Easter Eggs fit for a King

So! It’s been just over a week since Black Panther released in the United Kingdom and I thought I would give a little breakdown of some of the best Easter Eggs in the film. What did you all think of the film? I thought it was pretty flawless, giving it a strong 8.2/10, making it my second favourite MCU film behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier with 8.5/10. While there was nothing immediate about Black Panther that I didn’t like, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea/unicorn blood/whiskey and there were certainly a few minor things I found to be a flaw with it. That being said, almost every single film I have ever watched has flaws in it, and I take my own rating process quite seriously (I’ve only ever given one film the strongest there could be, a 10/10 rating).

Black Panther was a gorgeous film, even if you didn’t like it you can’t deny that it was one of the most colourful, exotic films to date. Brilliant use of colour, gradients, shading and textures to create a truly staggering to look at film. There were parts of it where I had a hard time looking away from the scenery in the background, and on top of that, the costume design was excellent and the writing excelled all round. While there were just over 20 Easter Eggs that I noticed, I will be listing today, my favourite 15 nods/references/ general Easter Eggs. Starting from 15th. As with most of my posts, this will have spoilers.

15th. Stan Lee Cameo

Stan Lee has a cameo of course, and I think it’s one of my favourite in the MCU, hell, out of all his cameos. Stan Lee appears in Busan shortly before the chase in Busan. T’Challa places a bet on the roulette tables and walks off before the winnings come in, and Stan Lee appears, talking to Everett Ross and says that he’ll hold onto them. It was really nice to have Stan appear outside of Wakanda, I was worried a little before the film that he’d show up in the secret kingdom and that would stick out a little too much, even for a MCU film.

14th. Sorcerer Supreme

The presence of magic is everywhere in the world of Marvel but you have to look closely to see it, and the same is for the nod towards the sanctums in Doctor Strange. The line is a quick one and if you’re not paying active attention then it might fly right over your head. When Erik Kilmonger takes the mantle of king he starts to send weapons out into the world, towards cities where the black population are ready to rise up again. W’kabi, the head of Wakandan military, informs Killmonger that spies all over the world report that most people are hesitant towards this. But the forces held in reserve in New York, London, and Hong Kong are ready to attack. The three sanctums that protect Earth from magical threats are also in those cities, quoted almost exactly the same by Wong when talking to Stephen Strange. While it may just be a nod by Coogler to Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, it may hold more importance; specifically something to do with Infinity War perhaps?

13th. Public Enemy

Black Panther was splashed with references towards black history and culture, a notable nod to Public Enemy was well placed. Public Enemy became famous for their powerful, politically charged lyrics and their incredibly distinct, Black Panther Party-influenced look. In the film, N’Jobu’s apartment in Oakland has a Public Enemy poster on the wall. it doesn’t take a lot of thinking to see the connections between N’Jobu’s view of the world and the famous Public Eenmy album title, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

12th. Waterfall Death

While it may seem something of a fashion for films, not just superhero ones, to kill off their heroes only to reveal later on that they survived and have come back for vengeance but in Black Panther, the scene where Killmonger throws T’Challa from the waterfall, which supposedly killed him, actually happened in the comics so was a direct reference to the source material as well as being a plot device. In the story “Panther’s Rage” (which is the film’s major source material for adaptation), Killmonger throws Black Panther off the edge of a waterfall.

11th. Klaue’s Cannon

It finally made an appearance. When rumours spread about Ulysses Klaue appearing back in Age of Ultron (Avengers 2), one of the big things on everyone’s mind was his signature arm cannon, and although he did not have it in that film, it was set up for him to have it in Black Panther. In Age of Ultron, Ultron cuts off Klaue’s arm from the shoulder and then he disappears, now appearing again in Black Panther we are greeted with a prosthetic arm but it doubles as a tool and weapon. The arm itself is made from Wakandan technology and is capable of transforming into a cannon. Klaue even explains to Everett Ross that it’s adapted from Wakandan mining technology. Sadly Klaue meets his demise in the film but Andy Serksis played him brilliantly, I can hardly imagine anyone else in the role of it, and credit to Ryan Coogler for giving the fans that villain they had been craving as an epic addition to the film.

10th. Back to the Future

A clever pop culture reference in the film is when Shuri, T’Challa’s sister debuts a new type of footwear. The shoes are made of a vibranium mesh to make them absorb sound and impact, Shuri says she calls them “Sneakers” as a joke. Interesting enough, the shoes are not just a cool reveal for the film, they actually debuted on the comic page during Christopher Priest’s run on Black Panther which was shortly after T’Challa started wearing vibranium gloves/gauntlets. This isn’t the only pop-culture, media reference in the film but definitely one of the most memorable.

9th. Father and Son

A clear and powerful theme of Black Panther is the importance of fathers on the lives of their sons, even after death, with Killonger killing hundreds of people just to find a way to get back to Wakanda to see his father’s legacy fulfilled and T’Challa struggling with the fact that the father that he thought he knew in and out, actually had a dark secret and was an imperfect person.

