Posts Tagged ‘ Comic book ’

The Dark Knight Rises Breakdown Review


By now I’m sure you’ve all seen it, read the reviews and written your own opinions, but one thing is for sure, The Dark Knight Rises is a game changer for comic book movies. While the movie isn’t perfect, its magnificent cast ensemble and extraordinary set-pieces helps provide an epic conclusion to the best comic book movie trilogy of all time.

The Dark Knight Rises


1) Bane

Watching Tom Hardy as Bane quickly erased any fears that the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy would suffer from having a villain that didn’t quite match up to Heath Ledger‘s Joker. Despite wearing a mask that covered his facial emotions, Hardy’s Bane was formidable, frightening, and easily the best incarnation of the character in recent memory. Unlike many comic book villains, Bane’s origin was fleshed out and his motives were explored to an extent in which his story was just as interesting as Bruce Wayne‘s. It’s unfair to compare Bane to Joker and it’s questionable as to whether Joker would have even appeared in the third film anyway had Heath Ledger not tragically passed away. Nolan prides himself on selecting villains that serve the story. Bane’s brutality provides the perfect contrast to an aging Bruce, and it’s clear Nolan has taken some inspiration from Frank Millar’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns.

2) Selina Kyle

Managing to almost steal the show is Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Until now, Nolan’s Batman films have lacked a dominant female lead. There was Rachel Dawes, but the contrasting personalities of Katie Holmes’ and Maggie Gyllenhaal’s interpretations left a lot to be desired. In a dark and broody Gotham, Selina is a welcome injection of fun, adding many laugh-out-loud moments to the film. My only complaint towards the character is that she wasn’t featured in the movie enough.

3) The Fight Choreography/Editing

I’ve previously criticised Nolan’s Batman films as using poor cut transitions during the fight scenes that pull the viewer away from the scene. An example would be Batman’s first appearance at the shipping dock during Batman Begins where Batman’s assault on Falcone’s men could barely be seen due to the nauseating camera cuts. In contrast, The Dark Knight Rises has the trilogy’s best action scene with a breathtaking fight between Batman and Bane that will live long in the memory of comic book fans. It showcased Bruce’s desperation matched up to Bane’s brutality, and we all know what happens when Batman took on Bane in the comics….

4) John Blake

I was tempted to add John Blake into the things I didn’t like about The Dark Knight Rises. Why? The film’s ending revolves around the revelation that Blake is Nolan’s ‘Robin’, and that with Bruce Wayne “deceased”, Blake rises as the new guardian of Gotham City. With Nolan achieving the impossible by giving us a realistic take on Robin, it disappoints me that Warner Bros are going to reboot the Batman franchise with Bruce Wayne again, leaving Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s ending up to the imagination.

As the new good guy of Gotham City, Blake is one of the most likable character’s Nolan’s ever put on screen. He successfully worked out Batman’s identity, rescued Jim Gordon, fought side by side with Batman and presumably ended up taking on the mantle. Not bad for a rookie…


The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Ret...


1) Miranda Tate

Miranda Tate being a cover identity for Talia Al Ghul was probably the worst kept secret in Hollywood. Despite actress Marion Cotlillard repeatedly denying she was playing the daughter of Ras Al Ghul, set-pics from the film immediately confirmed otherwise. Regardless, Talia’s story is actually well handled. Her origin from the prison (or metaphorical Lazuras Pit) mirrors Bruce’s story in an interesting way. An intriguing theory I’ve heard is that Bruce Wayne is the Joe Chill to Talia Al Ghul. Chill murdered Bruce’s parents, inspiring him to later become Batman and protect the citizens of Gotham. In Talia’s eyes, Bruce murdered her father Ra’s, robbing her of the opportunity to make peace with her father. For that, Talia’s story is well-crafted, but Cotillard’s screen time robs the character of making a lasting impression. Her cover-up crusade to bring clean energy to the world through Wayne Enterprises’ reactor never feels believable, and despite Talia manipulating Bruce, it was odd to see her jumping into bed with him so soon in the movie as their relationship hadn’t received any real development.

