It’s Super Romantic!

Happy Valentines Day everyone, I hope those of you who celebrate it have a great day and remember it should also be for friendships too! This post will be a relatively short one, I will be listing off my favourite superhero/villain couples from 5th to 1st place. I’m also currently working on a casting post for the X-Men when they enter into the MCU, and I am working on this with a friend and fellow writer. So I look forward to showing you that! Without further ado, let’s kick off the list!

5. Mister Fantastic & Invisible Woman

One of Marvel’s most famous couples. Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman embody the Silver Age comic-book romance, being a devoted, passionate, and healthy couple.

tumblr_ls4horuDxC1qhyhwto1_500Since the start of Fantastic Four’s first series, the team has been devoted to family and even though the couple had a rocky start they’ve made it work which is more than most comic-book families. Their relationship is built on an emotional trust that has survived the some of the worst crises any world can offer, some of which have been self-caused and some not, and each become for the other what they themselves can not be, they’ve stayed together through thick and thin, even when they’ve found themselves on opposite sides of the superhero Civil War, and have flourished as a couple. The pair have had two children together; creating a whole other family within the Fantastic Four’s already strong family-mythos.

4. Apollo & Midnighter

A somewhat unknown entry to the list but rather fantastic all the same!

7d2f746da77fc7706b933781653abe58Apollo and Midnighter are an amazing couple. First appearing in 1998’s Stormwatch #4 by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, the Apollo/Midnighter duo became one of the strongest parts of the the extremely groundbreaking series and team of the same name, from the Wildstorm imprint of DC comics universe known as The Authority. The duo eventually married and outlasted their team and virtually all of their Wildstorm universe associates. Andrew Pulaski (Apollo) and Lucas Trent (Midnighter), once considered the Batman and Superman similar-types, became one of the most prominent same-sex couples in DC and Marvel. Apollo and Midnighter are also completely badass, you should check those guys out.

3. Black Bolt & Medusa

Black Bolt and Medusa, King and Queen of the Inhumans, warriors and rulers in their own right.

4a73efd4e770d2c34279245aa986bcceBlack Bolt and Medusa have a some-what strained relationship but for unusual reasons however this hasn’t changed their fiercely loyal and loving relationship. Firstly, being the rulers of a genetically created race which has been attempted to be used as a weapon against civilizations and empires must be quite stressful. Secondly, Black Bolt can’t talk, like ever. Well he can but he shouldn’t because his voice is capable of destroying buildings, cities, mountains and even shattering planets. Medusa visited Black Bolt when he was younger and kept in isolation due to his ability to decimate things with his voice and they fell in love. The pair were married soon after and apart from the occasional story such as House of M, where Black Bolt could talk, he’s never been able to talk to her or to anyone. However Medusa has stuck by Black Bolt through it all, and the pair have even developed their own communication through body and face language. These two are wrapped in an extremely interesting and multi-layered origin, one that I would highly recommend you all checking out.

2. Gambit & Rogue

So this here is one of the most beloved pairings in mainstream comics and especially in the X-Men.

Rogue and GambitThe most compelling aspect of the relationship between the two is their will to be together and pure chemistry. Rogue’s power has traditionally been uncontrollable, in the sense that there’s a risk for anyone who makes skin-to-skin contact with her of losing not just their super-powers, but also their memories and even their life in some cases as was the unfortunate result of when her powers manifested the first time, killing her boyfriend. However Rogue is worth the risk for Gambit, he isn’t scared off by her powers, in fact he regularly kisses her and holds her by using his own powers to constantly charge enough energy so they can touch but not be harmed, however it’s still a risk, but a risk he is willing to take. The pairing are also perfectly matched in sass and sarcasm, constantly flirting with each other and making jokes, and they’ve also both been through similar hard-times. The best thing though, is that they’re also each other’s best friends and this makes their coupling really quite special and they wed each other recently too!

1. Aquaman & Mera

This entry will probably come as no surprise to those that know me for Aquaman is my favourite character in DC/Marvel, and Mera is one hell of a first lady; warrior, assassin, lover and Queen.

51968826_1347269182079592_6379518802551373824_nAquaman and Mera are a powerhouse couple. They are brilliant together however they have also clashed at times, creating wedges between the coupling. Aquaman was never meant to fall for Mera or vice versa, in fact, Mera was originally sent to Atlantis to kill Aquaman but the pair fell in love and Mera turned her back on her violent past. Both Aquaman and Mera are fiercely loyal to both each other and Atlantis, and both make for a formidable ruling pairing, they have defied prophecies, usurpers, armies and other super-powered beings to be together. The King and Queen of Atlantis have both seen hardships and have troubling pasts, they even lost a child while together, bringing a very real-life, traumatic aspect to their relationship, however they always come to each other’s side; they may have spent time apart but they have always loved each other, becoming a stronger and stronger couple and have each shown the other new worlds and realms.

My honourable mentions are for Scarlet Witch & Vision, and Green Arrow & Black Canary. Both are incredibly strong and interesting couples but just didn’t quite make the cut!

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So there we have it! My five favourite superhero couples. I hope you enjoyed the read and stay tuned for more content to come!

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What Comes Next?

So the third Marvel Cinematic Universe slate is almost at the final point with Avengers: Endgame just a few months away. There are so many possibilities regarding that film after the ending of Infinity War and Ant-Man & the Wasp, and even more possibilities for the future of the MCU given that we really have no idea where Endgame will leave us. In this post I will be going through a list of ten comic-book arcs that I would love to see adapted for Phase 4, with a little about each arc and how it could aid the MCU’s overall story! Originally the list was to be five arcs but a few of them I just couldn’t decide between so now it is ten, also reports have varied about the length of Phase 4. Some reports indicate that the Phase’s films won’t be split up into slates and some say that Phase 4 will follow the slate-structure, either way, Kevin Feige said that they have “at least twenty” films planned which is quite a few. Although I’m sure we won’t know all of them on the first reveal.

Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige has stated that Phase 4 of the MCU will be heavily focused on the vast cosmos of Marvel, which has been introduced to us briefly in films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Raganarok, and Avengers: Infinity War. However I’m sure there will be story-lines tying Earth’s characters into the fold too, and while it is hard to predict where the future of the MCU is heading, these are just the arcs that I would personally love to see adapted if the arcs fitted. So without further waiting, let’s kick the list off!

10. Infinity

I know what a lot of you are probably thinking, Infinity served as one of the comic-books that was inspiration for 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War regarding Thanos’ invasion of Earth through the Black Order and the battle taking place at Wakanda. However the comic-book arc of Infinity boasted far more than just a focus on Thanos and his invasion and that’s the part I want to talk about in regards to Infinity.

In the 2013 comic-book arc ‘Infinity’ written by Jonathan Hickman the whole universe is threatened by a race known simply as ‘The Builders’ who are said to be the oldest race in the universe. The Builders go from planet to planet erasing all life upon them in order to start again. The Builders are heading to earth to destroy it however many other races are in danger as they know their worlds will also be targeted and so in the story a resistance is formed against the Builders and named the Galactic Council. Upon this council sat an unlikely group of allies including Annihilus, the Skrull Emperor Kl’rt, and Kree Supreme Intelligence. The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy prepare to battle the Builders on two fronts, in space, bringing an impressive roster of heroes to join the Galactic Council’s ranks and on Earth. While this story does feature Thanos and his search for the Infinity Stones I feel that the other part of the story, with the Builders and Galactic Council, could be adapted suitably well. It would also combine Earth with a full-front space conflict that could be established over a few films and leading to a final film, this arc in the MCU could also see us introduced to the Illuminati.

Seeing as the Fox-Marvel deal is coming to completion, and we will be introduced into various Fox characters, a story-line such as Infinity is one of many that would be a great place to set up the shadow-organisation of super-humans secretly defending earth.

9. The Thanos Imperative

Okay so this gets a bit tricky because we do not know the fate of Thanos. He may die in Avengers: Endgame and if so, adapting this story would become tricky. Not impossible but more difficult.

So if Thanos is to die in Avengers: Endgame, that doesn’t mean he couldn’t return. Various characters in comics have come back to life through a variety of methods, and I’m sure this is something the MCU stories would be capable of doing too. However, a running theory for the story of Avengers: Endgame is that it will end with Thanos being put into an immense cosmic prison, or using something to do with the dimensional travel that is rumoured to take place. Anyway, The Thanos Imperative is a story that sees Thanos escape from his prison where he was being guarded by the Guardians of the Galaxy while Nova pursues Quasar while Magus and the Universal Church of Truth tear open the ‘Fault’ which is a massive rip in the universe leading to a seemingly infinite amount of realities through space and time. Through it comes monstrous creatures led by an alternative Captain Marvel ‘Lord Mar-Vell’ who is the existing leader of the Cancerverse (which is a reality in which Death itself has been banished from so Life runs rampant and seeks to spread his/its plague to all over verses). The Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova release Thanos who teams up with them to battle those from the Cancerverse. Nova then also leads another team to pursue another character.

The Thanos Imperative would be a great story to adapt for the Guardians of the Galaxy, and pending the finale of the third slate and Endgame, could see Thanos return to the screen for another film, as well as spinning Thanos into a new light too.

8. X-Men: Worlds Apart

This is a story I’ve wanted to see on the big screen for a while but there was absolutely no chance of it happening until the Fox-Marvel deal became apparent. X-Men: World’s Apart puts a spot light on Storm who is a character I feel deserves to be at the fore-front of the X-Men in the MCU.

Storm, over the course of her life, has been many things: A thief. A Goddess. An X-Man. A Wife. A Queen. But then an mysterious murder is committed in Wakanda by a fellow mutant and Storm takes it upon herself to investigate, the events which then transpire force her into a position where she must choose to stand with either her husband; the Black Panther and Wakanda, or with her own people; the X-Men and mutants across the world. I feel this arc would integrate really well, after establishing the mutants it could be an arc such as this which paves the way for Avengers vs X-Men; bringing tension between two powerful cultures. Storm is a character that could appear in the MCU quite effortlessly.

Once the mutants and X-Men have been introduced into the universe, Storm could make her first MCU debut in a credit scene for Black Panther 2 as a potential love interest for the character, a marriage to make an alliance with mutant-kind and the Avengers, or at least with Wakanda. Also it would be rather excellent to watch a film centered around a black-female character, tying into future Avengers and X-Men films.

7. New Avengers: Breakout

The New Avengers: Breakout could serve as one of the first few films of the new Phase and it wouldn’t require a huge amount of changes to the story, a major reason I’ve included this story is Sentry. Sentry is someone I think would make a great addition to the MCU and Breakout serves as his major origin. Kind of.

