to say thank you to everybody for accepting me as an artist into the DC fold. I know it’s kind of like a special club and I didn’t get paddled too bad, I passed through the gauntlet, and now I’m part of the family.

I just want to tell them that I can’t promise you that I’m going to give you the very best Batman you’ve ever seen ever in your entire life; what I can tell you and what I vow to you is that I will give you the best possible badass Batman that I possibly can muster, and it’s coming to me from the lead of my pencils. There’s burnt wood, there’s burnt erasers littering the floor, along with a few blisters and blood and I’m going to deliver the goods to you.

IGN: Thanks so much Greg, and I really appreciate your time today.

Capullo: My pleasure, Joey.

 

Checking Out DC’s New 52′s Earth 2

We’re less than a month away from the launch of DC Comics‘ second wave of New 52 titles, which includes a couple of series that finally introduce the multiverse. Most notable is James Robinson and Nicola Scott’s Earth 2 – originally known as Justice Society – which tackles the exploration of the alternate Earth through characters like Jay Garrick and Alan Scott, along with many familiar (but totally new) faces.

We talked with Robinson about his approach to Earth 2, potential crossovers with the main DC Universe, and a lot more. Earth 2 #1 launches on May 2.

IGN Comics: First, James, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us.

James Robinson: It’s always great talking to members of the comic book press, believe me. And I say that with no sarcasm at all, I promise.

IGN: [laughs] Well, let’s start by talking about how this book evolved from its earliest existence as the Justice Society book to a full-fledged Earth 2 series.

Robinson: Well, it technically kind of-sort of is still the Justice Society book. When there were talks of a relaunch and all of that, I was always the guy that was going to be doing the Justice Society. What form that book was going to be took a little bit of time to get straight and feel it was the right version; the way that best worked with what was going on in the new main DC Universe. So as that began to take shape, we realized that we were not just making a new team on this alternate world, but also creating the world itself.

It’s a world that is similar enough to Earth – you’ll definitely recognize it. It isn’t completely alien or completely terra-formed or any of those science fiction devices. But it is different enough in many ways due to events and circumstances that occurred in the past that it feels unique in its own right. So with that in mind, as opposed to calling this book ‘The Justice Society,’ we thought calling it Earth 2 — though definitely dealing with the formation of the Justice Society — there are definitely other characters, other scenarios, other situations and dramas that are going on in this world beyond just the team dynamic that makes the tapestry that this book is painted on much bigger and broader, more epic and more exciting.

IGN: This might be sort of a loaded question, but are there any fundamental, core differences between Earth 2 and the main DCU?

Robinson: I don’t want to say too much. And I’ve actually said this before – one of the only things about doing interviews is that it takes away the fun of experiencing the books as you read them. I think everyone now, with the Internet and the Previews catalog and everything else… there’s so much about what’s happening that you could probably just read that material and never actually buy any of the comic books.

I like the idea of you picking up the book and having fun with it and experiencing it for the first time. So I don’t want to say too much to explain what’s different about it or what’s the same about it, but what I will say is that with regard to Jay Garrick and Alan Scott and Al Pratt and some other characters that you’ll see come along, while they have parallels in the main DC Universe, there’s no point in making them just another version of that character.

So I’ve tried to write them different enough so that they feel fresh and unique in their own sense. If they stood next to their main DC Universe counterpart – like Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, for instance – Jay feels very distinct as his own hero and his own person, even though he’s a speedster. There are traits that make him very different from Barry Allen. I really tried to do that with him and Alan Scott and Al Pratt and some of the other people that we’ll be capturing as the drama unfolds and you see more of the cast and more of Earth 2 as a world.

IGN: Now, we know that the main DCU has this timeline of superheroes being in existence for about 5 years. Is there a similar approach taken in Earth 2?

Robinson: There’s a similar approach, yes.

IGN: Easy enough. [laughs] Much has been made about the series incorporating the death of Lois Lane as a focal point for Superman and that Wonder Woman is the last of the Amazons, but things are more ambiguous in terms of the details we know about Batman. Can you speak to what makes this version of the character different than the one we know?

