Archive for April 5, 2020
The times when Marvel and DC Comics have come together for big inter-publisher crossovers are rare, with one the biggest ones being DC vs. Marvel Comics back in 1996. In the crossover, several Marvel heroes are forced to go one-on-one with DC heroes, lest their realities be torn apart and ripped from existence. However, Superman and Spider-Man aren't pitted against each other in this crossover.
Rather, before their respective match-ups with other heroes, the pair team-up in a very unique and entertaining way, with no powers, masks, or capes involved. Instead, this team-up happens with their secret identities at their day jobs. The DC vs. Marvel Comics plot has to do with two cosmic brothers at war with one another, using heroes from two different realities (Marvel and DC) as pawns in a giant cosmic chess match.
The heroes are forced to fight with one another, or their respective reality will face the destructive consequences. Batman is summoned to fight Captain America, Aquaman fights Namor, Wonder Woman takes on Storm of the X-Men, and Green Lantern battles it out with the Silver Surfer, to name just a few of the battles that converge in the epic crossover. Furthermore, not only do the heroes find themselves fighting heroes from a different reality, they also find both realities have merged together as one. This merging creates a pretty interesting situation for Superman and Spider-Man, with specific note to both of their civilian lives.
Fans know that Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent has him working as a reporter at Metropolis' Daily Planet newspaper. Likewise, Spider-Man's alter ego Peter Parker works as a photographer for New York's Daily Bugle newspaper. Thanks to DC vs. Marvel Comics, the two cities merge together, as does the newspapers, with Marvel's J. Jonah Jameson serving as the new editor of the Daily Planet, putting Clark Kent and Peter Parker on assignment together during this odd crisis of alternate realities and heroes warring with one another. (As a side note, Spider-Man at this time was actually Ben Reilly, Peter's clone, but was using Peter's name professionally.)
What follows is very entertaining and fun, as neither Clark nor Peter know that the other is in fact, a superhero. While covering a fight between Marvel's Wolverine and DC's Killer Croc, both of them are trying to find a way to ditch the other so that they could change into their respective superhero costumes. It's a pretty humorous dynamic, creating a fun pairing that highlights the similarities of the two heroes. Peter even tries flirting with Lois Lane, before learning the she's engaged to Clark. Despite this, the two arguably biggest and most popular characters from each publisher get along quite well.
Unfortunately, the civilian team-up doesn't last for very long. Superman is summoned to fight the Incredible Hulk, and Spider-Man is called upon to fight Superboy (also a clone!). However, the team-up of Clark Kent and Peter Parker is pretty great nonetheless, and just as entertaining as seeing Superman and Spider-Man join forces. It's certainly one of the best parts of the entire DC vs. Marvel Comics event overall.
The Letter For The King genre subverted both the fantasy genre and its own source material with the revelation that the prophecy about the Great Mage was actually referring to Lavinia. Adapted for TV by Will Davies, the coming-of-age adventure series was based on Tonke Dragt's 1962 Dutch children's book, De Brief Voor de Koning. The six-part series premiered on Netflix in late March. Set in a fictional medieval world, the young adult fantasy saga starred Amir Wilson as Tiuri, a young knight-in-training who finds himself tasked with delivering an important letter to the ruler of a neighboring kingdom.
The journey rapidly brought Tiuri into conflict with the machinations of the villainous Prince Viridian (Gijs Blom). After years spent winning a seemingly unwinnable war, Viridian had grown bitter of his brother, Prince Iridian (Jakob Oftebro), being first in line to the throne. Viridian's hostility also extended to the northern kingdoms of Unauwen and Dagonaut - which he believed had become complacent in their privilege. Rather than executing a mere Game of Thrones-style political conspiracy, however, Viridian had turned to black magic to pursue his agenda. Having studied the ways of Eviellan shamans, he had found a way to consume their souls and, therefore, absorb their magical abilities. In the process, Viridian had put in motion an ancient prophecy - one which would see him transform into a shadow creature and an agent of light emerging to vanquish him.
The prophecy was first mentioned in the premiere episode, relayed by a shaman right before Viridian consumed her soul and expanded his abilities. However, it comes into starker focus during The Letter For The King season 1, episode 5, "Spiral." With Tiuri injured, the novice and his friends are led by Ardanwen the horse to a secluded town. There, they meet the newly-widowed wife of the Black Knight who first entrusted Tiuri with his quest. She relayed the prophecy from a book as audiences were treated to an animated representation. The poetic description went as follows:
"First came the earth and all we desire. Then came the beast, the dark spreading like fire. Cloaking the lands on the reddest of moons, only once every century does the sky make it bloom. But the Great Mage of the North will bring light to the shadow, while the amaranth flowers and the fields lie fallow."
