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The 10 Most Important Shazam Moments (Part 2)

As we await the upcoming film, these are the best moments in history for Captain Marvel, aka Shazam.

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The second part of our Best Shazam moments list enters modern times with a TV show, animated short, and one hell of a battle with Superman:

5. Shazam Gets A TV Show (1974-1976)

In the late 1960s and 1970s, superheroes had become popular on TV in both live action and animation thanks to the success of Adam West’s Batman, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, and Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno’s The Incredible Hulk, along with  Superfriends and solo cartoons starring Batman, Superman, and Aquaman. Filmation’s Shazam!, which aired on CBS for three seasons on Saturday mornings, combined both those things. The premise of the show was that Billy Batson (Michael Gray) traveled around in an RV with an old man named Mentor (North by Northwest and Forbidden Planet’s Les Tremayne), righting wrongs and teaching moral lessons as Captain Marvel (Jackson Bostwick, and later John Davey) after saying the magic word “Shazam!”

The wizard Shazam never appeared in the show, and instead Billy would get guidance from animated versions of the elders that gave him his abilities, namely Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, and Mercury (Adam West did the voice of Hercules). The show was structured like an after-school special with superhero elements, and was less action-packed than its more popular contemporary, Wonder Woman. Every episode ended with a “moral” for viewers, teaching basic lessons like to be confident in yourself, not to do drugs, and how to solve your problems through talking and not violence (having a magic-powered superhero as backup helps). Also, if you’re anti-Semitic, you get attacked by mountain lions.

The show ended on a crossover episode with Isis, a show about a female archaeologist who uses a magic amulet to get the powers of the Egyptian goddess Isis. In the finale, Captain Marvel and Isis help a boy not invent the found-footage genre by turning in evidence of a robbery to the police instead of a film festival. Isis would later appear in various Shazam comics and the 2006 weekly comic book series 52, where she was re-imagined as the consort of one of Shazam’s villains, Black Adam. She is also set to be one of the first Muslim-American superheroes on TV in Legends of Tomorrow Season 3, using her civilian name of Zari Adrianna Tomaz.

4. Shazam Gets A Modern Origin in Jerry Ordway’s Power of Shazam! (1994)

In the tradition of Batman: Year One, Wonder Woman: Gods and Mortals, and Man of Steel, DC Comics commissioned writer/artist Jerry Ordway to revamp Captain Marvel’s origin story for modern comic book readers in the Power of Shazam! graphic novel. Ordway had previously drawn the comic book adaptation of the 1989 Batman film and the Infinity Inc series, which featured characters who played a pivotal role in Neil Gaiman’s classic, The Sandman. He kept many of the elements of the original 1940 origin of Captain Marvel, while providing a deeper glimpse into Billy Batson’s psyche, also making his deceased parents, C.C. (named after Captain Marvel’s original artist, C.C. Beck) and Lyn, have a more tragic demise.

Power of Shazam! opens with an extended prologue showing Billy’s archaeologist parents discovering a mystical scarab in the tomb of Pharoah Rameses II, before both stabbed in the back by his brother, Adam, who works for the corrupt businessman Sivana, and wants these artifacts to be on the display at the World Fair he’s sponsoring, not in their native Egypt. This wrinkle in Captain Marvel’s backstory is a nice homage to the archaeologist characters in the Adventures of Captain Marvel serial, and basically turns him into Batman (if he actually smiled and his father was Indiana Jones). It immediately connects Captain Marvel and Black Adam, the differences and similarities in their abilities, and makes them lifelong nemeses based on the simple fact that Adam betrayed his family for gain. It is also nice to see Billy struggle with his powers as Captain Marvel, and even resent the wizard Shazam for thrusting them upon him instead of naively reveling in his super abilities. Timely thought bubbles from Ordway show the difficulty of navigating the world as a kid in adult’s body, although there is room for humor too, like when Billy has Captain Marvel impersonate his deadbeat, money-swindling Uncle Ebenezer at a parent-teacher conference.