Ryan Coogler cleverly connected the father/son theme with the scenes back in time of the film. In flashbacks to 1992 T’Chaka is played by Atandwa Kani, and the T’Chaka that we all saw in Civil War and see again on the Ancestral Plane is played by John Kani. The two men are father and son, this was a brilliant Easter Egg as it is a nod to the underlying themes of the film’s setting.

8th. White Wolf

Really, it should not come as too much of a surprise that Bucky is still in Wakanda, given how Civil War ended. One of the credit scenes, second of the two, reveals to us that Bucky is not only in Wakanda but he’s healthy and that Shur has ‘cured’ him of his brainwashing. This, of course, is a direct set up for Infinity War and probably a nod to the idea that Bucky will join T’Challa on the battlefield to defend Wakanda. On top of this, the Wakandan children who are what we see as the scene first starts are calling Bucky “White Wolf”. The White Wolf is a comic book reference to Hunter, a young boy whose parents died in a plane crash in Wakanda who later rose to become one of T’Challa’s most trusted soldiers. We also observe him with no arm in the post credit scene, hinting that his new arm (as seen in the Infinity War trailer) will be unveiled then, and who wants to bet it’s gonna be from vibranium? Now, back to the Easter Egg, I don’t imagine Bucky will become the masked hero in costume, known as the White Wolf but maybe he will take on the name from the Wakandan people in Infinity War and after? If he survives of course (we’ll get to something about that a little later).

7th. The Face of War

Erik Stevens aka Killmonger was the star of the show in Black Panther. T’Challa was, of course, exceptional as were his supporting characters; Shuri, Okoye, Ramonda, but the villain, in my eyes really hit everything spot on. Definitely one of the hardest areas of comic-book film adaptations is the costume design. Making a costume look close enough to the comic-counter part but without being impracticable or silly as most of the character’s costumes were designed wayyyy back when the character was first created, or they’re so wonderfully creative that there is no way that a film, with a small or large budget, would be able to re-create it. It’s not even a matter of respect or reverence to the source material, it’s just that things drawn for a comic often look weird in a film.

However, films can make certain parts of costumes work, or adapt them to look sometimes better than the comic. The mask that Killmonger wears to break Klaue out of CIA holding is an almost direct lift from the comics, it has been adapted a little to change the texture or details, but for the most part and overall design it is the same. Killmonger often wears this mask in the comics. The mask is from Africa and was worn by tribal warriors in battle, partly for protection but also for ceremonial use, and fear tactics.

6th. Panther vs Rhino

One of the best action and visual scenes of the film was the last battle in which the Wakandan military, who are loyal to the now-king Killmonger, are pitted against T’Challa and his Dora Milaje. As the fate of the battle looks to be an even chance for either side, the Wakandan soldiers release their surprise weapon; vibranium armoured rhinos. T’Challa’s first attempt to bring down a rhino is a callback to his very first story arc, “Panther’s Rage” in the pages of Jungle Action comics (which was the story to provide the basic structure of the MCU adaptation).

5th. A New Captain

Right from the first Captain America film (The First Avenger), Bucky Barnes has been foreshadowed to take on the mantle and pick up the shield after Steve Rogers departs from the role, which is something many fans speculate he will do in Infinity war or its sequel. Although Bucky is only seen for about 30 seconds on screen in the post-credit scene of Black Panther, the colours of his clothing would certainly suggest more foreshadowing. Bright red and blue clothes definitely suggest something along those lines, and while we see all throughout the film that red is a strong choice of colour for the warriors in Wakanda, especially with Black Panther’s personal guard; The Dora Milaje, this detail seems too good to be just coincidence.

4th. What are thooose?!

Shuri, T’Challa’s younger sister, was an amazing addition to the film; she may well have been the film’s break-out character. Shuri is quite the tech wizard, she develops and tests extremely advanced technology, such as the Black Panther suits as well as outstanding communicators and EMP charges; I imagine we’ll see more and more of this wondrous technology in the films to come. A particularly brilliant Easter Egg in Black Panther comes when Shuri addresses T’Challa on his choice of footwear, just before revealing the “Sneakers” as listed above. She points to them and laughs, snickering “What are thoooose?!” this of course is a reference to pop-culture and media sharing platform; Vine. The Vine in question is a woman talking to a police officer, asking the exact same thing. However, the original appearance of this quote comes from Disney’s 1997 Hercules, when Hades expresses his distaste over Hercules merchandise of which Pain; one of his minions, is wearing.

3rd. An Amazing Adaptation

Near the start of the film when T’Challa is back in Wakanda to take his rite of passage and ceremonial practice into becoming king, in which other tribe leaders may challenge the heir and if they win they take the throne, the Jabari tribe make a surprise appearance and their leader challenges T’Challa to combat over the crown. T’Challa beats M’Baku in single combat but doesn’t kill him, allows him to tap out and live another day. M’Baku also appears later in the film after Erik supposedly kills T’Challa by throwing him from the waterfall. Winston Duke plays M’Baku and was definitely the best surprise of the film. M’Baku in the comics is also a villain, he is an enemy of Black Panther and they have often clashed, he goes by the name of Man-Ape as this villain. Yet another example of how difficult it is to adapt certain characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes from characters who were created in a different time.

