Hulk Smash

Hulk Smash

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Marvel the Summer of Discontent

I have been sitting on this one for awhile and need to just get it out so I can move on. I think if it took my all summer to get this post out then it is obvious that Marvel has been less than inspiring considering when I started this blog I wrote once a week about comics. So this is a collection of various glimpses into the releases of the summer as well as a grim look at the big picture. Secret Empire continued to suck as well as Marvel comics in general. This isn't just me, I went to a panel of comic retailers and they all agreed , Marvel might have you fooled when it comes to the movies , but the books are not selling. People are pissed and want their characters back I am not sure Marvel has had an event worth a shit in past few years.The best part was bringing back Banner for an issue and watching him plow through everyone.  X-men even with it' overly cerebral slant is one of the best books going since Dedato is doing the art. Not my favorite team of all time, but I'll take it. Mighty Thor 22 issues later is even worse of a mess, like when they had Hulks of too many colors now there is Volstagg as a war-Thor. Speaking of Hulk the Hulk Generations was ok and brought Banner Hulk back, but I am unsure what is really the point of this the Generations Wolverine book was about the same quality, no real point considering those two had already met, it just looked like something else to mess with the time line. Speaking of messes the Infamous Iron-man's 11th issue seems like something that should have gone down in either the Fantastic Four who needs a return to comics or in Dr.Strange. Nothing to do with Iron Man at all.

Black Panther 17 was the best yet from the new writer, but I have a hard time seeing how he can hold up a movie on his own. Speaking of movies bound to flop based on the comics , the Mighty Captain Marvel is an even more contrived space opera that is hard to care about even with the Alpha Flight involved. Now to further clutter things up we have Hyperion and the Ultimates. Granted the latter at leastw works with Danvers current mythos. When it comes to Avengers there does seem to be some hope for the Uncanny Avengers who find Scarlet Witch back in their ranks in the 26th issue. I think this book would work better with Beast in it instead of Rogue. Johnny Storm as needs to go. The team doesn't need two magic users, ask anyone who plays D&D so get rid of Brother Voodoo. That would leave us with Quicksliver, Wasp, Scarlet Witch and Synapse. Bring in Beast and another odd Avenger from the past like Jocosta, Mantis or Tigra and it would be a great book. See I just named off three more female super-heroes so I am all for girl power. Just not a she-Thor.

X-men Blue is decent in it's 10th issue . None of the X-books have really been that great though I am glad that Daken is back.Jean Grey finds it 6th issue being much better than you would ever imagine her being able to hold down her own book. Granted each issue has guest ranging from Dr. Strange to Thor to Scarlet Witch, you might notice I just named some of my favorite characters to I am sure that factors into the equation, but I think this book pays homage to the canon that came before it. So lets hope the fall finds them making some better choices with Legacy.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Movie Review : " It"

Friday night my daughter and were talking about what her mom was going to do I told her she was going to go see “It”.Because 7 year olds know everything My daughter replied “No she is going to see a movie about a scary clown. I then tried to explain to her what the title of said scary clown movie was . But if you are wanting to see a movie about scary clowns you might be better off with the current season of American Horror Story. As “it’ doesn’t limit itself to just being about a scary clown and the bigger more sinister picture is well painted . itself among the some of the better Stephen King adaptations to film, this movie falls short of the Shining or the Mist in terms of scares , but has a lot of heart.This is only the first chapter so if you go in wanting to for them to return to Derry as adults then you better stock up on pop-corn and wait for the next movie. Generally speaking I think the director nailed the personalities of kids. This was the studio putting a ton of faith in a director whose other work “Momma” was luke warm. This film does a better job than the Tim Curry tele-vision miniseries. The big question you are really going to ask here is how does Pennywise stack up?

So you are asking Bill Skarsgard to stuck up against Tim Curry. If you strip away any cgi that was augmenting Skarsgard’s performance and kept it do who delivered their lines better than Curry would win.This also outline’s one of the movie strengths that blows the nostalgia horror fans are known for hanging onto out of the water. That is no saying we need to re-make “The Exorcist” of “the Shining” with today’s effects. In fact since this was originally a made for television mini-series and not a full length theatrical release then technically it’s not a remake. So it’s 2017 and has a bigger budget than the televised version, so it looks better. This is not just from a effects perspective there are some well placed shots, most of these you have seen in the trailer. Though a few like right before Pennywise starts dancing in his lair, so effective.

