Author: Alan Kistler

The Many Origins of Wolverine

The Many Origins of Wolverine

If you’ve read ORIGIN: The Story of Wolverine, Weapon X and various issues of his own title and the X-Men books, then you know the basic background of the mysterious mutant called Logan and the secrets behind who he was in the past. It took many years to piece together, but we finally learned the truth.

Basically, Wolverine was born James Howlett, later taking on the name Logan after discovering he was a mutant with heightened senses, advanced healing, a connection to animals, and bone claws that could extend from his hand.

Logan traveled the world, becoming a samurai at heart, later becoming involved in the Weapon X project, working alongside his old enemy Victor Creed AKA Sabretooth, a mutant who had similar abilities but none of Logan’s compassion. Weapon X eventually attempted to turn him into a bio-weapon, burying most of his memoies, implanting false ones, and lacing his skeleton and bone claws with the unbreakable metal adamantium. After escaping Weapon X, he worked for the government for a few years before finally joining the X-Men. Since then, he has become a true hero, discovering his whole past in recent years.

But this story was not intended from the beginning. There were a few other proposed ideas for Wolverine that were discarded. There were ideas hinted at but later disproved or simply never followed up on.

Want to hear more? Read on.


Stories That Inspired ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’

Stories That Inspired ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’

So you’re excited for the new movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

You’re thinking, man, I can’t wait to see the full-out origin of the Canucklehead himself, the guy who is the best he is at what he does even if what he does isn’t very nice. Now, at least, you can see for yourself the truth behind the project that gave Wolvie his adamantium-laced skeleton, the famous Weapon X Program. And along the way, you get to meet fun guys such as Remy LeBeau (the card-wielding mutant called Gambit) and Wade Wilson, the “merc with a mouth” who calls himself Deadpool.

And yet, we all know films take liberties with the comics they are based on. Many of you are wondering what comic book stories this is lifting from and where you can find those same tales so that you can properly judge the adaptation.

Well, look no further, folks. Here is a small list of stories that are being used as the basis for the new movie. Enjoy!


Advance Review: Brave and the Bold Season Finale

Advance Review: Brave and the Bold Season Finale

If you are insistent that [[[Batman]]] always be portrayed as a dark, obsessive vigilante surrounded by nothing but psychopaths, then maybe the new cartoon series [[[Batman: The Brave and the Bold]]] isn’t your cup of tea. But I challenge you to watch an episode and tell me it doesn’t make you grin from ear to ear.

The new cartoon series has been loads of fun with over-the-top adventures that completely embrace their own absurdity. For those of us tired of never-ending angst, this series has been a great cure-all. And in the tradition of the comic book series of the same name, the show is based around team-ups. Each episode, the [[[Dark Knigh]]]t works alongside folks such as the [[[Green Arrow]]], Aquaman, Elongated Man, Plastic Man, the Atom (Dr.Choi), Red Tornado and the Blue Beetle (both Ted Kord AND Jamie Reyes).

This friday, 8:00 PM on Cartoon Newtork, fans will see part 1 of the two-part season finale. We here at ComicMix were given an advanced peek at this hour-long tale. Wanna see?


X-Men Forever: What was the Marvel Universe like in 1991?

X-Men Forever: What was the Marvel Universe like in 1991?

In light of the annoucement of X-Men Forever and Chris Claremont‘s intention to continue exactly where X-Men #3 left off in 1991, we thought it would be a good idea to remind ourselves what the state of the Marvel Universe was in 1991– before Stamford, the Super-Hero Registration Act, and Skrulls. Here’s all you need to know:



Charles Xavier is adjusting to having lost the use of his legs again recently. The X-Men have recently reformed into two teams, with Cyclops leading the blue strike force and Storm leading the gold strike force. Gambit has just joined and is still a mystery to the others.

During the gold strike force’s latest mission, they investigated the recent death of the Hellions and have recruited the time-traveling Bishop. At this time, Bishop is still unaware who the “X-traitor” will turn out to be. Much of the world still thinks the X-Men are dead and it’s possible they are still invisible to technology (due to a spell cast by Roma).

