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The Road to MCU Phase 4! Reading Companion For Every Movie & Show!

For the first time since Avengers: Endgame we know what the outline of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will look like through 2021. In a blend of unmitigated excitement and reaction to 8 million requests for related reading orders (which I have for every Phase 4 movie outlined! Planning!), I’ve put together a reading companion for all of Phase 4.

Below you’ll find a complete guide to Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 film and television lineup, including recommended reading for every movie and show. This reading companion will give you one essential read, one single issue to read, and one dark horse pick that I think will be both entertaining and connect to the thematic elements of the MCU story.

Marvel's Phase 4 Black Widow movie is a prequel

May 1, 2020: Black Widow (Movie)

Black Widow reading order: https://www.comicbookherald.com/black-widow-reading-order/

Essential:

Black Widow: The Name of the Rose

Issues: #1 to #5

“The Name of the Rose” from Marjorie Liu and Daniel Acuna is not only my favorite Black Widow comic of the 2000’s, but it’s one of my favorite Marvel Comics since 1998.

Single Issue:

Uncanny X-Men #268 – Ok, Black Widow, Wolverine, and Captain America walk into a bar…

Since this issue flashes back to Natasha’s earliest days, it has both “prequel” and broader “Marvel Universe” vibes. Normally my favorite single issue pick for Black Widow would be Secret Avengers #16, written by Warren Ellis, but this iconic Chris Claremont and Jim Lee issue of Uncanny X-Men feels more appropriate for the film.

Dave’s Dark Horse Pick:

Black Widow: Deadly Origin

Keep in mind that this is a modern take on what the Black Widow’s origin looks like – it didn’t really look like this until the 2000’s.

The Falcon and Winter Soldier TV series on Disney Plus

Fall, 2020: The Falcon and Winter Soldier (TV)

Falcon reading order: https://www.comicbookherald.com/falcon-sam-wilson-captain-america-reading-order/

Essential:

All-New Captain America Vol. 1: Hydra Ascendant

Collects: All-New Captain America 1-6

Rick Remender set the stage for Sam-Cap, and writes one full arc with Sam, Steve, and the new Nomad taking down Hydra. Although this arc picks up from the Remender written Captain America series that started with Marvel NOW!, it’s the best starting place for Sam as Cap stories, and easy enough to understand through references and contextual clues.

I’d argue Sam Wilson never got his due as Captain America

Single Issue:

The Winter Soldier: Winter Kills One-Shot

Dave’s Dark Horse Pick:

Captain America: The Death of Captain America Vol. 1

Collects: Captain America (2004) #25-30

While the Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting era of Captain America is far from an unusual choice (it’s the go to Captain America series of the 2000’s), these issues actually connect more appropriately with the passing of the shield in the absence of Steve Rogers, and the vacuum that creates.

Marvel's The Eternals in the MCU

Nov. 6, 2020: The Eternals

Eternals reading order: https://www.comicbookherald.com/marvels-eternals-reading-order/

Essential:

Eternals by Jack Kirby Vol. 1

Collects: Eternals (1976) #1-11

Eternals by Neil Gaiman

Collects: Eternals #1 To #6

For all intents and purposes there are really only two sensible starting places for readers new to the Eternals. The first is the late 70’s Kirby written and drawn beginnings, and the second is the Neil Gaiman written modernization from the mid 2000’s.

If you ask me (and thanks for asking!), despite the creative pedigree associated, eternals is the first Marvel Cinematic Universe property that lacks a clear go-to comic story. A lot of outlets will probably compare the franchise to guardians of the Galaxy and the MCU’s ability to turn anything into a hit, but the Guardians had the Abnett, Lanning, and Paul Pelletier run from 2008 to 2010. The Eternals best days are yet to come.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings logo

Feb. 12, 2021: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang Chi reading order: https://www.comicbookherald.com/shang-chi-master-of-kung-fu-reading-order/

Essential:

Master of Kung Fu Epic Collection: Fight Without Pity

Collects: Master Of Kung Fu (1974) 29-53 & Annual 1

The Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy era of 70’s Shang-Chi stories takes off in earnest. One of the most underrated gems from Marvel’s Bronze Age.

Single Issue:

Shang-Chi & Deadpool

Collects: Shang-Chi: Master Of Kung Fu (2009) #1

A Jonathan Hickman written short story in which Shang-Chi and Deadpool faceoff in a deadly motorcycle race, and eventually share hot dogs. It’s brilliantly fun.

Dave’s Dark Horse Pick

Master of Kung Fu: Battleworld (Secret Wars)

Collects: Master Of Kung Fu 1-4, 5 Ronin 2

A part of the larger, excellent Secret Wars (2015) crossover event, but you won’t need to read any Secret Wars to enjoy this excellent Shang-Chi miniseries.

WandaVision from Disney Plus TV

Spring, 2021: WandaVision Disney Plus series

Scarlet Witch reading order: https://www.comicbookherald.com/scarlet-witch-reading-order/

Essential:

Avengers West Coast: Vision Quest

Collects: Avengers West Coast 42-50

How does Scarlet Witch react when she loses the Vision? This is one of the major questions asked during this time period of West Coast Avengers. Although I hope the answers in WandaVision are discernibly different, the topics may not be too far off.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

May 7, 2021: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange reading order: https://www.comicbookherald.com/doctor-strange-reading-order/

Essential:

Doctor Strange: The Oath

More light-hearted, more humorous, and more concise, “The Oath” is just about everybody’s favorite Doctor Strange comic during the 2000’s. Leave it to Brian K. Vaughn (Saga, Y: The Last Man) and Marcos Martin (Private Eye) to craft a gorgeous murder mystery with Strange as Sherlock Holmes, Wong as Watson, and the Night Nurse as… the sexy yet equally skilled Night Nurse.

This is a must-read, and one of my favorite 100 Marvel Comics from 1998 to 2015.

Single Issue:

Dr. Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment

I don’t want to play favorites, but there’s a reason “Triumph and Torment” is one of my 100 favorite comics of all time. If you can read only one Doctor Strange comic published before 2000, make it Triumph and Torment.

