The Defenders Return to Battle The Hand in ‘Marvel Avengers Academy’

The Guardians flew back down, Spidey swung through again, and now the Defenders of Hell’s Kitchen return to Avengers Academy to battle a new threat in their neighborhood. Kingpin’s been imprisoned for nearly a year, and in that time Madame Gao stepped in to fill the power vacuum left in the criminal underworld of Hell’s Kitchen. The Defenders and the rest of the Academy students – with the help of a few new friends – need to dispatch Madame Gao and take back the neighborhood once more.

We grabbed a few minutes with Allen Warner, Lead Narrative Designer at TinyCo, to see what The Hand has in store for us at the “Marvel Avengers Academy”.

Marvel.com: The Defenders are making their way back to Avengers Academy! What’s bringing the team to campus once more?

Allen Warner: With the Kingpin imprisoned, Madame Gao has seized control of the Hand, and conquered Hell’s Kitchen.  The Defenders held her off as long as they could, but she countered by kidnapping some of their closest friends and allies, forcing them to regroup and call in reinforcements.  With a firm hold on Hell’s Kitchen, and the combined resources of both the Hand and Kingpin’s entire operation, Madame Gao sets her sights on retrieving a powerful artifact that Director Fury has locked away in one of his secret vaults, launching a full-scale assault on Avengers Academy.

Marvel.com: Will players be returning to Hell’s Kitchen with the new event district?

Allen Warner: Yes, we’ll be revisiting Hell’s Kitchen and all of its iconic locales like Alias Investigations, Josie’s, and the law offices of Nelson and Murdock.  We’ll also be bringing back the Academy Courthouse from our Daredevil event, and giving some new recruits fun courtroom animations.

Marvel.com: How will the Avengers battle Madame Gao and her Hand minions?

Allen Warner: The Defenders and Avengers will team up to battle Madame Gao and her special henchmen on campus, as well as traveling away from the school to stop the Hand ninjas from attempting to take over the world.

Marvel.com: As with the Guardians and Spidey events before this, will players once again be able to recruit Defenders heroes from the previous event?

Allen Warner: Yes, this is a similar structure where players will be given another opportunity to get characters from the original Daredevil event, as well as some other characters who weren’t part of that event, but make sense to be involved with the Defenders.  Players will have a chance to get Iron Fist, Daredevil, Hellcat, Elektra, Misty Knight, Punisher, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones.  They may also have an opportunity to get some characters who you wouldn’t associate with the Defenders TV show, but who have been part of various Defenders teams in the comics.  We’ll also be resurfacing all of the outfits from the Daredevil event, including what might be my personal favorite Avengers Academy outfit of all time, Lawyer Loki.  We learned in the original Daredevil event that Loki has a gift for lawyering, and a fondness for lawyers and the profession, and that will continue in this event with some fun results.

Marvel.com: While those who missed out will be excited to try for all those returning favorites, what new faces join the mix?

Allen Warner: A cool and diverse group of characters who are often thought of as supporting players, but who will take center stage and show their heroic sides during this event: Foggy Nelson, Colleen Wing, Stick, and Claire Temple.  They each bring a really unique and fresh perspective to not only the events at hand, but the Avengers heroes and Avengers Academy traditions.  Our awesome art team did some really great and brand-new things with their various visual levels, and their animations are really fun, and play to their unique occupations, personalities, and talents.  I’m really excited about this group from a narrative perspective because there is so much unexplored territory.  These characters typically only interact with the characters in their respective spheres, so there’s a ton of opportunity to do things that no one has ever seen before.  Foggy will form relationships and go on adventures with Loki and Captain America.  Claire Temple will go on an intergalactic rescue mission with Cosmo the Spacedog.  Stick will butt heads with J. Jonah Jameson.  Madame Gao will match wits with Mephisto, and so on.  One of my favorite things about the world we’ve built in this game is having the opportunity to reimagine and expand upon existing characters and Marvel lore, and this event and this group of recruits provided an awesome opportunity to do a lot of things that have never been done before.

Marvel.com: What new ways will our heroes suit up to dispatch the Hand threat?

Allen Warner: In addition to the resurfaced outfits from the previous Daredevil event, there will be new outfits and stories for Hulk, Punisher, Elektra, Iron Fist, and Misty Knight.  We love coming up with new looks for our characters that are unique to the world of Avengers Academy, but we decided to take a different approach this time around and only include outfits that have appeared in the comics.  Some are very recent looks that fans may not even be aware of, while others are iconic looks that have been around for decades.  They all look incredible, are completely different from the characters’ usual outfits, and add a new angle to their personalities and powers that make for some really fun animations and stories.

