Marvel and Scholastic have announced a multi-year deal to introduce new original stories featuring Marvel’s most iconic Super Heroes to young readers around the world. With a shared commitment to representing all types of characters and stories, Marvel and Scholastic will work together to craft exciting, relatable stories with characters who resonate with the millions of kids Scholastic reaches.
Starting in 2020, Scholastic will publish two new Marvel prose middle-grade novels, kicking off with Shuri: A Black Panther Novel, written by New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone, followed by an original middle-grade series, Avengers Assembly, by Preeti Chhibber.
More information will be released in the coming weeks.
(W) Nnedi Okorafor (A) Rachael Stott (CA) Kirbi Fagan Rated T In Shops: Jul 24, 2019 SRP: $3.99
INTO THE DJALIA! The alien creature that followed Princess Shuri to Wakanda is inches from destroying the Great Mound – and taking Shuri’s friends with it! With her Ancient Future powers gone and Wakanda’s entire supply of Vibranium at risk, Princess Shuri must take a leap of faith – into the plane of Wakandan memory. But will Shuri restore the Djalia…or doom it?
We’ve been in the Endgame now since late April, and Marvel Legends is keeping us there with a pretty dynamic new assortment. Hasbro provided us this assortment free and for the purposes of our review, so we’d like to thank them. It’s a good group, kids. Let’s get into it.
This assortment is divided between some film-specific versions of characters and characters/versions drawn from the comics. It’s a good balance and the overall assortment is of very high quality. We’ll go comics first, and we’ve got to start with one of the most obscure figures ever produced for the line.
Rock Python: I can’t even begin to describe how delighted I am that this guy even exists. If you didn’t know, Rock Python is a villain, a member of the Serpent Society. The Society has been a running undercurrent in assortments for a few years now; in addition to the hard-to-find Viper/Madame Hydra from the 2012 Arnim Zola wave, we’ve had Constrictor (Terrax, 2012), Cottonmouth (Red Onslaught, 2016), Eel (Abomination, 2016), and King Kobra (Thanos, 2018). That’s a pretty good stealth build-up of a team that’s had a long history and a large roster. Rock Python is just a great addition because he’s got colors that you don’t necessarily see in a lot of costumes and that funky head. The sculpting is solid, especially on that unique head. I’ve always loved seeing lower-level villains, and I’m partially just in love with this one because it’s a crazy selection. It gives me hope that we’ll see more Society members like Sidewinder or Anaconda, because I love the low-key commitment to this team. Great choice.
Union Jack: While the last Union Jack was a decent figure, it was made as part of the hard-to-find Target Exclusive Red Hulk wave of 2008; I’d venture to say that a lot of people missed it (by the way, Hasbro, can we get a new Spiral next? Thanks). THIS Union Jack is very well-done. The body type is good, and the accessories are on-model for the character (Revolver? Check. Knife? Check.) The belt holds the accessories, and the paint job is great. I’m choosing to display the original with my “Invaders” group, while I’m putting this one with his fellow Knight of Pendragon, Captain Britain, and the other members to date (modern Blade, Black Knight) of MI:13.
Loki: This is the Loki that I’ve wanted for years. A comic-accurate first appearance-ish Loki. THIS is how I first encountered the character in comics and in animation. And they NAILED IT. I love this figure. The face, the attitude, the horns, the hair. This is exactly that Loki. Great sword, too. I also like that the collar is an independent piece; the scale-paint is well-handled as well. For longtime fans, this is a must-get. He’s got a home on my shelf with the “first appearance” Avengers. It’s so good, gang.