Calling an African character “Man-Ape” today would be awful, because it’s considered a racist remark, however, M’Baku is an exceptionally strong character and portrayed brilliantly, so the film adapted him into the story. Marvel’s creative teams still managed to keep a lot of the design effects of the original character including M’Baku’s ape helmet, and while they changed his costume to a more tribal approach, it still delivers a strong design. Winston Duke was definitely a scene-stealer, both comedic and frightening.

2nd. Oakland Roots

The Oakland Roots of Killmonger are an important one but for more than one reason. Ryan Coogler, who wrote and directed the film, was born in Oakland, California. Oakland has appeared in one significant way or another in all three of his major films – Fruitvale Station, Creed, and Black Panther. However, Oakland was also the birth place of where the Black Panther political party was founded in 1966, this connects the superhero Black Panther to the city in such a strong way.

1st. Mercy

This one the a big one in my books, and a two-in-one Easter Egg.

In the film, T’Challa takes it upon himself to track down Ulysses Klaue in Busan, South Korea as his first act as king. After a rather incredible chase scene in which we see some of the glamour Wakandan technology and their brainstorming creator; Shuri, in action, T’Challa catches up to Klaue and almost kills him, filled with anger, but the world is watching as a crowd gathers taking pictures and filming so instead T’Challa grants him mercy, letting Everet Ross take him into custody instead. The exact line that T’Challa speaks is “every breath you take is mercy from me!” It’s quite the line, very memorable and hard hitting but it’s not just from the film, the exact quote is from New Avengers #22 by Jonathan Hickman and Kev Walker, spoken by T’Challa to Namor before their fight goes to a brand new level. The Atlantean king and the Wakandan king were allies for a number of years but their relationship degraded over the years until it finally broke during Avengers vs. X-Men when Namor invades Wakanda. So this line is both a powerful and fitting quote for the film, and also a shout out to Namor. Maybe this could be a sign of Namor to come in the future? Probably not, probably just a nice nod to the line itself but I’d love to see Namor on the big screen and as an enemy to Black Panther could be a great way of introducing him into the MCU.

So there we have it! My list of favourite Easter Eggs from the MCU film Black Panther. Did you spot all of these? What are some others that you saw that didn’t make my list but made yours (as I saw more too)? Hope everyone has an Eggcelent day, and weekend. My next post will be my favourite Captain America stories and then shortly into March I am going to write a post on the essential comics to be read before Infinity War hits on the 27th of April. Peace ❤

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One List To Rule Them All

So today’s the day. I’m 25 years old and you can betcha ass I’m gonna have me some Colin the Caterpillar cake. I’m also now going to share with you my favourite comic arcs from Marvel and DC comics. Now, lets be clear, Marvel and DC both have a LOT of extremely good arcs, so narrowing my favourites down to ten was pretty hard, yo. If you don’t like my list… well, that’s fine, you’re allowed to not. This will have spoilers!

Starting at 10th place! Lets begin!

Number 10.

10th place is Flashpoint from DC comics. Flashpoint is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Andy Kubert.

The story centres on Flash, and he wakes up at his desk and the whole world has changed – Aquaman and Atlantis are at war with Wonder Woman and the Amazons, the

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war is threatening the whole world. So imagine Bruce Wayne died in the alley instead of his parents! In the Flashpoint universe exactly that happened, and then his mother went mad with grief and her descent into madness ended with her becoming the Joker and his father became the Batman but a far darker Batman than we had previously seen; a Batman that kills, drinks and preys on criminals. Superman is a prisoner of the U.S government and has never seen the sunlight, Shazam exists but in this world is made when a combination of teens shout ‘Shazam’ and transform into Captain Thunder and other new-but-altered faces. This story packed such a huge punch, it was so refreshing and an interesting concept. Plus when you find out who is responsible for this new timeline, you’ll be so surprised.

Flashpoint is a crazy story full of twists and turns all the way through. Gorgeous art work by Andy Kubert, fantastic pencilling and brilliant proportions, Geoff Johns outdid himself yet again with the story. ‘Ol Geoff makes a few appearances on this list.

Number 9.

9th place is Thor: God of Thunder, Vol 1: The God Butcher from Marvel comics. The God Butcher is written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by Esad Ribic.

Now, this one may be of a surprise, even to my close friends. This is the most recently published story on the list, published in June 2013. Personally I’m not one of those people

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that think because something is recent, or new, that means you can’t include it in your favourites of something. Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic are an almighty force when creating comics. One of the best writers of recent Marvel history and certainly one of the most incredible artists right now. Thor is one of my favourite characters and while he has many good stories, God of Thunder captured something exquisite in my eyes. I was transfixed upon the pages as soon as I picked up the first issue. In this series they introduced the terrific villain, Gorr the God Butcher who is as terrifying as he is amazing, and certainly one of the best villains the God of Thunder has ever faced. God of Thunder is split across three timelines within Thor’s life and the story is looked at from these three times. In the past, we see Thor as he follows the bloody wake of murdered gods across the depths of space and throughout the realms. In the present, Thor discovers a forgotten cave that echoes with the spilled blood and forgotten voices of the gods, including his own, and finally; thousands of years from now, the last God – Thor of a ruined Asgard makes his final stand against the God Butcher’s berserker legions. God of Thunder, Vol 1: The God Butcher is a must read.