The real highlight of Power of Shazam! is the fully-painted artwork of Jerry Ordway, who transforms Fawcett City into an Art Deco masterpiece. Ordway’s figures have plenty of power in their punches and throws too, especially during the battle royale between Shazam and Black Adam, in which buildings are damaged and grappling holds happen. His characters aren’t stiff and static like other painted comic book art.

Power of Shazam! is full of the magic, escapism, and the strong moral compass that is the signature of classic Captain Marvel tales, but Jerry Ordway expands upon his tragic backstory, adding some self-doubt to go with Captain Marvel’s big, cheesy grin. The graphic novel spawned a monthly Power of Shazam! comic that Ordway wrote from 1995 to 1999. The writers of the upcoming Shazam film should definitely consider using it as source material for their screenplay.

3. Shazam Has A Tragic, Epic Battle Against Superman in Kingdom Come (1996)

One of the best comics featuring Captain Marvel – and flat out one of the greatest (and densest) superhero comics of all time – is the four issue miniseries Kingdom Come by writer Mark Waid (The Flash, JLA) and painter Alex Ross (Marvels, the opening credits of Spider-Man 2). It also inspired the name of Jay-Z’s 2006 comeback album. Kingdom Come tells the story of an aged Superman trying to come to terms with a new generation of superheroes (based on the edgy anti-heroes of the 1990s, like Spawn and Youngblood) after one of them destroys his home state of Kansas in a presumptuous superhero battle. Superman and Wonder Woman’s solution to the problem is to build a superhuman gulag for the offending villains and antiheroes, which predictably angers Batman, and he bands together with an unlikely group of allies, including Green Arrow, Lex Luthor, and a host of young legacy heroes to oppose him.

Among them is Captain Marvel, who is being mind-controlled by Lex Luthor via a psychic worm he borrowed from one of his old villains, Sivana. Captain Marvel is susceptible to mind control because the combination of his magical abilities and growing up is too much for him to handle, and Luthor plans on using him to blow up the superhuman gulag to spawn chaos. Ross draws him creepily and vacantly slinking around Batman’s allies until Luthor gives him the go-ahead to “tumble down the walls of Jericho” (Kingdom Come loves its allusions to the Bible even more than DC Comics history).

Eventually there is a titanic, earth-shattering, thunder-and-lightning battle between Superman and Captain Marvel that is one of the most memorable in superhero comics, as two of the brightest lights of the genre battle and bring on a kind of apocalypse. Superman has always been weak to magic, so Captain Marvel is more than enough for him, and Alex Ross paints many close-ups of the Man of Steel bleeding while he pleads with Captain Marvel to find his senses. Kingdom Come #4 has a host of double-page splash pages featuring superheroes in combat, but Superman and Captain Marvel grappling are always center stage, like they’re battling for the soul of the superhero genre.

The end of their throwdown is definitely something out of the Book of Revelation, with thunder, explosions, and one last powerful “Shazam!” as Captain Marvel finds redemption and sacrifices himself to save some other heroes from nuclear annihilation. Mark Waid gives him an integral, character-defining moment before his tragic death when Superman says that as both Billy Batson and Captain Marvel, he bridges the world between humans and superhumans, gods and mortals. Superman always has his heat vision and invulnerability even in disguise as Clark Kent, but Captain Marvel has to turn back into the little powerless boy, Billy Batson. His character and sacrifice inspires Superman and the remaining heroes to work closer with both superhumans and humans in the years after the cataclysmic battle between Superman and Captain Marvel, as Wonder Woman becomes a teacher, Batman opens a hospital in Wayne Manor, and Superman goes back to being a farmer. In the final scene of the comic (set at a superhero-themed restaurant), Clark Kent drinks milk from a Captain Marvel pint glass in memory of the World’s Mightiest Mortal (and the Big Red Cheese), who taught Superman to believe in the human race and his own humanity again.

