Tomb Raider (2018)

Alicia Vikander did not disappoint.

No, seriously, despite all the horrid reviews online, Tomb Raider was actually enjoyable – if you didn’t play the older Tomb Raider games.

A few years back we were given an amazing Tomb Raider game, which more or less reinvented Lara Croft as a character; taking her from ‘sexy, female Indiana Jones’ and turning the character into a strong, independent woman who knew what she was talking about but not what she was doing (which was perfect considering it was kinda her origins story).

The Tomb Raider film tried to do that but failed miserably.

The film does a good job of setting up the fact that she doesn’t want to accept her father’s death, showing her living alone and trying to make a living without her inheritance; but when she nearly signs for the inheritance, she is handed a puzzle box which she instantly decides to take a crack at and opens within a few seconds – great, now we know she’s independent and we know she’s smart; but beyond that, her character can’t seem to decide what to be when.

One moment she is down to earth and intelligent, the next she is reckless and stupid; one moment she seems to have her head screwed on right and is capable of outsmarting a large group of people, but the next she can’t seem to realise that a group of teenagers is about to steal her bag from right off her back.

Early on in the film, Lara finds her father’s notes and learns of Trinity, the island of Yamatai and it’s mythical queen Himiko; in a video her father left on a camera for her, Richard warns Lara of Trinity and instructs her to destroy all his notes on the ‘Himiko Project’ – instead, Lara looks further into the notes, decides not to destroy them and go looking for her father. I can understand looking for her father, but the fact that an intelligent character decided not to realise that whatever her father was into was dangerous and that she should probably destroy the notes let alone TAKE THE NOTES WITH HER when she goes looking for him bugs me; she didn’t have to destroy the notes, she just had to seal up his hidden office, the notes were perfectly well hidden down there in the first place.

The film takes a couple moments to set up her physical prowess, showing her to be proficient in mixed martial arts but apparently not good enough to win while in the ring, also showing her endurance skills right at the start when she takes part in what is effectively a cycle race (also using that cycle race to show how reckless she can be). It is implied that she is smart enough to go to either Cambridge or Oxford university (despite never having gone to university), but beyond that, there are basically four instances in the entire film where we actually see Lara being smart; three times while solving puzzles and once more towards the end of the film.

As for her archery skills, that was explained away as a childhood hobby of hers.

There are a couple of flashback scenes throughout the movie which are used to set up Lara’s relationship with her father, but with each of those scenes being tied to her emotions regarding his disappearance, that gets lost in translation.

One thing I didn’t like, but can see why it was done, was the shoehorning of similarities between this new film and the more recent games; Vikander’s Lara was covered in dirt and scars and put through physical hell to make her seem more like the Lara we were met with in the games. The icepick was thrown in there for the sake of having an iconic prop, so were the bow and arrows (seriously though, the villains have tons of guns and even more bullets, why would they have a random bow and a bunch of arrows?).

The new Tomb Raider film is by no means a fantastic movie, while certainly much better than Hollywood’s previous attempts at video game movies, Angeline Jolie’s Lara Croft at least had a set identity and knew what she wanted out of life. But Alicia Vikander does a good enough job of setting up the character in her origins and I’d very much like to see her take up the role again sometime soon.


Cosmic Comics South Africa

Cosmic Comics is the epitome of the iconic comic book store.


Looking for cellphone covers? You might want to try looking elsewhere.

Games? Nah.

Consoles and PC hardware or peripheries? Nope.

Action figures? Yes, but less of the toy type and more of the collectable variety.

Manga? Some but not a lot, although they will order if you ask nicely.

Statues and Pop!s? Oh yeah, they have lots.

Comic books?

Really? Apparently, there is such a thing as a stupid question – not to say that you, our readers, are stupid, but in the past, I have been asked what Cosmic Comics sells, you’d think the name would explain it all.

But what about variant covers? I hear the more seasoned collectors asking. Cosmic Comics is pretty much the only comic book store that I know of that actually orders enough comics to get even the rarer variant covers. Sure you can get them off eBay or you can order them through some other store, but chances are, Cosmic already has that cover in stock, or at least, they will have it the moment it comes out.

Or maybe you’re wondering about those few random back-issues that you seem to be missing? Chances are they have those too, Cosmic always orders enough copies per issue to ensure that they have enough back issues to last quite a while – which is where the majority of a comic book store’s sales come from, believe it or not.

You know every now and then in my articles I’ll mention having worked in a comic book store? This is the one I’m referring to. Now, I’m not sure if there is some set of rules that bars ex-staff members from reviewing the company they once held a job at, but I’m going to give this a bash anyway.


Cosmic Comics is run by a couple, Shane and Karyn Brocklebank, they’re our two superheroes (in a ‘League’ of their own), and their trusty sidekicks, James, Seth and Ryan (they’re the Teen Titans in this equation; no, James, not the Titans, the Teen Titans, suck it up).

Shane has been reading comics since the tender, young age of six years, his grandmother collected comics and he’s been hooked ever since. Karyn read Walt Disney Comics and Garfield as a child and, during an extended hospital stay, was given a stack of 2000AD comics to read; its almost as if she never put those books back down.

Cosmic started as a stall at the Hillfox Flea Market back in 2000, Karyn and Shane had just moved from Margate to Joburg and were looking for work; Karyn was, for a time, a waitress, while Shane managed the stall during the weekends. For anyone who has been to the Hillfox Market, you’ll know that there is no real air conditioning or heating, so “winters were killer”, on top of that it doesn’t help that they would have to arrive at six in the morning to secure their spot in the market.

However, their struggles paid off and Cosmic Comics went from market stall to actual store in November of 2002, setting up shop in Heathway Centre; eventually they moved a few blocks up the road to their premises on the corner of Mountainview Road and Beyers Naudé (which is NOT their current address, I’ll put their new address at the end of the article).

Shane’s favourite comic book characters are the Hulk, Spider-Man and Superman; while Karyn likes Jubilee and Dazzler; Shane’s favourite comic book author and artist are Dan Jurgens and Ivan Reis, whereas Karyn is currently enjoying the work of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (Descender), along with the art of Ed McGuinness.

Like most comic book stores, Cosmic gets all their comics on Wednesdays (make sure you drop by at least once a month, because most comics come out either every two weeks or once a month), they usually also get Pop!s and graphic novels on Wednesdays as well.

Speaking of comics, Cosmic is among the few comic book stores, that I’m aware of, that actively bags and boards their comics – because no, they do not come like that, sadly. The process of counting, bagging and boarding comics can take at least a day IF the store is quiet and there aren’t too many comics, otherwise, it is a process that can easily take two days, sometimes two and a half.

Which time is best to stop by Cosmic? In my experience, Wednesdays would be ideal but because that is when shipments come in, the comics you want to buy might not have even reached the store yet; come Thursday, they might still be busy with those comics. Your best bet is Friday, because most, if not all, of the comics, have been bagged, boarded, priced and put on the shelf or into your call-order box, on top of that, Fridays aren’t too busy but the store isn’t deathly quiet either (Mondays are the quiet ones you have to look out for).