During their latest mission, the blue strike force met the newly formed Acolytes and witnessed the apparent death of Magneto (at the hands of his Acolyte Cortez) on Asteroid M, which has just been destroyed.


Cable is still leading this team, which has only recently formed, and at this point in time all we know about the white-haired mutant is that he and Stryfe are identical to each other and that he apparently did some military missions in ‘Nam where he met Chord of the New Warriors. He also has an unclear history with Wolverine. G.W. Bridge of SHIELD is investigating Cable since he believes that Cable is also running Stryfe’s organization the Mutant Liberation Front.

As of yet, there has  been no revelations about Cannonball being an “Ex-Ternal” and there has been no revelation that Domino is actually Copycat while the real Domino is a captive of Mr. Tolliver.


X-Factor has just replaced “Freedom Force” as the government’s mutant counter-terrorist team. Havok is in charge and is very green as a leader, still concerned about living up to his brother’s example. Wolfsbane cannot really turn to human form at this point, stuck between her half-lupine form and full lupine form.


The London based team still includes Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde in its ranks. At this point, half the team’s adventures seem to involve parallel realities and alternate timelines. Lockheed the Dragon has recently been revealed to be a sentient member of a telepathic race (though only we readers know that) and is recovering from injuries. At this point in time, Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde have not seen their X-Men teammates since the events of the team’s apparent death.


Wolverine is still wearing the brown and tan uniform. In his own series, as 1991 closes, Wolverine has only just discovered the Weapon X facility and realized that some of his memories are false implants based loosely on real memories. He also now has the first inkling that he and Sabretooth are not related but perhaps used to work together for some kind of government unit. He has not yet learned about Team X, the group he was part of with John Wraith and Maverick.



Review: ‘Captain Action’ #1

Review: ‘Captain Action’ #1

I know way too much about comics. Far more than is healthy. But there are, understandably, a few characters here and there that I either know very little about, either because I never really came across them or I did but found them terribly uninteresting and so dismissed them, soon forgetting what I had learned.

[[[Captain Action]]] happens to be such a character. I remembered he first appeared in the 1960s, wore a costume that resembled a futuristic police officer’s with a chest symbol that reminded me to recycle, and was based on an action figure. And that was it. I remembered nothing else. So when I was asked to review the first issue of the new Captain Action series, on sale today, I thought “Perfect. I can truly look at this as a first-time fan and objectively judge if this would be interesting to someone who has no previous knowledge of the character.”

I read it and found it to be a strange mix of too much information at once and not enough.

We begin with a [[[Superman]]]-like character called Savior. His narration explains who he is and reveals that he secretly blew up a place called A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate. On page two, we find out that half of what we just read is a lie. This is not Savior, but a person disguised as Savior. This is our hero, Captain Action, who crashes into a statue of his father and proceeds to unleash a massive information dump on the readers in a very awkward monologue.

Apparently, there was once a hero called Captain Action (the original guy from the 1960s). The shape-shifter we’ve just met is his son, the new Captain Action, who has the ability to look like other people and copy their abilities, but only for a short time. Exactly how long he can disguise himself and how long afterward he has to wait before he mimics someone again is not made clear.

The new Captain Action wanted nothing to do with the life of a super-hero, despite his powers, but now feels forced to act since his father was killed by a group of super-heroes that an organization called A.C.T.I.O.N. had “created” to defend the Earth. What “created” means is not fully explained. The new Captain Action informs us that these heroes, Savior included, were somehow turned into sleeper agents, thus why they went rogue later. Exactly how they became sleeper agents is not explained, though a group called Red Crawl is blamed. Apparently, Red Crawl was defeated long ago and everyone believed they were dead, except for the original Captain Action. Now they’re back and causing trouble.


Review: ‘I Remember The Future’

Review: ‘I Remember The Future’

For more than a decade, writer Michael A. Burstein has been publishing tales of speculative fiction in the anthology magazine [[[Analog]]]. Several of these stories have been nominated for various Hugo and Nebula awards, including Best Short Story, Best Novella and Best Novelette. In 1999, his short story “[[[Reality Check]]]” was nominated for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. “[[[TeleAbsence]]]” won the 1995 Analytical Laboratory Award for Best Short Story and “[[[Sanctuary]]]” won the 2005 Analytical Laboratory Award for Best Novella.