The New Avengers: Breakout is set just after the devastation of Avengers: Disassembled where Scarlet Witch dismantles or disassmbles the Avengers by unleashing a full force of power. The Avengers are now disbanded but Captain America unites a New team of Spider-Man, Spider-Girl, Wolverine and Iron Man, who are later joined by Ronin (Hawkeye) and Luke Cage too, to join himself and journey to the Raft (you know, the prison from 2016’s Civil War film, only larger and containing much more powerful characters). Electro is leading a prison escape at the Raft, after he was hired to make sure someone gets free, only over thirty inmates try and escape too. Robert Reynolds is a prisoner of the Raft, he had voluntarily imprisoned himself for the murder of his wife, Lindy Reynolds. During a jailbreak at the Raft, Sentry turns and defends several of the Avengers from Carnage, who had already beaten several members to a standstill. Sentry easily overpowers Carnage, flies him to the edges of the atmosphere, and tears him in two. Taking a great interest in the now free Sentry, the Avengers begin investigating his dark persona. They soon realize that the Void is actually the result of a cerebral virus created by the villain known as Mastermind. After seeking help, Robert Reynolds is freed from his shackles to the virus by Emma Frost and he recalls much about his life, including that he never actually killed his wife and that his Watchtower stood atop Stark Tower, where he had subconsciously hidden it from public view. With his memory recovered, he joins with the Avengers and begins fighting alongside them, becoming a member of the New Avengers himself.

The New Avengers: Breakout would be the perfect film to introduce Sentry and also form a new line-up of Avenger members, maybe making it the first film to feature Wolverine after the X-Men have been introduced or even before, making Wolverine one of the first mutant-contact characters. Although I’d prefer if Marvel didn’t do what Fox did and make him the major-contact characters, rather, have him as one of them alongside Storm, Cyclops and Xavier.

6. World War Hulk

World War Hulk is one of the best Marvel arcs ever to have been written and in the comics is also a sequel to Planet Hulk. The reason I’ve not put the Planet Hulk stoey as well is that aspects of that story were already covered in Thor: Ragnarok and I think that the arcs of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk could be covered in one film rather than two.

Planet Hulk is a story that sees Hulk exiled to an alien planet by the Illuminati who have deemed his destructive nature too dangerous to be contained to Earth, so they sent him in a shuttle up into space and aimed him towards a peaceful planet so that he could be both free and at peace. However the shuttle lands on a ravaged planet and Hulk is forced into being a gladiator before earning his freedom, toppling the current regime and becoming the planet’s ruler – then his family are killed on the shuttle he arrived in and so heads back to Earth. That was a very brief description of it for the point of this post. World War Hulk sees Hulk return to Earth, blaming the Illuminati for her death, and significantly more powerful than ever because of his time spent absorbing the powerful radiation levels on Planet Sakaar – the planet he was a ruler of. Hulk then rampages across the world destroying much of the cities he comes across and Earth’s heroes group together to try and take him down, which ultimately doesn’t succeed until a character known as Sentry intervenes and stalemates Hulk. The battle between the two of them almost completely destroys the west coast. The arcs of Planet Hulk and World War Hulk could be condensed into a singular film, if World War Hulk sees Hulk return from somewhere else from a story before, of him with a family somewhere else. World War Hulk could also serve as film debut for Sentry, who could previously have appeared in an end-credit scene. World War Hulk would be a tremendous story to adapt into the MCU, maybe even serving as Hulk’s last outing.

5. Avengers: Disassembled

Avengers: Disassembled may well be one of the most devastating stories to come from Marvel Comics. Avengers: Disassembled is a big 2004 crossover story-line published by Marvel Comics involving the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Spider-Man and Thor. It sees the beginning of Brian Michael Bendis’ Avengers run with the destruction of the existing traditional roster, and exile of several key members of the team.

A big character in this arc is Scarlet Witch. In fact, she’s really the whole point of it all, and is very much the main reason behind the events of Disassembled and House of M which came on after it. When the Wasp began a romantic relationship with Hawkeye, she would constantly talk to Wanda about the developments of their romance. One day after Wasp had a few drinks, she revealed to Wanda that she once had children that were hidden to her. This triggered something deep inside Wanda’s mind, as I’m sure it would most people, only most people aren’t capable of warping reality. She sought out her former teacher, Agatha Harkness to learn the truth, and then murdered Agatha for the betrayal. Then Wanda went on to exact her revenge on her fellow Avengers. She hit each of them unexpectedly and even blew up the Avengers Mansion. At this point, it was believed that Wanda was hardly herself; driven mad by grief and trauma and the new-found memories of her now-lost children. It’s hinted that what she did to the other Avengers was unknown even to her, and their destruction was created on a subconscious level. And to top this all off, the Kree arrive (generated by Wanda’s magic) and Hawkeye sacrifices his life to bring down the Kree warship. Doctor Strange then led the remaining Avengers to Wanda who had begun creating a fake reality around her composed of those she cared for. The arrival of the Avengers threatened this peace and the existence of the children that she had once again willed into being and she battled Doctor Strange who defeated and subdued her but it was actually Magneto, Scarlet Witch’s father, who arrived to rescue her. Magneto took Wanda back to Genosha in hopes of healing her broken mind. And this all seemed well until events that led to little story called House of M happened, which, if you hadn’t guessed, was not well.

Avengers: Disassembled is certainly the darkest day of the Avengers’ history. Not only were many of the team’s roster killed but the powers at hand almost threatened the entire world. Scarlet Witch’s trauma and breakdown shook reality and sent ripples through the multiverse. Not only was this arc so big at the time, it also pathed the way directly into House of M and also set up for Avengers vs X-Men, so this story would be immense to have in the MCU. We already have Scarlet Witch but not as a mutant in the MCU, however, although I would prefer her to be a mutant and there may be a way to make that happen, it wouldn’t be essential for this as there would be other ways to make her powers grow exponentially as she discovers her potential. In terms of stories that would make for a darker day than Infinity War, Disassembled is certainly one of the few.

4. Avengers vs X-Men

While Marvel have said that the MCU future will focus on the cosmic side, it is hard to ignore that most of Marvel’s biggest assets are Earth-bound. The X-Men are arguably the biggest of those assets, making up a huge part of the stories and cross-over events. Avengers vs X-Men is possibly one of the best crossover events and as the title may imply, the X-Men play a huge role.

Avengers vs X-Men is an arc that incorporates many, many characters from both sides. The story sees both the Avengers and the X-Men concerned that the Phoenix Force is coming to Earth and both presume that the to-be host is a young mutant called Hope Summers. Cyclops, leading the X-Men, wants Hope to take the Phoenix in order to use the almighty power to rebuild and re-power the mutant population after the decimation caused by Scarlet Witch’s “No More Mutants” of House of M almost completely rid the world of mutants. While the Avengers are understandably concerned that the Phoenix will be used to destroy the Avengers and human-kind. This causes conflict with the remainder of the mutant population and the Avengers, although several mutants refuse to take sides, including Wolverine and Beast who work as teachers at one of the schools. The conflict between those that do fight however is immense taking place even on the Moon as well as on Earth. We also see the Avengers square off against the Phoenix Force in space, demonstrating how supremely powerful the cosmic entity is as it fights off an impressive roster of heroes including Thor, Vision, Captain Marvel and even Blue Marvel. Ultimately the Phoenix Force does take a host but it is not Hope, it is instead five mutants. Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magik, Colossus and Namor take the power and that’s when the war becomes desperate for the Avengers. In this event also sees some rather shocking events transpire.

Avengers vs X-Men would most probably have to be a penultimate story, being the last film in a series of Avenger and X-Men sequels that ties them both together. And of course it would have to be set way down the line after the X-Men and various, important mutant characters, had been introduced but it is one that I, like many fans, are really hoping will come to fruition.

3. Annihilation

Annihilation is a tremendous cross-over event worthy of the name. Annhilation is a 2006 cross over event that highlights several outer-space characters including the Guardians of the Galaxy, Galactus, the Annhilators, Silver Surfer, and Thanos, as well as the Annihilation Wave and Annihilus himself.

Annihilation is an absolutely mental arc, an impressive cross over event seeing many elements of Marvel’s universe put against each other. Annihilation is probably the greatest cosmic-crossover event, one of the largest and one of the most devastating. It features several locations and events that we’ve already seen in the MCU such as the Kyln from Guardians of the Galaxy. The story centers on the big baddie Annihilus as he declares war, and with his unstoppable Annihilation Wave, he swarms into the Marvel Universe, demolishing all in its path with only a handful of heroes resisting his grasp. Nova is given advice from Drax the Destroyer and Silver Surfer seeks out Galactus for aid. Nova and Quasar’s army leads the charge, but as heroes fall and Annihilus rises, growing stronger and stronger, an unlikely character is called upon for a last hope. Thanos himself. Although that’s not to say they couldn’t use another character for as much as I love Thanos, there are others worthy of a spot light. Annihilation is told through a variety of different stories, from the perspective of Thanos, Drax, Nova, Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull, the Heralds of Galactus, and Ronan the Accuser. Ultimately, the Annihilation story is one of the biggest cross overs in Marvel’s history, with fantastic action and mind-warping tension as Annihilus’ grows in power.

This is a story that would need to be altered if a variety of the characters died/remained dead such as Ronan the Accuser and others which are inevitably going to depart after Endgame and would have to be after Galactus was introduced as well as his Heralds and the Negative Zone – Annihilus’ home realm would have to be at least hinted at.

2. House of M

Now this would take some time to set up, so if we were to see this, it wouldn’t be until way, way down the line. However this arc is one of my all time favourites and would, if crafted properly, be an absolutely insane arc to see on the big screen.

The majority of House of M takes place in an alternative universe after Scarlet Witch suffers a mental breakdown and tries to alter the very fabric of reality to recreate her lost children after learning that they had been taken from her and her memories of them had been erased. In this new reality, the world is vastly different. Spider-Man is a celebrity married to Gwen Stacy; Cyclops and Emma Frost are happily married; Doctor Strange is a psychologist; and Carol Danvers is Captain Marvel, America’s most beloved superhero. Wolverine, upon waking up, recalls all of his lost memories and knows this new world is a lie. Not only are characters’ lives very different but the mutant population is dominant over humans. Mutants rule humans, and Magneto and his “House of M” rules mutants. Wolverine then is confronted by his “teammates” in the Red Guard who are a mutant elite task force. Wolverine then escapes and finds the human resistance. The resistance form an attack plan and head directly to Magneto to execute it, during this attack the real truth of what has happened and how this world and reality were created, comes to light, and Scarlet Witch beings to lash out. She then utters “No more mutants.” Everything turns to white once again. Upon returning to the normal 616 reality the world learns that mutants have lost their powers, and the number of mutants who have kept them in the world has dropped from thousands to a few hundred. Hank Pym warns that all these powers could not simply vanish, but are contained somewhere, and then a colossal red ribbon begins to orbit earth; the Phoenix Force is returning, and this begins the events leading to Avengers vs X-Men.

As I said above, this story would have to be really far down the line after the X-Men had been introduced and had several films under their belt. The MCU as a whole would be very different too and depending on which characters die or leave the roster after Endgame, adapting this would have to accommodate for those character changes too. However this story would be almighty if adapted, it could set up a number of plot lines including Avengers vs X-Men which is listed above.

1. The Galactus Trilogy

This three-part comic epic from Stan Lee and Jack Kirby may very well be one of the most important cosmic story-lines Marvel has ever produced and so it really must be adapted into the MCU and could definitely be adapted into a singular film. The comic story-line also marked the first appearance/mention of the Negative Zone – a parallel Earth, where-in lives Annihilus, and a realm that has played a prominent role in other Marvel Cosmic arcs such as the “Kree/Skrull War.”