Roger Stern and an early Mike Mignola (Hellboy) tightly craft one of the best Doctor Strange, Doctor Doom, and frankly Marvel team-up stories in Marvel’s history. It’s an incredible accomplishment.

Dave’s Dark Horse Pick:

Spider-Man: Fever

Boris Johnson, New Prime Minister of Britain – to the Left of Hillary Clinton?

#notcomics

Boris Johnson, MP has just been elected by members of the Conservative and Unionist Party. And because the Conservatives, with support from the Democratic Unionist Party, have a (slim) majority in the House Of Commons, Boris Johnson will now be Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The current Prime Minister, Theresa May, will resign her position to the Queen after tomorrow’s Prime Minister’s Question Time. And Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister.

A highly educated polymath, Boris Johnson has been a journalist, MP, two-term mayor of London, Foreign Secretary and TV personality. His politics and opinions have skewed all over the place over the years, and some of his more colourful columns have come back to haunt him, especially his rather slapdash use of racist phrases for throwaway gags.

He is also a serial adulterer, with six or more children as a result – the number is not exact. Recently that means for a row with his current girlfriend being splashed over the tabloids and broadsheets (he is still married) while another simultaneous tryst on the sofas of a popular West End restaurant was reported by Popbitch. Oh, and he once agreed to conspire to get a journalist beaten up, captured on tape.

Combined with criticism over many failed projects in London as mayor that cost millions, heavy criticism of putting British citizens in danger when Foreign Secretary through his clumsy use of language,  and painting lies on the side of buses during the Brexit campaign (he was the most prominent Leaver and his support will have swung that referendum), there’s plenty to criticise him for. But it never seems to stick, and he is masterful with the media, once engineering his getting ‘stuck’ on a zip line to draw media attention away from something he preferred they ignore – and onto him.

But, as the election happened today, a number of Americans have an intriguing take. Republicans and Trump-supporters are celebrating the election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. And Republicans and Clinton-supporters are bemoaning the same event.

But if you look at the policies they support and have supported, overall Boris Johnson is a centrist politician, who swings to the left of Hillary Clinton.

Boris Johnson, New Prime Minister of Britain, is to the Left of Hillary Clinton?

As we are very well aware in this country now, Brexit is not a left/right issue. When standing for election, Boris campaigned on increasing public borrowing to fund his planned programmes – some tax cuts but also increased public spending, and away from the fiscal conservativism of recent Prime Ministers. On many social issues, he is further to the left of Clinton, with probably similar foreign policy status and both prop-globalisation when it comes to economics. Boris may be slightly less of a warhawk than Clinton too. We’ll see, he does swing like a weather vane a bit. But, generally, his is a fan of jaw-jaw over war-war. Much more say than Tony Blair, a previous Labour prime minister. In fact, he is probably closer to Tony Blair in many more ways politically than the media may portray.

But it demonstrates the different Overton windows that Britain and the United States see their politics through, and shows how it’s harder to map one country’s experiences onto the other, even when they speak the same language, have shared history and culture.

So whoever claims or rejects Boris for their politics, it seems more of a tribalist thing rather than seeing what the politicians in question actually stand for. Whether they do or not…

Will anyone tell Donald that, on US terms, his new best friend across the pond is a bit of a leftie?

Discuss below…

 

The post Boris Johnson, New Prime Minister of Britain – to the Left of Hillary Clinton? appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

Batman Producer Urges Fans Not to Prejudge Robert Pattinson's Casting

Long-time Batman film producer Michael E. Uslan urges everyone to reserve their judgement on Robert Pattinson's casting as the next Bruce Wayne. In light of Ben Affleck's departure from the role after doing just two films, Warner Bros. went back on the hunt for a new actor to take over the titular role in the upcoming Matt Reeves' standalone film, The Batman. Following months of speculation, the studio officially announced Robert Pattinson to have nabbed the part, besting Nicholas Hoult to become the next Caped Crusader.

Plot specifics for The Batman are still tightly kept under wraps. The project was initially going to center around the DCEU's version of the character with Affleck supposedly starring, directing and writing. When he stepped down away from the responsibilities behind the camera to focus on his performance, Reeves came in to fill the spot that he left. However, since Affleck's exit from the franchise, the movie has also evolved into something different from what it was originally going to be. For starters, the narrative will put the spotlight on a young Wayne - which is the traditional Batman story fans have seen on the big screen. This led to Pattinson nabbing the role. As expected, not everyone was welcoming of this development but a veteran Batman film producer asks everyone to wait for the film pass their judgement.

Related: The Dark Knight Denied: 9 Actors Who Turned Down Being Batman

Speaking at Germany's CCXP Cologne event (via ComicBook), Uslan makes a good case why people need to give Pattinson and Reeves' The Batman a chance. He explains that it's best to welcome this type of high-profile casting with an open mind. Once the movie hits theaters, only then should the public make up their minds regarding to how good (or bad) the filmmakers' approach.

“The star of the Batman movies is Bruce Wayne. Batman is the star. Batman is who everyone wants to see, along with the supervillains, so how does a filmmaker make the choice of which actor to cast? And I think the real key question for fans, and for all of us to focus on, is the filmmaker.

“My position is this: trust the filmmaker and give the filmmaker, and the filmmaker’s vision, the benefit of the doubt. Then wait ’til you see the movie.

“And then once you see the movie, judge the hell out of it. But I think that’s really the formula going forward. I couldn’t be happier, I couldn’t be more enthused, as a Batman fan, that Matt Reeves is the filmmaker in charge and has selected Robert Pattinson to be his next Batman.”

Uslan knows what he's talking about. He and Benjamin Melniker have served as an executive producer of all the modern Batman films to date - from Tim Burton's 1989 iteration starring Michael Keaton to Zack Snyder's Justice League with Affleck. Listing down all the big screen treatment for the Caped Crusader over the years, the producer pointed out how fans were typically against the casting of past actors as Batman, and eventually loving them in the role.

