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Marvel’s ‘Luke Cage’ trailer puts the new hero in his classic comic book tiara

Marvel fans got a bigger glimpse of “Luke Cage” than ever before on Tuesday, with the Netflix release of a full-length trailer for the upcoming superhero series. 

Mike Colter (“The Good Wife”) plays the eponymous lead, an ex-con whose super-strength and bulletproof skin make him a formidable force...

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Aaron Kuder Makes His Marvel

Death of X by Aaron Kuder

When DEATH OF X rolls around later this fall, it could spell doom and demise for some of your favorite mutants, but on the flipside, artist Aaron Kuder will mark the epic series as a new beginning.

DEATH OF X—written by Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule—represents the first assignment for Kuder under a new exclusive agreement that links him to Marvel. With a dynamic style filled to the brim with kinetic energy, the artist brings a tremendous pedigree to his new home.

We spoke with Kuder about his initial foray into Marvel work, his future goals, and much more!

Marvel.com: What are you most excited about as a newly-Marvel exclusive artist?

Aaron Kuder: The first thing that pops to mind is “They’re mine! All mine!!,” which is to say, I have a bunch of new fun toys in my toy box and am extremely excited to start playing; I have always had a deep seeded love for these characters. Marvel characters have such a great range of emotions and environment. You'’ be hard pressed to find a situation that a Marvel character couldn’t be in—“You can't put Thor in a tutu!” Team him up with Deadpool and I bet it could make sense—some sense anyway.

Marvel.com: How has the work been so far on DEATH OF X?

Aaron Kuder: Like building Frankenstein's monster—but in a good way. There are so many pieces of story and number of characters that making them all work right together is its own alchemy.

Marvel.com: Who are some of your favorite X-Men and Inhumans to draw? Who has proven the most challenging?

Aaron Kuder: My favorite characters to draw are usually the ones that prove the most challenging. With the X-men characters, I love getting to draw some of the lesser used characters. There are a bunch of them that haven’t been seen since Secret Wars; well I'm getting to draw some, and show what has happened to a lot of them. With the Inhuman characters, I’m lovin’ rendering the “Nuhumans.” The new ones that aren’t necessarily comfortable in [their hero roles]. It’s fun to draw them because there isn’t a set way to show them. When Wolverine pops his claws there are only so many ways he’s going to do that; when Flint manipulates rocks around him, I get to play with ways of showing that that haven’t been seen yet. It’s fun.

Marvel.com: What other Marvel characters do you look forward to tackling?

Aaron Kuder: Oh man—how much can [I] spoil here? Let’s just say, I'm looking forward to playing with the whole Universe of characters.

Death of X #4 cover by Aaron KuderDeath of X #3 cover by Aaron KuderDeath of X #2 cover by Aaron KuderDeath of X #1 cover by Aaron Kuder

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Sean Izaakse Strikes Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts by Sean Izaakse

By Sarah Cooke

Fans of The Winter Soldier know that these days, he leads the group of ex-baddies known as the Thunderbolts. And they’ve certainly got their fair share of drama to contend with.

Last week, we chatted with writer Jim Zub, and this week, we caught up with artist Sean Izaakse, who takes the reins from Jon Malin for THUNDERBOLTS #6 and #7. He gave us a glimpse into his experience bringing Bucky and crew to the page.

Marvel.com: What character have you enjoyed working on the most?

Sean Izaakse: I really enjoy working on Atlas. He’s one of my favorite THUNDERBOLTS characters from years back. He has a lot of very relatable qualities. Out of all of the characters on the team, he probably has the most sincerity when it comes to turning over a new leaf, and that’s something the readers can connect with. You can really feel for someone who wants to do better than they have in the past.

Marvel.com: What have you found unique or interesting about working on THUNDERBOLTS?

Sean Izaakse: Something that I’ve found I like a lot about working on these characters is that they may not have the expertise of Spidey or Cap, but they have other interesting qualities. With Cap, you know he pretty much has things under control when he gets into a tough situation, and what you love about reading a Cap story is seeing how he beats the bad guys. But the Thunderbolts still sort of need to get it together, so when they get into a tight spot, you don’t always have that same level of certainty that they’re going to get out of it. You find yourself rooting for them for different reasons.