The Galactus Trilogy starts with focus on Silver Surfer as he flies through the Andromeda Galaxy which attracts the attention of the Skrulls. The Skrulls do all that they can to hide the presence of their planet from the view of the Surfer, for they know that if the Silver Surfer is seen, his master; the planet devouring Galactus, won’t be far behind. Then, on Earth, we see the Fantastic Four as they look up and see the entire skyline apparently engulfed in flames. When they return to the Baxter Building to research this they are confronted by a character known as “The Watcher” and he informs them that he has created a barrier around Earth to shield it, and then tells them of Galactus and that if he were to arrive, he would devour Earth. After an investigation the Silver Surfer learns that a planet is hidden there and he alerts his master who soon arrives and plans to devour the world of Earth. The Watcher tries to reason with him and the Fantastic Four try to fight him, each with little to no effect. Then the Silver Surfer joins the Fantastic Four and the team up allows them to turn a weapon of Galactus against himself to negotiate a deal wherein Galactus vows never to devour Earth and to leave if Reed gives the weapon back. This certainly isn’t the most vast story but it is a brilliant one.

The Galactus Trilogy is an arc which incorporates three major elements of Marvel’s universe; the Fantastic Four, Marvel’s flagship family; Galactus, one of the most famous big bads; and Silver Surfer. Each of these characters links to others either in the cosmos or on earth and so would be an extremely beneficial arc to see come to the MCU. On top of that, now that the Fox-Marvel deal is nearing completion, this story could probably flow rather seamlessly from the start of the next phase, as it needs little build up with previous stories, and this story could also be adapted to include some Avengers thus bringing the Fantastic Four and Avengers together for a crisis. Not only is this first on the list for stories to be brought into the MCU but it is also one of my all-time favourite Marvel arcs.

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Honourable mentions go to Annihilation: Conquest, Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickan, and X-Men: Messiah Complex. All three stories are formidable and almost made the list, both would need to be way down the line and didn’t quite make the cut. As I said at the top, the list originally was going to be five arcs but became ten, and to be honest, I could write so many more. This post was a real blast to write and one of my longest, as usual any likes and shares of the post go a long way, especially sharing through the Facebook page which can be found here. I also hope to do another give away soon; aiming to do one when we get to 100 likes, so if you know anyone else that might be interested in the content please send them over to like the page. Other posts coming soon include our casting for a Fantastic Four film and favourite Flash villains with some recommended reading. As usual, I hope you enjoyed the post!

Peace!

You Are… Doomed

Hello! My post quantity has dropped rather significantly over the last few months and that’s because I’ve been adjusting to a new job as well as finally taking driving lessons. I am still deeply enjoying the blog though and am trying to keep up the posts every week or so. Today I will be listing my top five Doctor Doom comic picks. Doctor Doom, although a villain for the most part, is truly interesting and extraordinary, and has appeared in some really marvelous stories.

Victor Von Doom aka Doctor Doom is a flagship Marvel Comics villain and character. He has appeared in 3045 issues at time of this blog post. While primarily a villain, he has worked with heroes and even led entire teams of them before. He was at university with Reed Richards and is only surpassed in intelligence by Reed himself, Doom is an immensely powerful sorcerer and a gifted scientist, and the relationship between he and the Fantastic Four isn’t just black and white.

5. Infamous Iron Man

Infamous Iron Man is written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Alex Maleev.

I was wrestling with two stories to put at 5th place on this list and Infamous Iron Man is a story that I bet many weren’t thinking would appear on it, however, I really love the

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Infamous Iron Man story. Infamous Iron Man takes off after the destruction of the Multiverse and Doctor Doom manages to kill the Beyonders who are an immensely powerful omnipotent race from another plane of existence, and he has managed to harness their power. As God Doom he merges the remaining bits of the surviving worlds into a new version of Battleworld and rules it. He also marries Susan Storm, who does not remember her prior life. He is eventually opposed by the heroes after they remember the truth. During the final battle, Molecule Man gives God Doom’s power to Reed, who heals Victor’s face. In the aftermath of the Multiverse’s restoration, the newly-healed Victor sets out to try and change his ways. He befriends Tony Stark and after Tony is rendered comatose during a battle with Captain Marvel, Victor takes on the mantle of Iron Man, donning a new suit, and even becomes a member of the Avengers.

Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev create a great story, fun and with a twist on Doom, portrayed as the hero rather than a villain. Though he does have other motives of course. Maleev’s art is fresh and stylish, and the two work well together.

4. Fantastic Four: Unthinkable

Fantastic Four, Volume 2: Unthinkable is written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Mike Wieringo.

Mark Waid’s Fantastic Four was fairly hit or miss, the first arc was rather forgettable so you can imagine how astonished I was to read this and then to rank it up among Doom’s

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best stories. A lot of writers portray Doctor Doom to be a complex character who’s villainous behaviour and acts mask a sort of hidden honour but that’s not what happened in Fantastic Four: Unthinkable. Due to complications with Sue Storm’s pregnancy, Reed and Sue have to reach out to Doom and are forced to ask for his help in delivering their daughter, and as asked, Doom delivers the baby girl into the world. For this, Reed and Sue allow Doom to name the girl and he calls her Valeria. We then learn that he enchanted Valeria so he could spy on the Fantastic Four. Victor Von Doom then tracks down his long lost childhood love and guess what he does? He sacrifices her, having given up on science, to which he gains enormous levels of arcane power. Doctor Doom then uses this power to banish Franklin Richards to hell, yeah, he banishes a being who can create universes in his hands to hell, and then he goes on to torment the Fantastic Four. Fantastic Four: Unthinkable explores Doctor Doom at his worst.

Fantastic Four: Unthinkable is an extremely interesting book, delving into the relationship between Doom and the Fantastic Four, and Reed and Sue’s children. We also see a new side to Reed, for to beat Doom he too must delve into realms beyond his knowledge and explore magic, in order to lose grip on logic and save his family. Mark Waid’s Unthinkable is truly a great story, with magic and science carefully bonded together. Mike Wieringo’s art is some-what harsh but the it works well with the story, bringing a realistic feel merged with chaotic events.

3. Books of Doom

Fantastic Four: Books of Doom is written by Ed Brubaker and illustrated by Pablo Raimondi.

This is most definitely one of my favourite Ed Brubaker stories. A dark and revealing examination of how an innocent boy grows up to be a tyrant, a new twist on an old

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legend. In this story we get to see the events of Victor’s life unfold, starting at showing us his childhood; he was the child of Gypsy travelers in the fictional country of Latveria, a small European country in Marvel’s universe. Victor’s mother was killed by Mephisto when she called upon him/summoned him and left Victor with his father, asking him to protect him from Mephisto. Victor’s father was a doctor who was called upon by King Vladimir of Latveria to treat his wife. He was unable to do so, so Werner fled with Victor but died soon afterward trying to protect his son. Victor later discovered his mother’s mystical books and artifacts. With them, he was able to teach himself sorcery. The story goes on to show Victor’s escape to America where he first encounters Reed Richards, developing both a fierce friendship and rivalry, before he returns to Latveria to wreak his revenge on the Baron and secure his country’s future. Brubaker does a great job of making Doom sympathetic but also proving why he’s a villain. Doom is arrogant, even before his need of the mask and many of his downfalls are due to his overconfidence and pride. His life, his journey, his mistakes and the determination to rule are all told perfectly, even when some moments run the risk of being cliche.

Brubaker’s writing is top notch as always and I enjoyed the artwork of Pablo Raimondi which suited the colourful landscapes that Brubaker’s writing of Victor’s journey took him on, creating a terrific study of a complex and some-what understood character, delving deep into his motives, his flaws and his eagerness to achieve.

2. Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment

Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment is written by Roger Stern and illustrated by Mike Mignola.

For those that follow my posts you’ll remember this from my Doctor Strange picks where it landed at first place. This story is a huge amount of fun, tremendously so. In this story

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we see the unlikely team up of Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom as they venture into Mephisto’s realm in an all-out, magic-blazing attempt to free the soul of Victor Von Doom’s mother. How this came to be was that Doctor Strange was summoned to a meeting of the Three, a council held every one-hundred years, where he battles other sorcerers in order for them to be judged and one given the title of Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange clash and Strange wins, ultimately keeping the title however Doom is allowed to make a request of the Sorcerer Supreme being the runner up and he demands that Doctor Strange accompanies him to Hell in order to free his mother from the clutches of Mephisto himself. This is a great tale of magic, damnation and redemption. Seeing the team up of two extremely arrogant characters whose pride is second only to the one of Mephisto, the Prince of Lies. While this is primarily a Doctor Strange comic, he and Doom have equal time on the page and are their journey through hell is as interesting as it is colourful, there are many extraordinary battles as they fight together against the odds but also many astonishing moments where we get to delve into Doom’s ideology and moral compass.

The story is a master-work of character building, development, and overthrowing reader expectations. The story offers a striking characterization for one of the coolest Marvel villains, Doctor Doom. Roger Stern delivers brilliant writing, exploring the depths of magic, the chemistry between unlikely allies and packs the story full of action, humour, suspsense, drama, and magic. Mike Mignola’s art work is absolutely stunning. I think this tale contains some of his absolute best, painting Mephisto with a striking eeriness; adding to the layers of which his dimension feels haunted.

1. Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman

Fantastic Four is written by Jonathan Hickman and illustrated by a variety of artists including Sean Chen, Rick Magyar, and Nick Dragotta.

The Fantastic Four has actually had many writers, and the title of this run is the same as other Fantastic Four stories, but the one in focus today is by Hickman. Hickman’s

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approach to the Fantastic Four was brilliant, a total re-vamping of Marvel’s favourite family. The Fantastic Four get a totally new re-imagining, with a story spanning across space, reality and time, and yes, we are still talking about top Doctor Doom comic picks – this story doubles as the best of both. Doctor Doom plays a pivotal role in the Jonathan Hickman Fantastic Four story. At the end of the previous arc involving Doom, Doom is severely injured both of mind and body. Meanwhile, A future version of Franklin Richards had warned Valeria Richards that there was an upcoming problem and that ‘All Hope Lies in Doom.’ The Fantastic Four had disbanded after the death of the Human Torch, and so it was seemingly essential to bring Doom into the fold, in exchange for his help to save her father, she offered to find a way to restore his intelligence. From the ashes of the disbanded Fantastic Four, Mr. Fantastic formed a new group to create a better future for all of humanity called Future Foundation, and they, with Doom’s help battle in part of one of the most tremendously powerful events of Marvel comics. While Doom’s part in this comic is not as large in this comic as the other picks listed, his part is certainly centre stage.

This story is truly (forgive me) fantastic. We get to see the Fantastic Four and particularly Reed Richards in the aftermath of Civil War and the Skrull Invasion, and how it has affected him, as well as the team’s mentality with the loss of the Human Torch. He searches for the answers to how to solve everything and in so doing finds a council of alternate universe counterparts trying to solve all the problems on their worlds. The story sees Doctor Doom in a new light, engaging us with a new take on the genius as he suffers from mental and physical afflictions. The art-work is superb too, all of the artists’ work flows seamlessly, working with Hickman’s writing to create a brilliant chemistry filled page turner.

