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    Age of heroes stays relevant

    Michael Cheang

    ANN/THE STAR – Happy new year! While we didn’t really get to do a round-up of 2022, let’s start the year right by going into some of the big comic book events we’re looking forward to in 2023.

    SINISTER BEFORE A FALL

    After a few years of living on Krakoa and being largely the architect of their own futures, it looks like the mutants’ powerful and “peaceful” Krakoan Age will finally come crashing down around them this year.

    First up in January, the Sins Of Sinister event will presumably see Mister Sinister finally make his move against the Mutant society on Krakoa. Marvel themselves have already described this event as a “universe-melting X-event” that will introduce “a horrifying timeline that makes Age Of Apocalypse (AoA) look like the X-Men Swimsuit Special”.

    From the mention of AoA, it certainly seems as though we’ll be seeing yet another alternate reality event involving the X-Men, and will also apparently see several characters being ‘influenced’ by Sinister.

    And then there’s the Fall Of X event in Summer 2023. Since the Krakoan Age began with House Of X in 2019, the X-Men have been no strangers to major threats, of course. In fact, they recently faced extinction during last year’s Judgement Day event.

    Though not many details are known about Fall Of X yet, the title sounds particularly ominous to us. Could we be seeing the fall of the Krakoan age at long last? As Marvel themselves described it: “Oh boy.”

    The Fall Of X event could herald another major change in status quo for the X-Men. PHOTOS: MARVEL COMICS
    ‘Summer Of Symbiotes’ promises the return of old faces, the debut of new symbiote heroes, and exciting shifts for iconic symbiote stars
    The Dawn of DC initiative will see a renewed focus on the Superman family. PHOTO: DC Comics

    SYMBIOTES… SYMBIOTES EVERYWHERE

    “Sun’s out, tongues out!” goes the tagline for Marvel’s latest event starring the symbiotes, Summer Of Symbiotes, which promises the “return of old faces, the debut of new symbiote heroes, and exciting shifts for iconic symbiote stars”.

    The Venom symbiote has always been a fan favourite, but the popularity of the Klyntar (yes, that’s the actual name of the “symbiote” species) really exploded in the past couple of years, thanks to a couple of Venom-centric events and of course, the movies starring Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock.

    Who knew that that innocuous black costume Spider-Man picked up at BattleWorld in 1984’s Secret Wars would become such a big start 40 years later?

    WEB OF DARKNESS

    Speaking of Spider-Man, what’s a Marvel Comics year without a major Spidey event, eh? This time around, we’ve got Dark Web, which sees the attack of the clones!

    No, this is not a Star Wars crossover – we’ve just got two rejected and much-maligned clones from the X-Men and Spidey-verse teaming up to get their revenge on those who wronged them.

    Yes, Madelyne Pryor (Goblin Queen) and Ben Reilly (former Peter Parker clone, now known as Chasm) have got together in a Spider-Man and X-Men crossover no one saw coming, and will apparently crossover not just to the Spidey titles, but also the X-Men, Venom, and even Ms Marvel.

    LAZARUS RISING

    DC Comics had a pretty doom-laden 2022 year, with the major Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths killing off the entire Justice League and then reviving them. 2023 looks like it will be slightly better for the DC universe though, with an event called Dawn Of DC coming up in the summer.

    But before dawn must come the dark, and in January, another seemingly disastrous event takes place with Lazarus Planet.

    In this story, the Lazarus Volcano explodes, and the regenerative green substances from the Lazarus Pits are now in the atmosphere. This causes some of the heroes’ powers to change – it has already been teased that Jonathan Kent will develop new electrical powers, while Batman will put on the Dr Fate helmet to become… I don’t know what he will call him self, as long as it’s not Dr BatFate, which admittedly sounds like a pretty cool name for a rapper.

    With a tagline that goes “Heroes transformed, secrets revealed, powers unleashed”, it should be interesting to see just how far DC is willing to go to shake up their status quo… again.

    DAWN OF A NEW DC AGE

    The last time DC did a reboot of their entire universe with the New 52 in 2011, they spent another few years trying to undo it.

    While Dawn Of DC has been billed a “line-wide, multi-event narrative initiative” (whatever that means), it doesn’t seem like they’re doing a New 52 this time around. Instead, DC have decided to turn the focus on developing their individual characters instead.

    This will come to play in the form of more than 20 new solo series that will focus on specific characters, which will later play a role in a bigger story stretching across the rest of 2023.

    Front of centre of the new “initiative” is the Superman family, which will feature solo titles for both Supermen.

    Super… men? Yes, in case you haven’t been following the latest events in the DC world, there are currently two Superman merrily leaping over tall buildings in a single bound – the original Kal-El, and his son Jonathan Kent.

    For the past year, Kal-El has been stuck on a planet called Warworld, having been captured by Mongul and forced to fight in his gladiatorial arena. He eventually manages to lead an uprising and defeat Mongul, and returned to Earth in last year’s Kal-El Returns event.

    Dawn Of DC will feature a few Superman-centric titles, among them Superman, Adventures Of Superman: Jon Kent, and Action Comics.

    Superman will revolve around Kal-El and his return to his old life on Earth (and his old secret identity!) while Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent will see Jon “forge his own path” and “take on the man responsible for his kidnap and torture, Ultraman” (long story).

    Action Comics will be a monthly, three-part anthology that will tell stories about the modern Superman family, Jon’s childhood, and last but not least, Power Girl.

    Other titles that are set to be launched alongside these three are the Unstoppable Doom Patrol, Batman: The Brave And The Bold (which will see a revolving door of creators), plus new titles for Shazam, both Hal Jordan and John Stewart Green Lanterns, Hawkman, Cyborg, and more.

    MAJOR ZOMBIE RETURNS!

    We step away from the worlds of Marvel and DC to come back to Malaysia, where we’re about to see the return of a much beloved, local superhero.

    In 2003, Malaysian comics creator Julian Kam, better known as Lefty among his fans and friends, created a character named Major Zombie, a former superhero named Superium who got infected with a zombie virus while trying to save a girl named Kaktus from a supervillain named Zombie King, but unfortunately died.

    But thanks to his superhuman antibodies, Superium was “resurrected” as the “semi-zombie, semi-superhero” Major Zombie with the help of a smart maggot named Mikey, who raged war against the zombie virus inside Major Zombie’s body alongside his fellow maggots.

    In a twist of fate, Kaktus, the girl MZ had saved before he died, grew up to become his sidekick.

    The Major Zombie series, which also spawned two graphic novels (2011’s Love And Loss and The Blood Trail), won Lefty the Best Comics Series and Best Independent Comics awards at the 2012 Malaysian Comics Society (PeKOMIK), but sadly, we have not seen much of the character since.

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