When I was doing my Master’s Degree, I began developing a website/magazine called New to Comics as part of one of my projects. After I graduated, I made a couple of attempts to keep New to Comics alive as its own site, but later realised it would make more sense just to fold it into Geek Space.
The intention of New to Comics is to review, and explain the background behind, various comic books in a new-reader friendly way. Each ‘review’ has a character profile, some background information on the comic, a rundown of the plot, as well as a review.
You can find the various characters and stories I’ve looked at so far under the publishers below, or click on said publishers for more heroes and villains from their comics:
Real Name: Bruce Thomas Wayne
Affiliation: The Justice League
First Appearance: Detective Comics #27 (March 1939)
As a child, Bruce Wayne wanted for nothing – the son of some of the wealthiest and most respected people in Gotham City, Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce was, in essence, heir to the throne of Gotham. But all that changed when Bruce’s parents were gunned down in front of him, instilling in him a deep hatred for criminals that would hang over his entire life. Committing himself to become skilled in multiple disciplines such as combat and detective work, Bruce used the wealth and resources of the company he inherited from his father to become the vigilante known as the Batman. A figure of fear, Bruce now wages a war against crime with his trusty Batmobile and high-tech armoury of weapons, assisted by his loyal butler and father-figure Alfred, police commissioner Jim Gordon and his extended ‘Bat-family’ of sidekicks like Robin.
Comics: BATMAN: Year One, The Killing Joke, The World’s Finest, The Wedding, Joker War, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS || CRISIS on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, JUSTICE LEAGUE: Origin, The Villain’s Journey, Throne of Atlantis, The Grid, Trinity War, Forever Evil, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: Rock of Ages, LEGENDS, SUPERMAN: The Man of Steel
Film & TV: Batman, Batman v Superman, The LEGO Batman Movie, Joker, Harley Quinn: Season One, Harley Quinn: Season Two, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, The Batman
Video-Games: Injustice: Gods Among Us, Injustice 2
Real Name: Peter Benjamin Parker
Affiliation: The Avengers
First Appearance: Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)
A teenage science prodigy bit by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker initially used his powers (strength, speed, agility, wall-crawling and an intuitive ‘spider-sense’) as a showman.
However, after he neglected his responsibility to stop a criminal, that same criminal killed his Uncle Ben, teaching Peter that he must always use his powers for the good of others. Juggling adventures with caring for his elderly Aunt May, an on-again, off-again relationship with Mary-Jane Watson and trying to hold down a job, Peter strives to take his bad luck in stride to become one of the most prolific heroes in New York, using his years of experience, self-made gadgets and spectacular abilities as the amazing Spider-Man!
Although a horde of villains and hard times plague him at every turn, Peter refuses to give up his web-swinging ways, in the hopes that he can honour his Uncle and live up to the mantra that “With great power, there must also come great responsibility”.
Comics: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: Great Power, Civil War, One More Day, New Ways to Die, Spider-Verse, SPIDER-MEN, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN: Power & Responsibility, Learning Curve, Double Trouble, Legacy, Public Scrutiny, Venom || AVENGERS VS X-MEN, CIVIL WAR, FANTASTIC FOUR: Monsters Unleashed, HOUSE OF M, NEW AVENGERS: Breakout, Revolution, SECRET INVASION, SECRET WARS, SIEGE
Film & TV: Amazing Spider-Man 2, Civil War, Homecoming, Infinity War, Into the Spider-Verse, Endgame, Far From Home, No Way Home
Real Name: ?
First Appearance: Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child [TV – November 1963]
Millenia ago, a child from an unknown world was found by the scientist Tecteun, and taken to the planet Gallifrey. This ‘Timeless Child’ displayed the ability to regenerate after fatal incidents, healing and transforming themselves in the process. Tecteun studied and transferred this ability to her people, beginning their ascent into the powerful race known as the Time Lords.
Over the centuries, the ‘Timeless Child’, who had long since forgotten their origins, grew and regenerated into a studious, gruff, yet empathetic adult known as ‘the Doctor’. Dissatisfied with their life on Gallifrey, they stole a TARDIS – a living, time travelling spaceship – and absconded to parts unknown with their granddaughter Susan.
After a stint on Earth, where the TARDIS’ appearance got stuck as a 1960s police box, the Doctor began a series of fantastical adventures through space and time. While Susan has long since moved on, the Doctor, whose two hearts have been softened by their time on Earth, continues to appear wherever and whenever they’re needed, using their wit and intellectual prowess to save those in need from alien threats, often sharing their adventures with a human companion they’ve picked up along the way.
Film & TV: Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child, Series One, Series Two, Series Three, Series Four, The Next Doctor, Planet of the Dead, The Waters of Mars, The End of Time, Series Eleven, Resolution, Series Twelve, Revolution of the Daleks
Real Name: Luke Skywalker
Affiliation: The Rebel Alliance
First Appearance: Star Wars [Movie – May 1977]
Secretly the son of famed Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and Queen-turned-Politician Padmé Amidala, farmboy Luke Skywalker lived a simple life on the desolate desert planet of Tattooine until the day his aunt and uncle were slaughtered by the evil Empire after coming into possession of two valuable droids.
Under the tutelage of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke set out on an adventure across the stars, meeting rogue smuggler Han Solo and his first mate Chewbacca, and helping Kenobi save Princess Leia Organa.
Now a part of the Rebel Alliance, Luke fights against the Empire, while learning the ways of the Jedi, hoping to master the power of the Force so that he can defeat the nefarious Darth Vader and his Emperor, Palpatine, as the ‘Last Jedi’.