In Kingdom Come, Mark Waid and Alex Ross show that Captain Marvel isn’t just some cheesy, nostalgia hero for the 1940s, but an icon that inspires Superman himself, while both deconstructing and reconstructing him as a character.

2. Shazam (Sort Of) Gets His Own Animated Solo Film (2010)

Captain Marvel got his first solo(ish) film in decades as part of Warner Bros Animation’s DC Showcase of half-hour short films. Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam was directed by Justice League Unlimited‘s Joaquim Dos Santos, and had George Newbern and veteran character actor Jerry O’Connell reprise their roles as Superman and Captain Marvel from that cartoon. Billy Batson was voiced by the future Steven Universe himself, Zach Callison, while The Mummy‘s Arnold Vosloo played the villain with a god complex, Black Adam, and the wizard Shazam was voiced with regal dignity by James Garner (in his last film role).

Superman/Shazam introduces its two protagonists in their civilian identities, Clark Kent and Billy Batson. Clark is doing a newspaper story on the homeless children of Fawcett City and interviewing Billy, who lives a hard life, but is kind, stands up to bullies, and feeds the rats in the apartment he squats in. Dos Santos establishes Billy’s good heart before he gets his magical abilities as Captain Marvel, and it’s like the future Captain America: First Avenger film with more fairy tale elements. Also, the Superman and Captain Marvel team-up is just plain fun, free of angst (except when Billy thinks about killing Black Adam, and Superman reminds him of the moral compass that has guided him up to this point). Newbern has a great fatherly cadence as Superman in this situation, without being condescending.

In addition Captain Marvel’s heroic journey, Superman kicks it Golden Age-style, moving the course of a mighty river, and there is a cameo from a classic Captain Marvel supporting character. Black Adam is a little underdeveloped as a villain, but he is an example of having godlike powers and no empathy, unlike Superman and Captain Marvel. Sadly, Captain Marvel didn’t get another animated film, but he appears as a member of the Justice League in the films Justice League War (2014) and Throne of Atlantis (2015), and is voiced by Sean Astin. He gives Aquaman his name, and perhaps his innocent, wide-eyed-yet-very-powerful self will be joining the live-action version of the Justice League in future films (and get Henry Cavill’s Superman to loosen up a little bit).

1. Shazam Returns to His Weird, Imaginative Roots in Multiversity: Thunderworld (2014)

If Fawcett Comics hadn’t folded after being sued by DC Comics and survived until modern times, it may have produced a comic like Multiversity: Thunderworld, a special one-shot written by the legendary Grant Morrison (All-Star Superman, Invisibles) and talented artist Cameron Stewart (Batgirl, Fight Club 2) that is set in an alternate universe where the only heroes and villains are the ones that appeared in Fawcett Comics. Superman and Batman are comic book characters in this universe, but in a meta-fictional twist the main bad guy, Dr. Sivana, uses actual comic books to come up with a nefarious plan to use the lightning that gives Captain Marvel his powers and create a special eighth day called Sivana Day for the purpose of killing Captain Marvel and his family. The comic is part of a loosely interconnected series called Multiversity, but is mostly a standalone story.

This plot is super silly, and Morrison and Stewart embrace the unbridled optimism, escapism, and even the clean lines of the original Bill Parker, Otto Binder, and C.C. Beck Captain Marvel series in the comic. Nathan Fairbairn adds a buoyant primary color palette to make your smile even bigger, while Morrison and Stewart’s sense of humor is a little more sophisticated, with fourth wall-breaking quips and jokes about the multiverse. For example, one of the Sivanas is a dead ringer for Hannibal Lecter, and frighteningly enough, is the only one of the “team” to kill his universe’s Captain Marvel.

If you’re tired of Shazam in his main DC Comics series grimacing and glaring, and the edginess for edginess’ sake of many of the films based on DC Comics movies, Multiversity: Thunderworld is an excellent palette cleanser. There are traces of Pixar films, good episodes of Doctor Who, and Fantastic Four storylines in this comic – and remember that Captain Marvel predated these things by decades.