2) Plot Errors

It feels like a crime to accuse writer, screenwriter, producer and director Christopher Nolan of being lazy, but wouldn’t a nuclear bomb explosion outside of a large city at some point cause severe radiation poisoning? Granted the bomb exploding mid-air certainly wouldn’t have caused a tsunami as the water would have absorbed most of the blast impact before it reaches the city, but it certainly would have created some lasting radiation. Perhaps I’m wrong, but electing to ignore this repercussion certainly took me out of the movie. A side note though is that there is some movie potential to stem from it. Frank Millar’s epic masterpiece ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ explores a gang of ‘mutants’ rising up and taking control of Gotham. There’s no chance of it happening, but wouldn’t it be awesome to see Warner Bros create a continuation of Nolan’s films set even further in the future where Batman’s actions have doomed the city to radiation poisoning and an uprising of mutant gangs?

Another disappointing aspect was the inconsistency of Batman’s physical and mental state. Christian Bale’s performance was his finest yet, as he really showcased Bruce’s emotional struggle leaving the cape and cowl behind.  How Bruce jumps from a retired hermit state straight back into the dark knight is a different matter altogether, as Bruce defies numerous injuries through the film that would leave most men dead or crippled. If the exoskeleton Bruce wore helped his limp, why wasn’t Wayne Enterprises marketing this groundbreaking exoskeleton technology more efficiently?

3) Jim Gordon’s Screen Time.

In a movie that provides so many new characters, some of the older one’s were undoubtedly going to get shifted and it turns out to be Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon. When the film opens, we are shown Gordon’s grief with having to lie about the man that held up a gun to him and his family. The city treats the fallen Harvey Dent as a hero, while Gordon’s inner struggle to contain the lie is never really given the development it deserves. We only learn that his family have left him and moved away through a brief comment from one of the police officers. Oldman’s absence is further felt when Gordon is injured at the hands of Bane’s mercenaries.

Now the one thing I can’t decide on. The ending. Some argue Alfred seeing Bruce and Selina Kyle in Italy was all in his head. After all, how could Bruce survive a nuclear explosion? An opposing theory is that how could it be in Alfred’s head when he barely new Selina Kyle. I commend Nolan for giving us an Inception-like ambiguity to the film, but if I had to choose, I’d say Bruce was alive. The disappointing thing is that we’re unlikely to ever see Blake’s story as the new protector of Gotham City. At least in the film medium anyway. For now though, The Dark Knight Rises is a fantastic piece of cinema, defying the trend of disappointing threequels. Nolan, Bale, Cain, Freeman and Oldman did the impossible.

They brought Batman back from oblivion.





Marvel Legends are Back! My Wish List

Marvel Legends

Image by Tim.Deering via Flickr

Marvel Legends are back next year. The toy line that made the 6inch action figure scale famous has been on hiatus for the past few years, and now Hasbro have finally given into the demands of Legends fans worldwide, by bringing the series back in full swing. I’m not ashamed in admitting I own probably every Marvel Legends (with the exception of the SDCC Thor) figure in existence, (which for UK fans has been hard due to Toybiz and Hasbro’s awful distribution). With the next 2-3 series of figures already announced, here are my picks for what figures I hope will come up in the future.

My Wish List:

1) Heimdall:

The characters from Asgard have been in the spotlight of the Marvel Universe in recent years. Re-introduced during the Olivier Coipel illustrated Thor Series, and starring in a major Hollywood film, now is the perfect time to get Asgard’s warriors on shelves.

2) The Warriors Three

Which means the likes of Hogun, Fandral and Volstagg need to be released at some point. Whether they’re in single carded figures or in a triple pack, the Warriors Three are an integral part of the Marvel Universe, and it’s about time collectors got characters from the Thor universe.

3) Sebastian Shaw

Largely influenced by Kevin Bacon’s fantastic performance in X-Men: First Class, Sebastian Shaw’s popularity must surely be at an all time high. With the exception of the dreadful Emma Frost figure (more on that later), it’s time collectors are able to make their own Hellfire Club.

4) Azazel

Another choice that’s been influenced by X-Men: First Class. Whether you’re a fan of the silent henchman Azazel, or the religious demon from the comics, there’s no doubt he would make for a great figure.

5) Emma Frost

The last (and only) time we’ve gotten an Emma Frost figure was the dreadful one from the Hasbro 1st series. Being truthful, the figure looked more like a man, and the diamond variant was shocking. With Emma at the centre of the X-Men books, it’s fitting collectors get a better version of her to display.