‘How many comics does Cosmic sell in a week?’ you may or may not be wondering… well, that’s a business statistic, so technically I couldn’t give you the answer even if I did know, but Karyn estimates they easily sell about one thousand comics on a quiet week, with busy weeks obviously resulting in many times that number being sold.

I could be wrong, but having worked at Cosmic, I get the feeling that they have the consistently largest range of Funko Pop!s for sale. Everything from Pickle Rick (of which they still had quite a few last time I checked) to Wonder Woman (of which there is basically nothing left; seriously, Wonder Woman-related stuff sells out incredibly quickly, and that is due mostly to the Wonder Woman film which came out last year).

But let’s say a Funko Pop! isn’t your style; you want something a little larger and considerably more detailed; where do you go? Cosmic Comics. Their wide range of Gallery statues is enough to make any Marvel or DC fan drool (unless you own each and every Gallery out there, in which case, I hate you; and so does my boss). But what if you like your superheroes and you like anime-themes? Well, for all your anime-themed, gender-bending needs, there is the Bishoujo range! (don’t worry, no one will judge you, I very nearly bought the Loki Bishoujo last year – Hey! Hey, I said I wouldn’t judge you, now stop judging me… I can practically feel the judgement as I write this).

What? You want something bigger than that? Something grander? Look no further than their PCS (Pop Culture Shock) range!

PCS specialises in large, detailed statues, and if you have lots of money and lots of display space, there are very few reasons not to buy statues from the PCS range – as of the time of writing, Cosmic is awaiting the arrival of a PCS 1/3 scale Goro statue (to the value of about R35 000, which is terrifying because, at current, the most expensive item in the store is a Batman cowl replica worth R18 000).

On the topic of large statues, you may be wondering if they stock anything from Sideshow’s Premium 1/6th scale range…

Unfortunately not, Karyn and Shane have aimed their focus more directly at comics and figurines, and in their previous premises they just didn’t have the space to stock either Sideshow Premium or Pop Culture Shock statues – but their new premises is much larger and there is WAAAAY more room for displaying statues, so you never know, nothing is set in stone.

When I started working at Cosmic last year, there were the regulars and then the film fans who had no idea what they were walking into, I asked Karyn if there had been any change in the customer base since superhero films became the biggest thing in Hollywood and she said that the customer base definitely has changed over the years; apparently there are more women buying stuff from Cosmic than ever before (which is amazing, considering the comic book industry has been described as one which typically caters towards males) and there are certainly more children leading their unwitting parents into the store as well.

Despite the change in customer base and the growth of the fanbase, on an international scale, comic book stores are disappearing, many have either shut down (like Zed Bee’s, in Edenvale, did last year) or have turned to other revenue sources (games, anime, manga, etc). I just had to ask what Cosmic’s secret is…

Karyn said there was no secret (which is exactly what one would expect a secret-keeper to say; secretive secrets are secretive), but she did point out that they also sell t-shirts and other related paraphernalia. They have tried to sell games, anime and manga in the past but it wasn’t really working out for them so they phased those out (but, like I said, they are capable of ordering manga for you) and now pour all their time and energy into comics and figurines… Karyn is the one who orders the crazy stuff you may or may not occasionally see in the store.

When asked about events, I was told that Cosmic always exhibits at ICON and rAge and that they will be at Comic Con Africa this September.

Speaking of Comic Con Africa, did you know that it is being sponsored by the same company that sponsors rAge? VS Gaming.

I asked Karyn if she thought Comic Con and rAge being so close together, and sponsored by the same company, would affect rAge in any way; while that is a legitimate concern on my part, Karyn seems to think that the fact rAge is so well-established in the South African market and has a large enough fanbase to remain unaffected by how close it is to Comic Con (rAge is literally three weeks after Comic Con). Maybe you guys could let us know what you think by Tweeting us or by commenting on one of our Facebook posts?


Cosmic recently moved to their new premises, not too far from their previous premises on Mountainview. Their current address is 254 Beyers Naudé Drive, on the corner with Acacia Road (where Full Throttle used to be), you can see their signage from Beyers, can’t miss it. And don’t worry, there is plenty of parking space around the back.

Hope to see you guys there!

Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey

I generally don’t review anything other than movies, but after reading Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey, I felt like I absolutely just HAD to review it.

So here goes.

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS for Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey, you have been warned.

I don’t think Marvel has printed something so beautiful in a very long time – no, seriously, last year was all about the ending and aftermath of Civil War II and then we ended up with Secret Empire (which very nearly completely destroyed my faith in Marvel Comics, if not for Ed Brisson and Mike Deodato Jr. bringing the Maestro into their run on Old Man Logan, more specifically, because they showed us just how much of a Hulk-killing machine Logan really is.

Phoenix Resurrection tugged at my heartstrings in a way that no story has managed in years.

Unlike in the recent Jean Grey comics; with the young, time-displaced version of Jean (long story, although I’m sure I’ll get around to telling it at some point); Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey handles the return of the Phoenix in the way it should be handled; with all the X-Men properly involved. We see everyone from Old Man Logan and Sabertooth, to Magick and Psylocke; even going so far as to involve Cable, with a short appearance from Emma Frost as well.

The comic has many references to a character called Annie, a girl who was Jean’s best childhood friend, Annie died in a hit and run at a young age, which is what caused Jean’s powers to manifest in the first place, which is, in turn, the first time the Phoenix Force noticed her. In something of a “What If?”, we find out what Jean’s life probably would have been like had Annie not died when they were children; with Jean waitressing at Annie’s diner. We get a look at classic Magneto (he’s had a couple of redesigns over the last few years), we see Patch (as a character, remember, ‘Patch’ was one of Wolverine’s aliases during his time in Madripoor) and we even see Sean Cassidy (Banshee, unfortunately not in costume) – it shouldn’t take the reader long to realise that these characters are nothing more than constructs, each one is just an illusion that the Phoenix has created as part of a greater illusion.

It is interesting to note that, for the majority of the story, Jean doesn’t acknowledge that she has powers, she accidentally makes use of them now and then but doesn’t seem to realise that they are the cause of a few goings on; neither, however, does she seem worried about the fact that objects fly around the room every now and then – meaning that her abilities feel natural to her, even though she believes she is a completely normal human.

In a callback to Phoenix: Endsong, Logan is the one to snap her out of it; remember how back then he killed her eight times in just under four pages? Logan is usually the one to land the killing blow, often because he is the only one capable of doing so. This time around he doesn’t kill her, but he does kill Annie, which instantly snaps Jean out of the illusion.

Jean leaves the diner and is met with her parents and some of her friends (illusions, the lot of them) and the very real X-Men. Jean is slightly confused when she sees the young version of Scott Summers, a moment which I wish lasted just a little longer but didn’t; only to encounter the very real, original Scott Summers, who promptly dies because he should be dead.

Jean and the Phoenix have a heart-to-heart over the space of a few pages and the Phoenix Saga is finally, well and truly, laid to rest (forty years after the fact, but still, it finally happened).