Robinson: Again, I don’t want to say too much. I know I’ve been criticized for that, but I am resolute. I just don’t want too much to go out until the book comes out. But this is what I will say: Batman, on this world, is a father. He’s got a responsibility and love in his heart, which makes him a different kind of Batman. He’s just as driven, but part of what he’s trying to do is imbue his offspring with his abilities. He’s not just passing on his talents, he’s also passing on his love for his daughter.

IGN: What’s the driving plot of this series? Who are we primarily following through this world as we explore it?

Robinson: Well, you’re following a variety of characters. Some of the names that people want to hear are in this book – you’re definitely following Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Al Pratt. But as I said, it isn’t just about the Justice Society – they are very much a central piece of this – but also Earth 2 as a whole and the events that happen all over the planet.

IGN: Great. And we know that there are new versions of main DCU characters as well as the JSA. Any plans to incorporate the characters lost in translation in the new DCU like Wally West or Donna Troy?

Robinson:Not to my knowledge. I’ll just say, for the record so people know, I’m one of the greatest Donna Troy fans. But I just have no idea of what’s happening with her or Wally West.

Check Out a Variant Cover from Worlds’ Finest!
IGN: Fair enough. And obviously, the primary focus of the New 52 in general has been accessibility. Is there a challenge in making this alternate universe accessible to new readers?

Robinson: This is one of the things that I’m trying to do with it, is there aren’t going to be long, stretched out arcs or stories that just get lost in how long they are. It’s going to be nice, finite readable stories. But the introduction of the characters and formation of the team will be done over enough issues and with enough steady pacing that too much isn’t crammed into one issue along with a new universe and new world so it doesn’t just become this frantic, jumbled mess. It’s definitely a lesson I learned from writing Justice League. I was, I think, probably guilty of putting too much into every storyline. Less could’ve been more; I’ve definitely learned from that.

And you know, yes this is an alternate Earth, but I think even for new readers the concept of the alternate Earth, well, we’ve seen it obviously in past DC books but for new readers of DC, it’s existed at Marvel in the X-Universe and the Fantastic Four world, or through Doctor Who and Fringe – the other Earth as a concept is something that’s so engrained in the kind of stories and kind of series that fans of comics or science fiction on television are already used to, that I don’t think it’s going to be such a jarring aspect of this new book.

It’s just how those pieces of this new world and the new characters are slowly rolled out for readers so it’s a nice, steady stream of information that doesn’t become garbled. It’s something I’m taking a lot of time to try and make sure I do my job right, and make it a book that’s very accessible from page one of the first issue.

IGN: Well going off of that, you talk about how the alternate history angle is engrained in sci-fi itself. What do you think is so appealing about seeing alternative takes on established stories or established characters?

Robinson: That’s a good question! I think it is just looking at something from a different perspective. I think the thing about alternate worlds, as opposed to Elseworlds, is that with Elseworlds or a “What If” if you’re talking Marvel Comics or what have you, is that they don’t “count.” They don’t “matter.” With Earth 2 or another alternate world, they exist and so it’s this tangible thing that’s different but something that can’t be ignored. It has to be dealt with and brought into the bigger picture, which I think is the fun of it. It’s why I think Earth 2 will be fun; in a way it’s a complement to the main DC Universe as a whole.

IGN: In that regard, and this might be a bit too early to say, but do you have any interest – or does DC have any interest – of some sort of meet-up between the main DCU and the characters of Earth 2?

Robinson: I can’t confirm or deny that, but I think it would be kind of silly to not have something like that planned at some point in the future.


IGN: Awesome, that’s exciting! And what about connections to Worlds’ Finest, the other multiverse-inspired New 52 book that’s launching in May?

Robinson: For now, I’m busy making sure that my book starts off in the right way. I think Paul [Levitz] is doing the same thing with Worlds’ Finest. But again, it would be foolish not to have closer ties down the line, so it’s something that I can’t confirm or deny, but I wouldn’t be surprised, if I was a reader, if it happened in the future.

