Monday, 31 May 2010

FOX Cast Donald Glover As Spider-Man

Soon this rudimentry mock-up will become reality.

In a move which we declare utterly brilliant, FOX Studios have announced that they have cast actor and stand-up Donald Glover to star in their forthcoming reboot of the Spider-Man franchise. Rumours of a reboot have been swirling for a while now, ever since the talks for Sam Raimi to return for a fourth film fell through and the subsequent stars attached to his tenure also ruled out a return. This is the first announcement to come through since then regarding cast or plot, and hopefully will be the first of many incoming announcements which ComVan will be able to bring to you (the general public). As such, FOX's decision to cast a comic in the role of Spider-Man speaks volumes as to the direction they're planning for the film.

The previous assumption was that FOX were going a much darker direction with the film, utilising the 'Ultimate Spider-Man' series by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley as the primary influence on the storyline (which, we already thought the first Spider-Man movie had done, but fair enough FOX, if you say so). However, now we know that Donald Glover is definitely going to portray Spidey, these plans could well have fallen through. A relatively fledging star, Glover appeared as a member of the 'Derrick Comedy' troupe before reaching a more mainstream audience first through his work writing for hit comedy series '30 Rock' and later through his appearances in genius TV Show 'Community', alongside comedy veterans such as Chevy Chase and Alison Brie. Now that we know for absolute certain that he will be Spider-Man, we have to wonder who will be his Mary Jane. Or will they choose a Gwen Stacey instead? There are still many things we don't know yet about the series reboot, but as soon as we hear anything we'll make sure to tell you.

So! What are your thoughts on the casting, guys?

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Bendis and Maleev move on to "Scarlet"

Possibly the biggest playa in the whole of the Marvel Offices, that Brian Michael Bendis. First he spends years building up Jessica Jones and putting her in the Avengers (we had to wash our hands four times after typing those words), then he goes off and picks up on Ms Marvel and Spider-Woman for a while, essentially dictating the direction for the former's solo series and creating the latter's short-lived solo. He's also done some horrific things to The Scarlet Witch, inadvertently created the best character in X-Factor, and bringing back Mockingbird. And after taking all these women and then abandoning them with rebound guys like Jim McCann and Peter David, he's now moved his sights to a new girl, called 'Scarlet'. We really don't know where he gets the energy from.

Scarlet is not a solo series in which Bendis attempts to make amends for destroying The Scarlet Witch, however - she's an entirely new character, isolated from the Marvel Universe completely. As our title suggests, Bendis is teaming up with his frequent collaborator Alex Maleev for the series, whose photo-realistic provides much of the selling point for the series. While we don't know much about Scarlet at the moment, what we do know is that she'll be protesting somehow against her society. She appears to be pushed into vigilantism because the social servants aren't pushing their weight, and her rise in notoriety will fuel the narrative.

Bendis promises to make the narrative different to anything he's even written before, too, as Scarlet will breal the fourth wall and address the reader directly at several points, in order to fully get across her point of view and perspective on the events of the story. Apart from that though, we're going into the first issue blind. It's all hush-hush! But it is nice to see Marvel's 'Icon' imprint getting some more use - we thought Brubaker's critically-acclaimed books were the only ones they were ever going to print. The first issue of Scarlet comes out in July, if everything goes to plan.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Mockingbird Solo Series Hijacked by Less Interesting Characters

A few months ago we reported that Jim McCann and David Lopez were joining together to write a series for Mockingbird, the hero otherwise known as Bobbi Morse. A legendary former Avenger (and West Coast Avenger!), Mockingbird recently returned from 'death' in Brian Michael Bendis' Secret Invasion event, apparently having never died at all. Since her return she's featured frequently in his New Avengers title, bickering with her former husband Hawkeye, and appeared in her own four-issue mini which Hawkeye promptly hijacked and attempted to make into a team-up book. Thankfully his attempts were in vain, as Mockingbird proved herself to be the undisputed star of the series and nobody likes Hawkeye anyway. The bad news though, is that her solo series - starting next week - appears to be suffering from exactly the same problem as her mini.
Clint Barton appears in many of the preview pages for the title, and has even snatched away the narrative boxes from Ms Morse, changing the title of the series from 'Mockingbird' to 'Hawkeye & Mockingbird'. What a jerk! So while we're still very excited about the title, we now find ourselves 50% upset about the title. But at the very least, we get to see Bobbi doing all the fun things you've always wanted for her to be able to do - and maybe Hawkeye will get written out before he can cause any major damage to the series.
Yes, this blog post is essentially a weird way for us to plug the series, because we really like Mockingbird and Jim McCann. Did it work at all?

Brian K. Vaughan Isn't Writing the Runaways Movie? Boycott! Boycott!

Worrying news today/last week, as it turns out that the long-mooted and recently announced for realsies Runaways film is currently being written by Drew Pearce. Whilst Pearce is a good writer - ignore his slightly rubbish TV show 'No Heroics' which aired on ITV and focus instead on... actually yes, focus mainly on his TV show No Heroics. He wrote a TV show! About heroes! Hurray for him! We certainly didn't just have a nightmarish flashback to the celebrity gossip show 'Lip Service' he wrote for a few years ago! Shudder.
Sorry about that. Where we were? Ah yes, Drew Pearce is a writer. So, he's going to be handling the script for the adaptation of the popular comic-book series, and that's a slightly worrying thing. Not because of the fact he has yet to write something which would indicate that he can make this film as good as the comic, but because not too long ago Brian K. Vaughan stated that he would be writing the screenplay himself. Obviously something has happened since he first said that, but what that is exactly isn't too clear. Perhaps Marvel didn't like the script, or maybe BKV is busy with something else (although most of his comics have now ended, he might have other projects which simply haven't been announced yet); but at any rate the man who created the series and made it great... is no longer writing the movie. That's sad news.
Should we all boycott the film, then? Well, possibly. The series itself has been killed off by Marvel, after Joss Whedon spent approximately five years to write approximately four issues (with that work rate, maybe he should get involved with Britain's 2012 Olympic planning committee), and subsequent stories by Terry Moore and Kathryn Immonen simply couldn't make up for all the readers Whedon shed. So with the film in the near future, this does at least give us the opportunity to see the characters return to Marvel. The impact of a movie being made about them in the first place is an encouraging enough sign for other lesser-known characters such as Luke Cage, Hawkeye, and other characters who could in future be drawn into their own movies. The other good news is that this series will liekly result in Marvel releasing a new volume of the series - hopefully written by either Immonen or Vaughan himself - which will bring the characters back to their former popularity. Apart from Molly Hayes - the breakout favourite Runaways character - none of the others have really spent much time in the Marvel Universe as a whole, and without the film will probably never been seen again.
So mark this one under "wait and see".