With beautiful pastel colours that bring a true sense of mythology from the pages and into your mind, and Jason Aaron’s superb story telling, this is one of the best Thor stories. No, one of the best Marvel stories ever written.

Number 8.

8th place is Hellblazer: Original Sins from Vertigo comics and published by DC comics. Original Sins is written by Jamie Delano and illustrated by John Ridgway.

This is where it all started. The first volume of Hellblazer set the tone for the decades of John Constantine stories to follow and it was a pretty darn good start. Original Sins is a

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comic that blends horror and fantasy, venturing well and truly into the realm of magic, hell, angels, and demons. John Constantine is an unconcerned, somewhat amoral occultist and con artist with a British working-class background. He’s a hero, of sorts, who manages to come out on top through a combination of luck, trickery, and genuine magical skill. The Original Sins collection is a loosely connected series of tales of John’s early years where Constantine was at his best and at his worst, all at the same time. This comic is what made me fall in love with John Constantine. This volume of Hellblazer is very noticeably late 80s, which is when it was written. The whole thing is very closely tied to a lot of the issues at the time, both politically and socially, and both in the UK and the US (homophobia, Margaret Thatcher, Vietnam, etc.). This doesn’t negatively affect its readability, though, in fact, it enhances it. Origin Sins is a gritty and murky collection of stories, the book makes your skin actually crawl as you read it and there’s some pretty grim stuff in it about Constantine and his enemies. The art is utterly staggering as well, the combination of bold pen-work and pastel/faded paint brings the feeling of a somewhat disturbed setting. Ultimately, if you want to truly see Constantine at work, the original Vertigo/DC Hellblazer run is the place to start. The whole run is considered, in my eyes, one of the best runs in comics ever but Original Sins stands out beyond all for it’s bold approach on the start of what will be an iconic and classic character.

Jamie Delano is a superb writer and creates such an atmospheric tale of Constantine, and truly defines his character. This writing combined with John Rdigeway’s beautiful art work makes for one of the best comics I’ve ever seen.

Number 7.

7th place is Avengers: The Children’s Crusade from Marvel comics. The Children’s Crusade is written by Allan Heiberg and illustrated by Jim Cheung.

The story was an emotional ride from start to finish. I remember picking it up and being completely blown away by the final result. Allan Heinberg, who is very familiar with the

ChildrensCrusade

Young Avengers, bringing huge success to Marvel Comics with their series was the obvious choice for this story. He perfectly blended the different teams and characters, and gave Wiccan a brilliant spot-light. Jim Cheun is no stranger to Marvel and I think the perfect choice for the art of this story. The story in a comic is nothing to the wrong artist and Cheun nailed the incredibly complex theatrics. The Children’s Crusade focuses on Scarlet Witch’s children and her father, Magneto, as they search for her and are followed by the Avengers and Young Avengers after the disaster of Avengers: Disassembled and House of M. The story gives us significant focus on Doctor Doom too. Doom reveals that the entity of the Life Force had passed onto him, giving him supreme god-like powers, even surpassing those of Beyonder, and reveals that he was also responsible for Wanda’s actions in Disassembled and House of M. Wanda and Wiccan successfully remove the entity from Doom during a battle between himself, the Avengers, Young Avengers, X-Factor, and X-Men. The story goes on a little longer but there’s some really excellent things I’ve not mentioned and you’d much rather read them there than here for the first time, I assure you.

Allan Heiberg and Jim Cheung explore the fascinating characters of Scarlet Witch and her family through this heart-felt tale with brilliant art and an unforgettable story. You get a good feel of how powerful Wanda truly could be in this story.

Number 6.

6th place is Batman: The Killing Joke from DC comics. The Killing Joke is written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland.

“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.” That quote will remain with me for

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the rest of my life, one of the best lines in comic history. The Killing Joke isn’t officially canon for the origins of the Joker being unknown are one of the things that make him so dangerous, but if there were to be an origin story, this is the one I would choose. It’s such a simple idea, but so real and powerful. I mean one bad day is all it takes. One push, one snap, one descent into chaos and it’s over. Once you’ve crossed that threshold then things will never be the same again. And the Joker, being the sly and brilliant villain that he is, wants to share the experience with the world. The Joker was once normal or as normal as people can be, in a world like theirs/ours. He had a girlfriend and a job, he was a stand up comedian but money was tight and so he took up a job with some crooks and it went badly wrong. Joker fell into a vat of acid while trying to escape from a robbery dressed as the original Red Hood (something that is then referenced by himself in Batman: Under the Red Hood when comparing the new costume to his original one) and then his girlfriend left him after seeing him, that was his bad day. One bad day. The Killing Joke is almost two stories running parallel to each other and yet woven together at the same time; the story of how Joker came to be who and how he is, and the separate story of how Batman, Gordon, and the world came to know Joker. The Killing Joke is not one for the feint of heart, the story contains many brutal features of violence, torture, even rape but my god is it a good story, and the ending, the whole story really defines itself by the ending. The last page, last few panels. The end is suggestive of two things and both will leave you gasping for more.

