A forever in-work compendium of Marvel and DC canon immigrants. What's a canon immigrant? Go here to find out!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Character Spotlight: El Dorado

I have been waiting to add this dude for so long, and thanks to user austinpopdan, I finally can!

El Dorado is one of the lesser known Super Friends, which may be part of the reason he's taken so long to make it into the comics. He first appeared in the Super Friends segment, "The Alien Mummy" (1981), and became a full-time member the next season.

Although he's appeared here and there in various adaptations, most notably in Young Justice: Invasion, he never appeared in DC Comics proper until last year in Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Amanda Waller #5 (December 2016).

El Dorado is positioned as the leader of ¡Justicia!, a Mexico-based superteam. I was also surprised to see the other members of the team, since they've previousl appeared in only one issue, way back in 2000.

And these weren't the only surprises. In researching this series, I discovered two other canon immigrants in other issues, so stay tuned for those over the next two weeks!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Character Spotlight: Raza (plus bonus content related to Iron Man's origin)

I've been waiting for the chance to post this one for a long time. I've known about it since 2012, but I could never find any proof online, and I could never find the issue in person to verify it myself. Luckily, a friend of mine finally convinced me to get Marvel Unlimited and it was right there. Took me like two seconds to find.

In Iron Man (2008), Tony Stark is captured in Afghanistan by a terrorist cell called the Ten Rings. The leader of the cell is a man named Raza. Many people were disappointed that the Ten Rings wasn't led by the Mandarin, but Raza is conspicuously shown fiddling with a large ring on multiple occasions, and the Mandarin has been known to lend his rings to underlings on certain occasions.

Two years later, Invincible Iron Man Annual 2010 goes through the Mandarin's history, which includes a retelling of Iron Man's origin. This is the first time the Mandarin has been tied to this story in the comics, and more importantly, Raza shows up as his right hand man, looking just like he does in the movie.

On the next page, we see his name is indeed Raza:

As a bonus, here's how Tony's escape is depicted:

Although the movie's Mark I armor is very similar to the Mark I armor in the comics (way closer than I expected it to look), it has a much more segmented, jury-rigged appearance as is depicted here. The armor in Iron Man's first appearance also didn't have flamethrowers. For comparison, here's the original Mark I armor from the comics and the relevant scene from the movie.

Tales of Suspense #39 (1963)

Iron Man (2008)

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Appearance Spotlight: Lucia Von Bardas

Lucia von Bardas is a character that I don't think I ever would've heard about if it weren't for this blog. She first appeared in the miniseries Secret War (issue 1, February 2004), where she was the prime minister of Latveria. Although publicly she was devoted to mending the relationship between Latveria and the United States, she secretly funded supervillains. SHIELD found out about and tried to kill her, which led to her becoming a cyborg.

Lucia von Bardas later appeared in the animated series Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes in the episode "Breakout, part 1" (2010) as an android assistant to Dr. Doom. This character had a much simpler appearance than her comic counterpart.

But when she suddenly reappeared in comics in Invincible Iron Man #6 (April 2017), she was sporting her animated appearance.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Character Spotlight: Angela Chen

I'm glad I get to share this one because I've always thought Superman: The Animated Series was kind of the black sheep of the DC Animated Universe. Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League get raved about all the time, but "Superman" is barely talked about at all, and most people think it's only ok. As such, whereas the Batman shows have their DNA all over the comics, Superman's show is just kind of forgotten.

And that's why Angela Chen surprised me so much.

Angela Chen is a reporter for the Daily Planet who first appeared in the "Superman" episode, "The Last Son of Krypton, Part II" (1996). She wrote a gossip column and hosted Metropolis Today, and she appeared in about half of the show's episodes.

Over twenty years later, Angela appeared in Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (January 2017) as the host of what seems to be a gotcha journalism talk show called "Impossible But True with Angela Chen". In a scene that happens years ago, she calls Mari McCabe, aka Vixen, on not being as active in her charity work as she says.