Marvel.com: As excited as we are to dive back into Hell’s Kitchen and dispatch Madame Gao, there’s always one eye on the horizon. Can you tease anything coming down the line for the Academy and its heroes?

Allen Warner: One of our frequently teased schools will finally have to come out of hiding, and they’ll be bringing more recruitable characters with them than ever before.

For all the latest on “Marvel Avengers Academy,” stay tuned to Marvel.com and @MarvelGames on Twitter!

All-New Guardians of the Galaxy: The Fate of Groot

Since the start of ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Groot’s been stuck in a small state and True Believers across the galaxy have been attempting to guess why.

Normally a giant, the talkin’ tree has been relegated to sapling status—but on September 6 that all changes with ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #9! Guest artist Mike Hawthorne joins series writer Gerry Duggan to reveal the source of Groot’s problem and where the one-line wonder goes from here.

But before issue #9 officially answers the question, we asked Gerry to give us his thoughts on a few of our reasonable (and unreasonable) theories about the cause of Groot’s perpetually-slight stature.

Marvel.com: Our first guess: there’s a unique frequency in every Electric Light Orchestra song that keeps his species from growing any biggerand he’s just danced to one too many. 

Gerry Duggan: Or fans keep breaking pieces off of him.

Marvel.com: Maybe he got in the way of one of Rocket’s mad science experiments and got blasted, poisoned, or shot into permanent-baby form. 

Gerry Duggan: Well, Groot’s not exactly a baby in All New—he’s just physically diminished. He’s banzai Groot.

Marvel.com: What if Rocket made such a snarky quip that it degraded Groot down to his current state?

Gerry Duggan: No comment is too salty for this team.

Marvel.com: Perhaps, before the start of this series, the Guardians fought some powerful cosmic gardener/Edward Scissor Hands-esque entity that wanted to trim Groot into a beautiful and delicate lawn feature. 

Gerry Duggan: That would be quite a gardener/mohel.

Uncover the mystery at last with ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #9, by Gerry Duggan and artist Mike Hawthorne, on September 6!

Welcome the Royal Family in a Brand New ‘Marvel’s Inhumans’ Trailer

Are you ready to meet the Royal Family this fall? Watch the brand new trailer above!

The first chapter of “Marvel’s Inhumans” will premiere early in IMAX theatres for a limited two-week run beginning on September 1, 2017. ABC will then air the entirety of the series, including additional exclusive content, starting on Sept. 29.

Pre-sale tickets for “Marvel’s Inhumans” in IMAX are now available online: www.BeInhumanInIMAX.com.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com and follow @TheInhumans on Twitter and Inhumans on Facebook for the latest!

Kirby 100: The Verdict of Zeus

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us this month to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

A few days ago, we talked about how it can take some time to get used to an artist as dynamic and bold as Jack Kirby. By his own admission, AVENGERS writer Mark Waid didn’t take to “The King” when he first experienced some of his comics at the Distinguished Competition as a kid. If you’re wondering what made him change his mind about the artist, it came in the pages of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #125 and THOR #126130.

“One of my all-time favorite Kirby stories is the ‘Verdict of Zeus’ epic, which I read at age 12 and was my introduction to Marvel Kirby,” Waid said. “The sheer drama in that Thor/Hercules saga, with all its grandeur and all its humanity, was an education for me.”

These issues contain many amazing moments bound to convert anyone to Camp Kirby. The first issue kicks off with a battle between Thor and a Norn Stone-enhanced Witch Doctor for several pages before shifting focus to a napping Hercules who helped move a downed tree from the train tracks.

After returning the Norn Stone to his father on Asgard, Thor attempts to tell his father that he revealed his secret identity to Jane Foster, but the elder god already knew! In his rage, Odin demands the other warriors present attack his son in “the Ritual of Steel.” The Odinson fights valiantly and earns his trip across the Rainbow Bridge back to Midgard where he finds his beloved at a soda parlor with Hercules!

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #125

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A wonderfully epic, titanic battle erupts between the two gods in the very first issue of THOR! How epic, you wonder? Well in addition to wielding enchanted uru hammers and Power Staffs, the two use trailer trucks, streets, heavy machinery, buildings, and bare fists to knock each other silly.

Hercules not only wins that battle, but also parlays the victory into a gig working on a gorgeous movie set overseen by mysterious supernatural figures disguised as humans. Meanwhile, Thor returns to Asgard where he stops an interloper from stealing Odin’s power, but nearly at the cost of his own life.

