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'Avengers vs. X-Men #1': EW Exclusive! First look at Marvel's upcoming crossover event

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The Avengers and the X-Men are the two predominant superteams of the Marvel Universe. They’re also at the center of two of the highest-grossing franchises of the decade — the five X-Men films have grossed $1.9 billion, while this May’s Avengers movie will bring together the successful Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America sagas into one franchise-uniting megamovie. So it’s perhaps not surprising that Marvel is pitting the two teams against each other. The sheer scope of the upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men is fascinating: The 12-issue series is a group effort between popular writers (and official Marvel architects) Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. EW has obtained an exclusive look at the first seven pages of Avengers vs. X-Men #1 — you can check out the preview by clicking here — which includes a first look at the inciting incident for the superteam chaos: The return of the Phoenix Force. READ FULL STORY

DC Comics to publish controversial 'Watchmen' prequels. Will you buy them? An EXCLUSIVE first look at artwork, creative details

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Geekdom, get ready to rumble with excitement…or grumble with outrage. Or both. In an announcement sure to ignite a firestorm of fanboy passion and pique, DC Entertainment revealed today that DC Comics will publish a collection of miniseries that will expand upon the world of Watchmen, the influential superhero saga originally released as a 12-issue maxi-series from 1986 to 1987. Marked by bravura storytelling, provocative politics, and gritty violence, Watchmen is best known for deconstructing superhero archetypes embodied by cultural icons like Superman and Batman. (You can read our 2005 oral history about the genesis, creation, and legacy of the series here.) Why might the new comics be controversial? Because Watchmen’s widely revered writer, Alan Moore, who has long been at war with DC for any number of reasons, has absolutely nothing to do with them. READ FULL STORY

DC cancels six comic books, replaces them with Batman and China Mieville

Last year, DC’s “The New 52″ rebooted the company’s entire comic book universe from the ground up. The changes went beyond simple costume changes — although there were lots of costume changes, mostly of the “Let’s Nolanize this outfit! You know, armor lines and stuff!” variety. Grant Morrison reimagined Superman as a kind of Marxist superprole. Wonder Woman suddenly had an origin that actually made sense for the first time in decades. Hawkman’s origin still didn’t make sense, but now he was referred to as “The Savage Hawkman,” which is awesome. DC also led with some intriguing series that explore off-the-beaten-path subjects: The military-themed Men of War and Blackhawks, the Jack Kirby-esque O.M.A.C., and even a few African-American hero books like Mr. Terrific and Static Shock. READ FULL STORY

Sneak peek at DC's 'Batman #5': 'He'll be dead soon' -- EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

A shining star in DC’s “New 52″ lineup, the current run of Batman has witnessed the introduction of an entirely new villainous presence in Gotham City: the mysterious Court of Owls. Writer Scott Snyder has big plans for the Owls — they’ll be at the center of a Batverse crossover event this summer.

In the next issue of Batman, the Caped Crusader finds himself at the mercy of the Owls. Surrealism ensues. You can read the full issue when it hits stores Jan. 18th. For now, check out EW’s full sneak peek here.

Read more:
Sneak peek at DC’s #2 ‘Batgirl’ — EXCLUSIVE
Superman #1, The Dark Knight #1, Aquaman #1: New comics reviews
Batman #1 and other new DC Comics reviews

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

'Walking Dead' creator Robert Kirkman talks about his new comic, 'Thief of Thieves'

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When Shelf Life points out to Robert Kirkman that he is best known for writing comics about zombies, superheroes, and dinosaurs, the scribe guffaws. Why? “I’m laughing at the absurdity of my life,” says the man responsible for penning Invincible, Super Dinosaur, and, yes, a little post-apocalyptic zombie series called The Walking Dead.

Kirkman’s new project, Thief of Thieves, is an attempt to make his life a little less absurd. “It’s going to be very grounded in the real world,” he says of the comic, which hits shelves Feb. 8. “No zombies, no space aliens, no superheroes. It’s just going to be real human characters doing somewhat horrible things to each other.”