IGN: Cool. That’s pretty much all the questions that I had for you, but I do have one reader question that I got over Twitter for you: they want to know if there will be any Aqua-characters in Earth 2?

Robinson: I can’t say!

IGN: [laughs] Easy enough. Is there anything you wanted to add about Earth 2?

Robinson: Just that it’s a book I’m genuinely excited about. I think I’m doing great work on it, and I think Nicola Scott is doing fantastic, fantastic work. It’s also being inked beautifully by Trevor Scott and all around I think it’s a quality book that fans will enjoy. Any fans that might have misgivings because it’s not exactly the Justice Society that they want – there have been lots and lots of different permutations of the Justice Society and I think this is one new one that they’ll hopefully give a chance to. I think they’ll enjoy it and have a lot of fun on Earth 2.

IGN: Awesome! Well, I’m really looking forward to it James, and I really appreciate your time.

Robinson: Thank you!

 

IGN Finds Out – The Walking Dead: What’s Next in Season 3!

That’s all she wrote, everyone. For season 2 of The Walking Dead, anyway. And boy, what a finale it was. Featuring some truly exciting tidbits leading into the next season, we’re going to suffer through a long and grueling summer of torture without any zombie goodness.

To hold us over, we had our last chat with Robert Kirkman until season 3 begins.

There are spoilers within for “Beside the Dying Fire” and some mild spoilers for the comic book series as well. You’ve been warned.

IGN Comics: As expected Robert, I really, really enjoyed the finale. Very satisfied.

Robert Kirkman: Cool, thanks!

IGN: Last week, you mentioned that the group we started this episode with would not be the same one we ended it with, and you were spot on with that statement. But not even counting their physical losses here, what do you think is the most drastic change in the group by the end of the episode?

Kirkman: There’s a lot going on. Lori and Rick are definitely at odds because of the revelation that Rick killed Shane, I think that Carl is definitely a bit shell-shocked about this, and you know, Andrea is off on her own which is kind of interesting. I think Rick is now clearly established as the leader, but it’s come at a great cost. To a certain extent, he’s leading out of fear more than he is out of loyalty, and that’s a dangerous thing. Maggie and Beth and Hershel are definitely reeling from the deaths of Jimmy and Patricia, and we’ve introduced Michonne! I think that’s a really big, earth-shattering change to the cast. So there’s a lot going on and quite a bit that will have people absolutely dying to see season 3.

IGN: Totally. And this episode seems to be Rick’s real turning point into the leader that he needs to be. Do you foresee a challenge in keeping him likable as the show’s anchor point while sending him down this really dark and hard path?

Kirkman: I think that’s all based on the audience. I think a good portion of the audience really wanted to see him step up and take charge. I don’t think we’re in danger of alienating those people. This is just a realistic portrayal. This is what would happen to a guy living through these kind of things. You have to recognize that he’s not a leader; he’s not a guy who wanted this role.

He’s a guy that’s surrounded by people who are demanding that he take up this responsibility and help them. He’s put into an impossible position, and so watching it affect him and watching it hurt him emotionally and cause him to do these things is a compelling thing to watch. I’m not really worried about likability, as long as he’s compelling.

Read IGN TV’s Review of Walking Dead’s Season 2 Finale!
IGN: Well said! And as promised, you guys revealed what Jenner told Rick back at the CDC.

Kirkman: Finally!

IGN: [laughs] Which was, of course, that they are all infected. The group got pretty pissed that Rick was withholding this information. How do you think knowing their inevitable fates of becoming walkers weighs down on them?

Kikrman: Well, it’s certainly not going to help the mood at all. It’s one thing to survive in this world, and it’s another to survive knowing that you’re essentially doomed. I think that if you really sit down and analyze it, it’s not really that horrible. You’re dead anyway. That’s upsetting, but it’s not like everyone is dying. It’s not really going to cripple them too much, but this is definitely something they’re going to have to do deal with and something that puts them in a unique mindset that is going to inform their actions in season 3 and beyond.

“Y’all are the walking dead, bro.”


IGN: I’d say in terms of action, this episode holds the largest scale zombie attack of the show that I can remember. As co-writer of the episode, does the slow build of the season put pressure on you to make it a really solid payoff?