Eventually, Thor heals up, which gives him the strength to help Hercules get out of a boneheaded deal he made to become ruler of the Netherworld, thus cementing a camaraderie that continues to this day.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Final ‘Marvel’s The Defenders’ Trailer Debuts

With “Marvel’s The Defenders” debuting on Netflix this Friday, the final trailer has been unleashed for the series. Fans have been waiting to see Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist join forces, and the new trailer gives you plenty of highlights as the four heroes try and work together – despite some personality conflicts.

Of course, any heroic group needs a formidable antagonist and as the trailer shows, “Marvel’s The Defenders” has a very notable one in the form of Alexandra, played by the iconic Sigourney Weaver.

All eight episodes of “Marvel’s The Defenders” launches globally on Friday, August 18, 2017 on Netflix. As you count down the hours, keep your eyes on @TheDefenders on Twitter and the official Defenders Facebook page for more!

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider – Brothers at Odds

It’s been in the air since even before issue #1, but on September 13, the animosity between Kaine and Ben Reilly reaches its boiling point in BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #7!

Written by Peter David and penciled by Will Sliney—featuring a cover by Mark Bagley—Ben and Kaine’s turbulent past forever alters their shared future in this latest chapter. To understand how these two characters reached this moment—and where Reilly may go from here—we talked to series writer David about these extremely unusual “brothers.”

Marvel.com: Prior to The Clone Conspiracy, how would you describe Ben’s attitude towards Kaineand vice versa?

Peter David: Initially, Kaine hated Ben; he felt that Ben represented everything that he, Kaine, could not have and could not be. Kaine was an earlier—and somewhat failed—attempt to clone Peter Parker, but Ben proved to be the version that got it right. So he resented the hell out of Ben for that.

I think Ben would’ve been perfectly happy to live in concert with his brother, but he constantly had to defend himself against Kaine’s plans and assaults.

Eventually, Kaine managed to grow past his hatred and morphed into someone who respected Ben—although I’m not sure that he ever really liked him.

Marvel.com: How have their respective attitudes changed in the wake of both Conspiracy and the events of issues #1-6 of BEN REILLY?

Peter David: Ben’s evil reawakened all of Kaine’s old hostility for him—but now Kaine feels that it was all justified. That’s why he’s out to kill Ben rather than simply capture him. He firmly believes that Ben has no right to exist—that there should not be an evil version of Peter Parker running around.

Marvel.com: How would you summarize each character at this point in their lives?

Peter David: Kaine believes that he’s the good guy and so does Ben. He wants to kill Ben, and Ben simply wants to survive.

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider (2017) #7

Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider (2017) #7

  • Published: September 13, 2017
  • Cover Artist: Mark Bagley


Marvel.com: During the writing process, were there any specific turning points that uniquely informed who Ben and Kaine are now?

Peter David: The Clone Conspiracy, obviously—the story that revealed Ben as still alive and crystallized their personalities in relation to each other.

Marvel.com: How does Will Sliney’s approach to drawing Kaine and the Scarlet Spider aid their written characterizations? What about their individual physicalities did you accentuate to highlight their differences?

Peter David: In terms of their physicality, they are both pretty much the same guy, so they are going to move pretty similarly—except that Ben has Spider-Sense and Kaine just has superb reflexes. So that difference factors into choreographing the fight scenes.

Marvel.com: What makes issue #7 such a vital piece of Ben and Kaine’s story?

Peter David: It’s been tough to root for Ben considering how skewed his personality was after The Clone Conspiracy. That difficulty is one of this story’s core components, and we know how desperately fans want to be on Ben’s side in terms of pulling for the book’s title character. Fans know he’s still in there somewhere, and part of his journey is digging his true self up. Will he succeed? Will he fall deeper in to madness? All I’ll say is that there is no way you will get to the last page of issue #7 and not be on Ben’s side.

BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #7, by Peter David and artist Will Sliney, hits shelves on September 13!

Spider-Man Vs. Vulture Screen Printed Poster

Grey Matter Art under license from Marvel, is proud to present a new officially licensed, limited edition screen printed poster for the classic comic characters, Spider-Man and Vulture, by the very talented artist, Florey. Below are details regarding the poster and release information.

Spider-Man Vs. Vulture by Florey
18″ x 24″ hand-numbered screen print – $40
Edition of  150
Printed by Lady Lazarus

Spider-Man Vs. Vulture by Florey is available now at greymatterart.com.

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