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So what else can you tell us about Thief of Thieves?
ROBERT KIRKMAN: Well, it’s a fine comic book, if I do say so myself. It’s somewhat of a crime-caper comic about a professional thief named Conrad Paulson. He is one of the greatest thieves who’s ever lived, but he’s gotten to a point in his life where he realizes that he’s chosen his professional life over his family life and greatly regrets that. He’s got an adult son who is kind of following in his footsteps but doing a horrible job, and he has an estranged wife that he is still very much in love with. Our story picks up when he is trying to turn his back on his profession and rekindle his relationship with his wife and trying to fix his son’s horrible predicament. READ FULL STORY

Sneak peek at DC's 'Superman #4': The Metropolis police ain't happy -- EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

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The Man of Steel has not been having an easy time of it in DC’s reboot of Superman. Metropolis has been besieged by an ever-escalating series of villains and villainy, all seemingly bent on nothing other than trying to defeat the invincible superhero from the alien planet Krypton. Meanwhile, a reporter at the Daily Planet has been arguing that Supes does more harm than good. And in this exclusive sneak peek at Superman #4, written by George Perez with art by Jesus Merino, the Metropolis police want to know why TV anchor Heather Kelley mysteriously disappeared in Superman #3 — and what Superman had to do about it.

You can read the full issue when it arrives in stores Dec. 28, but you can check out EW’s four-page first look here.

Read more:
Sneak peek at DC’s ‘Superman #3′: A brief history of Superman
Sneak peek at DC’s ‘Justice League #4′: Aquaman shows off his stuff
Sneak peek at DC’s ‘Supergirl #3′: Supergirl, meet Superman

'The Avengers' movie to get four-issue comic book prelude

Marvel Comics announced Wednesday that, in the run up to its omnibus summer tentpole The Avengers, it will release a four-issue comic book prelude to the film.

Marvel’s The Avengers Prelude issues #1 and #2, written by Chris Yost and Eric Pearson, and illustrated by Luke Ross and Daniel HDR, will arrive this March, with the following two issues hitting stores some time before the Joss Whedon-directed movie’s May 4 debut.

Read more:
‘The Avengers': New footage premieres at New York Comic Con
‘The Avengers’ trailer: What it shows us, what it doesn’t
‘The Avengers’ dis-assembled! EXCLUSIVE cast portraits revealed

Sneak peek at DC's 'Justice League #4': Aquaman shows off his stuff -- EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

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Over the course of the first three issues of DC’s new Justice League, in the face of Darkseid’s encroaching, mysterious army, the various major superheroes of the DC canon have, well, assembled isn’t the right word, really, since Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, the Flash, and Wonder Woman are still eons away from being a cohesive team. But in Justice League #4, to their motley crew they now add the King of Atlantis, a.k.a. Aquaman — but not without some brash protesting from Green Lantern, who quips, “I thought Aquaman was a sketch on Conan O’Brien!” As the cover makes clear, Aquaman does not take kindly to being thought the butt of a joke, and in EW’s exclusive five-page preview, he shuts up the sparkly hothead by showing everyone just what he can do.

You can read the full issue when it hits stores Dec. 21. For now, check out EW’s full sneak peek here.

Read more:
Sneak peek at DC’s ‘Swamp Thing #4′: ‘I said VANILLA!’ — EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW
Sneak peek at DC’s ‘Superman #3′: A brief history of Superman — EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW
Sneak peek at DC’s ‘Supergirl #3′: Supergirl, meet Superman — EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

Legendary 'Batman' artist Jerry Robinson, who helped create Robin and The Joker, dies at 89

Mourning in Gotham City, and across all of fanboy nation: Legendary comic book artist Jerry Robinson has died at the age of 89. Robinson, who was born in Trenton, N.J., on Jan. 1, 1922, was recruited to DC Comics by Batman creator Bob Kane and made key contributions to the character’s mythos. In addition to Robin the Boy Wonder, Robinson is credited with helping to develop Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, and two of the caped crusader’s best-known enemies, Two-Face and The Joker, both of which were featured in director Christopher Nolan’s last Batman flick, The Dark Knight, played by Aaron Eckhart and an Oscar-winning Heath Ledger, respectively. (It should be noted that the business of determining who came up with what in comics can be tricky and contentious. For example, Bob Kane — who died in 1998 — claimed that he and original Batman scribe Bill Finger concocted The Joker.) READ FULL STORY

'Watchmen' writer Alan Moore joins Occupy Comics group, slams Frank Miller for criticizing protesters

Watchmen writer Alan Moore has joined Occupy Comics, an organization of comics-industry notables who are lending their support to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Moore’s fellow Occupy Comics signatories include Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), and David Lloyd.

The support of Moore and Lloyd is notable both because of the weight they carry in the comics community, and because it was their comic, V for Vendetta, which first introduced the Guy Fawkes masks regularly worn by Occupy Wall Street protesters. READ FULL STORY

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