6) Bleeding Edge Iron Man

He’s been one of the most reoccurring characters in the Marvel Legends line, and I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon. There’s already an Extremis Iron Man on the way, so it’s only fitting Hasbro create a figure Iron Man’s most recent armour. The Bleeding Edge Iron Man armour is stored entirely under Tony Stark‘s skin, so it should suit the slimmer mold Hasbro seem to be giving Iron Man in recent waves.

7) Ultimate Hawkeye (New Ultimates)

Hawkeye is regarded as one of the coolest characters of the Marvel Ultimate Universe. The look of Ultimate Clint Barton has even inspired the look of Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye in next year’s Avengers movie. Whether it’s 616 or Ultimate, Hawkeye’s popularity is at an all time high, and considering we’ve already gotten a classic 616 Hawkeye, it’s fitting the next figure is Ultimate Clint.

8.) Iron Patriot

Now almost as famous as his Green Goblin persona, Norman Osborn’s Iron Patriot armour made him into one awesome villain. Running H.A.M.M.E.R and the Dark Avengers, as Iron Patriot, Norman controlled the Marvel Universe for a year during the Dark Reign saga.

9) Ultimate Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

Whether you love him or you hate him, Miles Morales has sent shock waves across the comic book world this year. After writer Brian Bendis decided to kill of Ultimate Peter Parker, and replace him with Miles who is of African/American and Latino descent, fans have been going wild. Some hate how Peter has been replaced, where as some love the change of character. Bottom line is, the intense publicity Miles has received almost instantly makes him worthy of being a Marvel legends figure.

10) Fantomex,

Introduced during Grant Morrison’s New X-Men, Fantomex has become a cult favourite among X-Men fans. Starring in the new X-Force series has brought Fantomex’s popularity rise drastically and many fans would love to add him to their X-Force collection.

So there are my top ten figures I would love to see in a future Marvel Legends line. If anyone has their opinion on whom they would want to see please your wish list below.

How Avengers Vs X-Men Should Have Been

Logo of Marvel Comics

Logo of Marvel Comics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a post I’ve been waiting to do for a while, as comic book events are now coming under intense scrutiny. Why? Comic book events are making fans shell out a ridiculous amount of money on monthly issues and weekly tie-ins, for stories that lack any emotional context and effective characterization. Sadly though, comic book events are not likely to slow down anytime soon, as they seem to generate quite a boost in sales.

My main concern with comic book events in recent times is that they are simply becoming ‘slugfests’ between the heroes and villains. The stories are often lacking emotional context, because we know whoever dies is likely to be revived in a year or two. Take 2012’s Marvel event ‘Fear Itself’. It was said that the event was to be based on the concept of fear spreading across the Marvel universe due to the rise of The God of Fear. What actually occurred was an endless series of battles between villains with hammers and heroes. At least DC have temporarily taken a step back, and rebooted most of their universe. Marvel seems to be pushing on with more and more events, which isn’t a good thing. They need a good one, and this is how I would do it.

My event would take some inspiration from the works of Grant Morrison and J. Michael Straczynski. There would be a bigger focus on ordinary civilians, as they react to the actions of the superheroes around them. One of my biggest concerns with the Marvel universe recently is the concept of the X-Men. In a universe that now contains hundreds of superheroes, why do the X-Men come under such scrutiny? The only thing that separates them from other superheroes is that they are mutants who are born with their powers, although these powers usually manifest at a later date. Why do the public react so badly to mutants, when groups like The Avengers and Fantastic 4 exist? The prejudice just doesn’t make any sense. I realise the concept of mutation might frighten the public more than other superheroes that received their powers through accidental or government means, but it’s not enough to warrant the extreme prejudice towards the mutant community.

The concept of my event is based on the human backlash towards the superhuman community. After the events of Fear Itself, the humans grows tired of their world coming under danger from superheroes and villains constantly fighting each other. There is an ever-growing feeling that the superhuman community are causing more damage than they’re worth, and that both the superhumans and the mutants need to be disbanded and arrested. It’s a similar event to Dark Reign, although the minds of the public are not influenced by PR stunts. They genuinely want rid of the superhuman and mutant communities. This would be depicted through panels showcasing the point of view from the human civilians (much like JMS’ Thor), some would be in favour of the arrests and some would be against it. The military begin arresting all super-humans and mutants, and the Asgardians are banished from Earth and told to never return. There is of course, some resistance from both communities but most surrender.