Marvel.com: There’s a lot of talk about the way female characters are drawn, and we really like the way Moonstone is represented because she’s visibly strong, the way you’d expect someone in her position to look. What’s your thinking on that?

Sean Izaakse: I based her on the fitness model Anllela Sagra, who’s very physically fit. And that’s really how I thought Moonstone would look—she’d appear strong and tough. And as far as what she wears, I took inspiration from a lot of the movies that I watch. I wanted her to wear leather jackets; I didn’t try to dress her in outfits that were supposed to be “cute,” because she dresses for comfort, she’s not trying to impress anyone. I like to think of her as the anti-hero version of Carol Danvers. She does her thing and won’t back down from anyone. She’d look Magneto or Doctor Doom in the face and say, “Just come at me, bro!”

I’m also really interested in her because she’s not the apologetic type. She doesn’t feel ashamed of her past. She wants to do things differently moving forward, but her attitude is more along the lines of, “I did these things that weren’t great, I’m trying to do better now, let’s get past it already,” whereas some of the others hold onto a lot of shame or guilt.

She has a very different outlook from, say, Atlas’s, and I like them both for different reasons. These characters all have sort of troubled pasts, but they have very different approaches to dealing with and atoning for what they’ve done, and that aspect of the series really appeals to me.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about your experience working with Jim Zub and coming together on how to tell the story visually?

Sean Izaakse: Jim likes to be collaborative, which makes it a great experience. The way he writes his scripts gives me as an artist plenty of room to try different things. If I want to put my dog in the background, there’s space to do that. It gives me a chance to really have fun and be creative.

Marvel.com: Can you talk a little about any advantages or challenges that go along with coming on board for the sixth issue? You’ve probably had to think about attuning your style to the earlier issues, but also putting your unique spin on it.

Sean Izaakse: At first, I tried to match what Jon had already done. And of course, we all want to emulate the artists we look up to. I take a lot of inspiration from artists like Alan Davis and Stuart Immonen. And there are often certain elements of their styles that I really like, and that I try to nail down. But I’ve found that when I focus on that too much, I tend to lose something of my own style.

So eventually, I realized that Marvel didn’t necessarily hire me to come on board as the next Jon Malin—or the next Alan Davis or Stuart Immonen.  They hired me because there was something about my style that appealed to them.

Of course, I felt very nervous about whether everyone would like what I’ve done. But everything has gone very well.

I’ve also enjoyed getting inside the characters’ heads—which informs how I draw them. It often takes a few pages to figure out exactly how I’m going to represent them, and with THUNDERBOLTS, I’ve had a great experience with figuring these characters out.

THUNDERBOLTS #6, featuring the art of Sean Izaakse alongside Jim Zub’s writing, touches down August 31!

Thunderbolts (2016) #6 preview inks by Sean IzaakseThunderbolts (2016) #6 preview inks by Sean IzaakseThunderbolts (2016) #6 preview inks by Sean IzaakseThunderbolts (2016) #6 preview inks by Sean IzaakseThunderbolts by Sean Izaakse

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Piecing Together Marvel Puzzle Quest: Black Bolt

Black Bolt in Marvel Puzzle Quest

Actions speak louder than words—unless you’re Black Bolt and your whispers can shatter mountains.

We talked to Demiurge Designer Patch Rodriguez about the Silent Room’s owner and the sonic carnage he brings to “Marvel Puzzle Quest.”

Marvel.com: I can’t tell you how excited I am to have the former king of the Inhumans in “Puzzle Quest.” He was actually my #1 requested hero in the survey you guys put out a while back!

Patch Rodriguez: Awesome! I'm a big fan of Black Bolt as well, especially after reading the 1998 [Paul] Jenkins/[Jae] Lee run of INHUMANS, from which we got Black Bolt’s cover. That story was all about his role as king and the tough decisions he had to make to preserve his people’s way of life, which I really appreciated. I was very excited to be able to bring him to life in our game.

Marvel.com: But fanboy aside, why’d you guys decide to help him bridge the gap from comics to games?

