Wednesday, 14 June 2017

LEGO Marvel's Defenders | Chapter 3: Vampire Nation - References and Easter Eggs

As the team head to the vampire city of St. Sebastian, Iron Fist starts to wonder if there's more to Doctor Strange's motivations than meets the eye.

References and Easter Eggs

  • This episode’s setting and subplot are heavily inspired by Death of Dracula #1, which sees Xarus (Dracula’s son) murdering his father as part of an attempt to unite and control the Vampire Sects.
  • The flag seen throughout St. Sebastien has one star for every vampire sect.
  • Though the Sects themselves do not appear much in this episode, they will feature more heavily later in the series, and in other MBU projects.
  • This is Blade’s first appearance in the MBU.
  • In the prologue, Blade is seen with Raizo Kodo, leader of a band of ‘good’ vampires called the Forgiven, who seek to thwart the machinations of Dracula, Xarus, and any vampires who lust for power and bloodshed. They first appeared in Fear Itself: Hulk vs. Dracula #1.1 in 2011.
  • Raizo’s vampire powers are never clearly defined in the comics, beyond his prodigious skill with a blade. In this episode, he is shown to be mildly telepathic, able to ‘listen’ to the vampires of St. Sebastien, and apparently can turn invisible.
  • The Claw Sect vampires that Blade and Raizo hide from are from the Middle East. They are skilled assassins.
  • The helmeted, gun-toting vampires seen throughout St. Sebastien are of the Kreiger Sect, rivals of the Claw and one of the strongest vampire sects. They are militaristic, and usually dwell in an unassailable mountain fortress.
  • The statue that Blade and Raizo hide behind is ‘Our Lady of Famine’. One of my interpretations of Marvel’s vampire culture is that they would have needed to enslave local villagers to build the vampire citadel during the day, and that in fear of the vampires, these superstitious locals might have come to create folk legends about them. Our Lady of Famine is a fictional vampire and one of those legends.
  • The footage of the Ultron army invading St. Sebastien is taken from a cancelled animation called LEGO Ultron Unlimited: Vampire Nation, which was to cover the events that Xarus mentions in flashback.
  • Dracula being beheaded is a direct reference to the comics; traditionally, in folklore, one of the only ways to kill a vampire is to behead it. The X-Men actually revive Dracula after his murder at Xarus’ hands by reuniting his head with his body in Curse of the Mutants.
  • Ryan Negron, the MBU’s original Iron Fist voice actor was unable to voice in this episode, so Josh Danque (AFewGoodFilms) offered to temporarily replace him.
  • This is the first episode in the series where a character uses the term ‘Defenders’ to define the team. Iron Fist’s dialogue implies that there was a previous team in the MBU that we have yet to fully learn about.
  • Doctor Strange is implied to have had previous dealings with Daimon and Satana Hellstrom, who appear to be villains in the MBU. Only time will tell if this is truly the case.
  • Doctor Strange is shown not to be above foul play himself, using a Spell of Illusion to distract Xarus while he searches the citadel. This mentality of ends justifying the means is a subtle reference to Strange’s role in the Illuminati, in the comics, where Strange, Namor, Tony Stark, Charles Xavier, Black Bolt and Reed Richards come together to deal with catastrophic situations in secret, taking action (some terrible action) on behalf of the rest of the superhero community.
  • It is unknown whether Xarus’ plan to turn Iron Fist and Valkyrie into vampires would have worked. Iron Fist’s chi abilities might have allowed him to purge the vampire curse from his body (as Wolverine’s healing factor can), and Valkyrie is an Asgardian goddess, so mgiht not have been affected at all.
I hope you found these little nuggets of info fun and interesting! Until next time, what is the true extent of the Hellstroms' plan? Do they truly wish to raise Dormammu? Why might Strange not be being entirely honest with his new teammates? And can Blade and the Defenders stop this new Vampire Nation from rising to power so late in the game?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

LEGO Yondu and the Ravagers - References and Easter Eggs

In the aftermath of Gamora's attack on the Badoon, Yondu and his Ravagers come to that same planet to collect a bounty, but they soon find that nobody is left to pay them. There is only the Hunger.

References and Easter Eggs

  • The green crystal, the Elemental, is a gemstone of great power precious to the Brotherhood of the Badoon. It's first appearance was very recent, in Gamora #1.1, published in December 2016. Its powers will be different in the MBU.
  • Galactus is able to sense the Elemental from far away. In the comics, different energies and firmaments have different 'tastes', with Sakaar's Old Power giving Galactus a high. This is the same in the MBU, with Galactus thinking the Elemental will be a fine delicacy.
  • Most of the Ravagers in this brickfilm are original characters, with the exceptions of Yondu, Star-Lord, Taserface, Kraglin, and Lady Hellbender.
  • Lady Hellbender is a minor antagonist from Totally-Awesome Hulk #1.1-1.4. In the comics, she is the self-proclaimed Monster Queen of Seknarf Nine. She scours the universe for rare monsters in order to bring them to a sanctuary on her planet, where they are adored for their strength and size. However, in the MBU, she has temporarily joined the Ravagers to acquire money and supplies to further her own goals. Her blocky ship, the Destromundo, is currently docked in one of Knowhere’s outer, long-stay bays. On a good day, she is strong enough to go toe-to-toe with the Hulk. I plan for her to appear in my Planet Hulk series, and thought this would be a good way of introducing her beforehand.
  • Yondu's exclamation "Sweet Mistress Death" is essentially his way of saying "Oh my God". It's meant to imply that the cosmic beings who pop up in the Marvel universe are regarded as a pantheon of 'gods'. I like throwing in more subtly ways of world-building like this.
  • P0K, the hooded, robot Ravager, mentions the Shanix currency. The Shanix is a currency found in the Transformers universe, which the Marvel/Transformers/Doctor Who character Death's Head hails from. Keep your ears open for other subtle Transformers name-drops in the future!
  • Yondu mentions the Broker, a trader of antiques who operates on Xandar.
  • Galactus' herald in this brickfilm is not the Silver Surfer, but Stardust, a water elemental. In the comics, Galactus goes through a number of different heralds, and we will see most of them in the MBU too.
I hope you found these little nuggets of info fun and interesting! Until next time, what powers does the Elemental have, and what do the Badoon want it for? What happened to the Silver Surfer? What did Reed Richards seem so concerned about? And who are King Y'Gaar's mysterious allies?

Join me for the next chapter in this cosmic saga coming soon!

Whoever these two aliens are, they definitely don't come in peace.