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Random Deadpool Appearance to Drive Up Viewing Figures

Duane Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (devastatingly, we've more or less run out of long S-Words to use for his surname)is not your average writer. Whereas most writers upon being handed a Deadpool miniseries would decide to throw in Mexican wrestlers and ninjas and robots and all that, Suzuki (we thought of another one!) has elected to go a different route entirely. A vastly complicated, somewhat philosophical one. In the four-part 'Wade Wilson's War', starting in June, the writer promises to not only purposely withhold any explanations about the characters past; but to actively make it far more difficult to understand. While the series will feature much silly dialogue, it's all going to be set in a somewhat serious backdrop, and have lots and lots of killing in it.

To that end, he's brought in characters like Bullseye, Silver Sable, and Domino - rival assassins for hire - to help with the carnage. Just looking at the preview pages for the first issue, there is almost more bloodshed to be had than in a Kyle/Yost X-Babies story. People get playing cards in the eye, limbs cut off, shot or stabbed.... it's all very violent. If, that is, it's all really happening.

Everyone seems to have a different perspective on Deadpool, and Duane Slytherin's (thought of another one!) take seems to be very very confusing. And, therefore, awesome. Much like the Joker's 'Killing Joke' story, 'Wade Wilson's War' will feature a story which is told by the narrator, and therefore may never have happened whatsoever. The events of the miniseries could well be his true origin, or a bunch of lies. At any rate, it promises to be incredibly confusing but highly bloody, and that's really what Deadpool comics should be about. Jason Pearson is the artist for the mini, which is fantastic news because his artwork is absolutely manic and perfect for the characters.

And hey - we thought of more silly fake surnames to use for Duane Swierczynski!

Marvel Universe Vs The Punisher

In what may well be the most one-sided fight in history, Marvel will be giving us 88 pages of gleeful merriment as the various heroes of the MU roundly beat up The Punisher several times over in 'Marvel Universe Versus The Punisher'. Beginning with Spider-Man and the Hulk, writer Jonathan Maberry will feature many of Marvel's most high-profile characters plunging a fist into Frank Castle's stupid face, perhaps simultaneously. If you have sense and find The Punisher to be a stupid, jingoistic character who comes off most of the time like a rubbish version of Jack Bauer who kills and tortures people but hasn't even developed a coke addiction as a result.... well, this will be for you.

We're going to buy ten copies of each issue, and usually we only like The Punisher when he's a giant Frankenstein who fights demon nazis and Daken. Other characters who'll be joining the thrashing will be The Fantastic Four, Wolverine, and Deadpool. Like, naturally. And as Maberry is currently crafting perhaps the first-ever decent Black Panther story at the moment in 'Doomwar', there's a strong chance that some kind of BP will show up. Male, female... giant white cat ghost... some kind of Black Panther appearance seems likely.

Okay, so maybe the fight won't be as fun as we initially made it out to be. For one thing, it seems as though Castle is actually going to do well for himself against all these superheroes, which means that we must be dealing in an out-of-continuity story here. Remember a few weeks ago, when we showed you that phenomenal image of Punisher fighting The Hulk using A BOW AND ARROW? That's connected to this storyline. Apparently we're going to see Punisher survive for at least three issues, which is highly disappointing - but fingers crossed anyway! Maberry sets the story in a future which may or may not be the '616' Marvel Universe (hint: it won't be) and in which a plague has wiped out/mutated most humans. Castle turns out to be immune because he's at ground zero when the disease is released, but several of the most famous Marvel superheroes... won't be.

So it's going to be Punisher shooting a lot of zombie-like superheroes, inbetween perhaps some torture and infiltration, and - please? - dealing with his coke addiction and the fact that his daughter is being menaced in the wilderness by wild cougars. Joining Maberry for the wild and wacky adventures which should come with the disclaimer 'Punisher doesn't get beaten up frequently in this series' will be the brilliant Goran Parlov, who's going to make sure everything looks all chunky and visceral. Issue #1 of the four-part story comes out this August. Here's that picture of Punisher using a bow and arrow again!!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Kieron Gillen Still Stubbornly Clinging Onto Thor

You may have expected Matt Fraction and Pasqual Ferry to have taken over Thor by now, writing cosmic adventures set in wild and wodnerful dimensions. Well, you'll have to wait a little while longer for that pairing to take over, because Kieron Gillen is refusing to let go of the franchise. His fantastic run on the series now extended to issue #614, after he was originally only slated to write six issues. And for the first time, he's going to be able to tell his own story, instead of fitting his work around what other writers have set up. To start with, he had to complete the story written by J. Michael Straczynski after the writer quit the series over a dispute with Joe Quesada about 'Siege'. Gillen then had to contend with Siege itself, which featured the complete distruction of Asgard - Thor's home. So he's had to do quite a lot in quite a few issues. Now he has his own series, he's decided that the best thing to do will be to send Thor to Hell - which is just what will happen.

Rich Elson and Doug Braithwaite will take on art duties for the four-part storyline, in which Hell erupts into a civil war as the result of some dealings Loki made with the Lords of Hell. Mephisto and Hela, to be precise. Some contracts were signed which perhaps shouldn't have been signed, and now the afterlife is slowly being wiped out - as many of his friends were killed during Siege, Thor is going to take this somewhat personally. Accompanied by Tyr, Thor is going to head into Hell and sort out these warring factions, before the afterlife gets destroyed forever. So, y'know, that should be good fun. At any rate, we're getting some very pretty covers out of the deal, by Mico Suayen. And if - as we predict - Gillen throws another hissy fit and barricades himself inside the Thor editorial office at Marvel, maybe we'll get even more stories in months to come. Heck, maybe Matt Fraction will never get to write Thor? Wait and see, dear readers. Wait and see.