Alan Moore delivers an insane story and creates a path of entwining chaos, and poetic beauty nonetheless. Brian Bolland’s exceptional talents for the gritty and murky stories stand out here as the obvious choice but that doesn’t make his art for The Killing Joke any less staggering. A beautiful tale, told to use through exceptional storytelling and exceptional art.

Number 5.

Top 5 now! 5th place is Watchmen from DC Comics. Watchmen is written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons.

Watchmen originated from a story proposal Moore submitted to DC. I’m sure many of my friends were expecting this story to be on the list so if you were, have a chocolate button

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or something on me. How could Watchmen not be on this list, it is one of the greatest comics ever written. depicts an alternate history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s and their presence changed history so that the United States won the Vietnam War and the Watergate break-in was never exposed. In 1985 freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most former superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and moral struggles of the protagonists, and one in particular known as Rorschach, as an investigation into the murder of a government-sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement, and World War Three with the Soviet Union is approaching on the horizon. Gibbons used a nine-panel grid layout throughout the series and added recurring symbols such as a blood-stained smiley face (the smiley face badge was that of the symbol of the Watchmen). Watchmen, simply put, is iconic.

The powerhouse team of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created a truly fantastic masterpiece. A gritty crime-horror thriller with the superhero aspect mixed in. The illustrations draw you in almost as soon as you pick up the book, and the story will have you questioning your own morals in this past that is almost as dystopian as many future science fiction stories of nuclear holocausts.

Number 4.

4th place is Aquaman: Throne of Atlantis from DC comics. Throne of Atlantis is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

We all knew it was coming. Aquaman is my favourite superhero character so to think this story wouldn’t be appearing would be daft. Throne of Atlantis is one of defining

Throne of Atlantis

Aquaman arcs. The story centres around the rivalry of Ocean Master and Aquaman as to who should rule and lead Atlantis. During the conflict of brothers, Ocean Master attacks the surface and the Justice League is called to aid the humans on the surface. Aquaman has to decide whether he will stand with the Justice League or his brother. The story is a show case of Aquaman’s complex characteristics as both a leader and a warrior and explores his moral struggles as he tries to lead a kingdom that does not want him. The story serves as a cross over with the New 52 Justice League too.

Geoff Johns has worked miracles with this character, he shaped this character from the joked-about, throw-away Justice League member to a truly incredibly character with an intense backstory and fully fleshed out powers that rank him high on the list of super powered beings. The story here was gripping. It was both action packed, and emotional with suspense and passion. The art, meanwhile, was truly breathtaking. Ivan Reis and Geoff Johns are an incredible team for the New 52 Aquaman run. They did justice to every one of the great DC characters as well as the undersea world itself.

Number 3.

Into the top 3 now. 3rd place is The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk from Marvel comics. Planet Hulk is written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan.

If you’ve read my favourite Hulk stories you’ll know why I rate this story so high. If not or you don’t remember, I will now explain. after my dad passed away a few years ago, I

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carried it virtually everywhere with me. It served as such a massive inspiration for me to get through every day tasks when my depression, anxiety, and PTSD almost broke me. Every so often, there comes a tale; with equal parts passion and pathos, that not only redefines what a character has meant throughout the already established comics and story-lines but also re-establishes the hero as a dominant force for storytellers, readers, the company’s universe, and (arguably) the entire comic book industry. Planet Hulk is that tale. The story of Planet Hulk is that of tremendous heart-break and incredible action, with superbly written characters and the most gorgeous, cosmic-level of art work. Planet Hulk is a story that will change the way you see Hulk and the way you think he sees the world, his friends, and his family.

Greg Pak delivers some of his best writing, and accompanied by the tremendous illustrations of Juan Santacruz, Planet Hulk evolves into a timeless Hulk story that will remain one of the best Marvel, and best Superhero-genre stories of all time.

Number 2.

2nd place is Sinestro Corps War from DC comics. Sinestro Corps War is written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reis.

This is to date my favourite Green Lantern story ever, even surpassing the likes of Blackest Night and Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns. Sinestro Corps War centres

Sinestro Corps War

on the Green Lanterns of Earth, primarily Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, and John Stewart, as well as the rest of the Green Lantern Corps as they engage in a war with Sinestro and his Yellow Lantern Corps. Using his power to insight fear he attracts many extremely powerful beings to his ranks including Cyborg Superman, Akrillo, the Anti-Monitor, and even Parallax the entity of fear. Kyle Rayner, possessed by Parallax, assists the Sinestro Corps in cutting a swath of evil across the universe. Hal Jordan must battle his way through and escape from the Sinestro Corps’ Citadel to join the fight against fear. Also, one of the Book of Oa’s prophecies comes true, the Green Lantern Corps makes a last stand that reveals the reincarnation of one of their fold! The Sinestro Corps War is a massive undertaking. Sinestro Corps War is one of the most brutal wars in superhero comics, many Lantern Corp members fall on both sides and the galaxy is plunged into chaos. We see the Guardians have to take a proactive approach to things and the foundation is laid for future storylines, especially the Blackest Night.