“So we’ve seen the genius of Tim Burton, we have seen the genius of Christopher Nolan. The question becomes: is there a filmmaker who you see has a knowledge of a character, has an understanding of a character, a passion and a love for the character? Does that filmmaker have a vision for the character? And if so, does he or she, do you believe, know how to execute that vision? And if you can answer those questions successfully, then for me, my role is to become the world’s number one cheerleader. And you have to trust in your filmmakers.”

When news first broke out that Warner Bros. and Reeves were considering Pattinson for the role, there was skepticism about whether or not this is the best choice for The Batman. Pattinson is mostly known for starring in the five-film Twilight series based on Stephanie Meyer's romance fantasy novels - playing Edward Cullen opposite Kristen Stewart's Bella Swan. And while the franchise pocketed money at the global box office, it was critically-panned. Since then, Pattinson has been beefing up his acting portfolio with good performances with smaller but better-reviewed projects such as Good Time and The Lost City of Z

At this point, the initial wave of doubt about Pattinson being the next Batman has somewhat died down. People are learning more about the actor's fantastic résumé, giving them hope that just like most of his predecessors, he's going to ace the gig. No material from the movie has been released with production tipped to begin sometime at the end of the year, but it does help knowing that he has the acting range outside of what the public saw in the Twilight series.

More: Every Batman Movie, Ranked By Rotten Tomatoes Score

Source: ComicBook

Agents Of SHIELD: 7 Unanswered Questions After Season 6, Episode 10

Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10, "The Leap" finally began to unravel the mysteries of season 6 - but still left a lot of unanswered questions. Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10 explored the immediate ramifications of last week's shock ending, in which May had apparently killed Sarge. But this is a superhero show, meaning death is something of a revolving door.

Episode 9 had hinted that Izel is a body-snatcher, and as a result many viewers had suspected that May was under Izel's control. Those suspicions turned out to be well-founded; but, however predictable the twist may have been, Agents of SHIELD handled it deftly. The episode swiftly built up a strong sense of paranoia, with both the cast and the audience struggling to work out who Izel was possessing at any time. By the end of Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10, Izel had helpfully answered a lot of the questions that have been running through this season. There was probably a bit too much exposition, but on the whole it was effective.

Related: Why Marvel (Not ABC) Has Canceled Agents of SHIELD

Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10 put Director Mack to the ultimate test, and it remains to be seen how he's performed. The episode ended with Izel leaving with two hostages, Mack and Yo-Yo, having captured the ball of Gravitonium that contains the energy of three Monoliths. Mack trusts his team to get him out of this - and he seems to have a plan.

The previous episode had ended with the Izel-possessed Agent May shooting Sarge four times in the chest, apparently killing him. To Simmons' amazement, however, Sarge's heart began to beat once again; his body then healed at an incredibly advanced rate. When Sarge escaped and confronted Izel, she revealed that she knew critically wounding him would trigger his abilities - and also potentially his true memories. Everything Sarge remembers from his past was fake, and only a shock on this scale could force his true memories to the surface.

Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10 featured something of an extended info dump in which Izel explained that she and Sarge - actually the ancient alien called Pachacuti - originate from a realm of non-corporeal beings. Hungry for physical form, they created the Monoliths as a way to achieve it; when the Monoliths were destroyed in Agents of SHIELD season 5, it created an opening to their plane of reality. Although Coulson was able to close the rift before it threatened the entire planet, he had to enter the sphere of energy created by the Monoliths in order to do so. The Monoliths apparently reacted to Coulson's presence, and created a duplicate body, which they projected through time and space. Pachacuti became trapped within this shell, and Izel pursued him to this plane of existence before the Monolith-created portal was sealed. Sarge's connection to Coulson has finally been explained.

At the end of Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10, Fitz watched a recording of Izel's exposition and told Deke that the SHIELD team had encountered something like this before. He compared Izel and Pachacuti to Ghost Rider, a formless spirit that could inhabit the bodies of others. It's a fair comparison; it seems that Izel and Pachacuti are the MCU equivalent of demons. Back in Agents of SHIELD season 4, Ghost Rider revealed that he fought on the front lines of "a war that's been going on forever." It looks as though SHIELD have just met some of his opponents.

Related: Agents Of SHIELD Begins Setting Up Ghost Rider’s Return

Presumably, the Monoliths transported Pachacuti's body back to the time of the ancient Incas, given Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 8 revealed he became part of Incan mythology. Izel arrived there too - possibly some time later - and swiftly decided to share the gift of physical form with the rest of their race. Fortunately for humanity, Pachacuti had absorbed enough elements of Coulson's psyche to feel protective towards Earth, and he stopped her opening a portal.

It's reasonable to assume both Izel and Pachacuti were taken offworld when the Kree arrived on Earth; according to season 3 they visited the same kind of geographic location, and are known to have been interested in the Monoliths that they found there. It's taken Izel all this time to track the Monoliths down - and, while their physical form has been destroyed, their energy still remains.

It's difficult to say whether or not the Chronicoms knew what the Monoliths were; certainly it's unlikely that they encountered Izel and her kind before, otherwise they should have recognized what was happening when the Shrike arrived on Chronica II. But, while they may not have known just how powerful the Monoliths were, they certainly knew enough to believe they were dangerous. They secreted the Monoliths in the Lighthouse, a facility on the same backwater world they'd been discovered on, one that had been carefully erased from human records but was impregnable enough to literally survive the end of the world.

To the credit of SHIELD, it didn't take the team long at all to put the pieces together and work out what Izel is. Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10 saw Mack step into the role of director in a more forceful way than we've seen to date, issuing orders and expecting blind obedience. Once he'd proved that Yo-Yo and Daisy weren't possessed, he got them to lock themselves away. Mack claimed this was to prevent Izel possessing them, but this explanation seems spurious; he had no reason to assume she couldn't walk through walls. The more likely explanation is that he wanted to signify his authority, making himself a tempting target for Izel and thus protecting his people.