Pennywise never goes full out bug in this version, just like we are once again not shown the kids giving it to Beverly in sewer, I think that is something you can only see in Second Life. The sexual tension was more present. Not just with the kids, but a few of the townspeople and her father. Much like the lesson Joss Whedon taught us in Buffy that highschool is a terrifying place. The early adolescent world of these kids is just as scary as anything they encounter in the sewers. So it is much truer to King’s vision in this regard. I think the maniacal headshaking charge we see repeated by Pennywise was the only part of the movie I did not like, though the inclusion of the Wolf-man the protagonist sees in the book would have been a nice touch but perhaps Universal had too tight a reins on those rights. I haven’t read the book since it’s release in 1986. But the impact the book had still made me able to weigh it against the film and able to chant”he thrusts his fist against the posts, and still insists he sees the ghosts” which could have been given a little more context. So even the overblown drama of the Hollywood moments was not able to diminish the films entertainment value. If you are a horror fan you might find it lacking in the scares department, but it’s still a fun ride for Stephen King Fans.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A Strange Case of Dragon-con

It has been a tense year. So I am sure many people wanting the vacation like escape from Dragon-con that they has been waiting all year for, found themselves unable to detach from the real world around them and submerse themselves back into the fantasy of their escape. Some reached further back into child like places to to his as there were more costumes that paid homage to things from child hood, like Scooby Doo, Strawberry Shortcake, Sesame Street and Disney. Wonder Woman who is celebrating her 75th anniversary, beat out Harley Quinn this year, when if comes to female costumes. Even the Danger Woman panel had some tension where she would not acknowledge the death of Bill Paxton in her homage to the recently deceased called "Victim of a Lie , Victim of Goodbye", she did give Glen Campbell props when it thought of him but , when asked said Bill Pxton was a stranger. Dragon-con ca be a cruising spot for nerds, that as not even in as full effect as past years. The drinking did not have as celebratory a tone and since I don't drink and was looking at that fishbowl from the outside, it appeared more like self medication.

Perhaps geek culture has been given less to celebrate.Game of Thrones is the only thing to celebrate at the moment. Hollywood churns out abysmal dreck like the "Dark Tower" which bombed as it should have and the escape that we want is now relegated to Netflix, who allows Marvel to push their political agenda through the lack luster Defenders show. I never over the course of the weekend heard a single person sing the praises of that show. All of this tensions and depression was notice when I arrived at the Westin on Friday and heard someone talking to an someone I know who works at the hotel about a incident involving someone getting violent when trying to cram into an elevator . So people showed up with high tensions.  After that I went to panel on the Skeptics Track about Science vs Religion. The panel revolved around some comments Bill O Riley had made, so we could not escape the outside world. We then hit a filking panel that we could not take more than about twenty minutes of. Then the rest of the day was spent watching costumes in the Hyatt, we posted up by the escalators where I ran into the bulk of my friends that I saw at the Con this weekend. Talked to a girl who was Wednesday Addams Ash mash up called Ash Wednesday and then hit my A.A meeting in the basement of the Hyatt. The next night was met with a more serious tone as people began to notice the kind of drinking going on was less playful than years before.

After noting most of the cosplays were taking on a androgynous flip with gender bending bringing almost as many men playing Wonder Woman as women, why were they not Simon Williams, if they wanted to be Wonder man? So we went to a panel on fashion in comics, which was better than I expected. My days are already beginning to blur This was followed by a panel about making bad guys in comics. Another panel where the terrible flop that is the Dark Tower was ignored. Instead we designed a villain for a wild west comic.This was more fun than not.We then encountered more drunks at the bar this time it was earlier around 5 or so. Side not restaurants had raised prices more and made only partial menus. Danger woman offered needed laughs and the Marriot that night proved to be a unpleasant place to be, Some guy in a back pack who was intentionally running into people, made a mistake of running into me and just bounced off me, I didn't really notice what happened til my friend pointed it out.

By Sunday it felt like Con-drop had already hit, I spent the first half of the day by myself. I went to paranormal panels this day with the "Malevolent Entities" panel being the most enjoyable. Wandered the hotels a bit ended up at a meeting. Went to one each night if the con. There did seem to be less people. One friend did not return after Saturday. From Saturday on I tried spending most of my time in the Westin and Sheraton. The crowds that were there seemed to be clustered in the same places, the Hilton made the outside deck a party spot which was somewhat fun as it allowed the organized cosplay at platform. Monday I it more comics panels and even the retailers admitted Marvel fucked themselves which was the affirmation I needed. Overall I can say I found Frolicon to be a much better time than Dragon-con this year. I think the programming was lacking and over all mood tense and guarded, perhaps this is just a reflection of what happens when you put pople who only interact through social media together and we are just not seeing the long term side effects, whatever the case it was unwelcome and generally a downer.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spider Man - Home Coming

So this is Marvel Studios first shot at a stand alone film with arguably their most beloved hero. What worked with Holland's portrayal of the character in Civil War still works here. The movie is flawed, but fun. Where the other actors fell flat Holland excels, but he still has a script to adhere to and it's the writing where things get a little iffy. The twist with Keaton's Vulture and how he was mixed into his life on a few levels was clever even with it's deviation from the source material. However the biggest flaw was the lack of Spider sense. Spidey senses tingling is almost a part of the pop culture surrounding this character so why is it not a part of the character? Would this have really messed up the twist with Keaton before the third act ? No.