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So here are my favourite Doctor Doom comic picks. This post was really enjoyable, more so than a lot of the others (although I love all the posts here) because Doom doesn’t really have a centre-stage role in many comics, he really deserves his own major series rather than the occasional mini-series, with a writer who really knows their stuff. Hope you enjoyed the read! More content coming soon!

It’s Strange…

“I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. ” – This is one of the coolest lines about magic ever written, and I’ve always wanted to know what would have happened if Gandalf and Doctor Strange had gotten to team up. Alas we will never know, but you will know my favourite Doctor Strange comics!

With a name like Stephen Strange you really have to become a sorcerer don’t you? That or at least a Bond Villain. Doctor Stephen Strange was once a gifted but selfish and egotistical surgeon who sought out the Ancient One in a last attempt to heal his hands after a devastating car crash. Instead, the Ancient One trained him to become Master of the Mystic Arts and the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Doctor Strange has appeared in a huge 3941 issues and is widely known, and considered one of the greatest fictional sorcerers ever. So with that in mind, pals, let’s crack on!

5. Damnation

Doctor Strange: Damnation is written Donny Cates by and illustrated by Rod Reis.

This is by far the newest addition to the entries, published only of July 2018, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on the list. Donny Cates is a superstar at Marvel. His work damnationwriting on characters such as Thanos and Venom have been thoroughly well received, and now we can add Doctor Strange to that list. Doctor Strange: Damnation is set shortly after Doctor Strange raises Las Vegas up from its destruction during the 2017 arc ‘Secret Empire’, and he inadvertently opens a big door for the embodiment of evil, Mephisto himself. Mephisto takes the city for himself and begins to plot about taking the world. The Sorcerer Supreme will have to give it his all to take back the city and drive Mephisto away, however he won’t be able to do it alone. Doctor Strange is joined by the Avengers and the Midnight Sons; Earth’s main defence against the dark and unnatural forces.

Donny Cates picks up with Doctor Strange in an all-out storm of magic. Damnation is an excellent, great fun mini-event that ties together Doctor Strange and the Avengers, along with a few other side-characters and sets up more endeavours for the future.

4. The Way of the Weird

Doctor Strange: The Last Days Of Magic is written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Chris Bachalo

The Empirikul, led by The Imperator, are a technological enemy that are seeking out and destroying all magic and magic users in the Marvel Universe. A libarian known as Zelma way of the weirdStanton meets with Doctor Strange when searching for help – after she learns of demons plaguing her mind. This is the first ongoing Doctor Strange book in a long time and, often I find that volume 1’s of new series nowadays often don’t touch upon origins for we are are already familiar with the character by the time a series like this comes around, but I think it’s great that Aaron explains the character, and explores elements of his life as well as launching him into a new mind-bending adventure. We learn that Doctor Strange suffers physically and endures a pretty lonely, dark life – and no matter what, he still saves the innocents. Along the way Aaron introduces the reader to the important aspects of Strange’s world through a new character, the Sanctum Sanctorum – the magical home in which he lives in and guards which is full of amazing, wonderful artifacts which leave us guessing; his magician friend and aid Wong, and a particularly intriguing bar known as The Bar with No Doors, a watering hole only for magicians. The book is bursting with creativity in the same way the books in Strange’s library are crammed with magic.

Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo bring another great story to life, with a very appealing tone – simialr to Aaron and Bachalo’s collaboration, Wolverine and the X-Men, it is a tasteful blend of comedy, adventure, drama, and is filled with seemingly limitless imagination and gorgeous artwork that helps carry the story forward.

3. Into Shamballa

Doctor Strange: Into Shamballa is written by J.M DeMattis and illustrated by Dan Green.

Into Shamballa is a step away from the typical superhero genre comic, especially for Marvel. There is no grand evil, no building up to battle a big bad evil. The story is a into shamballajourney of discovery for Stephen Strange himself. Doctor Strange returns to the Temple of Shamballa to do homage to his departed master, the Ancient One, but finds that his mentor has left one last gift. The Lords of Shamballa and the Ancient One, want to usher in a Golden Age for man. But, in order to do this, Doctor Strange would have to be the one who starts the events that lead to an Armageddon of which, in the aftermath, humanity will be more in tune with the mystical arts, pathing the way for a new utopia. As you can imagine, Doctor Strange isn’t quite as on board with this as they are. However, the source of the journey and it’s potential has him conflicted.  Into Shamballa brings the ‘A Game’ with abstract and mystical story telling devices which echoes more of the Sandman Universe than any Marvel story.  DeMattis explores the inner psyche of Strange and shows us some other sides to the Ancient One’s retreat, personality, and his servants. A little of this is explored in the 2016 Doctor Strange film – where we learn of the Ancient One drawing power from the Dark Dimension.

The writing evokes a feel of reading a magical theory book and the artwork truly does complement the story. The story encompasses intelligent and thought provoking concepts of magic, the soul, and the entities at work, and is supported by an art style that works in tandem with this truly mystical tale. DeMattis and Green create one of the most beautiful Doctor Strange stories ever written.

2. The Oath

Doctor Strange: The Oath is written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Marcos Martin.

Positions 1 and 2 on this list were a battle among themselves. I truly love both however The Oath landed just behind #1 in second place. Doctor Strange: The Oath is written by the oathone of my favourite comic-authors and Brian K. Vaughan hits the spot once again. In this story, Doctor Stephen Strange sets out to solve his own murder as well as seeking out a cure for Wong, his close friend and ally who has been diagnosed with cancer. The story starts out by building up the bond between Wong and Strange, deliberately ready to pull at your heat strings just a few pages later. Strange finds a cure and is made sure of that it works and it does, but it also cures all cancers not just the strand that Wong has. However, things get really dicey here. Someone found out what this potion was capable of, and decided they needed to put an end to it. The Oath also features a character called the Night Nurse quite heavily which I really enjoyed, she’s only really been seen before this in a few smaller events or stories. The Oath is a story that feels uniquely suited to Strange, a confluence of medicine and magic, rooting his mystical presence in place, and the story is full of thrills, humour, twists and references to the origin and past of the character.

Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin craft a tale that revisits Doctor Strange’s origin to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme, and his surgeon past by blending the mystic arts with real-world, grounded Marvel universe, science. Vaughan nails the story – filling it with heart wrenching twists, deep character plots and magical, fantastical outcomes. And Martin’s art is inspiring, clean and evocative, it almost feels like a mirror of Jack Kirby’s original art; it is wondrous yet also fitting to the story.

1. Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment

Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment is written by Roger Stern and illustrated by Mike Mignola.

This story here is a lot of fun, probably one of the most fun comics I’ve read  in the superhero genre. While it’s true that I generally prefer stories with a more serious theme or writing, I do strange and doomlove it when writers bring comedy or just good-old-fashioned fun effectively into the mix. In this story we see the unlikely team up of Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom as they venture into Mephisto’s realm in an all-out, magic-blazing attempt to free the soul of Victor Von Doom’s mother. Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom are summoned to a magical trial with some other contestants to determine who will be the next Sorcerer Supreme. Strange walks away with the title, but Doom wins the right to make a request of him and so begins their journey into the devil’s lair.  This story is a master-work of character building, development, and overthrowing reader expectations. The story offers a striking characterization for one of the coolest Marvel villains, we see Mephisto in a new light and he in itself, fills the story with depth and comes across genuinely scary. As well, we see more than just magic from Doom and Strange, the story explores their relationship with each other, giving them a whole new depth with magic in all its forms, and with others too; Doom’s relationship with his mother is a key tale told in this story and it will change how you view Victor and why he has done the things he has.

Roger Stern delivers brilliant writing, exploring the depths of magic, the chemistry between unlikely allies and packs the story full of action, humour, suspsense, drama, and magic. Mike Mignola’s art work is absolutely stunning. I think this tale contains some of his absolute best, painting Mephisto with a striking eeriness; adding to the layers of which his dimension feels haunted. Mignola’s approach of the two protagonists of this story are brilliant too, the whole story fits together like pieces of a jigsaw. An absolute must read.

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So there we have it! Hope you enjoyed the read and stay tuned, coming up over the next weeks are our favourite Fantastic Four stories, favourite Flash villains (with recommended reading), and stretching out across multiple publishers; ten series you should definitely be reading right now. Peace!

 

Terrific Teen Titans

I’ve been getting super into DC stories as of late, I’m only reading one Marvel series but I’m reading several DC! Talking of more DC stories, today I will be listing my favourite Teen Titans comic arcs,

The Teen Titans are a flagship of DC comics and the premier team for young heroes in the DC Universe the team fights for the greater good and to recruit other young heroes like them. They have appeared in 1679 issues and have an impressive roster of 98 characters! So without any more wait, let us begin!

5. Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West

Rebirth Titans Vol 1: The Return of Wally West is written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Brett Booth.

After the events of Flashpoint, Wally existed along the rest of the DC Universe until at one point, the villain Abra Kadabra erased Wally from the timeline and made everyone Return of Wally Westforget about him. Wally became stuck on the Speed Force after this, and learned that after Flashpoint, history was altered and the 10 years were stolen from the lives of everyone. Following the fallout of the Darkseid War, Wally managed to escape through the Speed Force and avoid being lost forever. He was able to project himself onto the New 52 Earth, but needed someone to remember him before being revived fully. Barry recognized him and returned him to life. After a tearful reunion with his mentor, Wally warned Barry of the universal change and dangers to come. This new line up of Titans journey on a quest to find out the truth behind the earth-shattering, universe-changing revelations that Wally ushered in in his return to the world he thought he’d lost. Wally, Donna, Arsenal, Garth, Lilith and Nightwing form the Titans in this story. The line up works well as teams go, each member brings something different to the team – as with most teams, but what makes the Teen Titans different is the fact that they are literally that – Teens, and it’s very interesting to see how they mirror other teams such as the Justice League as they grow.

The Return of Wally West was a tremendous start for Rebirth’s Teen Titans. The book is essentially a Flash story with the Titans featuring but it is huge amounts of fun. DC’s Rebirth marked a monumental shift away from the dark and gritty New 52 to a more opportunistic vision of the DCU. The New 52 was excellent, but this fresh new take on things really shook things around and it paid off. Dan Abnett’s writing is witty and fast-paced, with action and suspense all wrapped together, while Brett Booth’s art is stylish and catchy; filled with colour!

4. The New Teen Titans

The New Teen Titans was written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Perez.

The New Teen Titans launched a timeless story, published in the 1980’s, featuring a team roster of Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Cyborg, Changling, Raven and Starfire. This story new teen titanscompletely re-invented the Teen Titans. it’s hard to realize how ground-breaking The New Teen Titans was, but it was something that DC Comics hadn’t seen before, except maybe with their Legion of Superheroes comic. It was a modern-day DC comic, written in a new way; Marv Wolfman had recently left Marvel Comics and found himself at home with the Teen Titans,. He also gave most of the group some sort of conflict with a father figure; explored in the plot over the duration of the series. Robin was trying to get out from under the shadow of Batman – a hard task I think we’d all agree; Starfire’s weak-willed father sold her into slavery to save his own world; Cyborg’s father, of course, is responsible for his own cybernetic ‘upgrades’; all of Changeling’s father figures vanished from his life; and last but not least, Raven’s father is the immensely powerful and rather evil demon Trigon. On the strength of the many subplots, engaging personalities, increasingly good character developments, and stellar George Perez art, the New Teen Titans series became DC’s hottest title, and the closest competitor they had for Marvel’s X-Men under Chris Claremont.