Related: Agents of SHIELD Is Finally Rebuilding After Winter Soldier

Izel may think she's in charge, but the episode seems to hint that Mack has a plan. It involves ensuring that he is one of Izel's prisoners. Whatever the plan may be, Agent May appears to have figured it out. She told Daisy that Mack is trusting his team.

Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 10 subtly hinted that Phil Coulson could return. The Monoliths created an exact genetic duplicate of Coulson, and they even seem to have copied his soul. While Pachacuti possessed this body, he grew confused because he could feel the force of Coulson's memories and the depths of his emotions. Izel described Pachacuti's mind as influenced by "a holdover, an echo from the man whose body you inhabit."

This inevitably raises the question of just what would happen if Pachacuti left the body he now inhabits, either to take another host or to return to his own non-corporeal realm. That could have the same kind of effect the SHIELD team saw with Izel, with Coulson's mind reasserting itself. For the Coulson duplicate, it's likely he'd remember everything right up to Agents of SHIELD's 100th episode, when the doppelganger was created and possessed by Pachacuti.

The stakes get higher for Agents of SHIELD. This time round, if they don't manage to stop Izel, they won't just lose the world; an entire dimension of non-corporeal beings will invade this plane of existence, possessing host bodies across the universe. Unfortunately, Izel isn't going to be easy to beat; while she doesn't seem to be as powerful as Ghost Rider, she's definitely beyond SHIELD's capabilities. Their only chance may be persuading Sarge/Pachacuti to help; the Agents of SHIELD season 6 trailer released at SDCC 2019 proves he has powers of his own.

More: Biggest News From SDCC 2019

The New Kick-Ass Patience Lee Explained | ScreenRant

Who is Patience Lee, the new hero to don Kick-Ass' mantle in the comics? The original Kick-Ass comic was created by Mark Millar and tells the story of a nerdy teenager named Dave Lizewski who decides to become a superhero; in typical Millar fashion, this leads to panels of extraordinary violence. The comic was soon picked up for a movie adaptation, which was co-written and directed by Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class). The movie's mix of dark humor and bone-crunching action made it a surprise hit in 2010, and it also proved to be a breakout performance for Chloë Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl.

While the original was a hit, 2013's Kick-Ass 2 proved to be a disappointment. The sequel made a lot less at the box-office and it received mostly mediocre reviews, with producer Vaughn and Moretz later acknowledging it didn't quite work. While there were plans for Kick-Ass 3 and a Hit-Girl solo movie, the response to the second movie led to both being canceled. Vaughn would later adapt Millar's Kingsman comic into a movie starring Colin Firth and Taron Egerton, which spawned a major franchise of its own.

Related: Recasting Hit-Girl in the Kick-Ass Reboot

Dave Lizewski's comic journey as a vigilante came to an end with Kick-Ass 3, and in 2018 a new character donned the green suit to fight crime. The new Kick-Ass comic introduces Patience Lee, a military vet who returns home from Afghanistan intending to go to college, only to learn her deadbeat husband has run away with his co-worker, leaving Patience to look after their kids with a mountain of debt. After working some dead ends jobs, she decides to steal from a local crime boss, dressing up as Kick-Ass to hide her identity.

Patience has a big advantage over Dave since she's skilled in firearms and other forms of combat. Making the new Kick-Ass a soldier and mother was also intended by Millar to give this version of the character a new dynamic. Lee soon finds herself in conflict with a crimelord named Hoops Lucero, but after the conclusion of "The New Girl" arc, she has taken him down and decides to run his gang. She uses this group to fight against drug dealers instead, which of course attracts a lot of enemies. In addition to her vigilante activities, she has to try and maintain a somewhat normal family life.

Patience Lee has attracted her own fanbase as the new Kick-Ass, with Matthew Vaughn revealing in 2018 a reboot of the franchise was in the works, and hinting it would be based on the Patience Lee story. Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Thompson has also stated she'd be very interested in playing the role, so Patience Lee could have a bright future on the big screen when the Kick-Ass reboot comes together.

Next: Can Netflix Adapt Kick-Ass Into An Original TV Series?

How Avengers: Endgame Beat Avatar For Biggest Movie Box Office Ever

Avengers: Endgame recently passed Avatar to become the highest-grossing film of all-time worldwide, but how did that happen? As funny as it is to think about now, there was a time when people doubted if the MCU could succeed longterm. Not only had a shared movie universe that connected multiple franchises never been done before, the MCU was built on a foundation of second tier comic book characters like Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. During hard financial times, Marvel sold the film rights to their more recognizable characters such as Spider-Man, X-Men, and the Fantastic Four, leaving them with the B-team as they launched their endeavor.

Eleven years and 23 films later, the MCU is now the biggest brand in Hollywood. Collectively, all of the films have grossed more than $22 billion globally and the franchise is showing no signs of slowing down. This year, Marvel marked the end of the first era with the release of Avengers: Endgame, which rewrote the box office record books during its historic run and slowly but surely worked its way up to the top spot on the charts. There was a debate for months about whether or not it would pass Avatar, but now Endgame stands above all. Let's take a look at how we got here.

Related: Endgame's Re-Release Proves Just How Huge Avatar Was 10 Years Ago

It's impossible to discuss the commercial performances of these two films without mentioning an entire decade separates their respective releases. Avatar premiered back in December 2009, while Endgame came out this past April. Domestically, the average movie ticket cost $7.50 in 2009, compared to $9.01 in 2019. Using Box Office Mojo's adjuster, if Endgame came out in 2009, it would have grossed approximately $711 million in the U.S. That's an impressive haul, but doesn't come close to reaching Avatar's Stateside total of $749.7 million that year. Unadjusted for inflation, Endgame is currently the second highest-grossing movie domestically with $854.2 million, trailing only Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Per the Consumer price index, Avatar's worldwide gross adjusted for 2019 inflation would come out to a whopping $3.2 billion. In 2009 money, it earned $2.789 billion. That's about a $500 million difference, demonstrating just how massive Avatar was during its run a decade ago and how important inflation is when talking about all-time box office statistics. There's no denying it's an incredible accomplishment by Endgame to work its way up to the top position, particularly during the summer movie season when competition is typically more intense, but this is still something to keep in mind. Adjusted for inflation, Endgame would rank as the fifth highest-grossing film worldwide, behind Gone With the Wind, Avatar, Titanic, and Star Wars, and have no shot of passing any of them. A decade's worth of price inflation gave Endgame an advantage.