Being of Eviellan descent and hearing mystical whispers from the first episode, The Letter For The King appeared to be setting up Tiuri as the Great Mage of the North. In the concluding moments of "Spiral", however, it's revealed that each demonstration of elemental power - including taking down Sir Fantumar (Omid Djalili) and his soldiers - was produced by Lavinia (Ruby Serkis). Like Tiuri, some viewers may have been disappointed with the turn of events. As it happens, though, the groundwork for the twist was laid out across the episodes - including within the prophecy itself. After all, the prophesized champion is called the Great Mage of the North. As Tiuri is often reminded, he was born in Eviellan, which is located in the South. With her father (played by her real-life father, Andy Serkis) from Mistrinaut and her mother hailing from Dangria, Lavinia is very much a product of the North.
Lavinia's ascension also fits on a thematic level. The Letter For The King is a very loose adaptation of the source material. In the book, there is no prophecy and no Great Mage. Therefore, the TV writers had free reign with which direction to take the story. Expanding Lavinia's role in such a way subverts traditional fantasy tropes regarding not only female characters but feisty sidekicks and love interests. Equally, it acts on the tease in the story told by Foldo (Jack Barton) and themes that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was afraid to follow through on. Magic chooses its vessel rather than be inherited. Power and heroism isn't dictated by blood or heritage but by heart and, therefore, can instead arise from any background. As such, barring a revelation regarding her mother in The Letter For The King season 2, Lavinia is very much the embodiment of that.
Ed Boon, co-creator of Mortal Kombat and boss of NetherRealm Studios, would like to see a movie based on his team's popular video game, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Back in 1992, when Mortal Kombat first released in arcades across the country, few could have predicted that the low-budget fighting game built by a team of only four people would become a global sensation. In addition to the Mortal Kombat series, NetherRealm Studios developed Injustice: Gods Among Us, in 2013.
A fresh take on the lore of DC Comics, Injustice earned praise for transplanting a significantly tweaked version of Mortal Kombat's fighting mechanics onto the beloved roster of DC heroes and villains, from popular icons like Superman and Wonder Woman to more obscure characters like Lobo and Raven. Injustice was successful enough to earn a sequel, 2017's Injustice 2, which added even more characters and told a brand new story. The Injustice franchise is set in an alternate DC universe where Joker triggers a nuclear blast in Metropolis, murdering Lois Lane and countless others. Mad with rage, Superman brutally kills Joker and establishes a fascist authoritarian rule over the entire planet.
It's a provocative setting, and Ed Boon's Twitter feed indicates he'd like to see it adapted into a motion picture. In a series of Tweets, the Chicago-based NetherRealm boss muses about visiting the set of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before expressing his support for the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, otherwise known as "The Snyder Cut."
After praising Snyder and asking for a release of a Director's Cut version of Justice League, Boon went on to Tweet about his desire for an Injustice film, ending with a final Tweet that simply reads: "#InjusticeMovie." Interestingly, Batman v Superman's infamous Knightmare Sequence has earned comparisons to Injustice. The image of Superman executing bound prisoners with his heat vision wouldn't be out of place in the world of Injustice, and a similar instance even happens in the first game of the series, with Shazam finding himself on the wrong side of Superman's heat vision in one of the game's most controversial moments.
While the fate of Zack Snyder's Justice League remains to be seen, it's unlikely audiences have seen the last of the Injustice: Gods Among Us universe. Considering how successful the games have been with critics and fans, it's likely only a matter of time before Injustice 3 is announced, likely for next-gen consoles.
Source: Ed Boon via Twitter
Iron Man has created plenty of interesting and unique armors for himself in Marvel Comics as well an in the MCU films. It seems like he has an armor for any given situation. However, one such armor from the comics is notably unique. Not just in its particularly dark purpose, but also in the material its made from. Known as the Cold Iron Armor, this suit allows Tony Stark to take on a very specific enemy: Malekith, Lord of the Dark Elves, and all of his elven forces. Read on to learn why it's such a unique and intense armor.
While Malekith is typically a nemesis of the Thor, the God of Thunder, Iron Man sets his sights on the dark elf after the villain gets his hands on a few Mandarin rings. Initially meant to be a stealth mission on the dark elves' realm of Svartalfheim to retrieve the rings, Tony Stark is discovered and Malekith sends his dark elves to hunt Iron Man down. He gives each of his captains a Mandarin ring, supposedly to help them kill Tony once they've tracked him. However, Iron Man is never without a backup and contingency plan, usually in the form of a new tech or armor. In this case, one very deadly armor.