Kirkman: Yeah. I mean, that’s why this episode was packed to the brim with awesome stuff. We really wanted to continue to escalate things, and so going from Dale’s death to Shane’s death to the death of the farm, essentially, and Patricia and Jimmy, was an important thing to us. We definitely wanted to go out on a huge bang, and I think having the farm attack and having them lose the farm and have the group be split up and have Andrea be off on her own and then introduce Michonne and then introduce the prison – and also reveal the Jenner whisper — this is a very full episode.

It’s a pretty good note to leave the show on, and a pretty clear indication of what we’re going to be doing in the third season; what kind of show this is going to be. It’s going to be a very dangerous show. It’s not a show where characters stick around for too terribly long.

IGN: I think Andrew Lincoln really took it to the next level with Rick’s transformation in this episode. As a writer, what does it open up for you in terms of the range that he’s able to take the character?

Kirkman: It’s extremely reassuring to have that caliber of actor in that role. I think Andrew Lincoln embodies Rick in a way that I could never imagine, having created the character almost a decade ago. Being able to see him be this kind-hearted, loving, almost naive guy at the beginning, then growing into this hardened, maniacal – but mostly altruistic – badass that he’s become is really cool.

Anyone that’s read the comic book series, as far as Rick as gone, you know that he’s not even really at the halfway point of his emotional journey. And we’re going to continue to see Rick change over time and grow into this different character. That’s really what this show is about. Them surviving and carrying on, and the toll it takes on them and evolves their characters. How they adapt to the surroundings that they’re in. I think Andrew Lincoln has really done a great job with that stuff.

IGN: You mentioned this a couple of times already, but this episode offers lots of teases of what’s to come in season 3. First and foremost, of course, is the debut of Michonne. We don’t see her face, so I’m curious if the casting process for her was put off so as not to spoil the surprise?

Kirkman: Yeah, that was a big part of it. One of the things that does spoil things for shows like this is the casting, because once you cast an actor, you need to announce that and it’s kind of a big thing that people want to get out there. We were very mindful of that and were able to pull some movie magic in order to keep things under wraps, but I will say that we should be announcing the casting of Michonne very soon!


IGN: Awesome! And of course, the very last shot revealed what looks to be a very familiar prison. Will there be ties between this location and the Governor, who we know is a part of season 3, as there is in the comics?

Kirkman: This season ends with a series of hints; Michonne, the prison, things like that. I think anyone who’s read the comic book series knows that the prison storyline is very much tied into the Governor storyline and Woodbury. We know that David Morrissey has already been cast as the Governor, so this is something that is definitely on the horizon. I think we’re going to be seeing all of that kind of stuff.

IGN: Before we go, is there anything you’d like to tease for next season? It’s going to be a long drought after all!

Kirkman: I do understand that! Look, there’s a lot of questions out there; there’s a lot of characters that are in the mix that haven’t appeared in this episode, so there’s a lot of cool stuff coming. You’ve seen Michonne, you’ve seen the prison, you know the Governor is coming, but there is still a large number of surprises in store for you leading up to the third season and we can’t wait to get into it!

IGN: Great. Well thanks Robert, it’s been a hell of a season, I really enjoyed it. We’ll talk to you again for season 3!

 

The Origin of Harley Quinn …………

DC’s latest Suicide Squad comic has been getting better with every issue, but it’s next week’s #7 that has us truly pumped. With “The Hunt for Harley Quinn” continuing, DC is promising the reveal of Harley’s New 52 origin story — we saw in issue #6 how she began working with the Joker as a therapist, so we can’t wait to see exactly how she fell in love with the madman.

Suicide Squad #7 is written by Adam Glass with art from Clayton Henry and Ig Guara.

Suicide Squad #7 Cover, click to enlarge.


Suicide Squad #7 Page 1, click to enlarge.


Suicide Squad #7 Page 2, click to enlarge.


Suicide Squad #7 Page 3, click to enlarge.


Suicide Squad #7 Page 4, click to enlarge.