Justice League of America #8 (June 2017) has her appear to interview The Man From Monster Valley, a story that seems to better fit her show's title. And the same month, she appeared in Mother Panic of all places (issue #8 as well). The Mother Panic appearance is a good sign, I think. If she had only appeared in the two Justice League of America issues, I might assume she was just a pet character of that writer. But showing up in a book by a different writer, and one so off the beaten path as Mother Panic, makes me think they're setting her up to be the go-to commentator on the goings-on of the DC Universe. Not bad for a minor character on a neglected show!

(Thanks to reader austinpopdan for the suggestion!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Character Spotlight: Dr. Knowles

I hesitate to call this a character spotlight, because the character in question had a bit part without many distinguishing features or even a name. It's more of a scene recreation, but for all I know, there could be big plans for this character down the road (probably, but who can say).

In this month's Batman #26 (July 2017), we get the following scene:

In case it's not familiar to you, this is a beat-for-beat recreation of a scene in the movie Batman (1989):

...with a twist. See, this issue is part of the crossover "The War of Jokes and Riddles", so instead of the Joker being in the operating chair, it's the Riddler. The operation has saved his life but left him with a question mark shaped scar.

Like last week, I'm not a huge fan of this development. But like last week, this entry is part of what seems to be a growing trend of deriving influence from the Tim Burton Batman films (another example of which is Catwoman's new origin).

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Penguin's Background (And Appearance)

The 2014 television series Gotham is set in the city's past when Bruce Wayne is just a kid. Although Bruce is a main character, most of the show is about James Gordon's attempts to clean up the city. This means there are plenty of criminal characters, including a young Oswald Cobblepot - not yet The Penguin - who first starts off as a lackey for a show-original mob character before moving to work for the more familiar Carmine Falcone.

The current Batman storyline, "War of Jokes and Riddles", is set primarily in the past, so it's fitting that in Batman #26 (July 2017), we see a young Oswald Cobblepot performing a similar role. Although instead of working for Falcone, both he and Falcone work for the Joker. (For the record, I think this is a dumb development, but whatever.)

As a bonus, you may notice that he doesn't look much like Robin Lord Taylor, but he DOES look pretty close to Danny DeVito's portrayal in Batman Returns (1992) - mainly the long, curly hair.

Tim Burton's Batman movies seem to be having more and more of an effect on Batman comics lately. Is it just the right age, where people who grew up with it are entering the industry now (cf. Geoff Johns and Superman: The Movie)? I don't know, but it happened with Catwoman's new origin, and we'll see another example of it next week!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mad Hatter Mind Control

This one is iffy enough that I almost don't want to include it, but I will.

The Mad Hatter was a very minor Batman villain for a long time. His first appearance, all the way back in 1948, was pretty much just as a generic thief with a gas gun. He appeared two more times - once in the 50s, once in the 60s - with a different appearance and a modus operandi that fit his name: he stole hats, and the hat he wanted most of all was Batman's cowl. 

These two stories were adapted into episodes of Batman (1966). But the adaptation of the second story, "The Thirteenth Hat"/"Batman Stands Pat", adds a device that wasn't in the original: the Super Instant Mesmerizer, a device built into his hat that can hypnotize people.

The Mad Hatter made a couple more appearances in comics here and there, but hats were still his main focus. Then, almost twenty years later, the Mad Hatter appeared in Detective Comics #510 (November 1982), with a twist: apparently the Mad Hatter we had seen since the 50s, the one obsessed with hats, was NOT the one who stole the yacht club trophy in the 40s. But that original Mad Hatter was now back, and this time had an MO of his own: using technology to turn people into mindless zombies.

After that, mind control became a pretty regular part of Mad Hatter's repertoire, as seen in such examples as all of his appearances in Batman: The Animated Series and the Arkham games. And all (seemingly) because of that one change in the 60s!