Marv Wolfman and George Perez did an excellent job updating the Teen Titans making the characters and giving new life to a series most were willing to forget about. The New Teen Titans is a classic DC story through and through with gorgeous art following abstract themes, and magical writing. A worthy placeholder on this list.

3. Teen Titans Earth One

Teen Titans Earth One was written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Terry Dodson.

An original graphic novel story in DC’s popular Earth One series, Teen Titans: Earth One follows in the tradition of Superman: Earth One, Vol. 1 & Batman: Earth One, Vol. 1, both Teen_Titans_Earth_Oneof which were #1 New York Times bestsellers. The Teen Titans never felt like normal kids… but they had no idea how right they were. Their seemingly idyllic Oregon upbringing hides a secret; one that will bring killers, shamans, and extraterrestrials down on their heads, and force them into an alliance that could shake the planet to its foundations! In this world, the Titans aren’t sidekicks – they’re the only superhumans around. The diversity in this Teen Titans chapter was so refreshing. A Navajo Raven?! Interracial relationship, and an adopted beast boy with two dads? Truly iconic. The plot was interesting and fast paced. The most significant change with this book is that the origin stories of all the characters are closely intertwined. The cast includes Cyborg, Changeling (Beast Boy), Terra, Raven, and Jericho. Most of the characters are introduced as high schoolers attending the same school, and their newly-manifesting powers share a similar source.

Jeff Lemire weaves a brilliant tale into the Teen Titans mythos; combining classic and new styles alike. The plot is filled with suspense, action makes its mark, and the characters’ development feels natural. The quality of the illustrations is phenomenal – I cannot find the words to describe how amazing they are, Terry Dodson’s strokes are terrific.

2. Teen Titans: A Kid’s Game

Teen Titans: A Kid’s Game was written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Mike McKone.

Geoff Johns is no stranger to writing for DC in fact he practically re-invented Green Lantern and Aquaman, but before he wrote some of DC’s most successful comic series’ he teen_titans_-_a_kid's_gamewas already at DC and wrote a stunning story for the Teen Titans. A Kid’s Game sees the gathering of a new line-up for the Titans to face off against a familiar adversary: Deathstroke the Terminator. The reasons behind his actions however, prove shocking to the team, and before the teen heroes can even get their feet on the ground, they must re-encounter the cult of Brother Blood. Starfire, Beast Boy, and Cyborg have decided to mentor and train the next generation of Titans and invite Tim Drake, Wonder Girl, Superboy, and Impulse to join them, but of course, it’s not quite that simple. Not only are they faced with a fearsome antagonist from their past but some of the new recruits are less than enthusiastic about being there and/or following their rules. It’s during this arc too that Superboy learns he is in fact a clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, and this doesn’t sit too well with him; he shakes up the team and creates more problems for them to encounter which shifts the dynamic around, adding to the problems with an already messy beginning.

Geoff Johns is a DC legend and this story proves no less. His writing, with the blending fast-paced action with tasteful suspense, is masterful and suits the story to no end. While the art from Mike McKone is top form; a thoroughly enjoyable art style which helps the pages turn.

1. Teen Titans: The Judas Contract

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract was written by Mark Wolfman and illustrated by George Perez.

The Judas Contract is just superb. As the Teen Titans continue to grow and mature into young adult characters, their battles begin to gain greater importance and result in judasctougher consequences. The Teen Titans, led by Nightwing now; known formerly as Robin, reailise that growing up can mean growing apart, and after a tremendous battle against Trigon – Raven’s father – they realise they must sacrifice one of their own to defeat the satanic creature. Wonder Girl, Cyborg, Changeling, Starfire, Jericho and Nightwing must deal with the fact that lifetime friendships may not be enough to save their group from external threats and interpersonal issues. On top of this all, Deathstroke the ‘Terminator’, hired by an evil cabal known simply as HIVE, takes out the Titans with help from a Judas within their ranks. Deathstroke is still the hardline, tortured and reluctant bad guy, but there is so much more depth to him other than being a villain. He loses a son in this story and that turns his heart to ice. The last thing you want is a super soldier that can out-fight and out-think you, as your enemy. He conducts a plot and with the inclusion of the church of Brother Blood and those crazy zealots, he turns the Titans against one another. This book becomes a paradox. It was about the junior members of the DC universe, too young for the Justice League, however it was violent; much more so than many Justice League stories. It was very sexual. And it was also more sophisticated. In this story we are shown a very fragile union of Teenagers with all the angst, ego, and problems of normal teens juxtaposed against the duties of saving the world and presenting a good image to the world.

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract is truly a miraculous story. The dream-team of Mark Wolfman and George Perez deliver an absolutely outstanding title; pitting gorgeous art work with brilliant, action-packed, plot-twist filled, suspsense driven writing. Judas Contract also features my favourite line up of the Teen Titans, as well as my favourite DC villain; and Teen Titan flagship villain – Deathstroke.

“They were normal kids. Until they weren’t”

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So there are my favourite Teen Titan stories. I would thoroughly recommend picking up these books, the Teen Titans are a flagship DC comic and have some really incredibly fun stories across a broad range of themes too! Hope you enjoyed the read!

New Year, New Comics

Hello! I hope everyone had a nice jump from 2018 to 2019. Mine consisted of some drinks and games with friends of my partner, it was relaxing which is just what the doctor ordered. With the new year also comes the new resolutions but there’s also more to come than watching people succeed or fail at their “New Me” ideas. This post will be our short delve into the recommendations of five new series’ to look out for this year. Also congratulations to our Facebook page giveaway!

So let’s kick off the list:

5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy is coming back! Not in the form of a television series, at least not for now, but to the comic scene. The new series, launching January is a complete “reimagining” of the series and character. This means it is not an adaptation of the show nor a continuation of the previous comics series which was published by Dark Horse. This time around it is coming to us from BOOM! Studios, from co-creators Jordie Bellaire and Dan Mora.

4. Spider-Man: Life Story

Spider-Man: Life Story releasing is being released in Spring of 2019 and we are super excited. The comic will follow and explore Peter Parker through time as he grows up and old, and how the world around him and his role as a hero changes as he does so. The first issue is set in 1966 and the mini-series promises great things, combining the talents of Chip Zdarsk and and Mark Bagley, to tell the history of Spider-Man from start to end.

3. Young Justice

For the first time in the Rebirth era, the fan favorite trio of Conner Kent, Bart Allen, and Tim Drake are set to be reunited in a brand new Young Justice series, from creative team Brian Michael Bendis and Pat Gleason. Young Justice will serve as one of the flagship books under Bendis’ new Wonder Comics imprint, with a team of writers and artists both new and familiar faces designed to target younger readers in the same way that Bendis’ Ultimate line, which gave rise and huge popularity to characters like Miles Morales of Marvel Comics. Although it may be aimed at a younger audience, I personally can not wait for it and I look forward to where the team is taken.

2. Little Bird

Little Bird is the story about a young girl caught up in a war she can’t fully understand and the struggle to find her own identity within that while she battles against an oppressive American Empire. For those of you that know me, you’ll know my love for series such as East of West. Little Bird has the same limitless scope as stories like East of West and Saga. It is being written by the creator Darcy Van Poelgeest who is a multi-award winning writer, and he is being accompanied for this short series by the inexplicably talented artist Ian bertram. I have high expectations for this series and am so very much excited for it.

1. Conan the Barbarian

Conan the Barbarian is returning to the comic scene too and much like with the Buffy series mentioned above, it is a reimagining of the character with a brand new series. Marvel Comics brings us powerful writing from the incredible Jason Aaron who has made his name legendary by bringing us such titles as Thor God of Thunder, Unworthy Thor, and Scalped and stunning art from Mahmud A. Asrar to shape Robert E. Howard’s creation and deliver a new tale, filled with war, beauty, death, and an unknown destiny. This Conan tale is sure to bring a new sensation along with brand new ambitions.

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There we have it! A short delve into five comics that Page Runner is particularly excited for, we hope that you too are excited for some of these titles!

 

A New Year Give Away!

The competition is now closed

The New Year approaches fast. This post will be short and sweet. To start the New Year off on a good note we’re giving away a copy of the 1:50 Jim Lee Variant of Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad April Fools Special. To win this, all you need to do is head over to our Facebook page which can be found HERE

All you need to do is to like the page, and like and share the post. Your name will then be added to the list and a winner will be announced on the 2nd of January, 5pm UK time!

Giveaway!1

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We hope you had a Merry Christmas and that the New Year brings you all the best! Peace!

The Very Best Of The Year

I hope you’ve all had a great Christmas, mine was very relaxed as opposed to most years which are rather full on. Today, I will be posting Page Runner’s best comics from the year of 2018. This year has been rather excellent for existing series and new creators alike! The top ten of the year is something that I hope to continue each year, splitting into subcategories such as genre and publisher as time goes on. However, for now, here is Page Runner’s top ten comics of 2018!

10. Venom

Venom is written by Donny Cates and published by Marvel Comics.

If someone had said to me at the start of the year, that they were from the future and Venom would be in my top ten comic picks of the year by the end, I’d have laughed and completely ignored them. In recent years, his inclusion with Marvel has been less than average; keeping it short. However, the 2018 Venom series picked up with an intriguing start which has gotten better each issue and included a major reveal about the symbiotes and their home-world, a factor of which, was included in Jason Aaron’s Thor God of Thunder series! Venom is well deserved to land on the top ten this year. The writer, Donny Cates, brings a well-paced, intriguing, and captivating story with a nice touch of venom-like humour!

9. The Life of Gwen Stacy

Spider-Gwen: The Life of Gwen Stacy is written by Jason latour and published by Marvel Comics.

I was pleasantly surprised by Spider-Gwen’s current series, and Spider-Gwen: The Life of Gwen Stacy, which collects issues 30-34, was top notch. Spider-Gwen follows Gwen Stacy; the Spider themed character of her dimension and universe, in which Peter Parker died instead of her. Gwen Stacy, meet…Gwen Stacy? With the events of Gwenom still fresh in her mind, Gwen finds herself face to face with the 616 version of herself just a few days before her death at the hands of the Green Goblin. This adventure gives Gwen the courage to go back and face her own present. This story is easily the best handful of issues in the entire run. Every single one was beautifully illustrated and written so excellently; filling the story with darkness, teen-angst, and good old, spider-swinging antics.

8. Leviathan

Leviathan is written by John Layman and published by Image Comics.

Leviathan is tremendous fun, the most fun of the entries of this list. Leviathan sees some friends, at a party, while waiting for their host (Ryan) to return from a beer run, perform a summoning ceremony which calls forth a massive fire-breathing, godzilla-type, monster which destroys Ryan’s apartment building. From Godzilla to the Bible, monsters are important figures of destruction in culture. John Layman draws on themes from both religious behemoths and Kaiju, giant city-destroying beasts of Japanese horror films. is an absolute blast. The characters are bursting with personality, the pacing is seamless, and the book has numerous jokes, plenty of action and brilliant, vibrant colour. Nick Pitarra’s artwork is so full of references and Easter eggs, you’ll spend a lot of time searching through each nook and cranny to find every joke.If you’re a monster fan or a fan of good-fun stories, then Leviathan is a book for you!