FEAR THANOS although he's tied up atm

Nobody really knows why Thanos is so mean. Perhaps it's because he's in love with death, or perhaps he wants to lash out at a universe that cursed him to be born with purple skin. Maybe he's still angry that Jim Henson rejected his audition to join the Muppets, and ever since then he's felt the need to conquer the universe so he can, by proxy, also have conquered Sesame Street. At any rate he's a big bad mass of purple fury, and he's coming back into Marvel Cosmic after a long absence. We haven't spent as much time as we should've in discussing the Cosmic titles as we should've, so hopefully this article will help address the balance a little bit.

The Cosmic titles were made up of Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, with numerous other miniseries and one-shots scattered along the schedules to keep people up to date with characters like Black Bolt, the Imperial Guard, the Starjammers and of course Lockjaw, everyone's favourite interdimensional poodle. But everything is being put on hold starting this week as every title is 'on hiatus' while Thanos attempts to take over the Universe again. In 'The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1" out next week, the sparklingly-eyed one returns to cause some havok, and only the space people will be able to stop him. As far as we remember, the main issue with the universe at the moment is that there is a crack right in the middle of it, and an insane villain called Adam Magus is attempting to stretch out that crack as far as possible. Through the crack is another Universe, known as 'the Cancerverse'. So, really, it's probably best that the crack gets closed before we have to look inside.

The only way to stop the 'gods' living inside the Cancerverse from destroying the Universe, however, is to find someone who is more powerful than them, and get him to beat them up. Enter Thanos. Recently hatched from a giant egg for no discernable reason, Big T is currently locked up with The Guardians of the Galaxy, who are going to use him for...something. Look, if we said our knowledge of Marvel Cosmic was limited to say the best, would you think of us as a blog? We're doing our best, but it's flarking difficult to keep up to date with everything! At any rate, Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy are currently on hiatus, while this storyline runs, so we'll attempt to keep you up to date with the latest news as we get it. A Shadowland tie-in can't be that far away, after all.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Darkstar & The Winter Guard #3 Is Better Than God

Penciled by STEVE ELLIS
Betrayed by one of their own, The Winter Guard now must confront a new threat that could mean the end of Russia as we know it! If you thought last issue's surprise was amazing, just wait until you see what the Presence has in store! The Harvey Award winning team behind "High Moon" brings you the conclusion to the miniseries that will leave you speechless. And, by the time this issue is over, you will believe a bear can fly!
40 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99
Issue #3 of Darkstar & The Winter Guard has been revealed during the August solicitations rush, and it looks set to be perhaps the best issue of all of them. Written by 'Darkly Dangerous' David Gallaher and 'Supremely Soviet' Steve Ellis, the series concludes with this issue, although surely there must be an ongoing series to be had out of all this. Darkstar, Ursa Major, Red Guardian and The Crimson Dynamo? All together in the same book?? That's publishing gold, easily. Forget about 'Avengers' and all those shoddy teams - here's a squad with staying power. Let's have a look at the solicit, in detail.

Betrayed by one of their own - £10 says that it's Red Guardian. He looks shifty, that one. And despite what Steve Ellis says, he IS A ROBOT. Robots are all evil. You can't trust them. Watch any movie, and you'll see what we mean. Robots are all evil.

The Winter Guard now must confront a new threat that could mean the end of Russia as we know it! - A purple squid thing! Maybe that's what Fantasma really looks like beneath her illusions. Or maybe it's Vanguard, or The Presence, or a different team of heroes, or... it could be anyone, really. There are so many dangling threads at the moment.

If you thought last issue's surprise was amazing - We bet it was, whatever it was.

Just wait until you see what the Presence has in store! - The Presence apparently made his move last issue, so we'll have to see what he's got in store now. The theory is that he's got himself arrested and put in prison on purpose, so he could find out what happened to Laynia Petrovna, the original Darkstar and his daughter. This Trojan Horse may well cause some fatalities before he's done - given Gallaher's past history of murderous mayhem.

The Harvey Award winning team behind "High Moon" - This was a previous series written by Gallaher and drawn by Ellis. It was so admired by the industry that they awarded the series with a statue of a rabbit. Obscure film joke!

Brings you the conclusion to the miniseries - Sad but true. By the time we hold this issue in our trembling hands, we'll have reached the end of the most rollercoaster ride of emotions ever put into a comic-book. Maybe there will be another mini, but we'll have to be looking at sales figures somewhere around 14000 issues for that to happen, at a guess.

That will leave you speechless. - Unlikely, as we never shut up.

And, by the time this issue is over, you will believe a bear can fly! - **SQUEEEEE**

40 PGS - this is how many pages there are. We told you this last month.
disclaimer: David Gallaher does not confirm or deny any of our guesses as to what or who will appear in this series. This is all guesswork performed a genius.
We would also like to point out that if you buy Darkstar & The Winter Guard then you will be the most popular person in school and people will find you more attractive.

MI13 Go To America

Every month this year, Marvel have given us a one-shot issue focused on a different female character in the Marvel Universe. Come August, that character will be none other than Spitfire, the super-speedy British vampire woman who wears a yellow jumpsuit despite it being hideously unfashionable. In the issue, the Olivia Newton-John of superheroes returns fresh from the ashes of recently-cancelled series "Captain Britain and MI13" and goes off with the team to New York, where super-hero fever has taken over the area. Now that Norman Osborn is gone, all the heroes are back and everything is super-nice and happy. Perfect time for some sight-seeing.

Previously solicited is a short story in one of the 'Age of Heroes' anthology series in which one of MI13 are slated to leave the group and join the Avengers; this one-shot will presumably build on that. Seeing as Blade is busy with the X-Men, and Spitfire has this issue occurring at the same time as the short story, neither of them will be defecting. Captain Britain is too boring to be wanted on the Avengers, while Pete Wisdom would never want to join. That only leaves The Black Knight, so good luck getting any attention while Thor and Iron Man are wandering about. The Spitfire one-shot will be drawn by the fantastic Elena Casagrande, and feature quite a lot of Blade. Let's try not to let that news get us down, though - maybe he'll get kidnapped early on and therefore be taken out of the story for a long period of time. That'd be nice.