Multiversity: Thunderworld is proof that there can be good Shazam stories in the 2010s, and Grant Morrison piles enough heart, powerful punches, and wacky supervillain plots to make you grin from ear to ear like the Big Red Cheese (or the bumbling Uncle Marvel), believing in superhero stories and their power to incite the imagination once again.

***

In case you missed it, here’s Part One of our list!

By day, Logan is a data entry administrator in Louisville, home of the Kentucky Derby. But when he has free time, he enjoys writing about his favorite comics, movies, and TV shows. He also interviewed a vampire once and cries about the future of the L.A. Lakers at least once a day. Logan will watch, read, or listen to anything by Joss Whedon, Neil Gaiman, Edgar Wright, Damon Albarn,Donald Glover, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, Gerard Way, Grant Morrison, Kieron Gillen, St Vincent, and Black Mask Studios so you should ask him about those things on his Twitter. (https://twitter.com/MidnighterBae)

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‘Ruins Of The Empire’ is The True Followup to ‘The Legend Of Korra’

The Legend of Korra continues the second Team Avatar’s adventures through an ongoing follow-up comic book series in collaboration with Dark Horse Comics…

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Ruins of The Empire

For every fan of The Legend of Korra, ‘Ruins of The Empire’ is a must-read.

Over five years ago, Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra ended with its fourth and final book ‘Balance.’ As Korra and Asami ventured off together into the spirit world, it was obvious that the journey may have concluded on the small screen- or rather on the network’s website after being yanked off the air- but series co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were likely not going to allow their narrative to come to an indefinite close. In the same fashion as its predecessor Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra continues the second Team Avatar’s adventures through an ongoing follow-up comic book series in collaboration with Dark Horse Comics.

I probably do not have to tell you this, but Dark Horse Comics has had an overall strong history with the Avatar universe. The Avatar: The Last Airbender comics from over the course of almost the last decade are nothing short of exceptional and are the next best thing for those wanting to see more of Aang and the gang. While they certainly may not always be able to achieve the best aspects of the show we grew up with due to the limited medium it has been adapted into, each arc published has both visually and textually felt like a direct follow-up to the original series in many regards with even some comics such as Team Avatar Tales filling in fun gaps during the show’s continuity. They are faithful sequels- or rather prequels in Korra’s case as the comics do connect the two shows- that every major fan of this franchise will tell you are well worth your time if you are just dying for more stories from the world of the four nations.

That being said, once The Legend of Korra was set to hit store shelves in its newly adopted format it seemed like another guaranteed hit was on the line for Nickelodeon and Dark Horse. The Legend of Korra’s first comic story arc Turf Wars, however, was not the followup most fans wanted from this show. It was undoubtedly a comic series that fans expected a lot more from as the post-Earth Empire world had tons of narrative points to explore. I’m certainly not in the minority when I say that Turf Wars was a trilogy that let me down due to its story’s focal point. Turf Wars often falls flat as it treads on a narrow line attempting to fill a justified relationship rather than focusing on telling a story well suited to the established mythologies of Avatar and Korra. The new villains that you could not sympathize with or even just enjoy for a three-book story, some odd character dialogue, questionable decisions to help move the plot forward, and ignored consequences of the show’s finale did not help the reception of these books from fans either. It is certainly a story with substantial themes and moments, but it is not what you would want from a followup tale to Book 4’s incredible closing moments.

The Legend of Korra had so much more to tell with its story that was not being explored in the comics- or at least with its first run. The writers have listened though and they have gotten themselves back on track with their newest series Ruins Of The Empire. This comic series is exactly what fans of this show wanted since the last episode aired. Not only is it the best Legend Of Korra comic so far, but it might just also be one of the best Avatar franchise comics currently available. In the same way that The Promise and The Search were real followups with answers to questions posed in Avatar: The Last Airbender’s finale, the latest story arc in The Legend of Korra’s post-finale is exactly that. Ruins Of The Empire not only explores the transition into the Earth Kingdom’s attempt at establishing a democratic system of government, but it smartly highlights the shaky aftermath of Kuvira’s surrender from both character and worldbuilding standpoints as those who hailed the great uniter quickly fell into organized chaos.