7. Batman: White Knight

Batman: White Knight is written by Sean Murphy and published by DC Comics’ Black label.

I’m not all that huge on Batman comics. It’s really rare for me to pick one out these days and be completely engrossed in it, especially if they involve the Joker who I believe is one of the most over-used characters in comics ever. However Batman: White Knight managed to captivate me from start to finish. White Knight is set in a world where the Joker is cured of his insanity and homicidal tendencies. The Joker, now known as “Jack Napier” sets out into the world trying to right his wrongs and then he’ll try to save the city from the one person who he thinks is truly Gotham City’s greatest villain: Batman! The complexity of Batman’s and Joker’s relationship has often been explored over the years by countless creative minds and offered us infinite variations to love and hate, light and dark. What Sean Murphy succeeds in capturing throughout White Knight is the factor that makes the very relationship gripping, bold, haunting and beautiful. Batman: White Knight is a complex tale on madness and heroism in which the entire mythos of Gotham is changed in this cunning tale, and the woven threads of Joker and Batman become entwined once more. White Knight is a hugely entertaining read and one of the best DC stories to have come forth.

6. Infidel

Infidel is written by Pornsak Pichetshote and is published by Image Comics.

Infidel is such an interesting take on the classic story of a haunted house. Infidel follows an American Muslim woman and her multi-racial neighbors who move into a building haunted by entities that feed off xenophobia. Pornsak Pichetshote makes his comic-writing debut with this dark, gritty, gripping tale. Although short (a mere 5 issues), Infidel packs one hell of a story, becoming one of the best original works in recent years, Pichetshote hits the scene running and not only has created a horror novel that is quite haunting, it incorporates layer upon layer of Muslim and terrorism topics. Topics which are hugely important in today’s world. The story, which is completely haunting, is accompanied by stunning art; combining flicker-like strokes with pastel colours to bring a mesmerizing comic to our eyes.

5. Thanos Wins

Thanos Wins is written by Donny Cates and published by Marvel Comics.

Thanos Wins is written by Donny Cates and is part of the Thanos series which started back in June 2017 written by Jeff Lemire. Picking up the story at issue 13, Donny Cates, the rising super-star of the comic world brings his complete A-game and delivers one of the best Thanos stories to-date, I will have to revisit my top Thanos stories to include this. Dream team of Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw, who worked together on God Country, create a brilliantly fun story for old and new fans of Marvel alike. The story, a third part of the series, picks up with Thanos – restored after an illness to beyond his previous levels of power – seeking to bring about mass destruction and challenge droves of heroes, and other villains in the process. Thanos has never been so mad, nor so evil, nor both in such a spectacular fashion.

4. Days of Hate

Days of Hate written by Aleš Kot and published by Image Comics.

Days of Hate is SO good. It could quite easily shoot under your radar as it almost did me. In fact I only picked it up because some kind-mannered stranger recommended it to me in the store. I love you, comic-stranger, wherever you are. Days of Hate is a dystopian comic set with gay main characters. Set in the United States of America, in 2022, and follows two women who are on opposite sides of the struggle against the ruling white supremacist police state. Huian Xing is a bi Chinese-American architect who is working with the government to track down her ex-wife, who is now a revolutionary terrorist opposing the state. This book, although short, really hit hard. With absolutely stunning art, sometimes mirroring the aesthetic of a broken stained-glass window which echoes themes of fractured nations within the story, which brings me onto the writing by Aleš Kot, a dark and suspenseful thriller, urging importance and tugging on the heartstrings. It might not be the happiest book on this list, but if has earned its place as one of the best.

3. East of West

East of West is written by Jonathan Hickman and published by Image Comics.

To those of you that know me, this will come as no surprise. In fact, you were probably expecting East of West to appear for East of West has sat and stayed in my top five comics of the year since it debuted all the way back in 2013, and for good reason. Jonathan Hickman delivers some of, if not his best work, in East of West. The story follows Death, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, while being hunted by the others in a science-fiction-western, dystopian United States. The story is a fascinating tale, combining religious themes and elements with the craziest events in science fiction. Yet again this year the series continues to deliver punch after punch, the world and character developments are shaping the ever-evolving story. Nick Dragotta’s art is simply staggering, it is one of my favourite art picks too. On every level, East of West blows most comics out of the water.

2. Farmhand

Farmhand is written by Rob Guillory and published by Image Comics.

Farmhand was the biggest surprise on this list for me. It’s not that I had dismissed it or thought that it wouldn’t be good, I just didn’t think it would be my sort of thing and was worried that the story wouldn’t carry over the issues well and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Farmhand follows and centers on Jedidiah Jenkins, a farmer and owner of land, but his earnings don’t come from wheat or soy, Jed grows fast-healing human organs. Lose a liver? Need a new hand? Jedidiah’s got you covered, however, there’s something far darker buried deep in the soil… and it’s starting to bloom. Farmhand is such a good story, totally gripping with mystery, suspense, and a tasteful splash of humour. Rob Guillory, the co-creator and artist of the Image Comics’ CHEW, comes a dark-comedy horror comic about sinister science and apocalyptic agriculture.

1. Eternal

Eternal is written by Eric Zawadzki and published by Black Mask Studios.

Eternal is absolutely breathtaking, published by Black Mask Studios – with their only entry on this list. Writer Ryan K. Lindsay brings us a compelling story of an isolated company of ferocious shield maidens who refuse to give up their land to invading men and focuses on their leader who will leave no stone unturned in an effort to defend her way of life, or to avenge it! Eternal landed on the shelves way back in January but it stuck out like an arrow to the head. With absolutely stunning brush strokes from Eric Zawadzki and colored by Image comics series – Rednecks colorist Dee Cunniffe, the story is brought vividly to life in a way that you will never forget. Eternal left me truly wanting more and each page read completely enthralled me, Eternal is proof that a comic doesn’t need to be extensive, with a huge world or many characters to capture your mind and heart.

Honourable mentions:

  • Mister Miracle
  • Dark Ark
  • Godshaper

It’s been a huge amount of fun, writing this today. I hope that you have also had a great day, and a great Christmas! We will also be ending this year/starting the next on a great note with a give-away ran through our Facebook page which can be found here. Peace!

Aquaman – Diving Into A Review

Aquaman has hit the big screens in most countries now, only the U.S and Australian releases await. I have been to see it twice already. It’s no secret that I was waiting in huge anticipation for this film and for those of you that have read my posts before will know that Aquaman is my favourite character; I have a strong affinity with him. So today I will be writing my review of Aquaman. My short review is an 8.5/10 film, a rebirth for DC films with a new direction, brilliant visuals and attention to comic-accurate substance. While the film is not without issues, it’s nothing major, and the cast deliver great performances; bringing the hidden realm of Atlantis into a great spotlight. With a compelling story and setting up events to come. To read my full non-spoiler review, keep on reading!

As mentioned above, it’s no secret that Aquaman is my favourite character however I will write this review with fairness, for, it was not a perfect film. Me and a friend were talking about comic-book film reviews and we agreed (liking different styles of films) that in all fairness, we will probably never have a completely perfect, 100%, 10/10 comic-book film due to how subjective they are. Maybe even more so than non-comic films, however this doesn’t excuse the issues I do have, but let us get to it! The Aquaman Review:

Timing! Aquaman is a long film, clocking in at 2 hours, 22 mins. That is longer than most films these days not just comic-book films however I think, due to the nature of what the film includes, it needed to be around this length – maybe a little shorter. A vast amount of the film is spent exploring the mythos and legends of Atlantis. While you could argue that the film doesn’t need that, I would disagree, the tales of Atlantis are pretty vital to the characterization of Aquaman and his conflicting thoughts between the kingdoms below the surface and the surface itself. It isn’t something that could be captured with a quick dabble into the backstory or a montage of scenes, however this does bring me onto the first issue I have. After the first 10 minutes of the film; in which the past-event are shown, setting the story up. The next ‘part’ of the film dashes from one scene to the next. It feels as though not enough time is spent in each part with the exception of the present-day opening scene wherein we see Arthur’s first tangle with the man to become Black Manta – that bit is awesome. While the length of the film isn’t an issue; exploring the ocean and its history is a big task, I feel some of this beginning part could have had us see more time in certain places, the beginning half has more scenes as we set the tone and story but only a handful of the scenes we see really find their feet. It’s not a big issue, it didn’t ruin the film for me, just a matter of editing and timing.

Moving on to the cast! Jason Momoa looks very different to the New 52 comic-series Aquaman that this story is adapted from. Normally I would be totally against someone looking so different, however Aquaman has constantly been the joke of DC and a refreshing new take on the aesthetic of Arthur is welcomed by me. Many only know Aquaman through the jokes thrown at him from popular-television series’ ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and ‘Family Guy’, or from the rather comical ‘Super Friends’ – the likes of which cast him as the joke of DC comics. Momoa’s aesthetic on the character is different, yes, but needed? Probably also yes. He’s portrayal of Aquaman’s personality was spot on, the script was excellent and Jason Momoa played into this extremely well. He gave off the exact feelings that Aquaman gave to me while reading; a complex character with an enriched backstory that gives depth to the way he feels and reacts to those around him; a skilled warrior and brave, yet kind, and merciful. Amber Heard was a brilliant choice for Mera, I can’t imagine someone else playing her better than Heard did. The two I was most worried about though were the antagonists of the story; Orm as the primary and Black Manta as the secondary. Patrick Wilson as Orm, Arthur’s half brother, and the man to take the title of the revered, and feared ‘Ocean Master’ was incredible. Wilson gave me shivers watching his performance, his and Momoa’s chemistry was tangible! Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s portrayal of David Hyde aka Black Manta was also excellent; Manta’s development was something I particularly loved in the film and it was tied together nicely. The antagonists and protagonists alike felt compelling!

The visuals. To the eye, Aquaman is totally stunning and this plays a part in the rebirth for DC films that I mentioned earlier. DC films have until now, been known to look dark and grainy almost, but Aquaman was a totally new look and feel for the film. It was full of comic-accurate substance, and the crew and cast had taken time to pay homage to so many comic moments. It wasn’t dark and shot through stylized filters as many of the previous DC films have been – it was in fact the opposite, full of vibrant colour both above the surface and below. Apart from a few long-distance shots, the CGI was also fantastic. Coming onto the choreography now, included in the visuals, the fight sequences were excellent. Sometimes pitting beings of power such as Aquaman can be hard to pull off but the choreography was sublime, mirroring strength, skill, finesse and agility. I was especially impressed with how well the combat flowed under-water, if you hadn’t already noticed, most of the film is under-water so getting this detail right is pretty important. Which it did.