My man Geoff Johns wrote an excellent story which landed Sinestro Corps War 2nd place on this list, and to be considered one of the best Green Lantern stories ever written across the fanbase. Ivan Reis is no stranger to those who have read my other lists, he has made regular appearances and the illustrations for Sinestro Corps War were truly outstanding.

Number 1.

1st place is the Injustice from DC comics. Injustice was written primarily by Tom Taylor and illustrated by a number of artists, including Jheremy Raapack, Mike S. Miller, Bruno Redondo, and Tom Derenick.

Injustice is set in an alternative universe, set over 5 years and basically the writers were given almost complete control over it. It. Is. Mental. It was inspired by the video game

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Injustice: Gods Among Us, the game starts at the beginning of the fifth comic year. The story of the comic starts with Joker tricking Superman into killing Lois and his child, and then by killing the Joker as revenge, sets off a nuclear bomb in Metropolis that was rigged to Joker’s heart beat. The bomb explosion kills millions of people. Superman then decides to take those who will join him, and create a world of peace by policing it. The Justice League divides into Superman and his policing regime and the resistance led by… you guessed it. Batman. Over the course of 5 years we are shown the rise and fall of many great heroes and villains as a war breaks out on earth between the two sides. Many elements of the DC universe are dragged into the war too, including Trigon; the lord of hell, Spectre; the voice of God, the Lantern Corps, Greek and Norse gods, new Gods, and more. The story is a superb piece of writing by Tom Taylor. I fully recommend Injustice years 1 – 5, every year has amazing pacing, brilliant turns and twists, supremely gorgeous art, and a heart-pounding emotional ride from the first pages to the last.

Tom Taylor really blew my expectations out of the water. I was curious but also cautious when I learned it would be ‘based on a video game’ but Oh. My. Darkseid. It was utterly brilliant and the various artists packed so many wow-factors into the comic. Every single year had brilliant and stunning art, which flowed together beautifully, none of it felt out of place.

So there we have it! My favourite stories from across DC and Marvel comics, these are all subject to change of course and move up/down the list as more comics are released but this is the order that they’ve been in for a few years now. Hope you all have a great day! I’m gonna enjoy me some Colin the Caterpillar Cake, and Black Panther later! ❤

The Strongest List There Is

Yo! Back today with my favourite five Hulk stories. There’s a few on here which will be expected, although maybe not the order, and a few that are will surprise. Also, I’m so freaking excited for Black Panther. Not long now my friends, and enemies, and anyone else reading this! As usual, the list will contain some spoilers about the stories.

Let us begin, starting at number 5 on the list.

Number 5.

Number 5 is The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1: Return of the Monster. Return of the Monster is written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by John Romita, Jr.

The story is when Bruce Banner/Hulk is believed to be responsible for the murder of a child, he flees both the police and the attentions of a sinister organisation with an Return of the Monsterunknown agenda. This read was a surprising pick up for me, Bruce Jones focuses more on Banner rather than Hulk for the first half, and while this was surprising, it wasn’t in a bad way. It was a refreshing change rather than Hulk being in the spotlight and only seeing Banner as a back character. It also features the character ‘Mr. Blue’ who was in the MCU (just) film The Incredible Hulk. Return of the Monster is a much recommended read for fans of Hulk or simply fans of Marvel comics alike.  It is written smartly, rarely showing “Mr. Green” and instead, deciding to focus on Bruce Banner.

The story is suspenseful and grounded with clever twists, and sets the tone for pretty much the whole of Bruce Jones’ run. John Romita, Jr.’s art is beautiful, the illustrations are gorgeous and particularly bold. John Romita, Jr. makes an appearance more than once on this list.

Number 4.

Number 4 on the list is World War Hulk. World War Hulk is written by Greg Pak and illustrated by John Romita Jr.

I’m sure more people would think this to be higher ranked on the list. World War Hulk is one of the most famous Hulk stories, hell, one of the most famous Marvel stories ever World War Hulkwritten. So imagine a day that Hulk turns on the world he came from, that’d be scary huh? I present: World War Hulk. World War Hulk takes part just after the events of Planet Hulk, and Hulk is returning to Earth to enact revenge on the Illuminati and Avengers for banishing him into space and to Sakaar in the first place. World War Hulk is a story where we get a glimpse of how powerful Hulk is or could become, his strength has never been fully measured for it is infinite but World War Hulk comes pretty close. Hulk returns to Earth and is challenged by the defenders of the planet that include the Avengers, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Four, and he defeats them time after time. The conflict eventually leads Sentry to engage Hulk in New York and their battle rages so long that it threatens the entire Eastern sea front. Sentry eventually stalemates Hulk being the only being strong enough to stop the World Breaker. Lots of details in between those events but that’s the gist and the book is utter carnage. I loved seeing a good look into Hulk with no limits, you really feel that he is a world-threatening being in the rage that he has. The story also shows us Hulk’s son, Skaar, not to be confused with Sakaar – the planet he was born on. They have an interesting father/son relationship to say the least.