What did they get right? I thought Keaton did a good job as the Vulture. I liked the easter eggs they dropped for the Sinister Six and making it obvious Scorpion is going to be at least one of the villains in the next movie. I still want to see Black Cat on screen and they could have laid the ground work for that without making her seem like a Cat-woman rip off which she is but some how it's still ok with me , must be the boobs. But I digress. I had heard going into this it was more of a comedy than a action movie. This is not true it was a good balance. I think one of the things I was most greatful for was that it was not another origin story. There was still that Greatest American Hero moment with the hi tech suit which, I know Spider-man has now in the comics thanks to Parker Industries , but he did not have it back then.

Sure some of the casting was flawed. An Indian Flash Thompson was a stretch, how many Indians do you know with the last name of Thompson? But it was the fact he was on the debate team and not the football team that really fumbled. They missed a great chance to throw in some anti-bullying social justice bull shit here which I would have still rolled my eyes at , but it would be in proper context and was part of Parker's mythology. Tomei as Aunt May still worked. So that was a casting oddity I was fine with so I am flexible to certain extent. I was also fine with the alien tech from the first Avengers being used to make things like the Shockers gauntlets. So it did not seem forced. What did seem forced was Parker's relationship with Stark. Aside from that I think it's on the tier under Dr. Strange, Captain America and Iron-Man, so maybe number five in the Marvel movies...are we counting Logan in that ? Oh yeah I would review it but it's been out so long I'll just say I liked it and put it in the top five Marvel movies

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Wondering on Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman has been out for three weekends. By now most of you who would click on an article like this have probably seen it.I waited to review it after I had a week to think about it. It's easy to get swept up in the hype and have it's momentum to blur objective thinking. I saw on Facebook some one making their views about the movie known and saying not o say anything negative about it. This is dangerous because it means you can't hear other peoples views as it threatens how you feel about your own.  I get it Wonder -Woman was the movie you had been waiting for. Lets face it if Wonder- Woman had flopped it would have seal to coffin on the sub-genre of female fronted super-hero films .But Wonder Woman is  not a scared cow. To say Wonder Woman is one of the best  D/C movies is not really saying much. It's true it is better than Super-man vs Bat-man, Cat-Woman,Green Lantern and Bat-man Forever. Those movies are all also awful. super hero movies in a long time is just untrue- It's not better than Dr. Strange or Civil War.

The first Captain America movie is a good one to compare this to, It has a retro feel. It even has the displaced born in the wrong time element. Here is the push and pull of the origin story. I am so sick of them and then it was un-needed as we were already introduced to her in Batman vs Super-man. There might have been a better way to take us to Paradise Island and give us a little background into how she is being defined here. It could have been told in five mins over a campfire when they are in Germany. The movie's strengths are when it played to her connection to Humanity. Much like Captain America she was a person from another time trying to find her way back into the world of man. The humor was well balanced. Gal Gadot captured Diana's personality, though is still a little scrawny to be an Amazon, Her picking up a tank just seemed laughable with those arms.  The suspension of disbelief laid solely on her acting. The action sequences up until the climax which turned into a huge cgi throw down. It was like the producers called up asked how much of the budget was left and then told them to throw that into effects . This is a problem with many comic book movies. I think Dr.Strange, the first Cap and Iron-man not as much. So Wonder-woman only suffered where many others do. But if they wanted to make this stand out they could have chosen differently. I think that's why the Netflix shows like Daredevil do more with less.