Which is perfect. As I said with the moment between Jean and the young Scott, there were a few scenes which should have been a little longer, and a bit more emphasis could have been put on her connections and relations with the other X-Men (Storm, Beast, etc). But, overall, Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey is a work of art (and the artwork within the comic is also enjoyable, a little irritating that the style changed ever so slightly once or twice, but it was still good).


If you’re looking to see where the original Jean Grey is now, she is currently in the process of creating an independent mutant nation recognised by the UN in the latest X-Men series, X-Men: Red.

Age of Mythology

With Age of Empires: Definitive Edition on the horizon, I turned my attention to all the strategy games I played as a child, looking at my shelf, I noticed that I had somehow placed all my strategy games in the same pile; underneath Sid Meier’s Civilization (IV, V and VI) was good old Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3, beneath that, was a copy of Supreme Commander and buried even further beneath that was Age of Mythology: Gold.

I figured I’d reinstall it and give it a go, I found that it feels like playing something squarely in between Age of Empires II and Age of Empires III. Looking back, this was probably the one and only strategy game that has kept me coming back over and over throughout the years.

Then I noticed that Steam had the Extended Edition on special, with a new faction to play as and an entirely new campaign.

Age of Mythology: Extended Edition is technically the third version of the game to be released. Remember how back in the day, expansions were often sold on separate discs from the base game, or they were on the same disc as the base game and were sold as an entirely new release? Age of Mythology always leaned towards the latter; originally releasing as Age of Mythology in 2002, with Titans releasing in 2003, if you managed to get a copy with Titans on the same disc as the base game, it was called the Gold Edition; Extended Edition was released in 2014 and was basically the equivalent of a Season Pass, meaning it came with a copy of the Titans expansion and, later, the Tale of the Dragon expansion pack (released in 2016) as well.

Age of Mythology (called “AoM” by longtime fans) is almost exactly like Age of Empires (which is understandable, considering they are from the same franchise); a classic, real-time strategy game; but instead of picking from one of sixteen factions, you pick from one of three (Greek, Egyptian and Norse; the Atlanteans came with the Titans expansion, the Chinese came with Tale of the Dragon), and instead of cannons you have mythological monsters and God Powers.

Once you’ve picked a faction, you pick from one of three major gods (Zeus, Hades and Poseidon for the Greeks; Ra, Set and Isis for the Egyptians; Thor, Odin and Loki for the Norse, etc), each god has their own buffs and perks. A game is segmented into four periods (known as Ages; namely the Archaic Age, Classical Age, Heroic Age and the Mythic Age), you progress from one age to another by meeting certain requirements and then researching the next age – I know that sounds weird but seriously, to progress from the Archaic Age to the Classical Age all you have to do is build an Armoury and then LITERALLY research the Classical Age. Advancing to the next age makes certain upgrades become available, these upgrades can do anything from speed up your Hoplite’s training time to giving your Hydra more health. What’s great about these upgrades, and I haven’t actually seen this implemented anywhere else, is that if I research something that buffs the armour of my military units, it also affects my ‘myth units’ (those monsters I spoke of earlier) and even my naval units – it sounds trivial, I know, but I haven’t actually seen this implemented in many other RTS games of the time (excluding the rest of the Age of Empires franchise, of course).

Each time you advance to the next age, you pick one of two minor gods, who also give buffs to different aspects of your empire (be it economy, myth units, naval units or even building times and hitpoints). The minor gods available to you are affected by the faction and major god you chose at the start of the game; so while Athena might be available if you chose Zeus or Hades at the start, she won’t be available to those who chose Poseidon, and will instead be replaced with Hermes; and obviously Freya (a Nordic goddess) won’t be available to you if you picked the Chinese or Atlanteans.

Each god you pick grants you a God Power, which you can only use once throughout the entire game (unless you play as the Atlanteans, their god powers can be used three times and have a cooldown between uses). These God Powers suit the god chosen and what they are known for within the real-world mythology they were based on. The minor gods you pick also affect the myth units available to you. For example, let’s say I pick Poseidon as my major god, once I advance to the Classical Age I will have to choose between Ares and Hermes; picking Ares will give me the Cyclops but then I can’t have the Centaurs provided by Hermes.

Think of it like a deck-building game; you pick your main card (major god) and then as you go you are allowed to pick three out of six secondary cards (minor gods), each with their own buffs to specific unit types, buildings, certain parts of the economy, etc. The faction you pick will also give you access to different upgrades.

“How’s the endgame?” you ask. Well, it’s pretty spectacular; everyone has access to their final and most powerful God Power, units are upgraded to the max, everyone has a good economy (hopefully, otherwise you won’t survive much longer) and then you are presented with two ways to win: building a Wonder (which you have to keep in one piece for a total of ten minutes, even if someone else builds one too, as long as you are the first to reach that ten minute mark, you win) or you can research The Secrets of the Titans, summon a Titan and use it to kill everyone.

But be warned, while Titans are powerful, they are not infallible; as they are weak to ranged attacks and cannot heal or be healed through any means.

In terms of which faction to pick, before Tale of the Dragon I would have said to pick the Greeks and go Zeus (the Greeks were once the most powerful faction in the game with some of the best upgrades available to them) but if you have Tale of the Dragon, I’d have to say that you should pick the Chinese. A few of their God Powers are reusable, they are fast builders and are INCREDIBLY POWERFUL in the late game.

The Chinese have the most overpowered upgrades, units and God Powers available to them, no matter which major or minor gods you pick.

All in all, Age of Mythology: Extended Edition is definitely worth the nostalgia and the extra cash for Tale of the Dragon is worth it if you just want to absolutely thrash your opponents.

Marvel’s ‘Fresh Start’: Is it really Necessary? Or should they just Reboot?

Marvel recently decided to advertise a ‘New Start’ but this leaves fans questioning about whether or not this is an actual reboot or if it is just a relaunch. They haven’t been entirely clear but it looks like it will just be a relaunch, with comics returning to Issue #1.

“Marvel? What’s wrong with you??? ‘New Start’ my foot, this little relaunch is exactly the same as every other renumber you’ve done over the last few years.”

Why Marvel would once again restart the numbering is beyond me, particularly because Marvel Legacy was LITERALLY A FEW MONTHS AGO!!!

For those who don’t know what Marvel Legacy is, let me explain; Legacy introduced Legacy Numbering, which basically just added up all the issues for each title. This didn’t affect too many comics, particularly the newer titles, but it meant that Venom went from #6 to #150, while Hulk (technically She-Hulk) went from #11 to #162 in under a month

The reasoning for this is because people were getting sick of all the relaunches; Invincible Iron Man was relaunched in September of 2016, and, if not for Legacy Numbering, would have been on #16 right now (as of the time of writing), the previous run lasted less than a year and barely made it to #14. The problem with that is that it wouldn’t be the first time this has happened, remember a few paragraphs up when I mentioned that Marvel had renumbered several times in the last few years? Invincible Iron Man has been relaunched at least four times since 2008, and that’s not counting Tony Stark’s time as the Superior Iron Man or International Iron Man; Banner Hulk has also gone through several titles over the years, each coming with a renumbering of it’s own, starting with Incredible Hulk, moving over to Savage Hulk, Rampaging Hulk, World War Hulk, Indestructible Hulk and soon Immortal Hulk (and let’s not forget the many relaunches under the title of Incredible Hulk).

