The Geek Beat: From 'The Power of the Dark Crystal' to 'X-23,' Here's Your Guide to February

The Geek Beat: From 'The Power of the Dark Crystal' to 'X-23,' Here's Your Guide to February

Feb 02, 2017

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and the opportunity for a bit of escapism feels more valuable than ever – even if it's just for the time it takes to watch a movie or read a few comics.

With that in mind, this month's guide to the geekery hitting shelves and arriving in theaters over the next few weeks is focuses on stuff to watch and read when you decide it's time to unplug and zone out for a while. From compelling science-fiction drama to a bizarre crossover comic you have to see to believe, there's some great escapist fare available this February.

Here are some of the highlights:

 

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Prelude #1-2

The sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't arrive in theaters until May, but Marvel Comics is offering the now-customary opportunity to get reacquainted with the heroes of its next film in the pages of a comic. Both issues of the two-part comic will be available this month, and will present the events of the original film in comic form, introducing (or re-introducing) readers to the motley cosmic team of Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Star-Lord, Gamora, and Drax.

 

Arrival

Director Denis Villeneueve's Oscar-nominated, alien-encounter drama was one of the best movies of 2016, and it will be available to watch, re-watch, and marvel at in awe from the comfort of your own couch February 14. But seriously, though, Arrival really is a thing of beauty – so if you haven't seen it yet, don't miss the chance to do so. It's deserving of all the hype.

 

The Power of the Dark Crystal #1

This year is the 35th anniversary of the release of The Dark Crystal, Jim Henson's beloved, puppet-driven fantasy adventure that's widely regarded as one of the innovative films of its time (and the source of some nightmares for anyone of a certain, movie-friendly young age when the film premiered). That film receives its long-awaited sequel this month with The Power of the Dark Crystal, a 12-issue comic series based on concepts that Henson and the original film's screenwriter, David Odell, discussed during that film's development phase. Set years after Jen and Kira became the King and Queen of Thra, the first issue will be available in comic shops at some point in February.

 

The LEGO Batman Movie

The 2014 animated comedy The LEGO Movie was a surprising blockbuster, and the next film in the animated franchise based on the ubiquitous building blocks is shaping up to provide even more laughs (if that's even possible). The film brings back Will Arnett as the voice of Batman, and he's joined by a ridiculously funny (for a variety of reasons) supporting cast that includes Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Zach Galifianakis as Joker, Michael Cera as Robin, Mariah Carey as the Mayor of Gotham, and Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face. We could all use some big, sincere laughs right now, so here's hoping the film's February 10 premiere brings 'em.

 

Thor Mjolnir Hammer Cufflinks

Look, I get it. Sometimes you just want to represent your inner Norse god (or goddess) but still be allowed into that business meeting or swanky gala. All it takes is $65 and a visit to EntertainmentEarth.com to be worthy of a pair of Mjolnir cufflinks that even Thor would appreciate. (At least, I think he'd appreciate it. He's a tough read when it comes to fashion.)

 

Planet of the Apes / Green Lantern #1 (of 6)

As far as “crossovers we didn't know we wanted” go, the mash-up of the Planet of the Apes franchise and DC Comics' Green Lantern series is right up there near the top of the pile (right under the sign that reads, “Really?”). Still, there's something intriguing about the idea of Dr. Cornelius of the apes encountering a ring of power and getting tangled up with Sinestro and the Guardians of the Universe in a cosmic brawl. If your interest is piqued, too, you can pick up the first issue of the series this month in comic shops and online.

 

The Great Wall

There's no shortage of controversy surrounding Hero and House of Flying Daggers director Yimou Zhang's historical action fantasy The Great Wall, but it certainly promises to be quite the spectacle. Matt Damon plays a member of a group of European mercenaries whose efforts to get ahold of some of China's legendary gunpowder sweep them up into a battle against monsters on the other side of the Great Wall. Sure, it requires an impressive suspension of disbelief, but the footage released so far has been sweet, sweet eye candy. The film arrives in theaters February 17.

 

Doctor Strange

At this point, the knowledge that the next Marvel movie is hitting the home-entertainment scene tends to be a valid enough reason to add an item to your must-buy list, but this is Doctor Strange we're talking about here. One of last year's most visually stunning movies, director Scott Derrickson's spin on the Sorcerer Supreme more than lived up to expectations, and successfully threw open the door to an entirely new corner of Marvel's movie-verse. You can bring it home February 28.

 

True Believers: Wolverine – X-23 #1

Marvel Comics kicked off its “True Believers” campaign a while back to introduce readers to some of the early adventures of its superhero movers and shakers. This month, the campaign gets around to offering a reprint of the first issue of X-23, the series that introduced the teenage girl cloned from Wolverine's genetic material. Not only did the character go on to become a regular part of the Marvel Comics universe, but she'll also appear in the upcoming movie Logan. Not only does the comic offer you a chance to look back at where she came from, but it will only cost $1 when it hits shelves this month.

 

Darth Maul #1 (of 5)

Say what you will about the star Wars prequel trilogy, but one thing nearly everyone agrees on is that Darth Maul was one of the best parts of the much-maligned films (even though he only appeared in one of them). The popular Sith Lord gets his own, five-part series at Marvel Comics now, where the Star Wars tales being spun are all part of the official movie canon. The series is expected to explore Maul's time as an apprentice to Darth Sidious, before his fateful first encounter with Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn on the planet Tatooine in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. The first issue hits shelves in the coming weeks.

 


This week's question: What are you planning to watch, read, or collect this month? Let me know in the comments!

Rick Marshall is an award-winning writer and editor whose work can be found at Movies.com, as well as MTV News, Fandango, Digital Trends, and various other online, print, and on-air news outlets. He's been called a “Professional Geek” by ABC News and Spike TV. You can find him on Twitter as @RickMarshall.

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