BY MATT TUCK
DC has a new character debuting in May, two DCEU movies got the axe, and Gal Gadot accused Joss Whedon of on-set abuse. It’s time for your comic newsbreak.
As part of DC’s celebration of Asian-American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month, the publisher announced it will be debuting a new Asian-American hero, the Monkey Prince. The name is a take on a figure from Chinese mythology, the Monkey King. The Monkey Prince will debut in May as part of DC’s Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superheroes Celebration. Before you ask, yes, there will be at least one variant cover featuring the new character, and that will be the one most people will want.
From the collecting side of things, this will be a key issue to put on your pull lists. These days, there are new characters practically every month, so it is hard to tell which first appearances are worth chasing down. In this case, DC is immediately putting the Monkey Prince into the continuity as he will be paired with Shazam in his debut story. How big of a role the Monkey Prince will play going forward remains to be seen, but I would not be surprised to see him added to the Teen Titans or even headline his own series.
It was announced last week that Warner Brothers and DC have stopped working on two upcoming DCEU films. Thus, New Gods and The Trench have both been put back on the shelf. While neither directly spun out of Zack Snyder’s DCEU entries, the timing between this announcement and WB executive Ann Sarnoff’s comments about Justice League being the end of the line for the Snyderverse is impeccable. Could the two be connected? There are plenty of theories floating around the internet, and some are wondering if this is a clue that Darkseid is indeed coming.
Could it be that these cancellations are paving the way for that elusive Snyder Cut sequel? With director Ava DuVernay and comics alum Tom King no longer playing in the New Genesis and Apokolips sandbox, that means the toys are being reserved for Justice League 2 & 3, right? That would leave the door open for Snyder to finish his JL trilogy and take the reins for Darkseid and company. While that sounds promising, it does not explain why The Trench was cancelled, too, so that may all be wishful thinking for #RestoretheSnyderverse.
Speaking of Justice League, there are new allegations against director Joss Whedon.
It began with Cyborg actor Ray Fisher’s claims of abuse and racism from the set of the 2017 reshoots, and now Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, has added her voice to Fisher’s accusations. She is claiming that Whedon threatened to ruin her career for questioning his choices for the Wonder Woman character.
Just today, The Hollywood Reporter published an extensive interview with Fisher, who claimed the director’s behavior was “gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable.”
Not only has Gadot come forward with allegations, but there are others coming forward as well that date back to his days on the set of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whedon, through a spokesperson, has denied the claims. WarnerMedia previously stated that the company conducted its own investigation and claimed to have taken “remedial action” as a result, though what that means is unclear.
As seen in the third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Zemo led Sam and Bucky into the lawless island nation of Madripoor. Think of it as the Mos Eisley of the Marvel Universe. While our protagonists search for the mysterious Power Broker, finding former SHIELD agent Sharon Carter along the way, it is easy to suspect they will cross paths with any number of assassins and bounty hunters straight from the comics. And who is Madripoor’s favorite visitor? That’s right: Patch. Who is that? In the pages of 1988’s Wolverine #1, he debuted this alter ego and began his adventures in the fictional Asian country.
Now fans are curious if the Disney+ series started laying the groundwork for Wolverine to enter the MCU. Not only that, but it also raises questions about the X-Men as well. It would make sense for this to at least include a few Easter eggs, considering that Madripoor is famously tied directly to its most famous customer, Wolverine.
Of course, we have been seeing these theories ever since an FATWS set photo revealed the Madripoor flag, so this particular speculation is nothing new. Now that the country has been officially introduced into the MCU, fans are waiting to see any hints that the X-Men - or at least Wolverine - are on the way. It is just one more reason for fans to tune in to the next episode of the streaming series.
Marvel Studios may control the landscape when it comes to the live-action front, but DC runs the game when it comes to the animated front. Their series of animated Batman films have been a huge hit with fans over the years, and a long-rumored adaptation is finally coming to life: Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s 1990s classic, The Long Halloween.
What is interesting is the differences in the ratings for the two parts of the movie as Part One will be rated a tame PG-13 while Part Two gets a mature R rating. Of course, this will likely be well received by adult fans of Batman and the Snyder Cut, which pushed the envelope just enough to be rated R itself.
On the collecting side of things, this won’t exactly set the comic world on fire. Almost assuredly Long Halloween will be a hit for WB Animation, and it will generate interest in the 13-issue series. If this was a live-action adaptation, we could expect a huge inflation in prices for at least the first issue, but the cartoons don’t have the same impact. The good news is that if you want to collect the entire set, prices should still be reasonable.Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.