Suicide Squad #7 Page 5, click to enlarge.

 

Is Miles Morales Going to Meet Peter Parker?

A couple of months back, Marvel Comics teased an upcoming storyline for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, apparently called “Spider-Men.” While it remains to be seen if that’s the actual title of the arc, they offered up another teaser today:


So, no new information is really given here, but it’s interesting to note that Marvel’s press release states that “This June – history will be made for the Marvel Universe.” This is interesting because they don’t say “Ultimate Universe.” Could this perhaps be some sort of team-up between Miles Morales and the 616 Peter Parker?

I guess we’ll find out in June.

Update: As IGN reader RagingZekk89 pointed out in the comments, Newsarama deduced that Spider-Men will actually be a completely separate title coming from Marvel in June, though speculation about the Miles/Peter correlation still runs rampant.

Speculate!

http://comics.ign.com/articles/122/1220427p1.html

What Do We Really Expect And Want From Superhero Movies?

I think most of us can agree that Avengers is going to blow up the world when it releases in May. We’ve never seen anything like it. This is an amalgam of blockbuster franchises Voltroning into one mega-franchise that could very well shape the course of summer blockbusters in the decade to come. The latest trailer is the stuff that fanboy dreams are made of. There’s always a value in seeing your deepest nerd desires come true, whether that’s simply seeing Cap and Thor on the same screen together or some tiny small detail tossed in about Infinity Gems or what have you.

Despite these trailers culling the fanboy landscape to deliver the goods, it’s for this same reason that I’m far more excited for The Amazing Spider-Man than I am The Avengers. Look, I’m not saying that I’m not excited for the movie. Of course I am. What comic fan couldn’t be? What I’m not excited for is how, at least in these trailers, the movie is playing to the fanboy audience. It’s giving us everything we think we want.

 


While that’s great to a degree, where’s the fun in discovering the movie if we know what to expect? The Dark Knight threw things at us that we never expected, and the experience was all the better for it. Thor and Captain America, while I loved them both, ultimately delivered the movie I pictured in my brain ahead of time.

It’s in that light that I’m most excited for Spidey. I’ve talked about the Spider-Man reboot at length in this column before, and I’m quite aware of the speculation about it “re-telling” the same origin story we’ve seen a dozen times before. However, all of the elements I discussed in my Decoding the Secret Origin of Spider-Man column from a few weeks back imply that this isn’tthe same old-same old.

 

The filmmakers look to be okay with making some pretty drastic alterations to the origins of Spider-Man, from the relationship of Peter’s parents with The Lizard to the apparent lack of Uncle Ben dying to the possible experimentation with spider DNA spearheaded by Peter’s father. These are things that comic book fans traditionally speak out against, but after a decade of superhero movies that have remained somewhat stagnant (with the rare exception) in their presentation, forgoing our expectations and being willing to change things up is appreciated.

 

Just like any fan, of course I’d love to see things like Civil War on the big screen. Or Knightfall. Or the Gwen Stacy Saga. But at the end of the day, I have those comics to read and enjoy whenever I want. I’ve long said that superhero movies and reboots are not unlike creative team change-ups in comics, simply offering new interpretations of familiar stories. It’s another step in keeping comic book characters as modern myth; telling and retelling their stories in new and different ways. Going into The Avengers knowing that I get to see the team fight before they team-up (that’s a superhero rule) is exciting, but I much rather go into something where I truly have no idea of what to expect. Surprise cameos are a far cry from something like the death of Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight.

The best and most recent example of this is The Walking Dead. The show has diverged so far from the original comic book story that it’s hardly worth comparing them anymore. There are plenty of fans that are upset or simply uninterested with the show going in new directions, but I look at it from the same angle as seeing something like Knightfall on screen. Why would you want to watch something where you already know what happens?

 

I talk with Robert Kirkman after each episode of AMC’s show, and it’s a point he reiterates time and again. The writers are conscious of the comic book story, and while they hit some of the same beats on occasion, in the end, going in different directions is more exciting for fans that already know what happened in the comics. Alternatively, any fans of the show that go to the comics will discover that they aren’t simply re-reading the events from TV, but discovering a whole new “alternate” universe with different dramatic beats, new characters, and surprising deaths.