Apparently, a fighting-fire-with-fire approach is needed when facing the dark elves. Tony calls Dark Angel, a tech/magic expert assisting him, to send him a brand new armor, known as the Cold Iron armor. While most of Iron Man's suits are not actually made of iron (as he mentions in the first Iron Man film), this particular suit is. The reason for the iron used is that the metal is found to be lethal to dark elves. Upon contact, the elves experience an excruciating pain and burning cold, hence the armor's name. With his new suit, Iron Man turns the tables on those elves hunting him, making them the prey.
This suit is arguably more intense and more "metal" than any of Tony's other suits. Featuring long iron claws on each gauntlet for piercing, and a launching harpoon attached to the shoulder, it also fires clouds of iron filings, ensuring little chance for any elf to escape the inevitable freezing burn. Iron Man isn't messing around wearing this suit. Why should he, considering that Malekith would like nothing more than to flay him alive? However, the armor and its dark purpose also seem to come with an even darker disposition for Tony himself. He seems less forgiving and more merciless than normal, filled with anger towards Malekith and his forces.
One could imagine how different the Thor: The Dark World film would have been had Iron Man been present to help Thor fight the MCU version of Malekith, especially if Tony wore this armor. It probably would have been a much shorter movie (something that Dark World might have benefitted from). In any case, it's probably a good thing Iron Man only briefly used this armor. While useful, it's lethal and intense applications are probably better suited as a one-off suit, rather than some of his more long-standing consistently worn armors.
At the end of the day, Iron Man is at his best when he's a more lighthearted hero, rather than being one filled with vengeance.
The war for stream supremacy is far from over if Microsoft has anything to say about it, as new data shows that Mixer has more streamers than YouTube and Facebook Gaming combined. The tech giant has fought tooth and nail to keep Mixer's head above water since rolling out the streaming platform a few years ago, and the money and time invested into the venture seem to be paying off.
Much as its Xbox division has done with studio acquisition, Microsoft's Mixer went on a spending spree last year, grabbing up top talent from Amazon-owned Twitch in lucrative exclusivity contracts. In only half a year, the biggest competitor in the streaming market lost the likes of Ninja, Shroud, and FaZe Clan's Ew0k to high-dollar Mixer deals. It's been hotly debated whether or not this aggressive strategy has been effective in retaining transitory viewers after initial spikes during streamers' Mixer debut, but there's no denying that personalities that take the deal make a killing, regardless of the expensive experiment's ultimate outcome. However, sharp drops in Twitch viewership in late 2019 suggested that something was starting to give.
Related: Ronda Rousey Joins Facebook Gaming
A Streamlabs report now says that, while Twitch continues to reign in every facet of the streaming market, Mixer has more streamers than rival platforms YouTube and Facebook Gaming combined. Though its viewership numbers are the lowest of the four platforms recorded, it has the "second most hours streamed trailing only behind Twitch" since the start of 2018. To put that into perspective, Mixer boasts approximately 260 million hours streamed over the last two years, while YouTube and Facebook Gaming streamers clocked less than half that, coming in at only at around 128 million hours cumulatively. Of course, Twitch's numbers put them all to shame, with over 900 million hours having been streamed on the commanding platform.
Looking at the data, it's clear that Mixer isn't the Twitch killer that Microsoft envisioned when rebranding its Beam platform and making it a fixture of the Xbox Live ecosystem in 2017. That said, it's doing surprisingly well to hold its own in a market so critically cornered by Twitch. Mixer might never tout viewership numbers on its rival's scale, but that doesn't necessarily mean that its multi-million-dollar contracts and generous subscriber promotions have been in vain. Unlike YouTube and Facebook Gaming (which, er, still exists) that attract few creators but enjoy higher view counts by coasting off of platform name recognition, Mixer's broad appeal with Xbox and PC streamers with smaller audiences may flip the script on what consumption could look like in the future of the streaming world.
Twitch's seemingly indomitable lead over the competition paints an image of a futile, uphill battle for other platforms, but things are still incredibly motile in this still young industry. It's going to be expensive for companies - and, at times, probably frustrating for viewers and streamers - but big moves like Mixer's talent trawl or YouTube's exclusivity deal with Activision-Blizzard might pay dividends later down the road if the proverbial Goliath were to suddenly fall.