Right off the bat, the story of Ruins Of The Empire is not spotlighting one character relationship or slowly building up a new villain that is set to be dismissed with no real consequences. Korra and Asami’s lover dynamic is explored in this story arc but more appropriately in a blended storytelling fashion comparable to the source material. It unfolds exactly as you would expect an episode of the show to play out- not forced or made plot-driving as what had previously been mistakingly done. It is now implemented as something on the sidelines that has a dangerous toll on the narrative which ultimately leads to character decisions that have real consequences. Turf Wars chose to ignore the entirety of the Beifong family and the collapsing Earth Empire, despite the fact that those two subjects practically revolve around every plot point you would expect a followup of the finale to explore. The shift in focus inevitably makes for a properly developed story that is able to draw a spotlight on several subjects.

It is not just the narrative that has been correctly altered either. When it comes to the way in which the cast talks with one another and the overall look of the book, everything feels properly adjusted. For one, each character is actually here this time around and not blatantly missing. Michael Dante DiMartino really stepped up his game with Ruins of The Empire’s script that aims to draw closure with the show. It is not perfect, but it is a major step up that pushes the narrative forward rather than being stuck in still water. The questions you probably had about where characters went after the finale are tackled here. Everyone is overall done justice. As I said previously, the Avatar comics were written as well as if you could hear the characters talking and the same can be said here. If you had not read what was going on in the photo above, have a look again here below!

Ruins Of The Empire feels more akin to its source material than its predecessor run thanks to more so the art then its speech though. The art quality jump between the two is unmistakable- beyond noticeable when put side by side. It is a massive improvement that needless to say has already enhanced the post-television comic run and given it back the life it needed. Turf Wars’s covers are a complete deception to what lies inside each graphic novel. While the face value may look as appealing as the television show, adopters will quickly realize Irene Koh’s art lacked character details, expressions, and even backgrounds. It accumulated into an experience that felt more like a fan project than something from the original creators. Koh’s artwork was unbearable by any means, but it never hit a certain point of quality fans expect- especially from Dark Horse Comics, and at times it shamefully felt thematically disconnected with the Avatar universe.

The new runner-up artist Michelle Wong has done a fantastic job adapting Korra into the comic book medium. Wong’s work is miles ahead of everything Koh previously drew in Korra’s first Dark Horse outing. The jump in improvement artistically is undoubtfully perceptible based on a mere first glance at the two. Every character here feels more animated, the action is more engaging to look at, and the backgrounds are no longer completely flat and detailless. Wong deserves serious credit for her work on these books. Her dedication to the source material is something that generally falls behind in other television to comic adaptations, but she did the absolute best she can do here. The fact that she personally went out of her way and rewatched the entire series before starting to draw the artwork for this story arc just shows her dedication and care for the fans. Wong has successfully made this comic run feel as if you are watching the show again, something Turf Wars should have achieved first.

For those interested in reading the complete set of Ruins Of The Empire, Dark Horse Comics will be releasing a hardcover library edition of the full story arc on September 22nd. If you are dying in reading Korra’s latest story now, however, you can go ahead and grab volumes one through three separately in either a digital or softcover format today. For any fan of The Legend of Korra, it is without a doubt well-worth your time and money. After your television binge of both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, you will not be disappointed with this story.

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Ghosts and More in this Year’s Hellboy Winter Special

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Hellboy Winter Special

Before spring arrives, there’s still time to cozy up with the latest Hellboy Winter Special, a single anthology issue of three supernatural tales. The eponymous demonic-looking investigator features in only one story, and it’s the strongest in the collection. However, the remaining tales satisfy with their own glimpse at the occult world Hellboy inhabits.