You better believe that I’ll be in the theater opening weekend for The Avengers. But I’ve also been reading superhero comics since I was a kid. I know how team-ups work, I know the relationships of these characters, and I know where their story goes. There are some elements that are truly exciting for me because it’s unclear what they represent at the moment – the crazy serpent thing and Loki’s mysterious army, for example – but overall the uncertainty of changes in The Amazing Spider-Man and the definitive closure of The Dark Knight Risesoffers something that I rarely enjoy in superhero flicks: the unexpected.

 

Any way you slice it though, comic fans should have one hell of a summer.

Do you like surprises or do you want to know what you’re paying for? Sound off or let me know on Twitter!

 

Can Hawkeye Lead the Secret Avengers?

Though Captain America made the bold choice of Hawkeye to lead the new team of Secret Avengers, Clint’s confidence hasn’t exactly matched Cap’s enthusiasm. With Secret Avengers #24, it looks as though Hawkeye’s leadership might be called into question not only by his team, but by himself as well.

The issue releases on March 28 and is written by Rick Remender and drawn by Gabriel Hardman.

Secret Avengers #24 Cover, click to enlarge.


Secret Avengers #24 Page 1, click to enlarge.


Secret Avengers #24 Page 2, click to enlarge.


Secret Avengers #24 Page 3, click to enlarge.


Secret Avengers #24 Page 4, click to enlarge.

 

Can You Believe It? Aquaman Outsells Every Marvel Comic in January. Yes Aquaman !!!

If there was anyone still doubting what DC’s New 52 could truly accomplish in terms of keeping them in the fight, the January sales might offer some perspective. To kick off the new year, DC Comics beat Marvel in unit share with a 39.86% compared to a 37.51%. However, Marvel still pulled out a victory in dollar share, coming in at 35.17% compared to DC’s 33.55%.

However, the big news here is that DC locked in all 10 spots in January’s 2012′s top 10 best-sellers, including a nice placement of Goeff Johns and Ivan Reis’ Aquaman #5 in the 10 slot. That means, yes, an Aquaman book outsold every single book at Marvel.

Here are January’s top 10 comics:

1. Justice League #5 (DC)
2. Batman #5 (DC)
3. Action Comics #5 (DC)
4. Detective Comics #5 (DC)
5. Green Lantern #5 (DC)
6. Batman: The Dark Knight #5 (DC)
7. Superman #5 (DC)
8. The Flash #5 (DC)
9. Batman and Robin #5 (DC)
10. Aquaman #5 (DC)

Well done, Arthur! The top 10 trades and graphic novels for January looked liked this:

1. Batman: Through the Looking Glass HC (DC)
2. Invincible Vol. 15: Get Smart TPB (Image)
3. The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye TPB (Image)
4. Fear Itself Premiere HC (Marvel)
5. The Unwritten Vol. 5: On to Genesis (DC)
6. Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne TPB (DC)
7. The Walking Dead Vol. 15 TPB (Image)
8. BPRD: Hell on Earth Vol. 2: Gods and Monsters TPB (Dark Horse)
9. Sweet Tooth Vol. 4 Endangered Species TPB (DC)
10. Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 1: Golden Dawn HC (DC)

So what do you think? Can DC keep a lock on the top 10 in February? More importantly, can Aquaman stay afloat? Sorry, I had to. And to celebrate our Aqua-love, enjoy:

http://comics.ign.com/articles/121/1217913p1.html

Will The Green Arrow’s TV Future Be Simply Known As ‘ARROW’ ???

Arrow. Say it once, in a deep movie-trailer-guy-voice. It’s got a potency to it, no? I’ll let the fact that the show – picked up for a pilot by the CW – has dropped the “Green” from its title slide. “Arrow” as a solo word is memorable and has marketability to it. And after the reception of Green Lantern and, to a lesser degree Green Hornet, I guess people just hate green. Who knows. Regardless, the lack of color branding isn’t what is most interesting about the show.