Marvel loves renumbering, everyone loves Issue #1s… or at least, they used to. These days we just want better stories and for the numbering to stick around for a while.

This ‘New Start’ has been explained as having a few Issue #1s but for the most part, it seems many titles will be double-numbered. ‘What is double-numbering?’ you ask. Double-numbering is when a comic has two issue numbers on it; the one number being the Legacy number, while the second number is the issue number for that particular volume or run. For example, Amazing Spider-Man is currently on #796, say the relaunch was perfectly timed with the release of #801, so the numbering would be “#801/#1”. I would prefer if Marvel kept the Legacy numbers and then added on the double numbering, but this whole renumbering fiasco is driving me up the wall. Its gotten to a point where we almost expect each title to go back to #1 at least once a year.

Marvel’s constant relaunches and promises of change have grown old. Its great to have new female characters, its great to have ethnic characters, its great to have LGBTQ+ characters; heck, its great to have a female, ethnic, LGBTQ+ character (America Chavez, I’m looking at you). I’m perfectly fine with a new character being just like Miss Chavez, I’m even OK with a character coming out as homosexual (like Ice Man did just a few months ago); I have absolutely zero problems with diversity and representation. But please stop forcing it on us, that right there is the main reason fans are complaining: because of how forced the diversity and representation feels.

And stop creating characters (ethnic, LGBTQ+ or otherwise) solely to replace well-established characters. Miles Morales becoming Spider-Man was fine, because it was interesting; X23/Laura becoming the All-New Wolverine was perfect, because Logan no longer bore the mantle of Wolverine and she was a pre-established character. But introducing Riri Williams for the sole purpose of replacing Iron Man (regardless of the fact that she has her own superhero name, Ironheart) is just ridiculous. I’m fairly OK with Jane Foster as Thor (her story is AMAZING, love the writing, love the art even more), but then you actually have to do something with Odinson, and a five-issue miniseries isn’t gonna cut it (even if he fights Thanos one-on-one in said miniseries, you have to do a little more than that to keep me interested).

Marvel, please, no more relaunches and renumberings… what we want is a complete, all-out reboot.

Yeah, you read right; a reboot. You don’t have to change the character’s names or their origins stories, you just have to start from scratch, properly.

Give us a bunch of Giant-Size one-shots detailing the origins of different groups and characters. Give us a one-shot on the origins of the Celestials, a one-shot on the origins of the Kree, a one-shot on the Skrulls, another on the Asgardians, maybe even one on the Eternals and the Deviants, then delve into Earth’s heroes; give us individual origins stories for the major members of the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, THEN give us the origins of each superhero team. Start from the beginning and work your way up. You can even give us some of the same stories, as long as you add a modern flair to it all.

And please: NO. MORE. RETCONS.

The Voyager retcon in Avengers: No Surrender has driven the fans into Poltergeist-like fits of rage, please NEVER do that again.

Comic Con is coming to South Africa!!! (UPDATE 03)

This article was written at 20:42 on Tuesday, 20th February.

This morning I got up at a reasonable hour, considering I had to be at university by 09:00, and in between waking up and getting to uni, I had to go through the usual thing that is my morning ritual (which is very interchangeable and doesn’t always have to happen, I’ll have you know). Get to uni, turns out that our double lesson is a double ‘free’ because our lecturer for that class is on vacation for the next two weeks, and on top of that, today was one of those days where I finished early. Wahoo!!!

So I cycle home and lo’ and behold, one of my friends tagged me and a few others in a Facebook post:

“Comic Con Africa is officially coming to South Africa!!!”

The post also contained a picture of the Comic Con Africa logo.


At first, I thought this was just a joke, some kind of elaborate prank at best. I mean, there had been murmurings in the community that SA would get a geek/gaming convention of the same scale and scope as Comic Con and VS Gaming was hinting at some big announcement for the 20th of Feb, but I had no idea that it was going to be something this big. I figured that maybe VS Gaming was going to launch a new eSports tournament or that they were going to host their own expo (although granted, they do practically own rAge at this point, seeing as they’re the largest sponsors for the event). But no, they’re sponsoring Comic Con Africa!

The reason I waited until evening to write this article was because I’ve been waiting for more information. As soon as I found out that this was a real thing, I pressed VS Gaming for answers and through Twitter (I even attempted to encourage a leak, I just wanted the name of one actor or comic book artist who would be there, just one, come on guys, all you had to do was say ‘BMB’ (Brian Michael Bendis) or ‘NN’ (Nolan North) and I would have understood), Reed Exhibitions even chimed in (they’re organising the Con) and told me that they were eager to release the information and would do so promptly.

So I waited a few hours and then I found it: an article which gave a few more details.

Those confirmed to be in attendance include, but are hopefully not limited to:

Nolan North – voice actor for Nathan Drake of the Uncharted franchise

Troy Baker – the voice of Joel from The Last of Us

Various cast members – from The Big Bang Theory

Various cast members – from Game of Thrones

Beyond those I mentioned above, we’ve been told that there will be other international stars attending, including comic book artists and writers. And I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of local talent as well, which is always a good thing.


One of the things I’m particularly excited for, as a collector of comics, statues and Funko Pop!s, is the Comic Con Exclusives. Last year I was so bummed out when Funko released a six-inch Dwarven Colossus from Elder Scrolls Online and I wasn’t able to get my hands on one for a reasonable price because it was a San Diego Comic Con Exclusive.

Comic Con is owned by ReedPOP, who also owns/organise Emerald City Comic Con, PAX, Play Paris, MCM Comic Con, bookcon, BookExpo, ComplexCon, Star Wars Celebration and TwitchCon, all of which they host annually in various countries (42 countries, at last count) around the globe; with MCM remaining in the UK, the US has five different Comic Cons, and so does India. ReedPOP claims to be excited to “bring Comic Con to the African continent” but by comparison to how ABSO-F#@KING-LUTELY EXCITED I am about all this, they’re barely feeling giddy.

I look forward to Comic Con Africa, which will be taking place in Johannesburg, at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Centre from the 14th to the 16th of September later this year.



Okay, so it’s definitely not 20:42 anymore, it’s been well over an hour since then but I was wondering about the ramifications this would have on the rAge Expo which takes place over the first weekend of October each year.

While on the one hand, we’re getting our own frikkin Comic Con, but on the other hand I feel like this would have ramifications for the rAge Expo which takes place barely three weeks after Comic Con Africa. The main reason I’m concerned here is because both are funded by VS Gaming; not only that but because they’re both so close together, I feel like cosplayers won’t be too interested in suiting up again and partaking in another cosplay competition less than a month after the last one, and I don’t know about you, but I’m probably walking away from Comic Con Africa with tons of STUFF, which will leave my pockets fairly empty come rAge weekend, and I’m guessing that many other people will probably have the same dilemma. On top of that, would a company with a physical store actually be able to set aside their best stock for Comic Con Africa and then still have good products available for rAge? One wonders.