Peter Milligan Is Slowly Taking Over Marvel

In the best news ever heard, it appears as though Peter Milligan has set off on a mission to become the writer of every single Marvel title. This August, you'll be able to see him masterfully work his way through a Daredevil story, a Punisher story, and a Thor story.

First up will be the lead story in "Daredevil: Black & White", a continuation of Marvel's new experiment with black and white comics. They've done ones with people like Iron Man before, with quite some success - but Daredevil is a character tailor-made for this sort of treatment. It'll be fascinating to see where Milligan takes the character. If it's anything near as wonderful as his recent revival of Doop in 'Nation X #4', then it'll be a treat indeed!

Strangely, Milligan will also be writing a Punisher one-shot, with Juan Jose Rhyp, in which he'll get to tackle one of his favourite themes: whores. Well alright, not whore, let's call them prostitutes. As with most Punisher one-shots, Castle himself is going to be absent for the majority of the story, present as a name rather than a face. In order to make this click, Milligain is likely going to follow an everyday Joe as he enters the glamorous world of prostitution, and has himself some fun. Only, you have to remember, prostitutes in comics always have pimps who are members of a crime syndicate. So Frank will probably have to run in, and do some killing. Fun!

And finally, Milligan will continue writing Thor one-shots as we reach the end of Summer. Remember that Matt Fraction was previously the man in charge of the Thor one-shots, and now look at him - anyday now, he's going to be writing the main title. Once Kieron Gillen relents on his death grip. So maybe we could be seeing a slow takeover of the Thor series by Mr M? We can only hope so. Drawn by Mico Suayen, the issue promises to look absolutely amazing, as Thor goes around killing EVERYTHING THAT ANNOYS HIM. Although Thor is totally rubbish, we're still excited about this. Will Peter Milligan eventually be writing all Marvel's books?

Fingers crossed.

Yo, Check Out This Hot SHADOWLAND News!

"More tie-ins", they shouted! "I want to see how Foggy Nelson reacts!" the public cried.

Well you haven't quite got your wish yet, Foggy-fans, but never give up hope. While we feverishly announce THAT particular announcement, Marvel have instead given us a series of new one-shots which will deal with some of the more important 'Shadowland' characters, coming this August. Yes, we really are in 'solicits-week' mode here at ComVan, reporting on all the latest reveals in slightly less satisfying than the writers themselves do. When they, uh, write the solictations we're essentially rewriting and then packaging to you as new content. Ah.

First on the table is a one-shot which makes a mockery of our belief that Ghost Rider would be the mysterious enemy appearing in the Moon Knight miniseries. Oh yes, we're talking about the reveal of "Shadowland: Ghost Rider", written by 'Renegade' Rob Williams. We made that nickname up, but would't it be great it people started using it more? Renegade is teaming up with Clayton Crain for the issue, which will see Ghostie (let's hope that nickname doesn't catch on) in the middle of everything. Although everything is being kept top secret at the moment, ComVan can exclusively reveal that the Ghost Rider appearing in the issue - remember that there are two of them - WILL BE.... either Johnny Blaze or Dan Ketch. Clayton Crain was born to draw this character, however, so no matter which of 'em turns up, we should be in for a fun issue.

John Layman and Sean Chen will be teaming up in August, as they gather to mour- we mean, to feature Bullseye in his own one-shot. In 'Shadowland: Bullseye", which certainly won't be all about the character getting killed by Daredevil at the end of Shadowland #1 and definitely won't be a funeral issue for one of Marvel's most popular villains, Layman promises to feature a lot of notable villains. Just to make it clear: this issue WILL NOT BE A FUNERAL ISSUE. Wink.

And finally, in November, we get to see the one tie-in which everyone's been expecting. "Shadowland: Elektra" will be written by Zeb Wells and drawn by Emma Rios, a sparkling creative team if ever there were one, and show how the greatest ninja in the MU handles the events of Shadowland. Naturally you'd assume that she'd back Daredevil during the storyline, and that seems to pretty much be the direction Wells is going to take her in. She'll probably be helping him out, but not directly - the two are going to be kept apart for a fair bit of time, as Wells does some more character building and introspection with his newest muse. He seems to be a big fan of Elektra (i.e. he luurrrves her!) While each one-shot will not directly affect the main series, they will all build and add layers to Andy Diggle's storyline. So they say.

One Moment In Time Continues for Spider-Man

Amazing Spider-Man issues 638-641 look set to be some of the biggest-selling comics of the year. Not just because Stan Lee and Marcos Martin are setting up a new Spider-Man backup feature which'll play out in each issue, and not just because each issue seems to have about fiftillion different variant covers. No, because these issues are going to see Joe Quesada himself write the story of what happened during Spider-Man and Mary Jane's wedding. How exciting! Drawn by Paolo Manuel Riviera and Quesada himself (he REALLY likes this storyline, you guys), the arc is going to completely divide the Spider-Man fanbase once more.

Quesada plans to answer at least four of the most nagging questions which have been around ever since Brand New Day started, wiping clean all Peter Parker's memories of his life and wife, and setting him up to become a bachelor stallion again. Among the many plot points which seem likely to be tied up are: what happened during the wedding which happened in this new timeline, but now didn't end with MJ and Spidey getting married? How did the World forget that Peter Parker was Spider-Man (thought this one had already been cleared up, but okay)? What will happen to Spider-Man in the future? And will we actually get answers to any of these, or instead get a series of new infuriating mysteries? All will be revealed in August! Or, y'know, not.

Marvel Announce Tie-Ins for Shadow-- We Mean, Curse of the Mutants

It's not all about Shadowland, you know! It may seem like that because every day brings fifteen new Daredevil-centric books that Marvel wants you to read, but there are other things going on too! Over in the X-Men section, writer Victor Gischler is preparing to release a new ongoing series called simply 'X-Men'. The series, which seems to have no set cast or ongoing storyline, is going to tell a series of fun stories, which fit inside continuity while not making any real changes to the franchise. Well, that's what it seems set to do at the moment, anyway. His first storyline is called 'Curse of the Mutants', and will see the X-Men attacked by vampires. Never ones to knowingly underpopulate an event storyline, Marvel have already announced a Namor ongoing series by Stuart Moore which will tie-in to the storyline.