The anthology issue opens with Hellboy’s story, “The Miser’s Gift.” Hellboy creator Mike Mignola is back to write another tale for his iconic hero, crafting a solid short story. Hellboy is a warmly familiar presence while he helps out a guy with a ghostly problem. The paranormal investigator subtly shows his depth of character as he intervenes, ranging from his matter-of-fact attitude in the face of weirdness to his ever-present undercurrent of kindness, particularly demonstrated when he tries to initially talk down the spirit causing the problem. The other characters serve their purpose, with brief glimpses of nuance. The man Hellboy helps show a nice mix of mild and genuine, and the ghost ends up with a heavy sense of melancholy that feels like a consequence of a greed-filled life. The most paper-thin character is the professor, but he moves things along with exposition well enough, and even winds up as a morbid punchline in the end. Regardless of one character’s fate, the whole cast ultimately shares a story of compassion and goodwill winning out over greed, fitting the ideal spirit of the holidays.  

Excerpt from "The Miser’s Gift" in the Hellboy Winter Special.
Hellboy gets a new case in “The Miser’s Gift.” (Writer: Mike Mignola, Artist: Mark Laszlo, Colorist: Dave Stewart.)

While Mignola writes for Hellboy again, Mark Laszlo takes care of the art this time. Mignola’s stylized and shadowy drawing for Hellboy is unquestionably the signature look of his creation, but Laszlo’s illustration is wonderful in a different way. Laszlo’s lines feel looser and sketchier, creating a warmer tone. Dave Stewart’s colors bring extra warmth, and are used to distinguish between flashbacks, the characters’ present in the ‘80s, and even past worlds literally encroaching on 1989 Budapest. Laszlo’s art helps with the border between worlds, warping the ghostly city while the buildings of 1989 are more straight. Altogether the art does feel like a good match for a winter special and a perfect fit for Mignola’s story. Laszlo and Stewart’s work even feels a little reminiscent of Peter de Sève’s illustration.

Though the remaining two stories don’t feature Hellboy, they feature other characters found in his world: fellow paranormal investigator Sarah Jewell and the Knights of St. Hagan. Jewell’s story, “The Longest Night,” is a paranormal riff on murder-mysteries that starts in media res and goes straight to figuring out the culprit. But this is a murder-mystery operating in Hellboy’s world, and even if he’s not around to carry out justice, it feels fitting that another supernatural being takes care of things—though far more viciously. Overseeing all of this is Jewell herself, whose character gets the most time to shine with masterful grace and perceptiveness.

The anthology concludes with “The Beast of Ingelheim,” arguably the weakest tale in the collection. It’s a vague and ambiguous little thing featuring the Knights of St. Hagan that may mean more to someone who knows the full continuity of Hellboy, but isn’t as accessible as the previous stories for new readers. However, towards the end, its ambiguity seems to transform into something a little more intriguing due to a twist and the realization that the ending leaves with a question—did the narrator spare or take a life?

Excerpt from "The Longest Night" in the Hellboy Winter Special.
A swift and brutal karmic payback strikes in “The Longest Night.” (Writer: Chris Roberson, Artist: Leila Del Duca, Colorist: Michelle Madsen.)

After debuting in 2016, the seasonal series is still going strong today. With a classic Hellboy vibe, a mix of murderers devoured by paranormal creatures, and self-proclaimed holy warriors chasing shadows in the woods, this year’s Hellboy Winter Special is a nice collection of stories to peruse.

Cover for Hellboy Winter Special.
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‘Avengers: Endgame’ and the Golden Easter Egg

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Aki- hiko Avengers Endgame Easter Eggs

Let’s Talk About Hiroyuki Sanada

With Deadpool 3, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness coming soon, everything is taking shape for the introduction of mutants into the MCU, yet there is one Easter egg left un-cracked from Avengers: End Game that could show how mutants have been a part of the world this entire time… enter Hiroyuki Sanada. 