Comics: STAR WARS: Skywalker Strikes, Vader Down
Film & TV: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker
Video-Games: Star Wars Battlefront II
Real Name: Jonathan Osterman
Affiliation: The Crimebusters
First Appearance: Watchmen #1 (September 1986)
Jon Osterman was the son of a watchmaker, whose future prospects were obliterated by the dropping of the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima. Seeing that human history had forever been altered, his father altered Jon’s path, steering him away from watchmaking and towards nuclear physics. Years later, tragedy struck, as in hoping to recover a present from his lab coat for his girlfriend Janey Slater, Jon was trapped in a test chamber for ‘Intrinsic Fields’ and was disintegrated. Months later, however, empowered by the catastrophe, Jon began to will himself back into existence and was subsequently reborn as the God-like Doctor Manhattan, the first and only superhuman on his world. In this higher plane of existence, Jon began to experience time in a non-linear fashion, and after his transformation joined the superhero team the Crimebusters, fought in the Vietnam War, fell in love with the vigilante Silk Spectre, exiled himself to Mars, and eventually left the Solar System to explore other galaxies. Years later, he would reemerge once more, this time in the DC Universe, where he would use his powers to experiment with the fabric of reality.
Real Name: Hanzo Hasashi
Affiliation: The Shirai Ryu
First Appearance: Mortal Kombat [Video-Game] (October 1992)
Hoping to provide a comfortable life for his family, Hanzo Hasashi joined the ninja clan known as the Shirai Ryu. Instead, his allegiance to the Shirai Ryu led to their deaths, as Hanzo, his wife and child were slaughtered by an opposing ninja clan, the Lin Kuei, led by the ice-conjuring warrior Bi-Han.
But death could not abate Hanzo’s lust for vengeance, and with the help of the nefarious necromancer Quan Chi, he returned to land of the living as a savage, fire-breathing, kunai-wielding spectre. Now known as Scorpion, Hanzo was dispatched to the legendary Mortal Kombat Tournament – a battle between realms – where he sought out his old nemesis. But his vengeance upon Sub-Zero would not bring him peace, as he learned that his ‘saviour’ Quan Chi had orchestrated this series of tragedies, and framed the Lin Kuei for his crimes.
Faced with new enemies in the form of Bi-Han’s younger brother who had taken up his mantle as Sub-Zero, as well as Bi-Han himself, reborn in spectre form as Noob Saibot, Hanzo was forced to reexamine the path that his vengeance put him upon. Now, the fiery warrior seeks redemption for his past crimes, as he fights alongside the champions of Earthrealm in a bid to not only restore his honour, but also the Shirai Ryu.
Real Name: Jesse Custer
Affiliation: The Church
First Appearance: Preacher #1 (April 1995)
In a bizarre turn of events, an angel and a demon found themselves falling in love. However, their affair was cut short when the demon became pregnant, leading her angelic lover to turn on her. In their ensuing fight, the child was born – a being with godlike powers. The being, ‘Genesis’, was locked away in heaven, until one day it escaped, and travelled to Earth. On Earth, Genesis merged with depressed preacher Jesse Custer, also the product of a manipulative and abusive upbringing at the hands of his grandmother – their union obliterating the town he lived in. Jesse awoke to learn that he now had the power to command anyone to do anything he told them to. Reuniting with his scorned ex-girlfriend Tulip O’Hare and his new friend, an Irish vampire named Cassidy, Jesse decided to set out and (literally) find God, after learning the deity has ‘quit’, and make him answer for what he’s done.
Comics: PREACHER: Book One
Film & TV: N/A
Real Name: Markus Sebastian Grayson
Affiliation: The Pact
First Appearance: Invincible #1 (January 2003)
Mark Grayson was a normal teenaged boy, with one big difference – his father, Nolan Grayson, was the world’s greatest superhero: Omni-Man, defender of democracy. Hailing from the planet Viltrum, Nolan was once a member of a great warrior race who had achieved the perfect society on their home planet. Spreading out across the stars, his people began spreading their doctrine to different worlds, hoping to elevate them. With their numbers spread thin, Nolan took it upon himself to watch over Earth, and in time became its hero, fell in love and had a child. Years later, as his son Mark neared the end of high school, he finally began to develop powers of his own, donning his own costume and taking on the name Invincible. As one of the most powerful superheroes on the planet, Mark now does his best to balance his studies and saving the world, all the while dealing with his father’s legacy.
Comics: INVINCIBLE: Family Matters, Eight is Enough, Perfect Strangers
Film & TV: Invincible
Real Name: Cassandra Hack
First Appearance: Hack/Slash: Euthanised #1 (April 2004)
Something of an outcast, Cassie Hack was bullied at school, until her mother, Mrs Hack the lunch lady, stepped in and began murdering those who made fun of her daughter. After her mother killed herself to avoid being arrested, Cassie was taken into foster care and moved to another school. However, due to her connection to the infamous ‘Lunch Lady’, Cassie became the subject of bullying once more, causing her mother to return from the grave as a ‘slasher’ – killing those who tormented her daughter until Cassie was forced to step up and put her mother down for good. With no connection to anything or anyone, Cassie sought to atone for her feelings of guilt by fleeing her new home and travelling across the country hunting down and killing slashers. One such case led her to encounter the monstrous-looking Vlad, who soon became her best friend and companion on her quest to rid the world of these monsters.
Comics: HACK/SLASH: First Cut, Death by Sequel, Hack/Slash vs Chucky
Film & TV: N/A