So while Wonder-woman rose to the occasion, especially on a box -office level and with the re-shoots of Justice League taking place cements her as the center-piece of the D/C verse til another solo Bat-man movie comes out, what does it mean for other female super-heroes? We know Joss Whedon is doing a Bat-girl movie, but Capt Marvel could be the next big flop on the heels of a bigger flop in Black Panther, whose trailer looks like the Jungle Book meets Fast and Furious. It could mean D/C movies on the up swing, until they get to Cyborg, which will get pushed back as other properties with more potential bump it out of the way. I'll agree Wonder-woman was the best D/C film that's not Bat-man Begins or the Original Super-men, but trails behind others. If you are afraid to take off the blinders and see the reality of that then you deserve the Cyborg movie.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Review of Marvel's Spring 17

So I just had to press publish on this to get it out of the way so I could move forward. First off lets address the elephant in the room which is ...why is a comic book fan of over 35 year no longer passionate about his favorite line of comics. This is the back lash Marvel is feeling not just from me , but much like I predicted their effort to make comics more diverse is going down the drain and the books just aren't selling . So in getting caught up here I am going to reviews. where we are at coming out of the spring and throw in my thoughts with the current books and then try to force myself to care more at get back on track with more current reviews. Well going into the spring, Marvel begins to improve a little but not after they really shit the bed getting there. The In-humans vs X-men series was total shit with a few peanuts in between.The Clone Conspiracy fizzle out bring Parker into the hunt for Osborne as the end game and this looks to give Amazing Spider-man some promise going forward.

The 4th issue of U.S Avengers is entertaining over the top and silly, not sure about Ross not being the Hulk. But at this point we gotta take what we can get. The Mighty Thor turned out to be another waste of time and the Destroyer vs Gladiator fight which could have been the best part of the issue was all off panel. Showing a little more promise was the issue of Totally Awesome Hulk , Which forced too many guest stars to pile/ I like Silk well enough, but what is the purpose of her being there? The 7th issue of Invincible Iron-man has Ri Ri getting her butt beat by Nitro who is a b-list villain. If they are smart they will keep her in the Champions and admit there is no reason for her to have her own book. While I was glad to see the Leader in the second issue of Monsters Unleashed, the overall story left something to be desired. I am a fan of Ilsa Bloodstone, but it did not feel like the best use of her character.

The 12th issue of Black Panther was terrible and if they pattern the movie after the comic it will be a snooze fest. Captain America is not doing very well either so this Secret Empire arch they are building towards looks to be equally disappointing. It's some of the off shot titles that are the most fun like the 2nd issue of Elektra that pits her against Arcade. It holds the magic you wanted from comic from the 80's and 90's. The 20th issue of this current Daredevil run, finds the art at least returning to it' glory days and the book staying very street level , almost too much so for my personal tastes. The first issue of Luke Cage is better than I thought it was going to be. The problem with him is his limited rogues gallery.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017 : Marvel Should be Ashamed

The fact that it takes an act of sheer willpower for me to power through and write about comics, after having a blog devoted to them speaks volumes to the sad state of things. Marvel Should be ashamed of themselves. It's not just me that feels this way. I went into a local comic book store and talked to the owner . He told me things are rough for Marvel and fans are not pleased. He said it's a great time to be a D/C fan because you watch Arrow on TV and then go open a comic book and those characters are generally the ones you loved from the show. People go to a Marvel movie and then pick up a comic book and are confused. This diversity trend is hurting things just like I predicted.

 Are things getting better this year?  well with half the heroes replaced by impostors it can't get worse. U.S Avengers is another take on the New Avengers it follows the former Sun-spot and gets mired down slightly by a time line hopping Danielle Cage, the art is great and it has the Red Hulk in it so I am hopeful s he seems more like Hulk than Cho. The two big events on the front end of the year to follow up the underwhelming Civil War 2 that seemed just a vehicle to kill off more of the old favorites are the In-humans vs X-men and this Monsters Unleashed. Of the two Monsters Unleashed might be another vehicle to promote their new teen characters , but is also has more of a classic Marvel feel. I like the fact Ilsa Bloodstone is in this, of the newer characters she is one of my favorites .It is more like a D/C story line as it's just a bunch of random fighting. The In-humans vs X-men might also be a bunch of fighting, but it doesn't pack the punch it feels like it should.

The Clone Conspiracy is not terrible, but I am not sure if it is really making anything any better in the long run. Avengers comic books are mired down in another Kang thing, Glad Hercules is back in the mix, but the stories are disjointed. Thor's Unworthy book is decent. The Mighty with Jane Foster another story that feels forced. Solicits for Sam Wilson's book shows him back in the Falcon costume, it just won'r sell as many books if the title was Falcon. Black Panther is so terrible there is no way that movie can't be a disaster. Guardians of the Galaxy are being spread thin in solo books, and the main one which finds them on Earth is not what it once was. Scarlet Witch is a mess and Dr. Strange which has been the strongest title is heading in that direction. It's also hard to care about anyone on a street level as Daredevil had potential that is now kind giving us stories we have read before, and I am finding it hard to care about the Punisher. We won't even start on how bad Iron-man is .

For me to almost not want to even bother reading comic books is a problem I have been reading them for over thirty years, Marvel you should be ashamed of your self.