The mutant community are affected the most though. After struggling for survival for years, the event pushes Cyclops over the edge and he kills several human soldiers who try to arrest him, setting mutant/human relationships back even further. I wouldn’t want Cyclops to become the new Magneto by any means, but he’s not about to turn himself in after years of fighting for survival. This is where the event becomes a matter of X-Men Vs. Avengers. With the humans so hateful towards both communities, the main Avengers team agree to help out one last time in attempt to win back public opinion by arresting the X-Men. After a long battle between the two groups, both Steve Rogers and Cyclops hand themselves in, accepting the world doesn’t want heroes anymore.

The event’s conclusion would result in there being extreme worldwide prejudice against the superhuman and mutant groups. From the civilian point of view, I would want the humans to be portrayed as confident, and no longer dependent on superheroes. From there I would cut to an interview with Steve Rogers where he says the Avengers have to earn the public’s trust all over again, and that they will be there, if they’re needed. Following that, I would have an imprisoned Cyclops in telepathic contact with Professor X, where they wonder if mutants and humans can ever truly co-exist.


Wolverine Is Being Overexposed

The New Avengers (comics)

Image via Wikipedia

Wolverine is one of the greatest comic book characters ever created. He’s headlined comic books, animated television shows and four major movies. He once brought an edge to comic books. His past was a mystery, and he wasn’t afraid to cross boundaries if it meant getting the job done. He was the badass character everyone wanted to be. Yet over the years, Wolverine’s extreme popularity has lead to Marvel including him in any comic book title they can. He is being overexposed.

Wolverine’s overexposure is something that angers many comic book fans. Fans like a sense of continuity within the Marvel universe, so when Wolverine is able to jump back and fourth between the X-Men, X-Force, The Avengers, The New Avengers and his own solo series things can get pretty confusing. For one thing, Wolverine is at the centre of this year’s X-Men event X-Men: Schism, which apparently occurs at the same time as Marvel’s crossover event Fear Itself. For comic books to be treated with respect, they at least have to follow some sense of continuity, and when that is thrown out the widow to allow Marvel to generate some extra sales by throwing Logan on the front cover, it’s bound to cause some angry faces.

With a level of uncertainty surrounding the comic industry in recent times, there is some logic as to why Marvel might stick Wolverine in anything they can. If the character truly does boost comic book sales, then it’s slightly easier to accept why he stars in so many books. What I don’t understand is that they stick him in any title they can, but don’t give him any significance. For example, Wolverine could easily be removed from Fear Itself or the main Avengers series. Especially since the character’s lost his edge. His origin has been explored and butchered over and over again, taking away the original appeal that went with the character.  Why include him in two Avengers titles, if fan favourite characters like Bucky Barnes and Hawkeye are going to get pushed aside? It’s frustrating.

It’s also frustrating to see Wolverine continuously starring in X-Men movies when it’s about time Marvel and Fox movie forward with projects for other characters. Fox have the rights for The Fantastic 4. It’s about time they use them, instead of giving us more mediocre Wolverine origin movies. Or at least maybe expand on the Wolverine mythos, and give us a movie based on his son Daken, as some fans would argue Daken has become a far edgier, more compelling character than his father in recent years.

Wolverine’s had his day. There are far more characters deserving of the attention and exposure Wolverine receives. Remove him from the Avengers and you might just see why Logan is more appealing when he’s an X-Men exclusive. Perhaps now the Avengers movie draws near, we might see a more classic Avengers line up without Ol’ Canucklehead.

Bucky Barnes Is Not Dead (Continued)


Image via Wikipedia

You all knew this was coming. Based on the overwhelming response to my previous article on why I think Bucky Barnes is not dead, I have decided to explore some of the theories presented by readers as to how Bucky returns. As readers of Marvel’s comic book event Fear Itself will know, Bucky was (supposedly) killed defending his friends from the new Red Skull. Given the character’s enormous popularity, it seems odd Marvel would kill Bucky off so cheaply, so I’m convinced there is more to come from the former Winter Soldier.