Anywho, I suppose we’ll see how it all works out – I just don’t want Comic Con Africa to be the death of the rAge Expo.



UPDATE – 15:10, Feb 21: Companies confirmed to be exhibiting at the Con include (but, again, are hopefully not limited to): HPMSIMegaromMicrosoft XBoxASUS and Pops Toys. I’m hoping that we’ll see some local companies as well, like Cosmic Comics or Readers Den, but I suppose we’ll see closer to the time.

UPDATE – Feb 22: Comic Con Africa’s website is now officially up and running here. The website officially confirms a couple of things, said things are usually Comic Con staples overseas but it’s nice to know for sure, these things include celebrity panel discussions, workshops, seminars and autograph sessions.

UPDATE – Feb 27: I’ve been in contact with VS Gaming and Reed Exhibitions on Twitter and received conflicting reports as to the ticket prices. had the prices at R120 for a day pass, an accidental leak from a spokesperson at Reed Exhibitions, that info was not supposed to be available to the public at that time. After speaking to some of the staff at Reed Exhibitions I discovered that the prices, now public knowledge, are a little different to that leaked price; ticket sales are to open in March with early-bird prices sitting at R120 for a day pass, from roundabout April we will see Phase Two pricing kicks in at R150 a day (from the sound of things, I’m not sure if ‘Phase Two’ refers to timing or to something that will happen at the Con), 3 day passes will be anywhere from R300-350.

Just as an extra note, the prices above do not include autograph and photo-ops packages, the prices for which will be announced as guest appearances are announced over the next few months. Keep an eye on this post as I intend to update it each time new information is released.

DOOM – A Gaming Throwback

Remember DOOM? The original, not the absolutely fantastic 2016 remake.

No, I’m not talking about the one that came out in 2005, that’s Doom 3; and I’m definitely not referring to Final Doom or to Doom 2; I’m talking about the very original Doom, developed by id Software in 1994 just after they released Wolfenstein 3D. Yeah, that one, originally released for the MS-DOS back in 1993 (with subsequent ports taking place all the way through to the PS3 in 2012).

A short while ago I was traipsing through the Steam Store and noticed that there were a couple of Doom-related bundles, I had a small amount of cash left in my Steam Wallet and figured I might as well go for the nostalgia. But I didn’t want Doom 2 with it’s Master Levels, and I sure as heck didn’t want Final Doom, I just wanted the original; sadly that was not to be…

R55 later, though, and I’m enjoying mowing through demons and possessed space marines in Ultimate Doom – which is literally the original Doom but with an extra chapter added on to the story, which was released in 1995.

Ah yes, the shotgun, the chainsaw, the BFG… in no time I was having a blast, so were the demons, if you think about it.

There is something so satisfying about just killing stuff without having to really worry about anything except your own health bar and your ammo count. id Software noticed this when they saw how well Wolfenstein 3D did. Since it’s debut, the game has sold an estimated 10 000 000 copies, which is impressive considering it was technically shareware (it was completely free if you managed to get a copy from your friend or download it from the Internet, the only time you paid for it was if you walked into a store and bought a hard copy).

Ultimate Doom is simple: you start with nothing but a pistol and work your way up to weapons like the rocket launcher and the BFG; kill everything in sight and don’t die. That’s literally it.

Sure, there is a story but it’s not integral to the game – speaking of, the final chapter added by Ultimate Doom, titled Thy Flesh Consumed, actually has a worse story than the chapters included in the original release.

If you’re a completionist, Doom keeps track of how many enemies you’ve killed and how many you left behind, along with how many secrets you’ve discovered.

BUT, and this is a big but, if you are planning on finding all the secrets in the game I would suggest using a guide, because most of the secrets and hidden areas are hidden behind doors which look like normal sections of wall – no, seriously, the textures are EXACTLY the same; there is quite literally no difference between a regular wall panel and a secret door, except in that one of them opens when you stand in front of it for long enough. To boot, a fair amount of the secrets you’ll be looking for were hidden by the developers and shouldn’t actually be in the game in the first place, so of course the screen at the end of each section which keeps track of your progress won’t actually know if you found all the secrets or not, it just knows about the ones which are supposed to be there. Said ‘screen at the end of each chapter’ also keeps track of your time, which practically encourages speedrunning (which is encouraged even further by the speed at which Doomguy moves, holy sh#t he moves quickly).

Gameplay is rather simple: point, shoot and run… or some other combination of those actions.

Character customisation? Nope, non-existent.

Looking up and down? You can forget all about that.

What? You want to be able to look up and down? Well suck it up, buttercup; most of Doom’s levels are perfectly flat, with a few exceptions here and there, but because of how the game was coded to look 3D, you can’t actually look up or down. You see a demon up there somewhere? Just shoot in his general direction, the shot will get to him.

Damage dropoff over distance? lol nope. Another wondrous thing which makes Doom’s guns feel so powerful is that they all have unlimited range. Yeah, you read right; UNLIMITED RANGE. Coding for damage drop-off over distance for different weapons was just a little bit too hard back then, so you can, if your aim is good enough, use the shotgun like a sniper rifle.

60 frames per second? Oh Hell no. Sorry guys, good ole’ Doom 64′ is just a little bit too old for that stuff. It looks like it’s running at a fair 25 to 30 frames per second, but for some reason by computer doesn’t actually want to tell me what the frame rate is. Let me know, would you?

Stereo sound? Oh yeah, that was actually a selling point back in the day; we might take it for granted today, but back then, stereo sound was an impressive feat.

Health regeneration? Nope, you better learn where those health pickups are, because you’re gonna need them.

Armour? Yeah, that’s a thing, just pick it up whenever you see it, you’ll need it later.

Ammo pickups? Yup, those are scattered around too; learn where they are, you won’t get very far with just your fists.

Difficulty levels? Oh, Doom has those, it has them alright. The difficulty levels are titled “I’m Too Young to Die” (easy), “Hey, Not Too Rough” (normal), “Hurt Me Plenty” (hard), “Ultra-Violence” (extra hard) and “Nightmare” (nightmare difficulty, this one speaks for itself). On easy, normal and hard, enemies don’t respawn (either that or they take quite a while, I haven’t actually stayed in any one area for long enough to find out), but all that changes when you start playing Ultra-Violence and Nightmare. The enemies don’t get stronger, the damage numbers don’t even change, the only real changes are the respawn timer, the speed at which enemies move, their precision attacks and the fact that item and pickup placements have been moved around; altogether, these factors make Nightmare mode nigh impossible the first few times around. And although you do get double the regular amount of ammo when playing on Nightmare, the fact that the enemies literally NEVER stop coming at you turns Nightmare into the physical (technically digital) embodiment of stress.