These works and more have now been collected into one large volume from Apex Publishing entitled I Remember the Future: The Award-Nominated Stories of Michael A. Burstein. The book will be published on November 1, but you can pre-order at  if you so wish.

The stories collected here cover a wide range of topics and emotions. There’s the murder mystery involving a killer who targets students while they’re online. There’s the deeply emotional tale concerning the dying wish of the last living holocaust survivor. There is the “[[[Broken Symmetry]]]” series, a trilogy of short stories concerning the consequences that occur when a breach opens between two parallel universes and the events that grow out of it.

Even if you’ve read these works before, this collection offers you new insight into old favorites. Every single story has an afterword by Burstein as he explains what went into it and what may evolve from it in the future. He also discusses changes made in editing, such as when he presents an alternate ending to “Kaddish for the Last Survivor.”

Along with these tales are two brand new stories. There is “[[[Empty Spaces]]]”, a continuation of the aforementioned trilogy, and the titular tale “I Remember the Future”, which gives us a present tense narration from a retired writer who fears that humanity has forgotten how to truly dream.

These stories are all heartfelt and entertaining and each one appeals to a different taste and preference. If you enjoy science fiction, pick it up. If you don’t normally go for sci-fi, hey, still pick this up. These stories are, at their core, about people and the world we all deal with. And who can’t find something to enjoy about that?

Alan “Sizzler” Kistler has been recognized by mainstream media outlets such as the New York Daily News as a comic book historian, and can be seen in the “Special Features” sections of the Adventures of Aquaman and Justice League: New Frontier DVDs. His personal website can be found at: One of these days he’d love to write for DC, Marvel or Doctor Who.

Review: “Joker” HC one-shot

Review: “Joker” HC one-shot

On October 22, DC will be releasing the hardcover graphic novel Joker (originally titled [[[Joker: The Dark Knight]]]), presented to you by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo. This is the same creative team who were behind the mini-series [[[Lex Luthor: Man of Steel]]], which explored the mind-set of the Metropolis multi-millionaire and touched on his justifications for why he sees himself as the necessary anti-thesis to the Last Son of Krypton.

[[[Joker]]] is a story of roughly the same note, though not narrated by the villain as Lex Luthor: Man of Steel was. In this hardcover graphic novel, the story is narrated by Jonny Frost, a two-bit hood. In an interview with Newsarama, Azzarello said that the reason for this was because the Joker’s narration couldn’t be trusted, given that he was insane, and so it was important to see it from the point of view of someone close to him.

As the tale begins, the Joker has been in Arkham for some time now and has only just now been released, legally and by the book (though how is never explained). This book plays the Joker as a gangster rather than a mass murdering psycho constantly trying to prove there is no point to life. As such, one of the major plot elements is that the Joker had several criminal operations going on when he went in and now he’s found that they have been taken over by others. To regain his criminal power and his money, the Joker begins hunting down the Gotham mobsters who have dared to dip into his operations, telling them, “I want what’s mine back.”

To help him on this quest, he grabs Killer Croc and Harley Quinn (who seems to be a mute in this story), as well as new assistant Jonny Frost, our narrator, a small-timer who admires the Joker and wants to be just like him. As the story goes on, the Joker directly challenges Two-Face, who has taken control of Gotham’s underworld while the Clown Prince of Killers has been away. And with each passing day, Jonny Frost realizes that the Joker is not a person to admire at all.

Not a bad idea. How was the execution?


Manga Reader Charged for Obscenity

Manga Reader Charged for Obscenity

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has defended several arists and retailers in the past. But now, for the first time, they have been called to aid an actual comic book collector.

Christopher Handley of Iowa is facing obscenity charges under the PROTECT Act (18 U.S.C. section 14661) for ordering and possessing manga that is allegedly "obscene." Although no photographic material is contained within the manga in question, the charges allege that the material includes drawings depicting minors engaging in acts of a sexual nature. The material was reported by a postal inspector.