And now, with the release of the August 2010 solicitations, Marvel have announced plans for a series of one-shots which connect into the main storyline, and feature an odd collection of other characters. The first release is "X-Men: Curse of the Mutants - Blade", as the oddly-shaven vampire/hunter charges into San Francisco and starts killing vampires left, right, centre, and just behind you. The issue will be written by the reliable Duane Swarovski, whose hobbies including making jewellery, and drawn by Tim Green. Expect to see a lot of staking in this issue.

The second new release is the intriguing "X-Men: Curse of the Mutants - Storm & Gambit". Previously teammates in Chris Claremont's oddball 'X-Treme X-Men' series, the two have been paired here by writer Chuck Kim for one reason: they both know how to steal things. The issue will see the pair infiltrate a vampire lair and steal some kind of thing. Y'know, a thing. A thing which'll stop the vampires. Lord knows what. But anyway, they're going to team up once more, and perhaps share some more magnetic sexual tension and perhaps commit a bit of adultery. Hey - if Black Panther can have a harem of women, it's only fair that Storm is occasionally allowed to boff a greasy Cajun! Both one-shots are set for release in August, partway through Gischler's main storyline in X-Men.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Amazingly, MORE Shadowland Tie-Ins Announced

Let's start off another round-up of Shadowland news with this image from Billy Tan, which reveals Daredevil in a new costume. Many people get very excited about this sort of this, so hopefully they'll go mad over the finer details of the outfit. The idea that Daredevil was going to go a bit barmy in Shadowland had already been more or less accepted as part of the plot, but hopefully now we've seen this image of him wearing black (black! Like the darkest of nights. Like the root of a corrupted soul. Like a... mole) all doubts about his newfound madness will be quashed. I mean, really, what more do you need? We've seen images of him seemingly putting Bullseye into a coma, and killing all his former friends, and it's not like The Hand AREN'T a group of terrorists whom Daredevil now micromanages. What more evidence could you need to show that Daredevil's gone over to the dark side?

Ah. In this image drawn by John Cassaday - it'll probably be the cover for Shadowland #2 - we see the shadow of The Kingpin fall over Daredevil, as well as a slightly different interpretation of the new outfit. We also never realised how short Elektra was, before. She's teeny! What an adorable little ninja she is. The image shows Moon Knight, Spider-Man, White Tiger, Iron Fist, Elektra and Luke Cage, so presumably they will be the characters who have the most important roles in the central miniseries. Other characters like Misty Knight and Justin Bieber will appear in the numerous tie-ins, instead.

So! Let's take a look at the latest tie-ins to be revealed by Marvel. First up is the blatantly obvious 'Shadowland: Spider-Man' issue, written by Dan Slott. We don't have a picture for this yet :( If any character was going to get a tie-in, though, it was going to be Spider-Man. Slott says that the comic should make perfect sense if you only read Shadowland and not Spectacular Spider-Man, and vice versa, revealing that the issue will see Spider-Man go up against recurring new villain Mr Negative, who has been ruling parts of New York for quite a while now. Spidey won't be alone in his mission, however, as Shang Chi - that bloke what does karate chops and that - will also be tagging along to help out. We probably won't see any of Daredevil in the story, as the majority of the page-count seems to be dedicated to Mr Negative, and how he deals with The Hand. Paulo Siqueira will handle art duties for the issue.

And Moon Knight will also be entering Shadowland in his own storyline, as Shadowland: Moon Knight comes out in August! Written by Gregg Hurwitz and drawn by Bong Dazo, the three-issue miniseries will see the eponymous antihero getting manipulated on all sides, as his somewhat delicate mental wellbeing will be exploited by just about everyone. For one thing, recurring enemy The Profile is set to introduce the former Marc Specter and now Jake Lockley to another avatar of Khonshu. If you don't really know what any of that means, then basically: Moon Knight gets all his powers, supposedly, from an Egyptian God called Khonshu. He is an avatar of Khonshu. So when The Profile reveals the existence of another avatar, that's not really going to be very good news for poor old Moonie.

And y'know who's contracted The Profile to damage Moon Knight's psyche like this? Well, only Daredevil himself! Daredevil apparently has some greater plan for Moon Knight, and in order to put it in motion he first has to set up a giant fight for the poor guy which may result in getting him killed. Hurwitz refuses to say who this new avatar of Khonshu will be, but if you can remember the teaser image for Shadowland which showed Moon Knight... well, it's kinda blatantly obvious. Alternatively, look at the tags for this post and work out which one hasn't been mentioned anywhere in this post. THAT is who Moon Knight will be facing. It's cool.

Darkstar & The Winter Guard: New Pictures Of

It may have come to your attention that we are very excited about the imminent return of The Winter Guard to Marvel in David Gallaher and Steve Ellis' forthcoming 'Darkstar & The Winter Guard' miniseries. Although it is very nice that Marvel are now in some kind of Heroic Age, while the X-Men are involved in Second Coming and the Hulks are... well, punching each other a lot; the most exciting thing to happen to the Marvel Universe in the past twelve months was indisputably last December's 'Winter Guard' one-shot, which saw the deaths of both The Crimson Dynamo the... was it eleventh?... and Darkstar II, as well as the arrest of The Presence. It was, it's fair to say, the moment in which Marvel finally gave in to unstoppable public demand and stopped writing stories about Deadpool for five minutes, in order to give us some more Russian bears. Well, every day brings us closer to the release of Darkstar & The Winter Guard #1, and editor Jordan D. White has revealed the first ever look at what we can expect. Two whole images! Two images of the issue have been released online, so let's take a long hard look at them.

In this COLOURED image, we see the four current members of The Winter Guard waving to their adoring public. Look at little Darkstar III sat on Ursa Major's shoulders! It's also interesting to see that Red Guardian has updated his shield a little, and has replaced his arm (he's a robot! Remember?) while The Crimson Dynamo's armour seems to have been bulked up a little. Exciting! And then, in the second image - still in black-and-white - we see the team investigating some kind of mission. Ursa Major, you'll notice, is not sat down or drinking water, as we previously reported to you EXCLUSIVELY here on ComVan! Who knows what the villain has done to provoke this response from Red Guardian? June seems awfully far away...