Mod support? Not really, but there is an active modding community out there. And after your first few playthroughs, you’ll want to install a mod or two, because as fun as Doom is, it doesn’t really age all that well.

Overall, Doom is a heck of a lot of fun, the story is engaging (if you look towards the comics) but doesn’t really matter, the gameplay is simple and it is just oh so satisfying when you use the chainsaw on a demon.

Storing Video Games and Comics: Tips and Tricks

As a gamer and avid reader of comics, I often find myself pressed for space, because storing comics and games can be quite the hassle. I figured I would give a few tips and tricks to my fellow gamers and comic geeks, some of these are things I have personally tried, others are things I have seen friends try or found online – and they work.

Let’s start with video games.

And I’m not talking about the ones you bought digitally and downloaded onto your computer/console’s hard drive, I’m talking about the hard copies, the discs, the ones in the boxes; you know, the ones your parents may or may not have mistaken for DVDs at some point or another. Yeah, you remember those; because chances are, you still have them. And if you’re anything like me, you have a lot of them – and of course, you don’t want to get rid of them.

I mean sure, maybe you bought a game through Steam or through your console’s built-in games store, but every now and then you just can’t help but go over to the gaming section at your nearest supermarket or you walked into an actual games store, and every now and then, you walk out of one of these places with one or two hard copies of – you guessed it; video games.

Even if you just buy one or two a year, maybe you buy six or seven a year (which I’m sure isn’t even dwarfed by your digital games library but let’s not go there), but over time it starts to build up, and sooner or later you start to run out of space for all of these games.

When I first moved in to my current home, I was faced with the challenge of storing my games on a shelf (this might seem trivial, but here is where my first tip comes in); previously, I’d stored them in piles on my desk, but said desk is currently out of commission. So I had to come up with a new way of storing my games.

I’d been given a small shelf, and after stacking my books in all different manners and moving a few of my larger books around, I managed to free up a single shelf on my… well, shelf – those things really need a different name; the smaller shelves that make up a big shelf, you know what, I’m going to call them ‘shelfies’ from now on.

After moving a few books around, I’d managed to free up a shelfie (I’m not sure if that word works, let me know what you think) and I’d started trying to get my physical games library onto said shelfie. Said library numbers about seventy physical games copies (pitiful, I know, I’ve unfortunately had to thin out the collection over the years) but the shelfie was just not big enough to fit even half of them… if I had them standing upright, that is.

I found that if I stacked them sideways, on top of each other, in piles, I was able to get all of them onto this one little shelfie. The best part? There is room for at least another ten to fifteen more hard copies.

Another way to store hard copies would be to use a CD rack, as some of these have large enough slots that there is ample room for a hard copy in it’s box – but there are some boxes that will make this easier, Playstation games and X Box One games appear (correct me if I’m wrong) to come in slightly thinner boxes than most PC games, so they might actually fit onto a conventional CD rack.

If hunting down a CD rack that has big enough slots isn’t something you are keen on doing, just buy a DVD rack. A dishrack will also work just fine for storing games.

If you have a spare set of drawers laying around, you can use those to store games, with your console comfortably sitting on top.

If you’re looking for more of a DIY project, I have just the thing for you: have you ever seen a shelfless bookshelf? I know the name is contradictory but the fact of the matter is that it works. Buy a normal wall bracket for a shelf, and instead of putting a shelf on the bracket you can stack your games on it. Now, granted this does leave some balancing to be done but that’s half the fun – or you can just sacrifice a DVD/game box and permanently affix it to the bracket, that way you won’t have to play the balancing game every time you want to play something.

Another quick and easy games storage setup would be to use one of those Hanging Closet Organisers, they have multiple shelfies and will provide ample room for all the games, controllers and headsets you could want.

When it comes to moving games from one place to another for a classic ‘LAN weekend’ (those are still very much a thing), you should be able to store a fair amount of games inside a toolbox; if you don’t have one of those available, guys, steal your girlfriend’s vanity case (metal box used for storing make-up), girls, empty your vanity cases and use that – or the toolbox, whichever suits your fancy.

Okay, now with that part out of the way, we move onto the really irritating stuff: controllers.

I don’t own a console, but I have certainly spent enough time with people who do, and let me tell you: the controllers are often lying all over the place. A quick fix is to put up a few ‘universal tool hooks’ (these come in various sizes and shapes) and I have seen people use some to ‘hang’ their controllers, the next step to this solution is to actually use the hooks, but that part is entirely up to you.

For those of you sitting at a desk with a PC, your mouse, keyboard, speakers and screen really shouldn’t be getting in the way; if they are, either de-clutter your desk or get a larger desk, your desk layout should be centred around your mouse and keyboard, with your speakers off to the sides and your screen on the far side of your desk, if you find yourself constantly moving your peripheries around then it may be time for a larger desk.

Now then, onto the comics!

Anyone who buys comics on a regular basis probably knows that you can’t store them like books on a shelf, they require a different sort of care.

I have previously touched on caring for comics, back in our June issue last year in an article about collecting comics, but I’ll quickly go through it again for those of you who are new – both to the magazine (WELCOME!) and/or to collecting comics (again; WELCOME!)

Some stores that sell comics, sell them loose and unprotected, others take measures to protect their stock by ‘bagging and boarding’. A process through which a comic is placed in a protective sleeve with a backer-board for support, the sleeve is then taped closed with as little air inside as possible. Eventually, the colour on a comic will start to rub off onto the board and sleeve, this takes varying amounts of time depending on the weather in the area you live (the average humidity and temperature are large contributing factors) but a safe bet would be to replace the board every five years and the sleeve every three to three and a half years.

Another part of storing comics is the boxes, like I said, you can’t just put them on a shelf like regular books. Some comic book sellers will also sell ‘comic boxes’ and while the idea may seem extravagant (as simple as these boxes are), there is a reason in this madness. While you may not be interested in collecting comics for the sake of reselling them if/when they’ve gone up in value, if you want your comics to last, keep them ‘bagged and boarded’ and keep them standing upright in their box, and they will last decades; long enough that you’ll be able to share them with your children and, if you look after them properly (the comics, although looking after your kids is probably a good idea too), you may even be able to share them with your grandchildren.

Comics are printed on the same paper as most magazines, but because their spines consist of folded paper and two staples, they need the backer-board, sleeve and box for extra protection.

When storing comics in a box, try to keep them standing upright, otherwise, their weight will eventually flatten and damage their spines – that and comic boxes are designed so that you can store more comics in them when the comics are upright. Make sure not to pack your comics into their boxes too tightly though, if there isn’t enough play between them, you will flatten the spines. Another tip for storing comics would be to store them facing different directions, alternating between facing forward and backward, this way you can fit even more into a box without damaging the spines – this works because the spines are thicker than the rest of the comic, so if they alternate, you save room. This can make finding a particular comic seem like a bit of a hassle, but if you’re pressed for space and don’t have room for another box, this is the way to go.