The"objectionable" manga in question is only a small part of Handley’s collection, which included over 1200 volumes of various manga. Despite this, authorities have taken possession of Handley’s entire comic book, magazine, manga and DVD collection, as well as his computer, in their search for further evidence.

If found guilty, Handley could face up to 20 years in jail. CBLDF legal counsel Burton Joseph commented, "I have never encountered a situation where criminal prosecution was brought against a private consumer for possession of material for personal use in his own home. This prosecution has profound implications in limiting the First Amendment for art and artists, and comics in particular, that are on the cutting edge of creativity. It misunderstands the nature of avant-garde art in its historical perspective and is a perversion of anti-obscenity laws."

As of now, Handley and the CBLDF-assisted defense team have been able to achieve partial victory. The court has ruled that sections of the PROTECT Act are infirm because they "do no require that the material be deemed obscene" by a court-appointed jury but rather by Congressional standards.

In the latest CBLDF update, it states: "Handley now faces charges under the surviving sections of 1466A, which will require a jury to determine whether the drawings at issue are legally obscene."

The following are the legal standards that would make the material "obscene." All three must be met in order for there to be a conviction.

A. Whether the average person, applying comtemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.

B. Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law.

C. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

For more information and how you can help, check out the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund web-site.

Ultimatum Trailer

Ultimatum Trailer

Just in case you didn’t get enough advertising concerning the upcoming Ultimatum crossover, has released a trailer for it.

"They killed his children. They called his species a disease. They thought they were the ultimate race. Now he will have his retribution."

The Many Lives of Terra

The Many Lives of Terra

Two years ago, DC Comics announced that a new Terra series would be coming out, one starring a brand new character using the familiar name. This character debuted in Supergirl #12 and has shown up a couple of times since then, but otherwise has remained largely unexplored.

The series will finally be launching in November. It will be written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and illustrated by Amanda Connor. According to DC, the two-year delay has allowed more time to plan out the series and tighten up the stories. And the art has been given the change to be of a higher quality now.

As Justin Gray explained to, "Time always helps and we try our best to have every project working well in advance. This kind of approach allows us to go back into scripts and tighten up and tie together all of the story elements. With Terra, it was a case of trying to have as much fun with the character and allow that to show through in every panel. Having Amanda with us allows for that to happen … the extra time gave Amanda and [colorist] Paul Mounts the most time to go in and add some extra juice to the book."

Of course, this new hero is the third person to call herself Terra. The first girl with that alias, Tara Markov, became famous when she betrayed the Teen Titans in the now-famous story "The Judas Contract." How will this past connect to our current character, who is noticeably more light-hearted and optimistic than either of her predecessors?

Gray explained, "The challenge has always been to find a way to connect this Terra to the previous and with a few twist I think we’ve done that. You can’t stick too heavily to existing mythology when creating someone new because that lessens them as a character. [The new Terra] needs to stand out as her own girl and she does that … We wanted her to stand in opposition of the existing anti-hero mold and especially from Tara Markov in terms of personality and drive."

Jimmy Palmiotti added, "It’s easy to do dark characters all the time … we wanted to go back to the seemingly old-fashioned values of classic super-heroes and update them at the same time. There is heavy stuff in the series but it is balanced out by the lighter stuff as well. The scenes between Power Girl and Terra, for instance, are light and yet very revealing between them."

Power Girl isn’t the only one who will guest-star in Terra. The new hero has a high level of knowledge of the world of super-heroes and will be running across folks like Doctor Mid-Nite and Geo-Force AKA Brion Markov, brother of the original Terra.

Gray elaborated, "The reason [Terra] knows so much ties directly into who she is and why she exists. The previous incarnation  of Terra went a little crazy because she didn’t know everything about herself."

Palmiotti, Gray and Connor will also be working together on the all-new Power Girl ongoing series and have promised that the opening story-arc will serve as an introduction for readers who have not been following the character’s recent adventures or don’t know her whole history. The co-writers explained, "We are setting up her life as a civilian, as a super-hero, and the people and world around her that impacts her daily life."

So be on the look-out for the new Power Girl and Terra books coming soon.

And if you’re curious about the previous incarnations of Terra, keep on reading and we’ll give you the rundown.