Related: Endgame Beat Avatar Domestically - But Ticket Sales Tell A Different Story

Even though Avatar ranks as one of the biggest movies of all-time, it took a long time to get there. Compared to today's standards, Avatar's opening hauls were quite tame. Globally, it debuted with $241.6 million (49th all-time) and $77 million domestically (100th all-time). It won its first weekend handily, but it was nowhere near to breaking any records. What ensued was a lengthy run that felt more like something out of the 1980s than the 21st century. Avatar remained in the top spot on the domestic weekend charts for seven consecutive weeks and stayed in the top 10 until mid-March 2010. Taking advantage of weak January and February competition, Avatar had incredibly strong legs and paced itself all the way to $2.7 billion. As the only real event film in town, it essentially had a monopoly on the marketplace.

Endgame took the opposite approach to the record, storming out of the gates with $1.5 billion worldwide in its opening week, by far a new record. In five days, Endgame made more than half of Avatar's global total, and it quickly moved past the $2 billion mark. This was vital in Endgame's pursuit of the worldwide record, as Avatar was outpacing the Marvel juggernaut since the third week. Endgame's massive debut is a testament to Marvel creating something that could generate that much hype and anticipation. Everything from the past 10 years of storytelling (including Infinity War's cliffhanger ending) to the ultra secretive Endgame marketing campaign increased demand to see it on opening weekend to unparalleled levels. This was the defining cinematic event of an entire generation, and the numbers backed that up. If Endgame's worldwide opening was closer to Infinity War's $640.5 million, there's no way it beats Avatar. The opening weekend is 40 percent of Endgame's total.

Related: The Biggest Reveals From SDCC 2019's Avengers: Endgame Panels

Both Avatar and Endgame got to their record-setting totals in part due to a re-release. James Cameron's sci-fi epic returned to theaters in August 2010, adding roughly $34 million to its final tally. In Endgame's case, it was more of a re-expansion, as it was still playing in theaters when the "Bring Back" edition was announced. With Dark Phoenix bombing and losing screens, Disney opted to give Endgame more play, marketing the new release around post-credits treats and an opportunity to see the movie on the big screen again. Shortly before the "Bring Back" edition opened at the end of June, Endgame was roughly $38 million shy of matching the record. It kept chipping away week after week and last week was just $7 million away.

In the weekend before the re-release, Endgame played in 985 theaters and grossed $1.9 million domestically (good for 13th on the charts). When the "Bring Back" edition premiered, Endgame was in 2,025 theaters and made $6.1 million that first weekend. Clearly, it was an event that appealed mainly to Marvel die-hards who couldn't get enough Endgame rewatches, but the hype was still palpable enough to make an impact. Some people were interested by the promises of post-credits surprises to go back to the theater, even if the end result was fairly disappointing. Still, the re-release kept Endgame relevant past its shelf life, at a time when movies like Toy Story 4 were drawing large crowds. Without the "Bring Back," Endgame would have continued to lose screens and business at its normal clip, falling just short of the record. It got a boost, however small, by doing the re-expansion, so this was a smart play.

More: The Avatar Sequels Will Blow Marvel Out of The Water

Star Trek Short Treks Trailer Features Pike, Spock & Tribbles

A trailer has been released for a new series of Star Trek: Short Treks. The anthology series consists of episodes between 15 and 18 minutes long based in the universe of Star Trek: Discovery, their events further developing the focal characters and expanding upon the themes introduced in the show.

The first run of four episodes began in October last year, with new episodes streaming monthly on CBS All Access up to the premiere of season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. The episodes consisted of Sylvia Tilly encountering a stowaway with whom she quickly discovers an emotional kinship; the Discovery’s computer having developed sentience during the thousand years it spent alone after being ordered into a holding pattern, and attains company and affection for a man rescued from an escape pod; the history of Saru, showing how he became the only Kelpien to ever leave his home planet; and the con artist Harry Mudd being captured by bounty hunters and encountering multiple versions of himself.

Related: Star Trek's Strongest Female Leads, Ranked

News of the new Short Treks episodes was revealed along with a plethora of other Star Trek news at San Diego Comic-Con, along with the episode titles of “The Girl Who Made the Stars,” “Children of Mars,” “The Trouble With Edward,” “Ask Not,” “Ephaim and Dot,” and “Q&A.” Not every one of them was shown in the trailer, its featured events focusing on Pike in a prison cell; Spock and Number One stuck in malfunctioning turbolift, and a new iteration of infamous Original Series episode “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Also to be featured in the new run of stories are a pair animated episodes, any details of which were not forthcoming, and a teaser for the upcoming Picard series that shows how events led up to it.

The Short Treks tales aren’t just supplemental stories, but have also introduced details that later become important in the ongoing main plotline of the Discovery series. Po, the teenage stowaway Tilly encounters in “Runaway,” returns to play a crucial role in the two-part finale of season 2 in the battle against the Borg-like AI system Control, the friendship the two young women quickly forged being crucial in securing the help of the genius girl. Also, far from “The Brightest Star” merely being Saru’s backstory, season 2 saw the Discovery crew return to his home planet when chasing the signals of the Red Angel, the events of the short providing important context for his people’s attitude towards him.