Speaking of boxes, if you can’t afford comic boxes (don’t pay more than R200 for a comic box, because that’s just a rip off; unless it’s one of those with a thin vinyl coating and the pictures on the outside, they’re worth it) or just don’t want to spend that money, use empty cereal boxes, they’re wide enough that comics fit in them just fine.

If you have numerous comic boxes but they don’t fit on your shelf and it’s shelfies, that’s okay, some comic book stores stock a type of comic box ‘shelf’ which is made of reinforced cardboard.

I hope these tips prove useful to you, if you’re looking for more outlandish ideas then I’m sure you can find something on Pinterest, but I wanted to give you guys multiple options and didn’t have the space to give you a full-length tutorial on building a special shelf/drawer hybrid-thingymabob.

Breathe and Megan Leavey – Double Whammy Review

Breathe tells the true story of a man who falls ill to Polio and against all odds manages to live longer than anyone could have predicted. Megan Leavey is a film which also tells a true story, but this time about a woman who joins the US Military and forms a special bond with a highly aggressive bomb sniffer dog named Rex.

I’d originally attempted to write two separate reviews for these films, one for each, but they came out so short that each would have barely warranted a half page as an actual article, so I figured I would rewrite the reviews but this time do them as one and the same.

So join me as I put the two reviews together and attempt to stretch them out to at least one page, because writer’s block is a thing and I have it right now.

Both Breathe and Megan Leavey are spectacular in their own right, neither is a visual spectacle like Pacific Rim or action-packed like an Avengers film, each brings something unique to the table.

Breathe centres around one’s will to live against all odds, Megan Leavey is about an unlikely friendship between a woman who never really got much out of life and an aggressive dog who refused to work with anyone. Both are emotional films, but one does a better job of conveying that emotion than the other; Breathe.

Breathe was Andy Serkis’ directorial debut. What? You don’t know who that is?

Remember Gollum from Lord of the Rings? Or how about Caesar from the Planet of the Apes franchise? Captain Haddock from Stephen Spielberg’s The Adventures of TinTin? More recently you will have seen him in the role of Ulysses Klaue in Black Panther. Or maybe you recognised his work right away when he played Supreme Leader Snoke in The Force Awakens and again in The Last Jedi.

Yeah, that guy; now you know who I’m talking about. And even if you recognised his name, I bet you didn’t know he played Snoke – because I sure as hell didn’t until I did a little research.

Surely a man who is more adept than most at conveying emotion through movement or through the smallest of facial gestures would know how to perfectly convey emotion and perspective through camera angles and attention to detail in scriptwriting and acting. And this logic shows.

Breathe starts by introducing us to the main characters and their friends, showing us their active lifestyles, gives us a short scene with each character so that we know what each one is about and makes short work of showing us the dynamic between all these people. Our lead, played by Andrew Garfield, falls ill to Polio and is paralysed from the neck down, requiring a motorised respirator to aid in breathing. His friends and family are supportive through it all, their dynamic remaining unchanged. Andrew’s character, at first, wants nothing more than to die, and so his condition does nothing but rapidly deteriorate. He eventually decides that he would like to get to know his newborn son, but that definitely isn’t happening in a hospital. His wife practically breaks him out of the hospital and soon he is home, in bed and hooked up to his respirator.

In no time at all his mood and condition improve, he eventually comes up with an idea for something of a wheelchair, with it’s own breathing unit attached and powered by a battery.

It is from this chair that he gets to see the world and enjoy life.

He proves all the doctors wrong and lives longer outside a hospital than anyone could have predicted, living longer than most Polio patients who remain inside their hospital wards.

Unfortunately, eventually there comes a time when his body cannot keep up with his will, and so he ‘gives himself permission to die’.

Megan Leavey is emotional on the same level as American Sniper, while the former doesn’t really have you questioning your humanity, it comes through on more or less the same level. The character building is done simply, through not asking too many questions and answering only a few when it comes to the lead roles. The film shows how one can struggle to fit in, even in the military, especially as a woman. After an extended and strenuous bonding period with her assigned sniffer dog, Rex, Megan finally gets out onto the battlefield and ‘performs admirably’ but is sent home for a few weeks after a bomb goes off in her face. When she returns from her recovery break, she finds Rex has been assigned to someone else. She signs a few forms to make Rex adoptable so that she can take him home, her applications are denied and so she makes things public, going so far as to seek support from a congressman. She appears on TV a couple times, does a few interviews and suddenly the government gives her the right to adopt Rex. Thereafter, Rex lives happily for many years. Today Megan works as a veterinarian.

That summary right there is literally every single important plot point in the film. Notice how short and emotionless it was? That’s more or less how I felt walking out of the cinema after watching Megan Leavey; there were parts of the film that made me tear up a little but for the most part, I walked out of there not really knowing what to make of the movie. I didn’t get attached to the characters for any amount of time.

While a wonderful story, Megan Leavey doesn’t really seem to have delivered on it’s promise of an emotional story about a woman and her dog.

Black Panther

You know how we’re all always excited for a Marvel movie and then we see the second or third trailer and we think to ourselves “The Marvel Villain Curse strikes again!!!”, and, I’ll have to be honest with you guys, I thought this too. When we saw footage of Killmonger wearing a Black Panther suit (with the golden accents), I thought that we were going to be watching the first Iron Man all over again: someone has tech, someone else wants that tech, said someone else steals that tech and then they battle it out.

And in a sense, we did get that; but not entirely.

WARNING: there are MAJOR (I repeat, MAJOR) SPOILERS ahead, please do not continue reading this article if you haven’t seen Black Panther and don’t want it spoiled for you. You have been warned.

In this review, I’m going to pick apart the parts of Black Panther that I thought made it the fantastic film that it is, and first off is the world-building.

Careful attention to detail was paid when showing scenes of Wakandan society, architecture and fashion. Those working in the costume department made sure to do their research before putting someone into a red robe and calling it ‘tribal garb’ – before anyone gets upset with me, I worded it like that on purpose, a fair amount of the world’s populace has a rather incorrect idea of what ‘African culture’ is, as South Africans, we are fully aware that Africa is not just one place with one culture. The design department took the time to actually look at what Afro-futurism pertains to and what it entails, taking concepts and designs from many cultures across the African continent and adding a futuristic twist. Even the actors paid attention to these details, everything from how they stand to whether or not they look someone in the eye before they have been properly addressed. And the many vibranium powered technologies we saw were taken directly from the more recent Black Panther comics (which have delved more into Wakandan society and technology than any comic before; big ‘thank you’ to writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Brian Stelfreeze for providing us that in-depth look).

Attention was especially paid to the languages; with the majority of Wakanda’s population speaking Xhosa, while the outlying Jabari Tribe, led by M’Baku (known in the comics as ‘M’Baku the Man Ape’) speaks a version of the Nigerian Igbo language.

Secondly, we have our protagonists.

T’Challa, his sister Shuri, his ex-girlfriend Nakia and the leader of the Dora Milaje, Okoye. Each character is believable and each one has their chance to take centre stage.