Beta Ray Bill: Beta
Ray Bill has been rendered in a couple of worthy versions before. The Toy Biz
figure from way back was really good for the time. The Simonson-esque take from
the MODOK BAF wave from 2006 (also Toy Biz) is pretty good, too. The new figure
is a modern take along the lines of the character’s representation from Annihilators, and it’s damn good. Let’s
start with Stormbreaker; it’s a pretty perfect take on the comic version. For
BRB himself, he’s appropriately tall and powerful-looking. The face sculpt,
which is crucial for a character like this, is dead-on. The cape and shoulder
elements are strong, which also serve as a reminder of Hasbro is doing consistently,
and that’s paying attention to the details. They could have painted on Loki’s
collar or ignored the straps on Bill that you only see at the torso joint on
closer examination. But they didn’t; Hasbro is doing as much as they can in
each figure, and it shows. It’s good work from top to bottom. For those that
slavishly follow my shelf placement, this one replaces the old one with the
Annihilators, while that one moves to the shelf with my Asgardians (Odin, Lady
The remaining four figures have their looks drawn either more or directly from Endgame.
War Machine: Guys. GUYS. When this was announced, I thought, “I don’t think I need another War Machine.” So, um, wrong. This is excellent. First off, it’s big. Secondly, the accessories are nicely sculpted and just look cool. The figure body itself boasts some intricate design work, and yes, it’s different than other recent armored bodies. I have not yet tried to hang a Rocket Raccoon figure on the right arm, but that day is coming. Other bits of note: the insignia on the left arm (nice work), the red in the shoulder cannon, the distinctive lines in the faceplate, and the eye details. Beyond my expectations.
Rescue: I’ll start with my one gripe. This should have had an extra head with the flipped-up faceplate like they did for the Iron Man and War Machine Age of Ultron figures. That seemed like a must, given the hero shot we get of Pepper’s landing and faceplate-raise in the final battle in Endgame. Alas, it is not here; I hope it shows up with a future figure. Other than that, I like it. Great color, for one thing. The swappable backpack unit (one closed, one open for blasting) makes great sense as an accessory. The figure manages to be thinner than Tony or Rhodey figures without being slight. Nice details abound, particularly on the head. The figure is also a smart choice, given the action of the film. Hasbro really went out of the way to get as many characters and looks as possible from Infinity War and Endgame represented, include clever measures (like the Target quantum suit two-pack with extra heads), BAFs, and the simple inclusion of figures like this. Nice.
Shuri: Can we just say perfect and move on? This is great. Incredible detail with the face-paint and the Panther gauntlets. Love the skirt and the fact someone sculpted fringe/stitching; that’s crazy. This is quite obviously a figure that was made with some love behind it. It’s great that Shuri has been a breakout character, and I’m happy that Hasbro made the effort to represent her in both comic form (in that two-pack with Klaw) and this film look. If you loved Black Panther, the last two Avengers films, or Shuri in general, this is a must-get for you.
Professor Hulk BAF: This is a perfectly fine Hulk figure with a pair of good head likenesses of Mark Ruffalo-as-The-Hulk. For me, though, it’s not an exciting Hulk. In part, that’s because we’re abundantly blessed with Hulkiness this year. From the Retro SDCC exclusive to the Hulk in the Wolverine two-pack, we’re getting a lot of distinct Hulks. This one, however well-made, doesn’t quite get over the top. If it had glasses and a labcoat or a quantum suit or a swappable “post-snap” mangled arm or an Iron Man Infinity Gauntlet hand, then yeah . . . I’d be more enthusiastic. As it is, it’s a fine figure but suffers a bit in comparison to the abundance of gamma-ray-riches we get this year. Nice heads, though.
There we go, readers! What are your thoughts? Do you have a favorite? And what are you looking forward to at SDCC?
(W) Nnedi Okorafor (A) Rachael Stott (CA) Kirbi Fagan Rated T In Shops: Jun 19, 2019 SRP: $3.99
All of Wakandan history and culture is under threat as the Space Lubber that followed Shuri all the way from the depths of space back to Wakanda makes its move! To stop it, Shuri and her allies will have to go deep into the Vibranium mines – which doesn’t sit well with the claustrophobic Storm!
(W) Nnedi Okorafor (A) Rachael Stott (CA) Kirbi Fagan
In Shops: May 22, 2019
SHURI TAKES UP THE BLACK PANTHER MANTLE ONCE AGAIN!