Although the trailer only showed brief flashes, some information can be gleaned from the details shown. The Spock/Number One episode is set some time in the past, seeing Spock introduce himself as “Ensign,” the lowest rank of commissioned Starfleet crew, and so presumably some time before he advanced to the position of the Enterprise’s Science Officer, his enthusiastic and inquisitive nature displayed also being somewhat at odds with the more reserved character audiences are used to. Captain Pike is presumably imprisoned after taking responsibility for his crew lying about the circumstances of the Discovery’s disappearance at the end of season 2, with the distress call from the USS Bowman (possibly a reference to Vanguard novel Reap the Whirlwind) being a way to re-prove himself as a reliable officer. The Tribbles episode looks to be more of a horror tale than the highly comedic slant of its inspiration, the endless multiplication of the fluffy balls proving deadly rather than humorous. Such is the ever-expanding nature of the Star Trek universe, there is little limit to the stories that can be told within it, and Short Treks looks to continue that tradition.

Next: What To Expect From Star Trek: Lower Decks

The Fantastic Four Defeated Magneto With A Wooden Gun

Supervillain Magneto faced his most humiliating defeat when the Fantastic Four tricked him with a wooden gun. The Fantastic Four are a superhero team created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, who made their comic debut in 1961. Despite the popularity of the group - which consists of Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and the Thing - they've famously been unlucky with cinematic adaptations. The first attempt was the 1994 Fantastic Four movie, which was an attempt by the producer to hold on to the rights by making a low-budget adaptation. While the movie was completed it was subsequently purchased by Marvel and has never been officially released.

The second try was 2005's Fantastic Four, which notably featured future Captain America star Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, AKA the Human Torch. This version was made during an era where comic book adaptations were hit and miss, and the movie went more for goofy comedy than thrills. It was followed by the even more disappointing Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, where the group faced supervillain Galactus - or at least a giant cloud called Galactus - with the aid of the Silver Surfer. Finally, 2015's Fantastic Four reboot suffered through a famously tortured production, resulting in a messy blockbuster that failed to launch a franchise.

Related: Fantastic Four (2005) Pitch Meeting

The group have also been the focus of several animated shows, with the most recent being the short-lived Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes series from 2006. Another show was 1978's The New Fantastic Four, which replaced the Human Torch with a robot called H.E.R.B.I.E., as the rights to use Johnny Storm were tied up in a proposed TV pilot that was never shot. The show lasted thirteen episodes in total, with the second episode "The Menace of Magneto" featuring the master of magnetism being defeated with the aid of a wooden gun.

The ending of The New Fantastic Four's "The Menace Of Magneto" episode finds Mister Fantastic Reed Richards confronting Magneto with a gun. Magneto feels smug in declaring victory as there's no way Richards' gun could defeat his magnetic powers - until he tries to take the weapon and finds his powers aren't working. With that realization, he folds like origami and begs Richards not to hurt him. The police arrive to arrest Magneto, who demands to know how he was stripped of his powers, with Mister Fantastic revealing the gun was actually made of wood. A humiliated Magneto is then taken away - seemingly not realizing he still has his powers and could easily escape.

This scene from The New Fantastic Four is pretty bizarre and doesn't hold up under any kind of logic, but it is funny watching Magneto crumble after being tricked by a wooden gun. The Fantastic Four and Magneto have yet to meet in a film, though this was once a possibility. Fox considered a huge crossover event movie in 2010 that would have pitted the X-Men against the Fantastic Four; the studio ultimately decided to focus on X-Men: Days Of Future Past instead. It's unknown if Magneto would have even featured in the movie, though if he had, maybe Mister Fantastic could have tried the old wooden gun trick again.

Next: Why Fox Didn’t Make Their X-Men/Fantastic Four Crossover Movie

WhatsApp is now available on feature phones with KaiOS

The year of 2018 saw a massive 252% growth in the demand for smart features phones in India even as the Indian market’s appetite for smartphones grew only ~10%. Research shows that the category of feature phones with 3G or 4G connectivity is expected to sustain a similar rate of growth and create opportunities worth $28 billion in the next three years and this phenomenon is not just limited to India but all KaiOS, the operating system specifically designed to bridge the gap between users with smartphones and feature phones, has gained support for a myriad of Google apps. Now WhatsApp, which is the world’s largest messenger, is now joining the league.

In a blog post, KaiOS Technologies recently announced that WhatsApp will now be available on KaiStore. The version has been optimized for smart feature phones with limited processing capabilities, including those with as low as 256MB RAM. By the end of this quarter, WhatsApp should come pre-installed with all smart feature phones running on KaiOS. KaiOS already supports Facebook and Twitter, as well as Google apps such as Google Assistant, YouTube, Google Search, and Maps.

Notably, WhatsApp has already been available on select KaiOS devices since November last year. The early recipients include the JioPhone and the JioPhone 2 in India. But now, WhatsApp will be available for KaiOS devices in other regions such as Africa, Europe, North America, Southeast Asia, Latin America, etc. Some of the other devices to be benefited with this update includes the feature phones under the Nokia brand, including the Nokia 3310 4G as well as the Nokia 8110 4G.

Currently, KaiOS-powered devices only occupy 16% of the market of feature phones but this share is expected to rise to 50% and India is likely to be the frontrunner of this growth. With more than a billion users (counting each new connection as a separate user), only 35-40% are smartphone users while the remaining are still relying on feature phones. Smart feature phones have a less steep learning curve compared for first-time phone users or traditional feature phone users. This is why the category can be a driver in the growth of internet userbase as well as help telecom operators earn more revenue by bundling data packages along with voice services.

The post WhatsApp is now available on feature phones with KaiOS appeared first on xda-developers.

The Daily LITG, 23rd July 2019 – Happy Birthday, Kelley Jones

 

Welcome to the pretty-much-mostly-daily Lying In The Gutters. A run around the day before and the day ahead. You can sign up to receive it as an e-mail here.