Patch Rodriguez: Mr. Boltagon is a classic Marvel character who is also highly requested by fans. Plus, his voice’s destructive power and his position as the king of the Inhumans make him the perfect addition to our 5-Star lineup. I hope that his strength and kingly nature comes through in his Powers.

Marvel.com: When designing someone as powerful as Black Bolt, how does the team make sure he’s not wildly overpowered but feels satisfying to bring to battle?

Patch Rodriguez: I feel that one of Black Bolt’s key character points is his self-restraint. He’s trained himself not to utter a sound so as not to inadvertently hurt those around him, so he never uses his power unless absolutely necessary. This is an admirable quality for a king because it shows his people that he truly cares about protecting them and that he’d be able to defend against any enemies should the need arise. Black Bolt is designed almost as a support character, helping his team from the sidelines but stepping in to unleash his power when he needs to.

Marvel.com: And what are his Powers?

Patch Rodriguez: His first Power is called Quasi-Sonic Whisper. Black Bolt’s Inhuman power comes from his voice, which is so powerful that even a mere whisper can level mountains. For 10 Green AP, Black Bolt deals damage and destroys the middle two rows of the board. However, if you manage to save up five of every other color AP, he lets out a Quasi-Sonic Scream instead, which deals even more damage to the enemy team, and destroys the entire board! He drains all of the team’s colored AP to do this though, but the results are immense.

His second Power is a Black passive called Energy Channeling. Black Bolt’s antenna is capable of helping him draw out the ambient energy in the air around him, and he can use this energy to do all kinds of things including flying, improving his physical traits, creating barriers, etc. Every turn, this Power creates a number of Charged tiles in the color most present on the board. If there are at least four Charged tiles already on the board, he deals damage to the target and a bit of damage to himself from the exertion.

His final Power is called The Silent King. Black Bolt’s noble stoicism and supreme wisdom motivate his subjects and allies to work their hardest. This Power costs eight Yellow AP and creates a new kind of tile called a Motivation tile. This tile, like Silver Surfer’s Black Hole tile, can’t be matched or targeted and doesn’t fall. While this tile is on the board, it increases the target’s Power levels. At level five, this Power targets all of Black Bolt’s allies and increases all their Powers by two levels to a max of five. This means that while the tile is on the board, you can have characters with builds of 5/5/5!

Marvel.com: I gotta know, are we getting help from the Inhuman Royal Family in the future or are we flying solo? I’d love to see what you guys do with Karnak.

Patch Rodriguez: For now, Black Bolt is on his own, but later this year we will be adding Queen Medusa to the game. Along with Kamala Khan and Quake (Daisy Johnson), that makes four Inhumans in “Marvel Puzzle Quest,” with hopefully more to come!

Marvel.com: Who works well with the king? Are there any heroes or villains that have any fun synergy with Black Bolt?

Patch Rodriguez: The Silent King is an interesting Power because it allows you to pair him with under-covered characters that you wouldn’t normally consider. His Motivation tile can even temporarily grant his allies powers that they have 0 covers in! Having a character whose Powers are leveled to 5/5/5 can also dole out some extra damage or other effects that were otherwise unavailable at level three or four, like producing a Fortified Countdown tile for War Machine’s Aerial Assault, or generating extra Yellow AP with Kingpin’s The Fisk Defense!

Black Bolt also works well with any characters that can generate extra AP to save up for Quasi-Sonic Scream; Wasp is a fun example, with That Buzzing Sound. He also works great with any characters who work with Charged tiles, like Thor (Goddess of Thunder). Being able to destroy the entire board is also pretty exciting with characters who benefit from tile destruction, such as Deadpool (Uncanny X-Force) and his Countdown for What tiles. For some fun insult to injury, try firing Quasi-Sonic Scream after putting down a Fortified Aerial Assault tile with War Machine!

Marvel.com: I’m really liking the damage and utility Black Bolt’s got going for him. When do we get our mitts on this guy?!

Patch Rodriguez: Black Bolt will be available starting on Thursday this week in the Latest Legends pack!  Good luck!

Harness Blackagar Boltagon’s incredible sonic scream here and stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Puzzle Quest” news and interviews.

Black Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle QuestBlack Bolt in Marvel Puzzle Quest

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