Friday, 14 May 2010

Marvel Announce Shadowland: Justin Bieber

Being a massively popular musician with millions of fans all round the globe obviously isn't enough for Justin Bieber, the youtube sensation who could justifiably claim to be the biggest person in the World right now. His fans are some of the most passionate you'll ever see, but that isn't really enough for him. No, he wants to take on The Man Without Fear, and win! After releasing #1 after #1 into the charts, Bieber is soon going to release yet another #1 in August, as "Shadowland: Justin Bieber" comes out. No creative team have been announced as-of-yet, although we've pulled together a guestimate of what the cover may look like, which you can enjoy below.

A one-shot which details how the Daredevil-centric event will affect the pop star, the issue promises to reveal a previously-unknown backstory between the two which goes back to at least 1997. Previously thought to have no super-powers, the issue will shock readers with the reveal that Bieber is actually able to do everything Daredevil can - and more. Cameos are promised from characters like Elektra, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, while digital fans will be able to enjoy the issue whilst listening to an exclusive new song from Bieber, which relates the events of the narrative in real time. You may have thought that you knew everything there was to know about Justin Bieber, but wait till you see what Shadowland has in store for him!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Marvel Announce New Ongoing Series - NOT CONNECTED TO SHADOWLAND

Have we finally come to an end of all the Shadowland announcements? We have to admit that the thought of typing away at a fifth Shadowland article filled us with dread, so it's with great delight that we announce a new ongoing series by Marvel Comics, featuring one of their most famous and beloved characters. The series, which will be written by Stuart Moore - you'll remember him as the man who has written more miniseries and annuals for Marvel than even Fred Van Lente. Alongside a few Spider-Man and Punisher stories, Moore is notable for his pretty great Wolverine: Noir series. Alongside Stuart Moore will be Ariel Olivetti, who refuses to draw a character in any dimension other than three. His stocky artwork has made him a success working on Cable, Hulk, and Hercules - now he's going to take on another notably 'big' character.

Marvel have a wide variety of characters who could use a solo series. There are only a few female characters who hold their own series at the moment, for example, while reasonably well-known characters like Ghost-Rider and Iron Fist are currently wandering around in a sort-of-limbo. So for Marvel to give a new solo series to someone who has truly been crying out for it? Well, that's just what we've been waiting for. And - wait - Joe Quesada himself has drawn the cover for issue #1, which makes it clear just how much Marvel want to push this new series. He onyl draws covers for things he really feels passionately about - and Spider-Man - so this is quite big news. And the series is going to kick off by tying into a mini-event going on with Marvel. A mini-event which ISN'T SHADOWLAND. Result! So, who is getting this ongoing series?...

Best of luck.

Even More Shadowland Tie-Ins Announced

In case you hadn't guessed it, Marvel feel that their Shadowland event needs to be very big indeed. Originally just a Daredevil storyline which happened to feature a few other street-level characters, things have now escalated wildly and we're looking at a gargantuan event which could well end up giving us tie-in storylines about Squirrel Girl, MODOK, Gosamyr, Thanos, Thor and the Ultimate Avengers. Among others. At any rate, Marvel have now announced that first Colleen Wing and then The Thunderbolts are going to get all up in Daredevil's grill.

The third tie-in miniseries for Shadowland is called "The Daughters Of The Shadow", and will be written by Jason Henderson, drawn by Ivan Rodriguez. Featuring Colleen Wing as the main character, the series looks to explore her backstory and add a little more colour to her family history. As part of Shadowland Daredevil is going to recruit Wing as an ally in his mission, and Wing? Well, she's going to be more than eager to help him permanantly stop a few of the more notorious criminals in New York.

According to Henderson, who appears to be the biggest Colleen Wing fan in the World and probably has a stained glass window of her in his kitchen - just idle gossip - the series will pivot around the reveal that her mother was the leader of a Squad within The Hand. As Daredevil shares this information with Ms W, he also offers her the chance to take on her mother's old role and help him - aided by her mother's old team. The mini will therefore be introducing four new assassins to the Marvel Universe - all female, all empowered, etcetc blahblah - including a crazed cheerleader and a woman who is some kind of snow-demon. So, okay, they don't sound very good at the moment, but let's give the miniseries a chance, eh? If you're already buying the sixty other tie-in miniseries, what's the harm in picking up a sixty-first.

Jeff Parker's Thunderbolts will also be taking part in Shadowland, as issues 148-149 are set to tie-in to the main series. The Thunderbolts, you may know, are set to be run by Luke Cage now that we're in The Heroic Age, and are made up of Moonstone, Ghost, Juggernaut, and some cannon-fodder. Parker is being particularly vague about the series at the moment, so we don't really know anything about what will happen to the team or what they'll be up to. However, it does appear as though they will be handling a side-mission for Cage which keeps them out of Daredevil's way. Perhaps Daredevil will recruit the Agents of Atlas for no particular reason, and they'll all show up. Wouldn't be particularly surprising.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

An Update on Black Widow Because You Should Be Buying Black Widow

You'd be surprised just how small the readership of ComVan is. Even if you take into account the fact that all the traffic is generated by us, as we post each of our "articles", you still need to remember that we barely read anything that we write, and edit nothing. So with that in mind, our readership closely resembles a zero. And Marvel aren't going to ask a website with no readers to interview Marjorie Liu, the writer behind Black Widow, Dark Wolverine, and the forthcoming X-23 ongoing series. However: that doesn't mean we can't read interviews that she does with other websites, and then summarise them and pass it off as new content. So!

With the recent release of Iron Man 2, which barely features Scarlett Johannson as the Black Widow, the Russian superhero has never been more popular. Or something. At any rate, Marvel have finally deemed Ms Natasha Romanov worthy of her own solo series - as opposed to a miniseries, which she has had in plentiful supply in recent years - and as such have hired Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna to put it together. Issue #2 comes out this week, after a first issue which saw the spy receive a mysterious beating from a mysterious old rival. In order to celebrate the fact that a comic featuring a female character has got past one issue, let's take a quick look at what's to come, with Marjorie Liu. Who is definitely telling us all this news first-hand, don't forget. Certainly, she is not telling this to comicbookresources.