The 10 most-read stories yesterday
  1. Apparently, “Mother 4” Is Free For Anyone To Go Make
  2. All the Uncanny X-Men Deaths Jonathan Hickman Has Already Undone
  3. Long Live The King… is This a Tease For Marvel’s Big December Event?
  4. Jonathan Hickman Says Only Dream Projects After X-Men Are At DC Comics
  5. Steve Ditko’s Mr. A. Will Be Collected Against His Wishes
  6. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”: Dolph Lundgren in… “Crime Stinks II”?
  7. James Gunn Explains Why “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” Was Absent from the Marvel Hall H Panel
  8. Comic Store In Your Future – Is There a Comic Back-Issue Boom?
  9. DC to Publish All of Garth Ennis’ John Constantine: Hellblazer Comics in One Fat Omnibus
  10. So… I Just Bought a TARDIS… Help?
Happening today:
  • J. Michael Straczynski discussing and signing Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, Book Soup, W. Hollywood, California, 7-9pm.
  • Katie O’Neill, signing Aquicorn Cove, Princess Princess Ever After, Tea Dragon Society, Gallery Nucleus, Alhambra, California, 6-8pm
  • Storytelling and Graphic Novel Workshop: Grande Parade. Join graphic novelist and storyteller Daniel Locke for a drawing, reminiscence and storytelling workshop this summer. Grand Parade Campus, Brighton University, Brighton 10am – 1 pm.
And a happy birthday to:

The Daily LITG, 23rd July 2019 – Happy Birthday, Kelley Jones

  • Kelley Jones, Batman, Sandman, Dracula artist.
  • Mike Vosburg, artist on She-Hulk, Bloodshot, Tales From The Crypt illustrator.
  • Frank Fosco, collaborator with Erik Larsen, artist on Savage Dragon, TMNT, Fantastic Four, Megaton.
  • Derek McCaw, editor, founder of Fanboy Planet
  • Kevin Powers, creator of Patriot-1.
  • Brandon Bitros, owner of Blackstone Comics
  • Alan Cowsill, comics creator, dealer and Eaglemoss editor.
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The post The Daily LITG, 23rd July 2019 – Happy Birthday, Kelley Jones appeared first on Bleeding Cool News And Rumors.

Honor 9X and Honor 9X Pro announced with Kirin 810 and pop-up camera

Earlier this month, Honor began teasing a new launch in their X series, with several leaks confirming key features of the devices. Today, they unveiled the Honor 9X and Honor 9X Pro as the latest offering in their “premium mid-range” category. These devices don’t pack the same punch as Honor’s high-end phones, but they still offer a compelling package for a much more affordable price tag.

Specifications Honor 9X Honor 9X Pro
Dimensions and Weight
  • 163.1 x 77.2 x 8.8 mm
  • 206g
  • 163.1 x 77.2 x 8.8 mm
  • 206g
Display
  • 6.59-inches LCD
  • 2340 x 1080 resolution
  • 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • 6.59-inches LCD
  • 2340 x 1080 resolution
  • 19.5:9 aspect ratio
SoC HiSilicon Kirin 810:
  • 2x ARM Cortex-A76 @ 2.27GHz +
  • 6x ARM Cortex-A55 @1.55GHz;
  • 7nm fabrication process
  • Mali-G52 MP6 GPU
HiSilicon Kirin 810:
  • 2x ARM Cortex-A76 @ 2.27GHz +
  • 6x ARM Cortex-A55 @1.55GHz;
  • 7nm fabrication process
  • Mali-G52 MP6 GPU
RAM and Storage
  • 4GB + 64GB
  • 6GB + 64GB
  • 6GB + 128GB
  • 8GB + 128GB
  • 8GB + 256GB
Expandability Up to 512GB via microSD Up to 512GB via microSD
Battery 4000 mAh 4000mAh
Fingerprint Sensor Yes, side mounted Yes, side mounted
Rear Camera
  • 48MP primary sensor, f/1.8
  • 2MP, depth sensor
  • 48MP primary sensor, f/1.8
  • 8MP, ultrawide
  • 2MP, depth sensor
Front Camera 16MP, f/2.2, pop-up 16MP, f/2.2, pop-up
Connectivity
  • Dual 4G VoLTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.0 LE
  • GPS + GLONASS
  • USB Type-C
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
  • Dual 4G VoLTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.0 LE
  • GPS + GLONASS
  • USB Type-C
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack
Android Version Android 9 Pie underneath EMUI 9 Android 9 Pie underneath EMUI 9

The design of the two phones is incredibly similar. If not for a few minor differences, you may not be able to tell them apart. They both feature colorful models with an X-shaped gradient effect, very slim bezels, pop-up cameras, vertical camera arrangements, buttons in the same location, and plain “HONOR” branding on the back. It’s an attractive design that is, admittedly, becoming a bit stale.

Honor 9X

The main external feature that differentiates the Honor 9X from the 9X Pro is the camera arrangement. The Honor 9X Pro has three cameras in a stack with the flash underneath. The Honor 9X has the same vertical arrangement, but the third camera spot is occupied by the flash, since the standard variant only has two cameras.

The Honor 9X and 9X Pro will be available in a variety of color options. As mentioned, this is a really nice looking design, but we’ve seen it a lot. Slim bezels with eye-catching gradient colors is not as unique as it used to be. The X-shaped pattern will appeal to users who want a flashy back similar to what we saw on the Honor View 20, while the black color variant will provide a more reserved and flat look.

Honor 9X Pro

Moving past the design, the Honor 9X Pro is the “Pro” model largely because of the extra camera. The 9X has a 48MP main sensor and a 2MP secondary sensor. Meanwhile, the 9X Pro has the 48MP main sensor, plus 8MP and 2MP secondary sensors.

A key features on both of these new devices is the presence of the HiSilicon Kirin 810 SoC. The Kirin 810 is a big generational leap over the Kirin 710, and it claims to bring performance that is comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730, if not better. Considering how the Snapdragon 730 is said to be Qualcomm’s third most powerful mobile processor, it puts into perspective how the Kirin 810 is placed. The Honor 9X Pro variant is also said to feature “liquid cooling”, though this is likely be a reference to a vapor chamber-based system instead of active water cooling.