The story. The story was long but in-depth and detailed, which I think is needed for Aquaman’s first solo adventure – maybe more than most characters out there as Atlantis, made up of seven kingdoms, is a vast world of its own. The story of the film was immersive, I felt totally enthralled by the myths and legends of Atlantis and the personalities of the past, present, and also of those to come! The story is an adaptation of the New 52 Aquaman arcs ‘Throne of Atlantis’ and ‘The Trench’, and works remarkably well as it encompasses elements, plot, and themes of both arcs. James Wan did a terrific job of bringing it to the screen with the help of the screenplay, written by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick and Will Beall, with the story also being written by Geoff Johns – a widely considered comic legend responsible for re-inventing Aquaman and Green Lantern in the DC comics. I feel that parts of the story could have been shorter or tied in with other parts, this would have reduced the length of the film and also have stopped the film jumping from one scene to the next but on the whole – I felt it was well written and well executed. It had a nice layer of humour which didn’t feel forced, the action was crafted well, so was the elements of suspense, great character development, and there were a few plot twists hiding in the murky waters.

The Soundtrack. For the most part I thought the soundtrack was brilliantly used however there were a few tracks that felt out of place; either a totally different genre to the other music, or just unsuited for the events of the screen such as a Pitbull track used as Mera and Arthur come out of the ocean. The OST added layer upon layer of excitement for me, working with great chemistry for the events unfolding but a few of the other tracks didn’t quite feel suitable.

Homage to the comics. This is a big part of why I enjoyed the film so much. There are many parts of Aquaman stories that I thought would never make it to the big screen but they did, and they did well. Particularly Aquaman’s golden costume and Orm’s Ocean Master costume. I felt they would never make it to the big screen because they were created in a different time, I didn’t know how they would adapt them to be fresh, new and stylish for the world they were set in however James Wan pulled it off brilliantly. There is also a huge amount of reference to the art-work of Atlantis in the comics in the styling of the city of the film. The film also is full of Easter eggs to key Aquaman/DC moments; some for fun and some which played a more serious role in shaping the character I love.

For me, Aquaman takes a place right at the top with my other favourite comic-book films and this is partially down to my love of the character, the emotional connection and affinity to him, however the other reasons are stated above. Many people, including myself, wanted DC to take a more light-hearted approach with less grey and dark filters and styles, which this film certain did. To end then, I give Aquaman 8.5/10. It’s a fresh new film for DC, kicking off the rebirth of DC’s universe. This film got the contrast between the light-hearted humour, and also dark, more serious moments just right! It’s not a perfect film, but to me, a life-long fan, it felt like a perfect Aquaman adventure for the big screen and a great rebirth for DC’s film verse.

That’s all for today! Stay tuned for our next competition, coming soon! Peace out.

The League of DC Villains

We have returned! Thank you so much to everyone reading and sharing the posts! Every read and share helps grow the page in one way or another. My post after this will be my favourite Teen Titans stories and will also feature a competition ran through the Facebook page so if you’ve not given it a like yet, you can find it here. Today though I will be listing my top ten DC villains! I’ve always preferred DC’s comics, it’s not that Marvel don’t have some excellent stories – they do – I just grew up much closer with DC, and I ultimately prefer their writing style, characters and villains in particular.

So to get started, let us kick off the list with a relatively unknown entry!

10. Poison Ivy

A brilliant botanical biochemist, Pamela Isley is a fervent eco-terrorist out to save the world’s plant life by any means necessary. She often finds herself at odds with Batman and has had a relationship with Harley Quinn.

Poison Ivy’s origin was significantly retconned after DC’s universe-changing Crisis on Infinite Earths story-line in 1985. Pamela Isley was now the beautiful daughter of wealthy PoisonIvyparents from Seattle, but she was emotionally quite distant from them. Intellectually brilliant but shy and withdrawn, she immersed herself in advanced botanical biochemistry in college, proving to be a exemplary student with an unusual affinity for the world of plants. Unfortunately, Isley became seduced by her college professor, Dr. Jason Woodrue who injected her with a deadly plant-based poison, which caused her physiology to dramatically transform. Isley nearly died twice from the poisoning, and it also resulted in her never being able to bear children. A further side effect of the poisoning was that it drove her insane to the point where she believed she was the ‘mother nature’ of the plant world, and all plants were her ‘children’ and she trained them to respond to her. Isley dropped out of college and moved to Gotham City but Isley’s psychotic mentality finally overcame her. Her first criminal act was to hold the city hostage with deadly plant spores of her own creation until the city’s leadership gave her a massive sum of money. Unfortunately for Ivy, this was the same year that Batman began operating in Gotham. She was imprisoned in Arkham Asylum. The encounter sparked Ivy’s ongoing obsession with Batman. Poison Ivy is the ultimate Eco-terrorist, pathologically devoted to protecting the natural world at any cost. Her skill set is incredible complete immunity to virtually all types of toxins and poisons, and she often employs them as weapons. Her expertise as a biochemist has allowed her to develop mutant plants and to create and bring to life plants that were long thought to be extinct. Ivy’s connection with “the green world” is said to be on par with supernatural beings such as Swamp Thing.

Recommended Reading: Batman: Poison Ivy, Batman/Green Arrow: The Poison Tomorrow, 

9. Lobo

The last of the Czarnians, Lobo is known and feared across the universe as a bounty hunter who never misses his mark. Super-strong, immortal and unkillable, the Main Man has frequently clashed with Superman, although they have on the very rare occasion they found themselves on the same side.

Lobo is insane and immensely fun. Kind of a cross between Superman and Deadpool, and his origin events serve only to prove this. Post-Crisis, Lobo was born on the peaceful Loboplanet Czarnia. By some accounts, he tore out of his mother’s womb. By others, his mother told him to find what he did best before he killed her. Other accounts claim his parents became hermits due to the evil they unleashed. At the age of two, Lobo requested a song to be played continuously on station Cosmic Rock Zombie. It was “I Killed My Folks (No Accident)” which Wolfman Wilf played non-stop out of fear for his life. Lobo had become fed up with being like others, and set out to establish his own identity. This meant a wardrobe change. By age 16, he had killed half the planet’s population. By age 17, he had engineered a plague that caused irreversible neural damage and excruciating pain for days before the victim died. Having no plans to rule a dead planet, Lobo set out to find employment to feed his space dolphins. One of his contracts from Manga Khan was to kill the Justice League. It is said that Czarnians can only be truly killed by other Czarnians (though this does not matter to Lobo either way, as he cannot die by any means). Furthermore, Lobo has been banned from entering either Heaven or Hell. Lobo can survive unaided in the vacuum of space. Lobo has superhuman strength, stamina and durability – often trading blows with Green Lanterns and Superman taking little to no damage. Lobo can track people via smell across solar system and he can also smoke cigars in airless space, just because. He also usually uses guns or explosives that are ridiculously big and loud, and has at times shown to have an ability commonly referred to as “Bottomless Satchel”. Meaning he can pull guns, explosives, ammo, etc. out of no where or out of something that was smaller then the item itself.

Recommended Reading: Lobo’s Back’s Back, Lobo: Unbound,  Deathstroke (2012), #9-12.

8. Court of Owls

A clandestine organization older than Gotham City that decides to take it over. However, to succeed, they will have to face numerous obstacles, including Gotham’s dark knight– Batman.

The Court of Owls aren’t so much one person as an organisation however I could not leave them off of this list. The Court of Owls is a secret organization centuries old with CourtofOwlsimmense power and influence embedded into the very architecture and history of Gotham City. The court would select a trained and strong athletes taught by the Haly’s Circus, and the few chosen ones would become their Talons (assassins). In fact, Dick Grayson was supposed to one of their Talons as we find out later in the Night of Owls story arc, but Bruce adopted him before the disaster could happen. The myth of their existence has been past down for generations in an old Gotham nursery rhyme, which reads:

“Beware the court of owls, that watches all the time, ruling Gotham from a shadow perch, behind granite and lime. They watch you at your hearth, they watch you in your bed, speak not a whispered word of them or they’ll send the talon for your head.”

The Court of Owls was a nursery rhyme, a myth, a legend, something to scare off the kids to be good. After all, something so old, if it was true, The Batman would know, right? This becomes the beauty of the concept of this mysterious new threat. The Batman can’t accept that something so large, so organized, so lethal, can be existing for so many time, even before his own birth, and still remain out of his all-knowing sight of his city. Moreover, you get to know about the history of the Wayne family, quite beyond of Thomas Wayne, and how the Waynes had been always relevant architects in some way or another about the way of how Gotham City is. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo pulled out all the strings for their run of the New 52 Batman and with it came the spectacular, dark, gritty, emotional setting of Gotham of which the Court fits right into the shadows of. The Court of Owls weaves a deep tale into the mythos of the Wayne family, Gotham, and Batman himself.

Recommended Reading: New 52 Batman Vol 1: Court of Owls, Batman: Night of the Owls, Forever Evil: Arkham War #1-6

7. Atrocitus

One of the five survivors of the massacre in Sector 666 and founder of the Red Lantern Corps, Atrocitus anointed the Red Lantern in blood and harnessed the power of rage and red light.

The Lantern Corps have created several very interesting characters; heroes and villains alike, the whole spectrum is fascinating when you look into it. Two upon this list are AtrocitusLanterns and we come to the first. Atrocitus (real name Atros) was born on planet Ryut, and was a survivor of the infamous Massacre of Sector 666 committed by the “Manhunters” not to be confused with Martian Manhunter. The Manhunters were the original army of the Guardians of the Universe, which, after the massacre that killed trillions were destroyed and replaced by the Green Lantern Corps. The massacre wiped out  life in an entire space sector (including his wife and his daughter) except for five life forms. These five became the terrorists known as the “Five Inversions”, led by Atrocitus, and sought revenge against the Guardians of the Universe and gained powers through dark magic. Through rituals and sacrifices, they discovered a black power so dark it was beyond the power of the Guardians’ light. Atrocitus’ pure and undying rage over the destruction of his homeworld, and the slaughter of his family allowed him to become the first Red Lantern. Atrocitus is an absolute machine and severely underrated. He’s one of the strongest Lanterns ever to have existed, he even killed an enemy of the corps – who was fighting droves of Lanterns – with his own bare hands. Even without his ring he has proved difficult for both of Sinestro and Hal (who had their rings) at the same time. He’s a fantastically interesting character.

Recommended Reading: New 52 Red Lanterns Vol 01: Blood And Rage, Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Blackest Night #5-6.

6. Black Manta

A notorious pirate, hunter, and assassin, Black Manta is one of the most ruthless and feared super villains on Earth, and Aquaman’s mortal enemy.

Black Manta was a mercenary and treasure hunter who worked alongside his father. He was hired by Stephen Shin to collect the blood of Arthur Curry in an effort to prove that Black Mantahe was actually an Atlantean. Curry was defended by his father, Thomas Curry, and in the ensuing fight Curry’s father died of a heart attack. Enraged, Curry tracked him down and snuck onto his boat in the middle of the night. He killed Manta’s father, believing him to be Manta himself. Manta abandoned his career as a treasure hunter to seek his revenge against Aquaman. In the New 52 Manta really came into his own. Manta begins to engage in an escalating series of attacks on Aquaman and Atlantis. Following the kidnapping of Mera and the son of Aquaman and Mera, he fights and defeats Aquaman, turning him over to King Karshon. In return he receives information about the City of Lost Tribes, which he easily conquers. The son of Aquaman and Mera dies later on and this causes Aquaman hunts down and defeats Black Manta, nearly killing him, but decides to spare his life, turning him over to the authorities instead. From this, Black Manta went on to appear in a number of big events, building quite a reputation among fans and with other characters. Manta has no superhuman abilities himself, he’s honed skills to near perfection, and is one of the world’s best divers and treasure hunters. Black Manta is one of the world’s best assassins, and is accounted one of the deadliest and most highly-disciplined killers alive. He has developed his own fighting style, usable both on land and at sea, and is very intelligent, and experienced in numerous relevant fields, such as mechanical engineering. He designed his own suit that grants him a variety of superhuman abilities and traits.