"It's about Natasha being Natasha," Marjorie Liu told us face-to-face. "And what happens when her secrets and survival instincts collide - in a very public manner."

EXCLUSIVE! So go buy Black Widow immediately, please.

Good News! Fred Van Lente Announces Fifteenth New Project

Fred Van Lente, the man who proves that the Dutch aren't all a bunch of lazy slackers, has been announced as the writer of a four-issue miniseries which will tie in to Andy Diggle and Antony Johnston's 'Shadowland' mini-epic, which features all the street-level heroes fighting each other. Also, it will feature Spider-Man, who is classed as a street-level hero although he typically spends his time swinging perhaps a few feet away from street-level. Anyway, that's not important, because Spidey isn't the focus of this miniseries. (He will appear in the first issue, however, because... of course). Instead, Marvel have announced "Shadowland: Power Man", which will will be their second tie-in to the main series, and starts in July. The interesting thing to note about this Power Man, however, is that he is not Luke Cage.

Already this version of Power Man seems set to be the best version of Power Man ever, because he is not Luke Cage.

Van Lente, whose hobbies include writing comics, reveals that the Power Man in this miniseries is a new character - possibly - who dons the title (not the tiara) previously owned by Luke Cage in order to defy Daredevil, who has apparently gone mad and become a bit corrupt. It appears that as part of his new 'mean' personality, Matt Murdock is going to impose a ban on all 'capes' from entering his new Shadowland building. As this is the building where Murdy sends gangsters and villains to be routinely executed, this ban is going to rile up quite a few people - not least this new Power Man.

Of course, you don't take the mantle of Power Man without consulting Luke Cage first, but that's exactly what this new kid is going to do, and it's going to cause some considerable problems for him down the road. Van Lente, who enjoys writing ongoing comics and miniseries in his spare time, says that both Luke Cage and Danny Rand - Iron Fist - will appear in the mini, as they attempt to stop the new Power Man from getting himself killed. Also appearing, hurray, will be Misty Knight, who we have previously declared awesome. And we stand by that.

Joining Van Lente for the miniseries will be the insanely talented Mahmud Asmar, who will be drawing the half-hispanic new character alongside several more familiar characters - including a large portion of Luke Cage's rogues' gallery. That's right - it's time for the return of Comanche, Cockroach Hamilton, and Cockadoodle Bimbo! Alright, we made that last one up. Van Lente - who really wishes Marvel would let him have a bigger workload - has said that we should also expect an appearance from Shang-Chi, as Marvel seem set to pull out every character who has ever been near a street, and force them to appear somewhere during this event.

Spot The Difference

Marvel have released a teaser image for the upcoming 'Young Allies' series by writer Sean McKeever and artist David Baldeon. In it, the character of Arana has changed her outfit so now she looks a bit like the old Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter. It's also a bit darker than the other one, and its got the Marvel logo on it.
How many of the differences did you notice? Award yourself ten points for each.

Monday, 10 May 2010

There is Blood on the Streets Oh Dearie

When he isn't busy creating noodly music with Boy George and singing in an odd hippie accent, Antony Johnston enjoys writing suspenseful comics about gritty street-level characters. Which is a relief, because this August he'll be putting together an old crew as part of the big 'Shadowland' storyline invading the Daredevil titles this Summer. In "Shadowland: Blood on the Streets", Johnston is going to get a different perspective on the Shadowland story by following the most amazing female character ever created by Marvel - Misty Knight - while she gets thoroughly tangled up in Daredevil's exploits. In case you don't know what Shadowland is about, it's basically about this big place called Shadowland. Which is underground, and is where a now-mental Daredevil appears to be sending gangsters in order to have them executed.

Misty Knight, who don't forget is thoroughly amazing, will likely be very upset by all of this. Perhaps she will even call Daredevil some kind of sucker. At any rate, she is going to be only a part of Johnston's tale, as Sable, Scourge, and Paladin are all going to get roped into things as well. However, we don't particularly know anything about any of those characters, and quite frankly Misty is all we care about here. The art for the series will be by Wellinton Alves, the man who almost invented the wellinton boot before that darned Brit stole the idea from him. Not really, that was just us being a little silly. The four-issue miniseries starts in August, and will likely end after four months have passed.

In Which ComVan Makes Up News

Marvel haven't announced anything in AGES. There's a very good reason why we haven't updated since Wednesday: nothing has happened. At all. Anywhere. Well, sure, Marvel released instant box office smash Iron Man 2 last week, but we here at Comics Vanguard like to pride ourselves on sometimes revealing exclusive news about, y'know, comics, from time to time. So in response to Marvel's refusal to announce anything or cancel anything or give Humberto Ramos the power he so desperately craves and needs, we're going to make up some stupid news and broadcast it to the World.

- Marvel have announced a four-issue series beginning in July called GROOT: ORIGINS, in which writer Scott Lobdell will go back to his roots (roots! Haha! geddit?) in order to tell the complicated and highly erotic and emotional backstory of this beloved cosmic character. You'll gasp! As Groot works his way up through school, earning a diploma in public speaking. You'll cheer! As Groot falls in love with high-school sweetheart Jennifer Tringly. You'll be amazed! As Marvel manage to get four issues out of a character who basically can only say his name.

- An exciting new team are going to launch out of Second Coming, as the aptly-titled "Teleporters XI" race into their own title. Featuring Magik, Pixie, and Lila Cheney, the series will focus on the intense hatred all three characters feel for each other. Why would Cyclops put the only three teleporters left on the same team? Who knows. Maybe he's gone mental. Guest-appearances from Cloak, and that Aboriginal dude from Secret Warriors.

- Given the success of World War Hulks, Marvel have announced plans to launch a "Cold War Hulks" miniseries in which Bruce Banner, Skarr, Red Hulk and Rick Jones fly over to Russia and punch Putin repeatedly in his harsh, stony face. Joe Quesada has called the series "a satire on the nature of Russian politics", and promises "a scene where Ben Urich gets garrotted by a secret agent dressed up as Elektra".

- Captain America is set for a revamp in August, as Ed Brubaker will kill off James 'Bucky' Barnes in order to put a new face behind the shield. "Eddie B: Captain America" promises to look at the importance of critically-acclaimed writers in America, as we find out once and for all if the pen is mightier than the vibranium-enhanced shield. Brubaker will also be creating some new villains for the epic arc, including "Fraction", a deranged madman who wears a Richard Nixon facemask as he attempts to blow up the internet.