Honor 9X and Honor 9X Pro – Pricing and Availability

The Honor 9X will be available in China in Phantom Red, Phantom Blue and Magic Night Black colors, for a price of CNY 1,399 (~$203) for the 4GB/64GB variant, CNY 1599 (~$232) for the 6GB/64GB variant, and CNY 1899 (~$276) for the 6GB/128GB variant. The phone is on pre-order and will be available from July 30, 2019.

The Honor 9X Pro will be available in China from August 9, 2019, in Phantom Purple and Magic Night Black colors, for a price of CNY 2,199 (~$320) for the 8GB/128GB variant and CNY 2,399 (~$349) for the 8GB/256GB variant.

Note: Huawei/Honor has stopped providing official bootloader unlock codes for its devices. Therefore, the bootloaders can’t be unlocked, which means that users cannot root or install custom ROMs.

The post Honor 9X and Honor 9X Pro announced with Kirin 810 and pop-up camera appeared first on xda-developers.

Cyclops Brings His ENTIRE Family To The New X-Men | ScreenRant

The future of the X-Men has been revealed, including the new roster of heroes that will make up the team for Marvel's coming relaunch. The short version? It's the entire Summers family, past and present. Oh, and Wolverine. Obviously.

The announcement comes direct from Marvel's "Next Big Thing" panel at San Diego Comic-Con, in which writer Jonathan Hickman and X-Men editor Jordan White revealed the SIX new ongoing books that will spin out of the coming House of X and Powers of X relaunch. A relaunch said to change the way fans think of the X-Men forever, if it lives up to the hype (including the most important scene in Marvel history). But as colorful as the many new teams may be, it's the core X-MEN series that seems the most intriguing--recruiting every member of the Summers family, past and present.

RELATED: Cyclops Gets a New Costume For The X-Men Reboot

While the members of each new X-Men comic team were revealed one by one, Hickman and his editors joked that the new flagship X-Men series would be made up of almost every mutant Marvel fans could think of. But the cover art for X-Men #1 tells a different story. In it, artist Leinil Francis Yu depicts a collection of heroes on the Moon, with Cyclops a.k.a. Scott Summers at the center, with his wife Jean Grey by his side. The inclusion of Cable a.k.a. Nathan Summers, their son may not be completely outlandish, and neither is the presence of their adopted granddaughter Hope Summers.

But when you add in Havok a.k.a. Alex Summers, Scott's brother, and Vulcan a.k.a. Gabriel Summers, their other, more powerful brother... the overall trend is clear. At which point the presence of their father, Chris Summers a.k.a. Corsair of the space pirate Starjammers seems almost obvious. Check out the first issue cover and solicitation details below:

  • X-MEN #1
  • Written by JONATHAN HICKMAN
  • Penciled by LEINIL FRANCIS YU
  • Cover by LEINIL FRANCIS YU
  • A NEW ERA DAWNS FOR THE X-MEN! The X-Men find themselves in a whole new world of possibility… and things have never been better! Jonathan Hickman (HOUSE OF X, POWERS OF X, SECRET WARS) and superstar artist Leinil Yu (NEW AVENGERS, CAPTAIN AMERICA) reveal the saga of Cyclops and his hand-picked squad of mutant powerhouses!

It will always be a thrill for fans to see that Wolverine has returned to the spotlight in any X-Men book, but it's the Summers family members both living and dead that may suggest the most about the story of the new series. A story that, like everything else surrounding this change in the X-Men Universe, is being kept a secret for now. But unlike the other announced books, which include rosters of heroes (and villains) handpicked for specific missions, the main X-Men story seems to involve the Summers family specifically. And barring some outlandish cosmic coincidence, that would imply that the Summers family legacy IS the issue at hand. But considering how far they've been scattered across the Marvel Universe in the past, it would take something special to bring them all back together. And it will help to have the unkillable Wolverine among them when they do.

Fans have known for some time that Cyclops and Jean Grey would play important roles in whatever relaunch or change of status quo Hickman has in mind. As the two most undisputed leaders of the X-Men, their prominent placement in countless cover art (in new costumes) has never raised an eyebrow. And with some cryptic teases of Charles Xavier's death in the event, their leadership will only become more valuable if Professor X truly sacrifices himself for the future of mutantkind. But it would be an understatement to say that trouble-making, stubbornness, and unpredictability are a defining trait of the Summers family. Which means this cover art doesn't just show the first arc's most likely key players, but a powder keg that could have massive ramifications on the X-Men universe, were it to go off.

Relatively speaking, Nathan has proven himself to be a reliable partner to his father, even willing to kill the older version of Cable to protect the timeline. Alex Summers has always enjoyed plenty of fans, and since Havok's death to spare Cyclops didn't technically take place in the modern time and universe, that's an easily explained twist. But Gabriel, their overpowered brother who has previously threatened total annihilation, and a space pirate father who has only recently returned into Scott's life? This book is guaranteed to be a mystery every week until it hits newsstands.

The truth will only be revealed once fans get their hands on both House of X #1 and Powers of X #1. And even then, it's unclear at which point in the 12-week run that these new series, teams, and villainous alliances will start to make sense. Indeed, all we now have to go on is the repeated phrase that Hickman's original pitch was an instant hit, and the nature of the two comics as explained in the official plot synopses below:

Since the release of Uncanny X-Men #1, there have been four seminal moments in the history of the X-Men. Giant-Sized X-Men. X-Men. Age of Apocalypse. New X-Men. Four iconic series that introduced a new era for Marvel’s mutants and revolutionized the X-Men. In HOUSE OF X, Charles Xavier reveals his master plan for mutantkind…one that will bring mutants out of the shadow of mankind and into the light once more.

Intertwining with HOUSE OF X, POWERS OF X reveals the secret past, present and future of mutantkind, changing the way you look at every X-Men story before and after. You do not want to miss the next seminal moment in the history of the X-Men!

Fans looking to get in on this new age of Marvel mutants can start by picking up House of X #1 on July 24th from your local comic book store or direct from Marvel Comics, with Powers of X #1 arriving one week later, July 31st.

MORE: Fox's Secret X-Men Movie Plans Would've Hurt The MCU

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