The story of World War Hulk, written by Greg Pak was so intense, with every turn of the page I was anxious as to what would happen next and while Romita Jr.’s art is often in debate, he really came into his own for this story. The illustrations; textures, and shading are the perfect addition to the chaotic story. I definitely recommend this story as a follow up to Planet Hulk, although you could easily read it as it’s own story.

Number 3.

Number 3 is Hulk: Gray. Gray is written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by Tim Sale.

Before becoming the Green Monster that everyone knows today, Hulk was grey (gray for the Americans reading this). Hulk: Gray tells the story of what happened during the Hulk Graydisappearance of Bruce Banner in the Gamma accident, and then after he reappears when everyone thought the Hulk killed him. Gray also shows us the area in time and the events of the romance between Banner/Hulk and Betty Ross, as well as getting a look at how Betty must see a connection between Hulk and General Ross.   A conversation between Bruce Banner and Leonard “Doc” Sampson is the reasons that Banner’s memories return, the story is written from Bruce’s perspective and it timelines the Hulk’s first days. Gray is one of my most read stories, I find myself re-reading it every other month or so, it really packs a punch (no pun intended, well, maybe a little) and it was totally refreshing compared to the kind of writing for Hulk at the same time.

Hulk: Gray is a wonderful read. I found it completely fascinating, and I flew through the pages. It’s both heart breaking and gripping, and an excellent gateway for Hulk fans. A take on his origin like no other. The Eisner Award-winning team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale really produced a masterpiece of writing, with beautiful art; textures, gradients and shading that perfectly mirror the tragic origins and events that followed, it will stick into your mind forever.

Number 2.

Getting close to the best now, 2nd place is The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect. Future Imperfect is written by David Peter and illustrated by George Pérez.

Future Imperfect is a terrific concept. The Incredible Hulk travels to an apocalyptic, post-holocaust, dystopian future that is a world ravaged by war and chaos, to face his ultimate Future Imperfectchallenge…himself. So, this story is essentially Hulk vs Hulk only the Hulk in the future is called Maestro, he’s a tyrannical ruler, and is vastly more powerful, skilled and intelligent than Hulk. Maestro was unable to put down all the rebels in his city (in the future he is from), and eventually a small group manage to use Doctor Doom’s time travel device to bring the Professor Hulk forward from the past in the hopes that he will be able to defeat the Maestro. The Hulk only wins via fighting dirty, so to speak, he barely defeats Maestro. The story is an amazing idea of pitting the strongest there is against the strongest there is.

David Peter really blew me away with the writing on this, for a story which in concept is just two immensely powerful beings hitting each other over and over, he did a terrific job. Future Imperfect is a heartfelt tale with surprises, and intelligent storytelling. George Perez’s artwork is incredibly detailed and really quite breathtaking, the textures, and drawings really were an outstanding addition to the story; bringing a real sense of dystopia.

Number 1.

1st place on the list is The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk. Planet Hulk is written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Carlo Pagulayan.

What a story Planet Hulk is. I’ve read this story so many times, and I am emotionally attached to it for more than one way but the biggest reason is that after my dad passed Planet Hulkaway a few years ago, I carried it virtually everywhere with me. It served as such a massive inspiration for me to get through every day tasks when my depression, anxiety, and PTSD almost broke me. Every so often, there comes a tale; with equal parts passion and pathos, that not only redefines what a character has meant throughout the already established comics and story-lines but also re-establishes the hero as a dominant force for storytellers, readers, the company’s universe, and (arguably) the entire comic book industry. Planet Hulk is that tale. Planet Hulk is one of my all time favourite main-stream comic-book stories. It’s difficult to talk about without giving too much away, and I by no means want to give too much away but the basics (and a little more) are that after being deemed too dangerous on Earth, the Illuminati decide to send Hulk into space, and to a beautiful and peaceful world where he can remain for the rest of his days. They tricked Hulk into thinking he was being sent into space to destroy a rogue satellite which instead was owned by S.H.E.I.L.D, after this, and finding out their real plans Hulk begins to smash the ship which he was sent into space on, sending it off course. The ship goes through a wormhole, leading Hulk to the planet Sakaar, a harsh war-filled planet. Hulk is captured and becomes a gladiator for the king. As the story progresses, Hulk befriends other gladiators and ignites a war between the slaves and the royal family. All three parts of the start, middle, and end are almost flawless. I remember that I could not put the book down once I started it. Planet Hulk served as a major inspiration for the MCU film Thor: Ragnarok.

The story of Planet Hulk is that of tremendous heart-break and incredible action, with superbly written characters and the most gorgeous, cosmic-level of art work. Planet Hulk is a story that will change the way you see Hulk and the way you think he sees the world, his friends, and his family. Greg Pak delivers some of his best writing, and accompanied by the tremendous illustrations of Juan Santacruz, Planet Hulk evolves into a timeless Hulk story that will remain one of the best Marvel, and best Superhero-genre stories of all time.