- And finally, in news that will thrill anyone who is a fan of Spider-Man, Marvel have announced plans for an "Aunt May" ongoing series, which chronicles the life of an octogenarian as she faces the daily trials which come from having to get up the stairs every day to change the bath-towels, get in and out of the bath unaided, and make delicious cookies for when her nephew (guest-star THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN) pops in for a visit. Written by Mark Millar and drawn by Steve Dillon, this is one series you can't afford to miss!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

FOX Attempts to Undermine Captain America, Thor etc

By now it should be becoming clear that Marvel have a damn exciting lineup of films coming out over the next few years, even for people who think Captain America is only interesting when he's a Commie and Thor is what snow does when the sun comes out. Ha! Bam. Phonological joke. Seriously though, Thor is actually an old Norse God. As we were saying, Marvel have been on a roll recently, with the massive success of Iron Man 2 only the tip of their cinematic iceberg. So in response to this string of successes, what are Fox doing in response? Remember that they have the rights to both Spider-Man and the X-Men, and more-or-less mucked up film III of both franchises.

They're releasing a new X-Men film. Unlike Spiderman 4 though, this will not reboot the series in any way. Instead we will be getting the long-rumoured 'X-Men: First Class' movie, which rewinds all the way back to when Xavier was still setting up his school for mutants. That means we'll be getting a film which more-or-less bridges the time period between the end of Wolverine: Origins and the original X-Men movie. It also means that Fox don't have to do anything with their dangling plots from X-Men III, which was widely disliked. Instead we'll get Xavier, Cyclops, Jean, and likely Beast and Storm too. As the main X-Men characters who have so far been used (it remains to be seen how co-operative Marvel will be in allowing pre-existing characters who haven't yet shown up in an X-Men film, to enter this movie) they will likely be in the spotlight. Anyone else who appears will likely be cannon-fodder, although it could well be that characters like Banshee and Thunderbird could turn up for a bit).

The film's saving grace - we're actually not too fond of it at the moment - is that Matthew Vaughn, the man who directed Kick Ass and the much-underrated Stardust, has just been confirmed as the director of the film. Given that he only has about a year to oversee, and then direct the movie (Fox have scheduled it in for release next Summer!), he'd better get a move on.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

EXCLUSIVE IMAGE: Hugo Weaving As The Red Skull

It's been announced that Hugo Weaving, the star of countless films such as The Matrix, V For Vendetta, and Lord of the Rings, has been announced as The Red Skull in Marvel's forthcoming Captain America: The First Avenger motion picture. Weaving, a native Australian who has found success playing a series of villains/antiheroes in the past, will be donning the... scarred bald head... as he joins Chris Evans in signing up for the part. The film, which will be a part of a series of Marvel movies which lead up to an eventual 'Avengers' film, is tentatively scheduled to be released in Summer 2011. It will be preceded by 'Thor', as teased at the end of Iron Man 2.

The news is massively exciting, as Captain America is rubbish but Chris Evans and Hugo Weaving are both rather good. Having an actor of Weaving's calibre playing the villain should - as with Ian McKellen in the X-Men trilogy - help to ramp up the ambition of the film, as the scriptwriters attempt to write words fit to be spoken by a true actor. And do you know what? ComVan are here with yet ANOTHER exclusive preview for you. After previously revealing such exciting news such as "Spider-Man will be cancelled" and "Ursa Major will not drink water in the forthcoming Darkstar & The Winter Guard series", we bring you the EXCLUSIVE first look at Weaving in-character, auditioning for the role. Are you ready? Well, feast your eyes:

Monday, 3 May 2010

Shadowland Is Massively Exciting

We've been mentioning this in bits and pieces, but let's finally get round to it: July will see Daredevil finally become relevant to the rest of the Marvel Universe once more, as he leaves his solitary confinement in order to launch the sprawling 'Shadowland' storyline, which will feature several of the street-level, 'grittiest' Marvel characters working against each other to try and bring security back to New York. The main storyline will be featured in an isolated 'Shadowland' title, which is reported to be five issues long, and written by Andy Diggle. Diggle, who is currently writing the main Daredevil title, will be joined for the miniseries by artist Billy Tan.

Shadowland has been teased in the Daredevil series for the past few months. The title character has taken over running terrorist group 'The Hand', in an attempt to reform them and use their resources to help people in trouble - and one of his many plans for The Hand includes getting them to build a 'Shadowland' facility, presumably to act as a prison for the many criminals running around in New York. While he's been working in the name of a greater good, it seems likely that he's slowly going to be corrupted, much to the worry of several other NYC-based characters. Diggle has recently been introducing the global cells of The Hand in the pages of Daredevil (which he will co-write during Shadowland with Antony Johnston), and promises that they will make an appearance during the event.

Five teasers have been released so far, each by a different artist who is presumably going to be involved in the series somehow. They show The Punisher, Spider-Man, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, Luke Cage & Iron Fist, Elektra and Wolverine, who all appear to be drafted onto different sides of some kind of conflict as a result of Daredevil's actions. Other characters have also been mentioned, including usual suspects like Foggy Nelson, Dakota North, and Misty Knight. While characters like Iron Fist and Elektra are obvious inclusions for a Daredevil event series, it's going to be interesting how Diggle manages to place Ghost Rider and Moon Knight into the equation - if, in fact, he is the one to do it. There's a fair chance that Shadowland will feature spinoff miniseries, in which case writers like Jason Aaron and Mike Benson could well take part in the event.

Now, this is all speculation, but it appears as though the event which kicks off all this is going to involve Bullseye. Now back in his original costume, Bullseye has been a persistent threat to Daredevil in the past -- and it seems as though Daredevil could be set to permanantly end that threat. Promotional material, as well as several covers, indicates that Daredevil may well kill Bullseye at the start of Shadowland, which is what brings in all these other characters. As of the moment, we don't really know much about the event, but it looks certain that there will be at least one fatality. Will it be Bullseye, or will it be Daredevil?

Shadowland #1 is released in July, alongside Daredevil #508, which will serve as the first tie-in series for the event.