Recommended Reading: Forever Evil,  New 52 Aquaman #57-63, Rebirth Aquaman Rebirth Vol. 2 Black Manta Rising.

5. Sinestro

Once considered the greatest Green Lantern in any sector, Sinestro came to believe that the only way to ensure order in the universe was through the reign of fear. Founding his own Corps on that basis, Sinestro became one of the deadliest threats the Green Lanterns have ever faced.

Thaal Sinestro, originally an anthropologist from the planet Korugar, had a natural affinity for order as displayed by his meticulous reconstructions of ancient ruins. It was Sinestroat one of these reconstructions that a wounded Green Lantern, Prohl Gosgotha, crash landed. He gave his ring to Sinestro who barely defeated the lantern’s pursuer, a Weaponer of Qward , at the cost of the very ruins he had restored. When Gosgotha requested his ring back after the battle so that it might keep him alive Sinestro instead allowed him to die and took his place. The Guardians, unaware of his actions, allowed Sinestro to become the Green Lantern for sector 1417. Even as a Green Lantern Sinestro was cold, arrogant, egotistical, and harsh. He also will do what ever it takes to preserve order in the universe, a trait that expelled him from the Green Lantern Corps. He is also a master strategist and manipulator. Though he does have his good traits, such as genuinely caring for his daughter and wanting to bring order to the universe. On Qward, he forged a new power ring out of the yellow impurity that Green Lantern rings were not able to effect – With help from his new allies, the Weaponers of Qward. Sinestro assembled an army of yellow-ring-wielding fear-mongers dubbed the Sinestro Corps, as an attempt to bring to the universe the order that the Guardians couldn’t, starting the event called Sinestro Corps War. He revealed the corps was part of his plans to have the guardians allow the Green Lanterns to use deadly force and become feared. Sinestro was given a sentence of death by the guardians and was to be sent to Korugar for the sentence to be carried out. En route to Korugar a group of Sinestro Corps lanterns attempted to free Sinestro, but were stopped when Atrocitus and his Red Lanterns attacked both sides. During the battle a Blue Lantern, Saint Walker, appeared and informed Hal Jordan that Sinestro must survive to face the upcoming Blackest Night. Sinestro is an extremely skilled Lantern and an interesting, deeply complex character, with a tragic history concerning his life, his people, and his family.

Recommended Reading: Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War, New 52 Green Lantern #1-6, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn.

4. Darkseid

Worshipped as the “God of Evil”, Darkseid is one of the most powerful beings in existence and the supreme monarch of planet Apokolips. Considered as one of the Justice League’s worst adversaries, the greatest enemy of New Genesis and one of the greatest threats to the DC Multiverse, he seeks to bend everything and everyone to his will and remake the cosmos in his image, while searching for the Anti-Life Equation.

When the Old Gods fell in Ragnarok, the New Gods filled the void. But this was a cycle, and the power, methodology and ultimate fate of the Old Gods remained within the New DarksiedGods. All that is Darkseid’s has been taken by him through blood and force. It is unsure how Uxas evolved into the embodiment of evil that he is now. But it is known that two key events propelled him on his path. First, Uxas killed his mother, Heggra, to wrest control of Apokolips from her after Yuga Khan, his father, was trapped on the Source Wall in his attempt to unlock the secret of The Source. Then Desaad betrayed Drax, Uxas’ brother, as he was trying to master the Omega Effect. Uxas then killed his brother, rightful heir to the Omega Effect. With power and a drive to accomplish his goals without regret or remorse, Uxas took up his God Name: Darkseid. At one point, and for the only time in his life, Darkseid fell in love. He took as his wife a woman named Suli, a scientist who believed in using power not for conquering but for the common good. Queen Heggra, terrified that Suli might “corrupt” her son, had Desaad assassinate her, but not before she bore Darkseid a son named Kalibak. Upon Suli’s death, Darkseid had Desaad poison his mother as revenge then eternally turned his back on the concept of love. Darkseid is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Multiverse and has conquered entire universes through his immeasurable powers, iron will, cunning intellect and the military might of the entire realm of Apokolips that worships him as the God of Evil. While thought of as just like any other New God, Darkseid is in fact an entity as a result of the host bonding themselves with the Omega Effect.

Recommended Reading: Final Crisis, Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus, The Great Darkness Saga.

3. Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor, Superman’s arch-nemesis, is one of the most brilliant men alive, whose hatred of “interfering aliens” pushes him down the path of a sociopath. His genius intellect and brutal focus often puts him at odds with the Man of Steel himself. Lex Luthor is arguably DC Comics’ most iconic villain.

Lex Luthor is the son of Lionel and Letitia Luthor, they have a thing for ‘L’ in the family. They were wealthy residents of Metropolis. As a teenager, he spent years in Smallville Lex Luthorwith his Aunt Lena. There he encountered Clark Kent and first became jealous of Superman. Lex Luthor is not a metahuman, but is an intellectual genius, one of the smartest people on the planet, often (usually by himself) said to be able to turn the world into a Utopia free of crime a sickness if not for his obsession with beating Superman. Lex however suffers from a self-obsessed and narcissistic personality that causes him to lack empathy with the rest of humanity. Lex blames Superman for the world not recognizing his status as the greatest person alive. Luthor is a complex man. While he freely admits to being ‘evil’, he considers Abraham Lincoln to be a ‘great man’. Furthermore, Luthor has on occasion performed acts of great nobility, such as saving the lives of millions on a dying world for which he is considered a hero there, however, mostly when he commits acts of heroism it is to further a plan. He is however the smartest man on DC’s Earth. He has mastered seemingly every known form of science,  including space travel, biochemistry, dimensional travel, biochemistry, cybernetics, synthetic polymers, communications, mutations, transportation, holography, energy generation, quantum mechanics, theoretical physics, nano chemistry and more. He’s a brilliant strategist and manipulator, as well as an unrivaled inventor; his creations revolutionize the world. He’s a villain but on several occasions has worked with the Man of Steel, Justice League, and recently has taken up the role of Superman due to augmented armour. He’s a brilliant enemy for Superman, and a key ingredient for DC comics’ success.

Recommended Reading: Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #1-5, “The Black Ring” Action Comics #890-900, Forever Evil.

2. Black Adam

The original champion of the Wizard, Black Adam’s disdain for morality and hunger for power were punished with eternal imprisonment within the tomb of Ramesses II. Following his escape, he usurped the throne of Kahndaq by force, and has become one of the most powerful enemies of Billy Batson, the superhero known as Shazam.

Teth Adam was born to the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II in the neighboring (fictional) land of Kahndaq. While there are contradictory accounts of the circumstances of Black Black AdamAdam’s early history, certain elements are consistent: While serving as high priest to Ramses II, the wizard Shazam sought a successor to his godly powers. Impressed with his virtue and martial heroism, he chose Adam. Having determined to make Adam his successor, Shazam’s intentions were altered by the intervention of his half-demonic daughter Blaze. Blaze struck a bargain with the god Set so that when Adam speaks the word “Shazam,” instead of becoming the avatar of the wizard’s deific patrons, he becomes the avatar of the Egyptian gods Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton and Mehen. “Teth-Adam” (Mighty Adam) then served the Egyptian pharaoh as his champion for many years. This service however, drew him away from his family and home country of Kahndaq, which was attacked in his absence, resulting in the murder of his family and the devastation of his people. The attack was carried out by a rogue priest who used the Orb of Ra to give himself seemingly magical abilities, and plotted conquest in league with the immortal villain Vandal Savage. The two villains were defeated with the help of the Justice Society’s time-travelling members. After multiple adventures with the Justice Society, Adam became discontent with what he felt was the Society’s ineffectual and reactive approach to evil-doers. Black Adam is shown to be a proud and stern champion from another, more brutal age. He is portrayed very much as a sort of Nietzschean anti-hero, who does not hesitate to follow his own concepts of justice, whether or not they are in conflict with those of others. Black Adam is gifted with a panoply of powers that appear to correspond to and match, if not exceed, those of Shazam. He is blessed with the powers of the Egyptian Pantheon and has often showed his prowess formidably. He’s been an enemy of the Justice League and Billy Batson aka Shazam more often than not and in an event from the 52, he, fought an entire ensemble of heroes including the JSA, Teen Titans, multiple Lanterns, and magicians by himself. When writers know what they’re doing with him and other respected characters, he has often proved a nightmare for the likes of Superman and Martian Manhunter too.

Recommended Reading: 52 Omnibus, Black Adam: The Dark Age, New 52 Shazam: Volume 1.

1. Deathstroke

Genetically engineered to surpass all human limits, Slade Wilson was once a soldier but after a genetic experiment gained enhanced powers. Having tangled with the Teen Titans, the Justice League, and even Gods themselves, Deathstroke the Terminator is a force to be reckoned with.

At the age of sixteen, Slade Wilson was determined to enlist in the U.S Army. He soon showed talents and skills in guerrilla warfare far superior to that of any other soldier Deathstrokeand was quickly promoted over and over by his superiors. Slade trained under his commanding officer, Captain Adeline Kane, and quickly amazed her, demonstrating he was an expert in combat and had impressive talents and skills. Slade mastered several combat styles and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Some time later, Slade Wilson began a romantic relationship with Adeline and had a son with her. Soon after the birth of his first son, Grant Wilson; The Army asked Slade to be a volunteer of a secret medical experiment, Slade discovered that the experiment had worked and he had been granted enhanced strength, speed, senses, stamina, intellect and reflexes beyond that of any ordinary man. After a life-long friend was sent on a suicide mission and his superiors refused to help, Slade went in and rescued his friend but was discharged from the army for disobeying orders. Fed up with the army and it’s code of blind loyalty, Slade created the costumed persona of Deathstroke the Terminator. What sets Slade apart from the other supersoldier subjects of comics is the advancements to his strategical thinking. After the experiment, his mind acted like a computer, increasing his brain power to 300% above human levels – this increase, combined with his incredible fighting prowess and advanced weaponry, including Nth metal armour and blades, made him a match for almost anyone in DC. He has regularly tangled with whole teams of heroes including the Justice League and Teen Titans, regularly proving his worth by beating Batman and the entire Bat-family at times. He’s one of DC’s most ferocious hand to hand fighters and has even beaten god-like beings and gods themselves. Slade Wilson is an incredibly interesting character and when he’s well written, he’s so diverse and entertaining.

Recommended Reading: Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Deathstroke #1-8 (2011), Teen Titans: Trial of the Terminator.

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There we have it! I hope you enjoyed the read, we hope at least some of these characters are among your top DC villains as well! So the next post will be on my favourite Teen Titans stories and we will also be running a give-away through the facebook page! Until next time!