1) The Blackest Night Theory

As DC comic fans would have surely noticed, there are some uncanny similarities between DC’s Blackest Night and Marvel’s Fear Itself event. Blackest Night had black power rings corrupting fallen heroes, where as Fear Itself has magic hammers corrupting those who can wield them. What’s interesting is that Blackest Night ended with a mass resurrection of fallen characters. Fear Itself looks to be heading the same way. One reader pointed out how the son of Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, Franklin Richards could be the one to resurrect Bucky. Franklin is yet to show the potential of his reality warping powers. Given that he was one that freed The Thing from his enchantment, there’s a good chance we’re going to see Franklin involved with the end of Fear Itself in someway. My only concern with this is that a supernatural resurrection for Bucky would be weak compared to his brilliant resurrection in the Winter Soldier arc. A supernatural resurrection wouldn’t appear too weak; if it was that the defeat of the Serpent brought everyone killed by hammers back to life. It’s very Blackest Night, but it could work.

2) The Life Model Decoy (LMD) Theory

This is another theory that readers have strong confidence in. The idea is, is that Bucky was never killed by the Red Skull (Skadi). Instead he put a life model decoy in place to fake his own death. This theory makes the most sense considering Bucky had become a wanted fugitive after his crimes as the Winter Soldier were released to the public. Given that he was sentenced to prison in a Russian Gulag, Bucky’s death would free him from the law, and allow the character to return to his more black-ops style. He also has a strong association with Nick Fury, who made usage of LMDs famous in the Marvel universe.

3) The Super Soldier/ Russian code word Theory

What if Bucky was actually given a dose of the super soldier serum back in WW2, but it was kept secret so that he was able to do the killings Captain America couldn’t be seen doing. It would further explain how he was able to survive the original explosion that blew his arm off and sent him into the sea. It’s a long shot but it could work. Another suggestion was that Barnes has a pre-programmed OFF switch left behind from his Winter Soldier days. The switch would render Barnes’s body to near death state, making it look like he had died.

So there are the main theories as to how Bucky returns, but apart from the wishes of fans, what more is there to suggest we haven’t seen the last of Captain America’s former sidekick. Well, there are unanswered threads from Bucky’s Gulag story arc. Before his escape from the Russian prison, Bucky discovered that there were Soviet sleeper agents that he trained as the Winter Soldier still in existence. It would seem odd for Steve Rogers to hunt these agents down, so I’m sure there’s some sort of Bucky/Winter Soldier miniseries on our way.

One reader also pointed out something very interesting. Could the new Cap & Bucky series be connected to an upcoming Winter Soldier arc? The new Cap & Bucky series has a mysterious narrator that’s set to be revealed soon. This narrator comments on Barnes’s life just like Bucky did. Credit to Brubaker, this would be a fantastic plot twist, as I’m sure we’re going to find out that Barnes is well and truly alive.

So there are my theories as to how I think Bucky survives. Marvel has taken a lot of criticism in recent years for their over-usage of character deaths and status-quo shifting events. Considering the amount of mediocre characters (Cable, Jean grey, Wonder Man), that get killed off and later revived, it only makes sense that Marvel bring back one of their most popular characters in an effective way for a change.

A Fanboy’s Tribute: Batman Is The Best Comic Book Character Ever Created

Batman: Dark Victory #1

Some people argue superheroes are no longer relevant in today’s world. Golden Age characters such as Superman have struggled in a modern context due to their limited flaws and storylines. One character that has flourished in a modern setting is Batman. The Caped Crusader is probably the most socially and culturally relevant comic book character in existence. He lives and fights against a world governed by fear and evil. Based on what we’ve seen this week, is that any different from the world today?

We live in dark times. Just this week, the city of London was thrown into chaos by a bunch of rioting youths. With no political will, these were just mindless acts of violence by gangs wishing to install fear and violence across the capital. What started as a small isolated incident, quickly escalated into nationwide pandemic of violence. It was then I realised just how relevant the Batman character is to our modern society.