T’Challa is of course the Black Panther, King of Wakanda; Boseman had not only settled into the role by the time filming on Black Panther began, but he says that T’Challa is also considerably more comfortable than he was in Civil War because he is back home. Throughout the film, T’Challa is faced with some incredibly difficult decisions, between pleasing the Council of Wakanda as king of the nation and protecting his people as the Black Panther, his morals and the rules by which he plays are challenged more than once throughout the film.

Okoye is the leader of the Dora Milaje and is referred to as “general” at least once in the film, which is interesting considering that Wakanda has no official military, the word seems more to be a reference to the fact that she is the leader of the single largest warrior group in Wakanda. Once Killmonger has taken the throne, Okoye struggles with her loyalties, because on the one hand she is best friends with T’Challa and believes he should be king, but on the other, Killmonger won the throne in fair combat and she is “loyal to the throne” as she puts it.

Nakia probably the least fleshed out character among the leads, but our introduction to her says enough; she is T’Challa’s ex-girlfriend, and she has left Wakanda to put her combat skills to use taking down human trafficking rings and helping those in need where she can; she is of a similar mind to Killmonger in that she believes Wakanda should be putting their resources to good use and help those in need all across the globe, but she is ever loyal to T’Challa, the two even kiss at the end of the film.

Shuri is the sixteen year old sister of T’Challa, she is highly intelligent (it is implied that T’Challa designed and made the Black Panther suit we see him wearing in Civil War, Shuri calls his suit a ‘relic’ and is the one who develops all the weapons and tools T’Challa could ever need; the general perception is that she is smarter than Tony Stark) and all she wants is to be out in the field helping her brother on missions. She is also the film’s greatest source of comedy, but her jokes are perfectly timed and never ruin the moment; something Marvel has been struggling with for a while now.

And third, we have our villain; Erik “Killmonger” Stevens.

If you look back towards the first paragraph of this review you’ll see the comparison I made between Black Panther and Iron Man, but this comparison isn’t entirely true and it’s not really fair either. This time, it wasn’t really Killmonger ‘stealing’ the suit or the technology like Obadiah Stane did with the design of the Mk 1 Iron Man suit; instead, he fought his way into Wakanda, killed Klaw to gain attention and to rally some of Wakanda’s leaders to his cause, exercised his birthright by laying a claim to the throne (for those who don’t know, he is T’Challa’s cousin), won in fair ritual combat (sort of, more on that in a bit), and took the throne. He did it the way anyone else who would have wanted to challenge T’Challa would have; he took the throne, but he didn’t steal anything – well, I guess he technically did because he didn’t actually kill T’Challa but, hey, everyone thought T’Challa died when Killmonger threw him off the edge of the waterfall, so I suppose that’s fine.

The MCU fanbase seems to be of two minds when it comes to Killmonger; there are those who believe he breaks the ‘Marvel Villain Curse’ and there are those who seem to believe there never was a curse to begin with and that if there was actually one, Killmonger does not break it.

If we had to look at it objectively, unfortunately, Marvel’s villains are lacking in some areas. Obadiah wasn’t such a bad villain but he did a pretty good job of it; Loki was a great villain… the first two times (being in Thor and Avengers); Red Skull, while impressive, was basically just a Nazi version of Captain America (something readers of the comics got very acquainted with last year); Malekith wasn’t spectacular; Whiplash was Whiplash; the Winter Soldier had no personality until Civil War; the Mandarin was the most disappointing thing that ever happened in the history of disappointing things; Ronin was one-dimensional and so was Ultron, for all of David Spader’s amazing voice acting; Ego was… meh and Hela literally just appeared one day and decided she was going to try to kill everyone. The consensus online is that there are three villains who take the cake; Vulture, Zemo and Killmonger… and guess who is at the top of that list?

While Zemo came from out of nowhere, he had clearly planned ahead, taking the Avengers apart from the inside, and his actions alluded to some mysterious end-game which has yet to be revealed – unless all he wanted to do was tear the Avengers apart, in which case, his mission was successful.

Vulture was a classic, modern-day criminal; doing all the wrong things for the right reasons.

But Killmonger…

Erik was the product of his environment, and this is painfully evident. At the start of the film it is revealed that Erik’s father, N’Jobu had betrayed Wakanda, resulting in his death at the hands of his brother, King T’Chaka (T’Challa and Shuri’s father, played by John Kani – any South African who took Drama as a subject in high school should know his work very well). T’Chaka killed N’Jobu while Erik was still quite young, Erik then grew to hate the Black Panther, but he’d always wanted to see the beauty of Wakanda, as his father had promised him that he would one day be able to go there to see “the most beautiful place in the world”. It is implied that Erik grew up in a rough neighbourhood, and very well explained that he was a military operative who racked up, and kept count of, his substantial number of kills while a member of the United States military, which earned him the name ‘Killmonger’.

Erik only knew how to solve problems with violence, so he sought to provide superior Wakandan weapons to the oppressed around the world, giving them the power to stand up for themselves and fight back against their oppressors. While his methods were disagreeable, we eventually learn that Wakanda reaching out to the rest of the world is what should happen.

Erik does break the MCU Villain Curse, he is relatable and he is not as shallow as a puddle, his motivations are evident and, most of all, we understand them.

And even though he died in the end, he is technically the one Marvel villain who actually got what he wanted; for Wakanda to help people; but he was right too.

Okay, so here comes the obligatory part of the review where I geek out for a few paragraphs.

Online, Killmonger’s suit is being referred to as the ‘Golden Jaguar’ and while I’m not sure if that is the suit’s official name, the colouration does hint at something the film chose to omit/change. At the start of Black Panther, Wakanda’s history and politics are explained, we find out there are different tribes within the nation which each have a seat at the Council of Wakanda and each can put forward a challenger for the throne and the mantle of Black Panther. What the film missed out on were the differing cults in Wakanda. In the comics, the tribes were once upon a time called ‘cults’, because each followed a different god; and those gods were based on different gods from many different African cultures (namely Kokou, Mujaji, Nyami, Thoth, Ptah, Bast, Sekhmet, Sobek and a few others – you may or may not recognise a few of those names, as two of them were borrowed from Southern African cultures – while those of you overseas are more likely to recognise the Egyptian gods).

The first six of those that I listed were the main groups, the others were much more cult-like. Each cult was represented by a colour, Sobek was represented by blue, Bast was represented by purple, etc. The opening sequence featuring Bast wasn’t just some ‘ancient legend’ told for the sake of world-building, in terms of the MCU canon you may as well count Bast as an actual goddess (remember, even the Asgardians aren’t gods, they’re just really long-lived). Anywho, my point is that the golden shade of Killmonger’s suit reminded me of the elusive Cult of Sekhmet (an ancient Egyptian goddess of war and destruction), who was represented by a golden/yellow colour in the comics.

I’m not sure if the colour of Killmonger’s suit is an allusion to the Cult of Sekhmet, or if its just a little Easter egg, but either way, it’s an interesting thought.

At the end of the day, I’d even go as far as saying that Black Panther was quite possibly the best MCU film to date.