Nnedi Okorafor returns alongside rising star artist Rachael Stott with a brand-new arc! But this is a Black Panther you’ve never seen before – one who will change Wakanda forever. Something has stolen pieces of the Djalia, the plane of Wakandan memory, and it’s up to the Princess of Wakanda to save it. But for every piece of the Djalia lost, a piece of Shuri disappears as well. Will a new suit be enough to save herself and her nation?
Anyone who has seen the movie Black Panther can’t deny just how important and excellent the movie was. It was a watershed moment. It became the first time since Blade, that comic book fans got a serious film adaptation of a black superhero. It was also the first time in Marvel Studios history, where it had a primarily black cast. The centerpiece of the story involved a black protagonist and black antagonist. Another important part of the movie is that it didn’t involve until after the end credits any of the other major characters from the MCU to tell its story.
The fact that the movie’s plot was so self-contained is part of what made the movie so good and so unique. One of the best parts of the movie, was the introduction of Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, Princess of Wakanda and possibly the smartest character in the Marvel Universe. As comic book fans know that the character has donned the Black Panther in Deadliest Of The Species, but has not been seen since that epic series. Thanks to the movie, comic book, and movie fans, get to witness her return in Shuri; The Search for Black Panther as she faces the crisis of holding Wakanda together without the Black Panther.
We catch-up with Shuri, as we find out how she beat back
Thanos Black Order, as she gained knowledge from her ancestors during her trip
to the Djala, a journey which has made her stronger and wiser. As T’Challa leaves
for Wakanda’s first space mission, the sovereign duties fall to the Wakandan
princess, a role she is not completely sure she can do. Unfortunately,
T’Challa, goes missing and a clandestine council takes it upon themselves to
ask Shuri to step up and become the Black Panther. A role she is reluctant to
take up, as Storm comes to help her, she tries some alternative methods to find
him, which leads her to astral project her conscience into Groot. T’Challa’s
absence has also caught the attention of “Africa Forever” a collective that
represents the communication between Wakanda and the rest of Africa, as an
expanding black hole opens up in Timbuktu, which brings Tony Stark to Africa.
By book’s end, Shuri has averted trouble, stopped a local villain and finally
is ready to become the Black Panther.
Overall, an engaging reintroduction to the character, as this version offers readers a more comprehensive look at one of the Marvel Universe’s most interesting characters. The story by Nnedi Okorafor is enigmatic, complex, and compelling. The art by Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire is alluring and vivid. Altogether, an exciting book which will gain this character, more fans.
(W) Vita Ayala (A) Paul Davidson (CA) Kirbi Fagan Rated T In Shops: Apr 17, 2019 SRP: $3.99
GUEST-STARRING MILES MORALES AND MS. MARVEL!
When it looks like an enemy of Wakanda has left a signature behind in America, Princess Shuri heads overseas to investigate. But she’s not the only hero on the case. With New York City and New Jersey on the line, there’s no way Miles Morales and Kamala Khan are sitting this one out. Guest creative team Vita Ayala and Paul Davidson take Shuri on a star-studded adventure!
(W) Vita Ayala (A) Paul Davidson (CA) Kirbi Fagan Rated T In Shops: Mar 13, 2019 SRP: $3.99
BRAND NEW ARC!
At long last, Shuri faces her destiny. With her brother gone and Wakanda in peril, the Black Panther is needed. But the Princess of Wakanda is more than any mask – and she’s about to face a threat unlike any Wakanda has seen before. The start of a two-part story by guest creative team Vita Ayala & Paul Davidson!
(W) Nnedi Okorafor (A) Leonardo Romero (CA) Sam Spratt Rated T In Shops: Feb 20, 2019 SRP: $3.99
THE TWO BADDEST GAUNTLET-WIELDERS IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE UNITE!
An alien creature has invaded Wakanda! And with her powers strangely malfunctioning and her brother still missing, Shuri is in over her head. Time to call for backup. Enter: Iron Man! But can these two tech geniuses figure out how to de-power an energy-sucking alien before it destroys the entire continent? Don’t miss the end of the first arc – and a dramatic change for the princess of Wakanda!