What I find most appealing about Batman is his origin. After witnessing his parents being gunned down at the age of eight, Bruce Wayne could have gone off the rails and grown up to be a revenge driven psychopath. An interesting idea was raised in Alan Moore‘s The Killing Joke. The idea is that Batman and Joker are two opposite parallels. Both were victims to what Moore describes as “one bad day” that sent them on the path to insanity. The suggested origin of the Joker is that the loss of his wife and baby, followed by his disfigurement sent him insane. It’s the decisions of Batman and Joker that keep them apart. Batman chose to harness his inner demons and use them to seek fair justice and fight crime. Despite his horrific experience, Batman essentially remains ‘a good guy’. This is further conveyed by his decision to seek justice under fair means. Whilst beating criminals to a pulp pushes ethical boundaries, his decision to capture criminals and let the justice system decide their fate keeps the Dark Knight’s ethics in the right place. Shooting them down, or murdering his victims, makes Batman no different from enemies. At the risk of sounding delusional, how many people can say that they don’t take satisfactions in the idea of a hero praying on the type of criminals we saw in the UK last week?

Another great aspect of the Batman character is that he can fit into any storyline/subtext. He can be used in storylines with political subtexts such a Frank Millar‘s amazing ‘The Dark Knight Returns‘ or fantasy subtexts as seen in some of Grant Morrison‘s recent work. As long as the key mythos is the same, and that Batman is an ordinary man seeking to fight crime and evil, Batman works in any storyline. His mission is endless. As seen in the Nolan films, Batman fights for a day where he is no longer needed. He sees himself as a means to an end. A clever theme explored in ‘The Dark Knight’ is that a day won’t come where either Bruce or Gotham do not need the Batman. Frank Millar’s ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ also explores the notion that Batman had become crucial to society. Without him, crime will eventually take hold of Gotham. You won’t find many heroes that carry as much gravitas as the Caped Crusader.

Despite the rise of Marvel’s heroes on screen, Batman will always remain the most compelling comic book character ever created. Batman is relevant to the screwed up world we live in. His choice to fight crime is something many people can relate to. He carries more emotional weight than any other comic book character and his storyline potential is endless.

Deconstructing: The New Ultimate Spider-Man

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man

Image via Wikipedia

The death of Ultimate Peter Parker has been one of the most talked about events in comic books recently, but more importantly, Marvel have finally unveiled who will replace the web-slinger, and it’s a half-black, half-Hispanic 13 year old known as Miles Morales. Astonishingly, the news that Ultimate Comics Spider-Man was being replaced reached high profile media outlets such as Fox News, The New York Times and USA Today. It’s great the comic book industry is getting lots of media attention, but is that the only reason behind the push for diversity?

The Marvel Ultimate universe is commonly known as the testing ground for Marvel comics. The Ultimate universe was originally created by writers Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, as a fresh start to attract new readers, without being bogged down by years of continuity. Years later, the Ultimate universe took a dip in quality when writer Jeph Loeb, killed off most of the existing characters in the disaster event known as ‘Ultimatum‘. Since then, the Ultimate universe has suffered in quality, therefore its purpose now seems to be to serve as a testing ground for new ideas.

I consider the decision to put a half-black, half-Hispanic character in the role of Spider-Man as nothing more than a publicity stunt. Yes, it’s good to give attention to the minorities that might feel overlooked in mainstream media, considering the growing diversity in the USA, but there is a far better way to do that then putting established iconic characters as minorities. Two of my favourite Marvel characters are Luke Cage and Sam Wilson (The Falcon), who both represent the African-American/Black minorities. These characters are well-established comic book characters, and are more than capable of headlining their own books. The comic book industry needs more characters like them. Luke Cage did originally appear to represent a very corny, stereotypical view of a black superhero, but Marvel learnt from that and gave him a much-needed new look. Years later, and he finally looks like he has his own movie on the way.

Miles is always going to be known as ‘the other Spider-Man’ who lives in Peter Parker’s shadow. He should have been given his own superhero identity, allowing diversity in comics to finally breakthrough from previous stereotypes (Luke Cage’s original yellow outfit). If Marvel introduced Miles Morales as a brand new character headlining his own series, I’m sure that would of eventually taken off, allowing Marvel to later introduce Miles to the mainstream Marvel Universe.

But that wouldn’t have got them as much media attention, which tells you everything you need to know.