The main point of interest in the report about Arrow is a statement made by Deadline when they said the show would be set “in a new world” – meaning, not a spin-off of Smallville – and the story would “not be based on the comics.” Of course, the fact that it’s a show about Green Arrow does indeed make it “based on the comics”; I assume they mean the ongoing plot of the show won’t be lifted from The Longbow Hunters or any other famous Green Arrow stories. So, in that respect… it sounds a whole lot like Smallville to me. But hey, they know best.

While the decision to keep Arrow separate from Smallville is pretty bizarre in its own right (and maybe something the IGN TV crew will tackle when the time comes), this isn’t the first taste of Green Arrow’s live-action counterpart deviating from the comics. Smallville’s Oliver Queen retained the same basic traits as his comic self, though he gained youth, a new costume, new loves, and a vested interest in the development of Clark Kent becoming Superman.


The proposed Supermax, by screenwriter David S. Goyer, was a film that found Ollie in the midst of a superhuman prison breakout without his arrows or anything resembling the usual Green Arrow getup. And now, with Arrow’s apparent direction again uprooting the character, fans can likely expect something different. If there is one constant to be found between Smallville and Arrow, though, it will likely feature an equal ratio of overwrought pop songs with reflective, longing looks from its cast stitched together in a heartwarming montage.


But all of this begs the larger question: what’s wrong with Green Arrow as he is? The movie and TV projects he’s involved with (animation aside) seem to retool him in ways that make him less like Green Arrow and more a chameleon superhero, allowing him to fit a pre-determined role that just happens to have the name value of a DC character.

Perhaps a part of the problem is that over the years, Green Arrow has garnered a pretty definitive set of characteristics that generally fall outside of the average superhero purview. Starting with Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams’ stint on the beloved Green Lantern/Green Arrow series, Oliver took on a new meaning within the DCU. He explored social issues and was reframed as a modern day Robin Hood, fighting for the underprivileged and sporting a left-wing agenda.

His sidekick became a heroin addict. Later, a different sidekick would be revealed to be HIV positive. He became a divisive figure amongst the Justice League, often having dissenting opinions. In fact, he often bickered with Green Lantern over political views. And during Mike Grell’s run on Green Arrow, Oliver killed criminals, going against the “hero code.” During DC’s One Year Later event, he even became mayor of Star City. My point is, Green Arrow has always been something more than “just” a superhero, oftentimes holding a mirror up to modern society while heroes like Superman simply flew high above it.

To that end, there’s something almost intimidating about adapting Green Arrow to a live-action medium. If one were to take the most interesting stories from Green Arrow’s comic history and adapt them to the screen – or even an amalgam of these stories, the way most superhero movies are handled – the result would be less a popcorn movie and more a socio-political drama. Not exactly summer tent pole fare, is it? Green Arrow’s history makes him very specific; he doesn’t appeal to the everyman in the way that Batman or Spider-Man does. He’s not a larger-than-life hero that soars through the sky and can literally do anything. He’s got opinions about real-world, serious things.


All of that said, this is where Arrow has a real opportunity. While it’s clear from the “not based on the comics” comment that Arrow will probably feature nothing remarkably different from the CW’s other shows, it does offer a chance to up their game with a relevant show that could play up the superhero aspects of the character that viewers know from Smallville while adding in a dose of social drama and maybe even political thriller. Nobody wants to be preached to, but the CW could stand to have a show that takes risks and provides a realistic reflection of society instead of the glorified version featured on their other programming. You know, just like Green Arrow has a history of doing for comics.

Sadly, the latest Green Arrow series in the New 52 relaunch seems to take more cues from the Smallville iteration than it has from its comic book history, losing the very thing that has made Oliver Queen such a beloved figure for comic book fans. In any case, Green Arrow getting his own show, with or without ties to Smallville, would be quite a feat. Here’s hoping CW and the folks behind the show will consider the possibilities placed in front of them before moving forward with something that treads familiar ground.

What do you want from a Green Arrow television show? Are you mad that it’s not revisiting the world of Smallville? Sound off in the comments below or let me know on Twitter!