There we have it! I hope you enjoyed the read! I’m sure many of you didn’t see that order, or a few of those stories on the list coming. 1st and 2nd place on this list were incredibly close again, much like my Avengers list, Future Imperfect was a 4/5 Green Monsters and Planet Hulk was a 4.7/5 Green Monsters. My birthday is next week, the 17th, and on it I will be publishing a collective of my top ten Marvel and DC arcs, Planet Hulk will be seeing you there.

As always, peace. ❤

Respect Thread – Martian Manhunter

It’s that time again! Respect Thread time! Really appreciate those who read my last post, it was one of the highest viewed so far which is very positive! Martian Manhunter is very much a gem of DC comics and one of the most capable, most powerful heroes but a huge amount of people don’t know much (if anything) about him apart from his rather questionable choice of outfit. The dude can literally change his physical form to anything he chooses and that’s what he went with.

Right! To the matter at hand. J’onn J’onzz aka Martian Manhunter is one of the last two survivors of the Green Martians. J’onn was supposed to become the next leader of his people and take a Rite of Passage wherein he was to detach himself from his people and understand what it meant to be truly alone. When he returned J’onn found that the paradise he once knew and called home was nothing but ashes. Standing in the burning ruins of the civilisation he once knew, J’onn adopted the name “Manhunter” as he is now alone and in search for the being behind his misery. It was later in fact revealed, after he thought he was the last survivor of his race, that his twin brother was responsible for the annihilation of his people and destruction of his planet. Martian Manhunter has been a member of the Justice League, the Justice League of America, and Stormwatch among other affiliations.

Martian Manhunter possesses powers and abilities common to all Martians but has shown to be the most powerful of his race, largely due to be from his training as a Manhunter of Mars, and also his years as hero of Earth training with other members of the Justice League such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman.DurabilityBlast

Martian Manhunter possesses incredible superhuman strength and durability, his strength is easy comparable to that of Superman and he has shown able to overpower beings like Lanterns and Superboy-Prime, and his durability means he has taken punches from Superman, Despero, and Mongul, he once ever withstood a blast that incapacitated the entire League long enough to download all the details of the confrontation to an alternative League. He can also increase his invulnerability by altering his density to become super dense.

He has the ability to fly at vast speeds, easily keeping up with many experienced Lantern Corps members, and has exchanged blows with Barry Allen in a speed-blitz brawl.FlashFight He has superhuman stamina, agility, reflexes and speed. He can even utilize his telepathy at super speed, able to create a telepathic conference room for the Justice League to discuss matters in the privacy of J’onn’s mind in just an instant. He has a healing factor that is even capable of recovering from limbs being cut off.

Martian Manhunter’s greatest weapons though are the control over his own molecular structure and his telepathy. Martian Manhunter has vast shape shifting abilities that stem from complete control of his molecular structure. He is able to take on any shape he pleases, often taking the human guise of Detective John Jones. It has been revealed in the older comics, that he takes the powers and weaknesses of whoever he turns into, he has often shown to grow an extra pair of arms to supplement his fighting abilities and his strength. When increasing his size, J’onn often borrows mass from matter around him and incorporates it in his body, expelling it when he returns to his normal size. Martian Manhunter has used the power to imitate other characters too such as Mera during a battle with Black Adam, phased through the atmosphere, and also phased through Aquaman’s trident of Poseidon.

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He has elongated parts of himself into bladed weapons during combat. His density is also variable and changes as he wills it. He can use this ability to become intangible and move through objects or allow attacks to fly by harmlessly through him or to become extremely dense to add more mass to his blows and increase his invulnerability. J’onn’s control over his own molecular structure also allow him to adapt his visibility, granting him the ability to become invisible at will.

J’onn is the most powerful telepath on earth, being able to effect even the Spectre and Doctor Fate with his telepathy. Aquaman has stated that Martian Manhunter’s telepathy exceeds even the telepathy of other members of the Martian race.

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He has even read all the minds of every single person on the planet at the same time and is capable of linking the minds of all superheroes at once from a distance of the moon to all corners of the earth. He has used his powers to make charcters think he’s beating them up, and has even erased all the memories of himself from the minds of the Stormwatch. His telepathic abilities also allow him to create realistic illusions; telepathically trace and locate people; shut down peopleSupermanJonnz‘s minds; brain blast; mental shield; influence thoughts; mind control people; manipulate memory; astral projection; possesion; induce sleep; reprogram or reorder minds; and transfer information directly into people’s brains. Even the likes of Superman himself has stated that J’onn is the most powerful being on the planet Earth, and says there’s no one he’d be more afraid to face in open combat and that’s not a compliment Superman throws around lightly.

So there it is! Martian Manhunter is one of the most incredibly gifted characters across DC and Marvel for that matter.  It’s a real shame his own series didn’t last long and that they’ve not started another of his own. I’d love to see him more in the Justice League stories, maybe a regular addition to the team! Hopefully he’ll be a part of the next big DC event.

As usual, I hope you enjoyed the post! My next post will be a list of my top 5 Hulk stories, I’ve been reading and re-reading more of Hulk recently and it dawned on me that he’s such a famous character and I’ve not done a list yet. If you have any characters that you’d love to see me do a respect thread for, or to list their favourite characters, just leave a comment, or inbox me if you know me. Peace ❤