During the brief scene where we catch Clint Barton, Jeremy Renner, on a murderous rampage, we found he has retired Hawkeye and taken up the mantle of Ronin. Clearly distressed about what the Yakuza have been doing and the fact that they were spared from the snap, Ronin makes quick work of all the goons, except for one, Aki- hiko (Hiroyuki Sanada). The only real take away from their brief exchange of dialogue is that Clint is as much of a villain from his new murderous persona, setting him up for his character’s arc later in the movie. But the question people have ignored has been left without a real answer, who is Akihiko and why would Marvel put him in the highest-grossing movie ever made for such a small role? 

So, who is Akihiko? Put simply, Akihiko is a nobody scientist who works for the Yakuza used in one issue, Nick Fury #7 from 2017, written by James Robinson. The plot is simple, Nick Fury Jr. goes to the moon to chase down some of the Yakuza’s Shogun Reapers, which are led by Akihiko. They are planning to finish building a cannon that can control Earth’s plate tectonics from their lunar base. On the moon’s surface, the Yakuza are piloting their War Machine like suits, the Shogun Mechas. Fury chases down the Yakuza and takes control of Akihiko’s Mecha forcing him to fire a ray at a room that decompressed it and everyone in it, Akihiko included. A tried and true, one and done issue threat. 

The question of who was Akihiko is a simple answer. Not so much the latter of why Marvel would use this character out of their endless sandbox of villains. Taking a look at the first appearance of Ronin in New Avengers #11, written by Brian Micheal Bendis, the answer may be revealed. 

The basic plot of Ronin’s first story goes like this. The hero is in Japan on the trail of the Silver Samurai who the shadowy gang we’ve seen in Daredevil and the Defenders, both on Netflix, has just sprung free along with 40 other prisoners from the government’s water jail, the Raft. The jailbreak was orchestrated by Viper, and an agent seeking to take control of the splintered and leaderless Hydra. The Japanese Yashida clan is in a similar state as Hydra with their leader, the Silver Samurai away from his duties. Viper uses the opportunity to mend rifts and create a more international alliance in organized crime. 

Backtracking to the news that Ryan Reynolds will be returning as Deadpool for the MCU confirms that at least some of the Fox X-Men franchise will be part of it as well. This puts Hiroyuki Sanada in a very good position to branch worlds considering he not only played Akihiko in Endgame but also Shingen Yashida, the Silver Samurai, in The Wolverine

Ronin Marvel Avengers

A rewatch of The Wolverine with this information fresh in memory is very telling. It includes almost all the characters of Ronin’s first appearance including the Yakuza and Viper herself. After Days of Future Past, the events of the movie would have been rewritten and these characters would still be alive. In the movie, Shingen’s father had the family company on the verge of bankruptcy and without Logan coming to Japan it very well could have happened. Shingen was ashamed of his father and wanted to distance himself from this legacy. Adding this to the fact that he already had Yakuza gang ties in the movie, it’s not a far reach to think he could have changed his identity to Akihiko and went on to pursue the sciences his family’s company started with them. 

This holds especially true when you compare these two pictures. On one side is the Silver Samurai suit from The Wolverine. The other is taken from Nick Fury #7, Akihiko’s Shogun Mecha suit. 

Marvel is known for hiding details from fans to set up future movies and this tiny Endgame moment is a perfect storm. It bridges worlds and further expands on the multi-verse and alternate timelines bringing the Silver Samurai to the universe connecting the X-Men and their gallery of villains. It sets up Viper looking to head Hydra, which very coincidently is who was head of the organization in the comic books when Sam Wilson took up the mantle of Captain America. The prisoners, broken free from the Raft, could easily include members of the Sinister Six for the next Spiderman installment. The ramifications are massive and if true would be a brilliant and believable future for the MCU. 

  • Andrew Smith 
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