Monday, July 28, 2014
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Kurgan fleshes out his past in 2-issue 'Highlander' series

The tale of the barbaric Kurgan's origin is told for the first time in a 2-issue miniseries.
The tale of the barbaric Kurgan's origin is told for the first time in a 2-issue miniseries.
A lot of times, when comic companies decide to do books detailing the pasts of a famous villains like Doctor Doom or Lex Luthor, they actually diminish the characters by taking away mystery and adding familiarity and sympathy.

An exceptional exception to this rule has just hit shelves in the form of "Highlander Origins: The Kurgan" No. 1, the beginning of a two-issue miniseries that is shaping up as a true event.

The Kurgan was hero Connor MacLeod's deadliest foe in the original "Highlander" film. While formidable, he never displayed much depth before meeting his demise.

The comic takes the moment when the Kurgan's essence was transferred to MacLeod, and uses it as a device for the Kurgan to tell his story. It is the first time the barbaric Kurgan's origin has been told in any medium.

Writer Brandon Jerwa manages to not only add emotional layers to the character, but also presents him as more dangerous and evil than we ever imagined. We learn that a meek, young boy named Vitor lost his family in a flood. Taken in by a couple, he learned the way of their people, the Kurgan, which means "conquest and fury."

This once-timid boy soon becomes starved for power and eventually learns of his Immortal heritage through a mentor. He realizes that he was born to conquer and that the flood that could have destroyed him instead set him upon a path to become an unstoppable force.

"Kurgan" makes you feel for the main character and lets you learn more about him and his motivations while telling an excellent story. It's everything an origin tale should be.

The 'Knight' shaft?

While many were disappointed "The Dark Knight" did not receive a best-picture Oscar nomination, Comics Guy has no problem with it.

He may be one of the rare people on the planet who thinks the film is slightly overrated.

Besides, Heath Ledger got his expected nomination for best supporting actor and the film got eight other nods in technical categories.

Ironically, Robert Downey, Jr. also received a best-supporting-actor nomination for "Tropic Thunder." It is easy to forget, but when "Iron Man" came out, many were touting Downey as a potential best-actor nominee, claiming it was the best performance ever given in a superhero film and that he and the genre should be recognized.

Then came Ledger's excellent, heavily-hyped performance two months later, and Downey's performance was soon forgotten.

So Ledger not only possibly cost Downey a nomination for best actor, he will likely deny him a best-supporting-actor win as well.

Blunt as Black Widow?

In other "Iron Man" news, Variety reports that British actress Emily Blunt ("The Devil Wears Prada") has the inside track to play sexy Russian superspy Natasha Romanoff, better know as the Black Widow, in the upcoming "Iron Man 2."

Blunt in black leather? We approve.

Meanwhile, Sam Rockwell ("Frost/Nixon") confirmed last week to MTV that he will be playing Tony Stark's corporate rival Justin Hammer in "Iron Man 2."

Rockwell and Downey playing rivals onscreen shouldn't be that much of a stretch - Rockwell was one of the actors strongly considered for the "Iron Man" lead.

'Super' cameo?

Marc Guggenheim is staying quiet on the long-in-development "Green Lantern" movie and he is trying to pack as many surprises as he can in the script.

However, he does reveal that one of them will involve Superman.

"When the ring is spinning around the planet looking for a successor to Abin Sur, it passes a guy with glasses working at the Daily Planet," he revealed to Wizard magazine.

If the scene stays in the final version of the film, it will mark the first time that a major DC character has appeared in another superhero's movie. *

E-mail comicsguy@phillynews.com

 

JEROME MAIDA For the Daily News
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